« What is Time? (OT) | Main | Great Cameras of 2013 Part V: Sigma, Samsung, Lomography, Chamonix, and Phase One »

Saturday, 28 December 2013


I cant believe I am saying this, and if pressured I would take it back and admit I didn't really mean it, but the Sony A7r is almost too high res and too sharp for portraits. I know that you can soften an image in post, but that has been somewhat of a challenge if one is looking for the "negligible Photoshop" look. Also, there are only a few FE lenses. I have the 35 and the 50 and they are great. I'd vote for it for camera of the year in a second.

Actually, I think it makes more sense to count the Leica M-240 as their entry for CoY, because (a) you could finally buy one and (b) it's really quite a strong camera.

I ended up taking delivery on a both an M-240 and a Fuji X100S within a week (something one wouldn't do on purpose) - and so get to compare them when they are both new to me. And to my surprize, I find I prefer the M-240 for almost everything (in spite of much improved auto-focus in the X100s) Note that I used to often grab an X100 instead of an M9.

Live view combined with ultra-wide lenses, and live-view through the attached finder, is way more usable and useful with macro and ultra-wide lenses than you would expect. (Which means things like the GX7 may well be the way of the future...)

On the other hand, after decades of a 28mm widest frameline, there is still no 28f1.4 lens...

If the large image is dead then there is no need for a large sensor. I think it will survive, maybe not in the printed paper form, perhaps as a projected image. If so I would love to see something other than a 35mm format but still a 'FF' format. A 35x28 format (5:4) is much more appealing to me for portraiture and landscape photography. After all the great landscape photographers used 8x10 and 4x5 principally. We would have almost 20% more pixels and better 35mm lens coverage. The electronic viewfinder would eliminate the need for a larger vertical mirror allowing the manufacturer to use the current 35mm body shape. I have written the major camera makers but received no response.

Wish they'd make a Micro 4/3 with an optimized 20-40zoom(e) lens.

Dear Mike,

If I were still into all-in-one cameras, the Sony RX10 would be a must-buy for me. It appears, in every respect, to be massively better than the Fuji S100 I had, and I was doing 11 x 14 and larger professional/portfolio quality work with that (quite a few of the digital photographs in my online gallery were done with the Fuji, in case readers don't realize that).

It is a bit spendy, but seeing as one doesn't have to buy anything else…

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Re : Rocky - as much as I loathe Stallone, you have to give him credit for the original Rocky. He wrote the screenplay as well as starred in it, and how often does that happen? Also, I'm not sure what was better that year. Taxi Driver? Okay, maybe Network, though it seems a bit over the top to me now.
It pains me to say it, but I think the dumb mug deserved it.

Is the RX10 really "very small?"

Looking at the camera comparison sites, and ignoring for a moment the integral lens, it's about the same size as the larger format Olympus EM1, and the larger format Sony A7. It's larger than the smaller format bridge camera the Panasonic FZ200.

@Paul R -- Wait a minute. Did you just imply that "Rocky" was better than "Taxi Driver," the latter of which was one of the best movies of the 20th Century?

@ Ed Taylor -- according to quite a few websites, you can soften the A7 and A7r images quite a bit simply by shooting at certain speeds, because the shutter shake is so bad. See Kurt Tuck's commentary at the Visual Science Lab. Here's part of it:

"My first impression was the sheer noise and intensity of the shutter. Prescient I think since we are now finding that this Howitzer inspired shutter also causes a profound lack of sharpness with longer lenses at certain shutter speeds. The feel of the body was off. The focusing much slower than that of the $600 Panasonic G6 in an adjacent display area. But the whole impression was that Sony checked the boxes they thought the power users would want (horsepower) but forgot to engineer in any élan when it comes to tactile luxury. Both the A7 cameras feel somewhat like Russian cold war manufacturing discovered plastics."

I like the idea of "FF" as the replacement for medium format for pros. But really the A7 seems more similar to the 35mm cameras we used in the 1970s in terms of handling and speed of usage.

And for someone who has kept his old 35mm manual focus system on the shelf and had to move to digital, it provides the first opportunity work in the traditional manner and mindset, and with the lenses already on hand, or easily available.

I know you are "done with adapters" so you will never get a chance to experience this. But for the rest of us the A7 is something absolutely new in digital.

It's not "retro" like the Nikon Df to my mind. It's more like using a view camera was after 35mm came along and made them obsolete.
There is just something in thinking about the exposure and setting the aperture ring, and setting the focus with a nice firm manual action that lets many of us think through the process a little better.

But it's not a great camera like the Olympus, it's just a first shot at something new.

What a confusing time to buy a camera. I own a Pentax K5 with four lenses covering from 15mm(e) to 600mm(e) but I must admit it's becoming a bit much to carry (the Sigma 120-400mm is car only). I also have an Oly PL2 with 14-150mm but I can't live without a real viewfinder in full sunlight. I hate it.

Like Ctein, I loved the Fuji S100fs. It was my introduction to an all-in-one camera and for travel it was great, but it had shortcomings for me.

A few weeks ago I bought the Pana DMC-FZ70 for a fun camera: 20-1200mm. That's my style. But small sensor.

Now the Sony RX-10 comes up. Quality in all areas. Big enough sensor, Zeiss lens, good zoom range, good video (don't like the FZ70's). But approx $1300 in Australia.

So I want to travel soon and I'm thinking what to take.

For not much more (+$200) I could buy a Pentax K3 body to round out my Pentax bag. Take just the two bodies with my 16-45mm and 55-200mm zoom lenses, 24-300mm total range, no lens changing, no decisions, just like the RX10 but more versatile, and heavier and bulkier.

Or for approx. $1600 I could buy an OM-D E-M1 with 12-50mm and take my m43 14-150mm lens. Leave the PL2 at home.

So what do I buy and take on my trip, given that my legs ain't as strong as they used to be? E-M1 is small and light enough, but I prefer not having to change lenses.

I'm leaning to buying the RX10 and taking the Pana FZ70 as well - the Sony would do the bulk of what I want with ease and take great video as well, while the FZ70 would be for those super wide interiors and ultra long scenics. And no decisions about what lens(es) to take or changing lenses in the street while doing a balancing act. Just two grabbable cameras.

OTOH, to own an E-M1! But then I'm into needing expensive Oly lenses.

Despite all that, I don't think I can resist the RX10.

@John Camp: Rocky is definitely a classic movie. Taxi Driver, though, is one of the hallmark movies of the entire century, but its quality in no way diminishes Rocky's Oscar worthiness.

Should Taxi Driver have won the Oscar? Maybe. It's the most important movie of 1976. But it's not necessarily the Best Picture.

[I wish you guys could explain to me what you saw in "Taxi Driver." I sat through it once and have no desire to do so again, but I didn't get it. --Mike]

Re john camp, I wish someone like Ctein would look at this. I saw a vibration graph compared to the nikon d800 and a canon ff and there was no discernable difference. hope this isn't a classic imaginary internet fueled and propogated myth. No reflection on mr. Camp. just sayin sorry i cant find the link

I'd kind a like one if i can manage it ...bill

Looking at the future, I think that all the AA filter talk and tech is really transient in nature. When sensors will have megapixels in the 3-digit range, AA filtering becomes unnecessary. Naturally that requires other things to develop too, but it's a very natural progression towards higher image quality.

What vomes to formats, I also believe that small formats are the future. Most photos I see are on computer screens. Count in that 4K screens will be commonplace, requiring 8 mpix of real resolution and a 16 mpix camera should do well. People are sensitive to size and cost and even a Sony A7 is not pocketable, nor are lenses likely to get larger without a fundamental technological breakthrough.

What comes to full frame, I believe it will stick around. There's enough demand at current price levels nad photography is pretty popular. It will just be the "big camera" for amateurs and pros alike, not the standard size like 35mm was in the 90s.

But I was wondering what will happen to lenses.. The latest and greatest tend to be a bit too expensive for most and novel camera designs requiring new lenses for best performance are a potentially big investment for prospective buyers. Not to mention that many photographers have found the lenses they like to use and choose cameras based on their compatibility with said lenses. I would assume/hope that a development where sensors will work better with a variety of lens designs would happen, but who knows.

I find it still difficult for me to accept the idea of making still and video cameras into one body.

It is easy to put both of them into one body, but it is awefully difficult to think simutaneously in still capture and video capture. Because I can think in one way only at a time, I always find a traditional video camera more suitable for video capture than a still-camera-modified two-in-one body. And when I concentrate on taking pictures, to catch those "decisive moments", all video-capable features on the camera are just a waste.

Is it just me?

- Frank

[If it's just you, it's just me too. But then, I was never impressed by the spork. --Mike]

Lots of people seem to be desperate for Fuji to make a full frame X body but I hope they stick to their guns and don't, especially as the existing lenses wouldn't work with FF. What I DO want Fuji to make is an X body with a SQUARE sensor - the perfect aspect ratio and existing lenses would work with it. Come on Fuji surprise us!

@John Camp: To use an analogy; the A7 is a .40 S&W and the A7R a 10mm Auto. Maybe all that’s required here is proper application followed up with a *proficient & relevant* shooting technique?

Adapted*** long lenses on tripods………..really? This is a very light body - it has quite a kick - it needs to be handled correctly. Note how sports shooters cradle their long telephotos, in-effect dampening the shutter bounce/vibration - that's good technique!

The real acid test will be when the A7's *purpose built* 70-200 arrives, if we still see these issues then we'll have serious reason to complain.

I'm still on the fence reference the A7/R, so I've no dog in this fight yet.

Two years ago, a friend was looking for a Canon DSLR to replace his Canon Digital Rebel (model number unknown -- 8MP) and use with his Canon lenses. He bought a Sony NEX-7 and sold his Canon gear.

A year later he needed to replace his Canon PowerShot S-something (pocket camera), the third in the series he had owned. The S-110 (from memory) was a logical choice. He bought a Sony RX-100 II.

Neither Canon nor Nikon has a bad DSLR product and each has enough lenses to keep any serious or semi-serious photographer broke but Sony has interesting products to talk about, rent and maybe buy.

Mike, you have stop nominating body-only cameras, .....please?

Try nominating a camera that includes a useable lens or lens set. And evaluate the whole kit as COTY.

Example: the Sony A7. With just the Zeiss 35mm f2.8, it is what... an RX1 with a slower lens? With the 35, 55 and Sony 70-200 f4 OS zoom it is what... same size and weight as a Canon 6D with 35 f2 IS, 50 f1.4, and 70-200 F4 IS lenses? For what purpose?

Example: the Panasonic GX7 with their also-new 14-140mm OIS lens. The whole kit weighs 665g, less than the Sony RX10, but with µ4/3 sensor? Now that's interesting.


I've had a dream camera floating around in my head for years and finally somebody makes it. I did NOT expect that somebody would be Sony but the RX10 on paper seems ideal to me. However after using fujis S200exr and X-S1 and knowing how they handle color I'm really curious to see if Fujifilm will produce an answer to the RX10. A 1" 16mp x-trans sensor? (camera sales departments hate me...)

PS: further my delicious dilemma above, I ordered an OM-D E-M1 this morning. Because

(1) I realised I have a range of nice lenses for it already - OM-Zuiko 28mm and 50mm MF (need an adapter of course); Zeiss Contax G 28mm, 35mm and 90mm with two adapters to m43; Minolta MD 35mm and 250mm f5.6 RF mirror, plus Vivitar MD 90mm 1:1 macro. And the M Zuiko 14-150mm. An embarrassment of lenses.

(2) Michael Reichman's COTY review this morning.

(3) I found it for A$1,090 (US$970) body only! Australian brick store in Sydney, Australian stock and warranty.

So from being an OM system man 30 years ago, I'm back with them. Might have to buy the RX10 too, but later when the price falls.

Tim - if Fuji could first make a camera with usable focus acquisition that might be a better place to start...

The comments to this entry are closed.