A Tangent: Help me choose smartly (why the D800 is wrong for me right now)

Started May 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
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A Tangent: Help me choose smartly (why the D800 is wrong for me right now)
May 15, 2012

I have posted here--and elsewhere in the DP Review forums--since 2006, when i was in Iraq. I am a humanitarian working in Afghanistan (NGOs, not government or contractor), with a passion for travel and photography (which go--as we all know--beautifully together). Over these 6 years there is no doubt i have improved my photography skills, although perhaps not to the point where they should be, and gone through plenty of gear (Canon 400D -> 30D -> 5DII, w/ a side camera from the Canon G6 -> Panny LX2 -> Panny GF1 -> Olympus E-P3).

So what have I found out about myself in this time? I photograph--not surprisingly--as I travel. And I am at my happiest doing both simultaneously. When I am planning, I like to include everything, but when I am actually out in the field, I really am happiest focusing on whatever I am doing without the need to "get everything in." How does that translate into cameras and lenses? Less is more. I have often carried 5-8 lenses (when including Canon and M4/3 lenses), but I change lenses relatively infrequently, and am usually happier without more choices, understanding I cannot get every shot, and making due with whatever lens is on the camera at the time, be it a normal zoom, UW zoom (the original reason I got into DSLRs), Tele, or prime.

So here we are, and the photos I have seen from the Fuji XPro1 look amazing, as does the Nikon D800 (and perhaps, when it coms out, the Canon 24-70). I have tried to get myself excited about the O-MD, as I have good lenses for that system, or the Sony Nex7, but the images I see from both fail to excite me, and I am not practiced with MF lenses (which seem to be the only way to get anything reasonably close to the potential of the Nex7 out of it).

I like traveling light. I like less options. Although I think I love UWA lenses, I usually have to make myself use them, and the panoramic mode would be fine for me (I picture things in panoramic format). I find myself thinking about buying a X100 and a D800 with 4 good lenses (14-24, 24-70, Sig 150/2.8, and a 50/1.8), but I don't have the budget for it, and more importantly, i don't need it, there is just some little voice in my head saying "if you are going to spend money, buy the best." My photography is not so advanced that i need every MP of 36MP FF files. I have not sold lots of images, and I think the Fuji would be more than adequate (amazing actually, from the files I have seen). I even think it's quirky nature would teach me to work more slowly, and focus more deliberately on composition with less snapping away.

I had originally thought of going M4/3 + Fuji (to take advantage of small but versatile zooms and weatherproofing of the M4/3, plus the pure IQ of Fuji), but slowly I have begun to lean away from this to consider an all Fuji lineup (the soon to be released 14--I will not be buying until November earliest--the 35/1.4, the 60/2.4, and perhaps the zoom if it gets rave reviews, along with the X100). The thing is, I enjoy small cameras more, although I like the files from the FF sensor much more (and can tell the difference, even in good light), but the crop sensor files are good enough for me when I am not sitting with them right next to a FF file... and I enjoy carrying less.

So what is this all about, as a gear junkie, I am asking you to help me realize that for travel and my level of expertise, i don't need the "greatest" D800, and a Fuji would be everything i need for professional level print and exhibit quality photos for once in a life time travels... I know it sounds like I know this, but a little reinforcement would help in late night moments of "36MP landscape goodness" weakness...

Phew, thoughts/remarks?


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