Get the one that feels right....

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mrodgers, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's a little spin on the "What dSLR should I get" question that always comes up (no, I'm not asking that particular question, I think I know which one..)

    The response to "should I get X or Y" overwhelmingly is, pick them up and get the one that feels right in your hands. I have done that in the store with the only cameras available near me, the D40 and XS. Ergonomically, compared to the D40, I think I would choose a compact P&S over the XS I thought the Canon was that bad "feeling". This isn't meant for a comparison of Nikon vs. Canon, or any other brand though.....

    What my question is, are the higher models in their respective brand similar enough to do this "get the one that feels right"? Theoretically, I have roughly $500 to spend right now and my choices are D40 and XS. What happens then in the future if one was going to upgrade to say a D90 vs. 50D? Is the D90 or D300 for example, built ergonomically similar to the D40 and same with the XS moving to say, a 50D or something (just using models as an example here?)

    If a D90 is drastically different than a D40 in the ergonomic sense only, or a 50D is drastically different than the Rebel line, that "buy what feels right" is screwed which is why I am asking this.

    For the record, as I said I have had a D40, friend's D40x, and an XS in my hands looking at them. If and when I was in the market, locally I have available only the D40 though D90 available to look at and hold and only the Rebel XS/XSi available from Canon. My choice thus far would be a Nikon D80 as I hated the Rebel in my hands, but that is also based on holding a D40 and not ever looking at the D80 (D90 is too much $$$).

    Shot quality wise, I know they are all the same (barring only ISO noise levels) based on the fantastic shots I see here from all camera manufacturers and models. Thus, I do believe in the "see what feels right" concept, but what happens when your first dSLR feels right, but then when ready to upgrade, the upgrade no longer "feels right" and the other manufacturer does "feel right" with the upgraded model?

    I am thinking mostly of button/wheel placement of which I thought the Rebel line was horrible and the Nikon I had looked at was very accessible and ergonomically good.

    Just some thoughts I've been wondering as I see the "see what feels right" all the time.
     
  2. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    One of the biggest changes when moving "up" the brand ladder is weight. The D40 (for example) is crazy light, while the D300 is heavier (and bulkier), and the D3 is bigger and bulkier yet.

    Also, buttons will be placed with different intents -- professionals want different things to be easily accessible. Finally, the greater number of settings and choices in the interface will significantly complicate things. For that matter, some very important items change place significantly -- from the D40 to the D80, the mode selector dial switches side entirely!

    So overall -- yeah, I think that there are some important usability changes, which will again depend on who you are and what you want to do. Even the grip will probably change a bit, since the D40's small size (for example) will cramp the grip a little more than larger cameras. So, I'd keep trying them in person, all the way up! However, the general ergonomics will probably be similar enough that you will at least feel comfortable (physically and interface-wise) with another camera "up" the same line.

    However, I would definitely NOT claim that "Buy what feels right" is screwed. You want to buy something that you will use NOW, not something that may lead to another model that may feel better, at some indeterminate point in the future. So do buy what feels right.
     
  3. adman_glazer

    adman_glazer TPF Noob!

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    I very much feel that the ergonomics of the camera are very important. As sombody that has raced motorcycles for over 28 years and studied the human body and it's physics, ergonomics play an incredible role in how you learn, how you retain information, your ability to repeat tasks accurately everytime and most importantly your ability to focus.

    Confidence dictates your ability to perform regardless of the task. If you have equipment that you trust and feel comfortable with, you will perform better. This means that even if you have better equipment, that doesn't feel right, you will never reach your abilities.

    Someone replied to my comments saying that muscle memory will compensate for that. That is a crock. What will happen is your muscle memory will make you do the same thing over and over and not improve. You want your instincts to be able to lead in anything like sports or art. They both require a commitment that you can not achieve without comfort. I didn't want to hijack that other thread with those comments so I was very please to see this thread.

    The above principal can easily be proven with me having to provide you with the filing cabinets of research I have on this. Look at professional sports. Every top athlete uses equipment that is made for them. It is then replicated so that they use the same or similar feeling equipment everytime. If you think baseball, then think about how they all have their own bats that are made to their taste. Gloves also made for them. Sprinters have shoes made for them. Hockey players have their own stick with it's own curve. If you want to reach your true potential you need confidence. Confidence comes from believing in yourself and the equipment you use.
     
  4. KvnO

    KvnO TPF Noob!

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    The control layout on the Rebel series is a bit different than the more advanced bodies in Canon's line-up, but the menu systems are all very similar. So, when you upgrade, there's not a terrible amount re-adapt to (mostly using a wheel rather than directional buttons) and you should still be able to find your way around. I imagine this is similar to Nikon as well.

    With the "choose what feels right" advice, it's also assumed that one will purchase more lenses within the chosen system before upgrading the body. So, I think the advice is sound no matter what price-point one enters in.
     
  5. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is exactly the reason for my wondering. I am wondering because of the theoretical thought that follows. One buys a D40 based on the "feels right" in comparison to the Rebel series. One expands with a large collection of lenses. Then when one is ready to upgrade the body, one finds that the D90 or D300 for example just doesn't "feel right" and the higher Canon models are fantastic in ergonomics. Thus, because of the collection of lenses, the initial "feels right" is messed up because it is now too late to switch.

    That is all just for example, but that was my thoughts for why I asked the OP. It's not a wheel vs. menu thing, but how the ergonomics are laid out through the manufacturer's product line. Real world example would be how the wheel on the Nikon D40 does not require you to remove the finger from the shutter where the Rebel, the wheel is right behind the shutter. Nikon makes it easy to turn the wheel with other fingers leaving one on the shutter where the Rebel would require you to leave the shutter and use the index finger, or simply remove yourself from shooting position to change things. If things are different on the higher Canon models than the Rebel, that changes how the ergonomics are in comparison to upgrading through a Nikon system.
     
  6. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    I struggled for months trying to figure out which camera was for me. I slowly trimmed down the list until I was left with two, a Nikon D70s and the comparable Canon at the time. I could not find any one thing that made the other "better" for my uses until I went to the shop and actually held them. The Canon was a hair smaller and was not as comfortable in my hand, so I went home with the D70s.

    I have not regretted my decision for a second.

    When I was in the shop on Friday I saw a D40 in person for the first time and was
    struck by how small it was. Had that one been on the list at the time I likely would be shooting Canon today.
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I hate the "choose the one that feels right reccomendation". I mean, if you're going to be shooting outside in wet conditions, don't pick a D40 because it "feels right", pick a Pentax or Olympus that has weather sealing.

    That or you're going to have a nice paper weight that feels right in your hand.

    Sure, comfort is part of if, but you don't spend $1500 on a laptop because it feels right, you buy it for the specs and for the reason of what you want to do with that laptop. Why should a camera be any different?
     
  8. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    I used that criteria as the final decider. By that time I had thoroughly researched every feature of every brand and model in my price range and determined what was and was not important to me. I was left with 2 that would both work wonderfully for me, with everything I wanted in a camera but could not come up with any real reason to choose one over the other until I held them. As soon as they were in my hand the choice was obvious.

    I would never recommend that someone choose SOLELY on feel, and hope that was not what my post seemed to imply.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Feels right is one side of the argument - and for people new to the game its about the best advice you can get. The rest of the things - comparing the various outputs, features, ISO usabilitise and the lens ranges on offer requires one to have a more broad understanding of photography. Its not impossible to pick up with little/no experience but a lot of it just does not make sense till you have the camera in hand for a few months.

    I would say that after erganomics work out a list for all the things that really interest you in photography and things you want to be able to pursue - for me this was wildlife photography and that did help push me a bit towards canon - they had the slightly cheaper lenses; the 100-400mm; they also had the amazing MPE 65mm macro for insects which is totally canon unique :)
    So for me canon was the better option (infact I will admit I didn't bother holding the nikon stuff - infact I don't think I have ever held one!)

    For some its going to work and for others its not - my view is that one had to be happy with your gear and that if you are content with its performance then you will have less reason to change brands later on - even if the other brand has some really nice things that yours does not -- always remember camera bodies are upgraded very quickly (compartivly speaking) so you can always wait if you want (or you can sell up and shift brands - but that will cost you to do).

    I would not worry overly much about your future bodies - worry more about your future glass and that is the key area and one in which you are most likley to end up spending the bluk of your photography money in
     
  10. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One side note:


    If you are tight in budget and like to get a 50mm f/1.8 lens. XS will be a better choice.

    Look at the spec. of the camera and see which one you like better.


    Is sensor type (CCD vs CMOS) important to you?
    Is body construction important to you?
    Is the feel of the camera is important to you?
    Is number of focusing points is more important to you?
    Is AEB important to you?
    Is more mega pixels important to you?
    Is ergonomic important to you?
    Is Liveview important to you?
    Is slightly fast FPS is important to you?
    Is maximum flash sync speed important to you?


    Of course there are more ....

    As for the menu/ergonomic type case, I am sure you will used to the camera menu once you use the camera for awhile.
     
  11. adman_glazer

    adman_glazer TPF Noob!

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    I would never advise a person to buy a camera soley based on feel. It is a final decision tool. I just went through this entire process myself and I will layout my steps.

    1. What do I want to do with this camera?
    I want to take photos of sports and wildlife as a hobby. That tells me that I don't need to spend thousands of dollars or have the ability to print posters.

    2. What is my budget?
    I wanted to spend around $600 including a lense. This also trimmed the list of potential cameras.

    3. Do I want new or used?
    I went used so that I could maximize my budget.

    4. Where am I going with this in the future?
    This will never be a career for me. I will always be a hobbyist therefore I don't need high end equipment.

    5. What are some of the common issues with the short listed cameras?
    This made me aware of issues that I could be facing with my new purchase. This didn't eliminate any cameras from my list but only made me aware of potential problems and things to look for when buying used.

    This left me with a shortlist of around 4 or 5 cameras. Some of these cameras had higher pixel rates and viewfinder options. Some of them were easier to use then others. At this point I went to my local store and started to handle each one of them. I did this on more then one occasion to make sure that I still felt the same about my list each time.

    After this I started my search for a used body. I found exactly what I was looking for and paid less then I had originally expected.

    The thing to remember is that with each list of cameras in a specific price range, there will be very little difference in what the camera can and will do for you. As you progress with photography so will your equipment. An entry level Cannon will be different from their high end stuff. So will all other brands. Understand where you are going with this and know what path you plan on taking.

    My choice was an easy one. I am 6'2" and I have very large hands. I could not use a D40 because my hand felt jammed in on the right side. Olympus had a model like this as well. When it came down to it, I found the Nikon had the biggest grip and that gave me the most room. It was all about feel. I now take anywhere from 25 to 300 pictures a day with my D50 and I love it. I will never regret my decision because everytime I pick up my camera it feels right.

    My 2 cents.
     
  12. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    adman_glazer -- good advice, and I think people here have been forgetting that the usual advice is not "pick one that feels best", rather it is "figure out what you want to do with the camera, find cameras that do that, then go try them and pick the one that feels best." After all, someone looking to do up close & personal wildlife photography may really like the feel of a PowerShot A560 in their hands, but it really isn't the right tool for the job!

    So yes, anyone saying that "pick the one that feels best" is bad advice should really realize that rarely does anyone ever give that advice in a vacuum. It's almost always preceeded by figure out what you need in a camera first.
     

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