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Author Topic: Manual everything DSLR?  (Read 3617 times)
dqseattle
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« on: February 10, 2006, 04:14:42 AM »
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I shoot with the Canon AE-1 I bought in high school. There are just two things I don't like about the camera: 1) its auto exposure function, which I no longer use; 2) the expense and inconvenience of getting film processed when everyone around me seems to shoot with instant-gratification DSLRs.

So my question is this: Has anybody heard of plans for either a manual-everything DSLR or -- even better -- for some sort of digital device that could sit in the spot where my film now sits and capture images shot with my existing camera?

All the conveniences built into DSLRs -- autofocus, elaborate metering systems, auto advance -- just suck the fun out of photography for me. Shooting all manual gives me the same charge I get driving a stick shift.

This may make me an idiot. I'm open to being convinced -- politely -- of that.

But better yet, can anybody offer hope of a product that would meet my needs? So far, the closest I've come is the Epson R-D1. But it's hard to imagine paying $2,999 for a lensless camera that "boasts" 6.1 megapixels.

Thanks in advance to everyone.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 05:54:19 AM »
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Any DSLR will allow you to shoot in manual mode, one wheel controls the shutter, one the aperture, and you can switch the lens to manual focus. You can even turn the review off.

I almost always shoot in manual, metering with an incident meter.
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iordanov
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 08:16:29 AM »
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Hi,

Recenly handled KM Dynax 7D and I was very very impressed the way it felt. You may like too it's machanical conrols and how everything fits immediately at the right spots/ places under your palm/fingers. Well, it's not an exclusive RF as the Epson camera but the price now of the 7D is about 1/4 of the R-D 1! From the system building perspective though buying KM equipment now is a bit of russian roulette.

Otherwise, as Pom said, you can shot everything-on-manual with any DSLR.


Regards,
Ivo
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boku
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 08:20:26 AM »
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Just because a camera offers automation, doesn't mean you are obligated to use it. The only thing "auto" I use (sometimes) is auto diaphram.

I would advise you to embrace all of the options available to you. No one will ever manufacture a pure manual DSLR, but every DSLR made allows manual operation. The only downside is technical complexity.
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Bob Kulon

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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2006, 10:26:11 AM »
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Just because a camera offers automation, doesn't mean you are obligated to use it. The only thing "auto" I use (sometimes) is auto diaphram.

I would advise you to embrace all of the options available to you. No one will ever manufacture a pure manual DSLR, but every DSLR made allows manual operation. The only downside is technical complexity.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=57885\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree with the other posters here.
When I got my first DSLR, a Canon 10D, I panicked when I saw the assortment of wheels and buttons and the 184-page user manual that came with it. After I came to my senses, I made a short list of what things I needed to know (how to set "film speed", shutter speed, aperture, focus, setting RAW, etc.) and looked them up in the manual.

There are tons of things this beast will do that I have no interest in, so I ignore them. Every now and then I realize that there is something the camera can probably do that I now have some interest in, and I look it up in the manual.

As for the buttons and wheels: I did take time to determine the basic function of each, separating them into those I care about and those I can ignore (which is most of them).

The manual for my little S60 point-and-shoot is almost as big. Again, I have figured out what I need and ignore the rest. Works for me.

Eric
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dbell
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2006, 01:14:40 PM »
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dqseattle: You are not alone . And there are good reasons why you'd want a DSLR that was DESIGNED to be used manually (as opposed to an automated camera that can be used in a manual mode).

I have ranted about this is several other threads. Wheels and push-buttons don't do it for me. I want the traditional shutter speed dial and aperture ring. Those controls ended up in their conventional locations for a reason and they are never contextual (they always do the same thing; there is no modal operation to such a camera). For some kinds of shooting, it's a big advantage to be able to see how the camera is set without having to lift it to your eye. Analog controls let you do this, and you can see what the settings are (and change them) even if the camera is turned off. Of course, this rant applies to film cameras just as much as it does to DSLRs.

In a digital context, I can live with having to set ISO and white balance through a wheel+button-type-control (like what Nikon does now), but on my ideal camera, the primary shooting controls would be analog. The RD-1 works that way, but it's extremely expensive and lacks the versatility of a DSLR. I also like the controls on the  Leica Digilux 2/Panasonic LC1, but that camera has other serious limitations (it's also not a DSLR-substitute).

All of this said, I wouldn't hold my breath. I suspect most Nikon/Canon/Olympus/Sony customers are not interested in buying a camera like this instead of its automated brethren.  


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Slough
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2006, 03:36:25 PM »
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What Pom said, with knobs on.

I almost always use a camera in manual mode with manual focus, and manual adjustment of aperture and shutter speed.

The Nikon D200 is very manual friendly, but quite big compared to old manual film cameras such as the Nikon Fe or your Canon. I suspect the Canon equivalents are also manual friendly.

Digital cameras such as the D200 have the advantage that you can view the image post exposure, zoom in on details, view exposure histograms, and reshoot if you stuffed up.

You can also shoot more than otherwise, as extra shots cost nothing, and can be ditched later.

You could quite easily take half an hour to get a shot. If you so wished.

I'm sure that in a year or two there'll be a digital rangefinder along, probably from Leica, but at a price.

And of course you'll have to learn some basic image processing and computer skills. Assuming you want to get the most out of the image.

Leif
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boku
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2006, 03:44:47 PM »
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I will say one thing about my Canon 5D and its interface. This is a complaint because I was brought up on a Minolta SRT-101...

The freaking mode dial does not have decent detents. I want to leave it on Av, sometimes M. The slightest little brush of my hand across it and it moves to a different mode. Very frustrating. In the heat of battle, I have already screwed up shots because of this.

I remember the shutter speed knob on the old Minolta. You had to lift the knob to free it to be set to a different speed. Never a catastrophy. That would have been so easy to implement with the 5D mode knob. It is way looser than my 20D and 10D - just not quite loose enough to complain that is defective. It is clearly designed this way. Manual shooting can be very frustrating under these circumstances.
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Bob Kulon

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pfigen
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2006, 08:12:24 PM »
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I think the Leica DMR fills the bill. Manual shutter speed dial and a real aperture ring on the lens.

I've got a 5D and have never had a problem with the mode dial being bumped. You can always tape it down if you really don't want it to move. I do that with the FW cable on the MkII. I was raised on SRT-101s - actually an Sr-1 in the beginning, and appreciate the desire for old fashioned dials, but I have to say, once I've gotten used to the finger and thumbwheel setup, I really like it.
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dbell
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2006, 05:24:30 PM »
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The pricetag on the DMR and RD-1 puts them out of my reach. The DMR/Leica R combination is also just about as heavy and bulky as a high-end Canon or Nikon DSLR. The forthcoming digital M (whatever it turns out to be) could be appealing, but I'm sure it won't be cheap.

I'd think that there's a market for a cheaper (~$1000 or less) fully manual DSLR, targeted at students and fine-art photographers who don't want automation. That said, I'm not in marketing .


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Saulius
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2006, 01:54:20 AM »
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I agree on manual shoting. Not long ago I had old fationed 35 mm Russian camera "Zenit" which was very modern 25 years ago. This is camera you, guys, would like to have, because it is fully and compleately manual in everything. Exeption was only primitive built in exponometer and field depth preview. This preview was not electronic, but in some manner manual. Besides, this camera was havy and so durable (about 40 per. metal parts)
That camera was stolen from me together with 3 lenses. I started to look for more modern things. I got Nikon f75 (I know, I know, this is not modern anymore, but here in Lithuania it is still considerably expensive. At least to my incomes) It is still uncomfortable to me to shoot without aperture ring on a lens. I had to change my thinking about camera logic. I played with "auto" functions a bit, and switched to manual. Problem is, that exponometer  fails on manual and it irritates me. I see that it is lieing in particular light conditions so I do not react, but it distract me a bit.

Sorry for my English. This is not my native language
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 01:55:11 AM by Saulius » Logged
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2006, 05:27:10 AM »
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For some kinds of shooting, it's a big advantage to be able to see how the camera is set without having to lift it to your eye.

You can do this with the LCD which will show you the aperture value as well without you having to peek over the front of the camera. I don't think the 'I want to see what it's set to when off' argument works either, to use it you would need to switch it on anyway.
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BJL
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2006, 12:24:34 PM »
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The only real disadvantage I see to using an automated camera in full manual mode is the viewfinder: VF designs for AF tend to give smaller images and to lack focusing aids. Some high end AF models offer alternative VF screens, but as far as image size, even the top of the line Canon EOS-1 35mm format models (film and digital) have a smaller VF image size than is common with manual focus cameras: only 0.72x magnification.
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