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Feel the width ? never mind the quality


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Feel the width – never mind the quality

15 Sep 2020 11:07AM   Views : 398 Unique : 243


For the marketing people, it’s very annoying that – just sometimes – people try before they buy. It drives a coach and horses through any hype about biggest/smallest, widest zoom range, highest ISO and everything else of that sort.

Pick up a camera. Does it fit your hand? If not, however good it is, you will always feel just a little bit of annoyance with it… Ergonomics matter, and while one size doesn’t fit all, some design work seems to give more broadly acceptable handling than others do.

My hands aren’t especially large, and while I can hold an Alpha 900 comfortably (and did for many years), a Nikon D800 was simply too big for me, as are most full-frame Canon bodies, especially the ones with built-in vertical grips. I actually couldn’t stand the idea of carrying one of these monsters around with a 70-200 L series lens on the front.

Equally, some reviewers complain that an Alpha 7 is too small for gloved hands – well, OK, but I don’t usually wear gloves in the studio. If I shot wildlife or sport, my needs (and possibly my choices) would be different.

This extends beyond camera bodies, though. You may recall that I’ve been using an Exakta VX1000 and an Exa 500 quite a lot over the last couple of years. With manual focus, both maximum aperture and focal length affect the ease of focussing – the standard f/2 50mm lens is fine, and so is an f/2.8 of the same focal length. But a 30mm f/3.5 wideangle is mismatched to the microprisms in both cameras, and is tricky to focus with complete accuracy, while a 135mm lens gives darkening of the viewfinder at the top of the image.

Neither of these issues affects the quality of the negatives the cameras produce (providing you do get the focus right. Cutoff in the viewfinder is the result of a mirror that’s smaller than ideal, but easier to engineer, and negatives are free of edge darkening. But it does affect my eagerness to change lenses, because the delight of shooting is greater with a 50mm. And that does matter to me!

I’m probably going to write another piece on trying a film camera, and that will draw on the idea of ‘the delight of shooting’. But that’s for another day…

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pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
15 Sep 2020 12:35PM
Neat cameras dudler Smile
GGAB Avatar
GGAB 7 31 1 United States
15 Sep 2020 2:37PM
"Equally, some reviewers complain that an Alpha 7 is too small for gloved hands – well, OK, but I don’t usually wear gloves in the studio. If I shot wildlife or sport, my needs (and possibly my choices) would be different".
This is a critical statement.
While ergonomics certainly play a large part in what's comfortable, need also plays a huge part.
I find Smaller cameras, ie mirrorless, too small. In fact, I prefer Canon Bodies with their battery holders in place. My photography, however is action and wildlife. I often spend hours in the field or hours on a soccer (football) field, taking thousands of shots. Having two high capacity batteries in the camera eliminates my worrying about having to stop and change batteries. I often wear a vest that allows me to carry two camera's with different lenses for quick shots.
I have small to mid sized hands. Mentally I find the extra battery capacity more than compensates for any discomfort generated by size or weight. The 70 - 200mm lens, for me, is easily carried because of it's flexibility when shooting soccer games. When walking in the field, I carry the 100 - 400mm L or 300mm L f/2.8 with an extender. Again, the discomfort due to size or weight is offset by the quality and capability of the camera and lens.

Different Strokes for Different Folks.
Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 14 12 147 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2020 3:23PM
I think this is becoming a bigger problem now with most camera shops are closing we have nowhere to try cameras out. This means the size weight and how they handle, most of the tec stuff we can find on line and YouTube. This proves if it a camera doesn't feel right it's not going to be the one you pick up when you go out to shoot.
The big thing with a camera is the grip and as yet no camera has come out with a changeable grip. I'm sure they could find a way to quick change a grip for those that want a larger deeper grip, or a smaller thin grip for those with small hands. Just an idea...
chataignier Avatar
chataignier Plus
10 254 15 France
15 Sep 2020 8:03PM
Ive added a bolt on grip to my Fuji x-t3 which was too small for my quite big hands.
This is not a battery grip, just a simple mechanical gadjet that invreases the size of the grip and also provides Arca type tripod mount connections.
No help for those that want a smaller grip, but with cameras getting smaller all the time I think making grips bigger is likely to be the main need.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
16 Sep 2020 10:39AM
I'd need to take up weightlifting to handle your outfit, George! But as you say, Different strokes...

The Lumix full-frame mirrorless cameras offer a much beefier body, and when the lens range expands, may damage Canon's market. For now, I have no regrets about Sony, and many others are converting - it's really easy to put Canon glass on the front... But that doesn't create space between lens and handgrip, I know. Battery life isn't much of an issue with the third generation of Sony mirrorless bodies, and it's easy to carry spares. But not, perhaps, so convenient to change them in the field as in the studio!

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