SX10 ergonomics not as good as S3

Started Jan 19, 2009 | Discussions thread
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ian
ian
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SX10 ergonomics not as good as S3
Jan 19, 2009

Disclaimer: Below are my experiences and opinions, your experience may vary.

I recently picked up an SX10 and discovered that it doesn't feel nearly as stable in my hand as my S3. The S3 IS has the best feel of any compact prosumer camera I've ever handled. Even with an aluminum extension tube, and the wide angle adapter hanging off the end, making the S3 3oz heavier than the SX10, the smaller S3 feels more solid and actually lighter in my hand. I can not only shoot stills with one hand, I can run the zoom, switch from rec to play, and hit video record button all while just grasping the grip with only middle and ring finger of my right hand. I can, and do do this all the time.

So imagine my surprise when I try to do the same with the physically larger SX10 and find it twisting and slipping out of my hand. First impressions are that it feels heavier, less stable, and simply more awkward.

It's not the weight though, because as I said, the combo I shoot with the most on the S3 weighs more. We sat down and tried to figure out the problem and this is what we found. The S3 and SX10 have roughly the same depth grip (distance from forward most face of grip to camera body), but the S3's grip is square, while the SX10's is rounded inward on the outside corner. It means that the total distance around the grip is actually less than before. My finger tips rest firmly against the body of the camera on the SX10 and I end up with a small gap around my 2nd knuckles between fingers and grip. When holding the camera with one hand, the camera is trying to twist itself to the left, so you're primarily pulling outward with the tip of the middle finger, and pushing inward with the base of the ring finger, or edge of palm. But that new gap under the ring finger means that the camera twists a little further to the left to fill the space, and since the place where the palm rests is now rounded, it also tries to slip off the front of the grip.

We also noticed that the S3 has a little bevel to the rear right corner that
the palm at the base of your thumb rests in very comfortably. The SX10
is square there, so it is generally less comfortable.

After an hour or so of trying to just "get used to it" I was getting less and less happy with the feel of the SX10. Finally we did some experimentation, carving up some little tapered balsa sticks and taping them to the outside right corner of the grip to make the grip square again. Added a little sticky backed sand paper in a key spot on the bottom right corner where the palm at the base of the ring finger rests, and sure enough, that prototype hack made it feel much more stable.

I suspect that in the long run, I'll have to figure out some way to make a little rubber shim to make the rounded part square again and tape or glue it on.

Anyway, if there's anyone out there who's notice the same problem, with or without having owned the S2 or S3 before, I'd be interested in hearing your impressions. I suspect those with smaller hands might not have as much of a problem, but I still think rounding out the grip was a big mistake. They turned it from a camera that could be comfortably used one handed, to one that only feels stable in two hands. I know, some will say "big deal", but to me it is.

ian

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