Don't be EVIL and blame the prism and mirror for large camera size

Started Aug 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
Forum ProPosts: 17,631
Re: Very good point - why so large?
In reply to PerL, Aug 6, 2012

PerL wrote:

T3 wrote:

antoineb wrote:

Thanks for the reminder. I've also often wondered about the shocking size difference between my old Canon AE1 P, and my D7k - the latter is positively huge, despite being just APS-C while the former is full frame. And the viewfinder on the Canon is just so much larger and brighter.

It's because there are a lot of electronic components behind the sensor plane of a DSLR, whereas with a film SLR there is nothing behind the film plane other than a very thin pressure plate. There is about 3/4" to 1" of electronics-related thickness stuffed behind the sensor of a typical

I am writing this on a 7 mm thin iPad - almost a full fledged computer. Surely it should be possible to make the electronic parts smaller.

You forget that an iPad measures 9.5" x 7.3"! LOL! Yeah, if you have nearly 70 square inches to spread your electronic components across, you can make devices quite thin! Furthermore, you forget that an image sensor and its housing has a tangible thickness. Same with a circuit board and its various components mounted on it. Same with a rear LCD and its supporting electronics. Same with an image processors. Now stack all those components on top of each other! And leave enough air space for heat dissipation! Like I said, if camera manufacturers could spread these layers of components across a much wider area, they could make their cameras a lot less deep. Unfortunately, they don't have a such a wide area to work with, therefore they have to stack these layers.

I love how armchair engineers on the internet seem to think that camera manufacturers are doing it all wrong! LOL! If you're such a genius, why don't YOU rework the inside components of DSLRs so that they are thinner!?!?

Cross-sections of DSLR that are crammed full of electronics:

Film SLRs that have virtually NO internal electronics:

As for the rest of the camera, a Nikon F75 is as small as a Panasonic G2H, despite being FF, having AF and OVF.

Time to grow a brain, PerL. The reason why the F75 is so small is because it's practically an empty box, with nothing behind the film plane other than a thin pressure plate. Try stacking a veritable computer on the back of the F75, with a sensor, a processor, and all the electronic components necessary to pull data off of a high resolution sensor and construct it into an image, not to mention the ability to record and play back video, too. Suddenly, your F75 isn't going to be very compact anymore. Sorry, but making a camera a DIGITAL camera doesn't just happen by magic. Believe it or not, there is a complex array of electronic components that make it all possible. Today's DSLR cameras are basically film SLR's with computers strapped to the back of them.

I think we also have to remember that the miniaturization of electronic components can often make electronic devices a lot more expensive. That's why unsubsidized cell phones cost hundreds of dollars. For example, an unlocked and unsubsidized Nokia 808 PureView cell phone will set you back $700 on Amazon. So there's always a compromise between cost, size, weight, handling, etc.

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