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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

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Wow, a camera I actually own featured in a TOP review! (Not that your reviewed cameras are all like rare golden unicorns or anything - just that I've rarely bought a recent model.) Looking forward to reading Part II.

Gordon's right about the difficulty in locating the buttons, particularly by feel alone. And you will want to disable the touchscreen focus, unless you want to constantly move the focal point with your nose when using the viewfinder in portrait mode. With that nit addressed, it's a very compact, capable and pleasing shooter.

I lack the right mentality or personality to be a great street photographer, but I LOVE good street photographs. I may have gotten a few in my life, but there are so many more people that do it way better than me.

My favorite street camera is my Olympus XA2. I haven't used it in a while because film is a pain, but the ergonomics, design and size of that camera are brilliant. It has:

1. Clamshell design, which is also the on/off switch. Slide it open, itis on and ready to fire instantly. SLide it closed, it's off & protected.
2. Pocketable, as it front-pocket pocketable.
3. Accurate meter
4. Zone focus, with a 3-way slider. Upon opening, it is set to the all-purpose mode you use for most subjects. No autofocus.
5. 35mm lens is a great compromise between wide and tight.

After a little while you get to be like an Old West gunslinger: quick draw, slide open, steady, shoot, slide closed, back in pocket. Maybe 2-3 seconds? Less if you don't bother with the viewfinder.

I'd take a digital version of that camera any day, though I know that day will never come.

Here's my favorite XA2 shot: https://emptyspaces.aminus3.com/image/2012-10-12.html

All that said, I'll be looking at the GX85 pretty hard when it's time to upgrade my E-M10. Thanks for a useful review, Gordon, looking forward to part 2.

A major requirement that Gordon does not mention is that the camera should be intuitive in use. That is, you can focus and expose without making conscious decisions – and without the camera being in total automatic modes. The more complex the camera is, the more practice it takes to get to that point. I would need daily systematic workouts with any modern DSLR (although the DSLR would fail the first two criteria as well) to get to that point. How does the GX85 do on that count?

If Nikon wanted my advice (which of course they don't), I would suggest that they make a digital version of their old rangefinder S3. Now that would be a great street/travel camera.

I have always enjoyed Gordon's camera reviews---err, documentation of the experience. I look forward to the second part.

For a "street photography" camera, for me, it's gotta be fast. Fast to turn on, fast to wake up, and fast to focus. Weakness in one aspect seriously impacts its usefulness.

Controls ought to be simple giving immediate access to at least the basics, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and highlight blinkies.

The viewfinder MUST be sharp and clear, preferably tiltable, and free of graphs (no histograms---blinkies please!), free of useless/repetitive info (such as dof/zone focusing scales that cannot be turned off in certain modes) dual axis electronic levels that are easily accidentally turned on thus blocking the VF and taking 3 plus buttons presses to turn off, and any other distracting special effects. Viewfinders are for seeing the subject. They are not fighter pilot displays. (Barring a tiltable viewfinder, the LCD should be articulating.)

It shouldn't need mentioning, but if I wanna review a photo on the LCD, I expect to be able to do so without having to push an extra button to switch from the EVF to the LCD.

Beauty ain't a necessity, but a nice looking camera isn't a bad thing unless it draws folks who wanna chat about your "cool camera." So I suppose if one looks like a bar of soap with an fat arse on one end, it doesn't disqualify it. I mean, the old 70s auto, the AMC Gremlin, looked like that and some thought it was a cool looking car.

Also interesting to see that Gordon has put black tape over the Lumix on the GX85. I did the same thing on my GX7, but for a different reason. The name "LUMIX." It bothers me as instead of American Motors (AMC), a Maytag badge had been placed on the aforementioned Gremlin. Yes, I am that vain.

The most important qualities I find for a perfect street camera are an eye-level viewfinder, a compact 35mm FOV lens, intuitive fluid controls, and an overall non-descript appearance. I thought my Fuji X100T fit this bill perfectly, but I find the new Fuji X100F to be even better.

Hmm....maybe I should write up "documenting the experience" article for Mike.... [Yes. --Mike]

Looking forward to part 2, Gordon. ;-)

I'd nominate two desirable attributes for a travel camera. My longtime go-to for travel, Canon G10, isn't perfect when it comes to either of these, but it works for me.

1. Good feel for shutter half-press. I like to grab focus and recompose. In my experience, some cameras make shutter half-press extremely easy while others can be maddening.

2. The look of the files out of camera. If you don't like the look of the files and what you can do with them, then who cares if the camera ticks all the other boxes?

Thanks, Gordon. Well done - looking forward to Part II.

Cheers!
Dan

Not to get ahead of Gordon, but one of the real strengths of the GX85 is the ability to not use its evf at all in street-like situations. Just tap the screen to set your focus point and take the picture. It's very fast and very accurate. I rarely raise this camera to my face in candid moments.

Winogrand would have been orgasmic.

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