Wish I'd said this...about a hundred times already

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by RichA, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    There is a poster on dpreview, can't remember his name, who has as his
    signature image pictures of the Olympus cameras he's owned since the
    early 1990s. What you notice, strikingly, is the reversion across the
    years from experimental to absolutely conservative, lock-step camera
    design. DSLRs now look almost exactly like SLRs of the 1970s, save
    for some enhanced grips. There is NO innovation, no abstract ideas
    being presented. Westlake concentrates on the lenses, but to me, it's
    the cameras that need re-thinks.



    by Andy Westlake on March 05, 2009 in Lens reviews

    There's something that's been troubling me a bit recently, and I want
    to get it off my chest. It's an irritation about the photographic
    equipment available today, and its fitness for the purpose for which
    it's most likely to be used. It has germinated over the course of
    testing an array of 50mm prime lenses, developed further with the
    recent arrival at the dpreview offices of an array of new fast primes,
    and finally crystallized with the relative lack of interesting new
    products and ideas at PMA. And it's this; most manufacturers seem be
    be thinking very conservatively, treating digital as though nothing's
    changed from the days of 35mm film
    RichA, Mar 8, 2009
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  2. RichA

    John A. Guest

    Screw camera design.

    It's 2009 - where's my frickin' flying bubble car?!
    John A., Mar 8, 2009
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  3. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    With good reason - the basic SLR design from the '70s works,
    and works well. Unless you are left handed, the design of
    right-hand grip and controls works well. Having the
    viewfinder on the same vertical plane as the lens makes it
    simpler to aim. Looking through the lens means there are no
    parallax issues to deal with, the effects of filters can be
    previewed real time, and you don't have to worry about
    complex calculations to adjust your exposure to compensate
    for things like bellows. In essence, the basic late 60's
    early 70's design is exceptionally good.

    Just because a design is dated doesn't automatically mean it
    is bad. Aircraft we fly in today are built to the same
    basic design as aircraft almost 100 years ago - the size,
    powerplant, and technology have progressed, but the basic
    layout remains the same. Once again, it is because it is a
    good design that works very well.

    You'll remember that Olympus did do something revolutionary
    with the E300/330, and their corner viewfinder. Apart from
    the fact that the cameras were crap, this design didn't take
    There's also things like micro 4/3 and that new Samsung that
    are revolutionary by doing away with the reflex, but these
    designs have inherent drawbacks also - the EVF's don't have
    the same resolution as an optical finder. The speed gains of
    not having to wait for a mirror to slap back, are to some
    extent offset by the viewfinder lag, and slower contrast
    detection focussing.
    Doug Jewell, Mar 8, 2009
  4. RichA

    Paul Furman Guest

    Last year visiting my mother, she was cleaning out closets & found an
    Olympus film camera in that kind of shape. It went in the trash,
    assuming there was no market. But video cameras are all in that shape so
    maybe there is no logic... all tradition... I've never tried that shape.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Mar 8, 2009
  5. RichA

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    You know, I actually wish that were the case. The digital SLRs we get
    today are computerized monstrosities -- and I'm not talking about the
    "digital" part, which obviously has to be that, but the "camera" part.

    Last night I shot a roll of Tri-X on a mechanical 35mm SLR. What's
    striking is how much more enjoyable the act of photography is with a
    regular old camera, without all the crap getting in the way. I *wish*
    my digital SLR were just like that, only digital. I really, really
    Jeremy Nixon, Mar 8, 2009
  6. RichA

    Get lost Guest

    It would be a marketing risk to release a DSLR like a Nikon FM or
    Olympus OM-1n (as examples) but it would be interesting if at least
    one company tried it out. Keep the techno-junk to bare minimum, don't
    include an LCD screen.
    Put the money into the sensor, the body and the internal camera
    optics. Just for the fun of it, have a swing open back so sensor
    cleaning would be easier too.
    Get lost, Mar 8, 2009
  7. RichA

    DRS Guest

    Hear! Hear!

    I have an EOS 1 (recently and reluctantly retired) and an EOS 50D. They're
    similar in size, weight and feel, but the 50D has more controls than the
    Space Shuttle whereas the 1 is just a joy to use.
    DRS, Mar 8, 2009
  8. RichA

    Don Stauffer Guest

    It sounds like you are talking about styling. I could care less what the
    styling is. The film SLR styling evolved over decades, and makes for a
    fairly handy package. It is fine for me.
    Now you seem to be talking functionality. What function(s) of existing
    cameras need improvement that could come with more innovative design?

    Personally, I am thrilled by the performance of our DSLRs. Of course,
    my film SLR was about 30 years old, so the newest DSLRs seem to be major
    advances to me. However, for all its bells and whistles, I rarely use
    my autofocus, and do not use hardly any of the programmed modes-
    primarily use aperture priority.
    Don Stauffer, Mar 8, 2009
  9. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    That's nonsense. Different layouts have been tried, but they didn't
    succeed in the market for a variety of reasons, one of which is the
    conservatism of buyers who have expectations of what a (D)SLR should
    look like. If it deviates too far from that, it is unlikely to sell.

    Likewise, non-SLR digital cameras mostly follow a small number of widely
    accepted designs, and woe betide any manufacturer who tries something
    too radical.

    Instead, all the innovation has gone into features, notably autofocus
    and metering, which have become ever more sophisticated. The main
    demand here comes from people who would never have bought a film SLR,
    but want a DSLR that makes all their decisions for them.

    OK, in film days, there were people who bought sophisticated SLR camera
    bodies as status symbols, and then used them only in Program mode with a
    consumer grade junk lens on the front. But there were nowhere near as
    many of them as there are people buying very sophisticated DSLRs.

    The fact is that features sell, and the more sophisticated DSLRs get,
    the more people will buy them. The fact that most of these people
    wouldn't have a hope of producing competent images without the help of
    multi-point predictive autofocus, matrix metering and Program exposure
    modes to do it all for them, is irrelevant. These cameras are bought to
    make a statement about the purchaser, that (usually) he is "serious
    about photography".

    The truth, of course, is that anyone who is genuinely serious about
    photography will spend more time learning the craft rather than more
    money on equipment. But the pressure is on consumers to upgrade their
    equipment rather than their ability, because selling equipment is a lot
    more profitable than selling books or tuition.
    Bruce, Mar 8, 2009
  10. RichA

    semoi Guest

    This is an old issue: if an SLR does not resemble the form factor of a 1936
    Exacta it will not be taken seriously by the advanced amateur/pro market
    that drives sales.
    The market has spoken and the market is driven by idiots, whether it is
    camera buyers, home buyers, SUV buyers ad infinitum. Consumers do not
    usually make informed choices regardless of what they think is their level
    of sophistication. The marketers know this well and that it will not change
    regardless of the current economic situation.
    If a sensor does not adhere to the ancient and arbitrarily created 35mm
    double frame format it will not be considered technically adequate
    regardless of actual performance.
    The sensor/electonics in the Nikon D300 equals or outperforms those in "full
    frame" dSLRS at high ISOs and in every practical use that the morons on this
    newsgroup could ever need but since the sensor is not the size of the holy
    35mm double frame 1936 Exacta it is no good.
    Olympus has a long history of trying to buck the prevailing camera form
    factor going back to the Pen half frame series, the small bodied film SLRs
    and the original 4/3 sensor dSLR designs (and the sensor itself) and its
    reward is that it is about to go out of business.
    Whither Minolta, the most innovative Japanese camera company ever, done in
    by an idiot SUV driving jury in Minnesota.
    Panasonic tried to buck the Exacta form factor with its first dSLR, which
    went nowhere.
    Now Panasonic is really on to something with the interchangeable lens EVF
    camera--rejected sight unseen and unused by the nitwit trolls on this
    Never let the facts get in the way of a good opinion.
    semoi, Mar 8, 2009
  11. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    I tried a Panasonic G1 and was very disappointed with the EVF. It will
    not satisfy anyone who has sets a minimum standard of, say, an average
    full frame (D)SLR viewfinder. On the other hand, it will probably
    satisfy owners of P&S digicams who don't value what a good reflex
    viewfinder offers, or people who have only used the worst of the smaller
    than full frame DSLR finders.

    That's obviously a mantra you are determined to follow. ;-)
    Bruce, Mar 8, 2009
  12. RichA

    Twibil Guest

    You didn't.

    Like living things, our tools slowly evolve towards more efficient/
    useful forms. That's why shovels the world 'round look like, well,
    other shovels. Today's pickup trucks tend to look pretty much akin to
    pickup trucks from the 1920s, and (surprise!) DSLR cameras still
    resemble their film-camera predecessors.

    It isn't a plot; it's just efficiency that's based on the concept of
    keeping the best features of older designs while at the same time
    seeking to improve them. For instance; a modern compound hunting bow
    has absolutely *no* parts in common with the English Longbow that was
    it's ancestor, but it still shoots arrows and it still looks -more or
    less- like a bow.

    Upon seeing it for the first time, an archer from a culture 2000 years
    in our past would instantly recognise what it was, and would know how
    to use it without instructions.

    Design Evolution: it's a *good* thing.

    Twibil, Mar 9, 2009
  13. RichA

    Pete D Guest

    Perhaps they just don't need another below average camera like you do is my
    Pete D, Mar 9, 2009
  14. RichA

    DRS Guest

    It says something about the 50D, eh?
    DRS, Mar 9, 2009
  15. RichA

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Yes, of course. That's the "digital" part, not the "camera" part. Digital
    beats film by any technical measure. (For black-and-white there are still
    good aesthetic reasons to use film; but I can't think of any reason at all
    to shoot 35mm E-6 ever again, and I gave up on C-41 before digital even
    became a thing.)

    What I'd like is to take that, the "digital" part, and put it in a camera
    that doesn't have a whole bunch of crap getting in my way.
    Jeremy Nixon, Mar 9, 2009
  16. RichA

    J. Clarke Guest

    Well now, let's see, my 30d has aperture and shutter speed just like my 50
    year old Leica did, and while the controls aren't in exactly the same place,
    they can both be worked while I'm looking through the finder. Then it has
    ISO and white balance, that I can also change without taking my eye away
    from the finder, instead of having to change film or mount filters like I
    did on the Leica. Then it has a multispeed motor drive, but I have to take
    it down from eye level to adjust that, instead of having to open the camera
    and take the back off like I would on the Leica.

    Then it has a bunch of fine tuning controls of various kinds where I can
    tweak things. And several semi- and full- auto modes.

    So I don't see where there's any "crap" "getting in my way".
    J. Clarke, Mar 9, 2009
  17. RichA

    Twibil Guest

    In this case, "Crap" seems to translate as "anything I haven't figured
    out how to use yet".

    Twibil, Mar 10, 2009
  18. RichA

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Well, if you enjoy it, that's cool, I guess.

    But, to change exposure modes, I'm supposed to hold down a button while
    turning a wheel. First of all, why? Second, the modes include useless
    "P" and "S" modes that I'm never going to use, and since it's not a
    dedicated control, I inevitably turn it the wrong way and then I have
    to cycle past idiot modes I don't even care if the camera has. On my
    film camera, I just have to set the shutter speed dial to "A" when I
    want automatic exposure. Why can't my DSLR have a shutter speed dial?

    So I'm supposed to set the shutter speed with a "multi-function" dial,
    but look at what I get dedicated controls for -- JPEG quality? I
    didn't get a DSLR so I could shoot JPEGs. I'm never going to shoot
    a JPEG. White balance? What for? White balance is done in post,
    it's irrelevant. The only time I move that from auto is when shooting
    with flash, just so the preview images look right, and even then, I
    have to go through dumb little icons when all I really want is to set
    it to 5500.

    "1005-Pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II" with "Scene Recognition System"?
    Really? I'm choosing a shutter speed, not sending a space probe to Mars.
    You can look at a scene and know just what a regular center-weighted meter
    is going to make of it, but you can't reliably predict the matrix metering.
    So I can switch it to center-weighted, but the stupid switch keeps getting
    moved while the camera is in my bag, so I have to remember to check that
    it's on the right setting.

    Dozens of autofocus modes. Thankfully, this switch knows how to stay put,
    at least.

    Now they're giving us lenses that don't even have aperture rings. I'm
    supposed to set the aperture with another multi-function dial. What for?

    A menu dive to turn Auto ISO on and off. Great. Adjust ISO with the same
    multi-function wheel you're supposed to use for shutter speed. Or is it

    More and more features to add to a list, and most of them don't help you
    take better pictures at all. They just give you more to fiddle with so
    you can feel like you know what you're doing. Shoot, check the LCD,
    adjust exposure, shoot again. You see people doing it outside in the
    sun. What do you even need a light meter for, outside on a sunny day?
    Remember when you didn't have the LCD and you still got it right, even
    shooting slides with no latitude?

    And we have to replace the camera every few years, to boot, bypass all
    the automatic crap all over again, and pay for a whole load of bollocks
    that doesn't matter in the least, just to get new "film". A camera
    isn't a complicated device; it shouldn't get between you and the
    pictures. Sure, it's all stuff you learn to work with, but try
    shooting with a simple camera again and it's just a whole different
    Jeremy Nixon, Mar 10, 2009
  19. RichA

    Ray Fischer Guest

    You picked the wrong camera.
    Mine does. You picked a cheap camera instead one that was easy to
    use. Whose fault is that?
    Ray Fischer, Mar 10, 2009
  20. RichA

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Okay... Nikon doesn't make any DSLRs with a shutter speed dial. Who does?
    Jeremy Nixon, Mar 10, 2009
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