Last year, I wrote about how I’d like to get off the DSLR in favor of just using my iPhone, except that there’s limitations to the latter that keep me having camera-only devices around.

Somehow yesterday I accidentally came across Tim Bray talking about easy cameras right as I’d been thinking about how I’d design my own camera if suddenly I stumbled into a billion-dollar lottery win or something.

The reality is that I enjoy using cameras that are just cameras, but increasingly it’s fatiguing to carry and use such equipment. I do enjoy my old Olympus XZ-1 which definitely is compact, but I also often enjoy modern-day computational photography.

I’d like, then, to introduce the product of my latest spot of boredom: the non-existent BIXcam.

The BIXcam would be about the size of an iPhone Plus and essentially would contain cellphone camera components, featuring a 10x periscope zoom lens. Photos and videos would be saved to SD card, and both computational photography and RAW versions would be produced.

Looking from the back, the right-hand side has a grip that’s only slightly thicker than the camera itself but also grippier. For easier handling, the back of the grip actually is slightly concave; your thumb in essence is resting somewhat forward from the plane of the camera back.

On top on the right is the shutter button positioned for your right index finger. On the bottom, roughly in the middle, is a touch-sensitive slider positioned for your left thumb. This slider controls the zoom by default, but if you press and hold the top left button positioned for your left index finger it controls manual focus.

That’s the sum total of the controls, and they are positioned right where you’d have a finger or thumb positioned naturally. I could maybe see the need for some sort of “mode” button, but even a single additional button on the back would not ruin the simplicity.

Since it’s not a phone or other sort of device, there is no traditional display. Instead, there’s an electronic viewfinder positioned at the middle of the top edge.

Looking from the front, there’s nothing except the front of the grip and the “camera bumps” and flash. In the mockup I chose to use two lenses only because I’ve no idea if it’s technically possible to make a periscope lens that starts at the ultra-wide end, so what’s depicted here is an ultra-wide lens and then the periscope lens.

The idea here was to design the perfect camera for me. I’ve been thinking again about these things lately because I’ve been going on my evening walks with nothing but my Apple Watch, and now and then I can feel myself reach for my iPhone to take a photo, but I just don’t want the phone with me on my walks.

I’d love to be able to take with me when I’m out around the neighborhood a thin, compact camera with no protruding lenses that isn’t also a device that’s tethering me to interconnectedness. I enjoy lately leaving the house with nothing but my watch and maybe my Kindle, but sometimes there really is a good photo asking to be taken.

There’s literally no market for it, although if I’d had a magic wand, or that billion dollars, it’s probably not just me that would use something like this, and probably for much the same reasons.


  1. This has proved diverting into the week, so I bastardized a Freepik graphic and spent $3 on a domain, so now there’s a brochureware site for this nonexistent camera.