How important to you is the way your camera feels?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by steveash, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #1
    It sounds daft but there have been several cameras that I have outright rejected because of the way the feel in my hands.

    Years back I picked up a camera, the latest model up from what I had at the time. I ran my finger across the wheel to adjust the aperture size and found I’d powered off the camera. That was enough for me to put it down and not look back. It’s the same with the Sony A7 series. On paper they make so much sense but in my hands they feel like a clunky electronic device rather than an organic tool.

    Today I’m in a position of needing a camera with a very specific functionality. The two cameras I have to choose from are at least £2000 GBP apart and if anything the cheaper of the two is the higher spec’d. But still, the more costly feels like a dream to hold. Just lovely. While the other is just average. This shouldn’t be a difficult decision but The way I feel about my camera is likely to affect the way I use it.

    Does anyone else have these problems or is it just me?
     
  2. anotherscotsman macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Although I by no means use a camera for extensive periods or even that frequently, like all tools, one of the first things to take my attention is how it feels. Not getting into a Sony vs. X vs Y debate, although I liked the 'tech' features in a number of recent Sony cameras, I never took to them 'in the hand' (or to the menus for that matter).

    A natural, comfortable feel helps make the camera disappear in your consciousness allowing you to concentrate on the hard bit - taking a decent photo (imho).

    If you are happy with the cost, go for what feels right to you - even more so if it encourages you to get out and use it!
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #3
    Feel is very important. Out of interest what cameras are contenders?

    I like the feel of a bulky DSLR in my hands. Feels more egomaniac and natural in my gorilla hands.
     
  4. steveash thread starter macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #4
    Trouble is, it’s technically a business decision which just makes it worse. On paper it’s a no-brainer but I’m desperately looking for reasons to make the wrong decision!

    You have to watch those egomaniac cameras! And predictive spell checkers! I’ll get no sympathy if I say so I’ll keep quiet for now. I didn’t want the discussion to get too much into specifics either.
     
  5. Mark0 macrumors 6502

    Mark0

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    #5
    To me it matters and this was confirmed for me when I first held my Fuji X-T2, coming from a 5D with battery grip. The X-T2 has everything I look for with its analogue controls, very involving to use :)
     
  6. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #6
    I think I have ever only held one camera before I had decided to purchase it, and that was my very first camera ever. When I was finishing college, I wanted to buy a (film) SLR. I went to the store to buy a Nikon I had seen in an ad, but for some reason I ended up buying a Canon Elan IIe instead. But then I was a poor working, just out of college person and never really could afford enough film and processing to actually learn how to use it properly. Years later, by the time I had kids and wanted a proper camera, I just researched online for the features/price and bought a Canon 30D from B&H, sight unseen. My next camera was also purchased as an upgrade, sight unseen. After going through two Canon bodies I decided to switch to Nikon, and while I did actually hold it before purchasing in B&H, by that point didn't care a lick how it felt in my hands and just wanted the performance, and I knew when I went into the store I was buying it. I also bought my D800 without caring how it felt, I just wanted an upgrade. The D700 and D800 do actually feel different, and the buttons are in some different places, so I always have to think about which camera I am using, and I use them both fairly equally.

    But all that said, if you've tried both and one actually fits/feels better, then I would give that a lot of weight in your decision, and I don't think it's a silly reason.
     
  7. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #7
    Agree here too. The feel is part of what makes me want to shoot. I like the Fuji XH1 as it has a deeper grip and feels more sturdy in my hand.

    If this is a business decision then it is which one will get you to your end product more efficiently? That is the one you need to get.

    However, if you have your heart set on the expensive one, go for it..... You know you want to...
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #8
    Says the Leica store stalker!
     
  9. anotherscotsman macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Look at it another way. Even though your preferred camera is more expensive and is perhaps lacking in features compared to the less expensive option, if you prefer to use one camera over the other then you may be more inclined to hang on to it for longer thus mitigating some or all of the cost difference. Not only that, you have said yourself that the different feel would alter the way you use it. Whilst you can't necessarily put a price on that difference, for someone who's job involves taking photographs I'd guess that would be a significant bonus - just think what one or two additional commissions would be worth to you over the life of the camera?
     
  10. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #10
    Feel is definitely important to me. Many, many years ago when I bought my first SLR it was a modest purchase -- a Minolta something-or-other. Eventually I got to the point where I could afford to move up and wanted something with more features and functionality. I handled both Canon SLRs and Nikon SLRs and the Nikon, right off the bat, felt just 'right" to me, very comfortable and natural in my hands, so I chose it and that began my many years of using Nikons. When the time came for my first DSLR I knew right off the bat that I wanted a Nikon D70 and again, even though it now had this strange LED viewing screen on the back, most of the buttons felt familiar, not unlike my old SLR, and the camera overall felt right at home in my hands. As time went on the heavier D3 and such continued to feel right to me..... When I bought a Sony NEX-7 I found that while the buttons were different and some features different, that I especially appreciated the camera's lighter weight and smaller dimensions. At this point I've been using both Nikon and Sony digital cameras and at the moment am leaning in the direction of a Sony A7R III as my next camera purchase, but that said, I haven't yet seen or handled one of Nikon's new FF mirrorless offerings.....
     
  11. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

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    #11
    I do prefer a logical arrangement of knobs and buttons, and by that I mean easy to control and not too cramped for my large hands. Sometimes a button is poorly placed, which results in you triggering it by mistake. I found my last camera had me accidentally starting video recording, and when using the viewfinder, my nose would trigger the touchscreen. I suppose I don’t expect perfect feel, but a few poor design decisions or an undersized body for your hands can make an otherwise good camera frustrating.
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #12
    With the Sony NEX-7 there was a problem with accidentally hitting the "video" button because of its location, and after a lot of complaints from users Sony finally came up with a software fix, an option to turn the video function (button) totally off so that hitting it by accident would no longer trigger the start of video recording. That was much appreciated! I believe all their cameras since then also provide the option, which is especially useful for those who never shoot video and have no interest in doing so. Want to shoot video? Easy enough to leave the button function implemented or to start it going at the time one is intentionally planning and intending to shoot a video.
     
  13. someoldguy macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Whether it's a camera , tool , dashboard layout in a car , kitchen item ; if it doesn't fit me right , I won't buy it . I've got to use the thing , not the advertising guy , salesperson , or designer.
     
  14. deep diver, Mar 2, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019

    deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #14
    A good fit is an absolute for me. It doesn't matter what the camera costs if you don't use it. I usually think in terms of value rather than cost. Comfort also informs what lenses I get.
    Remember that the goal is to have fun while taking good images. You can't do either if you are wrestling with your gear.
     
  15. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #15

    Excellent points
     
  16. rraven, Mar 3, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019

    rraven macrumors newbie

    rraven

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    #16
    I went to a camera expo some years ago having pretty much made up my mind to buy a camera from a now well-known manufacturer. It was going to be my first "real" camera. I was so excited. I stopped by their booth and picked it up. I put it down. I walked away. There was no point in even trying to take shots. Just a few seconds with it made me realize that the way a camera feels in the hand absolutely matters to me. This manufacturer's cameras are technological marvels, but in my large hands the ones that I've tried remind me of fingernails on a blackboard. I wish this weren't the case. I'm in the market for an upgrade and on paper they should be at the top of my list. But...

    The nearest camera store is hours away but this is so important to me that the trip is worth it.
     
  17. steveash thread starter macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #17
    Thank you everyone. It seems like I’m not alone here. It’s interesting how much the tool we use is important to our psychology. So here is my actual choice and where you can tell me to pull myself together!

    I specifically need/want to use leaf shutter lenses (I mostly shoot with strobes) and currently have some Hasselbald HC lenses. I’m also looking for something smaller and lighter than my current H body which is a bit of a tank to carry around (and very conspicuous) as I am increasingly venturing out of the studio. This leaves two cameras, the Hasselbald X1D and the Leica S. Both happen to be currently on the verge of being replaced and therefore heavily discounted. The X1D is lovely; very capable, comfortable too and nice to use, but the Leica has that extension of your body feeling. To me it feels and looks like a proper camera should. The huge viewfinder vs a lowish resolution LCD is also no contest. There is even a split prism focusing screen available. On the other hand, the X1D is smaller, lighter and more versatile. So this is a mixture of familiarity vs new, mirror vs mirrorless, tool vs device.

    Plainly I’m spoiled for choice. Both seem like too much money, but as a tool for earning a living they are a lot cheaper than my window-cleaner’s van.
     
  18. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #18
    I wouldn't worry about "new." If it is comfortable you will develop the muscle memory for the design.
     
  19. mmomega macrumors 68030

    mmomega

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    #19
    Before purchasing, I'm not sure if you know about lensrental.com or borrowlenses.com but you can rent and use whatever camera lens combo you may be thinking about and make the better decision for you.
    The $100-200 or so spent on the real world time with the camera in hand may better give you the information you are searching for than to spend the few thousand and potentially not getting around in time to return it and being stuck with a purchase you're not in love with.

    Personally the rental sites were very difficult for me to justify for one reason or another but it has become one of my best tools and am just glad I came across it.
    I had a few lenses in my head I wanted to love and buy (if that makes sense) but after renting and using for a week or a weekend, I found out it wasn't what I was thinking it was for me and went a different route entirely.

    Just hope any information may help.
     
  20. Strider64 macrumors 6502a

    Strider64

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    #20
    Feel of the camera is not too important for me. Just as long as the controls are not place in odd area of the camera. I just consider the camera as a tool to get the results that I want to achieve.
     
  21. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #21
    Hmm, The X1D is going to frustrate you I think. It is horrendously slow between shots and I found that eyepiece to be a pain in the hoop for me. Maybe it is just my rangefinder muscle memory kicking in but I kept putting my eye to the left of the viewfinder and thus staring at a bit of black plastic. ISO performance as you well know is not great either.

    It feels wonderful in your hand but really really slow. Saying that the Fuji GFX50S wasnt lightning quick either and that doesnt do leaf shutters right?

    Devils Advocate. Are you at a stage right now where you need to have the leaf shutter as you venture out of the studio? you mention the H being a tank. The S isnt much less tank like, more your armoured personnel carrier vs main battle tank (although the S costs as much as the main battle tank!). I am not sure the X1D will be nimble enough for you so what about something like a Sony setup or (damn it) a Nikon D850 or Z7 or a Leica SL?

    Tough call glad I am not you. Let us know which way you go. I am not commenting on the Leica *-see previous response I got... :)
     
  22. steveash thread starter macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #22
    The leaf shutter is pretty important I’m afraid. I’m still using lighting outside the studio where controlling the ambient light is even more important. I’m quite used to the pedestrian nature of medium format. Flash recycle times, tripods tweaks and lighting adjustments slow me down even more. Also, with the controlled nature of my work I usually only use base ISO. So most cameras are a massive overkill for my needs but lack the one key feature I want.

    I could adapt my HC lenses to a GFX but would then loose autofocus which would be irritating.

    I think this is a very good point. I’ve handled both cameras in shops but using them for a day would surely make it easier to decide. Finding somewhere to hire the Leica is proving difficult. I might end up buying an old one to try for a few weeks. Perhaps I should hire the X1D first as that’s the one I’m unsure of.
     
  23. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #23
    Cool... Sorry for "out of studio" i assumed more dynamic street type shooting rather than controlled setup outside. Still a tough choice.

    Either camera is portable enough in that case. How is Hasselblad support? Leica is slooooow.... Is that going to be an issue?
     
  24. steveash thread starter macrumors 6502

    steveash

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    #24
    Yes, I’ve heard that Leica support can be slow. I read that the level of service can be better for pro users but being a gentlemanly type Id probably be sent to the back of the que. In 5 years use I’ve never needed Hasselbald support. I think most things have to be packed off to Sweden. They closed all their individual country offices a couple of years back which surely makes things worse. I’m going to have to make a list of questions to take with me to the Photography Show in a couple of weeks.

    Until a couple of years ago I kept a Canon 5D system as backup but it got so little use I couldn’t justify keeping it and swapped it for a Canon M5 which I’ve used for family and travel. The pictures are fine but I really don’t get on with the handling. I often use my H in the dark and the controls just fall to hand. The M5 is too much of a fiddle... which brings me full circle. I really don’t want to end up with two cameras that I don’t really like using.
     
  25. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #25
    Nikon? That’s my boy!
     

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