Digital camera concept
by Jared Mankelow


This concept for a digital camera would let users look through a hole right in the middle of the ring of sensors, rather than framing their shot on a screen or through a viewfinder (+ movie).

Digital camera concept by Jared Mankelow

The design was a response to a challenge set by technology and science website BBC Future, who asked Jared Mankelow, senior product designer at Conran & Partners, to re-imagine an everyday item.

He came up with a Post-it note-sized camera that would have a hole in it for users to look through when they're taking a picture.

Traditionally a camera's viewfinder would be above its sensor, but in Mankelov's design the hole itself acts as the viewfinder, with multiple sensors forming a ring around the eye.

"The ultimate goal is to take a photo of what you see. What we've done is punch a big aperture through the camera's centre to connect the photographer with what's in front of them," explained Mankelow.

Digital camera concept by Jared Mankelow

Inspired by an old SLR camera, he also decided to do without a digital screen and instead control the device manually with buttons and wheels. A ring flash around the hole would also make it suitable for close-up photography.

Digital camera concept by Jared Mankelow

We previously featured an eye-tracking camera controlled by blinking and squinting and a wearable camera that decides which moments of your life are worth photographing – see all cameras.

Digital camera concept by Jared Mankelow

Other technology we've published lately includes headsets that allow their wearer to adjust their sight and hearing as they would with a TV and a cuckoo clock that announces new Twitter messages – see all technology on Dezeen.

Digital camera concept by Jared Mankelow

  • Jay

    I do think this is a nice concept. Also, Instagram, Instagram.

  • smack


    DSLRs are technically framing “what you see” as there is no intermediary screen, only some lenses and mirrors. They also have the benefit of being more comfortable to hold.

    In fact, this would likely be photos of not precisely what you see, as you’re seeing the light that’s travelling through the central aperture, and the camera sensor is seeing the light that ends up around the aperture. Possibly quite similar, but not literally the same. In this way, the view through a DSLR would be more literally “true”.

    Still, a neat concept.

  • AsWicked

    I remember cameras without LCDs that used to work like that.

  • david

    I think there is a conflict here between trying to make the camera so small and then operating it with two hands – in the first photo you can see he’s only holding it with his fingertips. I would also imagine that looking through a circular aperture is not conducive to easily framing what I’d assume would be a square or rectangular photo, but maybe there could be some small indications of corners.

    More importantly though, and perhaps because it was a quick project and it’s just a model, I think the graphic layout needs a lot of work. In terms of ergonomics, I can’t comment but visually I think it’s a bit of a mess – the Bluetooth button, for example, looks like it’s just been plonked on anywhere and the flash control seems a bit dominant compared to the on/off switch and grip.

    Despite all that, I think the concept is quite interesting, but I think a bit of photoshopping wouldn’t have gone amiss.

  • So you can’t look at the photo you’ve just taken on the screen to check if everyone had their eyes open? A very frustrating step backwards I would say.

  • With a ring of sensors, wouldn't the resulting image file also be shaped like a ring? Also, what kind of lens would be able to focus light onto a donut-shaped sensor?