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Tuesday, 21 February 2023


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I don't know that it's their latest product, but I believe Zeiss launched the Otus 100/1.4 ca. April 2019.

Wot no Phase One?

YES!!! Let's hope they all keep going and developing. Each has their strengths, and deserves to survive.

In 35mm, or as it's now known, FF, I've changed from one system to another 3 times in the last 55 years. I started out with Konica, switched to Nikon when the writing was on the wall that Konica's SLR adventures were ending, switched to Canon when they had some lenses and technologies that Nikon seemed not to be interested in and switched to Sony while Canon and Nikon fought hard against mirrorless. Each was very good and fully useable in its own way. Meanwhile, I had been using Leica RF since the early 60's throughout and started using m43 when Panasonic came out with the G1. That last purchase made me see the advantages of mirrorless and led to the switch to Sony. So now I have 3 systems, each of which I'm very happy with for their specific uses.

In the film era I had a lot of other formats/manufacturers such as Cambo, Sinar, Noblex, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Roundshot etc. for my work, but those are now gone except for Hasselblad and not required as I'm retired. But it would be great if some of those had survived and reinvented themselves in the digital landscape.

Well Gopro is alive and well, but Dpreview.com don't write about them anymore. Not primarily a stills camera though. I think gopro hero 11 is the latest and greatest from the action camera maker.

Phase one makes cameras, but not mainstream of course. Kind of like RED film cameras but for stills. But when you mention Hasselblad...

"Panboy" makes me think of black and white film photographers who have no truck with those strange infra-red and ortho type films. : )

Meanwhile, I use two different brands; Pentax and Sony. The Sony, an A6000 with the kit lens, is the daily carry plus discrete street photography camera; I have big hands and at waist level it's hardly noticeable. It is small and light and easy to carry.

The Pentax outfit does all the heavy lifting, as do I when I'm lugging it all around. Sometimes I'll lend a Pentax lens to the Sony.

> I noticed that this blog would attract more people who were partisans of whatever brand I was shooting with at the time, especially if I stuck with it for a while and wrote about it frequently.

Yes, I recall the rush of 6.5x8.5 inch shooters who visited TOP when you bought that Chamonix*.


*Sarcasm alert


Phase One, which makes two medium format camera systems and, more importantly, digital backs, and Arca-Swiss and Alpa, who make technical pancake and view cameras. All these are important for architectural photographers and others who require technical or view cameras, which may not be mass market, but is an important segment and consistent part of the professional photography world.

I think a lot of the fanboys are now fangeezers. The last big holdout seems to be DPR, which valiantly tries to keep the fanboy fires going. But there are lots of slow forums these days compared to the first fifteen years of digital. I do my part, but with less enthusiasm as time goes on.

Phase One ?

You make a lot of sense. "Ad-Am" still photographers appear to be a greatly shrunk and shrinking minority, it seems. For some reason, it's especially gratifying that Ricoh/Pentax is hanging in there, despite the fact that I've never owned anything by either brand, which perhaps supports your theory that we're all rooting for one chummy little team now.

But another side of it is that there are far fewer excuses for fan-boyism. (I also think it's important to emphasize that, for certain reasons, "fan-boys" are amateurs (perhaps with some "semi-pros" thrown in)):

The technology "race" is essentially over, thus no one is "winning" in any given area at the moment. Cameras passed the point of general sufficiency years ago, and then smartphones caught up. What's still around is most all good enough, and what wasn't is no longer around (which is not to say that everything that's gone wasn't good). That tech race fed not only fan-boyism, but its symbiotic partner: lazy specs-based pixel-peeping journalism.

Partly because of this, manufacturers have been focusing more on shoring up weaknesses and playing on strengths. Specialists may still need specific hardware or systems, but generalists and hobbyists are well served by just about any major system. There's simply not a lot to argue about any more. And specs-based journalism seems to have given way to more practical and useful reviews.

I recall that right around the time digital photography was maturing, there was a prominent lo-fi wave or fad--Speed Graphics, Dianas, leaky Holgas and vintage Canon Gs were suddenly everywhere--not just in art photography but in mainstream news, high fashion and sports photography as well. This was accompanied by a revival in analog and vintage processes. All this was a much needed corrective (and perhaps reaction) to both techno-fetishism and fan-boyism. Big-sensor video was the knock-out punch.

Since then, mirrorless systems and video/stills convergence have allowed and fostered much more mixing and matching between brands, eras and practice areas of photography, not just in terms of hardware compatibility and standards, but in attitude as well, further undermining excuses for fan-boyism. What is the point when bodies from brands A and B can easily use the same lenses to produce indistinguishably stunning pictures after post? (That's probably some part of the equation, too--advances in post processing.)

I find it helpful to know what a reviewer's tastes are, as it can inform their reviews. Brand preference can be helpful to some degree there - brands do have their strengths, even if we can't all agree on what those are! And while I find brand specific forums helpful when having equipment specific questions - it's a bit odd when you have to go to 5 different places just to look at pictures. Give me a good EXIF filter so if I want to see shots taken with a certain sensor or lense, sure, but otherwise, it's limiting.

Multiple brands per format used to be common in film-based photography. These days, I can easily see how one could choose a micro4/3 system along with an APS and a 35mm ("full frame") as well as a medium format - all for different uses. That could be 3 brands minimum (or 4 if the one for APS is different than full frame or medium format). Oh, and a Holga for the kids!

What about Zeiss? They are still making big, bulky and expensive lenses to fit into other systems.

What does "ILC" stand for?
I love cats
I like cheese

Some people tend to be gung-ho about what they own or deem darn near perfect (for them).

It does not just happen with camera gear. Throughout my time with computers, I have always had to have both a PC and a Mac for work & business. Through the years, I had to listen to others question my decision to have either. I already knew what they would say 'cause I heard it umpteen times before. I would just smile and take it all in, learning something about their computer knowledge or experience.

I keep cameras like I keep boyfriends friends. Once I find what works for me, I stay with it.

Well, I wouldn't say you coined the term "bokeh" but you state to have added the "h" to the end of the word because English speakers don't know how to correctly pronounce the Japanese word "boke", which is correct, they don't.

"Are you aware of any that deserve to be listed as major going concerns that aren't included among those ten?"

Phase One comes to mind.

"Panboy" sounds good to me! And I'm trying my best to fit the term, so far using Lumix (M43), Mamiya (645 & 67), Nikon (F & Z), and Olympus.

The term didn’t exist among Leica fans, as you wrote; rather among Leica detractors.

Wow, I wonder if this is the smallest number of active camera manufacturers since, I don't know, World War II?
Someone I know uses the handle polycamerous, a play on polyamorous.

I can understand it. It's not just photography. Some people are car fans (I love my Miata MX5). I'm also a fan of RPN and HP Calculators (vs TI, casio and others back in the day).

We make investments in learning the systems, whatever they are, and become emotionally attached.

And please don't ever take my Pentax gear..

Isn’t panboy just a Panasonic fanboy? ;)

I think I count as a panboy in the Greek sense. In the past 10 years my main ILC camera has been, in order, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony. With the unique Sigma dp0 thrown in as a landscape ultrawide specialist. Whatever looks like it will best suit my needs, brand notwithstanding.


We can but hope. For a while the world was full of Mac vs PC, and we don't hear about that any more. And then there was Apple and Android. All of it was a convenient stick for some people to drum up interest in them and their point of view. I'd like to believe we're past that. Writers never cared what brand of typewriter they used, and usually didn't care about the computer hardware, though some cared about the actual writing software. Photographers shouldn't care what brand of camera or software is used to create images, we should be celebrating that images are being made.

Clearly dedicated digital cameras reached a point of sufficiency/equivalence awhile ago and you can do great work with any of them. There are niche cases to be made for one over another but it's really down to personal preference. My main system for the last 10 years has been Fujifilm mainly because I like the smaller size and weight and the design sensibility. I had a Sony full frame body for awhile that I originally bought to use as part of a digicam film scanning set up, as I still shoot BW film. I sold it because I don't scan that way anymore, but also because the FF Sony lenses are heavier than I want to shlep around, and I don't find the FF sensor to be a real advantage compared to the Fuji for the work I like to do. However, the Sony was an excellent camera. I recently bought a used Nikon Z6 for the dedicated purpose of mounting my lovely manual focus 35 mm lenses with adapters, just for fun. The Z mount works well with these adapters. However, all of the remaining brands gear is way better than I need to do what I want. I mean I made nice prints with the first 3 megapixel Canon SLR that came out years ago.

Of note, despite the contraction of the dedicated camera market, my local camera store, CameraMall, appears to be doing very well. They appear to carry all the brands except Pentax, and I see people buying cameras and gear in there all the time. Last year they moved to a bigger space. They match Amazon and BH prices, have helpful friendly staff, a solid rental program, support the film community by selling film, chemicals, and film cameras, and run classes. All is not lost.

Leica and Nikon for digital.

Rolleicord and Super Ikonta for film.

I believe Phase One still makes a couple of camera systems. Whether they meet your criterion of “deserve to be listed as major going concerns” you can decide.

Mike, you will be haunted by Holga fanboys (and many -girls).

Actually..come to think of it; fan"boys"? I guess the ad-am crowd is still overwhelmingly male. Like..85%? More? Somebody knows?

But then maybe the proliferation of phone-photography has been a good thing, from a feminist point of view..I guess there it's more like 50/50, or even more girls then boys?

[Why does everything boil down to sexual politics these days? We can't seem to get away from it. "Fanboy" or -boi are terms I didn't even allow on this blog for many years. I dislike it because it's usually derogatory. --Mike]

Fanboy-ism could probably be distilled down to the basic human need of curiosity and survival. From maybe the first monkey to switch over to using another’s ant-straw to those early humans’ choice of better hunting tools (cameras?). It’s in our genetics to wonder what-if and why-not? It’ll always be there, one way or another…

In my professional photo career, I switched brands at least once a week, and frequently a couple times a day. I liked them all, except some really miserable early digicams from HP and Kodak.

I never thought any of the menu systems were too complex or disjointed, though I hear those complaints a lot.

Only Leica made it truly difficult to get a decent photo, and even those are now passable.

Hmm, is Mamiya still alive?

They have just moved on to fanboy about other things besides cameras.

"Era of Fanboys ending?" Wait, did we suddenly become non-tribal anthropoid apes when I wasn't looking?

Plus ca change, Mike. Plus ca change.

Having shot 2 systems of my own for a brief period, and having had to use another at work, I would say that in the digital age running 2 systems is a PITA because of the menu differences. This wasn't so in film days---easy peasey.

One day, some bright person will figure out an "agnostic" menu that could be configured by the user---I guess Android based. That would make using cameras from different manufacturers better. But then there's the mount problem for the lenses, and worse that that flashes---Ugh.


From Wiki:

"Today Linhof is the oldest still-producing camera manufacturer in the world after Gandolfi and Kodak stopped their production."

[Since DPReview stands for "Digital Photography Review," I think they're mostly limited to digital. Although there's that anomalous Holga.... --Mike]

Darlene asked "What does "ILC" stand for?
I love cats
I like cheese

Well, Darlene, I too love cats. I also like cheese. And especially am fond of Interchangeable Lens Cameras ;-)


And don't forget the Beta vs VHS camps. Ha!!! Do humans always find some excuse to yell at each other?

I definitely fail membership of the "fanboy" class.

My current active cameras are Fuji GFX50s (for long exposures), Sony A7rii (for shallow depth of field), Fuji X-T1 (converted for IR), Lumix G9 (primary camera), Lumix GX7 (pocket camera). I also have a very specialist Olympus EM10 (for fireworks!).

There is also a Pentax K5 in the cupboard but I don't use that (I occasionally like to play with it for the build quality and the hand-in-glove fit, but it is slightly too heavy for my taste).

In my attic museum I have my ancient Nikon D100, Kodak 14n, a couple of Sigma SDxx and a Canon G7 compact. Thanks to MPB.com for accepting my money for so long.

No Hassy or Leica, though. I must be a hater..


DPR brand forums still show plenty of fanboyism. Even the m4/3 forum, where multiple companies supply products, has great schisms.

Fanboyism is unfortunately still alive. Just check out LUF, and look for the threads about brand new film cameras (MP & M6) with defective pressure plates scratching film. The contortions that some of the "leica can do no wrong" crowd are having to go through is a thing of (perverse) beauty.

[LUF? --Mike]

i confess to being a “TOP contrarian camera fanboy” mainly because it’s been fun to catch the waves and ride yours and your readers’ opinions. i think i was avoiding professional-seeming plastic/rounded DSLRs like they were a middle-aged man plague. i was kinda a hipster, frankly. so “not having a grip” and “compact prime lens” were my main digital camera criteria. and I liked not scaring people with my camera when i traveled and shot solo.

that led to digital Pens, digital OMs, sigma DPs, flirtations with Fuji x100s and x-pros, and purchases of film rangefinders and 60s/70s SLRs.

it has been a fun surf. thank you TOP and TOP readers!

funny thing, though, is that my main camera is a mirrorless big dragoon of a micro four thirds with too big zoom and too big prime lenses for the format. i am embracing good AF and bird photos, large lens ergonomics, and my middle age-ness! i am at peace with the brand fanboy-ism that led me to this corner of the camera market, one that i fought so hard to avoid in the 2010s

I consider myself a Nikon fan. Over the years since 1974 I’ve owned an F2, FE, D70, D300, D800, D850 and Zfc. BUT I’ve also owned many Canon point and shoots including my current G7x, three Olympus EM5s, an Olympus TG6, two GoPros and an Insta360 X3. So I can’t really call myself a fanboy and like you I want all the camera companies to thrive. I just use the camera that is most appropriate for what I want to record. I currently own about 12 dedicated cameras (if you count the DJI drone) and use them all regularly. Even though the Nikon D850 is my favourite I probably use it less than the Olympus TG6 or the EM5.

By the way I don’t think GoPro is failing and they have produced several new cameras in the last few years.

"Hmm, is Mamiya still alive?

Posted by: Ken Burg | Wednesday, 22 February 2023 at 07:12 AM"

No. But some of its genes live on in Phase One.

Beyond the need to justify and defend our choices, humans are a tribal lot. Camera choice is one of the more benign manifestations thereof.

Seem like dpreview misses a bunch of brands.
Youngnuo has the micro four thirds camera YN455. They also made a YN450 with EF-mount. They are still making lenses.

Large Sense makes eye wateringly expensive medium and large format backs. A real 8x10 inch sensor.

Nons camera makes film cameras that take fujifilm mini and square instax film, with dead Ef-mount.

Pixii makes a bunch of range finder M-mount cameras.

I am probably missing another company.

Thank you, Patrick Perez. You are a gentleman. Happy to hear you love kitties too. =^.^=

LUF? That was the Leica User Forum when I was a younger man.

[I could be wrong, but I believe there is a Leica Forum and a Leica User Group (LUG) but not a "Leica User Forum." But as I say I'm not much of a Leica guy and I don't know for sure. --Mike]

Sinar p3-df

No new products by Phase One since 2018?

Since 2018, Phase One has introduced two new camera systems.

On 10 September 2019, Phase One announced the introduction of the new XT camera system, initially comprising the XT camera body, the IQ4-150 digital back and a set of three Rodenstock lenses featuring the new Phase One X shutter, a much more rugged electromagnetic shutter replacing the mechanical Copal shutter, and a significant achievement in itself.


Then, on 25 March 2020, Phase One announced the introduction and immediate availability of its new iXH 150Mp camera system:


I guess some people are unhappy that Phase One hasn't introduced a new digital back to replace the fabulous IQ4-150 (54x40mm BSI sensor, 150Mp) which was announced in August 2018 and appeared around November 2018 (so long ago!), despite there being no better digital sensor available to replace it.

Heads up DJI owns Hasselblad, they also use the same sensor as the OM-1 in the mavic 3 and are currently the biggest purchaser of 43 sensors, selling way more units than panasonic and Olympus combined from what I can tell... also, OM system sold more cameras last year than Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic, and Leica, all with a reskinned 10 year old E-PL5, you cannot make this up. I'm a fanboy of TTartisan, which didn't make your list... hands down the best manual focus lenses I have ever used, they just draw so well.

I am pretty sure DPReview also omitted Phase One cameras from their lists before 2007 when Amazon acquired them. So I don’t think one of your featured comments is on the money when it suggests there is a link from Amazon not selling Phase One to DPReview not listing them.

Samsung. There. I said it.
They made rubbish small cameras. Just horrible user interfaces.

Then out of left field, they created an astonishingly great dslr. Then five seconds later, announce they are fovever leaving the camera/lense business.

We forget that companies only exist to make money. If making spoons was more profitable, we might well be buying one of Canons L Series Chef Spoons.

The fact that you so easily dismiss Holga just illustrates how out of touch with "photography" you may be getting.

[It's a DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SITE! What is ONE random film camera doing in its timeline of cameras? This has nothing to do with me. I'm just reporting on what I found under the "Cameras" tab at DPReview. --Mike]

Sure gear talk pulls in views but there is a huge contingent of photographers who love, use and buy "toy" cameras. These same photographers probably use digital whatever cameras too. In their view it's about "photography" not what some influencer on DPR is peddling today. The "us vs them" has been around forever. Probably some caveman poo poo'd another caveman's choice of club because it was an older model. In my generation it was the Beatles vs Stones. We were simply called, fans. The term fan-boy was first used in 1919. So it's nothing new. However, the term attempts to emasculate the person it refers to and further infer the person is immature. I believe we live in a wonderful age for photography. Is it better than it was in Saint AA's days? I would not say so. I would say we have far different ways to express ourselves and a plethora of new tools to realize our creative/artistic goals. Our chosen creative/artistic medium is exploding with new opportunities for expression. Photographic artists I would conjecture are far less interested in the latest gear than the cameras companies marketing teams would like. To drive camera sales they appeal to the types who fawn over specs and what's new and shiny.

I applaud the "fan-boys"! I hope they keep buying the latest and greatest and selling what is now old and useless. The churn funds R&D and many reviewers. It also allows real creatives/artists the opportunity to buy good lightly used gear, if there is a specific need for it to realize an imagined image.

Isn't Phase One rebadged/updated/evolved Mamiya?

I own a "Mamiyaflex C" (TLR), in horrible, horrible condition, probably about as far from Phase One as you can possibly get.

Fanboys were simultaneously Hateboys for anything related to film. Dpreview was a cesspool of this group-hate. But now that film has enjoyed a revival, these guys are all of a sudden experts on the topic.

Great article, Mike. My take is that the apparent decline in fanboyism with respect to cameras is because users of dedicated cameras are nowadays miniscule compared to phone camera users. Even I rarely use any of my cameras any more (but there are emotional issues connected to that choice for me personally). Fanboyism never made sense to me, but I had to acknowledge that it very much existed. If it has passed, I will not mourn its' demise.

I was always interested (possibly still am) as to the equipment (including film) used by photographers and I used to enjoy a daily visit to Japan Camera Hunter for their 'In your bag' feature. Guess I am just plain nosey.

I enjoy it too when an article about a particular photographer details not just the equipment used but their thought processes and aims behind their photography or photography projects. In my early days in photography I learned a lot that way. Now I shall sign off by providing a clue as to my own 'fanboyism'. :-)

MJ: "At one point, I even got accused by multiple personages of loving and hating the same brand at the same time.

Is all that "fanboy" nonsense actually dying down now?"

I think there is a realisation among end users, many end users, most end users(?) that some of the camera makers are now just after our money, nothing more, no loyalty, no brand enthusiasm.

Reading or glancing through most/all of the comments, I am struck that while there is a reference to various Leica groups there is NO MENTION of that strange and peculiar bond that exists between loyal users of the brand: the 'Leica fellowship'. The company actively encourages that trait and that their customers look on their products as excellent tools for a purpose in photography.

While Canon and Nikon and maybe Pentax have their fierce devotees who will argue the merits of their brand endlessly, I think something deeper goes on between Leica owner/users. I could tell some stories of encounters in past years.

Personally I now in old age regret the time spent 'playing' with different cameras over the years. It was time not spent taking photographs with the cameras that have given me the most pleasure as tools in the hand and at my eye; the film OM1 and OM2n and film Leica M6 and their respective lens systems.

This can lead to dilittantism and that way disatisfaction lies.

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