Need for viewfinder?

I have four cameras at the moment of which three have viewfinders. My Fuji X-Pro1 has both electronic and optical viewfinders (EVF and OVF), Nikon 1 V1 has an EVF as does my Leica Digilux 2 whereas my Ricoh GR has neither of them. Even if my Digilux 2 has a crappy EVF I feel that it is a pleasure to rise that camera to my eye and use that EVF. Same with V1 and X-Pro1 which have modern viewfinders. I’ll get more intimate feeling using a viewfinder. I’ll become one with the camera. The feeling is quite hard to explain but it gives you a great user experience. And I have the possibility to choose between the LCD and a viewfinder with those cameras. Of course I am using the LCD quite a much actually depending on the photographic situation. But I still have the option to choose.

How do you feel? Is a viewfinder a must for you?

This kind of a pondering is always hazardous to me because it may easily lead me to think of new gear. That’s why I should try to relax on this matter.


1 camera approach for the trip

I have been pondering lately which of my cameras to take with me in our forthcoming holiday to Canary Islands. And during few last days I came into a decision which do not include any of my present cameras. Yes, a new one. Again.

First of all I decided to take only one camera with me. You can read my present options from this post. I realized that none of those is good alone for the trip and I really want to keep my camera gear as minimal as possible (in that trip that is). There are some features I would like to have in my “vacation” camera:

– Reasonably small in size. It has to be easy to carry with.

– Fast AF. I will photograph our lively sons a lot during that trip. My present cameras are in mediocre-good level in AF speed.

– A normal zoom lens. From wide to short tele would be okay. I do not want to change lenses all the time. From my present cameras only my Leica Digilux 2 has a zoom lens (28-90mm equiv.) and that camera is quite a special case and I do not feel so that I would like to take it as a sole camera for a vacation. But something like the Leica’s zoom range would be nice.

– A camera body or a lens equipped with IS (image stabilization). I would really like to have this feature (had IS when I owned Olympus OM-D and it was so nice).

– Decent IQ. I would use the camera mainly in daylight situations during the trip but I think it should also manage with higher ISOs (at least up to 1600).

– Viewfinder. I would very much like to have a decent viewfinder. I like to have an option to use LCD or a viewfinder. They both have their uses.

That is quite a list actually. I went through numerous review sites and blogs during my decision process. Then I noticed an used Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm (27-81mm equiv.) VR (IS) zoom lens in a Finnish camera site. Shutter count only 850 and like a new condition and only 200 euros. That is really a bargain I think. This combo will fulfill actually all the above requirements. I think Nikon 1 V1 will be a perfect vacation camera for me.

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?

Going for more substantial

Okay, some resolutions of my latest ponderings. I really want to have a substantial camera because I love to feel the camera. It should have a viewfinder as I love to rise a camera to my eye. It should have great IQ also in SOOC JPEGs. Preferably a fixed lens solution as I already have interchangeable lens X-Pro1. Easy and fast selection of AF points as I use this feature a lot. Great high-ISO performance as I live here in deep north with dark winters.

What this all means then?

I am still considering Fuji X100S.

Crazy because I already have quite similar Ricoh GR.

But still.

A quick tele zoom test

Took my old trusty (not yet rusty) Olympus E-P1 (yes, that first generation digital PEN) outdoors and fixed Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 MEGA OIS (oh man, what a name!) zoom lens on it. This was just to see how I will behave with a zoom lens.

I was shooting at our yard and guess what I noticed after a short session? Well, the normal thing I notice every time I am using zoom lenses. I will use almost exclusively far ends of the zooms. So, in this case 45mm or 200mm. Actually this time it was 95% 200mm. I was shooting different types of subjects and I just was zooming in to the 200mm (400mm equivalent). Couldn’t help. A 200mm prime lens could have done the job (at least 95% of it). I wasn’t utilizing zoom’s versatility.

So, it really seems (still) that I am a prime lens guy. This was a very short test of course but it will give me something to think of. I have been pondering to purchase Fujinon 55-200mm zoom for my Fuji X-Pro1 but why should I do that if I am going to use only the 200mm end after all. No point to get a zoom lens for that. Fuji does not offer any tele primes at the moment (there is 60/2.4 Macro but I have had it earlier and I felt that the focus speed was too slow).

I have for my X-Pro1 the Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar 135mm F3.5 lens (about 200mm equiv.) but it is manual focus only and frankly too long lens to hand-hold. Remember that X-Pro1 does not have any in-body IS.

I would be happy with something like 150-200mm equivalent focal length. But this needs more pondering because this may need rethinking of my camera system choices. I am not sure if I am ready for that…

In the end two shots at 200mm (400mm equiv.) with the E-P1 and Pana 45-200mm zoom. I am quite pleased to them.

KWH Pipe A home between trunks

Should I zoom in?

I’ve been pondering lately to buy a zoom lens. Oh my, I am a prime only guy. But now there is one zoom lens I may want to have. Namely Fujinon 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. It seems to be highly praised almost everywhere. And it really provides that tele reach (83-300mm) which I am missing time to time. It is about 730 euros, so not bad for the build quality and IQ it provides.

Should I go for it then? I have developed some kind of a zoom barrier in my head. Very difficult to use anything else than prime lenses. Quite funny. Nope.

Why can’t Fuji introduce a 135mm (200mm equivalent) f/2 prime? I would buy that one instantly. Or at least 85mm?

Which one to use with Aperture 3: iMac or MacBook?

As a new Aperture 3 user I am pondering which of my computers I should use as a main workstation with Aperture.

My iMac has a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb 667 MHz memory, ATI Radeon X1600 (128 Mb) graphics card, and 20″ screen.

My MacBook has a 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb 800 MHz memory, GeForce 9400M (256 Mb) graphics card, and 13″ screen.

I think the main difference between these two is the graphics cards and of course the display size. Aperture 3 is quite usable with my iMac. And I think I will upgrade the memory to 4 Gb in the computer I will choose as the main workstation.

If I use fullscreen editing (which I like much) in Aperture I think 13″ screen could be OK.

So, which one to use? A new computer is not yet an option, so I have to deal with the above ones.