Strange odyssey.

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Troy, NY
Since the spring of this year, I’ve been going through a strange odyssey. One day, in a fit of pique, I sold all my Olympus M43 gear: 3 bodies, 4 lenses. Poof . . . gone. I had noticed I wasn’t using them. I had all this nice stuff, but when it came time for me to go out the door, I would invariably grab one of my compact cameras.

So I was sitting on a small stack of “mad” money, thinking I should replace the now-gone M43 gear with a something else, maybe big and serious, maybe not. I tried of bunch of different cameras:

Sony HX90V – Small, really small. Performs above its weight in delivering punchy images in almost all conditions. But it’s really too small for my hands, and I didn’t like having to deploy the viewfinder every time I used it. I tried a Panasonic version of a similar pocketable travel zoom (ZS50) and found the manual focus to be unreliable.

Pentax K5S – Big, serious, heavy. Massive dynamic range. Astonishing low-light autofocus. Lovely images. But too big, too heavy, and I didn’t like the mirror sound in quiet settings.

Canon M6 with optional viewfinder – Ultimately, I liked the images from my Sony HX400V superzoom better.

Panasonic GX8 – This was strange. On paper, this camera looked awesome, but I felt no connection with it once I had it in my hands.

Panasonic GX85 with 12-32 and 45-150 – I wasn’t sure about this combo. On paper, it looked pretty good, and the Christmas markdowns were astonishing. So I checked with our own John Flores, and he said that he had just recommended that particular combo to a friend, and I knew that John had been using a pair of GX85s professionally as a motorcycle writer and photographer. I have posted my initial impressions elsewhere, but this particular combo reminds me of my old Honda all-wheel-drive Civic station wagon: it wasn’t the absolute best at anything, but it was very, very good at almost everything. If you want the absolute best, there are certainly better choices than Panasonic GX85 with 12-32 and 45-150. But this combination seems to deliver creditable results in almost every situation with a package that is small, light, and easy on the wallet and shoulder.

So now I am down to four cameras:

- Panasonic GX85 with 12-32 and 45-150, my go-to when I get an assignment to cover an event.

- Sony HX400V, the obvious choice for walks with the Better Half (aka spotter-in-chief) where we might encounter wildlife.

- Canon G12, always in a pocket when I am running errands.

- Fuji XP90 “rugged” camera, reserved for kayaking or when I might drown my camera. Why anyone would design a camera without a viewfinder is beyond me.

Cheers, Jock


Hall of Famer
The destination is not the goal, it's the path you traveled. :)

In hifi audio I went from an entry level setup straight to big high end. The problem with this approach can be that you don't get to appreciate the big step up if you didn't take the little steps.

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