Buttons & Functions: Nikon & Minolta vs. Canon

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Prime, Oct 22, 2002.

  1. Prime

    Prime Member

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    I have found the buttons and functions of Nikon and Minolta cameras (the Nikon N90s, especially) to be relatively easy to figure out. Canon cameras, however, often have me baffled. The buttons and functions have symbols that seem (to me) to be very cryptic. I'm not saying that Nikon and Minolta are better, or that Canon is bad. Nikon and Minolta are just easier for me to figure out. Anybody else have a preference as far as buttons and functions are concerned?
     
  2. jeff

    jeff Member

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    Prime.....The auto focus cameras made by Canon seem confusing to me also...My wife HATED my Minolta SRT101.She wasn't real happy with my C330 either.For her birthday I bought her an Elan 7e.She seems to understand the functions very quickly.I doubt I could remember all the icons and custom functions myself.Canon and Nikon seem to be the pace setters in the evoloution of 35mm photography.I'm not putting down Pentax or Minolta.I'm not going to use the "d" word either.One thing to remember is Canon honors all warranties,gray market or home market.Good luck with your decision...
     
  3. Wim van Velzen

    Wim van Velzen Member

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    That's exactly why I like my Pentax MZ5n (ZX5n) so much: the interface is the same as on SLR of 25 years ago.

    The aperture is on the lens (with A), shutter on a knob on the right side of the body (with A). Both on A is P. No functions needs two knobs/buttons, just the one to change the ISO.

    Of course Pentax doesn't have all the functionality the high end Canons and Nikons offer, but that's another story.
     
  4. Cliffy

    Cliffy Member

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    I bought a Canon EOS 50 about 4 years go and one of the rerasons was that the layout eas so much like the manual cameras i was used to.The Nikon and Minolta equivalents at the time were no wear near as user freindly
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    My eyes glaze over when a student brings in a Canon. It should be easy, but I always recommend that they go back to their dealer for indepth instructions. Maybe it is those icons rather than numbers and to think i hated math in school.
     
  6. Mark in SD

    Mark in SD Member

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    I have Nikon, my mother bought a Canon, and a friend just got a Minolta. All in all, I prefer the Nikon. The cameras are great ergonomically for me and the controls are logically laid out.

    The Canon is OK but I have to take a few minutes to re-learn the camera every time I use it. The controls are fine once I get used to them but they don't make as much sense to me as the Nikon controls do.

    The Minolta controls are clearly laid out but are an ergonomic problem for me. I guess my hands are just the wrong size or aren't as flexible as they should be.
     
  7. JDG

    JDG Member

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    Canon...but I bet I don't use 1/10th of its features. Understanding one tenth of the manual isn't too bad.
     
  8. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I use Nikon F90x's and like JDG have figured out only the facilities I think are of use when I'm working and never use it in auto mode for I'm old fashioned and I just don't trust it. I know it's daft but the way I use it works for me.
     
  9. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    I avoided this confusion altogether. My Canons are both from the 1970s - the controls are speed, aperture, focus. Nice and simple.
     
  10. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    steve,

    Hear, Hear. I've looked at the newer Nikon bodies periodically, in the thought that it might be time to trade up to something for which parts are still officially available, and I just can't.... I can learn the newer interfaces, but I'm afraid that the last camera they made that offered a semi-intuitive interface that was comfortable to use was the F2A. As for the Canons, they passed my button-count comfort-level somewhere around 1982 with the A1. (not that this was all bad; my Uncle was kind enough to pass his Spotmatic on to me when he upgraded to the Canon) Newer ones are worse yet, in that they require a VCR-like manual before you can even turn them on.

    My opinion (FWIW) is that if it feels like I'm starting a 747, rather than a camera, then it has too many buttons and functions.
     
  11. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    ..
     
  12. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    I know. I had a similar experience. A neighbor recently bought a digital camera and asked me to figure it out. I am an engineer after all. After inspecting it and trying to look intelligent, I handed it back and said "Hell I don't even know how to turn it on". Besides, if I have to take off my glasses and literally stick it an inch from my face to read the tiny icons and markings, it's too #%@% small! [​IMG]
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (SteveGangi @ Feb 2 2003, 09:21 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I know.&nbsp; I had a similar experience.&nbsp; A neighbor recently bought a digital camera and asked me to figure it out.&nbsp; I am an engineer after all.&nbsp; After inspecting it and trying to look intelligent, I handed it back and said "Hell I don't even know how to turn it on". </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I think I've been there, done that.... and have the T-shirt.

    Stockholm a couple of years ago: I was engaged in taking the usual "tourist" photos wth the Hasselblads, complete with dangling light meter, wife wrangling spare lenses, etc, (come to think of it ... I HOPE they weren't "usual"), when, during a lull, a half of an oriental couple handed me this ... THING ... with the usual non-verbal sign language asking me to take their picture.

    Uh... yeah. Right. I think this thing is a camera. I seem to see ... or rather, sense, a lens about here... and it's possible to look through here ...

    After a coupe of stupid-look-filled minutes the oriental male realized that I had nothing resembling a clue ... and motioned to me where I should push.

    A few years ago, my 35mm "axe" - an Olympus OM4 - was caught in a twelve-inch rainstorm that flooded my darkroom. I still have nightmares of opening the back and pouring out muddy water.
    Using the 30% rule - "If it costs more than 30% of the price of a new one to repair, buy a new one", I shopped around. I looked at an electronic wonder with all kinds of "Programs". From the manual- #1: Will operate the autofocus lens BEFORE setting the shutter speed and AFTER setting the aperture; #2: Will trip the shutter at the exact moment the moon becomes full; #3: ...

    After five minutes or so, I realized that the only way I'd use this puppy would be to disable everything ... and I had no hope of ever understanding WHY on earth a lens should be focused AFTER ... etc.

    The OM4 ... impending discontinuance and all ... works fine. In fact, I think the repairs actually IMPROVED a lot of the operations.
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I wonder if anyone really uses all the modes available on the modern electronic cameras. I suppose it is an attraction to have all these possibilities and options, but in reality, I would presume that most people have fewer than three setups they really like and use regularly.

    Even on my F-1N (the version that came after the "n" mentioned above), I almost always leave it set on manual. If I use auto exposure, it's more to inject some spontaneity and randomness into my work than for anything else, kind of like using a Holga, and even then I'll turn it off when I really don't believe the meter or I'll use the exposure hold to get it to do what I want.

    The Coolpix 990 has an all manual mode, but you can tell they designed it without expecting anyone to use it. There are two function buttons, and it is possible to assign exposure to one (press to toggle between aperture and shutter speed) and focus to the other, and then both are controlled by one thumbwheel. The thing is that the default mode for the thumbwheel is exposure, and you have to hold down a button while turning the wheel to adjust the focus, and there is no way to reverse them. Now anyone who has ever used a manual-focus camera knows that you are adjusting focus constantly, and adjusting the exposure only intermittently, so if they are going to offer manual focus as an option, it really ought not require holding a button down while turning the focus wheel.
     
  15. Peter Cannon

    Peter Cannon Member

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    It may just be your level of comfort as to which camera you prefer. I am a big fan of Canon, owning an AE1 and an A1. Both are beautiful cameras. However, unless you get the pro models, some of the functions/buttons are redundant. For example, on the Canons, there is a portrait mode which is nice but many believe redundant. You are better off in one of the other modes (app. priority, shutter priority, etc.) so you can make a better photograph and capture what you want. All of the other buttons on cameras these days are for quick pics. The custom modes are good when you learn them.
     
  16. Peter Cannon

    Peter Cannon Member

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    I meant to say. naturally, that this is all IMHO. I had a problem in my gallery address. Below is the corrected one I hope.
     
  17. Peter Cannon

    Peter Cannon Member

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    Fixed again. Sorry.
     
  18. JeffC

    JeffC Member

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    Hello all. I am a new member checking in and posting for the first time on this excellent site.

    (snip)...
    ...(snip)

    I tend to agree with fparnold and I have to admit that the F2 is my all time favourite 35mm. I have one that I still use regularly for motorcycle racing images. It is in F2AS dress with an MB1/MD1 and a 300 f2.8. I don't have to get lost in a plethora of switches, dials and modes. Pressing the shutter button after focusing and adjusting the aperture is all that is needed (after exposure reading of course). It reminds me that electronic shutter releases are difficult to hold on the point of just tripping especially with AF or holding a specific exposure value when only half depressed.

    Pleeeeeze Nikon, make the F2 again! :D
     
  19. nexus

    nexus Member

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    when i bought my canon eos500n, the big reasons i bought it was because the buttons were much easier to use than the other brands (and within the price region i had they did multiple exposures which the equiv minolta, olympus, nikon didn't do. i really wanted a minolta as well).

    I do admit its a pain to hold back the shutter button halfway to see things when it stops after a short amount of time of lighting up. and that the dial could be a bit easier to use for some more advanced functions but once you get the hang of it its not too bad. I dunno abotu other canon eos' though.
     
  20. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I also own two canons... an older, all manual and a new elan7. I guess since I never had any other cameras (except cheap throw-aways) I never really thought about it!!

    Welcome JeffC!!

    Jeanette
     
  21. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I stick to my trusty Olympus OM40. It has three settings, Full auto, Aperture Priority and manual. I have never used the auto option. There are no LCD screens or metering options. And I Like It!
     
  22. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    The fanciest camera I have is a Nikkormat FTN. Oh I take that back, the fanciest is my Nikonos V underwater camera. It has an "A" setting on the shutter speed dial. Have yet to use it though.
     
  23. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    I use a Nikon F5, my girlfriend uses a Nikon f75 and my buddy uses a canon eos 3.

    I have to tell you, F5 is the easiest to use..period. Everything is clearly printed, instead of canons little icons that don't really make sense, nikon writes the name of the function.viola! simple as that

    so my list would be

    1 Nikon F5
    2 Nikon F75
    3 Canon Eos3
     
  24. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I learnt on a Pentax S1a and moved to a Nikon F80 about 3.5 years ago. Everything on the Nikon just feels right and I *never* have to waste time looking for anything.

    My friend has a Canon EOS 30 and the control on that just don't make sense to me: Reach all the way over to the left to turn it on?! Why, when you could have an on switch right next to the shutter-release? And why have exposure compensation on the rear thumbwheel where it's easy to knock so all your shots come out overed?!

    It seems to work for him, though. I suppose the main thing is to find a system you're happy with and then hang on to it for dear life!
     
  25. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Hey, it's possible. They brough back the S3 when there weren't really any lenses for it!

    But what would you want from an F2 that a nice used one or a current FM doesn't provide?

    On newer cameras: IGNORE THE ICONS, at least on Canons. They are just there as reminders. It's all about training your thumb to act on the buttons, and don't worry about reading the symbols. Do you look at the keys when typing?

    Shoot a lot (empty or loaded) until it's second nature. It's the ONLY way to work unless you want to always be struggling with your gear instead of making pics.

    My favorite SLRs for manual 35mm shooting were the F-1 and the RTS. Liked my F and F2 but traded 'em years ago. The viewfinders in the RTS & F-1 rule, and the RTS has that extra meter-on button that I like so much (goofy placement of the shutter dial tho).

    Modern designs inevitably seem to ignore the left hand -- dumb IMO. I love having the aperture and focus in my left hand, as distinct physical tasks, rather than a multi-purpose modal command dial or wheel to over-burden my right hand, which should be busy shooting.

    Canon, Contax, and Leica manual focus all turn the same way -- infinity on the right. Nikon and EOS turn the other way. Madcap focusing hijinx ensue!