Modern Camera Build Quality.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by za33photo, Jun 18, 2022.

  1. I was able to examine a Nikon ZS6II yesterday , wow , this camera is shoddily built when compared to the old classic Nikon and some other older film camera's.
    The ZS6 may be able to produce better results than the old classics , but the quality and engineering , in my opinion is just not there.
    Are modern Leica's or Hasselblads any better ? , but only a few people are able to buy these.
    But I suppose that in this modern "throw away" age , this is as good as it gets.
    invisibleflash likes this.
  2. "shoddily built", really?
    Cameras were build like that since back in the 90's. A Z6ii has a similar magnesium alloy chassis but is probably better build than a Nikon F100 assuming Nikon has learned from experience - The z6ii certainly feels more solid than a F801(N8008) or F90(N90) or a FA from the 80's.
    Are you surprised that cameras today are not build as in the 1970's?
    tholte likes this.
  3. No not surprised , after all we live in the age of the "common man" , where "consumarism" , and instant gratification rules.
    I am not trying to be confrontational here.
    And yes I got the model name of the camera wrong :eek:.
  4. Better engineering? Depends on what type of engineering you're talking about. There's so much more engineering in developing modern digital cameras than old cameras. What you probably mean is mechanical engineering. The old Nikon's, Leica's etc. were designed and built in the apex of the machine age with a different design philosophy. I've heard it described as repair and adjust, where you replace parts as necessary and adjust to fit tolerances, compared to todays methods of modularity and replacement. Modern Leica M's have both. But that doesn't mean modern cameras like Nikon Z's or modern DSLRs are necessarily flimsy are shabby in design and build.
    tholte likes this.
  5. Thru my D850 the weight was certainly higher in the digital cameras, compared to my F3 from years ago. It was a mechanical beauty. Now the Z cameras are back to similar weight, although the lenses are bigger and heavier. I must admit when I got the 105 f2.8 macro lens my first thought was how ugly it was. Then a few shots showed me how brilliant the optics were. I'll take that trade. I haul my gear backpacking and have never had a failure- it is tough enough.
  6. Sorry, I am a little numb in the barge pole, so who am I to judge Nikon?
    We shouldn't confuse finish of the outside with "quality". I assume any modern MILC is ready to roll with the fastest 85mm bought elsewhere straight out of the box, while the Leica man takes his Noctilux to Solms and an SLR dude does AF micro adjustments. Did your 70s cameras last as many clicks?

    How long can (& will) you keep a digital camera running? Is it worth fussing about leatherette substitute rubber and its flaws? Vulcanite also didn't last eternally.
  7. Soon after getting my Nikon Z7 I dropped it from about 5 feet ago onto one of its corners onto granite (don’t ask). The Z7 shrugged it off without skipping a beat. I never similarly mistreated my Nikon F3 or Leica M3 so no comparison available, but I have no complaints about the Z7’s ruggedness.
  8. I'm of a certain age and have a vision of quality that's based on machined parts and finishing that's of another era. The rules have changed and those methods are not only economically unsound, they no longer give a product with the desired traits that anybody would want to buy. My Z6 is exceptionally well engineered and probably as rugged as any former Nikon, though I'm not sure it could be used like a weapon, like the original F body. The original model T was built like a tank, but there's nothing it could do better than the worst modern vehicle. Also, look at what a modern S-series Z lens is capable of, compared to just about anything that's ever come before. I've got no desire to go backwards!
  9. I don't know about Nikons, but my Canon bodies have been well built. I haven't had a single mechanical failure with any of them. I once left a bag unzipped, as a result of which one of them dropped from the tailgate of my car onto concrete, and it suffered no appreciable damage. In another case (and with another body), a very strong gust of wind blew over my tripod. The camera was a Canon 50D, with a 70-400 f/4 L attached. the camera landed on concrete, lens first. The total damage: I had to replace the filter ring. There was no other damage to the lens or body that I or a repairman could find.

    My old FTb was built like a tank, but I had to take it in for adjustments a few times. That's a drawback of mechanical controls.
  10. Use it up, throw it away...just like any other appliance. Most modern cameras have little trade-in value and are almost never worth repairing.
    ajkocu and za33photo like this.
  11. They started building cameras cheesier back during the film days except for their higher end models. Plastic, and stamped pieces of metal joined together. Now it's even worse because the manufacturers are spitting out new models every couple of years with more, and more useless features that add nothing to photography but at the cost of build quality. At one time you could expect a new camera every five years or so with film. Anyway, there's nothing you can do about it because a new generation is being catered to, and they like nothing more than a camera that will do everything but scratch their posterior.
    za33photo likes this.
  12. I think this kind of view is largely based on the "plastic" character of modern cameras.

    I think it's just wrong.

    I have a large run of SLR cameras - the majority of them built since 1948, and the most recent are by far the toughest and least likely to be damaged.

    You cannot tell the quality without testing and using. Just looking, especially in the absence of an informed view of materials, won't tell you.
  13. Same old chew toy, same old dogs...Sad
  14. Although I think that the beauty of, for example, the finely machined Rolleiflex that I used to own, is greater than that of my Canon 5D IV, the plastics used in modern cameras are both lighter and have many superior mechanical properties to metals. Modern injection molded plastics parts can have equal dimensional tolerances as metals and have superior strength to weight ratio. Various factors like durability, impact resistance, the ability to create complex shapes, lower cost, faster production rates, etc. now make plastics the preferred material for creating many camera parts, most visibly, but not confined to, the outer body. Metals are still superior for tensile strength and stiffness (although resin reinforced carbon fiber can be stiffer than metals), and will continue to be used for many internal components. I like to keep a few classic cameras on the shelf to admire and a couple of modern cameras tucked away in their bags to carry for use.
  15. Most of the cameras in the closing decade of film photography had a tinny look and feel of a thin, stamped shell around the working parts. Notable exceptions were the Nikon F single-digit bodies and of course, the Leica M's. Most worked well enough until pieces fell apart (or off entirely). My F3, F5 and Leica M's chug on undiminished. Once lenses evolved beyond the manual double-helix structure, their durability and longevity has steadily decreased. In compensation, their optical performance improved greatly to match the imaging performance of modern, mirrorless cameras.

    I find nothing tinny or superficial with my growing collection of Sony A7xxx bodies, and those from Nikon and Canon are probably just as solid. Sony now "owns" auto focus, and lens development in general. Canikon is in hot pursuit, but still trailing.
  16. Every camera seems shoddy after handling my Nikkormat FTn and Konica 1 rangefinder. The don’t make them like this anymore. This is not to say new, high end cameras are not well made. It is just a different era based on electronics vs geared mechanical devices. For the record my 22 year old plastic Nikon N(F) 80 still works great.
  17. While your D850 weighs more than the F3 but if you consider the size I am quite sure the F3 weighs more per unit of volume. I found modern camera too big yet not heavy enough for their size. No they are built differently but not shoddy.
  18. My 1935 Leica IIIa just came back from Youxin Ye. Looks like new and performs like new. Analogous to my 1983 MB 300D, the cheapest car I have ever owned. After 38 yrs, finally had to do a few minor repairs. My more recent car, much of it plastic, will not last for 38 years because sometime ahead computer chips will not be available. Same with digital cameras. At some point, while camera’s lens and physical condition will be perfect, the electronics will die, but no replacements available.
    It is possible that camera manufacturers learned a lesson from Rolleiflex...only need to buy a camera once! Instead, make something that requires periodic replacement.
    I believe there is something else working here also. Innately we appreciate handling well machined handcrafted equipment. The same goes for guns. While modern carbon fiber firearms shoot as well or better than older guns, there is a tactile appreciation for all metal guns that expresses skilled labor.
  19. In the 70's people tend to buy new cars every 3 years or so. Many only 1 year. They rusted out after like 5 years. Today people tend to keep their cars for about 10 years. Newer cars last longer than old cars.
  20. Digital cameras become obsolete when newer cameras (and your competition) have features you want or need. I find little difference in build quality between my Nikon F3, Leica M's, and Sony A7 cameras. With a film camera, you have (or had) a considerable choice of film types. With a digital camera, it is what it is.

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