My 2019 Camera Gear Wishlist

My 2019 Camera Gear Wishlist

The holiday season is a time when we put down our tools and use the downtime for important issues, like making wishes for the following year. Not me, though, my wish list hasn't changed since 2009. I keep getting what I don’t need while my seemingly obvious wishes are ignored.

What I Don't Need

No doubt 2019 will bring about the following "nice to haves" while leaving out what could be game-changing:

1. More Resolution

Yes, we all appreciate a jump in resolution, but seriously, how often have you needed the resolution of a 50-megapixel beast? Is it worth having to upgrade your computer system and your lenses for that extra resolution? I’ve read that fine grain 35mm film equated to roughly 20 megapixels, the industry standard for decades. Surely, 20 is plenty?

2. Higher ISO

I have no idea what number ISO my camera goes up to. I've simply never needed to push it beyond a certain point. At ISO 12,800 with a f/1.4 lens, I was able to shoot video under starlight. Do we really need more? Again, like resolution, I wouldn't complain if my ISO could go up to an unpronounceable number, but I can’t see myself making much use of this.

3. In Camera Retouch and Social Media Uploads

One of the things I love about the practice of photography is the detachment from the noise we're constantly fed from the internet. When I'm taking photos, I’m not behind a screen, and I don’t have a barrage of notifications to deal with. I want to be able to practice photography without having to worry about presenting my "behind the scenes" for an instagram story. When I do finally sit down to retouch my work, I want the benefit of a large, calibrated monitor to work on, not the tiny LCD on a camera.

4. Greater Dynamic Range

I used a Sony a7R II for a year. The dynamic range present in the files blew my mind. There was hardly ever a shadow too dark to rescue. It performed so well, in fact, that it made another problem. Scenes with an extreme dynamic range could be rescued in post-production, but it wouldn't look natural. Instead, I’d be left with an image that looked a bit like bad HDR. I’m not sure we really need more dynamic range unless we’re constantly messing up our exposures.

What I Am Hoping For

I'm confident that even though none of the above advancements are especially useful, next year's models will use a combination of all four to try tempt us to upgrade. What I'm hoping for instead is the following:

1. A Universal Lens Mount


The metabones adaptor made using Canon lenses with a Sony body a real option.

I remember a time not too long ago where if you wanted the best wide angle lenses, Nikon was the way to go, but for long lenses, you needed Canon. Imagine if it didn't matter what camera you had, you could simply choose the best lenses. It would force camera manufacturers to compete only on the camera bodies they sold and lens manufacturers to compete on the quality of their lenses. Up until now, all the camera manufactures have used proprietary lens mounts to force the customer to buy their lenses. It is not at all in their interest to make a universal lens mount. However, since the rise of mirrorless, adapters have become popular, making it possible to mount lenses to cameras that were never designed to work together. Could we soon see a company like Metabones make a converter that worked as well as a native lens? In 2019, we’re getting a new lens mount that will be shared by Panasonic, Sigma, and Leica. This instantly opens up the entire Sigma and Leica lens range to Panasonic users and also signals a move closer towards a universal mount. Wouldn't that be useful!

2. Lower ISO

Long Exposure

A lower ISO base rate will make long exposures like this possible without having to use filters.

I’ve never used the maximum ISO of my camera, but I would constantly use a lower base rate ISO if it were an option. Imagine being able to go down to ISO 1. It would remove the need for an ND filter for long exposures. For videographers, this could be exceptionally useful. If you’re trying to keep your shutter speed at double your frame rate (either 1/50 or 1/60), you have to use an aperture of between f/16 and f/22 during the daytime hours. If you want to shoot with a shallow depth of field, you have to resort to ND filters. How much easier would it be simply to dial down the ISO? 

3. Dust Away

Dust Bunnies

I had my camera professionally cleaned before a commercial travel shoot. This is the corner of one of my images on day 3 of the shoot. No one wants to have to retouch that for every photo.

In 2018, how is this still a problem? With the extreme advances in technology, how has no manufacturer figured out how to keep the sensor dust-free? Imagine never having to clean your sensor, never worrying about changing lenses in a dust free environment.

Will I Upgrade in 2019?

Three small requests is all I’m asking for in 2019. Even two out of three would make me happy. As it stands, I see no compelling reason to upgrade my equipment, but give me two out of three of my wishes, and I’ll upgrade in a heartbeat.

What about you? What advancements in camera technology would tempt you to upgrade in 2019?

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Ed Sanford's picture

"I’ve read that fine grain 35mm film equated to roughly 20 megapixels, the industry standard for decades." Where did you read that? Nobody talked about megapixels in the film days. Do you realize how many 35mm films there were. Only the slowest of the slow like Kodachrome 25 or Kodachrome had high resolution. Most photographers were concerned about grain. When a photographer really worried about resolution, he moved to medium or large format.

Jonathan Reid's picture Under image quality but I checked another three sources too. All said the equivalent of 12-20 megapixels. My point was - the best of the best film resolution maxed out at 20 so surely our modern digital cameras have enough resolution.

Dana Goldstein's picture

You do realize that many commercial photographers were working with 6x6, 6x9, sometimes 8x10 sheet film? 35mm was the easy, portable “baby” format compared to what a lot of top work was being shot on. I’ve yet to hear anyone regret moving up to medium format.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Yes, of course. We have the digital option too.

John MacLean's picture

Dana, You took the words right out of my mouth. I'm 56 years old. Back in the 80s, during the heyday of commercial photography, the least common film format used in advertising was 35mm. Why do you think everyone had 2400 and 4800 watt second packs in their studios? To be able to get a decent f-stop to carry DOF.

Mr Blah's picture

I don't get why you get downvoted. It's 100% accurate.

But maybe the article was looking more at what the average joe used back then and what it's equivalent is today.

super steel_'s picture

im not so sure about that 20mp claim. an article by popular photography showed a comparison of an image by 100 iso slide film vs the newly released canon ff 1Ds 11mp camera. they shot a scene (roughly with a 50mm lens) where there was a sign far away. the film image could not show detail AT ALL. the canon showed what the sign said. I didnt believe it because all I read was people saying that film is 20-24mp. and today I realize its MUCH less then that. id say at most 15mp equivalent, if that.

even Michael Reichmann rip showed examples of the 1ds having more detail vs a pentax 645 shooting provia 100. cleaner detailed images.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Yeah, I remembered 12 megapixels myself, but when I did some research, it seemed like the best fine grain film could potentially max out at the equivalent of 20 megapixels. If it is closer to 12, than my point becomes even stronger.

Deleted Account's picture

I would like everything from both lists, with the exception of In-camera retouch and SM uploads. What I don't need: anything video; anything mirrorless. Of course I hope they keep developing both for those who want or need them. :-)

Deleted Account's picture

You do realize that Christmas is not about your is not at all about you? It is sad that Christmas became a time for endless and limitless consumptionism.

Jonathan Reid's picture

I guessed you missed the first sentence? A bit of tongue in cheek for the holidays. Thanks for teaching me a new word - "consumptionism"

Deleted Account's picture

Nope, I read the whole thing. Still, Christmas is not about us or wishes for the next year.

Dennis Johnson's picture

getting a D850 DSLR because i do want the resolution and the mirror less camera's are dust magnets and weather sealing isnt up to par with DSLR. oh and a Z6 as a fun camera.

Jonathan Reid's picture

If only there were a universal lens mount, I'd pick up one myself.

Dennis Johnson's picture

yeah how about this one. buying new Nikon glass for the F mount while you know in a few years its the Z mount that rules the nikon lineup. lets just say that the D850 will be with me for a few years. maybe in a few years they will have a native 500mm f4 or f2.8 Z mount for the Z7-v3. current versions are not what im looking for. omg, no battery grip and when you have to change batteries you have to take the quick release plate of .

Bob Bernstein's picture

Olympus solved the sensor dust problem with the e510 in 2008. I have used olympus cameras since then, NEVER a dust spot!

Jonathan Reid's picture

Interesting. What did they do that proved so effective?

Dennis Johnson's picture

guess you are not an outdoor shooter,. just changing a lens can get dust on your sensor not to mention a gust of wind in during a lens change in the desert

Rhonald Rose's picture

My wish: manufacturers keep photography cameras just for photography and not pack with vlog stuff. Most vloggers have dedicated second vlog camera anyways.

Instead focus more on: low ISO, less grain at iso 3200 or iso 6400 (don't care beyond that), ibis as standard for all prosumer camera, get rid of lens barrel distortion, fringing, dynamic range, better autofocus on low lights.

These would make photographers happy.

Maybe even apply advanced image processing (AI based) on out of camera jpg for quick posting.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Canon did try to separate video and photo functions into two lines of camera and then were hauled in by Sony who do video and photos well in a single body. Regarding the other points, I would love those features too across all the brands, but as they already exist in certain cameras, I couldn't put them in a wish list.

Rhonald Rose's picture

But those features are so fragmented across product ranges that you either decide to go with IBIS and miss some other feature or go for another feature while missing out on few others.

It's like (e.g), Fuji almost made a perfect apsc with xt3 and then decided to keep Ibis for another product.