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Wednesday, 26 September 2018


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The winner here if Fuji. The have a clear and rational set of cameras and lenses. They wisely chose to make serious APSC lenses instead of crippling this sensor size with FF lenses so that you would eventually move up. Then they now have a two (soon to be three) medium format cameras. BTW- if you order the GFX R with the 45 from B&H it's $5200. I am seriously considering selling off the rest of my film gear and going for it. That's a lot of money but you are getting a lot for it. I wasn't aware until I looked at the catalog that they make a 4 X 5 adapter for the the GFX cameras. WOW!!! They seem to understand exactly who their market is and make their products for those customers. The consistently upgrade the firmware on their products and quickly respond to any issues with firmware updates. For the last month I have been shooting my X Pro 2 and X 100F in only the Acros R mode. I worked with the in camera settings and now I am getting fantastic B/W prints from the Jpegs at 12 x 18 or a lot of times I crop to 12 X 16. No bothering with LR. I have been using the Fuji X Raw Studio some too. It's actually more functional than most people think. What a great camera company. I still have my original X100 and X Pro and they work like a charm. Lastly who else has a product like the Instax printers? I recently got an Instax square printer. I could not be more in love. I have so many people happy with those little square prints. Like their cameras or not, they really give you your money's worth.

"After all, with sensors getting better and better, 1-inch, Micro 4/3, and APS-C get more capable all the time, not less. And more sensible as a realistic choice for photographers as time goes by, too."

Mike, sadly, that view is in the minority, especially among Americans. It seems you aren't serious if you use anything smaller than 24x36mm.

The answer is pretty evident... writing from year 2030.

In other news, I spent much of yesterday taking pictures with my full frame DSLR. All the big lenses stayed in the bag. I don't need the world's best camera, just one that is better than I am.

With respect to all these companies developing and releasing new hardware … this is the product of a strong economy as much as anything else.

The bigger picture: Current administration is destroying the U.S. dollar's power. We could easily lose our global financial domination. China, EU, and Russia (and later others) will create a competitor for global financial trade. The U.S. will become further isolated and trade will become increasingly more expensive. We will lose all ability to put dollar/financial sanctions on Iran, Russia, China, etc. The rest of the developed world will do what it wants and leave the U.S. behind. Our energy costs will go up to the extent that imports are required. Our expenditures to react to global climate changes will go up. Our stock market will dive. Our slide towards a third world economy will speed up and we won't be able to afford FF cameras, etc. Welcome to the new world. Buy what you need and can maintain now.

"After all, with sensors getting better and better, 1-inch, Micro 4/3, and APS-C get more capable all the time, not less."

That is exactly what I said to myself as I ditched DSLR and got into M43 five years ago. In the five years since, prices went up, sizes went up, and sensor improvement progressed like a snail. Today, m43 has not taken me where I thought it would, at the pace I thought it would.


I still haven't figured out digital asset management for the lowly 12 Mp camera I do have.

Even those TIFF's stretched my ancient computer + software to the max and my paranoia for power bumps, computer glitches and all those things that go bump in the night kept the external drive people in business. I have to admit that I eventually just ran way and bought myself a 4x5 field camera and retreated to the darkroom.

That's probably going to be a temporary solution though. Many people are happily embracing their ballooning files so I guess I'm just going to have to figure out how big and fast my new computer and backup system will have to be.

"like pickup trucks and SUV's"?

Sure wish Volkswagen would bring their current diesel pickups into the US. My 82 VW diesel pickup still gets 45-52mpg and is running well. But, newer and updated comfort would be welcome.
As for that the little gem hauled an honest 1152 pounds of load from Idaho to Utah, over an 8,000 foot pass on gravel road with switchbacks and on the freeway. Versatile even is not full sized. The big Ford F150 Super Crew would have been a bit better for the job but it was not what I was driving at the time. The VW worked then and hauls gravel and tree stumps on the farm as well when needed.

Trucks are like cameras - we can't own them all and even if we did we can't drive them all most of the time. We use what we have with us.

Mike, I think you've hit the disconnect squarely on the head ! At this point, I think it's finally clear where the companies are headed and where they want buyers to go. The big question is whether buyers will go and what happens if they don't.
Will the APS-C DSLR users migrate, stick stubbornly to their DSLRs, or look elsewhere ? Will one of the companies "break ranks" and offer Fujifilm some serious competition in mirrorless APS-C ?
What are Canon and Nikon offering to entry level buyers ? EOS-M isn't compatible with EOS-R. (Is that it ? You buy one or the other ?) Nikon doesn't have APS-C mirrorless (or any promise to have it).

It's a tough time to try to figure out which system to buy into, when m43 offers more quality than you need, but the m43 system you want is $1700 (and so is the 1" fixed lens digicam you want !) and a Z6 with a 24-70/4 can be had for around the same price as a G9 with a 12-35/2.8 ...

I tend to think that manufacturers are going to win out and get a lot of people who never planned to buy FF to buy FF. But who knows ?

This is classic product lifecyle stuff.


Sony proved out the market by getting all the early adopters, and they pretty much completely own the early adopters.

Canon, Nikon, and everyone else has been reading the tea leaves and has decided that this is the moment when FFM goes mainstream, when the Early Majority market is going to dig in. Or, more exactly, they have determined if this is going to happen at all now is the moment.

The big players could all be wrong, and they're too early or too late. This is unlikely, these people are pretty sharp players and they all pulled the trigger at the same time. The early majority market might just fail to materialize. Maybe people are just kind of done with big cameras. There's a decent chance that there is some kind of majority market, though. Everyone in a position to know seems to think so.

This is the point at which, traditionally, Sony gets crushed. It seems impossible, but making the leap from the early adopter market to the majority market is immensely difficult. Being successful in the early adopter market means a lot of innovation, a lot of "interesting" ideas, which in turn yields a lot of baggage. Typically you have both technological baggage (bad technical decisions that you are now stuck with) and marketing baggage (basically you are perceived as catering to nerds).

While Sony is loved by their fans, the majority market is going to start remembering them as the company with the crazy menus, the weird bugs that sometimes get fixed by the seemingly endless firmware updates. Sony is the camera for those lens-adapting weirdos. And so on. Canon, Nikon, though these are names we trust. Let's go look at the Nikons, Marge!

The number of car manufacturers that crashed and burned when Ford showed up with his Early Majority cars is truly dizzying. The market was totally unclear, wide open, with brands of varying success all over. And in more or less the blink of an eye, they were all swept away.

Ming often stresses the point of sufficiency (for most of us) was reached long ago. I think he's spot on. With all the FFM craze, one might think we've all ventured into HDR 40x60 ultra-prints, 4k vlogging, and midnight sports photography? My instinct says no.

Many here have tried/moved on to m43/Fuji for similar reasons: performance (controls), quality, size, and price. The needs of the photographer haven't changed that much.

I believe the party over FFM will be short lived because 2 out of 4 of those needs (size and price) aren't being fully met, but obfuscated by the advertising dazzle of mirror-less, more pixels, and dynamic range.

As for m4/3 going forward, it's harder to say. But the solution they offered with their cameras is disappearing. Gone are the Pen Mini and GM lines, and the emergence of the ever larger EM1, G, and GH series camera.

Save your dollars folks. Or better yet, use it for something worth improving.

While reading the previous post on the Fuji medium format GFX, I wondered if we'd soon come full circle and refer to full-frame cameras as "miniature" or "compact" cameras.

They need to sell stuff. That's all it means.

If past is prologue, what's happening today with mirrorless replacing DSLRs is like what happened when SLRs supplanted rangefinders. But I doubt it's that simple, because digital technology affords tremendous opportunity for both design variation and profit, and because the technology changes too quickly. So it may be awhile before everything shakes out. Or, more likely, it will never shake out, but just keep changing, and churning sales. No doubt there will be a lot of false starts along the way, and some things will get lost in the process.

I wonder how many major formats the market can sustain? In the past it was small, medium and large. Right now, the small format is divided between cell phones, M43, APS-C, and "full frame". Medium format covers everything larger, and that's becoming increasingly affordable.

I think something has to give in the small format, and it certainly won't be cell phones. They've already supplanted point-and-shoots, and as their photo capabilities continue to improve they will, more and more, fill the need most people have for a small camera. Only the truly dedicated photographer will feel the need for anything more, and I think that's where ergonomics comes into play. For the serious pursuit of photography, phones are ergonomically crippled.

Is there an optimum size and shape and weight for dedicated photography on the move? And, if so, will it accommodate a sensor that is large enough to differentiate itself from ever improving cell phones (the issue of ergonomics notwithstanding)?

It could be that micro four-thirds is the format that fits this bill, in which case APS-C and "full frame" will fall out of favor. Apparently, though, this is not the case, as the trend seems to be going the other way. So what about full frame then? If we're going by trends, that format would seem to be the winner, based on the latest news.

In my view, if a winner emerges in this format war, it will be neither M43 nor full frame. 24 X 36 is merely a legacy of film days, so you could call the latest push for it the last gasp of this legacy. As we get more distance from those days, I think what will propel demand is not sensor size, but rather the same thing that propelled demand during film's heyday, namely comfortable-to-use and light-enough-to-carry, but with sufficient capability to warrant the investment.

The greatest legacy of film days, in ergonomic terms, is the general size and shape and interface of 35 mm cameras. Granted, they came in a range of sizes and shapes, but within that range the form factor was refined in minute detail over and over, until we had something that was just about right, nether too big nor too small, and with input points, in the best cases, that were direct and highly responsive. The current format that most closely corresponds to this is APS-C.

It could be that the major companies, having gone all in on "full frame", will use their marketing and manufacturing muscle to force everyone into this format, all the while convincing them that they need no alternative. But even if they do, I think the legacy format of 24 x 36 will be short lived, as the demand for smaller and lighter intersects with the affordability of medium format. There really isn't much need for anything in between.

Hi Mike,

Yes, it is a very exciting time!

What I can imagine was more exciting than what was announced, so I'll think about that disappointment for a moment or two... I was hoping that Panasonic would announce a compact, rangefinder style full frame camera, like the Gx-7, and a pancake 40mm f/2 prime, with the same kind of gentle, classic rendering as the 20/1.7 to go with it.

I've had it with big cameras. Where is the full frame mirrorless Nikon FG, or Kodak Retina or Olympus XA? Will those be the swan song cameras when the current camera industry crumbles?

On the other hand, I was hoping for Fuji to come out with a Texas Leica, which they basically did, so good for them.

Anyway, kudos to Panasonic and Fuji for making interesting cameras. I agree that the FF push is making Fuji's APS-C cameras ever more appealing. I don't need to spend multiple thousand dollars to buy really big and heavy cameras. I spent an afternoon talking with someone recently that loves taking pictures, to the point that they used up the shutter release on their 2004-era dslr. They are looking to move to m43 because they can't hold something that big anymore. This will be their _third_ camera, ever!

So I'm hoping that m43 will also survive, since nothing beats them for compactness and lightness. I wouldn't be surprised if the last of the 4/3 size sensors end up in fixed lens rangefinder style bodies. Depending on the lens, that might be ok.

Meanwhile, I'm looking at the press release that says Kodak is actually shipping Ektachrome again, and thinking about getting some lenses AI-modified to use on my Nikon FG. And maybe get a fixed lens rangefinder repaired. That is what really tickles my fancy.

While there's various sensor formats, many of which have more pixels than most of us know what to do with, and which come in cameras with amazing capabilities, there isn't really much choice if you want an interchangeable lens camera.

There are the cameras shaped like an SLR, in a design optimised for film cameras decades ago. There are the ones shaped like a rangefinder, again in a design optimised for film cameras decades ago. That's pretty much all of them.

It's time for some fresh thinking. With mirrorless cameras there is so much greater freedom of component placement; the viewfinder can be anywhere you like, unlike on an SLR.

Designs can be optimised for certain types of photography, and for ergonomics; why is my DSLR's handgrip so designed that the back bottom corner digs into the base of my right thumb?

There used to be all sorts of medium format film camera designs, and you'd choose the one that best suited what you wanted to do. You can't do that now. An articulated screen that you can't use in bright sunlight is not a substitute for an optimised design.

Well, it's still a full frame sensor setting inside these new mirrorless cameras. The image quality isn't going to be much different from a full frame sensor sitting in a DSLR. it's all about features. I don't even really think it is much about size/weight either since the Nikon Z6 with an adaptor weighs the same as Nikon D750. And the new Z-Lenses are as big as any F-Mount lens. Perhaps there will be "ultimate optical quality" in the new lenses, although I have no complaint in regards to the F-Mount lenses I already own.

I've said many times, that I would be satisfied with a Nikon D5600 with some small DX primes, but that option does not exist, and unlike others I did not have the wherewithal to jump to Fuji.

I don't feel FFM is a transformative moment in camera gear (as mentioned Sony's been at it for 5 years now). I think what Ken Tanaka wrote in another post is likely more accurate: Tablet (um, smartphone) shaped, multi-sensor, multi-lens cameras using computational photography technology - and that is already happening as Samsung is rumored to be releasing a 3 lens/3 sensor camera in one of their smartphones. Essentially 3 cameras in one. https://mashable.com/article/samsung-triple-quad-rear-camera/#ed5hoLeHLsqo

Have you noticed that there are more and more women out there with big cameras and big lenses? Wonder what percentage of the market they represent.

I think it mostly means we now have new purchasing options, even if we don’t “need” them. Marketing is about creating desire, which these products do, at least a little. We will probably see much more desire when Nikon or Canon releases pro level models. To me, the mirrorless advantage has to do with fast readout silent electronic shutter (and maybe soon global shutter). It is less to do with size. Likely advances at this point will come from sensor and processor speed, and creative programming.

You’ve emphasized fomats (don’t forget the larger than FF sensors), but not the continuing MP wars. Are they still going on?! We thought they were done at 12MP, then eventually at 24, then for sure at 50, now seemingly moving on to 100 and beyond. Adapters have become a big thing too; putting third party lenses on those increasingly high performing electronic boxes. Fewer people are printing, which might only be good because their wall space likely isn’t big enough to realize any benefits from all this improved image quality. Never mind about actual picture quality... err, photography.

I wonder whether Fuji are being speculative in the ‘medium format’ digital camera market, or whether they have identified a market with sufficient demand? The same goes for the Panasonic/Leica/Sigma trio. (Canon/Nikon/Sony are the triumvirate).

I think the demand, if any, will come from the ‘enthusiast’ market, rather than professionals. In a way, it mirrors what has happened in the HiFi world, where consumers buy more expensive equipment than those producing the recordings.

The days of wandering around with high-end camera equipment are gone for most people, I think. All right, I use my Canon FF etc. for particular projects, but when out-and-about, my photographic arsenal is my iPhone and Ricoh GR.

I with a lot of sadness have sold my 31/43/77 Ltd Pentax lenses because when the long awaited K1 arrived it was wonderful ... built like a tank ,,,and for my ageing body now far too big.
Modern FF lenses are huge ... so even with smaller bodies its a lot to carry around.

For me its the M43 with the small reasonably priced ,tiny, quite fast lenses for portability .... matching beautifully with the G80 ... and then the Fuji X100F when I just want to go slow. The latter fits in a tiny bag on my belt .. with the marvellous result that I never put it down and leave it anywhere.

For the pros these FF will be the way to go ... but for 90% of us normal guys surely there is no real need for anything bigger than APSC. Also the larger DOF of M43 is a positive boon for birders etc. I do occasionally take out the XT1 with a prime but less often these days.

I think sensor sizes are becoming irrelevant for all but a vanishingly small segment of the photo world. After suffering some severe GAS created by this camera outbreak at Photokina, I found myself trying to justify a new Nikon Z. I went to Imaging Resource for image-quality reviews of my aging GX8s, hoping to find solid support for my GAS, and instead found their report that the GX8 sensor could produce "very good" prints at 30x40 at the lower ISOs.

I'm not a pro. I don't need 30x40. As I looked down through the other ISO ratings, I realized I really don't need a better sensor. I do need the compactness of the m4/3 system. And when I'm traveling without photography specifically in mind, I carry a pocket Sony 1-inch with zoom, and find that really covers my needs quite well. (I confess I don't like iPhone photos displayed on anything but iPhones.)

It's possible the GAS will win out, and I'll wind up with a Z. The body isn't that much larger than my GX8s, but the lenses are still huge. I hope Panasonic and Olympus keep improving then m4/3 system -- I still think they could have a winner there, that most people will eventually understand that it's really more practical to now choose your system by overall size and weight, rather than sensor size.

I would like to second the earlier comment re the decoupling of viewfinder quality from format size via the EVF. Anyone can appreciate a big, accurate finder, but very few need 39-100 mp formats in order to get the great view.

Well, only I know FFM isn't what I want. It's just as expensive and cumbersome (once lenses are added) as FFSLR.

I can't imagine I am unique. I may take pride in my individuality, but I can usually find a brand that understands me. Alfa Romeo cars, Fuji Xpro cameras, Triumph motorbikes, Moto G Phones...

Moreover, according to Thom Hogan, APSC DSLRs still outsell FF by a significant margin (10:1??). The reason is obvious... they are affordable and 'good enough'. It's that simple.

So your question is a good one.

I wonder sometimes if the main Japanese camera companies have completely run out of imagination, or are obsessed with macho one-up-manship. The marketing is all about engineering prowess, but cameras are already good enough technically.

They just aren't sexy or interesting.

Me? I would be making APSC cameras that have good lenses and look sexy - except that Fuji have already done it. OTOH, there is plenty of room for a few designers to get creative.

It is well beyond the time when the Colani inspired blob-shape of the modern camera is replaced by something altogether more contemporary and imaginative. They just look so 1980's. And we all remember what cars looked like in the 1980s.

"After all, with sensors getting better and better, 1-inch, Micro 4/3, and APS-C get more capable all the time, not less."

That will happen - i.e. the smaller sensor formats will continue to get better - only IF the camera companies see those formats as profitable and continue to plow R&D funds (and personnel) into those formats. I don't see that happening.

From my perspective in the nose-bleed seats in the bleachers, it sure looks like nearly everyone (except Olympus, at least so far, and Fuji) is doubling down on mirrorless and full-frame. And Fuji is tripling its "medium format" offerings. If that's where the R&D is happening, how are the smaller sensor formats from 1" to APS-C going to benefit or improve?

Put another way, Nikon & Canon have long ignored their APS-C formats (as has Sony, more recently). It is hard to argue that Canikony's APS-C camera lines have much of a future when there is little to no new lens development and only slight tweaks to cameras and sensors with each recent generation. Likewise, does m4/3 have a future if Panasonic is now focused on FF? Can Olympus alone sustain and advance it? Would it want to? How long can 1" sensors hold out against phones, even for serious hobbyists?

Not sure if this post fits into above commentary about new photo-tech and the valid comparisons to old photo-tech but, among the hubbub, please take a moment to find and read the obituary of photographer/poet Henry Wessel who passed away September 21.
And, briefly, regardless if you’ve had one, have one, or want one, only hope you can recognize and, as Wessel said “ marvel at how much of the world is hidden in the flux of time.”
Oh yeah, “where to stand and when to shoot” helps, too.

Mike wrote: "But maybe there is. Maybe FFM, like pickup trucks and SUVs on American roads, is what everyone actually really wants."

I'd forgotten all about it but since you mentioned it the other day I quite fancy a Ricoh GR.

Let me approach this from the other direction. What's the most you'd be willing to spend on a "new-to-you" camera? For me, the answer is around $1,200 (and I am shocked that the number is that high, even as I type this). But this year, after a couple of dry years, I bought a new, slightly discounted Pentax K1 and an Olympus OM-D-1, so it turns out that's around my number. Call it $2,100 per year in camera expenses _when I am ready to upgrade_. Anything that costs more than that, is of no use to me until it starts showing up used at KEH in my price rage (and Sony ain't there yet).

Now ask yourself what your own "number" is, and then ask whether anything that has been announced is likely to fall within that price range new in the coming year. . .I'll wait. I am betting that the answer for most of you is "no." And I wonder what the camera companies are going to do with that fact (if it is indeed a fact).

I agree that Mike has -- in big picture terms -- accurately described the camera industry dynamic over the past couple of years. But to know what it "means" you have to be able to guess what folks are going to do with the new consumer choices that they have been given. In my case (and I am always open to an "upgrade" discussion, 'cause I'm just sick in the head that way), the answer has to be that the new "thing" has to be affordable enough to fit in my $1,000-2,000 annual budget.

I also find myself wondering what folks are actually going to _do_ with all that new, tasty resolution? I write this because, for my own part, I am struggling to use even the data that the new Pentax K-1 produces with every click of the shutter. The dynamic range is great, the resolution is amazing, but in the several months I have had it I have yet to do ANYTHING with a full size file. These are 45-53 MB files! It's like being condemned to eat nothing but Fettucini Carbonara or Krispy Kreme donuts. That first bite is great, but what are you going to do with all of it?

What it all means is:
Cameras have gotten close enough to the “perfect camera that can do everything that one expects a camera to do” that there is no reatonal reason to spend money on a new camera rather than spending your finite resources out taking pictures for instance. IE they are all good enough that the the weak link is elsewhere.

Camera manufacturers need to “reinvent the camera” in order to continue to be in a mass market business. It’s 1987 all over again!

Speaking of 1987 all over again, I’m expecting a golden age of cool used good enough digital cameras, have you priced a Leica S2 (yummy Kodak ccd not cmos) body recently? If only the lenses deprecated like the bodies.

Hi Mike,

Fresh report from my visit @kina 2018 if you'd like. To all likely readers, it's an opinion.

This year was a big one for me as I'm looking at jumping on the FF wagon after years aching around that. Quick background to explain possible bias in the following opinions. Once an aps-c canon shooter (30D,40D, a L lens and premium EF-S lenses), I joined the MFT adventure with the E-P1, E-M5 and E-M5mk II. Not really a brand "fan boy", I look at the whole industry and try to have my checkboxes ticked. Major ones are size/weight/portability. MFT was an eye opening experience.
My photograhpy is slow, note taking and I'd say I only need a decent zoom and a couple of primes, I'm by no means a working pro and have stopped pixel peeping a while ago. I am getting more and more sensitive to color signature, lens rendering...

So let's start with a summary. The FF products seemed all over the place. It seems to me the strategy is still unclear for the big players.
Or at least it seemed that way for a profile like mine : not bound to a brand (I haven't invested enough in MFT that it is such a deterrent to switch brand after all these years). For brand aficionados, it seems that the question will be "is it good enough that I go mirrorless and slap my lenses on the native adapter?". For these people, I can skip to the end : yes, both Nikon and Canon seemed refined enough for their crowd to start moving and making their late bold move a success! Some chit chat with other Canonikoners people seem to confirm this. Now from someone on the fence... let's start...

Panasonic & friends.
We got to see a mock behind glass. I won't go over specs (nor will I for any other cameras I tried) but my impression is that the body was really rather big. I was already skeptical when they got the GH5 and G9 a tad larger than the usual m43 and it seems they stuck to that vision - size is no longer important. The design itself is a matter of taste, I personally don't like it. What puzzles me is that lenses on display offered very little "variety". You've got the existing Leica line-up. Big lenses and that's fine but then Panasonic showed their own 50mm lens that was perhaps just as big. Ok they'll vary on price but then...? As for Sigma, I don't suppose they'll be able to really do native lenses. Their press release announced they'll do their own full frame with the L-mount and offer a mount change for their sigma mount lenses. It implies(?) that they'll basically recycle their A lenses again. It's fine but the Art lenses are also quite big.
Three makers, few differentiators... At least that's my quick take on it. MFT was rather nice because of the options. Small, larger, large-ish lenses.

Nikon. On paper clearly my favorite. The initial encounter was very positive. I find the body very nicely designed, had a really good fit. I loved the lenses size. My prejudice on the 35 & 50 being too big for 1.8 lenses was quietened. I'm liking the choices made here on size vs quality. Because I never had a Nikon, I didn't really appreciate the user interface much and found the camera to be rather odd to use with AF selection (also it seemed to detect faces on a lot of patterns...) but I'd not rate it on that without giving it some time. The viewfinder is very nice, the rear screen too and I appreciate that it's only tilting. I think that Nikon did something really good here. I'm just a little concerned by the lens roadmap... I'm not too interested in getting another tiring 14-24 & 24-70 & 70-200 f/2.8 trio but I do note nice 1.8 lenses. I'd rather have a 24-105 and perhaps a compact 40mm f2 or something. No partners so far. Wait & see.

Canon. Full disclosure, I left Canon out of boredom... No decent auto iso for ages, sensors started lagging behind a bit, ...a 1k$ EF-S lens with average build, ... ill product differentiation. I approached them rather negatively but I really liked it ! It's not really pretty but it just feels very well made. The viewfinder was clear and crisp. Perhaps even better than the Nikon but lighting conditions were different. In hand, it was perhaps a little better than the Nikon too, hard to say. As for lenses, the 24-105 looks excellent and ultra fast, the function wheel is superb and the lens' size is about perfect considering balance and sony's 24-105. While the 50mm f/1.2 also felt big, I think it's on par with, or perhaps smaller than upcoming 1.4 panasonic? As a side note, the 35mm 1.8 seemed compact and nice and the 28-70 f/2, is... interesting ?! Good show Canon.

Olympus. Sad. Just a very large warehouse for a flashy installation. I suppose their stance isn't so bad. It may well be that people don't jump so quickly on these new cameras and that Olympus can improvise a later introduction. Or should they?

Fujifilm. GFX 50R. I was excited to see it, I just liked the proposition of such a sensor in a small body (my photography is slow, that would work, price is within reach). When I saw it, I immediately lost interest. It felt "old" and odd. Don't shoot the messenger. I think that having seen the X1D on a couple of occasions, I'd expect it to be just as small as the X1D (of course, X1D has no shutter, etc, ...). Oh well.
Fuji colors really work well with me and I'm quite likely to look at their aps-c as a challenger to my FF dreams.

Sony. The surprise really was the 24mm f/1.4. That thing is small. Forget about the camera size comparisons online etc... It really is small and beautiful.
I visited Sony after Nikon & Canon and Sony cameras got terribly old instantly, design wise! Time for a real ergonomic design. In practice, though, A7III & A7rIII are responsive beasts and Sony is in a comfy spot. I say that because no matter how enthused I was at Canon and Nikon products, I'm still thinking I might as well go for Sony. I used to think of Sony as a nonsensical company : very small 35 2.8, 55mm 1.8, then a 28mm f2 everybody liked, a slow 50 1.8, some odd unimpressive zooms, a nice 85, then HUGE G master lenses, HUGE zeiss 35 & 50mm but time helped and finally... the perfect 24mm f1.4 G master. If Sony does that kind of lenses from now and/or complete their f2 line -they announced 12 lenses- they will have it all and I don't think the whole conversation about new "Z/R/L" super large mounts will ever matter to anyone anymore.

Zeiss, no show. Damn you, Zeiss. Announcing a possibly cool camera only on the 27? Get outta here !

At the end of that day,
-Nikon 3 points of bravery, delivering on "mirrorless" promises,
-Canon 3 points of bravery and quite a few clever ideas,
-Panasonic, 2 points for social skills, always looking for partners
-Olympus, DNF
-Fuji, 2 point for trying out something else with its MF and a solid X-T3
-Sony, 3 points for what that 24mm could mean for the "mirrorless" promises.
-Zeiss, 0 points for not showing in their home country.

Result : No decisions before january !


This is what happened: "Here's an adapter, kid. Try that, while we take a few years to develop new lenses. And that travel superzoom we had for APS... yeah well, you see... that's kinda hard for full frame... you might be better off with our bridge camera line."

That mythical 23mm Nikon DX lens? Nope, more likely to find that Thom Hogan is doing safaris to Mars.

I'm curious what the 2nd hand prices for 5d's and D810's and the like will do. Or the accompanying lenses. Effectively F-mount and EF-mount are now just as dead as Sony A-mount, 4/3's, Leica R, and so on. And if you thought of using the re-sale money for moving up to a next camera. Hmm...

At least Panasonic had the wits to introduce a m43 lens alongside its disclosure of its plan to go full-frame. That's a strong signal that Panasonic is committed to m43.

Right about now, the Fujifilm focus on a complete APS-C system seems really clever. It’s a pity Nikon did not pay more attention to that side of their business leaving very few high quality lenses in their arsenal for that format. The camera/lens size is a very nice balance with image quality. Mirror less has indeed solved the “tunnel vision” of the dim APS-C viewfinders and I love the tilty-flappy LCDs which have become indispensable for creative angles.

“Camera culture” vs. “Photo culture”

I have a friend who is a retired professional photographer. By “professional” I mean that photography, and photography alone, paid his mortgage, fed his family, sent his kids to school, paid the medicals, and whatnot. Starting out, he attended a well-known school of photography and on his first day there the teacher asked the class to list what they felt were the three most important items in their bag needed to make a great photograph. He got a wide variety of answers (this was back in the film days): lens (speed, focal length, sharpness), film (speed, grain, brand), light meter, gray card, tripod, etc etc. Oh yeah, some listed the make/model of camera. After complimenting his class on their variety of choices, he went on to say “I asked this question to make a point. A trick question, if you will. Your equipment can certainly make your job easier but in the end it has almost nothing to do with making a great photograph. If you want to be successful in this endeavor, you will need to learn, and never forget, that the three most important things in making a great photograph are content, content, content.”

I’m reminded of my friend’s story whenever I walk into a thrift/antique store and start thumbing thru the old Nat’l Geo magazines from the 70’s and 80’s that those places almost invariably sell. Those photogs did their work in all kinds of lighting, in all kinds of weather, usually with slow ISO film - focused manually, and often in uninviting or even dangerous environments. Some of the pics are grainy, and not all are dead-on in exposure or focus. Yet, many are riveting photos that tell a moving story in themselves. I’m reminded of my friend’s story when I browse thru a photo website such as TrekEarth, hosting photos submitted by everyday travelers, and spot a stunning photo where the equipment used is listed as a Canon Elph or a Nikon Coolpix or, gasp, a Samsung smart phone. I’m reminded of my friend’s story when I think back to my younger days (I’m now 70) when, thru an acquaintance who worked in the senior care field, I gave slide shows of my travels to nursing home residents and shut-ins. While I got asked lots of questions, “Where is that mountain located?” or “Who are those people?” I never once heard “Don’t you think your pictures would be better if you used a camera?”

In our digital camera-turned-appliance, “camera culture” world, the “three most important items” question would generate a much expanded list of answers: maximum ISO, AF speed, contrast detect, phase detect, sensor size, megapixels, BSI, OVF, EVF, 4K, weather resistant, articulated screen, flip screen, face detection, battery life, wifi, bluetooth, and oh yeah, brand of camera of course, and yada yada yada, ad nauseam. But… I believe after all these years the true answer remains the same: content, content, content.

A flat screen and a memory stick have replaced the old Carousel and beaded screen, and while I don’t claim to be a great photographer – not even a good one, I think - I’m an incurable shutterbug and “slide shows” are just as much fun as they’ve always been. I’m currently languishing in that 16mp, m4/3 bog but yet, while I can imagine others having just as much fun with their equipment, I don’t think anyone is having more fun with the hobby, regardless of what’s in their bag.

I am ordering some film for my OM-1

"When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” ― Chuck Palahniuk

Example one: http://oldconceptcars.com/

As it appeared in real life:

I don't see myself being on the first wave (after Sony) of any of this as I have never made a print big enough to take advantage of more than the 20MP that m43 now delivers. I wish I could say that there is a huge demand for my photographs blown up to wall size, but then I would need a drug to control my delusions. I really like the design ethos of the Fuji X system cameras, but, what I really need is a compact camera system with good IBIS, and so far they haven't delivered on that (despite the H body, which is too big for me). For now, I'm going to shoot m43, my x100f, and run some film through my old cameras now and then for fun. My cameras are not what limit me.

What I think is most interesting is 2018 will mark the death of 3 camera mounts. The Nikon F mount will be phased out, people will argue, but I think it's clear that the Z mount is the future.
Next gone is Canon's EF mount. Canon will move to just the M mount and R mount, in a Leica way. This makes sense as too many 3rd parties are releasing EF mount stuff. Canon needs these sales.
The last mount officially killed is Sigma's SA mount. I give credit to Sigma for being honest and actually saying its dead. Long live the L mount.

"What's All This Mean?"

It means there's a curious barrage of new, impressive cameras- pity it doesn't actually translate into a barrage of new, impressive photography...

Today technology seems to be driven by profits rather than end-user needs. I'm absolooly not a trendoid—FFM is of no interest to me. YMMV.

"Discontinuing the SLTs"? Gah!

I just checked B&H and Adorama, and both the A99-II and the A77-II are still available from both shops. I'm freaking out; I'm saving up for an A99 to augment my aging A700 (it's going... slowly). Do you know something I don't know?

In the mean time, I'm with Peter: I'll order some film for my XD-11.

Re: "Canon and Nikon ... decide that ... they'd better protect themselves" and "Can the potential energy of the unmet demand really sustain...?"

Those statements harken to the mythical "camera wars." Precious few markets are limited to just a few players, engaged in a titanic fight to the death. Contrary to the movie Demolition Man, Taco Bell isn't going to win "the franchise wars." Similarly, there's no reason to assume that the camera market will narrow to just two or three players.

On the other hand, "like pickup trucks and SUVs on American roads" is a solid hit. Most people don't need pickups or SUVs. But they think about all the things they could do with one. The full-frame camera promises "I can do anything and everything." And, of course, full-frame is what the cool kids are buying these days.

Why format does matter: mirrorless cameras with on-sensor phase-detect autofocus (OSPDAF) are restricted in how tight the pixel pitch can be. The smaller the pixels, the worse the low-light PDAF performance. More pixels won't damage the image quality because those pixels are essentially combined in the print or on the screen, but PDAF is all about measuring the differences between neighboring pixels. Somewhere around 30 MPix is the practical limit for APS-C mirrorless with OSPDAF. Full-frame can easily do 50 MPix. Note: dual-pixel AF -- a la Canon -- can theoretically use pixel-binning along the opposite axis to push this limit back quite a ways.

« And then there's always the specter of real disruption lurking—some magic formula that no one has quite divined yet but that the buying public will take a shine to. These days, you can never rule such a thing out. »

indeed, I have watched in awe about all the developments in recent weeks (months?). yet, nothing that speaks of disruption.

not sure it will come from these brands: they are still pursuing a digitization of analog cameras, and a "real" digital camera is yet to come.

the only digital camera I know is Light, but not sure how they will disrupt. it is unappealing to the big brands to sell a camera with no "primes and telephotos" to bring revenues. and then, people have to forgo the thought that it is a fake-kind of photography.

but then, there was the phone-kills-compacts thing that happened.

Well it's not like Leica was re-branding Leicas as Zenits or some other harbinger of the end of days.

Oh My ...

Just saying Mike, Sony is Panasonic's Main competition. Not Olympus, not Canikon. They've been at it for Decades.

The rush to FFM could inadvertently give a boost to m43, if it can sustain long enough. With the big three never really fully supporting APS format, and now going all-in on FFM, there will be some for whom the size, weight, cost will exceed their needs. If Olympus is smart and aggressive with marketing, they could steal a bit of market share for crop sensor while the big three are distracted by FF. I remain hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic. Olympus increasing market share is kind of like people who fantasize about winning the lottery, without ever buying a ticket.

The idea that Sony has saturated the mirrorless market seems all wet to me. Sony has not absorbed the mirrorless market of this enthusiast who already owns an extensive collection of gear designed to work with full-frame Nikon sensors. I suspect there are other Nikon and Canon advanced-amateur users with a nice array of quality, full-frame glass who haven’t sprung for the competition’s similarly sized mirrorless models. We’ve been waiting, patiently, for some overdue rain to soak us.

Having just got my hands on the nikon brethren this evening, My only observation is that If size and weight are a priority, micro 4/3 is still unbeatable for bang per gram (ounce?). The bodies are no more compact than my now long-in-tooth d7000 and I was just left wondering at the opportunities left on the table by not moving the DX line to mirrorless first (or at all?)

At this point I care more about sensor shape than sensor size, and I find it curious amidst all this innovation that the FF 2:3 aspect ratio persists. It's more antiquated than the SLR's "antiquated 1950s configuration."

Give me square. Give me the Panasonic LX100's multi aspect sensor. Give me anything to compose with other than that tiresome 2:3 view.

A big factor is likely the profit margin of manufacturing a mirrorless camera vs. a DSLR. That savings is not being passed on to the customer.

I'm at the age where it really doesn't matter what innovations come along. My "best" camera of the moment - and has been from new, so that tells you something about time-scales - is the D700, and it does anything I want to do. I have no intention of letting it go unless it breaks. Ditto my D200, also bought new, which tells you even more what I think of GAS and equally silly photo games.

That said, I believe that in the end it will follow the film route, where there were many brands, but only a tiny group of top machines to which anyone serious aspired. There was the Rolleiflex TLR and there was the Hasselblad 500 Series; there was the Nikon F and, for larger formats, the Mamiya 6x7 family either as manual or electrically powered. Those became the workhorses of most pros and the probably the dream for many amateurs. If you wanted a little larger there was Fuji 6x8 and a handful of stretch-limo cameras from Linhof and from Japanese manufacturers. Proper control arrived mainly in 4x5 and upwards and also with rollfilm backs. Sinar and Linhof were the best in larger formats, and hey, they all managed to make money.

Sure, there were the Yashicas and all the other lookalikes, but nobody aspired to those; they were just markers to the wallet's limitations.

Considering only the pros lived or died by their results, it really didn't matter beyond ego.

I hear the voice of the Leica-lover screaming at me throughout all this, but to be honest, Leica and the M rangefinders became jewellery long before it became popular to call them that. They were simply far too limited to go far in the professional world unless as second cameras for short focal length work. The slr crucified them in professional usage. By the time they introduced their own slr versions if was too late and too expensive and always behind the technical curve though yes, some people, mainly with Magnum connections for some reasons not too hard to fathom, did persevere, and still do.

Why should digital pan out to be any different by the time the dust settles? Competition weeds out everything weak.

Meanwhile, Nikon quietly got their latest D3XXX iteration into the shops in the last week or so. Unexciting as that is to the feature accountants in online photo fora, I suspect it will easily outsell anything making the Photokina headlines. A small, light and usable 24 Mpx APS-C Nikon DSLR + lens that delivers much better image quality than most people will ever need for $500? Nice deal. The Best Buys, Targets and Costcos will shift truckloads to people who don't care where the mirror in 'mirrorless' used to be (and maybe even as a spare or lightweight travel camera to those of us who do). I won't be surprised if Nikon and the like don't kill that golden goose for a while yet.

The camera market is collapsing, so the industry is pushing towards more expensive products with higher profit margins. At the same time, the no. of sold units is much smaller in that market segment.

Personally, I don't think that this market segment is big enough to support four camera vendors. My prediction: in about 18 months, we will see discount wars. I expect the price for the entry FFM models to drop to about €1000, and I don't think that every camera system just introduced will survive the next five years. I believe that the Nikon Z-system (even though probably very capable) will perish, since Nikon is the only company which can't compensate the losses by more profitable business segments.

Best, Thomas

Right now you can get the GFX 50R + 63mm + 45mm for $5799.85 at B&H. And you get free shipping too!!!

I think the 50 would be the ideal lens for this camera. I am really struggling not to put all the rest of the film stuff + the MFT gear on Ebay. That would leave me only with this, the X Pro 2 and the X100F plus the awesome Instax Square printer. I could see myself just shooting this camera with the Acros R simulation and never needing to mess with RAW again. It is a really beautiful digital B/W. I am completely agonized over this because I love Fuji, I love the JPEG's from Fuji cameras, and I absolutely love 4:3 which is why I carry a second digital camera system.

Filter Size (and weight)...

For street/candid photography I think that filter size matters. My 35mm Summicron has a 38mm filter size. Most of my normal and moderately wide Nikon lens from film days have a 52mm filter size.

For my last camera purchase, I was looking at Fuji and Sony.

Fuji gave me the choice of 23mm lens with a 43mm filter on an f/2 or a 62mm filter on an f/1.4.

My Sony choices were a 49mm filter on a too slow f/2.8 or a 77mm filter on the f/1.4.

The f/1.4 Fuji weighs 10.6oz. The f/1.4 Sony weighs almost a pound and a half!

The decision was easy!

I picked up a used X-Pro2 (less than 2000 shots) and a new 23mm Fujicron (43mm filter, 6.35oz.) for less than $1350.


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