Saturday, 15 February 2014

A Broken Resolution, To My Benefit

Fujifilm X-A1, XC 16-50 f3.5-5.6 OIS

So I've broken my previous resolution to just shoot film for the next couple of weeks. Why?, because after going through and processing 9 rolls of B&W leftover from the last 1.5 years I was reminded of both why I love film (tonality, simplicity of a manual, mechanical SLR) and why I don't (IQ in general, the process after film leaves the camera). I also spent some time going over my options for a D600 replacement as I've decided it will be replaced, if only because it's simply too large & heavy for me to be comfortable carrying it in the manner to which I've become accustomed.

Tried the Pentax K-3. Awesome ergonomics. Smallish. Heavy. It seriously weighs more than the D600 and you feel every gram. The K-50 just isn't there in ergonomics, it's too much the budget camera.

Looked closer at the E-M1 system. Honestly, if there wasn't IMHO a better option, this is the way I would go. The 12-40's awesome, the camera itself is too and I could get by with one of the light carry options. I really do want a second light carry body to stick in my bag for days when I don't want my main camera, I used this method back when shooting the D300/D40, the E-30/G1, A700/A33 and E-M5/E-PM1 kits.

I looked at the E mount system again. I've already got the light carry option there, the NEX-5R. And it's got all my basics covered for lenses (ZA 16-70/4 OSS, Touit 12/2.8, ZA E 24/1.8, ZA FE 55/1.8) except a macro, and that's coming later this year. Downsides are lens costs, every lens I want is $1k+, and the lack of a more serious body. The new A6000 is IMHO a NEX-5/6 replacement, and I'm not impressed by a lower-end EVF, but there's no high-end APS-C body to replace the NEX-7 and fill the gap between the $700 A600 and the $1700 A7 (and I want to remain on a single format, no FF/APS-C splits).

I also decided to set aside some previous opinions about the Fuji X system. There's no doubts I like the lens lineup, from the day they launched the X Pro1 I've been drooling over the lenses. But I was always skeptical about X-Trans, especially with the RAW conversion issues with LR4 in particular, and the fact remains that X-Trans does trade off some low ISO performance for better colour noise performance at high ISO's, a tradeoff that is the opposite of my needs. But with the announcement of the X-T1, the closest thing out there to a digital FM2n that I so want, and taking a closer look at the X-M1/X-A1 twins, as well as some discussion on the Alt Gear forum over at I decided that while the X-Ex and X Pro1 bodies aren't really what I want, the other two options in the line could work very well for me. I chose to acquire the X-A1 because it both lets me dip my feet into the system without worrying about X-Trans (the X-A1 has a conventional Bayer sensor, its twin the X-M1 is the same camera with the X-Trans sensor) and because it's just about right as a light carry camera.  I also really do like the lens lineup, all the primes look great to me, although the system does need a mid-range zoom (a 16-70 or similar, the upcoming 18-135 is too much range for my tastes, although if it's good I'll probably get it).

So I sold my Sigma 105 OS Macro and purchased the X-A1 kit with the 16-50 kit lens. I'll be adding to it slowly over the next few months, with pretty much every prime on my list, and possibly the 55-200 (it's very good, but I'm not sure if I really need it). The D600 is going to be sold on to fund the initial prime acquisitions, as will my 24-50 AF-Nikkor and the NEX-5R. Not sure what I'm going to do with the film stuff. It's just not there for me anymore, except for occasional dabbling. Might just keep it for that (or maybe just the Chinon CM-5, the FM10 can actually be sold for some value).

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