Sunday 16 May 2021

A Little Hike


Z5, 70-300 E

So I added the Nikkor 70-300 E to my kit on Friday, which gives me a full hiking kit for the Z5, made up of the Laowa 15mm f4 Macro, the Z 24-50 kit lens and the 70-300E. That's a pretty workable kit overall.

I went out yesterday with it, although I also carried the E-M5II with the m.Zuiko Pro 12-40mm f2.8.

This combo worked pretty well, I pretty much ended up shooting with the 70-300E on the Z5 on the capture clip, and pulling the E-M5II/12-40 out of the belt pouch when I needed the wider lens or closer focus (the 12-40 is a really good near-macro). This let me avoid lens changes in the field a fair bit.

I also had the Z24-50 and a selection of filters in the pouch, and used the 24-50 for the shots I wanted an ND for, as all of my ND's are 52mm right now (I need to invest in larger ND filters). I had a Cokin P mount setup with a polarizer for the 12-40 and 70-300E (it won't work with the 15/4 even though I have the UW mount, it vignettes). I didn't use the 15/4 even though I carried it. I did go in expecting that the 15/4 wouldn't get used, I've hiked the trail before in the fall and knew what I'd be seeing.

I learned a few things from this.

1. Even though neither of my cameras is setup correctly for tripod work, not having proper screen articulation on the Z5 was more frustrating than the lack of an L bracket was on the E-M5II. The L bracket issue is also more readily addressed. I definitely had some issues shooting portrait orientation with the Z5 on the tripod (or really for any low-angle shots). 

2. AF on the Z5 is a LOT better than the E-M5II. This is not an unexpected revelation, the E-M5II is no match for the E-M1II either in terms of AF and lacks both point selection options and performance compared to either.

3. I'm getting really good at manipulating the Z5's AF system. It really does control well considering the lack of direct controls available. Now if only Drive Mode saved to the User Banks.

4. Yes, returning the E-M1II and getting the Z5 was a mistake. I'd have been a fair bit better off if I'd had the E-M1II with a 40-150 Pro instead of the Z5. But the Z5 works very well nonetheless and the Z5/70-300E combo was more achievable right now that selling the Z5 and getting an E-M1II/40-150 Pro would have been. The math here might have been different at the retail price on the 70-300E, but it's on sale now at 25% off list which really adds up.

5. I don't regret owning the Z5, even if I regret buying it. It does work very well for me regardless of whether or not the alternative would have worked better.

So what am I going to do? For now, I'll be looking to get the 24-70/4 S for the Z5, as a 24-50 replacement with better range and better weather sealing & low temperature performance, then I suspect I'll concentrate on building out the m43 kit to where it needs to be to be a complete standalone system. 

The big kicker for me now is what do I do as an UWA for the m43 stuff. Do I go with the obvious and get a 7-14/2.8 (and pay through the nose for filters and a holder), do I wait for the upcoming 8-25/4, or do I get an alternate option like the Laowa 7.5/2 or the Leica 8-18/2.8-4. This will probably be the last hurdle I solve, and it may end up with multiple options (I could readily see having the 7-14 for rough conditions and 1-2 Laowa primes for compact carry)

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