D-CAN: A Cylindrical Concept Camera

Designer Jean-michel Bonnemoy thinks that traditional camera designs are wrong, and that form factors were driven more by technical necessity (e.g. the need to hold film) than by ergonomics and ease of use. Instead, he proposes that modern digital cameras should be cylindrical and resembling a handheld telescope. A lens cap is built into the front, a viewfinder and LCD screen are built into the back, and the controls are in easy-to-access locations on the side of the camera.

While this design might seem absurd to some of you, it’s somewhat similar to the design of the Lytro camera (albeit much more complicated). What are your thoughts?

(via Yanko Design)

  • 8fps


  • Monochrome Eye

    Interesting concept. My biggest issue is it seems to be conceived as a P&S type camera. That is fine except I don’t see the form factor as beeing “pocketable”. That is an important concept for the P&S type cameras. That being said. I sort of like the concept. It strikes me as a love/hate kind of thing.

  • will hall

     to be fair, this isnt a million miles off of some modern video cameras, many of which also have stills capability. But it is interesting that video and still camera have very different designs despite doing more-or-less the same job

  • Mouring

    I can see people with smaller hands having a seriously bad time with this design.  As it looks like your hand needs to be big enough to hit the two back scroll wheels (which one I have to assume is a shutter dial) and be able to reach the shutter button without shifting your hand.  Something that traditional camera designs don’t have issues with.

    From a design if you have 4 double A batteries behind the sensor that puts the sensor pretty far forward and thus forcing a longer barrel for any amount of zoom.. Or a smaller sensor so the glass doesn’t need to be as long.

    It would be horrifying bad for those of us who do cheap tricks to do slower shutter speed shots while a dance or other event when you really need something that doesn’t “roll” off the table while using the table as a tripod.

    Speaking of rolling off the table… I’m starting to dislike the idea of the design for practical reasons.

  • Six Local

    No reason this can’t be adapted to not have a fixed lens. But at the same time, having a large lens on it would make it stupidly long, longer than a handheld telescope. You’d need a tripod, and by then, why even both having a weird shaped camera or not?

  • Anonymous

    ugly and creates more problems with usability than it solves

  • Spider- Man

    wasn’t there a digi cam similar to this already?

  • Jesse Hildebrand

    This isn’t exactly new… it’s been tried before, remember the Yashica Samuri line of cameras?  The fact that Yashica was pretty much alone in making this style of camera and that you don’t see evidence of that type of design since then might tell you something.  It might be ok for a quirky P&S, but I don’t see the design being popular with anyone else. 

  • Anonymous

    The macro switch doesn’t need such a silly long slider.  LiPo batteries are the way to go, not a bunch of round cells.  I think the dials that I presume to be aperture and shutter dials need to be bigger.  I’m not opposed to it, but I don’t understand what this solves.  I don’t think it’s really more ergonomical, and the switch location makes left handed holding impractical.

  • Seriesrover

    Interesting concept – always good to discuss “out-of-the-box” ideas.

    My main concern would be camera motion / shake. Whilst its true that SLR designs came about due to film mechanics, they also position your hands on a different axis to each other.

  • Alan Dove

    Am I the only one who remembers the Canon Photura?

    The shape of traditional cameras was partly due to things like film placement, but if you dig around just a tiny bit you’ll see that designers have tried other shapes, including this one. It just didn’t work out.

  • Anonymous

    Very simililar to the Canon Photura, circa 1990.

  • MikeT

    I agree with seriesrover, camera shake would be a big problem with this concept. For higher end DSLR’s you might not be able to easily fit everything into the form, and I am not sure how you would add lenses to it.

  • Jake Asher

    I agree with Monochrome.  It could ONLY be a point-&-shoot because the sensor would block the lens and there’s not enough room for a mirror for SLR.  The problem with this is that the trend in P&S cameras is to get smaller and more compact, and nobody is going to want to walk around with something the size of a tall soda can in their pocket or purse or wherever.  It doesn’t look like any kind of improvement over the existing model, just a different one with no real place in the market.  I’d rather wait for the Lytro to come out – similar design with massively improved functionality.

  • Michael Buchanan

    Is that a D-CAN in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

    I couldn’t resist.

  • Mario Liedtke

    The batteries are totally missplaced.
    There’s enough space on the bottom or top to get them out of the field of view for a) a deeper lens system or b) an optical viewfinder or something else.

  • Adam

    Let me guess, it’s a slow day, and this sort of piddly rubbish was all that through the news feed?

  • Marknic

    Beat me to the punch!

  • Anonymous

    The inmates are running the asylum.  This is textbook BAD UI.  I shoot with a DSLR, and my favorite lens (Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS) has 3 switches on the left side.  I’ve been using this lens for 8 years and yet I STILL have to look at the side of the barrel to pick out which switch I need to move to change modes (e.g. change from autofocus to manual focus).  I see absolutely no advantages to the form factor or the UI over previous cameras, and a host of problems.