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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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Finally, an Update

Fort George
OM-D E-M5, m.Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3

It's been a while since I've posted here. A busy summer for me, with a transition from a position with inconsistent but long hours back to an office job, and a major change for me, I've not worked in an internal IT role since 1998.

Despite that I've done a moderate amount of shooting, mostly courtesy of the Toronto Photo Walks group and their biweekly photowalks. I'm just shy of 5k on the E-M5. The verdict overall is that I like but don't love the E-M5, but I don't see anything better currently on the market. The upcoming E-M1 seems to fix most of my issues with the E-M5 and I expect I'll be upgrading to the E-M1 around years end, maybe a bit after. In terms of lenses I now have the m.Zuiko 40-150 f4-5.6 R, a surprising little telezoom, optically quite good and tiny, but plasticky. I've also swapped the m.Zuiko 12-50 for a Zuiko Digital 14-54 f2.8-3.5 II, a lens I'd owned previously with the E-30 and G1 and missed. It's a major upgrade from the 12-50 optically in most respects, although the 12-50 was remarkable in Macro mode and the 14-54 is merely quite good at close focus (it doesn't focus as close nor is it quite as sharp as the 12-50 in macro mode), but in any other regime the 12-50 was merely good while the 14-54 is excellent. I also retain the Summilux-DG 25/1.4 and my rarely used Nikkor-S.C 5cm f1.4 and Nikkor 300/4.5. At this time I do find myself in need of a wide solution, a 35 equivalent fast prime, a macro/portrait prime and something fast & long. Evenually I also need to replace the Nikkor 300, it's simply outmatched by the modern high-density sensors, I'd love an m43 300/4 prime for this. That said, I'm concentrating primarily on shooting with what I actually have, rather than going through kit. I'd actually like to stick to all m43 and 4/3rds lenses for once, rather than a grab bag of oddities, no matter how much fun oddities can be.
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A few more thoughts on the OM-D

The Rushes
OM-D E-M5, m.Zuiko 12-50 f3.5-6.3

With the new E-P5 released, I'd have to say the next OM-D model would be a sufficient upgrade if it only has the changes in the E-P5, namely ISO 100, a 1/8000 max shutter, the new viewfinder (2.4MP panel and FF-sized display) and focus peaking. Even better would be if they can improve anything else. I'm actually hoping that the rumoured 4/3rds solution is some sort of on-sensor PDAF solution for the next OM-D, that would make buying 4/3rds lenses viable for OM-D shooters and OM-D's viable for 4/3rds shooters. This would also provide some clear differentiation between the OM-D and the top of the PEN line (the E-Px bodies).

For now, the two lens kit is working pretty well for me. Oddly I'm mostly using the Summilux 25 as my everyday lens while the 12-50 I'm using mostly as a combo of a 12mm prime and a 43mm macro, rarely do I use the 12-50 at any other setting. I do need some sort of tele solution though. Probably going with a 40-150, either by getting the Panny 45-150 OIS and trading with torfindra for her adapted 4/3rds 40-150 & 4/3rds adapter or by getting the m.Zuiko 40-150. After that I'll be looking at adding the 14/2.5 and the 60/2.8, I'm just shooting enough near-macro work that the 60 makes more sense to me than the 45/1.8. Long-term plans remain to get the 7-14 and 35-100 and pair with the 25 and 60 as my working kit, but that's a ways away.
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Still Kicking

The Waterfront
OM-D E-M5, Leica DG Summilux 25/1.4

Yes, I'm still around on LJ. Been a very busy couple of months for me and I haven't had time to post. I'll try and post more regularly though.

On the gear side, the NEX-7 kit is gone. I found that the OM-D simply handled what the NEX was good at (street/carry shooting) pretty well. I still prefer the NEX overall for that sort of work but I couldn't justify keeping it when the OM-D was more than acceptable at the same stuff. Conversely the OM-D was purchased specifically because the NEX-7 wasn't good at other stuff (tripod work, handling with larger lenses). NEX kit went and funded some network upgrades (better backup system) and a PS3 rather than camera kit. In hindsight I should have bought a 45/1.8 instead of the PS3.

The next question is my workflow strategy, specifically what software I use. I've been using Lightroom with the Nik plugins for my workflow for the last year or so (just LR prior to that). It's a great workflow but LR was producing mediocre IQ, I needed the Nik plugins to approach what CaptureOne could do with the same files. I'd picked LR because it quite frankly handled the DAM side very well, while C1 has issues with regards to file handling. But Adobe's recent cash grab and moves towards a subscription-only service kicked me to looking for a replacement for Lightroom. I've looked at a few options, Corel AfterShot Pro (Bibble Pro), PhaseOne's Media Pro & Capture One, Paint Shop pro X5, Photoline and a few others.

Aftershot Pro has the best UI and is reasonable as a combined DAM/RAW converter. But it crashes regularly and the IQ of the output is worse than LR. Media pro kinda sucks as anything other than an Archive Manager, but C1 produces the best IQ IMHO. PSP and Photoline both aren't really usable as RAW converters but could suffice as my occasional host for post-conversion editing (replacing PS CS3).

Frankly, I'm going to go with C1 for now, probably will get a Media Pro license and use that for Archive management (I get upgrade pricing as I took advantage of the free Expression Media 2 for C1 users). At some point I will also upgrade to C1 Pro as it has some very nice additional capabilities over C1 (and it will also get me from v6 to the current v7 at the same time). As I've got the Aftershot license, I may keep that around for quick & dirty editing. Luckily metadata changes come in automatically between C1 and Aftershot as they both support XMP sidecars.
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2 Weeks Later

The Shed
OM-D E-M5, m.Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3

So I've had the OM-D for two and a half weeks now, and all my shooting for those weeks has been done with it as the NEX-7 went in for some minor service immediately after I got the OM-D (for the grip peeling issue which is common with well-used NEX-7's). So far the verdict is pretty good. Here's a summary of my experiences, starting with the lenses.

The 12-50's a nice lens, not superb, but pretty good. It's best at 12mm or in the 'macro' mode, which is good as that's where I'm most interested in using it long-term (my next lens will likely be the 45/1.8 or a telezoom, and my 25 Summilux covers the normal range). And of course the 12-50's weather-sealed which gives me my lens/camera pair for rough weather. A pity Oly doesn't offer us a companion telezoom, I'd love to see them come out with a 50-200 f4-6.3 with weather sealing, compact size and a 'macro' mode, it would make a great companion for the 12-50. Right now there is a distinct lack of weather-sealed lenses in the system, with Oly offering the 12-50 and the 60 Macro, while Panasonic offers the high-end 12-35 and 35-100 zooms (I suspect the upcoming 42 and 150 primes will be as well). I expect Oly's upcoming f2.8 zoom (rumoured to be a 12-40) will be sealed as well. But we still need a mid-range sealed telezoom at a minimum, and I'd love to see a fastish sealed normal, say oly, how about filling the 25mm gap in your line with a sealed 25/1.8?. Oh, and Oly? Hoods. Include the damned things with your lenses, because your competition does, especially the higher-end lenses. In the meantime, I'm buying eBay hoods because I won't be supporting Oly's hood habit.

My second lens in the system is the Leica DG Summilux 25/1.4. Jordan Steele describes this lens as possibly the best normal he's ever used. After a couple weeks of ownership I have to agree. It's very much a Summilux in character, although it has more 3D in its rendering than the current 50 Summilux ASPH (which I'm not over-fond of due to its sterile rendering). In terms of performance, think a nice cross between a modern Summilux's high optical performance and a Mandler-era Summilux's beautiful rendering character. It's quite compact, but hefty due to all the glass. A very nice square hood is included. Most of my shooting so far has been with the 25 Lux, it's that damned good and a system maker (much like the 24 Sonnar is for me in NEX-land). Panasonic needs to do some more of these with Leica, starting with a DG Summilux 17/1.4.

As to the body, I had a few handling issues initially. Without the grip the body handles alright with gloves, but it just too small for me without gloves. I picked up the grip and have used it in both configurations, with only the base grip as well as with the base grip and the battery/portrait grip added. I mostly prefer it with the base grip only. The only downside to that is the base grip blocks the battery compartment (although thankfully not the SD card slot, which has its own door on the side, where it belongs) so changing the battery can be a pain. That's not a problem with the portrait grip as the camera can be set to drain the grip battery first and you can simply swap the grip battery and keep going without drawing from the body battery until all your spares are dead. A nice feature. With the grip, my only real complaint is the top-plate function buttons are awkwardly placed (and one of them cannot be duplicated on the portrait grip, which only has 2 function buttons so you lose the equivalent to the movie button), the fact that you can reassign the movie button rather than just disabling it is nice, ditto being able to use the rear 4-way as either a direct AF point selector or as a set of 2 additional function buttons plus a hard-coded third for AF point selection (I'm using the latter configuration). I also dig the touch-screen magnifier, although that should be more usable on a tripod than it is shooting hand-held (where it's nifty but mostly useless). Handling downsides come down to mostly the difficuly in pressing the Play and Fn1 buttons as they are small and partially blocked by the top of the display when it's folded in, and the rear dial being too close to the EVF, making it a little difficult to use. I've actually setup the camera to use the latter as a benefit, assigning exposure compensation to the rear dial in all available modes so it's easy to change but difficult to accidentally set (unlike on the NEX-7, where I bump it all the time). The OM-D is substantially more configurable than the NEX-7 (the NEX sadly doesn't share the reconfigurability of the comparable Alpha's). I also like the fact that I can pick JPEG modes without aversely affecting the EVF display (Sony solved that with the NEX-6) which keeps me using B&W mode a lot, especially since I have colour filters, a valuable option for B&W Sony forgot.

Right now the verdict seems to be that the OM-D is a better system camera than the NEX, but the NEX remains the better lightweight camera for an RF-style shooting experience with a small selection of primes. I consider the NEX-7 to handle notably better than the OM-D sans grip, although the OM-D is arguably a bit better with the grip, and superior when matched with the grip and larger lenses, especially if shooting in portrait orientation. The OM-D is also the better tripod camera as it offers a secure tripod mount on the body, an available wired remote release and a selection of options for tripod shooting to reduce the need for a remote (anti-shock release, touchscreen release and a Time mode alongside Bulb mode) as well as the option to update the displayed exposure periodically (with selectable update rates) during a long exposure.

Suffice it to say that if I was to choose a single system, the OM-D and m4/3rds would be my choice as it's simply a more capable system than NEX, and that isn't likely to change as Sony won't be introducing big f2.8 zooms or long fast tele's for NEX anytime soon as that's the Alpha's territory. But for a street-shooting camera or an ultra-light carry setup I consider the NEX-7 superior (and the NEX system in general to be superior, the compact PEN's and GF/GX series Panasonics are inferior in handling to any of the NEX bodies IMHO). Oddly, it's when used as a larger camera than the NEXen are capable of that the OM-D (and G/GH series Panasonics) acquire their advantage over the NEX bodies in my opinion, which I know is contrary to the received wisdom which is that the larger E lenses make the NEXen inferior to the E-PM or GF bodies. Admittedly if you want something truly pocketable the best option is an E-PM2 with the 15/8 lenscap or 17/2.8 pancake, but as long as you are using a jacket pocket or larger container, the NEX bodies come out on top for light carry, especially with the 16-50 or the 35/1.8 (or the upcoming 20/2.8 pancake). Sony does need a pancake tele though, something along the lines of a 60/2.8. The OM-D is for me a more capable replacement for my A33 and K-x, a compact, high-performance body which handles well with larger lenses (which the OM-D does better than either of those bodies, due to the portrait grip option).
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And The Verdict

Snowy Avenue
OM-D E-M5, m.Zuiko 12-50

And a decision has been made. It's not quite what I was considering but looks to be a solid option.

The decision is to have a m43 system alongside the NEX system. Why m43? It's the system which fits my overall needs the best, every other option I was considering would have relied on the NEX system to fill out part of my requirements, the m43 option fills all my needs.

Why keep the NEX? I like playing with adapted lenses. I like manual focus and the NEX does that best. And I just gosh darn love my NEX-7 and ZA E 24/1.8.

I've got the E-M5 and 12-50 kit lens, which were surprisingly fully-funded by selling off the majority of my film kit. Since film is a limited interest to me these days and the kit I sold is relatively easy to replace this is no big deal. What did I keep? The Bessa R, my 2 RF lenses (CV 35/2.5 and Nikkor-S.C 5cm f1.4), one Maxxum 7, the Sony 85/2.8 and the long-nose Nikkor 50/1.8 AI. The 50/1.8 and 85/2.8 will be primarily part of my NEX-7 kit.

What do I intend to do with the 7? I'm going to add the 16/2.8 and at some point replace the Nikkor 50/1.8 with an A mount solution so I can standardize on the LA-EA1 adapter. I'll probably look to acquire some sort of 35mm that's A mount compatible as well (so I can have a usable kit for the remaining Maxxum 7, 35/85 covers my basic needs just fine).

As to the m43 stuff, I plan on sticking to native, AF glass. And pretty much all my needs are covered there anyways now that Oly has a 17/1.8. First steps are a wide and a fast normal, probably the 9-18 (half the price of the 7-14 right now) and the PL25/1.4 (stupid cheap and doesn't duplicate the 24 on NEX). After that will be a tele, either the 75 or the 60 macro. I'll probably also grab one of the cheap Panny OIS telezooms to try and probably swap that to torfindra for her 4/3rds adapter and Oly ZD 40-150, she gets IS, I get a lens I rather like back.
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And Yet More System Musings

The View
NEX-7, Sony 16/2.8

Having been pondering the situation further, it appears I need to make a few decisions:

1. Do I need a single coherent system or can I live with a split across a couple systems

2. What lens needs do I have? Do I need zooms or can I live with a selection of primes. What ranges do I need covered.

3. What weight budget am I willing to work with.

1 is the biggest question, since it determines whether or not I can stick with the NEX system. In my opinion the NEX system works well in three cases, the first being as one side of a dual-system setup, where the NEX handles light carry and the other system handles big/fast/long/zooms. The second is if an RF style system is being chosen with only a small selection of high-quality primes in use, and the third is as a system for the adaptation of a large number of differing or difficult to adapt lenses as gummiebear does. If I chose a single coherent system without also choosing to live with a limited lens selection I'd pretty much have to look at either Micro-4/3rds or moving back to a DSLR or SLT system. The problem here is that I have conflicting desires, I like a more versatile system but I'd really like to have a single system that I can just grab the lenses and body I think I'll need that day without having to worry about cross-compatibility. A further option is to build a coherent system and just keep the NEX-7 and 24/1.8 as a point&shoot with APS-C quality.

2 is a bit of an issue. At a minimum I need to cover the normal range, and at least one lens needs to be fast. That could be with a zoom and a fast 35-50 equivalent, a trio or quadruple of medium to fast primes, or both. I'd prefer the primes for light carry but the zoom for versatility on photowalks et al. I also need an ultra-wide, which can be a prime or zoom but has to be in the 17-21mm-e range. I also need a close-focusing short tele, either a macro or something which can focus down to 1:5 or better. This can be the long lens of the prime set if it's not a macro (I find Macro's to focus too slowly to double as my general mid-tele). And I need a set of 3 longer primes, a single zoom or a combination thereof covering the 200-400mm-e range, the long end for airshows and the occasional bird/wildlife shooting, the shorter ones for general landscape. This setup tends to argue for either a Micro-4/3rds system or a DSLR system as NEX right now just doesn't handle all those requirements.

3 is the other kicker. The NEX weight advantage makes a lot of sense when I'm carrying the camera plus a lot of other stuff. It's a lot less important for pure photographic outings. And my current situation is more similar to where I was in 2008 and before and thus a heavier system is more viable than it once was. That said, I still don't want to pay the weight budget of a full-up FF system. But an A77 or D7100 based system is quite doable on my current weight budget. I'd also really like to have a modicum of weather sealing given my liking for difficult weather and an increased interest in going out into the bush for landscape work.

Potential systems:
I could see the following systems work.

Sony A77
Samyang 14/2.8
DT 16-50/2.8
DT 35/1.8 SAM
85/2.8 SAM
70-300G SSM

Nikon D7x00
Samyang 14/2.8
Nikkor 16-85VR
70-200/4 VR
300/4 AF-S

Pentax K-5 IIs
DA 14/2.8
DA 17-70/4
DA 21/3.2 Limited
DA 70/2.4 Limited
DA* 60-250/4

Olympus OM-D
m.Zuiko 9-18
ZD 14-54 II
m.Zuiko 17/1.8
m.Zuiko 45/1.8
ZD 50-200 SWD

Panasonic GH3
m.Zuiko 9-18
ZD 14-54 II
m.Zuiko 17/1.8
m.Zuiko 45/1.8
ZD 50-200 SWD

The first three systems would work OK with my NEX system, so keeping the NEX-7 and ZA E 24/1.8 would be on the table, I'd have to buy an adapter for the Pentax, but that's no big deal. The Sony system could be put together piecemeal the easiest although it would be a little odd to be rebuying at least two lenses I've sold (the 16-50 and the 35/1.8, both of which I miss). The last two would probably result in a compact body being added and paired with the 17/1.8 as a replacement (a GX1 or E-PL5 most likely).
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More System Musings

Red & Wet
EmbiggenCollapse )
NEX-7, Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AI (longnose)

In the last couple of posts I didn't really discuss why I wanted something to work alongside my NEX system. This is due to some of the limitations I've run into with the NEX-7. Overall I remain extremely satisfied with the 7 but there are some things about it which frustrate me occasionally or regularly. Most of these are either issues of form factor or simple design choices.

Form Factor issues:

1. Gloved handling. The NEX-7 is small enough that it does not handle well with gloves. And it gets cold enough here in Toronto that I can't shoot ungloved in the winter. Only real solution is to use a larger body.
2. Tripod handling. The base of camera is not a secure mount for a tripod. This is partially a design choice, Sony could have significantly increased the effective base area but even then it would be limited. Easy solution in the JimBuchanan grip though (also coming for the NEX-6). This is an issue when using lenses which are mid-sized and native or on adapters without tripod feet. Not an issue with lenses large enough to have their own tripod mounts or if adapted using the Sony A mount adapters which have tripod feet or other adapters with feet, of which only my Contax adapter has. My most-used adapter, the Nikon G adapter, gives up a foot to have an aperture ring for G compatibility.
3. Handling with larger zooms. I don't mind the real long-lens handling as the NEX functions like a handle, but for shorter but still large lenses like the Sony DT 16-50/2.8 SSM, the handling is simply awkward. And there's no native equivalents for these lenses. The big deal here is the normal and wide fast zooms, I've few issues picking an 85/2.8 or 135/2.8 over the faster equivalents like the ZA135 and ZA85 that also fall into this handling gap, but I have no option to replace the 16-50 in particular. Hopefully resolved with either the G or Zeiss zooms due later this year.

Design Choice issues:

1. No remote release. Unforgivable on a $1000+ camera. I have to use either a self-time or an IR remote which can only be used from in front of the camera. Solved on the NEX-6 & 5R via the PlayMemories App which turns a smartphone into a wireless remote release amongst other things. Even better would be non-battery-draining support for the classic Alpha cable releases
2. Insufficient configurability of Focus Magnification. I have the option to turn it off or to have auto-magnification with native lenses. I love focus magnification and have it configured to work with a button-press right under my thumb (the AE Lock and AF/MF button in AF/MF mode). I however dislike having the camera magnify if I touch the focus ring on a native lens. I cannot disable the auto-magnification without disabling magnification entirely, which is utterly stupid. This is probably my biggest issue with the NEX-7, and a major reason why I only own one native lens.
3. Read dial too sensitive. The rear (ISO) dial is just too sensitive, which regularly results in my inadvertent changing of the ISO. Needs to be stiffer or I should be able to disable it entirely. In fact I'd like to see all three control dials be assignable a la Pentax or Oly.

I'd also like to have Weather Sealing available, bad weather makes for great photography and the NEX-7 is just not a snowstorm kind of camera. I'd love for Sony to bring out a baby A77 in E mount, weather sealed and SLR handling but allows me one set of lenses across both systems.

This brings me to my third system option, sell everything and simply buy fully into the Micro 4/3rds system. With the new 16MP bodies it's clear that Micro 4/3rds can deliver the IQ I need, the OM-D could potentially replace both my NEX-7, and when configured with a grip it could handle the large body needs or a GH3 could be used for that (the GH3 is sized comparable to a Pentax K-5). And of course one reason why I was considering Nikon as my companion system was because torfindra shoots Nikon. She also shoots m4/3 with my old G1. The downsides would be giving up my beloved Zeiss 24/1.8 and and a system that is less suited to adaptation of manual focus lenses.

I've effectively eliminated the Nikon systems from competition, there's just too many compromises, leaving my options as follows:

1. FF system plus NEX
- Preferred to match with film bodies
- Most expensive
- Speedbooster allows matching of FoV's on NEX.
- Big & heavy

Option 1: Canon
- Widest range of lenses, including adapted options
- Used by most of my friends who shoot
- IQ limitations, trades great high ISO performance for limited colour and DR performance
- I have historical poor luck with the system
- Smart adapter gives IS options, aperture control for EF lenses on NEX

Option 2: Sony
- EVF, flip/twist LCD
- Limited lens selection (no native normal's I like, limited 35mm options)
- Already own two lenses I like(17-35) or love(85/2.8)
- I know I'd be satisfied with the IQ, superb colour
- No Speedbooster
- AF/Aperture coupled adapters
- preferred film option

2. APS-C SLR plus NEX
- lens selection can be matched with NEX
- No need for Speedbooster
- Much more reasonable cost
- compact options available
- can match with film bodies, but not as ideal as FF

Option 1: Pentax
- Compact bodies
- Weather sealed, including full range of weather sealed lenses
- OVF sucks for MF
- great IQ, but limited to 16MP currently
- limited selection of faster primes
- best selection of APS-C lenses
- limited choices for normal zoom, especially if sealed
- no fully-coupled NEX adapter
- LX only film option I'm satisfied with

Option 2: Sony
- big bodies
- EVF, flip-twist LCD
- weather sealed, but only one lens is sealed
- superb normal zoom options, even if only 2
- limited selection of APS-C lenses, especially at wide end
- Same adapter options as FF Sony
- 24MP sensor with identical performance to NEX
- poor selection of native telephoto lenses

3. Micro 4/3rds
- Compact bodies
- weather sealed
- fully-coupled 4/3rds adapter allows use of wide range of sealed 4/3rds zooms
- great lens lineup
- larger body available for handling advantages
- coherent lineup, lenses would be fully compatible with both bodies (assuming small/large body selection a la NEX+big body)
- can share lenses with torfindra