Opinion: I Want More Cameras with Brass, Because It’s Beautiful

In a world where cameras are becoming less and less needed, they should become objects of lust.

The big problem with cameras today and reaching the more prominent consumer market is that they’re not products of lust. They are in some ways when it comes to image quality, but camera manufacturers can do so much more with their aesthetics. For example, there is an entire cult of photographers who wants their cameras to look worn. And even more important is that cameras last a really long time. People buy older ones because it’s all they need. So why not find a way to develop more lust around your own brand? One way of doing that is by implementing more brass into cameras. Brass, for years, was a standard. It looked good, gave great patina, and the cameras were still very well built.

Imagine if you will the following:

  • A Fujifilm X100 in Brass that’s been worn quite a bit
  • A Fujifilm X Pro 3 in Brass instead of titanium
  • Leica cameras, well, I don’t need to say anymore here
  • An Olympus OMD EM5 series camera in Brass
  • A Panasonic LX100 series camera in Brass
  • A Nikon DF camera made in Brass
  • A Pentax SLR in Brass

I think what people need to understand is there’s a lot more to what a camera is than the image quality. There is an entire experience around it. It’s a tactile thing. Engineers need to stop focusing on quantitative measurements and start focusing on the knowledge that one has around a camera to grow the segment again. I think most people know that real cameras will produce better pictures. And they will always be better than phones. But they have to add more to that if people are okay with the images they get from their phones. Besides zoom lenses, there needs to be a feeling. It’s similar to luxury cars, watches, fine whiskey, vinyl records, etc. I seriously think that the public gets it, but manufacturers don’t. I used to think this way about just Canon, but now I think it’s true for everyone. People obviously love taking photos, but they need to have a better experience.

What’s more, I think camera manufacturers have been overthinking why someone would NEED their products. But they haven’t focused enough on why someone would WANT their products. They are two fundamentally different things. Here are some examples:

  • You need water, you want a beer.
  • You need food, you want pizza.
  • You need to maintain good hygiene, you want to smell good with cologne or perfume.
  • You need clothes, but you want those really lovely shoes.

See the difference? I don’t think that camera manufacturers have been putting a big enough emphasis on this when it comes to ergonomics. In some ways, they’ve been doing it with imagery. For example:

  • Olympus: Live Composite mode
  • Fujifilm: Film simulations
  • Sony: Whatever the hell onion bokeh is and eliminating it
  • Canon: Super innovative lenses

But the idea of a camera and a system is a holistic one. We know the lenses matter more than the cameras. But if the cameras are going to even have a shot, they need an upgrade overall.

We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.