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Z series ergonomics

Discussion in 'Nikon Chat' started by GeoffR, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Back when they introduced the D3, Nikon told us that they had designed the command dials and sub command dials to have the optimum angles for comfortable operation, likewise the slope of the top plate where the on/off switch and shutter button are located. Later when the D4 was launched they said these angles had been refined, personally I can't detect any difference in the operation between the D2, D3 and D4 but what do I know?

    The question now is, why ditch all this ergonomic research in designing the Z series? The command and sub-command dials are horizontal with on angling what so ever and the slope of the top plate has almost gone too. Am I missing something important here or is it just that the much smaller Z series doesn't need these fine details? Has anyone with a Z6 or Z7 noticed that lack of these tweaks?

    If you aren't sure what I am talking about, have a look here https://camerasize.com/compare/#243,795
  2. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    A good question, but not one we will ever see answered. So far I am not interested in buying a Z series camera. I was interested in holding a Z6 and looking at it when I had the chance. Compared to the D500 the Z6 seems to be a big step backwards. My familiarity with the D500 and lack of familiarity with Z6 might have influenced my view to some extent but the Z6 ergonomics are definitely crude in comparison. The Z6 seems to be a box constructed to test the technology within it. Hopefully the ergonomics will be refined in later cameras in the series. I do not have large hands yet my little finger ended up neither comfortably on the grip or comfortably underneath the camera; it was just on the corner.
    I have not used the Z6 and cannot comment from experience of the AF modes but these also have been heavily criticised by users of the D5 and D500.
  3. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    The big issue with creating any small camera is that the ergonomics take a real hit.
    This is a rough and ready guide to what the Z6 would look like with approximately the same angle on the front button (37 degrees ish) taken from the centre of the button as a reference.
    You can see that it leaves even less room on the grip, and I doubt that the battery would even fit. The measurements are approximate, taken from an overall height of 100.5mm, and scaled within photoshop.
    Original Z6 on left, adjusted on right.

    NikonZ6 size side image measured.png
  4. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    To my mind the Z6/7 is already too small so getting the ergonomics right and making it a, good, bit bigger could only be an improvement.

    Comparing the Z series to a D3 or D4 it is easy to see just how small it is. If the future is mirrorless I hope cameras get bigger. For now I’m sticking with my SLRs.
  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    You’d hate my Panny GM5s then. ;)
  6. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    I'm writing with my Z6 nearby to try to reply to the original post.

    The body IS smaller, no doubt about that, but to my mind this has advantages too - more on this later.

    The fact that the top plate isn't sloped like my other NIKON camera bodies doesn't cause me any particular problem at all. To be honest I hadn't really noticed until I read this post… However, the overall height of the grip means, as @Learning stated, that my little finger tends to fall off - for this reason I purchased a GABALE grip which increases the height and stops my finger falling off. In addition it gives me a two axis Alpha-Swiss type tripod mount, which is also very useful to me. This will shortly be replaced by a MEIKE version (32€) which is slightly deeper.
    I purchased the Z6 for the totally silent shutter (and the fact that my collection of NIKON glass would fit…) which is very useful in one of my main photographic interests - modern/contemporary circus. It hasn't let me down - yes, the AF is not as reactive as the D500/D850 etc. but during TOTALLY silent performances I manage to produce high quality work. We are assured that this will be improved with an firmware update in the near future, and I'm looking forward to seeing this as I seem to spend my time shooting in very low light...

    I have no problems with the size of the camera body whatsoever, and Indeed the fact that it is smaller than my other camera bodies makes it far more discreet when I'm using the S series lenses. While not a heavy camera body, it has a certain weight which I find reassuring - I can handhold to much slower shutter speeds with a robust body - I can't seem to be able to get the hang of lighter bodies and the images are often all over the place.

    I personally can't see the point of making it any bigger - two card slots etc. is (to me) just a nonsense and certainly not a deal breaker as it is for some...ergonomically it fits (my large hands) albeit with the aid of an added tripod adpator plate, and overall seems to do what I purchased it to do.
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Comparing that with a D4 I would need an extra 10mm on the existing D6/7 for optimal comfort. However I would also want a vertical grip. With the ergonomically adjusted version I would need an extra 18mm, plus a vertical grip. The D3/4/5 aren't perfect but as far as I am concerned the ergonomics and size are about right.
  8. IanG1957

    IanG1957 Well-Known Member

    I would have to ask why? With the reduced size (and weight) I have no difficulty holding the camera in vertical 'portrait' mode - I don't feel I'm breaking my wrist turning it through 90° and I (obviously) have access to all of the controls.

    I am not saying that the Z6/Z7 is perfect - no camera body is - but I have to think that people are damming this new system without even trying it 'in the field' - picking it up in a shop and basing ones jugement on a very brief contact is simply not enough. But hell, what do I know :rolleyes:
  9. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    I am also someone who likes a vertical grip on a camera. Before I used one, I got on with the standard release, but after using on the D700, I feel lost without one - I have purchased a grip for my D5300, and though (as the 5300 is fairly small) it is possible and reasonably comfortable to use it without the grip, it is far easier with it.

    Adding another 18mm to the Z series doesn't make it look dodgy, neither does adding a vertical grip - mind you, that is just on paper, what it would feel like is another matter.
    I extended the card door on this one, so with the added height it wouldn't be a stretch to add a second card vertically.

    Nikon Z6 plus vertical grip.png

    ….I copied the original image from camerasize.com - not sure if they are their own or Nikon's.
    GeoffR likes this.
  10. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Several reasons:
    I learned many years ago that having a dedicated shutter button for portrait orientation resulted in my using that option more often. That it was also more comfortable that way will obviously have influenced my thinking.
    I have, since discovering the portrait format shutter release, owned only three cameras that didn't have this feature, all were traded for models that did. I still have the F90X with MB10 having upgraded from an F90.

    It isn't about weight, it is about comfort, if something isn't comfortable to use it doesn't get used as often as might be necessary (see above).

    I haven't even seen one, let alone tried using it. I can clearly see that it would be uncomfortable for me to use on an extended basis. My ability to grasp and hold on to small things is only going to deteriorate over time so clearly, whilst I would like to have some of the benefits of the Z series, it isn't going to be practical. You will note that kitchen utensils for those with arthritic hands have large grips, although I don't have this problem I do find large grips more comfortable if I have to hold something for an extended period. I suspect this to be true for many people but clearly they don't admit to it.

    Additionally, I have a policy of not trying out anything that I can't afford for the simple reason that it may become a temptation to find the money. I have absolutely no need for another camera and I can, currently, cope with the weight of a D3 or D4 with a 70-200 f2.8 and a TC17 so I shall continue to do so.

    I completely agree that a brief try out in a shop isn't enough, and never can be. The same goes for cars and many other things but very few people bother to hire them for a proper trial.
  11. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    If Nikon produced the one on the right I would be looking to try one.
  12. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Adding size to make things more ergonomic, need not necessarily add more weight.
    However the internals might need redistribution to get the balance right.
    For instance the internals of a Fuji X-T3 and X T30 are very similar, but the weight and size are very different. more so that the added card and bigger battery and construction would imply.

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