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Saturday, 08 May 2010

Comments

Nice list, and hard to disagree, though they are all too big for me.

My desire would be a pair:

Canon S90
Canon G11

I vote "Yeah" with your selection Mike. And I drool everytime I see a picture of the Pentax 645D.

There are a couple of Olympus SHG primes, actually: the 150mm f2 and the 300mm f2.8. Not that I've ever used them (the only SHG lenses I've played around with are the 7-14mm and the 35-100... wow. Those are beauts.)

" The Olympus Zuiko Digital Super High Grade line. There are only six of them, and only one is a prime. "

So between the 150mm f2.0 and the 300mm f2.8, which, exactly, is the zoom?

:)

Don't ask me why, but I recently got back onto a film kick. I just bought a Pentacon Six* (which I believe is compatible with one of Mike's favorite lenses, I just can't remember which one off-hand). So my current list of most desirable cameras goes something like this:

1. Rolleiflex 2.8 FX
2. Mamiya 7*
3. Zeiss Ikon
4. Fuji GW690III
5. The prototypes of the successors to the Nikon D90 and the Panasonic GF1

Honorable mentions:
6. Zeiss Ikoflex Favorit
7. Black Pentax MX

Most desirable accessory:
8. Voigtländer VC Meter II

Most desirable lenses:
9. Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
10. Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
11. Zeiss 100mm f/2 macro
12. Canon 24-105 f/4L
13. Zeiss 35mm f/2.0

To be honest with you, I own a Nikon D300 and as much as I like it (and that's a lot) I still find it too big and heavy, so my interest in lugging around a D700 or Sony A900 is pretty low. I find the Nikon D90 is close to an ideal size/weight for actual use. But when NOT in use (i.e., when just being carried around), the appeal of the Panasonic GF1 and 20mm f/1.7 is obvious. [Yes, I am aware of the irony of claiming to not want to lug around a D700, then desiring a Fuji GW690III and a 24-70 f/2.8 lens. What can I say? I wants what I wants, even if it isn't rational...]

;-)
Adam

*I have a minor obsession with practical, lightweight medium format cameras that yield a large negative. The reigning champion in my personal experience is the YashicaMat 124G, by a large margin, though the Pentacon Six without a prism is quite attractive as well. I suspect, however, that the Mamiya 7 would squash the YashicaMat like a bug.

Put me down for a Leica S2. The one with the Sapphire LCD cover. That and a 70mm lens. I think I'd like to give that a try if price is no object.

Mike, is there some history between you and calculus that we should know about? Twice in the last week or so you've mentioned a calculus textbook. And if you have to go off-topic to explain, I promise not to complain.

--Marc

Hmmm....spot on list. The D700 has me salivating (owner of Nikon lenses and I will not sell) especially as in the UK they are being sold at a.. ahem.. decent price with the battery pack/grip......does this mean a new model is imminent?

Pentax 645 digi.......how many internal organs do I need to sell, 'cos I will.

the most desirable cameras on the planet
1. nikon d700 with the d3x sensor
2. canon 1dsmkiii with the vertical grip chopped off
3. sony a900 that looks sleeker
4. leica m9 that is the same size as the mp
5. pentax 645d with a "full frame" sensor and 100% viewfinder coverage

there's always something to complain about!

The best cameras for me are the ones I've got. No good looking over that bridge where the grass is always greener. Besides I've yet to learn all the ins and outs of the cameras I have ... and besides, again, I'm told it's not the camera ... and I believe it!

Let's say your camera is suddenly stolen.. the one that your fingers fit in that familar way, the very one that went to all those places with you and that picked up those scratches and glossy rub marks in your hands - not some other person's. And now you have to break in something else, some sterile factory product. At that moment, isn't your camera the most desirable, unique, irreplaceable - even with its (familiar) faults?

Seems like a pretty good list to me. I have the a850 and love it. There's not really anything I'd change about the camera.
The only thing I'm looking for now is a smaller m4/3 camera to compliment it.

I've probably desired all of those cameras at one time or another, but most notably the M9. But that camera is more like the Lamborghini or other exotic car you might have a poster of but know you'll never own.

What do you mean by replicam?

To put it shortly:
I agree 100% :)
But I am just waiting for the D800 ...

PS. Remember that the D700 also has all the old super Nikkor lenses to play with.
And therefore it is better than the Canon :)

"One test of a camera is when people still like it after they've owned it for a while and all the glow of newness (and self-congratulation) has worn off."

My 5D is a few days short of 4 years old and will pass 10,000 shots by then. It's still a wonderful camera that feels natural to use and always delivers the goods.

Would I like the 5DII's Live-View, HD video and even better high ISO performance? Sure, but so far the 5D has been more than good enough to keep serious desire at bay.

And then there's that banding in shadows more than one friend has encountered.

Besides, the new Photographer and Camera Delivery System (a small RV) makes additional expenditures tougher this year. /;-) At least it's already paying off in photo ops.

Moose

Mike, Thanks for the article! I'd put the D3x on it too as it is almost the same weight as the D700 and the IQ IMHO is superior at most ISOs.

I don't fully get the Olympus lens comments. No doubt they are well made, but the fact that they are limited to the FT format means that the effective f-number is double what they say, which nullifies much of my desire. E.g. if you do the usual 1-stop down from max for typical wide-open shooting you are at DOFs ~f5.6 on a traditional 35mm frame. (They would also hold more appeal if AF worked on a GF1).

-Cecelia

My grab and go choice is the G1, a practical and highly portable performer with handling and image quality that satisfy. The 100% finder and 4/3 sensor ratio earn extra points. My D700 is seldom needed.

Which is more desirable? The one that's used more.

Fun post. I'd have to add a Leica S2 and a Hasselblad H4D to round things out a little in my own list of desirables.

Sadly, I have an even longer list of lights on the wishlist.

Even sadder, I used to have a wishlist of darkroom equipment...

James

>>Nikon D700...Could be 20% smaller if you ask me, but that's just me.

Don't worry, it's just you. Me, I wouldn't mind 30% smaller.
Kidding aside, I wish Nikon could make a camera with the D700's image quality (and sensor size), thought not necessarily with its operational speed, in the form factor of, say, a D90. I wonder if it's really technological feasibility that's keeping them from doing so or if the marketing guys discovered that people want a big camera (as in different from ordinary Joe's DX SLR) to show off.

Carsten

The prospect of a Pentax FullFrame with an adapted-for-digital FA limited lens is mouthwatering. A recent interview with the Pentax Europe manager points in the direction of this becoming a reality, which makes it all the more fun.

Ear today, gone tomorrow?
Yes to all your choices, and having used Olympus lenses on film cameras in the past..would agree there too.

However, am still firmly stuck in the slide film world with my Nikon F100 and still in the box new Nikon F6. I have a D90 however it sees little use.

Am taking fewer and fewer photographs of anything these days.

Have thought of selling all photograph equipment and maybe just enjoy
life as it is in the present.

These five are a nice pick, Mike. Concentrating on the one I know best, the D700, I am tempted to agree with you that it could be 20% smaller. At least I was so until recently.

I like to carry two cameras, the D700 with a 17-35 AF-S and the D300 with a 16-85 VR. The former to shoot inside buildings and for hand-held night photography, the latter to shoot in the streets or doing landscape. Also there is no FX equivalent of the 16-85 DX zoom, at least not with the same optical quality.

Experience shows that the smaller and lighter D300 combo is substantially more pleasant to carry around and do casual shooting. It is less visible too. That is when you would like to have a smaller and lighter D700.

But when it comes to shooting in anger I prefer the D700 combo. It fits better in the hand and the additional half kilo makes it more stable. I wonder if the D700 isn't of the ideal size after all.

'It took Nikon nine years to make a digital analog (heh—sorry) of the F100, but they sure did it.'

All seem to consider the D700 to be the digital successor of the F100. Indeed, for many Nikon users the F100 was their last SLR before switching to digital. Most have never tried the F6. For having used all three extensively I am tempted to say that the D700 is the closest you can get to a digital F6.

A niggle: I wouldn't call a 300mm-equivalent lens an extreme telephoto. The other one, the 600mm-e, yes. But the 300mm-e, no.

And if I ever succeed in buying the rest of the SHG lenses (I've got 7-14mm), you can bury me with them. Almost nothing else is needed.

OK, Mike, I'm generally with you, as I own two of the list, but still...

As my wife says, I'm never satisfied. We should all do better, and that includes camera manufacturers. If there can be a Leica M9, one I own, which with the lack of anti ailiasing filter, makes fabulous photos, we are shown that it is indeed possible to make a fine hi-res full frame (I shoot mainly wide angles, can you tell?) digital in a package about the size of an M6 or 7, why, oh why can't we make a FF digital in a package like the OM4? Olympus won't, as they spent too much time selling us on the smaller sensor and telecentric lenses, so far too much face to be saved.

Oh, and the lack of the AA filter in the M9? Doesn't that show that agressive filters are unnecessary in most cases?

Bill Pearce

Hi Mike,

Even though no comment is necessary, this list is perfect.

One very happy D700 owner.

Chris

What, no S2? It looks like it's in the same weight class as the Pentax, so if one's under the weight limit then the other ought to be.

And you seem to have limited yourself to cameras available new - I'd love to see the list you'd make for the most desirable cameras no longer in production.

"What do you mean by replicam?"

Replica camera. See, buried too deep again. Sigh.

Mike

Some nice picks there Mike, especially the Pentax - I'm with you on that one. While we're dreaming, for me at the moment the most desirable would be an Alpa 12 SWA with a couple of modern lenses and a SOTA digital back. Now these are "all-business"!

Hi Mike, Have to agree with you on the Zuiko Digital SHG lenses. I managed to save enough for the 7-14mm lens and it is fantastic. My other lenses are High Grade but I am saving for the 14-35mm and the 35-100mm. Then I WILL be in photo-heaven. Cheers, Kevin

Gosh, these wonderful photos I'm getting from the cough...M8.2...cough must be an illusion. Wish these dreadful false starts were less desirable so I could buy a used second one.

"I wouldn't call a 300mm-equivalent lens an extreme telephoto. The other one, the 600mm-e, yes. But the 300mm-e, no."

Erlik,
That's just me then, too. I'm decidedly not a telephoto guy. I owned a Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 once, and I literally couldn't figure out anything to shoot with it, it was so long.

So to me, the 300mm-e is extreme! Your "mileage" may vary.

Mike

They're all nice. You could also add to the list Nikon's D300s and Canon's 7D.

While owning an M9 would be a thrill it's price tag is out of my league so I'm still waiting for Nikon to build the digital FM3a. Am I the only one who thinks it could sell like hotcakes even at say $1599?

What, you wouldn't include the Leica S2. Of course it's way out there, cost wise. But desireable I should think with big SLR size and handling, and medium format sensor!

My other desireable is the soon to be announced replacement of the D700, hopefully with the D3s sensor, which means I'm more a fan of high ISO than of more megapixels.

"I'd love to see the list you'd make for the most desirable cameras no longer in production."

I'm working on that.

Mike

I'd be willing to purchase a 5D Mk I or M8 for the right price used.

For old film cameras, I'd like a Canon F1 of some type or a Leica MP. Well, maybe a recent Zeiss Ikon instead of an MP, to save a few bucks, what with the economy and all that...

I read somewhere that the Spanish importer of Pentax has announced the camera will be available in our country in September...this year. Who knows, maybe it's true, you never know with pentax, but it will still be out of my reach. It's the only one in your list I'll like to have.

There was a post on the photorumours.com (28th April) saying that the Pentax 645 "will indeed come to Europe after the summer with a price tag of 7.000 Euros." Not to my taste, or budget.

I would like some of the Nikon D3S sensor's attributes in an APS-C sized sensor. And put that into a D40/D60 body (please).

At the moment, my most desired image-making device would be a 4X5 scanner with the approximate price point and IQ of the Nikon 9000 (itself endangered). This is all that stands between me and a move into a large-format, analog-to-digital work flow that is a natural extension of the satisfying one I am now using for medium format.

I'm a long term canon guy and I think I'd agree except for the Canon. Apropos of an earlier post, it's come off my list precisely because it's got video.

If money were no object, I'd love a bespoke D700 with sensor and supporting circuitry transplanted from a D3S. I tend to go photon hunting after the sun goes down and a D3S is just too bulky. Terrific list, though—I'd be delighted with any of them.

Mike,

Agree with both the D700 and M9, both of which I like more and more with use. But I must also - cough - disagree with the "Rodney Dangerfield Commemorative" M8. Mine continues to make outstanding quality images reliably, and is a great backup to the M9 when I need to travel light.

Don't sell those Olympus E-Ps short either - they're also pretty addictive carry-around cameras.

I used to read a variety of websites about cameras obsessively. I had several tangible complaints about my camera (an Olympus E-1, great for what it was, but limited). However, nothing came out for several years that was a compelling upgrade.

When the Nikon D700 was released, I knew it was what I had been waiting for, although I am sure I cannot afford it by most standards. I bought it and never looked back. I will use it until I can't anymore. There's really nothing else I would ask for.

The only photography related website I still visit is TOP (long time reader, first comment, thanks for all the posts).

MY Most Desirable Cameras on the Planet, yet does not exist but could. Here are the specs:

* Nikon FG size (fm3a is too big) see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NikonFGblkfrt50f18.jpg
* Nikon D3s sensor
* Good viewfinder
* Autofocus
* No flash

As for the lens I just need one: Pancake AF-S 35mm F2

Would you also be interested?

Since it does not exist, I got a GF-1 + 20mm F1.7 as a substitute...

Cheers,

Tregix.

"'I'd love to see the list you'd make for the most desirable cameras no longer in production.'

I'm working on that.

Mike"

great idea! this is my quick list:

1. phillips compact ii: THE modern, lightweight folding 8x10 field camera.
2. contax 645: the only modular 6x4.5 camera with sex appeal.
3. polaroid sx-70: gotta have a new camera to go with the new film.
4. deardorff: classic wooden field camera.
5. rolleiflex 2.8f: the new ones (gx, fx, and fw) just aren't as nice.

honorable mention
olympus e-1: the first classic dslr.

Ah the planet! If I'm not mistaken most people on this planet are way too poor to own ANY camera, let alone a computer to drool over buying decisions, new models...

"Ah the planet!"

Well, at least I didn't say "in the Universe."

Mike

I've always found the most desirable camera on the planet is the one I have on my person. Or rather the one I left at home, hmmm....

My choice: Leica M6, 35mm Summilux, and a roll of Kodak Tri-X inside....

So to me, the 300mm-e is extreme! Your "mileage" may vary.

Oh, I agree that mileage varies. I used the 150mm (that is, the 300mm-e) for shooting tighter portraits at a concert from several metres away, for instance. Mind you, not just faces -- the figure was covered approximately to the waist.

That 150mm/F2 is so incredibly good that you can slap 2x converter on it and still get great results. 600mm-e/F4 in a package that's about as big as a 35mm camera with 70-200/2.8. Very desirable for some things.

As to desirable cameras, it's funny how you can change your desires. I did state that I would like to buy an E-P2. And then I had an opportunity to acquire an E-P1 quite cheaply. Desires, schmesires. Instead of waiting to save enough money for an E-P2, now I'm the owner of an E-P1 camera plus 4/3->m4/3 adapter. :) (The Pen and the OM 28/2.8 go practically everywhere with me. In some regards quite like your one-year Leica.)

I fully agree with your comment about the size of the D700.

I live with the size, weight, and bulk of my working DSLR bodies, but it's a real treat to pick up my D5000 and a lightweight lens and do some personal shooting.

Not true, mobile phones are very, very common in poor countries, and many of them have cameras.

Just wanted to say that, as mentioned above, it seems the high guys at Hoya already decided to bring the Pentax 645D to Europe, the US and Australia by summer 2010. I have read this is well informed Spanish sites, and also an Australian guy posted he had the same information for his country.

So my take is that presales, or at least, interest from customers on the 645D must be high enough to justify this change in the plans of Hoya.

I agree with the comments that the Olympus E-1 deserves special recognition, great color (Kodak CCD, no CMOS, light AA -- the E-3 was a step backwards). I was not a bit disappointed when thieves relieved me of both and left me with nothing but an -ahem- M8 to work with. Based on my experience with the Olympus Digital Zuiko 11-22, which was only a pretty darn outstanding lens, I can believe the 7-14 is a truly world-class outstanding lens. But what do you shoot it on?

scott

Generally, I have to say that cameras and lenses are a system. The camera or lens alone does not take the picture.

If the picture quality is being judged by the lens then the only possible way to use the lens is to use a camera it will work on.

If a camera body is well built, has lots of features and an super quality senor but less than stellar lenses what good is it?

You can't use an Olympus lens on a Sony A900.

I agree with you, Sony A900 is on my list, using Olympus E system right now and that Pentax is mighty inviting.

Had you said the Universe, then the aliens coming to colonize (as mentioned recently by Stephen Hawking) the planet would be taking photographs of us with their D700s before and after.

Mike Bailey

"The big beasts don't appeal to me quite as much as the camera-sized cameras.

And much as I like little cameras, they're still, well, little. Their littleness is their big appeal. When you get right down to it there's no little camera that does as competently what a big one will"

Littleness was one of the biggest factors when getting my first DSLR, which is why i still love my Oly E620. With the 50mm f2 Macro on it the image quality is the best i've ever experienced. Better even than my brother's relatively older 1DSMkIIn. What's more, i can fit the body with three lenses and flash in a little Lowepro Slingshot 200 which i can carry with me everywhere without having to visit the chiropractor the next day. And due to the quality of the Zuiko glass range i'll probably hold onto my 620 for quite a few years to come... unless i win the lottery.

I like the list.

I have and love the D700.

I wish the Mamiya 6 were still being made.

A digital full frame Olympus Stylus Epic that still costs $84.95 brand new. Yeah, I'm sure that's on the drawing board at Olympus.

I've never handled or even seen any of these cameras so my bias is to go with what I know. I still love half frame so my dream kit is;


Pen FV
25mm f2.8
38mm f2.8 pancake
70mm f2
43mm yellow and red filters
all appropriately scuffed for their age but in perfect operating condition. A carry everywhere film kit.

Well, nice list but not for me apart from one:

1) Leica M9
Well for me this is Heaven.

2) Olympus E1
The Best Designed DSLR Ever. Still capable of producing stunning images but just to outdated.

3) Nikon D3x
The first complete 35mm Package.

4) Olympus E-P2
This is for me the first Happy-To-Snap away Camera that actually delivers.

5) Leica S2
While the Pentax looks nice and reminds me of the E1 this is the Ultimate Camera when its all about IQ.


However the next Camera I'm saving for (apart of the E3 Successor where the money is already lying around) is the Leica M8.2

B

I think I can agree with the list and, incidentally, I don't own any of the cameras listed.

I will, however, point to what I consider an omission: the Olympus OM1. Probably the the most wonderful manual camera made, small, ergonomic and perfectly designed. Absolutely love using mine.

And, of course, a Holga is perfectly desirable as well....

Pentax 645D will be available in Spain in the summer http://www.quesabesde.com/noticias/pentax-645d-llegara-espana-despues-verano,1_6298 (in Spanish). I won't be surprised when they expand availability later this year.

"Replicam"? As if all cameras aren't attempting to replicate what the eye sees. With respect to the M9, should one be able to get past the notion that a camera that outputs digital files directly, the M7 or MP, do the same job in a thinner body with far more tolerance for focussing error. Being lucky enough to use all three of these, I far prefer the complete manual approach of the MP, and use the M9 only when I have to have colour output. Sure, I can make the M9's RAW files monochrome by many clever software tricks, but why deprive myself of the sheer pleasure of developing Tri-X?

Well if it's the Universe, then there is this Hasselblad on the moon that I'd like.
No, come to think of it, the Hubble Space Telescope is pretty desirable.

The one which sees the world as I see it.

"While the Pentax looks nice and reminds me of the E1 this is the Ultimate Camera when its all about IQ.".

I have to disagree. We don´t know it yet. Mostly, it seems to be based on reputation more than on reality.

I tried the R line of Leica lenses based on the fact that, well, they were Leica lenses, hence, should be good, and ended up hating them big time due to how "womanly behaviour" they had -take it as a joke, please, as in "la donna e mobile"-.

Still wayting for an E-P1 follow up with a simple optical viewfinder integrated (28 mm wide with frame lines for 50 and 90 would be enough) and the basic buttons and dials of the Leica X1. Add 3 primes (guess which) and it would be my dream set for daily use.

Mike,
do I deduct correctly that regarding B&W images, you make a distinction between images on the screen on the one hand, and prints on the other? To me, the D700 wins in terms of prints (a result of the size of the photosites, I think), and I can imagine the 5D's do so on the screen (can't speak from experience though, cause I don't own or use one).

Cheers,

Hans

The most desirable camera, at least for me, is my Canon 40D. I whish I could spend more time with it.

Well, i like your site and this list (good on ya for putting the A900 on it...), but i'll have to play devil's advocate here and ask: "most desirable for what?". not for action. not for extreme low light. not for the harshest conditions. &etc. tools should be matched to the job, and i know you'd agree. (full disclosure: i shoot an Oly E-3)

I could not agree more with your choice of cameras.

As for lenses:
Canon 70-200/4 IS USM 2
Minolta 135 STF
Sony CZ 135/1.8
Nikon 200-400/4
Leica noctilx (50/1.0)

An EOS550D with a lighter control dial -this thing feels like it shouldn't bother with half- or third-stop increments.

Or a Lumix G2 with larger, less noisy, sensor.

My shen-hao is perfect. We still see eye to glass.

Yes, I agree with you, mostly. Specially with the last three cameras. I would like to have the M9 because I have 5 last generation M lenses with an M4 and an M6 camera, plus some old M lenses. I like the A900 also, but probably my favorite will be the Pentax, I'll see. Regarding the lenses, I totally agree with you. I shoot an Olympus E3 camera with several ZD lenses, but the two super high grade I have are really outstanding. The 14-35mm f2 is just superb. I have compared it using an E-P2 (ridiculously looking combination) with my Leica M aspheric glasses using a Novoflex adapter. It's incredible how much sharp is the 14-35 than the Leica primes, specially in the corners, which amazes me because the Leica lenses are full frame lenses. Even at f2.8 the image of the Oly 14-35 is better than the Leica M lenses, center and corner, ant any aperture. But is not only sharpness, the transparency, micro-contrast, I just don't know, but the image is so clean and beautiful. This lens is a thousand times better than the E3. I hope some day Olympus does a camera that takes real advantage of this lens. Well, I must say I hope some manufacturer comes with an image capture device that takes advantage of this lens and Olympus uses it.

Not that I find the D700 and 5D Mark II undesirable, It has something to do with not wanting to do what the mainstream does.

Regards

"A digital full frame Olympus Stylus Epic that still costs $84.95 brand new."

Mark, you're probably already aware of this, but you can't even buy a USED ANALOG copy of the Stylus Epic for $85!!! Believe me, I've been trying...(I told you I've been on a film kick)

Best,
Adam

Tex, the A900 has better hue resolution than any 35mm out there, currently, due to its MFD-like color filter. That means better resolution in foliage than the D3x and less mushy skintones than the 5dii. The A900 excells at ISO 800 and below, and it's not shabby above that, either. In lowlight, it's no D700, but it's as good or better in lowlight than nearly any pre-D700/D3/5Dii camera. That great color filter require more amplification, causing more noise.

The most desirable camera on the planet in my very questionable view would be an alliance between camera manufacturers for a very limited time. The camera would be built between Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Hassy, Leica, and Pentax it would be christened "CHONPAL" (I know the name is rubbish). They would call up 100 respected people in photography from documentary, fine art, the blog world, printing world and anyone who has proven understanding of their given craft/art from digital and film to build camera designed for photographers by photographers and not by scientist/accountants.

I´m sure these four manufacturers would all profit from this limited time alliance with each of them channeling new ideas and previous knowledge and personal expertise to make one very very incredible camera FOR photographers during a very restricted time limit.
My god I think I´m listening to way too much Jimi Hendrix lately!!
Paul

@Isaac: I only ever turn my 350D off when I change lenses, and that's only to prevent the static electricity from attracting dust (no sensor cleaning on this one). During lulls in photography, it has hung around for at least several weeks, if not a couple months, without a noticeable loss of battery. Surely it is not the only DSLR that doesn't use power while sleeping?

I wish the M9 were a true replicam, i.e. if it were the same size and dimensions of an M3, or even an M6 classic. Alas it's not, it feels far bigger and bulkier in my hands than those lovely machines. Add on the astronomical price and lack of convenient zooms, teles and wide angles, and it's just not in the running.

Oh vow! Wish I could afford a Leica S2 or Pentax 645D.
I'm sure my photos would improve to such a vast extent
that I could quit my job and become a world famous
professional photographer. My GF1,GH1,F3HP are
absolutely a millstone around my neck and crippling
my hidden unheralded potential.

I admit I'm pretty pleased with my D700 still. Before I got it, I swapped with Oleg and shot his 5D for a weekend at one point (he shot my D200), and I was not overwhelmingly impressed with how the 5D handles as a camera. Haven't shot any of the others on the list.

I think of 300mm as a "super-telephoto". Certainly the 300/2.8 is. But today there are enough 75-300 type cheap consumer lenses that I can't say any 300 is. For that matter Nikon, Canon, Sigma, and no doubt others make [something]-400 zooms mostly under $1500, occasionally under $1000. Maybe 300mm is losing its edge :-).

Mike, could you please elaborate what's it about the Olympus lens line that makes you praise it so? I'm not saying they aren't great lenses as I don't really know them.

Mike - can you quantify the differences you see in digital b/w from the 5D's and that from say, the D700 or something similar?

Totally agree with your list. As an amateur photographer, it is highly unlikely I'll ever own any of these cameras, but the Sony A900 is first on my list, followed by the M9 and the D700. I'd also like to include an honorable mention for the Nikon D300.

As for the most desirable lens lens line-up, actually, the Olympus High Grade line is just as desirable, and in some cases even more so (50mm f.2 macro, 12-60mm zoom) than it's more expensive brothers.

"Mike, could you please elaborate what's it about the Olympus lens line that makes you praise it so?"

ER,
You can read some background on my taste in lenses here:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/how-to-stress-a-camera-le.html

It's more or less all still pertinent except I've outgrown my infatuation with the little Sigma lens on account of I hated the camera so much.

Mike

"Mike - can you quantify the differences you see in digital b/w from the 5D's and that from say, the D700 or something similar?"

Answering strictly, no, I can't quantify it.

And actually the best digital B&W I've gotten personally was from D700. But the people who really know how to do digital B&W right are often found using 5D's and 5D Mark II's. See Studio Hatyai for one example.

Mike

My most desirable camera would be a full manual Olympus XA. Just add a small wheel somewhere so that I can set the exposure time (to some fixed valued, or to auto).

Alternatively, a Stylus Epic with added manual controls (exposure compensation, infinity focus).

I really wish Olympus will come out with one more serious compact film camera one day. Fujifilm still produce very nice film cameras (Klasse S/W, Natura Classica etc), so why not Olympus?

No love for the Pentax K-7? That's my next camera purchase...

Olympus pen looks very good to me. The old version, though, the one for film.

Sure, we have a lot of love for the K-7. Just because something doesn't rank amongst the very most desirable doesn't make it bad.

Mike

I am soooo in love with my a900

I would not be so bad to the M8, Mike, mine is still the most desirable object I have (well, inanimate), never had a problem in almost three years and I would not change it with anything on your list. Ok maybe with the M9 if the price was a couple thousand euros less.

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