Some things are nice to have. Others are essential. Here's what Simon Wyndham thinks all video capable cameras with professional intent should have as standard, but often don't!
The current professional camera marketplace is full of options. Pretty much every camera form factor has some form of professional focussed option, right from DSLRs and mirrorless through to palmcorders and then on to camcorders. But the plethora of camera types has meant that often the potential user will be left to effectively complete their system by bolting various bits and pieces to it to make it fit the purpose it was intended for. If a camera has been designed and marketed with the intention of professional video use, it would be a really wonderful thing indeed if the requirement for such additions was reduced, or even eliminated. The smaller form factor cameras are clearly the most guilty of feature ommissions, either due to size considerations, or costs. But I am talking about professionally intended cameras here, not repurposed consumer models.
1. Mounting points
No, a hot or cold shoe is not enough. Some solid 1/4" bolt holes in strategic places would be great, thanks. I know there are cages out there, but why not build such things into the chassis? There doesn't have to be a lot of them, just two or three strategically placed.
2. ND filters
It's that old ND filter thing again. And yes it is important. I dream of a time when every single last professionally aimed camera comes with an ND wheel. The days of having to carry a bag full of ND for DSLR and mirrorless for video should be gone by now. Companies like Sony have developed highly effective electronic ND systems. Let's see this sort of thing on more cameras please, not just on the bigger ones.
3. A top handle as standard
If you make video, your camera needs a top handle. It makes using the camera so much more versatile. There's a reason why pretty much anyone who buys a mirrorless camera or DSLR for professional use slaps a bulky cage on it. The availability of a decent top handle is a big part of that reason.
4. A double screw tripod plate mounting point
Again, I know cages account for this, but if you want to keep the camera compact and don't want to bulk up with one this is an important one. Most stills form factor cameras only have a single screw point for tripod plates. And that, no matter how tightly you try and attach the camera to one, results in pivoting and the need to keep tightening it up once in a while. At least have an anti rotation pin hole. Please!
5. Mini XLR in
This is one big reason I love the BMPCC 4K. I can actually plug in an XLR mic for interviews and get decent sound. Yes, two inputs would be nice as minimum, but I have to be realistic about chassis space here.
These aren't big requests, and I know some among you will just say "Well, buy a proper camcorder then." Sometimes a camcorder doesn't suit. Sometimes I might want a full-frame system, or S35. Not every shooter can budget for a large chip camcorder. But just these pretty small changes to design ethos can make a big difference, and they shouldn't be restricted to larger models or require a big bulky add-on device.