Over the years I thought that I’d become inured to the Size Really Does Matter mantra.
Take body weight for example.TV adds bombard the senses with messages about the benefits of reducing body weight. Magazines continue with the ‘rid yourself of that extra weight’ mantra and for heavens sake, don’t mention the visit to your GP where hopping on the scales overrides the bedside manner protocol.
This preoccupation with size now permeates the world of cameras and all of their associated gadgetry.
Light weight carbon fibre tripods are now de rigour if you are walking more than 100 metres to your viewpoint. Camera bag makers now promote light weight waterproof fabrics for their products complete with waterproof zippers constructed from man made light weight composite material. The lighter bags are also larger, thus enabling you to carry more gear. Makes sense doesn’t it?
It’s hard to imagine how photographers of yesteryear managed to even make a single image when loaded down with their glass plate apparatus, massive wooden tripods and walking great distances to find a favourable landscape view point.
This preoccupation with size in truly invasive. Recently a mate confided in me that traipsing around the bush carrying his Nikon D700, a bevy of lenses together with an aluminium shafted tripod whilst searching for that ‘wow factor’ landscape was becoming quite onerous because of the weight factor.
The answer to the problem was, he suggested, adopting a mirror less high spec camera body and associated lenses, together with a modern light weight tripod with a decent ball head, not to mention a new lightweight camera back pack.
I was sceptical because it wasn’t the first time he had tried to lure me into a long discourse on the magnificence of Nikon’s full frame camera bodies and the magic optics of Nikon lenses.
A day or so later my inbox was full of outstanding images made by my mate using his brand spanking new, top of the line mirrorless Sony and a range of their lenses.
In his follow up phone call I learned that excessive weight was no longer a concern. Minus the tripod, hand held was much more stable, and, putting on and talking off the camera bag was no longer a back breaking task.
I had no comeback, especially when I considered the weight of my current Nikon kit that felt as if I was going on a ten day unsupported walk in the Andes.
Then it struck me. I’d been down the same road years ago when using a medium format camera was considered to be the camera of choice. I’d totally forgotten how heavy my Mamiya RB67 and it’s three lenses are and how I suffered carting the outfit on field trips.
I had answered that problem by moving over to a Nikon F5 and a range of Nikkor lenses and consigning the Mamiya and its kit to the bottom of a cupboard. The F5 was less than half the weight of the Mamiya.
That was way back in 2002, fifteen years ago. How time flies and how much has changed in the camera weight and size department since then.
Now that digital imaging is the way to go, my F5 has joined the Mamiya in the cupboard, replaced by Nikon’s DSLRs with their expansive and expensive range of DX and FX lenses.
Now the current top end Nikon bodies can’t be classified as light weights. When coupled with large lens, take for example the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens, the weight can become a challenge, particularly for hand holding during a day long shoot.
Like most photographers I rarely leave home without a camera and these days, when purely opportunistic photography is the aim and maximum printable image size is not a consideration I leave the big boys at home; replaced by a light weight camera which is quite adequate for the majority of my recreational shooting.
My choices are:
And, when I want to get adventurous or totally unobtrusive, my camera of choice is the GoPro Hero Black.
So there you have the absolute truth. Yes, Size (note the capital) does matter. In the case of cameras, it’s weight that matters usually, not dimensions.
My multiple downsizing shows how I’m not, as I thought, inured to the “Size Does Matter’ mantra. I’ve been kidding myself all these years.
Just for the record, here again are the cameras’ weights for your consideration:
MAMIYA RB 67 2700 GRAMS
NIKON F5 1210 GRAMS
NIKON D810 988 GRAMS
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-LX100 298 GRAMS
LEICA D-LUX6 289 GRAMS
GOPRO HERO BLACK 5 116 GRAMS.
I rest my case.
Hoo roo for now.