Equinox: A Modular Concept Camera That Can Take on Various Form Factors


Most high-end digital cameras (not named Ricoh) aren’t designed to be modular. If you want a new sensor in your camera, you’ll need to buy an entirely new camera. Want to use a different lens system? You’re out of luck.

What if there existed a universe in which all the major camera companies came together to form an extremely versatile modular digital camera? That’s what Korean designers Dae jin Ahn and Chun hyun Park are attempting to answer with their concept camera design, called Equinox.

Equinox is a camera system that separates the “body” of the camera from the sensor and lens mount. It features a square “core” that contains a specific sensor and mount pairing. What body you choose to attach the core to is up to you.




There are at least three different shells you can place the core into to form a proper camera. One is a small barebones grip that essentially adds shutter triggering functionality to your sensor unit. Here’s what it looks like with a viewfinder attachment:


If you need more functions, you can stick it into a bigger body that offers compact camera controls.


Here’s the same body with a Nikon Speedlight attached to the standard hot shoe mount:


Finally, if you need the ability to control manual settings through physical controls, there’s a larger body that contains all the buttons and wheels you’ll need.


If you don’t need a portable body at all — in a studio environment, for example — you can connect the sensor module to a special adapter that can allow special software to control your camera.


It’s an interesting concept to look at and think about, but one that we probably won’t see materialize anytime soon.

(via Yanko Design via TogTech)

Image credits: Concept designs by Dae jin Ahn and Chun hyun Park

  • Renato Murakami

    Oh no, please Michael, don’t fall into the design porn trap. As soon as I saw “Yanko Design” I cringed… too many designs that doesn’t take in consideration the least of how the devices they design works. And more often than not, they also completely miss the market needs. It’s design for design’s sake, mostly useless.

  • Vlad Dusil

    While I agree, it’s still fun to look at.

    Just because design in cameras hasn’t evolved in decades doesn’t mean it can’t in the future.

  • Zos Xavius

    No soul.

  • aa

    modular design already exists. go check the site of Alpa cameras

  • Chris

    Already here, at least for Cinema – Red Epic / Scarlet. They have a still photo mode in the works, but I don’t know if they will ever get around to actually putting it into the firmware…

  • Travis

    if they take away the mount and can make it 2 inches tall and less than 0.5cm thick, I can fit it into around half of my film cameras.

  • Mak Wa

    That Nikon Speedlight looks a bit small compared to the camera body. If going by this E-mount example then it should actually be as big if not bigger than the camera body. Seeing as this may be about the same size as a NEX-7, a NEX-7 with a Sony external flash attached actually gets dominated by the speedlight in terms of size.

  • rob

    then we should all give up, because if we don’t do things for their own sake we lose the dreamers and the thinkers who make big advances in areas such as design, technology, and science. where would we be if Talbot didn’t tinker around with his crude new light drawing technology? at that point it was a dream, it was “mostly useless,” and now look at us…

    I think this is a great idea, not likely to be adopted by the industry, but something nice to think about. perhaps in the future when our civilization moves up the Kardashev scale, and everything is a little more utopic (or when all the corporations conglomerate into a super nation) we’ll see something more like this. maybe.

  • bgrady413

    I love this concept. Sign me up!

  • esearing

    Could I get one for my 4×5 camera? with say 120MegaPixels?

  • junyo

    Honestly, this concept is more logical than the original GXR concept (although Ricoh has rectified that somewhat with the A12 module).

    A modular camera makes sense from a consumer prospective not because it’s new and radical; it’s actually rather retro. It returns the camera concept to the familiar paradigm of film – long lasting bodies and glass with interchangeable, upgradable media. The flaw here is the designers place emphasis on changing the form factor; which is nice, but not what I would think the the key selling for such a system would become over time. The selling point should be that the sensor modules are largely disposable, so when technology advances you can simply replace that piece, but keep using your existing chassis and lenses. So in addition to various body layout, you could carry sensor modules with different sensor/enclosure properties – FF on a regular day, cropped when you’re out bird watching and want to maximize your tele glass, weather sealed variants for outdoor activities, monochrome/AA filter-less for when you want to get your HCB on…And the cost of upgrading or experimenting would be lower, since you don’t have to pop for an entire camera to get a new sensor.

    And in a perfect world, you create a physical specification for connections/connectors between modules and a software API for the system and open source the whole thing. Let companies jump in and come up with cool new chassis and sensor modules for their lens mounts.

    Which is why, of course, it would never happen. The companies capable of making such a thing happen are too heavily invested in the business of reselling you new sensors encased in entirely new, largely redundant, bodies every few years.

  • Ken Elliott

    The Nikon F was a modular camera. So are nearly all medium format cameras. As we move to all-electronic cameras (AKA “mirrorless”), I’m sure one of the majors (Nikon?) will offer a modular camera. But I think this will happen because of video, rather than stills. I imagine a small body, large body and video body. Each would have controls and viewfinders that would be optimized for the application. I think this makes more sense for Nikon because they don’t have a line of video cameras to protect.

  • cheezzebrudda

    Seriously? Anyone heard of the Alpa? If they did this at a reasonable price, Id be interested..

  • jasper

    just stunning… i would buy it

  • raydream

    I’m an engineer, and I love this. Give me a small team and I can make this happen.