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Wednesday, 01 January 2020

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It's been a long while between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11. One reason I'm still using the SE is because it's much smaller and it can handle 3G.

Bigger and faster is not always needed and I go for a need rather than speed, size and camera performance.

If I want camera performance, I use a proper camera to take proper pictures. Film is still my favourite medium. It requires old fashion skills and grey matter to get it done right.

I'd be willing to give this quirky Sigma a spin, since that's exactly how I work - from tripod, at deliberate, leisurely speed. The tiny sensor is a bit of a bummer though.

Was very impressed with the original Leica Q, and mightily relieved that they didn't add one feature. Many improvements to the Q2 model left me both impressed and relieved again. Such relief only lasted until this week, and I've become somewhat concerned, as perhaps you should be too. Vaporware, hopefully, but there's rumour (or rumor) of a possible monochrome version...

I suspect most readers will consider it tacky for me to vote for my own camera, but I can't help it. That's because after many so-so or even failed efforts, my camera tinkering finally came good late last year with the FrankenKamera VI, my latest project:

Built around the front standard of a Toyo VX23D medium-format view camera using a lot of carbon fiber, it weighs 1 lb., 7.2 ounces bare and is nicely compact to boot (as these things go, of course.)

It allows me to use both my A7R and Samsung NX500 bodies with a small collection of Contax lenses and provides a sufficient range of rear rise and fall movements, which are essential for the type of late-night, street-and-alley scene photography I enjoy.

Overall, I can't imagine being any happier with how well it turned out. 8^)

LOVE to have a Q!!! Rather have a Fujifilm or 2 of choice, a coupla primes, a GR and the vacation of my choice...

I just don't get lists like this. Is there some governing body that requires magazine writers and bloggers to do such lists?

Everyone has such different needs and desires. I can personally trim your list instantly:

No IBIS? ====> trash bin.
Fixed prime lens? ====> trash bin.

"Best for the Least" or "An expensive pair"

First: does it do what I want? Then, and only then: what does it cost?

If I received a gift of any of these cameras/lenses, I would immediately sell it. None of them would improve my ability to do what I want, photographically.

The one possible exception might be the iPhone. But I already made my choice a few weeks ago, opting for the Xs. The extra WA lens on the 11 Pro doesn't do anything for me, and the Max is too big.

I can make an app recommendation for the iPhone. Halide makes a better job of optimizing IQ than any of the several other phone photo apps I've tried.

"What impressed or tempted you most during the last year?"

I put my money where my mouth is, buying three Panny GX9s. It was the right choice for me. Perfect? No, but mostly niggles. We were on the road, US, Asia, Europe, for 92 days. I often had three cameras on my body. I can't think of better cameras for our 1/4 of 2019 on the road.

X100F

Pixel 4 XL

Agree with every one of your nominations, except the Fuji (never mind.) Problem with the Q2 is that you really need a grip. Otoh, a grip completely ruins the purpose, aesthetic, and experience of the thing. A Q is not a tool.

Hit by a bit of GAS attack over the holidays, I almost clicked on a Z6 + 35mm S combo.

The Quattro is not technically a (Bill Merrill) Foveon, and lacks the inimitable pixel quality of a true X3 Foveon. Worse, irrecoverable highlights closes the case, imo.

Overall, not a bad decade -- for photography, that is. Let's hope the 20s will be better.


Can’t wait to see if Sigma introduces the rumored full frame Foveon based camera in 2020 (61MP, L mount?).

My current kit. GAS be damned!

Sony A7III with Loxia 21 35 50 lenses.

Im tempted to return to Nikon but I've too much tied up in Sony. At some future date, Nikon may tempt me again and by then Ill know if the brand is still viable.

The siren call of q2 is also compelling but also resistible right now.

Olympus still has a place in my gear cupboard too.

So gear of the year is what I have. Bah Humbug!

I've liked the Sigma Quattro for some time but have been put off by (a) restriction to Sigma mount, (b) relatively small sensor, and (c) high-ish price.

There happens to be a deal here in Perth on demo models for A$1259 (US$869) at the moment.

But I want Sigma to make a new model with L-mount and current technology, to open the field. As sure as eggs if I bought the present model, a new model would be released soon after. Dilemma.

The beauty of that 28mm fixed lens on the Leica Q2 is that there are tons of screw in teleconverters and wide angle converters on ebay from Vivitar, etc. for $10 that go very well with it.

Fuji XH1 wins it for me.

Nothing. Nothing new was impressive or tempting this year. I did buy a few cameras and lenses, all older DSLRs and lenses in the standard range of primes. Nothing exotic. No new designs. Just ordinary stuff to use for taking pictures.

Thom Hogan is probably right in this column
http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/2019--the-year-where-good.html

Now that the Leica SL2 has been mentioned … I visited the local Leica store to see one and touch one. A picture may be worth a thousand words but hands-on is worth a million.

My overall impression is that it's big and it's heavy compared to the Canon mirrored cameras and lenses I'm familiar with. It may be a superb camera in all other respects but physically it's not for me.

It is expected that cameras and lenses will be available for sale at the end of February.

@ Quiet Man:

I know you're joking, but I modified the .75X wide-angle converter Sony sells for its 28/f2 lens to mount it on my RX1's inner bayonet and it works far better than you might expect for those times when the RX1's 35 mm focal length is just a bit too wide. It even does so without sacrificing too much of the essential RX1-ness that makes this camera great, even seven years after its release.

You looked back... how about looking ahead ten years? In 2030, what will cameras be like? How many company obituaries will have been written during the decade? Will still photography with cameras still be a (mainstream) thing? How competent will phone-cameras be? Will there be any "real" photographers left? Any photography bloggers?

Any sure-things we can predict? Sure: the Finger Lakes region will still be beautiful and worthy of making many memorable images by whatever means you have available Mike!

For people like me with age induced finger problems, changing format or manufacturer is doubly expensive. I always use two bodies on a trip because I can't trust myself to safely change lenses in the wild.
Plus there is the 'insurance' factor - one cannot easily retake a shot in (say) Antarctica or on safari.
Having said that, the iPhone 11 and the Oly Tough TG6 look like a good pairing for fun trips.

I bought a Nikon D7500 and 16-80mm on sale last January 2019. That's my camera of 2019 and wins my gold medal.

iPhone 11 Pro Max. Silver medal. (Just got this last week, the camera so far is pretty cool).

Nikon D40/35mm pulled out of hibernation just last week. Thanks to TOP. Bronze medal.


(I'm still happy with DSLR. It's the OVF. And I only need the center focus point, occasionally the group of 5 in the middle)

This looks like fun.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1478835-REG/mint_camera_instantkon_rf70_a_manual_rangefinder.html/BI/2144/KBID/2882

With the new firmware, the Canon EOS R with the new 70-200mm is on my radar as a great portrait kit.

I’m hoping 2020 is the year that the Panasonic GX9 replacement comes out, and that it has a fully articulated screen, can upload photos directly to the Web, and all of that stuff Thom Hogan says camera companies should be doing.

X Pro 3. The best version yet.

GFX 100.

Bought a Sony a6600, and I can happily confirm that the glowing DPReview of the AF in this camera is almost 100% true. Someone has said that it takes a year to get comfortable with a new camera, but perhaps it takes a year to discover the faults with which a photographer can accept and bond with. Or something such thing.

I can see no justification for the Leica Q2 as a camera of the year. It offers little over the Sony RX1r2 and the Sony beats it in many ways with its tilt screen, macro capability and pop up viewfinder. The Sony is way less expensive and came out a couple of years ago. Comparison reviews tend to give it to the Leica but only just and even then the Sony is far lower in price.

I guess it all comes down to whether "Best Cameras of the Year" are framed from our Humble Editor's own perspective, or...the impact a new camera released will have on the larger installed base of photographers as a whole.

You can probably guess where I'll be going with this, and why I don't consider the GFX100 "over the top" but, is, in fact, exactly what a very large base of professional and commercial photographers have been waiting for.

Many, many pro and commercial photographers have needs for a full professional-level medium-format camera system for their commercial work, but have not been able to make the entry cost of a $35,000-$50,000 Phase One (body alone) system profitable from a business perspective. And pros, well successful ones, at least, only buy a piece of equipment if it will return a profit on their business.

The GFX100 completely changes all that, and this is why I think its one of the top 3 most significant camera releases of the last decade.

Now, pros can buy into a literally state-of-the art MF digital camera body that has unmatched set of functions and features: Fast AF, IBIS, 4K full-sensor video, 100% coverage of the sensor with AF and..and this is BIG deal: full Capture One Pro support including film and lens profiles built in (good luck with that for your MF Hassys)...say what? I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, the GFX100 came in and one fell swoop, now OWNS the pro MF camera market-segment.

There is a reason this camera has been on a consistent approx 2 month backorder since it was launched....because Fujifilm cannot make the camera fast enough to fill the pent-up demand from professional and commercial photographers.

The Leica QR2? Pfftt...another $5000 boutique camera from a boutique camera maker. When we look back in another 10 years as to whether its the Leica QR2 or GFX100 had a larger impact on serious, professional, or commercial photography as a whole....I'll buy ya breakfast if its the QR2.

You may not need a GFX100, Mike, but there are a LOT of working pros who do.

Cheers.

Q would be perfect if it had M mount.
Why not fp instead of SD quattro?

I hesitate to admit it but I wasn't even aware of the Hasselblad X1DII. That, Mike, it the reason why I love your writing and the comunity that your blog provides!

Hi Mike, I know you don't like comments on comments, but I would like to point out that the Foveon Quattro sensor in the sdQ-H camera is *precisely* technically a (Bill Merrill) Foveon, since he patented the technology, along with a few other Foveon legends. Therefore the Quattro is the very *definition* of a Bill Merrill Foveon.

cheers

A slow walk in Eden with:

Fuji x100f

Sony A7III with 2 Zeiss 'Loxia' primes (35 & 50) & a Voigtlander
65mm APO-Lanthar

Oh, Gawd. We had one of the Dpreview-level accusations that Leicas were for dentists. Sigh....

[Darn, I meant to change that. I don't allow that. I'll go fix it now. Sorry. --Mike the Negligent Ed.]

I like how the cameras in this article go from very good looking to fairly ugly in the end.

One thing that strikes me is that on gear forums people seem to have either the latest gear in their niche or are in the process of acquiring whereas on TOP readers might be shooting something a decade old as their main camera. I'm since several years shooting the Sony A7r2, I was sure I'd get the latest model in December, but here I am feeling no hurry to upgrade.

Can we talk about the best lenses for the year? Then best photo books?

It's the Sigmas, ever since the original DP2. The Quattros are great; the Merrills are greater. Sigma is a quirky, confident and independent-minded company that deserves to be cherished - unlike the big players in the industry over the decade.

Reviews and "best of lists" should only be created by those that have actually used ALL the equipment they are extolling the virtues of.

[And, by impeccable logic, those people would need to be familiar with all the competing equipment as well, because how else could they make comparative judgements, hmm? I was in the magazine business starting in 1988 and I'm pretty sure that what you propose has never been the case, probably not even once! Even a site that actually reviews and tests every piece of equipment that comes out will still gather and collate the opinions of a number of different people who are familiar with different products. --Mike]

Still waiting for my Hasselblad digital black CFV II 50C and 970X ... similar to X1D but for old guys with Hasselblad lens.

And for your comment, 2020 got a bad start, may I say 2020 whilst seems bad for Hong Kong, it is a great hope of us cf with May 2019. In a class about Utopia ... and Dystoria and anti-utopia ... is dream good, bad or ugly?

Guess I have to agree with the choice of the Leica Q2 as I bought one to be my primary camera, I expect for years to come (still using my Olympus system for rare telephoto needs). IMHO it's a significant improvement on the original (I've rented the Q in the past, and rented a Q2 for a week in Belize before deciding to buy) in feel, operation, simplicity of use and in being able to crop files. My favorite digital camera to date has been the original Fuji X100. Except for not having the hybrid viewfinder, the Q2 is what I wish the X100 had become - "full-frame", better lens wide open, larger lens barrel with aperture ring and DOF scale, less buttons and dials, and OIS. For me it needs a good strap but really doesn't need an extra grip or case, the indent in the back is enough. In use it feels like a link to fixed-lens film cameras of the past while offering the best of current digital technology. I'm really thankful Leica made this camera, whether it's the best camera of the year or not!
Bernard.

Why there is no DSLR cameras in this list like the Nikon d3500

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