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Thursday, 23 October 2008


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Oh yes I do.

Today (about a month really) it is the D700

Yesterday it was M8

Tomorrow could be 5D MKll

Next week I just might want that A900

This time next year I will have purchased something. I wonder what it will be?

I have way too much time on my hands.

For me, it's the micro Four Thirds prototype that Olympus was showing at Photokina.

When. Will. It. Be. Here!!!

OK, back to work...

I haven't seen a good answer yet as to why anyone would buy the Leica D-Lux, when the Panasonic version is nearly identical (same lens, sensor, processing engine, stabilization, etc.). I think there's some software and/or processing differences, but nothing substantial from what I can tell. Any ideas?

Get over it.
You´ll fall into it.
And, if so, whait for the supposedly upcoming 645D [not that much to be believed, though].

Is your credit card ready for being manhandled?

"Any ideas?"

Yes. The D-Lux 4 has the little red dot on the front. You do pay for that, you know. (You pay $387, to be precise.)

Mike J.

"Is your credit card ready for being manhandled?"

Actually, strangely enough, I don't have any credit cards.

I had one once, right after I got my first job, and I ran it right up to its limit in no time flat. It took me two years to pay it off, and the amount of interest I ended up paying was...sobering. I decided credit cards were no good for me, because I am no good with them. Never had one since.

Mike J.

Mike, at least your COB seems oriented towards practicality. I've played with the D700 in a shop a few times. Nice heft, nice viewfinder, very nice build, feels like a hi-tech weapon. But it didn't grab me. No, for me it's currently a Nikon F3, a Pentacon Six or a TLR, none of which are very practical choices (I don't even have access to good film scanning, and I'd never bother carrying the Pentacon anywhere). But they just seem... fun... Okay, I admit, I would buy the D700 if I had the cash.

It serves you right! I've been suffering the same thing ever since reading about the Panasonic G1 on your Blog!
Now that everyone is complaining about lack of video, I'm hoping it will be deeply discounted when it's sucessor comes out next year!

"The D-Lux 4 has the little red dot on the front. You do pay for that, you know."

Yeah, that's what I thought. I've seen comments on other, less-informed, sites about wanting the Leica because their lenses are so good. 'sigh'

Not Nice Michael!

I am "this" close to HAVING to buy a D700 and you just halved my distance!


COB? No, I've got LOB - lenses on my brain. None of the cameras appearing now does much for me. Oh, okay, it would be nifty to have some of them, but my E-3 more or less satisfies my needs and wishes.

But lenses... At the moment, I'd _really_ like to buy Zuiko 7-14, 14-35 and 35-100. Paltry $8000 or so over here. Count in some old exotic stuff like OM 350/2.8 or even Leica R 400/2.8 and I'm looking at having a nice car in my bag.

Luckily, there's a cure for what ails you. Stop reading camera review sites immediately, grab a camera you already own and go outside to take pictures. Take a lot of pictures and that will keep you glued to your PC to process them until the infection passes. Then, in a week or so when the fever breaks, you'll wake up and won't be able to remember what all the fuss was about.

I'm lucky enough to have handled the D700 and A900 (briefly). The A900 does indeed have a nice viewfinder, and it's much lighter than I expected - lighter than my Canon 40D. Could be a winner, as long as your glass can keep up (the one I saw was equipped with an entry-level 18-50 or 18-70). The screen is real nice, too.

Hey! I'm a landscapists, and do a fair amount of night photography, so I do want shots-in-the-dark. I agree about the viewfinder, though. Mm mm mmmmm.


I don't have a credit card for the exact same reason and that was the only one I've ever had.

This is a funny (not of the ha ha kind) story about how I came to buy a new camera.

I got married last July and a couple weeks later a tumour was discovered on my wife's liver. Not many (if any) people survive liver cancer, which was something that she was blissfully ignorant of, I kept that knowledge to myself. Every time I looked at her I wondered if it would become part of my memory of her. We could only afford one outcome, it had to be benign.

I would not be typing this now had we not been given the result that we were desperate for. I'll never forget those few weeks. You think cob syndrome's bad? Try sob syndrome!

What's all this got to do with a new camera?

Her name is Diane, I call her Dee. There's only ever been one Dee. I bought a 1D and even if I never make a penny back on it, I'll be happy just taking photographs of her.

I know you had a health scare last year, Mike. Think about that period and I'm sure you'll have a much easier time choosing a camera.



COB is an amazing phenomenon isn't it? By your own admission, you've never held the object of your desire and therefore have never experienced the 100% viewfinder you so lust for, yet lust you do.

On the other hand, you *have* experienced the Nikon D700's 100% viewfinder, yet because it lacks in-camera IS, you can't buy it. You just can't.

But here's the contradiction (Not that awareness of contradiction will change your mind, of course. Such is the nature of COB.): If the Nikon D700 does in fact have superior high ISO performance, this gains you at least 2 stops of "image stabilization" in and of itself. Now imagine if you were to attach a small, high-quality, fast aperture, prime lens to that bad-boy; something like, oh, I don't know... a 35mm f/2.0 or 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor. You could be shooting at hand-holdable shutter speeds even without IS. Do you feel the fever rising?

Heh, heh, heh... I thought you might.

"The reason I've got A900 on the brain: its high-quality, precise prism viewfinder with 100% " ?
Try the Olympus E3. Mike... your eye will be glued on it forever... mine is and I agree: this is a really bad but assumed condition as great and so good nightmare :-)

Kind regards


Hi Mike,

I am glad you confirmed my view of the D700 with your own hands on experience. I admit that in-camera IS would make the D700 an absolute must-have. I am at a loss to explain why Nikon and Canon are resisting this development with regards to their DSLRs. In-camera IS would allow lenses to be smaller and lighter and would put a smile on my face.

Speaking of COB Syndrome, I just read Michael Reichmann’s piece on the Canon G10 and now I’ve got a bad case of COB myself. Fortunately, we’re only talking $500, not thousands.



Meanwhile, I'm apparently swimming upstream. I started out shooting with digital, but my COB is a newly-acquired Toho FC-45X 4x5 field camera. It's a joy to use; the camera plus lenses and film holders tuck into a camera bag that would burst to hold a D3 with a fast zoom. The whole kit is lighter than a small SLR and a few prime lenses.

Just a question regarding the A900: Why is it so important to have in body image stabilization -or, any image stabilization for that matter- for someone who is going to shoot landscapes with the highest detail possible? He/she would be using a tripod for the best stabilization, anyway, I presume...

In his G1 review, Pogue points out at the end all the reasons you shouldn't buy a G1. He got it all right except he missed one thing: PRICE. Why would anyone pay $800 for the G1 kit when they can buy a D40 kit - a far more capable piece of equipment - for half the price ($450)?!

Hi - Heck, I've got cameras, lenses, and scenarios on the brain ("CLOBS?")! For example, I love the output of my 20D, but hate the dinky viewfinder. I own the Nikon 35-70/2.8, so don't want to spring for the Canon 24-70 L. However, I own and love the Canon 70-200/4 IS L, for which Nikon has no counterpart. So my brain constantly, endlessly runs through the permutations. Should I buy a FF Nikon, keep the 35-70, and hope for a new Nikon zoom? Buy a FF Canon and the 24-70 L? Go to a 2-camera "solution" - Nikon plus 35-70, and Canon plus 70-200? Oy, my head hurts again!

An interesting look at the A900 here

Cheers, Robin

About Money:
1) We did not come here with any
2) We are not going to leave here with any
3) In the Final Analysis, it is totally symbolic and has no basis in reality

Therefore, I say unto you....
Go For It..!!!

for me that'd be either a 50D or 5DmkII, depending on how much I allow myself to listen to myself above......
and yeah...I am about "this close" and wavering....
p.s. I thought Pogue's concept of how many cubic inches volume a camera displaces very intriguing.
Best wishes

Rats! You pushed me over the line on the D700. My rationalization is that the sudden drop in the value of the $CAN vs the $US has made it cheaper for me (today) than any US price I've seen so far.

Guess you understand why I refrained up to now to even only closely inspect the A900 in the shop window of my camera dealer (it is available here, right now, which makes resisting a good deal harder). I know I could fall for the viewfinder, and then I have some old minolta glass that would match it perfectly.
No, I am not going to... probably. The 24 MPix deterr me, 16 would be fine and not cause endless pauses when saving the files in lightzone.
But probably I will, just have a look, maybe wait for Santa...

"I'm afraid I've got COB syndrome. Camera-on-the-brain. Ever get that?"

And I thought you were the doctor...

I get COB a lot - made even worse by the fact that I still think film is pretty cool although I like digital too. So it's not only these new technological marvels but the old second hand mechanical marvels I get obsessed with. Recently I was definitely going for a Voitlander R4 but then I thought about medium format and started fancying the Bronica 645. Then I remembered how nice it is to view through the lens and thought of the Nikon F3. Then I think of the expense of film and how bad my slide scanner is and how nice images from the Sigma DP-1 look. But then again I'd miss the viewfinder and so and SD-15 when that comes out, or that new Olympus that's like the E-3 but smaller... that'd be soo cool... Then again I could just get a decent lens for my Pentax, but which one...hmmm...

I got to fondle an A900 several weeks ago and I'd support emptyspaces' comment. The viewfinder really was a revelation. I've thrashed my 20D since the end of 2004 and had forgotten what it's like to look through something so bright and clear. The camera handled well too.

Landscape photographers can get around the low light issue easily enough by averaging multiple exposures in photoshop to greatly reduce noise. Not as neat and convenient as excellent in-camera noise control, but it does work well. I'd suggest the A900's shortcoming regarding noise is more likely to be for photographing events (in particular, people in motion) in low light.

I'm very glad for you that Dee got the "result that you were desperate for."

I think you've put your finger on one of the true "keys" of photography, too. It's that the best subjects are what have meaning to US. I tried to tell the students night before last, if you want to figure out what kind of photographer you are, figure out what you love, or what you want to remember, or what you want to know better. That's what photography is for.

All best,

Mike J.

I have had the A900 in my hands for about a week, still figuring out all the in and outs of it though it is similar in handling to the A700. The viewfinder just can't be beat and with either the Sigma 24-70/2.8 or the Sony 70-200G lens it balances well as long as you have the vertical grip. Of course at that point you are walking around carrying a big $4000 square brick. Not exactly unobtrusive.

I am sure SonyStyle can have one in your hands in a day or two, they started shipping them last week for US consumers.


Bear AKA Lawrence Beals
"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." -Thoreau

"I am at a loss to explain why Nikon and Canon are resisting this development with regards to their DSLRs."

That I can guess. 1) Canon and Nikon make the cameras pros buy, and pros are the ones who shoot very long lenses, so Canon and Nikon are making the only viable long telephotos on the market, and in-lens IS/VR makes more sense with very long lenses. 2) Where amateur and enthusiast cameras are concerned, Canon and Nikon are making more money by putting IS/VR in their lenses instead of their bodies; and 3) Canon and Nikon are the very big dogs in the DSLR market and the other companies are little dogs--like two English mastiffs with tiny toy poodles yapping at their heels. Pentax, Olympus and Sony have not made significant inroads on the big two's market share with in-body IS. If they had, you can bet C & N would be countering. Since they haven't, C & N are happy with the status quo. Even if it annoys the minuscule market segment comprised of certain penurious, cranky, blog-writing potential customers. [g]

Mike J.

Think I've got fickle Old Camera COB. The collection runs from late 40's Kodak 35mm and 6X9 folders to a gaggle of Oly Pens and OM stuff to a few Minolta and Mamiya 16s rounded out by a couple of TLRs. I can stay engrossed in one model for about 6-8 weeks then suddenly, like I'm noticing it for the first time become completely enamored with another.
The missus thinks I'm nuts but hey, she got her fixation on handbags, always looking for that mythical "perfect" one. Just like us looking for the perfect camera bag.

Why should someone buy an $800 G1 instead of a $450 D40? Well, in my case, I sold a D40 to (eventually) buy a G1. I want the smaller size, the big electronic viewfinder, and especially the high-res articulating display. If you don't value those features to the tune of $350, save your money. I also want the 20mm pancake and the small 7-14mm, and I think they'll eventually be produced.

Let's see young teen again in a photograph.
You did a study in black and white and he looked almost sad, understandable at age 14.
Mind understand he is now a music playing individual, so maybe he could amount to some
thing as infamous as his old man. .
He needs the exercise, let him walk...

As to the new toys for all us boys and girls,
I still maintain the best interchangable lense DSLR is a Nikon D40. And the price of a body here in Canada is $400 with a kit
glass at the front another $150. So is the
Panasonic worth that much? Nope, stick with
the small stuff for now. And yes the D700 is
probably a good camera however first model
of a new design out of the barn will probably be improved upon down the road. I'd wait.

Hold it! The D700 is full frame, like in film, right? For that kind of money, I'll
use film as my recording media, cause
full frame for me is colour slides, on
Kodachrome and using my F100!

Cameras on the brain, I know this feeling very good, too. As (now) working in a cameras store in Freiburg, Black Forrest i am all into cameras. At work and out of work.

Mike, you are a person who lives for photography (i think it's your profession, isn't it) and so it's totally completely ok when you have the COB-Syndrom. I think this is an important part of your widespreaded, always enjoyable and inspiring writing.

People like you are very important for photography, and often customers in our shop tell me that they are reading your site here! So what i want to say, don't go to doctors or psychologists because of the COB :)

...and for german readers whom don't find the ways to cologne: Tomorrow and Saturday (24/25.10.2008) we have an photokina pickings fair at our shop in Freiburg http://www.foto-loeffler.de/hausmesse08.html
We have a whole floor up with Leica, Pentax, Sony (they don't have the Alpha 900 with them :-(), Olympus, Panasonic (they will have the G1 with them) Manfrotto, B&W..and, and, and..copy the link above for more info.


I, too, have COB. For a long time it was the A900, but now...

I got an A100 when they first came out and it's been a good tool for me. A bit noisy when I did theater photography at iso 800, but a good tool none the less. Knowing that a full frame Sony was in the works, I collected a number of older Minolta full frame lenses: a 50mm 1.7, the 28-75 2.8 (I believe you've got one of these), a 70-210 4.0 "Beercan" and a Sigma APO 400 5.6 tele.

But while waiting for the Sony full framer - keeping my fingers crossed that my old lenses would work as well as they do on the A100 and that the price would be reasonable - I bought a Ricoh GX-100 as my "travel" camera.

Which is where my COB trouble started.

The Sony is a tool, and a good one, but the Ricoh is a muse. Set up with the EVF and the lens hood/filter adapter and shade, it feels wonderful in the hands - a bit like an old III series Leica - and fits well is a large coat pocket or a small shoulder bag. I carry it with me in a non-camera bag wrapped in a lens wrap. The results are excellent. I shoot DNG's, usually at iso 100, and process with Camera Raw. I've got a show up at a local Cafe (Cafe Vienna in Fort Bragg, California if anybody's in the area) with 14 photos of street art from San Francisco and London and every one was taken with the Ricoh. Most are 12X18 prints with one 18X7 panoramic from 2 exposures.

So, I've got schizoid COB. On the one hand, the A900 with that nice, big finder and the 28-75 f2.8 I already own would be wonderful; but heavy to carry and not nearly as discreet as the Ricoh, which counts in the neighborhoods where I find the subjects that interest me.

On the other hand, the Panasonic G-1 looks very interesting. It's not that much bigger than the Ricoh and certainly a lot smaller than the A900. I've gotten used to the EVF on the Ricoh, which is adequate but no better than that, and the EVF on the Panasonic promises to be leagues ahead. Most intriguing of all, and not mentioned as much as it deserves to be on the boards, is that the Panasonic has Depth of Field preview WITHOUT THE IMAGE DIMMING as it does in a conventional SLR. Also shutter speed effect preview. These promise to be genuinely useful and are only possible with an EVF.

But the kit lens is slow compared to what I'd prefer, and the quality is unknown until I actually get to work with it. The Ricoh's lens, in my experience, is a gem.

Of course, cost is a factor. For the cost of the Sony, I could get the Panasonic and a plane ticket to...

Decisions, Decisions. But I know that if I get the Panasonic I'm getting the red one!

Pictures cure COB. The more the quicker the relief. Just sit down and look at some nice work and you'll immediately forget about cameras.

My COB right now is an M4-P.

Did you know you can make an M6 into an M4-P? Just take the battery out.

As an experiment, I photographed with my M6 for about three months without a battery in it. I learned something really fascinating--I got very good at setting the exposure with no metering, and got so I trusted my own judgment; but once I put the battery back *IN*, I didn't trust my judgment any more--I found it too hard to ignore the little red and green LEDs. It's like they exerted a sort of pull.... Purely psychological, but very interesting....

Mike J.

P.S. The best metering scheme I ever used was "shoot first, ask questions later." Using an Exakta 66 with no meter, I'd shoot the scene based on my best guess of exposure, then I'd meter the scene afterwards just to see if I was correct.

I've always got COB. Not for anything new but for a camera apparently no-one ever made: AE, 6x6, 40mm-e-ish (or interchangeable lens).

New cameras are nice but I still really enjoy a finely crafted mechanical device. Maybe that's the engineer in me. Otherwise, I like what I have.

COB? I'm not sure about the "brain" part... 8-)

Remember a few weeks ago when I dissed the A900 and you disagreed and then wrote a weekend column that you swore wasn't about anyone in particular but seemed to directly involve everything I said about the A900? Well, Phil Askey's review says that the A900 is pretty noisy "at anything over ISO 400," which, for a current camera, is dreadful. Awful. So awful as to be weird. Not as good as the G10, which is a pocket camera with a tiny chip.

A lot of people have suggested that you have to double the number of pixels to have a noticeable change in resolution, so why would you have the A900 on whatever it is -- you mentioned the brain? -- when the 21MP Canon 5DII is about to appear, which will probably be at least three stops faster?

I am NOT saying that you couldn't take a good landscape shot with the A900 -- of course you could also take just as good a landscape shot with a 5DII -- but why would you pay thousands of dollars for a camera with this built-in, irretrievable short-coming that limits its function, not to say its resale value, when so much better candidates are available?

I think you should hire me as your personal advisor. It might save you a lot of camera grief.


"...but why would you pay thousands of dollars for a camera with this built-in, irretrievable short-coming that limits its function, not to say its resale value, when so much better candidates are available?"

...Because I bet I could take pictures with it that would look just fine, and I think I'd really enjoy using it.

But that's a very eloquent extended "I told you so," John, thanks. [g]

Mike J.

P.S. Dpreview looks at and analyzes JPEGs. 99% of A900 buyers would be using raw. I never pay any attention to anything that site says about image quality. Ever. Nyah, nyah.
[another g]

My COB is a Nikon F, for some reason. They're plentiful, but I can never quite get together the money to get a good one.

One day....

A few days ago I received a note from the City of Pittsburgh announcing that my 2007 tax return was in error and that I owed them $475.00
My accountant discovered it was just a documentation problem and -- wonder of wonders -- the city acknowledged such!

I wouldn't have *liked* to pay out that $475 but I'd obviously have done it.

So can I now spend that money on the Pentax 35mm f/2.8 Macro?

"So can I now spend that money on the Pentax 35mm f/2.8 Macro?"

I'd say not only that you can, but you MUST. You have received a message from the cosmos. [vbg]

Mike J., LPE*

*Lens Purchase Enabler

Mike, Simon Joinson in the dpreview.com review also talked about noise over 400 ISO but also found on its strengths # Class-leading resolution (as long as your lenses are good enough)
# incredibly solid build quality, environmental sealing
# Intuitive operation and uncluttered control and menu system
# Excellent out of camera JPEG results with superb tonality, dynamic range, color
# Excellent raw dynamic range gives lots of headroom
# Almost 100% reliable metering and exposure
# Very fast and responsive body - remarkable burst mode (5fps RAW+JPEG, 24.6 MP)
# In-body image stabilization that works well (around 2 stop advantage)
# Wide range of image parameters and custom 'Creative Styles'
# Dynamic Range Optimizer Advanced works well and they give it a Highly Recommended Rating.
Of course when they talk about excessive noise what is 'excessive' in comparison to, the latest Nikon and Canon models or two year old models? I am a Canon user, but certainly there is much to interest anyone who is not committed to the big two. Plus there are some great Zeiss autofocus lenses for it.

Nice range of choices for camera buyers. But hell I need to use my Lomo more and try out this Red Scale film they just introduced. Let's have some fun after all.

Something must be wrong with me. I have no interest in image stabilization.

I did get to play with a friend's D700 last week. The finder is large and bright. It certainly produced lovely images with my collection of AI/AIS Nikkors.

Hunts Photo has had the a900 for sale for over a week. I played with one there - it is nice. I think I'll wait regardless (a budget thing) but the carl zeiss lenses sure are nice.

"Something must be wrong with me. I have no interest in image stabilization."

That's okay. I hear Eisenstadt never used it either. Neither did Ernst Haas. And I bet I could think of more.

Mike J.

I bought my 5d a couple years ago after getting $3K back from the IRS that I erroneously paid. It felt like free money, and was worse than a credit card as far as the hole it burnt in my pocket! And it's a great camera. But it reveals my lack of willingness to spend on glass, and like the A900 article says, there are penalties for shooting with FF as well as bennies. Low light work was a bennie, but I would still like in-camera IS, and better ISO performance at 1600+...

"Why would anyone pay $800 for the G1 kit when they can buy a D40 kit - a far more capable piece of equipment - for half the price ($450)?!"

Because the D40 and prime would tear my coat pocket if I tried to shove it in there. If anything, the upcoming Pentax K-m and a pancake prime is probably the closest competitor (seeing as how it has the same sensor as the K10D and all).

MY COB right now is decidedly different: The Mamiya 7. My saving grace at the moment is that I can't decide whether a 80mm lens or a 65mm would fit me better.

MJ: "but once I put the battery back *IN*, I didn't trust my judgment any more--I found it too hard to ignore the little red and green LEDs. It's like they exerted a sort of pull...."

I recently got some manual lenses for my Pentax (K100D), and find the same thing with both focus & exposure. Most of the time you can leave them where they were for the last shot, but as soon as they're automated, I find myself re-locking focus every time and worrying about exposure compensation every time the composition changes...

So I daydream about a D700, because focusing on a cropped viewfinder is no fun, and then I could use my AIS lenses... I think I'd trade IS for a few stops less noise, too often I get sharp backgrounds and blurry people and curse myself for the habit of hand-holding 1/15s.

But I don't actually want to carry a Kg, and I don't have $2500 sitting around either....


I had my first chance to check out the A900 in person today at Photoplus Expo. It's a lot like the A700; only bigger :) It's a seriously nice camera, but little different from the A700, so I didn't spend much time with it. The (view through the) viewfinder, though, is beautiful ! The camera itself is a bit big compared to the A700, but smaller than competitors FF, and a bit heavy, but not too heavy. It was paired up with the CZ24-70/2.8 which is a beast of a lens (though a VERY fast-focussing beast of a lens). They had a number of large prints from the A900 with various G & prime lenses that were beautiful.

I'm not sold on the A900 because the A700 does it for me; 12MP APS-C is fine since I don't print that big and especially don't print high ISO that big. I finally downloaded v4 firmware and now shoot ISO 6400 without reservation, knowing that I just won't print the resulting files that big; I figure a 7x10 (calendar page) print will look a tad grainy and fine on the wall.

So $3000 is just out of the question for a hobbyist who isn't doing work that would benefit significantly from FF. But beyond that, there's the issue of the lenses. At the moment, I'm shooting the CZ16-80/3.5-4.5 as my all purpose zoom, with the 28/2 (slightly wide normal) and an old 85/1.4 (long portrait lens for candids) in low light or whenever I feel like shooting for shallow DOF. (All stabilized, of course).

Replacing them would be tricky; the 85 would be shorter than I'd like on FF, and finding a nice quality used Min 100/2 is a challenge (and I object to paying $700 for a used lens that used to go for far less when new), and the 135/1.8 is a big, heavy beast. I'd have to either find (and pay too much for) a 35/2 or opt for a 50/1.4 in place of the 28/2 but I really like that 40mm-ish equivalent.

I didn't get anywhere near the Nikon or Canon DSLRs; the Sony booth was well-visited, and by many people who were not existing Sony users. More visitors than last year (when the A700 was new) and far, far more than the KM booth saw when the 7D was new, but the crowd was still dwarfed by those visiting the N/C booths. The Oly booth was well attended (though less ambitious than their setup last year that showcased the E-3). The Pentax booth was a lonely place for the second straight year :(

i'm jonesing for a fuji gf670. the pieces of my shattered life would fall into place if i had this camera. at least, that's how it feels. =)

Well, all else being equal, I am pretty much stuck with umpteen thousands of dollars worth of Canon (and compatible) glass - most of which I consider very very good. I covet the 5DMKII but I doubt that it will noticeably surpass my original 5D which produces very fine images.

Just wondering what all the hoopla over a $3000 24mp camera is. I picked up 2 bronica sq-ai bodies, with 4 backs and 3 lenses for $350 last month. The 120 film scans easily to 24mp and it also provides good results to ISO 400. My shot discipline is much better with film, and I won't need a new computer and hard drive to deal with all those huge files.
I did however, recently succumb to the lure of a D700- usable ISO 1600-what a concept!

I agree with the comments that COB is nothing, it's LOB that I need to worry about. Unfortunately, finance being what it is, I have to sell the 90/2 AA M lens and the VC 28/1.9. However, I am eyeing the Nikkor 28 PC for (wait for it...) my TX-2/XPan! I have previously gotten someone to RF-couple a Summicron 50 R to the XPan for me and the result is that I can shoot at F2 with minor loss of the pano corners. Even though I have the 30mm XPan lens, it's effectively a F8 lens with the center filter and the idea that I can get F3.5 on the FOV on the XPan is drawing me in big time...

Rather ironic that you posted this today. I was suffering rather badly from COB a little over a week ago... so much so that I finally decided to sell every piece of camera equipment that I owned. Today, my D700 showed up. It is pretty much everything that I wanted when I purchased my first DSLR, a D70, back in 2004. Ironically, with that D70 I purchased a Nikkor 50mm/1.8 that I never got around to selling during my excursions into Canon EOS 20D and Pentax K20D ownership. Now, until Monday, that forgotten 50mm is my only lens.

Initial response? I love this camera. The amount of personalization you can enact upon this camera is both amazing and daunting. I can't wait until the rest of the lenses show up, but for now the depth of field and amazingly clean images at 6400 are keeping me plenty busy.

Isn't it funny that when you resize the A900 output to 12 megapixels, suddenly the noise gets very similar to the D700- could all this "noisy" camera stuff be artifact?

Herb said:
"I did however, recently succumb to the lure of a D700- usable ISO 1600-what a concept!"

Isn't it though! A world-upturning revelation, I'd say.

The tendency is to just leave the camera set to ISO 1600 because it really doesn't make a significant difference to image quality ... but then you end up having to *lower* the ISO to get the ideal exposure for many shots!

Oh my gosh, my camera is too sensitive!!

Still not used to dealing with that scenario.

Mike, I suffer from the same camera-on-brain condition as you do. I happen to own a collection of lenses which would fit the Sony A900 but I am currently without any body for them.

Don't worry about the A900 noise at high ISO panic. You are a prime lens guy, like I am. You have the fastest lenses and you will have body-built-in-stabilizer for them - all of them. You will be shooting at 1/8 of a second at f/1.4 in coal mine darkness and it will still be ISO 400.

The A900 is the one to get for old Minolta hands like us.

I am putting a kidney up on eBay to pay for mine.


You make an excellent point. Perhaps the temptation of actually inserting batteries in an M6 would be too much for me, though. ;)

If I am not mistaken, an M6 would cost enough more than an M4-P as to take a bite out of the lens budget. The other factor is VF. I assume the VF options with the two are the same, but I admit I have never had enough time with the M4-P to insure that the view is comfortable for me. At this point it is, after all, COB, not reasoned evaluation. :)


Our humble narrator wrote: "I tried to tell the students night before last, if you want to figure out what kind of photographer you are, figure out what you love, or what you want to remember, or what you want to know better. That's what photography is for."

Thanks, Mike, for interjecting this bit of wise common sense into the gear drool-fest.


On the high-iso issue of the A900 D. Kilpatrick has put up a nice article including examples and crops:


I'm also prone to suffering bad bouts of COB, which is actually very clinically similar to OCD. In fact, I've already acted on my latest bout during the past few months (but I'm too embarrassed to recount the specifics).

But...errr...I hate to pee on the parade, but since this thread started the world has slid much closer to economic cataclysm. Ya might want to pull yourselves away from the B&H site and peek at WSJ or MarketWatch. That ought to cool your COB convulsions.

"Ya might want to pull yourselves away from the B&H site and peek at WSJ or MarketWatch."

Excuse me, but I thought the proper response to a cataclysmic event was to go shopping. Sorry ... couldn't resist.

I definitely have COB. I bought a D300 last year and have been very "film-is-dead" happy ever since. Then it happened: I walked into a local camera store and picked up a D700. Oh the viewfinder (like the film cameras of old). And the 14-24...OMG. I actually have some FX lenses left over that will work. Now I lay in bed at night trying to work up the guts to again buy something I don't really need. I have been a Nikon SLR/DSLR fan/purchaser since 1963. My old computer can barely handle the file sizes now. It's not fair. Even if I decide no, Nikon always comes out later with a "can't live without it" model.

Hey Mike,

Indeed, COB is an interesting phenomenon... it's crazy how much time I spend considering new cameras, lenses etc!

As of now, my COB is the Panasonic LX3 (your fault, I should read TOP less). Fortunately it's also the camera in my hands since last Monday.

Never thought I would be that interested in a compact camera, much less have such a good time with it!

All best! :-)

Oh my... Now I have a nice name for my problem! I have different COB sindrome every week know is a Voigtlander Bessa R3A and some days ago a Contax RTS.

I tried out one of the D-SLR Sony's in Singapore last December when I was there to lead a "Voice of the Customer" workshop for work...I really did not like the position of the shutter button, and it looks exactly the same on the A900. Felt most alien to me.

Also, reading DP Review's camera, I don't this camera is quite up to snuff compared to competitive offerings from the Big Two; witness this quote comparing RAW performance of the A900 to the 5D:

"....what really strikes me about these results is just how good the 3 year old EOS 5D is."

Looking at these comparison images on DPR, the 5D looks like it flat smokes the A900 for image quality (there's more to image quality that pixel count, a lot more...); to each their own, but I know which one I'd rather have. Only time will tell, but I certainly will be interested to see if the A900 can surpass the exquisite, sublime, medium-format Provia-like image quality the 5D produces. Just think what a 5D and the original, Canon 200/1.8 L (sharper than a samurai sword with an unmatched bokeh) could do for portraiture...ooh la la...

Regardless, pretty soon I think the new Canon 5D MkII will once again become the new "laboratory reference standard" that cameras will be compared to. And who needs "in-body" IS when you've got the ISO performance that camera has.

This all makes me think the 5D "MkI" is a pretty screamin' deal right now....that's my COB.

And FWIW, the 'ole snaggletoothed, gamy-legged 5D has a quite a large, bright, and beautiful viewfinder.

Hi Mike,
COB.. I think it should be called unobtainable camera syndrome UCS.. Unobtainable because if we could just go out and buy it whilly nilly we would. But a $3000 camera deserves thought, a bit of anguish. What makes COB.. or UCS so strong is that if the camera was 100% perfect, it wouldn't be "unobtainable".. we'd just go out there and buy the damn thing, by begging, borrowing or stealing (or in your case Mike, applying for another credit card!:-)
I am in your same state, though I have two contenders to deal with, the 5D2 and the D700. A longtime Canon user, I an now torn with the real photographic features the D700 gives us (including fill flash - brilliant) vs the very unphotographic features that Canon has decided to give (video capability.. in a DSLR.. Come on canon.. REALLY!). So my decision is all but made.. a Nikon D700 it will most likely be, once I can sell all my canon lenses! I just love all the tweeks and professional level features that I may or may not want or need or use, but are there to allow me to grow photographically speaking, as well as when I want to play around. High ISO ability means this camera can come with me everywhere.. a bit bulky, but it will get the shot! So, if I'm so gung ho about the Nikon why am I suffering from COB? Well.. because.. well, it's a big investment, and I am still not 100% sure.. and I haven't held any of these new cameras.. and well, the Sony DOES have a most sexy viewfinder.. and I love to be able to see my subject well, and the IS in-body is such an intelligent solution.. And and and.. So I am in Camera purgatory, not knowing which way to go.. so, Mike, I know the feeling of COB (UCS as I like to refer to it). We don't have a perfect camera in any of the three contenders, but they all offer something.. and are getting ever closer to what we had in film-days.

I have COB, too. I went to the PhotoPlus Expo in NYC yesterday and am lusting after a Canon 50D. Not that there is anything wrong with my 30D.

My wife, on the other hand, has TOB. Tuition on the brain. Kids scheduled to start college in 2 and 4 years.

Will have to content myself with a Photoshop upgrade...

I've got Mike Crivello's radio jingle on the brain. Milwaukee listener's know what I mean.

The difference between a D700 and 5D MkII viewfinder is not apparent. Put it side-by-side with the A900, and it is very apparent! I look like a cyborg when I hold 2 cameras up, one to each eye, hotshoe facing hotshoe, in portrait orientation. Then I swap the camera in front of each eye to confirm the size comparison.

I was pleasantly surprised that a Nikon FM2 beat the A900 due to the larger surface area (0.86x at 93% coverage) versus the A900's 0.74x at 100% coverage. Yes, the FM2 surface area will be bigger than the 1DsMkIII too. Though not as transmissive/ bright due to the MF screen.

I will put down the difference to light transmission as well. The A900 viewfinder is not just larger in surface area, it is brighter.

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