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Camera Block Diagram

How modular can you make a camera?

I sketched out the block diagram of a camera:

On a DSLR/mirrorless, the items in green can be made modular (in a studio environment at least) with add-ons or attachments or software.

As you can see a typical camera is capable of integrating everything but the lens. But can it be decomposed into every single element? If you remove all the green items and just study the items in blue what you are left with is three (3) functions:

  • Body/Base for support
  • Sensor
  • Focus and Shutter release and its associated processing
  • View Finder

For me personally this is an acceptable compromise. I think breaking out the viewfinder from the body would be helpful especially at this point in time where viewfinder technology is relatively immature.

I could see how it would be valuable to break out the camera body from the sensing element so that pros can choose the correct body (or change the body) for their environment (imagine changing from indoor vs outdoor or pro vs casual shoot) or they could buy a nice body and upgrade to a new sensor every few years without having to buy the whole integrated package. But despite this I could see a case where the body, the sensor, the meter and the shutter release/focus control are broken out and modular.

The focus and shutter control are a different story. Shutter release and metering (and therefore focus) is closely bound to the actual sensor so this makes sense to package those two together.

The dotted line signifies a camera body.

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