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Friday, 31 August 2012


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The thought of that NEX-7 keeps nagging away doesn't it?

Human relations are all about "connecting" (ie. bonding) and just because a woman is beautiful doesn't mean you connect with her. Same goes for equipment. I'm having problems bonding with the EM5 also. I think it is a better cam than my GH2 but I feel much more connected to the simpler GH2. It fits one of my basic approaches to life... the 80/20 rule. And the GH2 gives me 80% of what I can get from the EM5, but with only 20% of the "friction".

Peter F.

Another blog has a piece by someone who has a Leica M9 and an OM-D. He finds himself using the OM-D 95% of the time.

I'm lower on the food chain with an OM-D and a Fuji X-10. I find myself using the X-10 more often than not. The optical window finder just seems more satisfying than the excellent EVF of the OM-D. The camera fits in my jacket pocket. The zoom lens cam be used like 5 prime lenses- just set to the focal length you want before binging the camera up to your eye. What could be more enjoyable?

Sorry to hear about the trouble you are having with the sweet little OM-D E-M5. I'm having the opposite experience. I love using the camera. It works well for me. It is set so the functionality that I need is readily available. I don't worry about the rest.

The 45mm lens is sort of an issue. It is a very good lens but somewhat too sharp and clinical if that makes any sense. I really prefer using a vintage lens for portraits on the E-M5. Of course auto focus on the 45mm makes it much more convenient to shoot than a legacy lens.

I'm seriously considering whether to keep my Canon gear. It seems too big awkward to account for the slight advantage in image quality it affords.

Aaah...Mike, I think that your unconscious is hearing the siren call of the NEX-7.

Be brave. Walk into your nearest camera emporium. Steal yourself. Swallow. Ask for the NEX-7. Feel through your fingertips.

Then repeat with the Fuji X-Pro 1.

I dare you.

Your descriptions of the issues you had in sourcing the sound problems in your stereo system makes me glad that I'm not a stereophile.

In addition, I felt the same way about the Panasonic L1 that I owned for a year. I never felt in tune with it the way I did (and do) about my Pentax cameras. It was a beautiful design, with features I haven't seen since (bounce flash on a built-in unit?), but my brain and hands never found that synchronicity with the L1.

So I guess the next logical question here is, do you feel like you've "bonded" with the A900? And did you ever manage to get your hands on the famed Minolta 35/2 that you wanted?


About audio equipment, and audiophilia. If you're not having fun, there's a problem. The agony might abate if you accept that most of the distortion in the audio chain can be found in the speakers and their interaction with the room. Take your lead from audio engineers (I'm not one) and their research. I'm reliably informed that distortion in most DACs and even old solid state amps is irrelevant in comparison to that in speakers. This has been established in double-blind listening tests, repeatedly.

I'm aware that audiophile law (lore) and practice claims otherwise. And dare I suggest that if you're not happy with the speaker output, and don't want to mess with acoustic absorption panels, etc., you might try an equalizer. I know, it's anathema to audiophiles, but it might be more satisfying (even fun) than fretting about the DAC and the amp.


One warning re trying the X-Pro 1:

Don't judge the focusing speed by the store display model, unless both the body and lens have each received their current firmware upgrades. For this reason, the comments that appeared in the early reviews are now quite inaccurate.

I have just the opposite feeling regarding the OMD. It simply disappears in my hands. The 25mm,45mm the 75mm are always with me. I love making portraits with the OMD. Maybe you need to find another bridge. The "Fox" has lost the aura of inspiration.

Oh, yes. I get along with the A900 really well, probably because it deliberately channels the SLRs of old. I did get a 35mm to use with it.

I just don't take it out very often because I don't need the huge file size and don't want to carry the big ol' thing. But it's good for portraits because it impresses the people I'm doing the portrait for (one thing I've learned--never show up for a portrait shoot with the same camera the client or one of their friends owns, or, god forbid, something cheaper!), and the big viewfinder lets me easily see what's going on. Nice portrait camera all around.


Who said I'm not having fun? I've been enjoying myself.


I feel exactly the same way about that Olympus 45mm. It's a phenomenal lens in every technical and artistic respect, but I just don't like the way it "sees" people, and people are why I got that lens. I _think_ it has to do with working distance on m43, but I'm not sure. And it's so very, very good that I've given it many extra shots, no pun intended.

Maybe the issue is with comparing the two items. I know with buying a home, once you find the one, everything else is compared to it. Perhaps the issue with attachment is that comparison and not realizing that this new item doesn't need to fill the space of the old, or give the same feeling of the old. Perhaps we get too comfortable and cant look beyond that comfort simply because we feel we are casting that past item aside.

Or perhaps we are all schlubs and need to realize this is just equipment and the feeling should be attached to the action rather than the item we do it with.

If you are serious about the 45mm, please email me! I am interested in forming new bonds and future emotional pain with it.

Mike, you're obviously spoilt by choice :)

No disagreement here.

I bonded first a Nikon F2. Liked it better than the F and so much more than the F3, FE and FM models that came later, I got rid of the newer models and bought used F2 bodies. I bonded with the much maligned Canon A2E as my first AF SLR but I never quite learned to love the 1n before moving on to digital. Although I have a whole bunch of Canon lenses, I've yet to really bond with either of the Canon DSLRs I own. I mainly use the Canons for the little bit of telephoto shooting I do. I bonded quickly with the Leica M6--something I never quite learned to do with the M4P twenty-odd years earlier. I bonded with the Olympus E-P1 and then with the E-P2 despite some early teething pains. I never learned to love the Panasonic G1 even though I look back on the time I used it and feel I made some of my best pictures during that time with that camera. Go figure. There's no accounting for matters of the heart.

When it comes to audio equipment, I'm reminded of the day I first met and photographed the conductor and musical director of the local symphony. He was a man who was never recognized among the great conductors of the day but he was a man who was highly respected within the international classical music community during the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. I was not into classical music at the time but he wanted to play a recording for me as I photographed him in his office. His stereo was an old portable Hi-Fi (all-in-one record changer, amp, etc.) and he had it balanced on a folding chair. The sound was so awful it was painful yet he was enraptured by the music. He closed his eyes and moved his hands as he listened. I realized he was hearing something I could not. I was limited by unfamiliarity and distracted by the wretched record player. He had no such limitations to his ability to hear the great music within.

This is horrible, commenting on a sidebar that really has little to do with today's essay.

"We're having a really engrossing discussion behind the scenes with one of the wizards of Adobe about Raw image quality—me, Ctein, and four or five friends. I'm sure Ctein will report on it eventually."

But, please, much sooner than "eventually."

People bond with flaws, not perfection.

That's why people love old cars and fixer-upper houses, and why they date and marry the people they do.

Flaws are unique, challenging, and stimulating. They create memorable experiences that stand out, and create those bonds. Perfection often turns out to be boring, cold, and unmemorable.

We are all the same! Genetically, variation may be as low as 0.4%. So I'm 99.6% identical to you and everyone else. Quit thinking you're special.

Bonding can be a funny thing, and often has as much to do with the intended use or life circumstances when we start using the item.

I've formed a very tight bond with my Nikon D2H while my D700 leaves me a bit cold. In almost every measurable way the D700 is vastly superior, but the D2H was bought for purely personal use at a generally more carefree time in life. Using it just brings back a warmer feeling. Meanwhile the D700 is purely a "work" camera for weddings and portraits (my full time gig). It's a great camera, but I don't get the same personal satisfaction using it.

The ZC 85mm f2.8 Sonnar is one of my most used lenses after I converted the mount to Nikon with a Leitax mount. Its one of the few lenses that I may never part with. Recommended.

Posts like this really distinguish your site. Please keep them coming.

I think the corollary to Ctein's "Nobody cares how hard you worked" is "Nobody cares what tools you used". In my opinion, the best tools are those that you bond with. They just get out of the way and let your unconscious mind guide the artist's hand. If more of us had the self-knowledge to identify the best tools for our work, that work would be a better reflection of our intent. Isn't that what this is supposed to be about?

Use the GF-1 until it dissolves in your hands. No, I'm not in the market for your OM-D. I've bonded with my GH2. It's what works for my work.

"I'm forcing myself not to grab the GF1"
Don't fight it, just remember photography isn't about cameras and lenses.

Like you I am having a love/hate relationship with the OMD-EM5. I love the image quality, size and weight but I find the camera difficult to adjust in most respects. I find myself using it in ways I typically don't use my "full frame" DSLR. It seems the camera, through the gyrations needed to make adjustments, is forcing me to use it as a point-and-shoot, foregoing its extensive options. The associated frustration causes me to just to put the camera controls on program or aperture priority than not being able to find and make the menu changes I want to make in the time in which I need to make them to make the photograph. I guess it is the photo-curmudgeon coming out in me. The upshot is great image quality but not so great execution of the tool for me.

I know very much what you mean. I've yet to bond with my GH2, and after a period of purposefully trying to learn it well enough to like using it, I found myself picking up my Oly E5 again and loving that camera once more (even though the gh2 has technically better image quality). I also have the 45 1.8, and like it well enough but it's just not the same as my 50 f2 on the E5. But I will trade you my GH2 for your EM5 if you want to try something else... : )

I disagree with disagreeing with it too.

I totally bonded, almost instantly, with my first prime - a Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 - on both APS-C and latterly m4/3rds. Oh, how I love the "100mm" FoV... I even use it in landscapes occasionally.

Then I got its sister, a Pentacon 30mm lens - a funny wee thing with no smooth and locking aperture ring - no detentes every stop. And I've been having a dickens of a time (UK phrase) getting used to "60mm" field of view - it doesn't focus quite so close, so it's become my "cluster of 2-4 things" lens instead. Still getting to grips with that.

I got my OM-D in June. The transition has been easier for me - I've been using an EPL-1 for a couple of years now, having transitioned from years using Canon. I still have to check the manual sometimes though.

I love my OM-D but I use the 12-50 and the 25 1.4 most of the time. My 45 (a wonderful and sharp lens) mostly stays in the bag. I haven't figured out why and I am not planning to sell it, but...

The bonding issue is something I'm experiencing with the Fuji X100.

In terms of usability it's probably the camera that most correspond to my ideia of a perfect camera, so much that I now use it almost exclusively and I'm starting to think if having a expensive but rarely used Canon 5D MkII makes sense any more(although my rationale keeps saying me I will regret not having a full-frame camera).

But there's something that bothers me from the start with the Fuji: I just can't get confortable with it's focal lenght, it seems somehow too wide. It's strange because before the X100 I had a Olympus EP-1 with the Panasonic 20mm/1.7 and was perfectly fine with it (is the 5mm diference that much?). Even more strange is that my most used lens on the Canon 5DMkII is a Leica summicron-R 35mm/f2...

I think that as with personal bondings, within a certain degree we can reach a compromise with camera bondings adapting to them. Even with the focal lenght problem I don't see any current camera that fits my needs as the X100 does, so I just adapted my workflow cropping the photos a bit.

bonding with the OMD.
Is it the camera in general or just this lens and camera combination?


I've never written any comments before on your site eventhough I follow it daily. This post really hits home with me! I re-started my photography passion/hobby digitally with a K200D and loved that camera but when the GF1 came out, I got seduced by it's size and ability to create similar level of photographs. Over the next two years, I almost completely stopped using the Pentax as the GF1 and the 20mm just spoke to me and was so easy to just have on me at all times. So when I saw the OM-D, I decided it would give me everything I wanted - small size, weather proofing and IBIS like the K200D plus as a bonus, I would finally be able to shoot above ISO 800! I sold all my Pentax stuff and went all in. I agree with you, it's a camera that does so much stuff well but, I also have not bonded with it at all. It does basically everything better than the GF1 but, I can't seem to fall in love with it either. I think some of it for me is the complicated interface/menus and lack of any labeling on the body - I find that I'm always having to think about everything I do where the GF1 was so simple and easy to learn. I know they really wanted the camera to be super flexible and setup any way any photographer may want but, I think this is actually what turns me off a bit. I think I might be getting old and just want straight forward. I really don't have a point I suppose, I really just wanted to say you are not alone in your feelings about this camera.

Kirk Tuck has had the same reaction you have had to the OM-D--it looks like something he should love but it just doesn't grab him.

For me, though, this camera has been fantastic and I have definitely bonded with it. Much to my surprise, I have not only relegated my 5D MKII and all its L lenses to occasional use, I'm even thinking about selling it all off.

The technical image quality doesn't quite match what I could do with the 5D MkII but the pictures themselves--oh my. I'm making photos that I would never have made before. And for me, far more importantly, I am enjoying my time behind the camera. I didn't realize it with my series of Canon DSLRs (D30, 20D, 5D MkII) but I never really enjoyed using them to make photos.

I started out with digital photography in 1997 and really got used to shooting with LCD screens, I guess, and being able to use something as wonderful as the OLED screen on the OM-D is magical.

One other note: if you find yourself longing for the GF-1, pick up the GX-1. I bought the GF-1 for my wife when it first came out and bought the GX-1 when it was available. They're very similar cameras except the GX-1 is just a lot better. There are a lot of things that Panasonic fixed.

Consider too "linger bonding". As in, it's really time to move on from camera Q to camera R. But somehow the transition never gets made. (A fair number of Leica film shooters may be in this position...)

Oh thank god someone else isn't a Hassy fan:) I'm a spoiled brat who got several Hassys from my dad, and while I sued them for work, and got decent shots out - all my best stuff has been with a Kiev 60 or Pentax 6x7. As much as I like the winding action of a Hassy, I don't see pictures through the viewfinder. I do love my SWC, tho - go fig.

If you don't love a camera, it's never going to work well for you. Took a long line of trades for me to figure this out, but it explains the love affair some have for their Ricohs, X100s, and numerous other flawed-but-wonderful gems out there.

Fantastically true, Mike. Your feelings about the OM-D are echoing mine with the NEX-7. After using it for several months, I haven't quite fallen in love with actually using it, so I've more recently acquired a Fuji X100.

Despite its MANY quirks, the X100 may be the healthiest camera choice that I've made in a long time. Simple, nice OVF, dials, and no chance to debate about lens choice all day (although I due use the Sony 50/1.8 OSS on NEX for the occasional close portrait.) This may be the first digital camera I actually enjoy using.

And I was going to buy the 45 today. Sigh.

I too am having a hard time getting it on with the OM-D. I'm sure it's more me than the camera but every time I say I'm going to use it I end up grabbing my Sony A57 instead. Yeah it's much larger and more plastic but it just plain works without a lot of fiddling. Promised myself I'd only keep one. What to do?

I dallied with the Olympus but only once and in a shop. I remain constant and wedded however to my GF1.

Let me know if you seriously don't want your 45.

I know the feeling, Mike. Lovely camera, excellent image quality, plenty of fine lenses. Both of my images for your recent HCB birthday celebration were from my OM-D.

But there are just a few little things -- the mushy buttons, the lcd being a bit too hard to move, no apparent way to set Fn1 or Fn2 to snap AF, the lumpy Olympus menu system -- that keep it from being my prom queen, too. Within the Micro 4/3 category I still like my E-P3 just a bit more.

But I did "bond" with my Sony NEX 7 (and 5n) months ago. Not to rekindle your lust but these are really both special cameras that represent true productive advancement in photographic technology and camera design.

Anyway the Sony RX100 has completely upstaged all other cameras for me this summer, at least in the small-carry-around category. Yes, I've "bonded" with it, too. Frankly, it's come to the point where I'm wondering why I need to keep the Olys or the other small cameras, particularly now that Adobe supports the RX100's raw files. Zowie!

The Hungry Camera

For me, I get a feeling sometimes that the camera is hungry and wants to take pictures. I don't know if it translates to actually better pictures, but I think this is the feeling of bonding with a camera--the two of you have a deal. The camera I've used for the past two years is an E-P1 and I still have to fight with it to take pictures. Rather than "relaxing" with it, I sort of "get" how it's going to work, and it works fairly well; I've had good luck with it. But on occasion I've been able to use a Canon 5D II, and to me it feels like a ravenous wolf. I'll bet for each person, it's a different camera that gives this feeling. It tells me where to point, it finds light where I can't see it. I just wish I could afford one of my own! But to your point, this is an aspect of the camera reviewing/buying decision that just never appears online; you have to find it on your own.

Interesting that you write this now. I have a Panasonic G1 and an Olympus EPL-1. I bonded quickly with the G1 (I got that first, but I don't think that really matters). I really wanted IBIS after getting the 20mm lens so I got the Olympus. As much as I tried, I never could get comfortable with the Olympus. Admittedly the EPL-1 with its lack of dials is probably the worst m43 camera Olympus has made, but my problems with the interface don't really have much to do with the lack of dials.

While I keep thinking about the EM-5 with it's great sensor and IBIS, my problems with the Olympus interface are enough that I don't think I would ever bond with the EM-5 either.

The Sony A900, on the other hand, seems just right!

How is anyone supposed to "bond" with a digital recording device that is purposely meant to be replaced in a maximum of three years?

Funny....I'm stoned on the OM-D. Almost the perfect camera for me..but maybe I'm in the "New camera infatuation" phase.

For me, it's whether a camera has "good mojo" or "bad mojo." Had a Konica Hexar RF that had tons of good mojo. Couldn't seem to take a bad shot with it. Unfortunately the Zeiss Ikon ZM I foolishly replaced it with never seemed to have good mojo...never felt quite right to me.

And for some reason, me and Nikons have never worked well together. These days it's come down to Leica and Olympuses..some would argue these are opposite end of the scale. The Leicas have always come through for me and worked like they should. Ditto with my Olympuses, from OMs to E-3s to the OMD. Have a special fondness or my E-3s, which, though ugly as bulldog pups, have never let me down, from Bhutan to blues shows.

I had the same struggle with high-end stereo equipment, and finally found that I just didn't listen to music much any more.
Weird how everybody's different. I've read a bunch of stories about folks struggling with the OMD, but for me it was love at first click. It's just the most transparent digital camera I've used. Reminds me of my Nikon F3s.
I've owned three Panasonics, and never bonded with any of them. All sold. (As you say, this is not an endorsement of the Olympus, nor a criticism of the Panasonics. It's just me.)
Like Ctein, I'm more comfortable with longish lenses, and the 45 is my favorite for walking-around, but for portraits I prefer an adapted Pen F 40mm f1.4. In general the Pen lenses are the only ones that seem worth the hassle of adapters.

Funny you mention that. I'm also having bonding issues with the OMD EM-5. Don't know why. It ticks off everything on the list and yet when I go for a hike I have a hard time picking it up and seeing with it. It just doesn't make any sense.......I'll give it till the end of fall and sell it if we still don't get along.

mark t

You are getting British with your spelling of "judgment" as "judgement" also.

I agree on guitars. I have had as many as fifteen at one time, but I have seldom gigged with anything other than my long-time favorite.

Perhaps you will write next about bonding with cars. With them, I am a serial monogamist, with avarage marriages of about five years. My wife is more loyal to hers, apparently thinking in terms of "until death do us part."

That's how it goes. I really connected with my GF1. The interface, feel, balance, and results just worked for me and gave me great confidence.

I love the OMD on paper. What's not to love? But I didn't have even a tingling of a connection with it so didn't buy one.

I still have the Gf1, but haven't touched it since the arrival of my X-Pro 1. I suppose that says something.

I suspect that model could even make a fisheye lens look like a perfect portrait lens.

Mike -- My experience has absolutely been similar, and this piece is a corollary (it seems to me) of camera familiarization segment that you ran a few weeks back. I shot Nikon since the 70s with my last film bodies being the F100 and FM3a; both fully internalized in my use. Late to digital, i finally went D80 and now a D7k; only after a year has that last one become intuitive. But I *cannot* find myself comfortable with my Panny GH system, though the image quality is there and Lawdy knows i lust for the light weight. But I reach for the D7k when a shot *must* be made. sigh. -- gary ray

You have to hide away your GF1. You cannot start a new relationship with the shadow of the former camera over your shoulder.

Mike, your writing is so interesting. That bonding thing is peculiar. After years, trying digital this and that, I seem to have found a digital camera I'm comfortable with. Haven't used the M4-P fallback position in a while. My Telecaster, an extremely jealous b*tch, who drove a lot of other guitars out of this house, has been supplanted it seems by the first Gibson I've ever bonded with. My God, I've even found a solid-state amp I like instead of the tube amps I've always played. I'm not sure why, but these new things seem to fit now where 2-3 years ago I wouldn't have ever considered them.

Few colleagues I speak with these days have bonded with their cameras. The exception is those few who use Leicas for their work.

If I'm honest, I haven't connected with a camera since the Canon AE-1 that I was gifted as a teenager. None of the DSLRs I've used professionally have given me as much pleasure to use. The relationship I have with my cameras is businesslike - we are colleagues rather than friends, let alone soul mates. We get the job done.

re The relaxation moment - I discovered that the most sure fire way to simultaneously increase and decrease your music listening pleasure is to build your own amplifiers. It's hugely satisfying to tweak and tune an amplifier to fit your own preferences. But then, is it ever hard to listen to the music instead of listening to the amp...

Thank heavens it's not practical to build our own cameras. Well, mostly not practical.


Sniff. I know you know I loved that 85mm Zeiss for 35mm, except that it never focused close enough, that was the lens that got me back to 85mm from 105. Best lens ever...

Gotta say, tho, always been a Hasselblad guy, but that's because I did a lot of studio strobe. not the right system for shooting available light at less than 125th of a second. Still for everything I did, it was the best.

Ditto for red dots and view camera work...

I've been using a Nikon for digital, and just can't warm up to it. can't decide if I need to sell the whole thing and buy Canon, or even Olympus. I sit here every day and wonder about it, while I talk myself out of taking marginal pictures with it and just dive in if it's an assignment, otherwise, I'm shooting way less because I just don't like it...sad...

Lenses are proving to be more important to me than cameras. My last cam was a 5D2. Now I have an 800e. But the lenses! The camera is able (or not) to reveal the lens character to varying degrees. The 800e is very revealing. Not sure how I would correlate this with audio in terms of specific components, but the ability to reveal a sense of shape, lack of grunge in the shadows, the smoothness of tonal transitions, the ability to capture the micro-contrast, the blatt of horns, the woody surface texture of a good violin, the sparkling overtones and dimensional sustain of a good grand piano....

Have you ever considered using your favorite Zeiss lenses on your a900? See Leitax for excellent adapters and techniques. I use everything from Zeiss ZF, Zeiss Contax, Zeiss Hasselblad (I share your dislike of particularly the ergonomics of Hasselblad), Pentax 645, Mamyia 645, Leica R. They all have their own personality, even different lenses within a single manufacturer's line. Most of them are dirt cheap for what you get (I bought two excellent Mamyia 645 lenses in almost new condition for just over $100).

I use everything BUT lenses made by the camera maker and most of them have been able to make the transition from EOS to F mount. I have nothing against lenses by Canon or Nikon, except maybe the cost, but most I have tried have been plain yogurt.

I don't use an OM-D so I can't "disagree" with you on any level. But I would have found it valuable for you to have explored the nature of your not bonding with the OM-D. For instance, a little more description of your inner experience of non-bonding that led to your frustration at the drug store.

I would also love to hear from one of the expert photographers who regularly visit your site who HAS bonded with an OM-D. Come to think of it, I would love to hear about which digital cameras you and others have bonded with.

So far I have not bonded with any digital camera (though I love the overall experience and workflow of digital photography so much more than film photography). Perhaps because I haven't found one that gives me a sense of satisfaction when operating the controls, especially manual focus.

As an OM-D user, I'm curious as to exactly how it falls down for you as a portrait camera. Are you finding it OK for other uses?

Sometimes, before I "make friends" with a camera or lens, I go through a period of hating it. Have you ever experienced the like?

Incidentally, I know I've made friends with the OM-D, because I found myself carrying it the other night in a dream.

Love that portrait of the girl on the street.

I bonded with a brand -- Nikon -- way back when, and of all of them, Ioved the F5 the most. I think I would have loved the F6 even more, but never got it, because I'd switched to digital. Anyway, I've been drifting away from Nikon, because of the size of the equipment, and I've been having a good time with my Panasonic m4/3 gear (including the Olympus 45mm.)

However, on Tuesday, my first grandchild went to kindergarten, and I went over to my daughter's house in the morning to babysit the other two grandchildren while the parents did their thing at the school, getting the kid into the class. While everybody was milling around, I picked up my daughter's Nikon D7000 (for which, I think, she has two lenses, short and midrange zooms) and inadvertently took what may be the best spontaneous portrait of my life, not of the school kid, but of the second child, one who was being left behind.

The thing is, Nikon just does it for me. I'd looked at the D7000 for maybe two minutes before this, and Monday morning I just flicked it on with my finger and started shooting, because I can do that with Nikon gear. I'm not at that level, yet, with the Pannys, and may never get there, though I really like the system.


Can't blame you - a900 is so much more of a camera than any small sensor SLR-posing midget... Have to wonder though, why didn't you go for the Sony Zeiss 85 1.4?

The Contax RTS was what I lusted for in the 70's, but could afford a Pentax MX, so that's what I used. But whenever I'd go in the store, I'd fondle the RTS.
So, Mike....since you owned/used an RTS, I'm saying that BECAUSE of that ownership, you're probably not going to bond with the OM-D because you've already bonded with the ultimate.
I use a D700 now, but if there existed a Contax RTS Digital, it'd be byebye D700.

Maybe a used RTS II, 85/2.8 and a couple of bricks of Ektar?

I have a different problem.

I just bought my first serious camera and two lenses and I'm already loving it. I have taken "great" shots with it (that is, compared to the keepers I took with my point-and-shoot which preceded it); some by pure luck, some with deliberation. I've taken some lousy ones too, blurry ones because of handshake or not being in focus.

For the first time in my life (long in years but short in photography) I'm seeing in person what bokeh looks like. I've found that both lenses are contrasty and have good resolving power (if I understood correctly your recent post on lens sharpness) of which here's an example. At 16X magnification, I'm not seeing any signs of fall-off in the corners and both seems as sharp at the edges as in the center. I like the look of the entire picture of the shots I've taken with it.

Is bonding with the first good camera system you've ever laid your hands on a problem (Like marrying your first girl friend)? (There's no divorce in our country.)

I most definitely had bonding issues with my OM-D when it first arrived. That was (and to some extent still is) based mostly on the plethora of buttons and options that seem to have been designed the way some software is designed: make everything configurable so it can be all things to all people. The result, however, is a confusing jumble that makes the experience more about "using a device" than taking photographs.

Over time I'm taming it, and purposefully banishing many features from my mind. As I've said many times (here and elsewhere) all I really want is a camera that is truly "simple" in that it gives me easy access to the fundamental controls. I do not want "electronic simplicity;" a collection of auto modes that result in you not knowing what the heck the camera is going to do. To me, that's the opposite of simplicity.

All this automation and semi-automation reminds me of a telephone answering machine I had back in the 1990s. It had minimal electronic controls, and boasted "auto-logic." "Auto-logic" attempted to anticipate what you wanted to do, and presented that action when you clicked the One Big Button. I quickly learned that "auto-logic" should have been called "random behavior." Essentially, you never knew what would happen when you clicked the One Big Button because the behavior was entirely up to the machine and it's unknowable way of thinking.

If you wanted to listen to a message a second time, good luck. You might be able to, or the machine might decide that the logical thing is to erase the message. Or you might want to rewind a few seconds, but the machine decides you want to skip to the previous message. It was a nightmare of a user experience that was surely designed by a room full of dorks who believed that everyone in the world had nothing better to do than train their minds around this machine's way of thinking.

Back on topic; with my OMD I decided on the few things I want to have easy control over, and set the configurable buttons accordingly. Exposure lock, exposure comp, and ISO. Focus lock is via half-press on the shutter button. I still haven't figured out white balance so I leave it on "auto."

That's it, that's all. Forget about the touch screen, forget about the 101 ways to move the focus point, abandon all thoughts of auto-bracketing, pretend there is only one auto-focus mode and only one shooting speed. Skip the whole "art filters" and other image configurations. Give all that up and you'll start to actually know this unknowable camera.

"Everybody's different*."
"Watch, someone will disagree with this."

Is that a challenge? Genetically speaking we are all the same to 99.9%. Ha!

Regarding the stereo, I've found the best combo is a SS amp with a tube pre. I really found the sweet spot with a McCormack DNA .5 and a VTL 2.5 preamp.

Van at Van L Spekerworks told me that this is one of the best combinations he's heard. VTL has told me that their customers claim the same thing.


The funny thing is that I already felt you would write about the OMD while reading the first paragraph.

For my part I bonded with the OMD only days after the rather excruciating setup phase was over. I am new to Olympus, and certainly not a fanboy. It is a bit irritating though to see this little camera slowly but certainly squeezing my D700 out of the camera bag.

The OMD is my first small camera with both very good image quality and a great user interface. On the negative side are banding at high ISO (800 ISO) and an irritating blackout when depressing the shutter at short intervals.

Two of its features are outstanding and helped me a lot while shooting, so that I hope to get them in every future camera: in body image stabilisation and the electronic viewfinder. (Someone from Sony told me today that we will get an A99 full frame camera with IBIS and an electronic viewfinder before the end of the year. Hopefully Nikon will notice.)

Bonding was made easier by getting the camera delivered a week before going on holidays, just the time to do the basic testing, and then start shooting in anger.

As far as your bonding problems with the OMD are concerned you would probably be best served by following your instinct and sell it in favour of something else.

It's obvious really Mike - you need to bond with that NEX-7...

I had a 2005 Acura TL sedan. On paper, at least for me, it was perfect. Driving it was wonderful. From the power (for a street driven sedan), to the ride, to the handling, to the stereo quality, it excelled. Interior comfort & styling was excellent and the exterior was handsomely designed (again, to each his own).

Sold it about 2 years later.

The only "explanation" (if you could call it that) I could come up with is this:

"The car had no soul..."

It was almost too perfect.

And so I wonder, when I reflect on cars I've owned in the past and cars I currently own, and I wonder after reading your bonding issues... do we actually need the flaws in order to bond? If its perfect, there are no adversities to overcome, no hard times to get through, no real challenges to bond over.

In my current car, the OEM stereo was just awful. I put some sweat and contortions into upgrading the speakers (considering the cramped quarters where speakers are installed in cars these days, there were a lot of contortions involved!). The sound quality is better, but its still not very good. But you know what? I take a perverse pride in my car's stereo now. The sweat equity has something to do with it. Overcoming the problem instills a sense of pride I shouldn't otherwise have for such mediocre sound quality.

In that regard, if your OM-D is otherwise perfect to you, will it be possible for you to bond with it?

Mike, my "emotional" attachments to my gear that persist long after the practical value is long expired. I held out far longer than I should have switching to digital. If I'd my druthers, I would still be shooting on my very first camera, a Pentax K1000. In no way would this camera serve the realistic needs of my work, but I dearly wish it could. On the other hand, it may be that I am just getting old.

I just this week was thinking the same thing about the OM-D. It does everything I'd want it to do... but it just hasn't grabbed me. I find myself going back to the X100 or my "older" Olympus EPL3 instead.

I also got some new speakers in my studio this week... and similarly discovering new issues that weren't revealed previously (like the bass response of my room....)

A number of times over the years you have described what are, to me in Australia, normal words or phrases as being "UK" terms. I suspect most times "rest of English speaking world" would be more accurate.

I traded my Olympus E-1 for a newer and better camera many years ago and til this day I still regret it. All cameras since then has been better in every technical aspect, even my little nifty Fuji X10 is usable at ISO's that was no-no territory with my E-1. Still though, it was the only digital camera that I've had that I did'nt "think" about when I used it. It had loads of quirks but none of which annoyed me. Now I have a souped up Nikon that does everything right but still manages to annoy the hell out of me...

I have had an OM-D for a couple of months now. Love the image quality but had a hard time getting used to it.

Really liked my GH2, its menus and controls were more intuitive than the OMD.

Recently bought the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 and now I'm happy. All the primes are on the market and I'm back to zooms.

I can now concentrate on taking pictures. Really it has taken a long time to bond with though.

"the camera is a musical instrument"- Kertesz.
Bonding with the camera is so important. Sometimes it happens only after one special picture taken. Sometimes it just doesn't happen. I bought my first OMD-EM5 and it didn't take. I preferred my EP2. BUT, as I take pictures in the rain, and also like carrying 2 bodies, one with wide-angle zoom and one with telephoto-zoom, I actually bought a second OMD-EM5 body!!
And believe it or not, I felt an intense liking and bonding with the second body. I can tell them apart blindfolded. Just the feel of the bloody thing. So....not that I am telling you to buy another EM5 body (I don't work for Olympus!)...but Mike, this is one great post....your expertise in music will understand what I am saying....

"But I would have found it valuable for you to have explored the nature of your not bonding with the OM-D."

This is sort of an ongoing series of posts...if I really end up not bonding with it, I'll try to articulate why.


"The name is Bond, James Bond..."

Ain't going to happen. As we age by chronological years we change. Our taste buds become less sensitive and what ever pleasure we
wish to obtain, takes longer and often doesn't yield the results we desire.

Audio systems themselves and photographic gear
don't change. We do. We now hear, feel, see, and understand the products of our world differently.
Maybe the problem is there is far too much choice
in our existence/ Maybe?

In my own being, I find far more satisfaction using my Nikon F100 for doing what ever photography my lesser being desires than any camera of today, It's not a digital or film problem, it's a me thing.

Ditto for audio equipment. What used to produce pleasurable times and listening even two years past
no longer satisfies. It's not the hardware, it is the software, me. I have changed, with major illness and social uprootings, what was then, is no more.

Perhaps Mike is making a transition, in his own being without his outward self aware of the changes of his inward self?

Me too.

i guess it was not meant to be.

i find it exhausting to use a camera i don't like, so there's no need to apologize for not bonding with a particular camera. you gotta stay true to who you are. it's just like personal relationships, only less difficult.

plus, photokina is several weeks away, and something more suitable may be announced. the suspense is killing me!

@ Tommy Williams:

One other note: if you find yourself longing for the GF-1, pick up the GX-1. I bought the GF-1 for my wife when it first came out and bought the GX-1 when it was available. They're very similar cameras except the GX-1 is just a lot better. There are a lot of things that Panasonic fixed.

I bought a GF1 and then a GX1 and I agree with you in every respect, except one: I still prefer the experience of using the GF1 to the GX1. I can't give you any explanation why this is so, let alone a good one, but it just feels better in my hands.

Similarly, I should absolutely hate the Fuji X-Pro1 because of its 3:2 format, which I dislike intensely, yet I somehow find myself happily shooting with it regardless of what has historically been a fatal flaw for me. (If the M9 wasn't a 3:2 format camera, I would own one.)

Bonding with a camera can be a funny thing, eh?

Bond. Hmmm. I have rarely had a camera of any quality that I could not sooner or later come to like/enjoy using in some way. (I can't say bond with or love when I am talking about these sorts of things.)

I liked all the early used Oly rangefinders I had and became very familiar with the OM one I got as a high school kid. Had no choice as I could not afford to swap them at will.

Got a D70 as a first dSLR and enjoyed it despite some of the initial difficulties of learning digital. Then, after learning Nikon and digital, it was easy to move to a D300. That camera did and does nearly everything I need, and does it without me having to fumble around in a a menu 37 miles deep. Make the settings I want and forget it---just worry about the photo.

Then I picked up an Oly E-P3 and initially hated it. I had to spend a month learning how to use it best, how to get the best exposures, how to deal with its slow AF and lack of useful C-AF. In fact, the decisive moments I had with it were whether or not to wrap it around the nearest tree after missing what would have been an easy shot with a D300. And though I had a Panasonic 1.7 and really liked the looks of photos I took with it, I could not adapt to the slow AF and odd focal length. But finally, after months of use, and after getting a Panasonic Leica 25mm 1.4 found that I had nearly a perfect small and (finally) quick focusing little rig. Now it's too perfect and I sorta miss using my old OM Zuiko manual focus lenses.

To me, if it works the way I need it to work without having to go through some sort of magic chants while standing on my head whistling Dixie, then I suppose I will get along with it in the end.

(I hate to admit it, but looks do matter. The little Pens are just sooo cute, especially when fitted with a leather case. The OM-D? Not as cute in my opinion.)

After shooting with Canon 20D/40D/5D2/7D for most of the last decade, I dipped a toe in the m43 world back in February, grabbing a GH2 after seeing the first rumors about the OM-D (figuring I'd eventually end up with one of each). However, I never bonded with the GH2 - just hated that camera in-hand.

In my quest for a compact camera to replace the problematic Fuji X10 that I returned while they were figuring out what to do about their sensor issue, I hit upon the on-sale Oly E-PM1. When it arrived a couple days later, I immediately loved the feel of it, and returned the unloved GH2.

My first OM-D arrived in mid April. After a short acclimatization period (helped by a couple online guides to the menu settings), I felt comfortable with it, though not yet fluent. Still, I could tell that it no longer made any sense to hang onto my Canon 5D2 and remaining lenses - why would I ever want to carry something so big and heavy again? I grabbed my second OM-D in June and sold the rest of my Canon equipment soon after, and have not looked back.

The OM-D has been a massive help in streamlining my daily working life - while the shadow/highlight mode was one of the original draws, I now understand how the EVF reads a scene well enough to not really need it, and have switched to using the levels display in most circumstances. My post-processing time has been reduced to almost nothing - really, it's only my detail-oriented nature that causes me to do any processing at all, as the exposure from the camera is very predictable and consistent.

I'll admit that the menus are a tough slog, but once I got them set, I've rarely had to look at them. I have a couple MySets (still wish those could be named - seems so obvious) for esoteric things, but I shoot in Av 95% of the time, and the controls that I need to access on a regular basis are now nearly automatic. I don't know if I'd say that I love the OM-D, but it has started to feel very much like an extension of me, and I'm overall thrilled with the way the cameras have changed how I shoot. My right shoulder and neck are also grateful for the lack of weight hanging from them 3-4 days a week.

I think the problem is that "nostalgia" is a very strong influence. We want things to be the way they were. But....digital is not mechanical even thought some mechanization remains and the digital image is not film. From the OM series inception I was all Olympus...but the 420 was not a film OM. The only digital cameras that have truly bonded for me are my Sony A77/85mm f2.8 (Kirk Tuck is right about the 85mm) and my Canon S90. I've just ordered the new Panasonic LX7...of course it will be just perfect!

I wonder if "bonding" is related to disposable income and disposable income to age?

I don't have an E-M5 but had to help a client with hers and was very, very taken with it — I'd be buying one, along with a Lumix 20mm and Zuiko 45mm, given the cash. The Olympus user interface is quite awful for everyone but geeks till it's set up properly but I'm a geek and I eventually got it; once I'd reversed the insane decisions about default display options, it was mostly good. The image results were stellar.

Regarding raw file conversion, making profiles for Lightroom 3/4 or ACR 6/7 using a ColorChecker Passport makes a big difference.

See also: Stockholm syndrome.

Mike replies: Hey, that's my line. (You're probably right, though.)

I know! I learned it from watching you, dad!

I agree Mike,
I remember the Nikon FE I got in 1981 (and still use occasionally). When I obtained later models (e.g F801s) there was no great bonding.

Similarly - I have had stellar service from the D300 and D90, but the bonding and joy of the D700 surpasses them both.

It's the same with guitars. My favourite is a beat up old Ovation. Simply love it!

I loved this post and have reposted it on my blog: Freud in Oceania

I bought the GF1 2 years ago with the 20 f/1.7 and found I was turning to it more often than my FF Canon. I bought the OMD a month ago to close the gap in image quality.

The OMD does have user interface problems. I found the answer was to set it up just right so I could use it like the GF1. Using the Panny 20, here's what works for me:

Set to aperture priority, rear dial for aperture, front dial for exposure comp. Set AF with face recognition. Use auto ISO 1600 max. Those last two might seem like handing over too much control, but if you can let go the camera does them really well.

Finally use it like a GF1 with the rear screen more than the EVF. Especially enjoy the waist level ability.

For now this allows me to get the shot. In time I might learn to fully use (and discover) all its features.

I've really been bit by the fuji x100. I tried to convince myself that its shortcomings were too much and I should sell it. and what I've ended up with is an inbox full of people wanting to buy it that I cant bring myself to respond to.

it turns out 35mm is just so right for me. (i had a 28mm and never, ever used it.) plus the fuji has an aperture ring... I never have to look at this camera to know what my settings are. it feels right in my hand. it feels right at my eye. and for some ridiculous reason I seem to take better pictures with it. at least my "keeper" rate is higher than with my dslr...

it's all so personal. I've decided I'm going to drive this x100 into the ground because it's not worth the risk of buying the newer, "better" model and not having it make that mysterious connection. everybody is looking for the technically perfect camera... but what are you going to do with it when you finally get it? what if it just doesn't click?

What a great thread.

I have not bonded with a few cameras.

Nikkormat FT2 (no); FA (anti-bonding; repulsion); FE2 (yes); FM2 (yes x 3); F3HP (yes yes).

Olympus E-620 (no); E500 (yes!). The 620 is gone, and I still use the older, technically inferior 500. Much better in the hand and I love the files it makes. Last Olympus with a Kodak CCD...

Hasselblads (no).

Rolleiflexes & Yashica TLRs (yes, though with reservations).

M3 (yes); M6 (when you pry it from my cold dead fingers); CLE (don't know yet).

Ricoh GR-1 (sometimes you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone)

X-Pro1 (oh my, yes; but it took a couple of weeks for that very strong bond to anneal).

...and a few lenses:

Nikkor 28/2.8 AIS (yup).
Nikkor 35/2 (a workhorse; meh).
Nikkor 50/1.4 (several generations -- nope).
Nikkor 50/1.8 Series E (yes).
Nikkor 180/2.8 ED (OMG BBQ love love love love)

Olympus 12-60 SWD (yes).

Leica Summicron DR (yes)
Leica Summicron v. IV tab focus (tried for 12 years and hated it; the day I sold it was a great and joyous day).
Leica 35/1.4 ASPH (yes).
ZM 35/2.8 Biogon-C (total, irreversible bonding: fave M-mount lens I've ever used; regardless of what happens to my film or digi bodies this one stays).

I remembered I looked at the rumored OM-D pictures well back in the history and said, this is OM-D? Oh,No. Pass it. Kind of Nikon 1 to me.

Yet another TOP post that hits home ... particularly after the one about getting to know a camera. I've pretty well bonded with my 8-month old D7000 (even though I don't use it for a lot of things because I only have a specialty lens for it) and part of me feels that I should finish buying up the lenses I need to complete the kit (which means selling off the remnants of the old kit) in order to really master one system. But having used a NEX-5 for nearly 2 years, it's hard to want to go back to doing everything with a big ol' DSLR.

The NEX-5 has its issues. A NEX-7 would be better, but the lens lineup has held me back. The OM-D E-M5 sounds perfect on paper. IBIS, built in EVF, tilting LCD, plus the 20 & 45mm lenses. Yet whenever I look at it, it strikes me as an expensive camera that I won't enjoy for some reason I can't quite figure out. OTOH, I tried a NEX-7 last year and really liked it a lot. (New lens releases next month might sway me back to thinking about it).

Anyway, a recent forum thread on another site asked whats the most fun camera you've ever used. I've used a handful of perfectly satisfying cameras (ones I've bonded with) but the most fun ones have been a Ricoh 500 and Minolta HiMatic (70's era compact rangefinders) ... and since going digital, the Sony F717. I think it's at least partly because they're so simple. I considered the complex Konica Minolta A2, but opted for the easy-to-use Sony (I never had to crack open the manual). I've read that the Oly OM-D is a pretty complicated camera; my D7000 is, too, with lots of possible customization and a lot to learn. My NEX-5 is frustrating due to some issues that have been addressed in later models, but it's a pretty straightforward, simple camera. I don't know, maybe I'm rationalizing too much here, or maybe dead wrong (maybe I found those camera fun because they were fixed lens cameras !) But with all the choices out there and all the cameras with amazing capabilities, it's easy to find a camera that can perform miracles, but hard to find one that's just plain fun to use.

Oh yeah, and while I get the sense that I would not "love" the Oly, despite not having tried one, I get the sense that the Panasonic 'G' line would be much more fun. Partly because I used to have a Canon A610 with an articulating VF that was wonderful (I like the tilting LCD on my NEX, but that fully articulating LCD was a blast).

I sold cameras at Penn Camera from 97-06, right during the transition from film to digital. I had bonded with a whole slew of film cameras, my Pentax LX, Hassey 501cm, M6, Horseman LX, but I just couldn't bring myself to by a digital camera. By the later years, the image quality on the top models were fine for regular shooting but, ugh, what a bunch miserable cameras! The only way to get decent image quality was with a monster of a camera from Nikon and Canon, and the price was insane.

Just bought my first real digital camera a few months ago, a Samsung NX200. Love the the size, the image quality is more than good enough, and the controls make sense. I have heard nothing but great things about their lenses. Right now I'm using the kit lens (eh) and a Zeiss 50mm f1.4 I have kicking around. Fun stuff. Think the bonding has set in:)

It's just a fricking hammer. Tool that is, what you do with it is the key.

Another one who love the Contax Sonnar here, so far also fail to bond with the 45, too clinical maybe (if there is such a thing)? These days I am using GXR when I don't need autofocus, the Sonnar is a bit long, but the C-Sonnar is a perfect portrait lens on it.

I know you don't want to hear this, but I'll say it anyway: there is barely anybody that actually owns an M9 and doesn't love it.

Bonding is seriously unpredictable. When it was first released, I bought Sigma's DP-1, with the 28mm equivalent lens thinking that with an external finder I could use it just like my old Rollei 35s - zone focus and all. I instantly loved it and use it as a pocket camera all the time, especially when travelling. With no AA filter, and the lovely Foveon sensor, I,ve even sold the odd print from it (even though printing more than 11"x14" requires a lot of "upressing").

When the DP-2 was released, I thought "you beauty" (ok I'm an Aussie, pronounced Bee-uhh-you-tee, through your nose and with the emphasis on the "you") - 40 mm equivalent, my favourite focal length. I bought one. Same camera, same size, same controls, same everything, except a 40mm finder and equivalent lens (and one stop faster). But I rarely use it. I cart it around; and TRY, and REALLY TRY, to like it. I WANT to like it. I WANT to bond with it. But I don't. And I haven't. And I suspect I never will. That's just how it is.

But I have an eye on the new DP-1 Merrill, (which causes my credit card to make odd, pained sounds) - never say die.

An option for your consideration: Sony NEX-7 with Contax G (Zeiss Sonnar) 90mm f/2.8, though 135mm-e in this configuration. Fotodiox adapter. This lens really comes into its own on NEX.

I agree with the folk who have said that it's more than just the camera and its functions / ergonomics that's important in forming some kind of relationship. I almost gave up on my 5D until I got rid of the L zooms and moved to primes like the 85mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.4.

Bonding is a good word, and has helped me to understand why I have never got on with any digital camera, or indeed the digital process, because I haven't bonded with it. Thank you for naming the problem. Back in the darkroom on Monday!

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