I Finally Have My Bearings - and They Point to Fuji and Panasonic Full Frame

Biro

Hall of Famer
Location
Jersey Shore
Name
Steve
For the past couple of years I have been thrashing about, trying to decide how to pare down my photographic kit as I head toward retirement and decide what direction in which to head. Well, I have finally made some decisions - and acted on them.

For nearly a decade, I have been operating with three kits: Sony full frame, Fuji APS-C and both Olympus and Panasonic micro four-thirds. I know, it's a lot of stuff - way too much. You'll get no argument from me. But it was all assembled over the course of at least 15 years and gave me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction for a long time.

My pared down kit will still involve all three formats - at least for now.

Essentially, my Fuji APS-C kit will be my main go-to gear. This includes an X100V, an X-T4 and an XS-10. I have sold off all of my Olympus micro four-thirds gear and most of my Panasonic u43 gear. I am keeping my G9 with a few lenses - including the PanaLeica 12-60 and 100-400mm zoom. That's primarily for shooting wildlife. If I find that I'm not using it much over the next 12-18 months, it will go too.

That leaves full frame. I probably don't really need it but I do enjoy it very much for certain subjects and want to keep at least one foot in the format. I've been running a Sony A7III and a number of lenses for a few years. They have served me well but I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said Sony gear is a fun-filled joy to use. It is highly competent but the user interface gets mixed reviews - at least from me.

And there are other things: Sony's camera bodies work well but have never felt robust to me. Weather sealing was a real issue for a long time. Reportedly, Sony has made big improvements recently and I'm sure that's true. But the cameras still feel a bit fragile to me. And then there is Sony's cynical way of marketing its cameras and lenses. It has become clear to me that if I am to stay with Sony, keeping reasonably current is going to be pretty expensive. That doesn't work for me at this point in my life.

With this in mind, I was talking online with Kirk Tuck - he of the Visual Science Lab blog - right around Christmas. Kirk currently is deep into the L-mount system with both Leica and Panasonic bodies. I can't afford Leica anymore and some of Panasonic's full-frame cameras, while excellent, are kind of big and heavy. But Kirk repeated his recommendation of the S5, which is smaller and lighter than my G9 while being unquestionably rugged and weatherproof. When I saw the S5 on sale at a $300 discount, I was sold. I used my Amazon gift card to bring the price down to about $1500. That's even less than a Sony A7c.

I have also picked up three small, light and sharp lenses by Sigma, which is a founding member of the L-mount consortium. I have the 28-70mm f/2.8 zoom, the 24mm f/3.5 prime and the 45mm f/2.8 prime. And that's it. All of it has been paid for by selling off gear with money to spare. And my kit is much smaller than it was a few months ago.

Most importantly, I feel much better now that I have stopped talking and started doing. Thanks for reading this far. I doubt my journey will have much impact on anyone's life and hobby pursuits. But it feels good to write this down.
 

agentlossing

Hall of Famer
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Name
Andrew L
Interesting that you stuck with a large-ish M4/3 body and zoom lenses. The S5 might kind of negate that kit (except for long tele) but I could see fitting a teeny tiny M4/3 and a small prime with enough differentiation to hang onto.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
Interesting that you stuck with a large-ish M4/3 body and zoom lenses. The S5 might kind of negate that kit (except for long tele) but I could see fitting a teeny tiny M4/3 and a small prime with enough differentiation to hang onto.
E-PM2 + 14-42 EZ + JJC auto-opening lens cap fills the bill for me :) .

It fits in a polo shirt pocket, and weighs about 360 grams.
 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Location
Jersey Shore
Name
Steve
Interesting that you stuck with a large-ish M4/3 body and zoom lenses. The S5 might kind of negate that kit (except for long tele) but I could see fitting a teeny tiny M4/3 and a small prime with enough differentiation to hang onto.
I kept the G9 because it balances well with the PL 100-400 - which gives me an effective 800mm at the long end. Such a lens would be much larger on a full-frame body just because it would need to cover the image circle. But that's the only reason. If I find I don't use that combo much, it will go as well. Once one eliminates the telephoto advantage of u43, I would opt for the S5.
 

agentlossing

Hall of Famer
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Name
Andrew L
That makes perfect sense, and there's no equivalent way to get such extreme telephoto in FF, it works be a vastly different (and more expensive) proposition.

I don't want to be a smart aleck with this prediction, but speaking from personal experience, M4/3 in some form or fashion always sneaks its way back into the fold. Can't say why, it's just so.
 

pdk42

Veteran
Location
Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Name
Paul
Interesting. I’m just about to retire too so have been thinking about my photo gear to a certain degree as well. I’ve dabbled with multiple systems over the years but I really hate being in the situation of having to choose which gear to take - so I’m 100% Olympus m43 at present. I may weaken and get a Sony RX1Rii for a compact FF camera but I’m done with running an FF system. For my modest shooting needs, there’s very little that Olympus won’t do for me. It should see me well in my dotage!
 
Interesting as I hope to retire in just over one year, so I decided to try the Fuji X-T4. I got it with the 18-55 kit lens but needed something longer so purchased the Tamron 18-300. I am too used to the super zooms of Panasonic & Olympus Mu-43 cameras I own.

Since the only real digital cameras I have tried are Mu-43 I decided I should try something else before I retire while I still can.

The biggest problem with the Tamron is no aperture ring so cant use the Fuji controls to my liking with that lens, but that is a small first world issue.

Being realistic the Fuji has not jumped out as must change to system, but I knew that was the case before I purchased it, and it was not purchased with that in mind.

So I will have my fully rounded Mu-43 kit plus some odds and sods from Fuji to keep me entertained.

When I retire I will be forced to only use one system and wont have much to spend on it.
I am hoping it will be my Mu-43 gear and both the main players will still be in the game.
The Fuji gear will be kept but not replaced.

That's the plan anyway, what could possibly go wrong.............. :)
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
For the past couple of years I have been thrashing about, trying to decide how to pare down my photographic kit as I head toward retirement and decide what direction in which to head. Well, I have finally made some decisions - and acted on them.

For nearly a decade, I have been operating with three kits: Sony full frame, Fuji APS-C and both Olympus and Panasonic micro four-thirds. I know, it's a lot of stuff - way too much. You'll get no argument from me. But it was all assembled over the course of at least 15 years and gave me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction for a long time.

My pared down kit will still involve all three formats - at least for now.

Essentially, my Fuji APS-C kit will be my main go-to gear. This includes an X100V, an X-T4 and an XS-10. I have sold off all of my Olympus micro four-thirds gear and most of my Panasonic u43 gear. I am keeping my G9 with a few lenses - including the PanaLeica 12-60 and 100-400mm zoom. That's primarily for shooting wildlife. If I find that I'm not using it much over the next 12-18 months, it will go too.

That leaves full frame. I probably don't really need it but I do enjoy it very much for certain subjects and want to keep at least one foot in the format. I've been running a Sony A7III and a number of lenses for a few years. They have served me well but I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said Sony gear is a fun-filled joy to use. It is highly competent but the user interface gets mixed reviews - at least from me.

And there are other things: Sony's camera bodies work well but have never felt robust to me. Weather sealing was a real issue for a long time. Reportedly, Sony has made big improvements recently and I'm sure that's true. But the cameras still feel a bit fragile to me. And then there is Sony's cynical way of marketing its cameras and lenses. It has become clear to me that if I am to stay with Sony, keeping reasonably current is going to be pretty expensive. That doesn't work for me at this point in my life.

With this in mind, I was talking online with Kirk Tuck - he of the Visual Science Lab blog - right around Christmas. Kirk currently is deep into the L-mount system with both Leica and Panasonic bodies. I can't afford Leica anymore and some of Panasonic's full-frame cameras, while excellent, are kind of big and heavy. But Kirk repeated his recommendation of the S5, which is smaller and lighter than my G9 while being unquestionably rugged and weatherproof. When I saw the S5 on sale at a $300 discount, I was sold. I used my Amazon gift card to bring the price down to about $1500. That's even less than a Sony A7c.

I have also picked up three small, light and sharp lenses by Sigma, which is a founding member of the L-mount consortium. I have the 28-70mm f/2.8 zoom, the 24mm f/3.5 prime and the 45mm f/2.8 prime. And that's it. All of it has been paid for by selling off gear with money to spare. And my kit is much smaller than it was a few months ago.

Most importantly, I feel much better now that I have stopped talking and started doing. Thanks for reading this far. I doubt my journey will have much impact on anyone's life and hobby pursuits. But it feels good to write this down.
Sounds like a nice set! Just beware that the 24 and the 45 are not, or minimally (mount only) weather sealed.
 

jhawk1000

Regular
Location
Kansas
Name
Mel
My cameras now are: Micro 4/3; Olympus OM D EM 1 ii (2), Olympus OM D EM 1 (2), Olympus OM D EM 10, Olympus EPL1, Panasonic G5, 7-14, 14-54, 12-40 Pro, 45mm 2.8 Leica 2.8, 40-150 2.8. 1.4X converter, 40-150 kit lens, 25 1.7, Sigma 60mm 2.8, 50-200mm 2.8/3.5, several flashes and battery grips. FF: Nikon D750, 180mm 3.5 Macro, 24-85mm 2.8, 28-75 2.8, 50 1.8, 12-24mm and lots of MF Nikkor lenses, APS-C Nikon D2X, Fuji S3 Pro. Too many I am sure bit now that I am retired, probably some selling off and less buying.
 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Location
Jersey Shore
Name
Steve
With Panasonics you can trust what you get, going from G to S series or vice versa. Everything is so consistent and reasonably designed.
I also like how Panasonic is taking a page out of Fuji's playbook in that it tries to update and improve its cameras via firmware as much as it can as long as the hardware can handle it. For example, the S5's autofocus is markedly better now compared to when the camera first came out.
 

pdk42

Veteran
Location
Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Name
Paul
With Panasonics you can trust what you get, going from G to S series or vice versa. Everything is so consistent and reasonably designed.
Until they decide to quit the consumer imaging business. I’m not saying they will, but I wouldn’t rule it out either. They are a huge Japanese conglomerate and we know imaging is losing money and the big 3 (Sony, Canon, Nikon) are still notably far ahead. Panasonic corporate could quite easily decide enough is enough. There have been rumours of it for a while. Fuji OTOH are totally committed to what they do - if they go it will be an existential death which seems unlikely at the moment.
 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Location
Jersey Shore
Name
Steve
Until they decide to quit the consumer imaging business. I’m not saying they will, but I wouldn’t rule it out either. They are a huge Japanese conglomerate and we know imaging is losing money and the big 3 (Sony, Canon, Nikon) are still notably far ahead. Panasonic corporate could quite easily decide enough is enough. There have been rumours of it for a while.
I remember reading some of those "rumors" as far back as 2017. Those rumors turned out of be mere speculation. A year later, Panasonic came out with full-frame cameras and lenses.

Look, anything is possible. But the S5 and those three Sigma lenses serve my full-frame needs for now. And if Panasonic pulls the plug, it won't be that much to sell off.

Meanwhile... Nikon's Z system is very impressive, but that company isn't out of the woods, either. I think the only camera companies we can count on surviving long term are Canon and Sony. And I'd gamble on Fuji's chances of survival being better than Nikon - as of right now.
 

pdk42

Veteran
Location
Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Name
Paul
I remember reading some of those "rumors" as far back as 2017. Those rumors turned out of be mere speculation. A year later, Panasonic came out with full-frame cameras and lenses.

Look, anything is possible. But the S5 and those three Sigma lenses serve my full-frame needs for now. And if Panasonic pulls the plug, it won't be that much to sell off.

Meanwhile... Nikon's Z system is very impressive, but that company isn't out of the woods, either.
Yes, I agree. There are always rumours and for sure it's a tough business!
 
I also like how Panasonic is taking a page out of Fuji's playbook in that it tries to update and improve its cameras via firmware as much as it can as long as the hardware can handle it. For example, the S5's autofocus is markedly better now compared to when the camera first came out.
From what I can see Panasonic is doing the best as far as firmware updates. Fuji don't seem to be doing them like they used to. I noticed Chris from DP Review also seems to think that Fuji's firmware updates are not as often as before. But forgot which video that was in :doh:

The G9 updates have been very good as far as I can see.
It will be interesting to see what OM System does with their flagship cameras with regard to firmware updates. Not keeping my fingers crossed
 
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