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Friday, 07 January 2022

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I think there could still be a reason to switch systems if it's for a lens you want as even if there's little difference between cameras some systems are missing some lenses and some lenses are different and special enough to justify the change. Maybe.

I do think lenses are usually more interesting than cameras.

Even with cameras there are still reasons to shift if you simply can not wait for your brand of choice to introduce the camera you want as that might come years later or even never. The FF RF style A7c comes to mind as does the high performance but compact Sony A1 and those big inbuilt grip high performance cameras from Nikon and Canon.

I know from experience that most of the cameras now will produce excellent results. I do want low ISO settings as we had with film. Nikon has ISO64 available on some of their models - with excellent quality. For me - that is worth it even as I wish ISO25 and lower was available.

Then, native lenses. Some specific lenses make it worth a switch at times.

AutoFocus and 'motor drive' speed also comes into play for many.

Almost any newer camera will give great results but the small things can make a switch worth it.

I think Thom is a little too harsh on adapted lenses. Sure, they tend to be less practical and functional than native lenses, but there are some situations where they make sense (aside from just the fun of it). For example, if you are new to a system and can’t afford to buy everything immediately, some adapted lenses can tide you over as you gradually replace them. Similarly, if you are an early adopter of a new system (someone has to be), an adapted lens or two might be legitimately helpful while the manufacturer fills out the line. Is there really anyone who buys a Sony A7 and thinks they are going to use nothing but adapted Canon EF lenses indefinitely? Maybe someone likes everything about the Sony system but occasionally wants to use tilt shift lens?

His advice makes sense if you are a commercial pro or something, but for almost everybody else (which is most people), I don’t see any problem with switching systems, mixing and matching lenses, or whatever floats your boat (and fits your budget). I guess I would modify his advice from “don’t do X,” to “if you want to do X, manage your expectations.”

The best way to keep from switching camera brands/formats is to own and use more than one camera brand/format. Not that I would do that. Ahem.

After the last year, I can't afford to switch again! :)

Last year was the year of Leica to me. I got an inheritance and did various buying and trading and repairing and so on. I got curious and wrote up a spreadsheet. On it I listed all the purchases and cost with tax and shipping of everything related to the Leica that I bought this year. Camera, lenses, accessories, repair jobs and so on.

Nothing new except the leather half case. A dozen LTM lenses (only one from Leica, a Elmar 90/4) all bought used.

I look at that number in shock. I won't say what it is, simply that since January I've spent about 1/5 of my total rather modest income on this camera and the lenses to use on it. The only thing I spent more money on is my rent. (Don't let my GF see this sheet!!!)

My resolution for this New Year is very simple - to not buy any lenses for as long as I can hold out, preferably all year. The time is here to ONLY work with what I have, to get to know each of these lenses and how well they work (or not) for me here and now.

Perhaps a year from now I can look at that list and say - ok, perhaps I can justify a super speed 50 because of shots I missed in darkness or perhaps find that 21mm isn't too wide after all. But it's clear I need to spend the time just finding out and only buying anything if I have too - perhaps I need a second battery for the 240 and while they aren't cheap, it's not like getting a dozen lenses either. I enjoy window shopping and will likely continue that. But I'm going to remind myself of this every time I think of possibly buying a lens and think hard about Need vs. Want.

This goes even more for system level thinking. I am fully committed now to this Leica and can't even imagine what it would cost to change systems again. I still have my previous system (a Nikon D7100 & lots of lenses) because there are things a DSLR can do better than a rangefinder. Between them, they'll have to suffice ;)

I was just talking to someone today about their next camera, and had to admit I swap things around because camera gear is part of my photographic hobby. Switching is fine if you understand the cost and are okay with it, just don't think it's going to fix much. And I did learn two things about adapters - they're great for niche projects and fun, annoying for everyday use - but having the option to adapt almost anything is what makes mirrorless cameras so attractive to me. Being able to shot my Leica glass and 105 2.5 AIS using autofocus on my Z6? That's fun.

When I don't have time to shoot, I juggle gear. When I have time to shoot, I don't change _anything_. Costs a bit more but keeps me sane, so, it's well worth it!

I am very fortunate that I got into Fuji when the original X100 and X Pro were released. I have stuck with them because they have released the lenses I want. The cameras work they way I want them to work with minimal need to ever look at the menus, the colors come out of the cameras the way I like them, and they have held up very well. I still have my original X100 and X Pro. They still work perfectly. I have upgraded the bodies over the years to where I now have an X Pro 3, X100 V, and XT4. I have never considered switching since I got my original Fuji cameras. In fact I cannot foresee a single scenario where I would "switch." I am considering a GFX 50S II though. In fact I still use the original three lenses (18, 35, and 60) I got with the original X Pro frequently. You can do an awful lot with those three provided you aren't shooting wildlife or sports. Now I will admit to probably having too many Fuji lenses, including two different 18mm, 16mm, 23mm and 35mm lenses.....sigh....... The big ones go on the XT4 the small ones go on the X Pro and the X100 goes with me everywhere.

Also, the Matt Black book is very good. I was disappointed to see it's now going for $150. I ordered when it was released and paid $40. I suppose it's like Steidl books which I order immediately if it's something I want. They seem to go up in value.

Talking of tiring of adaptors, I quickly tired of moment lenses on my iPhone which actually prompted my last switch from a canon ps to a Sony rx109vii . Not that the moment lens were bad, good quality in my humble opinion, was just more stuff rattling around in my pockets and a pain to clip on when needed. I kept the gold anamorphic lens for laughs.

At the time when I had Nikon dslrs I lusted after the canon ts 17 and naively waited in vain for Nikon to make one. Silly me.

Adapters don't make ideal solutions when changing systems. Adapters are indispensable when they are used to marry the mind boggling varieties of vintage lenses to mirrorless cameras e.g. M42 adapters.

I am currently shooting a Canon 6D Mk2, with a couple of Canon L lenses and some Tamron and Sigma Art lenses. Any shortcomings in image quality are from operator error.

My plan is to shoot this camera till it dies, then see what the state of the market is. Some buddies are very pleased with their Canon R5 or R6 cameras and associated lenses, even as they wince at the price. I admit to being tempted, but could easily see myself buying another 6D Mk2, or a 5D Mk4 as the stores clear out the last of them, at obsolete inventory prices.

I am, for the most part, happy I switched to Sony Alpha from Nikon DSLRs four years ago. Going mirrorless was going to require all new lenses anyway.

However I'm not planning to switch lens mounts again, though getting a medium format digital as a second system would be nice for some types of shooting. So (a) and (b) for me.

I'm not switching. I don't need a new camera, and with all due respect, I don't think you do, either, MIke.

A new camera will not make you feel any more fulfllled. I see this same behavior with my high-end audio friends..."Gee, if only I had that new Aurender N30 with separate external power supply instead of the N20, I'd be so much happier...." Always the focus on gear, rather than foundational things like...making the room itself the best it can be. Or...obtaining well-mastered recordings. Imagine that.

True fulfillment comes from having a clear vision, "seeing", understanding light, gesture, and nuance, and executing on that vision to create an image that is compelling and engaging for the viewer.

It doesn't come from a stacked sensor, 469 AF points, or "eye-focus", etc. That's frou-frou. You already have a great camera. All you need to do is get out and shoot.

It's the photograph that matters at the end of the day.

No looks at one of those amazing war photographs by James Natchwey and asks, "I wonder if that was shot with a stacked-sensor Sony?"

How about c.) "I should switch ASAP to something I can stick with from now on."

An amusing article, thanks for the link. Amusing but I feel there are certain areas where I don't agree.

There were times when as Thom pointed out, it made sense for pros in certain specialties to switch from Nikon to Canon.

I'll disagree with his take on lens adapters. There was a time when Sony full frame mirrorless camera worked well but their lens line was pathetic. A friend bought a Sony and an adapter for his Canon lenses and he said it worked beautifully. As well or better than the Canon lenses on Canon bodies. And it helped him decide whether to move to Sony without a huge investment.

The Nikon FTZ adapter OTOH is pretty pathetic. Nikon chose to force us to focus with manual lenses stopped down, and that simply does not work very well in many circumstances, though most people don't really notice that their hit-rate went way down. And it does not auto focus with AF-D lenses, and those lenses are much better for manual focus than the later focus-by-wire lenses.

I'm in group A, but I long ago tempered my desire to switch systems by simply owning two different systems. The best of both worlds.

I am not going to switch. I am too old, it would cost way too much money and I have a nice collection of lenses that for the most part would not be adaptable.

Now, a silent shutter would be nice to have, but I am not going the throw out 50+ years of equipment for one little thing.

I get what Thom is saying, the gear is all pretty much well into the range of being sufficient. That's rational thinking, definitely Thom.

Last February I switched to Fuji after a lifetime of Nikon. I took some advice found here at TOP, and chose Fuji because of the lenses, specifically the Fujicrons. After that the choice was the X-T4, primarily for the viewfinder (I'm an old dawg who wears glasses), but also the IBIS, WR, and larger battery.

And another thing I have read here on TOP: the notion that it takes a year to know a camera? I was kind of skeptical, but it's turned out to be accurate. I'm still reading the manual, setting up the custom buttons, dials or what not. I'd say I'm about 90%.

From this (personal) standpoint? No, I'm not wanting to switch systems. The X-T4 and Fujicrons is a blast, exactly what I was hoping for. Something that Nikon did not have, compact primes and (to me) a compact camera.

The Nikon Z system has been releasing more cameras and lenses over 2021 and more will be coming in 2022, but there is no appeal to me, other than nostalgia and good memories of the Nikon brand. But there are nothing like those compact Fujicrons, and so it is with Fuji I'll stay.

For now.

Sound advice,mostly. I can see a point if you change format, and that format brings with it a some big advantage. My return to Nikon FF from M43 is a case in point.

Adapting lenses is for me something that I just cannot get on with. My Z7 came with the FTZ adaptor, but I find myself using my old F lenses on my D810 which I will keep and use along side my newer Z camera most of the time. In fact I am buying a D850 to use with my F lenses.

For me lens adapters are something we buy, thinking they might be useful and will save money on new lenses, but I find them impractical in the field and end up just buying the "native" lens I want, if it exists.

Since 1974 I have changed systems three times. An already obsolete Pentax M42 screw mount for Nikon once I could afford it. I stuck with Nikon until 2014 when some quality Nikon control issues and a good salesman, led to me adopting the M43 system with the then unique IBIS.

A cheap second hand D700 and the old Nikon PC lenses that I bought to do architecture in 2018, brought me back into the Nikon fold, as the D700 highlighted the limitations of the small M43 sensor. But most of all it was a coming home, "everything was were it should be" when I operated the D700.

I am now on a Nikon Z and F mix. I wonder if the foray into M43 was a big mistake, and I think I might have got swept along with the hype back then when it seemed that M43 would be the "DSLR killer".

Incredible claims were, and are made for M43 IBIS, but I found the VR in my F lenses that bought soon after getting the D700 was very good too if used with care. This reinforced the idea that I was hyped into a wrong turn.

The Z and F system works well in parallel, I share flash and other accessories. The FTZ adaptor does work when I do really need IBIS with my shift lenses, so I will not be changing anytime soon.


I agree with Thom. I've been a Canon EOS user since 1988 when I bought an EOS 650. I did buy a Nikon D70 and a lens at one point - that seemed to be a better buy than the equivalent Canon, the 10D - but that didn't last. I was back to Canon quite quickly; indeed, I had probably kept my Canon lenses (such as I had) during the Nikon phase.

Of course I've 'upgraded' my cameras many times within that ecosystem. Is that the same thing? Actually, maybe - at standard focal lengths running both a full-frame and an APS-C system from the same manufacturer (which I've done) requires two complete systems, especially with Canon and their EF-S lenses which don't even fit on full-frame bodies. Those L lenses for my 5DIV were wonderful on that body, but were just wrong on the 750D/T6i I also at the time. Now I'm down to just one body - a 90D - and quite a small collection of lenses, of which I really only use three.

Actually, to be absolutely truthful I might well be on the verge of switching - to the iPhone. Increasingly that's the camera I'm using. (It's interesting to note that in the whole 'One device' presentation, Steve Jobs spent maybe 10 seconds talking about the camera. Today, of course, smartphones' photo & video capabilities are key features and areas of competition between different models.)

I'm in group a). I have all the lenses I need, and the lenses I'd like but which aren't really essential are already available for my system.

One reason I chose this system was that the f/2.8 standard zoom was about the only one available at the time that started at 16, not 18mm. When choosing my first digital SLR in 2009 after decades on 35mm, I had to have the field of view of a 24mm lens on the 35mm format.

The trouble with switching is that I'd have to get used to a different way of doing things, which might take 18 months before It stopped being a distraction. By that time new gear could have come out in the system I already use.

I don't imagine my photography would magically improve if I just had an outfit that had a certain lens/camera body/"as used by professionals" reputation. Though I did in the early days when I believed all the adverts.

Rather you are switching manufactures or mount systems, you are still switching. With all the costs and travails associated with that. A pro can write it off. A hobbyist not so much.

I was out of my mind when I was young, switching camera systems like mad, looking for an answer in gear that would have better been addressed by looking in the mirror at the buffoon staring back at me.

Gear is a fetish that some use to feel more exalted than someone using what he or she considers lesser gear. For many, it's the photographers version of a boob job, go big or go home. Get over yourselves. Gear won't make our dull ideas, or you, any more interesting.

Too many photographers place the responsibility of the quality of their photos on their gear. They see interesting photos that they'd like to copy being made by someone else with different gear, and think, if only I had that same gear, I could make that same picture. When what they should be thinking is about making pictures that are about who they are as a person, and finding their own voice to express their own point of view about the world in which they live.

Find your own ideas, make photos only you can make with whatever camera you have, because whatever you have is probably just fine.

"Been there, done that," is the phrase that comes to mind. Somehow I ended up a modern-day Pentaxian (as opposed to the legions who started with a K1000) and have learned to love it for what it is; no mirrorless option, no leaps in AF or video, glacial release of new gear, and the constant dirge of the brand's imminent death from all corners. Somehow Pentax (and I) just keep taking photos.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't *rent* a fancy Canon, Fuji or Sony when I feel like it, or dabble in m43 or medium-format for fun and distraction. I'm just not switching brands or systems, even if I don't get everything I want from Pentax, I have everything I need.

During 1963 American Tobacco Company said: "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!"

This long time (1993) Canon user sees no reason to switch. On my 21.5" iMac I can't see any difference between a real camera and my 2016 first-generation iPhone SE. I would prefer fighting to switching to a 61 megapixel Alpha 7R IV.

By staying with Canon SLRs I can keep using my present EOS lenses. What a good, and inexpensive, idea.

I continue enjoy my nikon 14-24 and using large format lens on 4x5 body, as adapted lens under Hasselblad 907x. It is all fine.

Hah! I wouldn’t switch, but I’d love to have a Fuji with a couple of primes. And that’s largely your fault Mike, since you’ve ignited my interest in Fuji lenses! But I am old, with poor vision that ain’t gonna get better, and living on high tax Long Island. So that’s that!
The wisdom about lens adapters is so true. When I bought my Oly OMD, I had a few OM lenses that I thought I could use, principally a 70-150 zoom which I think was their first contribution to the OM lense line up. Oh great I thought, at last I can get some use out of this lens, and not spend a lot to do it! It was okay enough on the OM, but just terrible on the OMD! Manual focus, lacking in sharpness and contrast. Well built but terrible!
I’d have been better off buying a kit zoom!
Lesson learned!

I usually stick to the brand I have, but…

From 1974 on I used the Canon FD system until it was discontinued in the early nineties. Then I switched to Nikon F, but after changing to digital the only affordable cameras with that mount had APS-C sensors. It made most of my lenses pretty useless. Like so many of us for years and years I have been waiting in vain for a full frame digital FM2 or something similar.
In the meantime I also had bought the sweet Contax G1. Couldn’t help it, love at first sight. That system was as we know also discontinued, but because I liked that smaller size so much I sold all my DSLRs and the whole shebang ten years ago and moved to Olympus MFT. But as much as love that system, dark clouds show up at the horizon once again.

And of course my car brand for the last thirty years has been Saab.

This is a good example of choosing a topic about which almost everyone has an opinion, ? clickbait? I'm one of those who is guilty of multiple switches in my relatively long photographic life. I started with Nikon in 1969, added 4x5 (Arca-Swiss) and 6x6 (Hasselblad). Too many choices. I once went out with a workshop group in Canyon de Chelly with a Nikon D200, a Hasselblad 500CM, AND my 4x5 Arca. It was total insanity. Didn't get many decent photos, spent too much time trying to decide which camera to use. In my defense, in those days there were real and noticeable differences between the formats, 35 was "ok" but 6x6 and 4x5 really were noticeably better, though it was hard to tell the difference between a print from the Hassy and one from the Arca. But... only the Arca had swings, tilts, and shifts, invaluable.

In the digital age I had some Nikons up to the D800E, but then fell for the lovely petite Fuji's, X-3, XT-1, and made some lovely prints. Then I had an acute attack of megapixel lust and got a Sony A7RIII. Those 43 megapixels were a genuine joy. Yes, there were not a lot of lenses in the beginning but most of us have more than we need anyway. Now I am happily with one system, one camera A7RIV (tho I still have the A7RIII as a backup), and way too many lenses.

But, I'm happier with my inkjet prints than I ever was during the 40 or so years I printed in the wet darkroom. Bottom line, it's my money but I do feel a bit silly as should we all, when we think that a piece of gear will make us a better photographer. When seeing my prints, no one, even photographers, cares what camera or lens I used except as simple curiosity. If it's a good image, its a good image, if not, it's not.

Stephen Scharf says, "...You already have a great camera. All you need to do is get out and shoot."

Yes, so obvious, so clear and so true. Maybe this should go in the "resolutions" thread, but I vow in 2022 to not spend a single cent on any photographic hardware.

I can only agree with Thom. I went to Sony in the first gen of A7r cameras, but switched back to DSLRs when the costs of going all-in became apparent, plus the fact that my older Canon EF TS-E lenses (particularly the 45) just didn’t work reliably via adapters. I also has some issues with other adapted lenses, and when an adapter goes south during a shoot it’s no fun at all. I am still using the Eos 5Ds I switched back to and it gives me entirely reliable results.

Even then, we are way past the point where you can wring great results out of any camera. Even my 12mp Eos 1Ds from the early 2000’s was quite capable of making A1 size prints when used correctly with good lenses. In fact, I would say the move from the original 24mm shift to the Mark II version was a bigger upgrade than going from that 1Ds to a 21mp 5D ii.

So, yeah, stick where the glass is good for your needs and stop worrying about differences that may not make such a big deal in the real world.

On the other hand one of my favourite lenses is adapted, my Zeiss C/Y 35mm PC Distagon and I’d probably consider switching for a good modern 35 shift…

As many others here, I have several systems: Leica M, m43, Olympus OM, and Nikon F are the most used.

I do suffer from GAS, but have a very solid principle: No more new bayonets (as in: lens mounts). That works pretty well - especially to keep my lust for a Leicaflex at bay :-)

if the comments above are any guide to the future buying habits of the general camera owning population, the camera industry is in for an extremely tough time. i would hazard a guess that of late switching has driven a ton of sales much as the digital revolution did in decimating film cameras.

the current Sony EF mount system keeps me very happy now that some of the haptics of the older bodies have to some extent been tackled and like some i still have a vestige of fond reminiscences of my nikon d800/d700/d300 gear but realistically at 71 years young i cannot justify nor will my body/mind be able to relearn the controls of reverting to nikon no matter how tempting. Never mind the pension fund decimation.

perhaps all this reluctance to switch will usher in a golden age of more people developing the photographic art form rather than debating gear.

I am definively in group a) with respect to camera systems. My first "real" camera was a second hand Yashica TLR. Then I used Contax/Yashica SLR's from 1976 until about 2008 (well past the demise), and since then Olympus FT and then Olympus MFT. I used FT/MFT adapters until a month ago when I swapped my last FT objective, a Zuiko 7-14 mm f:4 for the new M.Zuiko 8-25 mm f:4.

I enjoy taking photographs most when I do not need to think about the camera, so even thinking about switching systems feels painful. I guess I find more pleasure in using a tool that I master than in going through the long learning process. On the other hand, within the MFT system I find new M.Zuiko objectives frequently very tempting.

I have played to some extent with manual adapters for M42, Olympus OM and Nikon F objectives on MFT. I never use them when I have another choice, but occasioanly they are the only option I have.

Thom, like many camera enthusiasts, must live in a photography box occupied solely by Nikon and Canon. His assertion only makes sense that way.

I resisted the prompt to read the article because it just sounded too much like the usual Nikon versus Canon nonsense that has captured the attention of so much of the photography enthusiast cohort for the last 50 years. But I just caved and read it. Sure enough, the article is confined to Nikon and Canon. Isn't that a surprise. Not.

I despair that Nikon and Canon have, together, denied so many photography enthusiasts a wider perspective and involvement in photography over these last 50 years. Seems it's all about them.

There are signs of hope. Many young people are experimenting with other forms of photography. Good on them.

How about switching to GFX or X1? Is that also banned? Larger format digital is finally reasonably affordable and can get good quality 50-100mp, something that is not really available from most other systems.
PS. Mike, we are still waiting for that review you promised. How can we otherwise decide if it is worth it?

I'll stop switching when the manufacturers stop changing their lens mounts! It seems like they change mounts every 5 years or so forcing us to either use our cameras until they break (or my case, wear out) or use lens adapters.

I'm using M43's and a single Fuji X100F and couldn't be happier. No need for me to spend thousands of dollars on a mount that's going to go away in 5 years. And have you seen the size and weight of the new camera/lens? Not for me.

Mike,

First off; I'm surprised by the snarky comment by Kirk. ("what other pursuit we can find to suck the fun out of next.")

(Not that I've never made snarky comments.)

Thom was only suggesting a way to save money by not jumping from this lens to that lens -- at least how I read it.

Thom also summarized, "Pentax DSLR user: you've already stuck with them past the funeral, why are you contemplating changing now?" :>)

That's right. I waited for the Pentax full-frame, er 35mm-sized sensor, so that I could use my film lenses -- even the screw-mounts. Sure, it takes some time to install the (K to screw-mount) adapter and screw on the old Super-Takumar, but I'm generally not in that much of hurry.

The K1 already had a 36MB size, so there wasn't a need to upgrade from a body with a 16MB or 20MB size image.

As long as I don't get a bunch of purple fringing, I'm plenty happy with the old lenses.

The SLR with a penta-prism shows exactly what the lens sees. Has that ability really been superseded? (Sure, you can dial up the display brightness with a mirrorless camera, but the "old way" with the brighter digital SLR camera display, compared to my old film camera body, makes my old lenses seem brighter.)

If I can't see well enough to focus, I just try to get close and the high-ISO capability of the K1 II will give me a brighter image, so that I can see where the in-focus zone is and make an adjustment.

If a newer camera can take the "black cat in a coal mine" photo, well, that's great. I don't believe I'll ever shoot something like that.

Thanks for that post and the links to Thom's articles. Now to read the other comments.

What year did Ralph Gibson commit to the Leica M system?

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