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Author Topic: Common sense camera design  (Read 5712 times)

trichardlin

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Common sense camera design
« on: January 17, 2011, 06:59:33 pm »

Although Sean's article about common sense design of the eye piece location is well thought out, I don't think the designer of Nikon D700 put the eye piece off center to avoid the nose.  To me, they put it there so that it aligns to the center of the LCD screen.  Well, the LCD screen is off center because they had to put all the other controls, such as the control wheel, on the right hand side.  Look at the back of D90 and D300S, the D7000, all of their eye piece aligned to the center of LCD screen.  I doubt the Nikon designers thought as much about the nose as Sean did.   ;)

Richard
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Arthur Clune

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 06:44:02 am »


And what about those of us that are left-eyed?
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grzybu

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2011, 07:45:52 am »

We are doomed ;)
At least I'm mostly right handed so I'm only half disabled when using a camera...
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JerseyT

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2011, 11:02:52 am »

I'm also left eyed, so putting the eyepiece on the left doesn't help.  I understand the problem with SLRs that use mirrors, but for EVF cameras there's a solution - put on two hot shoes (or whatever the EVF socket is called).  If they both also work for an external flash, photographers could choose left-flash and right-viewfinder, or vice versa.  Shouldn't really add much to the cost, and it could be a useful feature for all.
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wolfnowl

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 11:08:07 am »

I'm both left-handed and left-eyed, but as most things are designed for right-handed people (I do have a pair of left-handed scissors), I learned long ago to be reasonably ambidextrous.  I can even write with my write hand, although not as quickly as with my left.  I always used my left eye with 35mm film cameras, but when I switched to digital I discovered that using my right eye meant I had to do less cleaning of the LCD screen.  Waist level viewfinders - perfect!

Mike.
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trichardlin

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 12:04:54 pm »

... for EVF cameras there's a solution - put on two hot shoes (or whatever the EVF socket is called).  If they both also work for an external flash, photographers could choose left-flash and right-viewfinder, or vice versa.  Shouldn't really add much to the cost, and it could be a useful feature for all.

Brilliant!

We do need a better EVF.  I love the EVF on my Panasonic GF1, but could use better resolution and color rendering.  Maybe a high-res OLED screen is on the horizon? 

The Panasonic EVF tilts 90 degrees which solves the nose problem and allows creative shooting angles.  Another solution is to have a pull-out eye piece/EVF so that it give the nose some breathing room.  You know, like a retractable lens on all the point and shoot cameras.
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 12:26:50 pm »

Left-eyed and right-handed here, a mixed bag. It's a good point about EVL being placed in the center of the camera body. Choosing an alternative, left or right, is not quite correct, so maybe mount it on a swivel that locks into position. My beef is with exposure lock buttons that are meant to be used by thumb but are too far away.

We do a lot of things wrong. Why do have round door knobs? Handles are easier for everybody, even for non-disabled people with dry hands. Why do bathtubs have concave smooth bottoms, are they deliberately trying to break people's hips?
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Robert

Gary Brown

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 01:18:22 pm »

FWIW, here's a more-or-less opposite opinion from someone who's left-eyed and likes the viewfinder where it is (toward the left): Joe McNally's approach to hand-holding a camera.

He also has a video on the topic.
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Rob C

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2011, 01:29:29 pm »

Left eye - right eye. Simple solution: shoot verticals and make it a trademark.

But something else, attendant to verticals: with film Nikons I always held the various cameras the same way around; with both the D200 and D700 I find it all becomes hit'n'miss, time for a piss.

I can't really determine what the problem is, but hand-held, it seems to get swapped from one way to the other, both feeling as alien, which is rather surprising considering that most of my early life - well into middleage, in fact - was vertical fashion! Also, when on a tripod, verticals were always shot with the top of the camera facing to my left. They still are with digital. Explain.

I watched a BBC tv show last night that took one into the understandings of reality. Various  physicists went right over my head (pretty quickly, really) and demonstrated how a particle(?) can be in two places at once - they aimed one through one of two parallel slits in a mask: in one instance it recorded as a single hit on the monitor; they then showed it going through both slits at the same time, recording two hits on the monitor, one for each slit, but when they put 'detectors' at either side of the mask (to the front of it), the particle behave itself and went through one slit only. Or the other way around - it matters not. With that in mind, why worry about camera ergonomics? We're all effed whatever we do.

But, it did reinforce my already strong belief in a very real afterlife.

Rob C

E.J. Peiker

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2011, 01:32:11 pm »

Then there is those of us that, while right handed, use their left eye to look through the viewfinder...

There is simply no "one size fits all" solution.
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G.L.

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2011, 01:37:39 pm »

The problem with ergonomics is that one can't use numbers to quantify improvements.

Suppose you are an engineer and can prove that you found something that could improve one of the future camera specification by n%. This n% improvement and how much it cost will be compared with other possible improvements and how much they cost. The decision could be difficult but that's a quantified improvement against a quantified cost.

On the contrary improvements regarding ergonomics must be huge and obvious or they are neglected. For example the proportion of left-handed or left-eyed peoples are well-known but, alas, how much they suffer from the present situation is impossible to quantify...
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 01:42:32 pm by G.L. »
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John Camp

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2011, 01:23:00 pm »

I also have a nose, and have solved this critical problem by using a small high-tech rag, the kind you buy in camera stores and meant for wiping lenses and glasses, and spend three seconds, once or twice a day, in wiping off the LCD. Granted, each time I do it, that's a wasted three seconds, but I try to pick a time when three seconds isn't critical. 8-p
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telecentricity

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 10:16:28 pm »

I thought rangefinder viewfinders were put on the far left side to allow as long a rangefinder base as possible, not for ergonomics, although it does make ergonomic sense.

After reading the article and playing around with my cameras,  it seems that the most important design considerations for nose clearance were having the top of the eyepiece project back far enough to contact your brow and to have good enough eye relief to allow you slightly tilt your neck down to give your nose clearance.  I guess it helps to have a large brow and a small nose.

I like Bob C's comment about shoot everything vertical.  Someone should sell an accessory battery pack (MB-D10, etc.) with an extra shutter button on the lower left of the camera to allow you to shoot verticals left handed and left eyed.  All us left-eyed shooters would be in heaven.

Great article
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Gary

tom b

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 03:19:24 am »

I am right handed but I find the position of the shutter release on the battery grip of a 5D mkII to be useless. I always tilt the camera to the right so that the camera shutter release is at the bottom. The camera seems better balanced with less camera above the eye. So all that extra money for a useless release. I am left eyed so shooting vertical this way gives my nose space.

On another note I have this problem that I have I tend to shoot the horizon with a 1.5 degree tilt to the right. I'm wondering if this is from tilting my nose slightly when using the viewfinder or if there is another more obvious reason.

Cheers,
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Tom Brown

G.L.

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 01:22:21 pm »

Quote
Of course, some cameras aren't designed to be used up at the eye at all. But that will be a topic for another article.
I often use my camera (Fuji S5, clone of Nikon D200) on a tripod and in portrait orientation.

Problems:
1) I have lost the eyepiece cap but it was so difficult to use that I don't regret it (my previous camera included an eyepiece shutter: a much better solution!)
2) When the camera is on the tripod most buttons and dials are difficult to reach and to use and the LCD monitor often difficult to read. I'm afraid no good solution exists but to use a separate device where the camera controls could be accessed.

Using a phone or a small touch-screen tablet for that looks like an ideal solution but this would need the camera manufacturer and the phone or tablet manufacturer to cooperate... (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=47359.0)
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Rob C

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2011, 05:26:12 pm »

It's a while back now - several years - but my Nikon F4s had a secondary release button on bottom edge of the large capacity battery case that came with it. Much better for releasing in vertical orientation. I see no such button on my D700...

Rob C

E.J. Peiker

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2011, 11:02:21 am »

No but the D3 series, which is the equivalent of the pro body F4 from those days does have the vertical shutter release, as does the MBD10 if you were to add that to your D700.
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Rob C

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2011, 04:34:37 am »

No but the D3 series, which is the equivalent of the pro body F4 from those days does have the vertical shutter release, as does the MBD10 if you were to add that to your D700.



I hadn't thought about that; thing is though, I find the D700 very heavy as it is and my shooting ways now are more akin to medium format film in that I shoot low numbers of exposures per session. If I come back with around a dozen frames I start to wonder why I thought there was so much opportunity in what I was doing... In my mind, Nikon not putting an additional release button on the side is a little bit mean spirited: they obviously know it's a necessary evil or they would never have adopted it on any of their cameras. Just one little button and connecting wire more?

Rob C

Justinr

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2011, 05:40:20 am »

There is a general assumption here that cameras are designed to be used rather than marketed into a certain niche, something of a mistake I fear.
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Rob C

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Re: Common sense camera design
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2011, 03:45:31 pm »

There is a general assumption here that cameras are designed to be used rather than marketed into a certain niche, something of a mistake I fear.




Too Trooo!

Rob C
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