Why are DSLRs so huge ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alfred Molon, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. Alfred Molon

    leo Guest

    Here is the A2 review at "luminous-landscape", below is the section
    concerning the EVF:

    "The A2 has the highest resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) of any camera
    currently (March, 2004) on the market, at nearly 1 Megapixel. Four times
    that of anything else. This is also the most viewable EVF that I've yet seen
    on any digital camera. It is still a long way from offering an SLR's
    clarity, but the difference is clearly noticeable, and makes looking at a
    screen rather than an SLR's superior optical view that much more useful and
    pleasurable. This is particularly noticeable with the on-screen text and
    graphics, which are dramatically crisper and more legible than anything that
    I've seen before.
    Don't imagine though that this is anywhere near as useful as the view though
    an SLR. The real issue is not even resolution. It's contrast. When viewing a
    high contrast scene though an optical viewfinder the eye's normal ability to
    see into both the shadows and the highlight areas is the same as when
    looking at the scene directly. Through an electronic viewfinder you are not
    looking at the scene, you are looking at a video image of the scene. This
    makes a real-time histogram that much more important to have, because the
    eye is totally unable to judge what will fall within the dynamic range of
    the imaging chip and what won't. Indeed in a high contrast situation the
    shadows become essentially invisible. There may even be detail in the
    shadows that the imaging chip can record, but it's invisible in the EVF
    because of its contrast limitations. This is an inherent limitations of all
    EVF's, and is unlikely to be overcome soon."
    leo, Apr 10, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. []
    Simply that I do not agree with those seem to think that a 36 x 24 mm
    sensor is the ultimate goal, without considering whether with silicon
    there is a good reason to revise where we need to be aiming both in terms
    of sensor size and camera configuration. Much of this is from vested
    interests, either of people possesing lens outfits or of manufacturers
    squeezing the most out of existing production lines. Hostility is too
    strong a word - DSLRs will always have a market niche.

    I would agree with you that a sensor bigger than the present 8.8 x 6.6 mm
    is desirable if you need 8MP of image quality (it serves remarkably well
    at the 5MP level though - I have just been doing some side-by-side
    comparisons of the Nikon 5700 and Minolta A2). Something in the region of
    18 x 12 mm would provide about 4 times the sesnsitive area, while still
    allowing half-size (and one eighth of the weight?) lenses.
    I do wonder how much noise is overrated, though. Can you see it on a
    print viewed at normal viewing distances? Does a little noise matter in
    any case. No, I'm not trying to excuse the 8.8 x 6.6 x 8MP sensors, just
    asking a general question. Is the noise performance of a full-frame DSLR
    too good? If so, trade that off for a smaller sensor, and therefore a
    smaller system. I suggesting we look outside the box a little more.

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. []
    I have used both. To me what is often important is capturing the moment.
    If I am thinking: "would a 50mm f/1.4 or an 85mm f/2.5 be better", the
    moment would have gone. Your picture taking will differ.

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
  4. []

    Thanks, but I have just tried a one-to-one comparison for myself. I
    suggest you do as well. In a brightly lit outdoor environment, the SLR
    viewfinder would probably win, but as soon as light level goes, the EVF
    would win hands down. Plus the ability to review the images you have
    taken, of course, missing at such quality on today's DSLRs.

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
  5. Alfred Molon

    leo Guest

    I am looking at the 100% crop of the rock picture at ISO 200:
    It's unacceptable when comparing to my 300D.
    leo, Apr 10, 2004
  6. David, I'm sure that one day, one of the dSLR manufacturers will fulfill
    your dream, but it's not even on the horizon right now and based on
    pre-release rumors, doesn't even seem to show up on the radar. Surely one of
    the manufacturers would break out of the sDLR conspiracy and make your
    camera if they thought there was a current demand or market for it, or even
    if they thought they could *create* such a market.

    Not that your points aren't valid for some segments of the camera-buying
    public...but it just appears that the people who are spending a lot of money
    buying dSLRs don't agree with you.

    Howard McCollister, Apr 10, 2004
  7. Alfred Molon

    leo Guest

    I low light situation, a LCD would possibly be better than EVF. ;-)
    leo, Apr 10, 2004
  8. []

    I didn't say that the 8.8 x 6.6 mm sensor in A2 was good enough.

    You have fallen into the trap that so many do - using 1:1 zoom. Yes, I
    can see the noise on that image, but on my monitor viewing an 8MP image at
    1:1 zoom corresponds to an image width of (3264 / 1152) * 14 inches.
    That's about a 40-inch wide print. Not a size I would normally make!

    Try the comparison at a more usual print size - using 1:1 zoom may be
    somewhat misleading.

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
  9. []
    Unlikely, as I no longer have any interest in lugging round a case full of
    lenses, flashguns, tripods, extra bodies etc., nor in interchangeable lens
    cameras with their attendant dust problems.
    I am delighted to see them subsidising my purchases from those same
    manufacturers, and hope that the profits will be put to good use! As I
    said before, just trying tothink a little outside the box!

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
  10. []
    You mean not seeing the image, just the aperture and speed, just a numeric
    readout like on some cameras?

    Most low-light stuff I do uses the self-timer to avoid camera shake, if
    that's what you meant. (I am unsure of your meaning). I would tend to
    frame using the LCD, yes, as the camera would be propped against a rock or

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
  11. Alfred Molon

    John Bean Guest

    It certainly does. Change your choice to "would a 50mm f/1.0 or an 75mm
    f/1.4 be better", make the decision in advance and it becomes moot if you
    have only a zoom, it's not going to cut it. Zooms have their place, as do
    fast primes and all I was pointing out was that in restricting yourself to a
    fixed-lens camera you also restrict your choices. Restriction is bad.

    And no, I don't have either lens that I used in the example above, but they
    exist and are used by people who need and can afford them, on cameras with
    interchangeable lenses. I settle for a lowly 50/1.7 and 85/2 :)
    John Bean, Apr 10, 2004
  12. Alfred Molon

    Guest Guest

    and its not even that much smaller.

    Guest, Apr 10, 2004
  13. Howdy Alfred
    Hmm, dunno .... but I, for one, do indeed
    like large, substantial cameras. Little things
    just aren't my cup of tea.

    Stanley Krute, Apr 10, 2004
  14. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    922000 = 640 x 480 x 3 (what a coincidence)

    The 1MP is just marketing bullshit from Minolta. If you don't believe me
    check the Minolta forum at dpreview.
    Alfred Molon, Apr 10, 2004
  15. Alfred Molon

    Axel Kurth Guest

    Try to take a picture of a moving object
    with a 500mm lens on a flimsy pocket camera.
    First of all the DSLR's other than the Kodak unit are
    not larger than SLR's neither one are huge unless
    you are a dwarf or efl. most SLR orDSLR owners buy
    the additional grip to make them larger so you
    have a steadier hold and a heavier body to reduce
    shaking or vibration.
    if you take pictures using a tripod than maybe you can do
    with a poketsize thingi.
    As to my opinion, I love my Nikon D70 but shurely i wouldnt
    mind if it would be a tad bigger
    Axel Kurth, Apr 10, 2004
  16. []
    Alfred, many thanks for that. I haven't time to check the fourm, but
    looking at the line width, I accept that it could be of lower resolution.
    Nevertheless, it remains by far the best EVF that I've seen, a certainly a
    potential reason for purchasing that camera compared to its competitors.
    The viewfinder was superior to an SLR viewfinder in my tests in a
    low-light condition.

    I must confess to (now) two disappointments with the camera. One is being
    lied to about the viewfinder (they didn't need to do that...), the other
    is that the faulty in-camera JPEG conversion that was widely reported on
    the A1 has not been fixed on the A2. I may well be sticking with my Nikon
    5700 after all! During my comparitive tests I have reached the conclusion
    that the Nikon 5700 is a very well optimised package, with image quality
    that compares well with the Minolta A2. The usability of the Minolta A2
    with its EVF, wider maximum zoom, and mechanical zoom ring wins over the
    Nikon 5700, though.

    David J Taylor, Apr 10, 2004
  17. Alfred Molon

    Tom Monego Guest

    Tell your wife almost all pros are now using digital to some extent.
    Photojournalists unless they have a Leica based system are using digtal, it is
    so much faster. Just was at a media day for a pro baseball team, most
    photographers were using digital.

    Tom Monego, Apr 10, 2004
  18. Alfred Molon

    ThomasH Guest

    Huge is relative of course but still, its a good question.
    Here are a few good reasons:

    a) compared to flimsy point-and-shot DSLR's use much larger
    sensors and support ISO sensitivity completely out of range
    of contemporary EVF point and shots. You simply need to
    collect more photons per pixels to gain some acceptable
    noise-to-signal ratio.

    b) These cameras take large and heavy lenses. The body-lens
    combination must balance nicely in your hand.

    c) These cameras support faster shooting in terms of images/sec.
    You need both more energy and space to provide fast data bus
    from the sensor to the storage card. Some of them does not
    have shutter lag and power-on delay. All this comes at a
    price of faster, thus larger and higher wattage electronics.

    d) Change of lenses provides additional issue with dust and
    particle collection inside of the body. Sensor must be
    well protected by filters, which in turn must be made of
    materials which can be cleaned periodically.

    e) The 35mm lenses have certain rear depth of field calculated
    for the flat film. Now the sensor must be placed inside
    the same depth of field. In addition, since the sensors
    are not as flat as the emulsion on the films was, sensors
    face the dilemma of light projected non perpendicular to
    their surface in the edges of the image. These both factors
    force geometric properties and tolerances inside the body.

    f) These cameras provide shoes for large flash devices and
    tripod mounts, which must conform to the usual mechanical

    g) Some of these cameras provide more sophisticated light
    sensors. Most notable Nikon D2H has additional ambient
    light sensor for more accurate white balance calculation.

    Etc, Etc...

    Hardly... Well, these cameras are not huge, SUV's are huge.
    Recently someone told me that she just got a brand new $600
    point-and-shot 5Mpix Olympus. But she fails to photograph
    her baby, because this camera has such a nasty shutter lag
    that the scene is long over before the camera takes the shot.
    Well, this is what you get if you "go tiny," so to speak.
    Considering the price on these 5Mpix or more point-and-shot,
    I consider them completely overpriced. I will gladly put
    $500 more on the counter to get a decent performing camera
    and a huge selection of lenses and flashes.

    ThomasH, Apr 10, 2004
  19. Alfred Molon

    Mark M Guest

    Smaller isn't necessarily better.

    Steering wheels in cars could be tiny, or entirely electronic, but they
    aren't...because there are ergonomic considerations that remain fairly

    The DSLR crowd is largely made up of people with very different needs for
    control over their cameras in ways that alow quick adjustments to multiple
    settings. This simply cannot happen with tiny cameras.

    Quick adjustments require numerous and separate controls.
    Those controls need to be LARGE enough to use without fumbling or hunting.
    Review screens on professional cameras must be LARGE enough to quick assess
    an image, with room for histograms and other notations.

    Battery systems must be powerful enough to energize not only the camera, but
    the separate lens motors (and image stabilizers in Canon and now Nikon) for
    prolonged periods of contant use. This means that the battery systems are
    fairly LARGE.

    Lens mounts, and the distance required between the lens and sensor needs to
    be SUBSTANTIAL to avoid having to redesign lenses. And...even if you
    redesign lenses to project an image to a sensor that is much closer to the
    lens--this will introduce all sort of optical compromises which effect the
    angle of light, and pin-cushion/barrel distortions that result.
    So...maintaining some distance between lens and sensor leads to a LARGER
    housing (measuring front to back).

    In other words... To take advantage of the control and quality of SLRs,
    they need to be somewhat large.
    Mark M, Apr 10, 2004
  20. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    The D70, 300D, Sigma SD9 are all larger than SLRs (for instance the
    Canon and Nikon film SLR units I saw today).
    Alfred Molon, Apr 10, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.