Which are my fixed prime lens camera options at the moment?

I am almost obsessed for cameras having a fixed prime lens. I have one of those at the moment – Fuji X100. And I love it. But there are also other nice options for me in addition to X100. Why I am posting this? Well, I am really tired to changing lenses and feeling that surplus of different lenses (as was the situation when I had Canon 5D Mk II) is limiting my creativity and giving me a feeling that I am suffocating in technical stuff. I want to have a simple and great camera. This is not an easy question though. Those fixed prime lenses vary a lot in their focal length, maximum aperture and of course also in IQ-wise. Then there are very different sensor sizes. And many kind of usability.

Fuji X100 is a great camera as I have stated earlier. So, what’s the problem, man? I think all this writing about these things reflects my difficulties with Fuji X-Pro1. It is a great camera too. But is it a great camera for me? I may consider selling my X-Pro1 if I can find a good fixed prime lens option to replace it. Wow, did I say that?! Well, anyways, here are few words about the options I know at the moment (if you know some else, please let me know):

Sigma DP1/2. I do not know much about these. Sensor is different than other’s but that’s it. Somehow I feel that there are better ones at the moment. So, maybe not an option. About 1000 euros.

Ricoh GRD IV. I am quite much interested in this one. It has a small sensor and not so good ISO performance but it would nicely complement my X100. Very pocketable and fast focusing with its hybrid focus system. I have heard lots of positive comments on its “snap focusing” system too. Nice 28mm lens. Simple to use. About 450 euros.

Leica X2. Well, it is a Leica. Everybody loves Leica. APS-C sized sensor and very good Leica lens. Quite much in par with X100 in many respects but having no EVF/OVF. About 1750 euros. Expensive but it is a Leica. 🙂

Sony RX1. Full Frame, FF. WOW. I saw some shots at Steve Huff’s site. WOW. Just unbelievable ISO performance. Very nice Carl Zeiss lens. No EVF, that’s a minus. About 2800 euros. Sigh. For this one I should sell my X100 too.

You can freely guess which one of those I want to have. Just crazy…

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8 comments

  1. I’ve ordered a Ricoh GRD IV which I should have in the next few days. I’ve been following that group for a while on flickr and while many of the images are a bit too “arty” for me I think the prime lens and simplicity of the camera will appeal to me for many of the reasons you state above.

    I particularly like the photography of Wouter Brandsma who uses Ricoh GXR and GRD cameras.

    If nothing else, the change will shake my brain up a bit as I’m a long term Canon guy. We shall see.

  2. Jonne: I’ll certainly let you know through the regular channels. I’m guessing this is a camera you’d like. I bought one 6 months ago but returned it although I did like its ergonomics. I think I was so hooked on the Canon S100’s 24mm angle of view that anything longer turned me off. But, on second thought, 28mm as a fixed prime is probably a better balance between wide and long.

    It didn’t ship yet so no doubt I’ll have it sometime later in the week.

  3. Gunston, I have not decided anything yet. I have both X100 and X-Pro1 now and it may well be that way also in the future. I am always searching new possibilities though. I like the idea of fixed prime lens camera as X100 is.

  4. Jonne: Just an update. I did some portfolio shooting for the sculptor Joy Brown (as you know, a good friend of mine who I’ve worked for for years) and I used my Canon S100, Canon G15, and Canon 5D with 135L to do the same image.

    Amazingly, when we sorted it all out we chose one of the ones that came from the G15. That’s not to say that it’s a better camera, just that its capable of making decent images.

    Given that I don’t use my DSLR kit anymore I, like you, decided to unload it. I emailed two friends who have Canon kits and could use my lenses and I’ve sold all of it, including the 5D body. When I return home I’ll clean and pack it all up and ship it off.

    I’m not going to replace it with anything, yet. I’m going to sit on my hands, use my small cameras, and see what happens in the various camera categories and what kind of shooting I end up wanting to do with my now limited camera kit.

    I may end up going back to a 5D or 1D or lower end DSLR in the end, or, might end up with Fuji or if Canon speeds up AF on the EOS M maybe give that a try.

    I have no idea, but I feel very free and light and good about unloading the DSLR kit which I’ve gotten a huge amount of use of over many years but is collecting dust now.

    Just thought I’d let you know that you inspired me.

    Thanks.

  5. Wow, Richard. That’s very interesting to hear these news. I had (and actually I am still having) that free and light feeling you mentioned. Sometimes big changes may be quite refreshing ones. But we always have possibility to go back and that’s okay too.

    In the end it will be the photos which count not the gear.

  6. Jonne, I’m sitting on my hands at the moment and will shoot with Canon S100 and G15 for a while until I figure out what I want to do next. Until then I won’t feel like I’ve got a lot of expensive gear sitting around losing value. I really don’t know what I’ll do next, if anything. But, I know I have cameras that I can continue to take images with that, while not as high quality as I shot before, will be good enough for now.

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