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Monday, 18 January 2016

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Since I was a Minolta Maxxum user, I settled for a Sony F717 while waiting to see if Minolta would ever produce a DSLR. It was a nice enough camera in its day. Around $900 or $1000 then. Worth around $25 now. I took some nice enough pictures with it in good light. It could still do the same today, but cheaper cameras are better in just about every way, from image quality to viewfinder quality to focus speed, shooting speed, recording speed.

I've had my RX100 several years now (and plan to keep using it several more); enough to justify the $500ish price tag. I love the idea of the RX10 with its pretty fast 28-200 equivalent, nice ergonomics, excellent viewfinder, but I don't like the idea of spending that kind of money again on a fixed lens camera. I guess that's mostly because I'd view it as a second camera (much like the RX100 now) whereas if I could really get rid of my ILCs, I probably wouldn't mind spending $1000 on a fixed lens camera every few years.
Another consideration is that with a DSLR system, you buy lenses, and you can be sure that whenever you want/need to buy a new camera to use with them, there will be something available. With a fixed lens, there's no guarantee that the company will keep up that product line.

The fact that old interchangeable lenses may be "obsolete" in the sense that no current production camera is designed to work with them doesn't mean they're "useless". There are still people shooting Canon FD film cameras, for example, and even older Exakta and Topcon cameras. And, as your link to Ken Rockwell's site demonstrates, the lenses can be adapted for use with some modern cameras.

Personally, I think Canon made the right call in the 1980s when they replaced FD with the EOS system. The lens/body compatibility rules for Canon are pretty simple: FD lenses work with all FD bodies; EF lenses work with all EOS bodies; EF-S lenses only work on APS-C and EOS-M bodies, and EF-M lenses only work on EOS-M bodies. Compare this to the tangled mess of Nikon compatibility, where for many cameras, there are some F-mount lenses that work, others that sort of work (except for something important like metering), others that don't mount, and worst of all, a few that may mount but will physically damage your camera (these are the very early non-retrofocus ultra-wide lenses that required you to lock up the reflex mirror).

Also, Canon had (IMHO) made a mistake at the very beginning by using a breech-lock mount instead of a bayonet. The breech-lock works fine, of course, but it's not as easy to use as a bayonet. They tried to improve this in the '70s by using the whole outer barrel of the lens, rather than just a little ring at the base, as the breech-lock, but bayonets are still more convenient. So for the EF mount, they started from scratch and designed a good bayonet mount. They also took advantage of the opportunity to dump all of FD's mechanical signaling and create a completely electronic control interface.

Of course, the flip side of this is that modern electronic lenses are much more difficult to adapt to other systems. Because of this, I suspect that lenses from before the 1980s will be in use (via mount adapters) long after today's electronic lenses are all in the dumpster due to obsolescence, and many electronic lenses that may still be just fine optically will end up in the garbage due to failures of their electronics. You can still use a Leica screw-mount lens today, about 85 years after the first of them were made. But will you still able to use today's lenses from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc. 85 years from now? Especially the ones with focus-by-wire controls, which will be completely unusable once their focus motors fail?

Here's an argument against fixed-lens cameras: they're hard to pack. When you're traveling with a camera in a carry-on, a fixed lens takes up space in all three dimensions. A camera with interchangeable lenses can be disassembled and the parts packed separately -- I carry a Panasonic GX-8 and three lenses in a briefcase, and I don't think any of the pieces is more than two inches across (thick.) Of course, this size problem only occurs with the high-end fixed-lens cameras that you'd use to replace a DSLR or m4/3 outfit. There are some good fixed-lens cameras with retractable lenses, and that are quite small, as well, but they come with other limitations.

Many of my favorite family photos are from fixed lens cameras, but they took film, with the Olympus Stylus lasting the longest. Since the digital sensor and processor are the closest equivalent we have to film, I suppose if you want to keep a modern fixed lens for long you had better like its output and be at least somewhat resistant to GAS. That rules out anyone on the Internet.

If you decide today that your 13 years old 8 megapixel camera is not good enough. It´s also possible for you to decide that your interchangable lens of today isn´t good enough for your 250 megapixel camera in 13 years.

Since you broached the issue, the FD lens mount was the absolute best mount available. I really went into spasms when they discontinued it.

Mi dos pesos

you could argue that even interchangeable lenses become useless when their whole systems become obsolete...

The thriving market in esoteric adopters on eBay... Robot, Argus Brick, Altix... etc, argues otherwise.

I love my Nikon FX DSLR and all the newer lenses...as well as my old AI lenses to go with it.

But I also love my fixed-lens ("bridge") cameras such as the Sony RX-10. For one thing, I never have to clean the sensor! And the focal length range usually is similar to my interchangeable lenses...

All this really magnifies the importance of picking a long term player when choosing a system.

Which is fraught.

Mike,
The lens of fixed lens camera is not a problem when it comes to getting rid of the camera. If it is to be sold as a used item it needs a lens anyway. If it is given away as a gift, it still needs a lens. Either way lens comes in handy. If I have to get rid of my interchangeable lens camera I would prefer to get rid of the len too. Lens are getting better, so why stick to an old one? Of course that applies only to people like me who do not use more than one lens. Most enthusiasts do not need or have more than one (kit-zoom) lens. More over fixed lens camera users are the type who are least likely get rid of those cameras. Unless the camera is bad.

Same with the 7 - 22.5 mm Leica DC Vario Summicron f/2 - f/2.4 Asph Digilux 2/LC1 lens from the same era. Beautiful lens, I still miss it; not much use these days unless you feel the urge to use a .235 MP EVF camera to produce 6 MP images.

Yes, when the camera goes the lens must follow on a fixed-lens rig.

But the reason that a fixed-lens camera purchase is so feasible today is because it has the real potential for longevity. The rate of real change in camera technology has dramatically fallen. Standard resolutions are pretty much beyond most hobbyists' wildest needs. Ditto low-light sensitivity. You can find a fixed-lens camera featuring whatever style of knobs and viewfinders you think you need. The potential for finding a fixed-lens camera that you'll love and find useful as an imaging soul-mate for 5+ years is exponentially greater than it was, say, 11 years ago when that Sony Cybershot was haunting Best Buy shelves.

But keep mindful that the central thesis of buying into a fixed-lens camera is, beyond economics, to help to keep one's eye on the "ball" of the image. To mind-meld with an imaging tool that can become second-nature in use.

Realistically, however, I don't think that the image is the main "ball" for most photo enthusiasts. No, the experience of photography is their true ball. Analyzing and buying the components. Accessorizing. That's fine. That's what keeps the camera business rolling. But a fixed-lens camera could never satisfy most shutterbugs. There would always be some "flaw" that made the camera's further use distracting and unacceptable.

Mike, you favorite "one-camera-one-lens" proposal is fundamentally anchored on the same principle as I propose here. It's just that your proposal, fully stated, would actually read "one-camera-one-prime-lens", whereas mine would read as the real "one-lens" program.

At the office, we bought a Sony DSC-R1 camera in 2006 or 2007 that still gets regular use. It had a superb Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-120mm f/2.8 lens (in 35mm terms). The files still compare well to many contemporary camera, probably thanks to the lens and the APS-size sensor. The R1 cost about $1000, as I recall. I wish that lens could be transferred to a new camera, such as my Fuji X.

In the film era, the camera was essentially a box for holding a lens in front of film, which meant that cameras were generally kept for longer periods of time, as there was little to be gained by upgrading frequently. Not so in the digital age, when the camera is a highly complex computer and sensors are constantly being improved, thus providing better IQ. This creates a strong desire always to have the latest and greatest camera, even when the one that you currently have is serving its purpose very nicely. Hence, the dilemma with regard to fixed lens cameras. Can you resist the pull of every upgrade, or do you consider the camera to be a disposable piece of equipment that you have no reservations replacing, lens and all? I am facing this dilemma with my RX1, which has produced some wonderful images. So far, my decision is to stand pat and resist the tractor beam of the RX1R-II.

oh, yes, I know what you mean...

I am *very* fond of the 41mm (equiv) lens of the original 2009 Sigma DP2. I find this lens to be superb, sharp even wide open, with smooth tonal transitions and creamy soft bokeh.

Despite the shortcomings of the camera, just to use the lens I do come back to the DP2 every so often. In good daylight images are fantastic and very rich and subtle. I am really glad I kept the camera!

Some recent examples from flickr - isn't the DP2 41mm lens fanastic?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamminefoto/6268924598
https://www.flickr.com/photos/otchipotchi/5050248609/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/yuta3_21/24101922295/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/yoromoro/23924454519/

There can be another sort of issue with fixed-lens cameras.
Last year I decided to try my late father's Minolta 7S; I had it checked and the lens was cleaned for dust specks accumulated inside it. The man who repaired the camera warned me the light meter was giving some misleading indications, so I decided to employ the Sunny 16 method (which was a première for me). I bought an Agfa APX 400 film roll, exposed it and had it developed and scanned.
When I saw the scans, I was appalled: every picture, bar the few ones taken with wide apertures, were severely overexposed. Even those taken with narrow apertures, which was rather incongruous. As it turned out, the diaphragm blades were stuck in the f/5.6 position. As the repair was deemed too costly, and hardly justifiable, the Minolta is now a big, heavy paperweight.
So here's another case of a camera made useless because it is of the fixed lens kind.

Can confirm, had the Sony F828- that lens was easily as sharp as any of the other samples of Zeiss glass that I parked in front of my Contax film bodies. It's a shame it's permanently stuck to the front of that camera.

For me the cut off for fixed lens cameras would be the X100T. Imagine buying something like the RX1 or the Leica equivalent for thousands and watching the clock tick from day one. I would hate to loose such a beautiful bit of glass because the camera has died/become obsolete/lost/stolen/damaged. It does not help that Sony has a habit of replacing models at about 300x the rate of most other brands. On the other hand, buying those lenses AND a camera on top. Bugger, quandry time again.

You can look at it from the other end too. Some of those fixed lenses are excellent performers and are much smaller than would be possible were they detachable (take the Leica-branded 24-75 eq. Of the Panasonic LX100 for example). Moreover, they are more affordable despite having a complete camera attached. Contrary to the situation in 2003, digital cameras today are fully useful in many light environments and for many purposes. They are less likely to become obsolete in just a few years, especially if their owners possess a healthy approach towards sufficiency.

Even though I have some very nice Micro Four-Thirds and Pentax cameras, I refuse to part with my Sony R1 because of the absolute quality of that Zeiss lens. Over the years, more photos accepted into juried exhibits have been made with that lens than any other. If only Sony retained the lens and put a modern sensor, EVF, and processor into a comparable body! I kept waiting and waiting. I still keep the R1 in my vehicle for those sudden moments when I need a top quality camera.

I recently bought an X-T1 and 35mm F2. Like Mike, I find the ergonomics pretty well perfect not to mention the OVF. I almost bought an X100 series camera but 35mm effective is not my favorite. I'm more of a 28 or 50 guy. As a street shooter I could live with 28,35 or 50 fixed if push came to shove. However, I really like the framing the 50mm FL gives me and I find it best for framing my formalist snapshot pics I do so often. So for me 50 EFL is my choice for single FL. My X-T1 and fujinon 18 and 35mm lenses could be all I ever need. Normal wide and normal.

That said, if we are spending fake money designing custom cameras for Fuji, I would buy a fixed mount X-T1 with a 28-50 f2 lens camera right now! Give the 3 focal lengths indented stops. All the way left (28), all the way right (50) and one in the middle for 35mm. Make it all metal (within reason) and weatherproof. DONE. Perfect camera for me. Thanks very much.

Many film cameras had a 10 or more year lifespan and there was no sense of urgency to upgrade. The Nikon F, F2, and F3 span a period of over 20 years and many photographers kept using their older equipment until it broke down.

Today's camera's image making component is a silicon based digital computing system that has a very short period before a new technical advancement makes your purchase obsolete. For example Fuji replaced their X-Pro1 product after 4 years, and are in the process are liquidating the X-Pro1 inventory in their supply chain and no doubt crushing any resale value for all current X-Pro1 owners today (and if you want one the price is rock bottom). This is the reality of consumer electronics.

I had a pair of Nikon FE's that I bought used in the 1980's, made over 10,000 images with them and sold them for what I paid for them in 2000. That won't happen anymore in a consumer electronics world. But it seems to me that people still want to spend their money, use the equipment and want to get their "investment" back sometime down the road. Sad to say, those days are long gone.

Mike, italics alert!

Nigel's post (after Hugh Smith's) is the "culprit." No closing tag after his first paragraph quote.

Sarge

"All photo-related searches lead to Ken eventually."

In which case, all this discussion is moot, isn't it? We should all go buy ourselves either a Nikon D40 with an 18-55 (shooting in JPG with the color cranked all the way up) or get a 4x5 if we want to be considered "professional." At least that was the central teaching of Rockwellian Photography last time I was there.

I usually fall in love with lenses, not cameras.

I've never used that Sony, but I hate the idea of having to get rid of a lens I love because the body attached to it has become obsolete.

As a current pro photographer - means I make my living from photography, nothing more - I view all cameras and systems as tools, nothing more. I sometimes buy a camera for a single shoot and then sell it. I have purchased Nikon, Sony, Samsung and Canon cameras fixed and non fixed lenses and a variety of lens adapters over the last three years.

For most of my work I could still be using the first modern digital DSLR I bought, a Canon D10. If I did that I would be questioned simply based on why the client had a much more advanced camera. Much like the question most pro or advanced folks get, "what camera did you use?" Almost ANY digital camera produced over the last 5 years, including the one in your phone are capable to produce a great image if you are too. It's never been like this before, the camera is most likely better than you or in your ability to optimize it's use. I have a https://light.co/camera on order, hope to see it by summer 2016. It's yet another complete game changer if they meet their goals.

The DSC-R1 Is still the best camera for outdoor mixed flash and daylight shots that I know of without getting into medium format gear. The built in flash is good for fill and the hotshoe is a normal hotshoe, that works well with non dedicated flash.

Wonderful lens, and a leaf shutter. Good waist level ergonomics and it works vertically. It's still the best for a certain kind of portrait.

The Yashica Lynx was a great film camera for the same reasons, except for the waist level part.

If someone knows of a better setup for daylight flash costing less than a couple thousand please tell me!

The major problem with the DSC-R1 is it's really slow. Slow compared to a Hasselblad film camera, and even feels slow compared to a RB graflex. At least with the RB the sitter can see that you are busy doing something but with the Sony they get antsy and think that there is something wrong with the way they are posed and move just before you take the next shot.

But other than that it's wonderful.

and maybe only 8 megapixels, but they are really sharp pixels, easily better than some 12 or 16 megapixel DSLR cameras I can think of.

I've got a Sony RX100 as my pocket camera, and a RX10 (with external flash) as my "serious" camera.

But a general-purpose walk-about camera that is good in low-light, good for high-contrast and has decent AF would be handy.

The Leica Q / Sony RX1R mkII are too expensive. Contemplating the Sony A7 mkII with the Sony 28mm lens. With another couple of lens, this could perhaps replace the RX10 as my serious camera.

the problem with digital is that it seems to be a lot easier to build an amazing and small lens for a fixed lens camera than for an interchangeable lens camera. if only somebody could produce a lens like the one attached to rx1 at even twice the size for an interchangeable lens camera...

I still have the earlier version of the Sony in the picture, the f717. One of its best features (and there are many) is that you can shoot with it low down with ease. The Sony's screen didn't articulate out--the whole body rotated so that you could still use the controls in an ergonomic fashion. I used to shoot my kids out hiking while walking backwards in front of them, camera at waist level. (They were small kids then...)

A great design that deserves another look. The form would certainly would make a wonderful still/video hybrid.

--Darin

Still another example are the Ricoh GXR "lensors" (two primes and three zooms) plus the Leica M lens mount (M-A12). I have three of the latter which makes changing lenses in the field a snap, literally. Although I don't have them, I'm sure that the lenses affixed to the native GXR lensors are as good as the fixed lenses in Ricoh's GR/GRD line that dates back to film. But the APC lensors were frightfully expensive bought new.*

Apart from being expensive, the short-lived GXR is an egregious example of "throwing two babies with the bath water" (lens plus sensor). Ricoh rectified this with the Mount A12 which allows you to keep the lens. Had Ricoh-Pentax added a Pentax K (or KAF) lens mount to the GXR with a 16MB sensor like the KO1's—which would've been a fine implementation of Kenneth Tanaka's "one lens" program (and interchangeable to boot)—the GXR's shelf life could have lasted longer.

Would I be happy with a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor circa 2011? Yes, I would. As it is, my capacity to take good pictures is still limited by my abilities rather than the GXR-M's limitations. Moreover, Ricoh's highly evolved and consistent user-interface and haptics is second to none.

May I take this opportunity also to thank Kenneth Tanaka who (in a comment long ago) persuaded me to stick with my GXR-M. It saved me a lot GAS-induced expense and frustration. Not really. But I was able to channel my GAS towards lenses, tripods, filters, OVF/LCD loupe, ballheads & plates, focusing rails, bags, etc. instead. Not only did these accessories enable me to work around the GXR's limitations (e.g., low ISO, no IBIS), these will survive migration to another system. (Hopefully, an affordable LM system camera). Thanks, Ken!

*To economize, I bought used LTM and M42 lenses in addition to Zeiss ZM and Voigtlander VM lenses bought new. With a rare vintage Novoflex Leico adapter (actually an M42-M39 "step-down ring"), combined with the LTM-LM adapter, the Takumar primes are almost native to the LM mount. This adapter combo is less than 1cm thick. You lose infinity focus which is not a problem with a Macro-Takumar. I use a cheap M42-LM adapter for my 200/5.6 and 300/6.3 preset Takumar telephoto primes. The 300mm (450 mm-e) is too heavy to handhold but comes with a rotating lens collar, a once de rigeur feature sadly missing from modern heavy lenses. The rotating tripod collar is handy given the GXR's eccentrically-positioned tripod socket. I had to buy a pair of cheap but sturdy macro rails to keep a collarless lens' axes top-dead-center on its "no-parralax" point (when compositing a panorama) and center of gravity.

I can't imagine my current cameras becoming obsolete untilI can no longer find batteries for them, or their recording formats can't be processed or converted. That would be a long time. They would no longer be state of the art, but that's a different matter. Last week I drive an eight year-old car to ski on 12-year-old skis. They weren't state of the art, but neither am I. regardless, a good time was had by all.

Technological progress continues, but we're well past the point of making sharp photos in nearly no light and blowing them up to prints of a square yard or more. I'm not sure what else I need a camera to do than that. So I'd be careful about throwing around the word "obsolete."

Wow, Mike, When I was younger I was positively in love with the Sony Cybershot DSC F-828. But I was never able to justify the expense back then....

Id had an amazingly solid feel, excellent haptics, and as you say, THE LENS!!!!

Nothing wrong with fixed zoom lens cameras of the excellent type. The equivalent of your Sony today may be the RX10II? Even the previous RX10 is a great camera with a great lens. Actually, there are very good fixed lens cameras today, with high quality lenses. Even if they become obsolete in 3-5 years, there is always a new model coming up.

Until now digital cameras have become obsolete because every new model allowed bigger prints. This may have levelled out. Quite large prints are possible with a small fixed lens camera such as the RX1RM2 and although it's a 35mm lens (and an excellent one it is too), considerable cropping is also available with not too much loss when absolutely needed unlike those that came before.

To Rob: I'd recommend following that "tractor beam" ...

Paraphrasing you "EXCEPT FOR ONE THING": the pixel war is over. Now that we are up around 25MP sensors that can take great photos at 12,000 ISO, I don't see how a camera body can become quickly obsolete. When I forked out $3,000 for my Sony RX-1 and viewfinder, I told myself that "This camera will take me to my grave". So far, I don't see any reason why I should trade it in. In fact, its viewfinder is more convenient than the one that comes with the RX1R II. The top tier Nikons and Canons can last a pro photographer for at least 5 years. Picture quality and focusing speed are more than adequate for almost any application...Just sayin'.

In one of the recent guest posts, there was a premise that sensors are the new "film". That was an interesting way of looking at the digital cameras' technical progress, but maybe only part of the issue.. I have been experimenting with a range of early digital all-in-one cameras and their sensors, from 4 to 12mp, and I believe more and more that it's the sum of the whole – the lens, camera mechanics, fixed-in-time sensor, jpg or raw translator – that defines the characteristics of the picture taken by that camera. So, in essence, if you want a shot taken by that 10- or 15-year-old point and shoot, you might as well use that one. Scanning film results is a similar, but parallel universe.

Dear Mike,

I can't say I much agree with this. It underestimates the importance of the camera body (which you are wont to do, in my judgement), but more significant in this case is that the cost of the built-in lens (or for that matter, most kit zooms) proves to be rather small, when you compare the cost of that camera+lens assemblage to a comparable camera-body-only purchase.

Not always, but more often than not. It's simply not a big financial consideration.

Seeing as you were cool towards their E-M5 but loved the E-M1 (siblings, if there ever were)**, your dismissal of the importance of the camera body in making choices seems, well, narrow in its focus {ahem}.

pax / Ctein

**(I do not mean to suggest that it was unreasonable to react so strongly, but rather that you had very different reactions to camera that were quite similar, when considered in comparison to the vast array of digital camera choices out there.)

The FF fixed lens Sony RX1 has IQ that is up there with the very best you can get from any other camera with the very best glass you can afford for that camera, short of a medium format. Sony says that a contributing factor in this is that each of these cameras is hand assembled and tested to tolerances considerably finer that can be done with interchangeable lens cameras. At their current second hand prices I think these cameras are an incredible bargain.
But the "buy lenses is better value than buying bodies" argument might be about to change. New developments using multiple exposures and rebuilding the images into one image are emerging. This has the potential to dramatically change lens design with smaller, faster cheaper lenses. The Light16 may well be significant, not in itself, but as a pointer of where we are headed.

Mike replies: "The variables you can eliminate with a fixed lens are what's called the "flange distance," the distance between the sensor and the flat ring on the front of the lens that the lens seats against, which on an ILC has to be fixed to accommodate all possible lenses, and the diameter of the exit pupil, which is limited by the diameter of the ILC lens mount. This could indeed theoretically change the design of the lens in some cases, and influence its size somewhat...although I doubt as radically as 2X."

if you look at all of the reasonably fast fixed lens designs for digital, you'll see that they share a feature: a giant rear element extremely close to the sensor. the rx1 and x100 are the most obvious examples of this – there isn't even room in the design for a focal plane shutter (i believe the lens pictured in your post also shares this characteristic). the mount diameter would have to be unreasonably huge to allow such a rear element in an interchangeable lens camera. i believe such a design is necessary for digital because of ray angle constraints. the rear element must "straighten out" the rays before they reach the sensor. without the ability to use such a design in an interchangeable lens camera (due to limitations on mount diameter and space for a focal plain shutter) a completely different and more complex lens design is necessary to achieve the same level of optical correction.

In place of the redoubtable Ken, may I direct our discerning readers to the admirable Jordan Steeles’s 'Admiring Light' blog for a true exponent of the digital FD camera experience?
http://admiringlight.com/blog/using-the-sony-a7-ii-as-a-digital-canon-fd-camera/

What if this lens was that good precisely because it was perfectly matched to the sensor it was developed for? And had been less convincing with the added constraints of lens-interchangeability? Or simply with a sensor with double the amount of pixels? (Of course, I'm speculating a bit here, but the opposite opinion is also speculation.)

I believe that 13 years ago, everybody understood that this camera would be replaced with something showing noticeable (and actually useful) improvements just a couple of years later if that long. Today, as Kenneth noted, I could take any 16 MP sensors and be happy with it for a very long time. Usable 25 000 ISO? I don't need that.

Conversely, I have a beautiful Pentax Ltd 2.8/35mm macro lens at home. I really like this lens, it's interchangeable, and yet I don't have any more use for it than your F828 lens, because I've moved on to another mount. I guess the only difference is that I can resell it.

Just one more to chime in on the chorus of love for the lenses on the F717 and R1. Still have the R1 sitting in the drawer, with the occasional flight of fancy trying to figure out how I might pull it off the body and make it work somewhere else. Won't happen with the sensor offset, but fun to dream about.

This:

Canonet QL-17 GIII, January, 2010

is the old this:

Fujifilm X-Series Cameras, February 25, 2012

Both of them are still useful cameras with great lenses.

One needs to distinguish between the fully manual, metal lenses of old, and the modern electronic, digital, stabilized counterparts.

Yes, you can use a Canon FD lens with many systems. But try to mount, say, a m43 lens on a Nikon 1 camera. Or find some use for Pentax Q lenses. Or if you were a Minolta/Sony SLR user and switched over, use the lenses with the new system.

The ancient distinction between camera bodies and lenses no longer applies. Today, lenses are become obsolete almost as quickly as camera bodies and are as much prone to electronic failures. On the other hand, cameras which used to be just boxes with wholes for film and the lens, are now in control of image quality, which, in turn, often makes older lenses obsolete.

I still like ILC cameras, but frankly it's no longer such a big of a deal than it used to be. Fast lenses are no longer necessary just to get the picture in the first place and long teles are no problem with fixed-lens cameras, so it's especially wide lenses that truly require an ILC. And that's just because the camera makers haven't figured it out. If I could have a Sony RX100 variant with a 15-30mm equivalent, would I need a ILC with a WA lens?

I recently ordered a GX7 along with the 20 mm lens. When the package arrived in the mail yesterday I realised that the seller had forgotten to include the lens. Was I ever disappointed. This wouldn't have happened if I had decided on a fixed-lens camera.

You know, looking back at this, I see a way to neatly compress this article to save net bandwidth: The problem with fixed lens cameras is that the lenses are fixed.

This wouldn't have happened if I had decided on a fixed-lens camera.

You got me there!

"Mike replies: All photo-related searches lead to Ken eventually."

Thanks, that gave me the laugh I just needed on that dreary winter's day ;-)

PS: How on earth did that guy accomplish this? Just a rhetorical question...

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