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Tuesday, 29 January 2019


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Funny that the Minolta Flashmeter IV was such a complex beast. My Minolta Flashmeter III is one of the simplest and most intuitive pieces of photographic equipment I own.

I have the Olympus prior to the M1X. Possibly it is called the M1? It has an electronic shutter that takes so many images per second in "silent mode" that when reviewing them in a program like Lightroom, they achieve a sort of "slo-mo" film frame rate. Good for portraits with blink-prone subjects, I guess. Interestingly, while it does increase the chance of getting "the" shot, it exponentially increases the editing work on the back end, 'cause now you've got a billiondy-three images to review. But I am not complaining, because I got "the" shot. :)

Well, teaching something is different from using it regularly. Then again, using it is apt to get you remembering one segment of the capabilities really well, the ones you use in your kind of work. A teacher should generally have more rounded knowledge.

I haven't seen anybody even vaguely credible state the ratio of "real pros" to people like me (putting myself in the same class as lawyer's wives and dentists) before, so that's interesting. And note that was in a pro-oriented store; I've heard it suggested, without clear evidence, that to the original manufacturers, it's far far more than 50% of the sales of "pro" equipment that goes to imposters like me. That's capitalism, I guess -- our money spends as well as anybody else's money.

As you say, the gear that I consider the most expensive is what I use the least while it’s losing its value. Hence, my hardly used 5DIV is much more expensive than my heavily used 1DX.

I think you miss a category in your user overview, which are amateurs who actually need the capabilities of the pro gear.

Yes, everything we buy can only be correctly judged relative to lots of things, and the only person who can make those judgements, is the person who is spending the money.
So debating it as a thumbs up thumbs down question, doesn't make a lot of sense. But I'm sure you knew that quite well before the post. It did get lots of response though.

What I found interesting though, it how much bashing Olympus has taken, not just here, but from lots of corners of the web, while there have been cameras that cost over 3k for a very long time. It is as though Olympus 'wasn't allowed' in the 3k club.......
I'm partly to blame because I felt that way too. My reaction stemmed fro the fact that m43 was basically founded on the ideas that they could deliver top image quality, in a package that was smaller lighter and easier to carry---and could be offered at lower relative prices than traditional FF cameras.

I think I and others reacted because they went against their own design brief
Re the camera you bought: I was surprised that you didn't buy the H1, because you tried it and loved it, You have been raving about Fujifilm cameras and lenses you already own, and your XT1 would be built in backup with similar controls.
You loved everything about your camera except the lack of IBIS and the H1 fixed that.
I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the Lumix, -it might be better for all I know. But cameras are so good now that using a camera you know cold, trumps any slight technical advantage.

I also think it is false economy to let 10 - 20% cost differential keep you from buying what you really want. I would rather forgo a purchase than settle.

One question that is often not asked when people buy a camera is, "Do you also buy into a relationship?"

Let me explain that. When folks buy a Leica in Singapore, you are also welcome into a Leica fraternity that is bundled with lots of activities, events and learning courses. Have a look at this link:


Maybe this also helps justify a $3000 camera.

Why stop there with the M43 sensor. Take it to the extreme. Put the sensor from the iPhone and stick it in that body. Makes about as much sense to me.

When I was assisting, the lab fee for a shoot was more than the cost of the camera and got marked up. Sometimes the catering was more than the beater Hasselblad cost.

Please Mike, next time you display the E-M1X, show it with a lens in its bayonet, that sensor is so tiny it doesn't look good errr proportionate :-)
"Disclaimer: I shoot only Olympus M43".

FWIW I have yet to find a camera that fulfills every wish I have for a camera and that I can afford. I'm not sure I could find that majik beast even if my budget was unlimited so...

My solution is to find one I can afford that comes as close as possible and "if you can't have the camera you'd love, love the camera you have." Seriously, I have never regretted my purchases (except for one used one that arrived nonfunctional). I have been initially disappointed with a purchase but then spent time with it to learn what it could do and to love it for that.

I believe I'm the victim of vertical and horizontal GAS. I've been manipulated by that crafty Canon marketing team to upgrade six times (from a Rebel to a 5ds).Lately, I've succumbed to the Sony hype machine and have traversed to the A7riii. However, I'm stuck between the boat and the dock (threatening to fall in the water at any moment) with some new Sony lenses and some Canon lenses just in case Canon releases a Sony beater. I was actually very relieved that the new Canon mirrorless was underwhelming. It saved me from a painful horizontal/vertical manoeuvre.

Kirk has a local camera store (sigh).

This is also a lot like the road bike thing. A lot of people buy the top-end race machine because they want to ride the same thing the World Tour pros ride. Never mind that that bike will put them in a position that's comfortable and aerodynamic for a professional rider but for the weekend warrior will result in back and neck aches after an hour. But ... sometimes it's worth it, even knowing it's the wrong thing, that satisfaction is worth something. This might be why I'm looking for a Nikon F4 now ...

I think that the advent of digital has changed the equation of what makes an expensive or professional camera. The "old rule" used to be "buy the best that you can afford," since any other approach resulted in a lot of upgrading which was ultimately more expensive. My Leica M6 or my Schneider view camera lenses were expensive when they were made, anywhere from the 1970s onward, but they are still near the apex of film cameras and lenses today. It was money well spent. In contrast, my Sony Alpha 7 was superseded by a superior model (ergonomics and in-camera stabilizer) less than 6 months after I bought it. With electronics, the life cycles are quite short, and improved models are produced annually, which definitely raises the question of whether an expensive digital camera is really worth the cost.

We see that dual dynamic everyday in Asia. Expensive (luxury?) gear is snapped up in by newly wealthy Asian (mostly, but not exclusively Chinese) consumers in astonishing numbers.

I've seen more Leica M digital rangefinders being used by Asian tourists on the streets of Bangkok than used by professional photojournalists on a US presidential campaign. More Canon EOS 1D series bodies and Nikon D5 and L series (or the Nikon equivalent) lenses here than in the press room at a NFL game. The bag of choice? Easily Billingham.

I don't understand it. Very few of these consumers are using their finished photos for anything other than internet postings. But they've convinced themselves that they "need" the very highest end gear.

What I don't see them using are the Fuji X-T3 or its siblings. The Lumix G9 or other Lumix products. Or the Olympus E-M1 Mark II. I do see a lot of Thais using that gear but not newly wealthy Asian tourists.

Dealing with the economics of "things" can be tough. I use greeting cards as a reference. I note the current price of a high end greeting card, currently about $10.00, and then use that to determine worth of other things. So.....Is the new Olympus worth 300 greeting cards? I would say the camera is a bargain at that price.

The one thing that's escaped everyone, is that this is the only Olympus camera that has finally, finally! moved the strap lug from digging into your right palm - and placed it on top of the camera. Maybe that's worth $3K after all.

Hi Mike,

The m4/3 landscape ten years in comprises a fantastic lens array and whatever cameras the makers can issue to wrangle the most performance possible from them.

E-M1X is Oly's statement that the format is viable, regardless of myriad competing systems. As a sideline sports dad I drool at the spec sheet even as my wallet runs for the hills. Those heavily invested in Oly Pro and PanaLeica lenses will find themselves sorely tempted by what the new camera can wring from them. Have $10k or $15k invested in lenses? A $3k camera doesn't seem out of consideration. Yes, it's large yes, it's complex but it also represents the coming generation.

In the film era, I used a Canon ftb for, like, 20 years... what a mechanical marvel! The shutter was exquisite - and it rang like a tiny bell. The lenses I had were great - no need to change! it was a joy! I then went through a pile of Canon DSLRs, liking them well enough, but eventually chucked them due to weight for a Fuji X-T1. Again, a lot of joy (mostly due to the quality of the files, and especially the black & white). What did not give me joy was the lag between pushing the shutter button and the actual taking of the picture, the EVF, and the easily-disturbed exposure compensation dial. All these issues were conclusively solved by the X-H1 - with which I rediscovered the joy of the act of taking pictures. I will never use most of the capabilities of the camera, and gladly so. What returned to my photography was the simplicity and directness that I had lost when I had to stop using the Canon ftb (which was a consumer model, albeit a wonderfully rugged and precise camera). The flexibility of setup allowed by the X-H1 camera OS allows a similar transparency and directness of use. And the shutter - what a marvel! The hair-trigger lightness of the button took me all of 5 minutes to fall in love with, and I also fell in love with the ability to adjust the sound of the shutter. Add to that the ruggedness, the weather sealing, and IBIS, and I think I may not want to change for a very long time. If I keep the X-H1 for around 5 years like the X-T1, the cost will be around $1/day - and I bought the X-H1 before the dramatic post-holiday price drop, about which I was chagrined for around 10 minutes. $1/day? That's some inexpensive joy!

You know Mike, B&H would have no problems with you returning that G-9 for an X-H1 (if it's still under 30 days). There's even a option in the "Reason Why" section of the returns page for "Changed My Mind" Seriously - and don't feel guilty about it!

Brother Camp, don't feel bad. I too follow Brother Tuck daily and often have comments that I consider well reasoned and insightful, expressed well and concise. Alas, I cant get them to post because I'm not involved with the social media that is necessary. It's not that i"m old, and I am, it's just that I have no need for things like Facebook, because I already have too many ways to waste time, and too little time to waste.

"And I'm still not sure I made the correct decision."

I go through that with every camera and lens purchase. So far, for the most part, I get over it once I use the camera/lens for its intended purpose and get to enjoy the camera. Purchasing the original E-M1 was hard. It took a while to get over the price shock, but I am still very happy with that purchase. The problem, as others have noted, is the upgrade cycle. I also had a Canon FTb that I purchased in the early 1970s. I still have it actually. And my dad eventually gave me his F-1. Those two cameras and my dad's Pentax MX served me very well for a long time. I never owned an autofocus film SLR and did not have a DSLR until the Pentax K-r came out! That kind of longevity is not likely to ever happen in the digital world.

Eventually, I will upgrade the E-M1, but there is a strong chance I will buy the upgrade used from LensAuthority or KEH, or perhaps purchase a refurbished camera from the manufacturer. I have done all of those things with lenses and saved a lot of money.

You know, folks, Olympus still sells other smaller bodies. There's no reason to panic. :)

There are no professional or amateur cameras: there are only cameras. You buy into whatever turns you on and, with luck, you can afford. That's all there's to it.

Regarding those who can't enter sites because they don't belong to Big Brothers like Facebook et al. I am happy to welcome you into my world: I have never been interested in such concepts, because time as I age is ever shorter, and baby, have I aged.

Regarding the Minolta meters: I still have a Flash Meter 111 and though I haven't used it since the advent of my going digital, it used to be perfect with Kodachrome, and if those little batteries are still available, I'm sure it would function today.

Well, if $3K is a bit much but you still want to use what the 'pro's' use. And, if you call David Burnett and Michael Kenna pro's.(they are)
Get a Holga 120N. B&H has them right now for $33.01 with free shipping.
For 1/90 the price of the E-mix you can still have a 'pro' camera.
Buy two and you will have a 'backup' camera.

I've found whenever I've fretted about whether I bought the right camera, making more pictures with it soon cures it.

The trouble with the greeting card analogy is that there is no way a greeting card is worth $10.00 :-)

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