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Pro camcorder ergonomics - why are they so rubbish?


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The problem is that these companies usually don’t have Design Thinking processes and user experience designers on board. 
They have technical engineers on board who may survey end users for feedback but the lack of these essential roles prevent from any real innovation to happen. 
To me these cameras look exactly the same as in the 1990s, except the recording media has shrunk. That’s really a sad state of affairs.

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1 hour ago, D4cl00 said:

The problem is that these companies usually don’t have Design Thinking processes and user experience designers on board. 
They have technical engineers on board who may survey end users for feedback but the lack of these essential roles prevent from any real innovation to happen. 
To me these cameras look exactly the same as in the 1990s, except the recording media has shrunk. That’s really a sad state of affairs.

It really hasn't changed since the 80's.  And 80's cameras were like 70's cameras.  To be fair, the Ikagami tube camera I learned on had less buttons because it was a  simpler machine, but the layout and button ergonomics were similar.

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Looks like most of the controls I need are there. Can you set a custom switch for high speed? 

I realize auto focus settings are probably a bitch to get to which could certainly slow down workflow if you rely on that. Probably a big reason someone would buy a Sony in the first place. 

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5 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I agree. 

I had the EVA1 for 2 years, which I gradually got frustrated with as it had a hideous way of changing the frame rates. The camera would have to reboot and sometimes crashed. Then, the crew would be waiting impatiently to get the next shot. 

I’m disappointed to see this in the FX6, which is otherwise an excellent entry for Sony.

I agree with the huge amount of buttons being a pain in the ass. 

I agree that it’s very silly to rig your camera for the sake of rigging. I like to use it as bare bones as possible. It’s more liberating, speeds up the process and allows more creativity. I don’t give a s*it what the client thinks, I’ll do it my way. 

The C70 is a massive step in the right direction. For my use, it’s simply the best video camera design I’ve ever experienced. It’s just very quick, nimble and easy to use. It doesn’t reboot when you change to slow motion. You can do it in seconds! Also the sticky out screen bit is fine, and my battery doesn’t stick out. 

I’d love to see the FX6 in a C70 body! 

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3 hours ago, D4cl00 said:

To me these cameras look exactly the same as in the 1990s, except the recording media has shrunk.

They're worse... Every camera in the 90s and early 2000s at least had a viewfinder and was usable for extremely long periods of time handheld. 

I think the C70 a better design than the FX6. At least you can throw a loupe on the back and have two points of contact.

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For those who use older lenses like me, consider an ND throttle lens mount adapter.  I have Vizelex's Nikon G-Z adapter, I've also used a really good one for Canon EF-Sony E.  They have wonderful variable ND filters inside the lens mount adapter, which really let you precisely control the light hitting the sensor.  They also protect the sensor when switching lenses, and are cheaper and easier than buying a filter for each lens.   The downsides are that they don't have any electronic controls, but with a fully manual lens you wouldn't have any anyways, and that the minimum exposure reduction is 2 stops, so in darker situations you just have to remove them completely.  The Canon EF-RF adapter has one as well I believe.  A very cool trick to add value to a mirrorless camera

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My biggest problem with modern cameras is the form factor. Besides the profusion of buttons all over the damn thing, there isn't really any way to comfortably handhold the camera for smooth shots without having to put it on a gimbal or a Frankenstein shoulder rig

The FX6 actually makes sense for me since the LCD is upfront on an arm. You press the camera to your chest and keep a hand on the lens. I hate shooting with cameras  that have the LCD on the back (i.e. all mirrorless cameras). You wind up hovering the camera in front of your face which makes it difficult to maintain a steady frame. IBIS is not a replacement for having multiple points of contact. Also, if you've ever shot a documentary, you would know that supporting a camera in your palms for hours at a time is very hard. A properly balanced shoulder-mounted camera is invaluable in these situations.

I just feel like there is no reason to cross-pollinate video camera design with mirrorless ergonomics. There needs to be a bit more consideration for how the camera fits the human body.  I wish that makers would revisit the way cameras looked twenty or thirty years ago. Yeah, I mean VHS camcorders and Super 8 cameras. Those were actually built to be used by humans, not vloggers. You held it up to your eye and moved it like it was attached to your head. 

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1. Maybe because there are 3 broad pro/prosumer camera, namely Hybrid, ENG and Cinema. There is obviously a slight overlapping, here and there, between the 3 (or hot swapping), thanks to better designs and hybrids (like the C70 and S1H), they still have many people swearing by one design over the other. 

2. More ergonomic cameras should, ideally, also be smaller, and thus lesser bragging rights. For both the client and for anyone else who may be lurking around. And the whole Brain box so promoted by RED, has ensured many other players follow atlesst some model that has one. But RED's model, like most tiny brains, need so much extra, just to make it usable. 

3. Most film cameras need a lot of rigging and cinematographers and directors constantly watch the feed, so they need a lot more stuff for the rigging (live feed). Other reasons including the fact that Cinema cameras need better cooling, many cinema zooms are enormous and so require heavier box shaped backs, and storage and mic placement could be very ergonomically unsettling.

Not sure why more hybrids don't have the tilting EVF of the GX7 and the multi-direction articulation of the S1H. Being able to use both the EVF and LCD, simultaneously, could be very useful in checking things like focus or changing settings while looking through the viewfinder.

Maybe you could have a Poll on Possible Designs, that people want the most. 

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I'm pretty sure the setup from Sony's video is just that, the initial setup for choosing framerate. (the same thing you have to do on a mirrorless camera) Once you have that loaded all you have to do is push the S&Q mode then the record button to be shooting your high frame rate. I don't see the clunkiness here but maybe I'm missing something. Seems to be about the same as most mirrorless cameras, maybe faster since they actually have a dedicated S&Q mode. To do that on my GH5 would take a dive into the menus to select basically those same options as on the FX6, only I have slow motion assigned to a custom function, basically like the S&Q mode.

 

I do really really wish manufacturers would start giving us built in NDs on mirrorless cameras though, seems to simple to do comparatively and so incredibly helpful.

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I don’t need one of these types of cameras, but if I did, it would be the Volvo...I mean Canon C70 without question.

Otherwise I like the modular concept, starting with something the size of the Sigma FP and built out to individual needs.

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I still own one of these - Sony-Handycam-DCR-PC100E-MiniDV-Camcorde

Am I crazy to want something similar to this with a mirrorless mount? I love the ease of use and built in evf, also little flippy screen if needed. Perhaps even in somewhat of a cube format would be fine. For run and gun with ibis and a small prime lens this would be so much fun.

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11 minutes ago, tweak said:

I still own one of these - Sony-Handycam-DCR-PC100E-MiniDV-Camcorde

Am I crazy to want something similar to this with a mirrorless mount? I love the ease of use and built in evf, also little flippy screen if needed. Perhaps even in somewhat of a cube format would be fine. For run and gun with ibis and a small prime lens this would be so much fun.

Yes! This is exactly what I want. Handicam form factor with large sensor and interchangeable lenses. EVF on the back, flippy screen on the side, handstrap for comfort. Winning combo.

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Just now, BrooklynDan said:

Yes! This is exactly what I want. Handicam form factor with large sensor and interchangeable lenses. EVF on the back, flippy screen on the side, handstrap for comfort. Winning combo.

They could even build in pieces to help make modularity easier, like space where you screw in a bracket for 15mm rods and attach a 5-7inch screen if needed. You could easily make a form factor that could be built upon when needed. I guess similar to all these new cube cameras we are seeing (zcam etc), but tweaked a bit.

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On 11/22/2020 at 8:16 PM, Matins 2 said:

There is just something about Japanese user interface design that doesn't seem right to me.

It lacks certain design aesthetics, values. It is the layout, grouping, hierarchy, how and when you expose information, contextual aware design, affordance, terminology, interface design etc that is wrong. Different font sizes, pixelated menus, overload in terminology, too many irrelevant options, no clear understanding of the user, etc...

Japanese companies often are “tech/engineering first”. Their engineering mindset echoes in the user interface and user experience. 

Which is weird - look at Japanese gardens, modern Japanese interior design and architecture; they are minimalist and balanced. Look at their cuisine; minimalist, simple yet rich, delicate and artful. Almost the opposite of tech hardware design. 

An evolution of ingraining their (beautiful) cultural design values into their cameras still needs to happen. It requires their companies to be structured differently and I fear their traditional org structures and formal approach prevents them to keep up with modern times.

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I suppose it goes way back. A pride thing.

Cameras, as most Japanese products, are built to last. Frequently they are over-engineered.

We can criticize them a lot, but the products they sell tend to hang around much longer than competing products from other countries.

 

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