Cool new ideas for concept cameras come out with alarming regularity. Painstakingly modelled in 3D software like Blender or Maya or something and then textured, lit and rendered to look as real as possible. They’re a great way to see what the general population thinks of a camera design before actually manufacturing it. Or they’re a good way for independents to tell manufacturers “Hey, this is what we want!”
The cameras here, though, aren’t concept cameras. They weren’t even modelled by a human. They were created by the AI system known as DALL-E 2 which attempts to generate photorealistic images based on written sentences. Mathieu Stern wanted to test its limits to see if it could come up with some cool camera designs based on somewhat unorthodox themes and… Well, yeah, it did!
Mathieu picked a bunch of different topics for his AI-generated cameras including characters from movies such as Star Wars and Back to the Future as well as TV shows like The Simpsons, various cinematic monsters and superheroes like The Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. As an aside, the Darth Vader-styled camera looks almost exactly like the Fuji GX680 – which just confirms my obsession with wanting one!
He also took some inspiration from civilisations like ancient Egypt, Maori and Aztech and some of the more usual materials we may see around our home like marble, wood and gold. Some of the cameras (and Mathieu does show some of the fails) look a little horrific and very slightly amusing.
The DALL-E 2 AI is very impressive and produces some pretty amazing imagery based on very little direction, although it isn’t perfect just yet, as evidenced by Mathieu’s attempts to have it create a camera that looks like Kermit The Frog. You can see more of Mathieu’s AI-generated cameras over on his Instagram.
I have to be honest, I’m a little tempted to actually try modelling up a couple of these, 3D print the components and see if they can be turned into real working cameras!