I shoot Sony mirrorless about 90% of the time. But for that 10% of the time when color rendition has to be not only good, but phenomenal, I reach for my Fujifilm cameras.
The X100/X100s has clearly been the most influential camera of the last few years -- and that has been a good thing.
J Parker: Sony has a well deserved reputation for being one of the world's most innovative companies -- I'm glad it has extended that innovation to the photography field. I'm always amazed that despite Sony's years of experience with film and video, Sony is treated by some of us like a novice when it comes to still photography. Although I still shoot with Nikon's, the Sony's are a pure joy to use -- their innovations simply allow things that other cameras don't. For example, I recently used an old Sony F707 and shot landscapes and macros in pure darkness with the camera's built in infrared scope. I then used its built in laser holograph beam to focus on subjects that none of my current cameras could nail (remarkably, all this from a 2001 camera). Current Sony cameras like the RX1 and A7 are natural progressions from a company that chooses to make cutting edge cameras instead of recycling the same models. Sony has pushed photography forward in ways beneficial to all of us as photographers.
Minzaw, would it be safe to say that you won't be joining the Sony User's Group on Flickr? Just wondering.
Although I shoot a lot of video, strangely enough, I've always had a preference for Nikon's pre-video models (D700, D200, etc). As with Leica's Monochrom, there is a market for cameras that don't have every bell or whistle (it reminds me of the audio buyers who in an age of multi-channel home theatre systems, simply want an unadulterated two channel stereo amp--and are willing to pay top dollar for it).
Whether this camera fails or succeeds, I commend Nikon for attempting something different.
Sony has a well deserved reputation for being one of the world's most innovative companies -- I'm glad it has extended that innovation to the photography field. I'm always amazed that despite Sony's years of experience with film and video, Sony is treated by some of us like a novice when it comes to still photography. Although I still shoot with Nikon's, the Sony's are a pure joy to use -- their innovations simply allow things that other cameras don't. For example, I recently used an old Sony F707 and shot landscapes and macros in pure darkness with the camera's built in infrared scope. I then used its built in laser holograph beam to focus on subjects that none of my current cameras could nail (remarkably, all this from a 2001 camera). Current Sony cameras like the RX1 and A7 are natural progressions from a company that chooses to make cutting edge cameras instead of recycling the same models. Sony has pushed photography forward in ways beneficial to all of us as photographers.
The majority of the most impressive innovations over the last few years seem to be coming from the underdogs -- Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, and of course Sony. As a loyal Nikon shooter, it's hard not to be envious. I've already begun the transition to Sony and Fujifilm....
The Luminous Landscape reviewed the Sony F707 years ago and stated:
"...there's no getting around it: I LOVE THIS SONY. Some cameras you just take to. It's slowly become evident to me over the years that some camera designs are more than the sum of their parts, more than a collection of features. You can't discover this from a catalog or a spec sheet. They just work better; they're harmonious; they inspire more affection, more loyalty. They fit you."
An updated version of this camera with the RX100's sensor would be revolutionary
J Parker: Regarding the Sony F707, some tips for those who are interested in this camera that 10 years later, is still ahead of its time:
It's ability to operate in total silence and unique L design makes it the ultimate street camera. In addition to shooting at waist level, with a little practice, it can shoot to either side or even behind you.
The camera more or less doubles as a nightscope. It allows you to do street, macro and wildlife photography (and video) in total darkness.
Turning it into a daylight infrared camera is simple -- put black tape over each infrared lamp and screw on an ND filter and infrared filter.
Although I use Nikons for most of my pro work, the F707 image quality holds its own and I use it for some studio portrait work. Clients who experience the laser beam focusing will think you are the James Bond of photographers -- it's a nice wow factor and the Zeiss lens has a nice cinematic look for portraits.
At $50 buy it if you can find one!
An updated 707 with Sony's RX100 Sensor would be great.
Regarding the Sony F707, some tips for those who are interested in this camera that 10 years later, is still ahead of its time:
Another suggestion for part 2 -- the Pentax Optio S. It was so small that you could use an Altoids tin as a camera case (which is exactly what Pentax did when they revealed the camera at 2003's Consumer and Electronics Show). With decent image quality and the ability to use it as digital audio recorder, 3D and Panorama modes, it still makes a nice pocket camera at its $20 price these days.
Sergeg: It's almost inconceivable how some of those designs got past the drawing board in terms of ergonomics and aesthetics. Technological advances aside, when you consider the form factor of the typical smart phone today, and it's still camera and HD video camera capabilities, then product design is obviously subject to the same evolutionary processes as all art forms.After all, the ancient Egyptians only portrayed their world in 2D.
My first DSLR 10 years ago, was the Fuji S2Pro, which I still have, relatively little has changed in DSLR design in the last decade by comparison.
Many DSLRs later, the S2Pro is still my goto camera for portraits and landscapes. Very few cameras today have this level of color rendition.
J Parker: Excellent Article! I'm looking forward to part two. Many of these early cameras would be considered advanced even by today's standards. One example is the Sony F707 from 2002. Imagine a camera today that:
1.Had one of the best lenses ever made for a camera -- a Carl Zeiss lens with a 2.0 aperture at 38mm -- and 2.4 at 192mm (a comparable DSLR lens would cost $2000+) . It's cinematic rendering is why I use it for pro work to this day.
2.Is infrared ready out the box. It not only shoots in total darkness (think military nightscope), but with the addition of iinfrared and ND filters becomes a full fledged daylight infrared camera.
3.Uses a holographic laser beam to acquire focus under any condition (wow).
4.Has a unique L-shape form factor and swivel lens design that allows you to shoot over crowds, shoot at waist level, to the left or right--or even around corners. It's still my go-to street shooting camera.
At under $75 today, it's an absolute steal if you can find one.
The F828 was a special camera. There's an article on The Luminous Landscape website that compares the Zeiss lens on that camera to the far more expensive (and excellent) Canon L glass. Neither lens won this shootout -- it was a draw. Not bad for a camera that goes for only $180 these days.
Excellent Article! I'm looking forward to part two. Many of these early cameras would be considered advanced even by today's standards. One example is the Sony F707 from 2002. Imagine a camera today that:
Very nice gallery images.
DxO Film Pack is an awesome product. As with any program, the more you work with it and master it, the better the results. I no longer miss the Pentax K1000 film camera I used for over a decade. As with any product, our opinions will differ -- but if you actually print out your photos (not merely viewing them onscreen), you may be pleasantly surprised.
Some additional options:
Faststone Image Viewer -- its versatile interface makes using it a pleasure -- great features and fairly powerful -- it's the program that made me not buy Lightroom (I do mostly jpeg, not raw editing).
Virtual Photographer -- excellent features. It also takes many Photoshop plugins. And it includes the awesome Virtual Photographer Plugin which is a film simulator that holds up well against many of the expensive products (i.e. alienskin exposure, silver efex pro) with its color film and black and white conversions. A program made by real photographers instead of software engineers.
Older versions of Photoshop such as Photoshop 7 or Elements 2-5 (both use the old serial key system which is handy if your pc is not connected to the web -- also, these older programs are ridiculously fast on a current pc).
Save some money -- treat yourself to that lens you've been wanting for far too long....
Faststone Image Viewer--awesome interface for viewing and editing images that don't need extensive editing. Surprisingly powerful when you actually explore its features.
Virtual Studio (optikvervelabs.com) -- same as above, but it adds the excellent Virtual Photographer Plugin.
Although both of the above are free, if you can find used copies of Photoshop 7 or Elements 2-5, go for it (both should be dirt cheap and don't even require online registration or activation) -- and they run lightning fast compared to current editions of either). Photoshop 7 meets 95% of my needs compared to current versions.
Thanks for another great review. I don't mind waiting for the reviews from this site -- it's worth the wait, as very few sites do it better. I learn more about a camera from the reviews here than I do from the camera manual.
We often have a zero-sum mentality when it comes to cameras -- in other words, for my camera to be superior, every other camera must be inferior. These days, technology has come so far that comparing Fujifilm to Nikon to Canon, etc. is like comparing Porsches to Corvettes to Ferraris, and so on. As a result, we as photographers have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to camera selection and have the luxury to nitpick over things that may be more or less important depending on the needs of the individual photographer (i.e. arguing over operation speeds that vary only milliseconds from one camera model to another).
When speed is critical, I go to my Nikons. When image quality is crucial, the Fujifilm comes out the box. Why? Because in my studio, it is the portraits shot with the Fujifilm cameras that make customers ask what camera took that shot and place orders. I challenge you to actually use the Fujifilm X-E1 to take real portraits of real people and not be impressed.
Great images from a master photographer. McCurry is clearly one of the great portraitists of our time. I learn something every time I see his work.
PeterFXCassidy: Fujifilm S5 Pro
Definitely -- The S5, S3, and S2, even years later, were ahead of their time. The best out of camera JPEGS of any DSLR, past or present (along with a killer black and white mode), you could tell that these cameras were designed not by engineers, but real photographers who studied what a good film print looks like.
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