Personal gear review

Maybe this is a roundabout way of saying that I've been thinking of getting the Voigtlander 40mm Nokton for my Bessa-T.

That is a proper roundabout way for self GAS gratification, if I ever saw one, yes! :th_salute: I must scurry forth and wringe out the 20 mm Panasonic I finally landed in January. I was so sure that I would get that lens some day, to the tune of buying that odd sun hood for it in February last year...
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
My hunger for cameras is satisfied, for the time being. I have too much on my plate anyway. I own three serious cameras, which is too much. Two serious is plenty, or one serious + half-hearted one.

I am firmly preferring Leica M for everything, the king is not giving up its throne. M10R is an object of desire but thankfully it has its problems too, especially given the financial investment necessary, I'm very happy to keep looking for the perfect M to emerge.

Nikon Df and Panasonic G9 are now the princes fighting for the secondary kingdom of TTL land.

This is going to be interesting, I would say. G9 gets more right than Nikon does, much more. But it doesn't feel like much as an experience. Nikon has the very warm organic film feel to the files, yes the lenses are a bit soft thanks to inherent inaccuracies of the SLR technology and the optical low-pass filter on the sensor. But the lenses can be quite something, for not much money.

So interesting.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
The Df was a love/ hate relationship for me.

Loved the feel of the camera.

Loved the files produced by the camera.

Loved the ability to use the old non-Ai lenses.

Ended up hating the OVF due to eye strain and headaches, and had to move on to other gear.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
That is a proper roundabout way for self GAS gratification, if I ever saw one, yes! :th_salute: I must scurry forth and wringe out the 20 mm Panasonic I finally landed in January. I was so sure that I would get that lens some day, to the tune of buying that odd sun hood for it in February last year...
I may or may not; the only thing I'm concerned about is the greater need for compositional accuracy not meshing well with the need for external shoe-mount viewfinder, meaning especially at closer distances there will be parallax issues and inexact frame lines.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
The Df was a love/ hate relationship for me.

Loved the feel of the camera.

Loved the files produced by the camera.

Loved the ability to use the old non-Ai lenses.
It's definitely a love/hate relationship for me as well but I may tend to hate it more than you do...

The feel of the camera, in one ways the buttons are among the best I've used, but the direct dials are clumsier to operate than Fuji or Leica ones. The metal clicks of the motor drive options are super sensational though. The recoil from the mirror+shutter on Df is probably less than what the shutter of Leica M does! I like the sharp but hollowish click Df makes when making an exposure, making me wonder whether it is Leica M or Df that is louder to shoot.

I'm on the edge about the files. The sensor is cool but I don't really dig Nikon color and the OLPF is like wearing a condom. I have mounted my F lenses on my Leica M and got very cool shots (sharp, crisp, nice Leica color) but of course the M is not an enjoyable camera when used solely as a mirrorless camera.

I do love how the Df sensor doesn't really care if the ISO has to go up to 25k, the files are smooth until the end. And in post-processing the Df files are so easy to manage. I don't like the Nikon color? I could probably make a tiny adjustment in the tint and make it apply automatically to NEFs during import.

After I bought the G9 that greatly imitates the other Nikon DSLRs, I've been wondering if a D750 or similar would be actually a better fit for what I may be expecting or wanting from this Nikon exploration. Too bad I bought the one pre-Ai lens that I really dig and wouldn't know what to do with it. Are Ai conversions brutal butchering of Nikkor legacy or not, I don't have the answers. ;)
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
Well, old wishy-washy has struck again. I just came back from shipping out the last of my Nikon 1 gear. I was still within the return windows, and having bought from different sellers I had some shipping and restocking costs to pay, but I came to the conclusion that the 1 V2 was not the system for me. I got some great images, especially of the huge hawks that hang around our woods, but there were some camera features I missed more than I thought I would. An intervalometer is a useful but not absolutely necessary feature, but back-button focus is a feature I use a lot, from my X30 to every Fuji APS-C camera and mu4/3 camera I've owned. I also find Live View highly useful, and the 1 V2 had none of those. I used the 1 V2 system a lot over the past week or so, and despite my initial over-the-top enthusiasm, I just came to the conclusion that it was not a long-term solution for me, so I decided to cut my losses and send it all back.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I keep feeling uneasy about my camera collection -- four is clearly too much!

Let's forget about Panasonic G9 for a moment -- I want to focus on making a decision about Nikon Df.

There are two ways to go about it.

  • Stop this experiment and sell it and easily recover 90-95 % of the money: I waited for an attractively priced Df body so that I could keep the experiment low-budget, if necessary.
  • Spend a couple of hundred on maintenance and a couple of hundred more in lenses to dive deeper into the waters. Maintenance is never going to be recovered the day of selling so this money I should consider immediately lost money, part of the hobby.

    The camera is alright by the way, the maintenance mainly means a routine calibration and having the focusing screen installed by professionals.

My cheap-ass myself is inclined towards the "quick sell" and I have in fact had the camera listed for a few weeks now (with little interest so far).

But then again, when you want to explore the depths of what Nikon F can offer, it is not enough to dip your toes in the water, you have to dive in!

In this regard I am acting very foolishly here.

A secondary realization hit me yesterday. Now that I have relocated outside the big city I have to establish a routine of going "to the town" to shoot some. This means some expenses: train tickets, lodging if applicable, and whatnot. Might be soon enough that travel costs drive the majority of my hobby and not the gear. How about that!
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
John
Could my gear vagabond days be over?
I grow weary of the buy/sell and running a light, ditch on a dime system.
It's fun and ultra flexible but a lot of work.

The Z5 is not perfect but all my things considered it comes pretty close.
It adds a sense of familiarity(Nikon dslrs from 2005-2011). I agree with the ergonomics. Feels great in hand. AF-On is in the perfect spot and I can program it for focus zoom with a Ux setting. Eye-AF works well. Dual SDs. Battery life is pretty good. IBIS is not Olympus standard but I feel it's as good as the Sony and Fuji cameras I've owned. The files are great.
And it allows me to select a fully mechanical shutter which is necessary for HSS. Something I didn't consider when I picked up the RP and added to it's R.I.P. status.

The 50S is really nice and my only native lens presently. I've considered one of the zooms but will pass for now.
I look forward to the proposed 28 and 40 and should they be small-ish and semi-affordable the three lenses could be all the native lenses I'll need.

I just picked up a 35 1.8G that works well with the FTZ. Focus is smooth. Was affordable and I like the output. I could add an 85 1.8G down the road. I've owned one before and liked the output. And they're quite affordable. Maybe a 70-300. The 15mm Irix Firefly has been a complete surprise for me. Mostly in my acceptance for something as large as it is and that it's a focal I rarely use. It was affordable, balances well and produces crisp clean images.

Using manual focus lenses is enjoyable and I have plans of adding to the 28mm F3.5ai and 100mm 2.8E. Maybe a CV 40 F1.4 or something similar. Definitely a 75-150E. Been eyeing a $100 Mitakon 85 F2. I have a Takumar 55 that I haven't added an adapter yet. Nearly endless options. This will be a nice solution to keep my buy/sell hunger at bay.

Down the road I'll add a backup. The Z50 looks good. Especially if the 28 and 40 materialize. The 50S will be nice for portraits on it. With they used the same battery.

That's the plan anyway. Looking forward to it.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
Well, I was excited to get an Olympus OM-1 with the 50 1.4 last week, but upon ordering the correct wein cell battery I discovered that it has a fault. The lever inside the camera mount that reads the aperture you have set for the metering (appropriately called the aperture sensing lever) should have a spring loaded return, and it doesn't. This means that the meter doesn't know when you've stopped down and thinks you're at f1.4 all the time. I could look into a repair, or try to tinker with it myself, but since it's newly purchased I have the option of a return, and I think that's the most practical choice. It'll be too bad, as I really like the look and feel of the camera and it's in otherwise near perfect condition. I paid around $130 for it, which seems just a bit too steep to countenance a repair of probably over $100 so soon, i.e. immediately. I could just manually meter, or use the stop down lever to meter, but I'd like a hassle free camera.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
Well, I was excited to get an Olympus OM-1 with the 50 1.4 last week, but upon ordering the correct wein cell battery I discovered that it has a fault. The lever inside the camera mount that reads the aperture you have set for the metering (appropriately called the aperture sensing lever) should have a spring loaded return, and it doesn't. This means that the meter doesn't know when you've stopped down and thinks you're at f1.4 all the time. I could look into a repair, or try to tinker with it myself, but since it's newly purchased I have the option of a return, and I think that's the most practical choice. It'll be too bad, as I really like the look and feel of the camera and it's in otherwise near perfect condition. I paid around $130 for it, which seems just a bit too steep to countenance a repair of probably over $100 so soon, i.e. immediately. I could just manually meter, or use the stop down lever to meter, but I'd like a hassle free camera.
What's the closest thing you can get to Tri-X these days? That stuff has enough latitude to let you treat metering as an afterthought. 😋
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
What's the closest thing you can get to Tri-X these days? That stuff has enough latitude to let you treat metering as an afterthought. 😋
The closest thing is... Tri-X ;) I do use a lot of HP5+ which is probably just as flexible, I just feel like it was kind of a lot to pay for a camera with a meter that barely works. Of course, this is relative since for the price I paid a film camera in working condition with a clean 50mm f1.4 lens is certainly cheaper than nearly all the other choices. I wonder if Kenmore Camera would consider a partial refund... probably not, but it might be worth asking.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
Well, the OM-1 is going back, I've decided. I tried opening up the lens mount to see if there was anything I could do for the malfunctioning lever, there's a piece of string or cable which links it to a spring which is hidden somewhere inside the body. I could tell that the string/cable was still attached to the spring, but the spring appears to be stretched out, exhausted... kind of like I feel most of the time. My guess is the camera was stored for a long time with the lens aperture set so that the spring was at its furthest extension. I may very well look out for another OM-1, but I'd like to have a fully functioning meter. I guess in reality I didn't need another camera anyway! The 50 f1.4 though...
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
One of the flys in the ointment mentioned in a previous post (#233) has arisen. K-3mkIII. From initial reports the AF performance has been improved a good amount.

I'll need time with the camera to determine if the new OVF will play well with my eyes. So, decision time comes with regard to purchase or not, how much Fuji and Pentax gear to be sold, if I need any lenses other than the 150-450, etc...

The plan to keep using the K-1 for landscapes and see how much I can wring out of it still stands.

Oh - a birthday of sorts. My K-1 turned 5 y/o a few days ago. Still works. :biggrin:

Just need to get to some places where I can make better use of it. Too much ground clutter locally for decent landscape views.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
It does have a power zoom switch but I have never used it - since it also has both a manual zoom ring and a manual focusing ring. I've only used the manual ones. The other cool thing about the lens is, it has what Panasonic used to call O.I.S. - aka Optical Image Stabilization - which gives stabilization to images taken with the lens, even or especially if one is using it on a camera body without internal stabilization.

But theoretically, when using an O.I.S. equipped lens with a camera body that has built-in stabilization - as the GX8, GX9 and G9 all do - it supposedly doubles the effective amount of stabilization. Translation: images taken at lower hand-held speeds are much more likely to be in focus. Which is cool.

There are or were two types of OIS as far as I know. One was just plain O.I.S. - which incorporates the stabilization into the lens. These lenses have a switch which allows you to turn it on or off (not quite certain why one would want to turn it off). The other variation is called Power O.I.S. - and refers to lenses with built-in power zooms. Like the 45-175mm.

The original or V1 of the 12-35mm f2.8 Lumix lens also has O.I.S. built in - but not 'Power OIS' - so it can only be zoomed manually. V2 of the 12-35 I believe has the power option built-in to it. I think you said you have the v2 version of the lens? If so, it probably has a little power zoom - which goes from W (Wide) to T (Telephoto). For people who shoot video, this is useful. For people who don't, like me - well, let's just say, I've never used the 'Power' zoom feature on my 45-175mm lens.

If I remember, Panasonic also makes a fixed f2.8 version of the 35-100mm zoom - which is bigger than the truly tiny one - but has higher optical quality. The big advantage of it, though, was always having a faster fixed aperture - which made it more versatile...but bigger and pricier too.

Not to sure about the different versions of OIS, I know some of the latter lenses has gotten an upgrade and combined with the IBIS gives the full effect of stabilisation, with the later houses. It could possibly be that there are zoom options going through the house, but there are no external zoom button on the MkII of the 12-35 I have. :)

I have some hankerings towards the 35-100 f:2.8, but that has more to do with it being what it is, a classic in its own right, than any actual need for it. It would make for a delightful travel set with the GX9 and the 12-35, at a weight of 1069 grams or slightly less than 38 ounces imperial.
Let me clear up a few things here.
  • The versions of Panasonic OIS were Mega and Power, they did not refer to whether the lens had a power zoom option.
  • To the best of my knowledge there have been only two Panasonic lenses with "Power" zooms, the 14-42 and 45-175 PZ. All others are manual zoom. (Olympus also only has two, the 14-42 and 12-50 EZ.).
  • Panasonic Dual IS started with the GX8, but it was limited by comparison to what Dual IS is today, it was only 4 axis for one thing.
  • Most (all ?) Power OIS lenses have had firmware updates to be compatible with Dual IS. This includes the vI and vII of lenses like the 12-35 and 35-100 f/2.8; both versions of each are Power OIS.
  • The 45-175 update was one of the last and at the time many did not think it would be, I seem to recall Panasonic even saying it wouldn't at one point.
  • Some Mega OIS lenses were also updated to be compatible with Dual IS. The tiny 12-32 and 35-100 pair as well as the 30 and 45 Marcos to name a few.
  • Two that I can think of were updated from Mega OIS to Power OIS, those being the 45-200 and 100-300. Versions i were Mega, version II were Power.
  • The 14-140 is one lenses that was updated from Mega to Power prior to Dual IS
I'm pretty familiar with this because I owned the 45-175 during the period of "will it or won't it get the firmware update". (Actually I've owned it 3 times :cautious::oops: ). It wasn't my favorite; but the size, reach, and internal zoom are definitely draws.

 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
My traditional photographer GAS loves this thread...

I have found that sometimes I just want to reach for a small system camera, and then I remember - oh yeah, I don't have one. I got tired of the way the GX-series cameras by Panasonic shoehorn all their features into a slightly compromised body, but I also miss having something I can slip into a coat pocket. Yes, I have the GR, but, when you pick up the GR, you're agreeing to a very specific method of shooting and interaction with the camera. While I have absolutely no qualms about the "brain" inside the GR III - its menus and features, IQ, JPEG options, etc. - I really wish I could transplant that same brain into another camera body. If the GR III's software was like a Microsoft Windows (probably a more realistic comparison would be a graphically-spartan Linux distro) and you could just load it onto any camera body, that would be pretty awesome!

The Pentax KP, especially with the Sigma 17-50 2.8, is like a heavyweight IQ-machine, very satisfying when that's the thing I'm focused on. It's like a smaller version of a FF rig, with almost as good IQ, close enough to the FF samples I have seen from all but the very fanciest cameras to meet my needs for sure. But having been trained for so long in the rather excellent size-to-features-&-IQ compromise that is micro four thirds, I am missing a M4/3 body in my mind sometimes. Lately when I think of that and close my eyes, I see something like an EM5 mark ii with the Olympus 25mm f1.8 - classic, small, good IQ, all around cool. But I really don't have the extra camera budget for that; my "financial advisor" would have some choice words considering my recent also-acquisition of old OM camera(s).

Increasingly I believe that if Ricoh were to come out with closer to a standard lens in GR form (an EVF would be nice but I'm not even being that picky at this point. Beggars can't be choosers) I would be happy to just go with that and sell off a majority of my gear (except for some film gear, of course!). Give me a 50mm GR type camera and you'd have to pry it out of my hands (and force me to, you know, get into the car to go to work, make meals, that sort of thing). Failing that, I find my brain coming back around to wanting a small M4/3 body with a prime.
 
I find my brain coming back around to wanting a small M4/3 body with a prime.
GM1, GM5, GX800 or the old, dont break the bank GX1? The latter one is quite heavy, though but very satisfying to work with. Am oogling the three mentioned first, due to economics and size. Did the camera comparison thing on the GM1 and the Canon S120 yesterday, and was somewhat knocked out of my socks as to the similarity in size, mind you, the GM1 needed a lens added, but still! running that with the 20mm pancake, would be a highly pocketable combo.

It would most likely weigh less than 600 grams with the 14 and 20mm pancakes and with the 45mm Oly for a bit of reach. And for general purpose walk around, the 12-32 and 35-100 kit zooms would be rather unbeatable for a seriously tiny package.

I fancy the GRIII, somewhat, but am unsure if it "fits", so I can relate to your notion. Had it been a pure 35mm equivalent (thats 23mm in APS-C, I think), I wouldn't have had much qualms about getting one.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
My traditional photographer GAS loves this thread...

I have found that sometimes I just want to reach for a small system camera, and then I remember - oh yeah, I don't have one. I got tired of the way the GX-series cameras by Panasonic shoehorn all their features into a slightly compromised body, but I also miss having something I can slip into a coat pocket. Yes, I have the GR, but, when you pick up the GR, you're agreeing to a very specific method of shooting and interaction with the camera. While I have absolutely no qualms about the "brain" inside the GR III - its menus and features, IQ, JPEG options, etc. - I really wish I could transplant that same brain into another camera body. If the GR III's software was like a Microsoft Windows (probably a more realistic comparison would be a graphically-spartan Linux distro) and you could just load it onto any camera body, that would be pretty awesome!

The Pentax KP, especially with the Sigma 17-50 2.8, is like a heavyweight IQ-machine, very satisfying when that's the thing I'm focused on. It's like a smaller version of a FF rig, with almost as good IQ, close enough to the FF samples I have seen from all but the very fanciest cameras to meet my needs for sure. But having been trained for so long in the rather excellent size-to-features-&-IQ compromise that is micro four thirds, I am missing a M4/3 body in my mind sometimes. Lately when I think of that and close my eyes, I see something like an EM5 mark ii with the Olympus 25mm f1.8 - classic, small, good IQ, all around cool. But I really don't have the extra camera budget for that; my "financial advisor" would have some choice words considering my recent also-acquisition of old OM camera(s).

Increasingly I believe that if Ricoh were to come out with closer to a standard lens in GR form (an EVF would be nice but I'm not even being that picky at this point. Beggars can't be choosers) I would be happy to just go with that and sell off a majority of my gear (except for some film gear, of course!). Give me a 50mm GR type camera and you'd have to pry it out of my hands (and force me to, you know, get into the car to go to work, make meals, that sort of thing). Failing that, I find my brain coming back around to wanting a small M4/3 body with a prime.
No question. A normal lens version of the GR or X70 is a preorder for me. If I could pick, I’d prefer a 40-50 mme X-70 analog.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
GM1, GM5, GX800 or the old, dont break the bank GX1? The latter one is quite heavy, though but very satisfying to work with. Am oogling the three mentioned first, due to economics and size.
I've owned all but the GX800 (and I own the GF7, or rather the wife does, so close). All but the GX1 have the quiet little 1/500 second max shutter, which is actually kind of nice - it's as quiet as a leaf shutter, so completely stealthy, and the top speed is usually enough. The GX1 is worth the sub-$150 price it's going for new, but it does have issues. Shutter shock and bad JPEGs being the main ones, plus the LCD screens are prone to the coating going all blotchy and peeling.

The current tip top of the 1/500 sec shutter crowd is definitely the newer G100. I handled it in a store and it's quite nice, has a really decent EVF. It's been cheap, like $549 with the 12-32mm. I'd try one eventually. Maybe in a few years when it's even cheaper. You get the 20mp sensor with the better JPEG quality, and those make it worthwhile.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Well, after much deliberation, I've decided to stick with :mu43: for the foreseeable future - and not only that: I'll keep both the E-M5 III and the GX9; they complement each other and allow me to put together a supremely compact two-body system - much more so than even the very elegant Z 6/Z 50 tag team (let alone the Z 6/D750 combo). There's just a tiny caveat to this: Should Nikon (or maybe Fujifilm) come out with a small (Z 50- or X-S10-sized), weather-sealed, stabilised body, I might come back on this decision. But given the direction things are taking, this is highly unlikely; the Z 50 has its place in my Z system anyway, but for different reasons (reach being the main one to date - but also portability), and the X-S10, alluring though it is, doesn't add enough over the E-M5 III or the Z 50 to warrant a full shift anyway. Truth be told, it's the E-M5 III that's actually the most suitable camera for my "small camera" needs - but to keep it small, quite a few lenses don't fit the picture.

I'll still sell off quite a lot of the :mu43: lenses I own (or trade them - whichever opportunity arises first). However, since the smoke is clearing somewhat, I'm seriously considering adding one specific lens: the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 II. Not only is it small, light, sealed and optically very good, it would also allow me to do any reportage with it on the GX9 (gripped, Dual I.S.) and the 12-40mm f/2.8 on the E-M5 III (probably gripped - depends on the case). The full weight of that system would still be less than any other combination I have access to - in fact, the D750 with the 70-200mm f/4G is as heavy as the two-camera setup, or close. Which, in turn, might mean the 70-200mm f/4G could become redundant after all - but that remains to be seen because even though the lens has its peculiarities, it's a strong performer, and very reliable. That said, it doesn't see a lot of use due to its size (the weight is okay), and frankly, the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E is so good it further deminishes my desire to reach for the 70-200mm - and that lens *is* smaller and lighter.

I'm not quite sure yet whether to go for the Panasonic lens, but the strategy I've sketched out here does have a lot going for it.

Oh, and for the record: I like the X-E3 enough to keep it as well. If at any point in time Panasonic decide to upgrade the GX9 with a better EVF and sealing, the X-E3 may lose its niche. For now, it's the best choice to serve as companion camera to the M bodies, just as initially intended, and I've made sure the whole setup stays portable as well (not as portable as :mu43:, but still ...). I have no desire to upgrade it (see above, though). But I'm keeping a foot in the door, so to speak. Not indefinitely, but certainly for the time being.

M.
 

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