When does small become too small?

Started Sep 23, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Marty4650
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When does small become too small?
Sep 23, 2011

While everyone seems to be clamoring for smaller and smaller cameras and lenses that are "pocketable"... there has to be a point where something becomes too small to use comfortably due to the ergonomics involved.

I've already seem some concerns expressed on the Nikon Talk forum that the buttons on the new J1 are too small and crampted to used by adult fingers!

It seems there is a desire to miniturize things until they become unusable. Then they start to grow again. For example....

pocket calculators started out around the size of a paperback book. Then they kept shrinking, until we were seeing them as small as credit cards, and then even smaller until we were seeing them embeded on watches, on pens, and even on rings. But the problem was no one had fingers small enough to operate such tiny keys. So you had to use a pen or stylus to push buttons. Once the novelty factor wore off, they started growing again, until they settled on something the size of of a deck of cards, with buttons you could comfortably operate using human fingers.

cell phones started out so large that you needed a suitcase to carry them around in. Then, this was reduced to a "bag phone" and then a "brick phone." Eventually, they got so tiny you they were about the size of a box of Tic Tac mints. But this was too small, and they started growing again.

So... the question becomes... when will cameras get small enough to be comfortably usable, but still have the features and performance we want?

It may be still some time before a shirt pocket camera will deliver what we camera enthusiasts want. In the meantime... I think something the size of an EPL3 is about as small as a high quality camera can get and still be ergonomically sound.

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