Nikon's layout - very logical : LUSENET : Photography In The Phils. : One Thread

Of all major camera makes I have tried, Nikon, Minolta, Canon, and Pentax, it is only Nikon which provides a very logical control interface for the user. And in my opinion, Nikon earns a lot of big points for this.

With the introduction of the F5, Nikon has clearly taken into account the importance of ergonomics. Having a camera comfortable to hold and being able to activate every control and depress every button with ease. And do most of these with the eye at the viewfinder.

No other camera is built like this. Can you name any?

Now, the major controls layout is duplicated on the F100. All secondary controls, or controls which are not usually accessed during shooting are placed at the left hand side. This is very helpful when hand-holding heavy glass like the AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D IF-ED.

It is nice to know that: 1. the power On-Off switch is placed right around the shutter button. 2. the LCD illumination switch, which also activates the SB-28 LCD illumination is incorporated to the On-Off switch (just a push further). 3. the shutter speed dial is right at thumb's reach. 4. the AF selector pad also within thumb's reach. 5. AF-L/AE-L and AF-On buttons near thumb. 6. MODE button at index finger's reach. 7. Exposure compensation at index finger's reach. 8. Aperture control via sub-command dial at index finger's (or middle finger's)reach. 9. DOF preview button at middle finger's reach.

And all of these can be accessed while having your eye on your viewfinder.

Other controls which are assigned to the left hand or both hands to take care of are: (usually while not looking through the viewfinder) 1. drive mode 2. ISO 3. flash mode 4. bracketing 5. custom functions button 6. diopter correction 7. lock button

Other controls which can be accessed with the left hand while looking through the viewfinder are: 1. metering mode switch (accessible with right hand, but also accessible with the left hand although more difficult) 2. AF mode selector switch

IMHO, ease of camera handling is just as important as the camera's reliablility and ability to Take The World's Greatest Picures. Yours.

-- Carlo Ma. Guerrero (, March 04, 1999


Depends on which camera, the F70 for example is reknowned world-wide for having one of the worst user-interphases in such an expensive camera. The Canon EOS50E beats it hands down in both ergonomics and features. In terms of features in the entry- and mid-level models, Nikon isn't that great. The F50, F60, and F70 are cameras that are seriously lacking in terms of ergonomics, DOF preview and mirror lock-up, something the Canon EOS50E(both DOF preview and mirror pre-fire) and Minolta 600si (DOF preview only) provides. My take with Nikon is: 'Buy only the most expensive bodies, that is F90x, F100, and F5 in ascending order', (which are the ones that can drive the new silent-wave lenses if I'm not mistaken) or go with Canon or Minolta when just starting out. Of course, the resale value and retail prices of anything other than Nikon leaves much to be desired in this country, but in terms of value for money in say..Hong Kong, I feel that Canon and Minolta are better if people don't have the budgets for the high-end bodies and would thus better spend their money on lenses.

-- Tommy Zablan (, March 07, 1999.

I agree that the F70's layout is confusing. But it did come before the F5. The following Nikon AF cameras, F601, F70, F801(s), F90(X), F100, F4, and F5 have their power ON-OFF switch within shutter finger's reach. The shutter speed dial, readily set by the right thumb (except for the F4's dial which requires 2 fingers to turn) and the aperture ring, logically placed on the lens, operated by the left hand. These are the three major controls which should be easily set even with the eye at the viewfinder.

The introduction of the F5 marks another improvement in the control layout of Nikon cameras. The power on-off switch, aperture setting, and shutter speed setting can now be controlled with the right hand alone. The pro F100 and the new entry level F60 have this feature as well.

The F5 and the F100, both professional cameras, naturally have more features. Most of these are placed within the reach of the right hand. That means, you can access these controls without removing your hand from the camera grip(body) or taking your eye off the viewfinder.

The F5, F100, and F60 revolve around the same concept. The left hand, focuses (in MF mode), zooms (if using a zoom lens), and cradles the camera/lens combo. The right hand switches on the camera, sets the aperture (in A or M mode), sets the shutter speed (in S or M mode), and trips the shutter.

I just don't see why Canon Opted to place the On-Off switch in the mode dial which isn't really easy to switch it off and place it at the same desired setting when switching it on. Similarly Minolta opted to place their on-off switch at left-hand side. These really don't make them grab-shot cameras either.

BTW the F70 can drive AF-S lenses.

-- Carlo Ma. Guerrero (, March 07, 1999.

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