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Friday, 12 August 2022

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Pinhole

Nikon D700.

Your long running affinity for M/43 is no secret. Perhaps you should look in that direction again. Personally, I'd love to see your review of the new OM-1.

Any of the medium sized Olympus bodies, and the 12-40 or 12-100 lens.

One body one lens. :)

You may (may) want to try a used Leica Q. I recently got a deal on one for half price that was serviced and cleaned by Leica Japan. I've never had another FF sensor camera before (or any kind of Leica for that matter) so I don't have anything to compare the files with other than my GR. They are definitely more substantive and richer than those produced by my GR, but nothing to propel me into outright Leica cult hood. And using the Q is an overall recommendable experience, but again, far from the near nirvana like bliss of Leica fandom.

Will have to cut this review short, since I'm leaving to send the camera back to Japan- last weekend I shot my first landscapes with the Q, and it revealed a rather ominous smudge on the upper left hand side of the sensor- usually where the sky resides and is most glaringly noticeable. How Leica Japan technicians missed this is uhhh... perplexing, to say the least.

Mike:

You are certainly asking a tough question.

I would point you at the Ricoh GR IIIx. It is reasonably pocketable, is a dedicated camera (ie. you feel like you are doing photography rather than "pulling your phone out"), digital (because of your workflow) and it's focal length is near your "natural focal length" (my term for the focal length that you gravitate to the most).

Otherwise, take the same amount of money, your current camera and go for a trip to somewhere unfamiliar.

Doug

Fuji X100V.

Fuji X-E4, 18-55 f2.8-4 lens, and 35/1.4 lens. This is for myself too :-)

Mike the answer is so simple. This brand is spelled with 5 letters. It begins with an L and ends with an A. Nothing else is suitable considering your impeccable taste and appreciation for the finer things in life. An M11 and 35mm cron weighs in at about 13k. Not bad. 😬

Standard Q2. The conversion to a monochrome image if you want one is a few clicks away.

iPhone 13 Pro

It honestly seems you have the most FUN with the iPhone, and have had for some time now.

Otherwise, maybe a Ricoh GRIIIx.

Monochrom, I’m sure. It might make you angry too… or does it already do both and you don’t have one?

Actually, what about an x100 converted to b&w? Maxmax has a bunch of converted Fujis for sale now. Why not?

Fuji X100V

Don’t complicate things and keep it simple: a Nikon Z6ll with a 35mm lens will do it for you.

Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II

While I’ve never used a Nikon and know little about the combo I’m about to recommend, it seems the Z5 and 40mm f/2 would tick a lot of boxes for you. I realize you’re not a full frame guy but this combo is much smaller than your X-H1 and weighs the same.

40mm f/2 lens (Weight 6.0 oz. - $276)
Z5 - Stills oriented (Full Frame 24MP - $1,300)
Nice EVF (3.69M - dot)
In body image stabilization
Titling LCD
Dust and moisture sealed
AF joystick
USB Charging

If you like the form and function of your X-T1, but know that as good as it is there have been improvements made, then I'd recommend the X-T3.

I bought one and within 6 months bought a second body, one chrome, one black. These will be my last new cameras.

It will feel immediately familiar but with enough tweaks over the T1 to let you know that it is two models beyond your camera.

You will get a noticable increase in resolution but not to the point of huge files to clog up storage and editing. You also keep the inline tilt screen but an additional tilt for vertical compositions.

This model is offered without the battery charger for a good price, so low that it make no sense (IMO) to go with the lower tier X-T30.

You have the glass, change the body and start shooting.

GX8 and Pana-Leica 15mm.

The GX8 is still a fine camera, arguably the high water mark for rangefinder-style m4/3. The PL 15mm delivers wonderful images while not being too much wider than the "ideal" 40mm-equivalent field of view (plus it has great build quality, an aperture ring, and focuses much faster than Panasonic's 20mm pancake).

If having a camera go into a deep-sleep mode has caused discontent with your current camera, then a non-electric model is the answer, and Holga is, well, Holgariffic. It's pure photography: Just you, the camera, plus some gaffer's tape. As folks have passionate opinions on the matter, I shall refrain from recommending any specific brand of tape.

I'm pretty sure I don't understand your relationship with picture-taking enough to have useful advice on cameras, particularly given that you've used more camera models than I have.

But I'm wondering if the real problem is not so much the camera itself, as your not having any energy for taking pictures lately. It sounds like writing projects are the primary things getting your serious attention (that's not a bad thing!).

Maybe some kind of short-term project would get you engaged in photography for a little while, without distracting you too much from ongoing writing projects (at least some of which are part of your making a living!). Short-term makes it harder to wimp out, and also makes it less likely to consume your life excessively. You could work through to a tangible result to exhibit and discuss here, or (certainly if it goes well) you might even do a print sale from it.

Fuji X-T4 with 35mm f/2. It's my 4th Fuji and the first (of 7) digital cameras, and the first one I've felt does everything (and more!) I used to do in the film era. The IBIS capability is amazing. The only negative is the flippy screen, but I've adjusted to it, plus I've found ways in which it works better than the screen on previous cameras.

Olympus Pen-F with the 17mm/1.8. Set it to b&w once, an then forget that it ever had that dial/knob.

Nikon Z7 with the inexpensive 40mm f2

Leica Q or Q2. Better view finder and focusing than a Hexar AF. Same excellent feel in the hand.

My best guess is standard Q2 is a good Mike camera. Great lens, simple controls, enough resolution to use the crop modes without concern, Good Ibis. It shoots both color and black and white. It’s the yolo camera for you (you only live once).

Based on reading TOP for years and my experience with the (now discontinued but available used) Leica CL for the last several months, I think this would work well for you. As an L mount APS-C camera, you have a wealth of excellent lenses to choose from and it's light, user friendly, and lots of fun.

I think you should give the Ricoh GR IIIx a try. I have the original GR digital, and I'm tempted by either the III or IIIx.

Patrick

It may be my own biases shining through but from what I've seen and read over the years, I'd suggest the Leica Q2 fixed lens camera. Possibly the monochrome only version but having ability to do color is a plus too. The 28mm F1.7 Summilux lens has a POV that would be pleasing to you and having the built-in crop points for 35/50/75 would give you the rest of the POV's you'd most likely use.

Let me 2nd (or whatever number we're on) the pinhole comment, that's a roots camera, and you make it yourself, coffee can, cardboard box, everything in your control, and zero glass....


Please be interested in that......

Another vote for Olympus.

Lumix G9 w/ Leica 12-60mm F2.8 and never look back.

There's already lots of good advice in the comments here but I'm struck by your "footnote" in the previous post. To paraphrase: are you chasing an ideal that you had but that you've now grown out of? That's an important question to ponder. I certainly can relate to it. I wonder if there's a way to stage a pilot program to get close to the answer. Is there a camera that can be an ersatz Leica Q2M, one that doesn't cost anywhere near 6,000 bucks? It would have to be one that is close enough to the real thing to let you know if that's what you would really be satisfied with, but also one that is cheap enough that if you discovered that it no longer supports the photography you now find fulfilling, you can dispose of it without too much, or any, financial pain.

To make this a proper pilot, I would recommend a firm timeline with a hard end-date. Make some kind of schedule, or recurring to-do's, or whatever method you use to give you a little kick in the pants to make sure you actually use the thing during the pilot period, and then stop at the deadline and see how you feel about it.

Hope this helps (as I used to say when I gave sometimes-solicited advice to junior colleagues).

A camera you can mount over your pool table.

Pentax K-70 with DA HD Limited 35mm f2.8. Not expensive, and relatively simple camera. Great results for APS-C.

Fuji X100V

A used GX-8 would suit you just fine (you really seemed to bond with that camera). That having been said I think you would really enjoy a Panasonic G9. The image quality is wonderful and of the shortcomings of the GX-8 are corrected. the menus would feel familiar to. you. The camera feels wonderful in the hand and has features like focus stacking and a Hi Rez mode that would satisfy the occasional need for a really large file. If you mated that camera with a Panasonic-Leica 10-25 f 1.7 you would have a stellar lens mated to a first rate camera. The lens is a little on the large size but I find myself grabbing that camera/lens combo whenever I head out the door to shoot for myself. It has become my all time favorite camera.

You seem to like Fujis so why not get one of the E models. I think it's the E models that have the non-Bayer sensor but are rangefinder-like, at least in shape. Just get one of the 35 mm equivs and a normal lens, they have a few to choose from, I think. It's what you really want.

Otherwise an Olympus E-M10 with the Oly 17mm/1.8 and then one of those 3rd party manual focus 25 mm lenses that are so cheap that it's almost a shame not to buy one.

Easy, the Fujifilm X100V fits the bill:

- Not too expensive;
- Fast and reliable, refined for 5 iterations, a camera that doesn’t get in the way;
- Tilting screen as you like;
- Solid built, this new one with weather sealing, still small and light but without feeling like a toy;
- Simple interface with manual dials for basic operation;
- That wonderful hybrid OVF/ EVF, being able to choose the viewfinder experience;
- No IBIS, but excellent high ISO to compensate and also a leaf shutter that effectively permits to shoot lower SS with less vibration.;
- A improved 35mm equiv. lens (even the original rendered much better than the Fujinon XF 23mm f/2);
- Excellent and customizable BW profiles, tweak the image profile settings in camera to taste and shoot JPG. Preferably a lower contrast BW to still have a bit more latitude on editing (optionally also shooting RAW as backup).

All this and also an excellent camera for the OYOCOL protocol.

Your approach to photography is from an academic perspective. You want to have the best equipment so that you can bring to class perfect photographs in order to receive the highest marks and the glowing praise of your instructors.

Relax. School is out. Be curious. Use the equipment that interests you. When you feel that you have exhausted it's possibilities, move on. Your experiences will provide you with much to write about. Keep in mind that there is no perfect camera and that perfect pictures only last until the next perfect picture comes along.

ADDENDUM

I just read this (partial comment) from Thomas Walsh.
"My opinion is that you would be best served to abandon writing about gear and focus on other aspects of photography: techniques, photographers, genres. You know a great deal about those things and a great many more."

Give this man the Nobel Prize!

Picking a camera someone else would like might be like picking their shoes, or underwear, or tie, or brand of toothpaste.

Ctein's latest newsletter was of camera "sufficiency." Maybe you already have it?

Frankly, I "play" with photography, and my current "toy" is a Huawei P20 phone, that I NEVER use as a phone, and keep in airplane mode. Supposedly, the optics and the in-camera processing ("color science?") is Leica-designed. It has a monochrome-only sensor as well as color. And it's "pocketable." iPhone in one pocket, P20 in the other, and you're ready for fun. Reasonable prices on the famous auction site too.

Since you appreciate the traditional black and white with a slightly wider angle of view than normal, I would suggest a Leica Monochrom and the most expensive Summicron 35 APO.

I wish you as well an unexpected inheritance from a unknown uncle.

As a Nikon shooter, I will make a highly objective Nikon suggestion - while others have suggested Z6/Z7, I’d suggest Z50/Fc for APS-C, for the smaller body size. There are 3rd party Chinese lenses that get you close to a 40/2 equivalent (Viltrox 23/1.4 has AF, Meike 25/1.8 is manual focus). But that forgoes IS.

If forgoing IS is too much, then as others have suggested, a Z6. With an FTZ adapter, you could also pick up a used Voigtlander 40/2, which gets you into the Contax territory, assuming current & future Mike are still interested :~)

Don't be silly! Recommending one camera to you is like recommending one car to me. No matter what you (camera) or I (car) have have, something about it will annoy you (me) until you (I) get rid of it and move on to another.
In my 63 years of driving, I've owned almost exactly that number of cars. I'll bet your number of cameras owned is about the same (or higher) as the number of years you've been doing photography.
Five years ago, we moved from a farm to a condo in the city. Then I had as many as 5 cars at a time. Now I'm limited to one, so I live with it but still change more often than most people. (Back on the farm I usually had around 3 cameras too, but here I'm also down to one because - like cars - I have limited space for them.)
BTW, Autoweek ran an article recently on stick shift cars which I know you prefer (https://www.autoweek.com/news/technology/a40800136/subaru-porsche-manual-transmission-take-rates/).
Curious, I did some searching. Would you believe you cannot get a manual transmission in a MINI right now?

Leica Q2 Monochrom, with a loss/theft/damage warranty so you don't have to worry about treating it like a camera.

Just to swim against the tide a bit: Buy yourself a refurb Canon 6D II and put a refurb EF 28mm/2.8 IS lens on the front of it. Simple, elegant, lightweight, great image quality, gorgeous low light images, and inexpensive as hell (total ~$1,700 from Canon).

Fuji X-Pro 2, with the current 27mm pancake lens? Perfect for the digital version of one camera, one lens, one year.

I can understand the appeal of a fixed lens camera but you already have that and a bit more in your iPhone.

If you're going to go for a fixed lens camera then I have to wonder whether the Leica Q is for you since it has a 28mm lens on a full frame sensor and my understanding is that most phone cameras use a 28mm FF equivalent lens, with or without other focal length options.

Given your frequent posts in praise of a 40mm full frame lens I'd offer 2 alternatives. The first is the Ricoh GR IIIX which Patrick Perez recommended above. It's a fixed lens APSC camera with a 40 mm FF equivalent focal length but it lacks a viewfinder (there is an accessory optical viewfinder available) and I suspect you'd prefer to have a viewfinder of some kind.

My second suggestion given that you already have a Fujifilm X-T body would be to get the Fujifilm 27mm R WR lens and to use that with your Fujifilm body or to get it with the X-E4 which would give you a rangefinder style body with 40mm equivalent lens. With either Fujifilm body you'd have the advantage of an interchangeable lens body which I suspect may also be to your liking.

The Fujifilm 27mm lens is a solid performer rather than a great performer and doesn't have the same performance and image quality of the Leica Q lens. I like the results I get with it on my X-Pro3 but It's not the equal of the Fujifilm 23mm and 33.35mm f/2 and f/4 lenses and it is an f/2.8 lens which I don't find to be a problem.

I've got nothing bad to say about the Leica Q/Q2 but I do think from your comments over the years that you'd prefer something in the 35/40/50mm full frame equivalent focal length range.

I agree with Kirk for the same reasons he gives and his other reasons which, if you read VSL, you will know. However, I suspect you might find the SL2 heavy and a good alternative is the Leica CL, although it is now not being developed further. It is APS-C to which you do not seem to object. It is light and has similar easy-to-use menus & controls to the SL2. The IQ truly is wonderful. If you want the ultimate portable prime solution pair it with the Leica TL 18mm pancake (27mme) although the great 18-56 Vario -Elmar is not much heavier and super versatile.

lots of amazing cameras suggested already....

but here's my thought:

Pentax 645D - slow, deliberate, no video, no live-view... but with a 40mp CCD sensor that is divine and glass that is just amazing...

Thomas Walsh and Rob Campbell are very perceptive.

But my vote, after serious careful consideration is the Ricoh GR III.
28. 35. 50 (using inbuilt cropping).
You have to tweak its settings, just the once. Then it - just - gets - out - of - your - way.

Not my ideal. But for you, gold.

I was thinking of suggesting Fuji X-pro, but reading some of the comments above I had another idea - why not just rent, say 3 months or so at a time and when something else takes your fancy, return it and try the new one.

Leica M10-monochrom (or any other previous variant)

You would get the simplicity that you experienced on your test run with the M10, and the B/W only sensor you’ve always dreamed of.

Fuji X100V

I think you should buy into the new partial ownership program. You pay $250 per month and have access to any particular camera at a time. Get tired of one, send it back and take temporary possession of another. That flat monthly fee gets you access to any FF body and a lens. If you want a medium format for a stint, you can pay a small up charge. I don’t think this program currently exists but maybe it should, or could.

Save your money and just go with a Fuji x100v. I used to drag my Canon 5dm4 and a nice assortment of lenses with me wherever I went, but after purchasing my Fuji x100F with its fixed lens, I've never been happier. The x100v is the latest incarnation and it has an articulating screen, which I believe is something that you said was important to you.

Commonly called the poor man's Leica, it surely does remind me of my Leica M6 (I haven't done film since my first digital camera in 2001).

A re-write of a former post that deletes the D700 and the two lenses conclusion, and replaces them with just a Leica Q2 Monochrom. Then address it to Mike:
https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/05/letter-to-george.html

Mind you, I still love my big beast of a D700, picked up a mint Nikon 85mm f/1.4D for peanuts, and likewise a stabilised Tamron 35mm f/1.8.

Mamiya 7/7ii

I don't know you from Adam, Mike, but I've read TOP on and off for many years. Putting it simply: Don't buy the stinking Leica. Carrying around such a precious object and trying to optimize it's output to meet your standards will lead to no end of suffering. That's my sense of it anyway. Regarding your recent visit to the National Gallery, I sure hope you ventured over to the West Wing to see the Robert Adams retrospective show, "American Silence". Best of luck with your search for a camera.

I think your best choice would be the Swiss Army Knife of all cameras. If you need a bright focus EVF, a Tilt-Up LCD, a variety of Lens Ranges, RAW and very fast and accurate Auto Focusing, you have no other choice but the Sony RX10IV. These cameras have always satisfied everything I needed and I pair them with the latest iPhone Pro Max Phone and actually do a lot of image processing on the phone, and I am finding what I need 95% of the time. After a recent battle with cancer and a Detached Retina Surgery, some days I have to shoot from inside my car or standing near it and these cameras give me the flexibility I need. Good Luck.

No one ever seems to mention the tri-focus 28-35-50 Leica lens. Might be a good combo, that and a CL.

I'm with Thomas Walsh and Rob Campbell; you don't need another camera; your X-T1, X-H1 and iPhone 13 Pro have got you covered. If I and a bunch of the other working pros that shoot with X-H1's here can meet their needs and deliver commercial "product" ranging from portrait, commercial, RE and Artchitecture to Motorsports PJ with an X-H1, your needs and requirements are fully covered, as well.

It seems that this wish is coming more from GAS or what I would classify and see in a lot of males as "seeking behavior". I've seen this behavior in high-end audio, photography, motorcycling (..."if only I had that new Gixxer Thou, I'd become a MUCH better rider" Yeah, right.), whatever things guys are into. And invariably, I never see these guys obtain FULFILLMENT from it.

That's because fulfillment does not come from....more gear. It comes developing your skills and proficiencies, getting your Atomic Habits under control, acheiving your Aims, mastering a discipline, running that 10K, doing work that makes a contribution to Society, creating writing, art, or science that resonates with a larger group of folks....it's that stuff that drives personal fulfillment, not more gear.

FOCUS on what's important; yet another camera is frou-frou.

I wrote this this morning but apparently forgot to post it.


Mike, you are essentially a B&W photographer whether you admit it or not. I am as well. Started loving photography with B&W prints and finally admitted to myself that I would rather shoot B&W than color.

I've used several brands over the years but usually switched for some bewildering reason. They were all good cameras and I enjoyed using them. You really cannot go wrong these days unless you simply don't like using a model.

You've expressed joy at using the loaned Leica so I'll go out on a limb and suggest you buy one. Since they cost a fortune, a used model would be best for the mortal's budget. And since you're a B&W guy, I suggest a Monochrome. The Monchrome Q is a great idea but it might be stretching the budget while limiting the function.

Kolari Vision advertises M9 Monochromes with their own corrosion-proof sensor. I have no experience with Kolari but the concept is appealing. It would avoid the biggest fault of those models--sensor rot. The M9 has a sterling reputation for image quality. Handling is...well, a Leica. Round it out with a Voigtlander Color-Skopar 35/2.5 lens--a bargain little gem that I use on my X-Pro2 and dearly love.

Just an idea. Take it for what it's worth.

(And, P.S. If not the above, get a D700, 35/2D, shoot B&W JPEGs and enjoy without mulling potentialities. It's what I do now....)

Epson R-D1x with a 35mm f2 Summicron.

While I am tempted to agree with Niels ('cuz he's right!), the most FUN I've ever had with a digital camera is the Ricoh GRIIIx. It fulfills all of the promise of digital - very compact, very sharp, great rendering, easy files to work with.

If I want to enjoy myself I grab my Pen F. When I convince myself I want to do something serious I grab something else. Then later I wish I’d grabbed my Pen F. I set it to Mono and shoot both raw and JPEG. Raw gives me options, although admittedly I find for the way I look at or show my work, thanks becoming a rare occurrence.

Get a Fujifilm X100V $1400, remote release $40, Hoya 49mm UV filter $70, Vello lens hood $20, 2 Fuji batteries $120, B+W 49mm 10 stop ND filter $40, and a Slik AL-523-3W tripod with Arca type plate $147. Total outlay is $1710. All of these are prices at B&H BTW. Then get a small case to keep the camera in and put it under the seat of your vehicle and keep the trpod in the backseat. This way you will always have a camera with you or nearby. You can get all of the above for $1000 less than the least expensive Leica M mount lens.

Mike, you need a Pentax LX with a large supply of film.

I'll take the bait. I am a little late in responding but here goes. This is me reading your mind.
One of your top priorities is In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS). Rule out all cameras that don't have IBIS.
You like a nice viewfinder.
You want "nice" image quality. Any modern camera will give you that. You will have to learn to tweak the image to your liking in Lightroom or PS or your image manipulation software of choice. You only have to figure that out once and then you are set. You can even save the adjustments as a preset.
You like B&W. Get a camera that will let you set image to B&W mode. Most modern cameras do that. But shoot raw so the color info is saved for the occasional photo you want in color. One of your saved presets would be for the black and white conversion you like as a baseline. You will of course adjust to taste from the baseline.
Don't worry about micro 4/3, APS, or Full Frame. They all give good image quality. Refer to Cetin's last newsletter about sufficiency where micro 4/3 satisfies the vast majority of his photos.
You like to have a camera that is easy to use. No such modern camera exists. Just accept you will have to suffer the learning pains of figuring out the controls that you want to control and forget the rest. You can dip into the vast expertise of TOP readers to help you. Don't be too shy to take advantage of that.
Now to the camera I recommend for Mike. Rent or borrow the cameras and lenses you think you would want and find the one that "feels" right for you. Top readers may be able to lend you the gear, just ask. Image quality is a wash. Olympus has great image stabilization, lens are small, give one a spin.

I have the Leica SL 2s and everything about it is fantastic. With the L mount lenses it is just too heavy. With M mount its fine. For you I would suggest the SL2s with a voigtlander 40mm take your pick which one.

OR if you can or up with good 28mm lenses a Ricoh GR 3 or Leica Q2. For size a walk around ability they are really good.

If I were to go for one money no object a Leica Q 2 mono or not.
If Money a Ricoh and a good viewfinder 28 or 40 mm one. The images are really good.and it is durable and can be with you all the time.

Any fully professional digital camera. With your job, you need to tinker with many different aspects of photography, and you won't get that with a specialty camera like a Monochrom or a Q. If it's a professional camera, I don't think brand would affect much except price. Kirk Tuck likes the big Leicas, which he's pretty conclusively proven are brilliant cameras, but they also come at an astounding price, and it doesn't get cheaper to when you begin adding lenses. As I said, any brand of fully professional camera would do, but I'd recommend (purely from my experience) a like-new Nikon Z7 with a like-new 24-70 f4 (a great lens) from Keh for about $2500, well under half of Kirk's Leica recommendation. That will basically do anything you want with a camera from pretty wide to portrait-long (using the APS-C option.) And it has Nikon ergonomics. Again, any major brand would do, IMO.

Obviously the Bronica RF645 with 65mm f4 lens. Bellissimo

Sony A7C. Size/form factor of you loved G8 but with FF advantages. Add some of the special lenses Sony has made for this model, especially the trio with barrel aperture contrul. Look at the IQ of the tiny 28-60 Sony zoom. Consider the size/weight performance of the Samyang 18mm 2.8 as well. It all adds up to a small, lightweight flexible travelling or street camera.
Dont consider stripping the filters off anything to get a mono camera, the stripping removes the micro lenses as well and you need these for wa lenses.

A Nikon Z6 II. You're a lens nerd, and the Nikon Z 85mm 1.8 is an absolute beaut of a lens. It's very well balanced. Sharp where it needs to be, forgiving enough. Thom says they're basically all at least very good. And Nikon has solidly neutral color. Not a lot of pizzaz like Fuji (which I'm not sympatico with) or Oly (which I am).

24 megapixels is enough, or so you claim. Since money is no object, you can get more megapixels by bumping the number to a 7.

I gave mine up. Too big for my wants, needs, and more importantly hands.

I loved my first camera, a Nikon FM. Simple to operate and nice results. As my eyes deteriorated I moved to the Nikon N90S. Great camera and fun to use. Through the different digital Nikon cameras, for some reason I loved the Nikon D40 for it's lightweight and travel carry. I landed on street photography and carried the Panasonic GX7 around the world and liked it, but didn't like the viewfinder at all. So if you like Nikon type interface, I'd recommend the Panasonic G9. A small enough M4/3 that has a bit of a Nikon feel with the lightweight that I prefer.

The thing I find interesting in the recommendations is that 10% of 90 or so comments recommend the Ricoh GRiiix. I know you won’t take the recommendation since you tried a Ricoh before and didn’t like it but it is the only really pocketable APS-C camera and so means you can have a ‘real’ camera always with you.

On the other hand maybe you should dispose of all your ‘real’ cameras and just use the iPhone. That way you would be writing about the common problem of almost all your readers here — and certainly nearly all on the big mag — in coming to terms with the camera they always have with them and it’s virtues and frustrations.

I'm thinking that a useful exercise here would be to separate the love and passion for photography and images, from the love and passion for photography gear and the search for the 'ideal' kit.
With this in mind: the 'gear and ideal kit' is ever evolving and in reality needs a fund to cover the ever changing experiments that enthusiasm for photography gear usually involves.
For the 'passion for photography and images' it seems to me that you would be best served by a 40mm-e prime on a small but not too small body of your desire, Fuji springs to mind, although I don't remember reading why it was that you did not stick with Fuji so I may be missing some essential element here.

So my answer to your question 'what camera would I recommend for you', is a mid range Fuji body with the 27/2.8, let's say the X-T2, but it could be almost any of them, (X-S10 maybe for IBIS and smaller size, if PASM is not an issue for you.). This is the camera to keep and use when you simply want to take photo's, it's unspectacular but dependable and will become well known to your hands and mind. Don't be tempted to get a second lens for this camera, that would be confusing 'photography and images' with 'gear and ideal kit'.
With all the rest of your allocated photography funds you have a rolling collection of gear that is purchased used and sold when no longer needed, and thus the real expense of this gear is low. This gear is for satisfying your curiosity and enthusiasm for camera gear, as well as as a springboard from which to launch thoughts and considerations for blogposts.

[I have two Fuji X bodies and seven Fuji XF lenses. Still current. --Mike]

Like many others I would recommend the Fuji X100V. It is simple, fast, small, with excellent IQ. You can use it in B&W mode jpeg + raw. Turn the touch screen off, and you have a superb tool. I also use a Leica Monochrome 246, with 28/2.8, 35/1.4, and 50/2 lenses (plus others, including the 40/2 Rokkor for a one lens set) also a beautiful camera.

For images twice the size that you print, the Fuji is just as good. The Leica only pulls ahead at 24x16. And the Fuji is faster, is silent, has a beautiful leaf shutter, and, of course, is much cheaper.

After a long while resisting I bought the 28 and 50 mm extension lenses. These are excellent and light, and just as easy to add on as to change lenses on the Leica - really! I can also just leave them at home.

This is really a wonderful camera.

You recently posted about m4/3 being the goldilocks of currently available formats. So I'm going to take a different approach and pick the newly released Olympus 20mm f1.4 as your new lens. You pick the body to put behind it. Haven't you always supported the idea to pick a system based on presently available lenses?

My good friend Billy Weeks told my students once that if you go out and buy a Nikon, you’re not a photographer - you’re a person who owns a Nikon.

Gear needs to disappear in your hands, I get that (and have had it several times over the years) - but the reason it disappears is because what’s in front of you, what you’re seeing, is more powerful and interesting than the gear is. Some of the best work I did was with a Leica M4-P and a Nikon N8008s, but put me in those same positions, with my current digital cameras, and I’ll still see those moments and compositions.

Photography really isn’t about photographing, it’s about photographs.

Easy. Hasselblad x-Pan
Don't rush into the wide lens, 30mm if remember. I found it to be of very limited use.

Bill Pearce not the famous one.

Q2 Monochrom, assuming that you are ok with the focal length.

Pick up a cheap Pentax K-1 (seeing them at under 1K 2nd hand now) and find a 31/1.8 Limited and be done. If the AF noise gets to you, toggle the AF to MF and focus with your finger tips. Take a few weeks finding flaws, spend the remaining 11 months and 2 weeks taking pictures and record all the 'damn that just makes sense' or 'wow, wow, wow' when you open a shot on a big screen, moments.

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