Leica haters of the world, unite....
Leica does it again. First, Leica introduces an $8,000 monochrome camera and many of us are outraged. But Phase One introduces a monochrome camera that costs 5x the price ($40,000!) and the forums here are silent -- no outrage -- nothing. The Leica version saves you $32,000 -- the least we could've done was to say thanks. The humanity.
And now Leica releases a camera without an LCD.... Who do they think they are?
Seriously, all joking aside -- I wear a Timex -- but I would love a Patek Phillippe -- it is a pure work of art that also happens to tell time. Leica sells works of art that also happen to be photographic tools. And that I can understand. People buy fine art not for how it makes others (i.e. you) feel, but how it makes them feel -- and this can be an extremely powerful thing both logically and emotionally.
My auto fanatic friends don't stop enjoying their Mustangs when Ferrari puts out a new model. Enjoy the camera you have.
Thank you for the review. Does anybody know if this camera is compatible with Olympus' EMA-1 microphone accessory (which gives external mic capabilities to the other PENS)? Thanks.
My first camera was a Pentax K1000 I got in 1985 while still in high school. I have two of them -- and not only do they still work, but being totally manual, they don't require a battery to operate (I meter by sight instead of using the camera's meter).
Many cameras later (DSLR, mirrorless, etc.) nothing can compare to the feel of the controls on that K1000 -- winding the shutter before each shot is pure joy (i.e., think of how a pianist prefers the touch of one piano over another's).
I am excited to see Pentax still making great cameras. I wish them great success.
A few years ago, I was pretty convinced that with Photoshop, I had no need for a Lensbaby. Then I saw Fritz's work. To this day, I watch his video on Lensbaby's Youtube page about once a week -- not because of the lenses anymore, but for how his approach to portraiture inspires my own. When I saw this DPReview profile on his work, it made my evening.
If you want a beautifully designed camera (at an even more beautiful price), check out the Pen EPL2 from a few years ago. Both the black and silver models are stunning examples of camera design (check out the sloping top plate and perfectly thought out hand grip). It is simultaneously retro and modern, and IMO only surpassed aesthetically by the new Pen F. But at $85 for the body -- and $20 for a Minolta 50mm 1.7, trust me -- you would be a very happy photographer.
Does anyone know if the Pen F is compatible with the SEMA-1 microphone (which can be used with the earlier Pens)? I'm thinking of a way to get around its lack of a microphone jack. Thanks.
Thanks for this exceptional interview. Fujifilm has always been an outlier in the camera world.
When every other camera maker was chasing megapixels, Fujifilm kept making 6 megapixel cameras because they cared more about the quality of the image.
Who else would think to use honeycomb shaped pixels in their sensor (i.e. the S2 Pro) instead of squares? The honeycomb is one of the most powerful design principles in nature, imitated by parties ranging from the military to companies like FedEX/UPS).
Who else would make a sensor that was literally a digital replica of film -- with two sets of pixels, each optimized for different light levels (S3 Pro, S5 Pro)?
Fujifilm is not perfect (who is)? But their image quality is second to none.
But let me put my money where my mouth is -- my most recent wedding was shot on a $79 Fujifilm S2 Pro from 2002 (a camera specifically designed for the portrait/wedding shooter).
The images blew every 'modern' camera I have out the water.
FodgeandDurn: You could buy two GX8's for the price of this. Of course that comparison only gets you so far with such different lens lineups, but still. The GX8 is a pretty serious flagship rangefinder, I'm struggling to say that this camera isn't hugely overpriced.
I have 12 Fujifilm cameras, so you could call me a fan. But the GX8 might be the most underrated camera out there right now. If you ever did street shooting with an articulating LCD that allows you to practically shoot behind you, you'd find it hard to go back to anything not having a fully articulated touch screen. With that being said, of course the X-Pro 2 is a phenomenal camera -- still worth every penny. I'm indebted to companies like Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, and Leica that chose to obsessively innovate and release cameras photographers actually wanted....
Skeptics of the world unite...
I used to see these lenses as over priced gimmicks -- I already had Photoshop after all.
I made the mistake of actually shooting with one -- and I was hooked. I liked the look of Minolta's 50mm 1.7 on my mirrorless cameras -- and wanted more. Enter the Lensbaby. Do yourself a favor and look at what pro photographers are doing with these lenses (i.e. check out Fritz Liedtke's work on Youtube).
Whether it's this Edge 50 Optic or the Velvet, every time I shoot a portrait or shoot the street with one of these, you realize they're worth every dime. If you do a lot of bridal portraits, these lenses are a no-brainer (throw one of these on an old Fujifilm S5 Pro and you have a state of the art portrait machine that IMO can smoke any current camera)...
I would buy this in a heart beat, even over the excellent Sony A7R II (I shoot Sony mirrorless, so I'm not trying to start a camera war).
This is a well thought out camera. The fact that they kept it at 20 megapixels, to me, shows that Nikon was more concerned about making a phenomenal camera than trying to prove which camera can pee the farthest. At the same time, this camera seems to admit that mirrorless is to be taken seriously -- very seriously -- but reminds us that Nikon can make not only a great camera, but perhaps a superior one. Combining the best of the mirrorless innovations along with many of its own, this camera seems to be a testament to the power of competition.
Let me put it this way -- I shoot with several great Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic mirrorless cameras -- but depending on your needs, this might be the best camera available at any price -- for now...
I am a certified Photoshop junkie.
But comparing Exposure and Adobe's products is like comparing fast food and a five star restaurant. Exposure is simply at another level altogether. For years I figured that whatever programs like Exposure offered, I could duplicate pretty well in Photoshop or Lightroom -- little did I know. From Black and White conversions to analog emulations, Exposure is a revelation. And Exposure's lens simulator (Bokeh) module is phenomenal -- having shot with some of the lenses modeled, I was stunned at seeing a realism I honestly did not expect.
This is not about Adobe bashing -- their products have been an invaluable tool -- but I wanted to move beyond the mechanical presets of Lightroom to actually creating -- in the same intuitive way I once painted on canvas or 'made' photographs instead of merely taking them. If you want the power of applying not a 'look', but an unlimited visual language to your work, Exposure (and On1) are the way to go.
A year ago, I was about to purchase the latest version of Lightroom -- but then I downloaded a trial version of Exposure 7. I never looked back.
Exposure 7, along with On1's software suite are light years ahead of Lightroom -- and I am a longtime Adobe fan. What takes me a half hour in photoshop or lightroom takes literally seconds in Exposure (again, the On1 suite is similarly excellent in this regard). Note that there are many who use both LR and Exposure together.
I no longer had to worry about images that looked so obviously 'photoshopped' or 'lightroomed' (not necessarily a bad look, but often an easily recognizable one). Exposure literally gives every image a uniqueness and elegance of its own.
Use what works for you.
If Apple was serious about the photography market, they'd bring Aperture back instead...
Actually...Sony's been a leader in low light autofocus for over 10 years. As far back as 2002, Sony's F707/717 could nail focus in utter complete pitch black darkness. And it allowed you to choose between 2 focusing systems to accomplish this (1.a laser holograph focus assist light and 2. an infrared focus assist light). Amazing -- this is cutting edge stuff in 2015 -- let alone 2002. Combine this with a really state of the art Zeiss lens that started at F2.0 and could maintain F2.4 at almost 200mm.
Numerous dslrs and mirrorless cameras later, it remains the only camera that I use for shooting floral, macro and street photography in total darkness.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, with the simple addition of an infrared filter and a neutral density filter it's easily converted to an infrared camera (yet remains perfectly usable as a normal camera).
Sony has a pretty good track record for making cameras that are ahead of their time.
Just out of curiosity, how does the Panasonic G7 compare in low light auto focus? It's supposed to be able to focus to -4ev even without a focus assist light (Panasonic calls it 'starlight AF').
I have to admit, I used to dismiss the whole Sony/Zeiss thing as pure marketing and nothing else. But years ago, Luminous Landscape did a head to head between the Zeiss lens on Sony's F828 and the equivalent (and much more expensive) focal length with Canon L glass -- it ended up being a tie (even the reviewer seemed somewhat amazed at this).
My own experience has been equally impressive. I've been fortunate to own or use some of the best lenses ever made. But my favorite remains the Zeiss lens on Sony's F717 which was amazing -- I shoot professional portraits with it to this day. Check out DPReview's reviews of the F707/717 -- they seemed to be pretty impressed with the lens as well.
Chris Noble: Strange, begrudging review... An example: One feature that G-class users love is the Q-menu, a button to instantly access your own secondary controls (the primary ones being assigned to the custom buttons). In Butler's convoluted logic, "I'm not sure the camera needs its (increasingly dated looking) Q.Menu, in the light of how many custom buttons are available (though the customizable version can at least be pared-back to only include the features you want access to)."
Richard, the whole point of the Q-Menu is to include only the secondary controls each user wants; and I don't see any references to "increasingly dated" features in DPR's breathless reviews of retro cameras like the Olympus, Fujifilm and Leica nostalgia models. The Q-menu is a sensible and practical innovation that has stood the test of time.
What I'd really like to see is how the G7 compares to its peers and predecessors in shutter-shock sensitivity.
I agree. The lack of a touch screen Q Menu is what steered me away from the otherwise excellent LX100.
J Parker: Just a word of advice -- you owe it to yourself to actually use this camera -- and then draw your conclusions. This camera is phenomenal. Even as a stills only camera, this is one of the best handling and performing cameras I've experienced. Excellent controls and a well thought out touchscreen that adapt to you, not the other way around. The one thing that amazed me most it that there was almost no 'breaking in' period -- the G7 is almost immediately intuitive. An extension of not only the hand, but of the eye and mind. I enjoy shooting with the mirrorless cameras I have from Sony and Olympus -- but this is truly an incredible camera -- literally state of the art.
This camera is as elegant and exceptional as a Steinway Piano (even if you're not a pianist, play a note on a Steinway and you'll see what I mean...). Well done Panasonic.
Rinkos, thanks for your reply. I'm just thankful for living in this era where the cameras we take for granted would have also seemed pretty amazing to photographers like Amsel Adams or Gordon Parks. Continue to develop your photographic knowledge and use whatever camera inspires you to make great images.
Just a word of advice -- you owe it to yourself to actually use this camera -- and then draw your conclusions. This camera is phenomenal. Even as a stills only camera, this is one of the best handling and performing cameras I've experienced. Excellent controls and a well thought out touchscreen that adapt to you, not the other way around. The one thing that amazed me most it that there was almost no 'breaking in' period -- the G7 is almost immediately intuitive. An extension of not only the hand, but of the eye and mind. I enjoy shooting with the mirrorless cameras I have from Sony and Olympus -- but this is truly an incredible camera -- literally state of the art.
What if Sony made a camera that:-used a laser holograph to nail focus-had a built-in infrared nightscope to shoot in pitch black darkness-had a phenomenal Zeiss lens that started at F2.0 and even at 190mm could attain a f2.4 aperture?-didn't have an articulating screen -- but an articulating magnesium alloy body?-had absolutely amazing image quality?
Sony made this amazing camera 14 years ago (the incredible F707/F717).
My point: Sony's been doing the impossible for a long time (and this is coming from someone who shoots Nikon and Fujifilm). When Sony pushes the envelope and other companies are forced to do the same, we all win.
It is an awesome time to be a photographer.
"This ain't a comeback -- I've been here for years..."LL Cool J