Retro is the wave of the future for camera design

On the heels of the announcement of the July release of the Olympus EP-1, on first glance, it would look like there's a new wave of camera design. But it's a design we've all seen before.

On the heels of the announcement of the July release of the Olympus EP-1, on first glance, it would look like there's a new wave of camera design. But it's a design we've all seen before. The EP-1 digital SLR look is based on the Classic F film SLR look issued 50 years ago.

Olympus isn't alone in looking to the past for innovative design. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 exhibits retro style, even evoking memories of an old Brownie camera for WSJ writer Nikki Waller. The Canon Powershot G10 also has that box-like feel up front, but still appearing completely like any typical digital SLR on the back.

What is it about the old-school camera look that is still so captivating? I, myself, adore the retro camera look. Sleek, modern styles are attractive, but there's a character seen in cameras like the Olympus EP-1 that really heralds modern photography's roots. Is this reflective of a trend to move digital SLRs to the style of old-fashioned film SLRs? Probably not, but it does reflect that digital SLR makers are branching out and emphasizing a new importance on design, almost as much as point-and-shoot designers.

Do you prefer the retro or sleek, modern look when it comes to buying a camera? Or is there another design that piques your fancy more?