Ok now that all the cards are on the table.

Started Jul 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
Rocko Wallaby
Forum MemberPosts: 75
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Re: Ok now that all the cards are on the table.
In reply to CollBaxter, Jul 24, 2012

If I may slightly modify an old adage written about economists, I will say "Line up a thousand photographers end-to-end and they'll all point in different directions." So my opinions are based strictly on the type of photography I am interested in, and not meant in any way to be critical of others.

My interest is travel photography, not for stock but for the memories only, which means mostly landscapes, street scenes, architecture and interiors (museums, cathedrals, etc.). I'm not interested in BIF, wildlife, racing, etc., so killer autofocus and killer zooms are not high on my list of wants... I'm not heavily invested in Olympus - I currently have an E-520 and the two "kit" lenses (14-42, 40-150) which have, for the most part, served my photographic needs well. It's my first and thus far only DSLR - I have a couple of small Lumix cameras too. The 520 and the two lenses are about as big and heavy as I want for travel. I'm not talking about taking a trip in an automobile where I could load the trunk with gear and haul it and a tripod 100 meters from the road to capture images. I mean a three to four-week tour (I'm retired) in a walking-buses-trains-planes-boats-and even more walking kind of excursion in foreign lands. Believe me, the gadget bag gets heavy fast on such trips. And I'm no spring chicken anymore - the stuff gets heavier with each passing year.

As I said, the 520 has served me well in my travels "for the most part." I would like better low-light focus (or a bigger brighter screen for easier manual focus, and better DR. A couple of years ago I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, California) with a friend who was toting a Nikon D5000, also with the kit lens. It was about the same size and weight as my 520, but in the low-light environment it was nailing focus when my 520 did not, and his pics were much cleaner at higher ISO than mine. So I thought, "I really need a faster lens. I'll buy the 14-54 lens which is bigger and heavier, but not by that much over the kit 14-42." At the same time I thought I'd wait for Photokina and perhaps at the same time upgrade my 520 with a new E-xxx that I was sure was coming... Then Photokina came and nothing new in 4/3... just Pens and other m4/3 stuff. At that point I had a sinking feeling... and decided to wait and see before I spent any more cash on 4/3 stuff...

I'm still waiting today... When people say, "4/3 is not dead - the E-7 is on its way!" it means nothing to me (unless the E-7 turns out to be Pentax K5-like). That said, I decided that, for me, mirrorless is the future. Of course the EM-5/G5/m4/3 et al is very intriguing but I'm not married to any brand of camera. After all, although I've used Oly gear for over 25 years (OM system) if I fall and break my legs tomorrow I'm not expecting a letter from Olympus: "Sorry about your legs. In return for your blind loyalty to our products, we'll be sending you a check every month to help with your expenses until you're back on your feet." So I'm again waiting for Photokina and beyond to see how the whole mirrorless situation shakes out. For those critical of the Nikon 1 or Canon's EOS-M, don't be too quick to rush to judgement. As Thom Hogan recently wrote on his sansmirror web page, "We now have all the players with toes in the water and the full swim competition is about to begin in earnest." Remember the Minolta Maxxum? Its autofocus system took the SLR world by storm. People were lining up to buy one while all Nikon and Canon could offer were a few big, kludgy-looking and expensive autofocus lenses that weren't at all competitive. And then the Big Boys rolled up their sleeves and got serious... and despite remaining an excellent product Maxxum soon lost its autofocus advantage...

The next year will be very, very interesting in the MILC world. I really don't believe that all the cards are on the table just yet. The Nikon 1 system may be just a mirrorless design-exercise/warm-up and Canon, Pentax and Sony certainly won't stand pat. And m4/3 offerings from Panny and Oly are just getting better and better. Just as some of you are patiently waiting for an E-7, I'll happily motor on with my 520 until the picture becomes clearer. These are exciting days!

Sorry for being so long-winded. Brevity has never been my strong point. Good shooting, everyone!

p.s. Collin, your posts are always informative and insightful. Keep up the good work!

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