Left hander stuck for choice

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by katherine_jones|2, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. I have been thinking of getting a DSLR. I thought I had narrowed my
    choices down to Olympus E300/500, or much more likely Pentax *ist
    DL/DS. I already have Pentax lenses.

    Good job I didn't just mail order the cheapest Pentax I found. I went
    into my local store and the ergonomics on these cameras is horrific.
    I quickly realised that I hold my Super A with my left hand (i.e.
    with the side opposite the grip), but this is OK on the Super A as
    there is space both to the left and to the right of the lens, despite
    it being a very small camera I find it comfy.

    This doesn't seem to be the case on the new DSLRs, leaving left
    handers stuffed. Plus, even the Pentax, which is light by digital
    standards is heavy, so I find it very awkward to hold with my right

    I tried the E300 which is much better (but does feel like a brick),
    as I could hold it with the left hand. Only problem being I end up
    touching all those buttons to the left of the LCD (also a problem on
    the Pentax). However, I see the E500 is going with the asymetrical

    What happens if you don't actually have a right hand?! Cameras never
    used to be so asymmetrical. Maybe all left handers have to use
    rangefinders or compact cameras these days.

    How do other left handers cope, or is it just me? I kind of think if
    I am going to pay a lot of money for a camera it must be comfortable
    to hold or I'll just end up using my film camera all the time when
    travelling-I really couldn't use the Pentax *ist DL with my left hand-
    it just slips off. Shame as I loved the way the DL tells you when
    things are in focus, and I have a nice lot of MF Pentax primes.
  2. All cameras for decades have had the shutter release convenient to the right hand only.
    How did you use those cameras? Did you hold it strictly with the left hand, and reach out
    with your right to push the shutter release?

    I'm sorry for not being more sympathetic, but I suggest you simply learn to conform -- as
    lefties must do in so many things. What do you do in your car, reach over and shift with
    your left hand? (Move to England! :)

    Also what I suggest to my students is that they use their left hand as a cradle, not as a
    grip. Make your left hand a flat platform, upon which you place the camera. The fingers of
    the left hand then conveniently reach the zoom and focus on the lens. This is how I use my
    E300, and all other cameras I own.

    Don't feel too bad -- right-handed people are normally left-eyed, yet the camera makers
    make it difficult or impossible to use your left eye. Also, the eye preference in most people
    is minor, compared to handedness.

    Good luck!
  3. What you need is a Yashica Samuari ZL.

    Pity they haven't made them since around 1990!
  4. You won't get much sympathy from me. I'm left-handed and have no problem whatsoever using a "right-handed" camera. Hey, ya' hold the camera and push da' button. It's not quite as demanding as engraving a new $10 bill.

    Otherwise, there are prosthetics for every purpose, at a price.
  5. You could try and find a camera that still uses a threaded cable release, like the Nikon D100. Attach the release and tape it to the oposite side. You now can control the shutter left handed.

  6. I might add that in most things I am usually pretty ambidextrous. I sometimes
    am forced to write with my right hand (when holding things with my left hand
    for work), use scissors with my right hand etc. etc.

    I have no problem with the shutter release being on the right hand side. Have
    used lots of 80s MF cameras no problem (e.g. Olympus OM, Pentax ME
    super, super A, Canon AE-1 program).

    My problem is holding heavy things in my right hand. If there is a bit to the left
    of the lens I can hold with my left hand. The E-300 is just about there, shame I
    am confined to this as a choice (although I loved the kit lens-v.nice zoom
    action, felt well built). It might seem trivial, but I can hand hold at reasonable
    shutter speeds. My right hand is weaker so I suspect I'll get wobbly shots. I'm
    wanting to do some handhold macro stuff so this is important.

    I am also strongly left eyed, and found the Olympus not so great for this.

    However, all the talk of the viewfinder is rubbish. I liked it, and I am used to big
    film viewfinders. I was expecting a much smaller one given how people have
    gone on about it.

    I guess I'm stuck. I'll try the Olympus again as the Pentax is out. The one good
    thing about film cameras is that they had to have a bit of space to the left of the
    lens as well as the right. I didn't realise I had been clinging to this bit of space
    for years, shame I didn't get taught to hold it like a right hander (just as I have
    learnt to do everything else right handed because it is difficult to copy things
    the opposite way round!).

    It is easy to say get on with it, but when you pick up every camera in the store
    and have difficulty holding it, it gets frustrating. Like I say, I've never felt this
    about the old metal film tanks, despite the lack of fancy grips.
  7. I might add I am in England, so gear stick no problem. It wasn't a problem
    when I drove a car in Spain either though....

    I realise most left handed people have no problems with cameras. I think I am
    just an anomaly. Nothing else about being a lefty really bothers me. I think the
    'brick' might be the solution (and at least I can get their new 35mm macro).

    It shows the importance of how a camera feels in the hand, as well as all the
    specs you read about...
  8. I'm left-handed, but prefer cameras to stay the way they are. I don't mind supporting the camera using my right hand, and can more easily support the lens by holding it with my left hand which allows me to use my left hand to control zoom and move the camera around for composition. All my right hand does is provide a little support and "push the button". So even though technically I guess my camera would be considered right-handed, to me I'm doing what's important with my left hand.
  9. I guess I don't really see what the problem is. I'm right handed and I use my left hand to support my cameras (Pentax IST DS included); but I do as Jan suggested earlier in the thread. I let the camera rest in my left hand instead of trying to grip the edge. My right hand does very little (if any) supporting of the camera while my left hand cradles it.

    I see what you're saying about the way you hold a camera, but try supporting it in your left hand instead of holding it with your left hand. I think you'll find it more stabil and less strenuous. Since you use manual focus lenses also I'm surprised you don't do this already. It makes focusing and shooting much easier since you don't have to change your grip between focusing and shooting.

  10. Will try cradling suggestions-sounds easier than clawing for edges like I was

    Thinking about it, the way I currently hold the camera my right hand is
    constantly moving from lens focus ring to shutter, which is a bit pointless.
  11. Thanks for the answers btw. Sometimes the obvious solution is not that
    obvious or that complicated!
  12. I'm not a leftie, and I haven't tried this with a digital, but with my SLR I often use a contoured hand grip that holds my flash. I actually like using it even without the flash, as it gives the camera a nice handle. You can insert a cable release in the grip, so the shutter is tripped with the left hand. Can't remember the name, and they seem to cost way more than when I bought mine decades ago, but it might be the answer for you. If I were going to use one with a small digital, I'd probably saw the end off to match the size of the camera. Email me if you need a photo of the thing.
  13. "Thinking about it, the way I currently hold the camera my right hand is constantly moving from lens focus ring to shutter, which is a bit pointless."

    I think (hope) you'll be kicking yourself for not doing this sooner. If you hold it right your left thumb and fore finger fall right on the focus ring. Thinking about it in my head I think I cradle the lens just as much as I do the camera with my left hand. I guess you'll just have to try out different positions; I think you'll find one that fits though.

    Good luck,

  14. I'm left handed and left eyed and have been coping with a right handed world all my life. Just learn to cope...
  15. I'm right handed. But ... I don't support my camera with my right hand. My left hand does
    all the heavy lifting. My right hand is for operating the controls and releasing the shutter.

    Cup the bottom of the camera in the palm of your left hand, with your fingers reaching
    forward to support the lens and work the focus/zoom control. Your right hand sits lightly
    on the controls, holding the hand grip. When you release the shutter, exhale and squeeze
    the camera between your right palm and your forefinger.

    This works to help stabilize the camera nicely as well as keep it steady during the
    exposure. It's worked on every eye-level camera I've owned. A hand strap (I use a Hakuba
    Grip-LH, about $18 from B&H) also helps secure the camera nicely in your grip. You might
    consider one of them too.

    I hope you can make up your mind and get whichever camera you end up wanting soon.

  16. personally I am of the opinion that whoever designed the original Leica camera was left eye'd becuase most cameras have followed his layout and I feel quite sorry for right eye'd folk trying to use them, at least for the vertical format.

    Apart from being left eyed I'm pretty ambidextrous but would hate to try and shoot right eye'd :) I've used a typewriter/computer for the last 55 years and I cannot write well with either hand.

    If you look at the advanced pro-sumer cameras from the likes of Panasonic you will find that they 'sit' in your right hand as if an extension. The FZ series range from the very light and compact, delightful little cameras, through to the DSLR look alike the FZ30.
  17. If you want a camera for ergonomics try the Konica Minolta 7d, it wont help you with your left/right problem or use you lenses but it is a very comfortable camera to use.
  18. Thinking about it, the way I currently hold the camera my right hand is constantly moving from lens focus ring to shutter, which is a bit pointless.

    This is no way to use any camera, You must have a very low percent of keepers if there is any action at all. Your grip on the edges of the camera body is always going to be unstable. The left hand goes under the camera body with just 2 fingers around the lens barrel to focus with and right hand ready to squeeze the shutter. Very stable.
    I think you said something about macro shots handheld, get a tripod
    results will be many times better.
  19. I am left handed it sounds more like you need to train yourself to properly hold the camera as an earlier post said moving back and forth to the shutter release and lens seems to be terribly inefficient and cumbersome. Sometimes we develop a wrong or bad habit on the most simple of tasks. I think if you forced yourself to slow down and carefully work with the more typical form of shooting you'd quickly adapt to the correct form. The ability of humans to develop a certain muscle memory is astounding.

    In example in my past profession I trained a lot for close quarter battle shooting (entry/shooting in a hostile building or room) some 5 yrs later when I do my monthly trip to the pistol range I am amazed at how my muscle memory leads me to the exact same hold and position. After thousands of rounds I can literally shoot with my eyes closed and be relatively accurate, since it is such a repeatable function.

    So ultimately I suggest 'forcing' yourself to adopt the standard camera "hold" and it *should* become natural relatively fast... Unless of course you are also "left eyed" in that case it is nearly impossible of not impossible to retrain an eye to be as proficient or comfortable.
  20. I don't do action photography. I can actually handhold down to some pretty good speeds, so it isn't like my grip is complete rubbish. Around 50% of my shots are in vertical format (and a lot of my successful shots) and I find this particularly hard with the digital SLRs I have tried.

    Have tried out the suggested grip with my Super A, but not yet with digital. Have to say it is still difficult. Maybe it is my small hands. I seem to have to twist my wrist a bit to focus as suggested with the left hand and the weight of the camera seems to pull on my arm. Perhaps it will be more comfortable with a digital.It certainly seems wobblier-when I gripped the camera with my left hand I could push it towards my face which seemed quite stable. I'm sure I'll come up with something, but hopefully I won't have to use the camera upside down like some people!

    For still macro shots I use a tripod. However I need to photograph live animals held in peoples hands e.g. zebra finches. This cannot be done with a tripod. I don't mind using one, I just can't in these particular circumstances and need to rely on hand holding. I've had mixed results with film. Digital would allow me to experiment more and take more shots, plus up the speed from 100!
  21. Katherine,

    If you're physically capable, get thee to a gym and seek out the weights, and eventually you'll be able to hold the camera in whichever hand you'd like. That said, using a camera is much like playing a musical instrument. Each hand has a specific role, and you simply learn to use them as the instrument requires. That's the cheaper option anyway.

  22. I guess I am just a weakling.

    However, I tried holding the E300 again, and I think this is the way to go. It felt
    better somehow this time-maybe it was all the advice on how to hold it
    rubbing off!

    I think I better grab the E300 before it gets ditched as all DSLRs seem to be
    morphing into the same shape.

    Downside is I might have to sell some of my Pentax gear which has served
    me so well :-( Still the ist seems to have revived ebay prices.
  23. Katherine,

    It really seems a bit of a waste to render all of those lenses useless. I have the Pentax *istDS, and though I have nothing to compare it to, it fits my relatively small hands very well. In fact, the ergonomics are an oft-noted plus in many of the reviews for that camera. But, I'm sure you aren't the only one whom it doesn't suit. Perhaps you should give it one more try though with your newfound technique. Whatever you end up with, you'll no doubt have fun with it. Digital is so cool.

  24. use your left thumb for shutter release....

    i'm not complaining about the ergonomics of my rollei 35se camera. :)
  25. do everything with your right hand for a week that you normallly do with your left...
  26. Realizing this is an oldish thread, I wanted to add a note of dissent here that I am slightly surprised I haven't heard. Well, then again, maybe not surprised. Katherine, you asked, "What happens if you don't actually have a right hand?" or if, like me, you have one that isn't usable, but you still persist irritatingly to demand to be allowed to use professional cameras. In searching for cameras, knowing anything i get is going to be difficult, I chose the one that appealed to me the most in general and will, as usual, just figure out some way to rig it or deal with it. However, doesn't it seem as though there would be a market, albeit small, for a camera with a reversed grip design and ergonimics directed at left handed use. Just because you always used it the way it was doesn't mean you wouldn't benefit from having something that allowed you to really use the fine motor skills in your dominant hand. It is one thing to jot a few words down with your other hand but something else to figure out how the hell you can take photos with a heavy camera when you can't maneuver it properly or hold it still.

    I am frustrated that there are only a few smaller digitals that seem even logically possible to operate left handed -- my old canon elph can sort of do it if i hold it facing out from my palm and look through my fingers to see bits of screen -- when you are going to design something specifically for handedness of any kind, it ought to be available on both sides.

    I have a new camera coming that looks like it'll be a challenge. If I come up with any bright ideas, I'll pass them on.

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