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05-21-2011, 09:45 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobmaxja Quote
We are in 2011, please adjust to change, I do not want to go back to the 90's
This is a an unnecessary reduction of the choices to an overly simplistic dichotomy.

Perhaps we can embrace the latest in materials and capabilities without abandoning the highly functional design of the past.

I (and many others) would prefer a body with dedicated controls for shutter speed, aperture, iso, and exposure compensation. The manufacture who delivers this will do very well.

05-21-2011, 07:09 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Taobat Quote
This is a an unnecessary reduction of the choices to an overly simplistic dichotomy.

Perhaps we can embrace the latest in materials and capabilities without abandoning the highly functional design of the past.

I (and many others) would prefer a body with dedicated controls for shutter speed, aperture, iso, and exposure compensation. The manufacture who delivers this will do very well.
I'm not really sure what the benefit of adding ISO and exposure compensation dials would be over what the K-7 and K-5 do now, where holding down the dedicated ISO or eV buttons turn the rear dial into ISO or eV dials... Four dials would take up a lot of space, no?
05-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #18
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At the R&D labs of a previous employer, one of the five sections was human factors. To give you an idea of scope, all of microelectronics was considered a peer direction of research.

Our problem was not developing an optimum user interface. It was developing a user interface that a large majority of important people considered excellent. There's a world of difference between those ideas. We watch that play out in this thread.

Those of us who point cameras at things are a quirky lot. If I work with a thousand photographers, I'll probably find 500+ optimum UIs.

And that's just with lefties .....
05-22-2011, 10:04 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
I'm not really sure what the benefit of adding ISO and exposure compensation dials would be over what the K-7 and K-5 do now, where holding down the dedicated ISO or eV buttons turn the rear dial into ISO or eV dials... Four dials would take up a lot of space, no?
No!

I'm looking at a Canon A-1, Minolta XD-11 and these manage to pack all of these dedicated controls in a smaller space. I don't think the latest technology requires that everything be larger.

In the digital world, the Panasonic GF1 and the last few entries in the Canon G series seem to have packed all or most of these controls into smaller bodies.

05-23-2011, 07:20 AM - 1 Like   #20
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Only three controls are needed for complete control of the fundamental photographic parameters: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. And then another to set your mode. This is easily done in the current form factors. Simply make the back compass control a rotating wheel dedicated to ISO.

In a fully automatic mode (P) all three parameters are controlled by the camera within prescribed limits. In a partially automatic mode (say Av) one is fixed (ISO), one is controlled by the photographer (aperture) and the third is set by the camera (shutter). It is only in modes like this that exposure compensation makes any sense. All Ev does is shifts the camera's best guess of the parameter under automatic control (shutter in this case). So there is no need at all for a separate control of any type, not even a button to hold while dialling in Ev. The shutter dial would still change shutter speed, just as it always does. But now this is relative to the camera's baseline (aka program line), instead of in an absolute manner. Then the Green button resets to the best guess baseline when you need to.

Three controls, each of which never varies in function no matter what the mode. Simple. (Of course one could still allow customisation of these.)

Eight modes are possible: M is completely manual, P is completely programmed, three allow only one parameter to vary, three allow two parameters to vary. Bulb is not a mode, it is a setting on the shutter speed dial. Video is also not a mode, but a setting on the on-off switch (since it should be well out of the way of photographers!). User modes allow custom settings to be locked in and quickly recalled.

An easy way of dialling in the constraints on the automatic portion (like the allowed ISO range) completes the configuration. Complete feedback of all parameter settings on the rear LCD and (abbreviated) in the finder.

That's all. Dead logical. Complete control of the camera with no more buttons and knobs than we have currently.

There's even a way of doing all this without a mode dial, which might be too radical for some, but which others might prefer.


(I keep meaning to write this up as an article.)

Last edited by rparmar; 05-23-2011 at 07:34 AM.
05-23-2011, 09:00 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
No, I am not confused. An aperture ring is not a trivial feature. It changes ergonomics drastically, since now one has direct control over aperture where one did not before, with both visual and tactile feedback. In the article the author praises cameras like those made by Pentax which maintain the same function for a command dial throughout operation. And then Reid mentions the visual feedback in both the viewfinder and on the top LCD. I am saying exactly the same as him... that this is a good thing.

Certainly an aperture ring is redundant on a camera with such controls. My statement about m43 was simply to drive home the point that aperture rings still have a place. Though perhaps when all possible camera bodies have direct access to aperture, shutter speed and ISO that will no longer be the case.
Of course an aperture ring isn't a trivial feature but it is a feature nonetheless, and one which will never return whatever we think about it (personally, I'd sign immediately to get it back).
So there's no point in digressing over this. The rest of my post was linked to the way I see the aperture ring problematic and not in general. But I'll respond to the rest as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
You are talking about the difference between an adapter that costs 170 Euro and one that costs 20 Euro. Most of us don't want to pay an order of magnitude more for a simple metal coupling, simply to overcome a lack in the lens itself.
I agree but you can't blame Pentax for the cost of adapting their lenses to another system. Otherwise why not blame Canon, stupid enough not to have a compatible mount with Pentax? Or is it m43 cameras which lack hardware to drive Pentax lenses?
It doesn't change the end result though, which sucks, as you point it out (expensive adapters). It's just not Pentax responsibility.

This whole problematic (total price when you move from another system) is one reason why I won't, in a foreseeable future, go with mirrorless. In the end, you pay (IMO) an unreasonable amount of money for what it is (right now). Still, I follow mirrorless news, because it is interesting and may indeed dictate a good part of the future of photography.
05-23-2011, 09:06 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Only three controls are needed for complete control of the fundamental photographic parameters: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. And then another to set your mode. This is easily done in the current form factors. Simply make the back compass control a rotating wheel dedicated to ISO.

In a fully automatic mode (P) all three parameters are controlled by the camera within prescribed limits. In a partially automatic mode (say Av) one is fixed (ISO), one is controlled by the photographer (aperture) and the third is set by the camera (shutter). It is only in modes like this that exposure compensation makes any sense. All Ev does is shifts the camera's best guess of the parameter under automatic control (shutter in this case). So there is no need at all for a separate control of any type, not even a button to hold while dialling in Ev. The shutter dial would still change shutter speed, just as it always does. But now this is relative to the camera's baseline (aka program line), instead of in an absolute manner. Then the Green button resets to the best guess baseline when you need to.

Three controls, each of which never varies in function no matter what the mode. Simple. (Of course one could still allow customisation of these.)

Eight modes are possible: M is completely manual, P is completely programmed, three allow only one parameter to vary, three allow two parameters to vary. Bulb is not a mode, it is a setting on the shutter speed dial. Video is also not a mode, but a setting on the on-off switch (since it should be well out of the way of photographers!). User modes allow custom settings to be locked in and quickly recalled.
Completely agree but mentalities are slow to move one. Most people including Pros would probably (IMO) find that way to cumbersome. I'd sign for it though.
05-23-2011, 11:38 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
Completely agree but mentalities are slow to move one. Most people including Pros would probably (IMO) find that way to cumbersome. I'd sign for it though.
Professionals are almost always the slowest to move on and adapt. Practically all of photography has been created, developed and perfected by amateurs. For this reason I couldn't care less what professionals want. And neither should anyone else who uses Pentax, hardly a brand that caters to the pros.

The fixation on pros is created entirely by marketing departments who try to sell us things on the basis that they are "professional" -- as adjective that should be reserved for people and activities not things.

I will point out that the control system I advocate is less cumbersome, requires fewer controls and is easier to use than those currently in place. It's also similar enough that some might not even notice the difference.

The love for the Leica X1, Fuji X100 etc. shows that people are indeed interested in more direct control systems.

Currently we have to keep far too much in mind when using a DSLR. A good tool externalises thought and fixes it in hardware. In other words, the hardware does the remembering and we are freer to be creative. Nothing does this better than an aperture ring or shutter dial.


Last edited by rparmar; 05-23-2011 at 11:53 AM.
05-23-2011, 01:36 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
This is easily done in the current form factors. Simply make the back compass control a rotating wheel dedicated to ISO.
I like your suggestion. I have to say though that I'd like to see the ISO wheel marked with values rather than it spin 'round and 'round changing a value on an LCD.

QuoteOriginally posted by Taobat Quote
I'm looking at a Canon A-1, Minolta XD-11 and these manage to pack all of these dedicated controls in a smaller space. I don't think the latest technology requires that everything be larger.
The XD-11 is a dream to use; you don't even have to look away from the viewfinder (well maybe not the EV compensation switch). The controls could be implemented in a DSLR simply by leaving everything as is–no top LCD required.

QuoteOriginally posted by Taobat Quote
In the digital world, the Panasonic GF1 and the last few entries in the Canon G series seem to have packed all or most of these controls into smaller bodies.
I find it odd that the Canon G bodies are explained away as second bodies for pros as if the improved controls aren't needed by everyone else.

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Practically all of photography has been created, developed and perfected by amateurs.
Interesting observation. Hoya's certainly demonstrated that their willing to experiment. Maybe this would be an opportunity for their MILC initiative.
05-24-2011, 01:32 AM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by uccemebug Quote
I find it odd that the Canon G bodies are explained away as second bodies for pros as if the improved controls aren't needed by everyone else.
You've touched upon a classic usability dilemma here. Extra controls make the experience better for someone willing to "learn to drive" a camera, but significantly worse (more confusing, more chance of accidental errors) for casual users who have no interest in learning anything. Most camera buyers are in the second category. Those of us who want to spend some time learning how to drive our consumer electronics in order to be able to use them faster/better are basically out of luck, forever. I'll never be able to buy a phone with a chorded keyboard on the side - instead I can choose between a million pretty touch-screens (rendering muscle memory useless) and a bunch of stupidly miniaturised qwerty keypads which look instantly familiar but are incredibly awkward to use.

Happily manufacturers know that a segment of the camera market is still looking for an artistic tool so we still have manual controls.
05-25-2011, 06:46 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Only three controls are needed for complete control of the fundamental photographic parameters: aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
You mean "exposure" parameters. Because digital and AF cameras have added composition parameters such as focus point select.

On all-manual 35mm SLR's the indispensable equivalent was the DOF preview which allowed for better composition without the eye leaving the VF; important when every shot of film cost a dime.

Those who move often between scenes with variable lighting like WB dedicated. Leaving that to PP is not an option as most DSLR users do not use a dedicated PC (as in most of Asia, Latin America, etc.) There are larger market and file format considerations here. Same for a dedicated flash pop button.

Many would argue that EV still requires a dedicated button for composition decisions to override automated exposure decisions.

I would say there are exposure and composition parameters both requiring dedicated controls and ergonomics responsive to the eye not leaving the VF.

Aperture rings demand large-body movements. That has to be considered against the nostalgia factor. They are gone for a number of valid design reasons.
05-25-2011, 07:22 PM   #27
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Aristophanes, I was by no means suggesting all the other features of contemporary DSLRs should suddenly vanish. In no way am I nostalgic! I am merely saying that the primary parameters have direct control, and that there are as yet unexplored ways of making this easier and better. I have held this opinion for many years -- it's hardly radical any more.

I would debate some of your facts, however. Are you quite sure that "most DSLR users" in Asia do not have a PC? It seems to me that PC and DSLR market penetration is quite high and likely equally matched, in that a villager in an agricultural area will likely have neither. Certainly DSLRs themselves are made for the technologically savvy. They are overly complex and obtuse for the most part, requiring far more commitment than most people want to make.
05-25-2011, 11:44 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Only three controls are needed for complete control of the fundamental photographic parameters: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. And then another to set your mode. This is easily done in the current form factors. Simply make the back compass control a rotating wheel dedicated to ISO.

In a fully automatic mode (P) all three parameters are controlled by the camera within prescribed limits. In a partially automatic mode (say Av) one is fixed (ISO), one is controlled by the photographer (aperture) and the third is set by the camera (shutter). It is only in modes like this that exposure compensation makes any sense. All Ev does is shifts the camera's best guess of the parameter under automatic control (shutter in this case). So there is no need at all for a separate control of any type, not even a button to hold while dialling in Ev. The shutter dial would still change shutter speed, just as it always does. But now this is relative to the camera's baseline (aka program line), instead of in an absolute manner. Then the Green button resets to the best guess baseline when you need to.

Three controls, each of which never varies in function no matter what the mode. Simple. (Of course one could still allow customisation of these.)

Eight modes are possible: M is completely manual, P is completely programmed, three allow only one parameter to vary, three allow two parameters to vary. Bulb is not a mode, it is a setting on the shutter speed dial. Video is also not a mode, but a setting on the on-off switch (since it should be well out of the way of photographers!). User modes allow custom settings to be locked in and quickly recalled.

An easy way of dialling in the constraints on the automatic portion (like the allowed ISO range) completes the configuration. Complete feedback of all parameter settings on the rear LCD and (abbreviated) in the finder.

That's all. Dead logical. Complete control of the camera with no more buttons and knobs than we have currently.
There's even a way of doing all this without a mode dial, which might be too radical for some, but which others might prefer.


(I keep meaning to write this up as an article.)
I am here with you. Three wheels and that's all. BTW, I don't understand why did you mention Mode dial, it's not really useful.

Pentax already produced SLRs which were designed like you described: MZ-3, MZ-5, MZ-M. In my opinion it's pure genius!


For those who wonder where's aperture setting — it's on FA lenses...

rparmar, you should patent such concept of DSLR control
05-26-2011, 05:57 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvinas Quote
I am here with you. Three wheels and that's all. BTW, I don't understand why did you mention Mode dial, it's not really useful.
It's true, no mode dial. If you can adjust any of the other parameters or instead set any to be automatic, that takes care of all existing modes plus two others no-one has so far found a use for!
05-26-2011, 08:46 AM   #30
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There is something quite magical about the DA ltds when it comes to "feel". If they would update the FA ltds for quickshift I would feel the same way about them in this respect. Cool article.

Pentax *needs* to come up with an ASPC mirrorless camera. If they kept the control scheme, lost the mirrorbox (and perhaps shake reduction if necessary), this combination would be one of the nicest *affordable* digital cameras available. Imagine shooting street with an EVIL and the DA 70 (hood removed)...
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