Some shopping updates…

Today seems to be sale day at B&H.

Lightroom 5 is now available for pre-order here from B&H

B&H is also running rebates on Fuji X-series cameras – the X-Pro1 and X-E1 are both $200 off; combine that with multiple lenses for up to $1300 off – click here.

One of the more interesting compacts I reviewed recently – the Panasonic LX7 – is now on sale to $299 again. You can find it here.

Three excellent Olympus M4/3 lenses are also on sale – I own all of these and rate them very highly – the Olympus 60/2.8 Macro, 75/1.8 and 12/2 (click on the lens names for my reviews). You can find them up to $100 off here. Finally, the OM-D + 12-50 kit is now $150 off – down to $1150. That’s here.

As usual, in the interests of full disclosure: shopping via these links supports the site via a small commission; prices are the same but it does help keep things going (and also helps them to justify loaning me gear for future reviews, which of course means I can test more stuff without having to buy it). Thanks! MT

Comments

  1. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for a great blog. What is your opinion regarding the pros and cons of an ultrazoom compact such as the Lumix ZS30 / TZ40 versus the LX7. Do all the bells and whistles make up for the better quality image?

    • Short answer – the TZ/TS lenses are slow, and the sensors are much smaller. In theory, image quality isn’t that different, but in practice, you’ll hit the edge of the usability envelope much faster than with the LX7.

  2. Michael Matthews says:

    OK, Ming….I snagged the ZD 60mm using your B&H link — and I thank you for the review which made up my mind to go ahead now. The E-P5 will (hopefully) happen later if your follow-on full review of it and the VF-4 viewfinder are consistent with the preview. That will take some time to save up for, and perhaps by then the price will slide a bit or they’ll bundle it with a lens more of interest to me.

    I read other photography blogs and probably owe their authors that small affiliate commission, but your reviews are of much greater value….as is the content of the site in general. Thanks for setting your standards high and sticking to them.

    • Thanks Michael. The E-P5 final production unit is arriving later this week or earlier next week – to be honest I’m not sure why they said the camera wasn’t final, image quality looked pretty good to me; the biggest takeaway was that the JPEG quality was noticeably better than the OM-D. The VF-4 was a final production unit, though.

  3. Thanks, just bought me a total of 135 mm of olympus glass. My move from D7000 to OM-D is complete.

  4. I’m glad to see that the upgrade version of LR5 is available from B&H, but it’s only the boxed version instead of the download. I wonder if they’ll be offering the download version as well, since they do offer the download version of the full license. I’d rather throw a few dollars your way than getting the download version straight from Adobe. I’d prefer not to have another box sitting around, but I might do that anyway just to support the site.

  5. Bob Monson says:

    Sorry, I usually do try to do that, but I just jumped on it before I saw this post. I think the wait from Amazon is now out to 4 weeks, although is is available from the other vendors now.

  6. Bob Monson says:

    Man, I’ve been waiting for that M.60mm to go on sale ever since you did your great review! Ordered it yesterday from Amazon Prime and I’m useing it now! Thanks.

  7. Was surprised as I was looking for a cheap LX7. but it was still $349.

  8. Some nikon cameras are also on a bit of a sale, but more importantly you get savings on lenses when purchased with a camera.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/promotion/10386/nikon-buy-together-and-save.html/BI/19242/KBID/11109/

    • Oh and the d800 is $200 off. D800e is not. So the price difference is now $500. Gives me some pause. Which would you recommend given the current pricing Ming?

      • Unless you really need 36MP, to be honest, neither. If you do, then the D800E.

        • Is your go to recommendation for nikon full frame now the d600? I remember your review was quite favorable. If a refurbished one is purchased (so as to avoid dust / oil on the sensor issues), then it is a substantial savings over a d800e purchase. Refurbished price is ~$1500-1600.

          • A good option, actually. Image quality was excellent. My only beef with it is that I’d prefer the controls and build of the D700/D800. The D7100 is worth a look, too. Actually, this just reinforces the fact that we still haven’t seen a true D700 replacement yet…

            • Thanks. Trying to figure out if I want to jump ship from the om-d to full frame for my landscape work. Still on the fence. :)

              • Let me try to help: what isn’t the OM-D giving you at the moment?

                • I basically only do macro and landscape work with some wildlife (e.g. bird) photography thrown in for good measure. Feel free to check out my website, http://www.renderedinsilver.com , to see my work in case it helps you with your response. I have quite a decent number of photos in your flickr pool too.

                  The om-d is fantastic for macro (60mm and smaller sensor) and the panasonic 100-300 keeps me happy for my wildlife work.

                  So, that brings me to landscape. Recently, I’ve been using my om-d with the 12mm lens and also my rx100 for landscape work. On the whole, I’ve found that I prefer the rx100. I am not a big wide angle person apparently. I kind of knew that already, but wanted to give a lens wider than 28mm a try one last time.

                  I find that I prefer that my landscapes are taken with a 35mm – 90mm equivalent focal length. And, I like the zoom of the rx100. There have regularly been times in which it is not possible for me to ‘zoom with my feet’ because either (1) it would take too long to cover the distance to get to where I would like to be or (2) taking those extra steps would be dangerous, e.g. walking off a cliff. Cropping to get the composition I want is not always a great option. I would prefer to minimize cropping as much as possible. Also, telephoto compression can be quite nice for landscapes. As nice as the rx100 is, I would like to step up in image quality a bit if possible (sensor is damned good though). I would also like to do long exposures, which just is not an option with the rx100 since I can’t pop a ND filter on it.

                  My problem with the micro four thirds zooms is they seem to have a fair bit of distortion at the wide ends, are soft at the long ends, and generally the quality just doesn’t seem up to what the more expensive slr zooms can produce. My 12-50mm kit lens is okay, but nothing special and on the whole it seems just a bit hit or miss. Great for when there is rotten weather though.

                  I think I have a few options at my disposal…

                  (1) Just be content with the rx100 for landscape. Obviously the cheapest, easiest option. The camera has held up well in the rain and delivers quite good results. The sensor is pretty awesome. I would like to get more dynamic range and generally step up IQ a bit though. Also, no long exposure possibilities with the rx100.

                  (2) Stick with the kit zoom lens on the om-d. Drawbacks addressed above.

                  (3) Get a fuji x-e1 kit. The kit zoom seems quite good and by all accounts the telephoto zoom should be good as well. They may not be up to the top of the line nikon or canon zooms, but they should be solid contenders. The sale that is ongoing now makes the pricing rather attractive. Somewhat reluctant to go this route. I had an x-pro1 at one point – sold it. Loved the concept of the system and layout of the camera’s physical controls, but the menu system was a bit annoying at times, the autofocus was sluggish at best, and the evf not in the same league as the competition. The x-e1 might be better in some aspects than the x-pro1.

                  (4) Get a full frame dslr – likely Nikon. I used to have a d70 and it served me very well. I should note that I print no larger than 13×19. A d800e would be the top quality choice, but a d600 gives a full frame sensor for 1k less (but possibly with dust / oil issues? hope Nikon remedied that). The 24-120mm f4 and 70-200mm f4 seem to be very good. The Nikon sale would save some money, but even so this is still the most expensive option. Also the most flexible option and it would deliver the best quality files Easily the heaviest option. Also the heaviest option.

                  I guess all in all, it boils down to the lenses.

                  To pay for any of the above, I would be parting with my leica r8 (keeping my leicaflex sl2), my olympus 12mm, and my hasselblad kit (tired of scanning film). So, the funds are available — they just aren’t in cash form at the moment. :)

                  I am leaving for glacier park in montana in a two weeks. That is probably a bit of a factor. I’ve been on the fence for a while now. Should have made a decision one way or the other already.

                  I would definiltey appreciate your input. Sorry for the long reply.

                  Thanks in advance.

                  • I’d consider either the 12/2 or 7-14/4 a staple for landscape work, but since you don’t like the wide perspectives that much, then you might want to look at the 14-42 X pancake (B&H, Amazon). I picked up one in New York and have been very impressed with performance overall, so long as you don’t need fast apertures. F5.6-8 on a tripod will yield excellent results, and distortion is easily correctable in ACR. It’s also small and cheap. The RX100’s lens is not so good for landscapes – soft corners on all samples I’ve used, especially noticeable on high frequency detail subjects (again, like landscapes). The only catch is the filter size – you’ll need to find a step-up ring to match your other lenses.

                    1. Not a good idea.
                    2. The kit zoom is a dog, in my experience.
                    3. No experience with these, but I have to admit my initial handling impressions weren’t positive – similar concerns to you.
                    4. The 24-120 has CA and distortion – if you know how to deal with these in post, it’s fine, if not, then it’ll be a pain. Plus you have the weight and cost to consider, too.

                    Try the 14-42 X. Absolute worst case is you sell the 12-50 to cover the cost, and buy a full frame camera anyway.

                    • I really like the photos David. I have my eye on the Fuji e-X1 however I am kind of waiting for the next version of it for improved autofocus speed. In addition I would not recommend it for landscapes so much in that the RAW files still have a bit of an issue with foliage. I agree that the RX-100 is not good at landscapes either…

                      My 2 cents is to stick with the OM-D and lenses mentioned by Ming or go FF with the Zeiss 21mm lens. The D600 or D800E will do great. The D600 does have some issues with dust. The other choice for landscape is the Canon 24mm TS and a FF canon.

                    • Thanks Ming. I’ve tried hundreds of photos with the 12mm and I just cannot get a composition that I like. I try to use it to emphasize a foreground element rather than just ‘be wide and fit in a lot of stuff’ since I feel the latter just detracts from whatever the subject is, generally speaking. Can’t make it work for myself. Maybe I need to give it another ‘last try.’

                      I’ll look into giving the 14-42x a try. Will see if I can pick up an inexpensive used copy.

                      Agreed re rx100 lens. It is okay, but not great. I feel that the corners improve as I stop down, but by the time I stop down sufficiently to sharpen up the corners nicely, I’ve run into diffraction issues.

                      So, (1) agreed. (2) agreed, but good for use in inclement weather. (3) Yup, we are on the same page. (4) I don’t mind basic distortion. It is the goofy mustache type that I have a lot of problems with correcting.

                      Thank you for the recommendation!

                    • There must be a lot of them floating around as they were GX1 kit lenses at one point. That said…$329 for a new one isn’t that much, either.

                      With the RX100 you’re already at the diffraction limit wide open, especially at the long end. By the way, the current image on the site’s facebook page was shot with the OM-D and 14-42 X.

                    • Eric,

                      Thanks for the kind words. Like you, I’m sort of waiting for the new and improved x-e2 whenever it may arrive. :) I wasn’t aware of the issues with foliage. Good to know.

                      Thanks for the recommendations! I’m going to go with Ming’s suggestion for now.

                    • David,

                      The foliage thing does not bother everyone. However for a landscape camera it might bump up on your list of concerns.

                      Ming,
                      Great idead on a used 14-42 x

    • Indeed – I posted about that one earlier. Hope you don’t mind me editing the link slightly.

  9. Rain S. says:

    Hi Ming, I clicked on the link for the LX7 it still shows at $349 :(

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