camera pondering

Friend’s advice

My good friend was visiting my son’s birthday party and we had time for short camera discussion (we usually do). He has been lately twice in vacation (in Spain and Turkey) with his family and I asked him which kind of camera gear he had with him. I also wanted to know if there were some camera features he was really missing during the vacations.

First of all he had Sony RX100 and Nikon D300s (with 18-55mm zoom) cameras with him at both vacations. The following things he pointed out:

– He said that he took most of the photos with the RX100 because of its small size. So, that is one big point here. You do not want to lug big equipment with you.

– He stated that a zoom lens is a must.

– He was missing a viewfinder a lot when using the RX100. The heavy sunshine made the LCD useless in many occasions.

– In-camera ND filter would have been great many times. He was not able to use wide apertures that much in outdoor shooting because of extreme light.

 

And here are my thoughts on those comments based on the cameras I have:

– My cameras in size order (from the smallest to the biggest): Ricoh GR, Nikon 1 V1, Fuji X-Pro1 and Leica Digilux 2 (these last two are actually equal in size). So, one point for Ricoh GR.

– I have only one zoom lens. It is the 10-30mm/3.5-5.6 for Nikon 1 V1. And of course Leica Digilux 2 has a fixed 28-90mm zoom. One point for Nikon and Leica.

– All my cameras except Ricoh GR have viewfinders. One point for X-Pro1, V1, and Digilux 2.

– Only my Ricoh GR has an in-camera ND filter. Nikon 1 V1 has, however, shutter speed option of 1/16000s which should be fast enough in strong light. So, I will give one point to Ricoh GR and Nikon 1 V1.

 

Now, let’s count the points. Fuji X-Pro1 = 1 point. Leica Digilux 2 = 2 points. Ricoh GR = 2 points. Nikon 1 V1 = 3 points.

So, Nikon 1 V1 seems to be a winner here per my friend’s advice.

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Just give me a 50mm GR

I think fixed prime lens cameras are quite much unbeatable in image quality if they have top-notch lens design combined with great sensor and lens-sensor matching is done meticulously. There are such cameras. Ricoh GR, Fuji X100S, and Sigma DPM series just to mention some. But much more is needed for a great camera than pure IQ. That is useability. I think Sigma DPM series have the IQ but they are lacking in other features and their images are difficult to post-process (I have had DP2M). But what is really fantastic with Sigma’s DPM cameras is that they have three variants of them. DP1M, DP2M, and DP3M. 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm equivalent lenses. I can easily say that if those Sigma’s would work better in high-ISO situations and if the post-processing of their files would be easier I would have all three of them at the moment. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, Sigma has not nailed this camera series in those two above mentioned areas. It really is a pity.

I have now Ricoh GR which has a 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) lens and the GR has all the bells and whistles I need. The GR is so great to use. Now I would like to have another GR with say 50mm (75mm equivalent) lens. Just in a way Sigma’s DPMs have. That would be a winner combination. Then I would have two GRs which together still are smaller than many mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with two prime lenses.

Two GR bodies with fixed sensor-matched primes. That’s my dream. I could even see that happen.

The grain season has started

Yesterday evening I shot quite much photos with three of my cameras indoors. Fuji X-Pro1, Ricoh GR, and Nikon 1 V1. I was pleased when browsing through those photos in cameras’ LCDs but quite depressed when imported them into LR and viewed them on computer screen. So grainy stuff. Maybe it is only my grain allergy or something but they looked quite bad. Blaah. This kind of camera-changing thing to go after the best result possible grain-wise really drives me nuts. It seems that for me the best possible solution would be to have only one camera. Less confusion, more enjoying the photos.

This same thing comes out every autumn when darkness arrive here.

But I do not know what to do about this situation. How to proceed? Sell something and leave something else?

Today I love one of my cameras (I do not know yet which one), tomorrow I will hate it. And love another one. And then in the next day vice versa.

I am thinking of camera-monogamy.

What kind of travel combo to take with?

In coming November our family is going to have a vacation in Puerto Rico, Canary Islands. I am already now thinking about which camera equipment to take with me for that trip. Most of the shots will be definitely taken outdoors and some of course in the hotel environment. There are some landscapes to shoot and certainly lots of pics about my family and their activities. I don’t want to take very extensive camera stuff with me. I have three cameras at the moment but I am not sure how well they would serve me in a trip like that. I am usually photographing quite near our home (or summer cottages) and I am able to go back to those sites quite quickly with different camera stuff if needed. In this forthcoming trip it will be different story in this respect.

I have following camera stuff:

– Leica Digilux 2; 28-90 mm (equiv.) fast lens; on-board flash; old, slow camera; only JPEGs

– Ricoh GR; 28mm (equiv.) lens; very small; on-board flash great IQ

– Fuji X-Pro1; 53 mm (equiv.) lens, two manual-only focus lenses (83 mm, 203 mm equiv.), reasonably small; no flash; great IQ

I have been thinking about to get XF 18-55 mm (27-83 mm equiv.) zoom as a travel lens for my X-Pro1 even if I like primes more. In that way I could take only X-Pro1 with me (it has great high-ISO capabilities so no flash is needed). That lens has image stabilization which could prove to be a nice feature.

I would be very interested in hearing your opinions on this? What would you do?

Back to DSLR?

Here by the beautiful lake my thoughts are wandering around. In fact so much that I've been going through some DSLR option for myself! I have now the fantastic Ricoh GR which is so easy to take with me everywhere and it also has many cool features like TAv mode and snap focus system. Then I have of course my Fuji X-Pro1 which I also love – time to time. X-Pro1 produces wonderful shots if everything goes well. Focus is still hunting quite much in many instances. The only AF lens I have for it is Fujinon 35/1.4 R which of course is a fantastic piece of glass. The two other lenses I have for it are manual focus ones. I can decently focus by them but I've been graving for image stabilization so many times. It is quite a wobbly experience to use longer focal length MF lenses, like 135mm I have.

The GR comes for Pentax Ricoh group and I have thinking to get Pentax K-5 IIs for my DSLR to replace the X-Pro1. K-5 IIs has the TAv mode I love, nice in-body IS to stabilize the longer lenses, some nice MF focus aids, and of course nice set of physical buttons for adjustments. It is weather-sealed and still small in size. IIs variant is without antialiasing filter which is also nice feature. The K-5 IIs body is about 1200 euros and I would be able to purchase one in July. I would also buy an adapter for M42 screw mount lenses then and first test K-5 IIs with my manual focus Super-Takumars (which are Asahi Pentax lenses). Pentax has a very nice collection of prime lenses, e.g 77/1.8 which I would like to buy soon after selling my Fuji.

But. I am not sure yet about this. I mean not 100% sure. Only 95% sure.

It would be very nice to hear your opinions on this, dear readers.

Travel kit

Okay. I found out that I have a perfect sized (actually I do not want to have any larger than this for travel) camera bag for travel. I even didn’t remember that I have such a bag. Lowepro Cirrus 110. Now I would like to have some gear to fill it up.

First of all I have my Ricoh GR which is of course part of my travel gear. Cirrus 110 bag has a removable divider so it is very easy to have different compartments, e.g. for two cameras. The GR is very small and will nicely fit in as standing on its short side. I measured with my old Olympus E-P1 with 14-42 zoom and that combo went nicely in the bag with the GR. But my Fuji X-Pro1 with Fujinon 35/1.4 lens is a different story. Let’s say so that it may go in but just barely and then the GR will not fit in comfortably. I have a larger camera bag but I definitely feel that it will be too big for the travel and I do not want to carry it with me all day.

Ricoh GR has a 28mm equivalent lens which will be my wide angle camera for the travel (and in general too). What I will need is a camera or body plus lens combo for a longer focal length area. Let’s say at least 70-75mm equivalent or longer. I stated above that my old E-P1 fit in nicely but it is quite old camera and its low light capabilities are not very good. PEN cameras with, say, 45/1.8 (90mm equiv.) lens would go in nicely in that bag. Also maybe even with 75/1.8 (150 equiv.) lens.

Question is that is there any sense to buy new (or mint used) 45mm or 75mm lens for my old E-P1? That 45mm is very reasonably prized (about 290 euros) but the 75mm is then quite expensive (about 850 euros). If I would do this (which means that I would buy m4/3 stuff once again!), I would be graving for a new m4/3 body too after the trip.

Or maybe I just have to look after next camera bag size above Cirrus 110 to fit in my X-Pro1? In that case I still have that longer focal length question in my hands.

I hate and love this kind of pondering. Makes life more interesting and complicated. 🙂

Two-body approach?

Now that I have the fantastic Ricoh GR which has a prime lens of 28mm focal length (in 35mm equivalent format) I have been thinking of possible two-body resolution for my camera gear. This means an addition of another fixed prime lens camera which has a longer focal length than the GR. Well, not so many options actually. 🙂 I think the only one will be Sigma DP3M which has 75mm (equiv.) lens. I had earlier Sigma DP2M (45mm equiv.) but that focal length is too close to 28mm and I really want more tele option.

The idea here is to have two camera bodies with me and both of those having a fixed prime lens. Both GR and DP3M are reasonably small cameras and that way easy to carry with. I just have to find a perfect camera bag (a small one which has just enough space for these two cameras) and I will have a fantastic compo for my kind of shooting.

I still have Fuji X-Pro1 which has interchangeable lenses, and I think I will keep X-Pro1, at least for now. It has a very wonderful image quality and reasonably small size. I had earlier Sigma DP2M (45mm equiv.) and I sold it because I made some silly moves in my camera purchases (like Nikon D600). Another reason to sell it was that I felt processing its RAW files quite awkward job. This is of course true for DP3M also. Sigma Photo Pro is not very nice program to use and I am now trying out Iridient Developer 2 for Sigma’s files to see how that RAW developer will manage.

All in all, this may be the perfect solution for me as I do not like changing lenses and I nowadays prefer serious cameras in small bodies like both GR and DP3M are.

In need of fixed prime lens

Definitely. Small camera with a fixed prime lens. Want one. Not totally sure yet if it will be an X100S or GR. I've read now quite many reviews on X100S and I am very convinced about it. I was enjoying my late X100 and can't see why I would not enjoy its improved version. Ricoh GR is still little bit of a mystery to me but of course mysteries are intriguing.

A sunflower to brighten your day! Shot with X100, btw.