Advantages of SLR in today's world

Started Nov 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
Truman Prevatt
Truman Prevatt Veteran Member • Posts: 6,248
Re: I agree, wholeheartedly...

Of course automation comes with a price.  Automation means more electronics which means motors, more sensors, more electronics to process the output of the AF sensors, the metering sensors, communicate with the lenses and drive the motors that focus and control aperture.

In the days of the FM/FE most of this was mechanical.  All this requires electrons - and storage of electrons is heavy and bulky.  Of course in the age of digital sensors, a significant number of milliamp hours is required just for the sensor.  However, the change in the ergonomics started to change long before the digital sensors were introduced.  I still use a Nikon F2 I got in '75.  It is built like a tank and is a real workhorse.  It really does everything I want and it is so tough I could use it as a weapon if I wanted to - whack a mugger over the head with the F2 than take a picker of him on the ground holding his pumpkin head.  It supports not only multiple focusing screens, but also multiple viewfinders that are easy to change.

I also have an FM but prefer the balance and flexibility of the F2,  Most of what I do now is medium and large format film.  I tried the D200 and decided that I would wait before I looked again to replacing my film cameras with digital.  I am intrigued with the D800E simply because I prefer not to have an AA filter.  However, given the current ergonomics of the DSLR's I am waiting to see some reviews on the new Leica M.  Yes it is more expensive.  However, the ergonomics of the Leica is much more to my liking than the current heavy and large DSLR's.  Given all the issues (left AF for example) we have seen with the latest crops of DSLR's both from Canon and Nikon, I also have to wonder about the build quality of these cameras along with the QC.  Three thousand and having to deal with autofocus issues, small veiwfinder and poor focusing screens for manual focus, oil on the sensor, the weight, etc. the extra money for a Leica M might be worth it in the long run especially since I don't tend to trade in cameras very often.

I am sure that for some - probably even a large majority - all the bells and whistles and features on the new DSLR's are important.  However, for what I do 99% of the time, they are not needed and their inclusion has resulted in a camera whose ergonomics is not all that compatible with how I work and what I like to do.

As I said, it comes down to HOW you use it. Today's SLRs are much larger than yesterdays are. For Manual lenses, they are worse in every way: smaller viewfinder, finger wrap grips, heavier, bulkier, and more buttons to accidentally push.

Automation is fine, but there is NO camera for people in the F camp who just want a simple camera with a large viewfinder and no profusion of unnecessary buttons. Today, you can miss shots and yesterday you could miss shots. The difference is that you can delete what you don't need now. Had the same technology: great viewfinders, small cameras, small lenses been applied directly to the digital scene, mirrorless probably wouldn't be as strong a contingent as it is now.

But, cameras got larger, and lots of (especially males) thought that the bigger the camera, the better. It reminds me of something else, really. I was in that camp when first I got my digital. I wanted it to feel solid, strong, sure, and I was sure the camera was ergonomic. I think it is - for autotofocus lenses with auto everything. Having full automation, I agree that today's cameras are MORE ergonomic than yesterday's cameras. I'd not want to use and FE style body with a large automatic everything zoom - there's nothing to hold on to.

But again, I'm not arguing that point. I'm arguing for users of older, smaller lenses, that only manual focus because there is NO autofocus on their lenses, users who would have loved an FE style camera to exist with today's sensor technology.

We are a small contingent, but vocal. I'm sorry for that. You can enjoy your style of photography and me, mine. I wish that we could happily use different cameras, but... there simply is no digital camera for a user like me. Not from Nikon or any SLR manufacturer anyway.

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 Truman Prevatt's gear list:Truman Prevatt's gear list
Nikon D800E Fujifilm X-Pro2 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D Nikon AF Nikkor 135mm f/2D DC +12 more
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