mawz (mawz ) wrote,

The Magic is Gone, and a few unrelated musings

High Falls
Olympus OMD E-M5, Zuiko Digital 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II, MMF-2 adapter.

I'd sold off all my film kit when I bought my E-M5, as I'd lost my desire to shoot film and needed a break, I also sold off most all of my stocks of 120/220 film, but kept my 35mm since I assumed that I'd come back to film at some point. Well, I have come back and the results aren't good. I still enjoy shooting with a manual, mechanical film camera (Nikon FM10 in this case, an old favourite) but two things have become noticeable: I really like the handling flexibility that native Live View cameras provide when shooting, and I no longer have the patience for the post-processing requirements to produce high-quality digital files from film. The dev/scan/spot/edit workflow is simply too much of a PITA for me anymore. As such, I will be passing on my film gear and film stocks and moving purely to digital for the foreseeable future. The magic of film is truly gone for me.

The last couple of weeks have brought a bunch of interesting announcements:

Nikon's given us two lightly warmed over upgrades in the D610 and D5300, neither terribly worth looking at when you can get their predecessors cheaper. Nikon also gives us a high-cost but reportedly superb 58mm f1.4G AF-S, this being Nikon's exotic normal, with correction similar to the old 58mm f1.2 Noct-Nikkor. If it lives up to its promise it will be a gem, but at a high cost (around $1700).

Sony's given us two revolutionary bodies in the A7 and A7r, the worlds first FF mirrorless bodies, and also 5 lenses for them, 4 of which promise to be excellent, but they range from expensive (35/2.8, 24-70/4) to ridiculous (70-200/4G). I mean who is really going to buy a $3000 70-200/4? Seriously? The bodies look brilliant for adaptation and no doubt will be a hit, but for my uses I can't help but think the E-M1 would be a better choice for my uses, for a few reasons. First off, while the A7(r) bodies are sealed, they have only moisture & dust sealing, not to the level of the E-M5, let alone the E-M1 which is arguably sealed better than a D4 or 1D body (Showering is a viable cleaning method for the E-M1 with a Pro series lens like the 12-40), additionally a compact weather-sealed kit based on an OMD will remain significantly smaller than the equivalent kit based around the A7 bodies as the lenses for the most part will be far larger, particularly the zooms (my ideal 2-lens rough weather kit would be the Panasonic 35-100/2.8 and either the current 12-40/2.8 or the promised Pro series UWA, in either case these will be noticeably smaller than the ZA FE 24-70+70-200/4G).

And of course with m43 I can cross-pollinate between an ultra-compact kit, a do-everything kit and a rough-weather kit without having any lenses which are body-specific, a similar kit based around E mount would be an A7(r) plus a NEX-5 series body, and I'd have to juggle FF vs APS-C for my lens line, likely by having a couple NEX-5 only wides, that's annoying in comparison to pairing a PEN Mini or Lumix GM series body with an OMD body. Right now my compact body is the E-PM1, with the do-everything & rough-weather body being the E-M5, so I can go out with the E-PM1, m.Zuiko 14-42 II and Summilux-DG 25/1.4 as my usual compact walk-around kit, but if I need low-light performance and compactness I just grab the E-M5 sans grip instead of the E-PM1, or if I want an ultralight hikers kit I swap the 25/1.4 for the m.Zuiko 40-150 R. Since the bodies are almost fully interchangeable (incompatible batteries are the only difference) I can pick both bodies and lenses based on exact use case, something I never could with the mixed format systems I have had in the past (typically FF film+APS-C digital, which is little different from FF & APS-C Digital in this case).

Other announcements are the ultra-compact Lumix GM1 from Panasonic, with a similarly compact 12-35 kit zoom and an upcoming Summilux-DG 15/1.7 compact fast/wide prime. The body is remarkably small, and may be interesting as an eventual replacement for my E-PM1, but the real meat here is the lenses. The 12-35 is interesting if the MTF's are accurate, as they suggest that it will not only be the most compact zoom for m43 (when retracted) but also the best of the consumer kit zooms, with better MTF's than the original G Vario 14-45 OIS, the current holder of that crown. I'd happily replace my 14-42 II with the 12-35 if that proves correct. The 15/1.7 is the wide/fast Leica prime I've been waiting for to round out the wide end of my prime kit. A little wider and slower than I'd hoped (I wanted a 17/1.4) but still more than acceptable and it can be both a 28mm and a 35mm replacement for me, saving the need to buy 2 lenses instead (the 17/1.8 and 14/2.5). I just hope it arrives quicker than the Nocticron-DG 42.5/1.2 or the 150/2.8 X OIS (both remain vapourware).

Oh, and Fuji announced the X-E2, an update to the X-E1. I find the new Nikon bodies more interesting, the Fuji X system does absolutely nothing for me, being a bastion of poor ergonomics, wonky performance and serious workflow issues, although the lenses themselves are interesting in focal length and price/performance ratio.
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