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Thursday, 14 November 2019

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To start, Ken Tanaka might not be aware that the SL2 is significantly easier to handhold than the SL. One of the best improvements, not mere aesthetics, is a more ergonomically contoured grip, including indentations for finger tips (not seen in published pics). The Hasselblad X1D (and X1Dii) remains one of the most ergonomically friendly modern cameras I’ve tried (although I don’t own), but the SL2 now compares much more favorably to it than its predecessor.

As for film cameras, I also owned the Nikon 8008s, and it was a favorite. But I still have fond memories of my early Canon AE-1. I wonder, though, how I’d react to it today, as our standards and tastes evolve. In the MF world, I loved the Mamiya 6/7s, but part of that was the comparison to larger, more awkward handling MF cameras of the day.

Leica M6 + Rapidwinder.

I love the toilet paper roll with the framed picture on top ;-)

I am left handed and 100% left eye dominant. My favorite camera ergonomically is the Mamiya C330f TLR. Yes you have to turn the camera to set exposure, but from there, everything is in the perfect place for viewing, exposure, and film advance. Hasselblad might come second, but the position of the shutter release is less natural for me.

In my mind these beat any eye-level 35mm with my nose pressed into the back of the camera.

Contax 645, far and away. Mamiya 7 pretty good also.

I haven't used many cameras but I got lucky when I bought my Pentax K20D. It's very nice to use. When I later (much later) read the review on dpreview.com it said in the conclusions "Ergonomics up with the best of the best". When I've tried other peoples cameras they've certainly fallen short.
My first camera was also a Pentax - a manual focus MZM - which I also found very natural and easy to use.
I once tried a low end Fuji bridge camera which I found immediately absolutely horrible and I realised how difficult it might be to create a design that works.
Anthony

I really liked the way the Nikon D700 felt in the hand, although it could get heavy depending on the lens attached. These days, the Fuji X-T2 is tops for me. Feels natural to hold and isn't too heavy.

For me, either iteration of the Olympus E-M1. I don’t really know why, but they fit my hand nicely and I can find the controls by feel. The GX8 is a close second as I am left eyed too.

What's your idea of the most ergonomic or user-friendly camera ever made?

Easy. The Fujifilm X-H1. I really love the X-H1.

The Canon EOS 1 series, especially the EOS 1D Mark II. Canon put a LOT of work into the user interface with the thumb wheel on the back for exposure control. It's a complex camera and takes some time to learn, but in the end it's the easiest to use camera I've ever owned.

It's fascinating to me that the basic user interface from the T90 is still how Canon cameras work, 30+ years later. I had three T90s and loved them to death.

These days, I shoot the vast majority of my work with M4/3 Olympii (an E-M1 and an E-P5) and I find them to be excellent for my purposes, almost all the time, but as I sit here thinking about which cameras I have that are just the easiest to pick up and use, I think I've surprised myself with the answer: a Canon 5D and a Mamiya RB67. I own both and still shoot them once in a while for various purposes. In both cases they seem to be laid out in a way that just falls to my hand (and my left-eye, for that matter).

I guess I'm surprised because they are both somewhat staid, old designs. However, whatever criticisms one might have of the design evolution of Canon DSLR's, I think they got the ergonimics right with the original EOS cameras and they know enough to stick with that successful formula. As for the Mamiya, I think they must have known from the beginning how the camera would be used and, once they added the visual reminder for the state of back rotation (!), it is surprisingly easy to use.

Now that you've got me thinking about why this might be, it seems to me that size certainly has something to do with it. Although I'm sure many small cameras have good ergonomics, and my hands aren't necessarily that large, it's certainly the case with the Mamiya and Canon that my fingers rarely bump into something that was unintended, and I can't say that about the Olympus.

That would have to go the lightweight, pocket rocket GR; along with a wrist strap, the grip fits so comfortably in hand, I sometimes forget I'm holding it.

The Fuji XT series along with a thumpgrip and a short prime ain't bad either when going 'large.'

Pentax MX with the 50/1.4 (the lens matters). All the controls (including focus & aperture) are where they should be, there are no controls there should not be (well, the self-timer but this shares the DoF preview lever so can be forgiven). The viewfinder is lovely and is so close to 100% magnification (and coverage) with a 50mm lens you can easily use it with both eyes open. It's the right size and weight to carry all day in one hand.

The LX is close but I just never trust it to work.

If the Minolta CLE had a meter that worked in manual mode then it might be as good with a 40mm lens, though a very different animal.

My experience is pretty limited, but for what it's worth:

For me it's mostly about the camera staying out of the way, and the Leica M2/M3 did that better than anything else, partly because there was very little functionality to get in the way, and what there was was super reliable and consistent. One has to accept the working parameters to begin with, of course, but the M bodies are as up front with that as it gets. Easy to hold, easy to handle, no fuss or fiddling, ever.

But I suppose there are quite a few such candidates from the last half-century of film: the OM, the K1000, Rolleiflex, Hassy, etc.

On the digital side, the Canon xxD and xD were pretty good in that respect, once I learned how to set them, and other than the occasional crash. The original Fujifilm X100 and X2 were great physically, but the computing hardware and software got in the way a lot. But I suppose that could be said for quite a few digital cameras pre-2015-or-so.

Fujifilm X-H1. With today’s digital cameras all producing extraordinary image quality, for me, the buy/don’t buy decision comes down to how the camera feels in my hand, the placement of the buttons and controls and how the menu system melds with how my brain works. A specific desired feature then will be taken into consideration as most cameras have features I’ll never use. Sensor size? Really doesn’t make much of a difference anymore.

The most ergonomic cameras I've ever used would have to be (film era) the Nikon F4s and (digital era) the Nikon D3s (and its descendants). They fit my hand like an extension of it, with every button and dial in just the right place, turning in the directions I would have chosen, and so on. For me it's just like a musical instrument, in that my thoughts become actions, without the intermediate step of thinking about the buttons/dials/settings on the camera or the keys on one of my woodwinds. And I have used all of the single-digit F bodies except for the F6, and all of the single-digit D bodies except for the D6, so it’s not merely a matter of what I was/am accustomed to.

Frankly, I can’t really understand how—nor why, really, when you get right down to it—people apparently manage to try out so many different cameras. I can’t afford to be switching systems all the time, neither financially nor from the standpoint of having to learn yet another camera interface, menu system, and so on before I can, as you say, get on with it. I’m not merely content with the ergonomics of those cameras mentioned above (nor those I’m currently using—D5, D850, D500), I am delighted, happy, even thrilled with their ergonomics.

Olympus OM-D E-M1. Ideal for my small hands and my taste for dense, well-made cameras. If the back screen could be hidden as in the Mark II and had a small top LCD, it'd been perfect, but... I didn't care for the pictures it delivered, so it went.

OK, the ON/OFF lever wasn't well positioned either but... nobody is perfect!

Olympus E-1 felt like someone cloned my hand and then made the (perfectly weighted and superbly built) camera body with the resulting mould. Various Pentax dSLRs and the Fuji X-H1 are up there too.

Definitely the GX8. A camera ahead of its time. I use that brilliant tilting EVF all the time and only deploy the rear screen for review. (Avoiding that awful 'focus with the nose' problem for lefties). Having also grown up in the film era, I still can't get used to composing on a screen. Viewfinders concentrate the attention so much better. Plus a grip that allows you to hang the camera on your fingertips, a reasonably logical menu system and a very accessible EC dial and it's close to perfect - apart from that silly button between the lens and the grip which is set flush so you can't find it when you want it and can't miss it when you don't.

Can't have everything but the GX8 is pretty close. Still hoping that Panasonic might eventually realise that the bump on the top of the camera is no longer needed - why pretend you have a pentaprism when you don't?


Never owned an Olympus E-M1 but I liked the feel of the grip when I picked one up. Apart from that, I like more or less everything about the Nikon D500

Pentax K-5 (including the K-5II and IIs) and its close relatives, the K-7 and K-3, are at the top of my list. The camera feels perfect in the hand and, with very little practice, can be operated easily and intuitively without ever looking at controls or menus. A great shooting experience.

Any recent Nikon DSLR, with the D850, with or without the grip, at or near the apex. Their APS-C cameras feel great in the hand too, and but for their terrible viewfinders whose information readouts would wash out in bright sunlight, those cameras would be near the top of my list for good handling cameras. The grips on all of those cameras are secure-feeling and I never feel like I'm going to drop the camera.

The Panasonic G85 also has a similarly great grip with a deep finger hold and narrow palm area, but Panasonic is somewhat schizophrenic in their designs, with the GH5's grip tending more towards a Canon-like model with shallower finger area, and a fatter palm area. It feels less secure and more tiring to hold.

IMHO the D700 was the closest that Nikon came re-creating the feel and spirit of the N8008s/N90/F100 bodies in the digital age.

The only thing wrong with it was that for whatever reason the body was 15% larger in all dimensions.

The current Olympus OMD-EM1 Mark II bodies are OK. But that name is dumb and the buttons and menus generally too fussy.

For film cameras, don't sleep on the Konica Hexar, Hexar-RF or the Mamiya 6.

🙂

I agree about the Panasonic GX8. And I happen to prefer the flip-out screen. I push the IBIS on mine and it seems to do very well. I even hand hold it for pinhole photos. Best camera I’ve ever encountered in more than 50 years of shooting. And the sensor is truly sweet.

Agreed about the GX8. I still use mine as my daily camera; oddly, when I got it, I was disappointed by the ergonomics but after some customisation, I now find I never—and I mean never—use the menus for anything other than formatting a card. With my eye to the viewfinder, I can change shutter speed, focus point, type of focusing, ISO, aperture, shutter type… it's fabulous.

Like you, I'd prefer a flip screen, though the articulation has occasionally been useful for waist-level vertical shots. If the GX9 had the weather-proofing and the OLED viewfinder, I'd be interested. Haven't given up on a GX8 Mk II of some kind,, though: one of the recurring complaints about the GX8 was its large-for-the-time size but now, we have much bigger Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

After two years with the GX8, I still feel unsure about why I'm so drawn to the flip-up viewfinder. I'm a right-eyed photographer but I absolutely love what it does and use it flipped up somewhat for almost every picture. Perhaps it's the slight abstraction it offers—the feeling that what you're looking at is a representation of the scene, which encourages you to look and compose more carefully.

"Obviously the GX8 sold poorly, because it's not going to get a Mark II revision (if it were going to, it already would have)."

When "serious", which accounts for the vast majority of my photos, I shoot with two cameras around my neck. For about a year, and 2,500+ GX7 shots, that pair were an E-M5 and GX7. Although ergonomically quite different, they were photographically close to indistinguishable, including the IBIS.

The E-M5 II had new capabilities that put an end to the earlier pair. But I was still intimately familiar with the GX7 when the GX8 came out. I couldn't believe they'd taken that lovely little body and bulked it up so much - for no reason(s) apparent to me. Even without the new Oly, there's no way I was going to buy that monster.

"In terms of function it sorely needed a Mark II revision, though. The shutter left some questions about shutter shock, and the IBIS was not very well implemented."

The follow on models, GX85 and GX9, simply went back to the GX7 size and form factor, while addressing all of the shortcomings you list, fixing or improving all, plus adding other useful (to me) features.

Tastes and needs vary; ergonomics are mysterious. I now am shooting GX9s, in spite of the egregious, flip-up EVF that tries to drive me mad.

As with the GX7 and 8, Panny makes other, larger µ4/3 bodies. the G9 has some features desirable to me, but not worth the size and weight. I suspect the GX8 died of obesity.

The diopter adjustment on the GX7 was a horizontal slider on the bottom of the flip-up module.

On the GX9, it's a dial on the side. Somehow, the EVF on the GX9s flips up partially or fully from bags, straps and clothing much more easily then the GX7.

When up just a little, it throws the whole alignment of eye, subject and camera body off; I don't see what I expect from relationship between hand head and hand position and subject location.

When it flips up all the way, whatever flipped it up apparently brushes against the diopter dial, and changes it.

The feature that you loved on the GX8 is now my nemesis.

"(it's a mirror image)"

But need not be.

Since the advent of glass plate photography, it's been possible to reverse images.

Just sayin' \;~)>

I really like the Nikon D7500 and D750 with a slight edge to the former for haptics and the latter for viewfinder; essentially a tie. A joystick would be a great addition to both. They are light, intuitive and just get out of the way. A close second goes to the Fuji X-T2. The small buttons and slippery, depressable dials lead to some dissonance in an otherwise outstanding package. The small, quite flat buttons are difficult for me to locate by feel and the dial too easy to depress when I just want to rotate it (not nearly as bad as on X-H1). Luckily, I do not photograph in the cold often as I think the Fuji controls would be a problem with gloves.

Since I am left-eyed, I find no pull to any rangefinder style designs since they provide no seeing advantage. I am stuck with my nose on the LCD. That Panasonic does look useful but I have never tried one.

Ok, the Leica S.
They got to start from scratch and don’t change it.
A pretty big camera that is easy to hold and shoot.

I second Michael Sebastian's choice of the "Contax 645, far and away," as it's still the camera I most enjoy holding in my hands after all these years.

Which isn't to say I always enjoyed using it, though, because it's quite a beast to carry with a 45-90 zoom and P30+ digital back mounted.

All of the Canon EOS cameras I've used felt pretty good to me, from the EOS 1n and A2E (EOS 5) and Rebel 2000 in film cameras to all the different digital models I've used.

I used the original model Pentax 645 for a year or two and, yes, it handled well but it was heavy. Part of that was the number of AA batteries it used and part of it was the use of two thick Bogen tripod QR plates.

Then almost five years ago I started using Fujis and liked them. Mainly the XPro models. They feel pretty good to me as well. Recently I had a hankering for using DSLRs again but instead of going back to Canon I bought a couple of used Nikons. Now I think the Nikons feel pretty good too.

I guess I'm easy to please. It doesn't take me long to get accustomed to the feel of a camera. I've liked all the different cameras I've used over the years.

I don't remember any camera being more ergonomic and natural-handling but I do remember the one camera that I never got comfortable with - the Leica M3 with a 50mm lens. I could never get to the point where I could focus and shoot quickly. I either would concentrate on focus and loose the subject (Street Photography) or I would keep focused (Pun intended) on the subject and never get the camera focused.

It's important that it had the 50mm lens. That lens needed to be spot on or the subject was fuzzy.

Unlike my Nikon f with a 28mm lens. I just used f11 or f8 and set the focus point where I could get maximum sharpness. Done.

As far as the size and shape of the camera that didn't appear to make any difference to me.

"I think the most ergonomic camera I've ever experienced was the Panasonic GX8..."

Having two Panasonic Lumix GX8 bodies, I agree heartily. The camera is a pleasure to use. The flip-up EVF is particularly useful; the switches and buttons are well placed and easy to use. The menu is easy to master. Panasonic aced this camera.

If Panasonic were to offer a true Micro Four Thirds successor to the GX8 camera, I'd buy one or two without hesitation.

I have not one, but two, GX8s, because of all the small mirrorless cameras, they felt the best to me. I plan to keep them until they drop dead. In terms of long history, I've been a Nikon guy, and I still am. I can pick up almost any Nikon and immediately feel at home with it -- but a guy once handed me a large Canon DSLR, and I couldn't even work it. Let me say that in general, I believe Canon ergonomics are probably as good as Nikons, but it's what you grow with that counts. To me, the GX8s were a surprise, because they were a different brand, but felt so natural.

The new Nikon Z cameras also feel right to me, but I gotta say, the weight, after becoming acclimated to GX8s, is not welcome. I have a sort of emotional attachments to my Nikons, including the Z6, but when I sit back and think about it, for my kind of photography, the GX8s may be the best cameras I've ever owned.

The Sony A700 just did exactly what I wanted without any fuss.

"the cameras we tend to find the most comfortable and natural to use are the cameras we get to grips with for real work."

So the cameras I feel most comfortable and natural to use are Technika 4" x 5" implements? Hmmmmm, maybe not entirely sure about that one......

My current Panasonic G9 is without a doubt has the best ergonomics of any camera I've owned and that includes several Canon SLRs and DSLRs. The grip is just about perfect and the fact that it has three dials, top front, top back and rear, means you can control all three exposure variables with a dedicated dial. The image quality and color is as good or better than my previous Canon 80D.

Probably a tie between the GX8 (with that wonderful tilting EVF) - and the Pentax KP which, with its old-school real pentaprism, and its somehow-feels-just-right-in-the-hand design, is hard to beat.

Ergonomic perfection for me came in the shape of the big Fuji GW690, back in my film days. A camera that just was there and did what I asked it to do: not elegant, not exceptionally well built, but it worked.

Two rings at the front of the lens for shutter speed and aperture, close to each other but clearly separated and without any risk of confusing them; right next to them the large focusing grip, with a pleasantly dampened movement. All three rings naturally in my left hand that also supports the camera body. The viewfinder was criticised by some but I don't know why, it was large and bright. The rangefinder focus patch in the centre of the viewfinder could have been a bit more contrasty but it was ok. My right hand holding the camera on the modest but helpful grip, my finger naturally resting on the shutter release. The release had a fair amount of resistance, just right.

I guess for completeness we need to count the external lightmeter too, a Gossen incident meter hanging from my neck, half-consciously checked so that my mind knew the light at all times, even before raising the camera to my eye. Perfection.

In digital, I am truly happy with the cameras I use, and I wouldn't want to return to film --- but boy, I still miss the Tao-like simplicity of that old Fuji setup.

Sony a700. Fit my hand like a glove.

My favorite would be the Leica M (film versions). But then I used them for over 30 years.
One that stands out from way back is the Bronica ETR, with prism finder and 'speed-grip'. That camera was perfect for the work I did with it, group portraits on location for high school yearbooks. Especially compared to the Mamiya TLRs and Rapid-Omegas that some of my colleagues used (neither of which I ever got along with).

A really interesting post and list from the gang so far. Looking forward to seeing what other cameras folks like. Hoping Thom, Ken Tanaka, Eamon, and Kirk Tuck will weigh in.

I'll extend the discussion to my the other two for me to make it my top 3:

2) my first-ever camera, the legendary Olympus OM-1 and, the Fujifilm X100F, the camera lineage that started it all for Fuji (no doubt destined to be a classic) – tied for 2nd place. The reason I first fell in love with Fujis was of how much they reminded me of my OM-1, which I shot for 22 years straight. Very hard to find two cameras that are simpler to operate, and more fluid in use when shooting.

3) Canon 1D MkII/MkIIN: Fully agree with Ken Bennett on this one. The only reason its in #3 position is Canon's insistence on requiring two hands for changing some key settings. But, still one of the three best cameras I've ever used. Truly superbly designed professional tools that are literally built like a tank. Can take a smack against K-wall and not get cracked through the frame. How many cameras can you say that about? Oh, wait...the X-H1.

Olympus OM4ti, Minolta CLE and Mamiya 6 (new) for film cameras. Fujifilm X100F for digital.

I'm left-eyed. I agree about the Panasonic GX-8, even though it's slightly heavy for my taste. The superb EVF compensates for that.

On a more modest level, the Fujifilm X30 scores very highly.

I have found my Pentax DSLR's very satisfactory ergonomically, although as I have become increasingly bulk- and weight-averse, I have tended to use DSLRs less.

My iPhone 6s is an ergonomic catastrophe when it comes to taking photos.

Pentax PZ-1p with the grip strap base for me. I had a Pentax 645N II and it was great as well. Today my Fuji XE-3 is my favorite.

You almost should be asking about a favorite camera/lens combo. The lens can affect the ergonomics quite a bit. As I was writing the above paragraph, I realized I was picturing each camera with their respective short teles attached.

Hmm
Minolta Autocord
Nikonos II (so easy that you can use with gloves on underwater!)
Hasselblad 500c with a Rolli microprism screen (middle finger of left hand on shutter everything else with right hand)
4x5 RB Graflex SLR
Nikon F2 with sport prism

Hmm, not even a light meter on any of them, that must be why they are so easy to use.

Haven't found a digital camera that dosen't suck to hold, especially vertically, although the Sony DSC-R1 isn't as awful as most. In fact if it weren't so painfully slow and sort of fragile I'd still use it.

In my opinion Luigi Colani ruined camera design.
Could someone get Dieter Rams out of retirement to design a digital camera? Please?

I got into photography in 1962 and have used or owned everything from a Minox (and if you know what that is I know how old you are) to a 4x5. Between 64 and 94 I also spent a total of 10 years either managing or working in Camera stores; talk about a kid in a candy store and no credit card required. So, I've had the joy of handling and using all the major brands and models and some off beat ones like the Contarex, the Alpa 35mm cameras and the early Fuji film cameras. Unquestionably, the most ergonomic and natural to hold camera I have ever touched is the Contax G series. It felt so right in my hand I wanted to cuddle it. The Fuji X-Pro came close but not quite as compact and organic feeling as the Contax. The most user friendly digital camera has to be the Fuji X series cameras - all the important stuff is out in the open where you can see it and lenses with real aperture rings ... what a thought.

My dear Pentax 645 N, sadly missed. Logical controls, a perfect viewfinder with the most readable information imaginable and an easily diopter-adjustable eyepiece. Of course I sold it to buy a 65 mm, a winder and a prism viewfinder for my Mamiya RZ Pro II, a camera I don´t like. I have really tried to like that camera but I simply don´t, although it is supposed to be "better". Larger negatives and so on. I also could´nt justify to myself having two different medium format systems.Lesson learned: Keep the ones you like and use them. Don´t go by specifications.

Another favourite was my tiny Contax T, always in a pocket and with the size of a pack of those smoking poison sticks. A fixed 38 mm f 2,8 and a rangefinder that was quite good. A foldable Little gem clad in titanium. Sadly no longer with me after many low budget trips in Continental Europe.

Film era: EOS 1V.
Digital era: Fuji XH1.

By the way, one of the Canon engineers involved in the development of the T90 is still working for Canon.

Maybe splitting hairs here, but I do not think that (at least physical) ergonomics and user-friendliness are always equal. Secondly, in terms of ergonomics, cameras and lenses go together, so important to consider both together.

Hasselblad X1D - physically, this is the most ergonomically designed modern day camera out there (for me). Just fits right in all ways, although despite the incredibly slick looking icon based experience, not the most user-friendly for my tastes (I prefer simple physical buttons for key tasks). And the lenses (particularly the 45mm) are perfectly designed from a size and weight perspective. If only it had the SL2 EVF and eye relief and overall snappiness.

Leica SL2 - a vast improvement on the original in terms of ergonomics and in Extended EVF mode without any focus aids, the most straightforward and camera-like mirrorless experience out there.

Mamiya 6/7 - Nice size, weight and grip (also taking into account appropriate lens size).

ACG

The Olympus 35SP. All exposure controls (besides ISO) on the lens, and shutter-speed and aperture run counter-wise to each other so if you turn them both in the same direction, your exposure remains the same.

In terms of digital, I've grown to really dislike the small clicky wheel on the back of Panasonic cameras, which is annoying because I like them ergonomically in other ways, such as button placement and menus. Any suggestions for an alternative?

The Pentax MZ-S.
It was a brilliant compact yet solidly built 35 mm SLR with perfect ergonomics. Sleek curvy shape, top plate angled back so you could read the dials while tripod-mounted, and (still!) the best manual exposure controls I've ever used. Nice exposure scale in the viewfinder, one big dial for shutter speed, another for aperture, and a little button that instantly reset both to a 'program' default when you got too far off track. The curvy optional battery grip looked like something out of a Geiger design (Alien) but felt fabulous in the hand.

Canon 5D. This whole series of cameras was designed so one can permanently keep your left hand on the lens to zoom/focus, make all other adjustments with the thumb and index finger of your right hand, and keep your eye to the viewfinder.

Arguably the very definition of ideal photographic ergonomics.

The concept that some cameras are inherently more "comfortable in the hand" or "natural-handling" is a strange one. Most cameras do not have inhuman haptics, and all cameras become "comfortable" or "natural" feeling with time and use.

For real?
Most ergonomic, by far: the early Fisher Price Kid-Tough, with two fat handgrips and two viewfinders. Mash it up against your head with both hands, look through the viewfinders with both eyes, and click. Perfect!

Of all the hundreds of cameras I shot in 12 years at The Imaging Resource, the Canon 5D and all its very similar brothers always felt more comfortable and easy to use than any others.

Tough call for a single best award, but I'd have to go with my current camera, the Pentax 645Z. The 2 runners-up are my other current camera, the Pentax K1/K1mkII, and the Fuji GSW690II---I loved this camera's minimalist simplicity. Larger and chunky work best for me---the K1 is about as small as I like in a camera in its class.

I also liked my Sony A850 and my Olympus E-3.

For small, I loved my Rollei 35 (I had several types), and my NEX7 was ok.

Best ergos: Minolta Dynax 7, with or without portrait grip.

I like high camera's -- bottom plate to shutter button -- with enough room for all fingers to grasp the body. A Pentax 67 is surprisingly good to hold, if you can stand the weight.

I like to use 'portrait' more than 'landscape' orientation, so a few of the 645 film cameras suited me, such as the Pentax and Fuji medium format cameras. In 35mm film I really liked the Olympus OM1 (especially the around the lens mount shutter dial), and really disliked the Leica M cameras. The Leicas were great when held horizontally, but I could never get comfortable with them for vertical format photos.
Iain

The old Olympus E450 was absolutely perfect. It didn’t have a *real* hand grip, like those good old film cameras from days of yore, only slightly thicker.

I would kill for a E410 with a modern sensor.

Olympus E-M1 Mark II. I also have the original E-M1, which was the favorite until I got the Mark II. The E-M1 fit in my hand and felt very similar to the Nikon D7000, which I really liked. But the smaller lenses I have for m43 put the Olympus bodies way over the top, for me. The Mark II’s grip and size are slightly bigger, which fits my hand slightly better. I really like the flip-out screen, which I keep folded away until I need it. While I’m a slow learner, I finally (!) seem to have the muscle memory to find the buttons without looking. Too much.

As you say, familiarity in a camera breeds contentment, and these two cameras have seen the vast majority of my work since the E-M1 was released.

My iPhones have perfect ergonomics—they fits in my extra-large hands, and in the tight pockets of my jeans. Often I have a SE in my left pocket, and an Xs in the right.

Remember, the best camera is the camera you actually use. I haven't used an IL Camera for many years.

I have to give a vote to the Pentax LX, and the Contax RTSII - both simply laid out, built-like-a-tank designs (like Jonathan, I find good build quality an important element in how a camera 'fits' my hand). By the same token, I was very fond of the Nikkormat FT3 (which I think you still have, Mike), the Pentax MX and Olympus OM1, 2, 3 and 4. As for digital cameras - well, I've stayed with Pentax. My present one - the K5II - is as simple as you want it to be, and, like the LX, feels like it was carved from a section of rail.

You criticised the LX for its poor left-eye comfort, but surely in the film age, all manual wind-on cameras (apart from the weirdos that slung the lever under the body) shared that problem?

[I think "criticized" is too strong a word. I was merely trying to properly qualify one possible reason for my strong endorsement of the GX8.

If Pentax had ever made a proper 35mm/40mm equivalent for APS-C, I'd probably still be shooting Pentax. I had a series of them in the Bunnell era. I think such a lens is still lacking in the Pentax lineup, is that right? It's my most-needed lens, so a system that doesn't have one has a drawback for me. --Mike]

For me: something like the Nikon FMx or FEx family.

Operating it was like playing a piano, multiple simultaneous actions:

Left hand: Support, focus, aperture
Right hand: Bracing, shutter, film advance, shutter speed

All without removing your eye from the view.

Mike said, "If Pentax had ever made a proper 35mm/40mm equivalent for APS-C, I'd probably still be shooting Pentax."

The 21 Limited, a cool little lens, comes in at 32mm(e). And the 20-40 Limited zoom, also very compact, covers your needs entirely. As you probably know, Pentax's odd little Limited lenses absolutely rock.

First, I would have to agree with Tim Bradshaw. The Pentax MX was an absolute jewel of a camera. The perfect size and weight with magnificent controls and what may have been my favorite viewfinder of any camera, ever. To me, it always felt like a much, much more expensive camera than it actually was (and it has the benefit of being much lighter than more expensive cameras that were often overbuilt).

...but I would also have to nominate the Yashica Mat 124G. Of course it isn't as intuitive as a mechanical SLR, but for what it was (a medium format TLR) it was remarkably intuitive to use: light, compact, built in lightmeter, decent (though not amazing) screen and controls that I found quick to operate. Again, for a medium format camera, it was remarkably compact and light. Especially compared to the more expensive TLRs, each of which seemed unreasonably heavy to me. (I liked to walk around and take pictures, I wasn't working in a studio.)

Best,
Adam

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