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Monday, 04 March 2024


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I am guessing this list is sort of "best cameras in their niche?" The Pentax Monochrome is truly great for the B&W-minded, but obviously not for everyone. I used one for a few weeks, can't justify purchasing it (yet), but it's really wonderful. You do have to religiously underexpose, though, unless you want completely white parts in the highlights. But the high-ISO range is extraordinary, so you can shoot fast shutter speeds all day (and night) and get usable files, once you edit them. So, not for the beginner, even the beginner who like B&W.

Incidentally, besides the sensor, the thing that struck me the most is how well-rounded and extremely responsive (and well made!) this camera is. I'd go out on a limb and say the K-3 mark III itself (non-monochrome sensor) should be on a list of best cameras, because I don't know of many DSLRs that handle and operate better than it does.

Here's some "against" arguments:

You wanted "enthusiast" cameras. That implies a level just below professional -- images as good as professional images, but perhaps not the robustness and more extreme features. I don't think any phone qualifies. A phone is a note-taker. It does not offer the quality or have the flexibility of an enthusiast camera. If you'd wanted a list to make up a "complete camera set" or "wide variety for all purposes set" or some such, then a phone would qualify. There may be people doing exciting photography with phones, but they're doing it despite the equipment.

I think an enthusiast camera should be adaptable for portraits, low-light, astronomy, landscapes, birding, wildlife, etc. I think enthusiast cameras would include near-high-end Nikons, Canons, Fujis, Pentaxes, M4/3s. I think fixed lens cameras, Leicas and medium format cameras fall outside the category; they are specialist cameras, or professional cameras, not enthusiast cameras.

I think APS-C and M4/3 cameras qualify simply because they are so flexible and the images are so good. Professionals may not use them for a variety of reasons, but enthusiasts do.

I think enthusiast cameras should have a price aspect attached, because they are not deductible on your taxes. I'm a Nikon Z7II enthusiast, and if I were buying now, I'd probably still buy the Z7II, instead of a Z8, because it's more than a thousand dollars cheaper with really not a dime's worth of difference between the two cameras. Shouldn't "enthusiast" imply some price constraints?
I'm fully aware that some enthusiasts don't have price constraints, but most do.

I don’t think there is a “best” camera for everyone. But one of my favorites is the Olympus Pen-F. It’s small and handles a lot like a film rangefinder camera with excellent small prime lenses if you want to go with that ‘vibe’. Or you can pack one or two of the Olympus zooms for a more modern approach.

"The OM System Olympus Tough TG-7 has now made the list for its special macro (it made this! albeit with photo stacking which is pretty sophisticated)"


Focal Distance Stacking may sound not only sophisticated, but complicated. But it isn't!

Oly/OM Systems distinguish two forms of taking series of frames with different focal distances.

1. In camera stacking. Select this, focus on closest point and shoot. The camera takes a series of shots, merges them and puts out the result on your card. No fuss, no bother.

2. Focus Bracketing outputs the series of shots individually. They then need to be merged in an external program/app. More fuss, more flexible and powerful.

The TGs do both. Less range of options than the big cameras, but really effective.

One of the big problems with such close focus is lighting. The add-on ring light is a light pipe that uses the AF assist LED to provide light for macro. Not much light for anything but macro, but perfect for that.

I abandoned m43 for fuji a while back, but if I hadn't I think that I would have found the Panasonic G9 II very interesting. I had been considering the original G9 before I made the jump.

Mike, I have no idea what your objectives with this list might be. But if you're attempting to prescribe good -contemporary- hobbyist choices the Canon 6D II really doesn't belong here. There are better -current- Canon choices available for the same, or less, cost. Plus, the 6D II is rumored to be discontinued soon.

I don't understand why you'd put a fringe K3III Mono camera on your consideration list and not the actual K3III. One's a bit of a novelty act, the other the last remaining pro-level APS DSLR with the only, and probably best OVF around. I don't mean to demean the Mono too much, but it seems to me if you insist on having a mono sensor, you may as well have a mono camera with an EVF so you can see what you're shooting in B & W. The regular K3III is good enough to make a best of list on its own.

I'd also add the Ricoh GRIIX to your list. Impressive handling and image quality with the perfect length lens.

Glad to see an OVF camera make the list with the Canon 6D Mark II. The EOS line was launched in 1987, not 1991. I remember it was 1989 when I got my first one.

An outlier. One of my grand daughters gat a Fuji Instant camera for Christmas. I was so intrigued I bought a Leica Sofort, the Leica equivalent, and in a small way it has brought me back into Photography. It was cheap but at least I can now boast a Leica camera!
My main camera is Panasonic G9. Years old now I suppose but it does everything I want and then some

Checking with Thom...

As some others have indicated, I'm not sure what this list is useful for. Partly because you have terms that do not have an accepted definition (e.g. "enthusiast").

I tend to do this differently. What's the most well-rounded camera you can buy? That indeed would prompt one to put a Nikon Z8 somewhere in the top three, maybe at the top. I'd have to think about that, as I haven't made that pronouncement for awhile (last full article on that, the Nikon D850 was the one to beat).

That spider shot is amazing! Fortunately, (or maybe unfortunately) any ordinary camera/lens will fill the frame with one of our new neighbors, the Joro spiders.

The X-T5 seems utterly ordinary to me, but the GFX 100S (with any GF lens) is special in terms of results.

The feel of a camera in your hands and the ease of use are easily overlooked. I lust after a Canon R3 for these reasons, though my current Sony is probably more capable in almost every other way.

All that I can tell you is that I don't own or have direct experience using any of the best enthusiast cameras around. I make do with an EOS R, which is decidedly behind the tech curve, but still a whizz- bang marvel to me. It was somewhat panned upon release, and I think that was for good reason. For me, it fixed what I needed fixing for a reasonable price, so I'm happy, but that doesn't mean it should be nominated for the list.

I do not know exactly, what does "enthusiast" mean for you (and "best" for that matter, remember the posts about Nikon D800...), I myself consider one (for me). But anyway: What a superfluous list! Even the the time for considering is lost, waisted time. There is one best camera for enthusiasts (myself): Nikon Z8 (maybe Z9 for some)! I also use Hassy Z1D II and Hassy H6D, Z7, good too...

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