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Friday, 23 February 2018


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You're gonna pick the one U want, and then regret not getting each and every one of the other 4...

I don’t think you’d enjoy a heavy camera much.

Anyway, why not wait a year?

After more than 50 years of shooting Nikon, I’ve converted to the Olympus Pen F. I still have my Leica M2 and M9 but rarely use either. I do use my 1957 Rolleicord.

Three of the five cameras on your list are micro four thirds. That's somewhat telling.
I'm quite invested in m/43 glass, so that will be my system for now, but if Pentax ever puts the K-1 innards into a mirrorless body, well, who knows...

The Pentax has by far the best sensor of those, but is also large. While I love Pentax, the K-1’s grip was too deep for me. From reading your recent posts, you need IBIS, but don’t need speed and you love the GX-8 form factor. So, you need to wait for the GX-9.

The answer is obvious - get the one that is sure to transform your photography...


Having read your description of the XT and 23mm f2 being a sublime combo, why are you buying a camera at all? Let the answer guide you.

If it’s IBIS you want and the current Fuji that you love, then the answer is clear.

But this seems an opportune time to choose one, then wait 30 days to see if you still need it.

Briefly, yes.

[Ha! You got me there. --Mike]

First, let me give you my stock answer: I already made my choice and I haven't looked at camera specs since I made my decision.

Second, you haven't given us enough information. Is cost a factor? How about your limits on weight (That would include a lens.) Does the camera feel good in your hand or hands. Would you need a tripod? Do you make prints and what is the largest size you would create?

Most important does the camera manufacturer have lenses you want? Or maybe a 3rd party lens maker has lenses for your camera of choice.

Lastly, is the camera sexy enough for you. After all ego plays a big part in camera choice.

That's my initial response and usually the questioner goes away thinking they will NEVER ask me a simple question again.

One can only hope.

Which camera depends on what you plan to photograph and how you plan to use it. It also depends on what lenses are available that meet your planned uses.

Save yerself a lot of trouble and get a Panasonic DMC-FZ2500. It is competent and capable and gives you all the zoom range you want in one tight bundle. It has 4k photo recording, built in stabilization, a built in neutral density filter, and a host of other features that will keep you busy for a whole year at least.
Quit screwing around spending money on gear acquisition and just take pictures. Just sayin'


[Geoff Wittig thinks you should elaborate. --Mike]

I'm going to offer up the fact that Kirk Tuck recently bought a Nikon D2Xs for $250 and loves it all over again.

There may be other ways than some variant of the latest kit. Just sayin'

I think you have the decision criteria inverted.

Lens, it is about lens and Pentax has the 31mm, 43mm and I think a 77mm limited lens, all small added to a full frame body, that reminds me of the Pentax 67II camera. This is my choice in your list and it does not matter then if Ricoh/Pentax do get out of the camer business as you have the perfect setup for the next 8 years.
I now think that we can normally skip a generation of camera and it would not affect our photography. For example if I had a Nikon D810 I would not need to update to the D850 as the D810 is a great camera and he additional familiarity with the tool would be a advantage. As digital cameras have now reached the point where each generation is not that big an advantage over the previous one so skipping a generation enables you more time wi5 a familiar tool.

If I were you (reading your mind from previous posts), I would not be happy unless I scraped my pennies to get the Fuji -- in the hope to be rid of GAS for many years. But if you were I, you would get the Pentax for superior quality large prints.
But of course, we are who we are.ä

I have not one but two GX8s, sitting here on my desk, and I really like them. A lot. I plan to carry one of them, and three excellent lenses, to the top of a mountain this afternoon if it warms up a bit. I think you should go with the Fuji H-1.

For reasons related to guitar repair, I also happen to have a micrometer sitting on my desk, and just out of curiosity, I went to that camera-size comparison site (sight - private joke) to see how practically large the H-1 is. It's about 3/10th of an inch wider than the GX8 (and almost exactly the same width as the Leica M10, the digital Leica that's sized most like the old film bodies, according to a review I read somewhere), it's about 8/10ths of an inch higher than the GX8 because of the fake pentaprism housing, and 9/10ths of an inch thicker than the quite thin GX8.

Looking at micrometer, and what the actual physical measurements are, I think, in terms of size, you might notice the difference, but it wouldn't be much of a practical factor. I think you already know that the Pannys are not going to be your lifetime cameras, but the Fuji could be. The Panny is plenty good for regular-sized prints, but if you should happen to hit your lifetime masterpiece out there (and in the Finger Lakes, you're in a good place to do that) you might want a sensor that would let you go really large at a high-end art printer place. And as a lens guy, I think you'd get a kick out of the Fuji lenses, from what I've read about them.

But you might want to wait a few months or a year to see if Fuji really screwed the pooch somewhere along the way. I don't think that's likely, but a short wait wouldn't hurt.

Well, since you put the Fuji X-H1 and the Pentax on the list, I will assume that a richly featured slr style camera is ok with you. So my suggestion is just get the G9 and be done with it. It's the best sensor and the best tech that micro 4/3 has to offer in a system that has a LOT to offer.

The GX8 or GX9 are both compromised. The 8 with the potential for shutter shock, if it's real (I had two that I shot for over a year and never saw it) and the 9 has a compromised viewfinder, along with a tiny battery.

In micro 4/3 land, the G9 will probably age the best, and has the superior IBIS, viewfinder, and all out still photo capabilities.

The Pentax is big and heavy, and not so many lenses are available for it. The Fuji is probably a very nice camera. I'd probably be a Fuji shooter if not for the fact that the XPro1 didn't have an adjustable eyepiece diopter and Photoshop wasn't playing well with the raw files. Went for the GH3 and never looked back.

As far as another commentator stating that the Fuji X universe is more comprehensive, I'd invite him to look at the lenses available for both system at B&H. Fuji has 106 and micro 4/3 has 142!

And one last thing. The size of the Fuji lenses are almost as large as full frame lenses. There is little size or weight advantage. Case in point are the 70-200 f2.8 equivalent lenses for each. The Fuji 40-150 f2.8 weighs 2.19 lb and 7 inches long, while the Lumix 35-100 f2.8 weighs in at 12.59 oz and is just about 4 inches long. Which would you prefer to carry all day?

Happy decision making!

Well, you've convinced me to get a Panasonic Gx9. Although, to be fair, some of that convincing came from your friend Gordon Lewis' review of the Gx85 that was published here. But, some of it is your comment about how much you like the way the newer 20 megabyte sensor renders and your micro 4/3 lens recommendations. Also, I think with your audience here you could easily sell on eBay the popular Panasonic 12-60mm kit lens which is listed on B&H for $497.99 today for enough that you wouldn't have to wait for the vaporous camera-only Gx9 offer.

However, I don't think YOU should buy the Gx9. I base that conclusion on the fact that all the other choices are relatively large cameras with better grips that are "flag-ship" or top of the line cameras. So, I'm guessing that that is the direction of what you really want. I'd suggest you take the "x" out and get the G9.

Me, as Leonard Cohen put it on his final album:

I'm not alone, I've met a few
Traveling light like we used to do


Any of these look more than "good enough." All are probably great. So let's look at prices: there's a huge spread and I think the GX8 may be the cheapest. So get that and invest the rest. Or blow it on champagne. The gap between a $900 camera and $2K camera is big.

Go for the GX8, pick yourself up 2 nice lenses to go with it and you are set for at least 5-7 years of photography. Why do we over analyze these decisions, it will serve you well and then we can all stop reading about the latest and greatest sensors, cameras, features. I am quite happy with my current cameras and optics, they are going on 4 and 2 years old and I am not thinking about my upgrade or switching to another brand. I am thinking about capturing images and occasional printing, what a concept.

K1... Oh wait, what camera should you get. Can't be sure, but probably the xh1.

Good grief, Mike! You're only 60. Why are you worrying about IBIS? Keep the X-T2 and shoot it. Keep the X-T1 for backup, since you can't get much for it. Buy a GX8 if you absolutely must buy something, but if I were you I would keep my money in my pocket.

Just get the Lamborghini.


I'd say get the one you can best write about.

Sorry, but I think you are way overbuying for the way you seem to like to shoot. You can get excellent image quality from the old 16 MP Sony sensor in the OM-D E-M10 II with excellent IBIS (not the III, it's a downgrade for stills). Be patient and pick up a refurb from the Oly website for $300. Then watch the lens refurbs for the 17mm, f/1.8 (34-e) for about $350, and the 45mm, f/1.8 (90-e) for about $230. It's a lovely like-new 2 lens kit with scratchy sharp fast lenses, fits easily in a waist pack, and those big ugly dials on top can be controlled with x-country ski gloves on.

I'm enjoying my E-M10 II kit very much. I still have my Nikon DX and a telephoto lens for shooting birds and other active subjects but for the mid focal lengths the Oly is wonderful.

You said a while ago that you were tired of wasting money on camera gear. So stop wasting money!

One of these five is not like the other. Can you spot which one? Only the K-1 has an optical VF, and that difference surpasses all others. You either like electronic VFs or not. They're certainly the preferred direction of the camera industry, for marketing reasons ("the new one is better!") and profitability concerns (much less mechanical & optical content necessary).

The downsides of EVFs, for me are huge. None I've tried matches the dynamic range visible to the eye in direct sunlight, so shadows and highlights are lost. Natural colors become only a video interpretation. I understand the appeal and efficiency of focus fringing, zebra displays, grids, histograms and all, but it gets in the way of the image. It's what a robot or a Predator drone might see, a target acquisition device. That's just creepy.

For every minute I spend staring at an actual print, I spend an hour watching the world through my OVF. I want that time to be enjoyable- it's not just a means to an end. I need to fall in love with what I'm seeing there, at least a little. That never happens with an EVF. It just feels like I'm taking a picture of a picture.

The K-1 (and K-1 II) represent the perfection of the DSLR stills camera. It's optimized for slower subjects and field work, offering near -medium format quality, all at a popular price. I know you'd love it, because you loved the a900- and this is just an a900 that gets it all right.

Don't worry about lenses, there are plenty. The lovely little Limiteds are gems that N or C owners would beg for, and they trim down the size and weight of the K-1. A big camera with a small lens is nice to handle, compared to a tiny Sony bolted to the back of a big pro lens.

The biggest issue for you, Mike, may be website viability. Pentax doesn't churn and turn out new products very often. It probably doesn't draw so much web traffic, either. But I think the Pentax skill set is well-matched with your audience, and I really hope you give one a try. If funds are an issue, I have a lovely 35/2 I would lend you for a few months...

6. None of the above.

To elaborate: What Miguel Tejada-Flores said.

Plus, the lens options available in M4/3 are second to none. I love my cheaper Panny lenses the 12-60 is beautiful. My new 42.5 is lovely. But if you want to spend more money, there are those Leica lenses in the same focal lengths with wider apertures. I also have a bunch of other lenses including the 45-200, the 100-300, the Oly pancake fisheye, the Oly pancake 15 and a wide-angle pinhole (with the EVF I can see what the pinhole is doing and even hand hold it, BTW). Pretty much anything you might want to hang on the front of the GX8 is out there. And it's just a lovely camera that fits my hand and has the controls all in the right place. And the files are better than what I get from my Nikon D7000.

The X-H1 represents the closest thing yet to the fully-featured offerings that have been rolling around in the M4/3 universe for several years (IBIS, and ergonomic niceties such as touchscreens being the obvious omissions in previous models). It is definitely and undeniably the best Fuji out there.

But for me the decision would be all about the sensor, and the conclusion is probably the exact opposite of what most would expect me to say. I'd pick the G9.

I just can't abide the look of the X-Trans sensor. While 24MP is notionally more than 20MP (9.5% more linear resolution, so you can make a 39" wide print instead of a 36" print...) the post-processing hurdles associated with X-Trans really just sap all the fun out of it. Having to use esoteric RAW converters before any cataloguing or further processing just to achieve files that are sharp and free of artifacts is not my cup of tea.

Bayer demosaicing, by contrast, is a well-baked process, runs like a smoothly-oiled machine, and delivers reliable results all the time.

And lens-wise...well, unless you feel like you absolutely need a native tilt-shift lens, it's hard to find a single gap in M4/3's mind-bogglingly complete lens line-up. You can often choose the exact focal length you want down to the individual millimeter (will it be a 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, or 20mm prime lens today?)

The G9 looks like it will go down famously as one of those "it just works" cameras. It may not be glamorous or romantic, but its quirk-free ability to get out of your way, and its utilitarian poise and capability are admirable traits in their own right. Oh, and there's that going-to-the-cinema, biggest-ever 0.83x 120fps magnification EVF...

I'm pretty heavily invested in Fuji X so the answer is very easy for me - I am on the pre-order list and pick it up next week. I still have a Nikon D810 but mostly it sits on a shelf. My XPro2 and the compact X100F get the workout these days. Fuji lenses are so rich in character and the ILC bodies have adapters that play with anything, even my nearly 50 year old Leica Summicron 50DR. I held the X-H1 yesterday at Precision Camera and it is smaller and lighter than I was led to believe. It's going to be an awesome relationship.

The Pentax is the only one that I would consider switching from the Sony A7 for. Actually, I have so many Rube Goldberg-ish setups that depend on the A7 that I would be using both I suppose.

You’d make a good case for camera subscriptions. Adobe’s making out like a bandit. Maybe the camera companies will follow their lead.

The TOP community is obviously thrilled you're asking them for advice on this. But really, can we be truly helpful if we don't know what kind of photography you like to do? I read TOP regularly, and all I remember seeing of your own photos are (mostly) family pix and what you modestly call "just snaps" that you take while out walking. You've talked about "projects" like OC/OL but haven't said whether you're doing such projects yourself. So we're all operating in the dark here.

If in fact the photography you intend to do with your new camera is simply what you've already told us about, then all the cameras you mention seem to me serious overkill -- sort of like buying a Steinway when all you like to do is play "Chopsticks." Get something much more modest, or better yet, just use your iPhone, which you seem to be getting along with just fine. Then again, I do know the pangs of GAS, having succumbed to it myself many times, so I'm sure this will fall on deaf ears.

Mike you have a real problem, as has already been said it is what will make you happy. Having just gone through this I picked a used Sony A7s because I have a bunch of old Leica M glass from my film days. And I wanted FF after being spoiled by a Sony RX-1, I don't have any zoom lenses and I am happy with my old M glass and I can still manually focus so that's what I did. Now I will wait with baited breath for what you will choose, and I will wait for buyers remorse to kick in afterwards. Enjoy

Devil's advocate here [grin] --

And what are you going to do differently with any of these cameras?

Perhaps the addition of IBIS would be a game-changer for you; certainly that made a difference for me with Olympus E-M1.

You had D800 and it was too large - methinks the K1 would be Dragoon II. The X-H1 is the safest bet, IBIS, a sensor you know, and lenses you like. The G9 is no smaller than a Fuji, but a smaller sensor. Nice selection of lenses , but not many unique examples that Fuji can't match.

You've had a long time to get a GX*, and have continued to find a reason NOT to get it - I think this may be a sign of your choice, here.

What works for your budget? Rent first then decide.

My pick from these five: option 2, the X-H1. Mostly because I like the colors better than the Panasonic colors (from what I've seen out and about in the internets).

Which lenses do you like best? If you like the Fuji X primes, stick with Fuji.

Wait a bit for the X-H1 reviews, hire an X-H1. Or get it to start doing your own style of video reviews of, say, Exakta 66 camera's. And since it's Fuji's first IBIS design you may want to wait for version two and let other people discover any gremlins in that new body.

Or wait until after CP+ and Photokina, see what the other manufacturers come up with.

Or buy a $100 monopod.

So there. No help from me, sorry :-/

Well, I think you know what I am going to recommend, but I'll add some additional "context" for consideration.

1. You've really liked the image quality, particularly B&W conversion, of the Fuji X-Trans files you've produced over the last four years or so. You've mentioned this several times. It hardly ever gets mentioned, but one of the reasons so many of us love the image quality from X-cams is due to the X-Pro Processor imaging engine.

2. You already own and love a number of Fuji XF lenses (for good reasons). Why sell all of these, take a hit on more depreciation, and have to buy into yet another lens system?

3. You've liked and commented on many of the (not insignificant) improvements the X-T2 brings over the X-T1, not the least of which is that lovely Acros film simulation. The X-H1 has an improved and enhanced set of these functions and features.

4. You really need IBIS, which the X-H1 has pulled off really quite well.

5. Last but not least, like many of us, your Fujis have always made you want to pick them up, get out, and do some photography.

If you went with the Panasonics, I think you'd find yourself dis-satisfied at some level or with some attribute as you did with your last foray into Panasonic. And you'd be right back at square one. With the exception of not having IBIS, I don't rememer you ever having any experiences like this with both of your Fujis.

Regarding the Pentax, I would really hesitant to buy a camera from a company that may very well go into bankruptcy. Plus, you'll have to buy a whole new set of lenses – again.

So, I think the answer is pretty clear; you should get the X-H1. Yes, its bigger (but only by 5mm in two of three dimensions) than the X-T2, and yes, its heavier, but if you're willing to go back to a FF DSLR, e.g. the Pentax, this point should be moot.

If I were you, this is what I would do: I would keep the Fuji glass you already have and really like, sell both your X-T1 and X-T2, and any other non-Fuji camera gear you may have (e.g. the Panny 12-35), and put those funds towards purchasing an X-H1. If ultimately you find you don't like it, it will be a hot item on the pre-owned market and will sell very quickly.

@Another Mike: I've done an Excel spreadsheet analysis of all the pro Canikon lenses compared to their Fuji equivalents, and on average, the Fuji XF lenses are 35% lighter and more compact than their FF counterparts. Not as small and compact as M4/3, granted, but still a considerable difference, IMO, at least as this former Canon pro gear user is concerned. I just sold my last piece of pro Canon gear this week. It's great gear, no question, but I won't have to schlep all that heavy gear around a race track anymore. Hoo-ya!

which do you have the most glass for?

thinking practically - not much sense in buying a new body without having lenses in that system already....

unless, of course, there's a complete system swap in order here...

(I shoot Pentax, so I'm a bit biased on which to choose)

Let me throw a curveball. The 35mm 2.8 macro limited covers the K-1 image circle. Jjjust, with dark corners. The 43mm limited is too long for you and the 31mm is too wide. Unless you commit to the square format. Then the 31mm will give you 37mm-e. And you can always go the Sigma Art route with their 35mm 1.4.

I think I should get a:
Panasonic GX9 once it's available body-only
Fuji X-H1
Panasonic GX8 if/when it goes on closeout
Panasonic G9
And maybe
Pentax K-1

Just because you are ; The Online Photographer.

Bah, they are all good, as is your X-T1. Just keep it and enjoy using it.

The analog answer to this question was, to channel Bill Clinton: "itʻs about the lenses, stupid." Now, itʻs about the lenses and the sensor, and I donʻt think anyone can offer a meaningful judgement who hasnʻt played in all the sandboxes, which I havenʻt. But I have been more than satisfied with the Fuji sensor and lens system, and your posts have suggested that you feel the same. Of course, we are all looking for an excuse to try new cameras and lenses, so . . . .

I don't know enough about the cameras listed to make an informed decision. Frankly none of them are on my personal radar of potential future cameras.

Three of the five choices are micro 4/3 format and I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan. I've owned several micro 4/3 cameras over the years, all decent performing models, but when I look at the Raw files from these cameras and compare them to the Raw files from my APS-C format cameras, I can see the difference. It's not much but it's there and APS-C is the winner. And today's top micro 4/3 cameras are no longer the small and light alternative to APS-C DSLRs. Right now I use an Olympus EM1 just so I can use a few special lenses and the EM1 body is almost the same size and weight as my Fuji XT1 (and both are close to the size of my older Canon Rebel T2i). The Olympus IBIS does come in handy when I handhold the Olympus 50-200/2.8-3.5 zoom plus the 1.4X extender--but that is seldom. And, since you don't use long lenses much either, well....

I've never had a real desire for a full frame digital camera. I sometimes think it might be nice to have one just for the sake of fiddling around with one. Since I have several Canon primes and zooms left over from my film days, I would probably just buy an older used 5D Mk(whatever?) if I ever decided to give full frame a try. And although the first adjustable camera I ever used was a Pentax Spotmatic, I know exactly zero about the current Pentax cameras and lenses.

My bias in favor of APS-C should be evident.

A few questions to answer. Do you *really* need image stabilization? How often do you get pictures that are unusable due to camera shake? Do your current cameras perform poorly at high ISOs? Also: What other real benefits do you expect to receive from one of these cameras that your current camera system doesn't provide? And: What lenses would you want to use in this new system and how much would they cost in addition to the new camera body? Is the overall cost of changing systems acceptable?

I know how I would answer these questions but I can't answer them for you.


All those cameras are wonderful.

I remember in another blog you wrote that you said to first identify your favorite lens, and then get the camera to use that lens.

What is your current favorite 35mm-e lens? My guess is it might be the 23mm versions that Fuji offers. But you've also mentioned (I think) the Sony/Zeiss 24mm, so should Sony be on the list?

In my case, I stick with Nikon because I have the most fun using the 58mm f/1.4G.

You think about this too much. Go take some photos with what you have.


Go for the Miata with the IBIS suspension, tilting hardtop, and 35mm offset.

For a digital camera, buy new old stuff and nothing more than one thousand dollars. I try to adhere to my rules in recent years and are successful so far.

None of the above? None of these will really bring anything new to your photography. They're all about the same and will produce the same quality of image file. You already have an excellent small camera, don't you?

Stash your cash and when spring arrives rent something like a Fuji GFX50S with the 62mm to try a new dance.

No offense, but why? As my old man would say, is money burning a hole in your wallet? Wasn't TOP just discussing the merits of waiting until a camera model is on close-out before buying new?

I am not trying to be sarcastic - I am just trying to understand the rationale. Those cameras are so different in so many ways, which leads me to think that this is not a rational, need-based decision but a bad bout of GAS. If it was based on a need, real or perceived, you'd have your answer: whichever camera best addresses that need is the way to go.

My suggestion would be to give that XT-2 another chance (heck, it's not *that* much different than the new Fuji) and wait till you get the GAS out of your system. How often do you need IBIS right now if you're shooting with a 23 mm f/1.4 (or even f/2) Fuji lens when the XT-2 allows you to comfortably shoot at ISO 1600 without any significant loss of image quality?

You already have the Fuji lenses you'd most want for your type of photography - so if you absolutely must get a new camera, that'd be the way to go, but again, it makes no sense whatever to me.

Get a Panasonic G85 when it goes on sale.

Mike , My all time favorites were your Best cameras of all time lists, which I enjoyed during your time as a magazine editor.
Is there any chance of a reprise of sorts.
An article of your favorite all time film cameras?
David Damon

A Leica M10. That way I'll be able to experience it vicariously. It will also eliminate your anxiety about what to buy next since you'll be paying it off forever.

I'm a Fuji guy (X Pro 2 and X100F), but I got a GX8 at Xmas from Adorama for $749 in black on a whim. I really like this camera. I got all the weird focal lengths- 15mm, 20mm, and just got the Sigma 30mm. Great camera. Honestly this camera was a complete steal at $749. That Panasonic 20mm is absolutely fantastic as is the 15mm. I haven't really tried out the 30mm yet. Do I like as much as the Fuji cameras? No, but it's still a great camera. On the XH-1, I am not sure what you are getting over the XT2 if you aren't shooting video. I do wish the 20mm and 30mm MFT lenses had aperture rings.

None of the above. Granted, Olympus menus suck, but once you've been using the camera for a while, you get used to them. Micro 4/3 has any lens you'd ever need, and by going with Olympus you'd be getting tried-and-true IBIS and avoiding any possibility of being stung by Panasonic's industry-worst customer service.

I’d vote for the Exacta 66...oh wait.

Seriously go out and shoot a little film in the Exacta. I’d be willing to bet it will be fun and might give you a fresh perspective on the choice of a new body.

You and I have the same problem. We both give good advice to others but can't do the same for ourselves. So how about a quid pro quo? ;-)

Honestly, I think it's pretty easy for me to recommend the Fuji X-H1 for you. I've been reading TOP and its progenitors like The Sunday Morning Photographer since circa 2002 or so. If there ever was a camera ecosystem that screamed Mike Johnston to me, it's been the new Fuji stuff. When I heard that they had announced a camera with in camera stabilization, I immediately thought of you. I know that this has been a big box to check off on recent cameras for you.

Excluding IBIS, I feel like Fuji has already ticked off most if not all of the other necessities for you. Indeed, while there have been plenty of other brand "flirtations" from the likes of the Big Dragoon to the Sony Nex6/A6000 series to the various M43 bodies, it seems like you've been pretty steady with your Fuji gear. I don't recall many articles where you disliked the Fuji gear apart from its lack of IBIS and I recall many extolling the Fuji virtues. Fuji has made a line of excellent prime lenses including multiple options at some of the focal lengths that you enjoy. You also seem to post a lot of recommendations to others when there is a good Fuji deal to be had. That's a pretty sure sign that you are pretty happy with the company.

I guess it remains to be seen what the X-H1 will actually do for you when you get it in hand (I've had more than one camera that seemed to be a perfect fit for me on paper that proved to be otherwise in hand) but until that happens and you can report on it, I see the X-H1 as THE Mike Johnston camera.

Meanwhile, this has already turned into a lengthy reply, so I'll nix the quid pro quo. If you feel like doling out camera advice, though, send me a line so I can pick your brain.

"You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant" :-)
Seriously though, try this: Would you rather have #1 or #2? Put a mark next to your choice. Would you rather have #2 or #3? Put a mark next to your choice. Continue with 1 or 4 and 1 or 5. Then start over with $2 or #3 followed by 2 or 4 and 2 or 5. Do the same choices between 3 and the remaining ones then finish by asking whether you'd rather have 4 or 5. Whichever one has the most marks is your choice. What we think is irrelevant.

I shouldn't give advice these cameras that I have no experience with, but I will any way.

As you know, m4/3 (intentionally not written out) has a full range of very good lenses. As a self-confessed lens nut, that ought to have meaning. The Panasonic bodies of GX type I am not at all in love with, but as I recall you like them.

The Fuji. A nice camera I am sure, and they have a good line-up of lenses which I hear have some mysterious magic akin to Leica. Plus those lenses look tough as the outside is metal. Emphasis on "look." But if you get another Fuji, I fear we might have to endure "OMG! Look at those Fuji colors!" And photos of a cat chanting "Fuji magic!"

Well, you wouldn't do that. So if you can get it with a fancy paint job that isn't really a paint job because it is a Fuji paint job at only hundred bucks more, then you should go for it.

Or you might just ignore all of us and get what you want to have. Temporarily.

I'm voting with my wallet. I preordered the X-H1 and, barring possible hospitalization in the coming week, I'm planning to pick it up on March 1, the day it goes on sale. I played with it twice at the store, I find it very comfortable in my hands, and I'm looking forward to using IBIS with my primes. It's really a no-brainer for me.

In the tradition of people on the internet not answering the question asked, just keep using your current one. Unless of course I've missed the mention of it being no longer in service.

Could it be that you're shooting less due to the weather or something else but you still want to "photography" so you're looking at gear?

Well, what you shouldn't do is settle. No half measures, because you already have a good camera.
You should buy what you want not what you (or others) think you should buy.
So maybe you should buy nothing until you find one that really makes you happy.
You seem to have taken (or at least shared) more pictures since you got the Fuji. You have raved about the lenses, You already own fuji lenses you love....
If you feel you have to have IBIS Buy an H1
If you don't want to spend the money use stabilization aids like Monopods, tripods , leaning, tension straps and just keep using the T1
The only camera on the list that makes sense to me is the H1
You get to use lenses you own and love, and you get IBIS, and you get a new camera to write about.
Why go out of your way to lose money trading lenses you already like?

The Fuji. It has the right prime lenses in the right focal lengths. What else matters?

M4/3 still doesn’t have a wide angle primes in several needed focal lengths and some of the available lenses are pretty wonky.

Fui X-H1. It adds IBIS to what you already have. You like what you already have, except it lacks in-body image stabilization. Go for it.

G9, because of your new-found appreciation of telephotos. And oh, it lets you mount shorter lenses also.

The GX9 is a natural progression.
The Fuji X H1, nice but is way overpowered for the type of images you seem shoot.
The GX8 would be classed as old hat by the time you got it.
The G9 - really?
The Pentax K1 - Ah, the nostalgia tab kicking in eh?

Whatever. You need something with good IS more than anything else so make that your prime mover and then add on all the attributes to suit.
Best of luck because I am in a similar position but am deeply hankering after an XT1. ( have you got one going ? ) I dont need IS because I moved to Spain from the UK a few years ago and hardly shoot anything under 2000/th second because of the extreme sunny conditions 350 days a year - life is hard, ha ha, What I need is DR - Decisions, Decisions!
Oh Yes and I am 76 in a few months time so I know what the shakes are like!

Hi Mike;

I have no suggestions on cameras.

But, the first thing I consider when looking for a new camera is the viewing system. Meaning, how well and comfortably I can see through the optical or EVF. If I can't see well, I move on to the next one.

I still use an old Nikon F3 HP for my film work, because of the good finder and image delivery to my eyeball.


Looks like you are getting a lot of help. Me, I can only say what I would want. Of the ones you offer I would pick the G9. But it, along with the others is really expensive. What I would suggest then would be the G85, which has ibis, and cost half of what the others cost, gets really good reviews and Kirk Tuck loves it, which is a good recommendation.
But the new Fuji sure looks good, and you like Fuji

I have a sentimental favorite, but I'm going to keep it to myself and instead offer two suggestions:

1. Ask yourself which one would overlap least with the ever-present iPhone.

2. Seeing as how you write a photography blog, I think the the only proper course of action here is to try all five cameras over the next couple of months and write about the process. I bet you'll have answered your own question by the time you're done, which should be just in time for prime photography season.

By the way, I envy you your dilemma!

Get the Pentax. You have written before about how you like some Pentax lens. It is full frame so a dinosaur like yourself can use all those oldie but goodie lenses that are designed for full frame. The image quality is top notch even at the higher ISO's which means you can capture photos without a tripod in the low light that you could not get in micro 4/3 or APS size. The image quality is in the league with the Nikon D810. If image quality were the only criteria for upgrading from a Nikon D810 to D850 must reviewers say it is not worth the money. K-1 should start selling at a discount with the introduction of the new model. You admit you do not need a full arsenal of lenses that Nikon and Canon provide. It is heavy but like me you may be too stubborn to concede you are too old and feeble to haul around a "real" camera. You grew up lugging those full size cameras around and that's how it should be, just like listening to vinyl and driving around with the top down.

I'm sure I've told te story of "Pete's Boat" here before, but a search shows no results, so here we go....
About 45 years ago our friend Pete decided he wanted a boat. He bought and read magazines on boats. He visited marinas and picked up brochures from boat dealers. He talked to boat owners about what brands of boats and motors they liked. His house was covered with boat sales information.
Then one day, all that literature disappeared into the trash.
We asked what happened? "Nothing," Pete said. "I just realized that I liked the search for a boat but I really didn't want to own one."
I do not know how many times the term "Pete's Boat" has been used in our family to describe the short term obsession with some object of desire that dies out after a few days or weeks of interest. The search is the fun part, too often the reality is disappointment.
For the car analogy, I have been asked by people who find out I have owned over 60 cars which ones I regretted selling. My answer: None, but I sure regretted buying a bunch of them.

Like I said previously, keep the XT-2 (and, use it). If you want, keep the XT-1 for backup. Forget about IBIS. use a monopod instead.

I think you have tremendous "authority" in this domain/business. You could arrange with a supplier to give "test" cameras to review/talk about. Once, you get all these different cameras to test, then buying a "new" one would not be that enticing. You'll go back to your GF1 ;-)

Right now, I'm thinking the X-H1. But before you do anything, Mike, wait until Monday. Sony is likely to introduce the A7III. Full frame, IBIS, the latest sensor plus the battery and most of the autofocus from the A9. Many say Sony doesn't have enough glass. But the 35mm and 85mm primes might be all you'll need. I would avoid the over-sized and over-priced Zeiss zooms.

Mike, please stop obsessing about features! Buy something you fall in love with, not something you think you need because your analytical side tells you so. You will enjoy it and use it more.

Hey Mike somewhere back in your posts I read that you had been given a Fuji xt2 to use and test and then sell off.

My suggestion is to keep the xt2, sell off the xt1, use the xt2 until the xh1 gets a sale price you like, buy the xh1, then sell off the xt2.


You certainly generated a lot of comments on this post. I would like to hear a reasoned explanation as to why you would consider a M4/3 camera as opposed to one with a larger sensor.

Here’s a second vote for the Olympus OM 10-II. My favorite feature has become it’s WiFi connection to my iPhone and iPad for quick downloads without any fuss, and then surprisingly robust editing in Snapseed. Just takes a few more seconds then to share on Facebook or to send in a message to friends.


Which of the following lenses are in your possession:

Fuji (how many have in-lens stabilization?)

m4/3 - how many of them have in-lens stabilization and do you like your m4/3 lenses as well as your Fuji lenses?

If it were me, I'd shoot the hell out of your XT-1 and/or XT-2 and keep stats on just what percentage of your shots suffer from the yips over the next six months.

Buy a monopod with a nice quick release for the ballhead.

Wait until you're having a banner quarter with the TOP revenue cycle.

I've been suffering GAS for the past year and finally realized that my Sony APS-C A mount SLT-77 does just fine for as much as I use it right now.

That might change in two years when I actually retire, but I'll likely be less inclined to throw away my money when I don't have a salary.

I'm betting if you push yourself to use the Fujis in your current possession (with a monopod if need be), you'll find that the yips aren't costing you as many lost photos as you've convinced yourself they have.

[Craig, I have four Fuji lenses, one with IS, and four Micro 4/3 lenses. --Mike]

I don't think you want a new camera. If you did you would have just bought one. I think you need to talk about cameras.
So start a project. First write up about the xt2, tell us what you like, what you hate. Then sell it or keep it.
Then write a short piece on the 66, get us all to fall in love with film, slow calculated shooting and the square format.
Then get a lonner from B&H or rent from Lensrentals the Sony 6500. Tell us how the IBIS works or doesn't work and how the camera is a pain to hold.
Then do the same with the Panasonic Gx9. How the Evf was the worst idea Panasonic has made in 2 years. Then rent the Panasonic G9, tell us how you love the EvF but the handling maybe wrong. Then rent a Pentax K1 mk2, talk about how good it is but the size is just too massive. Then get the fuji H1 and continue down the mirrorless camera path.
Don't buy anything.

The one that you have an emotional bond with. Forget the technical details, except for the ones that excite you emotionally.

Mine's another vote for the Fujifilm X-H1. Aside from all the other reasons given, I don't think you're really willing to resign yourself to a camera that doesn't have an aperture ring on the lens. In addition, the mechanical shutter is very quiet (and there is a fully electronic shutter as well), the new higher-res, brighter, faster EVF sounds very appealing, you already love and own Fujifilm glass, and you won't have to learn a new system.

That said, I would wait until there are plenty of reviews and user comments. There could be teething troubles with their first-generation IBIS and there will be a lot of new code in the firmware.

I am using the Olympus Pen-F - and its IBIS is very, very good... ;-) ;-)

None of the above. Stick with the gear you have.
Your photos will not get better with yet another camera.
Unless of course you are planning to radically change the way you shoot or what you shoot. Like, moving to 8x10" photography or doing insect portraits...

The Fuji X-H1, it's a no brainer, you have missed IBIS & this camera has it along with other refinements like & improved evf. Check it out in your local camera store & see if you bond with it, I'm sure you will, but hang on a minute isn't there rumours of an XT3 coming later this year with a new sensor close to 30mp. Scratch the above, control your gas & continue using what you have otherwise you may get buyers remorse when the XT3 arrives.

Experience Suggests all of the cameras on your list will be just as flawed as what you have now, in one way or another. :-)

Were it me, I would stick with the Fuji. simply because I already have lenses for the system, and I like the results I have been getting from my Fujifilm system.

Get an XPro2.

You got the New-itis disease bad, my friend. An XPro2 is the cure.

New camera, same system. No IBIS but a whole new design you can work with. Just set the ISO to Auto 6400 and don't sweat it. You get an EVF combined with an OVF and handling pretty much the same as your current XT models so there's no fiddling around missing shots. Same sensor, same great Raw files and you can get the XPro2 in graphite gray!

You really should. You know you really should.

Thinking outside the box here, perhaps a monopod can substitute for IBIS until a truly new and improved camera comes along?

Alternatively, you can just bump the ISO on your existing camera another stop or two, which will cost you nothing but a bit of noise and a small hit to DR.

Neither of which should be a big deal for you, because if they are, then you wouldn't already own the cameras that you do.

It's taken me a while to realize this, but solving perceived camera problems doesn't necessarily require that money be spent.

With regard to image quality, it doesn't matter which camera on your list that you get. What matters is which you perceive to be better, for whatever reason (ergonomics, etc.).

So try them all, make a choice, then live with the buyer's remorse, grass-is-greener, I-should've-could've-would've bought X instead.

It is all internal noise that no camera can fix.



Since you liked the GX8 so much, I would say go for the GX9. It's a improved camera in every except maybe ergonomics, but there is a grip for it and not that expensive.

I've still didn't manage to play with the GX9 RAW samples but I've just played with some RAW files from the GX8 and G9 (wich has the same sensor of the GX9) and there's a significant improvement in IQ. The lack of anti-aliasing filter does really increase detail a lot. The DR is great too even at higher ISOs, m43 sensors really came a long way.

Still not as good as what one can get with Fuji cameras regarding noise and color depth, but on the other hand it has IBIS to somewhat compensate that.

So I would say get a Panasonic as a multiple-lens system and a used Fuji X100T or 100F just to experience some of that Fuji greatness when you crave it (and it's a pleasure and fun to use too).

K1, without doubt. There are cons to the camera, but most have nothing to do with your kind of shooting. The one that does, being smallish/lightish enough to carry around a lot, is becoming less of an issue as time goes on, I think for you: your iPhone is increasingly filling that role. You've just said it's one of your favorite things ever, and you are getting better at using it for photography (I have utterly plateaued with my Samsung. No better now than in the first week).

But the K1 was when it first appeared the most bang for your buck you could get for stills, and now it's even cheaper. It is capable of near medium format quality through pixel-shift (although you don't seem like a tripod user...which argues for the K1 mkII), more so than your old and I think beloved A900. I know this from shooting it alongside my 645Z. So, from an output quality standpoint, it's for all intents and purposes GAS-proof for your shooting----you won't improve upon it without going someplace you may not want to go, price wise and even resolution-wise.

And while on the heavier side as a body, it is yet as compact as you would want a camera like this to be, I think. Any more compact would start to be annoying, like the Sony A7/9 series, which I know from owning one. BTW, as I think you know, denser bodies help with hand shake. And of course there's its excellent IBIS.

And now that you live in the woods in weather, remember that it is highly weatherproof. Lots of terrific Pentax lenses floating around, some with great character, easily acquired with some patience, and several no-brainer bargains in the new stock.

So say I.

With computers, you generally want to buy the best you can afford so you’ll get the most time and productivity out of them; 3-5 years. Today’s cameras are just computers, so applying the same philosophy makes sense.

This also seems somewhat related to your “Letter to George” post from 2010: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/05/letter-to-george.html

I too have IBIS however have realized at my age and vertical instability purchasing anything other than a used Canon G15 (which is super) is fruitless.
My advice to you Mike, is save your money and put the money that would go to yet another chunk of electronic hardware towards a one to three year old Mazda Miata. You're living in the best geographic area to drive same, so just do it.

From the responses, it would seem as though the Fuji XH-1 and the Panasonic GX8 get the most mentions.

The Panasonic's price has fallen to what must be close-out prices (sell any lens that comes with it). Whereas the Fuji will be in shops (shortly) at new prices.

Referring back to previous posts about waiting to buy one generation old cameras - surely this makes the GX8 the only one to buy?

Buy one at a time secondhand or refurbished and after a while, maybe 3-6 months, replace it with one of the others. Keep the Fuji’s. Write a first look, and a more comprehensive review from a user experience point of view, before you let each camera have a new owner. No need for a super technical review. We want to know how it feels to use from your perspective. Enjoy.

You suffer from, as Joni Mitchell put it, " the crazy of too much choice." The limits that many of us experience of budget, extant lenses, familiarity and such don't seem to effect you. Toss in the over-featured contemporary camera and the mind is a-whirl when any one of these will probably be just fine for shooting snow-covered driveways.

So go with some mindless bias. I'm betting you'll be just fine...until the next time this bug bites you.

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