A simpler digital camera

Started Nov 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,759
Re: A simpler digital camera

Tundera wrote:

I still want a good mechanical camera with a digital back. Make it
all manual again, and life will be grand

If you sister really wants a digital ME Super, though, why not just
throw it in center weighted metering, manual focus, manual lens w/
aperture ring, raw only (no wb tinkering needed), and leave the mode
dial locked on "M"? The only thing she'd have to adjust to is no
split screen finder, and she can get on with taking great photos w/o
worrying about the camera.

I'm sure she has some old ME lenses around that would do the job nicely.

I like your thinking. A simple, mechanical SLR (I've got an Exakta VX1000 with Schneider Xenon 50mm F/1.9 in front of me now) let's you easily see and control every image parameter: aperture, shutter speed, focus point, and depth of field. Saturation, contrast, white balance, and ISO are controlled by the film I select, or, sometimes in the case of white balance and ISO, by adding a filter.

I'd like a digital SLR that's just as easy to use. That means an aperture ring, shutter speed dial, and manual-focus prime lenses with focus and depth of field scales made to work with the camera's sensor size. I've really appreciated auto-diaphragm (though I still use a pre-set macro lens occasionally), but I don't need auto-focus, auto-exposure, an LCD, or even a built-in light meter. I do like the digital trick of being able to adjust saturation, contrast, white balance, and ISO for every "frame" (eliminating one of the reasons I used to carry multiple bodies). "Scene" modes on a camera are next to worthless, but I like the idea of film modes (spin the dial to emulate K25, Velvia, Astia, Portrait 160, Tech Pan, Tri-X) and maybe even filter effects (let's try Tri-X with a yellow-green filter).

Despite the Exakta's thick, trapezoidal body, it looks much friendlier when pointed at a person; the even thicker body, large handgrip, and protruding zoom lens on the GX-1S seems much more threatening/invasive (despite the speed advantage, the 50mm looks small and innocuous on the Exakta, and the styling laid-back with only a 3 1/4 inch depth from camera back to front of lens; the thicker, more imposing looking lens and forward sweep of the built-in flash with a 5 1/2 inch depth on the Samsung makes it look more like a weapon). The difference is even more pronounced if I slip the waist-level finder onto the Exakta and don't aim it from eye-level.

I'm excited by the announcement of the Cosina 40mm F/2 KA mount lens due out shortly. With your suggested camera settings (except for raw--I'm not yet ready to give up getting my pictures the way I want them at the point of capture), I think it will greatly improve my DSLR satisfaction.

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