I wanna PUSH not PRESS
Why is the shutter release design a downward push instead of a press from front to back? I was thinking about all the times you get camera shake from the downward movement. If the release was on the front (about where the self timer usually is) then pressing it would introduce barely any camera movement that would affect the picture. So why have camera makers kept with the top-down design?
Good Evening, Frank,
I agree completely with you and have, in some previous posts, mentioned the same thing. One of the better features of my old Miranda SLR cameras is exactly the front-mounted shutter release you mention. The squeezing action is, to me, far preferable for steadiness. I also use the Koni-Omega MF system which has a similar arrangement on the side-mounted handle and a Yashica-Mat which has a front-mounted release. My Fuji 670 rangefinder goes a step further and has one release on the top and one on the front.
Perhaps it's cheaper, for some reason, to build a camera with a downward-moving shutter release, but I find that approach functionally inferior.
The MR-3 release which fits (most) motorized Nikons puts the release out in front. It's great for vertical shots, but would be a tad uncomfortable for horizontals.
Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
For the heck of it, I grabbed seven 35mm cameras at random and dry fired them:
Exakta VX1000 (left side front release)
Exa 500 (left side front release, slightly different design)
Praktica IVF (right side front release)
Mamiya Sekor 500 DTL (conventional)
Nikon FG (conventional)
Zorki 6 (conventional)
Leica IIIc (conventional)
Very unscientific comparison, but the Leica won out based simply on the smoothness of the release. A release that smooth could be anywhere on the camera and work well. Surprising second place was the Exa 500. Besides the release being on front, the "chunky" design of the body helps making a smooth push. It nestles in the hands. An underrated design, that one.
My conclusion: a well-engineered smooth release is as important or more important than the position. FWIW.
(yeah, I got a lot of cameras sitting around here....)
The unfortunate thing is... I doubt I will ever buy a new camera, so even if this feature finally gets the BIG "DOH!!!! WHY DIDN'T WE THINK OF THAT SOONER!!!!!!!" which it surely deserves... well, it will probably be stuck to a digital gizmo-matic something or other that I will not have any interest of using. Too bad, as I think camera ergonomics are....puzzling at best.
I know that Nikon put considerable engineering and time and effort into an ultra smooth film advance on the F3 for example... when really, who cares all that much as long as it works and is sturdy? At the same time, no one ever decided that the shutter release might do better somewhere else???
As an aside, I find the Canonet 19 with a bottom mounted film advace that you use with your left hand and a top mounter right handed shutter release to be a dream to use, witout ever having to move the camera from your face.
Incidentally - why are Nikons so backwards? I was using an FG and a Canon AE-1 side by side yesterday... and I was going nuts since the Nikon does EVERYTHING backwards!!! Even the lens is removed clock-wise... weird. And that little camerea has some mean mirror slap! Oh well, I like it in spite of all that.
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I guess that manufacturers don't place the shutter release button where you'd want it to be because it would be frequently depressed by accident when grabbing the camera... that's all.
Damn it! Foiled by logic again!
Originally Posted by George Papantoniou
The early German built Voigtlander Vito series rangefinders and also the Voigtlander Ultramatic and Ultramatic-S SLR have the shutter 'switch' exactly where you describe. Combined with a between the lens Prontor LK leaf shutter and the smooth shutter switch I can shoot handheld reliably at 1/15 and with a little care at 1/8 with my Vito CLR. It is still a downward press, but I find it easier to hold the camera steady while using it than the conventional shutter releases on my other cameras.
You can read more about German Voigtlanders here: http://www.amdmacpherson.com/classiccameras/index.html
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
The ALPA cameras had this kind of shutter release, and some other rather eccentric features; like the film winding lever.
And several Practica models (and the Contax S-line) had some sort of compromise, wher the button were pressed down/towards you in 45degree angle.
I don't know why nearly all cameras have the shutter release on top, to be pressed downwards.
But I do know that a shutter release on the front of the camera, to be pressed towards the back, is not much, if any, better. With my Sawyer's Mk. IV (rebadged Primo Jr.), pressing the shutter release tends to rotate the camera around its vertical axis. Keeping it steady and pointing where intended requires some effort.