switching systems - my findings / opinions

Started May 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
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twoeggmedia
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switching systems - my findings / opinions
May 20, 2012

My experience:
US Air Force combat cameraman - 8 yrs
Portrait/Commercial - 12 yrs

Photography is my hobby and moderately successful second source of income. My work consists primarily of corporate freelance and portraits.

Systems used-
Nikon (F4, F5)
Kodak DSLR with Nikkor mount
Fujifilm S2 DSLR with Nikkor mount
Sigma SD10, SD14, SD15
Sony NEX-5 and NEX-7 with Leica and Mamiya lenses

Long story short: Sigma provides stunning images but is limited in ISO and speed of use. I have grown tired if it's limits and need a more capable system. A high quality 17-50 f2.8 zoom and 50mm f1.4 prime currently take care of all my needs, thus I have little invested in lenses and relatively simple lens needs for my new system. I have done exhaustive research into a new system and am sharing my opinions I developed based on my particular needs and personal quirks. Your mileage may vary.

Sony- Alpha- IBIS is a great idea. But, SLT bumps noise from base ISO and causes slight loss of sharpness. Users state it's not a big deal, but it exists and who wants to get a camera that's limited, however slightly, by it's own design from the get-go - NEX- Based on personal experience, it has an image perception problem for professional use. Clients want to see a big fancy black box with a big lens attached. Even though my NEX-7 will give them amazing images and has a $3k Leica lens attached, I've gotten some negativity from clients about my "dinky" camera (a shame indeed). Sony has provided a crappy NEX lens selection and the lenses that do exist are of marginal quality. Reviews state the NEX-5n sensor out-resolves the e-mount 50mm 1.8, a pity. I use a NEX-5 and NEX-7 for personal use, mostly with Leica glass and love it.
Note to Sony- PLEASE put IBIS in the NEX line.

Pentax- K-5 is my favorite DSLR APS-C body. IBIS, weather sealed, great high ISO. However, lens selection is limited and expensive, with no significant performance gains and no lengths I need most.

Sigma- Under 800 ISO, no APS-C camera can touch the detail and look of a Sigma. It has served me well. BUT, they can be inconsistent, over ISO 800 is crap, and take time to set up to get the best image. Print size is limited also. The new and improved SD1-M is tempting but at near the cost of a FF, it's not competitive.

Canon- Everything APS-C is OLD. Updates are coming soon. I like the 7D, but it's replacement is imminent. I hate buying something (at nearly full price) and something cooler comes out soon after. I also think Nikon has better glass at the lengths I need.

Olympus- The OM-D is a nice camera with IBIS and some good glass at the lengths I need. But, I'm not sure about clients reaction when I pull it out of the bag.

Panasonic- nothing to even talk about

Nikon- Like Canon the APS-C cameras are OLD. BUT... While doing my due diligence for this hefty investment, I came to a conclusion that never crossed my mind at the beginning. There is finally enough difference in image quality vs price in the FF offerings from Canon and Nikon to justify taking the plunge. With shiny new models from both, the tie breaker was the awesome 24-70mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.8 lenses from Nikon. My D800 is on back order and I am using a borrowed D5100 with my new lenses until it gets here. I wish the 24-70 had VR, but other than that, I'm very happy with my choice. I look forward to working with FF.

Again, these are just my opinions, preferences, and quirks. There really is no BEST brand, it depends on your needs and preferences.

 twoeggmedia's gear list:twoeggmedia's gear list
Sigma DP1s Pentax K-5 Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +1 more
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