« How to Review (or Buy) a Lens (or Camera) | Main | Great Deal o' the Day »

Thursday, 01 December 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

After the big camera - I'm afraid I'm hooked on full frame - I find the iPhone (or any other decent camera phone) is perfect. Any of these in-between small cameras are just too much of a compromise a) compared with the quality of FF, and b) compared with the pocketability of the iPhone.

I used to think that a decent quality small camera would work as a proxy for the big camera - that I could use it as a substitute for the big camera, but if an opportunity comes up for a photo, the results inevitably just made me wish I'd had the big camera with me.

By contrast this doesn't bother me with the iphone, and I've taken a lot of satisfactory shots of the personal type with it.

What have I used as a small camera? Canon G11, Leica Dlux4, Panasonic-something - I'd even include the Pentax K7. All have gone by the board.

I have to agre with the commentator about the M9 however, although I assume that comes under your "big" camera banner

To echo some of the others, I recently bought a Fuji X10 for just this purpose, mainly because of the optical viewfinder and my general aversion to taking photographs with my arms outstretched in front of me. However, I think there is no doubt that smartphones, like my iPhone 4s, are filling this role for most folks. Their camera functions have gotten much better and they are always in your pocket!

Going to work every day, it's my iPhone 4s that gets the most action. When I'm out with the intent of taking photos, I've been spending equal time between my Fuji X100 and my NEX5n with the 16mm and the wide adapter attached - I'm finding that combination covers most of my needed bases and would be filled with grief at the loss of either of them. The only real void I find in my life is a lack of a serious film body for some slow, pragmatic moments - for that I've started a fund to save up for a decent used M series body and some nice glass, but that's pretty pie in the sky at present for me.

My big camera has become a Kiev 60, version Arax - with a waist level finder nobody notices you using it. By the end of the week, it's become too heavy, and I reach for an Olympus Trip.

I guess by 'mirrorless' it was Ok to vote for my Leica M9??

Well it has nothing that a wonder DSLR has, so it is at the other extreme. But the analogy is sound, the M9 gets used 99% of the time and the DSLR comes out only when I need something faster and with more brain than me.

I recently picked up a Contax 159MM and a couple of Zeiss lenses to use alongside my bulky Eos (1Ds, bagful of lenses with red stripes...) system. Not only is it more compact and more fun but, the Zeiss glass and Ektar make such great images I'm finding myself using it more and more in favour of the digital.

When I want a smaller kit, I take off the grip and the usual lens from my trusty Pentax K5. This camera, with the DA 40 mm limited is really tiny, and a joy to use

I opted for "None of the above" because one option I would choose is missing: "A large-sensor digicam".

Also, "mirrorless camera" is an ambiguous term. I assume you mean "mirrorless interchangeable lens camera" by that?

Another vote for the Fuji X10. I had a play with one in a shop a couple of days ago - lovely little thing. Clear, bright viewfinder (so few compacts have any viewfinder at all :( ) and even a cable release thread on the shutter button! :)

How many cupholders does the Fiat 500 have? And can I plug my iPod into it? And, and... will my neighbours think it's kewl, or wussy? I am particularly keen to publicly brag about how understated I am. Will this do the trick? [grin]

If the popularity of the x100 here is any indication, I'm gonna have to pre-order that Fuji x200.

I shall now kick myself even harder for not choosing it over the E-P3.

Oh, yea, got my iphone too. Can add cool effects to make my screw-ups art and upload to FB.

It's either my (used to have) M4P & 35, or my current EPL-1, with a 17 or 20 and their optical VF-1 on it. Something that Tony doesn't have to fix again. Something I'm very comfortable with.

XZ-1 - it's a surprisingly flexible camera. High quality large-aparture lens that you can actually get fairly shallow DoF even at longer focal lengths, as well as a flash hotshoe, with makes it a well-featured camera creatively, if not spec-wise.

E-P3, GX1, NEX and their ilk are far too plush to be considered in this contest.

My bag is packed for this weekend with the trusty Nikon D3 and the Olympus EP-2. I am meeting a new nephew for the first time and the Nikon is just the ticket for portraits that will be a part of the family lore for a generation. But I just love using both of these cameras. The Nikon is the pick-up truck and the Oly is the Fiat. And being a bit of a gear-head, I had originally packed a Nex-5, but the Oly just has everything I need in a small, light camera. For me, there is no size, weight, or speed advantage to going smaller (e.g. LX-3).

P.S. as for smart-phones, my brother has sent pictures of his new son out by phone. My reaction? Head to my favorite web-retailer to buy him an actual camera.

That would be Sony NEX7 with Carl Zeiss Sonnar 24mm f/1.8
Zeiss glass with AF and excellent sensor behind it.

I would kit out an I-phone

FIAT eh?
Cute, yes!
Reliable, NOT!
Good thing they bought some of Chrysler, two
quite poorly designed and still operating company's merging.
How sweet.
The one and only time I rode in a FIAT rail car, it became consumed by it's own self, burning to a crisp in the local Central African railway station.

FIAT, Fix It Again Tony is the best description of the company and its products!

May it consume Chrysler and remove that brand too from the face of the earth!

Off topic, but I had to chuckle at that list of 75 reasons to buy the Fiat over the Mini. Not one single "good" reason on that list for me. If I were buying one today, I'd go for the Mini. Sorry, Fiat.

I first thought that I would answer the "personal fiat" question with what I have currently, which is a micro four thirds camera.

I really enjoy the system and have had four bodies so far. They have been a welcome simplification and size reduction from my Canon and Nikon systems of the past. However, as good as they are I realize, begrudgingly, that it is and admiration of what the system does - not love. The logical part of me does not understand. But my heart knows better, despite the lack of words to explain. Perhaps I'm tired of the ease of digital? Could it be that no digital camera is really simple as simple could be - as simple as it used to be?

No .... this post has made me aware (thanks a lot mike! This always costs me money!!) that my fiat is a Zeiss Ikon with only a 28 and 50 medium speed lens. I'll carry some 400 speed film with that, I think.

Why not a Leica? Too expensive to be not worried about and that seems to go against the gestalt of it.

That is the thing for me now after a twelve year trip through digital and perhaps forty thousand dollars worth of fun and experience. I want to go back to photography. I don't want Nikon to do it for me, nor Ashton Kutcher to explain how great, super-saturated and easy now is.

No; back to what feels like basics to me and the good feeling of making my mistakes and triumphs with limits that I can understand and limits that I can slowly master.

That may not make sense to many. It hardly makes sense to me as it has hit me out of the blue just now as I pondered your post. Simple and elemental is my Fiat. Film.

So; thank you Mike for giving me a moment of unexpected clarity. Now I only have to wonder what the fuss over Ferraris ever was for me.

I would go with the Fuji X100, but I'd prefer if it had a removable lens, the 35mm is sometimes somewhat long for me. And no, thanks, the M9 is not for me, my car doesn't cost as much as they are asking for it.

Re. cars, the Fiat 128 was my first car. Lovely little car with space for 5 (OK, really only for 4), a decent engine and good handling. I do not know if that was what Enzo was driving, but if it was, I guess I should be proud.

Well, considering that my camera for "real work" is a huge wet plate rig that requires a dark room on site - any camera is a walk around camera. In fact my current Fiat is a Nikon D700 the same one I use for daily commission work. With the attached Voigtlander 40mm it serves me well. Prior to that was a huge list of often times truly annoying cameras from the likes of Ricoh, Olympus, Minox, Yashica, and the list goes on. Just as digital was starting to get good I had just settled in with the FM3A. I loved that camera but after several months of non use it was the right time to let it go, still the only camera I've ever made any money selling. I thought I had something in my Droid but then an "upgrade" came along and ruined that. So now I'm waiting not-so-patiently for an NEX-7 that's on pre-order. If it weren't for the fact that I need a b roll camera for work and I didn't care about video you can be sure I'd have that Fuji x-100 in my stable. But everything for me is a compromise between what I want and what I should buy. Except the big camera. Custom made to my specs it's the perfect camera for what it is. But much like the Ferarri it very specific.

Coincidently, I'm doing a massive clean up of accumulated detritus to get my house ready to sell. I found a copy of Camera and Darkroom (Aug '93) with an interesting interview with Horace Bristol. Also in this issue is an article by yourself, "We asked the photographers on Compuserve a simple question: "If you were limited to four lenses for all your work, which would they be?"" For those who can't immediately put their fingers on their copy of C&D ;), the most popular lens was the 35mm f2 Nikkor AF.

To get to the current survey, the choice would have to have: a good optical finder, quiet shutter, and take a focal length between 50 and 90 mm, because all my best pictures were taken in that focal length range. It would also have to be a film camera, since nothing does B&W better than film and color negative film is unbeaten in terms of capturing high contrast scenes. My answer would be a Leica M6 TTL with a .85 viewfinder and a 75mm Summicron.

The lens is beyond my reach financially, but maybe I could justify it by thinking that it would cost about the same as a 2 year old Fiat 500 will. :)

Take care,

Did somebody say Fiat 500? I'll just leave this here:

A bit racy so depending on your work environment might be NSFW.

I drove a Yugoslav version of that Fiat 128 for years. If only I knew I am in such a good company (with Enzo Ferrari, that is).

"Not asking you to imagine a memory-wipe, CMS, just a cabinet-dump."

I didn't. I might not have expressed myself clearly, though. My conclusion was that it is probably best to buy again what you have already learned to use.

The iPhone 4 with the Hipstamatic app has really invigorated my photography in the last year or so since I bought it. Work and life commitments have seriously limited my photography time lately but with the iPhone an various photo apps like Hipstamatic I've managed to make some of the most innovative pictures I've ever taken.

Funny question...
I drive and have driven small Fiats all my life. Starting with a 127GT and onto the later faster models while still keeping small. It is purely personal choice, my wife wants me to get a BMW or Audi or something 'respectable' as she defines it. The 500 in Abarth format is a laugh to drive, especially in Esse format (extra power, stiffer suspension).
My choice is K-5 and 43mm. I have always regarded Pentax as a kind of Fiat :)
Don't forget that Fiat invented recently the common rail diesel, and with the Multi air, electro-hydraulic valve management, they are leaders in engine development.

My big camera is a Rolleicord with Xenar lens. I love the square format and the look of Tessar-type lenses. It's a Ferrari since I'm slow with the Rolleicord and I don't like carrying a light meter in addition to the camera, but I love mechanical cameras and manual focus. So my FIAT version would be a 35mm camera with light meter, manual focus, Tessar-type lens and square format(!). That will never happen so I am going to use Xmas money for my second choice FIAT- a Pentax MX with 50mm f1.4 or f1.7.

If anyone has any ideas on an SLR or rangefinder camera with a Tessar type lens for little money, I would love to hear about it. Why buy a Nikon with the 45mm lens or a Contax with the Tessar when I can get the Pentax MX plus lens for less than just the Nikon or Contax lens? An SLR with a easy to focus viewfinder would be helpful since the Tessar lenses are usually f2.8 and I want to put a yellow filter on it.

I believe Ricoh once made a Tessar-Type in Pentax K-mount, but you'd have to look into it to be sure.


You're right, Mike. I found some info online on the Ricoh Tessar. It may be tough to track down the lens as I bet it's rare. I wonder if it was made by Cosina or whomever made the Nikon version if it wasn't Nikon. Thanks for the tip!

My brother, who is a wealthy guy, has a Porshe GTX, but he goes to his office every morning in a FIAT 500 Abarth version, which has a turbo engine with an estimated 160 HP. It is just great. Knowing that I am an Oly user since the OM-1, last month he gave me a brand new E-P3 for my birthday. I think the Fiat 500 equivalent of cameras is a mirrorless, like any of the EP series of course.


A Nikon FM3a with a Voigtlander 40mm f2 and a Fiat 500 full of Portra 400.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007