Pro bodies too large?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by raymondc, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. Anyone found them too large?
    Having used a D70 for some years, I got a used D2h. I am finding that if I am doing a proper trip out for photog I may take the D2h, however if I am going out to the city to get some discussion images for my camera club or going overseas I rather not take it.
  2. I generally prefer larger bodies - F5 over F100 for example. All my film cameras always had a motor drive attached - simply because I could hold them more stably and comfortably. With a small and light lens like the 35/1.8 or the 18-70, the D70 handles fine. A 12-24 is still OK on a D200/D300 - but for a 17-55 and certainly for anything long and heavy, I very much prefer to have the battery grip attached. The size of the D300 with MB-D10 is fine for me - the weight is about at the upper limit what I am happy with though. I certainly wouldn't mind if Nikon would have put the D300 in a pro-body with integrated battery grip; I have only removed the battery grip from my D200 once for a trip to Paris - I just needed to save space.
    A Leica M6 is fine with a small lens like the 35/2 or 28/2.8 attached and painful to hold with a 90/2 or worse a 135/2.8 connected.
  3. I have mixed feelings about this. I used to use F3 bodies with motors, then FM2 bodies with motors, but gravitated more to the integral bodies like The N2000, D90 and now D200. I don't feel the desire to have large bodies right now, I think I much prefer the smaller ones. That being said, I would use the bigger ones no problem and probably wouldn't think much about it, but my real instinct at this stage of shooting life, about 30 years into it, is I don't want them.
  4. Weight is a serious drag until the moment you're making an exposure. Then it works for you. So it is a mixed blessing. My advice is to do what's comfortable for you. If you're overloaded (for you), the weight will dilute your concentration and your pictures will suffer. All of this shifts if one is working close to the car, or standing/hiking for 10 hrs/day. It's a broad and complex subject for which we must find our own answers.
  5. For some of us the "consumer" cameras are too small for our hands and we make them larger and heavier by adding a battery grip to them.
    For others, especially those with small hands, the large size of the "pro" models makes them awkward. There's nothing to be done for that except to suck it up.
    This is not only a problem in the Nikon world, I would add.
  6. Like you, Ray, I have often thought about this. My current camera is a D700 which, as I'm sure you know, is rather large and heavy. Couple that with my normal on-the-camera most of the time lens (Nikkor 24-70 2.8 zoom) and it really is a heavy combo. I am so satisfied, however, with the pictures I get from this combination that the combined weight becomes meaningless for me. Yes, I could pick up a smaller lens, but I choose not to and enjoy the quality I can get with the D700 and its companion heavy lens.
  7. For me It depends on the situation.
    I feel pro bodies demand a lot of unwanted attention when shooting on the street, because of their big size. They seem to be more intimidating. I love the way their feel and balance though. I have big hands and have no problems with the weight or the size but I also like the discretion small SLRs or RFs bring to some situations.
  8. I think that if you get some big lenses, camera size will not be much of a factor.
  9. In general - Big Camera + name of camera on strap = Target for thief in tourist area.
    Big Camera + generic strap = lessor Target, but still a target
    Small Camera + any strap = Smallest Target - why steal a D3000 when they can grab a D2h?
    I shoot D300's when it matters most. When I'm walking around as a tourist or doing street - It's a D40. Much smaller, easier to schlep around and calls less attention to me, especially in areas when I don't want it.
    For the record - I have average sized hands - so the D40 is a little small, D300 is just right and the D300 with a grip is a little (not a lot) big.
  10. There is one major advantage with a battery pack attached to your camera, in such as when traveling! when i have been to H/K for the past couple of years i found that the large inconvenience in camera size outways the would be additional items that i would need to pack i.e battery charger and leads!
    On my last trip i managed to find a small bag that attached to my belt that was designed to take the extra dimensions of an additional battery pack, this proved to be a godsend especially in the heat of that country as i did not have to suffer with a strap going over my shoulder.
    However H/K being generally safe i did not have any concerns over theft!
    Also ( as Luis says) the additional weight can keep the camera more stable during 'slower exposures'.
  11. It depends. I use both kinds of bodies and prefer them for different applications. I like to do event and portrait photography with the D3 as it saves me from using an awkward shooting position and causes less strain on my back and arm. (Yes, the D700 can take a vertical grip but that makes it even bigger, almost as expensive, and the grip doesn't bring with it the 100% viewfinder, the much better battery, or solve the inconvenient operation of the 24 PC-E shift on the D700 so why pay for the grip.)
    The D3 battery has a much greater capacity in normal room temperatures (I think it's about 4-5x that of the D700 battery) - fine, a trade-off between light vs. heavy. But in really cold weather (-20C) the D700 battery is depleted incredibly quickly. I went through two batteries in two hours whereas I could shoot all weekend with one D3 battery in the same conditions. What's more, in the cold, with gloves on, the D3 is IMO easier to handle (the main command dial protrudes more from the body, for example). But of course, it's a heavy body and that's not always a good thing.
    Both body types have their uses and benefits.
  12. To me it depends on the shooting situation: heavy camera with vertical grip for weddings and event stuff, better handling, easier portraits. Light camera for trips. I own a D300 and love the grip, allows me to transform the camera within 2 seconds from heavy to light and back. Relatively light, that is, a D40 is half the size and weight, but I prefer using my workhorse.
  13. I'm very happy with the size and weight of the D700. Put a 35/2 on it and it is a handy carry-about camera. Put the vertical grip and the 80-200/2.8, and it's a comfortable and manageable machine for event work. I really don't care to have it any smaller. Frankly, if I want a little camera, I go with a P&S, which are pretty darn good these day.
  14. Alot of todays cameras look huge compared to a Pre WW2 Retina I series that fits in a pocket or belt P&S camera case.
  15. I too should have added that I have very large hands, so this is always a consideration. Also that my middle camera was an N90 not a D90, I still have it and the 85 1.8 I bought with it and it has held up perfectly. Kelly, my aunt has a Retina in perfect condition, but I believe hers is 1950s.
  16. I have large hands and enjoy very much my Nikon D2X and Kodak SLR/n. I shot with a smaller, but still large, Canon T90 for 17 years.
  17. I have always preferred smaller cameras to larger ones. Back in the film days I had a F100 and the vertical battery grip which I never used because it made it too large and heavy. When I was in India I used a Nikon D700 and a 24-70mm f2.8. The 24-70 ended up parked in my camera bag and I shot most of the trip with my 50mm f1.8 to save weight. Pro bodies are huge these days and I find them very unwieldy and obtrusive. I think Pentax has the right idea with their pro bodies being smaller and more maneuverable.
  18. I always go for small. D90, F75 and even older small manual cameras - an XD11 with a 45mm lens fits in a coat pocket and gives great results. A Canon SD series is great because it fits in any pocket.
  19. I have a 1D and it is as heavy as a brick and quite large. I love it.
    I have a 7D and it is much smaller and lighter. I love it.
    The 7D's shutter sounds like a cheap toy compared to a 1D, but the results are just as good if you ask me.
    When you are climbing Half Dome with a 1D it gets real heavy. There are times and places for each.
  20. Even though I have pretty small hands, I am used to Nikon F2's with motors, so when I got a D700 with the separate battery pack it actually felt a small to me. The heft of both don't bother me in the least and my F2's still get the bulk of my small format work. In fact, really light cameras feel like toys to me, especially when compared to my heavy-as-a-brick Hasselblad 500CM and a huge hunk of glass like my 40mm f/4 CF Distagon.
    I guess it's all what you are used to.
  21. I have a D50 and frankly, I'd rather it was huge. When I put even my little SB600 on it it feel like it's just out of balance. I like the big D1/2/3-sized cameras. My next camera will probably get a grip added because of that.
  22. Too big? I do not know. I shoot a D700 with the battery pack, an F5, an F2A with MD2. When I use the lately acquired D40X, I feel ... sorry that I sold my D2X and got this little thing. I am sure Ken Rockwell must have a strained back or something to like the D40 baby-camera. Thank God I bought it as a gift for our eldest son (23) so I do not have to live with it.
  23. weight is often a concern for me since i like to take my cameras of the factors that drew me to the 5d mark ii was the relatively small size and light weight. i get to use a full frame sensor in a body no heavier than a d300. combined with a 17-40 i have pretty light setup that covers most of what i shoot on my excursions. the d700 is signifcantly heavier than the 5d2...and i wouldn't want to try any long hikes with a d3x or 1ds3...
  24. Every electronic camera I have that has an available base has one. I carried and loved my F5 from the time it came out until I got an F6. I still go back to the F5 sometimes. I'd like to have a dollar for every mile I've carried that camera.
    On the other hand, I absolutely do not want a motor drive on any of my manual cameras. I want them the way they are.
    So I compartmentalize.
  25. I use a 5D, and I don't think I'd ever spring for a 1 series body just because they're so big and heavy. I like travelling light. I guess I'm lazy: a big, heavy camera would probably gather dust at home.
  26. How can we ever recognize a pro if he has a small camera? ;-)
  27. Well as an actual full-time, working news and sports photog, I started with D2-bodies and now have a pair of D700's with grips, and a D300 with a grip.
    I shoot spot news, features, lots of sports and news-y stuff on a daily basis and I need the pro build of the bodies. My cameras go through a lot and us pros need a certain level of quality in the D2's and D3's Nikon makes.
    Weight isn't an issue for many pros in my field. We know we need certain tools to do our job and that's that.
    If the weight is too much, get something lighter. Simple as that. Now the D700 and D300 and the 5D Mk. II are all nice, pro feature bodies and have an optional grip. I like that idea better, for travel assignments, etc. but sometimes the full body just feels better, especially b/c it balances better with larger lenses like the 14-24, 70-200 and any of the long glass.
    A full body camera allows me to hand-hold a 300 f/2.8, because it balances better. At the end of the day of shooting sports, yeah I'm physically tired, but my photos need to be at a certain level for our reader's and it works out best with the full bodies.
    I dunno, I don't mind the weight. It just feels like a good camera.
  28. I spent most of my career shooting with Hasselblad and 4x5 cameras. 35mm, and Nikon DSLR bodies, pro or not, all seem dinky to me. Actually, I have big hands and prefer a larger camera body to hold on to. Until I had health problems, weight was never a factor for me. I certainly never made a camera buying decision based on weight, however, there are some cameras I would never buy because they are just too small. The exceptions to that, are my beloved Leica M2, M4, M6, III and IIIg bodies. ;-)
  29. :) Try working out a little more, LOL! It a is matter of to what you are willing to become accoustomed.
    Best Wishes DEC
  30. > The exceptions to that, are my beloved Leica M2, M4, M6, III and IIIg bodies. ;-)
    I read this thread waiting for Leicas to pop up, and almost got to the end with no sign of them, but sure enough, there they are. Unfortunately the M9 is very far from my price range, and the recent 'cheap' alternatives don't seem that great yet.
    I have a D40 and it's certainly light enough to be carried around for traveling etc., but it's still a pretty big lump compared to a rangefinder.
  31. Yes and no. Integrated battery grips are very useful in certain types of shooting. But in other types they are dead weight and I prefer not to carry dead weight as it always has a negative impact. That's why it's good that there are bodies like the D300 and D700 that are slightly smaller and pro quality. The Olympus OM series was pro quality, yet very compact. If a Nikon is the weight of a Hasselblad and I'm doing landscapes, I'm obviously going to take the latter due to superior IQ.
    There's always the "go to the gym" -crowd, but athletes don't choose the heaviest gear either just because they are fit, they choose the gear of maximum performance. Some of focus on photos, other on "what balances well" ;-)
  32. Have a look at Pentax bodies. I bought a k-7 and it feels very much like the old FE2 size wise.
  33. IMHO all of the upper line digital bodies are too big. I see no reason why they should be so large compared to (say) an old 8008s or F100 or Konica Hexar. But they are. I mean, they don't even need a big clunky film transport of anything.
  34. Let's face it, they are image-recording computers with specialized software. they're full of features that could be done later with CS4 if you could ever find a camera with simple manual settings. IMHO they have all lost their way. If you want a freedom feeling try taking any film camera with manual settings on your next walkabout.
  35. Tom,
    Different topic, this isn't a film vs. digital debate. And every DSLR Nikon has ever made can be set up with simple manual settings with the turn of a dial.
  36. I think the original poster answered this question definitively, and showed at the same time that this oft repeated question is just a red herring of an issue. Serious gear is for serious needs. If one is complaining about the weight of particular SLR gear, it immediately says the complainer's needs aren't serious, they're casual. So, yes, for casual photography, serious gear is a mismatch. For serious photography, it's just the ticket. And, this isn't meant as a slur to people, each of us probably experiences both kinds of needs. When I don't want to do serious photography, I take the P & S that fits in my pocket and have a perfectly good time. Whenever I do want to do serious photography, I take my serious gear and never whine about its weight. Whining about weight simply makes no sense, folks. If you whine, you are trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. Stop it.
  37. Actually, Steve, if you're a serious photographer, sometimes smaller is good. Hiking to some remote location is one good example of that, or the kind of reportage or street photography that requires being unobtrusive (those people should shoot something like an M9, a pro camera if there ever was one. They're not whiners, they have a specific serious need... which happens to not be met by very large pro cameras.
  38. The size and heft of a pro camera body once saved my life. I'll never complain about camera weight anymore. And what is a camera compared to some of the lenses I'm using?
    Having several camera models allows you to pick the best suited for a given application. I generally tend to use the heavier ones (D3S/D3X) as they produce the most stable platform, sometimes going for a long hike I'm using a D40X or a D200. This is a moot point.
  39. Actually, Peter, the question wasn't "is small good sometimes?" The question was, is pro gear too heavy? This is the question I consider to be a red herring. Gear is what it is, and if one is complaining about the gear, it simply means one isn't serious enough to want to use it. People should interpret their complaints better and stop wanting what can't be. As you point out, if somehow pro bodies are too heavy for a particular person's application, then the complainer should go buy the M9. Or a P & S. But they shouldn't sit around complaining that camera companies should magically create a camera weighing 100 g that fits in their pocket, gives them a 10x optical magnification of SLR quality, 24 MP, and SLR-quality pixels all at the same time.

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