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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. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    I never heard of anyone complaining about Leica Ms being too small. With 35mm I made a lot of use of a Rollie 35S and a Contax T which were both comparable with digital compacts. We now have a range of DSLRs from the Olympus 410 through to the Canon 1Ds. They are different beasts. The Canon is essentially a replacement for a medium format whilst the Olympus is a replacement for a SLR.
  2. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    As a D2 user, £2000 plus, I think not!

    However, the mobile phone has stopped getting smaller and now relies on getting thinner, there is a limit there too of course. I think there is a point below which you cannot practically get any smaller. For me the FM2, OM series, Pentax ME, MX sized cameras are now too small without the winder/motordrive so I won't be buying anything that small. I suggest that the D40 is about as small as an SLR can get without causing problems with handling.

    I disagree with the proposition that the 40D, D300 size and solidity will disappear, why? Simply because this is the market sector that is the crossover between Pro and Consumer specifications and that is where the money is, not the low end consumer. The buyer of a D40 may buy a couple of lenses but then stagnate. The person who buys a D300 is more likely to buy into lenses of the expensive variety, take away the body and the buyer will go elsewhere for both body and lenses. This absence of a truly professional body at a top end consumer price, and not the quality of their products, is why Pentax and Olympus aren't in the same league, sales wise, as Nikon and Canon. My opinion of course as I have no data to back that up.
  3. Ellie527

    Ellie527 Well-Known Member

    I think some people need their DSLR to be as small and light as possible, without compromising the quality they want from their chosen product. Not everybody is able to carry a heavy weight all day.

    The size of batteries might also have a part to play, a small battery possibly means there's no need for a huge grip which might mean, in time, the evolution of a flatter camera body back to something like an SLR.

    I'm sure there are technologists working on ways to make the DSLR even smaller, if only because there are some cultures that prefer miniaturised products.

    There are always exceptions though, and I recently overheard somebody choosing their camera by size alone, he said he wanted the biggest dslr camera he could afford because it would look more impressive.
  4. mjc7uk

    mjc7uk Well-Known Member

    I would have to say no, as when I was buying a DSLR and had handle the Canon 300D and felt it is too small for me. And opt for Nikon D50 in which it tend to melt into my hand every time.

    I haven't handle the Olympus DSLR yet but seem to think it will be too small for me...
  5. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    There's a fairly straightforward relationship between the size of the battery (and the weight, as it happens) and the theoretical maximum amount of energy it can store - make the battery smaller (for a given electro-chemical technology) and you reduce its capacity in corresponding measure. In other words, a smaller battery means fewer shots. So looking at it that way it could be said that you are more likely to need a grip, not less, or at least that you are more likely to have to change batteries during a shoot.

    At the moment lithium-ion is the best we've got, and the larger batteries are as about as space-efficient as they can get before the limit is reached. Fuel cell power supplies will be considerably better, but for digital camera applications they are still some way off, with some technical problems yet to be resolved. Assuming that they will be resolved at some point then certainly that will mean a corresponding reduction in size and weight for the same charge, but when that will be is anyone's guess at the moment.
  6. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Sure, but the BP-511A in my Canon 5D is roughly the same volume as a 35mm cassette (granted it's a lot heavier). It has plenty of power for hundreds of normal shots.

    Funnily enough the BP-511 battery supplied with my Canon G5 compact is interchangeable... the physical dimensions and connections are identical, the A has more capacity but weighs the same. The lower capacity version lasts ages in the G5, I usually check it every 3 months or so. I understand the G7 & G9 use a smaller, lighter, lower capacity battery - I think this is fine for this application.

    Those with DSLRs can always carry spare batteries and/or use one those "fat bottoms" which contain extra batteries, if they really need all that energy for a day's shooting. The reason I call them "fat bottoms" is that I find their official designation of "grip" is misleading, personally I find it awkward to handle any camera with one of these attached - I hold with the right hand round the shutter button end of the body, and the left hand supporting the lens, the "grip" just stops me getting my right little finger under the bottom corner of the camera.
  7. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Rather bigger than a 35mm cassette, I would have thought, but anyway I'm just pointing out that until we get a new and more space/weight efficient cell technology there exists a relationship between the battery sizes we have at the present and the energy capacity, such that if you simply make smaller batteries you inevitably get fewer shots before you have to change or recharge.

    And of course the amount of charge necessary varies quite a lot with what is being asked of the camera - raw shooting eats up more than JPEGs, high ISOs need more than low, etc. Photography has never been so dependent on battery power as it is today, and nipping into the nearest shop for some AAs isn't (usually) an option with DSLRs, so it's important to have enough power on hand for all eventualities.
  8. bian

    bian New Member

    Compact camera is already there for them who fancy light units. For me it must be durable against impact, so magnesium casing necessary, therefore, like NIKON D80 (for the price $$$) should already have this feature.
    Bian :)
  9. bian

    bian New Member

  10. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    No. I have two film slr's, a Canon EF and a Pentax MX, and prefer the Canon every time. I also use two digicams, an Olly E20 and E500 (The school's), both are a bit small, though the E20 knocks spots off the E500 for build (You could knock nails in with it). When I do, finaly, buy a "real dslr" it will probably be a Canon 5D.
  11. photo_paul

    photo_paul Active Member

    I voted no as in the history of photography no reduction in size of equipment or format (to my knowledge) has ever increased the quality of the image delivered.
  12. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    As long as it doesn't make it worse ......
  13. cjbvortex

    cjbvortex Member

    I think a small and light DSLR only works with small and light lenses. My 400D was fine with the kit lenses on the front, but with my sigma 17-70 it feels unbalanced, gripping the camera is harder and finger ache is much more of an issue.

    However, I mainly use my camera for taking pictures when traveling or walking up mountains, so (not including cost) weight is the main reason why I don't want to upgrade
  14. Pogbellies

    Pogbellies Well-Known Member

    Not really, the choice is already there. I used to own a Mamiya ZE-X and Contax 139 both smaller than most of todays DSLRs and I cannot remember any problems in the handling or weight, however I just changed my EOS350D for a Samsung GX10 and its increased weight and size are beneficial in my opinion.

    I think it has a lot to do with the size of the grip, the 350s was too small for me. Even if the SLR itself is small and light, an adequate grip means it should handle better. I don't know if anyone has ever tried it, but the manufacturers might consider making their grips removable so that the buyer can choose one that suits them better. Interestingly Mamiya went toward this when the produced the left handed grip/shutter release for the ZE-X.
  15. singlereed

    singlereed New Member

    Hi there, I have just got hold of a Olympus E-410 twin lens kit, my first digital SLR. I did try a Canon EOS40D and whilst it has a great feel and all the features, the kit also weighs twice as much as the Olympus and I actually found it a real pain to carry around for half a day's shooting. The Olympus E-410 reminds me of my old OM2 and feels very comfortable in the hands. I was also attracted by the fact that the Olympus lenses have all seemed to have great reviews, the same can't be said of the Canon ones, excepting the L series. Part of the pleasure of photography is to enjoy using the equipment and personally I like it to be quite small and light. I worked one summer about 25 years ago with the son of Don McCullin when we were both students and he mentioned that when his Dad switched from Nikon to Olympus, his kit bag was less than half the weight! Oh yes, and I got a two lens kit for £349 from Currys with £50 to come back from cashback. I switched the 'standard' lens from the 17.5-45 (or whatever it was) to the proper 14-42 at a net cost of £50 on ebay, so that's £350 for the camera and both lenses. Great value, I couldn't really afford the EOS 40D and worried about how I was going to explain it to the powers that :D
  16. John_K

    John_K Well-Known Member

    I have a selection of slr's 3 x film and one D/slr. All Nikons. The biggest and heaviest of these is my F4 and that is a weight that you have to contend with, but what a beutifully engineered bit of kit it is. The other two film slr's ar F90's also well made but not quite in the same class or weight.

    The D/slr is the D200. Not as heavey I think as my old F100 but still a meaty bit of kit.

    I have had 2 Olympus D/slrs and for me they were far too light and puny for my hands. I also got the distinct impression that they would not last a good length of time either. The plastic is, well, too plasticky!

    No a bit of weight is fine for me and make for steadier holding.
  17. Ian_A

    Ian_A Well-Known Member

    Cameras need to be big and chunky, and look the business - models aren't impressed by tiddly ones ... [​IMG]
  18. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Nah. Stuff a long fat lens on the front and they won't care about the body. :rolleyes:
  19. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    I use a large format when shear quality is what matters. I want a 130MP scanning back for the ultimate quality. But. This autumn I was walking in the High Andes. Did I take my large format, of course not. Had I have had an EOS 1Ds I wouldn't have taken that either. I took a bridge camera. Weight and bulk matters - ask Chris Bonnington, an Olympus user.

    You have to decide whether to have a picture that isn't the last work in technical quality or no picture at all. Generations of photojournalists have had to make this judgement and chose Leicas etc rather than MPPs or even Rollies.

    There's room for a variety of sizes depending on the use they're put to.
  20. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    I've met Chris on many occasions; he's used quite a lot of different brands of camera in his time, mostly I think because people were sponsoring him to use them. Twenty odd years ago he was definitely a big fan of the Olympus OM system. What he's using in the digital age, I've no idea - but, despite taking his photography very seriously, I don't think he'd be enthusiastic about heavy, bulky "pro" style cameras.

    BTW if you ever find yourself on the North East Ridge of Everest, where the spur from the Kangshung Face joins it at about 7925 metres, there is a small cache of his own kit which he was forced to abandon in 1982. He'd probably like it back.

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