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Saturday, 23 March 2013


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Like many, I have an assortment of cameras (including a beautiful rollei 35SE that I barely use and can't imagine selling), but I'm pretty consistent in my out the door camera - depending on whether it's the weekend or not.

Work week = rangefinder for shooting during my bus and walking commute.

Weekend = SLR for more precisely composed, slower paced shooting.

I have just this very minute been studying an empirical answer to your question, after spending two weeks on location with a selection of cameras. Here is the result (sorry, I can never figure out how to embed an image on this blog)


Now that's a camera! And I'm not even a Leicaphile...

I got three (metal) Nikon film cameras, any one loaded with Tri-X will do. No worries of: sensor size or crop, biennial software updates or incompatibilities, manuals the size of bibles, the next newest, brightest, fastest...

One treadmill I well can't afford and have learned to do well without.

The camera that goes out the door with me most often is my Sony RX-100. Miniscule, flexible, and the image quality is, I feel, far better than anything else this small. It's the digital equivalent of my old favorite, the Contax T. It's got a Zeiss lens, too.

If I'm going out primarily to shoot, my companion is a Canon 60D, usually with a "kit" bag.

Easy. My Fuji X-Pro1. A camera remarkably similar to the Leica pictured above.

Your question, "If you're just going out the door and you want to take a camera with you, what do you grab most often?" is exactly what the X-series of cameras are all about.

Your "out-the-door" question will prompt some thought this weekend: it'll be fun to read the responses. I decided a dozen years ago to commit to one system and, because I displayed and sold a lot of really large (prints 27x34, 30x42, 36x72, etc.) I would be working with a film 6x7 kit. I wanted to mentally "see" everything through that format, so I could dependably previsualize landscape scenes as my various lenses saw them. To a certain extent, I think I did/do. Over the past two years I've sold my 4x5 and 35 gear because it had been in the closet, unused, so long. Here's a music analogy. Let's say you're a jazz musician and you play a tenor saxophone. You "can" play the alto and soprano, and double on baritone, as well, but your tenor is an extension of yourself, you're intuitive with it and it is your voice. Knowing the fingerings of the others and being able to cover the charts for a gig might pass with some listeners, but you're an "artist" with the tenor. Regarding cameras, sure, I'd love to go off on a hike with a Nex 7 and single short zoom lens, but the whole time I'd have in the back of my mind "what if a spectacular scene/light/weather presents itself and I'm not going to be able to give it the full presentation?" I guess part of the dilemma is what one shoots "for." In my case, it's not only for pleasure but always with the mindset of "what will I be able to market?" Mike, I've followed your accounts about the Big Dragoon, thinking this might be a step I will take this year for a slightly smaller, lighter kit that will provide me with high-potential files. I'd probably be a little more spontaneous, for sure, not fretting about film processing and scanning. We'll see. Even when I catch a pleasing snapshot with my smart phone I find myself thinking I should have brought along the Pentax. Maybe when I "retire" I'll relax and just enjoy the moment, but until then I'm thinking "food for the table," and I'm loaded for bear.

Lately, my NEX-6 with the 19 & 30 Sigmas. My other cameras are either too big or small.

As for the Sigmas, optically not bad, but mechanically, cheap. I don't expect them to last a year or two.

I am a one camera person. I'm not considering the possibility of purchasing a new body in the next few years. Photography is still very new to me and it would make no sense to buy more bodies at this stage. My camera, the Olympus E-P1, fulfills all my current needs and whatever image quality issues it has can be corrected by the mighty DxO Optics Pro 8 in post-production - and in spectacular fashion.
Lenses, however, are a whole different story. I can never have enough of them. I have five lenses and my plans for the next few months include saving hard for the Schneider Kreuznach Super Angulon 14 - when it's released, and if it lives up to its promise - and buying more OM lenses (maybe the 24mm-f/2.0 and a 100mm). People really should concern more about lenses than about bodies.
Of course, if my photographic needs evolve and my camera isn't up to my demands anymore, I will feel the need to buy new bodies. It may imply buying new lenses, too. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm not obsessed.

I'm mostly a one-camera-at-a-time kind of guy, so I can't contribute much to the main point of your post. But your story got me thinking.

There are photographers and then there are camera collectors. A photographer knows that in the course of taking pictures a camera is subject to continual nicks, dings and knocks. (I once jumped out of a tourist mini-van in Guatemala at a viewpoint above Lago de Atitlan and managed to position myself so that the lens was directly in the path of the front passenger door's opening arc. Of course the passenger also wanted to get out for a leg-stretch. Ouch!)

The wisest course for a collector seeking flawlessness would be to NEVER take any pictures with his object of desire. Which is ironic, or something. A lot of cameras must be sitting around not doing what they were intended to do.

These days it's a Fuji X100 (or sometimes the X-E1 or X-Pro1 but even though they are smallish they are still too big compared to the X100 for a camera to grab just in case - I need to anticipate using them to choose them).

Similarly my D800E and its massive lenses only gets grabbed if I know what I will use it for beforehand.

I own some cameras I haven't used yet, but from those I use it would be my Konica Hexar AF for film, or my Ricoh GRD III for digital. Small, silent and pretty excellent. Picking one of them it would be the Hexar. It has the perfect size for me.

And my Px K-01, 500CM, Rolleiflex Automat (good old Tessar), Dynax 7 and several Minolta XD7 with much loved Rokkor lenses would all be left behind.

Nice photo Mike - I like both the glass plate/table, and the backdrop (a curtain I suppose).

I tend to grab the somewhat awkward combo of my EM5 with Zuiko 12-60 lens and adapter. Slow to focus, front heavy, but I love the lens, and the camera has more resolution and DR than my E5 for landscapes. Still, it leaves me dissatisfied. I want snappy focus, and I await the promised new camera for 4/3 lenses coming next fall.

Three years ago, it was an M2. By last year, an EPL1 had gradually taken over the role. Same lenses, for the most part (Summicron 40 was the go-to). This year, I'm looking for something else, with some combination of more versatile, smaller, or more rugged. In the meantime, it's been the EPL1 about half the time, while the rest of the time I rely on an iPhone and a sketchpad.

It occurred to me today that finishing the process of selecting and printing the photos I've already taken could easily occupy all the time I can possibly devote to photography this year, and probably next year, too, even if I took no more photographs.

So, maybe I don't need an out-the-door camera; maybe I should stay indoors and finish all the photography I started with the out-the-door cameras.

As a just-carrying-around camera? Mostly a Canon 5D with 50mm and 24mm lenses. If I feel like shooting film, a Leica M3 and 50mm Elmar-M. If I have something specific in mind, I grab something suitable for that - usually "as well as" rather than "instead of".

"So here's the test. If you're just going out the door and you want to take a camera with you, what do you grab most often?"

It used to be the Fujifilm X100. I carried that camera daily for about 18 months.

Now the only camera I grab when I go out the door is the Fujifilm X-Pro 1. The 18/2 Fujinon XF is typically attached. Sometimes I will switch to the 35/1.4 or the 14/2.8 XF lenses when I anticipate they will be more useful. Once and a while I carry all three lenses in a slightly larger messenger style bag.

I do not believe Nikon, Canon, Sony etc will ever market a camera I enjoy using as my daily carry, so I will just keep buying Fujinon XF lenses and major body upgrades every so often.

I only use my D700s for work and I still take the X-Pro 1 too. At this point I really don't need the Nikons, but clients expect to see a huge DSLR with an enormous zoom (I use the Nikkor 16-35/4 G) and I have to use a tripod anyway.

Don't know how you do it, must drive you nuts. I have a E-620 and an E-3, and I only use the E-3 when I go to some outdoor sports activity, easy to decide. But occasionally, I'll have the E-620 and the XZ-1 p&s and it's a constant nuisance having to decide which to grab when I step outside the car. So, I often deliberately leave the house with one camera, that way I only have to make the decision once, not every time I stop the car.

When you have too many choices, the amount of psychological energy required to choose which camera to take with you, weighing all the pros and cons, is probably using up that part of your brain that should be thinking about what interesting scenes to shoot. Creativity requires calm and time.

I spent a lot of time trying to find a great small camera - and went through 3 Micro 4/3rds cameras, a Canon G12, all trying to find a digital equivalent to my M6 or Contax G2(And curse the fates and Kyrocera for not finding a home for the G series - a digital G still would make my heart race). So much heartbreak in Lightroom, especially after taking just one camera on vacation...and then, I broke down and got the fuji X100. Joy! But now, there's an even better, all-the-issues-that-made-you-crazy-in-the-original fixed, x100s. No winning:)

The Nex 6 of course - for the moment lol!

That is how I find out what camera I really like.

If I'm going away from home someplace where I expect to take pictures, for a few hours to a few weeks, and not specifically trying out a new camera, I generally carry three cameras.

My current, rather small bag, can carry E-M5 with 14-150 attached, 9-18, 75-300 and either 12-50 w/macro or Panny 20/1.7, for speed, with a spare body, an E-PL2 in the side pocket with the batteries, cards, etc.

The third camera has been a series of increasingly competent compacts that I also use as my "always have a camera with me" cameras. Canon S110 (old model), Fuji F10, F30, Canon A710, A650 (a G9 without the style, but with articulated screen) then a G11. The G11 seemed like the culmination of a series. It has just about everything I think I want in a small camera. I should still be using it. (BTW, I've only used four primary cameras in that time, mostly the original 5D.)

Yet, somehow, an S100 (new model) found it's way here, and has sat on the shelf on the way to the front door beside the G11, both ready to go, for a little over 14 months. The G11 has not taken a shot outside the house in that time, and only a handful inside. Apparently, given equal or better IQ, size and weight outweigh more external controls and articulated screen. (I am among those who find the tunnel optical viewfinders on compact cameras a completely useless waste of size, weight and $.)

The "The Out-the-Door Test" has spoken loud and clear. The G11, much as I love it in theory, will be needing a new home.

Now, will the S100 have a serious rival in the test? I've acquired an Oly E-PM1, a tiny µ4/3 camera body, and the tiny Panny 14-42X lens. This combo is a different shape, but essentially the same bulk and weight, as the G11. Far fewer external controls, although completely controllable, much bigger sensor, with cleaner files, especially as the ISOs go up, better wide end, but shorter long end.

I generally eschew protective filters, but a standard lens cap on a pocket camera is nothing but trouble for me. With UV filter on , this new rig fits into and slips in and out rather easily of most of my vest/coat pockets. Need something special, dim light, macro, and I can slip another lens in the other pocket.

Which will pass the The Out-the-Door Test? Only time will tell.

A cheap little Canon Elph 110 HS (called Ixus 125 HS some markets) that easily fits in any pocket. Yes, my phone is usually with me and, yes, it has a camera in it, but the difference between a tiny Elph and the best camera phones is huge.

Couldn't a Leica with a FACTORY defect potentially be even more scarce and worth more- much like a coin with a mint defect (1873 closed 3, etc.? Interesting potential subfield of collecting- Leica factory defects.

I have a number of cameras partly because I still work in several different large format sizes, as well as digital. But those film cameras get used for specific projects. For just, "want a camera with me," I've been very consistent for more than a year: Lumix G3 with Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens. Before digital, the answer for decades would have been an M-Leica with 35mm lens.

hey there Mike, you said "if you're just going out the door" so I'll have to say my Canon S100 which gives great images up to 16 x 20. Now, if I were going out specifically to take pictures, I'd take my Fuji XE-1; and if the weather was looking dicey, my OMD-EM5.
And if going on a road-trip, all three. And a laptop to follow TOP...!

Right now, Fuji X100 for people, Canon 6D for things, Canon 6D if I have no idea what I'm doing. It's considerably smarter than I am.

Most often? Lately, most often it's been the Cambo Wide DS (a compact large format camera, essentially a thick metal plate, geared rise mechanism, and a helicoid-mounted lens) with a Horseman 6x12 film back. Takes 56mm x 112mm negatives on 120 roll film, complete with lens rise to keep everything upright, yet fits in a side-satchel. Best thing I know of for landscapes and architecture.

But, for people snaps, it's the Fuji X-Pro 1.

I've lived long enough to come full circle: one camera for years, then multiple cameras using multiple formats (35mm to 8x10) from multiple brands; then paring it all down to just 2 Leica M8.2s. [Leica film Ms remained a constant for about 30 of those intervening years.]

For the last 4 years, my only decision has been whether to grab one or both cameras (the latter to avoid lens changes when circumstances dictate).

If I buy the new M (due to its weather sealing, quieter shutter, faster processing and longer battery life, etc), then my only decision will be whether to sell one or both M8.2s.

I'd rather spend my time and energy now on choices and improvements related to the printing end of things, where digital technology affords quicker and more significant benefits than the endless cycle of adding or switching cameras and/or lenses.

I have two cameras:

1) Leica M9 with used, refurbished 35mm f/1.4 from 1980. I also have the 50 collapsible pictured above, and most recently, a 28 f/2.8, but the 35 is the one on the camera most of the time.

2) Fuji Z33 (blue one!) bought for 100 dollars when the Leica broke during a trip in Thailand. Some photos taken with it: http://simongriffee.com/search/?q=z33

When going out the door I grab the Leica except for when the excursion involves swimming.

Generally, it's my panny LX5.

If I'm headed to the airport to shoot air-to-air, it (was) my Canon 40D and 70-200 f4.

They're my go-to duo.

It's kinda sad, actually. The cameras this guy pushes will never be used for their intended purpose. All the ingenuity, all the brilliant thought put into making them will go to waste. I don't really like Leicas, but no camera deserves this fate.

There is no doubt that I have WAY too many cameras, and even more lenses- just making up for the first ten years of my photographic life when I had one 35mm camera and three lenses. ( Paid my way through college with it) Today if its just "taking a camera along to be sure" it will most likely be my Nex6 with either a Voightlander 28/f1.8 or a Sigma 19/f2.8. If I take "one more lens" its usually a Nikkor LTM50/f1.4 that focuses to 18"!

Still the best looking camera out there. What a camera should look like. Too bad they have become batcrap crazy expensive. Well they always cost alot but now...

Panasonic G3 with the 20mm. Light, compact enough for a coat pocket, cheap enough that I don't worry too much about banging it on something, with a decent viewfinder and a good automatic setting for when I get really lazy.

Oh my! Well, I *only* have 4 digital and 3 film cameras (that isn't a lot, right?), so it isn't a complex decision process. Here is my "decision tree" in text:

Taking the baby?
Yes = Pentax Q and 01 Prime
No = (keep going)

Raining/ snowing/ frogs?
Yes = Pentax K-5 and WR lens
No = (keep going)

Lots of time and the tripod can come along?
Yes = Sigma DP2 Merrill, or a "variant" (see below)
No = maybe you're hiking, so take the ruggedized compact (W90)

Feeling "filmy" = PZ-1p and 31mm Limited
Feeling "patient" = Pentacon Six TL and Zeiss 50/4
Paying pano-gig = K-5 and 10-17 fisheye and lots of gear

The last few months I usually reach for my Olympus OM-D. It makes picture taking so much easier and more comfortable than lugging my heavy Canon 7D around. Since I don't own any image stabilized lenses on the Canon the Olympus automatically makes all hand held- no flash- pictures a lot sharper. The prime lenses on the Olympus are exceptional (20mm Panasonic, 45mm Olympus, 60mm macro). The 12-50mm kit lens, however, is not up to the quality of the zoom lenses on the Canon.

examples from the 60mm:

I suspect the dealer had price levels and profit margins to maintain. At that sort of pricing customers should be picky.

A Ricoh GR Digital, currently the IV. It's hanging on a hook by the door. But for a long time it was a Pentax ME Super with a 50mm 1.4 SMC-M.

In the film days I had a Leica M3 that I purchased right out of the Marines in '69. Traded a Nikon F that had very little use plus $90 for it.

It was my grab camera for many, many years until I damaged it in '95. Don't ask it's still painful.

Now it's my Nikon D5100. I use it for everything. But I would really like something like the Fuji 'X' cameras.

Maybe someday.

Definition of "better than factory new" which is a new one step above "new" and two steps above "mint": CSILDMG
Can survive Italian Leica Dealer's magnifying glass.

To be honest it's contextual. If I'm heading out to do railroad action I grab my Nikon DSLR bag, but for general photography it's the NEX-7 which supplanted the M6 in that role.

Beautiful M4! For me at the moment it's the M9 with 35 ASPH Summicron. It's hard for me to imagine another camera that might suit me better, but I wouldn't mind a good pocket-size camera. Any recommendations?

We would all take much better pictures if we weren't distracted by so many camera choices.

I wish I could just sell all my gear except for one Leica and my 50mm lens - or the 35mm - ...

Almost a one-camera kind of guy. So it's the M9 with the 28/2.8 mounted and the 50/2.0 in my pocket. Sometimes just a 35/2.0. Hate weight... Still I wonder what would happen if I had a Fuji X100S...

Easy: my Fuji X100. It lives in my shoulder bag. I have a DSLR for portraits and telephoto shots, but everything else—80 per cent—is with the X100.

For me, it's the Fuji X100 (and soon the X100s) I have a few old film bodies that just collect dust and my DSLR outfit gets used only when I need long lenses.

In my dreams I only have one camera. A beat up one at that. With a beat up camera you can relax. How can you tell one scratch from another or when it happened?

Alas that is only in my dreams. They just seem to accumulate unbidden. "Hey John, you like old cameras. I've got this case with some old cameras, seems a shame to toss in the dumpster."

Thus the latest strays; A Konica TC with 28 f3.5, 50 f1.4 and 80~200 Hexanon lenses.

I've got three cameras (excluding my iPhone) - a Toyo 4x5 field camera, a Cambo 8x10 monorail and a Leica M6. My Leica is more or less always in whatever bag I take out of the house. My Toyo is the camera I always reach for when I'm going out to (specifically) take photographs. My Cambo 8x10 has only left the house once.

Life is too short for back injuries and there's plenty in the house to shoot 8x10 sheets with.

So, Mike -- What do *you* pick up when you're going out the door?

I take out a camera that's small but with a top-notch lens. That would be the Contax T3.

Cameras like, say, the M3 are pretty hefty by comparison. The T3 is a little jewel.

This is the test that so far has kept me safe from the cost of full frame. From time to time I get the idea that some of my pictures, mostly landscapes or cityscapes, could benefit from a larger sensor. Then I remind myself that most of the best of these are pictures I stumbled across in the course of my business life. I only have them at all because my current m4/3 system is so small, light and (relatively)cheap that I toss a small bag in the car or pickup almost every time I go out.

My current choice is the Panasonic GX1 with the kit zoom - a much better lens that I expected from what I've read in the forums. Tiny, fairly cheap, feels good in the hand and it puts a very nice print on the wall.

Much better to have a GX1 under the seat of the car than a full-frame monster at home in the safe. I envy your Big Dragoon, but I have no illusions I would carry one very often.

If I'm heading out the door and I feel the urge to grab a just-in-case camera, I'll usually go for my little Fed 2 - the Russian Leica - which currently has a roll of Gold 100 in it.

The truth is, I take more shots on my iPhone 4s, which I always have with me, but for some reason I still get more enjoyment from fiddling with the rangefinder.

Hi Mike,
My Panasonic G5 and 5 lenses are grabbed for everything from trips to Death Valley to walks to my building's third floor terrace with the sunset view.

In contrast, my D7000 languishes in its case unless I'm shooting at night or other special situation. Even then, my most successful night shot last year was in Colorado with the G3 that preceded the G5. Might be time to eBay the D7000.

I regularly use two cameras. A Canon 5d2 and a Sony Nex 7. I use them for different things but the answer to your question is the Sony with a Voigtlander 28mm. But if my project is landscape oriented then the Canon with 45mm t/s. Horses for courses as they say.

It was the Olympus E5 + Panasonic 20mm for a while. Now it is the amazing Sony RX100, expect if it is night but not a party, when I go back to the E5. :-)

Ricoh GRD 4. Only in second place, I'm sorry to say: Leica M 6 with collapsible Voigtländer 50 mm F/3.5. Sometimes I *make* myself use film and I almost never regret it.

If I know I'm going to be shooting a lot of action, it's the Pentax K-5. If I'm shooting wildlife, it's my Panasonic G5 with the 100-300mm zoom. But, honestly, right now my go-to camera is usually the Olympus E-PM2 with the 17mm f/1.8 on it. If I can swing it later this year, I'd love to have a Fuji X100s. Everything I love about the E-PM2 with more analog control.

But, the funny thing is, I just ordered a Panasonic LX7 as a daily take-everywhere camera. The $298 deal at Amazon was just too good to ignore (less than the price of a single low-to-mid-line micro four-thirds lens). I had the LX3 for a few years and it surprised me by becoming my go-to camera. I'll be interesting to see if that happens with the LX7.

I shoot with one camera at a time for longish periods, and change what's in my shooting bag when the whim surfaces. So I just grab my shooting bag and don't worry what's in it overmuch.


Since I live in the Middle of Nowhere, "out the door" means "out the door and into the car". As a result, I can carry a fair amount of gear. That means the D800 and a bag full of glass.

Shooting is always a purposeful activity for me -- I've tried to carry a small camera with me when I'm out doing other things (a Fuji X10 in the past year or so) but it just doesn't work, mostly because of the difference in image quality.

Larry Johnson's post above struck a sympathetic chord with me, when he said, "I'm loaded for bear". My sentiments exactly.

Ya know, I do miss the day when Nikon and Canon strived to keep their cameras current and updated. No planned obselence!!!
Nowadays you can count on your camera being outdated in a few weeks...I bought two X-100's and lo and behold the X100s is out.
But, my wife and I took our two Fuji's to Europe for 6 weeks and have not regretted it.
It's the camera we choose over our Canon 5D's for convenience.
Ah. Technology.

Camera: 1974 Nikon F2S; I bought this in '07 on a whim to replace my broken F4. Turned out to be an absolutely perfect fit for my hands, my subject matter, and my meticulous shooting style. A couple of years back, on our anniversary, my wife offered to buy me any single piece of photographic equipment I wanted. I looked at exotic telephotos and rare macro lenses, but decided to have my F2 overhauled inside and out by the world's leading F2 expert an repairman, Mr. S. Wong in the UK. Best present ever.

Lenses: an 18mm f/4 AI is my standard lens, and the 50mm f/1.2 AIS is used sparingly as a sort of short telephoto (I shoot architectue, interiors, and urban landscapes--no people).

My main staple for film is Velvia 100, although I bemoan the death of Ektachrome E100G and Fuji's T64.

Anyway, the short answer is that the Nikon F2 is the only camera I feel the need for. An Ebony 23 with a 38 or 47mm would be nice, but not worth the cost.

Much to my surprise the K-01 is my winner here. The K-5 is better featured and weather resistant, and the Q is tiny easy and decent to iso1600. But the sensor of the K-01 is as good as any, and a Limited lens, thinner grip and lack of VF protrusion means it fits well under my jacket. It's quite awkward with a larger tele, and for me that's good: too often I use the K-5 and get uncrisp images from zooming in relatively poor light, so the K-01 forces me to consider a tripod for those shots. That's a good thing.

Leica D luxe 5 is in my bag and always with me...panasonic evf viewfinder (recent purchase) also in bag in case it's a bright sunny day (and it is today..28 degrees and gorgeous). I know it's only a compact but I bought it second hand last year and seem to use it more and more and love the results.
Thinking of selling everything else and just keeping the Leica and my film cameras.

Presently I carry the Fuji X-Pro 1 w/ 35mm,f1.4 lens for color.And my Leica M3 w/ 50mm,f2.0 loaded with Kodak T-Max 400.Also the Mandler 90mm,f2.0 Summicron and Fuji X mount M adapter.This combo works for me.

A lot of nice choices: Droid, MFT, APS-C, FF, etc. I love the EPL-1 with its nifty EVF. The 14-45mm kit lens paints nice colors and does surprise. Since I am usually within arm's reach of the Droid, it gets the most use. One thing for sure is that my next phone will be a tablet.

I always carry my Nikon d300 with the af-s 17-35mm 2.8 for street and city..other lenses for other stuff.

If i'm going out to dinner or going to a prom I carry my Canon S90.

Generally, the d300 is always with me.

Since my Sony RX100 arrived 8 months ago, I don't think that I've even picked up my DSLR. It was like unto getting my first Leica in 1953 -- (which I do still often pick up and play with).

I have lots of cameras. Still have most of the cameras I've ever bought, all the way back to the YashicaMat, Leica M2, Nikkormat Ftn and Nikon F from the 60s.

But I'm all digital now. There's a Canon S90 in a pouch on my belt. It's always there. If I'm going out to shoot I take my Nikon D7000. I keep the 18-200 on it most of the time.

But, I keep looking at those Sony NEX cameras and thinking, "Why doesn't Nikon make something like that?" I could end up owning one of those in the near future.

Lately it's a 4x5 speed graphic or crown graphic, with xenotar or aero ektar attached. A couple grafmatics, maybe a 6x12 horseman back or polaroid back. A year or two ago it was usually a chamonix saber. If travelling light and shooting fast, it would be mamiya 7. For sports or serious portraits/closeups, rz67 kit. I rarely bother dropping down to 35mm any more, but for hardcore sports, nothing beats the speed of an EOS 1VHS.

5D3 plus 35mm/1.4L
Before that, the 5D2, and the 5D1 before that. Essentially the same camera since 2005.

I decided somewhere about 15 years ago that all my kit had to fit into a (very small) Billingham L2 bag, which is always ready to go. It holds a 5D3 body with the 35mm attached, 85/1.8, 135/2.0, and a Canon S90. Spare batteries. 32GB SD cards in both cameras.

Before that, it was two EOSRT bodies with 35mm and 135mm lenses, and a few rolls of Tri-X.

Leica M9 and a Zeiss 35 C Biogon. What a kit.

Pentax MX with M f1.7 50mm.

It's like a Leica, but actually small, light and practical.

(Come at me, fogies!)

Although I still have a lot of film cameras collecting dust, I sold all of my digital cameras except for my everyday camera: a Leica M9 plus the 35/2 ASPH. I don't really need anything else.

p.s. I take that back. I do use my iPhone camera from time to time.

It's more a question of focal length than camera for me, and after years of wandering the earth with all manner of wide angles and telephotos, I've recently returned to the fast 50mm. Sometimes it's the Pentax FA31 F1.8 matched with "The Brick" Pentax K-01 for a combo that punches way above its price point. At other times it's the Nikon 1 V1 with the first serious lens for the format–18.5mm F1.8–to create a small kit with lighting quick reflexes. But most of the time, particularly when I'm not shooting in anger, it's the impossibly small Pentax Q with the 8.5mm F1.9.

Each camera and lens has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, but the one thing that they share is the angle of view that feels like coming home again. None are actually 50mm, so I like to call them The New Normals.

The New Normals


Unfortunately, that's a question that's hard to answer without having the cameras at hand. I can't look at specs and features and even comparison pictures on camerasizes.com and get a good sense of this. Back when I was shooting Sony I wondered if the petite A33 combined with the 28/2 would do the trick ... I actually bought it and a NEX from a retailer with a generous return policy and tried the two out for a week. The NEX was the camera I kept wanting to grab & go. (I already had a bigger DSLR for other uses). Now I'm finding the RX100 is the grab & go camera of choice. I can't say whether a camera like the XE1 or X100, the RX1 or any other similarly appealing camera would prove to have that out the door quality, but it's definitely worth finding a camera that does it for you.

As we speak my Nikon F100 or my "new" Konica S3 rangefinder. Delta 100 is my flavor of the moment.

Easy - iPhone 4 all every day, and it gets used as a camera a lot. However, when Fuji releases that tiny 41mm-e pancake, I intend to have that and the Fujifilm X-E1 in my day bag every day.

Canon S-100 P&S 100 percent of the time. It's inconspicuously lodged in a black leather case attached to my belt. And I never miss an opportunity to grab an image. It has the equivalent of a 24-120 lens that works great. Even when I'm doing serious photography, carrying a large Domke bag, full of primes and 2 DSLR bodies, I still have the S-100 tagging along for that grab shot.

The Panasonic GF-1 rides in my coat or jacket pocket; when it's too hot for a jacket, it gets slung over my shoulder pretty much as soon as I put my shirt on. Usually with the 20mm mounted, these days; though I went for a year with the Olympus 45mm always on it.

I am sometimes tempted to buy an OMD or a newer G-series or a Fuji, but so far none of them has provided compelling reason to give up the perfectly good camera I have.

Whichever's closest. Four cameras, and I love them all the same.

In the absence of purpose or locational guidance, the Sony RX100.

it's always the NEX-7 for me unless i'm feeling like i want to shoot film. usually with the leica 40mm summicron on it and the contax g 28/2.8 in my other pocket. super compact, fits my hand perfectly, all the controls i want or need are right at my fingers, and the image quality is stunning (at low iso).

it's weird, the camera controls are kinda annoying to work with if you have an autofocus/auto aperture lens, but it's got the best controls for a manual focus lens of any camera i've ever used. lucky for me i hate AF anyway.

I have three "layers" of cameras: An RX100, which I use most often, just for doing stuff like documenting work on the house, shooting my grandchildren at play, birthday parties, note-taking for my books, etc. A second layer is the Panasonic system, for street shooting and note-taking, and for which I have two bodies (a GH3 and GX1) and several lenses; and a small but high-end Nikon system for a very specific kind of (often tripod-based) location photography. My photography is very targeted; I mostly don't carry a camera at all.

For more than 2 years, it's been Panasonic GF1 and the Panny 20mm F/1.7, which might as well be glued to it. Then again, the thoughts of replacing it with Sigma DP2m are creeping in.
I've bought the original DP2 to push down the temptations. It's had an opposite effect ;-)

I'm sad to say its my Nikon V1. I have too many cameras (e.g. mamiya 7, leica M and R, nikon f6/d3/d700, s95, etc) but I guess I'm just a consumer when it comes down to it rather than a camera connoisseur .

No brainer,

The camera I have.....currently an OM-D with three lenses and 1 adapter (Samyang 7,5, Oly 9-18 and Pana 14-45 kit lens that came with the GF1, and according to Steve Huff has the "Summicron" feeling, and a 1976 Nikon 1.4 50, 4.5 80-200, and a 1981 Nikon 2.5 105 (on lone from my dad)). Maybe a waterproof 12-50 will be added, just for the rainy days where IQ is limited anyway by falling rain. And that all folks....

Greets, Ed.

Since I usually do street photography nowadays (due to the worldwide shortage of same) I grab my Olympus E-P3 with the Panasonic "Leica" 25mm 1.4 and the absolutely necessary tiltable VF-2. It isn't all that fast to use, at least compared to any of my Nikon dSLRs or film cameras, and it couldn't focus on a moving object outside of a once per decade miracle, but it is small enough (even with the big 25mm 1.4 and hood) not to cause anyone I point it at to duck and take cover. And after 1.5 years, I have learned all of its less-than-good points well enough to work around them much of the time. Plus, women still seem to be attracted to it.

I do wonder, however, if I put the infected, festering silver zit (sorry, the unmatching silver 45mm 1.8) on its sleek black body if it would cause the ladies to turn away. Another reason to stick with the unequaled 25mm Panasonic.

Outside of street photography, it's likely gonna be the Nikon D300.

The SONY RX100 has replaced seven large bags of cameras and lenses. It does 95% of what I shoot beautifully, so I can live with not being able to shoot the last 5%. Now, if there could be made something even smaller I'd be on board in a heartbeat. Less is more...

The GF-1 with the 20mm as of late.

M9 with the 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar Asph lens.

For a review of this brilliant lens see http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/11/16/user-report-the-leica-21mm-f3-4-super-elmar-lens-review-by-alwyn-loh/

I find 21mm is a far better focal length for everyday use than the classic choice of a 35mm Summicron (which I own, but never use). I find no need for an intermediate focal length between 21mm and 50mm Lux.

21mm for daily use in the 21st century. 35mm is sooo 20th century.


As a camera collector since 1971 I must admit that I have had nearly every brand one day to photograph. Nowadays I use mostly a sony nex 5r or an older epson e-d1 with leica glass.

The decision tree is thus ...

DSLR or Mirrorless or Pocket?


If DSLR or Mirrorless, what lens?

For me right now it is a NEX-7 and the 16 - 55 mm "retractable zoom lens."

Good image quality, easy to carry, flexible and it doesn't call attention to itself when in use.

Fuji XP-1 with the 35mm. Most of the time, the 18 and 60mm go along in the same bag as well. And that's it. Peace of mind, ease of vision (hopefully, that's proper or at least understandable English).

Pentax K-01, really, I use mine with a pair of old Sigma manual focus lenses (24mm & 50mm macro) and very rarely miss a viewfinder.

A small Lowepro messenger bag stays ready with my Sony Nex 7 and a couple lenses. In goes the Ipad and I'm off and running. Every day.

Fuji x10 in the car, set to EXR mode. Nikon V1 with 18.5/1.8 lens in pocket of my brief bag. $380.00 for Fuji (used) and $249 for V1 (Christmas Fire Sale.)

With the x10 it is just a matter of, twist the lens and shoot. The EXR feature never fails to render a great shot. The macro ability is also great.

The V1 is a truly great camera. In manual mode it is nothing to adjust shutter, aperture, and shoot. It always renders what I deserve.

When I purchased the V1, I went into it thinking-per reviews-:Well, even though it is a deeply flawed camera, at this price, who can resist? Now that I have used it, my thoughts are: Maybe Nikon new what they were doing. I mean, it is one of the few mirrorless options out there that includes an intervalometer. When you combine the V1 autofocus with intervalometer, every moment of your life becomes a photo shoot. Last night, as my dog, Daisy, was laying in her bed watching me read, and monitoring the home perimeter, I set the V1 on the coffee table and let if fire a shot every 30 seconds; the candid shots were great. Normally, when Daisy sees the camera, she (A) stares at the camera, or (B) skulks out of the room.

I own an old M3 and have often wished for an affordable digital camera that replicated the overall feel of the M3: a sturdy, substantial metal box, WITH VIEWFINDER, allowing you to quickly set shutter, set aperture, and shoot. Call me crazy,but, for me, the V1 comes close.

I now wish I had bought two V1s.

Fuji X-Pro1 every time. Always with me even when I go to the outhouse (hey, I'm not a Luddite)!

When I head out the door I already know my 5D II is waiting in the truck for me. If I want to shot film then there are multiple choices including an old Kodak Pony 135 converted to pinhole some time in the distant past which just reemerged from its hiding place in the back of a closet. I think it will come with me this afternoon.

Camera, easy: D90. But lens? Not so. I enjoy shooting manual focus lenses and have acquired far more than necessary.

I usually head out the door with 2-3 lenses, depending on my mood. A short 24 or 28, then a 50 & a 105 or a 70-150.

Lately, I'm often running back in through the door to stuff an extra lens into my jacket pocket "just in case".

Left pocket: Olympus XA with HP5+. Right pocket: LX3.

If I'm going on a car trip, it's not unusual for me to throw a case with a few Mamiya RB 6X7's in it, into the back of my car. Sounds like a lot, but it's going to do what I want, with what I'm thinking about.

As I get older as a photographer, I realize how many family and social engagements were negatively impacted by me taking pictures, altho for many years I carried a little Olympus 'point and shoot' around to take quick snaps on film, and actually might do it again, little impact there.

I realized how worthless it was to me, after years in the business, to aimless walk around with a camera all the time snapping and snapping, in the hopes of getting 'something' or revealing some great truth. It really hit home when I read a very interesting article some years ago about Avedon, that talked about him trying street photography and photography in an mental institute, all with a small camera, and how he realized, it just wasn't for him. Ditto! I'm now happy to get home from a two week driving trip, with one nice roll of film taken of a particular subject on my Mamiya with a 127 or 180 lens.

I began to realize that one needed to "live" experiences as an observer, and maybe a participant, but without constantly thinking about how good a picture it might make. Since I adopted this, I have a sharper remembrance for many situations I've witnessed, than the pictures of the many situations before that allow me to have.

So I guess the answer is, for the most part, every time I leave home, I never take a camera!

Thanks for the digression!

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