Today I received a question from a reader and instead of sitting down and typing a long answer when I basically had no real answer I decided to post his question here and let you guys give him a suggestion or two. Here is the question:
Firstly, I’d like to say how superb your site is, indeed I’ve hardly been getting any sleep this week because I’ve been busy reading your posts until the early hours! It really is among the best on the web! Secondly, I’d like to apologise. You must get a lot of email, and I know I’m only adding to your pile, but my question’s probably not one you’ve had before.
The reason I’m writing is that I’ve been a keen photographer for about five years now. I use a Nikon D50, some fast primes and the Nikon 18-200 which have served me pretty well. Anyway, I was serving with the British Army in Afghanistan last year and had all these great plans to upgrade my equipment, indeed I even managed to persuade a colleague to buy a D90 as his starter camera, and he loves it. Unfortunately my plans were spoiled by a Taliban sharpshooter who shot me through the right wrist, nearly causing me to have my hand amputated.
Just over a year on, the strength and dexterity in my right hand is still very much reduced, I have regained enough sensation and movement to operate the shutter release reasonably well, but I find selecting focus points with the four way controller pretty difficult, and locking focus impossible. Operating the command wheel is also really tricky. Manual focus on that camera is hopeless, so I find myself rather frustrated. In short, my camera is usable, but not ideal ergonomically as trying to do anything with my right thumb while shooting is not easy to say the least.
I was considering a Leica M8 even before my injury, my main photographic interests are my family and friends, and my priorities previously were IQ followed by ergonomics and speed. My priorities have now shifted with the ergonomic aspects of a camera being crucial but IQ still very important to me. I love the creative options an SLR gives me, but am equally intrigued by RF photography.
I’ve looked at your reviews of cameras such as the PEN series, x100, and nex-5, but it seems to me that there would still be far too much input from the right thumb, if not during operating the shutter release, then immediately prior to setting up a shot. I’ve also looked at the Leica X1 and was concerned by the slow AF as I don’t think it would keep up with my kids! I suspect these problems would annoy me, and that I’d be better off with the predominantly left handed operation and deliberate shooting style of a Leica M.
What are your thoughts on this? Are there any alternatives that I’ve missed?