Personal gear review

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
So, I almost went through with this. Going so far as to put the X100F up for sale. But after thinking about it I realized I didn't really want to sell it. I quickly pulled the sale threads. Which means at some point I may have a two body kit because having a backup body is firmly ingrained in my brain hole. With 2-3 lenses. One problem with doing an extensive review is realizing how much more one used a lens, like the 90mm f2, then one realized. Surprisingly more for things and places than for people.

I can relate, although maybe for a different reason.

As a hobbyist, I get enjoyment using the gear. For me it isn't only about getting a photo, it's also about relaxation and stress relief.

And the 90/2 is a cracker of a lens.
 
I can relate, although maybe for a different reason.

As a hobbyist, I get enjoyment using the gear. For me it isn't only about getting a photo, it's also about relaxation and stress relief.

And the 90/2 is a cracker of a lens.

I am back at a point where I am only shooting for enjoyment. No more photography work. Some things, like having a backup body will probably never get out of my head. And I have had a non weather sealed camera killed by a wave on vacation in the past.
 
Here, about 1 and a half weeks out from the release of the Fuji 18mm 1.4. I find myself questioning the purchase vs a 16mm 1.4. Not because of the lens itself. By all accounts, Fuji hit a grand slam home run with this lens. It's the focal length. I've only rarely shot with 18mm, or 28mm on FF. Just a little with the 18 f2 and 18-55. I'm writing this in part, just to hear my thoughts out loud, so to speak. In the past I've always shot 35mm, then 24mm. Or 23mm and 16mm on Fuji crop. Being in the middle of those two has me constantly wondering if it won't be quite wide enough for some things, or too tight for others. Looking back through my work, I saw that I have used the 16mm 1.4 for portraits quite a bit more than had thought previously. I already knew that the majority of my favorite landscape shots were taken with the 16 1.4.

On the flip side. Working with an entirely new focal length very well may push new creativity in my shooting. And there is always that surge of shooting which comes with new gear.

A lot of this could be me overthinking because I have so much time to kill waiting on the 18mm to actually ship.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Actually, Gordon, the post should have auto-saved as a draft ... But if it didn't turn up again, something might have gone wrong. Anyway ...

M.

I thought it would, but I guess going to another thread, replying, cutting and pasting a photo link, posting, then going back may have glitched something.

Or I deleted something and don't recall deleting.

Or I did something else to lose the words.

Been that kinda morning so far so maybe that happened.

Anywhos.

No biggie either way. Nothing critical or life-changing was lost.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Imma gonna try this again...

1) Viewfinder design and specs have always been an issue with me and my eyes. Part of that equation is that I have deep eye sockets and a slightly lower and larger brow ridge than the average modern human (too much leftover Neanderthal gene I guess).

Because of the way my head is shaped, rangefinder and rangefinder-styled cameras have worked well for my eyes, even with less-than-stellar specs. DSLR and DSLR-styled camera have been a literal pain at times. Eye strain, sometimes to the point of knocking my bino vision out and seeing double for a while. And the resulting headaches, sometimes reaching the level of migraines.

Of my current cameras (K-1, K-3III, X-H1, X100F), the X100F is the least problematic. Followed by the X-H1. I lose all four corners on the K-1 and K-3III, and in order to see the AF confirmation I have to shift the viewfinder so I can see the bottom display, and lose even more of the image. Enough so on the K-3III, that I've lost multiple shots due to framing issues since I can't see the entire frame. The DSLR type viewfinders will fit into my eye socket enough to see the entire image if I shoot in portrait orientation, and but is severely limiting and unusable for some of the things I shoot (airshow).

I could use rangefinder type bodies, and I can use long glass with them. But, usually the AF and buffer aren't as robust as with DSLR type bodies.

Are there any modern DSLR type bodies with eyepieces that protrude enough that I might be able to get them closer into my eye socket? Yes. Leica SL2 and SL2-S, and the Fuji GFX 50S with the optional tilt/ swivel viewfinder attachment. I would have to get those in my hands and try them to see if the viewfinders would work for me.

2) Ergos and haptics. As I age, these become more important to me as Arthur decides to become a PITA. Bad ergos can significantly increase pain and stiffness issues for me, which then affects dexterity. Controls size and location can be problematic as well.

For me and my hands/ fingers, Pentax easily wins. Fuji is a mixed bag of hammered dog food. X100F is useable, even with the smaller controls due to the way everything is positioned on the camera. The X-H1 and its design is just barely useable for me, smaller Fuji DSLR-style bodies are painful for me to use. And the controls on the X-H1 are small and fiddly, I sometimes have to use fingernails to flip a couple of dials.

3) One other thing that makes me :hmmm: ... why oh why do manufacturers persist in using dual card slots with different specs? I'm looking at you, Pentax. K-3III with useable tracking AF, looks like a great airshow/ action camera. And you cripple the camera with UHS-I and UHS-II slots, leaving us with a decision to use jpegs in slot 2 for backup to have best buffer, or do a true backup of RAW to both cards and take a serious hit to the buffer. X-H1 with dual UHS-II wins this issue hands down.

Wall of words part one ends now.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Wall of words part last...

So, where does this leave me?

As I mentioned early this week, I came this >< close to selling everything but the X100F. Seems like no matter what I do, I have to make a major compromises with regards to ergos or viewfinder or performance.

IMHO most modern cameras have IQ good enough for most of what I do, so I'm going to leave that out of the current equation.

X100F - ergos and viewfinder OK, performance slow.

X-H1 - ergos sometimes literally painful, viewfinder OK, performance good.

K-1 - ergos great, viewfinder marginal, performance slow.

K-3III - ergos great, viewfinder a little worse than the K-1, performance OK but not great (mismatched card slots and effect on buffer).

Since I have to be able to see the viewfinder image and AF confirmation, the X-H1 appears to be the logical choice.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not really happy with any option other than keeping the X100F.

But that won't work for airshows. (If my health doesn't return enough to shoot airshows going forward, that will change a lot and I'll likely make a major change in my kit.)

Ack.

Sorry for the vent. Sometimes it helps me see things clearer when I can go back and see them posted somewhere. And someone may have some thoughts that might confirm my thoughts, or expose something I hadn't considered. And even with the wall of words, everything I've thought of re the cameras hasn't made it into the missive.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
@gordo Gordon, try to get your hands on a Nikon Z (for your needs, I'd choose a Z 6 II or even the Z 7 II - think cropping potential ...) and look through that EVF ... I feel for you, even though I personally can live with smaller finders as long as they have good definition and colour; resolution is somewhat optional - I use magnification for MF. The Z series' EVF is gorgeous, big, with great eye relief, not the "best" resolution, but plenty for most uses ...

The AF of the Z6 II isn't quite as confident as Sony's, but the new paradigm is very practical for tracking, and the camera can handle high burst rates.

It doesn't solve the media issue - but with a CFexpress card and a UHS-II SD, you get very good performance, and buffer stamina as well.

Oh, and ergonomics are fantastic - and if you have large hands and need additional battery power, the new grip is top-notch, too.

Just a hunch ... YMMV. Note that I don't say "buy" ...

M.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
I've probably mentioned this before, but I feel like complaining about it again... I love my Voïgtlander Bessa-T, but I HATE how hard it is to find good accessory viewfinders, which are, ya know, 100% essential to the use of that camera. There are old, cheap ones, but they have a narrow view with no bright lines and are hard to see through with glasses, there are turret viewfinders which are large and bulky and (so I hear, haven't tried one myself yet) hard to see through with glasses, and then there are bright line finders with various eye relief, many of which are hard to see the bright lines with glasses, or else rather big - and these are almost without exception really expensive! It's enough to drive someone insane shopping for viewfinders before I can even shop for lenses with different focal lengths.

I've thought about giving up the T and looking for an R-series (probably not the first since it's LTM and not M), but there are several things I really prefer about the T: decoupled RF/VF makes zone focus shooting on the street easy without being distracted by an RF that's trying to tell me the subject isn't in focus when I've actually set a small enough F-stop that it actually is, and the external light meter which allows me to change exposure settings on the fly without raising the camera, and with full view of both the shutter dial and aperture ring at once. Both of these things noticeably improve my reaction time on the street. The pleasure of swiftly raising a clear, large VF and just firing as soon as I've framed is a big aspect of why I like to shoot street with this camera.

Buying an R-series would also not fix the second major complaint about the T: the loud shutter. All the Bessas have the same one.

So I guess the answer is just coughing up more money and weeping silently as I buy viewfinders, before even weeping again to spend the nearly always higher premium for Leica mount lenses...
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
@gordo Gordon, try to get your hands on a Nikon Z (for your needs, I'd choose a Z 6 II or even the Z 7 II - think cropping potential ...) and look through that EVF ... I feel for you, even though I personally can live with smaller finders as long as they have good definition and colour; resolution is somewhat optional - I use magnification for MF. The Z series' EVF is gorgeous, big, with great eye relief, not the "best" resolution, but plenty for most uses ...

The AF of the Z6 II isn't quite as confident as Sony's, but the new paradigm is very practical for tracking, and the camera can handle high burst rates.

It doesn't solve the media issue - but with a CFexpress card and a UHS-II SD, you get very good performance, and buffer stamina as well.

Oh, and ergonomics are fantastic - and if you have large hands and need additional battery power, the new grip is top-notch, too.

Just a hunch ... YMMV. Note that I don't say "buy" ...

M.

I tried a Z6. Same viewfinder issue, unfortunately. IIRC it was better than K-1, about the same as the X-H1. For me and my hands/ fingers, I'd rate the Z6 and 7 just below Pentax.

Z6II and Z7II (and maybe Z8 or Z9?) are in my "maybe check out again" list, so who knows...
 
I've been thinking for the last month and half, while waiting for the 18mm 1.4 to actually ship, about whether I wanted to run a 3 lens kit. Or stay really minimalist with the 2 lenses I'll have. Specifically I've been thinking about the 90mm. As I have used it a lot more than I realized for landscapes and other things which are non people shots. As a bonus, the 90, 56, and 18 1.4 all have the same filter size. But ultimately, I decide that I am just going to shoot with the 18/56 pair. Only getting a third lens when I find a real need for one.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
Hmm, is this a personal gear review thing? I went and handled a few different cameras that I've had lingering thoughts about, just to see where they stood in terms of ergonomics and overall feel - how much I would enjoy shooting with them. I was in Seattle over the weekend and they have a couple of decent brick and mortar shops, so I went to both (Kenmore Camera and Glazier's) as well as a used camera store, looking for anything decent for my Bessa in addition to digital considerations.

The latter experience first, that used shop was chock-full of SLRs and little else. They had a few Pentaxes but no MX or LX, which I'd wanted to see, and a few Barnack Leicas and a Canon 7, but no lenses beyond a few overpriced Canons, Soviet lenses and one or two old Leica collapsible fifties which were also overpriced. But I did get a chance to put my eye to two of the turret viewfinders, and older Leica one and the Nikon one - confirmed my suspicions that they don't work for me. You need to literally poke the eyepiece into your eye to see the whole frame. Oh well. The guy in the shop admitted to the customers he was helping that he has over 450 cameras himself, and could open his own store. Yeesh. Glad I'm not in his shoes.

I handled a Fuji XE-4 kit briefly, just to see what was going on with it. I'm surprised that, even though this is the "little" camera for Fuji, the size is still pretty chunky. It's surprising that they're not putting IBIS in these bodies yet. Given even the miniscule GRIII can move the APS-C sensor around, there's no reason the XE4 couldn't have IBIS or even slim down a little more. It also didn't feel great to me, the weight and materials of the top plate feel nice but the stiff textured stuff on the non-existent grip persists in giving the camera a bit of a "cheap" feel. I can't believe how long it has taken Fuji to get over their cameras having a bit of a hollow and cheap feel.

I also handled a Panasonic G95, they had a decent deal on the 12-60mm kit that was used, but felt like new. I instantly took a bit of a dislike to that camera, though. It feels like it belongs in a vlogger's setup, just doesn't give a pleasant grip or feel for shooting stills somehow. I think part of it is just how angular it is, I don't know why they changed it up so much from the G85. Plus it's as big as the EM1 series. G9 looked even bigger, and I didn't even handle one. It's a terrific camera by all accounts, but there isn't a point for me in my shooting to go with that large of a body since I'm always gravitating to small wide to normal primes.

There was a like-new EM1 mark II, however, and that camera - wow! It is super nice. Focus, frame rate, EVF, build, everything about it was basically ideal. And that grip, ugly as it is, fits the hand almost better than any other camera I've tried. I was almost brought around to getting it, but it would have necessitated selling something else that I use frequently, and I decided against breaking up my go-to kit yet again, for a while at least. I also tried out the EM5 mark II, which is kind of the body I've thought about getting the most. I'm not sure why I didn't care for it. In theory it's almost perfect for a tiny kit - build quality is about the best that Olympus has gotten to (sorry, they downgraded for the EM5 mark III), but the angles are all wrong in the grip and on the back where my thumb rests. The original EM5 is better in the hand. And that's what I ended up getting.

I sold on the Olympus OM-1 kit that I had for a short while, after carrying it around in my hand for a while and shooting a couple rolls, I realized that it's just not likely to see much use, and I didn't want to let it gather dust. The slightly beat-up EM5, which I hope will continue functioning without problems, is more fun to use, with instant results of course since it's digital, and is a gateway to shooting with the 20/1.7 again, and Olympus colors, which just look more like slide film than most digital cameras output.

I shot a single roll of film on the Bessa T when I was in Seattle, as well as some with the GRIII and then with the EM5 after purchasing, but I didn't go to my usual haunts around Pike market. There were just too many people, and, I don't know whether this was good or bad, but I just wanted to think about and look at gear this weekend, rather than take lots of photos. Strange!
 

John King

Regular
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
Hmm, is this a personal gear review thing? I went and handled a few different cameras that I've had lingering thoughts about, just to see where they stood in terms of ergonomics and overall feel - how much I would enjoy shooting with them. I was in Seattle over the weekend and they have a couple of decent brick and mortar shops, so I went to both (Kenmore Camera and Glazier's) as well as a used camera store, looking for anything decent for my Bessa in addition to digital considerations.

The latter experience first, that used shop was chock-full of SLRs and little else. They had a few Pentaxes but no MX or LX, which I'd wanted to see, and a few Barnack Leicas and a Canon 7, but no lenses beyond a few overpriced Canons, Soviet lenses and one or two old Leica collapsible fifties which were also overpriced. But I did get a chance to put my eye to two of the turret viewfinders, and older Leica one and the Nikon one - confirmed my suspicions that they don't work for me. You need to literally poke the eyepiece into your eye to see the whole frame. Oh well. The guy in the shop admitted to the customers he was helping that he has over 450 cameras himself, and could open his own store. Yeesh. Glad I'm not in his shoes.

I handled a Fuji XE-4 kit briefly, just to see what was going on with it. I'm surprised that, even though this is the "little" camera for Fuji, the size is still pretty chunky. It's surprising that they're not putting IBIS in these bodies yet. Given even the miniscule GRIII can move the APS-C sensor around, there's no reason the XE4 couldn't have IBIS or even slim down a little more. It also didn't feel great to me, the weight and materials of the top plate feel nice but the stiff textured stuff on the non-existent grip persists in giving the camera a bit of a "cheap" feel. I can't believe how long it has taken Fuji to get over their cameras having a bit of a hollow and cheap feel.

I also handled a Panasonic G95, they had a decent deal on the 12-60mm kit that was used, but felt like new. I instantly took a bit of a dislike to that camera, though. It feels like it belongs in a vlogger's setup, just doesn't give a pleasant grip or feel for shooting stills somehow. I think part of it is just how angular it is, I don't know why they changed it up so much from the G85. Plus it's as big as the EM1 series. G9 looked even bigger, and I didn't even handle one. It's a terrific camera by all accounts, but there isn't a point for me in my shooting to go with that large of a body since I'm always gravitating to small wide to normal primes.

There was a like-new EM1 mark II, however, and that camera - wow! It is super nice. Focus, frame rate, EVF, build, everything about it was basically ideal. And that grip, ugly as it is, fits the hand almost better than any other camera I've tried. I was almost brought around to getting it, but it would have necessitated selling something else that I use frequently, and I decided against breaking up my go-to kit yet again, for a while at least. I also tried out the EM5 mark II, which is kind of the body I've thought about getting the most. I'm not sure why I didn't care for it. In theory it's almost perfect for a tiny kit - build quality is about the best that Olympus has gotten to (sorry, they downgraded for the EM5 mark III), but the angles are all wrong in the grip and on the back where my thumb rests. The original EM5 is better in the hand. And that's what I ended up getting.

I sold on the Olympus OM-1 kit that I had for a short while, after carrying it around in my hand for a while and shooting a couple rolls, I realized that it's just not likely to see much use, and I didn't want to let it gather dust. The slightly beat-up EM5, which I hope will continue functioning without problems, is more fun to use, with instant results of course since it's digital, and is a gateway to shooting with the 20/1.7 again, and Olympus colors, which just look more like slide film than most digital cameras output.

I shot a single roll of film on the Bessa T when I was in Seattle, as well as some with the GRIII and then with the EM5 after purchasing, but I didn't go to my usual haunts around Pike market. There were just too many people, and, I don't know whether this was good or bad, but I just wanted to think about and look at gear this weekend, rather than take lots of photos. Strange!
Andrew, you shouldn't have passed over that E-M1 MkII ... ;) .
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Fingers crossed, this week I'll be selling the G9 and PanaLeica 12-60. I'll be delivering this eulogy a bit prematurely.
I still have the G9. I must have jinxed the sale because I delivered that eulogy prematurely. Well I am not in a rush.


G9 is now sold. I did jinx the sale in April by a bit, but no worries. It sold now. All well in the end.

I reviewed my eulogy and found nothing to add. The camera is a true powerhouse in the sense that if I know what I want to shoot and how to frame it, G9 gets the job done fastest out of any camera I've ever shot.

But there also lies the problem -- for leisurely activity I like a camera that gives me the occasional surprise result and also makes me to do the work. I chatted with the buyer-- a nice chap -- about this phenomenom. He solved this problem by shooting film on the side.

I also had an opportunity to see and handle the G80. Not too shabby, indeed. Really nice grip and a no-nonsense EVF -- especially compared to GX80. They go very inexpensively if you scout the markets. But it of course has a FAS and I don't really have many large lenses that would be uncomfortable with the GX80. I should probably just seek a cheap grip for my existing gear and be done with that little desire.

For 8,97 € I ordered a thumb grip for my GX80. Red, of course. I strolled some 10 miles with the little camera the other day. It delivers the goods and then some if you just are in the mood for some easy autofocusing. That day I was.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Addled thought process - engaged...

Been busy with doc appointments, tests, etc... the last couple weeks, so I used the time as a cooling off period to think about the camera stuff and the issues mentioned previously.

Personal gear review: too much stuff.

Still tempted to sell everything except the X100F and take time to re-evaluate photography things.

Might be time for a paradigm shift.

Sometimes forced change helps us evolve.

Or go extinct.

Still keep thinking of a Q2 Monochrom.

It's like that earworm song that won't get out of your head.

Still need to get to an airshow (hopefully November) and see if I'm still able to hang around and shoot all day.

Personal gear review: too much stuff.

Things are going to have to change.

Maybe drastically.

Color me frustrated.

Have I mentioned I have too much stuff?

Ack.

:coffee-79:
 

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