Lobbying Nikon for a D50 DOFP button via firmware upgrade

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Tom, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. Tom

    Tom Guest

    Here is the note I just sent to Nikon via their website:

    D50 - D80 - D200...great line up. Now that "better" is defined by a
    10mb sensor, PLEASE provide a firmware upgrade to the D50 to let us swap
    the function of the flash mode button to a DOF preview button!!!

    This would be a tremendous gift to all of us photographers that plan to
    be Nikon customers for life, and happened to have ONE and only ONE
    regret for the D50. BUT, that feature gap is no longer needed to
    differentiate between the D50s' 'Good' and the middle of the line D80

    While it may have made sense, from a marketing standpoint, when the D50
    had to be different enough from the D70x, that has changed.

    SO, please, who ever reads this, think long and hard about finding the
    internal *Champion of Photography*, to take this idea and deliver the gift!

    ....Now that I have lens #2, the 50mm 1.8, of course, the missing DOFP
    (but nearly free to provide) feature is an obvious need.

    Tom, Sep 12, 2006
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  2. Tom

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Hmm ... I, personally, would not care for that particular swap.
    I *use* that button -- most often to select to pop up the on-camera
    flash when I am in P, A, S, or M modes. I am almost never in the modes
    in which the *camera* is allowed to decide when to pop up the flash.

    But then -- I have the D70, which *does* have the DOF preview
    button. And I can say that I usually get more use out of the flash
    pop-up button than the DOF preview. The D70's viewfinder isn't really
    the best for DOF selection -- and I would think that the D50's is even
    worse for that. I have no experience with the D80, but I've found the
    D00's finder a lot brighter and larger than the one on the D70.
    If you ask for that feature -- be sure to add a menu item to
    allow you to switch the button back to its original function, as you may
    discover that you miss it once it is gone.
    I have the 50mm f1.4, and a nice (chip-converted) 180mm f2.8,
    both of which can benefit from the DOF preview in some circumstances,
    but I still don't want to do without the flash control button.

    DoN. Nichols, Sep 12, 2006
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  3. Tom

    babalooixnay Guest

    Programmable DOFP would be nice but so would mirror lock-up. But that
    would make the camera much more versatile than the marketing people can
    deal with, remember they are the ones who want to charge you for the
    software that comes with the camera:')
    babalooixnay, Sep 12, 2006
  4. As well as popping up the flash, the button is vital for selecting the flash
    mode (via command wheel) and selecting the flash exposure compensation (via
    the sub command wheel). The DOF preview just seems to make the image very
    dark on the d70s due to it's poor quality viewfinder, so it's not a feature
    I have ever found useful. I would hate to loose control of the flash, or
    have to use a "menu" to use it!
    Adrian Boliston, Sep 12, 2006
  5. Tom

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Of course -- but usually when I pop up the flash, it is enough
    to let it make the choices automatically -- and if I am going to be more
    controlling about the flash behavior, I will probably be using the
    SB-800 instead of the pop-up flash -- and I will have sufficient time to
    use the menus at need. But *I* am not the one who wants to trade off
    that button for a DOF preview button on the D50. :)
    Agreed -- and the D50 finder is even darker.

    DoN. Nichols, Sep 13, 2006
  6. Tom

    Tom Guest

    OK, Yes, I like the flash button as a flash button too - and I do use it
    fairly often. Not said, but should have been, was the expectation that
    the button-of-choice could be toggled between its current function and a
    DOFP function.

    The real point is that to deal with this feature in the D50 they had to
    *turn off* software. It is a button-plus-software capability of ALL of
    the other DSLRs to the automatic stop-down-to-take-picture capability
    the camera must have.

    It is only a marketing / product differentiation call, not an
    engineering call, and now with the middle offering with a 10M sensor,
    the differentiation is baked in.

    Maybe after they drop the D70/D70s we can get a D50s with one extra
    button...and a firmware upgrade for the Classic D50 to provide an
    alternate, user choosable, use of some existing button for DOFP (and a
    menu pick for mirror lock-up).

    It is, after all, about the Photographic Experience, right Nikon?
    Tom, Sep 13, 2006
  7. Tom

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    DOF preview is next to useless with the focusing screens in those cameras.
    They don't show accurate DOF, and stopping down the lens won't help with
    that. You can try it on one of the cameras that has DOF preview to see.
    Or just compare what you see in the viewfinder with the result shooting
    wide open. You see a *lot* more DOF than you get in the picture.

    If you replace the focusing screen with a better one (Katz Eye, for
    example), it can be more useful -- but with accurate DOF preview comes
    a darker viewfinder, and on a D50, that could be very bad. The clear
    focusing screens are there to make the viewfinder brighter.
    Jeremy Nixon, Sep 13, 2006
  8. Tom

    Tom Guest

    DOFP reasonable feature for D50...or not:
    Hmmm...all good points.
    So, then, is it true that the cost/size compromises made for the D50
    with regard to the optical path from the lens to the eye are such that,
    compared to other cameras (who wants to list their favorite SLR or DSLR
    cameras for eyeball viewing pleasure?) this class of camera does not let
    through enough light to be able to see distinctions of DOF - yes?
    Why is the DOFP inaccurate?

    I have also experienced manual-focus frustration...and recall a 1970s
    era film SLR (Olympus?) with a split-circle focusing screen. Maybe I
    need to think about the Katz Eye.
    Tom, Sep 13, 2006
  9. Tom

    Rudy Benner Guest

    Katz Eye works well, its exactly what I expected. Happy camper.
    Rudy Benner, Sep 13, 2006
  10. Tom

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    I believe that the screen in the viewfinder simply lets more
    light straight through, instead of interposing a ground glass screen or
    a microprism screen. As a result, your eye accommodates out-of-focus
    objects by refocusing through the screen. This can be reduced somewhat
    by having the grid turned on, which gives your eye yet another thing to
    anchor -- but if not careful, you will discover that the grid will go
    out-of-focus, as your eye brings things which *should* be out of focus
    into focus.

    A ground glass or a microprism will diffuse the light, so less
    reaches your eye, thus producing a darker image.

    Part of the darkening can also be attributed to having to expand
    the smaller sensor area to what looks like the same size image as
    in the full-frame cameras. Any magnification reduces light per unit
    That may help -- but I suspect that you would do better with a
    D70, or a D200 instead of the D50 under discussion. I *know* that the
    D200's viewfinder is much brighter than that on the D70, and the one
    time I looked through a D50's viewfinder in the store, it was quite dark --
    though that may be caused by there not being a battery in that camera at
    that time -- I didn't think to check at that time.

    DoN. Nichols, Sep 13, 2006
  11. Tom

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    The focusing screens are very clear, in order to be bright. You look through
    it, like a window, and focus with your eye.

    With a coarser focusing screen, you're looking at the image projected onto
    the screen, not the scene itself; your eye can only focus on that projected
    image, and since at that point you're looking at the image being formed by
    the lens, instead of the scene itself, you see a better indication of depth
    of field. However, this makes the viewfinder image darker. A coarser
    screen makes you see more of the projected image vs. the scene itself, but
    as it gets coarser, it also gets darker.

    Since the camera makers are pushing the ultra-slow zoom lenses these days
    as an "all in one" solution, this is important. You wouldn't want to look
    through a D50 viewfinder and an 18-200 lens with a coarse screen designed
    for manual focusing.

    I replaced the screen in my D2x with a Katz Eye screen, without the optional
    extra-brightness treatment (in order to get the best possible indication of
    focus). The D2x already has a much brighter viewfinder, and yet, I still
    would not recommend using that screen if you regularly use lenses with max
    apertures below f/4. At f/5.6 it would be pretty unpleasant. In a D50 it
    would probably be unusable at f/5.6. The extra-bright version would be a
    requirement in that situation -- but it will still be darker than the
    factory screen.
    Jeremy Nixon, Sep 14, 2006
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