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Author Topic: Choosing the Right Camera System  (Read 29395 times)

Telecaster

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #60 on: October 31, 2014, 04:16:14 pm »

In terms of ergonomic design the big negative with m43 for me has always been the lack of a top plate LCD, having to look at the back screen or raise the camera to your eye to see the setting x 10,000 becomes rather tedious.

I thought this would be an issue for me, but in use I've always got my m43 cameras in my hand rather than hanging off a neck strap…so the rear LCD is nearly always in easy view. Same goes for the A7r.

-Dave-
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #61 on: October 31, 2014, 06:11:46 pm »

duane, I think having two systems is, for now, probably the best way to go - until DSLRs transition into smaller more feature packed devices that can replace a two system setup.

Getting back to the original post of my thoughts about looking at the company behind the system, Thom Hogan has provided some interesting thoughts about this year's Annual Report released by Nikon:
http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nikons-annual-report.html

I think the report shows very clearly the lack of nuanced thought going into the usability of their cameras, at least in the low-to-mid range cameras (not including their professional line, for which they probably pull out all stops).

Now, compare that attitude to the innovation going on at Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh, and to some extent, Canon. Thank you, Thom, you have helped to confirm my perception about Nikon and that I don't want to commit thousands to a company that isn't interested in creating products with deeply nuanced feature sets and control systems.

EDIT: Okay, I'm done complaining - I've resolved my conflict over the D750. I wanted all that great tech, but couldn't get past the way it handled and lacked features - fantastic grip, though!

Great if the 6D meets your needs, but I still cannot comprehend how you can consider it superior to the D750 in terms of features/innovation/usability/photographic potential.

You seem to be rating the lack of one button compared to a higher end Nikon models (not even compared to the 6D) as being more important than pro grade AF... which is totally puzzling to me... ;)

Anyway, those are your photographs so enjoy your new camera!

Cheers,
Bernard

NancyP

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #62 on: October 31, 2014, 06:46:09 pm »

Maybe he is a manual focusing type photographer like me....   :D 
The 6D is rather basic, but it does what I want, which is to handle all the non-wildlife shooting I do, landscapes, macro, simple family gatherings. I am sticking with APS-C for the birds due to the higher pixel density.
The D750 is definitely the better all-around camera for the general user who may want to shoot their kids' sports.
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MoreOrLess

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #63 on: October 31, 2014, 11:23:20 pm »

Hi More,

In the time that I had the E-M1 I didn't need to set exposure using the rear screen much and typically would just raise the camera to my eye and adjust according to the scene.

I wouldn't consider it a deal breaker on a camera but if your talking weaknesses I do find it annoying using a camera without these readouts, being able to casually glance down and see your settings just helps make me more aware, especially for things like street shooting.

Quote
Some people really liked the X-T1 because they could just glance at the configuration of the dials. I guess this is a habit of experienced photographers, who shoot by the numbers and typically dial them in ready to raise the camera and press the shutter straight away. Is that accurate?

Even the X-T1 has a problem in that whilst you can see the settings you can't see the meter readout which again I would consider helpful for something like street shooting where you want to raise the camera to your eye quickly.

Quote
I'm not experienced and so like to adjust setting from both the numbers and the preview in the EVF.

How do you ETTR without adjusting for each scene by looking through the OVF to avoid blowing out the highlights?

Part of the advantage to a FF system is I would say is that you need to ETTR less for fast moving scenes with bright highlights since your noise threshold is lower.

For something like landscape shooting where you might really want to maximise IQ I think its a bit give and take with EVF vs OVF, the EVF does give you the eye level preview that won't be messed up by bright light, the OVF on the other hand does give you the greater dynamic range. Yes the EVF will show you something close to your basic output BUT what if your shooting with a view to lifting areas of shadow in post? being able to see whats in those areas as you shoot is an advantage.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 03:25:36 am by MoreOrLess »
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #64 on: November 01, 2014, 01:29:51 am »

Bernard, in terms of technology (recognised in this case as distinctly separate to usability and features) I do indeed see the D750 as being clearly superior to the 6D. It should be: the D750 has at least a two year technology advantage and a higher target market advantage.

The whole point of this thread is to discuss the companies behind the products. To evaluate their ongoing commitment to the usability of their products and of the system as a whole.

If we consider usability we can use the word clarity to best describe our experience of the control and feedback systems designed into the camera. Looking at the specifications of the D750 we would expect it to have a very high level of clarity. That the level of refinement and sophistication found in the control and feedback systems should be equal to the advanced technology packed into camera. This would be apparent from the moment we started using the camera.

Unfortunately, it isn't.

This is the key area where the Nikon falls down quite badly, particularly when compared to the E-M1 and, to a lesser extent, the 6D. The camera is a bit of a dumb box of advanced technologies. Why?

Thom has been evaluating Nikon for quite some time and has said this on his review of the Nikon annual report:
http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nikons-annual-report.html

Quote from: Thom Hogan
Here’s the line that particularly bothers me (also from Gokyu-san): “As technology has matured, our products themselves can no longer be as distinct. Consequently, price wars are becoming fiercer, making it essential to continuously and thoroughly reduce costs to maintain a profit.

Failure to lead and innovate is the real problem. It’s statements like Gokyu-san’s that are going to give everyone the impression that Nikon Imaging is a cash cow that just needs to be milked. Milking as a strategy rarely works for long in the consumer electronics industry. Indeed, it makes you more vulnerable to ending up with dead cows. Nikon needs to figure out how to make distinct products, period.

Distinct equals:
- highly configurable and sophisticated interfaces (ugh, not at the expense of usability - it is entirely possible to have both);
- improved materials and build quality (the E-M1 shows how this can be done in a consumer product at a very affordable price);
- better EVFs (won't be long now - we are just mostly waiting on AF);
- improved touch experience in the screen and button/dial controls (haptics - mirrorless steaming full-ahead in this area);
- better menu design (in my experience Canon > Nikon);
- more functions and features (again, Canon > Nikon);
- easier connectivity to other devices;
- more granular GPS control (automatic activation when the camera is turned on or focused, etc)..
- and lots more.

It means to be, at least, competitive with the usability and feature sets found in the new mirrorless generation.

Interestingly, this comment by Gokyu-San gives some clue as to why the D750 is a box made from advanced hardware without an equivalent level of sophistication in the usability:

Quote from: Gokyu-San
"Until now, Nikon was grounded in the idea of using its own technology to develop, manufacture, and market products, so it employed a hardware-oriented strategy..."

Apple is a hardware oriented company, but they understand the soft aspect of usability and it drives the development of their hardware.

Okay, so leaving the technical marvel that is the D750, alone, what impression have I gained about Nikon's ability (or desire) to release a densely featured mirrorless full-frame camera? It seems that it is going to be very difficult for them to change their thinking towards the softer (and more nuanced) aspect of usability.

I think Canon is better positioned in their thinking to join the other mirrorless companies in meeting the demand for better usability and more sophisticated features - as long as their sensors improve, obviously. If they have hit a wall in their ability to make advanced sensor technology lets hope they respond quickly by partnering up with a manufacturer like Sony.

With this in mind, I would like to purchase a second hand 6D and upgrade to the replacement as soon as it comes out. It won't be a mirrorless, but I want to be invested in a system that will deliver a mirrorless I really want to use.

People are doubting Canon in light of Nikon's use of Sony's fantastic sensor technology. But, they have to remember that competing technologies have always played a game of leap-frog. I think that in this new era of partnering for technology it is the design ethos that will ultimately set competitors apart. I believe Canon has more of the design ethos of others like Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic, than does Nikon. At least, from what I can tell right now.

I remember when Apple was looking to abandon its PowerPC platform in order to change over to the 486 CPU. It was looking for a new partner and I remember thinking at the time that they would probably go with AMD. Because AMD had such a great momentum going with the Opteron CPU and NUMA system design. Intel appeared to be struggling to keep up. When Steve Jobs announced Intel as their new partner I was surprised. When I questioned why I concluded that Intel must have been able to convince Steve that what was in the pipeline was worth committing to. As it turned out Steve made the right call and Apple has never looked back.

The point is, if Apple can do it, Canon can. Now they just need to get customers to, ugh, see the seemingly impossible.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 03:00:20 am by Nick Walt »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2014, 03:09:04 am »

I find the D750 to be an amazing photographic tool putting right under my hands the functions I need to take instantly whatever comes my way. I hardly ever need to use the menus. That's what a succesful camera UI has to be to me.

I find my iPhone to be unusable as a camera, not because of its poor sensor, but because of its disastrous UI/AF/... starting by the time it takes to launch it.

My personal definition of distinct product for cameras is that they help me achieve better images in terms of image quality, timely capture, sharp focus, immediate access to functions, intuitivity of UI,... and the D750 is the best on those essential factors that define what a camera is.

All the rest that you mention is of secundary importance.

But if you like purity of lines and intent, show me anything coming closer than a Nikon J1. That is 10 times more Apple like than anything Canon ever released in my view.

Till date the mirrorless efforts of Canon have been competent but devoid of the least bit of innovation. What makes you think that this is going to change?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 03:16:45 am by BernardLanguillier »
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Valdo

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #66 on: November 01, 2014, 03:52:28 am »

Hi Nick,
the rumors kitchen sez that Sony has in the pipeline new FF cameras, most probably based on A7 series.
Subsequently there are also interesting Zeiss lenses in preparation. E mount seems to be the right choice,
at least for me coming from Canon SLR through Fuji X100 to Sony FE....
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #67 on: November 01, 2014, 05:04:17 am »

I find the D750 to be an amazing photographic tool putting right under my hands the functions I need to take instantly whatever comes my way. I hardly ever need to use the menus. That's what a succesful camera UI has to be to me.

All I see now is a lack of interest from Nikon in developing extensive UI sophistication into their designs. I truly did not expect this from the D750 and was quite surprised. Without having experienced the great design in other cameras I might not have noticed and had such an adverse reaction. But honestly, the D750 felt like it had been designed by a committee.

Here are a few things that jumped out at me:

I went to configure the length of time an exposure would remain on the rear display for review and found that on the D750 there was simply an ON or OFF. On both the E-M1 and 6D there was 2, 4, 8 seconds, or HOLD until the focus is reactivated.

On the 6D there is a kind of focus peaking behaviour built into the focus points, where each point will brighten as focus is achieved during a manual focus action. This happens right on the image and makes manual focus a lot easier than on the D750, which forces the user to look down at the bottom left of the viewfinder, which still doesn't give an indication as to which point is focusing (I suspect it is the middle).

I could not believe it when I heard that Nikon had withheld, on an expensive model like the D610, a basic capability that allows a user to directly review an image at 1:1.

Obviously these are just a few examples from the camera but to me they are enough to understand that this company is not really interested in competing on features and usability beyond its hardware and technology focus.

On the other hand, I have the perception that Canon does want to compete in this space, as evidenced by the depth of features found in the simple 6D.

Usability engineering is very difficult, which is why so many don't commit whole heartedly to it. The intent has to be there motivating the technology. I think in this era of sufficiency and excellent hardware usability is the great differentiator. Contrary to what Gokyu-San said, there is a way to develop distinct products by competing in this space.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:12:22 am by Nick Walt »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #68 on: November 01, 2014, 05:08:13 am »

Sigh... ok, fine, the configuration of the display time is waaaaay more important than image quality and AF speed/accuracy.

You are right, the 6D is centuries ahead of the D750.  ;D

I love the way you have reviewed the spec sheet of both cameras, found one tiny aspect where the 6D is ahead and built a whole theory around it explaining why this one aspect is an evidence of a fundamental superiority of Canon's "depth of design".

What I still don't understand is how your photography will benefit from Canon's superior "depth of design" when all the other characteristics of the D750, those that help make technically superior images, are superior?

Don't get me wrong, the 6D is a very competent camera and a good option for photographers on a budget owning Canon lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:24:33 am by BernardLanguillier »
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #69 on: November 01, 2014, 05:23:32 am »

Sigh... ok, fine, the configuration of the display time is waaaaay more important than image quality and AF speed/accuracy.

You are right, the 6D is centuries ahead of the D750.

Cheers,
Bernard


That's not the point I'm trying to make, Bernard. Not at all.

I'm talking about the icing on the cake; all the bells and whistles; and the extra mile; all the good stuff that other camera designers seem to be adding into their products. I saw it in the little E-M1 and I expected as much from Nikon. So I am punishing them for what I perceive to be their apparent disregard of the finer points.

I definitely want that excellent image quality and fast autofocus that is in the D750 and clearly beyond the competition. But it's not enough and the real problem is that Nikon don't seem to see that it isn't enough. Canon will be competitive again with their technology, one way or another. As will Sony, and likely the next sensor by Fuji (improved detail and less NR), and Olympus might do a BSI sensor in m43 and dramatically reduce noise levels at higher ISO (then I might kick myself for not investing in their lenses).
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:29:55 am by Nick Walt »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #70 on: November 01, 2014, 05:28:17 am »

That's not the point I'm trying to make, Bernard. Not at all.

I'm talking about the icing on the cake; all the bells and whistles; and the extra mile; all the good stuff that other camera designers seem to be adding into their products. I saw it in the little E-M1 and I expected as much from Nikon. So I am punishing then for what I perceive to be their apparent disregard of the finer points.

I definitely want that excellent image quality and fast autofocus that is in the D750 and clearly beyond the competition. But it's not enough and the real problem is that Nikon don't seem to see that it isn't enough.

What I don't understand is your rationale for prioritising aspects of secondary importance over the core aspects of a camera helping your photographic outcome.

Don't get me wrong, if you were telling us "the 6D fits my hand better and I am a street photographer", there would be no discussion from me. That would be a reasonable rationale.

The ability to customise display time absolutely isn't a reasonable rationale.

Anyway, as I said, it doesn't make any difference for me, enjoy your 6D and please come back to show up the images you will have captured with it.

Cheers,
Bernard

synn

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #71 on: November 01, 2014, 05:31:28 am »

Like I said before, I'd get canons for the lenses, but this thread is the first one where I have seen someone praise canon's ergonomics over nikons.

To this date, I can't understand why canon puts the power button in the worst areas possible and not around the shutter release, which makes switching on and shooting such a natural thing to do. Or the incredibly weird angle of the front control dial. Or the amazingly useful direct print button. Their fidgety joystick never lets one select the right focus point as precisely as the nikon multi controller and I don't think they wrap back when reaching the edge of af point coverage either. They won't let you swap the functions of the two dials. Up until recently, spot metering was not tied to currently selected AF point in canons. The speedlight system is unnecessarily complex. And so on. In fact, canon's iterative improvements scream "design by commitee".

I have my fair share of beef with nikon, which I have mentioned in this forum many times, but ergonomics and usability is definitely not amongst them.

YMMV.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:39:42 am by synn »
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #72 on: November 01, 2014, 05:40:27 am »

Actually, the D750 is a much better fit for my hands. But you are right, how can I put such a priority on these secondary features?

These secondary features all add up to radically improve the overall handling and enjoyment of the camera, just as the improvement to the grip can make such a big difference when holding the camera for hours.

Go take a look at what Samsung is doing with the NX1. If they get the implementation right they will seriously make a splash. The thing of note here is that they have the intent to combine both the technology and usability to make a big difference to the overall experience. Not just the image quality or AF performance. EVERYTHING.

It is the "everything but the kitchen sink" mentality (without compromising quality, performance, usability) in competitors that is contrasting Nikon's fine technological efforts. I'm looking to Nikon to see them stand up and say bring it, we'll not only see you but raise you. It's not really in the D750 (it's a parts bin product at a price reflective of that) and I don't see it in their future way of business.

synn, I see your point. But that is Canon over two years ago, possibly longer (in full-frame - I'm not sure if they moved much with the 7DM2 and what that bodes for the next iteration of full-frame bodies). Nikon just revealed their hand and it is more of the same technology only focus.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:48:55 am by Nick Walt »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #73 on: November 01, 2014, 05:44:34 am »

These secondary features all add up to radically improve the overall handling and enjoyment of the camera, just as the improvement to the grip can make such a big difference when holding the camera for hours.

OK, fair enough, so what is the full list of those secondary features offered by the 6D over the D750 that improve the experience "radically"?

It is a genuine question, I have only played with a 6D for a short amount of time and I am willing to lean what I am missing.

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard

Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #74 on: November 01, 2014, 06:10:19 am »

Bernard, can I revisit the list when Canon releases the 6D Mark 2 in 2015?

I'm going on my perception of the products I've mentioned and the overall innovation happening in the mirrorless space. That is why I started this thread, to gauge my perception of the two companies with that of others so that I could make a choice which one to go with. Would Nikon change course and bring a significantly stronger value-add mentality to the table? If so, I'll buy the D750 and shoot happily with it until the mirrorless replacement comes out in a year or two. Trusting that it will have more than just great technology. A true D700 successor perhaps.

Canon isn't out of the woods yet. I just think they are probably more likely to produce nuanced designs in the future than is Nikon, based on how I see them do usability on the 6D (two years old) vs the D750. Whether they get the technology right is another matter, which is what most are becoming increasingly more sceptical about.

synn, these are definitely the kind of details that jump out at me, too. I hated the four way control pad on the Fuji X-T1. It was a deal breaker actually.

EDIT: removed irrelevant comment.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 06:16:05 am by Nick Walt »
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #75 on: November 01, 2014, 06:25:21 am »

Bernard, I haven't handled the D700, but looking at the design I think I can see what people love about it - at least from gauging the external handling and potential haptic (touch/interactive) experience. That is the difference I get between the 6D and D750. Not totally, but enough, I feel, to tell me that they pay attention to usability more than Nikon.

If I could I would rent both of them for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately I am in Thailand. The moment I walk out of the shop with the camera I cannot return it, other than to sell it as second hand even if it is only a few hours old and basically unused.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #76 on: November 01, 2014, 06:26:07 am »

Nick,

You claim that the 6D already has a significantly better "depth of design" than the D750 today. It is the main reason why you see Canon as having more potential to get it right. I don't see what the 6DII has to do with this.

Please just list the factual elements that have led you to reach this conclusion. What are the aspects where the D750 falls behind?

Again, I see it as an opportunity to learn.

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard

synn

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #77 on: November 01, 2014, 06:28:50 am »

I don't think you got my point. You claim canons are more usable thank nikon.  I was stating some usability issues where canon lags behind nikon.

I don't really know what "nuanced design" is, but I find the 6D very poor VFM as it has yesterday's sensor, day before yesterday's af and generally ho hum build. I don't really care how long the display stays on as I can see it again with another press of the play button. I can't fix the issues I stated above with anything.

In fact, save for the crop sensor, the 7D II is a much more vfm camera from canon than the 6D.

End of the day, going home with a top quality file is what's most important to me. This is why I shoot with medium format gear, which lags behind all 35mm DSLRs in terms of usability. Extrapolate that to your own needs.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 06:44:11 am by synn »
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #78 on: November 01, 2014, 07:00:12 am »

Ah, okay. I also found the display of the metrics in the viewfinder of the 6D to be better, with more clarity. When I spun the rear wheel (on the outside of the 8-way controller) there seemed to be more precision as it interacted with the two displays. Easier to adjust exposure compensation and other things. I thought it would be the opposite. I really like the joystick on the D610 and D750.

Surprisingly, I found the 8-way controller to be easy to use and I preferred the design of the menu system in the 6D. Again, the combination felt more precise and easier to manipulate. Not something I expected from just looking at it. I like the fact that the D610 has the joystick up near the top, next to the thumb.

The dials on the D750 were disapointing when compared to those on the E-M1. I preferred the dials on the D810, and the rear wheel on the 6D after using the side of my thumb instead of the tip. The haptics of the wheel is surprisingly good when used this way.

I found the rear display on the 6D to be a bit clearer than the D750, and when I looked at the highlight warning on both cameras the 6D was easier to spot them. Although, both had flashing black over the highlights and the Olympus was orange and easier to see.

Compared to the E-M1, the tilting rear display seems cheap and plasticy, adding to the sense of imprecision to the camera body. Although, the grip created a similar balance that I experienced with the E-M1. The similarity between the two was immediately apparent despite the difference in size. In contrast I didn't like the 6D as much and it pulled more on my wrist. But I was prepared to hold it more with my left hand to compensate.

I found the top display on the 6D to be a bit easier to isolate information. Although this kind of thing can be overcome by familiarity it can still be distracting if you never get used to the layout. It's like muscle memory, if you have it one way it can be hard to feel comfortable another way. When I ride a motorbike I am instinctively more comfortable taking fast left corners than I am taking fast right corners - I'm a lefty in this way.

I am wondering if those that really like the way Nikon designs the control systems on its cameras would like the Olympus or the Canon, or even the Ricoh GR (which I liked and found quite remarkably intuitive after just spending five minutes with it). There were features that made themselves apparent just through exploring without thinking to deliberately get a result. It's one of those devices where you just go wow, that is just so cool. You marvel at the ingenuity in the design.

The E-M1 is like that. This is also how I found the 6D, although to a much lesser degree. Yet, significantly more so than the Nikon, which is why I reacted to it so strongly. I wanted to like the design ethos because the grip was awesome and the technologies are kick ass. But it just got in my way too much and wasn't fun when compared to the others. I kept saying that if I am serious about photography all this wouldn't matter. But what if the next Nikon was the same and I just became more weary?

So, I'm okay about getting something good enough, perhaps second hand, with the perception that the system will evolve in the way I like. Following on this line I would buy a full-frame E-M1 even if the lense range was not well developed. I trust Olympus' design choices enough that I would commit. Alas, no full-frame now or in the foreseeable future.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 07:07:02 am by Nick Walt »
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Nick Walt

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Re: Choosing the Right Camera System
« Reply #79 on: November 01, 2014, 07:55:27 am »

synn, all good points, thank you.

The 6D and latest 70-200 f4 L IS USM combo is about $1300 cheaper than the D750 and 70-200 f4 VR3 from Nikon, both here in Bangkok from a non-grey market store. I think that price is reflective of the difference in the capability of each body.

The ability of the 6D to focus as low as -3 EV and keep noise levels down when shooting above 6400 ISO (comparable to the D750) makes the camera appealing to me right now. I would be happy to live with it for six months until the replacement Mark 2 is released. I would expect the sensor to be competitive with the one in the D750.

Getting a used 6D would be an even more desirable choice for me because I will loose even less when I upgrade.

In the end I'm just taking a punt on a horse but the more I learn the higher the chance that I make the right choice for me.
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