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Author Topic: Why are DSLRs so Big?  (Read 7861 times)

RunAndGun

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2013, 08:31:25 PM »
Speaking personally and professionally, I'll say that ergonomics play a huge roll(no pun intended).  You get to a point when miniaturizing things that they get too small to effectively be able to interact with them.  I live in the TV world and if you look at a one piece Betacam from the 90's with it's tape transport in the body vs. a solid state camera today(with 20 years of technological advancements), the bodies are still pretty much the same size, same weight and same layout of key switches and buttons(even among different manufacturers).  If I go in my office and pick up my first Sony Betacam from 1997 and then pick up my Panasonic P2 Varicam from today, the power switch, black balance/white balance switch, filter wheel, record button, white balance memory switch, etc. are all in the same places.  The cameras sit on my shoulder and balance similarly.  My point is, especially in the professional world, the way something feels and the way you are able to interact with it are more important than "lets make it small just because we can".

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2013, 08:31:25 PM »

BruinBear

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2013, 02:07:30 PM »
Some even think that is one "sexy combo" :-\

Sorry, but I just don't see it and will never get it ::)

I actually tried it with my EOS m and 70-200 II and it was mildly usable for the short time period i was messing around with it.  I pretty much was supporting the entire weight with my left hand on the lens and just kinda aimed and pressed the shutter with my right.

The most awkward part for me tbh was having to hold the combination in front of you to see the LCD instead of up to your face.
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RAKAMRAK

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2013, 05:09:19 PM »
DSLRs are big (well compared to what exactly?) because when DSLRs came into market the idea of the camera manufacturers were to put the available technology inside the body (or a similar body) of the existing film cameras - the form factor remained the same. For canon that form factor probably drew on T90; for Nikon it was probably something like the body of Nikon F401 or F4. At that time there was a technological limitation on the miniaturization of the digital components. And photographers have grown accustomed with the form factor so much that there have never really been any revolutionary change in that form (What can Lytro lightfield form factor do is yet to be seen). In future the size is bound to go down a bit... with further miniaturization of the digital and electronic components. For example with the new AF technology of 70D I can foresee that the AF sensor at the base of the camera (the are located at the base of the camera right?) will surely be eliminated - so will the secondary mirror. As SL1 has shown the sensor mount mechanism can also be made smaller - in near future that will go to full frame as well, but making full frame cameras smaller may not be in the primary goal list of camera manufactureres. 


OP is forgetting that the DSLRs need space for several motherboards, chips and much more wiring than the film/analogue cameras. Roger cicala of Lens Rentals stripped down the 5D III long back,.... it is worthwhile to have a look at what it has inside

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/04/5d-iii-strip-tease

« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 05:19:47 PM by RAKAMRAK »
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pwp

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2013, 05:37:44 PM »
Speaking personally and professionally, I'll say that ergonomics play a huge role (no pun intended). You get to a point when miniaturizing things that they get too small to effectively be able to interact with them.   

My point is, especially in the professional world, the way something feels and the way you are able to interact with it are more important than "lets make it small just because we can".

++1
My tiny SL1 is ideal as an ultra-lightweight travel body, but compared to a 1-Series body the ergonomics are separated by orders of magnitude. And it's not just about size. The seamless, close to perfect ergonomics of 1-Series bodies on a busy, demanding project tangibly deliver better outcomes for the client and with less mental fatigue for the photographer. While my gripped 5D3 is pretty darn good in the ergonomics department, it's still a long way short of the almost exquisite, highly evolved handling of just about every 1-Series since the original 1D which launched way back in November 2001.

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distant.star

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2013, 06:08:53 PM »
.
Ergonomics -- it does not mean what you think it means.
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dilbert

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2013, 06:34:39 PM »
.
Like most of us here I have no idea what has driven the DSLR form factor to the place it now occupies.

The light box and optical view finder are the primary drivers.

In the days of the SLR, it was also providing enough space to keep the film flat plus somewhere for it to roll on to and off from.

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2013, 06:36:05 PM »
The size and shape of canon's DSLRs are a consequence of the 35mm SLRs.   Early DSLRs still had the motors and gears for advancing film.

DSLRs never had motors or gears for advancing film.
SLRs on the other hand did.

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2013, 06:36:05 PM »

gmrza

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2013, 07:56:39 PM »
Speaking personally and professionally, I'll say that ergonomics play a huge roll(no pun intended).  You get to a point when miniaturizing things that they get too small to effectively be able to interact with them.  I live in the TV world and if you look at a one piece Betacam from the 90's with it's tape transport in the body vs. a solid state camera today(with 20 years of technological advancements), the bodies are still pretty much the same size, same weight and same layout of key switches and buttons(even among different manufacturers).  If I go in my office and pick up my first Sony Betacam from 1997 and then pick up my Panasonic P2 Varicam from today, the power switch, black balance/white balance switch, filter wheel, record button, white balance memory switch, etc. are all in the same places.  The cameras sit on my shoulder and balance similarly.  My point is, especially in the professional world, the way something feels and the way you are able to interact with it are more important than "lets make it small just because we can".

The point that I think some people are missing is that you can operate a DSLR "without looking" - i.e. while the viewfinder is up against your eye, you can change most or all of the important settings - shutter speed, aperture, controlling the AF system (not only focusing, but also selecting things like the AF points to use), ISO etc. all without lowering the camera to look at it. - Smaller form factors sacrifice that ability.
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Grumbaki

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2013, 10:53:24 PM »
DSLR are tiny


pwp

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2013, 12:05:55 AM »
.
Ergonomics -- it does not mean what you think it means.
Oh? What is the correct definition as it applies to camera design?

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George D.

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2013, 02:17:28 AM »
I've been reading with interest the many comments here about the desirability of a mirrorless system, with small size being one of the desired traits.

Well, recently I took a look at my old Canon F1 (which is on semi-permanent loan to my daughter as a decorating accessory in her apartment). I had forgotten how tiny it is compared to a 7D or a 5DIII. And, that got me wondering why are DSLRs so big?

The F1 used a reflex mirror, so we can't blame the size on the mirror housing alone. It was a "full frame" camera, so it's not the sensor. Perhaps the electronics require more space. But, then again, the F1 had to have two cavities, one for the film cassette and one for the exposed film. That was wasted space that DSLRs don't need. Yes, the DSLR battery is much larger than the little dime-sized battery that powered the F1 for decades. But, a DSLR doesn't require any of the mechanics needed by a film camera for advancing the film.

The new SL1 shows that Canon can pack most of these electronics into a smaller body.

So, I'm just wondering how we ended up with these supersized DSLRs. Is it just a styling convention – people expect a bigger camera for the price? Maybe it makes people feel more like a "pro" if they have a big camera body?

Will we see DSLRs start to shrink in the coming years? I wonder if Nikon's new retro camera will be the same size as their old SLRs.

Just some random thoughts and questions thrown out there for discussion.

Top series dSLR body shape evolved out of SLR. Check the F1N (1981) size as compared to the 1V (2000) latest film pro body which is the base for today's dSLRs. It's fair to compare the F1N with power winder attached as this became incorporated in the 1V. As it shows, the F1N is overall larger than the 1V. Plan view shows the curvier design of the 1V for resisting to rain.

If you want to compare F1/1Ds MkIII you would have to attach the AE motor drive FN w/battery pack which is double size to the winder, result probably favours the 1Ds MkIII (1Dx only slightly larger).

Now, if you were to compare just the bare F1N body take a dSLR, strip LCD screens, change battery type and you get the idea of a Nik@n retro style DF.

 


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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2013, 04:11:59 AM »
Smaller form factors sacrifice that ability.

Yes, *small*, but not necessarily smallER. Just because something isn't as large as a 1dx doesn't mean you cannot cleverly design it so you still have button access to all crucuial settings unless you try to operate it with thick gloves.

My observation is that next to there's a good deal of marketing involved. With the old film slrs like the EOS RT/620 I had back then you could exchange the grip with a bigger one, but currently spending less money means getting a cramp in the hand which is a striking incentive to "upgrade" from a Rebel. Also "bigger" means "sturdier" and "pro" and "I'm the photog, step aside people" - non of this is a necessity.

With the introduction of the 6d this might change a bit, it's not "pro" and crippled alright, but still not an embarrassing Rebel so it now seems to be more acceptable to like or wish for a smaller and lighter camera - the same seems to be happening with lenses looking at the latest Canon releases like the 24-70L2.

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2013, 11:47:44 AM »
Current Canon ergonomics are perfect, they just need to be lighter in weight.
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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2013, 11:47:44 AM »

9VIII

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2013, 12:48:26 PM »
Why are DSLRs so big? Try putting a 70-200 f/2.8 on a Sony A7 and see how well it balances and handles :)

Large & heavy full frame lenses need a large body otherwise it is a royal pain to try and grip the camera body + balance the lens.

I actually far prefer the balance of the 400f5.6 on my Rebel T3 over the 5D2 with battery grip. The 5D2+grip weighs almost as much as the lens itself, meaning you pretty much have to hold the whole thing with two hands all the time, whereas with the Rebel it pivots on the Tripod foot and is much easier to swing around from carrying it by your side to lining up a shot. It feels a lot more nimble with a lightweight camera on the back.
I don't believe there's any reason a smaller body would be a compromise in control. Look at current Fuji models, they have more buttons and dials than any Canon. At any rate, I think it would be amazing if Canon would at least start developing light weight versions of their high end cameras. From what I've heard a lot of photographers tend to have pretty sore arms after a long day of shooting.
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Nishi Drew

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2013, 01:46:36 PM »
Why are DSLRs so big? Try putting a 70-200 f/2.8 on a Sony A7 and see how well it balances and handles :)

Large & heavy full frame lenses need a large body otherwise it is a royal pain to try and grip the camera body + balance the lens.

I actually far prefer the balance of the 400f5.6 on my Rebel T3 over the 5D2 with battery grip. The 5D2+grip weighs almost as much as the lens itself, meaning you pretty much have to hold the whole thing with two hands all the time, whereas with the Rebel it pivots on the Tripod foot and is much easier to swing around from carrying it by your side to lining up a shot. It feels a lot more nimble with a lightweight camera on the back.
I don't believe there's any reason a smaller body would be a compromise in control. Look at current Fuji models, they have more buttons and dials than any Canon. At any rate, I think it would be amazing if Canon would at least start developing light weight versions of their high end cameras. From what I've heard a lot of photographers tend to have pretty sore arms after a long day of shooting.

Errrrr on a tripod yeah, it won't matter especially with it mounted on the collar. Try handholding and it's a world of difference, you ever do an all day event or wedding shoot? The 70-200 F/2.8 is an all around great lens to use but man, back when I used a rebel with one it was a pain, halfway through the day my wrist was not working the way I wanted it to. Weight unbalanced towards the front, front-heaviness, is a lot more of a pain to deal with than getting a bigger heavier camera that actually balances out the whole setup. The bigger grip is comfortable to hold and the whole thing is easier to swing around. And really, ~ 800 grams is not bad for just the body when carrying a load of lenses and other gear, once you add a flash as well then shaving off several more grams on just a single body like with a mirrorless camera (lets say A7) doesn't do much.
Fujifim's cameras are that way because their lenses are also small and lightweight, and neither are they FF, which helps reduce the size and weight big time.

Aside from grip and balance though, DSLRs on their own aren't that big, even a 5D series, take the lens off and hey it can fit in a coat pocket :)
It's the big lenses, get a pancake lens like the 40mm F/2.8 and it's all compact enough.
The only reason I'd be excited about a mirrorless FF mount is for adapting all sorts of lenses to... lenses I don't have anyways though... small and lightweight bodies would need equally small and lightweight, but still fast and high quality lenses, and I'm not looking at Leica as they currently don't offer AF

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Re: Why are DSLRs so Big?
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2013, 01:46:36 PM »