The photojournalist's perfect cammera : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

I am currently studying Product Design Technology at Glasgow School of Art and as part of my course, have been asked to design a camera that would be used by photojounalists in war zones. I would like to hear from any experienced photjounalist on:

What you would want a cammera to have? What problems you experience using current day cammeras? What functions or tools are essential in war zone situations? What additional functions would you like your cammera to have? e.g: computer interface with mobile phone technology for sending pictures through the internet.

-- Dominic Reilly (, October 19, 1999


Most of the new systems have almost got it right. However gear failure in the field due to moisture upsetting electronics is still a problem. Waterproof it and put me down for one.

-- David Dare Parker (, November 10, 1999.

Design a camera that A)is completely waterproof, say down to about 6 ft (in case you dropped it in a creek) and B)you can hammer nails with it/drop it to the ground from eye level. I'm not speaking as a combat photographer, but as a former infantryman who went to Bosnia. (I am however a freelancer now.) Most of our equipment was abused but still held up.

One of the problems you'll probably run into is waterproofing and shock proofing around the lens mount. The camera may be totally bomb proof but unless the lens has the same design you're toast.

If you want some feedback, don't hesitate. I think I just came up with a protective lens housing over some tea.


-- Paul Disney (, November 25, 1999.

Lesson learned from Bosnia - make the camera black all over.

Shiny silver metal might like nice, but it reflects and can catch the attention of a sniper.

Not a good thing.

-- christopher jackson (, November 28, 1999.

I am not a war photographer but I am researching equipment to begin a long term project that will have me globe trotting and "going live" from the places I shoot. I am planning on using the new Nikon D1. What I want is to have my laptop in a bag slung on my shoulder and as my memory cards fill up, a wireless transmitter in the camera will download the images to my laptop's CD burner. When I am done with my shoot, my images are written to the CD and ready to be prepared for the web. I ditto the waterproofing ideas also.

-- Zack Arias (, December 07, 1999.


From my experience in shooting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, I'd start by hoping for a near silent shutter.

Canon's camera apparently almost gets close to this but the Nikon F5 which I use might as well be a nuclear alert siren when you are trying to shoot a sly photo.

Encrypted GPS finder embedded in the camera in case you need to hide it somewhere and retrieve it later.

Embedded satellite upload link for instant delivery of photos away from the scene (yes, I know this is impractical with current technology but I can dream, can't I?).

Night shot similar to the common feature in video cameras.

Holder on camera body allowing for a plastic card with the word "PRESS" in two or three languages to be slipped in (in the example I am using, this would be English, Arabic, and Hebrew). Sometimes there is the question of who you are, as not only journalists film clashes, but also military intellegence officers.

Non heavy long lenses (eg. 5,000-7,000 mm). :-)

Real remote control facilities, i.e. 1 mile range.

Nigel Parry photography/

-- Nigel Parry (, April 07, 2000.

I agree with most of Nigel's ideas,especially the silent shutter,coming from experience in both Israel and Northern Ireland.The Leica also has a whisper-like shutter.Water proofing,yep,transmitter for finding when hidden,yep,something to make it work in near darkness,yep,long range shutter release,yep. But a body that is as hard as steel,but as light as possible,as I have had not only to use it to work with,but also to save my life,having to hit all kinds of swine in the head from dogs to deranged (human) dogs.Matt glass on the lense to hide the tell- tale shine that gives your position away to snipers,a mute button for the cannon users,and for flash units,how about an indestructible attachment where the unit connects to the camera,this is the most frequently wrecked part of my gear. I have wrecked so much gear that it hurts to think about it.Also,here's my fantasy,what about a magazine type thing that will load an extra roll of film once the first is empty,kepping your hands free. If you have any more queries don't hesitate to give me a call.

-- Mike Gallagher (, February 18, 2001.

Christopher Jackson (, who wanted the all- black camera,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, perhaps you didn't know but you can actually buy an all-black camera, should you so desire it!!!

-- anonym (, November 27, 2001.

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