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Sunday, 30 November 2014


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"So here's how you solve the rangefinder dilemma: invest in Fuji XF lenses and get an X-T1 and an X-Pro1."

Yep, that's pretty much what I've done since March of this year (when I received my X-T1) and it's worked out very nicely.

There are also days when I will shoot with both bodies. I'll put the XF 14/2.8 on the X-Pro1 'cause it's field of view will pretty much fill up the X-Pro1's viewfinder, and either the XF23/1.4 prime or the 18-55 zoom on the X-T1. Best of both worlds.

I also have the Oly E-M1, and as you say, it's a terrific camera. Like you, though, I haven't bonded with it. 95% of the time, I reach for one of my Fujis. Their lenses are magical, and the image quality is just too compelling.

AMEN!!! And pass the turkey friccasee.

I'm seriously in the process of ditching the "heavy metal" DSLR and going mirrorless. One photo buddy has both Sony DSLRs and a Fuji kit. Another has an EM-1 kit. They are both madly in love with their gear. Frankly, I'm torn between them. You seem to have a very high opinion of the Olympus (have you used one?) and own a Fuji x-T1. Given your druthers which would you grab off the table. I'm leaning towards the Fuji because if the 18-135mm weather sealed lens. I do a lot of Street work and the Olympus 12-40 is just too short. Yeah, I know; 35mm is de rigueur, but I'm not.

John W

And this is a great time to try the X-Pro1. Irresistible in the UK at least: £749 with 18mm f/2 and 27mm f/2.8 and an additional £50 cashback from Fuji over this weekend. My local camera shop in Carmarthen is also offering 5% off the package until tomorrow, 1st December! I could fight it off no longer, knowing the X-Pro2 is very probably due soon, but will be a lot more money than a 'free' X-Pro1 (as the 2 lenses alone would normally cost as much as the whole deal.)

Oh dear, too much to choose from. I've come to the conclusion the most effective strategy would be 'going to sleep' with one camera for - say - five years. Imaging technology has been slowing down to a point where years can pass before some new feature that is actually useful (to me) appears.
Moreover, the perception of "better" is becoming more and more subjective. DXO labs tell us tales of substantial differences among the latest crop of cameras, but honestly my eyes can't spot those. My photography is all about expression and memory and 'art'. I am not interested in data acquisition (well, as a scientist I am - not as a photographer).
"Enhanced imaging" may be useful for scientific and industrial applications. Not for mere mortals whose ambitions are humbler: transforming one's vision into physical form.

I have a Canon 7DmkII, which I've been very much enjoying. I'm a long-time Canon DSLR user but I hadn't upgraded since 2008 as none of Canon's offerings seemed to offer me that much more than the cameras I already had, whether in their full-frame offerings or in their APS-C cameras.

However, the autofocus improvements in the 7DmkII tempted me to let the moths out of my wallet. I've been very impressed so far. Firstly by the autofocus (which I'm still coming to terms with: it's much more sophisticated - and complex - than the AF systems I've previously used) and also by the more general improvements in overall performance. I'd not seen the lack in my older equipment, but 6-7 years is a long time in the digital world and I'm really appreciating the advances made over my older cameras.

While I had been tempted by Canon's "full-frame" offerings (most particularly the 5DmkIII), I resisted as have the things I think FF handles better than APS-C very well covered by my Leica gear (yes, I am one of those rangefinder weirdos), while I've found the things I prefer to do with a "traditional" DSLR are mostly well handled by an APS-C based system. Where APS-C isn't quite right, and neither is the Leica, I'll keep using my original Canon 5D, at least for now. It may be 10 years old but it still produces nice photographs.

For anyone who might be interested, examples of my 7DmkII photographs (web sized only) can be found at:



the xpro 1 is a real conundrum for me, i bought one second hand with the 18mm f2 (great lens) and i liked the results i was getting but some of the quirks started to eat away at my enthusiasm for it. using this light small camera encouraged to get my m6 fixed and shoot film for the first time in five years ( a real buzz at seeing a contact print has not diminished for me) i will keep the xpro 1 but might sell it to purchase an Elmar, it is a great concept the fuji but if your used to an m6 and a summicron there is just know way to get around it, dare i say it the digital leicas won't compare with this tried and tested way of working, m6+cron+trix+reliable printer=the best way to make photographs

Exactly, I got the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and for a while also had the OMD-EM5 which I felt I needed for longer zoom lenses as there were none for Fuji at that time, however I did not like having 2 different systems which quite apart from the price of duplicating lenses, I just couldn't cope with learning and remembering all the nuances of the controls and menus especially on the Olympus.

When the FujiFilm X-T1 came out I got that as by that time Fujifilm had expanded their lens lineup to include longer zoom lenses which made my OMD setup redundant, so I decided to part with the Olympus system and keep the Fujifilm system and make use of the great XF lenses.

I had a Sony A900 FF and liked it very much, but due to back health problems I could no longer carry it and the lenses I had on long trips, so I am now back to APS-C for everything and loving it.

X-Pro 1 and X-T1 can share all my lenses, though of course the better EVF in X-T1 is better for longer lenses, but I still love the OVF hybrid system in the X-Pro 1.

For a pocket camera the X20 is lovely too (not APS-C but still a fine camera).

I also have the Ricoh GXR with M mount which handles my old RF lenses better than anything other than a real Leica (I had a secondhand M8 for a while). When I feel like playing with MF the GXR is my favourite.

We are so lucky to have such great choices of cameras these days.

After using Nikon (D300/D700) and Sony (NEX-7/A7r) now I use only Olympus.
Two body OM-D E-M5, one OM-D E-M5 with 25mm F1.8 and another OM-D E-M5 with 75mm F1.8.
No regrets for the past,for me small is beautiful.
Image quality of the Olympus with its lens is sharp, beautiful with gorgeous color.
Here some of my photos :
Regards from Romeo

Good to hear you find the xt-1 to a good little camera. I have used it since release and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment. If you are of mind for a 2nd lens look seriously at the 18-55, much under-rated. The grip I cannot do without. Lastly, there is a slew of updates coming Dec. 18, which should further enhance using this gem. enjoy.
p.s.the 60mm is iffy (in my humble opinion)
Will trade mine for your 23mm.

I an absolutely with you on this business of Thanksgiving, one of our very best holidays, being overrun by the commercialization of Christmas.

Sony is ambitious and I believe that current cameras on the open market are not up to human perception capabilities:
Color space: Today no way near.
Dynamic range: Today no way near. We have scientist cameras with way higher tonality. I know about one but cannot share any details.
When it comes to resolution: It is very much a relative thing. all about presentation level, be it Instagram or, say, a 2 x 3m print.
My take is that "good enough" is always about "what's available - at what price". After all few use today the Canon G1 as there is a G16 available and all between.

I suppose this is one way around your dilemma.


[Ah, the Visoflex...one of my pet peeves for decades (I'm over it now). It's the quintessential looks-good-on-paper-but-is-a-pig-in-real-life photo accessory. Beloved of photographers designing "perfect outfits" for themselves who are nevertheless universally destined for future dissatisfaction.

Some things never change! [g] --Mike]

Michael, you hit two conclusions that somehow have also percolated up in my noggin.

I originally scoffed at the size of 4/3 sensors, at a time when APS-C wasn't within spitting distance of "full frame". But all the "full frame" bodies were (mostly still are) bloody huge tanks that break necks and shoulders.

Then 4/3s sensors made dramatic leaps and I began to think "Hmmm ..." Yet when I saw the size of the OM-D, I was not smitten. I like small and compact, but those are too small, for me at least. Why couldn't it have the same dimensions as a film OM, which are close to a Leica M?

Then Fuji hit the sweet spots with the X100 and X-PRO 1. Size, ergonomics, lens quality, mount flexibility and sensor/processor. That just leaves IBIS.

A brace of Fujis, a film M and a film OM sounds pretty well-rounded to me. As folks on RFF say "I'm done." Right.

Some of us really like the image quality of smaller cameras like the Fuji X series - but have one major problem with them.(&Olympus & a few others)
The camera bodies are too darned small for our hands!
Add gloves or mittens in cold weather and you have a nice camera you can't operate at all. In warmer weather the small body is diffucult because large hands & fingers hit too many buttons at the same time.
So, stick with full frame larger bodies which solves the problem just fine.

Hi Mike

I really agree with you, regarding These days, lots of stuff is good enough for me. There are so many great cameras out right now I can't even keep them all straight. It's an embarrassment of riches.

I was putting together a Christmas wish list for my SO, not that I want all of these toys, just to give this person some ideas.

But it has entries like this:
Useful: E-PL5
Fun: Nex 5N
Awesome and useful: a6000
Awesome and useful: GX7

How is a person to choose? For practical purposes, they are all really nice cameras. There's a slight shading of greater value as you go down the list, but that's offset by a gradual increase in price. Decisions come down to fairly mundane practical issues, like, which lenses do I have, and how much do I care about an EVF.

The video enthusiasts have a ways to go, I think. The video equivalent to RAW leads to big files, and I don't think is available on "reasonably priced" cameras. Maybe I'll care about that more in the future? Maybe when doing frame captures from 4k footage becomes how I make still photos.

I still have a list of things I "want", but there are no real obstacles to getting most of the pictures I desire. Sure, I'd love an inexpensive camera with a square sensor measuring 52mm x 52mm. But aside from that? What, cheaper lenses? Sure. More polished ergonomics - simple things like the way the Olympus XA would turn off or on the camera when you covered or uncovered the lens. Flip screens and left corner EVFs for every model, not just the expensive ones. Shutter buttons that feel like the ones on leaf shutter rangefinders and TLRs, with the gentle half press until you hit the slight, yet distinct, resistance of the actual release.

We live in an era of unprecedented photographic opportunity. I am so thankful.

Michael wrote, " ... I'm back to thinking that APS-C is the optimum sensor size."

That statement needs a qualifier -- for what?

A Smart car is the optimum size -- for driving not more than 10 miles on city streets. A minivan is the optimum size -- for transporting a pile of kids and dogs.

I have an APS-C camera and a full frame camera and each is optimum for different things with plenty of overlap. If I could afford it, I'd have a medium format camera as well.

Interesting list. I think Sony is just beginning to roll. If they keep it up they may become a real threat to Nikon and a serious worry for Canon.

For me APS vs 4/3 is size vs aspect ratio. I much prefer the 4:3 ratio (I was always cropping the ends off my 35mm negatives), but part of me knows the larger APS chips have an advantage in image quality. Still, I've been happily using 4/3 and m43 since 2005 - first Olympus, now Panasonic. So far it is working fine. (For the record, I have owned and used Nikon and Sony APS, but keep coming back to Olympus and Panasonic.)

As to Christmas, have you tried the Little Drummer Boy Challenge? All you have to do is avoid hearing LDB from Black Friday to Christmas Eve and you're a winner:


Kind of came back to the same point of view. After ditching APS a few years ago in favor of micro 4/3 and "full frame" 135 and even Nikon 1....

If I had to choose one format today, it would be APS and probably something like a Nikon 7100. (I won't switch now because I have too much other just fine stuff).

Regarding the Olympus EM-1 as the best overall compromise... it is a good choice, but I disagree on the weight/size front. It is just too big for the micro 4/3 format (probably just fine for the legacy 4/3 format). It's the same size as Fuji XT-1 and Sony A7, two larger format cameras.

Not sure your solution offers much for a real RF lover. But if you're shopping in the under $2K range, as most of us are, the X-Pro with OVF and XF lenses definitely gets you closer than anything else out there. If a GR and an M9 had a careless one night stand, their offspring might be something like the X-Pro. That's what mine feels like to me--an automated M9.

One interesting alternative to the viewfinder/rangefinder solution you suggested is to get the Fujifilm XT-1 and one of the Fujifilm X100 series fixed-lens rangefinders. Your suggestion (which I like!) has the advantage of letting you share lenses between the two cameras — this alternative gives you an even smaller and more old school 35mm equivalent approach.

Either way, the Fujifilm options these days are very compelling. (I'm shooting an X-E1 still, with several of the wonderful Fujifilm lenses, and will probably move to the next version of the XT-1 whenever it shows up.)

I pretty much agree that APS-C is the best of all the available worlds. I've tried micro 4/3 but I cannot warm up to EVFs so beloved of most enthusiasts these days. I'm just an old fashioned SLR guy. Full frame would be wasted on my type of photography.

I keep bouncing back and forth between Canon APS-C and Olympus standard 4/3 equipment. Canon has the edge in resolution with larger, higher pixel count sensors but the lenses Olympus made for their E-Volt dSLR system are simply outstanding (and cheap to buy on the used market since Olympus abandoned standard 4/3). Most days the Olympus wins in the bounce despite their 12 mp smaller sensors due to their smaller, faster, high quality zoom lenses and the IBIS of the cameras.

We photographers are a strange breed: instead of letting the manufacturers try to sell us a new camera every year or so, we do their job for them - we sell ourselves the stuff. We know in our hearts what we should do - buy a camera and use it so much that we learn to get round its limitations. Not half as much fun, though,is it?

There seems to be a lot of X-T1/E-M1 talk/angst chez TOP these days. You & some of the readers would probably enjoy this comparo by a guy who’s been using both for a while: http://www.fotodesign-rs.de/olympus-e-m1-vs-fuji-x-t1-battle-of-the-flagships/

"After a long allegiance to 4/3 and more than a dalliance with full-frame, I'm back to thinking that APS-C is the optimum sensor size."

Area size maybe; shape maybe not. For people who like wider formats, your thought makes sense. For those of us who like squarer (I like 4:3), APS-C means bigger and heavier lenses to make a bigger image circle, to use only two little strips on the sides of the additional area, and to end up with a photo that is wider than we want it to be.

Sure, wider formats works well for everyone at times, but some of us would rather have the smaller/lighter lenses because those times are more rare.

Since this seem to be really pushing APS-C I'm not suprised no one has mentioned the whole line of great Pentax slrs. Small size and great selection of lenses to choose from and a history of excellence in bodies and some of the best lenses made.

Where does the Olympus E-M1 fit once you have a genuinely pocketable camera, plus a full frame DSLR, and possibly a medium format digital camera or a film based large format camera?"

"Travel" is the obvious answer to me: the E-M5 (and hence the E-M1) is substantially better than any currently available pocketable camera, but it's also much lighter than the other options.

There's also a dollars question: an E-M5 is much cheaper than any recent full-frame camera, and good lenses for it are cheaper than equivalent FF good lenses.

Thank you to Steve Braun for his observation about Pentax DSLRs and lenses. Pentax weather-resistant bodies and DA Limited glass have kept me in APS-C despite my adventures in micro four thirds. The Ricoh GR helped bring my focus back to APS-C and the Fuji X100T has solidified it. I have gifted much of my Panasonic MFT gear to my nieces. I still have my Olympus E-M5 and a number of great MFT lenses. I'm trying to decide whether to hang onto it.

I've hit a prolonged period of gear satisfaction with the XT1, X10, and Rolleiflex. They cover how I like to use cameras perfectly.

I went from full frame (Leica and Canon) down to the Aps-c X-T1. I had to get real with myself. The canon was huge and I never wanted to carry it. The Leica was hugely expensive and I was uncomfortable having a body I wouldn't want to pay to repair. I would have tried sony, but I couldn't get my head around buying this small body and then using large full frame lenses on it. If I was only going to adapt manual focus lenses I would have probably gone Sony, but I wanted AF lenses as well. So Fuji it was. The decision wasn't terribly difficult as I already owned an X100 and was a fan of Fuji's image quality.

Do I dream of taking advantage of Sony's amazing sensors? Yeah, a little. But I'll survive. :)

If value still matters, the Fuji X100t with an APS-C sensor and 35mm equivalent lens - and the hybrid viewfinder - solves the "which camera" problem very competently and at a significant savings over its interchangeable lens counterparts.

I like the 35mm focal length for the vast majority of my shooting but keep an older DSLR system around for portraits and the few times I need a longer lens for sports or theater. The old DSLR is depreciated to zero and it can stay that way, I see nothing to add that would make better photos.

Just saying, "done" for longer than most.

APS-C is one of those theory/practice things.

In theory it should be the best trade-off between image quality (whatever that means) and camera/lens size. But in practice it doesn't work out because the main players have their feet in other games and so the lenses just are not there. Nikon has had DX (their name for APS-C) cameras for more then a decade and yet you still can't buy any of the following lenses for Nikon DX cameras:

1. a dedicated fast wide zoom (say around 17e to 35e, F2.8 fixed).

2. a dedicated fast long zoom (80-200e, F4 or F2.8)

3. various useful prime lens focal lengths

You can buy the larger full frame lenses that sort of cover the right focal lengths but not really. Canon is in much the same boat. Pentax might have been the exception, but then you'd own a Pentax (I kid!).

My main motivation for going to 4/3rds was that Olympus and Panasonic both had a decent story for both prime lenses and the useful zooms. I think the cameras hold up well. My only gripes are the lack of tracking autofocus and depth of field issues with the F2.8 zoom lenses.

The power switch on the E-M1 harks back to the auto/manual/power switch on the OM film cameras. And for this reason, I like it... But I agree it would be more ergonomic under the shutter button.

The real question needs to be asked backwards, what subject matter do you shoot, what lenses do you like to shoot with, do you prefer a tripod, how much are you willing to carry, how big do you like to print? Answer those first, and you'll work your way back to the best system for you.

Me? I used to shoot all Canon FF cameras. I shoot for a living, and for myself. My personal work was all shot on Hasselblads, I prefer squares. As I crossed the mid-century threshold, my back began to protest rather vociferously at carrying those beasts around all day. I shot people, events and documentary to pay the bills, and on the street for personal expression.

At work, video began to enter the picture, so to speak, so that became an issue to be solved. The GH2 started me down the m4/3 route as the Canon 5D2 was a bit clunky to use in practical terms when shooting as a one man crew. I got addicted to the light weight of the Lumix, and started using it more and more on stills assignments.

The GH3 sealed the deal, and I sold all of my Canon gear and went all in on m4/3. I shoot a lot of low light, natural light indoors, and the consensus was that the m4/3 was not as good, but my experience has proven otherwise. I've had images from theatrical and dance performances, shot at 3200 and 6400 printed 20 ft tall, and they look great. Billboards, yes, looks great, also shot in a classroom in very poor natural light at iso 3200. Daylight shots, iso 200 printed 24 ft wide on a wall, yes, you can see the detail in the guitar strings. Fine art prints 24 inches wide, bingo, beats the pants off the Hasselbald! Shoot raw, mind your processing and you can do pretty much anything.

My back is happy, I can work longer and be less distracted by the pain I used to feel in the base of my spine. The IQ is sufficient for all the I NEED. The flexibility of the system and the amazing lenses available allow me to do anything, and a whole lot more than was possible with the FF gear I was using.

As far as APSC, the gear is excellent, but when I invested in m4/3 Fuji had only a handful of lenses, and Sony practically none. That has changed. But what has not changed is the laws of physics, and that slightly larger sensor demands a lens that is not much smaller or lighter than a FF lens, and there's the rub for me. Compare the size and weight of a pro spec 2.8 zoom for each system and you'll see what I mean.

At the time, neither Fuji or Sony was doing much with video, and that's where Panasonic kept hitting home runs, and still is. The GH4 with it's 4k recorded on to an SD card is pretty slick, and it's an amazing stills camera.

After 35 years of making my living and shooting for myself, I've never had a more transparent camera system, one that does everything well, stays out of my way and lets me make the images I want to make. Is it the best out there as far as ultimate quality, no. Is it sufficient for my needs, YES and then some! It makes me happy when I work with this gear, and the results work for me, and my clients. What more can I want? If I need more, I'll rent it.

So figure out what you need, maybe rent some gear, then buy what makes you happy to pick up and make images and avoid the herd mentality of other photographers. Go your own way.

I have an answer to Gary's question: even if you have the DSLR, the Sony A7r and a smaller camera, the E-M1 is the perfect camera to choose when you're going on a plane ride and want versatility on location, while still retaining excellent image quality.

When traveling by car or going on a dedicated shoot, I take the 5D III. When doing landscapes, I take the A7R. When just going around, I take the Fuji X100S. But when flying to Tokyo, the E-M1 is the winner.

I use the Olympus E-M1 (and one of several lenses) most of the time. Like you, I have never bonded to it. Whenever possible I reach for my Sony RX1 because of its excellent image quality.

If Olympus's new 40-150 mm PRO lens and 1.4 teleconverter work out (they have not shipped yet), I'll dump my two Nikon D810 bodies and $10,000 worth of lenses and use the Olympus E-M1 for wildlife photography. I'm tired of carrying a 55 pound photo backpack around in the jungle.

In the long run, I'll find the fixed 35mm lens on the Sony RX1 too limiting. Maybe the Sony Alpha 7 mark II and several fixed Zeiss lenses will give the image quality I want for travel and street photography. Maybe I should rent some of the Fuji alternatives first.

I'm all for boring! I will betaking my 1 year old Eos 6d with the 40mmf2.8 pancake(again) on my annual photographic journey around South Africa in 2 weeks. This time I am driving around Lesotho. I am quite excited because I have an extra piece of photographic equipment that I am going to test on this trip, a Canon Selphy battery powered 6x4 printer. It will even print via WIFI directly with my 6D. I am hoping the Selphy will make interacting and approaching the rural people easier and save me the schlep of posting photos to them afterwards. So my vote for the best all round camera must go to the Eos 6D that's at its smallest with the pancake attached and has wonderful image quality all the way up to 25000iso! The printer and camera both fit into a Billigham Hadley Pro bag with room to spare...

I finally settled on a Nikon Df and my favorite lens is the Voight 40mm F2. Can still use my Nikon glass when needed and have a fairly small unit in the mean time. Most of the complaints about the Df are from youngsters. My first camera was a Nikon FM. I just love the Df.

To my surprise, my do-everything cam is now the nx300. A current bargain bought to reduce my gear & financial loads (I'd become a rther serious k-mount swapper) it's smaller than the new k-s1 I coveted, with more features I might use and equivalent sensor performance. AF video is not R.Pentax' thing so that bonus will be nice, and no more ff/bf adjust with on-sensor AF. I adapted some classic SMC primes and now have aps-c in a cute, oversized Q body. This will do quite nicely... for a while :-)

After a lot of trial and error, I've ended up with a Fuji X-E2 + 18-55 and 55-200(local dealer, sorry for no affiliate fees!) to start with, a few M and OM lenses on converters, along with an X100s. I also have a D600 with a number of lenses, although i thinned the herd to keep the ones I really love - the gorgeous 85 1.4 and a 300 2.8 I could never afford myself. Being able to pack all my camera gear in a messenger bag with a laptop is great for vacations, but having the larger sensor with the big glass still gets shots that look..right? Better? The only value of a camera is 'does it make pictures that I like?', so for now, I'm keeping them:)

Admittedly, the A7II looked very attractive, but I found that despite the lenses being the 'correct' length, using my M glass on an A7 never felt as fluid as on a Fuji. The X-E2 + M6 is a really fun pair.

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