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Monday, 22 November 2021


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My choice would be "use the smallest camera you can get away with".

As for bird Nikons, I'd have your nephew go read bythom.com

The 7500 is probably a good pick ... but the DX Z camera (Z50?) could work too.

As a M4/3 user I've often thought that if I were to choose another system then it would be the Fuji - none of the other APS-C options or FF interest me.

I think what happens to M4/3 long term will really depend on the new camera that OMD bring out - they really need a new sensor, not because it will anyone's pictures any better, but just because they need to stop every internet reviewer dismissing them out of hand because the sensor is however-many years old. If they can try and make it interesting like the original EM-5, then that wouldn't hurt.

I think they also need to make them a little cheaper - they're a little too close to entry FF these days, and regardless of the benefits, people will always choose what they perceive to be more for the same (or similar) money. No one will buy a 4-cyl if the V8 is only a few hundred more...

I'll take Fuji vs. Micro 4/3 for $200.

I moved from Olympus 4/3 regular to micro 4/3, then added Pentax full frame, then finally switched to Fuji ASPC, over a period of 13 years. In many ways the system that worked the most harmoniously for me was the original 4/3. The lenses were the best, and they focused quite well.

So Fuji vs. Micro 4/3 today? Both are reasonably competent, and both have good lenses. Don't worry about future proofing or "lame duck" systems if you like micro 4/3. Many of my best images, ones I have on my wall, were taken with a low dynamic range 12mp 4/3 sensor. Brooks Jensen uses a Panasonic G9 I think, and produces super high quality work for his personal pdf series at https://www.brooksjensenarts.com/. He used to shoot large format.

Which AF film camera? This gets discussed regularly and at length on photrio (formerly APUG). The Nikon F100 and F6 loom large for many. As a long-time F100 user, I can endorse it as a capable performer. It's popularity has driven up ebay prices, and F6 prices have always been high, so if I were in the market today, I'd also consider the F90, or the F65.

#2: for me, that would be the Canon EOS1V. Fits my hands like a glove, can take a serious beating, and never misses a skip.

In regards to number 5, "Fuji vs. Micro 4/3, who wins?" I'm sure that there are many overlapping things that could make a coin flip an accurate way to choose between these. The choice of using other than full frame for me, and it was hard after decades of film shooting and knowing how to "lens" a scene without bringing a camera to my eye, came down to how close to full frame I could get with a smaller format.

I went with APSC and Fujifilm because while I'm not a slave to it, I wish to be able to employ selective focus when it can enhance to photo. The loss of about one stop with the Fuji versus two stops with the micro 4/3s was my reason to pick Fujifilm.

In a world of cell phone users with basically perpetual hyper focus based on the tiny sensor (barring some fake editing), being able to pop a subject out from a background, even with a wide angle like with my excellent 16mm f/1.4, can give you images that they can't get from their tool. Micro 4/3 is closer to the phone's rendering with wide angles.

If we take a similar equivelant focal length like the seemingly newly popular 40mm, let's compare. Nikon's new full frame f/2 is just a few hundred dollars and is getting pretty good press by reviewers. My Fuji 27mm is tiny, one stop slower and about one and a half times the price of the Nikon. Olympus has brought out their entry with the $800 dollar 20mm f/1.4. The format means that it takes twice the price and two stops and significant weight and size on the small micro 4/3 body to beat Fujifilm with about one stop of selective focus potential. And yet the Nikon at a stop slower and 500 less dollars than the Olympus still gives better selective focus. It just takes too much in terms of price and weight for micro 4/3 to be comparable a d competitive with larger formats.

For the vintage film AF Nikon, I'd pick an F-100. Dunno about the current bird photography Nikon. I really want OM System to succeed. I photograph wildlife and birds, among other things, and the ability to carry a very sharp f/4 600mm equivalent lens without needing a donkey is a huge asset - especially when I can hand-hold it with a 2x converter for an equivalent 1200mm. The current hot OM lens is a 150-400 f/4.5 with built-in 1.2x converter. It's pricey, but if that's what it takes for OM to make a profit, there's certainly a market for it.

AF film camera: Nikon F100. I have one, and I honestly enjoy using it more than my digital Nikon. The cost of film and processing these days means I don't use it as much as I'd like.

The F6 is much more expensive on eBay at the moment and the cost probably won't be worth the added performance to most people.

Well, let's dispose of the myth that APS-C has more 'reach' than a full-frame. It doesn't. Magnification from reality onto the sensor is set only by focal length and distance to the subject (m = F/(d-F) where d is the distance and F is the focal length. An APS-C may look like it has a "longer focal length" but that's only because less area surrounding the bird can fit on the sensor compared to the larger full frame sensor. The image of the bird itself is actually the same size on both sensors. In short, using an APS-C, given the same focal length lens, does nothing except narrow your field of view and make tracking harder. That said, APS-C cameras often have some real advantages, chief of which is that they (and lenses specifically designed for them) can be smaller, lighter, and easier to handle while panning and tracking. That's especially important for smaller and lighter photographers.
Now, what camera? A D750 is fine, as you noted, but a D780, which goes to faster shutter speeds and has better autofocus, doesn't cost all that much more. I've used both successfully. A D850 is better than either, but more expensive. I have only very limited experience with mirrorless; to me, the viewfinders look blurrier than those of the DSLRs when panning, so I didn't buy one. Based on that, the prospective owner should try tracking and panning with both camera types before deciding which way to go.

Oh, how I hate question no. 2.
I have recently been buying almost all variants of focusing screens for my Nikon F, F2 and F3 in denial that my eyesight isn't what it used to be.
I do own a Nikon F801s(N8008s) which easily nails the focus with the few AF lenses I own, but I feel I would be giving up on the whole tactile element of the process of photography which I love so much. Manual focus Nikkor is just so different from AF Nikkor.

The answer to your question would probably be 'Nikon F6' although I would be reluctant to call it 'vintage' as it seemed like yesterday it was current.
For robustness and especially value the F801(s) or F90(x) are hard to beat though. Nobody seem to want these.

Hi Mike, not sure why you wouldn’t recommend Sony E for hobbyists instead of Fuji X? More lenses, more lens brands, ‘standard’ sensor technology so no need to fuss with software discussions, best AF in the business, will take FF lenses so caters for ‘upgrade path’ hobbyists, can run ‘dual format system’ with APS-C and FF bodies and one set of lenses, and bird/wildlife hobbyists can access lenses like that superb 200-600 G lens (with, again, that superb AF!).

If your nephew is serious about using Nikon for birds-in-flight photography and a new D500 is not affordable ... find a used D500.

He can read the numerous bythom.com (and related site) articles, all of which say this camera is still unmatched today (end of 2021) as an APS-C action camera, even though it has been on the market for 5 years.

#1 was: Buy The Biggest Camera You Can Carry
You wrote: “For one of my friends, on the other hand, it means the Leica S.”
As that friend, yes it is the Leica S, but the category for me actually was #2:
Buy the best camera you can afford.
At that time in 2011 the S was not much bigger than a Canon 1Ds, but it had four times the resolution. And it cost four times as much. So I was buying the best resolution I could afford, not the biggest camera I could afford. Oh it hit the other principals too, I bought only dedicated lenses, but as few as possible, and I have kept it as long as I can. No I do not have the latest S3.
Current resolution is adequate for the huge enlargements I sell. Chasing even higher resolution is not a requirement.
So perhaps you should add a principal? Buy the optimum resolution not the maximum resolution?

When asked what car I would buy my answer is ... one that starts every morning and takes me where I want to go ... and is a Porsche, Audi or Mercedes.

My camera equivalent would be ... a full-frame camera that auto-focuses and auto-exposes and has a broad range of lenses ... and is a Sony, Canon or Nikon.

The reality is that once I'd acquired a few lenses I was pretty well committed to one brand.

And finally, always buy a camera that is better than you are which in my case is a pretty low bar.

[Made me laugh. Yes, my cameras are better than I am! --Mike]

2. I travel light. I'd go with a Contax T2.
Other options I would consider: Fuji Klasse or Nikon Ti or Ricoh GR.

#1. I vote for the biggest sensor in the smallest camera body I can get. (My favorite things to photograph are people, usually in low indoor light, and landscapes). I am happy and contented with one camera since I got a Canon EOS R6 a year ago. Previously I owned the Canon 5D II, a 5D III, and I still have a 5D4. But the 5D series is just too big and clunky (and frankly too hard on the back to carry with a full set of lenses). Also, I felt conspicuous carrying a 5D - like I was announcing - I'm here to take pictures. So during the 5D days, I was seduced by petite and beautiful Micro 4/3rds, buying a series of Lumix GX's and acquiring a complete set of lenses covering 8mm to 300 mm. For five years, I took more pictures with Lumix than Canon. A year ago, I got the R6. Yeah, it's "only 19.96 megapixels." But that FF sensor gives me beautiful files, wonderful color with no objectionable digital noise up to and beyond ISO 8000.

On 4: I'm missing good video. I have top o' da line Pentax cameras for stills, but I could use good video for work. Right now I have to use their cameras, 5DmkIV's, and I just don't like 'em much handling wise, although the touch screen for video is good. But I want it to be my camera so I can get more used to it, and not have to deal with "loaners".

For an everyday car, I have what I want: a Subaru Crosstrek. My aspirational vehicle is a Sportsmobile van conversion, https://sportsmobile.com/ as a camping/trekking vehicle. I can do this in the Soob, but it means tenting, which I like, but it precludes rolling up someplace at the end of dusk to set up camp. With the converted van you can just roll up, fix dinner and crash in the bunk.

Yes, you will like digital medium format. But probably not enough for your shooting to want to keep one, so don't be a-feared.

Fuji vs. Micro 4/3, who wins? Nikon

I used M43 for quite a while until my EM5 Mk 1 needed replacing. I had tried the Nikon Z7 out at my dealers and was highly impressed, but it is expensive. I already had some Nikon F gear I use for architecture and other tripod based photography.

Whilst deciding what to buy, I read about the EM5iii fragile base plate problem and decided that an EM1iii with a 12-100 would be the best choice for hiking and travel. But I discovered the Nikon Z7 with a 24-200 weighs about the same.

I traded in all my M43 gear for the Nikon Z7 and could not be happier. The lightweight mirrorless FF cameras really do make M43 redundant for most types of photography ( the exception is long lens photography) especially with focal lengths up to 200mm FF.

For travel I just now carry a Z7 with the 24-200 and the excellent 14-30 ( which weighs less than the Olympus 7-14, a lens I came to hate for its weight and bulk). It all fits into my briefcase of a small rucksack just like my M43 set up did.

But shadow recovery in post,smooth tonal and colour transitions from the Nikon sensor are on another planet.

Sadly Olympus have been groping around to find a niche for a dying format for quite a while. The monster EM1X and the horribly expensive Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 Pro are testament to this.

I shoot Fuji and have thought long and hard about buying a GFX. Truth is that my X-T4 is really all that I need, or will ever need. Another truth is that I still have a Nikon D300s and it is more than enough camera for me.

Question number 2: Nikon F80/N80. Why? I am a Nikon shooter, so that explains the brand choice. I've owned and used many, many Nikon AF film bodies (F4, F5, F100, F80 and more) but for me the F80 is the most bang for your buck. Light, good AF, compatible with lots of lenses, the battery lasts a LONG time (and is available inexpensively). Be careful with that back door latch, though, just like the F100. Close it gently while holding the button and you should be ok. Throw a light, cheap Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on it and you're good to go.

#4 What are you really missing?- often not very much, depending very specifically on what photography floats your boat. If I shot sports, I imagine the R3's eye-controlled focus and insane speed would be very tempting indeed. But shooting landscapes, Canon's spiffy new R5 just leaves me with an overwhelming sense of "meh". The video features have zero interest for me. The higher speed is irrelevant. There is just nothing there to tempt me to abandon my large investment in excellent EF lenses for the new RF mount. My elderly Eos-5DSr bodies still have competitive resolution, and used within their acknowledged ISO limitations they still provide what I'm after. Swing and a miss, Canon.

#5 Fuji or Micro 4/3rds? That's easy. The Micro 4/3rds format continues to languish for lack of new and competitive sensors, which is a tragedy since current technology could provide excellent results from this more compact format. Meanwhile Fuji continues to improve with every iteration. I confess that I use my X-T4 like a glorified point and shoot with a 50 mm f:2 Fujicron, but the results are uncanny. For portraits the subject's near eye is always in focus. Always. Without me hardly trying.

This series of posts kind of turns things on its head. You use the best tool you've got for the job, whether it's photographing your kid or digging a ditch. But sometimes, most of the time, you've got what you've got. So coming up with a "rule" doesn't do very much. The question should be: "what's your vision?" And then, "How are you going to get there?"

Biggest this? Best that? "must" "should" "ought"?-- phooey. Focus on the vision, and the rest will follow.

I was worried that m4/3s was going away since I own mainly Olympus and wanted the system to continue, but judging from all the third party lenses being announced for the system, I'm not sure it is going away. It would be a shame if it did, the system is ideal in many ways but especially for amateur sports/action shooters where really good performance is available for not much money or weight.

My second choice would be Fuji since the others don't seem to be very serious about building lenses for the APS/C sensor size. I look at those high-end full-frame bodies and lenses producing pics for the web and I shake my head. But then lots of people who don't know how to drive buy high-end sports cars. Is that unfair?

Question 2 - vintage film SLR. I would choose a plastic fantastic like a Canon EOS 300 (Rebel) or similar from your favourite manufacturer. Basically the consumer-grade SLRs of the late 1990's are high spec and low cost.

My review of the EOS 300 is here:


Film AF: Contax G2 if it does what you want. Lovely lens (again, if it does what you want, but who does not want a 45mm Planar? And there's a 28 if you like that.). Autofocus works really well without any second-guessing: it always focuses on the 'rangefinder patch'. Yes you have to focus & recompose, yes that means the focal plane moves, no it never matters (it's film, it's not that sharp). Loading film is great, exposure metering is fine. Problems: it's an annoying colour, a bit noisy.

(This opinion relayed from someone I know.)

Getting here late, as I’m traveling and posting with my phone…but the first question I think most people should ask themselves today is:

“Do I really need a dedicated camera at all?”

Today’s phone cameras are superbly capable, especially when used with raw-mode camera apps such as Halide. I’ve been traveling with THREE camera systems (Sony RX, Ricoh GR, and Hasselblad X1D2) plus my iPhone 12 Pro Max, mainly as an investigation into usefulness. My trusty Sony RX100 VII won as the most precise and versatile “real” camera. The Hassy wins for stationary, planned scenes. But I’m absolutely agog at how useful and capable the iPhone has become as a camera system since my last Pacific trek in 2019.

I realize that many TOP readers are “old-timers”, like me, who most value the historical craft processes that they learned decades ago as young people. But today photography has new visual language and new meanings. I expect dedicated camera devices will be in the marketplace for a long while. But there’s no question it’s no longer the apex predator. In nearly five weeks in some of the most gorgeous places on Earth I’ve seen far fewer than 10 interchangeable lens cameras being used.

For question #2 I wouldn’t have to go to eBay, just to the shelf of one of my bookcases. EOS-3, I actually bought it for exactly the reason you describe. It is compatible with the entire EF lens family and I never had any compatibility problems with 3rd party lenses, something a cannot say about my digital Canons. Excellent autofocus and big enough to balance modern zoom lenses

Re number 1, for me it would be "use the smallest camera which gives what you want". However there is I think a caveat. Surely the most important factor is whether the camera feels right in your hands and has the right sort of controls for you. I tried an Olympus E-M5 and couldn't get on with it. It was too small for my hands and I didn't like the controls. It just wasn't a camera I could connect with. Re number 5: As I see it if the Olympus or Panasonic feels right for you that's good but there is a problem. I don't know about Panasonic but the sensor used in the Olympus is now around six years old and showing its age. It's made by Sony. Unless OM System can get together with Sony or another company to acquire an up to date sensor the end is nigh.

RE 5: Who wins? For those of us who prefer more depth of field--not less--M43 wins. For landscape and even environmental portraits M43 has approximately a one stop advantage in depth of field for comparable scene composition with a given aperture over APSC, and two stops over 'full frame.' This means I can get away with a larger aperture (say 5.6 M43 vs 8 APSC or 11 FF) which to some degree negates the technical advantages of larger sensors since I can keep shutter speed up and ISO low. I get that larger sensors have technical advantages over M43 with respect to image noise and dynamic range. Can't deny that. But, in real world usage--even for landscapes!--those technical advantages are largely irrelevant especially keeping in mind aperture relative to depth of field for producing pleasing photos that do well printed large. So, I'll stick with M43.

I think Micro 4/3 has gone about as far as it can, and that isn't necessarily abad thing. Its sensor development seemed to halt in the mid 2010s, with only incremental improvements made to the same old sensors after that.

However there is a full set of high end lenses from both Olympus and Panasonic that pushes the capabilities of the sensors, a bunch of reasonably priced lenses of moderate size, some very small lenses and some very cheap lenses. Similarly there are camera bodies for almost every need. So we have a fully realized system readily available with few unknowns: Pick a lens, pick a camera and use it for the next decade. Moreover, there are plenty of deals to be had on the second hand market.

Perhaps much off the same can be said about the Fuji X-system, though it is still in active development. But it seems like a less diverse ecosystem, more tied to Fujifilm's slightly retro take on photography. If you happen to like the Fuji gestalt you are rewarded with a more coherent system. The cameras are beautiful, but I personally prefer my cameras to feel like fully modern instruments without any retro touches unless they are actually vintage.

I currently have a minimal micro 4/3 system that I will keep using. In an ideal scenario I would supplement it with a one or two lens low end medium format system as the prices on those currently seem to be converging with high end full frame mirrorless prices.

To your first question, I would say, "Use the smallest camera that gives you what you want."

For me that was micro 4/3, so it is disheartening to witness the near demise of that format. RIP Panasonic.

With respect to topic 2, I used to use Canon EOS film bodies and I currently have one (Elan 7). I would purchase one of those to take advantage of all those Canon EF lenses with built in image stabilization, like the 35/2 IS. I believe that's the only semi-wide prime with IS that will work on a film body.

Regarding choosing an AF film camera—my vote is for the Nikon F100 which has pretty much every feature you could want, a big beautiful viewfinder, and access to multiple generations of Nikon glass. They are a killer deal these days selling for around $250. Or you can have 90% of the features of the F100 in a lighter body in the N/F 80 for $25-50.

The correct rule clearly needs to be “the smallest camera that delivers what you want”. Why would anyone choose to carry a camera bigger than they need? And as you pointed out, that “smallest camera” may be quite large indeed. But if a 4x5 suffices, why would you take on an 8x10? Or an 8x10 vs an 11x14? In my case, that’s currently either an E-M1.3 or E-M5.3, depending on my needs. Or sometimes an iPhone 12 Pro.

A final thought on this subject: it really needs to be the “smallest camera kit” you need, not just the camera itself.

As far as the Nikon, the D500 is the best Nikon cropped sensor camera for action photography. While I have been mirrorless for years now, the slight EVF lag they mostly still exhibit makes for difficulties when shooting fast-moving subjects. And while the D7500 is a fine camera, the D500 is better.

Best Nikon for birds?

HI my choice for AF film camera is Minolta dynax 7 great viewfinder and good controls.

How to Buy a Camera (in Five Principles) wish you had done this a few years back. Number 4 darn missed the shot, while deciding which lens to use LOL.

I’ve always thought that recommendations to choose a system because of ‘more’ available lens options was always rather poor advice. For me, a better recommendation would be choose a system that offers the lenses you actually want to buy.

Do we really need 8 alternative 50mm equivalent choices when most of us we will probably only buy one or maybe two? It is perhaps the well thought-out Fuji lens offerings that was seen as more relevant to most real world photographers selecting lenses they actually might actually acquire. (I am not invested in Fuji, apart from their excellent fixed-lens X100V).

I won’t get much into the Fuji/M4/3 thing other than I have a Panasonic G9 with the latest firmware updates and it is hard for me to imagine any camera performing much better. At least for what I do. The dual IS and high quality viewfinder and screen make it a joy to use. Shame if it all goes away.

Fuji v m43
Well here I am on a fence. I use both. I think with m43 it’s all about compactness , a blessing on hikes etc.. In a different way the Fuji X100F is a useful alternative. But I suspect the future of Sub Full Frame camera lies now with Fuji. With the XT4 keeping traditionalists happy, and the small XS10 appealing to PASM cameras they have a range of cameras to suit most of us. Then having two series of primes, one small and convenient, the other faster but bulkier they again seem to have covered all angles.
It’s the XT4 and small primes for me. I will keep my m43 but any future purchases will be with Fuji. I suspect over time I wont be alone.

1. In the digital era, apart from the physical size increases required by larger sensors, I just don't see size or weight as a relevant criteria. For example, a Leica SLxx or a Panasonic SRxx is within a few millimetres and milligrams of a Fuji GFX100 - and can be viewed as either reasonably big and heavy, or ultra small and lightweight depending upon your point of view.

2. I have a whole box of mixed old AF point and shoots, all of which work pretty well - Minolta, Olympus, Nikon, etc. None of them are worth a cracker. And I doubt anyone would take them even if I threw in a free pound of tea. But I occasionally run a film through one or the other just for fun - I pay to the roll developed and scanned. In fact, I wouldn't mind a digital version, especially if FF with a good zooming OVF.

3. No idea. Birds not my thing.

4. As I've restarted printing for exhibition and sale, the demand seems to be for bigger and bigger prints (I'm sure there's a size limit but I'm not there yet) - and I've become addicted to resolution (especially as there seems to be very little noise price to be paid with newer sensors).

I'm looking at you Fujifilm GFX100s...

5. I've managed to avoid the Fuji v Micro 4/3 by buying neither...

to go with that Nikon lens the best value for money is probably a D300 or D300s - worth hardly anything these days, but still good cameras

My son has been heavy into bird photography. I set him up with a Nikon D4 and a 200-500mm AF-S Nikkor with a TC-14 EIII Teleconverter. He has been getting shots that the other bird photographers toting a single focal length lens (usually a Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4) miss because they are often too close to their subjects.

Back in 2008 I was using a Nikon D300 for birding along with a Nikon 80-400mm lens. It was beautifully sharp but really slow to focus...especially for birds in flight. I had bought the D300 as the next step from the Canon series I had been using (10D, 20D, 30D) as it was getting expensive to buy a new camera with only incremental improvements. I had been using the Canon 400 f5.6L with the Canon cameras. It was incredibly sharp and VERY fast to focus and luckily I held on to it. It worked great with the Canon 7D that I replaced the D300 with and used as my main birding camera for the next 10 years. I understand that Nikon came out with a new version of the 80-400 that appears to focus faster and that is probably the lens that you have.

There's just something unique about the delayed gratification of using a film camera. The last Pentax MZ-S with an FA31 limited would do it for me.

But for practical purposes, my Lumix G85 with battery grips and the 12-60 weatherproof kit lens get all the use. Tech overkill they may well be, but the tech never gets in the way. And the shutter sound and feel is without an equal.

I picked up 2nd hand D7200 for $US350. It was perfect. I suddenly discovered that my old film Nikon lenses had CA and were not as sharp as I remembered ;) Love this camera. Takes me back to an F4. Talking about the F4, the last generation Nikons and Canons would be my pick for film AF with the Canons like EOS-1 and EOS-3 probably being the best?? I am/was a Nikon guy but was jealous of the Canon AF sometimes. If you just want a focus point AF... i.e no real smarts then a 8008s or F90x would do. Love the 8008. The first camera that I bought new.

As for 4/3; the in-camera post processing capabilities seem interesting. i.e. great 5ax stabilization, post capture re-focus, high res mode, etc. I am a fuji guy(XE3/XT20/X100v) and have just bought a X-S10 'cause I love the lenses, but I'd love some of these CP features in the next gen X line.

For me, a Fujifilm X-Pro3 user now, it is weather resistance for question 4. I know it's not something others are that worried about - the "golden hour" is not generally associated with wetness - but I like that weather, I experience it often here in the mountains, and I like not having to worry about my equipment in it. Being (over-)protective of equipment, sometimes even that built for the job, has always been a psychological obstacle for me, getting in the way of me using it to its potential.

I'm looking at two to three more "WR" lenses... but my sticking point is the existing, non-WR, 35/1.4 I bought with my first Fujifilm camera, the X-E1. It's not WR, but it's not going anywhere either - I like it too much. Sure, the new 33mm is there, but... well, the 35 always feels like it looks through my eyes.

I'll take a shot at #5:

I've found I don't need the big (and heavy) iron, or super gigapixels; cameras had gotten better than I am 8-10 years ago. I want to keep it light and simple. M4/3 and APS-C fill the bill for me. Here is what I own (or will) and actually use:
==Fuji X100V (if ever they're back in stock);
==Lumix GX-8, with 12-60mm Pan/Leica zoom;
==Lumix LX-7, for museums and eBay photos;
==any competent smartphone.

While I have a small collection of M4/3 lens and old film camera ones, they're for sheer "play," as are two old GF-1s converted to two different modes of infrared.

My wife likes the size and controls of the Lumix LX-100, so she has custody of that one now. Her Lumix G85 comes out for videos and landscapes.

2: AF film camera?
I still shoot film. It's not really autofocus, but as I get older (72 now) the film camera I use the most is my old Canon AL-1 which has an electronic focus sensor and uses FD series manual lenses. Every once in a while, I'll dust off my EOS RT, but mostly the FD gear gets the nod. For eBay shopping per your terms, I'd look for an original EOS 1 in good shape.

As point 2, my personal choice is Pentax MZ-3. Handles totally like a classic film camera, but with simple (three points) autofocus. 1/4000 top shutter speed. Decent 0.8x finder magnification, which is often a weak point of autofocus cameras. You could manual focus with it, especially if you swap in the focusing screen from a MZ-M. But it won't work with newer Pentax lenses that lack screw drive autofocus. The MZ-5N (or ZX-5N) is the same camera with 1/2000 top shutter speed. Put on the 43mm Limited lens and be happy.

If you want compact and light, the Pentax *ist is a cutie. Possibly the smallest interchangeable lens AF 35mm camera. But the finder is tiny 0.7x magnification, only a porroprism, definitely the weak spot.

But the class act has to be the Canon EOS 3 with the eye-directed autofocus, and the ability to use every Canon EF lens ever made.

As a bird lover and long-time Nikon shooter, go with the D500. I've had both that and the D7500, and while both are very good, the D500 is just better overall. It has better user interface when photographing birds, it has better focus, and its XQD card slot is noticeably faster than the SD slot on the 7500. I sold my 7500 and bought a second 500. It all goes back to get the best camera you can afford.

Regarding #2, look for a Pentax PZ-1p. A joy to use, and I think there are some older limit d lensess that will autofocus with it.

Re. #3 (birds)—We (me + Thom Hogan) answered this query before. The optimum camera for bird photography is an APS-C format (aka "DX") body, and the best such camera ever made is the current (new or used) Nikon D500. Virtually flawless technology; sensational AF ability.

The lens of choice depends on whether you're talking about (a) resting and/or grouped birds, or (b) birds in flight. If the former, use Nikon's AF-P DX 70-300mm/f4.5-6.3-G-VR. (135 format equivalent = 105-450mm). It's cheap, and it's terrific. For birds in flight, consider same, but look for an affordable (used?) longer fixed-focal length lens (preferably with fixed f4 aperture) that's fully AF compatible with the D500.

Use a tripod + a good ballhead whenever that's possible.

"1. Use the smallest camera that gives you what you want""


4. If you use a mainstream, middle-o'-the-road, mid-priced-but-good camera, what are you really missing by not having one of the flagship, line-leading, best-of-the-best models? More and more, manufacturers tout improvements and capabilities that just don't apply to me, and hence, don't interest me, and hence, don't tempt me.

This is, to me, a false dichotomy, and at odds with #1. I buy for the features/capabilities I need. If that's a mid-range model, fine, if it requires s top end model, fine. With Sony a7II and a7RII, I've found I get nothing of use to me from 42 vs. 24 MP. I certainly won't be buying a 61 MP a7R IV.

I have an Oly E-M1 II because the Mk III added features of Starry Sky AF and hand held HR don't interest me.

"5: Fuji vs. Micro 4/3, who wins?"

Not sure I get this one. From out here in Sony FF and µ4/3 land, I wonder why Sony APS-C isn't in this question. Didn't you just get one of those? Is Sony somehow above or below this level of competition?

What about Canon? I had the first Rebel, before the 5D and a 60D after. "Fuji X has pretty much taken over the top spot as the No. 1 most recommendable system recommendation for hobbyists...with no real competition." When I get out in the world, not so much recently with COVID, it seems overrun with Digital Rebels. The aren't very interesting, but they are inexpensive, take good pix and there's a sea of lenses for them. Or is this competition only for mirrorless?

I'm also not sure about your dismissal of Panasonic from your considerations about µ4/3. They make excellent gear; I had slowly moved to mostly Panny gear, before Oly Pro Mode came along. They seem still to be going ahead with new µ4/3 gear, GH5 II and 25-50mm F1.7 ASPH out this year, GH6 announced, presumeably with the new Sony sensor that will also be the center of the "mysterious" Oly body to come.

Honestly, even if no one does any new µ4/3 lenses again, everything is already covered, generally in multiples.

Extra credit (?).

I'm not sure why you are so eager to write Oly off. To go with your somewhat strained analogy, sometimes getting out from under overbearing parents releases energy and creativity. If you don't think that parent company was a great weight in some ways, you've not been keeping up.

Reading between the lines of the recent bloviation promotions from Oly, it seems they may be doing an about face, refocusing on small and light after the recent years of bigger, heavier gear. They say it several times and have resurrected St. Maitani.

The gigantic E-M1x is heavily discounted. I'm looking forward to see what the coming body will be like.

BTW, saying that Oly is gone tends toward self-fullfilment.

q. 4

miss nothing

Canon M3/22mm

In regards to AF film cameras, I just doubled down on my 21-year old Canon EOS 3 with another from EBay. Before the prices go even more astronomical. I love my Leica film cameras, but there is something incredibly useful about having critical framing for certain photos. Autofocus as well. The EOS 3 was just a fantastic camera. I hope the electronics don't crap out any time soon.

As someone who objected to the first principle in the previous post, I think "Use the smallest camera that gives you what you want" is a great improvement, except that I would rephrase it somehow to incorporate the size of the lens(es) in addition to the camera.

Regarding m43 vs. Fuji X, I think the answer depends on "what you want." As someone who gets what I want using Olympus f/1.8 primes and variable aperture zooms, m43 is the smallest overall setup that gives me what I want. But if I required the much larger and heavier Olympus Pro f/1.2 primes to get what I want from m43, then I think I would be better off changing to Fuji X.

Re "4: What are you really missing?" - as my work is technically not demanding, I don't think I'll miss anything at all with my current equipment (bought second-hand; several generations behind now). Furthermore, I feel a bit intimidated by the plethora of features and new technology. As I'm a bit challenged when it comes to technology, it would probably take me quite a long time to figure out how to put one of these new cameras to best effect. On the other hand, I know my current gear well enough to concentrate on making pictures.

Best, Thomas

1. The biggest camera you can comfortably carry. This depends, of course, on how long you will carry it and your photography goal. For walking around I often carry only my Ricoh GR III (and soon a GR IIIx).
2. AF film camera: my Nikon D90s.I bought the camera primarily to shoot my daughter playing soccer, but used it for bike races, etc. It does a good job.

I’m surprised you were thinking 2. Would be controversial! This is an enthusiast site, after all. I expect I’d be far from alone in being able to say that at least one of my cameras has been just a bit beyond what I can ‘senisibly’ afford.

On the AF SLR bit, while the obvious route would be an Eos or Nikon, I’d vote for a late model Minolta. Not popular therefore cheap and with a Mount that’s not really got much of an aftermarket these days so again cheap, good lenses are easily available.

Regarding Micro Four Thirds - Panasonic and Olympus have both released new M43 cameras (E-P7, GH5 II), as well as new lenses (OM 20mm 1.4, 8-25mm f4, Panasonic 25-50mm 1.7), this year, with plans to release further cameras and lenses in the future (GH6 known).

To say they are a "lame duck" simply because they aren't releasing as many cameras and lenses as other companies seems a little reductive, and seems to bow down to the modern internet hype of declaring every camera company as "dead" simply because they have restructured or taken slightly longer to release a new product compared to other companies.

It's also a sign of the maturity of the Micro Four Thirds system, that there aren't that many additional lenses needed for the system (apart from perhaps additional telephoto lenses and tilt-shift), as there are already so many available (over 190 lenses).

However, this puts Micro Four Thirds in the awkward position that they can't "Win" in this internet age, where in order to gain attention, you have to release new products every 6 months or less... and the fact that people seem to ENJOY buying into a brand new camera system and then WAITING to see what lenses become available at a later date... The World's gone mad!

As to Fujifilm vs Micro Four Thirds - if you have a desire to have a wider choice of lenses, particularly more affordable lenses, then Micro Four Thirds definitely caters to you.

Which camera I take with me always depends on what I can carry, what type of photography I expect to do, what the circumstances dictate, and in what mood I am.

That last one is the most important one: sometimes I feel like playing with my Nikon 1, sometimes I just need to carry the D800, or maybe I feel like 6x6 colourfilm and I carry a Hasselblad. Sometimes I like the feeling of a decked out Nikon F3 with motordrive, sometimes just a FE2 with one lens.

AF Film Camera:
I'd say everyone's answer will be driven by whatever camera system they bought into in the pre-digital days. For me, it would be the Canon EOS Elan 7NE. Amazing how much camera you could buy so inexpensively. Not a particularly small camera but very light and full featured, including eye controlled autofocus that actually works with glasses. There are some really excellent EF lenses available for it: The 135mm f2 is still a great portrait lens wide open and very sharp from f4 on. The 40mm pancake lens mounted on the camera makes for a handy carry combination. The ability to mount one of the Canon tilt-shift lenses is a plus. Many Canon EF lenses hold up very well when mounted on a Canon RF camera via adaptor.

Fuji vs m4/3

I recently switched from Canon APSC. Having considered both the Fuji X and m4/3 systems, Olympus m4/3 won out for me because the Fuji X (and Panasonic m4/3) zooms didn’t match my wish list criteria as closely as the Olympus PRO zooms. If I was mainly a prime lens user, I think Fuji X would have come out on top.

Both systems are great and I’m sure that for what I do I could use either. So this was very much a personal preference decision, especially now that earlier concerns over RAW support for Fuji seem to have cleared and Fuji RAW support is broadening. The X lens range has steadily increased and I guess Fuji as a company may be a safer bet from the point of view of support into the future.

I’m not so sure about Panasonic dropping m4/3. I see a lot of videographers still champion their m4/3 system and Panasonic don’t need to do a lot to their m4/3 offering to keep those folks on board (new sensor & better continuous AF should do it). If that doesn’t work out, well they have a nice FF product to sell you…

OM System are probably in a tougher spot, business-wise, and I just hope that they make a go of keeping the Olympus heritage alive. I’ve had several brilliant Olympus cameras over the years and it would be sad to see that heritage vanish. Meanwhile, I have the Olympus m4/3 gear that suits me and will continue to use it.

About point #5-M43 and Fuji. I use a 16MP M43 camera and a few small lenses because:1- the M43 system is small and easy to carry, which is important to me. 2-everything was inexpensive (at least by camera standards). 3.The lenses are very good. 4. Since I don’t make large prints or shoot at very high ISOs the image quality is more than good enough. Fuji and larger FF cameras are very nice but they aren’t as light to carry and aren’t as inexpensive. Since I don’t need their extra pixels or low light abilities I’m fine staying with M43 until it’s time to totally move to iPhones in a few years.

#5 What to prefer between Fuji-X (and APS-C format) and Micro For Third?
Since I have tried the two systems in various situation, I would answer that MFT is for me the most creative format considering its compactness (camera body+lenses), its mature IBIS system and its non-intruse nature. MFT recalls me a lot of the Leica M series of the analog era (M4P, M6) with Summicron lenses with all the electronic modern advantages. Fuji-X mount camera models are beautiful, well crafted, highly competent photo devices but.. they are and stay bigger and heavier (with IBIS) which is too much for me. But at the end it is a basic personal choice of system.***
*** Contraversy is part of human life!

D500 has a cheap z version which use the same chip just z Mount. I use z7 with 80-400 a lot. Portable and good quality for simple kingfisher catcher. Of course all steps is pointers to a 684 (Cantonese for 600 f4).

N65/n75 can work well all af and even Vr lens. 35mm no Vr but I guess one day he might want to do a bit longer lens.

2: AF film camera?

Pentax MZ-S

Magnesium alloy housing, DOF preview and mirror lockup (not available on the Nikon F-100), full exposure data imprinting, "Hyper" exposure functions, top plate is angled 30 deg. for easier viewing, P-TTL flash system, exposure lock, available battery grip, etc. Not a 5 fps speed-demon, but it'll do for most at 2.5 fps.

Compatible with all K-mount and (with adapter) all screw-mount lenses. Thus, any future K-mount lenses will work (unless a "crippled" mount like the FA-J is used). (Looks great with an FA77 Limited.)

Bodies should be less expensive than comparable Canon or Nikon cameras. Lenses are plentiful, especially with the superior backwards compatibility of Pentax.


P.S. The last film SLR I remember being available was the Nikon F6. That model was said to be made from spare parts -- if you can believe the internet.

I think you’re right, the combination of size and performance is a bit convoluted. I think you need to cover both points and make it a 6 item list. Both issues are important and a camera buyer may need to choose between the two.

Controversy and physical size: If by “biggest camera you can carry” you mean physical size, all anyone needs is a camera that comfortably fits their hand and has intuitive ergonomics that suit them to a tee. This kind of fit means you are better able to respond in the moment and enjoy the process. I’ve always felt that you shouldn’t have to think about controlling the camera. In the past I felt that you should be able to control the camera with one hand but now that we have lenses with programmable control rings I may have to amend that.

Controversy and sensor size: If by “biggest camera you can carry” you mean the sensor size, then suddenly all the modern computer wizardry is also important because you are trying to get the absolute most from the tool.

I’ve always focused more on the physical size and interface aspects since I don’t really need to print big and don’t need many fancy features for my photography. My first digital ILC (Rebel + grip) was great from a physical size/weight perspective (XL hands) but the controls were not the best. Once I moved to a Canon FF DSLR I came upon the perfect interface. Back in the day, you really needed to move up from an entry level camera to improve the controls and as it happened, Canon’s FF ergonomics worked perfect for me.

"5: Fuji vs. Micro 4/3, who wins?"

How about Sony APS-C?

Fuji APS-C cameras are ridiculously large. Aren't they roughly the same size as a full frame Sony A7?

Micro 4/3 isn't any smaller than an A6xxx and has that dinky sensor, too.

Nope. For this hobbyist I have to say Sony wins. Hands down.

Re #3: Suggesting a Nikon D500 camera to use with the Nikon 80-400 zoom makes a nice kit, but limits some of his options. The image circle from that lens is the same whether it's cast upon an APS-C or full-frame sensor. But with the smaller sensor only the center 43% of the scene falls on the 23.5x15.7 sensor. Yes, the tiny, distant bird fills the area, but with a 35.9x23.9 sensor, the so-called "full frame," you have the whole scene, and you can still crop down to the central area size of the smaller sensor and get that "longer throw" effect. The D500 is a superb camera with pro quality and features. The 20.9 MP sensor is excellent. But having a D780 delivers a newer engine, the potential for printing larger, wider array of heritage lenses, similar pro quality and features, AND the option of cropping to "enlarge" and feature selected areas of a capture as with the APS-C. The price difference is a couple of hundred dollars (both available as factory renewed) but that probably wouldn't block the deal. I'd recommend the full frame for someone facing the same opportunity.

#4 What are you really missing?

Surprisingly (not), it depends hugely on what you shoot. Everybody wants everything to the best of course, but some things cause your photos to fail totally more often than others, and what those things are depend on what kind of photos you shoot.

A birder will miss a lot of shots on AF, I'm pretty sure. If they want serious action flying shots, especially close to the ground, they need better than the best AF that exists, so they need the very very best AF they can have. I think; I'm not a birder. You'll probably also need pretty good high ISO since you'll need huge shutter speeds to stop action that fast.

Sports is a lot like birds, probably not as difficult. :-) Definitely not as difficult in one way, it happens at scheduled times and places! In roller derby, I lost shots through inadequate shutter speed and through AF every day I shot, more money for equipment would have fixed many of those failed shots.

"Street" gives some weight to unobtrusive or at least not intimidating gear, but things are closer and move less fast than in sports or birding.

Landscape—landscape is incredibly easy. Um; well, landscape doesn't push the limits on the gear nearly as hard as these other things. If you make big prints you need the res to support them. You suddenly care a lot more about color and tonal rendition, too! Bad landscape shots are very rarely, at root, the fault of the equipment.

I just bought a Canon RP. Price has dropped almost 40% in past one year and it's matching the lower Fuji-X bodies like the X-E4.

So it's no brainer why get 4/3 or APS-C when one can get FF for the buck?

Not sure where this lands in the discussion, but about a year ago I changed from Nikon to Fuji. What attracted me to Fuji was first, the "fujicrons" of which I have the 23/35/50 f/2's. And I decided on the X-T4 for the viewfinder, IBIS and the larger battery. The X-S10 was tempting, but I really need a nice viewfinder (i.e. my old eyes, and I wear glasses). I don't care about the flip out vs flip up LCD's since I don't use those when I'm shooting.

The new Nikon gear looks nice, but the Nikon lenses are still larger and more expensive compared to the Fujicrons. I'm a happy camper.

I agree with Ken Tanaka thought, for the most part the iPhone is seeming to be plenty of camera for most stuff. I have the 11 Pro Max, and have no complaints.

Your nephew should check KEH for an (ex-rated) D810 which can be had for a few bucks more than a
new 7500. He would then have a high-res full frame camera with a DX mode (APS-C) for the longer shots.

Assuming you stay with digital, the biggest camera you could carry would be a medium format, with few resolution advantages over a modern advanced FF camera, as long as you didn't print bigger than four feet or so. A modern FF will tend to be more flexible, better for shooting video, cheaper and have a much wider variety of lenses to choose from. Back in the film days, I used to know why people shot MF; now I don't.

Auto focus film camera price not a constraint- Nikon F6
Auto focus film camera price important- Nikon F100

I forgot to add. My favorite auto focus film camera- Fuji GA645i

Answering 5. m43 is so much cheaper to get into than Fuji X. That did it for me. It really isn't that much more money to buy into m43 body and camera than to rent into Fuji for a week. I've done both.

What finally decided it for me was, I like how Olympus renders color better than how Fuji does. I know, many people love Fuji's colors. I don't. Olympus takes a totally different stance on this, and it works for me. (Though, honestly, I love Sigma's stance on color best, even their Bayer sensors have some color magic to them).

As for m43 being a lame duck. So what? If the lens you want is there, and so is the body, buy it for cheap and shoot it for a decade. Used gear will be available for a long time, though probably not as long as mechanical Leicas. You have a decade or more, and who can predict for longer than that? Maybe by then there will be nothing but phones cameras new. But so what, you'll have had a good decade with the camera.

Add me to the army of F100 fans - it's just a great, reasonably sized, insultingly competent camera. It deserved the F in it's name. The Modern equivalent would be the D750 and D780, all cameras capable of almost anything, if not the best at anything.

#2: The late model Canon Elans and Nikon's N80 are fabulous cameras available for a song. Unless one actually needs the ruggedness of an F100 or EOS-1N, I'd go with those.

#3 I know your nephew; small world! Neat that he's getting into photography. As long as the 80-400 is an AF-S and not a screw-drive relic, the D7xxx should serve him fine. It may be my imagination, but I seem to find that my D7000 spins big glass like the original 80-400 a little slower than the larger bodies.

To choose between Micro 4/3 or Fuji X, look not only at the selection, but at the used prices. A shockingly good Micro 4/3 kit can be acquired for a fraction of the price of something similar in Fuji X.

Electronificomplication is a great word

1. Smallest cameras that give what people want - and marketing - have always won out throughout history. 35mm in the film era; smaller dedicated digital cameras over larger ones; and smartphones over dedicated cameras. Canon recent revenues are about twice that of Nikon, but they have more than 3 times the market share (units). They just sold many times more cheap and small cameras. This seems to bear out with several commentators here mentioning Rebel and M bodies as there favourites.

5. On M4/3, people love to mention focal length and aperture equivalent when talking about lenses but proceed to compare image quality at the same instead of equivalent aperture. If f8 is good for a picture on FF, there's no reason not to take the same picture at f4 on M4/3. In an equivalent comparison, M4/3 actually wins in DR since the best FF (R6, Z6, A7III, S1...) has just about 1.5 stops higher DR than the 5 year old E-M1 mk2. Most Canon FF bodies including the current RP actually has less DR than the aging 20MP sensor on M4/3. I don't know why someone bought an RP and said FF is better when it's actually worse, not just in max DR but also in functionality, and not counting higher system cost, size and weight. Maybe because "full frame"? It's all just good marketing from Canon. M4/3 sensors have plateaued for a while but Canon FF sensors have just caught up with it last year.

Full frame 35mm systems are only better, not because of the bigger sensor size, but because there are fast lenses available. Without 2 stop (equivalent) faster lenses, FF is about the same or even worse than M4/3. It's the lenses that make a system better, not the sensor size. But this comes at much higher cost, bulk and weight. f0.8 is available on M4/3, so f0.7 or f0.6 are possible as well but there's almost no point considering the cost, bulk, weight and smaller market.

Fuji X sensors have practically the same quality as M4/3, although with smaller lens selection, they have better reputation of catering to enthusiasts, and much better financial resources backing. System size and prices are way higher than M4/3 though.

Still, no system is equal to M4/3 regarding tele lenses when it comes to size, weight and price. Nothing is close to the handhold-ability and functionality of the Pana/Oly 100-400m, Oly 300mm/f4 and Oly 150-400mm.

Whether M4/3 is a lame duck or not, it's not because of technical merits, but a marketing problem.

Who wins?

Perhaps both.

They will position themselves as specialty/hobbyist/Veblen items, much like how Ricoh & Leica already do. Each has their fandom and will likely survive. Let’s be realistic; if Smeg can do it with bread toasters, so can the ILC industry. Meanwhile the general consumer will just use phones as they are accepted as being good enough.

4. Nuthin' really. But I was looking at some tests of the Fuji GFX50 IIS and 100 IS and realized that the 14 and 16(!!) bit color images had a noticably better and more nuanced rendering of both color and tone than I had seen before. Uh-oh!

And Mike, keep your dreams fixed on that Miata. A friend who inherited a Boxster, who loves and respects all forms of German engineering, says "never again."

To all the people suggesting Sony as a contender for best crop system, please see the current press release, e.g. on https://www.dpreview.com/news/7096949540/sony-has-stopped-production-of-a7-ii-a6400-series-cameras-due-to-chip-shortages.

A6400 and A6100 production will be halted due to parts shortages, as well as A7II. Makes sense for the older A7II, but the other two, especially the A6400 got to be there best selling APS-C camera.

#2 - 35mm AF - Minolta Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha 7. Without question.

[2] The autofocus on my Nikon F5 still blows me away. Bonus: It’s also the biggest camera I want to carry!

‘... there's lots of juicy Micro 4/3 stuff still around, but—well, ever heard the phrase "lame duck"?' I have invested in a lame duck system! Sincerely, Fear and Dread. Yes, it is easy to lack confidence in photography. Perhaps that is why influencers are influencers: they help validate our decisions. But at the end of the photo day, we have to choose our camera system, lame duck or not. Speaking of m43 lame duck jewels, I still appreciate like my 17mm and 25mm f/1.2, but not because of absolute sharpness or least amount of flare. I like them because of their natural draw (for lack of better word), something transcending 0s and 1s, digital accuracy. If I desire less compromises, there is the Zeiss Otus 55mm and the nifty 58mm f/0.95 NOCT Z lenses. I will stick to my lame duck system, because its what I have for photojournalism. Funds are low, and my m43 gear probably is good enough. If memory serves me right, Steve McCurry used a Nikon FM2. W. Eugene Smith shot his epic Minamata photo story using a Minolta SRT-101. If I could teleport in time and give Eugene my m43 system, what could he do with it given his immense skill and extreme determination?

For me the question is neither "Use the biggest camera you can [comfortably(?)] carry," nor "Use the smallest camera that gives you [always] what you want". It is a compromise and my key aim is to avoid missing too many potentially good opportunities. So, I am happy with m4/3. Lightweight enough that I can justify carrying the camera and lenses with me just-in-case I need them, stabilization good enough and long lenses light-weight enough, so that I can do without a tripod (which I am too lazy to carry just in case I may need it). Cameras and lenses that I can use in any weather condition: rain, snow or cold. Ergonomics (e.g., the focus ring clutch; Pro Capture mode, i.e., saving captures that are already in buffer memory at the time the shutter release is pressed).

A camera with a sensor with better low-light performance and faster readout would be nice, but I only miss it occasionaly (OM-Systems' announcements seem to indicate this will happen rather soon). Bird recognition for auto focus as in the E-M1X in a smaller body like my current E-M1 (Mk II) would be the perfect match to the teleobjectives.

As for the future of OM-Systems, yes, there is uncertainty. However, I do not think independence from Olympus necessarily makes OM-Systems more vulnerable than remaining as part of Olympus. This is because as far as I know a big chunk of Olympus shares are in the hands of institutional investors that press for high profits.

As for the m4/3 standard I do not think its future is in danger: in addition to photographic and video cameras, m4/3 is becoming comon in drones and in cameras used for industrial automation.

As for Fuji vs. m4/3 I do not even think seriously about such a comparison. I have no experience with Fuji and m4/3 fulfils my needs. If I were not already invested in m4/3 (money plus use experience) my criteria would be, first, are the lenses I want/need now and that I can imaging wanting/needing in the future available? and second, are ergonomics consistent throughout the system and such that I am comfortable with?

I don't usually comment here, but will on this one.

As to the best AF film camera, I'd likely go with the F100. My wife used this and found it very good, and it certainly seemed to work well in many ways. Exposure was nice and AF worked well. A nice package. A second might be the F4 if one is more inclined to use older lenses. I have this one, and works well, but is also big and heavy and does not support VR, and does not allow manual or A use of G lenses.

For best bird Nikon I'd likely go with whatever is the best APS-C model you can afford. A D7500 would be nice. I get pretty decent birds with a D7100.

What am I missing? The D7100 does just about everything I need, except that it has a small buffer and more high ISO noise than I'd like. The buffer rarely bothers me, but I miss the ability to crank up the ISO more.

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