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Thursday, 23 April 2009


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Are you waiting to see what comes out of Pentax's new K?

Ah, shucks!

What a tease, what a tease...

Must be the K20D, or maybe the new K7D rumored to be announced about this time next month?



*This comment to be filled in sometime next year. I'm a little busy right now.

Might as well do #1 today, then. If we have to wait for #2 a whole month.

Plus, why risk another announcement which jeopardizes your #1 pick. I heard Cano...

I hope #1 and #2 have lights that come on when the camera is obselete

So instead you're give us the "opportunity" to speculate? For a whole month?

Me, I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what could have changed in the last 10 days. #2 isn't/wasn't going to be a midlevel DSLR (you picked all of them) or entry-level DSLR (the Olympus E-420), I assume -- these having been taken up by previous entries in the "T.O.P. Ten". It could still conceivably be a higher-level DSLR (but then you've already picked the Sony A900). It makes me wonder whether either of the top two spots belong to DSLRs at all.

Possibly this picture will help you guys to figure out what camera is being meant by Mike:


In short: the new Pentax K7M will be officially introduced on May 21st, 2009. And I bet it will become the number 2 (or will it be the 1??) in this list.

You got to test a pre-release 645D?

Are you holding out to see whether the supposition about a square sensor on the K7D is true? Personally, I can't make up my mind on that one. I am eager for camera companies to start creating some new paradigms with digital technology (the Panasonic G1 and Sigma DPs seem like a good start), but I could never get myself to like the square format on my Mamiya C330. One of the reasons is purely psychological: a wide angle lens looks different when it's on a square format. The second reason is efficiency: if you want to print a square image without cropping, you either have to waste a lot of paper, have a roll feeder, or find one of the few papers that's available in square format. Plus, IMHO a square image needs to be considerably bigger to have the same visual impact as a landscape format image, i.e. printing a 12"x12" on Super-B paper is not equivalent to a 12"x18" on the same size, so you really need to go up a printer size if you don't want to crop.

But despite my misgivings, I would still be excited if they do a square sensor. Anything to shake up the industry a little and wear away at the groupthink.

...but if we have to wait a month, the world hasn't changed yet.

Why can't this list be the state of affairs as of (even 10 days ago would be great)?

...or is this one of your tricks to build suspense?

Is there a DP2 on the way?

aaaw! poor would-be number 2 camera.................. go on give it a week of glory before it's made redundant!

This reminds me of a joke about inflation in Argentina. It was well over a 100% a month so the travel tip was to always pay the taxi fare at the end of the ride, because by that time, the money would have devaluated and it would cost you half as much. Same thing with the megapixel race, by the time they deliver your camera via the post, it has already become obsolete. The scribe must be waiting for Leica to launch it's S2, Nikon its d700x, or Phaseone to break the 100 giga sensor barrier. As they say, its better to wait seated otherwise one could get aching feet.

I've gone right off you, you little devil!

I never would have thought those words would be my first post here on your site.

Actually, if you change your mind about #2, could that mean that #2 may now be #3, so #3 is relegated to 4, etc, etc?

I think this is a wry comment on the sad state of the digi-world today mean by Mike in a tongue in cheek way. I mean, think about it. He often argues (rants!) about how it is not wise to wait for the next change, and get all excited about some incremental upgrade, perceived to be essential to ones "art".

There is a joke here, right Mike? :)

The irony of changing the top contenders due to a upcoming, not yet announced rumor. Mike is showing us how silly we all are .... I love it!

"...or is this one of your tricks to build suspense?"

No, no trick. Remember this is a list of recommendations, and one has to be somewhat mindful of product lifespans when making recommendations, to avoid annoying people.


I'd love a square-format Pentax. That's actually one of the few things that would make me upgrade before my K10 dies and I have to do so.

"There is a joke here, right Mike? :)"

No, not in this case, Pavel, but I confess that, once I realized I had to do this, that an "open place" in any "best" list might be a good thing from a philosophical perspective...not as a joke exactly, but to indicate that things remain open-ended. I rather like the idea, but then, I'm one of those people who like ideas more than closure....


HAHAHAHA. Mike: If you thought that your "anything in this class" cop-out was going to bake gear-heads' noodles, just think what you've done now. You've called into question the very nature of making ordinal lists for this sort of ranking! For what does the number 3 or number 1 slot in an ordinal ranking mean with a missing number 2? Will we find out tomorrow why whatever slips in at 2 could not possibly challenge for the top spot? The entertainment value of this list-making has been high indeed, but this is so funny (mostly because I am laughing at my own reaction to it) that I am still smiling/smirking as I type. Well done, brother. Still chuckling. . .


That is a honour not even reserved for the namba´ 1!!!!

Which is a shame regardless of what camera gets that hotspot, is now straightaway outshined no matter what the silver medallist is.

The DP2 is due in May, I'll bet that is Mike's number 2 choice... maybe :)

His number one choice will be the Canon 5D MkII to make up for all his previous slights of the camera :)

Unless, of course he falls prey to his obvious Pentax bias. :)

Be really funny if his choices are none of the above.

D700x perchance?

Very sly, Mike.
I'm waiting with bated breath for tomorrow's #1, The Camera You Have and Use.


No, I don't own any of the cameras on the list.


P.S. Would love to have #5, but I need a lot more people to subscribe before that can happen....

So Mike's waiting for Pentax's K7D to come out. Yawn.

I can't imaging either the Canon 5D and the Nikon D700 not being there. Order doesn't matter much, thats a personnel bias toward lens line or style of shooting.

If the Pentax is in, does that mean either the Canon or Nikon is out.

Ah, the way this is being played, we may have a tie in here somewhere.

I would have thought the tie was for #1, but the delay has me confused. I know a new NIkon is due to replace the D700, but the new camera has more pixels and movie mode. Latest-greatest should move it over the present crowd.


No, I don't own any of the cameras on the list.


I think he means the top recommended camera is the camera that one (as opposed to you, i.e. Mike Johnston) has and uses.

Bastid! I'll have to go back to twittering on my Blackberry Bold!

Sounds like a marketing ploy.

A suggestion for next year: don't number the cameras 1 through 10, but in steps of ten, from 10 to 100. Then you can just slot the new releases in at the appropriate place! This is just to avoid fractions :)

Aha! The "real" cop-out.

I guess, the #1 camera is ... the camera with you at THE right moment.

Agreed on the impression "my choice? Anything that will suit your needs and style".
I'm awfully able to leave empty numbers here and there by myself... ;-)

Andrew's got it right but Mike's point is well taken.

Obviously, the number one camera is the one that comes out shortly after you have bought yours.

This must be a psychological experiment to see how many people will comment on a postponed post. I nearly jumped in regarding yesterday's classic article, but here I am, commenting today about...nothing...

Mike, just say the #2 will be announced sometime in May. That way instead of 5-times-a-day, I would come back 10-times-a-day ;-)

Too much Derrida and de Man; this is obviously a de-monstrative exercise in in list sub-version and deconstruction.

You post-modern tease, you.

It's a Pentax ESII mounting a Super-Multicoated-Takumar 1.4/50 and loaded with Tri-X...

Mike hasn't even announced his top two picks and the sour grapes have already begun. Wait until you find-out he's left the D700 off his list because of a strong Nikon anti-bias. Politics politics politics.

I guess Adrian and Antony have neatly bracketed the possibilities, but given that this is a "Recommended" list, not a "most/highest/fastest/newest/etc." list, and given what we've learned of Mike's predilections, I guess Adrian's pick, or more generally: the one in your hand, is a more likely #1.

Besides, it would at the same time be the ultimate cop-out AND the most sensible recommendation. How could Mike resist that?

However you came to leave #2 empty, Mike, I agree that it is a brilliant and funny gesture.

If these shots are reasonably untouched:


the DP2 could be a very sweet camera; if it's at all usable, probably quite recommendable...for some.

(Not helping, am I?)

well, if it's a new camera announcement being waited for, it would take even more months before said announced camera actually came out, much less held/used long enough for a recommendation.

it should be a given in this fast paced digital world that any of the (frequent) successors to a camera on this list should be considered in their predecessor's place, Oly E-450 for example, if the BUYER decides the higher price is worth the premium (except maybe in extreme cases...ahem D3X).

like has already been said here, entry-level, mid-level and full-frame SLRs have already been covered on this list. what's left is either a full pro-model SLR, medium format camera, a specific, especially good deal camera, or an entirely new concept camera altogether (which many of us are hoping the new rumored Pentax will be.... )

This post and the previous post fit so well together. Every camera is amazing but no one is happy, especially since the next version of the camera is better than the version you bought; so I'm cancelling pick number 2. Or it's like the Franz Kafka camera. Your whole camera decision is hopeless and pointless and the camera will turn into a cockroach when the next version is rolled out.

I wonder if, in an imaginary world, where everyone could and did afford the "best" car - and that was decided off the spec sheets to be the Ferrari Zoom Zoom Vroom ... what would happen to the idea of owning the best or most perfect if you will - Ca.

I think the one guy still driving that 1986 Chevy Chevette would all of a sudden get all the "oooh's and ahhh's" and the ckicks too! :)

Mike the sage he is realizes this ... and realizes (this is the more important part) that we are already there in that analogy with digicams. Perfect, and perfectly easy, is boring and not the kind of labor of love that made photography such an alluring hoby.

So ... don't expect neither the D700 nor the 5Dmk2.

Number one is for sure an old 8x10.
back to film
Viva la counter-revolution!

The delay is simply due to the internet rumor that Linhoff may go to larger brass knobs in several years. Who wants something outdated on their list.

If the issue is product lifespan... I'm still stumped, mostly because the list has covered so much range already. Is this the "high-end" shooter's grail slot but the M8 is about to be retired? Was the 5D going to get the nod over the 5DMkII? Is it already time for another iphone refresh?

On another topic: along the line of the bobdales/Adrian "the best is the one you're with" theme, is not something small, rugged, weatherproof and otherwise "good enough" more likely to be "with" (for most people) than a "better" camera?

If it was the number one camera that we had to wait for, I'd recommend going ahead with number one as of ten days ago, then in a month coming out with number zero. Sort of like knobs that go up to number 11.

Now I'm wondering what new camera is on the horizon that when it shows up will slot in at number two?

And, if that means that number one is over the top in a category all it's own, then I'll take one of these please.


I know ... It was an iPhone, but now he's waiting for the Palm Pre to come out...

Wow. That's a twist. Perhaps someone just received a collect call from Solms with the offer of a loaner S2. Good gravy, the safety deposit alone would probably be more expensive than a D3 with the kit lens!

Mike, you are a blogging genius. You got 52, er 53 comments by not saying something, or maybe by not saying anything, I'm not sure which. In any case, very impressive. When I say nothing (or don't say anything), nothing happens.

I'm waiting for #1 to be "The camera you own."

Next month? You've been taking lessons from the folks at RadioPopper, haven't you?

While sitting in Starbucks today, #2 came to my mind and I thought it will be D700, with #1 being "a camera that you have with you" ... while drinking, thinking (and taking a macro of coffee take away cup with my K800 mobile phone :o) ), it occurred to me that I never read about a camera phone recommendation from some photography oriented site (hint, hint)... but it does not seem that we will see a camera phone on such a list just yet... let alone at #1 or 2 spot...

just arrived back home from London, went to check out #2, a definite surprise... I guess I was wrong... it's not D700... this is the best #2 entry ever, and it's coming in a month :o)

I here that the Nikon will get a firmware update in May, so it will be able to resolve leaves.

We hope, anyway. My son has decided that summer isn't coming this year; he thinks winter's going to last until fall.


Know the old trick where someone sneaks up behind you and pokes your knees out from under you with their own?

Uh huh ...

That the...?

My jaw dropped on the floor.

I have to say, I'm also anxiously awaiting the K30D/K7D/K700X to pair with those Pentax primes. Love the commentary on this post.

This is going to be a sequel to
"The Prisoner." Who is number 5?
If I am number 3 than who is Number 2, and if he is number one who is number six?

It's all a game people, and Mike, knows exactly what he is doing.

Do You?

Feel like I am watching a Seinfeld episode. Much ado about nothing.

I'm placing my bet for #2 on the DP2, as it's the closest thing yet to the DMD camera... and should be available Real Soon Now.

(I'm also putting my money on the DP2 for real... and I'm not usually an early adopter for new hardware.)

Mike...get back under the bridge where you belong.


Cheers! Jay

I had exactly the same thought about #1 that bobdales (and several others, apparently) did...

My curiosity is definitely piqued by #2 now as well.

Since choice #3 included five cameras, I guess it's OK for choice #2 to include zero cameras.

I wonder how many cameras will be in the #1 slot?

After some more thought, it'd surprise me to not see at least one of the Nikon D700 and the Canon 5DII on the list, especially the former. Why? The Sony A900 is on the list, but the D700 is for most people probably a more practical camera. Some may also argue that the 5DII offers a good compromise between the A900 and the D700 (plus with the biggest selection of lenses).

The Sigma DP2 (or DP1) as a choice occurred to me, but I have a hard time believing that it'd make it to the #2 or #1 spot. Why? Because I doubt it'll handle well enough, and perhaps it's also a little limited in scope. In particular, the former detracts from the "fun" factor, and I figure that top cameras should be fun. (Fun doesn't necessarily mean fast. Large format can be fun, in a different kind of way. But frustrating is the antithesis of fun.)

What else is coming up soon? A replacement for the Nikon D300 -- which itself could easily have found itself on this list (at this point I doubt it will). The new Olympus Micro-4/3s -- plausible for a list a few months from now, but probably then not even in the #1 or #2 spots, if at all.

How about a superzoom of some sort? The Fuji S100fs, or maybe a Canon or a Panasonic? Such a choice would be controversial, though there's an argument for including one on this list. But in the #2 or #1 spot? I can't imagine the uproar!

Wow. 67 comments about nothing. I'm impressed.

let's see the possible candidates:
a. Sigma DP2? Nothing really new to justify waiting although some recent posts of Mike's expressed his amazement regarding the quality of the lens wide open.
b. Leica M8 - the most important absence on the list. Maybe Leica is up to something - a Leica M8 with liveview (through an aditional viewfinder, connected through the hot shoe) would be great! Any rumors about such a thing? Or Leica S2 which is to be released? To expensive, specialized and elitist for the type of cameras targeted here.
c. The new Pentax? Nothing new unless they come with the square sensor. Maybe the Pentax 645D?
d. Some new/different large format camera, like ALPA? (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/alpa.shtml)

let's all speculate... loadsafun!

I reckon D700 will be No. 1 (I am wed to Canon but unbiased - if I were moving to digital from my OM system today rather than four plus years ago, I would get a D700).

Perhaps No. 2 was the DP2 but Mike has a near perfect DMD camera on trial and cannot yet speak about it. So my No. 2 is the Olympus Pen D3.

There is a new camera coming (the #2 on this list), and it will feature things never imagined before:
1.Buttonless trigger - you think about taking a picture, and it shoots!
2.Collocation - you do not even have to carry it with you! - captures everything you see.
3.Shoots video 5000FPS in native resolution!
4.Makes excellent italian espresso
5.Looks after toddlers and changes nappies!
6.Knows the ultimate question - the one for which the answer is "42", because it sports 42MP sensor!
7.Sex-magnet: when a member of the opposite (or same sex - you choose in the menu) sees you carrying that camera, it instantly falls for you!
8. KIT lens is 10-1000 F/0.5 which are made using the new kreplunk© technology. Therefore this monstrous zoom is packaged in a tiny package no bigger than Pentax DA40mm Ltd, weighing only 100g. No CA, PF or barrel distrortion whatsoever.
9.All cameras and lenses and their parts are made locally, to minimize environmental impact!

And all that for $9.99!!!

I wonder what will #1 be.

This countdown is great. The sort of touchstone collection of articles with which this site will be identified. Keep up the good work!

Predicting Olympus OM2 for #1.

Here's an idle suggestion while we're killing time: get a neoprene camera bag.

I've been using a relatively chunky SLR camera for about four years now but just recently bought a Zing bag. It fits the camera with one small lens snugly. Now I can just toss the camera in the larger bag I carry to work every day. The camera goes with me whenever I leave the house and I'm taking a lot more photos than I ever did before. Definitely worth the money if you're the type to only bring the camera for "occasions".

Whether this "postponed" post was intentional or not, it is tremendously amusing and really brilliant (just don't ever tell us whether you were intentionally jerking our chain). I am particularly enjoying the comments, most of which are really clever and funny in their own right. I'd like to highlight the two below, however, which made me chuckle out loud:

Bill Rogers wrote: "Since choice #3 included five cameras, I guess it's OK for choice #2 to include zero cameras.

I wonder how many cameras will be in the #1 slot?"

Paul Pomeroy wrote: "Next month? You've been taking lessons from the folks at RadioPopper, haven't you?"

As for my predictions for the top two slots, I'd have to go with some combination of the following:

- Nikon D700
- Sigma DP2
- Olympus E-620
- Nikon D5000

I'm personally rooting for the DP2 to make it onto the list somewhere, just because I really want a DMD and I think this class of camera needs our support.

The E620 and D5000 may seem out of place on my list, but I believe these two cameras really occupy a sweet spot in terms of features, price and performance. I have a Nikon D60 that I have really come to enjoy, and the D5000 seems to solve all of the minor niggles that I have with that camera.


Quite obvious it is DP2 vs. some other camera. We know how much Mike sympathizes with low megapixels, higher 'per pixel' quality camera. And in the last 10 days, a lot of DP2 samples have surfaced online, along with some assurance that its faster than the DP1, with a great lens.

Another observation: Canon 5D Mark II is too good a camera not to be here on the list, especially if Nikon D700 is #1. That has to be the #2 Mike was thinking about before he changed his mind.

It's the Pentax K-7.

My guess would be the E-620. It has in body IS, and tilt & swing monitor which are features Mike likes. You can use those sweet Zuiko lenses and most of the control buttons are illuminated. I'm wrestling with the decision of waiting for the E-620 or succumbing to the instant gratification and buying the K20d.......


Why the Canon 5D Mark II Deserves a Top-Ten Spot

The Online Photographer’s top-ten list to date has one slot open, #2, with no mention yet of the Canon 5D Mark II. Here are some reasons why the 5Dmkii measures up:

1.) The 5Dmkii is a worthy successor to earlier Canon DSLRs, continuing the tradition that placed Canon at the forefront, beginning with the Canon 10D or 20D. Nikon only matched Canon recently, with the D300 and D700.

Canon’s first “moderately priced” full-frame camera came several years ago with the 5D, and while the many owners of 1.6x APC-C sensors (20D, 30D, and 40D) sought reasons to jump to full frame, owners of the 5D hoped for more pixels, better auto-focus, and higher ISO capability at a moderate price—supporting their investment in Canon lenses. Pros using the more expensive D1s Mark II or III wanted a 16- to 21-megapixel camera in a less expensive body.

The 5Dmkii meets all these requirements, except better auto-focus, which is roughly the same as the 5D.

2.) The 5Dmkii offers the best overall image quality for the price, at 21 MP. Detractors might argue that the full-frame Sony Alpha A900 with 23 MP is sharper, while Nikon proponents could say that the D700 handles better, offers extraordinary high-ISO capability, and has better image quality, given its more modest 12 MP. All three of these cameras are priced in the area of $2,700.

But consider: High-ISO capability of the Canon is nearly equal to the Nikon, despite having smaller pixels to support 21 rather than 12 megapixels in a full-frame sensor. The 5Dmkii can deliver un-interpolated prints of 20 x 30” versus 13 x 19” for the Nikon. For large prints at higher ISOs, the Canon also beats the otherwise superlative image quality of the Sony A900.

So, the crown for overall image quality goes to the 5Dmkii, especially for landscape work in a variety of conditions, including low light. The Nikon D700 might be better for street shooting, while the Sony A900 would edge out Canon marginally in pure image quality at 800 ISO or below.

3.) A tie for camera with the best image quality for the price? As five APS-C DSLRs share the limelight at #3, you could argue that the top three “budget” full-frame cameras could share a slot—except that Nikon and Sony have already earned theirs. Certainly, depending on your needs, either the 5Dmkii, the D700, or the A900 could be your preference in an under-$3,000 full-frame body. But given that the D700 has edged into #1 on handling, high ISO, and getting the most mileage out of 12 MP, the Canon 5Dmkii is a no-brainer for #2.

Mike, any update or further hints on #2?
(Further hints? Please?)

I've been enjoying your list so far, so I take the chance this place is still vacant to make a proposal : the Canonet QL19 (be it the true japanese made one or the more common GIII variant). Rumours has it it's been the most sold 35mm camera ever (ranking it the top sold camera ever full stop), for reasons. #1 reason : perfect 40mm/1.9 lens, not too wide, not too narrow, sharp as can be. #2 Quick load, one-hand film insertion and done. #3 Mostly Aperture priority, but works without battery following the sunny 16 rule just in case. #4 great rangefinder.
Like everyone, I've got my pet cameras, and would put my OM-1 on top if asked, but all in all, the Canonet shines enough and is so versatile it desserves a place in this actual, useful, not yet equalled, camera lot.

The Pentax K-7's official announcement is tomorrow.

My guess is that the #2 spot will be filled sometime tomorrow or in the days following. :)

Mike, I take it you've been testing the DA 15mm limited on the K-7?

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