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Tuesday, 05 March 2024


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Ha. I still have a copy of that "Photo Techniques" issue. Because on the cover you showed most of my personal 35mm kit at that time... Leica M3, 50/2 DR-Summicron, and 35/2 RF-Summicron.
I was hugely amused that under the "25 Best Cameras" headline was gear that was at minimum, 32 years old- but I didn't disagree.
Of course, on the job I used Nikons when 35mm was called for, and I had a Nikon or two at home, but the Leica was still my favorite.

I am a TG-7 Conscientious Objector. Sort of.

1. It cannot be in the list, because if you wear sunglasses, its screen goes black (in standard orientation). Really? In 2024? On an outdoorsy adverturey action camera?

This was confirmed by https://seriouslyphotography.com/2023/09/hands-on-with-om-systems-tough-tg-7-rugged-camera

2. It's IQ is just too low. I won't get all sciencey, but yeah, it's not at the point of sufficiency. DxO Photolab can drag 3 stops of it back (once DxO support its raw file format - which they still don't), but the processing overhead is huge to unsmear those raws.

3. Its macro chops only really stand out from the crowd, when you work with focus stacking. And that requires a non moving subject that won't mind the camera being an inch from the lens. Which is not likely in the natural world of wind (flowers) and bugs.

4. Its accessories are fragile - given the use case promoted by the camera. The ring lights, extra tricky lens cap, etcetera. And of course, they are ridiculously expensive.

Yes. It has great ergonomics for it genre. Yes. It's apocalypse proof. Has great battery life in the real world. Is responsive and well designed.

But if I have to take off my sunglasses in bright light, to get to see what I'm framing, and if the IQ can't come even halfway close to my (non Apple) phone, it's not right and proper Mike.

Dagnabit! (prospector reference intended).

For Australians, Camera House (the real world bricks and mortar retailer) has the TG-7 for sale at under AUD$600 as of today. Red and black. Use code MAR15 at checkout to get that price.


Terrific recovery news! And that sounds like an ambitious list indeed. Rack 'em up!

Fankly, I'm a bit surprised to find that the "pocketable" camera segment survives; less surprised that it's a mix of video-centric upstarts and venerable stills-era model lines, with apparently nothing in what I'd consider the "budget" range.

I guess it's old news that smartphones and social media have weeded out all but the "enthusiast", "novelty/retro" and video-centric (and combinations thereof) models from the non-pro camera market. (Does that make an "enthusiast" list easier or harder to compile?) Maybe that's one reason I'm thinking more than ever about the difference between "photography enthusiast" and "camera enthusiast", and about where and how they overlap and diverge (or do they?). Hoping your list might shed some light here.

I still have that Photo Techniques issue. Thanks to it I got my first and second M3’s. I was reading it when a colleague told me that his father had one of those. I asked him if he would be interested in selling and he said “maybe”. Long story short, I went to his father’s house, he showed me the camera and a few lenses ( everything full of fungus ) and I bought it. The camera was cleaned by Steve Choi from Camera Service in Los Angeles and I still have it.

"Sorry this is so long, but I didn't have time to make it short."

I love this line! There's a concise history of it at Quote Investigator https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/04/28/shorter-letter/

Hi Mike,

Thanks for explaining your approach to the list.
Could I please suggest you consider Thom’s “best all round”, aka Jack-of-all-trades ILCs. Currently the Nikon Z8, previously the D850.

My reasoning is that you can discuss the compromises involved in deciding what to buy, and that something deemed ‘best’ may not be the best option for certain needs / wants.

I.e. the high pixel cameras creates larger files. They are also more demanding of lenses and therefore require more expensive, and often bigger and heavier, lenses, to squeeze out all the image quality potential.

As a sweeping generalisation, wedding photographers that shoot Nikon generally opted for the D750 over the D850, at the time, for many of the reasons outlined above.
Or, landscape shooters that want to maximise detail would need the PCE and other top end lenses (14-24mm f/2.8), plus a substantial tripod, to support the bigger / heavier lenses and bodies. That’s OK if you can drive to the shooting location. But, if someone has to hike into the shooting location, then weight becomes a significant factor, and people will look to alternatives.

As an aside, the D780 may be unique in being a transitional mix of DSLR (OVF with traditional PD AF), and mirrorless equivalent (EVF and on-sensor AF via Live View). But that may not meet your column needs. I didn’t use the term hybrid as it seems to refer to stills & video these days.

Disclosure - I obviously shoot Nikon, but have only used one of the bodies mentioned above.

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