Why does a camera look like a camera? Specifically, why do our cameras all resemble a box with a lens on the front? The answer is film. Film cameras needed a dark, light-tight place to store a roll or cartridge of film, and it needed to put a viewfinder close to that lens to avoid parallax problems.
Now, though, with film long consigned to the novelty closet, the only restriction is that the sensor sit behind the lens. And that’s where the D-CAN comes in, with its telescope-shaped body.
Jean-Michel Bonnemoy’s D-CAN puts the whole camera into a cylinder. Given that a lens will always be cylindrical, this makes a lot of sense, and the shape lends itself to a comfortable two-handed grip. Bonnemoy’s design isn’t all new, though. Back in the dark ages of the 1990s, Olympus came up with the IS series of hybrid or “bridge” cameras, which — at the time at least — appeared to be all lens and nothing else.
The D-CAN puts the viewfinder at the back, in the form of an LCD screen with a flip-up eyepiece over it, perfect for any kind of use or lighting. Focussing and aperture selection are done as God intended — by twisting rings around the lens — and many other controls are in the form of physical sliders: perfect for a barrel-shaped body.
There’s a lot to like about the D-CAN, other than one thing: It doesn’t exist. Not in any meaningful, add-to-shopping-cart way, anyway. The camera is a concept but, given Olympus’ predilection for innovation, maybe one day we’ll see a cylindrical Micro Four Thirds camera.