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Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: MarinoDiMare on May 03, 2012, 11:08:08 am

Title: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: MarinoDiMare on May 03, 2012, 11:08:08 am
I read Richard Sexton's article with great interest and agree with its/his line of argument. However, I would like to defend the design choices made by Fuji on their X-series (which, for the sake of completeness, also contains the X-S1, a whole different kind of camera). The decision to go for this kind of retro-look has, I would guess, a positive effect on the level of unobtrusiveness of the camera. Looking like an old range finder, they appear unthreatening, friendly even (at least the X10 and X100 do, I haven't seen or handled an X Pro1 yet) -- to me, that is. I agree though, that the retro styling of the OM-D misses the point completely.

I have never shot with range finders, but I would love to have a small, easy-to-cary, quick-to-operate, unobtrusive camera to complement my DSLR. Like Richard, I've been monitoring the EVIL market to see whether such a thing exists yet, but alas, I'll have to wait a bit more. On the other hand, to my taste, the Fuji X Pro1 comes pretty close!
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Jeff Kott on May 03, 2012, 02:32:54 pm
I just read Richard Sexton's article and think it is a great and insightful summary of where we stand today. I'm using a Sony Nex 7 for my small carry anywhere and travel camera (with adapted M mount lenses) and totally agree with his compliments and criticisms of that system. Great job Richard!
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: JohnBrew on May 03, 2012, 02:55:17 pm
Richard, you may get your wish for the ultimate digital rangefinder this year. Leica is announcing "something" on the 10th of this month and the Leica forum is awash in rumors for what will be introduced at this years Photokina.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Isaac on May 03, 2012, 03:31:58 pm
A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design -- "But, it can also be because newer isnít always better. Newer may only be different, and that difference may lack universal appeal."

It can be both better and worse - which is particularly irritating, but might be inevitable given that we're judging something made for a larger group against our individual desires.

I started thinking of "The Language of Things: Understanding the world of desirable objects" (http://books.google.com/books?id=wUQ3za6VnPoC) and then noticed the quote ;-)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: bg2b on May 03, 2012, 03:42:41 pm
The statement in the article that "Canon has even put an APS-C sensor in a G series Powershot camera" is incorrect.  The G1X has a sensor which is 4:3 ratio and only a hair larger than a regular (micro-)4/3 sensor (and AFAIK is actually less wide that Panasonic's multi-aspect ratio 4/3 sensors).
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: theguywitha645d on May 03, 2012, 04:31:25 pm
It is a brave new world. Ironically, the first image you see in Sexton's web site was taken with a large format view camera. Mirrorless to be sure. Fortunately, Mr. Sexton's vision is just his person opinion on camera design.

What is annoying is the myth of the unobtrusive camera. Every camera is obtrusive. And you can take intimate images of people with any camera, no matter how large. (Unless you are spying on people, but that is a different matter.)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 03, 2012, 05:25:57 pm
I agree that the Zeiss 24 is a bit large for the NEX-7, but it is still leagues smaller than an equivalent SLR version.  Either way, Sigma has come to the rescue with a couple of fantastic small primes.  The 30/2.8 is as sharp as a Leica lens, and it is small and lightweight.  Since high ISO is so good,, f2.8 works fine for me, and I can use the larger Sony 50/1.8 if lowlight becomes a problem.

p.s. Mr. Sexton should now that, assuming similar output size, more megapixels doesn't translate into more noise.  That only happens when comparing both at 100%, which isn't very useful.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: pservice on May 04, 2012, 01:25:27 am
Many seem to have dismissed the Nikon 1 as serious cameras because of their small sensors and lack of direct user controls.  However, as someone who has been using a V1 for about 6 months, I think they are more significant than most people realize.  In particular, the implementation of on-sensor phase-detection AF is astounding.  With kit lenses and in decent light their AF performance is on par with DSLRs (and no camera focusses well in really dim light).  I predict that on-sensor PDAF is the essential technology that will de-throne the SLR as the performance king.  Nikon is implementing that technology right now, and presumably improving it.  I would not be surprised to see to see a larger sensor mirrorless camera from Nikon in the future.  If so, it will most certainly rely on PDAF. 
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: 250swb on May 04, 2012, 03:28:17 am
I guess this article was written some time ago, and the opinions expressed in it formed even longer ago than that.

In any case, it is unfortunate it wasn't published before the Olympus E-M5 was released, because then it would have looked less silly as a thoughtful critique. Here you have a camera placed in the 'no hope' category, both for performance and any sort of future, with a smaller sensor than the hallowed APS-C size (so making for conventiently smaller cameras). And lo and behold DPR say there is no camera between it and full frame that is any better, roll the dice and jump straight to Go. The image samples certainly show that all things considered the new m4/3 sensor makes for a camera on a par with any current APS-C equipped offering.

Mr Sexton should have realised soon after first putting pen to paper that he was doomed, scientists make fools of the thoughtful assessments of bystanders.

Steve
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: meyerweb on May 04, 2012, 09:58:03 am
This article reads more like a whine (and an extremely verbose, rambling whine at that) that things have changed, and poor Richard wants things to be like they always were.  Aside from that, his facts are wrong.  One obvious example: The Canon G1x doesn't have an APS sized sensor.  In fact, its sensor has a 4:3 ratio and is almost exactly m43 sized--just a tiny bit bigger.

I guess Canon doesn't agree with Richard when it comes to sensor size either.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 04, 2012, 10:03:53 am
I guess this article was written some time ago, and the opinions expressed in it formed even longer ago than that.

In any case, it is unfortunate it wasn't published before the Olympus E-M5 was released, because then it would have looked less silly as a thoughtful critique. Here you have a camera placed in the 'no hope' category, both for performance and any sort of future, with a smaller sensor than the hallowed APS-C size (so making for conventiently smaller cameras). And lo and behold DPR say there is no camera between it and full frame that is any better, roll the dice and jump straight to Go. The image samples certainly show that all things considered the new m4/3 sensor makes for a camera on a par with any current APS-C equipped offering.

Mr Sexton should have realised soon after first putting pen to paper that he was doomed, scientists make fools of the thoughtful assessments of bystanders.

Steve


DPReview has proven itself incapable of really fine distinctions in image quality.  For example, their noise and dynamic range tests are particularly poorly controlled.

DxO does the best job with these kinds of tests, IMO.  So I'll await the DxO score before declaring the 4/3 sensor has caught up to Sony's latest offerings.

In the meantime, I seriously doubt the 16MP 4/3 sensor outresolves the 24MP Sony APS chip.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: 250swb on May 04, 2012, 10:48:25 am
DPReview has proven itself incapable of really fine distinctions in image quality.  For example, their noise and dynamic range tests are particularly poorly controlled.

DxO does the best job with these kinds of tests, IMO.  So I'll await the DxO score before declaring the 4/3 sensor has caught up to Sony's latest offerings.

In the meantime, I seriously doubt the 16MP 4/3 sensor outresolves the 24MP Sony APS chip.

Yes, the good thing about DPR is that it doesn't make fine distinctions where the overall picture is lost in petty detail.

And if you doubt the quality of the E-M5 against the NEX 7 go and look, its not my web site, I have no control over the tests. They don't say it is better, they say all things considered there is no real difference, apart from the availability of a wide range of lenses of course....... ;)


Steve
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: ndevlin on May 04, 2012, 11:04:01 am
This is a superb and thoughtful essay by Richard, which I thought hit the nail on the head more than once.  Teh fact that we are still seeing 3:2 aspect cameras - which truly must be the most useless format ever in terms of ineffeciency of size/lens design etc -  simply film was made in that size the better part of a century ago, that is indeed a sad indictment. 

- N.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: meyerweb on May 04, 2012, 11:15:40 am
DPReview has proven itself incapable of really fine distinctions in image quality.  For example, their noise and dynamic range tests are particularly poorly controlled.

DxO does the best job with these kinds of tests, IMO.  So I'll await the DxO score before declaring the 4/3 sensor has caught up to Sony's latest offerings.

In the meantime, I seriously doubt the 16MP 4/3 sensor outresolves the 24MP Sony APS chip.

DxO's tests have little to do with real world imaging, unfortunately. They measure DR in a totally artificial way that doesn't show up in real photographs, taken by real photographers, and is unduly influenced by base ISO. Is the Sony chip better?  Maybe. Does that difference show up in real world photography (which is the point, after all)?  Rarely, I think.

Even the worst current m43 camera has a least twice the DR of slide film. If you can't make a publication or exhibition quality image with any of the m43 cameras with the newer 16MP sensors, OR a Sony, Canon, Nikon or Fuji camera, the problem lies with the software behind the camera, not the camera itself.

This discussion is more than a little off-topic, though.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: meyerweb on May 04, 2012, 11:18:24 am
This is a superb and thoughtful essay by Richard, which I thought hit the nail on the head more than once.  Teh fact that we are still seeing 3:2 aspect cameras - which truly must be the most useless format ever in terms of ineffeciency of size/lens design etc -  simply film was made in that size the better part of a century ago, that is indeed a sad indictment. 
- N.

Or, maybe, it reflects the fact that this format simply works. It produces balanced, pleasing images of a large variety of subjects.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: LoisWakeman on May 04, 2012, 11:29:17 am
Give the man some paragraph breaks, please! My eyes are bleeding and my brain isn't far behind. :-(
Title: 3:2 shape is baggage from 24mm wide rolls of film, never dominant elsewhere
Post by: BJL on May 04, 2012, 12:24:30 pm
Or, maybe, it reflects the fact that this format simply works. It produces balanced, pleasing images of a large variety of subjects.
I agree with N. Devlin (and Richard Sexton?): the 3:2 shape has never been the dominant or "middle of the road" choice for prints larger than snapshots, or for paintings or drawings in any era. Instead there has been for many centuries, in painting, drawing and photography, a dominant range of shape choices ranging from about 5:4 (1.25) to 3:2 (1.5), with the most common choices being in between, about 4:3 (1.33) to 7:5 (1.4). The 3:2 shape is at one end of this main range, not in the middle: shapes wider than 3:2 have always been far less common than shapes a bit less wide like 7:5 and 4:3. (And please, no mystical nonsense about the Golden Ratio, which has never been at all a common choice for "rectangular art works".)

The 3:2 shape of 36x24mm made sense with the constraint of 24mm width of the dominant 135 format film, but has never had much popularity in any other film format or for paintings or drawings. for example, where are the 3:2 formats in MF or LF cameras? There was no major obstacle to making either a "9x6cm" or "6x4cm" camera using 120 or 220 roll film, but the first was rare and the second never happened AFAIK.

The 3:2 shape is rather clearly film-era historical baggage from the facts that:
- 135 format film, 24mm wide, became entrenched with huge cost advantages over any competing format for rolls of film.
- With the short edge constrained to 24mm, the most flexible option was to make the frames rather long in the other dimension, to cover all the most popular shapes with only horizontal crops needed so that you got a good range of shapes while still using the full 24mm frame height. With the dominant shape range from 5:4 to 3:2 it made sense for 135 film cameras to use the largest and widest of these: 36x24 for 3:2, rather than say 32x24mm (4:3) or 30x24mm (5:4).

But with sensors, that 24mm constraint is gone(*) and instead the most efficient use of resources is to choose a shape near the middle of the range of most common shape choices, to minimize the average fraction of the image lost to cropping when wanting a different shape. That is, something strictly between 5:4 and 3:2, like either 4:3 or 7:5. And of those, 4:3 has clearly won.

By the way, 7:5 might be a nice compromise, because it is an almost perfect match to the ISO standard "A" paper sizes, and still closer than 3:2 to 10x8, 14x11, 20x16, etc.


(*) The 24mm constraint is not entirely gone, because there are still DSLRs that use lenses and lens mounts originally designed for the 36x24mm film format, and these still have the 24mm height constraint (from VF mirrors and baffles within some lenses for example), so 36x24mm is still entrenched in "full frame DSLRs" for historical reasons.
Title: Contemporary Camera Design: zoom lens size matters for compact systems!
Post by: BJL on May 04, 2012, 02:31:14 pm
I like some of Sexton's thoughts, but at the end it rehashes a fallacy that has been rebutted ad infinitum when he predicts that micro 4/3 will be overrun by cameras with APC-S size sensors ("bigger format, therefore better IQ!") and at the same time perhaps also by Nikon One system ("smaller format, therefore smaller cameras!"). Do you see the contradiction here? It is the familiar fallacy of shifting the emphasis between a smaller format's potential advantage in total camera size and weight (of camera with a lens, usually a zoom lens in this century) against a larger format's potential advantage in image quality, instead of balancing those opposing factors. A m4/3 zealot could just as well say: "m4/3 will win because it has an inherent IQ advantage over Nikon's 1" format due to its larger sensors, and a size advantage over systems like NEX due to its smaller lenses".

I agree that sensor cost is not a major differentiation at these sizes, and nor is body size, since there is a lower limit set by ergonomics (3" LCD, EVF, enough controls and a place to hold it firmly). But I expect that the size and weight of a basic kit with a 3x standard zoom lens will be a major factor, and with the IQ as good as it is now in the Olympus and Panasonic 4/3" format (17.3x13mm), the Canon GX1's slightly larger format (18.7x14mm, far closer to 4/3" than to APS-C) and even Nikon's 1" format (13.2x8.8mm), my guess is that systems like NEX and NX (about 23.4x15.6mm) will come to be considered as oversized.

In theory, a larger format could get equal telephoto reach from a lens of equal maximum focal length by having more but equally small pixels and using cropping (aka digital zoom), such as an 18-42mm 2.3x zoom lens for NEX to compete against a 14-42mm 3x zoom lens for m4/3. But I count that many customers would buy that approach: neither with DSLRs nor mirrorless systems has anyone offered a standard zoom with such a truncated optical zoom range and the slogan
"use the 4/3" crop mode to increase telephoto reach of our 2.3x kit zoom lens to match what you get with a m4/3 3x kit zoom lens".
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: theguywitha645d on May 04, 2012, 03:45:01 pm
Every format is arbitrary. Usually based on the limits of some technology.

But the whole argument simply boils down to "this is what I like and so that is the way it should be." Most of it is nit picking. And he really does not have the experience with some of the cameras he pans--picking one up to play with it is hardly experience. And then he spends too much time with cliches about photography.

He did put a great deal of effort in, I must say.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: tom b on May 04, 2012, 06:17:02 pm
I got lost with the watch analogy. With the advent of smart phones, the concept of a wristwatch is very much in danger. Who needs a cheap watch, video or camera when you have one of these portable computers. Let's face it printing is disappearing too with the advent of tablets to accompany smart phones. Just catch a train or bus to see the future.

Cheers,
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 04, 2012, 06:29:56 pm
I got lost with the watch analogy. With the advent of smart phones ...
Maybe his subliminal point is this: with the advent of the one device to rule them all smart phones, the contemporary design of watches and of cameras and of computers and of address books and of calendars and of alarm clocks and of photo albums and of TV sets ... is in the form of a smart phone.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 05, 2012, 04:20:01 am
A cellphone will never replace a Rolex.

Of course that sounds flip; however, there's so much more to watches than telling the time, and at a cerain level of society it becomes a distinguishing mark that matters very much indeed. For both sexes.

An argument/point(?) such as the one to which I respond is facile, simplistic and makes no sense the moment one considers the thing in its wider context, which is, actually, life and the individual's place within it.

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: kencameron on May 05, 2012, 05:15:37 am
There again I wouldn't want to be part of a society that distinguishes between folk on the basis of the watch they own.
Unfortunately we don't get to choose what society we are part of, in a broad sense, but at the same time we pretty much always end up with the more intimate society we have chosen and deserve (our friends). My closest friend loves his rolexes but doesn't for a moment think the worse of me on account of my middleaged digital casio. In fact, he sometimes asks me to use its countdown timer, which his rolex lacks, when he is cooking steak (just as another data point, to confirm his judgement - he could do a fine job on visual cues alone). He loves his rolexes, passionately, but doesn't for a moment kid himself that they are important.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 05, 2012, 06:51:14 am
Be as snide as you please, reality doesn't change for anyone.

Regarding the friend with the Rolex sans timer: should have worn the Submariner instead - the rotating bezel (when it isn't clogged with muck) allows you up to an hour of timing or, for longer, maybe you can trust your memory to count in sixty-minute chunks? Collecting watches, or anything else that's rather expensive for that matter, isn't in the same category at all: it's a rich person's hobby, and a separate issue/pleasure.

As for a watch making or not making you friends, that's hardly the point: your friends don't need any convincing or they are not your friends, but your clients/new people certainly do seek visual clues as to what they are confronting, as we all do, to some level or another. Watches, when you know something about them, do so on a finer level, is all. I think it's incumbent upon all of us to present ourselves in the best (but honest) way that we can. To do otherwise leads to the inevitable disappointments, both social and business and/or romantic. Come to think of it, even diametrically opposing political views are difficult to reconcile over time; however close friendships might otherwise be (have been, sounds more likely), some things are more acidic than others and corrosion destroys a lot.

Frankly, the sometimes maligned Rolex is perfectly innocent: you can own one for far less than an exotic camera; the difference between the purchases is, I guess, whether you want something beautiful for life or are more interested in impressing your camera club membership. As far as the poor old Rolex goes, it only offends those without one who know about it but can't quite afford it or, perhaps, knowing that not everyone in their circle is aware of its cachet, then the Leica, for them, becomes the better talisman.

You pays your money and takes your choice, as the saying goes.

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Ray on May 05, 2012, 07:47:33 am
DxO's tests have little to do with real world imaging, unfortunately. They measure DR in a totally artificial way that doesn't show up in real photographs, taken by real photographers, and is unduly influenced by base ISO.


The DXO results certainly show up in my photographs. If they don't show up in your photographs, maybe your technique is lacking, or your understanding of the DXO results is lacking.

Of course, I hope you realise, when I write that the DXO results show up in my photographs, I don't mean that I see a big DXO sign in the deepest shadows reading 13 EV Dynamice Range. That would spoil the appearance of the photo, don't you think?  ;D

Rather, I find if DXO claim that Camera A has 2 EV better DR than Camera B, then I can underexpose a shot from Camera A by two stops, and find when raising the deepest shadows in both images of the same scene, that the shadow noise, detail and general quality in those shadows, is about the same in both images.

You should try it some time. However, DR is only one parameter. SNR in the midtones, around 18% grey, is another parameter, and the effects can also be very noticeable.

Quite often two different models of camera can have significantly different DR but very similar SNR at 18% grey. A case in point would be the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D3.

The D800 has about 2.5 stops greater DR than the 5D3, at base ISO. But what I'm certain is frequently overlooked when some people refer to the DXO scores, rather than the graphs, is the fact that SNR at 18% grey (the midtones) is about the same for both cameras across all ISOs.

This is a significant measurement which DXO does not disguise. It's all there for your benefit. What this means is, if you were to underexpose the D800 shot by 2.5 stops and find that the deepest shadows were just as clean (or noisy) as in the fully exposed 5D3 shot, the 5D3 shots would nevertheless have significantly cleaner midtones, skin tones etc, which would be quite obvious.

The comparative significance of the DXO results needs to be understood. When this is accomplished, I'm quite confident you will fine that their results do correspond with, and show up on, real world photographs.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: kencameron on May 05, 2012, 08:13:51 am
Frankly, the sometimes maligned Rolex is perfectly innocent

Of course it is. Also beautiful and fit for purpose. And no problem either with wearing one to impress clients, or for any other reason. I am happy for their owners (but wouldn't, myself, be inclined to consider them superior beings).
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 05, 2012, 10:12:29 am
A cellphone will never replace a Rolex.
Not even a Vertu (http://www.vertu.com/) cellphone?

To me, both are equally, totally absurd, except as a "rich and stupid" tax. (As an attempt to get back on topic: Lizard skin Leicas too.)

By the way: the idea that we cannot avoid living in an environment where possession of a chunky piece of jewelry wrapped around a overpriced, underperforming, technologically anachronistic chronometer is silly: that ostentatious and superficial cadre is a small part of the world, which many of us avoided accidentally or deliberately through not pursuing certain priorities and career directions. Believe me, it is possible to lead a full, rich, happy life in a world where very few or none of one's friends or colleagues wear expensive left-wrist jewelry.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 05, 2012, 11:51:24 am
I  believe every word, BJL, just it isn't the world I know a little bit about. I was a fashion photographer for many years... as for the Rolex being an anachronism (good word, in relation to watches, I grant you!) and underperforming, you might note that the Sub., in particular, appears to be the watch of choice for quite a few snappers as well as news and film cameramen, not exactly folks given to the useless gadget.

I wonder why things tend to degenerate into speech such as "rich and stupid" tax... just the sort of thing that, if you are aware of UK politics, you'll find the left espousing. Ironic, when you consider that both the current leader of that party, his brother, father and even the last-but-one Labour PM are extremely rich men... guess the left is as blind as it needs to be.

But there you are - we all compensate as best we can.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 05, 2012, 12:21:40 pm
many
Of course it is. Also beautiful and fit for purpose. And no problem either with wearing one to impress clients, or for any other reason. I am happy for their owners (but wouldn't, myself, be inclined to consider them superior beings).



Neither would I, Ken, and I've known some such owners who are far from bright beings... However, the inevitable laws of human evolution apply to the social as to the physical: we usually try to pull ourselves a rung or two upwards on life's ladder or, at least, stay still on a good one if that's where we discover ourselves to be. No?

The basic point is and was: impressions count and first ones very much so. One should attempt to give oneself the best shot one can. Getting into the more esoteric levels of this little mind game some of us play, it's the difference between owning Bently or Rolls-Royce; Ferrari or Lamborghini; Mercedes or BMW. It's why Riva will always (I suppose) be boat of choice above Sunseeker or Fairline within the price-points where they meet; why photographers (some) opt for Rolex where yacht skippers seem to favour Breitling, if only to avoid competing with their owners... but nobody owns a Tudor.

The world is absolutely full of little signifiers; it's one of the things that used to make sitting at a pavement cafť of an evening such an interesting experience for my wife and I: people-watching is a fascinating sport. Sorry, wrong tense: it used to be a fascinating sport. Now, they all look the same, those folks doing their passeggiata. I, of course, never altered: always jeans and T-shirt where temperature allowed... as with the watch, it went/goes with the job. Just like a Mini might but a Fiesta does not.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: svein on May 05, 2012, 03:00:33 pm
Give the man some paragraph breaks, please! My eyes are bleeding and my brain isn't far behind. :-(
+1

Interesting article, but the hardest to read I've ever seen on LL.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: tom b on May 05, 2012, 04:42:22 pm
Million dollar cell phone (http://www.zdnet.com/photos/million-dollar-cell-phone-leads-luxury-parade/456654).

Luxury iPhone cases (http://most-expensive.net/luxury-iphone-cases).

There were nearly 500 million smartphones shipped (http://mobithinking.com/mobile-marketing-tools/latest-mobile-stats#smartphone-shipments) in 2011. Like it or not it will have consequences for camera makers, watchmakers, web designers and a whole lot more.

I can see a future where the wealthy check the time on their smartphones and wear a Rolex as jewellery.

Perhaps 16:9 is the new standard.

Cheers,
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 05, 2012, 07:18:01 pm
I got lost with the watch analogy. With the advent of smart phones, the concept of a wristwatch is very much in danger. Who needs a cheap watch, video or camera when you have one of these portable computers. Let's face it printing is disappearing too with the advent of tablets to accompany smart phones. Just catch a train or bus to see the future.

Cheers,

The entire point of a wristwatch was to allow you to easily read the time without needing to pull out your pocket watch, and that hasn't changed.  Sure, maybe these new bluetooth wristwatches that communicate with your cell are the modern interpretation, but the need to have such a thing on the wrist hasn't changed.

I own a Rolex, but I think of it as a piece of jewelry more than a tool like a camera, and, unlike an M9 or something similar, my Rolex holds its value.  If you buy a Rolex, wear it for a lifetime, and then sell it, it is surprisingly cost effective way to wear a watch that lasts your whole life.

FWIW, I'm actually nervous that my friends will notice my Rolex, because I don't want to be ridiculed buy them. LOL  In other settings, I admit that it does inspire a little confidence.  I own a small business in the entertainment world, where casual dress is common, and I've got quite a few tattoos on my arms, so, in a way, wearing my Rolex is the closest I come to dressing up in a suit. :)



Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 05, 2012, 07:44:50 pm
Quote

I can see a future where the wealthy check the time on their smartphones and wear a Rolex as jewellery.

Perhaps 16:9 is the new standard.

Cheers,


Watches are heavy and throw off your balance when playing sports.  I never could stand to wear them, and now wouldn't even think about it.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 05, 2012, 08:10:09 pm
The entire point of a wristwatch was to allow you to easily read the time without needing to pull out your pocket watch, and that hasn't changed.
That is completely persuasive to me, which is why I usually wear a weist-watch. A Casio of course.

So it is mysterious yet true that a substantial proportion of mobile phone-toting young people no longer wear wrist watches, being content with what strikes me as a return to the 19th century pocket watch.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: kencameron on May 05, 2012, 08:21:58 pm

 It's why Riva will always (I suppose) be boat of choice above Sunseeker or Fairline within the price-points where they meet; why photographers (some) opt for Rolex where yacht skippers seem to favour Breitling, if only to avoid competing with their owners... but nobody owns a Tudor.

The world is absolutely full of little signifiers;
;-)

Rob C

Indeed, and aren't they fascinating. It sounds as if your current abode gives you good opportunities for observation. I hadn't heard of any of the boats, but will look them up, and among the watches, hadn't heard of Tudor and am unsure whether that is because it is so far above or so far below the level of ordinary humanity. I appreciate how precisely that ignorance "places" me in a certain context. But then, what would those turkeys know about pocket knives, say, or extra virgin olive oil ? (to cite two of my own opportunities for spurious distinction).
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Farmer on May 05, 2012, 08:41:25 pm
That is completely persuasive to me, which is why I usually wear a weist-watch. A Casio of course.

So it is mysterious yet true that a substantial proportion of mobile phone-toting young people no longer wear wrist watches, being content with what strikes me as a return to the 19th century pocket watch.

I wore a watch, almost religiously, as a kid (having been given initially my grandfather's upon his passing, then later a hand-me-down from my father, and then my own digital watch (a Casio) which served me so well through high school.

When I left school, I purchased a suitable dress watch, to match with my career in banking.  At some point it was damaged and in the time it took to have it fixed, I stopped wearing watches (this was around age 22).  I realised that checking the time was easy walking around a city (and well before cell/mobile phones let alone those with the time on them).

I had gone from feeling naked/wrong when not wearing a watch to simply not being able to stand wearing one.  The exception I made was when going Outback, or walking anywhere that could vaguely be considered The Bush.  Now, even with a smartphone, I'll take a real, mechanical watch Outback or Bush - it's a survival tool.  Other than that, to me a watch is purely jewellery, even if it has a secondary function (telling the time!).  I don't have a need so dire that the couple of seconds it takes to check my smart phone or look elsewhere for the time matters.

So, it's not just the "younger" generation who eschew watches - it's probably just a larger percentage of them.  If you really want mastery over your own life, manage your own time rather than it managing you :-)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: John Camp on May 05, 2012, 11:15:56 pm
Watches are heavy and throw off your balance when playing sports.  I never could stand to wear them, and now wouldn't even think about it.

You must be an exceptional athlete. I have a Rolex and play pretty good golf, and have never once thought about the watch, though now I'm afraid I will. If I develop a slice, I will hold you to account.

If you write a certain manly kind of thriller fiction (I do), then you're expected to buy a Rolex after your first big sale. Thank God I came after the pipe-and-elbow-patches era; at least I don't have lung cancer.

The watch analogy left me befuddled. However, as a professional writer, I do have some advice for Richard: We all know you're bright. You don't have to prove it by making your article either ostentatiously erudite or nitpick-proof. You have exactly the the opposite problem that Mark has: he takes a controversial subject and boils it down to three words, or two words and an acronym ("MF is better.") That's not enough.

Young people don't use cell phones as pocket watches. They never put the goddamned things in their pockets. People are dead because of this -- they walk in front of turning cars while texting.

I'm thinking of getting rid my cell phone entirely. There's a device you can attach to a wired phone called an "answering machine." It will take your calls for you, and then, you can deal with them all at once, rather than having your goddamned cellphone go off anytime somebody has an urge to talk to you or sell you something. The only reason I keep it is because it has that vibrate option, and it feels kind of good in my pocket when it goes off. Hey, after a certain age, you gotta take your thrills where you can find them.

My biggest question about the Sexton article is why would anybody use APS-C instead of FF, when the equipment size and cost is roughly the same (FF costs more, but not that much more, as a percentage of the whole system, after you add a bunch of lenses.) But I know why I use m4/3 -- it's much cheaper and lighter and covers about 98% of what I do. I do have a Nikon system I can drag around when I need to, but it's a pain in the ass.

JC 
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 05, 2012, 11:47:26 pm
My biggest question about the Sexton article is why would anybody use APS-C instead of FF, when the equipment size and cost is roughly the same (FF costs more, but not that much more, as a percentage of the whole system, after you add a bunch of lenses.) But I know why I use m4/3 -- it's much cheaper and lighter and covers about 98% of what I do. I do have a Nikon system I can drag around when I need to, but it's a pain in the ass.

JC  

Watches don't bother me when I play tennis, but I'd take it off for most sports.

As far as size, my NEX-7 plus Sigma 19, Sigma 30 and Sony 50 (and the Zeiss 24, when I owned it,) is WORLDS smaller than an equivalent setup with my A900.  The Billingham bag that I keep all of it in would barely be able to fit the A900 body without a lens (the bag is only 2.5 inches deep.) For most uses, I still find aps-c to be the ideal compromise of cost, IQ and size.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5345/7146568361_aede9e5740.jpg)
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7216/7146566783_e78d60a41b_z.jpg)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: kencameron on May 06, 2012, 01:37:23 am
You must be an exceptional athlete...
I thought the line about watches throwing sportsmen off balance showed its author to be an exceptional humorist. I wonder what darts players think (and I would call them athletes, despite appearances).
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 06, 2012, 04:12:35 am
The entire point of a wristwatch was to allow you to easily read the time without needing to pull out your pocket watch, and that hasn't changed.  Sure, maybe these new bluetooth wristwatches that communicate with your cell are the modern interpretation, but the need to have such a thing on the wrist hasn't changed.

I own a Rolex, but I think of it as a piece of jewelry more than a tool like a camera, and, unlike an M9 or something similar, my Rolex holds its value.  If you buy a Rolex, wear it for a lifetime, and then sell it, it is surprisingly cost effective way to wear a watch that lasts your whole life.

FWIW, I'm actually nervous that my friends will notice my Rolex, because I don't want to be ridiculed buy them. LOL  In other settings, I admit that it does inspire a little confidence.  I own a small business in the entertainment world, where casual dress is common, and I've got quite a few tattoos on my arms, so, in a way, wearing my Rolex is the closest I come to dressing up in a suit. :)


That made me laugh! Itís funny because itís true and it works.

I remember being out in the car-park washing the old car some years ago, wearing a well-worn/torn/bleach-spill-stained pair of overalls, the whole supported by a pair of even older canvas shoes with the toes worn open by my nails, the back of the shoes flattened from having been stood upon rather than pulled up into placeÖ a  neighbour arrived in his car with some friend I didnít know, and when he introduced us, the first thing said stranger remarked was: wow, a Rolex in rags! I thought that highly amusing! I still do, obviously.

ĒWonderful concept, self imposed, doesn't even need collecting.Ē

Not sure where the tax concept comes into the equation, but if reference is being made to the purchase tax/VAT equivalents added then thatís fine: they come or, rather, are faced by free choice and inevitably help those who canít afford the item thus taxed. Seems to be the point or justification for taxation, no? Sort of reminds me of those high-end (arenít they all?) MF cameras some chaps buy: are they really that necessary? Do they, have they, ever improved anyoneís vision? Donít they attract an awful amount of taxation! But in my view thatís just dandy: why shouldnít those snappers be permitted to buy whatever their hearts desire without being subjected to any faux-moralistic display of disapproval?

Buy what you want and can afford; itís your call. Stuff the politics of envy.

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: David Hufford on May 06, 2012, 05:36:32 am

Frankly, the sometimes maligned Rolex is perfectly innocent: you can own one for far less than an exotic camera; the difference between the purchases is, I guess, whether you want something beautiful for life or are more interested in impressing your camera club membership. As far as the poor old Rolex goes, it only offends those without one who know about it but can't quite afford it or, perhaps, knowing that not everyone in their circle is aware of its cachet, then the Leica, for them, becomes the better talisman.

You pays your money and takes your choice, as the saying goes.

Rob C

I can easily find a Rolex for less than a Nikon D3 or D4, so yea, you can get one of the less expensive models for less than an exotic camera. Much less. Or even less than a not so exotic camera. I don't have a Rolex myself, though I'd dearly love to have one (much more than I'd want a soon-to-be obsolete and resale valueless camera of any type) but I have had to console myself with cheaper, but not cheap mechanical watches. 'Cause I like beautifully made mechanical watches.

Watches are heavy and throw off your balance when playing sports.  I never could stand to wear them, and now wouldn't even think about it.

I am also an amateur competitive cyclist riding 4-5000 miles a year. (Yes, I am full of myself; please be impressed.) I don't wear my watch, but do, like many of us, wear a heart-rate monitor which includes a watch on my left wrist. Have not yet been thrown off-balance, but I will be careful about that. May balance things out by wearing a Rolex on my right wrist and my HR monitor on my left.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 06, 2012, 07:55:44 am
That is completely persuasive to me, which is why I usually wear a weist-watch. A Casio of course.

So it is mysterious yet true that a substantial proportion of mobile phone-toting young people no longer wear wrist watches, being content with what strikes me as a return to the 19th century pocket watch.

It's a single device that takes the place of -- just about anything else technological that you might be carrying (other than a firearm!)

A pocketwatch is -- a pocketwatch.

It's really not that important to know what time it is for most people so constantly that you need to wear something on your arm.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 06, 2012, 09:43:03 am
It's a single device that takes the place of -- just about anything else technological that you might be carrying (other than a firearm!)

A pocketwatch is -- a pocketwatch.

It's really not that important to know what time it is for most people so constantly that you need to wear something on your arm.



Of course, you could always pop your Rolex into your jeans pocket, just to imitate the rolled up sock in the front of famous pop songsters' jeans. You might, though, do yourself an unintentional injury if your bezel starts to spin of its own volition - well, 007's did, even if mine's a manual mode-only one which, I imagine, the majority is...

Regarding the need for 'most people' to know the time, it's just as true to say that 'most people' don't have a Rolex either, so that situation seems fairly well balanced. I'm probably biased, but I can't think of another better-placed area for hanging the watch than from an arm; naturally, I do exclude the 'sock' postion referred to earlier for obvious reasons of easy access, especially when doing the school run.

;-)

Rob C
Title: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design (watches actually)
Post by: BJL on May 06, 2012, 10:34:52 am
Rob, my "tax" quip was clearly nothing to do with the forced confiscatory taxes that seem to bother you so deeply. It was the idea that sometimes worthy prestigious specialist products that some customers have a real need for (Submariner watches maybe, or medium format cameras or Leicas or even D800s) get a voluntary subsidy from a large number of other customers who pay more than the product seems rationally worth to them in terms of actual usage. Like a Submariner only ever worn while smimming at the beach, and so never "used in anger".

That is, if then true needs of a few professionals like divers and 19th century dirigible pilots are more easily met because a company like Rolex gets the funding to develop them from horological fashion victims, and in turn, maintaining that fashionability relies in part of being able to point to the real value of the watches for a tiny proportion of users! so that Rolex has an incentive to keep developing the useful aspects of its watches too, then it all "works", in a convoluted way.


P. S. My favorite real tax is vanity license plates: for people who are above saying it with a bumper sticker.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design (watches actually)
Post by: Rob C on May 06, 2012, 12:28:23 pm
Rob, my "tax" quip was clearly nothing to do with the forced confiscatory taxes that seem to bother you so deeply. It was the idea that sometimes worthy prestigious specialist products that some customers have a real need for (Submariner watches maybe, or medium format cameras or Leicas or even D800s) get a voluntary subsidy from a large number of other customers who pay more than the product seems rationally worth to them in terms of actual usage. Like a Submariner only ever worn while smimming at the beach, and so never "used in anger".

That is, if then true needs of a few professionals like divers and 19th century dirigible pilots are more easily met because a company like Rolex gets the funding to develop them from horological fashion victims, and in turn, maintaining that fashionability relies in part of being able to point to the real value of the watches for a tiny proportion of users! so that Rolex has an incentive to keep developing the useful aspects of its watches too, then it all "works", in a convoluted way.

P. S. My favorite real tax is vanity license plates: for people who are above saying it with a bumper sticker.


Let me make your day.

The car had to go, unfortunately, as running two of them became somewhat silly. Unfortunately, the daft, little, frugal Fiesta that I opted to buy has a different towing hook, and so I've had to rejig the suspension (of the plate, not the car) in order to attempt to restore some of the past motoring glory. That plate, in different iterations, has been on all our cars since '81; quite attached to it. As I can't get underneath the Fiesta to measure anything accurately, I've had to guesstimate my sizes, so the suspension that's currently lying in primer may have to be messed about with even more... oh well, one day!

Tax? I don't mind paying tax, but I do mind paying for other people's mistakes, which is why the friggin' banks are now robbing us all out of our interest.

Rob C

P.S. The car's stated age was as of a couple of years ago...

Submariners worn for swimming? I wear mine for everything, what do you imagine I am, a millionaire?

Anyway, itís comforting to know that the watch will survive a depth of 660 ft, should I fall into the sea. I, of course, would be flat as any bottom feeder by then, but you canít have everything.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design (watches actually)
Post by: douglasf13 on May 06, 2012, 02:39:24 pm

Submariners worn for swimming? I wear mine for everything, what do you imagine I am, a millionaire?


I think this is an important distinction.  I wear my DateJust for just about everything.  I put it on in the morning and take it off at night, regardless of whether I have to go to work, attend a wedding, work in the yard, go swimming, etc.  Just like with jewelry, there are certainly collectors of multiple expensive watches, but I'm not one of those people.  I have one nice watch that I wear all of the time, and it'll likely last a lifetime.  The thing about some watch brands, especially those with in-house movements, like Rolex and Patek, is that they hold their value, so they aren't terrible investments.  The same can't be said about a lot of other expensive watch brands.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: OldRoy on May 06, 2012, 03:55:45 pm
A thread about watches!  Isn't it?

As someone who has a small collection of not terribly expensive mechanical wristwatches, which I wear (one at a time, usually), thanks to an old friend who has been dealing in them for over 30 years, I'm amused by the "iconic" attributes attached to Rolex. Reminds me of a certain camera brand.

I'd guess that a new low- to mid-range Rolex probably sheds up to a third of its value as you walk out of the shop with it. Buying a pristine vintage example (preferably with the dial in original un-restored condition) is another matter. But the idea that there's something uniquely high quality about Rolexes is, I would suggest, an illusion. Buying a new example seems to me to be absolutely crazy if you become aware of some of the beautiful vintage alternatives which are sure to hold their value - and probably to appreciate. And in this context "vintage" is a very loose designation.

Roy
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 06, 2012, 06:03:22 pm
A thread about watches!  Isn't it?

As someone who has a small collection of not terribly expensive mechanical wristwatches, which I wear (one at a time, usually), thanks to an old friend who has been dealing in them for over 30 years, I'm amused by the "iconic" attributes attached to Rolex. Reminds me of a certain camera brand.

I'd guess that a new low- to mid-range Rolex probably sheds up to a third of its value as you walk out of the shop with it. Buying a pristine vintage example (preferably with the dial in original un-restored condition) is another matter. But the idea that there's something uniquely high quality about Rolexes is, I would suggest, an illusion. Buying a new example seems to me to be absolutely crazy if you become aware of some of the beautiful vintage alternatives which are sure to hold their value - and probably to appreciate. And in this context "vintage" is a very loose designation.

Roy

True, most Rolex models will depreciate when buying new from an AD (some models do appreciate, though,) but you don't have to buy a vintage Rolex for it to hold its value.  Most second hand Rolexes hold their value nicely.  Just like with cars, I'd likely never buy a brand new Rolex.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on May 06, 2012, 08:22:47 pm
My wristwatch is a Timex. But my Canon 5D MKII takes better photos.   ::)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: tom b on May 06, 2012, 08:59:49 pm
In 1978 I did "The Overland", that is I travelled from Bangkok to London through Asia and Europe by land. Before I left I had a stopover in Singapore where I bought a cheap Casio digital watch that I though nobody would care about and I also purchased a Leica CL with 40mm an 90mm lenses. I was worried that my Leica would draw attention due to its cost.

Interestingly, travelling through Asia the opposite occurred, The cheap Casio drew a lot of attention and I could have sold it over a dozen times, particularly in India. My Leica received no offers and I was a bit put out when I had my Leica out and an Indian man asked how much the Zenit camera of the person sitting with me was worth and was it for sale. The only times the Leica gained attention was from children wanting their photo taken and from a British pro photographer shooting stock in Nepal with a Mamiya 645. I think it was a weight thing.

It is interesting what value objects can have to different people.

Cheers,





Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 07, 2012, 04:43:04 am
Strange about watches in India. In the lated forties through mid-fifties, there was a vogue in transparent watches there: you'd see them in almost any jewellery shop.

Regarding cameras, there used to be camera shop near the Grand Hotel in Bombay. Spent six weeks there (hotel, not camera shop) as we were leaving to return to the UK and I received a very early lesson in photographic prices: I'd looked at a tripod only to discover that it cost many times the value of my little camera... even then, I was receiving early-warning signals that I chose to ignore.

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: dturina on May 07, 2012, 05:30:11 am
It's funny how the discussion turned towards wristwatches, because I usually cite them as an example of seemingly obsolete technology formed into an ergonomically useful piece of equipment that is not likely to be replaced by seemingly more modern equipment such as a smartphone. A phone is just clumsy to get out of your pocket to casually check time. When you're walking, running or riding a bike, a wristwatch is just at the right place. It's a perfect union of form factor and funcionality for that single purpose. But you don't really want to put lots of stuff on a watch, it's best when kept simple and clean.

A calculator is a similar thing. One would say they would become obsolete with all those computers and smartphones that can run a calc app, but a calculator has a distinct place for me in spite of the fact that every modern gadget that I own has a calc app. It is simply more convenient for me to grab a physical calculator with mechanical buttons that click when pressed, and run a few numbers quickly without much thought and without interrupting the other things that I do. A single-app computerized device with specialized interface is, for me, a very good thing. I have several - calculator, voice recorder, wristwatch, and yes, a dSLR. I'm opposed to the swiss army knife paradigm of computerization, where you tend to have one device that does everything, and everything is an app. It's good in a hurry and if you don't have a specific device handy, which is why I own a swiss army knife, too, but I don't want to eat my lunch with it. I prefer single-purpose, specialized devices with well thought out mechanical interface, but computerized and interconnectable. I prefer cameras with mechanical knobs and single-purpose buttons, but digital, able to download images into a computer without chemical processing and scanning. I prefer a dictation device that fits well in hand and has mechanical buttons, but where I can download files into my computer. I don't want computers that look and operate like computers, I want them to be hidden out of sight, to enhance functionality behind a mechanically operated human interface, to do their job quietly and unobtrusively, like they do in engine management of a car. You just drive your car, you operate it with mechanical commands and ideally you don't even know it's computerized. I don't want to control volume on my radio by pressing + and - buttons, I want a volume knob I can turn, and if there's a computer behind it, that's good, but that doesn't mean that I have to adapt to its digital + and - ways of thinking. It has to adapt to my way of thinking, which works by turning the knob clockwise to make it louder.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 07, 2012, 09:03:11 am
Absolutely agree with everything you wrote there: I wish that not only makers but also the public would learn that some things just work as they are, have arrived at their perfect configuration by dint of many years of practical use, which is more than can be said for much contemporary equipment that comes along, where the key is to be new, different and to hell with better.

This has nothing to do with being old or young; it has everything to do with realising what works well and should be left alone. As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it!

Rob C
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 07, 2012, 10:08:45 am
Re: wristwatches.

See how many teens and 20-somethings are wearing them.

Very few.

It's obvious where the wristwatch is going. . .
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: dturina on May 07, 2012, 10:32:02 am
This reminds me of a situation in the sixties and seventies when the Swiss watch manufacturers decided that quartz is the way of the future and mechanical is the way of the dodo bird, and they threw away all their mechanical stuff and started producing quartz movements, which of course turned out to be a disaster, but by then they lost their ability to go back to their roots as they threw it all away, and they started making their watches around generic 3rd party vendors such as ETA, whose movements are now ubiquitous.

Similarly hasty was the transition from film to digital, and I can find other examples for sure, such as the premature attempts to get rid of paper and all related stuff and put it all into  desktop computers. It just didn't prove to be practical. I don't want everything to be an app on my virtual desktop, I want stuff on my physical desktop, such as a smartphone or a tablet or a laptop or a calculator or a wristwatch or a sound recorder. Some things, such as CD/DVD media are just relics of limited technology; data can be stored somewhere out of sight, but some things that are related to the human way of operating equipment are better left alone. A maglite flashlight is excellent the way it is. I don't want to replace it with an iphone app.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: John Camp on May 07, 2012, 10:37:02 am
This has nothing to do with being old or young; it has everything to do with realising what works well and should be left alone. As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it!

Rob C

I've noticed that with a cell phone, wallet, car keys, coins, etc., I really need redesigned pants to carry all the crap around -- another reason that men are beginning to carry carry purses, however they may be described. But, I don't want to carry a purse, because then I have to think about it. It's possible, with the kind of miniaturization that I now see in my hearing aids, that eventually the smart phone will be worn on the wrist... It's also possible, as smart phones develop, that I won't need a wallet or car keys -- just the phone. Of course, if you lose the phone, you're totally screwed...which is why a wrist-mounted device is actually quite nice. I could see a wrist-mounted cell phone, with a blue-tooth receiver that works like my behind-the-hear hearing aids (virtually invisible) and you wallet loaded into it, including credit cards, plane tickets, museum passes, and so on. Tiny apps for everything...

By 2020.



 

Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: JohnBrew on May 07, 2012, 12:38:33 pm
John, I've been carrying a man's purse since 1990. This came about due to a bad back situation and my chiropractor telling me to quit carrying a wallet in my back pocket as it was throwing my back out. I tried carrying a soft wallet in my front pocket but it just didn't work out. And it seemed I was adding more stuff everyday. A trip to Europe, I saw a man carrying a purse and found one identical in Florence. I've carried one ever since. BTW, that old Florence purse developed such a nice patina I've had numerous people try and buy it!
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: Rob C on May 07, 2012, 01:01:14 pm
John, I've been carrying a man's purse since 1990. This came about due to a bad back situation and my chiropractor telling me to quit carrying a wallet in my back pocket as it was throwing my back out. I tried carrying a soft wallet in my front pocket but it just didn't work out. And it seemed I was adding more stuff everyday. A trip to Europe, I saw a man carrying a purse and found one identical in Florence. I've carried one ever since. BTW, that old Florence purse developed such a nice patina I've had numerous people try and buy it!


Sadly, mine has never been that heavy...

I currently use one of those canvas(?) bags made for Walkman players and such - looks like a case for a smallish camera. I used to tote it over the shoulder, but as I'm not that large, it would slip off and make me feel stupid, so I started to wear it across the chest. I have since decided that it works better as a bumbag but worn to the side as a holster (make of that what juvenile fantasy you will). However, it also works as a sporran; amazing none of the PR companies up there have twigged: sporrans for looking cool. It may or may not look cool, but worn to the front, the bumbag sure feels good when you walk at a fairly brisk pace. And the brisk pace is also good for your circulation... ;-)

Rob C

P.S. One of the advantages of wearing it as a bumbag is that you don't need to take it off when sitting in a restaurant. I have more than once walked out and left the shoulder-mounted configuration behind on the back of the chair, but only when someone else was paying for lunch, otherwise I'd have had it to hand.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 07, 2012, 02:36:24 pm
I've noticed that with a cell phone, wallet, car keys, coins, etc., I really need redesigned pants to carry all the crap around -- another reason that men are beginning to carry carry purses, however they may be described. But, I don't want to carry a purse, because then I have to think about it. It's possible, with the kind of miniaturization that I now see in my hearing aids, that eventually the smart phone will be worn on the wrist... It's also possible, as smart phones develop, that I won't need a wallet or car keys -- just the phone. Of course, if you lose the phone, you're totally screwed...which is why a wrist-mounted device is actually quite nice. I could see a wrist-mounted cell phone, with a blue-tooth receiver that works like my behind-the-hear hearing aids (virtually invisible) and you wallet loaded into it, including credit cards, plane tickets, museum passes, and so on. Tiny apps for everything...

By 2020.



There have been attempt a phone watches that haven't been all that successful, but, more recently, there have been some watches coming to the market that communicate to your phone via bluetooth, so you don't have to always dig into your pocket to retrieve some info.

As for man purses, you can always use the excuse that it is a camera bag.  My little Billingham that I pictured earlier in the thread holds the NEX-7, a tiny prime, and my wallet, keys and cell, if need be.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: JohnBrew on May 07, 2012, 02:52:36 pm
BTW, Douglas, thanks for posting that image of the Billingham bag w/NEX-7. I've ordered one for mine.
Title: Kit sizes: 35mm format vs EVIL with primes vs EVIL with zooms
Post by: BJL on May 07, 2012, 03:59:18 pm
As far as size, my NEX-7 plus Sigma 19, Sigma 30 and Sony 50 (and the Zeiss 24, when I owned it,) is WORLDS smaller than an equivalent setup with my A900.
Prime lens users seem happy with the size of a NEX kit, within the limited offerings of primes for NEX mount, but is there anyone who (like me) likes to carry one or two _zoom_ lenses and who is happy with the size of a NEX system? Particularly in comparison to the 4/3" and 1" format alternatives from Panasonic, Olympus, and Nikon.

P. S. I am staying with the name EVIL [Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lenses] since I, and most people here, seem to want bodies with a peep-hole viewfinder as distinct from only a rear screen.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 07, 2012, 06:08:35 pm
BTW, Douglas, thanks for posting that image of the Billingham bag w/NEX-7. I've ordered one for mine.

Sure thing, John.  I'm not sure if you've seen my little write up about the bag in another forum, but, in order to maintain its very thin profile, there are no dividers in the bag, so I use little microfiber bags from ebay to separate the two spare lenses.  This bag is super minimalist for 3 lenses, so I want you to be aware of that before receiving it.  I've got a ton of bags around, but I really like that this one is so thin, but YMMV.  It's pretty outrageous to have such a high quality, small setup. :)
Title: Re: Kit sizes: 35mm format vs EVIL with primes vs EVIL with zooms
Post by: douglasf13 on May 07, 2012, 06:21:06 pm
Prime lens uses seem happy with the size of a NEX kit, within the limited offerings of primes for NEX mount, but is there anyone who (like me) likes to carry one or two _zoom_ lenses and who is happy with the size of a NEX system? Particularly in comparison to the 4/3" and 1" format alternatives from Panasonic, Olympus, and Nikon.

P. S. I am staying with the name EVIL [Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lenses] since I, and most people here, seem to want bodies with a peep-hole viewfinder as distinct from only a rear screen.

I don't really pay much attention to zoom lenses, but, probably not, although the NEX kit zoom is actually surprisingly good and not all that big (about the same size as the silver prime in my pic from the previous page.

The trickiest thing is in comparing zoom ranges and apertures with the different sized sensors.  Since m4/3 has a smaller sensor, the 18-55 f3.5-5.6 on NEX would be approximately equivalent to a 14-40 f2.7-f4.3 on m4/3, which is faster than the Olympus kit zoom that is 14-42mm f3.5-5.6, for example, so the two aren't directly comparable.

Either way, primes are the way to go on NEX, IMO, although I do use the kit zoom for occasional video.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: JohnBrew on May 07, 2012, 07:59:53 pm
Douglas, I use Leica lenses. They are quite small. They come with a nice bag from the factory so I'll see one of those works inside the pouch.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 07, 2012, 08:25:36 pm
Douglas, I use Leica lenses. They are quite small. They come with a nice bag from the factory so I'll see one of those works inside the pouch.

I've had a ton of M lenses, although non with the Leica pouch, and I'm betting that the Leica pouches will be a little bulky.  If they don't work, I've been using this kinda thing from ebay:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/THREE-Sunglasses-Case-Bag-Pouch-Microfiber-/260852550463?pt=US_Sunglasses&hash=item3cbc060b3f#ht_640wt_1144 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/THREE-Sunglasses-Case-Bag-Pouch-Microfiber-/260852550463?pt=US_Sunglasses&hash=item3cbc060b3f#ht_640wt_1144)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: John Camp on May 07, 2012, 10:06:58 pm
Just as a kind of index, I took a photo of most of my traveling m4/3 system. I included the paperback book in the (iPhone) photo for scale -- the bag is roughly the size of a briefcase. I used the iPhone because for a minute or so was I befuddled about what I'd use to take the shot (I'm not where my other cameras are.)

What we have here is a two-camera system, with two battery chargers and the two spare batteries, some miscellaneous stuff like the memory card file and grey-card array, plus seven lenses: the 20mm pancake, the 14-45 zoom, the PanaLeica 45, the Olympus 45, the 7-14 zoom, the 100-300 zoom, and the 45-200 zoom. I also have the 0.95 Voiltlander 25mm, but that's on loan to a guy at another photo blog, but it also fits in the bag (and is a most...peculiar...lens.)

The difference between this and the Nex system is that the same lens equivalents in the Nex system would most likely require a roller case, rather than a briefcase. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I chose this system of its size, not for its ultimate resolution quality. I have a Nikon system for that, and will be adding the D800e...but I don't use it all that often.



 
Title: Re: Kit sizes: 35mm format vs EVIL with primes vs EVIL with zooms
Post by: BJL on May 07, 2012, 10:52:05 pm
Since m4/3 has a smaller sensor, the 18-55 f3.5-5.6 on NEX would be approximately equivalent to a 14-40 f2.7-f4.3 on m4/3, which is faster than the Olympus kit zoom that is 14-42mm f3.5-5.6, for example, so the two aren't directly comparable.
The thing that people have to realise and accept is that a smaller format does not magically achieve smaller lenses while having the performance fully equivalent to  larger kit in a larger format, in the sense of giving the same field of view and equally shallow DOF wide open and equal light gathering speed and low light performance --- that would require about equally large effective aperture (focal length divided by f-stop) and so roughly the same size and weight of front elements, likely leading to similar size and weigh of the lenses.

Instead, one has to accept that there is no free lunch, in either direction. With roughly equal sensor technology:
 - A smaller kit with smaller lenses is going to be "slower" in its low light handling.
 - A bigger sensor only gives better low light performance when paired with larger lenses, of larger maximum effective aperture size, as with equal minimum f-stop.

Hopefully, experienced photographers understand the basic physics of f-stop and ISO speed trade-offs and so when they choose a smaller kit in a smaller format, they are accepting that trade-off of size against speed. For me, it is easy enough to accept, due to the far higher usable ISO speeds in even the smallest interchangeable lens formats compared to what we had a decade or two ago: Micro Four Thirds or even Nikon One with the slowest kit lenses still have better low light handling that any film cameras with any lens! (And maybe some of these small system buyers have another bigger, heavier, faster kit for other tasks.)


This is why it puzzles me when some users of smaller format systems then clamor for a lens system consisting entirely of fast primes and zooms, and denigrate the smaller, slower lenses. People who want that speed from all their lenses are simply better off with a larger format. (At least up to the big price jump beyond the largest mainstream formats, meaning "APS-C".)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 08, 2012, 12:53:01 pm
Just as a kind of index, I took a photo of most of my traveling m4/3 system. I included the paperback book in the (iPhone) photo for scale -- the bag is roughly the size of a briefcase. I used the iPhone because for a minute or so was I befuddled about what I'd use to take the shot (I'm not where my other cameras are.)

What we have here is a two-camera system, with two battery chargers and the two spare batteries, some miscellaneous stuff like the memory card file and grey-card array, plus seven lenses: the 20mm pancake, the 14-45 zoom, the PanaLeica 45, the Olympus 45, the 7-14 zoom, the 100-300 zoom, and the 45-200 zoom. I also have the 0.95 Voiltlander 25mm, but that's on loan to a guy at another photo blog, but it also fits in the bag (and is a most...peculiar...lens.)

The difference between this and the Nex system is that the same lens equivalents in the Nex system would most likely require a roller case, rather than a briefcase. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I chose this system of its size, not for its ultimate resolution quality. I have a Nikon system for that, and will be adding the D800e...but I don't use it all that often.


  I hear ya, John. It all comes down to preference.  I rarely use more than 3 lenses with any system, and I don't use zooms, so my comparison between the two systems would be much difference.  That being said, I don't think the NEX lenses are quite as big as you may think they are.  I'd bet you could fit an equivalent NEX system in that bag, if not maybe removing one lens from the equation.  I only recently started using actual NEX lenses in favor of rangefinder lenses, because I'd been complaining about their size, but, I've been surprised how small the NEX lenses still are.  I think the size of the NEX camera bodies really exaggerate their lens size, although lenses like your Olympus 45 are certainly much smaller.
Title: Re: Kit sizes: 35mm format vs EVIL with primes vs EVIL with zooms
Post by: douglasf13 on May 08, 2012, 01:01:02 pm
The thing that people have to realise and accept is that a smaller format does not magically achieve smaller lenses while having the performance fully equivalent to  larger kit in a larger format, in the sense of giving the same field of view and equally shallow DOF wide open and equal light gathering speed and low light performance --- that would require about equally large effective aperture (focal length divided by f-stop) and so roughly the same size and weight of front elements, likely leading to similar size and weigh of the lenses.

Instead, one has to accept that there is no free lunch, in either direction. With roughly equal sensor technology:
 - A smaller kit with smaller lenses is going to be "slower" in its low light handling.
 - A bigger sensor only gives better low light performance when paired with larger lenses, of larger maximum effective aperture size, as with equal minimum f-stop.

Hopefully, experienced photographers understand the basic physics of f-stop and ISO speed trade-offs and so when they choose a smaller kit in a smaller format, they are accepting that trade-off of size against speed. For me, it is easy enough to accept, due to the far higher usable ISO speeds in even the smallest interchangeable lens formats compared to what we had a decade or two ago: Micro Four Thirds or even Nikon One with the slowest kit lenses still have better low light handling that any film cameras with any lens! (And maybe some of these small system buyers have another bigger, heavier, faster kit for other tasks.)


This is why it puzzles me when some users of smaller format systems then clamor for a lens system consisting entirely of fast primes and zooms, and denigrate the smaller, slower lenses. People who want that speed from all their lenses are simply better off with a larger format. (At least up to the big price jump beyond the largest mainstream formats, meaning "APS-C".)

  I'm always surprised how often shooters don't make this distinction, which is why I mentioned it.  The smaller formats certainly have the marketing advantage, because they can make amazingly small, fast lenses, and I think it does trick some people.   All of the lenses that I use are f2.8, outside of one f1.8 portrait lens, and I've been fine with it.

  I personally find aps-c to be the sweetspot, especially with Sony Exmor being the top of the heap in sensor tech these days, but it is really nitpicking between the systems, IMO.  For what I carry, switching to m4/3 wouldn't be all that much smaller, but, if I was carrying something like John is above, it may be a different story.
Title: format size sweet spot: depends on telephoto reach desires for one thing
Post by: BJL on May 08, 2012, 02:09:38 pm
@douglasf13 (Douglas?):
    Maybe in addition to the "primes only" versus "zoom lens user" issue, there is the issue of how much telephoto reach (and macro enlargement ability) one wants. Your longest NEX lens is a short telephoto 50mm; John and I like having a 300mm option (that's "400mm equivalent" ... in the more relevant APS-C FOV equivalency, not 35mm!) To match John's lens collection (or mine) with an APS-C format system would require something like a 70-300 and a 120-400, so (putting aside the fact that nothing longer than 200mm exists yet for NEX mount, except by using SLR lenses with an adaptor) I think the comparable kit size would be substantially larger.

On the other hand, for photographers (like you apparently) who are primarily interested in the narrower "rangefinder" range of FOV options, up to only mildly telephoto, the balance shifts in favor of a larger format, because the extra burden in size, weight and cost is not so great in that situation.

I'd bet you could fit an equivalent NEX system in that bag, if not maybe removing one lens from the equation.

P. S. A prediction: it wil be a very long time, maybe forever, before any of the new compact systems offers a zoom lens reaching longer than 300mm: the step from 300mm to 400mm was already a big jump up in price and bulk and down in sale volume for 35mm format, and so I expect the demand to be even lower and thus the economies of scale to be even worse for the new smaller formats. In-camera cropping modes, adapted lenses from other systems, adapted telescopes, and maybe tele-convertors will fill the gap.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: dturina on May 08, 2012, 04:13:13 pm
P. S. A prediction: it wil be a very long time, maybe forever, before any of the new compact systems offers a zoom lens reaching longer than 300mm

If you mean physical focal lengths, they are here already, but this is 600mm effective.

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-100-300mm-4-0-5-6-OIS-Interchangeable/dp/B0043VE28S
http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-M-Zuiko-75-300mm-4-8-6-7-Digital/dp/B00492GLFS
Title: My prediction: 300mm (actual focal length) and not beyond for compact systems
Post by: BJL on May 08, 2012, 04:33:36 pm
I indeed meant actual focal lengths, not "FOV equivalents", and my prediction is that they will not go beyond the 300mm that is already available. Yes it is great fun having "600mm equivalent" on a camera that fits in a little bag originally designed for a 35mm film SLR with just a standard 28-105mm kit zoom lens.

If you mean physical focal lengths, they are here already, but this is 600mm effective.

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-100-300mm-4-0-5-6-OIS-Interchangeable/dp/B0043VE28S
http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-M-Zuiko-75-300mm-4-8-6-7-Digital/dp/B00492GLFS
Title: Re: format size sweet spot: depends on telephoto reach desires for one thing
Post by: douglasf13 on May 08, 2012, 06:15:44 pm
@douglasf13 (Douglas?):
    Maybe in addition to the "primes only" versus "zoom lens user" issue, there is the issue of how much telephoto reach (and macro enlargement ability) one wants. Your longest NEX lens is a short telephoto 50mm; John and I like having a 300mm option (that's "400mm equivalent" ... in the more relevant APS-C FOV equivalency, not 35mm!) To match John's lens collection (or mine) with an APS-C format system would require something like a 70-300 and a 120-400, so (putting aside the fact that nothing longer than 200mm exists yet for NEX mount, except by using SLR lenses with an adaptor) I think the comparable kit size would be substantially larger.

On the other hand, for photographers (like you apparently) who are primarily interested in the narrower "rangefinder" range of FOV options, up to only mildly telephoto, the balance shifts in favor of a larger format, because the extra burden in size, weight and cost is not so great in that situation.

P. S. A prediction: it wil be a very long time, maybe forever, before any of the new compact systems offers a zoom lens reaching longer than 300mm: the step from 300mm to 400mm was already a big jump up in price and bulk and down in sale volume for 35mm format, and so I expect the demand to be even lower and thus the economies of scale to be even worse for the new smaller formats. In-camera cropping modes, adapted lenses from other systems, adapted telescopes, and maybe tele-convertors will fill the gap.


Certainly.  I generally stay in the mid-tele and wider area. In all honesty, I shoot a standard prime most of the time.  When I do need reach, I've got a Contax G 90 and a Zeiss Jena 135/3.5 that are relatively compact, but then we're talking no AF. 

Right now, I believe that longest option is the 18-200 or 55-210 for NEX, although, I guess if we're speaking in terms of the NEX-7, you could crop and get some of that reach back in relation to m4/3.

Ultimately, as the number of lenses in one's kit increases, the differences in size amplifies, especially as we start talking long lenses, as you say. 
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: AdrianW on May 08, 2012, 06:45:14 pm
An interesting article, and an interesting thread. If I may bring the latter briefly off topic - Richard commented about the viewfinder positioning on the OM-D (crossing every ocean for the sake of locomotion...crossing, sorry where was I?) being a relic from an irrelevant era.

I think having the viewfinder equivalent in the middle is a reasonable compromise. If I handed my mother a camera, she'd always hold it to her left eye - because that's her dominant one. She would curse you royally if you forced her to use the other eye... Olympus will sell some for precisely that reason.

In reality the correct location for the viewfinder is at the bottom edge of the camera - that way nobody has their nose smushed against the screen; well not unless they were a life model for Picasso ;)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 08, 2012, 07:12:14 pm
An interesting article, and an interesting thread. If I may bring the latter briefly off topic - Richard commented about the viewfinder positioning on the OM-D (crossing every ocean for the sake of locomotion...crossing, sorry where was I?) being a relic from an irrelevant era.

I think having the viewfinder equivalent in the middle is a reasonable compromise. If I handed my mother a camera, she'd always hold it to her left eye - because that's her dominant one. She would curse you royally if you forced her to use the other eye... Olympus will sell some for precisely that reason.

In reality the correct location for the viewfinder is at the bottom edge of the camera - that way nobody has their nose smushed against the screen; well not unless they were a life model for Picasso ;)

Just like any rangefinder, the NEX-7's EVF position is still certainly usable by left-eyed shooters.  In fact, it's not all that bad shooting it that way, because the line of the lens is right down the middle of your nose, since the camera is in the center of your face.  Of course, shooting right eyed is better, because your nose misses the LCD altogether.  With the OM-D, your nose is an issue with either eye.  What the OM-D did get right, though, is that Olympus extended the eyepiece out a little further from the back of the camera, which, although it adds to the depth of the camera,  I think it makes it a little easier to get your eye lined up well. I wish the eyepiece housing of the NEX-7 was a couple of millimeters longer for left eyed shooters, in particular.  I have deep set eyes, and I'm shooting right eyed, so shooting the NEX-7 without the eyecup works really well for me, but I think others have issues, especially eyeglass wearers.

This leads me to a point about size that I failed to mention with John and BJL.  Since the NEX-7 EVF is next to the lens mount, the camera height was not affected by adding an EVF.  The OM-D EVF, being above the lens mount, adds considerable height to the camera. For my prime lens setup, despite my equivalent lenses being slightly larger, the height of the OM-D is a non-starter for me, as it would prevent me from using the thin bags like the Billingham that I showed earlier in the thread.  The lens dimension of the camera is already long, so slight differences in that don't affect me much, but making the camera height longer affects my setup up quite a bit.  As usual, YMMV.

Another quick note, eye dominance does tend to be overstated.  It isn't a significant change like left vs. right handedness.  A few years ago, I switched from right eye to left eye shooting, because, despite seeming to naturally want to shoot with my right eye, my left eye was a little better.  I've since had Lasik surgery, and so I switched back to right eyed shooting again.  In both cases, switching only took me a day or two to get used to, and I've read that's common.



Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 08, 2012, 08:21:21 pm
Just like any rangefinder, the NEX-7's EVF position is still certainly usable by left-eyed shooters. ...
First, a minor point: the NEX-7 is _not_ a rangefinder, and the reason that the VF of a true rangefinder is at the left edge rather than in the middle (to get as long a baseline as possible for the RF focusing system) is irrelevant. In this respect, a cynic could also accuse the VF at left positioning as a retro reference to rangefinder camera design! Still, it has some advantage for right-eyed users, and no great disadvantage for left-eyed users, whose nose needs to be turned slightly to one side no matter where the VF is located. I feel slightly less comfortable holding the camera distinctly off to the right of my head as is required by having the VF at the left extemity,and it maybe would reduce my ability to brace the camera with both elbows against my chest, but frankly all these are very minor issues, smelling a bit like ex post facto rationalizations of camera choices that were actually made for other reasosns. Namely, "bigger sensor!" vs "smaller lenses!"

Quote
Since the NEX-7 EVF is next to the lens mount, the camera height was not affected by adding an EVF.  The OM-D EVF, being above the lens mount, adds considerable height to the camera.
But if you look at these cameras from the back, you will see that this is untrue, because the height requirement of the 3" LCDs renders that of the lens mount irrelevant. In both the NEX-7 and the E-M5, the 3" LCD runs from the bottom of the body up to the bottom of the EVF window, so the height from bottom of body to top of EVF is the first main height constraint, and appears to be about equal. To either side of either EVF, nothing gets higher than the top of the EVF. So the height difference is essentially due to the E-M5 having both the hot-shoe and the new hot-shoe accessory conection port "stacked" on top of the EVF (and with the "gyros" of the stabilization system up there too, for whatever reason) whereas the NEX-7 puts the hot-shoe to the right of the EVF, so lower down.

Your bag situation has the interesting effect of making a few mm in that dimension more important than the substantially greater differences in the lengths of lenses with equal reach.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 08, 2012, 08:58:57 pm
First, a minor point: the NEX-7 is _not_ a rangefinder, and the reason that the VF of a true rangefinder is at the left edge rather than in the middle (to get as long a baseline as possible for the RF focusing system) is irrelevant. In this respect, a cynic could also accuse the VF at left positioning as a retro reference to rangefinder camera design! Still, it has some advantage for right-eyed users, and no great disadvantage for left-eyed users, whose nose needs to be turned slightly to one side no matter where the VF is located. I feel slightly less comfortable holding the camera distinctly off to the right of my head as is required by having the VF at the left extemity,and it maybe would reduce my ability to brace the camera with both elbows against my chest, but frankly all these are very minor issues, smelling a bit like ex post facto rationalizations of camera choices that were actually made for other reasosns. Namely, "bigger sensor!" vs "smaller lenses!"
But if you look at these cameras from the back, you will see that this is untrue, because the height requirement of the 3" LCDs renders that of the lens mount irrelevant. In both the NEX-7 and the E-M5, the 3" LCD runs from the bottom of the body up to the bottom of the EVF window, so the height from bottom of body to top of EVF is the first main height constraint, and appears to be about equal. To either side of either EVF, nothing gets higher than the top of the EVF. So the height difference is essentially due to the E-M5 having both the hot-shoe and the new hot-shoe accessory conection port "stacked" on top of the EVF (and with the "gyros" of the stabilization system up there too, for whatever reason) whereas the NEX-7 puts the hot-shoe to the right of the EVF, so lower down.

Your bag situation has the interesting effect of making a few mm in that dimension more important than the substantially greater differences in the lengths of lenses with equal reach.

I never meant to imply the NEX was a rangefinder.  I should have not included the word "all," as that made my point confusing.  Sorry about that.  My point was simply that left eyed users have been using cameras for a long time with a viewfinder at the side of the camera body.

Your measurements of the cameras are skewed, because the NEX cameras use a wider format 3" screen.  There is about a 14mm or so difference between the height of the NEX-7's lens mount and the height of its LCD screen.  If the EVF of the NEX-7 was centrally mounted, it would run into back of the mount, especially considering the shallow depth of the camera.

One of the main reasons I traded in my NEX-5N with the EVF was because of the added height, and, whether the height of the OM-D is tied to the location of the EVF or not, it's my biggest beef with the camera.  My good friend who owns the OM-D agrees.  I like quite a few things about it, though.  Great camera.

(http://media.teds.com.au/teds/media/catalog/product/s/o/sony_nex7_body_black-side-102952.jpg)
(http://whatdigitalcamera.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11133%7C000005d2d%7Cb3fb_OMD-EM5-side-left.jpg)
(http://static.stuff-review.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/e-m5-gx1-nex-7-x-pro1-milc-size-comparison-height-1102.jpg)

This height difference is noticeable in a few of my bags, and should at least be part of the conversation in terms of size, especially for those like me using only a few primes, and, as a right-eyed shooter, I like that I can get my nose out of the way.  The whole EVF assembly of the OM-D is massive, although, as I mentioned earlier, I do like how the EVF extends further out the back of the camera, which only adds a little extra length to the lens dimension.

p.s. I don't appreciate this comment, "smelling a bit like ex post facto rationalizations of camera choices that were actually made for other reasons."  The EVF location of the NEX-7 was what immediately stuck out to me about its design, and I'm sure others would agree.

Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 08, 2012, 10:10:12 pm
Douglas,

Your point about the different screen shape probably does explain a few mm of difference, but it does not change the fact that lens mount size and such is irrelevant to the height of the bodies. It is still true that, apart from having the hotshoe and such on top of the EVF instead of beside it, the height of the rest of each body is determined by the height of the LCD plus the height of the EVF. The LCD shape difference is of course due to the format shape difference, not because Olympus chose a different shape in order to "hide" the need fpr extra height elsewhere. The main reason that the Olympus EVF is above the lens mount while Sony's is not is the combination of
- the  Olympus LCD id a bit higher, putting the LCD a few mm higher
- the Olympus lens mount is a bit smaller.

By the way, the NEX-7 body design does make a good case that there is no room for body down-sizing from further sensor downsizing: every mm of its height and width is necessitated by features unrelated to sensor size, like thr LCD, EVF, and the controls and handgrip needed to the right of the LCD. I think that even a 35mm sensor could fit in such a body, amd even with a lens mount no larger. In cameras hat have neither optical viewfinder mechanisms nor film spoole, size is all almost all about the lenses!


And never mind what I said was a minor point about rangefinders: I already agreed that there is no "nose" disadvantage for the VF at left compared to VF in the middle. It was more an aside at my suspicion that some other people (Richard Sexton?) consider the true range-finder camera's "rectangular box with VF in the top-left corner" shape to be more natural for "EVIL" cameras on the basis of a spurious association with range-finder cameras, given that EVIL cameras are in reality as "rangefinder-less" as they are "mirror-less" .

Returning to the official topic, "A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design": I sometimes wonder if a design that truly started from scratch, with no relics of the spatial constraints of the film transport mechanism or an OVF, would be radically different -- maybe a design with only an EVF, no screen on the back, could resemble a small hand-held telescope, with controls mostly on top, operated almost like a wind imstrument. (There could be a LCD on the top, for when top-down viewing for composition is more convenient, and it could flip up to vertical position for horizontal viewing.) the vastly different shapes adopted by the earliest all-electronic cameras, meaning video-cameras, is a hint that digital still camera design still has a lot of historical baggage.

My "telescope/recorder camera" would be smaller in two of three dimensions, and fit even better in your bag!
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 08, 2012, 10:56:20 pm
Ah, I see your point now about the LCD location affecting the EVF height.  That makes sense.  The Nikon V1 is a good example of a center orientated EVF that isn't particularly tall.  I will humbly change my opinion on this, in terms of camera height vs. EVF location.  I personally still like the position of the NEX-7's EVF in terms of comfort, but, as I've mentioned, I think that Sony should have made the eyepiece housing deeper for left-eye shooters and glasses wearers.

A lot of digicams last decade experimented with cutting edge shapes that were more free from our current idea of camera forms, but, I must admit, they certainly were a little jarring to me.  I guess that I'm more superficial than I thought.  :)  At least we're starting to get this topic back on track!  LOL

Yikes.
(http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/f828/f828_front_blk2.jpg)

Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 08, 2012, 11:36:56 pm
The Nikon V1 is a good example of a center orientated EVF that isn't particularly tall.
Yes ... but for a moment I was puzzled by the fact that the V1 is 9mm higher than the NEX7 despite both having the same 3:2 image shape. Then I looked again at all the reviews, and realised how "wide and low" the NEX7 screen is: it is in 16:9 HD video shape? Anyway, during still composition, the NEX7 (like all NEX cameras?) displays extra information to the right of the image during composition, whereas both the E-M5 and V1 display it below, so the LCD shapes seem quite different. Sony seems to have gone all out for height reduction, perhaps as a "pocketability" factor.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 09, 2012, 01:40:42 am
Yes ... but for a moment I was puzzled by the fact that the V1 is 9mm higher than the NEX7 despite both having the same 3:2 image shape. Then I looked again at all the reviews, and realised how "wide and low" the NEX7 screen is: it is in 16:9 HD video shape? Anyway, during still composition, the NEX7 (like all NEX cameras?) displays extra information to the right of the image during composition, whereas both the E-M5 and V1 display it below, so the LCD shapes seem quite different. Sony seems to have gone all out for height reduction, perhaps as a "pocketability" factor.

Yeah, I have mixed feelings about the 16:9 screens of all of the Nex cameras. It is good in some ways for size, and there is a full screen mode if you shoot stills or video at 16:9, but you loose a little real estate in 3:2 mode.  Oddly, the EVF is in the more standard ratio with shoot info above and below the screen.
Title: Re: My prediction: 300mm (actual focal length) and not beyond for compact systems
Post by: dturina on May 09, 2012, 02:56:27 am
I indeed meant actual focal lengths, not "FOV equivalents", and my prediction is that they will not go beyond the 300mm that is already available. Yes it is great fun having "600mm equivalent" on a camera that fits in a little bag originally designed for a 35mm film SLR with just a standard 28-105mm kit zoom lens.


Frankly, I would hate trying to use a strong telephoto with such small cameras. With E-PL1 I have issues trying to get 70mm (140eq.) perfectly still, and there's not much chance of that without a tripod. Also, trying to control framing on an LCD screen, EVF or otherwise, is not the easiest thing. But when you use a tripod and a long lens, such a small camera becomes a bit pointless; for such use I'd rather have the E-5, which is a proper size camera with normal controls and a viewfinder, but it's as big as my 5d, so if that's the choice I'd take my 5d.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 09, 2012, 03:10:10 am
I only occasionally use a 200mm equiv on the Nex-7, and I don't really have any difficulties that I've noticed, but I'm not sure about other cameras.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: dturina on May 09, 2012, 04:05:59 am
I only occasionally use a 200mm equiv on the Nex-7, and I don't really have any difficulties that I've noticed, but I'm not sure about other cameras.

That might be because I'm using the 100% magnification to check focus and stillness and it goes all over the place. If I only used normal framing view I'd probably be fine with it, too. :)
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 09, 2012, 09:30:46 am
I have seen these various arguments against telephoto work with a smaller camera and a smaller format before, and they do not make sense to me. [Edit: one might relate to the particular way that live view works in the Olympus Pen models, changed in the E-M5.]

On size: omce the system has a distinct overall size advantage, the fact that the advantage os smaller in some situations (like when you need a tripod) does not nullify the advantage, let alone turn ot into a disadvantage. Also, when the system's size advantage comes in part from a smaller format (or to be pedantic, from smaller photosites and so higher resolution in lines per mm) then the telephoto focal lengths needed get smaller. In fact this is the place where smaller formats get there most noticable size advantage. I greatly enjoy carrying a light zoom that reaches 300mm, and does things with 4/3" format that would have needed 600mm or more with 35mm film (Ēor more" because the images are more detailed and allow more cropping than with film).

The issue of "imbalance" between long lenses and small bodies (mentioned elsewhere, not here) is irelevant to me at least: a long lens is supported from below either by a hand or a tripod, and either way, having less camera weight pulling down at the back behind the support point is no disadvantage.

I agree that composing telephoto shots on the rear screen is unpleasant, so I can understand your reaction with E-P1, and if I recall correctly, the Pen models do not apply IS to the image in the viewfinder whereas Canon SLR's with IS lenses do. The solution to that is probably using an EVF with stabilization of the live view image, which I believe Olympus offers for the first time in the E-M5, and Panasonic has always offered with its lens-based IS system.
Title: Re: format size sweet spot: depends on telephoto reach desires for one thing
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 09, 2012, 10:04:44 am
Right now, I believe that longest option is the 18-200 or 55-210 for NEX, although, I guess if we're speaking in terms of the NEX-7, you could crop and get some of that reach back in relation to m4/3.

With NEX you can use the Alpha lens adaptor and buy a Tamron 200-500 or the like, with phase detect AF.

The LA-EA2 + long alpha lenses is going to be really tough competition for any native NEX supertelephotos, given the superiority of phase detect AF for the use cases for these lenses.
Title: Re: format size sweet spot: depends on telephoto reach desires for one thing
Post by: BJL on May 09, 2012, 10:16:37 am
With NEX you can use the Alpha lens adaptor and buy a Tamron 200-500 or the like, with phase detect AF.

The LA-EA2 + long alpha lenses is going to be really tough competition for any native NEX supertelephotos, given the superiority of phase detect AF for the use cases for these lenses.
True ... and for similar reasons, many 4/3 and m4/3 users would like either to either follow Nikon with PDAF in the main sensor or tonfollow Sony with a PDAF adaptor for existing bigger, faster 4/3 SLR lenses. Or failing that, a compact 4/3 SLR body like the E620 to use with them: once you are hauling those big lenses, the extra body is not much more of a load.


But those lenses plus that adaptor move us well beyond "Billingham man-purse" territory!
Title: Re: format size sweet spot: depends on telephoto reach desires for one thing
Post by: MatthewCromer on May 09, 2012, 10:31:29 am

But those lenses plus that adaptor move us well beyond "Billingham man-purse" territory!

Ha!  Yep.

Although the 200-500 is surprisingly small and compact when set to 200mm (and if you leave off the mostly superfluous hood, which is a monster!).  It's certainly way more manageable than its competitors like the Sigma X-500 zooms.

The LA-EA2 barely registers as a blip next to any of these lenses, of course.  Of course, even my Alpha 65 is pretty shrimpy mounted to the Tamron at full zoom.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on May 09, 2012, 01:51:20 pm
Yeah, as lenses get bigger, the advantage of a small camera body becomes a diminishing return. 
Title: telephoto is where a smaller format has most size advantage, in fact
Post by: BJL on May 09, 2012, 02:43:36 pm
Yeah, as lenses get bigger, the advantage of a small camera body becomes a diminishing return. 
... and on the other hand, the size advantage of those lenses over the even bigger lenses needed in a larger format to get the same telephoto reach or macro enlargement increases! It is strange how often these discussions focus on body size in isolation, rather than on the total size of complete working cameras, including lenses.

To be fair, the size advantage might correspond to the size of the tele-convertor that converts a lens for a smaller format to a truly equivalent lens for a larger format: same reach, DOF wide open, light gathering speed. For example, the 1.5x size ratio between Sony and Nikon's "APS-C" format and 35mm format means that a 1.4x TC would convert a Sony or Nikon "APS-C" format lens to one that does a similar job on a Sony or Nikon 35mm format body, with the ISO speed raised one stop to compensate for the loss of lens brightness.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: dturina on May 09, 2012, 04:11:51 pm
I wasn't thinking about size differences between formats but within 4/3; the ordinary 4/3 lenses *are* bigger than the m43 variety but that's because they are much better and several stops brighter. Theoretically you can put those on a m43 body via adapter, but that would look ridiculous and I can't really see any advantages to such a combination. It's just more awkward to operate,  with everything smaller than comfort would dictate. But as something to slip into a pocket and take out when you see something nice m43 just rules. I see it as an ideal small walkaround setup, not as SLR-replacement, as some seem to. It's more of a Leica M replacement.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: BJL on May 09, 2012, 05:28:18 pm
I wasn't thinking about size differences between formats but within 4/3 ...
I understand now: yes, the main lens size differences are with shorter focal lengths, where the rear elements of lenses can sit far closer to the sensor. Along with the fact that even if a lens alone is about the same size as its SLR counterpart (the Olympus 14-42 SLR lens is already fairly small and light) the kit of lens plus body is about 20mm less deep, front to back). I do not think that an SLR could have one of those cute collapsing 14-42 zoom lenses. Though for now, I am hesitant about the optical and mechanical quality of at least the Panasonic 14-42 X, so I am letting others test these new-fangled technologies first.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: dturina on May 10, 2012, 04:33:43 am
Regarging mechanical quality, only time will tell but the 14-42mm collapsible m.Zuiko does look very flimsy and fragile. Then again I've seen similarly flimsy designs, for instance EF 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 from the first EOS 650, survive 25 years of use with only moderate signs of wear. I have one, in fact. On the other hand some designs look very solid on the outside but inside they seem to be very fragile and break easily.

Regarding image quality, I must say this tiny thing surprised me. It's much better than I thought it would be. I have a full size landscape sample so you can see what it can do: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6130661353/download/1938766

It has serious geometry issues that are usually corrected in software, but if you can live with those it is surprisingly good.
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: barryfitzgerald on May 31, 2012, 06:43:30 pm
Strange article the problem for me is the 2d EVF is a very poor substitute for a real viewfinder. There are of course pros and cons to both, but the cons are most obvious with EVF's
I don't care for the OVF must die fanboy take some try to enforce, I'm not going to buy an EVF camera not now nor ever, I'll shoot and scan film before I do that  :o
New tech is not always better..
Title: Re: A Critique of Contemporary Camera Design
Post by: douglasf13 on June 01, 2012, 01:41:42 pm
Strange article the problem for me is the 2d EVF is a very poor substitute for a real viewfinder. There are of course pros and cons to both, but the cons are most obvious with EVF's
I don't care for the OVF must die fanboy take some try to enforce, I'm not going to buy an EVF camera not now nor ever, I'll shoot and scan film before I do that  :o
New tech is not always better..

  It's a sliding scale for me.  In terms of the NEX-7 EVF, it's about the same size as my A900 OVF, and each has their own advantages, so I like them both for different reasons.  When compared to most APS-C OVFs, though, I'd much rather have the NEX-7's EVF. 

  If I'm using the NEX-7 and dying for an big, bright, OVF view, I can always throw my Leica external OVF into the hotshoe and use zone focusing.