Thursday, June 09, 2016

Three Cameras I Am Lusting For Right Now

I am human, just like everyone else. I may stay strictly loyal to Olympus and probably not sway too easily, but I am also susceptible to gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) that all photography hobbyists suffer from. There were moments when I do wonder how my photography workflow and shooting experience will differ if I were to use a different camera. The fact that there are so many exciting cameras out there makes things even more difficult!

On one hand, I am a strong believer of Olympus Micro Four Thirds system as a complete, well-rounded, reliable and effective photography system. There are just too many can't-live-without features such as 5-Axis Image Stabilization, small form factor & lightweight yet robust construction, super fast & accurate autofocus, and most important of all the wide selection of available sharp and small high performing lenses. On the other hand, I cannot help but always wonder about a few other cameras out there and what they can do for me!

Here is a short list of 3 cameras that I lust for, at this moment. 

1) FUJIFILM X70
What is there not to like about this camera? Small, light, same philosophies as what I have always shouted about, and the super-versatile 28mm focal length, which is one of the highly valued perspective for street photography. Oh and that killer, sexy classical look, Fuji makes beautiful cameras so easily to fall in love with at the first sight. I personally have owned and used the Fuji X100 (first version) and I simply loved the camera, despite the few shortcomings (painfully slow Autofocus, mediocre lens). Fuji X-series camera has come a long way and I am sure the AF has improved over the years. Having a fixed lens camera for street shooting is not a bad choice, and the external controls and dials (not excessively done) would aid in some quick settings when necessary. I can totally imagine myself shooting with Olympus E-M10 Mark II with 45mm F1.8 for longer, tighter shots, and switching quickly to Fujifilm X70 for all my wide angle coverage needs on the street. I have also known a few street shooting friends who regularly use the 28mm perspective for their framing. After trying my best to adapt to the 35mm focal length, I have concluded that the 35mm is just not meant for me and I should only use it when necessary. I am now shifting my shooting style back to my original preferences: wide angle and medium telephoto range. Not so much of 35mm which is neither here nor there. And yes, the 28mm works well for me and the Fuji X70 is really tempting. 



2) PANASONIC LX100


There was a time, before I decided to buy the OM-D E-M10 Mark II that I have seriously considered a Panasonic LX100. What is there not to like about this camera in a true compact-form, yet housing a powerful Micro Four Thirds imaging capabilities? That built-in lens, 24-70mm at very bright apertures of F1.7 to F2.8 may be the only lens I need for 90% of my shooting needs! I could see myself just using this camera for my street shooting every weekend, carrying one body without the need to change lens! Most importantly, Panasonic LX100 has a built in electronic viewfinder, which the Fujifilm X70 lacks. Having used the Panasonic Lumix GM1 for more than a year before, I know well enough the capabilities of Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras, and I can confidently recommend Panasonic cameras to anyone. My only wish is for this camera to have touch AF capabilities (not sure why this is not implemented, as it helps a lot when it comes to changing focusing point quickly. 


3) PENTAX K-1



This must be quite an interesting choice to be mentioned as one of the camera I do want to use. I have been using DSLR for at least 5 years (2008 to 2012, Olympus E-410, Olympus E-520, Olympus E-5, Sony A350, Sony A57). While I have moved on completely to mirrorless system now, and have been the forefront pusher of the tagline "mirrorless is the future", if there is any chance I am returning to DSLR now, for whatever reasons (do we need reasons to change cameras? actually we just need cash) I would choose the newly released full frame Pentax K-1. I have recently had a very quick hands-on experience with the K-1, and I liked it immediately. The camera feels great in my hands, comfortable gripping and good ergonomics. I particularly love a third dial that can be customized for a number of functions, and if I have this camera, that third dial would be set to control ISO directly. Is it not great to have just a dedicated dial for ISO? ALL cameras should have this! Autofocus was fast, the optical viewfinder was large and looks fantastic, and based on so many early online reviews out there, K-1 seems like a winner already! I understand that lens selection will be limited and commitment of Pentax to this full frame system is still uncertain, but hey, I still believe in Pentax as a great camera-making company and if K-1 is successful I am sure the system will grow in time. 

I would love to get my hands on either one of the 3 cameras and start clicking away. Unfortunately, cash is limited and I am still very happy and have very little complain with what I am using now (Olympus E-M10 Mark II, PEN E-P5, 12-50mm kit lens, 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8). 

So tell me, do you find any of the cameras listed above as a surprise coming from me? What is the camera you are aiming for right now? Share your thoughts!

51 comments :

  1. K1 - yes and no. Yes - it is a real mean machine and I still have some K mount lens No - just too too big after spoiled by mirrorless & $$$$ constraint. X70 - no Using a GR now. LX100 - yes when the price come down to more reasonable level and wife not complaining too many camera :-)

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    1. True, while K-1 is not too large as a full frame DSLR, after using mirrorless cameras for a while it is still quite a large camera!

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  2. Only the PENTAX K-1! It's realy a great camera. I used it two hours durig the fotofestival in Zingst, Germany. The TAMRON lenses 28-75, 90 and 70-200 are working pretty well. The DA 50 1.8 and the DA 35 2.4 can be used as fullformat- lenses, too. Very interesting.

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  3. I am drawn to the Pentax K-1. Last week, I was trying to get graduation photos from the other end of the American Football field. I tested the E-M1 with the 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 and it didn't work well, so I used the E-5. Suddenly, I wanted my old equipment again.

    The only problem with the K-1 is the selection of lenses. They're in the process of fixing that a bit.

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    1. Yeah lens selection will be a bummer for now. It will take some time for the lenses to mature and people are quite impatient these days!

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  4. I saw photos from x70 and LX100 and I don't think it is any better from latest m43 gear. Only the size of the camera is tempting but the lack of IBIS is important for me. I have a look on Pentax K1 as it seems a true upgrade in image quality. Though it is difficult to maintain 2 systems...

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    1. True that the Pentax K1 sure is an upgrade for image quality, however, lens selection will be something that is holding many people back!

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  5. After a long struggle, I have my Canon stuff sells. For the money I have taken an E-M5 II. Also I have one OMD E-M10 and a PEN PL3.
    Now you come with Fuji, Pentax and Lumix - lol
    What about your Fujifilm x100, or have I misunderstood something?
    Please do not take it so seriously .... I like your blog and read quite often.
    I'm sure, you do with any camera great photos!

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    1. I have given up on the Fuji X100. It was a good camera, not great. Focusing was just too difficult to work with (I fully understand this getting the camera) and the 35mm equivalent lens was just mediocre, I wish they have used a better lens. I like the colors, the overall image rendering, but not enough to justify keeping this.

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  6. With the size of a camera, the mood in shooting changes. As a former long time pentaxian (istDL, K10D, KX, K7, K5, even K-01) i changed to MFT with EM5. I never missed an APS-C Sensor and really happy with the MFT Output, but sometimes missed a nice optical viewfinder and in some shooting mood a more hefty Body, a "real camera". So i bought FF Nikon D610 which fullfills my needs. Now i am a bit in pain...if i had waited the K-1 is the Body i'm in for. Did i say that i always liked the colours and lens-look of Pentax. Nice smooth but sharp rendered Raw's. The K-1 and some old Pentax Glass will be a jewel in todays "everybody wants the fastest camera". But Pentax is not about speed, it's about the best ergonomics and about "workhorse" quality.

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    1. I can back up your claim on the ergonomics. The camera just feels so right in my hands as I held it. I think pretty much everyone got the speed thing right these days, maybe with Fuji as the exception (come on Fuji, time to catch up). I tried the Pentax briefly and in no way I felt it was slow. Oh yes there are times I do miss an optical viewfinder!

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  7. Pentax k1 is interesting but its lenses are heavy. I use an Olympus pen mini (pm1) and a Pentax ks1, which I bought because I had a drawer full of old lenses. Oly is excellent when trecking (because it's light), but sometimes I like to look into pentax's optical viewfinder. Moreover the ks1 has 20 Mpix and tolerates high iso, the Oly 12 Mpix and poor response to high iso.

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    1. I think Olympus has come a long way since E-PM1 ! There is a huge jump in terms of image quality since E-M5, vs the previous generation of E-PM1.

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    2. You are absolutely right, Robin, the pm1 is obsolete now. But i suffer from the opposite disease of GAS: I have OSF (old stuff fixation). My pm1has been with me for several years, she climbed several mountains, made several trips, and I would not part from her easily.

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  8. x70 - nice jpeg and bloody sharp wide open. but i cant live w/o an evf. sold it .
    K1 - ugly. no further comment.

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    1. I wonder why Fuji did not just put in an EVF. It is not that difficult to do and with everyone's requests/demands these days, I am sure they could have sold a lot more units of X70 with an EVF.
      I think, honestly, ALL DSLR cameras are ugly. Not just K1. But the ugliness has gotten so mainstream that it is accepted as "normal".

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  9. Hey Robin, I'm with you - as much as I love shooting my EM5 with the Oly 25mm I also really enjoy shooting my "other camera" the Fuji X30. Great form factor, really nice EVF, and as much as I love Oly colors there is something about the Fuji film emulations that I really like.

    Many years ago in the mid 1980's I worked as a tech rep for Yashica/Contax in San Francisco. The other reps (Nikon, Minolta, Ricoh, etc.) and I used to swap out sample cameras from time to time just to have fun shooting something other than the cameras we used to make a living. That fun experience really got me to understand how to make valid comparisons of one camera system to another. I guess this could apply to many things in life. It's nice to know what's going on outside our own "worlds" :-)

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    1. How I wish the culture of sharing cameras for comparisons and getting to know the systems better is still here today. Sadly competition is not helping the photography spirit much.

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  10. How can you possibly lust after only THREE cameras? The camera manufacturing industry is downright diabolical in how there is always something new and cool coming out! And I don't even consider myself a gear oriented sort of person.

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    1. Hey Glen,
      I do have interests in other cameras but for now these are the top 3 in my list.

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  11. You said: "Here is a short list of 5 cameras that I lust for, at this moment."... I only count three on the list?

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  12. I made a list the other day of the digital cameras I had owned, it came to 18! These days I have settled on the Nikon Df, it is enough like my Olympus OM-1 to love it. The K1 is very interesting but far too late to the party in my view. Like you Robin, I still find the Fuji X100 attractive but the head and pocket rules. Anything without a viewfinder, I would just use my phone instead.

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    1. Viewfinder is really important, and yes, without viewfinder it is hard to take the camera too seriously.

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  13. This is my list (em-5/gm1 user):

    Leica q, with weather sealing
    Rx1r II, with better battery, in body stabilisation and weather sealing.
    Ricoh Gr with a viewfinder and better autofocus
    em1 with 24 megapixels + the sensor tech of the latest Sony cameras

    Grrrr... Feel like I'll be waiting at least a year for one of the above.

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    1. Leica Q is quite an interesting camera, unfortunately I cannot justify spending so much on a camera, as I know very well I can get what I need from cheaper alternatives. Not sure why I am never attracted to Ricoh. Perhaps it has something to do with their rather, unattractive camera designs. That is just me I guess.

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  14. isn't it about time for an LX100 update from Panny? Seems like it's been out for a long time as these product cycles go. Or maybe the new 1"er travel zoom is meant to replace it?

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    1. It would be nice to have an update on the LX100, so that the current LX100 will be cheaper in price!

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  15. K1 is not too big in comparsion to Samsung NX1, which is my favourite camera forever

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    1. Exactly! I do not think K-1 is that big either.

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  16. Robin IMHO

    Fuji X70... why? Ricoh GRII does it better, smaller in the right places but still has good haptics lens and IQ. Snap Focus gives it the edge in its specialist subject.

    LX100...If you can live within its limits but it is not truly pocket-able, you may as well have the versatility of the E-M10MKII with what ever lens.

    Pentax K1 Why compromise with full frame? surely you need medium format.

    My line up:
    Ricoh GRII
    E-M1 with Primes and Pro Lenses
    Sigma Merrills
    All have their compromises, but have haptics that work for me, and excel in their niche.

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    1. Ricoh generally has rather ugly designs, at least to my eyes. I cannot work with ugly cameras. Sorry.
      True that LX100 is not that special, as I can do with whatever I have now, even the E-M10 Mark II, but hey, it has that 24mm F1.8 lens..... built into it. To get a similar focal length and aperture opening I need to buy the 12mm F2, which actually is the same price as the LX100 alone! Instead of buying a lens, why not a camera + lens?

      No no, no medium format for me. Too slow (I shoot on the street, speed matters) and I feel anything about 8-10MP is just sufficient for my needs. I am not a megapixel hungry photographer, at least not yet.

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    2. While I appreciate a good looking camera the looks are way down my list. All my cameras happen to be black ive then appliedw black gaffe tape across the name and model plus all have non branded wrist straps. A brand attracts the wrong attention and I feel using a camera shouldn't be an advertising campaign. When I see Nikcannions withe their massive cameras and branded neck straps I just groan inside. Camera looks and pixels don't make the image. Both the GR and E-M1 are ugly brutes but I love using them and the give great satisfaction. As for my images well that's subjective and down to taste. https://flic.kr/p/GHTQR9

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  17. Forget the X70, the Ricoh GR is still cream of the crop for fixed lens cameras in that price range. Having used both, it was an easy choice. The Ricoh has a much sharper lens, so much so that I think Fuji have let themselves down on their attempt at a fixed 28mm equivalent. the Ricoh also focuses faster, much better menus, intuitive ergonomics refined by many generations and its operation all round is smoother and faster. you also get the lovely DNG format which works with EVERYTHING. Look, I wanted to like the X70 but I think it's the weakest camera Fuji has made in years, a complete flop.

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    1. Really? Don't you see how ugly the Ricoh is? No offence to Ricoh GR users, but I cannot justify spending money and using something soooo unattractive. I have MANY friends who own and use Ricoh cameras and honestly I am not even slightly interested. Maybe it is just my personal bias. And I have never heard GR having quick AF!

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    2. I have to agree with everything the poster above said. It's a no contest when it comes to IQ (the GR lens might be the best 28mm equivalent of any system). The Ricoh is plenty fast in good light and slow-ish in lowlight but the x70 isnt a speed demon either. But I understand that you don't want to shoot with a camera that you deem ugly.

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    3. I'm sure a camera's physical aesthetics are important to some people, but I couldn't care one iota. I don't see it being ugly at all, its utilitarian without resorting to archaic retro throwbacks which dies out for a reason. There's a reason it has a cult following in the street community - it's been refined over several generations and it connects with the photographer so seamlessly. The X70 is just a retro throwback with a few novelty features added in for the everyday consumer.

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    4. I've seen nothing but good things said about the Ricoh GR. But no viewfinder kills it for me. Otherwise I'd be interested. Disappointing that the mark II was hardly different.

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  18. Hi Robin,


    The Fuji X70 is great because it’s so compact and would fit in any size bag even a laptop bag when you travel. The negative is that there is no viewfinder. I use to own a Fuji X100B with the 28mm and 50mm adapters. It was exciting to switch between optical and electronic viewfinders, but in actuality, I was using the electronic viewfinder more often. The results were very pleasing even though they were adapters. If you dislike adapters, I would think the Panasonic LX100 would be the way to go. Portability and a useful focal range for when on the go without the hassle of changing lenses.

    I have been using a Sony NEX camera since they first came out. I thought about upgrading to a Sony A6300, but I found the Sony APS-C lens lineup a bit limiting currently in terms of lens choices and it seems recently there seems to be more of a focus on their full frame offerings. Recently, I saw your blog and was convinced from your beautiful photos about the potential of micro-4/3rds. The compactness of the lenses and bodies, IBIS, and the position of the controls are some of the reasons I bought an EM10 Mark II. Not to mention the nice jpegs.

    The Pentax K-1 is out of stock everywhere it must be a really hot seller. Even the lenses are backordered. The K-1 resembles the Pentax 67 II film camera so it looks like Pentax is following what Olympus did for the Olympus OMD series going back to retro styling of the film days. I think out of the three choices you have listed and if the bulk and the size of the camera is not an issue to you. I would go with the K-1 since its full frame.

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    1. I agree that the X70 not having an EVF is quite a deal-breaker, it would have sold a lot more if Fuji decided to just put it in.
      True that Sony NEX line-up is not that attractive for lenses, and it is also questionable on their commitment front, since their main focus now is on their full frame Alpha 7 series.
      I did not know that the Pentax is such a hot seller! Not surprising since it does get many things right.

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    2. Since the K-1 is full frame, imagine all those nice Pentax film lenses you can mount on it with an adapter! it looks really rugged and means business. I think its a nice alternative to the other DSLRs out there on the market.

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  19. X70? nah, no EVF, dealbreaker. i get my 28mmm fix by keeping the 14/2.5 Pana on the OMD.
    LX100, yes, i have the Leica 109, only because the handgrip turns it into a perfect size for my hands and it is built so beautifully. This camera is simply superb and @24mm, this alone is worth buying it.
    K1, and any other FF, been there done that.......i'll stick to film for FF.

    Cheers.

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    1. Agreed, the 14mm F2.5 on a Panasonic or OMD body looks like a great set up for street shooting.
      I have exact same thoughts about LX100, I would get the camera just for the lens itself!

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  20. Despite having quite a bit of M43 kit, the LX100 is my 'go to' camera if I really want an 'all in one' package, fairly wide, decent zoom, and F1.7 at the wide end works well indoors....I've actually started carrying this and a Panasonic GX7 with the 35-100 lens on it together, so I can go from 24mm - 200 (in FF equivalent) without changing lenses (just cameras!), and stay at F1.7 to F2.8... Lazy, I know!!

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    1. Not lazy, but practical, and I am all about being practical when it comes to photography. I have not personally tried the LX100, and if it delivers, I am sure it is one great all in one camera.

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  21. Thank you Robin! Yes, don't we love the X70! But wouldn't we love enven more a Pen-35, fixed lens prime, with IBIS and EVF? There's no MFT equivalent so far, and yet Olympus already has all the ingredients... Here's a niche that just waits to be served!
    Vincent in Geneva

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  22. I understand the camera envy.
    Fuji X70. You will hate not having a viewfinder. I bought a used X-E2 just to try the Fuji experience. Not nearly as satisfying as the Olympus experience. I will be selling the X-E2.
    Panasonic LUMIX LX100. Bought used for cheap. Love it. Love the ergonomics of the dials and aperture ring for operation. Full Panasonic features. Why no touch screen? Highly recommended.
    Pentax K1. Unlike many of you I do not wish to have a bulky full frame camera system. Too spoiled with my MFTs.
    For those considering a Ricoh... Also consider the Nikon Coolpix A. Great camera though missing a viewfinder. Bought used for $250.
    Last weekend I bought a Panasonic GX85 primarily for two features... 4K Photo and Post Focus. Check it out. Revolutionary. But to be clear, Pany Dual-IS is NOT as capable as EM5ii or PenF IBIS.

    Tom@lifeandlens.com

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  23. I like the idea of a camera which is dedicated to street photography, and one which is with me whenever I am out and about. However, I think the better solution is to buy a 2nd body of the camera one already has (I have an OM-D EM5-II), and just put a 12-40 f 2.8 PRO lens on it as the "regular" walk around camera. It is definitely not a "pocketable" rig, but it has several advantages: First, one is not always juggling, mentally, two slightly different systems both in terms of setting exposure parameters and also editing in LR or PS; Second, if one camera body fails, you have a twin to use while the body is being repaired (we hope), and when traveling to places where getting cameras repaired is impossible--I was just in deserts of Namibia--better safe than sorry. (I may be lazy and a dog unwilling to learn new tricks, but simpler is better when it comes to gadgets. and Lord knows the menus on the Oly are complicated enough!!!)

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