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Author Topic: J'Accuse  (Read 28042 times)

meyerweb

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2012, 09:38:21 pm »


Back in the old days of mechanical cameras, almost all SLRs had the same basic form and layout, as did most rangefinders. You didn't have to hunt around much to find controls (the simplicity helped a lot). Although some things like direction of rotation varied, the camera/lens still fit your hand pretty much the same way and the rewind lever was in the same place. You didn't need a couple of hours with the manual and an engineering degree to figure out how to control any basic function.


Really?  Do you remember the Nikormat, with the shutter dial around the lens mount, and the OM-1, ditto?  Was it Alpa that had the film advance lever work from front to back, rather than left to right? Miranda made cameras with the shutter release on the front of the body instead of the top. I seem to remember at least one camera that had the rewind knob on the bottom, and one that ran the film through from right to left, with the wind lever on the left side. And if you include MF gear, the variety of control layouts is nearly mind-boggling.

Yes, there was certainly more commonality, but it wasn't universal, and it took decades to reach the level of standardization we had at the beginning of the electronic camera era. But digital IS different. There are many more functions that can be controlled, and many more pieces of data to display.  It's not surprising that different designers have different ideas of how to control and display those things. Perhaps, over time, we'll see more standardization, but I wouldn't ever expect to see the same level as in mechanical SLRs. You'd never get a majority of people to agree on what that standard should be.

In fact, especially with mirrorless designs, I'd like to see MORE variety. There have to be better ways to control a camera than the layout that was basically mandated by the need to have a film spool, a film take-up, and a mirror box in the middle. EVFs and electronic, rather than manual, controls should allow creative designers to come up with superior control layouts. Why, for example, do cameras have to be laid out in a horizontal manner? Would something like the typical video camera format work better? Why do I still have to rotate a camera (compromising control access) to take a portrait format image? Why can't I choose to move the EVF to the left or right side of the camera (to satisfy left and right-eyed photographers)?  There's no physical need to have it positioned above the lens any more. Why do I have to use my right index finger to press the shutter release?  Maybe using the thumb, or my left hand, would be better.

I'd like to see some designers start from scratch (kind of like Apple did), and really re-think the best way to control a camera, rather than simply parrot something created 50 years ago.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 09:51:28 pm by meyerweb »
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meyerweb

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2012, 09:39:16 pm »

If Apple made dslrs we'd all be choosing between a 32Gb version and a 64Gb version - not sure they are the best example ;)

And have only one button, with everything else selected via menus and icons.... ;D
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 09:51:48 pm by meyerweb »
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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2012, 09:54:36 pm »

In a rational market, a mature product, one might think, would have converged on standardized or at least similar forms following it's intended function (like QWERTY keyboards).
Really bad example in one sense - the QWERTY keyboard was deliberately designed to be anti-ergonomic. The reason being with mechanical typewriters if you typed too quickly then the keys would jam, so layout was designed to be difficult to use and learn.

 
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I would only expect the kind of wild variation of function layouts that digital cameras display in a brand new technology rather than one that's 150 years old (and, no, digitizing did not change the function of a camera any more than Fujichrome did.)
Except it did. My digital cameras have a huge number of different functions from my old film cameras and are designed differently as a result.


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Back in the old days of mechanical cameras, almost all SLRs had the same basic form and layout, as did most rangefinders.
Funny as I remember them varying quite a bit. DSLRs are about as standardised as film SLRs used to be for higher end DSLRs. The less expensive models however tend to have stuff hidden in menus which can vary a lot more.

 
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For my purposes, as a landscape and nature photographer, the digital equivalent of an F1 with those same basic controls would suffice for everything I do. In fact, that's how I use my 5DII, even though it took me hours to find and set the controls in that simple and familiar way and figure out that Live View gave me one-button access to MLU. Of course, I also had to get used to the new way those functions are accessed compared to the Xti that was my first digital camera and that makes it hard for me to use the Xti as a backup camera.
I think I looked at my 20D manual once and don't think I ever looked at either of my 5D manuals as the cameras were [to my mind] really easy to use.
But remember that just because an F1's feature set would suit you, for many others it would be very lacking. I tend like you, however to shoot on manual most of the time, sometimes using aperture priority with fill flash for some indoor work.








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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2012, 09:59:12 pm »

That is called "I want camera companies to do want I want" argument. The trouble is, that "ideal" camera would only be perfect for one person.
Absolutely. You get the same daft reasoning in regard software with people complaining about software bloat, i.e. features they do not use. Forgetting that other people exist and they may find that 'bloat' extremely useful.
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jjj

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2012, 10:04:48 pm »

As with cars, no one set of design imperatives will satisfy everyone.  Design features that MR dislikes may be exactly what someone else wants. I've found some of the things he's criticized over the years to be of no import to me at all. Other things, which don't seem to bother him, I find inconvenient or annoying.  MR's opinion is just that.  Not everyone will share it.
I once read a product review [not here] that criticised the product for including a particular feature. That feature was the one that swayed me to buy the product.
A good reviewer will bear other users in mind and generally I'd say Michael is better than most in that respect, other than his uncritical Apple comments in this article.
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Les Sparks

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2012, 12:02:59 am »

Jeffrey Kluger has a good discussion of why electronic things and digital cameras are really electronic things now are so complicated in  a chapter titled "Why are your cell phone and camera so absurdly complicated?" in his book Simplexity. Basically he argues that the designer/engineers aren't trying to please you, they're trying to please or impress a small group of reviewers and their peers. It's an interesting chapter--he also holds out some hope that things will get better probably sooner than we think.
Les
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MikeMac

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2012, 02:48:04 am »

Yes, there was certainly more commonality, but it wasn't universal, and it took decades to reach the level of standardization we had at the beginning of the electronic camera era. But digital IS different. There are many more functions that can be controlled, and many more pieces of data to display.  It's not surprising that different designers have different ideas of how to control and display those things. Perhaps, over time, we'll see more standardization, but I wouldn't ever expect to see the same level as in mechanical SLRs. You'd never get a majority of people to agree on what that standard should be.
Nor I think do we want people to agree as with choice we are more likely to find something that suits us as individuals. I always think of mobile phone OSs in discussions like this. I like the Nokia interface as I find it intuitive and easy. Other people hate it and prefer other OSs that they find quicker.

In fact, especially with mirrorless designs, I'd like to see MORE variety. There have to be better ways to control a camera than the layout that was basically mandated by the need to have a film spool, a film take-up, and a mirror box in the middle. EVFs and electronic, rather than manual, controls should allow creative designers to come up with superior control layouts. Why, for example, do cameras have to be laid out in a horizontal manner? Would something like the typical video camera format work better? Why do I still have to rotate a camera (compromising control access) to take a portrait format image? Why can't I choose to move the EVF to the left or right side of the camera (to satisfy left and right-eyed photographers)?  There's no physical need to have it positioned above the lens any more. Why do I have to use my right index finger to press the shutter release?  Maybe using the thumb, or my left hand, would be better.
I was in a second hand camera shop the other day and they had a large selection of early digital cameras for sale. It was pretty interesting to see the variety of designs and the risks that designers took with aesthetics and interface.
Yes, more choice would be good. I liked your ideas/questions above. Equally I bought a Fuji X100 recently and that 40year old classic design felt immediately right and intuitive to use. Good design, or conditioned muscle memory on my part?

I'd like to see some designers start from scratch (kind of like Apple did), and really re-think the best way to control a camera, rather than simply parrot something created 50 years ago.
We've already had that, it's called a smartphone isn't it? This could be fun though, I'm intrigued to see where all the touch interface opportunities lead.


[/quote]
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MikeMac

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2012, 02:48:52 am »

For me it's an advantage to have the same keyboard (layout) on different machines. The missing delete key doesn't bother me as well as I find pressing 'fn' + 'backspace' just as convenient.
Thanks, I didn't know that, really useful.
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Fips

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #48 on: March 28, 2012, 03:27:19 am »

Quote
And Fips, if you think using two hands is as convenient than one to do a very, very basic keyboard function, remind never to ask you for advice on design.

In fact, I find it more convenient as those two keys one needs to press can be reached with both hands in their normal writing position while I would have to move my right hand quite a bit to press the delete key on a conventional keyboard.
... but I guess the mere fact that I call 1.5 inches "quite a bit" shows that I spend too much time on computers anyhow  ::)
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dreed

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #49 on: March 28, 2012, 03:41:02 am »

Jeffrey Kluger has a good discussion of why electronic things and digital cameras are really electronic things now are so complicated in  a chapter titled "Why are your cell phone and camera so absurdly complicated?" in his book Simplexity. Basically he argues that the designer/engineers aren't trying to please you, they're trying to please or impress a small group of reviewers and their peers. It's an interesting chapter--he also holds out some hope that things will get better probably sooner than we think.

I like that argument.
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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #50 on: March 28, 2012, 04:23:20 am »

Changes in design.

I was sitting in line at a petrol pump a couple of years ago. The guy in front of me, in a large 4x4, began to reverse for some unmfathomable reason, and as he got closer, my concern turned to panic and I went for the horn. Except that I didn't. My immediate reaction would have sounded the horn on an earlier car, but not on the one I was actually driving. Only luck saved me from damage because the guy in front of the 4x4 moved off.

If the windscreen was dirty with pollen (as it is with yellow pine dust this season), I used to be able to sqirt, give the wipers a single or two wipes as I chose, and the screen was clean enough to be safe. Now, with the Fiesta, that appears an impossible task. If you squirt, the wiper comes on automatically and gives too many wipes, thus going beyond the helpful area and into the state where all you achieve is the spreading of smears, blinding vision more than it was when you started. Bloody clever.

The traffic indicator. I have more or less given up on its automatic cancellation. I went back to the Ford dealer, and he told me that his own Focus is exactly the same, and there's zilch that can be done about it... As for visually knowing you have failed to cancel the indicators, that's also very unlikely on the Fiesta because the two green arrows are placed at the outer edges of the dash, and perfectly screened by your hands in the straight ahead position. Had the lights been kept in the centre of the dash, you would see them at once and notice them flashing... Have the music on and you'll hear nothing from the little clickers.

The evening I collected the new car I drove home without being able to work out how to go from main beam to dipped. I've driven Fords here for over thirty years... The simple switching from Trip to Total mileage is also another pain in the ass to figure out. These things should remain the same. It should not be about looking clever and pretty, it should be about reliable, unchanged and instinctively accessible in an emergency. Sure, make the bodywork as different as you please, but why throw away what we had decades ago: the ability to see all four corners of the car from the driving seat. Now, we have to park by sound, the sound of breaking glass. Or pay hundreds more for a friggin' device to make up for that particular rotten design fault.

Rob C

John R Smith

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #51 on: March 28, 2012, 05:19:34 am »

All very true, but nobody seems to care.

What we have, Rob, is the triumph of style over substance.

John
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tetsuo77

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2012, 05:55:36 am »

"What we have, Rob, is the triumph of style over substance"
Well,funnily enough, and apparently, style sells. Substance, not that much.
And companies tend to go for profit, rather than goodwill or good feeling.

Aren´t they?

About the article:
Perfection goes against efficiency most of the times. And, from Picasso on [so to speak], the artist has trumped the artisan by a long stretch.

On the other subjet, about the user experience and about UI, there is so much to discuss that it will come as incredibly long discussion.
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32BT

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2012, 06:13:19 am »

If the windscreen was dirty with pollen (as it is with yellow pine dust this season), I used to be able to sqirt, give the wipers a single or two wipes as I chose, and the screen was clean enough to be safe. Now, with the Fiesta, that appears an impossible task. If you squirt, the wiper comes on automatically and gives too many wipes, thus going beyond the helpful area and into the state where all you achieve is the spreading of smears, blinding vision more than it was when you started. Bloody clever.

Oooh, +100 to that…

Or noticed how the soapy water doesn't even get a change to actually spread over your windscreen before the first wipe…?



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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2012, 06:50:28 am »

Oooh, +100 to that…

Or noticed how the soapy water doesn't even get a change to actually spread over your windscreen before the first wipe…?




So that's a partial cause of some of the mess I see! Original delivery issue! I never use detergents in the water, I only ever put in distilled water. To put in tap water, on this island, would seal the tiny holes of the jets within a week!

Oh! I also just discovered the Paint accessory in my computer before turning on here; that might prove more interesting than playing with cameras and PS! First thing I did was draw my version of the Manhattan skyline - most impressive, but as I have to go out to eat now, it will remain an exciting game for later on.

;-)

Rob C

barryfitzgerald

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #55 on: March 28, 2012, 07:16:47 am »

Interesting I use the term "good enough" in a forum post recently in the D800 thread and we get an article about it  :-X
I think I have views which are almost the exact opposite of some folks which is fine because that makes things more appealing for a debate.

I was of course making a reference of "good enough" in relation to the resolution we now have available to us for DSLR and larger sensor type cameras. I would not like the phrase to be used as an excuse for some iffy design choices of companies that have obviously had some notable issues with products (Fuji most recently with their "orb" problems") one example.

I can't say I care for the Apple references either, yes it's a company that can make hugely successful and desirable products. But it's also a very proprietary company and often it's products do have some obvious "dumb ass" points about them. Let's not talk about the ipod/iphone where the battery isn't user accessible (least not easily). That is just one obvious and very simple point to make, you could argue I don't like Apple much and as a pc builder for many years you're right. But before we start showering love on this company do take a trip to your Apple store on-line and put an imac in your basket pick the cheapest one. I did and added 4Gb of ram making 8Gb in total (fairly bog standard these days)
If I tell you Apple charges you over €200 for an extra 4Gb of ram, I'll tell you I added 16Gb of DDR 3 memory for my desktop (reputable major manufacturer) for half the price of the Apple upgrade. I don't hold up companies who try to rip people off, I'd hope others wouldn't either.

Back to good enough (and leaving Apple aside) yes good enough is fine, silly quirks and issues we all want worked out.
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MarkL

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #56 on: March 28, 2012, 09:25:47 am »

I can't say I care for the Apple references either, yes it's a company that can make hugely successful and desirable products. But it's also a very proprietary company and often it's products do have some obvious "dumb ass" points about them. Let's not talk about the ipod/iphone where the battery isn't user accessible (least not easily). That is just one obvious and very simple point to make, you could argue I don't like Apple much and as a pc builder for many years you're right. But before we start showering love on this company do take a trip to your Apple store on-line and put an imac in your basket pick the cheapest one. I did and added 4Gb of ram making 8Gb in total (fairly bog standard these days)
If I tell you Apple charges you over €200 for an extra 4Gb of ram, I'll tell you I added 16Gb of DDR 3 memory for my desktop (reputable major manufacturer) for half the price of the Apple upgrade. I don't hold up companies who try to rip people off, I'd hope others wouldn't either

Indeed. We have an Apple-esque camera manufacturer in Hassleblad in that they have a closed system, desirability and high cost but yet they get seriously criticised on this site.
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theguywitha645d

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #57 on: March 28, 2012, 09:55:13 am »

Jeffrey Kluger has a good discussion of why electronic things and digital cameras are really electronic things now are so complicated in  a chapter titled "Why are your cell phone and camera so absurdly complicated?" in his book Simplexity. Basically he argues that the designer/engineers aren't trying to please you, they're trying to please or impress a small group of reviewers and their peers. It's an interesting chapter--he also holds out some hope that things will get better probably sooner than we think.
Les

But his argument is false. The modern camera is very simply to use. Turn it on and set it to auto and take all the pictures you want. Just because there is a lot of choice and layers does not make it complicated unless the user wants to make it that way. You could also say the camera is simply flexible in that you can do more with it if you choose to do so.
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telyt

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #58 on: March 28, 2012, 10:10:18 am »

The modern camera is very simply to use. Turn it on and set it to auto and take all the pictures you want.

In my experience auto is the enemy of excellence.  Too often it's not even good enough.
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Rob C

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Re: J'Accuse
« Reply #59 on: March 28, 2012, 10:20:48 am »

But his argument is false. The modern camera is very simply to use. Turn it on and set it to auto and take all the pictures you want. Just because there is a lot of choice and layers does not make it complicated unless the user wants to make it that way. You could also say the camera is simply flexible in that you can do more with it if you choose to do so.



No, you're missing the point: do as you suggest and you do not get the equivalent of manual/film. What you get is a bloody compromise based on their views of quality. That's why I have had to configure the damned camera as close to neutral as I can. Using a proprietary auto setting wouldn't give me unadulterated RAW or even focus as and where I choose.

Rob C
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