Comparing camera weights & ergonomics

I’ve been invited to a dinner yesterday evening and wanted to try out my Olympus OM-2N together with a Zuiko Auto-S 1:1.8 50mm and the electronic flash T32 with TTL flash metering.

The OM2N is a compact SLR with a very quiet shutter / mirror sound.

I don’t know if it was due to the good wine or due to being still a bit tired from an exhaustive Friday night but I had quite some troubles getting proper focus with this camera/lens combination. I tried again today comparing to a Mamiya NC1000s with the default 1:1.7 50mm: same issue on the OM2N but proper and fast focussing on the NC1000s. Strange. Maybe that it is time to visit an ophthalmologist.

Another irritating thing was weight. Or better: weight in combination with the body ergonomics of the OM2N. With the T32 flash on top, the combination sums up to 1172g, since the flash alone is 380g. Now I wouldn’t call myself a weak sissy but if you hold this combo up in the air for several minutes, your hands start to get slightly tired. I think that I’m missing the grip on the right side, reason why I’ve compared with four different types of SLR to see if I have the same limited feeling of ergonomics:

Table updated 29.07.2017

  • 658g Mamiya NC1000s + 1:1.7/50mm
  • 700g Nikon D40 + 1:1.8/35mm
  • 700g Olympus OM2N + 1:1.8/50mm
  • 780g Konica FT1 Motor + 1:1.8/50mm
  • 830g Fujica ST801 + 1:1.8/55mm
  • 922g  Nikon D7000 + 1:1.8/50mm
  • 1030g Nikon F100 + 1:1.8/50mm (excluding MD15)
  • 1470g Contax RTS III + 1:1.7/50mm

That was easy. Nothing beats the Nikon F100 with attached MD-15. The grip is great, the rubber texture almost makes it clings against your hand, the grip is thick enough so that you do not touch the camera body on the front with your finger tips.

The Nikon D40 comes next but the rubber is missing and the grip not fat enough. But it is very light weight which makes it possible to hold it less tightly than the F100.

The Contax is a monster. Holding it with one hand requires arms from Arnie and the rubber misses texture. Holding it vertically is not easy neither since it misses the bulky grip of an MD-15.

The Mamiya is so light weight that even without grip, you can hold it without getting a cramp.

I’ve also mounted the OM Winder 2 to the OM2N which has a nice grip that improves a lot the holding of the camera. However, there is a shoulder strap lug at the lower part of the grip which directly sticks in the heel of your hand. What an ergonomic nonsense! Also, the quiet shutter is gone, the winder makes a hell of a noise.

My conclusion: small SLRs with a weight up to 700g and without a grip are ok to handle. Everything above requires a grip or a bigger seize of the body to be fatigue-proof. Rubbered texture increases ergonomics, who whould have figured 😉

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