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Do we need DSLRs to be smaller and lighter?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    Manufacturing companies, especially those in the Four Thirds group, always seem to be trying to make DSLRs smaller and lighter. Is that what you want? How small and light do SLR cameras need to be?

    Go to home page to vote in our latest poll: Provided features can still be accessed easily, do you like the idea of smaller and lighter DSLRs?

    Thanks for taking part.

  2. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Thats a No for me...

    To further qualify the answer what I don't want is there to be no choice but small DSLRs. All I want is for the OEM's to understand that not everybody is comfortable with miniature cameras and to continue to manufacture cameras in larger sizes for those who like a camera we can hold properly and steadily.

    On the other hand I'm not opposed to lighter cameras - and I'm used to ancient and heavy Nikons - provided there's not an unnaceptable decrease in solidity and construction. I've handled some lightweight models that feel dreadfully flimsy, not exactly confidence inspiring to say the least.

    Now I realise this is only my opinion but I feel one of the reasons for Olympus' drift out of the mainstream of top makers was their obsession with miniaturisation. I hope they don't make the same mistake again....
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Smaller cameras are only acceptable to a point. That point is reached when the camera is too small to hold comfortably. Most small DSLRs are too small already as far as I am concerned. Loosing 25%$ of the weight from the Nikon D2 would be my ideal though.
  4. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    I'd echo Nigel's and Geoff's comments - except that I'm happy with the weight of my D2s. Having just spent a few weeks shooting a lot of seriously low-light stuff, with my shutter speeds frequently plunging to 1/10 or so, I really appreciate the intrinsic stability that a heavy camera body gives. My hit-rate at those speeds with a D2X was better by far than it ever was with SLRs half the size and weight.
  5. jchrisc

    jchrisc Well-Known Member

    It may be a very obvious thing to say, but surely we need a range of physical sizes and weights to suit a variety of purposes.

    When I'm scrambling in the "Lakes", my balancing of the specification compromises is quite different than that which I apply when I'm kitting up to do an archery tournament.

    I am a bit surprised that no-one has produced (have they, apart from the sniper scope?) a body with bolt on bits to suit big hands and/or the need for greater mass. It's a well know technique in the ballistic sports, why not in photography, where the aiming and holding problems are very similar?
  6. Hotblack

    Hotblack Dead Horse Flogger

    I'm with Geoff, Huw and Nigel on this one. I prefer a larger more solid and robust camera. It gives a feeling of confidence and stability. I find it far easier to hold a reasonably weighted SLR stable than a lighter and more compact camera.
  7. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    It's not about the camera size as far as I'm concerned, the E-1 is fine for me. The real advantage for me comes from the fact that I don't need to carry a 600mm f4.0 that weighs 5300g and is almost half a meter long (456mm) when I could carry an 300mm f/2.8 that weighs 3290g and is 281mm long.

    Thats a 2kg difference even if you only carry one lens. :eek:

    Thats where the advantage of a smaller systen like 4/3rds comes into play. Not only the actual bodies. It's not just the physical size but the increase in weight that comes with it.

  8. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    I think the four third group is trying to make DSLRs smaller and lighter to encourage sales in the Eastern markets where people generally have smaller hands.
  9. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Well-Known Member

    All I need is full frame 16Mp camera the size of an OM-4Ti or at least a Leica R7. Not much to ask then /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
  10. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Minaturisation is ok up to a point, as long as it's not also lumbered with a huge number of control buttons. I sometimes wonder with some maufacturers if the word 'Ergonomics' means the ability to cram as much as possible into the smallest size, rather than ease of use and logical functionality. Prior to my E-1 I used a Dynax 9; It's solidity and control layout, led me to buying the E-1, because they are so similar. Weight, (or maybe that should be the 'comfort zone' of solid construction) plus controls that aren't bunched up together with positive, tactile buttons, are what makes a camera feel 'right' to me.

    I have often been tempted to buy a compact, but the omission of a viewfinder to 'connect' me to the camera rather than holding the thing at arms-length, puts me off many of them.

    As for the comment regarding Olly's compact lenses, I can only presume the person has not handled the 7>14mm and 50-200 zoom. The former is a huge, heavy optic, but it's design is such that it feels right with it's wide focussing ring and the way it encourages & invites you to cup the body and lens in a really stable manner. The 50>200, with the hood on, is quite a whopper of a lens!
  11. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Thats an interesting observation. I read recently that the Olympus Pen series were popular in the Far East and Europe but didn't achieve the same success in the USA where people preferred larger cameras.

    Perhaps Olympus/Panasonic are trying to build up a following in as yet untapped markets in rapidly developing countries. I know that the company I work for were always interested in getting a foothold in places like China or the FSU even to the extent of building factories.

    What have Olympus announced this week?
  12. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    For long lens work - yes, fair point. Although they both still cost a small fortune, making it sadly academic for most of us! :)

    BTW, my 600mm f/5.6 weighs only 2.7kg, and is about 380mm long, and that doesn't even have the benefit of the lightweight magnesium alloy barrel materials they use now, so it is possible to have that sort of reach without the size and weight of the modern AF 600mm lenses, even on a 35mm frame.
  13. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    I haven't tried it but I agree that it is big and heavy, there isn't anything thats directly comparable but have a look at some alternatives.

    ZUIKO DIGITAL 7-14mm F4 86.5x119.5mm 780g
    (Effective FL 14-28)

    ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 75 x 92.5mm 485g
    (Effective FL 22-44)

    EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM II 88.5 x 111.6mm 635g
    (Effective FL 16-35)

    EF20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 83.5 x 68.9mm 340g
    (Effective FL 20-35)

    Not compared to a 100 - 400mm on a Full Frame/FX camera which is what you need to compare it with.

    ZUIKO DIGITAL 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 87 x 157mm 1070g
    (Effective FL 100-400)

    EF100-400mm L IS USM f/4 92 x 189mm 1380g
    (Effective FL 100-400)

  14. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Careful Richard......... we might think you're turning into a fanboy!......

    :D :D :D :D :D
  15. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Sadly you're right :D

    Indeed but I could suggest the,

    ZUIKO DIGITAL 70-300mm F4.0-5.6 which only weighs 620g, is only 127mm long and has an effective FL of 140-600mm. Thats still 2kg lighter (and it only costs £279) :)

  16. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Now you wouldn't accuse me of that would you? :D

    Seriously though, I think this is an overlooked issue. I was surprised myself when I checked. I think with the increasing popularity of Full Frame/FX it's an area that Olympus really need to promote. I know that the 2x factor was always mentioned among their reason's for adopting the 4/3rds concept but I feel that people tend to look at the body only and come to the conclusion that 4/3rds doesn't offer a size/weight advantage.

  17. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member


    The crop factor is an advantage........ but then it's similarly true of the APS digiboxes compared to FF - albeit to a lesser extent...
  18. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Well, okay, but there are also inexpensive zooms for 35mm format that have virtually the same reach and are lighter and more compact than the prime I was describing - if you really want to compare like for like you need to be looking at a 300/2.8 prime lens - that will give similar DoF on 4/3, and probably similar image quality. It would also have a two stop advantage to get the shutter speeds up.

    But as we've observed, super-teles like 300/2.8 or that 600/5.6 are expensive beasts, no matter what system they are for. :-( I was only able to afford the 600mm because it was a 20 year-old manual focus lens that had been used and abused by half a dozen press togs, or was maybe an ex-rental lens, or whatever. It certainly looked as though it had been run over by a stampeding herd of wildebeest - and that includes the optics! It still gives blistering images though, and I'd never swap it for any zoom, no matter how light and compact it was. :)
  19. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Sorry Huw, my mistake I should have noticed you were referring to a prime not a zoom. I didn't use the 70-300 as an example to be deliberately misleading.

    I still stand by my comments that the 'Crop Factor' has largely been ignored as an advantage and Olympus claims of a more compact system largely dismissed by people choosing to compare body size only :eek: :D

  20. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Well, I agree with the advantage of a crop factor - for long lens work. After all, I shoot Nikon's DX format, so I would! :) That 600mm of mine gets used on a 1.5x body, and often as not with a 1.4x converter too, and I don't know of any practical or remotely affordable equivalent to its reach for a 35mm body, unless it's a mirror lens, and I don't really consider those a decent option at all. So, yes, if you want to go long, 4/3 could make a lot of sense. The advantage in size and weight does rather melt away at mid-range or wideangle though.

    Still we are kind of getting off the point of the thread, which was precisely the issue of light/compact camera bodies. :)

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