Why is the lens off-center on a digital SLR?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Bob G, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Bob G

    Bob G Guest

    I remember years ago asking the same question about film SLRs but
    can't remember if there ever was a good reason for placing the lens a
    bit off center towards the left side of the camera.

    Now we find the same arrangement on digital SLRs and again I wonder if
    there's a valid reason for it.

    Other than that there has to be room enough for your fingers to curl
    around the right hand grip I can see no justification.

    Bob G, Jun 12, 2008
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  2. Bob G

    ASAAR Guest

    That would place the lens a bit closer to the film cassette than
    to the take-up spool, possibly allowing 'thrifty' shooters to
    squeeze one more frame from the cassette. I'm not saying this was
    the real reason for the offset. :) I'd think that the real reason
    would be ergonomics, because cameras are mostly designed for
    right-handed shooters who also look through the viewfinder (in line
    with the lens) with their right eye. If the viewfinder/lens was
    placed on the other side of center, the camera might block the
    shooter's left eye.

    My old Nikon F film camera had no right hand grip, but still had
    that same lens offset.
    ASAAR, Jun 12, 2008
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  3. If you're trying to pack all the necessary internal machinery into as
    small a package as possible, then the asymmetry in the internal bits,
    plus the fact that some of them (such as the shutter) have a fixed
    relationship to the position of the image plane, mean that a compact
    SLR or DSLR will always be asymmetrical, because to make it
    symmetrical you'd have to make it bigger.

    So the question you should be asking is whether there's a sufficiently
    good reason for symmetry to be worth paying the price of it terms of
    Chris Malcolm, Jun 12, 2008
  4. My old Pentax Spotmatic has a /slight/ offset. As for grips, I don't
    remember 35s from those days has having any grips, in the sense of a
    thicker body on the right-hand end. Did some of them? For one thing,
    they didn't need battery room for anything larger than a watch-type cell
    for metering, as I recall -- with the exception of motor drives, but I
    *think* those contained their own batteries. I'm sure someone who was
    also there but whose meatRAM has more retention than mine can help, here.
    Blinky the Shark, Jun 12, 2008
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