Thursday, 13 May 2021

Z Musings


Z5, 105/2.5 AI-S

This was one of the first shots I took with the Z5, from the first day of ownership at the end of February (to be exact, shot #36)

Today, in mid-May, I've taken just over 1900 images with the Z5.

That's really not where I expected to be with it, I was expecting about 50% more.

What happened?

1. I started shooting film again in a significant way. More than 20 rolls worth so far this year, the most I've shot in all but one year since 2012. That distracted me from all my digital work.

2. I'm somewhat less than really happy with the FTZ experience. It's not the camera's fault, it's mine. I've never really got along with adapted SLR primes on mirrorless as a primary shooting setup, but I keep trying it. Need to quit doing that, it never works out like I'd planned. Not that the results aren't good, but that the shooting experience is not what I really enjoy, more from a handling perspective than anything. The longer the lens, the better here, I'm much fonder of the 105/2.5 on the FTZ than I am of say the 35/2 (which is probably my least favourite lens on the Z5, at probably my favourite focal length for general shooting. Of course, I'm starting from a bad spot since I just don't like the 35/2 AI that much in general). 

3. I got aggravated quickly by the Z 24-50's focus issues in the cold. Took a while to figure out what was going on (and Nikon Canada Support was utterly worthless in helping me out). Suffice it to say I will have an alternate solution before fall comes. That really made the first few weeks with the Z5 less of a New Toy experience and more of an intermittent frustration experience, for something I can't blame the body for.

4. I rapidly started missing the m.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f2.8, partly because of #3, partly because it's just an amazing bit of glass. Now I have the E-M5II for it and am enjoying that, although I do not see the E-M5II as a primary body anytime soon, it really replaces the X-T1 as my occasional/light use body. I will be rounding out that setup, but I'm not sure what that really means yet. The last post covers what a full m43 setup would be for me, but the Z5 complicates things.

Now I really like the Z5 body itself. The files are amazing, the handling great and it just works. Plus it has all the extra bits I like (USB-C power/charge, wireless inc/remote functionality). It is a bit of a chonker for mirrorless, by far the biggest & heaviest one I've used, but you gain a great grip and no finger clearance issues (unlike what I experienced with the Sony's)

I took the Z5 out for a walk today while I had some time to kill near Sunnybrook, and came home with a bunch of work. Very much enjoyed it and shot mostly with the 24-50, although I did use the 15/4 as well. While I had the 105 and 200 with me, I didn't use them at all (I did mount the 200 at one point, but couldn't focus fast enough for it to matter). I came home thinking a 70-300E would have been extremely useful and probably allow for a much simpler kit than carrying 4 lenses (I'd drop both telephoto primes for the 70-300E). 

The kicker for me is what is going to be a solid rough conditions kit. I've heard good things about the sealing on the Z's, but I have zero trust for the 24-50 in any sort of challenging conditions. So I'd be buying new glass for that.

What would a Z system look like for me?

Z5, 14-30/4, 50/1.8G, 70-300E would work, I could also sub the 24-70/4S in for the 50/1.8G, the 3 zoom kit would be more flexible for hiking, but both would work (the upcoming Z 50 micro could replace the 50/1.8G as well).

In terms of primes, I'm thinking the S lenses are mostly out for me, the 20 is interesting for its absolute performance and I'm really loving what I see from the 35, but the 28 and 40 Muffin lenses are probably where it's at for me, plus the Viltrox 85mm. Alternatively I might add the other Viltrox FF lenses if they come to Z mount (they have a 24/1.8 and are doing a 35/1.8 and 50/1.8 too, but so far they're FE mount only and the 85 is the only one in multiple mounts).

I don't see any high-end lenses short term, they're just too heavy and too expensive. 

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