The Custom Mechanical Keyboards You Didn’t Realize You Needed

The humble keyboard is one of those crucial pieces of equipment that will always be needed by photographers. If comfort, style, and functionality are important to you, a customized mechanical keyboard is a must-buy.

Most photographers use their keyboards for hours on end to sort and edit their work. If you still use a standard keyboard, you may miss out on many of the benefits that can come from customizing your own. With the ability to change keys and layouts, a keyboard tailored to your particular needs can make the experience of editing a whole lot more productive and enjoyable. One recent convert to the mechanical keyboard scene is creative director and educator Matthew Encina, who you may recognize from his days at the Futur. In his latest video, Encina goes into great detail about why this office staple became an obsession of his.

The video starts with Encina explaining why mechanical keyboards are such a passion for him, as he's a big fan of good design, tinkering, and building things. He then gives us a tour of his keyboard collection and share some of his experiences of buying, using, and building the perfect keyboard. One thing I learned from watching the video was how interchangeable they can be. If your tastes or needs suddenly change, you can easily switch things up and swap keys and frames out. I could see this ability being useful for photographers who may have different requirements when they are shooting to when they are editing. The part of the video I especially liked was how each keyboard shown features a demonstration of it in action under controlled conditions. These brief clips may just help you decide what you want in a keyboard or at least open your eyes and ears to how different each type can be.

The video ends with Encina taking the whole modification and customization idea up a notch or two when he teams up with a company to build a keyboard to his exact specification. I know some of you may roll your eyes at such a hobby, but I think having the right keyboard for your needs can only be a good thing for photographers. You wouldn't walk around in uncomfortable shoes all day, so why would you settle for a standard keyboard when there may be better options out there? I personally would love to have a big, bold keyboard with lots of feedback in the keys for when I'm shooting in the studio and something that prioritized comfort for when I'm slaving over the computer for hours editing my pictures.

What do you make of these mechanical keyboards? Think they are a worthy addition to a photographer's office? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

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2 Comments
Chris Rogers's picture

No ten key :[

This is actually my favorite keyboard of all time. it's a no frills ( although frills are very nice), sturdy as an ox, gives you what you need keyboard. It has a fantastic feel too even though it's not mechanical. I REALLY wish i could get on of these with a USB plug instead of a PS2 Plug. I kicked so much butt in battlefield and edited tons of photos with this sucker.

James Bruton's picture

I've used dozens of keyboards over the decades (yes, I'm old) both at work and at home as both a computer and photography enthusiast. My favorite keyboard of all time is the one I'm using right now, the Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard AW768. I'm not a gamer but the keyboard is designed to take abuse from serious gamers, has great tactile feedback, and is heavy for a keyboard making it very sturdy. Software allows me to customize certain keys for a given application. My favorite feature is that I can color code the keyboard for certain keys and sections to be lit in different colors for easy identification. It's not wireless which I don't need as it is plugs into a desktop with plenty of USB ports. It may be worth a look if you are interested in upgrading your computer gear.