Sunday musings: make the D700 better by throwing out 80% of its features

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kdghantous, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Built-in flash? Nice, even I admit that. But get rid of it. I don't need this feature. And it blocks some of the PC lenses from shifting all the way up (AFAIK).
    Active D-Lighting? I don't care. I can do that on the computer.
    JPEG size and quality levels? Really? Can't I do that on the computer? How about just one setting: fine, full resolution. There. Fixed.
    Contrast? Sharpness? Saturation? Tone curves? Talk to the hand...
    Video is likely to be included in the D700's successor. You can guess my attitude to that.
    You know, I'm sure that no matter what the feature, no matter how trivial, someone will jump up and say that they want it. Well, fair enough. YMMV. But for me - and tens of thousands like me - I want a reliable DSLR with no BS. A good DSLR needs only a really good sensor and a few, selected, powerful features which actually make a difference: like an F3 with a few tweaks.
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Built-in flash? Nice, even I admit that. But get rid of it. I don't need this feature. And it blocks some of the PC lenses from shifting all the way up (AFAIK).​
    Unfortunately, your understanding is wrong. The D700 does not block any Nikon PC-E lenses from shifting all the way up. The only PC-E lens in question is the 24mm/f3.5, which I own. All of its functionalities are available on the D700. The viewfinder overhang can block certain rotation by 90 degrees, but you can rotate by 90 degrees the other way and achieve exactly the same result.
    Don't take the percentage literally, but as people say, perhaps most of us only use like 10% (or 20%) of the camera functionalities; the problem is that each one of us uses a different 10% of the capabilities. Therefore Nikon (and Canon, Sony, Pentax, etc.) needs to provide a lot of different functionalities to make most people happy.
    Otherwise, you can ask Nikon to taylor make a camera for your personal needs, but the cost is going to be very high.
     
  3. Sounds like another vote for a digital FM...
     
  4. "But for me - and tens of thousands like me..."​
    I'd bet Nikon's marketing research would pay attention to such a large demographic of actual customers, if it existed.
     
  5. You do not seem to realise that in the days of mechanical camera's features were 'hardware', levers, pins, gears. Every feature needed some space in the camera body and added weight and cost. In modern cameras the features, apart from the flash and video, are in the software of the camera, they add no weight, they need no extra space, the extra cost is minimal. So there is no reason not to add these extras that one day may be useful for somebody. My experience with the D700 is that the features I really need are well accessible, those that I do not need are hidden in the menu structure. It makes absolutely no sense to make a 'stripped' camera. The only thing you could ask of the manufacturer is to make his interface a bit more adaptable, so that you can hide all the features you do not want...
     
  6. Isn't it the japanese way to provide lots and lots of features, useful or not?
    Minimalism is not in the cards and Nikon probably doesn't care about Hick's law - having multiple choices will slow you down.
     
  7. And Izzard's Law demonstrates that restricting choices may lead to absurdity.
     
  8. All I know is it is a great camera.
     
  9. Karim, while I can appreciate your POV, I still think Nikon has it right. We can set these cameras to whatever we want and shoot to our taste. If I want the purist route, I'll still go B&W with my trusty Hasselblads. Once I hit the small bag, I want to setup the features I want and go with it. I want flexibility to setup for special situations and sometimes want the camera to just use it's brain instead of mine, lol.
     
  10. Active D-Lighting? I don't care. I can do that on the computer.​
    No, actually, you can't. Active D-Lighting alters the exposure (usually reducing it slightly) so that post processing will have a better chance at being able to do a decent job with "tone mapping", the "do that on the computer" part of the process.
    Video is likely to be included in the D700's successor. You can guess my attitude to that.​
    Yes, I can. I "guess" it's pretty similar to your attitude on digital, 5-10 years ago. And your attitude about autofocus and automatic exposure, if you've been in the game as long as I. Actually, I don't need to guess, I've seen your attitude, time and again.
    Shun is exactly right. Each of us uses a different subset of a camera's features. I don't find the 9 frame/sec drive system in my D3 to be particularly necessary. And that's a feature that substantially increase the weight, size, complexity, and cost of the camera, unlike the features that you named. Even the 5 frame/sec drive system on my D90 is more than I really need.
    The features you name are what we call "low hanging fruit". They don't cost much to develop, and they bring in substantial numbers of buyers (your made up "tens of thousands" not withstanding). They don't alter the reliability of the camera.
    I want a reliable DSLR with no BS​
    Can you name a single incident of camera software problems that can be traced to adding the sort of features that you're ranting (call it what it is) about?
    A good DSLR needs only a really good sensor and a few, selected, powerful features which actually make a difference: like an F3 with a few tweaks.​
    Yeah. Leica made something sort of like that, with the M8 and M9. Good sensor, a few powerful features, none of what you so insultingly call "BS". From a software standpoint, it was one of the most, if not the most, problematic high end camera released in the last 10 years, with quite buggy software: it actually could lock up, lose images, get images garbled.
    Why was that so? Basically, because it was made in such small quantities, tens of thousands, that Leica could not build up a mature, stable software base. Nikon and Canon sell tens of millions (that's a real number, not your tens of thousands of made up supporters) of cameras, and because of that, they have had to learn to write code that's stable enough, even with the "BS" features, to perform well under hard use.
     
  11. Lex - I'd bet Nikon's marketing research would pay attention to such a large demographic of actual customers, if it existed.​
    Lex, people like the OP always "create" a large number of like minded people, that they become the "spokesman" for. It's a way of denying the unpleasant reality that their opinions are so off-the-wall that they are essentially alone in their beliefs.
     
  12. Aside from the already pointed out errors in your rant, I don't see why the few features you want to omit would make the D700 a better camera - except for you maybe. Wouldn't it be easier to just ignore the ones you have no use for? So, you don't want to be able to adjust contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc. in camera - I bet there are quite a few who don't want to do this at the computer afterwards (some actually like the straight-out-of-camera approach to photography - though I am not one of them). Personally, I don't see me using the video feature - and I still question why Nikon felt compelled to ever add it to a DSLR - but that ship has sailed so I ignore it (even though I have to pay for it). But by bundling everything in one package, the camera will likely cost less than if there were five models with a different subset of features.
     
  13. Since this post is more fantasy than reality, I'll have my input:
    FF frame in the size of a FM3A with more (not less) features. Panaroma in-camera ala Sony. Art filters/jpeg quality ala Olympus. Long shoulder DR ala Fuji. IBIS ala Sony. No or extreme weak AA filter ala Foveon. a few pancake lenses ala pentax. Priced like a Samsung;)
     
  14. For me too. Less is more. More of what you don't want make it a lesser camera. To be fair I expect to pay the same price as a regular D700.
     
  15. To be fair I expect to pay the same price as a regular D700.
    Actually, you should expect to pay quite a bit more. Rewriting the firmware to eliminate "useless" features and setting up a different production line to build cameras with fewer buttons would cost a lot of money, and those costs would be spread out over relatively few cameras. Of course, Nikon probably won't do anything like this just to satisfy a handful of people on internet forums who claim they would buy one.
     
  16. Mike's right... ever wonder how the leica corned the M9 market all to itself for like 8k per cam? Just market camera pure essence. And as an added bonus, they don't even have to spend any dough rewriting the "useless" firmware because, uh, they never had any to begin with:)
    Seriously though, if nikon is willing to take a risk instead of being their usual conservative self, it might work...FMDigital FF or even aps-c. Steal some flame from the M...Camera nuts and photogs alike are drooling all over the Fuji X100, even at inflated prices. Whether the X100 is actually an awesome camera or not is an after thought of its "back to basic" aura...
     
  17. I forgot to mention: get rid of the option to shoot 12-bit RAW. I didn't buy this camera to shoot at 12 bits!
    Unfortunately, your understanding is wrong.​
    I'm quite happy about that. :)
    In modern cameras the features, apart from the flash and video, are in the software of the camera, they add no weight, they need no extra space, the extra cost is minimal.​
    True enough - but imagine not having to write menus and software for all the features that don't need to be there.
    No, actually, you can't.​
    Yes, actually, you can.
    Wouldn't it be easier to just ignore the ones you have no use for?​
    I do. But Nikon might find it easier to not have them. Professional cameras are aimed at different people. So it seems, anyway.
    Priced like a Samsung;)
    For a moment there I confused Samsung with Sigma! :p
    if nikon is willing to take a risk instead of being their usual conservative self, it might work...​
    Perhaps a digital S3 or SP as well. Something like that?
     
  18. Professional cameras are aimed at different people.
    So now you're speaking for professionals, as well? Do the guys shooting events/news and transmitting files to their editors within a few minutes or hours know that they shouldn't have any control over the size, contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc. of their jpegs? Are they happy about needing to carry an additional camera so they can shoot video clips?
    Do you have any idea how ridiculous it sounds to claim that professional photographers want a camera that gives them fewer capabilities and far less control over their output?
     
  19. The way that digital product development happens, you'd pay MORE for this camera because it would cost them money to remove features from a perfectly good camera.
    So a "DMF3a" would cost a few hundred more than a D700. How many of your "tens of thousands" would buy that?
    You don't like a feature? Don't use it. Problem solved.
     
  20. I just phoned my utility company and asked that they stop the flow of gas to my home as I really don't need it.
    I'll just slog thru the snow and ice next winter, chop and stack the firewood and stay awake all night long stoking it lest I die from the cold.
    Can you spell "L-u-d-d-i-t-e" ? I knew you could.
     
  21. Karim: "Contrast? Sharpness? Saturation? Tone curves? Talk to the hand..."


    Ha ha! I LOVE it! Great points, Karim! Who buys a D700 to shoot JPEG Small? And lose the pathetic on-camera
    flash, already!


    LOL
     
  22. I can understand the point Karim is trying to make as well as the responses. I find the "recently used" part of the menu system of the d700 helps me avoid running into those features/adjustments that I rarely use.
    Tom M
     
  23. Wow! I just read them the responses to Karim's fun and light-hearted original post. What a dour and humorless bunch!


    So let me ask you curmudgeons a question. When was the last time you shot small, low-quality JPEGs with your
    D700? (By the way, please don't answer if you don't own a D700. Save your criticism for something that you actually
    know about.). Any option other than NEF, JPEG Large, or both is tantamount to a waste of some engineer's time, time
    he could have spent on professional features such as Live View and Mirror Lock Up that actually work together, or a
    Live View implementation that doesn't close and re-open mirrors unnecessarily. Or an LCD screen that gives better
    feedback for manual focus. Or a user-configurable PC lens design.


    Pop up flash? Well, here's a flash for you. The comparable full-frame Canon doesn't have one and that model sells
    quite well.


    Karim, great post! You gave me a good laugh on a gloomy Sunday morning.
     
  24. So let me ask you curmudgeons a question. When was the last time you shot small, low-quality JPEGs with your D700?​
    Oh, just some days ago, since you're asking. I often use a combination of raw and low-res jpg when travelling, as I shoot street shots. I own a micro polaroid printer that just does jpg format and can be connected to the camera, so I often give a photo of the person to the person right away. But why do I have to justify the use of an option, I wonder?
    I also love the built-in flash, as I can use it as master to control my two speedlights. Thank you for leaving this feature untouched.
    I wonder if Karim owns a D700 after all...
    Just my two.
     
  25. Good points, Monika. After I posted I thought about the application of instant printing of ID cards with small photos. A
    small JPEG file would be useful if the printer doesn't scale down larger files.
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A number of well known nature photographers shoot RAW + JPEG basic in the field precisely because a smaller JPEG file is great for quick reviews, especially when you travel with a smaller, less-powerful laptop and slower portable hard drives. I attended a seminar by Frans Lanting 2 years ago, and he has that practice. I was just on a 2-week Galapagos trip with Tui De Roy, and she does that as well. They both use the D300/D300S instead of D700, though.
    Concerning the pop-up flash. While it is fairly useless as a main light source, on the higher-end Nikon DSLRs with a pop-up flash, from the D80/D90 and up, including the D7000, D300/D300S and D700, it is very useful as a CLS master. Once I forgot my SU-800 controller at home; the pop-up flash on the D700 saved my day.
    In my particular case, since I shoot a lot of drastically different subjects, I need fast AF and frame rate for wildlife and sports, I need high-ISO capabilities for the indoor events and occasional weddings I shoot, and I need pixel count for landscape. And in these days I also capture some occasional video with my D7000. My day job is software so that I am used to high-tech products. As I said in this current thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Ytvg, I can take full advantages of most of the new features Nikon can pack into the D3S, D700, and D7000. Forget about eliminating 80% of them; if they remove 25% of them, it can be a disaster for me.
    But that is just me. I am fully aware that I am not your typical Nikon user and don't try to speak for other people.
     
  27. While a agree with most of the responses about why Nikon designs cameras the way they do, I think it would be fun to own a digital version of a FM-10 or a Pentax K1000. Manual focus, manual flash, manual apeture and shutter, shoots raw only. No menus, just dials
    Other than possible education value, I doubt there is a market for a camera like this, but I would have a lot of with this camera if it did exist.
     
  28. Surely the D700 already has a Luddite Mode? Populate 'My Menu' with just the settings you actually use, never select the other menus again, and forget about the additional options. You can't do anything about the flash, but nearly everything else can be hidden. Get someone else to do this for you, and you'll never know the extra features existed in the first place!
     
  29. Funny topic, just a couple of days ago Nikon was being criticized and doubts raised about them "missing the boat" because they risk to be behind for not adding more features and following the Mpx race, video and other "improvements" as well as delaying the successor to the D700.
    Now, here we are with some complaining about too many things added to the model that should be replaced by something hyperminimalist, and I wonder how many micrograms the "new" model would loosed compared to the present one just because cutting firmware instructions would avoid maybe two or three transistors.
    It would probably also be a wise move to change the name to D7, cutting those two unnecessary zeros...lol...and this would be a rather conservative attitude because even the 7's utility may be questionable...lol
     
  30. I would say more directly, I need a cheaper FX DSLR, thats it.
     
  31. I also think the pop-up flash should be redesigned.
    I also use it (only) as a flash master operating device, but I think it can be greatly improved. Personally, I find it to be either a useless flash head or a clumsy CLS operating device, that also seems to interfere with the pentaprism design.
    I`d prefer to have a good something, instead of a "less-good" everything...
     
  32. This makes no sense. A specialised camera or niche camera is likely to be bought by a certain group of people, so R&D and production costs would be higher than a mass-produced model. Such a camera would actually be much more expensive, ala Leica digital M.
    Secondly, alot of the features mentioned earlier saved my life in the field, both as an amateur and profesional photographer.
    - Active D-Lighting, small size Jpegs and control over saturation, contrast. Very necessary since I shoot time-lapse and I can't afford a card that would take 2000 14 bit raw files, let alone a computer that can process all that. Nor do I have the time to work with raw files for time-lapse. This is a recent example where Auto D plus jpeg customisation got me out of the ditch: http://vimeo.com/22583878
    - pop-up flash. I went today on a model shoot only to find out that my wireless triggers ran out of bateries. My flashes all work in I-TTL and can be controlled via the pop-up. Also, if I want to shoot in sunlight, my triggers are useless since they go up to 1/250. My popup can control in FP as far as I remember, I used this feature more than once.
    Sample from today, I had to go round using triggers: http://www.photo.net/photo/13481512
    - 12 bit raw: I use it all the time as a wedding photographer. This way, using compression and 12-bit I can get 1500 images on a 16 gig card. Otherwise, I can get less than half shooting 14 bit.
    - video. I love video, I shoot video every time I can get my hands on my friend's D90 or D300s. Too bad that the D700 does not feature it.
    The list can go on and on. Some guy could say that he does not need high ISO, another could say that he shoots in the studio so no need for weather proofing or magnesium body.
    People here seam to crave for something like a canon 5D, but wouldn't buy it because it is outdated, or a leica M9, but can't afford it. Nothing is perfect and Nikon doesn't employ mind reading elves in order to manufacture their cameras.
     
  33. Built-in flash? Nice, even I admit that. But get rid of it. I don't need this feature. And it blocks some of the PC lenses from shifting all the way up (AFAIK).
    Agreed. And I am coming in from the Canon EOS camp here. Popup flashes are silly. I am commmenting more "in general" and not a 'swipe' at Nikon since the 5D2 is similar, but lots more pixels than the D700.
    Active D-Lighting? I don't care. I can do that on the computer.
    Agreed. Plus on-the-go laptops are Powerful.
    JPEG size and quality levels? Really? Can't I do that on the computer? How about just one setting: fine, full resolution. There. Fixed.
    100% agreed. 14-bit raws are plenty of image.
    Contrast? Sharpness? Saturation? Tone curves? Talk to the hand...
    100% agreed. Raw has all the info one needs.
    Video is likely to be included in the D700's successor. You can guess my attitude to that.
    There you're wrong -- HD video is a NICE feature, even if rarely used.
     
  34. A specialised camera or niche camera is likely to be bought by a certain group of people, so R&D and production costs would be higher than a mass-produced model​
    It wouldn't be expensive if it were mass produced, which is what I'd like to see.
    Very necessary since I shoot time-lapse and I can't afford a card that would take 2000 14 bit raw files, let alone a computer that can process all that​
    That's actually an example of a 'specialised' use. Time lapse is cool, though.
    12 bit raw: I use it all the time as a wedding photographer. This way, using compression and 12-bit I can get 1500 images on a 16 gig card. Otherwise, I can get less than half shooting 14 bit​
    I have the exact opposite philosophy. The last wedding I shot (I don't shoot many at all) was done with 8GB cards and 14-bit RAW, uncompressed. I don't want 1,500 images on one card. And the 14-bits may have helped with highlight recovery (RGB matrix metering, when I use it, isn't 100% accurate, so it's good to be able to have a wide DR).
    Dan, I'm glad you liked the post! Ken, I wish that you worked for Nikon. :)
    BTW I think a second card slot, a-la D300s, is a good idea. There's nothing wrong with redundancy and security. Three slots or more, though, I'll pass.
     
  35. Well, it wouldn't be mass produced because only some folks would buy it. To put it plainly, if the D700 would have had the specs you suggest, I would have bought another camera instead. Like me, others would have done the same, because features they would have considered essential would have been missing. So no more mass-production.
    About the 14 bit, I undestand the advantage of having it but strictly for my weddings it just is not necessary to shoot since I shoot manual and I rarely compensate the exposure with significant values, and when I do, 12 bit more than does the job.
    I would rather have the choice of settings, rather than wish I had it and miss shooting opportunities for a menu item that would have added 0.2$ to the cost of the camera.
     
  36. It seems we're about to ask for a brand new concept of camera from manufacturers, like in the car industry we could have a basic platform (no need to refer to the poor D700 criticizing it for having this and not having that - even if taking it as a benchmark may mean that most part found it to be a good option at a certain point in time) and leaving all the rest as optionals that we could choose while filling the manufacturing order, for instance:
    Body - convertible (removable prims, with choices of wlf, prism with and without built-in flash, changing focusing screens), hatchback, sedan (with fixed prism) and van (with fixed battery grip);
    Engine - choice of various sensors, something like 2 liters=DX, 3 liters=FX;
    Gear box - automatic, 5 speeds, 7 speeds, and so on (here you could indicate your preferences related to command style, see buttons and function buttons);
    Fuel container - choice of battery model and capacity
    Driving assistance - think of ABS, ESP and others - the type, kind and number of regulations via firmware (you name them);
    On board computer - the menu system for the geeks, none for the purists
    As a simple example, this does not claim to be complete nor very well organized and is open to suggestions for new optionals, amendments, addition of new ideas and even deletion of the bad ones.
    Obviously, at the end of the form you could be surprised by the price but at least you could get "your" ideal camera...and later on all conception criticism would be on your own account with no need to blame someone else.
     
  37. Here's my take: NO BIG YELLOW NIKON D700 LETTERS on the (free?) strap ! (Live and let live)
     
  38. Indraneel - it only has a mug-me label on one side. I just use it the other way round.

    There are things I'd like the D700 to do that it currently doesn't. Are there D700 features that I don't use that get in the way? Not so much.

    Re. the flash: it's rarely useful to me for fill flash or a CLS trigger. But rarely isn't never. Rarely means I wouldn't have bought an SB-400 (which wouldn't work on my F5 anyway) or an IR trigger, so I would have missed shots that the integrated flash saved.

    As I've said recently in another recent discussion, what I'd really like is for Nikon to open up the interface so I can add the features I want myself. Do that, and I'll gladly produce a skin that disallows the setting of anyone's "unwanted" options (or at least, hides them more thoroughly), on the understanding that nobody expects to use the same tech support/user guide/help forum as anyone else. An open BIOS would even be a decent test bed for features for future cameras (which I have to assume are getting a hardware upgrade anyway, and therefore aren't going to be differentiated just by software tweaks). Nikon - you know it makes sense... :)
     
  39. Karim, it has already been written above. You want just a small and essential set of optionss in the menu. Instead, Nikon provides a hundreds of options in a large menu, most of which look meaningless to you. This is how Nikon sells 1001 options to justify a high price. They don't care about selling the same camera for less money with only 20 options in the menu and the rest simply not visible. They probably think this would not bring more profits. And also, they (and all other camera makers) prefer selling a closed system where you cannot tweak the firmware as you could do, for example, with a wireless router like WRT54GL.
    In general, I do agree with you, it would be good to have a small digital Nikon DSLR without built-in flash and with just a small feature set. No matter if it looks like FM or D3100, or if it is DX or FX - as long as it is priced below $1000, has built-in motor, and uses standard (AA) batteries, I would buy it and use it for many years :)
     
  40. In short, yes, agree with Karim.
    Also, the physical controls are also not well designed.
     
  41. It seems we're about to ask for a brand new concept of camera from manufacturers, like in the car industry​
    In other words, most cameras would cost between $10,000 and $60,000?
     
  42. This is how Nikon sells 1001 options to justify a high price. They don't care about selling the same camera for less money with only 20 options in the menu and the rest simply not visible. They probably think this would not bring more profits.
    Most of those 1001 options come from the software. They add no material cost to manufacturing the camera, except maybe the cost of a couple of extra buttons. They don't care about selling the same camera for less money and only 20 options because it would cost just as much to make. Getting rid of a couple of buttons and taking out a few lines of code from the firmware does not magically reduce the cost of a camera by 60% or more.
     
  43. Nikon could provide a menu option that hid a lot of the features, although given that it would have to be configurable as to which features are wanted, it's unlikely to be so different from the existing "my menu" feature. Hiding functionality more thoroughly is just going to lead to a support issue; with the current scheme, anyone who vaguely knows their way around a Nikon DSLR can find the equivalent features in any other one, and the tech support staff know what's available and where everything is. With a few exceptions, Nikons are pretty easy to use and configurable. They even have a "use the wheels in Canon mode" option!

    Simon - can you elaborate on the physical controls not being well designed? An awful lot of effort goes into them. There are a few changes I'd like (I rant quite frequently about how the camera shoud be usable with just the right hand, given that my left is often supporting a big lens) but in general I've been pretty happy with the way a lot of functionality has been mapped to controls that can be used without looking at them.
     
  44. Nikon could provide a menu option that hid a lot of the features​
    They did that on the D70. It went over like a lead balloon.
     
  45. Simon - can you elaborate on the physical controls not being well designed?​
    Quite a lot to say, and not much time to say it. Generally, I have the impression that the layout was designed by committee(s), and that the biggest concern was to reduce cost. And the committees must have been made up of non-photographers. I say that with the caveat that I love my D700(s), it's a brilliant camera, but wish the controls were (much) better thought through.
    The core of the problem is that they try to make everything controlled by three fingers on the right hand, using two command dials that change their function depending what mode you're in and how you've programmed the camera.
    There are three absolutely core functions on a camera that need separating from all the chaff and need their own dedicated physical controls. A camera is pretty much a black box with lots of clever modes designed to control these three attributes in different ways. These are: aperture, shutter speed, and focus.
    Yes OK, in a digital world you can probably add ISO and WB to those three, but you aren't normally playing with ISO and WB from frame to frame.
    Film autofocus cameras pretty much evolved to an excellent level of ergonomics where there was a ring for aperture control (typically thumb and second finger of left hand), a knob for shutter speed (thumb and 2nd finger of right hand), a button for autofocus (thumb of right hand), a shutter release (right hand fore finger). And a separate dial for exposure compensation. There's inevitably a little bit of cross-over of finger use, but generally each function had its own physical place that felt nicely under the hand, and there was little scope for confusion.
    Assuming you reprogramme the D700 to make it more sensible than the default settings - eg. to disable autofocus on pressing shutter release button, there are still a host of problems and scope for confusion. These include:
    • The function of the rear and forward command dials changes a lot depending what mode you are in. Sometimes the rear dial may change the exposure compensation (if you're lightly depressing the shutter release and have disabled the silly exposure compensation on top), sometimes it might be changing aperture (aperture priority, if you've programmed it like that), but in other modes (from memory, in manual) it will switch function with the front dial and start changing the shutter speed instead. You can't programme this switching out adequately in the custom set up menus.
    • With the function dials you can't physically feel whether you've reached a limit eg. if the lens is fully opened or stopped down. With traditional aperture ring, reaching full aperture was done in one positive movement, and you hit the end stop, with this silly command dial you have to keep moving your thumb back and forth rotating it with several movements until it reaches fully open, and the only way you know it has reached fully open is by peering at the LCD screen and trying to remember the max aperture for that lens. If you've switched lenses and there is a lot of action going on, it's easy to mess up.
    • The AEL is pretty much useless, because after a bit of time, eg. if you don't press the shutter release for a few moments, then it unlocks itself. It always does this at the worst possible time. Nikon should have a look at control like for example the Contax G2, where there is a positive flicking of a physical switch, and the exposure goes nowhere until you've flicked the switch back.
    I could go on and on, but you get the general idea. Aperture, shutter speed, focus, exposure compensation, they all need their own physical nice big knobs. It would be great if they were even actually usable in gloves, just like professional cameras in the days when ergonomics were actually considered important.
    This is one thing that Leica really seem to have got right. Nikon should stop pussyfooting around with ridiculous buttons and command dials.
     
  46. All the Nikon dSLRs have the same basic ergonomics more or less but I agree with you Simon.
    BTW, to stop the AEL from coming "undone" expand the time before the metering shuts down (aka auto metering off). Set it to 30 minutes or so, the battery you waste is miniscule. If you however shut off the camera it will still forget your settings. Flash lock also behave the same way as auto exposure lock.
    Personally, I'd like a control wheel for the ISO setting.
    Also reading interviews with Nikon engineers it seems that most are just casual photographers. But to be honest most cameras are made to be shot by non-photographers.
     
  47. Quite a lot to say, and not much time to say it.​
    Let me try to sum you up: if a function cannot be expressed as a physical dial, switch or button, it should not exist. End of story. Full stop. Period.
    Here's a challenge for anyone (inspired by the Christopher Hitchens challenge*): find me a feature that cannot be expressed physically that would make any camera significantly more useful. I bet you can't.
    * name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.
     
  48. I hear you, Karim. I've not bought a new camera since the D200 went out of production and just bought another one of those.
    And the stuff you want to cut from the D700 is stuff I never touch on the D200 (except the flash, at rare times when I forgot my SB800 or want to use it as a remote it can come in handy). I shoot RAW only, set the rest to one setting (the same on all bodies) and never touch it again.
    But as others say, they're making cameras for a mass market with many different customers, and a lot of them want things different from us. They might not ever touch those options either after initially setting them, but initially set them to something else. And that mass volume keeps the price down more than not having the options would given the smaller market they'd have without those options, so they're a good thing to have as long as you can work without having to constantly adjust them, and that's luckily quite possible.
     
  49. They did that on the D70. It went over like a lead balloon.​
    Joseph - you mean the "simplified" custom function menu? (I only know about this because I just went looking on dpreview to see what you might have meant.) I can imagine that this didn't help much... I'm sure that the idea can be done better (arguably the info button + my menu is the same thing done better), but it's always going to confuse someone either by giving them too many options or by hiding the ones they need.
     
  50. Simon - I understand your feeling, but I think we're going to agree to disagree here. I'm going to preface this with the warning that I like my D700, but there are things I would change.
    The core of the problem is that they try to make everything controlled by three fingers on the right hand, using two command dials that change their function depending what mode you're in and how you've programmed the camera.​
    I wish this was the case. My biggest objection to the ergonomics is that I can't control everything with three fingers of my right hand. (The D7000 fixed the inability to set ISO right-handed, admittedly.)
    There are three absolutely core functions on a camera that need separating from all the chaff and need their own dedicated physical controls. A camera is pretty much a black box with lots of clever modes designed to control these three attributes in different ways. These are: aperture, shutter speed, and focus.​
    I'm confused - focus is usually controlled on the lens and shutter speed and aperture are each controlled by one dial - and the same dial in manual, aperture priority or shutter priority.
    Yes OK, in a digital world you can probably add ISO and WB to those three, but you aren't normally playing with ISO and WB from frame to frame.​
    I only don't alter ISO between frames because the D700 doesn't let me do it one-handed - I would if I had a D7000. Instead, my ISO varies between frames by using auto-ISO and exposure adjustment. If I didn't mostly shoot in RAW, I'd be setting white balance frame-by-frame as well, depending on when I trusted the camera to do it right.
    Film autofocus cameras pretty much evolved to an excellent level of ergonomics where there was a ring for aperture control (typically thumb and second finger of left hand), a knob for shutter speed (thumb and 2nd finger of right hand), a button for autofocus (thumb of right hand), a shutter release (right hand fore finger). And a separate dial for exposure compensation. There's inevitably a little bit of cross-over of finger use, but generally each function had its own physical place that felt nicely under the hand, and there was little scope for confusion.​
    So you like having the left hand jump between manual focus and the aperture ring? It's possible if you only shoot with short lenses; it's impossible if you're hand-holding an image-stabilised 500mm - the left-handed aperture ring simply doesn't scale. As for shutter speed and exposure compensation, by your admission you can't modify them without taking your finger off the shutter. Automate any of these and the knob position becomes meaningless; even if you like relying on muscle memory it's still an ergonomic pain not to have visual feedback of the settings in the viewfinder. And if you've got feedback in the viewfinder, why would you need a separate physical knob? I agree with settings such as exposure compensation having a dedicated button to activate them, but completely separate dials are harder to use, make the camera more unwieldy and more fragile and, yes, more expensive.
    Assuming you reprogramme the D700 to make it more sensible than the default settings - eg. to disable autofocus on pressing shutter release button, there are still a host of problems and scope for confusion. These include:​
    Ooh. That's dangerously close to "My settings are the one true way to use the camera." Have you met Ken Rockwell? :)
    The function of the rear and forward command dials changes a lot depending what mode you are in. Sometimes the rear dial may change the exposure compensation (if you're lightly depressing the shutter release and have disabled the silly exposure compensation on top), sometimes it might be changing aperture (aperture priority, if you've programmed it like that), but in other modes (from memory, in manual) it will switch function with the front dial and start changing the shutter speed instead. You can't programme this switching out adequately in the custom set up menus.​
    In shutter priority, the main (usually rear) command dial controls shutter speed. In aperture priority, the sub- (usually front) command dial controls aperture. In manual, the rear controls shutter and the front controls aperture. By default, hold down the exposure compensation button and the main command dial always controls the exposure compensation. If you disable the "silly" exposure compensation button by enabling easy exposure compensation, rotating the dial you aren't using changes the exposure compensation. I don't use easy exposure compensation precisely because this needs you to think about what you're doing.

    If you've got a camera with only one command dial then yes, what you're adjusting changes by mode. It's a cost, size and robustness thing.
    With the function dials you can't physically feel whether you've reached a limit eg. if the lens is fully opened or stopped down. With traditional aperture ring, reaching full aperture was done in one positive movement, and you hit the end stop, with this silly command dial you have to keep moving your thumb back and forth rotating it with several movements until it reaches fully open, and the only way you know it has reached fully open is by peering at the LCD screen and trying to remember the max aperture for that lens. If you've switched lenses and there is a lot of action going on, it's easy to mess up.​
    Huh? If you turn the dial too far, it maxes out. Spin the aperture dial and it'll stop changing at the maximum (or minimum) aperture. Run the dial along the side of your finger and I find it'll usually get to one end or other of the aperture range. You don't have to worry about overshooting. This also works for variable-aperture zooms. I'd like a way to clamp the aperture range so that I don't use my lenses when I know they're out of their sweet zone, but you can't do that in hardware. I agree that you can't feel when you've hit a boundary, and I wouldn't object to Nikon adding a phone-style buzzer for haptic feedback when this happens (if it didn't shake the optics too much), but I've never had a problem with it. And the aperture is visible in the finder - I don't need to look at an LCD screen. Do you usually shoot from the hip? I do have a bit of envy of Canon's circular command dials (which you can keep spinning without taking your finger off) - although they take up a lot of the back of the camera.
    The AEL is pretty much useless, because after a bit of time, eg. if you don't press the shutter release for a few moments, then it unlocks itself. It always does this at the worst possible time. Nikon should have a look at control like for example the Contax G2, where there is a positive flicking of a physical switch, and the exposure goes nowhere until you've flicked the switch back.​
    Just so I'm not being contrary, I agree that this might be nice. Although it would also scupper the re-use of the AEL button for other things.
    I could go on and on, but you get the general idea. Aperture, shutter speed, focus, exposure compensation, they all need their own physical nice big knobs. It would be great if they were even actually usable in gloves, just like professional cameras in the days when ergonomics were actually considered important.​
    I can use my D700 using gloves. Using my Bessa R in gloves is harder (the dedicated shutter speed knob is very fiddly). An aperture ring is at best an awkward solution - not that physical aperture stops don't have their uses, but it really limits the ergonomics of the lens except in a very few cases. There is a lot to be said for giving each control its own dial - and if you had to go into a menu to change important camera settings (like you do with auto-ISO) then I'd complain. But I really think Nikon have done a pretty good job of making the controls consistent and easy to use without moving your eye from the finder. What they've not done is made the D700 handle exactly like an F4 - but I'm not convinced that an F4 would have handled like an F4 if the technology was available to make it handle like a D700. If your muscle memory is programmed for an F4 (or M3) then I feel your pain, but I would hope you'll eventually get used to it.

    My D700 handles very like my F5 (without the finger contortions for the locking knobs). I don't believe the F5 was a cost-reduced F4 - I believe the changes are there because they're genuine improvements.
    This is one thing that Leica really seem to have got right. Nikon should stop pussyfooting around with ridiculous buttons and command dials.​
    If I thought that the Leica ergonomics would let you control an autofocus hand-held 300mm f/2.8 properly, I'd agree. There's some tactile pleasure in using a manual rangefinder (or, indeed, in using AI lenses on a D700), but it just won't work across the whole Nikon system. But you may disagree. :)
     
  51. Let me try to sum you up: if a function cannot be expressed as a physical dial, switch or button, it should not exist. End of story. Full stop. Period.​
    I don't think Simon went quite that far. I'd certainly object if the camera had a separate dial for image quality, base and maximum auto-ISO, manual lens setting number, multiple exposure number and order, world time, AF fine tune, etc. - it would get hard to hold very quickly.
    Here's a challenge for anyone (inspired by the Christopher Hitchens challenge*): find me a feature that cannot be expressed physically that would make any camera significantly more useful. I bet you can't.​
    A feature that the camera has already? White balance fine tuning, folder naming, image comments/copyright, time and date (practically). Never having used one, how does the aperture ring work on variable-aperture AI zoom lenses?

    A feature that the D700 doesn't already have that I'd find useful? Split-screen live view (or at least, position controls for each sub-view).
     
  52. I'm confused - focus is usually controlled on the lens​
    That would be for a manual focus film camera. I was talking about an autofocus film camera. Cameras like the Contax G2 evolved to stage where the autofocus was controlled by a button on the back of the camera - the right thumb.
    and shutter speed and aperture are each controlled by one dial - and the same dial in manual, aperture priority or shutter priority.​
    Yes, that is what I was saying was the case in film days. No longer.
    If you disable the "silly" exposure compensation button by enabling easy exposure compensation, rotating the dial you aren't using changes the exposure compensation. I don't use easy exposure compensation precisely because this needs you to think about what you're doing.​
    I'm using exposure compensation constantly, for every frame. I couldn't possibly not use the easy exposure compensation. If I did, I would be forced to use only manual mode. Or switch to fully programme mode and matrix metering, which I hate. Without easy exposure compensation, metering modes that leave you in control - centre weighted and spot - would be effectively unusable.
    So, that means, that in aperture mode, the front dial is aperture, and the rear is exposure compensation. In shutter priority and programme mode, exposure compensation unexpectedly switches to the front dial. And in shutter priority, what had been exposure compensation dial now becomes the shutter speed dial.
    That is not good design, it's just utter confusion.
    If I thought that the Leica ergonomics would let you control an autofocus hand-held 300mm f/2.8 properly, I'd agree​
    Personally I have no interest in having a camera designed to be operated singlehandedly to make it easy to work a 300mm f2.8. I just want a camera that works well with the more standard range of focal lengths (and can be used with longer ones if necessary). Perhaps if there is a need for them to come out with a specialist design for sports/wildlife photographers, something like the D2H only with ergonomics designed for long lenses.
    At the moment, they have made their cameras have awful ergonomics for general use presumably as a compromise to keep sports/big long lens shooters happy. Since they don't seem to be achieving either of those objectives and just producing something with bad controls for everyone, maybe they should rethink.
    On the plus side for Nikon, Canon seem to be worse!
     
  53. I'd certainly object if the camera had a separate dial for image quality, base and maximum auto-ISO, manual lens setting number, multiple exposure number and order, world time, AF fine tune, etc.​
    My POV: image quality can be restricted to three settings: RAW, JPEG and both. Manual lens setting: I don't use the feature but you have a point! Multi exposure: I don't use it. ISO: Just set it on a dial. I don't use auto-ISO but obviously you do.
    White balance fine tuning, folder naming, image comments/copyright, time and date (practically).​
    WB: if you only shoot RAW, it matters not. But you have a point if you shoot JPEG. All of the other options can be done via computer (like many iPod features can be changed within iTunes).
     
  54. Simon - I doubted I'd persuade you. :) (If I sound argumentative, please appreciate that I'm just presenting an opposing view, not claiming that yours is - at least for you - invalid.)
    I'm confused - focus is usually controlled on the lens​
    That would be for a manual focus film camera. I was talking about an autofocus film camera. Cameras like the Contax G2 evolved to stage where the autofocus was controlled by a button on the back of the camera - the right thumb.​
    And the G2 had a dial on the camera that can be used to manual focus - and change ISO. Manual focus camera or not, with an AF-s lens the focus ring is useful for fine-tuning focus. I doubt many on this forum never use manual focus, and when you do it usually needs to have finer control than aperture adjustment. For what it's worth, I wouldn't necessarily object to an aperture ring placed further forward on the lens, but given that the left hand is already busy trying to zoom and control focus while doing most of the work of supporting the lens, I imagine it would have the potential to be more confusing than leaving it to the right hand.
    and shutter speed and aperture are each controlled by one dial - and the same dial in manual, aperture priority or shutter priority.​
    Yes, that is what I was saying was the case in film days. No longer.​
    I remain confused about what you've done to your camera to make this statement invalid. On my D700 (for which I've not swapped main and sub command dials), the front dial always controls aperture (if I'm in a mode that allows aperture to be controlled) and the rear dial always controls shutter speed (if I'm in a mode that allows the shutter speed to be controlled). Easy exposure compensation is another matter (as you address below), but what I've said is true.
    I'm using exposure compensation constantly, for every frame. I couldn't possibly not use the easy exposure compensation. If I did, I would be forced to use only manual mode. Or switch to fully programme mode and matrix metering, which I hate. Without easy exposure compensation, metering modes that leave you in control - centre weighted and spot - would be effectively unusable.​
    I use exposure compensation frequently as well (I can't vouch for changing it every frame, but it's a lot). My experience is that using a finger down the exposure compensation button while I spin the rear dial with my thumb is not a great hardship. Presumably it is for some people, or "easy" exposure compensation wouldn't have been added. I'm not saying that the easy compensation isn't very useful for you, but I doubt that having to hold down a button to "shift" the rear dial onto exposure compensation is more awkward than using program or manual mode. But then, my SLR training (such as it is) was with an Eos 300D, which only has one dial, so I'm used to using buttons to change the meaning of a dial.

    I'm not inherently against the idea of a third dial on the camera (perhaps mounted vertically, between the LCD and the shutter button. I'm also not against the idea of giving the dials two modes depending on whether they're pressed in (like the Panasonic GF1). Or even letting the dials tilt out of plane, like the Sony-Ericsson P800 (or some computer mice). More control under the hand is a good thing. But it'll all make the camera bigger, less robust and more expensive.
    So, that means, that in aperture mode, the front dial is aperture, and the rear is exposure compensation. In shutter priority and programme mode, exposure compensation unexpectedly switches to the front dial. And in shutter priority, what had been exposure compensation dial now becomes the shutter speed dial.

    That is not good design, it's just utter confusion.​
    I understand your confusion (which is why I don't use easy exposure compensation). I think the problem here is that easy exposure compensation is considered the exception rather than the rule, and therefore the camera isn't designed around it. The problem is that there are effectively four parameters to exposure (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure amount relative to what the meter thinks is correct) and the camera only has two dials. Going to three dials lets you control, as needed, any three of these parameters and let the camera deal with the remaining one - but you can't fix the meaning of all three dials without losing one of the modes. The D7000 has "quick ISO", and honestly I'd be far quicker to want that on a dial under my right hand than the exposure compensation (although frankly that's because the ISO button on the D700 isn't in a right-hand-friendly place). You could have four fixed-function dials, but there comes a point when having a dial that's directly under your thumb and a button that's easy to find is actually ergonomically better (besides, what about flash exposure compensation?) I assume you don't have a keyboard with a separate set of keys for the capital letters...
    [Leica getting it right] Personally I have no interest in having a camera designed to be operated singlehandedly to make it easy to work a 300mm f2.8. I just want a camera that works well with the more standard range of focal lengths (and can be used with longer ones if necessary). Perhaps if there is a need for them to come out with a specialist design for sports/wildlife photographers, something like the D2H only with ergonomics designed for long lenses.​
    SLRs in general are better with longer lenses; rangefinders are better with shorter lenses (if the field of view fits in the finder). If you want a camera that's very good with limited lenses, the M9 and X100 exist (as do a range of compact system cameras, especially with lens adaptors). Taking an SLR and then making its functionality worse with the precise feature that gave SLRs the advantage over rangefinders seems unlikely to happen. Too many people like using even a 200mm lens. Speaking as someone who only often uses one lens small enough to have my left palm under the camera (50mm prime - I barely touch the body with my left hand with my 14-24, 28-200, 85 f/1.4, 90 f/2.8, 135 f/2, 150-500, 200 f/2 or 500 f/4) I consider a small lens to be the exception rather than the rule.
    At the moment, they have made their cameras have awful ergonomics for general use presumably as a compromise to keep sports/big long lens shooters happy. Since they don't seem to be achieving either of those objectives and just producing something with bad controls for everyone, maybe they should rethink.​
    I always assumed that Nikon body designers spent all their time with normal primes. That's probably why the aperture ring was ever at the back of the lens, why screw autofocus motors were ever considered an option, why there are useful controls that are only accessible by the left hand, and it's the only explanation I've got for the autofocus mode selector not having moved to the back for the camera years ago. (Yes, I know it physically moves the focus screwdriver, but there are electromagnets...)

    That said, the "awful" ergonomics of the D700 don't seem to be getting in the way of all that many people. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. I'm really not sure I'd find a third dial for exposure compensation any easier than the current mechanism; I encourage you - without trying to tell you how to use your camera - to ignore the easy exposure compensation and treat it as a feature for people who leave the camera in program mode, and use the exposure compensation button instead. I find holding down a button with a finger I'm not using anyway to be the lesser of two evils.
    On the plus side for Nikon, Canon seem to be worse!​
    Some of the new Canons have most of the controls on the right, which is good, and I like the big rear dial on the pro Canons. I never liked the dial above the shutter (so you have to hop which finger you're shooting with) though, and the DoF preview button on the left-hand-side of the lens mount is even more inconvenient than Nikon's M-S-C switch. My worst case of ergonomics was on an Eos 620 which I was trying to use in manual mode (with infrared film); I shot the whole lot at the same aperture because I actually failed to find the M button - it just didn't occur to me to look there on the camera!

    Incidentally, usability is a field that interests me, so - how ever much I try to dispel Simon's arguments (always, I hope, by saying we have the best of several bad options, never by saying that Simon hasn't found an issue; if it sounds otherwise, my apologies) - I'm interested to hear how people are getting using their cameras and where things can be improved. Not that I work in camera design, but all information is an education and I'm grateful to Simon (and others) for sharing their experiences.
     
  55. My POV: image quality can be restricted to three settings: RAW, JPEG and both. Manual lens setting: I don't use the feature but you have a point! Multi exposure: I don't use it. ISO: Just set it on a dial. I don't use auto-ISO but obviously you do.​
    Again we have the problem - any single person can probably have 99% of what they do mapped permanently to a small(ish) number of physical dials, but the dials won't be the same for everyone. All you can do is make it programmable, or make it easy to remove features, and too many unused dials just makes matters worse. Knowing which finger to move to adjust a setting is the important thing; worrying about where the finger is located is actually not the ergonomic advantage you'd expect. Ever thrown rubbish into a laundry bin? The action and the location are often logically distinct. The cheaper bodies have one dial in part because for some users, that's enough for most of what they do. The high end bodies have more dials, but even for a pro there's only so much you can control in parallel and instinctively (you run out of fingers). I agree a physical aperture dial (or a function button on the lens like the Samsung CSCs) brings the left hand into play, but since I also claim my left hand is busy, we're back to needing some kind of virtual mapping of the meaning of dials.
    WB: if you only shoot RAW, it matters not. But you have a point if you shoot JPEG. All of the other options can be done via computer (like many iPod features can be changed within iTunes).​
    I'm against having to use a computer to set up the camera - I use too many operating systems on too many machines to be in favour of anything other than plain file copying. In fact, I never use anything other than a card reader, although this may change if I start focus stacking macro images. Besides, I really think it's useful to be able to change comments, copyright and (especially, since I always forget) date in the field. Give the camera a bluetooth connection and an Android/iPhone app and I might reconsider, but I doubt it.
     
  56. Andrew, I think this thread is about to effectively expire, but at least you're one of the few people who actually appreciate the discussion. So I thought I'd throw a few extra comments back at you.
    Besides, I really think it's useful to be able to change comments, copyright and (especially, since I always forget) date in the field.​
    Changing comments - I may have time to write down comments in a notebook but I usually don't. I certainly won't have time to use the camera's own text input system for comments while I'm shooting. But time or no time, I see no point in entering text like that. How annoying!
    Copyright info - I set it once and it stays there forever. I think mine reads 'Copyright by Karim D. Ghantous'. If the law says you must include the year (even though it's in the filename and/or metadata!) I'd change it once a year. That's it.
    Changing date: what do you mean? You mean like going travelling? I'd rather hook it up once every now and again to the computer and let the computer change that. I set my computer's clock to update automatically via the net.
    I think I'll forget about progressive ideas and start film-vs-digital threads in future. They're much more friendly.
     
  57. Thanks, Karim. I always like talking this kind of thing out, even if I don't end up in the same place as my interlocutor; if nothing else, I'm far more willing to accept something that annoys me if I know that it's there to help someone else, rather than because a designer did their job poorly. I admit that I've never actually used the comment or copyright features myself (as you say, they're a bit fiddly - although maybe the next camera will have a touch screen...) - but I can imagine that, at some point, someone's going to say "quick, I need some publicity shots of this event to send off to a newspaper in ten minutes" and I'm going to want to fiddle in the camera. For now it's a hypothetical for me.

    As for the time-and-date, yes - I'm referring to travel and summer time changes. I tend to go on holiday, away from a computer (especially mine), and just before I take a load of photos I realise that they'll be recording the wrong time/date. Even if I ever hooked my camera to a computer, I'd need specific software for all platforms. I'm still standing by this one being set on the camera. But I admit I don't use it often, so - if not everything has to be done via a dial, and we're not back to the "I don't need an LCD on my DSLR" days (they tried that, it didn't sell) - I doubt it's a major problem.
    I think I'll forget about progressive ideas and start film-vs-digital threads in future. They're much more friendly.​
    Shun will love you! (Now, where's my Velvia 3200?)
     
  58. "I think I'll forget about progressive ideas and start film-vs-digital threads in future. They're much more friendly."​
    That's an interesting interpretation of "progressive": advocating removing features and limiting choices.
     
  59. I think he's using Newspeak.
     
  60. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The copyright date feature is the easiest thing to implement. All future high-end DSLRs should have a GPS built in, which also provides the time in additional to coordinates. Optionally you can use that time to adjust the clock inside the camera (that feature is already available with the GP-1 GPS unit), and the year from the clock will be used to update the copyright message as the year turns over.
     
  61. Manual lens setting: I don't use the feature but you have a point!​
    I use manual lenses a lot on the D700, but have never used the manual lens setting, or at least, only to test it and decide that it's not worth bothering with. It doesn't change much on the camera, beyond record the aperture used in EXIF data. Manual lenses work pretty seamlessly without touching anything on camera. That's plus points for the D700, but I don't think any extra control is necessary (happily).
    I remain confused about what you've done to your camera to make this statement invalid​
    Sometimes the "aperture" dial is changing aperture, sometimes its doing something else. No matter how you programme it, it's no longer a dedicated aperture dial. I haven't done anything the camera to make it that way, it's the way it's designed.
    My experience is that using a finger down the exposure compensation button while I spin the rear dial with my thumb is not a great hardship.​
    Using an exposure mode where you're reasonably in control, like centre weighted, you would have to be pressing the exposure compensation button pretty much constantly. It's virtually impossible to do this while taking pictures, unless perhaps you used your middle finger to release the shutter and forefinger to hold the compensation button down. That's not practical, and your forefinger would eventually drop off. The alternative would be to find some way of nailing or gluing the compensation button down.
    That said, the "awful" ergonomics of the D700 don't seem to be getting in the way of all that many people. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good​
    The ergonomics are really based around forcing people to give up and leave the camera on programme mode and matrix metering. That's what most people end up doing. It doesn't promote good photography or the photographer being in control.
    I'm really not sure I'd find a third dial for exposure compensation any easier than the current mechanism​
    A third dial would be great, but the more critical point is to have dedicated aperture and shutter speed controls. And controls that aren't these silly little dials - proper controls that you can move from minimum to maximum aperture with a single motion, where there is an end-stop at either end of the range, and where you can physically see at a glance (or, even better, if they really want to take a step forward instead of a step back, feel), what the aperture and shutter speed are with the camera switched on or off and without having to activate an LCD and read some numbers.
    I always assumed that Nikon body designers spent all their time with normal primes.​
    I use the Nikon almost exclusively with primes, and, as I hope is clear by now, the ergonomics for prime shooters is awful. The fact that, apparently, it doesn't even work for people who use long heavy zooms, means that it is just bad design that doesn't work for anyone.
     
  62. Sometimes the "aperture" dial is changing aperture, sometimes its doing something els​
    BTW, the various functions on this rear command dial are often duplicated by the autofocus point selection arrows on the back. For example, flicking through pictures in playback mode. This kind of duplication is unnecessary - they've put in an extra control with limited functions.
    Again, it can cause confusion. For example, if you were reviewing pictures but are interrupted and have to take a picture quickly and unexpectedly, and rotate the command dial to change shutter speed or alter exposure compensation (a bit of a lottery which of those happens, unless you can remember which mode you left the camera in), then sometimes I find that, instead of changing exposure, the camera just cycles through pictures. Of course, I should have disengaged playback befor trying to change the shutter speed/compensation, but if there were dedicated compensation/shutter speed/aperture controls, I wouldn't be making that mistake. When I raise the camera to my eye in a hurry and rotate that dial, one of three things could happen. Which isn't good enough.
    Perhaps I could disable the command dial for altering settings in the menu or pictures on playback. I would have to check the options. But I get fed up having to spend so much time reprogramming these controls to make at least a bit of sense, and they never get there. I don't want to reprogramme controls, I want them to make sense in the first place.
     
  63. "I don't need an LCD on my DSLR"​
    It's almost valid - except that I need to check histograms and previews. But I'll take it further (I've said this before): get rid of the top LCD. All you need is the rear one. The 'i' button is truly a great improvement.
    proper controls that you can move from minimum to maximum aperture with a single motion, where there is an end-stop at either end of the range​
    Yes! Good idea. Better idea: to hell with the control wheels, just give us back the shutter speed dial. Thanks, Nikon. Oh, you're welcome. No, really, don't mention it. While you're at it, kill the G lens line. Yep. Beautiful. Thanks. Yeah, you too! Ha! Nice. Okay. Bye!
    I use the Nikon almost exclusively with primes, and, as I hope is clear by now, the ergonomics for prime shooters is awful.​
    I haven't noticed this. I guess I just 'put up with it' without thinking? Well I have a need to use the AiS 105/2.8 Micro soon so we'll see.
     
  64. ergonomics
    I haven't noticed this.​
    Sorry, I should have been clearer. I just meant ergonomics in terms of the handling of the physical controls, not the shape of the camera. I like the shape and feel of the camera body, controls apart, I think that's well designed... In fact, the D700 generally an amazing bit of kit, a wonderful camera. Just the controls (now pretty much Nikon standard) that aren't good.
    Bringing back the shutter speed dial etc. would be a great starting point. If they can improve on the 'old' system, then I'm all for progress. bring on innovation. The problem is they abandoned the decades of evolution in camera controls and replaced it with something - a bit rubbish.
    But give a bit of thought, it might even be possible to produce something better than the old shutter speed/aperture type controls.
     
  65. How would a shutter speed dial on top of the camera, a la F3, FM, etc., be an improvement over the thumbwheel that's been standard on most AF film Nikons and dSLRs for many years?
    I used conventional 35mm SLRs for decades, most of which had the top-mounted shutter speed dial (the Olympus OM system being the exception, tho' I never owned a Nikkormat). No way I'd want to go back to that. The thumbwheel shutter speed control is far better, especially on the bodies with integrated vertical grips.
    I appreciate classic design and function as much as any curmudgeon, but some of you fellows seem to be disremembering the realities of the bad ol' days from behind that gauzy veil of nostalgia.
     
  66. How would a shutter speed dial on top of the camera, a la F3, FM, etc., be an improvement over the thumbwheel that's been standard on most AF film Nikons and dSLRs for many years?​
    It's not. The good old FM, F3, etc. shutter speed knobs were straight mechanical shafts that led right into the shutter mechanism. That's why, as shutter mechanisms evolved, the knobs sort of moved around the camera. I have two cameras in my collection that have multiple knobs, one that selects between curtain openings for the high speed, one that selects low speeds by doing a "two step" motion with the widest curtain opening. Even the FM2n, one of the nicer mechanically linked shutter speed dials, often required a two finger "pinch and twist". While changing it with one finger was possible (depending on your strength, the condition of your fingertip, and the callouses on your finger) it was not advisable, as it would quickly wear a groove in your finger (literally. Then you form a callous).
    From an ergonomics standpoint, looking at joint and tendon loading, reach distance, control actuation accuracy, the single rear command dial is radically superior.
    But that's nowhere near as severe a case as the aperture dial around the base of a lens. That's another leftover from the days when mechanical controls were placed near whatever it was that they were supposed to be controlling.Now, you have certain people who have no idea, at all, what they're doing make statements like this...
    While you're at it, kill the G lens line. Yep. Beautiful. Thanks. Yeah, you too! Ha! Nice. Okay. Bye!​
    The normal holding position for a moderately heavy lens is with the left hand forward of the lens/camera system's center of gravity, while the right hand is behind the center of gravity. Ther's a name for that. It's called "balanced", and it introduces something called "stability".
    On any moderately heavy lens, using the aperture collar puts the left hand behind the center of gravity, along with the right hand. When you support something entirely from one side of the center of gravity, you create something called "torque". Now, I can understand why a lay-person like Karim might not grasp the subtle implications of this, like how...
    • The only way to counter that torque is is with tension on the right hand, employing both radial deviation (bending the wrist towards the thumb) and heavy flexion (bending the fingers inwards). The flexion is especially heavy on the first two fingers. The radial deviation compresses the main wrist joint (the radial-ulnar joint) because there are no such things as "deviator" muscles: deviation is accomplished by employing the flexor (bend the wrist down) and extensor (bend the wrist up) muscles simultaneously. The human body isn't built to do that for any length of time, we have all sorts of neuromuscular safety systems to keep from operating "opponent" muscles simultaneously.
    • The movement from the relatively neutral "hand under lens" position to the "hand under camera body" position increases supination (outward rotation) and flexion (outward bending) on the left wrist, while at the same time demanding operations of the flexor and extender tendons on the first finger and thumb (to work the aperture ring), and dragging the camera baseplate across the extended carpel tunnel (tendons tensed and vulnerable) and median volar nerve.
    I actually had a physiologist I worked with on some of that look this over. We made some measurements, but never got far enough to make a really decent paper out of it.
    Placing the aperture ring and shutter knob where they can be connected by short shafts to the aperture and shutter mechanisms in the camera or lenses, when we have the technology to move them to better locations is just plain insane. It's like telling someone that they have to drive the car while crouched down under the hood because the throttle control has to be mounted on the engine, and the steering wheel has to be mounted close to the front wheels.
    Car makers learned about control linkages and ergonomics many decades ago, because when you lose control of a car, people die. Screwed up controls on camera only injure you slowly, so no one notices. But make no mistakes about it, it does injure you. Karim might as well be going around actually punching people, because his "improvements" bring nothing but pain and misery.
     
  67. Simon, I agree with you overall.

    Karim might as well be going around actually punching people

    Unluckily for you, I have huge influence at Nikon. Everyone listens and acts on my ideas without discrimination. Nothing is revised, nobody changes their minds. Ever. Violence, though, is not something I use in vain. Kindly retract that comment. Thank you!
     
  68. "...might as well be going around actually punching people, because his "improvements" bring nothing but pain and misery."​
    It's more like drinking too much rum punch:
    • Very sweet and appealing at first. ("Hey, I lurv the spartan design! I like the manly way it breaks my fingernails to adjust the shutter speed...")
    • Then there's that warm gauzy feeling, like nostalgia. ("Hey, man, I love you... no, no, I lurv you, like Annie Hall lurv... I mean it man, I really, I lurrrv you, man, and I'm not just saying that because I'm drunk...")
    • And the next day that horrible hangover, and misplaced blame. ("Oh, gawd... my fingers and wrists are aching... it can't be the horrible ergonomics. This Exacta with 500mm f/8 Girl Watcher Spiratone lens is one of my oldest friends, it'd never treat me like this. It's gotta be all those newfangled wasabi almonds I ate last night...")
     
  69. Gosh - I assumed this thread had died... To Simon, first:
    I use manual lenses a lot on the D700, but have never used the manual lens setting, or at least, only to test it and decide that it's not worth bothering with. It doesn't change much on the camera, beyond record the aperture used in EXIF data. Manual lenses work pretty seamlessly without touching anything on camera. That's plus points for the D700, but I don't think any extra control is necessary (happily).​
    Providing information for a non-CPU lens gives you better flash control and enables matrix metering - and allegedly improves spot and centre-weighted metering as well. I use a spot meter a lot, but - since I usually want to capture the moment - I mostly rely on the matrix meter. The times when it's wrong are the exception, not the rule, for me. I agree that this setting needs changing infrequently, though - I mentioned it only as something that does not merit a dedicated control, and I guess we'll agree to differ on whether it has a place at all.
    Sometimes the "aperture" dial is changing aperture, sometimes its doing something else. No matter how you programme it, it's no longer a dedicated aperture dial. I haven't done anything the camera to make it that way, it's the way it's designed.​
    I understand - the dial does have a function other than setting the aperture, when you're in a mode for which you're not setting the aperture anyway. It appears that you want the dial to set the aperture or do nothing, but that you explicitly enabled easy exposure compensation so that it does not do nothing.
    My experience is that using a finger down the exposure compensation button while I spin the rear dial with my thumb is not a great hardship.​
    Using an exposure mode where you're reasonably in control, like centre weighted, you would have to be pressing the exposure compensation button pretty much constantly. It's virtually impossible to do this while taking pictures, unless perhaps you used your middle finger to release the shutter and forefinger to hold the compensation button down. That's not practical, and your forefinger would eventually drop off. The alternative would be to find some way of nailing or gluing the compensation button down.​
    I accept that a nice compromise might be to have it possible to map the Fn button to exposure compensation (and, as I've said on countless occasions, ISO - there's no reason why any of the buttons shouldn't be interchangable), which would mean the index finger could stay on the shutter. On the other hand, many operate the front dial with an index finger anyway. I don't have an enormous issue with using the middle finger on the shutter button, since this is what Eos users have to do anyway if they want to use the front dial - but I admit to preferring the Nikon configuration. Still, if you're really adjusting the exposure compensation so quickly that you need a finger on the shutter the whole time, I can see that the ergonomics aren't ideal for you.

    What's the alternative, though? If there's an additional exposure compensation wheel on the back of the camera, it's going to be hard to control them simultaneously with the thumb. If it's on the top of the camera, your finger is off the shutter anyway. My best suggestion would be a GF-1 style dial that has a different mode if pressed in, but I doubt that's easy to use with gloves. Presumably what you'd like is for the front and back dials to be (presumably) shutter and exposure compensation exclusively, and have the aperture under left-hand control. Which you can do, so long as you don't have a G lens.

    Of course, as discussed (and I'm thankful to Joseph for his detailed back-up on my position, slight rudeness to Karim aside) there are plenty of reasons not to rely on the aperture ring on the lens. I don't object to it as an option, though, and it's clearly, in part, a cost-cutting measure. Perhaps we could pay a premium and limit G lenses to variable aperture zooms (for which a fixed aperture on the ring is unhelpful - not having a non-G variable aperture zoom, I still don't know how this works). For your case, Simon, I feel your pain that you might get slightly better ergonomics if you're restricting yourself to the subset of lenses for which an aperture ring makes sense, yet all new lens designs are G.
    The ergonomics are really based around forcing people to give up and leave the camera on programme mode and matrix metering. That's what most people end up doing. It doesn't promote good photography or the photographer being in control.​
    Respectfully, take that back! :) I have no claims to being a good photographer, but I very rarely use program mode (not that there's anything wrong with it, if you have a finger on a program shift dial, especially if you have a camera with no effective auto-ISO), nor is there anything wrong with use of the matrix meter, especially when capturing the moment is more important than placing portions of the scene into zones. Each tool has its place.
    A third dial would be great, but the more critical point is to have dedicated aperture and shutter speed controls. And controls that aren't these silly little dials - proper controls that you can move from minimum to maximum aperture with a single motion, where there is an end-stop at either end of the range, and where you can physically see at a glance (or, even better, if they really want to take a step forward instead of a step back, feel), what the aperture and shutter speed are with the camera switched on or off and without having to activate an LCD and read some numbers.​
    The "silly little dials" can be used with one finger/thumb. It's very hard to turn the aperture ring on most lenses I've seen with one finger. The same is certainly true of every shutter speed wheel I've met - they have to be stiff so you can't knock them while the camera is turned off. Put the shutter speed wheel from my Bessa on a D700 and you'll have finger and thumb off the shutter while adjusting it. If you want to see what they're set to without turning the camera on, leave the camera switched on - I believe it'll last a very long time like that. Failing that, you'll see when you look through the viewfinder, because the information is visible there. This doesn't help if you're shooting blind from the hip, but I'm prepared to accept that this is a scenario for which a Leica is a better choice than an SLR.

    I wouldn't turn down a little haptic feedback when bouncing off the end of a range, though.
    I always assumed that Nikon body designers spent all their time with normal primes.​
    I use the Nikon almost exclusively with primes, and, as I hope is clear by now, the ergonomics for prime shooters is awful. The fact that, apparently, it doesn't even work for people who use long heavy zooms, means that it is just bad design that doesn't work for anyone.​
    I accept that the design is not perfect for everyone (or possibly anyone). There are improvements that could be made, although the trick is making the usage better for one person without making it worse for another. I think it's harsh to the Nikon team to accuse them of bad design, though - there's compromise in every scenario, and the fact that you've had some compromises imposed upon you by the fact that some lenses don't work perfectly doesn't mean that a solution that solves your problem would make the camera better for the majority of users.

    I would like to see exposure compensation as something that can be assigned to the Fn button, along with ISO and a few other settings. I don't think this would compromise anyone. I'd like the camera to buzz (not beep) when I bounce off the end of the range of something I'm setting with a wheel; this would add a little to the cost, but I doubt it would hurt anyone. I'd like the option of a GF-1 style press-and-roll mode for the dials, if this has no appreciable effect on reliability.

    I would like to see a thorough ergonomic study to show that a third dial on the camera is actually significantly useful before thinking about paying for it, or putting up with the reduced reliability from another hole in the case. I don't deny that an aperture ring is a good thing on some lenses, but I also think it's a vanishingly small case. Perhaps Nikon should have made the AF-S f/1.4 50mm a non-G lens. Perhaps they'll do this with a new f/1.2 - if it's a premium line anyway.
    BTW, the various functions on this rear command dial are often duplicated by the autofocus point selection arrows on the back. For example, flicking through pictures in playback mode. This kind of duplication is unnecessary - they've put in an extra control with limited functions.​
    Well, the joystick lets you move quickly between images in thumbnail playback. Moving between single images is an obvious extension of this. When zoomed in, the joystick is occupied, so the thumb wheel is the obvious solution. I regularly use both, and when I hand the camera to someone else to show them some images, they also tend to use both. I've just got into the habit of brushing the shutter release as I pick the camera up, to switch out of image review. The only solution is, again, a camera with a lot more unique controls, many of which are unused a lot of the time; I'm not convinced that's an improvement, and if the camera had more dials, I'd want them all to be programmable anyway...

    I think we can accept that what you want from a camera is not exactly what I want from a camera. That's not to say that the D700 is perfect for me, or that your needs are in any way invalid, but if Nikon made a camera purely to your specifications (or mine) I suspect they'd lose a lot of sales. What they've made is a flexible camera that's pretty good in a lot of different scenarios. If these don't match the scenarios you need - and there's no reason to believe that they should - then obviously you should try to find a camera that does what you want. If Nikon therefore lose a sale, I'm sure they'll try to find a way to make the camera fit your needs as well as everyone else's - but what they can't do is make it fit your needs to the exclusion of everyone else's. That's not bad design, that's commercial compromise.
     
  70. While changing it with one finger was possible (depending on your strength, the condition of your fingertip, and the callouses on your finger) it was not advisable, as it would quickly wear a groove in your finger (literally. Then you form a callous).​
    The rear dial on the D700 is essentially similar to a shutter speed dial, except the position has changed, you can only access a small amount of the dial, they have buried it in the body - you can't grip it both sides if you want to to get a good grip, and you can only rotate it a bit at a time, you have to make several motions to rotate any distance. Try rotating the rear dial with sweaty fingers in hot weather, it can get really hard. And it has a whole range of other functions attached to it.
    At the moment, I have a swollen thumb, from operating this dial. I have a photoshoot tomorrow, and I'm taking a different camera, to give my thumb a chance to recover. It can't be that wonderfully ergonomic.
    I agree that the position and design of the FM series dial wasn't perfect. It was pretty darn good, but could be improved upon. Yes, it's position was partly dictated by mechanical linkage. It's possible to improve it. It would be great if they had done so. Also being a mechanical linkage, there were more restrictions on the tension and smoothness than would be possible with a redesign. Ideally a redesign would also have a physical marker so that you could feel it's approximate setting without having to look at either dial or LCD. A click-into auto position would be good. There are quite a few improvements they could have made, including changing position, if only they'd thought about it. Just burying three quarters of the dial in the body, and giving it a whole host of other functions was a huge step backwards.
    I can understand why a lay-person like Karim might not grasp the subtle implications of this​
    Joseph, I don't think your insults towards Karim do you any justice at all. I don't see your website or your work figuring anywhere prominently in Google. A little odd, if you are so wonderfully experienced as you seem to think you are.
    Providing information for a non-CPU lens gives you better flash control and enables matrix metering - and allegedly improves spot and centre-weighted metering as well.​
    Andrew, I mentioned that I don't like matrix metering, but that the camera seems to be trying to force people to use matrix metering, and programme mode, so I guess that answers that.
    The providing of information for non-CPU lenses can't possibly improve spot and centre-weighted metering - that is based on a misunderstanding of how spot and centre-weighted metering work. A spot reading is either right or wrong - it gives you the mid-grey setting for the spot you measure off. If the camera changes what it is telling you if it knows that you have a different focal length on, then that would mean that the camera was not working properly.
    It appears that you want the dial to set the aperture or do nothing, but that you explicitly enabled easy exposure compensation so that it does not do nothing.​
    Yes - only the camera forced me to use this dial also for exposure compensation (and also for various other functions). If there was a dedicated dial for exposure compensation that was separate, I would be very happy using it.
    I was shooting a wedding the day before yesterday. On two occasions I had to take pictures quickly, and when I tried to change the aperture fast, it scrolled through pictures instead. Result: missed photographs. You can tell me that that is operator error - it happened because I was reviewing pictures, and in my rush dabbed the shutter release button quickly, not long enough to bring it out of playback mode. But for me, it was a failure of the camera.
    I have taken 170,000 picture over the last 3 years on my D700 and my D2X (which had similar controls). I am still struggling to get on top of these silly controls, and they still keep managing to catch me out. I think I am a pretty technical minded person, it's hardly surprising that the vast majority of people give up and use programme mode and matrix metering.
    The weekend before, I took my Fm2 along to a wedding and fired off a few films. It was a total delight - I just picked it up, and it just worked, frame after frame. Even after several years of non-use, the controls were quick, easy and intuitive.
    nor is there anything wrong with use of the matrix meter, especially when capturing the moment is more important than placing portions of the scene into zones​
    Personally, I actually think there is a lot, from the photographer's point of view, that is wrong with using matrix metering. It has its place, but ultimately, I think it really isn't a good approach for a photographer who wants to get good results. But that's a whole different can of worms. It does seem to be the case that Nikon seem to assume that everyone will use it, that is part of the philosophy behind their cameras, and that is not a good thing. Fine for amateurs, maybe OK for sports photographers. It has its place. But not a good general approach for someone who wants to do well and stay in control.
    or putting up with the reduced reliability from another hole in the case​
    There are soooo many holes in that case that I don't think anyone would notice another one. But, if it's a problem, there are an awful lot of holes that aren't really needed. Let's get rid of that exposure compensation button for a start...
     
  71. Hi Simon. Firstly, I hope your thumb recovers. I've found my D700 wheels to be no less comfortable than the other electronics with similar interfaces, but I accept that nothing like this is ever perfect. The best interface of the sort that I can think of is the large wheel on the back of the higher-end Canons (which is probably why the iPod had something very similar), but it's probably more RSI-inducing than the Nikon approach. The scroll wheel on my Razer mouse is quite nice... The problem, I suspect, is that it needs to be firm enough to avoid it moving when knocked accidentally, which means that the wheel can't protrude too much and has to be fairly stiff. I suspect there's been a lot of research into the optimum amount of force required, but it's clearly a compromise. If only photographers could be persuaded not to use gloves, some kind of capacative "is this a thumb" detection would probably be a solution... Anyway, I agree that burying the dial isn't a perfect solution, I'm just not convinced that I've seen a better one. That said, I've never used an FM (all my SLRs, Canon and Nikon, have hidden dials - except my Pentax 645, which doesn't have dials at all) and I've been tempted to keep an eye out for one, so maybe I should reserve judgement.

    I admit that the off-centre shutter speed dial on some rangefinder cameras gives some interesting tactile feedback. The existing dials do, of course, click, but the Nikon assumption is definitely that you're prepared to look at the readings in the finder rather than do everything by feel (at least with G lenses). I still think it's a big ask to expect the dials to be entirely fixed-purpose - not every use of the camera relies on the same few controls as an FM supports. I'm not sure I could reliably set everything from 1/8000s to 30s by feel, or f/1.4 to f/64 without some visual feedback, especially on different lenses and at different magnifications. Knowing "three clicks from the end" is another matter - so I support adding the "end-of-range" buzzer that wouldn't reduce flexibility. You could even electromechanically grip the wheel so that it didn't go any further (without a lot of resistance). Visual feedback from the dial is less important - however inconvenient an LCD or a number in a viewfinder is, it's no harder to read than small writing on a shutter dial or on an aperture ring that's half hidden under the prism.

    Regarding the spot and centre-weighted metering: yes, I'm confused as well, which is why I said "allegedly". Nonetheless, this is a claim that the D700 manual makes (page 210). Unless I'm mis-reading it and it's specifically talking about flash.

    I have enough training in usability that I'll never claim that an issue is entirely "operator error" - the camera (or any other device) should be designed so that "operator error" is very hard to achieve. I'm surprised that you try to make an exposure adjustment before half-pressing the shutter and trying to focus on the subject - possibly Nikon's engineers would be equally surprised - but that doesn't make what you're doing wrong. It's hard to say what to do about that without either having separate controls just for image review (I do try to to move the focus point before activating autofocus, and occasionally have the problem that the camera isn't listening to the joystick, which is the reverse of your issue) or just suggesting that you don't review images on the camera. Again, the answer may be more configurability, not less - if you can tell the camera to stop using the dials for scrolling through images (at the cost of not being able to scroll while zoomed) then this particular problem goes away.

    I would contend that people use program mode and matrix meter because they're told to - it's the next step up from green square/dummy mode (especially on a film-based SLR which can't shift ISO) - not because the other modes are unusable. Depending on what you're doing and the effect you're after, it's far from a bad starting point, especially when you can override the result once you've looked at the histogram on the LCD. Sure, a spot meter and manual mode might be your friend for mapping everything to the desired zone for your image of Yosemite, or metering subjects under relatively fixed conditions, but sometimes automation really helps. I have enough to do running around to frame things and, sometimes, hitting manual focus on the subject's eye before they move. I'd argue that, much of the time a fully manual approach is useful, you're better off with a view camera than a DSLR anyway. (Is that contentious enough?)

    Nikon do try to ensure that their cameras do something sensible when a beginner first uses them - they have to, or they'd never sell anything. I think we'll have to agree to differ (with the understanding that I don't necessarily rate my photographic skills) on whether there's a decent amount of control left. It sounds as though - despite the time you've put into your DSLRs - you're very stuck in a way of working that doesn't suit them. Not that there's anything wrong with this; it's the camera's job to accommodate you, but I'd hesitate to call Nikon incompetent just because it fails to do so perfectly.

    As for holes, button holes (heh) are less an issue than large slots. Actually, my D700 just got dropped off with Nikon because its leatherette was peeling. Maybe something will change on the next generation, and I look forward to seeing what it is.

    Thanks again for the lesson in how other people use their cameras. I hope the raised tempers in this thread don't put people off the subject; while I may want to defend a particular decision that Nikon may have made if I can see the benefits of it, it's still valid to be struggling with something. Nikon may even be listening. Or at least, Karim might. :)
     
  72. I'm surprised that you try to make an exposure adjustment before half-pressing the shutter and trying to focus on the subject - possibly Nikon's engineers would be equally surprised - but that doesn't make what you're doing wrong.​
    I think that's another interesting illustration. Nikon's engineers ought not to be surprised that I might take pictures without first half-depressing the shutter. The first thing I and many other people do when faced with the Nikon's default arrangments, is disable the autofocus when half depressing the shutter. You really oughtn't to have a shutter release button that defines both the exposure and the autofocus. That only works if your subjects are always mid-grey, or (perhaps) if you're not too fussy about exposure and don't mind relying on the camera deciding everything through matrix metering. Again, with the default option, Nikon seem to be assuming you will let the camera decide exposure ie. matrix metering.
    So, I would only be half-depressing the shutter button before taking pictures if I wanted to take an exposure reading. In fact, I did try to half-depress the shutter button as I raised the camera to my eye, but I only did so to try to get rid of the playback mode. Unfortunately I was also trying to dial in the exposure/aperture settings as quickly as possible and probably hadn't given the camera long enough to turn off playback first. The camera doesn't like it when you try to do both simultaneously, the result being blurry pictures taken at a closed down aperture.
    This particular issue may not be the end of the world - but it's yet another example of how a non-tactile dial which is used for multiple functions leads to missed pictures. And again an illustration of Nikon's starting premise that users must be using the cameras auto modes, with the ability to "programme in" some elements of control, rather than the other way round.
    It sounds as though - despite the time you've put into your DSLRs - you're very stuck in a way of working that doesn't suit them​
    I may be "stuck" in that way of working, but I think that my way of working is very close to the "default" for an awful lot of professionals and serious amateurs, and I'd be surprised if Nikon don't know that. If you look at most medium format cameras, as well as the Leicas etc., an awful lot of them are designed with clear control of aperture and shutter speed, an exposure compensation dial, centre weighted metering, and an aperture priority mode thrown in. Good clear access to these basic controls are pretty much the mark of a professional camera, a lot of pros and advanced amateurs work like that, and I'm sure Nikon know about it. They must have take a conscious decision to start with a layout and default controls aimed at the amateur market/beginners, and try to make enough compromises and customisation to make it acceptable in the professional world.
     
  73. I think that's another interesting illustration. Nikon's engineers ought not to be surprised that I might take pictures without first half-depressing the shutter.​
    Perhaps I should say surprised that you tried to take a picture with the LCD still showing something. But I appreciate that it wasn't something you were trying to do deliberately, and the camera should be designed to catch your mistakes for you. I'm not claiming that the Nikon solution is perfect, but I am unconvinced that peppering the back of the camera with more dedicated controls will make it easier to use.
    I may be "stuck" in that way of working, but I think that my way of working is very close to the "default" for an awful lot of professionals and serious amateurs, and I'd be surprised if Nikon don't know that.​
    (Incidentally, "stuck" was supposed to express sympathy for your predicament, not criticism, in case it came across wrongly.) While I'm sure that Nikon are aware of your means of working - otherwise quick exposure compensation might not be there - I still struggle to see how they could improve your workflow without potentially impacting a significant portion of their market, with the possible exception of releasing some new non-G lenses for shortish primes and fixed-aperture zooms.

    As for professional cameras... my Pentax 645 has no dials (other than the lens's aperture ring). The 645N has dials (including an exposure compensation one on the left, where you can't reach it). The 645D has two buried dials and an exposure compensation button, like the D700, and so does the H4D series (the V series has nothing at all, but buttons) and the Mamiya DM series, both with the exposure compensation buttons in much weirder places than the D700's. The M9 uses the rear scroll wheel for exposure compensation as well as scrolling through images and menu navigation (the M8 only let you do this through a menu) - and, of course, centre-weighted or bust, but I challenge you to change exposure compensation and shutter speed in parallel and, of course, there's no shutter priority mode. The S2 has a fixed shutter speed dial, but a (single) rear dial for everything else. It appears that fixed dials are a thing of the past - it's not just Nikon. Which isn't to say that they don't have advantages, but it appears that every modern camera (newer than, say, the F4) has found it worth putting at least some of the controls to multiple uses, and dedicated exposure compensation dials seem to be pretty rare (excluding the G series Canons and the X100).

    I use exposure compensation a fair bit, although I'll admit that I also often use the matrix meter and therefore don't have to use it as much as it sounds like you do. But then I also tend to tweak the exposure in RAW processing anyway, so I never rely on it being perfect. I would be a much better photographer if I spent more time placing the exposure where I wanted it, but I'd also miss a lot of shots that I wanted to keep - Nikon, who are arguably known for having the best metering system in the business, have put a lot of money into making it possible for me to work this way.

    Incidentally, I usually (not always) leave the shutter button autofocussing; there are so many focus points on the D700 that it's unusual that I want to focus independently, and focus-and-recompose is mostly a thing of the past. Things move on. Mostly.

    I'm not going to dispute your claim that a lot of professionals and serious amateurs have the same workflow that you do - I have no evidence either way. All I can say is that I, personally, don't seem to have any difficulty tweaking the exposure compensation for the zone I want using the exposure compensation button, that I don't miss having the aperture ring on the lens, and that I think I'd find the camera more awkward to use if it had a lot of dedicated dials rather than a few customisable ones, but that just means we're different, not that you're wrong.

    That said, I'm sure you're right - Nikon have to design a camera that's easy to use for a novice, or they'll just be returned, and the reviewers will pan their obscure interface. There are lots of different kinds of professional shooters, and you can't accommodate all of them perfectly; it's much easier to accommodate all novices. Of course, Nikon also have a problem that Leica don't: Nikon have to make the D3100 novice-friendly, and make the D3x similar enough to the D3100 that their users have an upgrade path which feels familiar. There is no novice-friendly Leica (unless you count rebadged Panasonic compacts). Unfortunately, beyond making the camera as customisable as they can (or slightly less so, in some cases that I whinge about), there's not much that Nikon can do to make a perfect camera for everyone, especially if that includes doing some research to decide whether the proposed layout is actually going to work in reality.
     
  74. As for professional cameras...​
    I wasn't trying to say that medium format cameras etc. have perfect control systems. I meant that using centre-weighted and maybe spot metering, is more or less the standard among cameras aimed at the higher end of the pro market outside the world of DSLR's, and that their controls (there will always be exceptions) have tended to work around the logic of clear access to aperture and shutter speed, and usually exposure compensation too.
    But you're probably right that some of the most recent digital ones have been moving towards the logic of DSLRs with dials. I suspect they're focussing their energies on trying to turn out integrated digital backs that can compete, and logical controls may not have been top of the priority. I suspect the same may might be said for Nikon and Canon too.
    The M9 uses the rear scroll wheel for exposure compensation as well as scrolling through images and menu navigation (the M8 only let you do this through a menu)​
    Having said that, the lack of ready access to exposure compensation on the M8 has been one of the biggest criticisms of it. Otherwise, the controls seem pretty good, and get good reviews. The M9 seems to have largely addressed the problem, it really on the face of it looks an example of good German design in terms of layout. I haven't tried it at length in practise, so can't comment on whether there are any foibles I might not like.
    If the exposure compensation is on the dial on the back, that may not be absolutely perfect as a separate dial, but I'd be happy with it. At least it wouldn't be in the same dial used (in different modes) to control shutter speed. It looks like a good, clean, well designed system.
    Nikon should just copy it, and add autofocus button on the back, and they would be there!
     
  75. Simon - The rear dial on the D700 is essentially similar to a shutter speed dial, except the position has changed, you can only access a small amount of the dial, they have buried it in the body - you can't grip it both sides if you want to to get a good grip,​
    Nikon tried that on the 8008. I kind of liked it, but I guess they thought picking up another 4 3 square CM of top panel real estate for buttons and displays was worth going to the recessed thumb wheel.
    and you can only rotate it a bit at a time,​
    Actually, you can "rotate it a bit" more than you can an FM2. I just tried a little experiment, and the results are going to shock you. With the camera at eye level, and employing a comfortable control stroke (well, there's no way you can call a shutter speed operation on the FM2 "comfortable", but best I can do with my thumb behind the extended film advance lever)...
    • FM2n - 4 clicks
    • D3 - 6 clicks (that's the same mechanism as D700).
    • D90 - 8 clicks
    By using a more awkward operation of taking the camera away from my face and coming down with finger and thumb on top of the dial, I was able to get 6 clicks out of the FM2, but that also involved bringing my elbow out away from my body. By the same toke,, with a rolling motion on the thumb, I can get the D3 up to 8 clicks.
    Dang, I should have checked N8008 and F100 while I was at it!
    Now, keep in mind that the FM2 has 13 shutter speeds, full stops from 1 second to 1/4000 second. The D700 has a range from 30 seconds to 1/8000 second. You'd have to expand the FM2 dial to 19 positions to get that. Either it would be more difgity, with smaller increments between And, if you wanted the D700's 1/3 stop setting ability, you'd have to make it a 55 position dial.
    you have to make several motions to rotate any distance.​
    Just like an FM2.
    Try rotating the rear dial with sweaty fingers in hot weather, it can get really hard.​
    Just like an FM2. Hey, I've been doing this stuff for a long time...
    And it has a whole range of other functions attached to it.​
    That's not like an FM2, because the camera doesn't have a lot of other functions. But...
    • The ISO control is attached to the shutter speed dial
    • And, if you want exposure compensation on an FM2, that's how you do it
    Have you got a better suggestion on what to do with exposure compensation, bracketing, ISO, and white balance? It's one thing to complain about "a whole range of other functions attached to it" and quite another to suggest an improvement.
    At the moment, I have a swollen thumb, from operating this dial.​
    Not doubting you, but have you checked against another D700 to make sure your dial isn't unusually stiff? (that happens frequently, especially when the rubber on the back creeps, an annoying characteristic of Nikon cameras in hot weather). Also, are you operating it in full stops, like an FM2, or 1/3 stops, the way most people run a more modern camera?
    You might also look into the "1 step sdp/aperture" option on f5, the func button. I know people who spend a lot of time changing shutter or aperture who find that to be Godsend.
    There are quite a few improvements they could have made, including changing position, if only they'd thought about it​
    So, you're saying that a company that has a reputation for spending more on ergonomics research and design, and doing a better job of it than any other camera company, didn't "think about" the location for one of the camera's primary operating controls?
    So, where would someone who had "thought about it" have placed the control?
    OK, back to the FM2...
    A click-into auto position would be good.​
    They called that the FM3a
    Andrew, I mentioned that I don't like matrix metering, but that the camera seems to be trying to force people to use matrix metering, and programme mode, so I guess that answers that.​
    The metering mode switch seems to click into the "spot" and "center" positions exactly as easily as it clicks into matrix metering. In fact, since matrix metering is the center position on the switch, if it's bumped or rubbed while drawing a camera out of the bag, you're twice as likely to have it move to a different setting as you are in center weighted or spot modes. I don't see where the "force people to use" it part comes in. Same with the "P" mode. It's no easier or harder to get into than the "S", "A", or "M" modes.
    The providing of information for non-CPU lenses can't possibly improve spot and centre-weighted metering - that is based on a misunderstanding of how spot and centre-weighted metering work. A spot reading is either right or wrong - it gives you the mid-grey setting for the spot you measure off.​
    Sorry, Simon, but the only "misunderstanding" is yours. The metering cells are in the prism housing near the eyepiece (above it on an FM2, to either side of it on a D700) and they "look" down into the focusing screen through the prism exactly the same way your eye on the viewfinder does. To accommodate the f4-5.6 "kit zoom" style lenses, or the use of f2.8 "pro" lenses with up to 2x teleconverters, modern Nikon, Canon, etc. focusing screens are set op to accommodate f5.6 lenses. The focusing screen only scatters light over about a 10 degree cone (2*arctan(1/f5.6/2). That's half power, you actually get some scattering out to about 20 degrees, but it's greatly diminished compared to the central 10 degree cone.
    This is the same reason that one half or the other of the split image focusing aid on an FM2 blacks out with f5.6 lenses, and is a pain at f4, because Nikon aimed the prisms at about a 15 degree spread.
    So, when you shoot with a faster lens, the exposure sensors can only pick up that lower central portion of the light. The camera thinks you have less light than you really do, so it boosts exposure a bit.
    This has been a problem with camera design for decades, well understood by the camera designers. It's the reason that Nikon added a max aperture tab on their lenses back in the 70s (although only the FA, FG, and F4 had the feeler needed to access that tab) and why Leica went from 1 cam to 2 cams, to 3 cams on their R series, and then added ROM chips and data contacts to the lenses on a manual focus film SLR with R8.
    Even the oldest, darkest, widest scattering angle focusing screens from 50 years ago had this problem. They didn't have it to the same extent, with a dark enough screen, you could have a camera with only maybe half a stop metering discrepancy between an f1.4 and f4 lens. But by the time the K2 screens on FM2, FE2, and FA came around, it was a major problem.With the screen in the D3/D700, there's 2 full stops of discrepancy between the exposure readings with a manual lens configured at f1.2 and at f8.0.
    Lock your camera down on a sturdy tripod, mount up a manual focus lens, fill the finder with a neutral wall, and configure the lens for 50mm f1.2, f1.4, f1.8, f4, f8, and f22. You'll be in for quite a surprise. Oh, and check f2.5, that's kind of amusing on a D3, because there's an error in the compensation table. Don't know if they fixed that on D700.
    If the camera changes what it is telling you if it knows that you have a different focal length on, then that would mean that the camera was not working properly.​
    Actually, the focal length setting tells you the approximate exit pupil location of the lens, and that determines how fast light falls off on either side of focus screen center, so it's needed for the center weighted exposure algorithm, as well as compensating the spot meter when you select a zone farther away from the center one. So, a change in exposure reading when you change the focal length setting means that the camera certainly is "working properly".
    it's hardly surprising that the vast majority of people give up and use programme mode and matrix metering.​
    I take it that you have some sort of market research, or at least a decently performed survey, to support that claim about what the "vast majority" of people do?
    On two occasions I had to take pictures quickly, and when I tried to change the aperture fast, it scrolled through pictures instead. Result: missed photographs. You can tell me that that is operator error - it happened because I was reviewing pictures. I have taken 170,000 picture over the last 3 years ... The weekend before, I took my Fm2 along to a wedding and fired off a few films. It was a total delight - I just picked it up, and it just worked ...​
    OK, let's look at this rationally, shall we? 170,000 pictures in 3 years. Can we assume that's all weekend work? That's 1130 a weekend. Now, you're comparing "a few films" (frames, or rolls) on an FM2 to over a thousand frames on a D700 or D2X. And you had a problem with not being ready to shoot on the D700 because...
    • You were reviewing images!
    How do you review images on an FM2? On the light table or contact sheet, days after the wedding. So, there's no "failure of the camera". If you use it like an FM2, it's a "better" FM2.
    • Set the D700 to single stops on the shutter. It now moves up to 6 stops in one stroke of the thumb, instead of 4 like the FM2.
    • Don't use review while you're engaged in an attention intensive shooting task, and you won't ever have that "failure of the camera" problem again.
    • Figure out how many shots you miss on an FM2 because you hit the end of a 24 or 36 exposure roll and had to rewind and load new film. Hint, that 1130 shot weekend of yours is thirty-two 36 exposure rolls. Provided you are satisfied with the same emulsion and you don't have to change a roll early as you go outside or switch from flash to available light.
    It does seem to be the case that Nikon seem to assume that everyone will use it, that is part of the philosophy behind their cameras, and that is not a good thing.​
    OK, that's the third time you've made that claim. How do you justify it? Nikon's "philosophy" seems, to me, to be to make every last metering mode and every last exposure mode work better than it ever has before. They've improved center weighted mode, they've improved spot weighted mode. Ever look at the test Modern Photography used to do to map the exposure patterns of center weighted exposure systems. They were typically "bat wing" style patterns, emphasizing some pretty strange parts of the frame.
    There are soooo many holes in that case that I don't think anyone would notice another one.​
    And yet, they're all sealed better than the much smaller number of holes on an FM2, or F3.
    Joseph, I don't think your insults towards Karim do you any justice at all.​
    And I think it's rather strange that you singled that out, while...
    1. Making much worse insults of your own towards me.
    2. Blasting the Nikon engineers with accusations that they have not "thought about" important control designs or placements.
    3. Continually employing highly prejudicial language or wild hyperbole, such as Nikon "forcing" people to use program mode or matrix metering.
    4. Ignoring that any slight I may have made to Karim was incredibly mild compared to the vitrol that he's poured into this conversation.
    5. Claim to speak for the "vast majority".
    But hey, that's part of the human condition.
     
  76. Joseph, there's a lot of hyperbole in your post, but little substance.
    • FM2n - 4 clicks
    • D3 - 6 clicks
    First, I just tried the dial turning experiment. With the FM2, I could easily turn the aperture ring through its whole range (7 stops) with one easy movement. What's more, I could set it with my eyes closed and with the camera still in the bag if I wanted. Shutter speed, I could change 11 stops in one movement.
    With the D700, I could manage 4 or at the most 5 clicks of each of aperture and shutter speed.
    So, that's:-
    • FM2 - 7 to 11 stops, with comfy end stops so I can do it without looking
    • D700 - 4 or 5 clicks, have to peer at LCD
    Next:
    With the screen in the D3/D700, there's 2 full stops of discrepancy between the exposure readings with a manual lens configured at f1.2 and at f8.0.​
    Well, I just checked with a manual 50mm f1.4 mounted on the D700. I took the picture of a white wall, first at f16 then at f1.4, and the exposure looks the same. And the histogram is bunched in exactly the same place, one third of a stop to the left of centre, the only difference is that the histogram is slightly more spread out due to vignetting at wide aperture. But the exposure is spot on at both extremes.
    So the (centre weighted) metering worked perfectly with the manual lens at f1.4 compared to f16, and, no, there isn't any info for any lenses set in Non-CPU lens Data.
    The metering mode switch seems to click into the "spot" and "center" positions exactly as easily as it clicks into matrix metering.​
    I guess you haven't read the thread carefully, re-read my posts, I honestly can't repeat it all here again.
    A click-into auto position would be good.
    They called that the FM3a​
    I was talking about on the D700, not the FM2. A shutter (and aperture) knob that clicked into auto mode - simple, convenient, logical. Instead of yet another button and yet another function for the main command dial.
    170,000 pictures in 3 years. Can we assume that's all weekend work?​
    No, it was throughout the week. Why would you think that photographers only work at weekends? We work pretty much constantly.
    Now, you're comparing "a few films" (frames, or rolls) on an FM2 to over a thousand frames on a D700 or D2X.​
    No, I photographed on the FM2 for around twelve years, why are you assuming I only took "a few films" in that time? As they say, "Assumption is the mother of all f-ups".
    have you checked against another D700 to make sure your dial isn't unusually stiff?​
    I have two D700's and had two D2X's before that. All are/were the same.
     
  77. Simon - sorry, I just went googling because my only medium format experience is a Pentax 645 (and a borrowed Rolleiflex), so I wanted to check the state of the art. I was looking for exposure compensation dials, and they really don't seem to exist. I have to assume, given the budget of medium format backs, that someone felt that the current approach is the better way of doing things, rather than arbitrarily copying cheaper SLRs. But you have a right to a different opinion! As for the M9... it's interesting, but there's a lot of stuff a modern DSLR does that an M9 doesn't, or does inconveniently. I fully intend to enter Amateur Photographer's competition for an M9, but if it was one or the other, I'd rather have the D700. Each camera style has its place, though - if the D700 was perfect for everything I needed, I wouldn't have an F5, a Bessa R, a Pentax 645 or a cheap compact, and be vaguely lusting after a cheap TLR and a field camera. It sounds as though you should give an X100 a go when you get the chance, though.

    Joseph: I agree, although possibly from a slightly more chilled perspective! (Except that I had taken Karim's vitriol-pouring as being light-hearted banter and a bit of wistfulness - I assumed he was exaggerating for effect.) I would be surprised if the suggestions that Simon and Karim propose will improve the camera for most people; they certainly wouldn't improve the camera for me. I'm not all that convinced that their suggestions would necessarily improve the camera for them, either (without actually trying it out), but that's doubt at their solutions rather than disputing that their issues with handling are valid.

    As for Simon suffering slightly from Rockwellitis ("mine is the one true way of using a camera"), I'm prepared to overlook it in the interests of treating this as a bit of feedback for my education in ergonomics (I was once a member of SIGCHI); information like this is transferrable to other devices. And of course, the more I learn about how others use their cameras, the better photographer I'm likely to (eventually) become. To be fair, I only have the evidence of how I use the camera and some assumptions derived from Nikon's apparent design choices to tell me that Simon might be wrong - it may be that Nikon's test group, Joseph and I are in a minority and that Simon is right about the majority of photographers; I doubt it, but it's possible.

    However, I do accept that it's unlikely that Simon is alone in the way that he uses the camera. Nikon would no doubt like to accommodate him as well as everyone else, so - if nothing else - whenever I suggest a feature to Nikon, the tiny chance that it might get incorporated is going to be even smaller if it's going to make the camera less useful for them. There's no harm in listening to each other; if I only listened to people I agreed with... well, let's just say that I don't buy newspapers.
     
  78. I do accept that it's unlikely that Simon is alone in the way that he uses the camera​
    I think you'll find that there are quite a lot of people with similar priorities, but no doubt more and more people will be giving in to the camera - relying on the camera to sort things out, as the controls become more difficult to use and understand.
    It's amazing how few students in college nowadays manage to understand the basics of exposure, aperture, shutter speed, flash exposure etc. - how aperture priority and shutter priority relate to manual modes, when to switch between them, and so on. But hardly surprising.
    I wasn't a photography student, but I understood the relationship between aperture, shutter speed within a day or so of picking up a camera, when I was 11, because it was essential to understand them to use the camera I was using.
    So - the one true way? There are other ways of doing it, some people will never understand the difference between an f-stop and ISO. Some people will use compact cameras. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as they get results. In fact, you don't even have to get results, some people will always take bad photos, and there's nothing wrong with that either. I'm bad a scuba diving, and I don't see anything wrong with that.
    But, yes, having a camera that has clear easy controls and leaves you in clear, easy control of aperture, shutter speed, focus, is really, really important if you want to be in control and take good photos.
     
  79. Re. the number of stops a dial can be turned, I'm sure there's a distinction between technique. The amount you can move a dial on the top of the camera is going to be very different hooking a thumbnail behind the dial and trying to move it a fixed amount, spinning a dial between finger and thumb (for the FM) or rolling the dial down the side of your thumb (D700) - the latter is less precise if you're trying to set a specific value, but no worse if you can use the feedback in the finder. I'm interested in the disparity of the measurements nonetheless. Unfortunately, since my D700 is off for surgery to replace its leatherette creeping after hot weather (actually, my F5 could probably do with this too, now I've heard that it's cheap) and I don't think I can move the dial at all on my Bessa R with just my thumb (it's too stiff, and slippery plastic), I can't do any comparisons myself.

    Can we keep it civil, guys? I'm interested in what you both have to say, and there's no need to be rude, no matter how rude you think the other one (or possibly me) is being or how misguided you think they are. I won't learn anything if this turns into a slanging match.

    I'm off to read an N8008 manual, since it got a mention.
     
  80. I'm sure there's a distinction between technique​
    I'm sure there is. One would turn the FM2 dial in a different way from the D700 - which is in fact the whole point. I suspect that Joseph may have been trying to turn it as if it was a D700 dial using exactly the same motion. No wonder he found it awkward.

    But, at the risk of repeating myself, I wasn't holding the FM2 up a perfect. Far from it. Though it has to be said, it was pretty darn good for what it was. I just wish that the latest cameras learnt something from it and moved forwards from there, not backwards.
    Off to do a photoshoot now, but I'm not sure much more productive will come out of the thread anyway.
     
  81. Sorry, cross-over with Simon's post. I agree that understanding the relationship between shutter, aperture and ISO is important, and that it's often lost on people; it's pretty near the first thing I try to teach someone when they ask about photography. My biggest issue with many compacts is trying to work out what the scene modes are actually doing, in terms of the limited number of controls actually available. I certainly agree that making these easy to adjust is important. I just dispute that single-function dials that are disabled in some modes rather than put to another use, and which are labelled with fixed values, are the way forward - but I'm happy to agree to differ on that, and I can see arguments in favour of this approach as well. (In part, this discussion is interesting because I'd like to find a solution to Simon's problem that would satisfy me too.) Simon - good luck with the photoshoot, and thank you for your contribution. It's been an education. :)
     
  82. I've always wondered why people bother to start posts with lines like this:
    Joseph, there's a lot of hyperbole in your post, but little substance.​
    Seriously, why would anyone continue reading after encountering that line. It makes everything following simply a bunch of wasted effort.
     
  83. :) Yes, it's not been the most tactful of threads - a bit of frustration on many fronts, I think, and it tends to be the way when people have opposing opinions. On the other hand, I'm pleased not to be the only one producing very long posts! Joseph: thank you for your contributions, and expertise.
     
  84. A point on matrix metering: I agree with Simon that it isn't exactly what it promises. But then matrix has always been hyped, even back when it was only five segments. It is better than nothing when you don't have time to spot meter - but then again, so is CWA. Or is it? I guess that argument can fill an entire book.
     

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