Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

Started Jan 7, 2012 | Discussions
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ohmydentist Senior Member • Posts: 1,918
Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

For example, I compared F6 with D700. Overall dimension are similar, but when you look at their volume, D700 is chunkier.

Same seems to be true for pro body, D3s looks chunkier than F5.

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,261
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

Probably because of all the electronics they cram in there + the much more massive batteries = bigger cameras.

perpetua Regular Member • Posts: 474
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

I think that Canon/Nikon want pros to also buy their cheap entry-level DSLR for everyday shooting. Same for the bulk/weight of pro lenses... It's a marketing decision!

My local dealer told me that someone told him they put concrete in their high-end products and it makes them feel more solid/expensive.

ohmydentist OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,918
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

I wouldn't go that far ^^ But, I do think that Nikon/Canon are so comfortable in their pro market position, (let's face it, there is no other pro brands) that they don't feel the need for innovation.

They might as well make bodies 10 lbs, and all pros will buy them.

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nikonjohn
nikonjohn Senior Member • Posts: 1,338
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

If you follow Popular Photography you probably already know that Bob Krist uses D7000s because of their lighter weight. It is really a personal choice based on the needs of the particular photographer.

With respect to the weight of the bodies, if you look at the D3s as an example of a relatively large and heavy body, it has substantial weight because of its fully metal body, big buffer, and built in battery pack. However, even with a D200 or 300 if you strap on the battery pack you've got a large and relatively heavy body.

If you buy the concrete story I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.

Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

perpetua wrote:

I think that Canon/Nikon want pros to also buy their cheap entry-level DSLR for everyday shooting. Same for the bulk/weight of pro lenses... It's a marketing decision!

My local dealer told me that someone told him they put concrete in their high-end products and it makes them feel more solid/expensive.

http://tokyobling.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/nikon-d3-cut-in-half/

Concrete... Very funny. Actually, they put spent nuclear fuel rods from Fukishima in the pro DSLRs because it is the only way to dispose of the stuff.
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ohmydentist OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,918
film SLR were all plastic?

Are you saying film SLR were all plastic and had no battery? Buffer is a memory, and its size is negligible.

didn't film SLR have more mechanical parts, which takes more room than electronic parts?

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ohmydentist OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,918
I see lots of void ^^ (nt)
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diverroy
diverroy Contributing Member • Posts: 728
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

perpetua wrote:

My local dealer told me that someone told him they put concrete in their high-end products and it makes them feel more solid/expensive.

And I was told that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.
If your local dealer was serious I would go somewhere else
Diverroy

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,261
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

I wonder jow the cut cameras like this. Would they just pass it througha diamond saw?

nikonjohn
nikonjohn Senior Member • Posts: 1,338
Re: film SLR were all plastic?

ohmydentist wrote:

Are you saying film SLR were all plastic and had no battery? Buffer is a memory, and its size is negligible.

didn't film SLR have more mechanical parts, which takes more room than electronic parts?

Ohmydentist - No I'm not saying that film SLRs were all plastic or had no battery. I'm just saying that the Nikon pro SLRs weigh more because they are more robust and that advanced features likely add a bit to the weight. For comparison purposes the Nikon F5 weighs 1210 grams without batteries. The D3s weighs 1240 grams without the batteries and the announced weight for the D4 is 1340 grams including the batteries. I couldn't get a weight for the EN-EL18 but I suspect that once you take the batteries out the actual weight of the F5, D3s, and D4 is pretty close. While the film camera has more moving parts, it doesn't have a sensor, processing or video support electronics, or buffer (even it only weighs a gram or two). There may also be some other reasons that the D3s and D4 are a little heavier than the F5 but someone more knowledgeable than me would have to weigh in.

John

stuntmonkey
stuntmonkey Senior Member • Posts: 2,696
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

ohmydentist wrote:

For example, I compared F6 with D700. Overall dimension are similar, but when you look at their volume, D700 is chunkier.

If you look at the D700 side by side with the F6, the difference isn't that much. FX bodies are bigger now because FX is skimming the high end of the consumer range now. There's no reason why a FX camera couldn't be the size of a Fm2... it just wouldn't hit 11fps and have space for all of the onboard computer processing of the D4.

http://1000wordpics.blogspot.com

marcio_napoli Senior Member • Posts: 1,048
Why can't they be even bigger than they are?

Please, don't take it to the wrong side of things, but why do some folks seem so obcessed with size, bulk and wheight ?

I mean, D# series are just 1 kg cameras. 1 kg is really nothing at all, I simply fail to understand this...

I see this too often in DP review.

Professional cameras are not meant to be light in any possible way, they must survive a lot of beating.

They're not meant to be the snapshot nor the vacation camera, sorry if you kinda expected them to be light.

Camera makers must pack professional grade cameras with all the goodies, even if it weights an unbearable 1 kg.

And if you value your photos enough to care for professional level IQ, you may also embrace some extra grams.

Besides, I've personally met 45, 55 years old gentlemen that can lift 200 kg in the gym (I know, incredibly fit indeed), and one of them can run more than 8 miles without sweating.

That's just my 2 cents any way.

Cheers!

Marcio Napoli

jbcrane
jbcrane Senior Member • Posts: 1,364
The F6 is a unique camera...

ohmydentist wrote:

For example, I compared F6 with D700. Overall dimension are similar, but when you look at their volume, D700 is chunkier.

I agree, but will throw this in as food for thought: I'm not sure any camera can match up ergonomically to the F6. To read more about this, take a look here:
http://imaging.nikon.com/history/scenes/09/index.htm

Of specific interest to me was the following statement (with all due credit attributed to Tomohisa Ikeno):

The development concept for the F6 is "finesse..."

Among the five human senses, sight, touch and hearing relate to camera operation. These three senses can distinguish this camera's finesse. As a simple example, sight takes in the appearance of the camera body, and perceives with ease and precision every scene that can be seen through the viewfinder. As for the sense of touch, users feel the secure grip and surefire operability. Even the sounds of shutter-release and other operations provide a special sensation of quality. So what I mean by "finesse" is the comfortable, reassuring feel of flawless operation transmitted through these three senses."

As an F6 owner and regular shooter, I can verify this intangible he speaks of with the F6. I shoot it with the MB40 grip (with the Kirk L-Bracket attached) so it's actually the same height as the D3s (also with a Kirk L-bracket) when I put them side-by-side. But there's an intangible to the F6 that's unlike any other camera I've held or operated: it actually feels smaller. It's an interesting phenomena... The F6 has a skinnier 'front-to-back" proportion; where the rear of the f-mount/standard connects with the actual rubberized main body. When you wrap your right hand around the protruding main grip, your fingers "close in" a bit more, producing less stress on the hand. I dream of the day they design an F6-feeling DSLR.

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JBCrane, Shooter in Colorado.
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Husband. Dad. Dog lover. COG.
Long live film.

Wanganuilad
Wanganuilad Senior Member • Posts: 2,210
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

http://tokyobling.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/nikon-d3-cut-in-half/

so much space wasted on that huge mirror box and prism
Pete
K-5 some Len

capanikon
capanikon Senior Member • Posts: 2,040
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

Some 35mm full-frame SLRs were quite a bit smaller than a lot of DSLRs ... here's a D200 (red) superimposed over a 35mm full-frame ("FX") Nikon N8008s SLR (green-black). Look at that: the full-frame SLR is smaller than the DX DSLR!

35mm full-frame Nikon SLRs such as the FM2n are even smaller!

I think part of the reason is that the market (especially newcomers to photography who never used a compact 35mm full-frame film SLR) "wants" large cameras.

There is not as much diversity in the DSLR market as there was in the 35mm film SLR market because the DSLR market hasn't had as much time to mature ... the DSLR market is not as saturated today as the 35mm film SLR was saturated in its heyday.

As a result of the 35mm film SLR saturation (so my theory goes) there was a greater focus on niche SLRs, so large 35mm FX SLRs such as the Nikon F5 had a market that co-existed with 35mm FX SLRs such as the much, much smaller FM3a.

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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 41,890
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

Apewithacamera wrote:

Probably because of all the electronics they cram in there + the much more massive batteries = bigger cameras.

Digital camera batteries are much smaller than film era batteries. For a start, battery technology has moved on, for a second, digital electronics consume much less power than the motors needed to shift film at high FPS rates. moreover, the stepper motor shutters used now are much more energy efficient than the spring driven ones used formerly.

Edit: realise there is a battery factor here. How many film era motorised cameras could shoot 1000 frames or more on a single charge?
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Bob

KSV Veteran Member • Posts: 3,351
I love to have "minimistic" DSLR

In body like Pentax MZ-5n and with the same controls. Shoot just RAW, no back LCD. Unfortunately such dream will never came through.

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stuntmonkey
stuntmonkey Senior Member • Posts: 2,696
Re: Why can't they be even bigger than they are?

marcio_napoli wrote:

Professional cameras are not meant to be light in any possible way, they must survive a lot of beating.

There is such a thing as carbon composites nowadays. I appreciate the toughness and the durability, but strong doesn't have to mean weighty.

http://1000wordpics.blogspot.com

Edvinas Senior Member • Posts: 2,811
Re: Why are DSLR bodies bigger than film era SLR?

ohmydentist wrote:

For example, I compared F6 with D700. Overall dimension are similar, but when you look at their volume, D700 is chunkier.

Well, film cameras did not have neither sensor, nor back LCD...

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Edvinas

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