Camera Design Project

As part of my minor Scientific Challenges Industrial Design Engineering I did a research project about photocamera design. This project was a joint project together with one other student. The research question we were going to answer was: "How can existing photocamera-designs be of guidance when designing a new product that is modern and innovative, but that also provides ease of use and appeal through recognisability?". The associated design question is: "How does the design of a photocamera, that fits well into the current market for amateur photographers, look when it is designed to be new and innovative, but also to appeal to users in terms of design and use?".

To answer both of these questions, we have done an extensive research on how cameras have evolved in history to get an idea of what were succesful cameras and what made them succesful. This was done by analysing a selection of important cameras on how the users of those cameras interact with them or should interact with them, what influence the camera has on the way the user takes pictures and what things make the camera aesthetically pleasing and attractive to people. At the same time we took a look at how the useage of cameras evolved through the years and how it might evolve in the future. All of this has resulted in a list of design requirements for the camera we were going to design.

The Design

The main focus of the design was to create a camera that was able to force the user to think about the pictures he will take. The goal is to let the user focus his attention on the world around him instead of on the camera itself. At the same time the camera should enable easy sharing and easy interaction. It should surpass the camera quality of a smartphone but try to keep the camera as carryable as possible. 

The main concept we came up with changes the process of framing a picture drastically. The viewfinder of the camera is placed on top of the camera and it has the same proportions as the picture the camera takes. The idea behind this viewfinder is that what the user sees through the viewfinder is the same as what the picture the camera will take looks like. This enables a new way to interact with the camera. As shown below as an demontstartion the viewfinder will cover a wide angle when the viewfinder is held close to the eye. When the user moves the camera further away from his eye the area covered within the viewfinder will crop. It almost zooms in to the point the viewfinder is aimed at. The camera will measure the distance between the eye of the user and the viewfinder to calculate what the user sees through the viewfinder and at the same time the camera will automatically zoom in to match the area covered in the viewfinder with the lens. To summarize zooming in or out with the camera happens when the user moves the camera away or towards his head.

To make the interaction with the camera as easy as possible a large area of the camera is covered in a display. The display wraps around the camera from the back side of the camera to the front. This enables the camera to give a lot of feedback to the user about what the camera is doing and besides that it gives the possibility to customize the functionality of the physical buttons incorporated in the screen on the back side. This way the camera can be adjusted to the preferences of any person to create an easy and natural interaction with the camera.

The interaction with this camera is quite different and new from what people are used to with cameras that are on the markt today. When a new evolution of a product is made the goal is to make a design with some novelty to make it interesting, but at the same time the design needs some recognisability, or typicality, to let people know what the product is and what it does. To give our design typicality next to the novel way to interact with the camera and frame a picture, we chose to make the appearance of the camera as typical as possible by looking at designs of the past. The result is a design that instantly looks like a camera using color schemes and materials alongside specific physical design aspects used a lot with camera designs. Below the design sketches and renders of the concept are found.


Design sketch

Concept in use (1)

Design sketch back

The final design

Final design back

Mode selection wheel

The viewfinder


Viewfinder concept explanation