polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Started Apr 5, 2011 | Discussions
usahog New Member • Posts: 1
polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

what is the advantages between the polycarbonate verses magesium alloy camera body, other than weight

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 21,009
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

usahog wrote:

what is the advantages between the polycarbonate verses magesium alloy camera body, other than weight

You can use polycarbonate body camera close to or inside an MRI scanner
Rgds

Bill Force
Bill Force Veteran Member • Posts: 6,607
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

a couple reasons, first off the magnesium bodied cameras tend as an overall average to be the higher quality instrument excluding the mag body IE: better shutters, usually more features vs. the lower end of the same brand. The polycarb bodies are more than adequate for general use (I have 2 ) but I also have a Nikon D2x and the overall quality of the two is obvious but the D2x costs a lot more too.

I like to equate a mag body camera vs. polycarb to an automobile IE: Rear wheel drive auto's generally are better quality than front wheel drives, Mercedes, Rolls, Lincoln, Cadillacs (some) simply because FWD cars are cheaper to manufacture just as polycarb bodies on cameras are cheaper to build. They are both O.K. but one is simply more costly and built better.
--

' You don't have to have the best of everything to get the best out of what you do have'.

Chas Tennis Contributing Member • Posts: 912
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Does anyone have some facts on why a magnesium body would inherently perform any better that a polycarbonate body? What are those reasons?

The weight gives a magnesium camera more of a "feel" of quality, whatever that is. Agreed, for some reason, I guess. Is that it?

Chas Tennis

Robert Hoy Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Polycarbonate (engineering plastic) is more durable than old magnesium alloy. Many devices made for extended outdoor use are made of plastics. Plastics generally do better when they strike a hard surface because the shell can flex slowing down the impact jarring the interior components less than a metal rigid body would. A metal body falling against a rock would be a hard shock to everything inside.

Engineering plastic can also make a camera lighter. Note the EOS-3 is engineering plastic and fiberglass and is notably lighter than the magnesium EOS-1v. It is strange that as material engineering and production advance camera makers still choose to use an old, heavy, less durable material for handheld devices.
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Chas Tennis Contributing Member • Posts: 912
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Those are two clear & excellent reasons that favor poly: lighter weight and especially better for accidental impacts. Camera breaks because the user drops = sell new camera.

No Facts but The only pro-metal feature that I can think of so far - and I don't know if it is significant - is thermal conduction. The metal will conduct heat away more rapidly from any heat sensitive parts. Heating may not be important at all but maybe for some cameras it is. Do poly bodies have any known component cooling issues?

Chas Tennis

Bill Force
Bill Force Veteran Member • Posts: 6,607
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

As I stated above, inherently they are operationally the same but the BETTER quality cameras are mag alloy.
--

' You don't have to have the best of everything to get the best out of what you do have'.

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 21,009
Weight

Higher weight makes camera less prone to vibration due to mirror flap.
Rgds

Robert Hoy Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: Weight

Marcamera wrote:

Higher weight makes camera less prone to vibration due to mirror flap.

Ok, eliminate the mirror or do like Sony did and made the mirror see through. No more mirror slap.
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http://www.photographybyhoy.com

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 21,009
Re: Weight

Robert Hoy wrote:

Marcamera wrote:

Higher weight makes camera less prone to vibration due to mirror flap.

Ok, eliminate the mirror or do like Sony did and made the mirror see through. No more mirror slap.
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I agree, only a matter of time
Rgds

Doug J Forum Pro • Posts: 11,547
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Chas Tennis wrote:

Those are two clear & excellent reasons that favor poly: lighter weight and especially better for accidental impacts. Camera breaks because the user drops = sell new camera.

No Facts but The only pro-metal feature that I can think of so far - and I don't know if it is significant - is thermal conduction. The metal will conduct heat away more rapidly from any heat sensitive parts. Heating may not be important at all but maybe for some cameras it is. Do poly bodies have any known component cooling issues?

The magnesium alloy shell is covered with a polymer skin, this insulates the camera so there are no appreciable thermal conduction differences. Cameras are low power devices, so not a lot of heat generation in use anyway.

One can also not feel the metal shell due to the polymer skin. IMO, the shell material is not very important. The performance, features and ergonomics are, and these are up to the individual.

Cheers,
Doug
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tsiya Veteran Member • Posts: 4,304
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Most likely because people wanting to have the "better quality" camera insist on a metal shell, and not because the metal shell is still vital to a better quality camera. Magnesium is light, and strong for it's weight, but probably not the best choice when compared to newer materials.
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tsiya [Bob]
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Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,702
Price...

Poly is much less expensive to produce and manufacture...

Lin

usahog wrote:

what is the advantages between the polycarbonate verses magesium alloy camera body, other than weight

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GarageBoy Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

I actually prefer poly

Mag cracks when hit hard enough, not corrosion resistant, has to be painted, which scratches off, dents, etc.

Poly feels cheaper than it actually is

colesf Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

A metal frame is superior IF it is also structurally connected to the tripod mount. My recently-sold Pentax k20d had a metal frame, but it did not seem to connect to the tripod mount. A simple test on a sturdy tripod showed that shutter motion caused the camera to flex from the tripod mount, leading to the possibility of unsharpness. It was much worse with grip attached, which causes a magnification of flex. Many people assume that their tripod head sags, so they look for a more expensive one. What may be happening is flex from the camera. This can also cause the camera to droop when a large lens is used. The ball head may not be slipping at all.

Chas Tennis Contributing Member • Posts: 912
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

I can't see the difference between metal and poly. Usually the head plate that the camera rests on is made of rubber so there is some give there already whether the camera is made of poly or metal. I'd still like to see a metal female thread insert to reinforce the poly.

I recently had an issue- I bought an Aiptek Action video camera and the recommended Aiptek tripod. The thumb screw into the camera would bottom in the camera hole before tightening the camera down ! I had to get the screw out and make a cardboard washer to snug it down.

Chas Tennis

rfclark Contributing Member • Posts: 589
Magnesium bodies in high-end cameras 'preferred' or 'better?'

Hi

What if polycarbonate had been used in camera bodies before magnesium? Would pro's and wanna-be pro's be insisting on poly bodies in their expensive cameras?

Think of both poly and magnesium as 'engineering' materials. Let the engineers, accountants, and marketers decide what is 'best.'
No matter what, we get gear that is constantly improved.
Dick
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GarageBoy Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Re: polycarbonate verses magesium alloy bodys

Bottoming out is normal
Most tri pod screws have a plastic nut on them to allow you to take up the slack

Plastic is ok as long as the LENS mount is connected to the chassis

Leica is pretty bad at this, actually, but they managed to use that design for over 50 years (the lens mount is attached to the body and when my dad was calibrating RFs on them, a tight squeeze would result in focus shifting)

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