Personal gear review

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
I'm very happy with my X-T3/18mm/56mm plus x100F kit. In my case, if I were to narrow it down more, it would be the x100F that went. Not that I am currently considering that, just throwing it out for the conversation.

Honestly, outside of airshow and limited birding, my X-H1s + 16-55 + 90/2 could handle 99.something% of what I shoot. But any combo of those would be significantly larger and heavier than the X100F. It's just such a dang handy little carry camera.
 
Honestly, outside of airshow and limited birding, my X-H1s + 16-55 + 90/2 could handle 99.something% of what I shoot. But any combo of those would be significantly larger and heavier than the X100F. It's just such a dang handy little carry camera.
The X-T3 with the two primes is quite a bit lighter than the X-H1 with 16-55 and 90. Although still not as small/light as the x100 series. Which, as you said, is a handy dandy camera.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
The X-T3 with the two primes is quite a bit lighter than the X-H1 with 16-55 and 90. Although still not as small/light as the x100 series. Which, as you said, is a handy dandy camera.

Yup, it is. Had the X-T1, too small. For me. The X-H1 is just barely big enough for me, and some of the controls are still small and fiddly enough I have to use fingernails on occasion.

But the way the X100F is laid out, it works fine.

Too much remaining Neanderthal I guess.

Or maybe I'm part troglodyte.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
You guys keep it up an you'll have me getting back into the X-mount system. ;(
Yes, they even managed to coax me into trying it ;) And here I am, still owning a tight little system around the surprisingly enjoyable X-E3. For a camera that is, in many respects, just another rangefinder style camera with serious omissions in its feature set - think, or instance, I.B.I.S. - it's subjectively a much more well-rounded package than it ought to be.

I think Fujifilm has done very well at differentiating their system from others - it always seems to offer something special, and the cameras really feel well balanced and positioned. And even for someone like me who, at times, feels like he was dragged into it, it offers enough to make leaving it surprisingly hard.

Don't resist to hard if you're really drawn to it. Just try to buy used (especially if you re-buy ...). However, you know what you get yourself into ...

M.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
So, I currently have three Fuji bodies, an X-S10, an X-T30, and an X-100V. It’s too many, so I’m thinking of selling one. The X-S10 has my favorite ergs, and I’m leaning toward the 27 and the X-T30 over the X-100V. The random temptation that has arisen is an excellent Pen F over on mpb which has given me motivation to sell the V. As a starting point mpb gave me quote for the V which is about an even trade for the F. It’s a tough call because I’ll get similar results from both for my purposes. The real question is which is more fun to use. Of course, this also leaves me with no WR camera except my iPhone.
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
I’m pretty good for mu43 lenses. Both Olympus 17’s and the Panny 20 and 14 for primes, and the smaller and slower 12-32 and 35-100 zooms. Oh yeah, the cheap but satisfying 40-150. Now that I look, I managed to hold on to a pretty fair kit.
Those are most of the lenses I would want, maybe with the addition of the Oly 25/1.8. Oh, and that new chipped Laowa 7.5/2 with aperture control...
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
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!

Your comments about the fine handling of the E-M1 Mk II - and especially its grip - have been both echoed by and preceded by other comments from two extraordinarily fine photographers, Robin Wong - and Ming Thein - both of whom have written eloquently about both the construction of - the design of - and the 'feel' of the E-M1 MkII's grip. Reading your comments makes me, again, want to handle one myself... just to see.
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
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.

Hey, Gordon---just a quick random thought, in reaction to your post which I read with both interest and sympathy. You mentioned a number of times that some of the cameras you have been using, have viewfinders which, at best, seem only adequate or marginal. Having been myself obsessed with viewfinders (and their shortcomings) forever, I can relate. And -- re-reading your post, I couldn't help thinking back to a number of thoughtful posts which Kirk Tuck (a fine photographer, and an equally fine writer) has made about the EVF's/viewfinders of the two cameras he has been using professionally recently - both of which he writes, literally, glowing descriptions of. One is the full-frame Panasonic S1 - and the other is its Leica cousin, the SL2 (as well as its predecessor, the SL). Both Kirk - and practically every other thoughtful reviewer around - have literally raved about the quality of the viewfinders of both the S1 and the SL2. Neither are (obviously) small or tiny cameras - and, price-wise, the S1 seems to be nearly a bargain compared to the SL2. But in the endless (and sometimes frustrating) search for a truly fine viewfinder... it might be worth taking a look at one or both of them. It might also be a waste of time, too. But... it might be fun, as well. :dance2:
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
Your comments about the fine handling of the E-M1 Mk II - and especially its grip - have been both echoed by and preceded by other comments from two extraordinarily fine photographers, Robin Wong - and Ming Thein - both of whom have written eloquently about both the construction of - the design of - and the 'feel' of the E-M1 MkII's grip. Reading your comments makes me, again, want to handle one myself... just to see.
Here we go again, keeping the camera industry afloat ;)
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
The XA is loaded with a second roll of film, and some homemade light seals, so we'll see how it goes! As beat up as it is, I'm kind of surprised that the functions are all as lightning-fast as they should be, there are no signs of sluggishness to the meter or anything else which would give me concern. The RF patch is still fairly bright, although I think in bright sunlight it probably was never that clearly differentiated. That's alright - for a street camera I mostly zone focus anyway. In terms of that, the focus lever is a bit unfortunately easy to bump out of place, I will need to adjust the way I hold onto the camera. I also find it a bit odd having a distance scale in feet, not meters (even though I'm firmly ensconced in Imperial measurements). I've gotten so used to 1.5, 2, 3 meters as distances on the street. The XA goes from 4 feet to 8 feet to infinity, which equals about 1.25M and 2.4M, both a tad bit closer than the 1.5 and 3 that I'm used to on the Bessa-T. It'll take a bit of adjustment. I mostly shoot at f11, 1/250 on the street, but since this is aperture priority I may need to drop the aperture more often to make sure the shutter speed stays up if I point the camera towards shadow.

The only ergonomic thing I am having trouble with (well, aside from the easily bumped focus tab) is that the slide cover moves in the opposite direction that it "should." I don't know why Olympus chose to move the cover away from the right hand. My Olympus digital P&S from the old days moved towards the right hand, meaning I could pull the cover open one-handed. I suppose the aperture lever is operable one-handed this way, but since I'm far more likely to use the focus lever with my left hand I wouldn't have that much trouble also adjusting the aperture left-handed. I suppose I should just get used to leaving the cover open, and the meter on, till I'm ready to be done shooting.

The shutter button is better than I thought it would be from reports. Since it doesn't really move, I can depress it less conspicuously, and it's far enough on the top of the camera that it doesn't even really look like I have my finger on the shutter at a casual glance. It's indeed a stealthy camera, as much as the Ricoh GR III or even more so. A film version of the same tiny pocket powerhouse. I like this more than the Minox 35 I had for a bit, everything is easier to hold and adjust than with that awkward little camera.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
Hey, Gordon---just a quick random thought, in reaction to your post which I read with both interest and sympathy. You mentioned a number of times that some of the cameras you have been using, have viewfinders which, at best, seem only adequate or marginal. Having been myself obsessed with viewfinders (and their shortcomings) forever, I can relate. And -- re-reading your post, I couldn't help thinking back to a number of thoughtful posts which Kirk Tuck (a fine photographer, and an equally fine writer) has made about the EVF's/viewfinders of the two cameras he has been using professionally recently - both of which he writes, literally, glowing descriptions of. One is the full-frame Panasonic S1 - and the other is its Leica cousin, the SL2 (as well as its predecessor, the SL). Both Kirk - and practically every other thoughtful reviewer around - have literally raved about the quality of the viewfinders of both the S1 and the SL2. Neither are (obviously) small or tiny cameras - and, price-wise, the S1 seems to be nearly a bargain compared to the SL2. But in the endless (and sometimes frustrating) search for a truly fine viewfinder... it might be worth taking a look at one or both of them. It might also be a waste of time, too. But... it might be fun, as well. :dance2:

Thanks Miguel. I'm a gearhead, so I'd love to get my hands on a a bunch of stuff, and it would be fun for me. :biggrin:

With the viewfinders, It's not so much the quality as it is their construction - eyepoint, size of the masking at the viewport, how far from the left edge, how far does the viewfinder extend from the back of the camera, etc...

The X100F doesn't have a high-spec viewfinder, but it works better than any of the other "better" viewfinders I have/ had simply because I can line it up with my eye and get my eye close enough to actually use the thing. The others don't line up and get close enough to my eye, mostly because the eyepiece hits my eyebrow ridge. (Back to the too much remaining Neanderthal gene thing.)

The SL2 and SL2-S are cameras that I've looked at the specs and images, and might have to get in-hand to try. Their viewfinders protrude to the back of the camera a bit more than others, and have a circular shape like a monocular eyepiece. That might allow me to get the viewfinder lined up and close enough to my eye. Another possibility is the GFX 50S with the tilt/ swivel adapter for the EVF, which moves the EVF a bit further away from the camera. But 1) cost and 2) not sure how suited they would be for airshow. Now, if I find I can no longer shoot airshows going forward...

Rangefinder and rangefinder-styled cameras play OK with my deep eye sockets and low protruding brow ridge (have to shoot without glasses), so those work. Just becomes a matter of which ones work best for the way I like to shoot, and cost. There's a reason I have deliberately stayed away from any Leica stores.
 

gordo

Top Veteran
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Gordon
I have shot birds with the Pro2, albeit not on the level of a serious bird photographer. But it did really well for me. And, having had the opportunity to shoot with a Pro3, I wouldn’t write that camera off.

Oops - thought I commented.

I don't really consider myself a serious bird dude, but it's one of the few activities I can do right now. And most of the birds I can shoot are small jittery fast-moving little buggers. Quick bursts, sometimes close together. Just not sure if the 2 would be up to that.

The 3 is a non-starter for me. I'd rather have a fixed rear LCD than what they did with that one, and then the lack of a D Pad.
 

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