Conran Camera Concept, Yea or Nay?

ConranCamera-4.jpgAll images courtesy of BBC/Darren Russell

BBC Future recently invited Conran’s Jared Mankelow to rethink the camera for their series on “redesigning the everyday,” Imagineering, in which “top designers rethink common objects and offer 21st Century solutions.” The Senior Designer at Sir Terence’s venerable company did away with the screen-based interface, hearkening back to the “retro joys of analogue photography”—namely, “that old-school feeling of waiting for your photographs to be developed before seeing how they turned out.”

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Mankelow’s concept consists of a simple square, roughly the size of a Post-It pad, featuring a distinctive central aperture that serves as the lens and viewfinder, “with two rings at the front for the imaging sensors (black) and a ringflash (white).”

The square snapper may only be a mock-up—made by the UK’s Complete Fabrications—but it includes many of the attributes Mankelow would like in a finished product. Firstly there is the weight—the design’s reassuring heaviness harks back to the chunky character of models from the 1970s, when old-school film cameras arguably reached their golden age.

The lack of screen, of course, is the most radical departure from existing digital camera design. Noting the availability of wireless screens—smartphones, tablets, etc.—Mankelow has opted to relegate preview images to mobile devices via Bluetooth instead of in the camera itself. Not only does this add the element of surprise, as in film photography, but it also serves to reduce battery usage.

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