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Thursday, 01 August 2013


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You are standing in a lot of lines, Mike. Hope you brought some sandwiches and bottled water.

The Contax Aria is still my favorite small SLR. I've got two of 'em! Very comfy in use. Excellent early-ish implementation of evaluative metering. These days it's the only film camera I still seriously use.

I tend to be contrarian...I watch what groups of people are doing and then willfully avoid whatever it is. 8^) I do really like the m43 format, though, and definitely have my eye on the GX7. Could be an OM-D EM5 upgrade...but from Panasonic rather than Olympus. (The Oly would then get the infrared conversion treatment.) I honestly don't care about the brand...let's see instead how the GX7 performs.

I'm a Hasselblad man, but in the last 5 years, I shoot mostly with old Mamiya RB's, because they're cheap to buy, and can be shot 'sharp' at a slower shutter speed than the 'blads. Better results for me...

I just finished an interesting book (Eight Girls Taking Pictures), and in one story, the woman goes to Europe for a month and doesn't take any camera, she just buys postcards to remind her of where she'd been, but she didn't want the camera to interfere with the 'experience'. That's how I feel. If you're not shooting for money, you can shoot your whole life with a Rolleiflex.

If I didn't have to make a living at photography, I'd just be shooting with one camera and a few lenses, and probably not digital at all (see Mamiya RB above). The problem for 'real' pro's, is that when it comes to digital photography, it's 1875. I keep changing digital stuff because it keeps improving in a way that aids my work, but it's too, too much changing. I know pros that shot with a Hasselblad and a Deardorff from when they got into business in the 60's, to when they retired in the late 90's. They bought the newer versions of the old cameras if and when they wore out (which for Deardorff was never)!

"[M]y two main cameras are a NEX-6 and an A900."

You sold the Dragoon? Did I miss that?

I`m a long time Canon user that's moving to m4/3, but 99% of the time I talk about the pentaxes I no longer own instead of what I have now.

A friend of mine calls me 'the exiled pentaxian'

For me it's easier when your film brands failed to make it through to the digital era. I'm one of those people who buys something and keeps it for years (cars and cameras being the prime examples).
I've recently been scanning some of my old film and have been wondering why oh why did I get rid of my lovely Rolleiflex T TLR (not that I'd use it now, but it was just such a lovely object). Similarly my compact was a Minox that took pictures to match any slr.
So I come to digital with a clean slate and go out on a limb with a Sigma, but despite loving the IQ I'd happily switch queues for some of the newer offerings from alternative brands. Sod's law means that the Sigma will just keep going, and going...

I have both, the GF1 and the GX1. What I like the best about Micro 4/3 is that one can use a large variety of legacy lenses (via adapters).

This is interesting to me almost as a meta-discussion. Photographers very often think of themselves as X-brand loyalists, for whatever value of X, and for whatever reason.

But why? I *think* this is a relatively recent phenomenon, isn't it? Was there brand loyalty in photographers before, say, 1950? I think before that the serious guys were loyal to specific pieces of gear, not the Whatsit Brand, but my Whatsit lens, the specific one I own.

Personally, and I recognize that I am an oddball, gear talk bores me to tears, even though I have accumulated a pretty good sized pile of stuff. I use what I feel like using out of the heap-o-junk, and half the time get into trouble because I can't remember how to use it, or the battery died, or both!

This doesn't make me better, but it does give me, I think, a bit of a parallax view, as an outsider. And I think brand loyalty is a bit incomprehensible.

I'm looking forward to your take on the Panasonic GX7 vs. Olympus E-M5 / E-P5.

As much as I like my Olympus E-PL1 and lusted after the E-M5 it never happened.

With a retiree's limited income, the paralysis which can be induced by the ever-churning marketplace kept me from making the leap -- and then the E-P5 came along with a reportedly better image stabilization system and the sorely needed advance in EVF quality.

So...ever cagey and still reluctant to leap...I upgraded the E-PL1's software to accommodate the VF-4 viewfinder. It turned out to be a complete dud (only on that camera...no reflection on how it may perform on the E-P5). Back to B&H it went.

So, here we go again. Will the GX7 equal or better the E-P5 in image quality and user experience? Will it mean waiting for Sony and Olympus to give birth to the Sonympus -- even better sensor with phase-detect autofocus?

All I really want is the viewfinder of the early '70s Spotmatic. It was like stepping inside a darkened room and seeing your photo on the wall ahead of you.

Even with simple, center-weighted metering and a crappy Fresnel screen insert for fine focus the Spotmatic was an organic, living extension of the photographer's eye.

Why don't I stop pining about it, buy one, and shoot film? Oh...that's right, Kodachrome is dead. And even if I had a refrigerator full of it, slides are damned difficult to use with Lightroom and Photoshop.

Somewhere, at some point down the line, there is an answer. Will I live that long?


I thought you used a D800!!!!

What happened to it?

Time and updated models will take the biggest chunk out of the resale value of the "big dragoon." Better to sell it sooner rather than later to avoid this.

Then enjoy the NEX 6 and A-900--maybe with a few new lenses. Of course that presupposes Sony will ever release any new NEX lenses.


Mike: "Still have it. Just don't use it much. I'm scared I might take a chunk out of its resale value and have been babying it."
I hate to tell you Mike but that is the definition of the camera that you should sell and move on from, unless of course you are collecting cameras for their own sake. Which, I might add, is perfectly valid.

Dude Johnston,

Use the Dragoon...WTH??

Mike, you know what takes a chunk out of the resale value of a digital camera? Time. You know that, so I suggest you go out and shoot that Dragoon until the paint chips off or sell it immediately.

Over the past few years, upper tier digital cameras have reached a point of diminishing returns with each new model. That's to be expected of any technology as it matures.

At this point, I believe that many will settle down for the long haul with current top-grade digital cameras like the Pentax K-5, Nikon D800, Olympus E-P5 and E-M5, Sony NEX-6, etc. Any of these cameras are capable of making a good 17x25 to 20x30 print at lower ISOs and decent smaller prints through ISO 3200. Few photographers realistically need more than that.

Realistically, assuming a good range of competent lenses, these cameras do an excellent job of anything that a knowledgeable photographer is likely to need from them. That suggests that the upgrade cycle may stretch out to five or six years rather than the current two or three. That's bad news for camera makers but good for camera buyers.

As other commentators have mentioned... this isn't film. Digital depreciates a lot faster! If you aren't using it, better sell it, before the D900 comes and you're wondering why you can't trade it in for a stick of gum and some twine.

Disagree, a D800 can do things a OM-D can't due to it's 36 Mpixel resolution. Now that resolution won't get smaller with time, neither will the 14 EV DR of the thing. So while Mike shoots 9/10 of his shots with a mirrorless (see, Mike I get you inline with yourself again by using a broader definition), for some shots Mike has the possibility of using the Dragoon. It will keep it's 36 Mpixel appeal (and I even think it will keep it's resale value) for quite some time, since it is a quantum leap over any of todays camera. If the rest has cought up things will change, put surpassing it will probably never happen.....this is due to physics since in order to put more pixels on a sensor and still retain a usable DOF you would need to bend the laws of physics (a 75 Mpixel Canon would be diffraction limited at aperture 4.5 to 5.6). Now I know that photographing without a Leica Noctilux 0.95 on a M240 is a senseless undertaking anyway, so you don't have to remind me of that.

Greets, Ed.

I know that feeling all too well. I took your advice and never sold my Leica, so I had a bag full of lenses sitting on a shelf, whilst I tried every option to replace them in vain.

Pentax, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, Ricoh: they all went by one by one, but in the end I went back. I've got a real embarrassment of riches here, but hey, I'm happy.


Guess I'm an Olympus man. I've always had a soft spot (no, not the one on my head) for Olympus cameras.

With the ascendancy of digital this has waned.

When Olympus announced their new, from the ground up digital platform I envisioned a DSLR the size of a Pen F, with appropriately sized small primes. Instead we got the E-1. Smaller!?!?....Than what, a 747? Well, never mind, at this late date I'm going to wait no longer for a DSLR that looks and handles like an OM-1. For that I have a genuine OM-1 amd a lens set of 6 primes. What more does a hobbyist need.

"Fanboys" are also created. Just take your favourite brand of consumer electronics, motorcycles or cameras, start upping the price with the excuse that you are buying not a thing, but a brand that equates to "quality". Then, start marketing them speaking about how "different" the brand is doing compared to other brands, create "events" in which you present new products and create a dinamic atmosphere reassuring how the consumer did the"right choice" and how he/she is part of an happy fellowship of like-minded people that do things in "their" way not caring for the opinions of the "common man". Wrap all up in a "reality bubble" that simply ignores all the competing products existing in the real world, and voilá - commercial success guaranteed...

MJ: "people also tend to "stand in line with themselves," meaning, if your first car was a Ford, and your second car was a Ford, and your third car was a Ford, then, figuratively speaking, you're standing in line behind your past selves when you choose a Ford again.

This is what creates "Ford men"...and "fanboys." Or any of the various other terms that mean something similar."

I had 26 cars (all old, all fast) in 20 years. Then I bought a Range Rover (also old), and put a bigger engine into it. When it died (at 250,000 miles and 20 years old), I just bought another one and did the same. I will be driving one of those until I die of old age. Doesn't mean it's the best car for everybody.

Sometimes you find what suits you. There's no need to waste energy thinking about it again.

Same with cameras.

Even digital cameras (if you count the 5D1, 5d2, and 5d3 as the same camera with minor upgrades). It (they) are good enough - no need to waste energy on decisions, just shoot.

There's a strange Western fetishisation of the act of shopping. We have too many choices. Just pick any one, and get on with life. It's cultural conditioning that makes you think it matters which one.

The "Big Dragoon" (D800)...

maybe you owe it to yourself and to your "art" to decide "this is the camera and lens I will use for the rest of my life".


Separate the ones you buy and sell (which is "work") from the one you use (which is "art").

Seems like you are just delaying the inevitable with the D800. Worrying about it's resale value defeats the purpose in owning it, as you no longer use it. There is no purpose to own an object needlessly while it depreciates daily!

Sell it! Heck, I'll buy it from you! I've been pondering the thought for so long, and likely the need has finally arisen with me taking off for a year. I can guarantee the camera visits 2 new continents within the next 8 months! I'll even have it send you a post card!

Changing frequently, esp. as regards one's loyalties, interests, or affection.
inconstant - changeable - unsteady - variable - mutable

Sorry Mike, but I must call 'em like I see 'em! Doesn't mean we don't love ya anyway.

[Mea culpa. --Mike]

I think Joe Kashi got it right, i.e. that digital technology has sufficiently matured that all the top-tiered cameras can deliver superb files. If we're sensible at all, the gear churn should be slowing down.

Which places us more or less where we were when we had a half dozen or more brands of 35mm film SLRs that all delivered comparable results. You chose one that appealed to you and mostly concentrated on the photography rather than the next "upgrade."

I saw a documentary on Woody Allen, last night. In it, he spoke
about chap he worked with who wore think rimmed glasses. He thought he to would look good in these glasses and said that once he'd tried some on , he knew he'd not have to think about glasses for the rest of his life. He has also been using the same typewriter since he was sixteen. He copy and pastes with the aid of sic cord and a mini stapler

As for myself

I've had just one camera for five years now. A Canon 1D mk lll.
I'm determined to prove that my god awful pictures are the cameras fault

Not to dictate but it would be rather elegant for you to sell all of your cameras and only use the review samples or actually live by the "one camera/lens for one year" approach. And yes, I would dump the big stuff ASAP for obvious financial reasons.

This might be a good time to bring up that Bowie film, 'The Man Who Fell To Earth'.

Bowie's an alien who crashed on Earth and has to get back to his family, so he needs to build a space ship and starts a company to introduce alien tech to the world, so he can finance the ship. If I can remember properly, the government sends people to assassinate the CEO (Buck Henry), because new technology gets introduced so fast, that people just stop buying!

It's impossible now, to get around to buying an M4/3rd's camera from Panasonic, without them introducing a new model. I bought the G3 on deep discount, started testing it, and before I was fully finished, they introduced the G5, then the GH3, then the G6. While I was thinking about the G3, and buying a G5 too as a primary, with the G3 as a back-up, they discounted it and came out with the G6, and now, the GX7, which looks like it will be the "bomb".

Where's my Nikon F2....

Ditto Jerry-Lewis Evans...loved my little Rollei, and mistakenly traded it in as partial payment for a new 250mm Hasselblad lens in the 80's, then lamented it all the rest of the time (that was back when Hasselblad only made the 150 and 250, if they had made the 180 then, I would have needed neither of the others!)...killer f/3.5 Planar too...

I WOULD be using it today if I still had it, and occasionally use my Minolta TLR, but the real 'on-the-fly' 120 camera is the late, great, and lamented Mamiya 6 (pre multi-format). Pretty good internal light meter, great finder...even today, they're stratospheric if they're in good shape...kick myself for not buying one new when I was actually making money...

Mike, sell that Dragon and buy a discounted RX1 over on Amazon Warehouse so you can complete the Sony trifecta...although you'll likely stop using the other Sonys once the RX1 is in the house.

A900 & Nex6...sounds good! Personaly I have never liked the 'look' of the Nikon stuff, although they are undoubtedly good. But that A900 and Zeiss glass really tugged at my heartstrings and nearly caused a divorce! My first real 'camera' 'love' was a Canon F1,..later a short detour to a Contax G1 and the three Zeiss primes. Now that was a camera! Traded it in on a Leica X1 two years ago and now full circle - I am done with the Leica brand, the build quality is somewhat sub par - just recently added an Eos M to my Canon family. So yeah I am standing in my own line..and I think its going to continue until the end...for better or worse...

I have owned a whole bunch of cameras in my life, but only one has made me feel a real association, and all in the last year or so.

I respect my D800 very much. It's the "go to" tool for challenging jobs and I will probably use Nikon FF bodies for a while yet. Good tools. Well made. Very competent. But I don't really love it.

It's my Fuji X-pro1 and X-e1 that make me want to head out of the door and take pictures for the sheer hell of it.

Both of them make me feel that someone tried very hard to make a camera specially for me, asked my opinion, and then tried even harder to fix all the things I found fault with.

At the same time I found workarounds for the initial quirks and how to extract the most out of the RAW images. It feels like a team effort, a journey we both went on together.

That's me, a signed up Fuji man, and quite surprised to admit it.

I have a D800, GF1 and GX1. I love the D800, but don't use it daily because of the size. I won't sell my dragoon because I love the lenses... 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.2, 180mm 2.8.. none of which I paid more than $500 for used or new. I love the Panny's for the 20mm and their size... and thats about it. I have commitment issues with m43 that I don't think I can get past.

What does GX7 have over GH2 (or even G3) other than image stabilization?

I come from the audio world, which is somewhat similar to photography, in that it is an art and there is lots of gear involved (maybe even more than in photography). Strangely, there, my experience was a little different. Maybe the audio brands have worse marketing, but at least I caught myself actually favoring a product because it was a brand I *did not* own yet. Kind of a "don't put all of your eggs in one basket" mentality.
I, still, for personal purposes, use an A&H mixer, Yamaha monitors and HD recorder, Shure, AKG and AT mics and an RME dac/adc connected to a cheap Creative Labs sound card.

Of course, that's much harder to pull of in the photo world, where there are barely any open, or widely adpoted, interconnection standards comparable to the decades old XLR and TRS plugs and newer ADAT.

(Crossing fingers that there someday might be an Adaptall-III or something like u4/3 might gain traction amongst more manufacturers)

Over 3 years ago I asked on the net for a tiltable EVF. Luckily for me, after the first "Panasonic Nex" this feature will pop up in many more cameras.
With more luck, the square sensor will be next.
Sony Alpha Nirvana.

Like others, i'm intrigued about your comments on the D800.
It has also been pointed out that any modern higher end camera is capable of stunning results if used correctly.
So why a Sony A900 AND a D800 ? Given your love of good lenses wouldn't Either of those cameras with a few choice lenses be more satisfying than both with 1 or 2 lenses?
I'm just interested in why you chose to own two different FF systems.

In my own case, familiarity with a camera and its controls and files tends to result in less thought about camera controls and more thought about pictures.
I bought my current camera in 2007 when it first came out (Canon 1DsIII) which is a long time in digital years, but I have had no desire to replace it because I don't feel "Camera Limited" and like the familliarity. But I have added lenses and enjoy that.
Since I make largish prints I might one day be tempted to upgrade if canon offers a 1 series high res body, but I've been very happy for many "digital years".

You've had the A900 for a while and it's a fine camera, so what was it that motivated you to want to buy the Nikon & 28 and keep the A900 rather than the alternatives of keeping the 900 & adding lenses or trading it for a D800 & more than one lens.?

Or perhaps a post comparing them for the way you work??

Brand loyalty is an interesting psychological phenomenon that relates to our personal identification with our possessions. Some people are higly prone to it, while others are more utilitarian minded. Personally, I often find myself promoting or defending whatever I am currently using, but I am not tied to any particular brand over the long term. So, I tend to be enthusiastic but not attached, which I think is a good thing.

I started seriously in photography with a Contax G2 and then moved on to various Pentax DSLRs and some fine prime lenses. Now I am totally smitten by the Sony RX1. I don't know if that makes me a Sony guy, but I do want to use that camera to the exclusion of all others. The big question for me is whether I will ever again be satisfied with anything smaller than a full frame sensor. I certainly hope so, because I also value small size, which is not an attribute normally associated with FF DSLRs. We shall see what the rumored FF NEX will bring. Or perhaps Pentax will introduce a K-5 sized FF camera. Stranger things have happened.

This is definitely an interesting concept, I enjoyed reading about it. I don't like standing in line though, can I sit?

[ :-) --Mike]

I'm not really brand loyal. I'm lazy. I like stuff that I can use without relearning everything. I used Nikons for nearly 20 years because I was comfortable using them. For the past 14 years, I've mainly used Canons for the same reason. In addition, I've used Leica, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Mamiya and a few other brands but I always return to those cameras within my comfort zone for the bulk of my photography.

I don't have, and have never had brand loyalty for cameras...especially digital. I tend to see the flaws in each brand that makes me anti-brand. I started with Olympus RFs, and although I retained a soft-spot for Olympus, the clunky, slow E-P3 and the Olympus scandal ended that. Used Nikon dSLRs since 2005, but the poor treatment of Nikon owners by Nikon---especially if you aren't in the region you are communicating with---and the bad joke for RAW conversion they offer ended that. Fuji? Killed within 3 weeks after I got an x100 and the sticky aperture problem occurred.

I buy a product, I want it to work. I need customer service, I expect customer service and not excuse of "it's not our responsibility." I don't like giving money to companies that censor artists/photographers (Nikon) nor those who have a leading executive who is connected an to extreme political group (I won't say which until I find more sources), nor to those with executives who are still in place who were connected to previous scandals (Olympus).

That leaves me with only a few non-tainted companies now. And I much prefer using something that few others use.


...the new Lumix GX7 is supposed to have the latest permutation of the 16 megapixel M4/3rd's imaging chip, and it's supposed to be noticeably better than previous chips, less noise at higher ASA's, better processing engine, etc....probably not that much difference between the G3, G5, GH2....

Almost 40 years ago I got my first camera, an OM1. Previously I used, with extreme care, mi father cameras, a Kodak Retina first and a Leica M4 later. After the OM1 came an OM2n and much later a couple of OM4Ti. At some point I got a Leica M6 and a Hasselblad, but they never were my main cameras. I have always been quite comfortable with Olympus cameras, but their optics is what I really like. Today I have an OMD which serves me very well. Recently I got a Sigma DP2 Merrill to experiment. Slow and ackward to use, very noisy over ISO 400, but screams sharpnes and beautiful colors at ISO 200. I don't know why, bu I'll never wanted to do what the main stream does, I'll never get a Canon or a Nikon.

Well, I've seen a picture of mr. Richardson (the son of a guy named Bill Richardson) who seems to be making sort of a livin' as a photographer in New York for mags like Rolling Stone, GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair....and in that picture (made last march) he was holding a GF1 with 20 mm lens. Now of course I like to add that no picture should ever be taken without a noctilux 50 at 0.95 and a Leica M....but having sad that....does Anna Wintour know that too, does she care about the fine flow of bokeh as I do, what do you think Crabby?

Greets, Ed.

I love my Oly EPL-1 with its homely kit lens, EVF, and external mic for the rare occasions I shoot casual videos. The MFT format is great for many situations. I mostly use mine for taking snapshots and for taking pictures of broken household oddments--especially plumbing and electrical stuff. I just bring the Oly to the hardware store and show the clerk pictures right off of the LCD panel. It is convenient to magnify and scroll around the image to show the "expert" the item that has to get fixed. This camera has saved me hundreds back and forths to the hardware store over the past three years. The Pen also delivers nice 9" X 12" prints.

For studio work, I use a Nikon d800. It's a fine copy stand camera, especially when it's mated to the Nikon 60mm G macro lens. The Nikon is a great general purpose studio camera too. The 14-bit wide DR files are able to take a beating in Photoshop and hold up.

True; I'd love to upgrade my MFT, but I cannot justify spending money for a camera to replace one with four-year old technology that works fine. I am committed to using the Oly until it stops working.

I will continue to using the Nikon as long as possible. I hope to get at least five years of service from it--not bad for a 35mm camera (digital or analog).

Flip the statistic around: would you consider selling both the Sony toys (maybe requiring a decent price) in order to force yourself to concentrate on the Dragoon more - make that your go-to camera of choice instead?

Good economists leave the cinema as soon as they've decided a film sucks; the rest of the evening could be better spent doing nothing, let alone something else so why compound wasted time?

Of course, what everyone else is neglecting is that you might suddenly want to take a shot of the aurora that requires ISO6400+ to get and you'd be snookered without the Dragoon to fall back on.

Would you say there was any aspect of the choices made (particularly matching a lens, as I vaguely recall you posted about that) that has resulted in the stagnation?

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