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Is smaller necessarily better?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by GeoffR, May 30, 2021.

  1. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    In another thread a member commented about reduced size, I implied from that, in context, he thought smaller was good. The adult human hand hasn't actually got any smaller and as we age our joints become less flexible, which is why there are kitchen utensils with oversized handles. Therefore I have to ask, why is there such a rush to miniaturisation?

    OK Apple make the iPhone in two sizes, the larger one being anything but miniature. Surely there is a minimum comfortable size for things like cameras and making things smaller then becomes counter productive.
  2. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    As you say it partly depends on the person's hand size. I like the small size of Fujifilm CSCs, but like most smaller cameras find them a touch thin from front to back, adding the half case just makes them right for me, I found the same with 35mm SLRs such as the Olympus OM series and the Nikon FM2. With cameras there is the weight factor to take into account, I certainly prefer to walk around with a Fujifilm CSC than with a bulky FF DSLR, not that I am able to walk around much at all at present. The small camera I found fiddly was the Pentax ME Super. The function of phones has vastly changed since the first brick-like models, most are pretty sophisticated computers and need to be bulky to enable the screen to be large enough for purpose.
  3. Derek W

    Derek W Well-Known Member

    OK I just can't resist...

    Just to point out that you have started two threads where you have referenced Apple and the information you have given has been incorrect.

    Apples *latest iPhone comes in 3 sizes, with one of them being called the iPhone 12 mini

    *other older iPhones are still available to purchase from Apple
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Is there?

    Apart from the example you give about the handles, there are many other examples of things getting bigger. Cars are allegedly 4 inches wider and 6 inches longer than in 1985.
  5. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I find that miniaturisation of the hardware tends to have the exact opposite effect on the price! Looking at iPhones is an exercise in excess, there is no possibility that I would pay £1,000 for a phone so I just delete the emails and avoid that part of the web site. Clearly I have missed the latest phone launch.

    That I will believe, and humans are getting bigger too.
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    True. My grandson is 6" taller than me!

    Mind you, there's always been a wide range of human sizes...

    Big and small at bus stop Swindon R1_00291.JPG
  7. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Cars are larger, partly down to safety legislation for occupant protection with much extra equipment and impact absorbing crumple zones. Compare the size of the current VW Polo with that of the original Golf which is one model up the range.
  8. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure that Apple's target demographic isn't arthritic octogenarians.
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    ...but they're the ones with the dosh! :p
    John Farrell likes this.
  10. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    One of the reasons that I keep my old Nokia cellphone going, is that I have no desire to carry a smartphone the size of a chocolate bar in my pocket.
    Catriona likes this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    With cameras I always find a more angular design better for my hands. It's why I preferred Nikon to Canon as I found the more rounded profile of Canon to be less easy to hold.
    I'm with @John Farrell re the Nokia! Good signal, send texts, speak. What more do you need?
    John Farrell likes this.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well for one thing, because not everyone agrees with you.
    And in terms of camera design, the average hand size is smaller than here, so it's not a huge surprise that some cameras are designed with that in mind.

    Well when phones were simply phones, it made sense to try to make them as physically small as usability allowed. Once they became portable computers, the requirement for bigger screens to allow for other uses became greater. I don't think it's any sort of argument for this discussion, because a smartphone is simply a different type of device to an old mobile phone.

    For me, smallness is far less important in how usable a camera is than how well designed it is, and how easy to operate it is. I've always used a variety of cameras from large format down to a Minox "spy" camera. If the camera is designed properly, it's easy enough to operate regardless of size. What DOES make a big difference to me is weight (and to a lesser extent, size) when carrying a camera around all day, and as I've got older, it's mattered more. If I'm working as a pro, I use full frame cameras - they give me the results I need, and I'm seldom actually carrying them around much. For travel, I much prefer using my EOS M cameras - not only is the camera much smaller and lighter, but critically, so are the lenses. Yet still very easy to hold and use, because of how well designed they are. I can carry a full kit about if I wish for about the same size as a full frame camera and one lens.
    Zou likes this.
  13. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    Apple have decided to go for the high price-low sales approach, something they have done in the past. (look around on the web, there is a reference somewhere to one of the Apple bods stating so, and I sure as hell am not going digging for the link:confused:)
    Last time they did that, they fell flat on their ar$e (90's) but I don't think they will be quite so stupid this time round. They are already trying stealthy releases of less capable but cheaper phones/tablets etc.

    Something that is missing from the size argument is simple ergonomics. The hand will naturally grip an older phone such as the Nokias, Erricsons etc as they had a curved back with relatively narrow width. The flexor tendons in the forearm ensure that this size, and maybe a bit larger is easy to grasp - it's a throwback to when we used to swing through the trees as a natural grip did not require a huge amount of effort.
    Before anyone points it out, I do know that primates have a different arrangement of tendons, which actively grips with no effort at all.

    Miniaturising some stuff is fine, but designers need to think of their audience, the ergonomics, and whether they should, even if they could.
    Catriona likes this.
  14. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    They are certainly aiming some new products at the lower end of the market but you're quite wrong about "less capable".

    The new iPad Air tests out as their fastest device in Geekbench's single core and metal tests, although it's near enough their cheapest tablet. See here: iOS Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser
  15. Ascu75 AKA Don Wood

    Ascu75 AKA Don Wood Well-Known Member

    I use a Panasonic TZ80 because I cannot use my DSLR anymore because of my Multiple Sclerosis my hands just don’t work properly anymore. So for me small is good. I wish I was able bodied but I’ve had to adapt to continue my use of a camera and enjoy this hobby I love. Don
    Catriona and daft_biker like this.
  16. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Original mobile phones were approximately the size and weight of a brick, so it's fair to say that bigger isn't always better! As the tech developed, the phones got smaller and lighter and some of the mobile phones you could get were postiively tiny! They had to get bigger once we started using them as cameras and for watching TV and films and they had to get flat as well. The largest of the current iphones is a bit of a compromise between a phone and a tablet - and let's face it there's not much difference between most smart phones and tablets these days. I just don't think most 'phones' are all that small any more!

    As for human hands not getting smaller though...you're probably missing the point re. the target market for most of these phones. Not wanting to point fingers but I don't think the average age on this site fits the demographic that is buying the most new phones. I've seen kids as young as six with mobiles of their own and the teen market is vast. Their hands are smaller!
  17. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    What size are their pockets? Why is it, with all this progress, that those who just want a phone for calls and texts, with a battery that lasts 3 weeks, can't get what they desire?
    Catriona likes this.
  18. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    That’s easy to answer, we don’t represent a significant profit stream. You or I might buy a phone every five years or so but current models are targeting those who upgrade every year. I actually make phone calls on mine with the occasional text or email, my iPad is mainly used to read ebooks and sometimes replying to forum posts, I buy used.
  19. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    I've never been into buying the new just because it's new - I buy new when the old wears out - so I'll keep the old Nokia phone going. The replacement battery I fitted recently has lasted 2 weeks so far, on its first charge.
    Catriona likes this.
  20. Derek W

    Derek W Well-Known Member

    I usually upgrade my phone every 18 months to 2 years

    I find the re-sale value is still good at those time points and I can use the money to off set a big chunk of the cost of buying a new SIM free phone.

    It is all about personal preference at the end of the day.

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