Thoughts on the Photokina 2014 announcements

Every two years, photographers and gear heads alike gather eagerly to see what we should spend our money on next: it’s the circus of Photokina. Today’s post is a collection of thoughts on the more notable new announcements.

Unquestionably, the release everybody has been waiting for is the D750. I’m still not sure it’s the successor to the D700, though: it remains to be seen whether the body is more D610 or more D810 – the D700 was definitely in the latter camp. I honestly don’t see myself (or most D800/810 users) buying one, though – unless the ergonomics or build-feel are exceptional. Good to finally see a tilting screen, but why did they leave the AA filter in? A very curious decision given the trend at the high end to exclude it in order to get the most out of the (limited) native lens selection. The 20/1.8 G also looks interesting for documentary work; as much as I love my Zeiss 2.8/21 Distagon, it can be difficult to focus manually because of the shallow depth of field transition, and an extra 1.3 stops is an extra 1.3 stops. I find it curious that we’re still missing a D810 sensor in a D4 body, though – surely this would be the undisputed king of the hill? I still believe there are significant ergonomic advantages to the built in grip.

It appears the maximum pixel count for Canons remains in the low 20-something region, for four years now. Whether this is because the ace up their sleeve is still not ready for prime time or because their management is being conservative (or very possibly because none of their lenses will hold up wide open to 36MP+), we will just speculate. The 7DII lacks 4K video, which is rather surprising given how video-focused Canon is – or perhaps they’re trying to protect the Cinema EOS line. Frankly, the G7X with 1″ sensor and 24-100/1.8-2.8 zoom is more interesting – though one can’t help but feel it’s a ‘me-too’ product to compete against the RX100III, which has far more features. There are also a couple of new lenses, including a small 24mm pancake to match the 40mm (though sadly APS-C only). Still, it would be an interesting travel option to have a small, high-quality DSLR with a pancake lens only kit…

The big news is of course the Otus 1.4/85, which I’ve reviewed already here. Together with the 55, the Otus line really sets a new benchmark for lenses; both in image quality, and unfortunately also size. They also released a long-announced 1.4/35 for Leica M mount; I had the chance to handle one while shooting with Lloyd Chambers earlier this week, but didn’t shoot with it. The data looks promising, though, and the size/weight/price are very reasonable for a lens of this specification. I would ignore the Sony mount manual focus Loxia line – they are re-mounted/re-shelled ZMs, and lose AF compared to the native FE glass. My guess is they are really geared towards cinematographers and video who need the mechanical focusing rings and declickable aperture.

Update: It appears the Loxias are reworked to deal with the very shallow angles of incidence off the rear element and fully electronic, so whilst the design is based off the ZMs, they are effectively different lenses. I’m still left wondering about performance vs. the AF FE series equivalents, though.

Leica announced a lot of new products, some interesting, some not. Cutting through the rebadged Panasonics, $4,500 bags, limited edition digital cameras with a silly price, no LCD and serious practical issues (how do you even know if it took the picture – especially with Leica’s history of card corruption?) etc. the most interesting two releases were the very quiet S type 007, and the new X. The X now has a f1.7 lens, sensibly maintains that excellent Sony 16MP APS-C sensor – I believe this is the best of the APS-C sensors currently – and I have to admit, I have a weakness for the way the thing looks – especially in silver with brown leather. Shame there’s no EVF though. The S maintains the 37.5MP pixel count of the outgoing model but is now CMOS (no doubt CMOSIS) with 4K video (!), live view, and an ISO 6400 limit. Too bad the pixel count didn’t increase, because the S lenses remain the best in the business for medium format, and the only lenses of any type that can really bring the fight to the Otuses. Unfortunately, other than 4K video, I think it still has a tough time against the D810/Otus combination on the image quality and features front: nearly identical resolution, lower FPS, poorer AF, and an eye-wateringly high price. But those lenses…

Aside from 4K firmware for the FZ1000 super zoom, Panasonic had two interesting new hardware releases: the LX100, a fixed-lens, M4/3 camera, and the GM5 – both very different approaches to the same challenge of the quality-vs-size tradeoff. One assumes that the lens on the LX100 – 24-75/1.7-2.8 equivalent – is probably better than the equivalents available for the GM5. It’s quite possible that would be all the camera most people would need; however, resolution is somewhat limited to ~13MP effective as Panasonic chose to maintain the variable aspect ratio of the LX series – the diagonal angle of view remains the same, but the horizontal does not. I think the GM5 is the more interesting solution simply because it’s not much larger than the already microscopic GM1, but now adds an EVF – thereby significantly increasing the shooting envelope simply through stability. One only hopes that the EVF is actually usable, not the tiny drinking-straw fitted to the RX100III. Finally, there’s also an Android-based smartphone with a 1″ sensor – if you decide you don’t feel like carrying a telephone AND a GR…

Not much of interest here: a mildly warmed-over X100T, another color of XT-1, an X30 and a couple of lenses. The X30 has now grown so large you might as well get a small mirrorless camera instead. If I display a palpable lack of enthusiasm for Fuji, it’s mainly because whilst they build a great camera body – the X-T1’s ergonomics are superb, barring flat buttons – the lenses are merely good, and they still haven’t really addressed the workflow problem. ACR still does a terrible job with the files, and Silkypix is still unusable for a professional workflow and large quantity of images. I think it’s very telling that a lot of the ‘pros’ who use Fuji do not shoot raw. Shooting JPEG leaves far too much image quality on the table.

Samsung continues to be stubbornly stalwart about the photography market: they’re pouring endless resources in creating new products, some pretty decent (Schneider-designed) lenses and at least in Asia, a ton of marketing. But I’ve still yet to see anybody carry one locally – surely somebody must be buying them? You have to admire them for their perseverance, at any rate. The NX1 has a new BSI-CMOS for its APSC sensor, and 205 PDAF points across the frame; BSI sensors are normally used in small photosite applications where the read circuitry takes up too much of the light collection area; by relegating this to the back of the chip, photosensitive area is increased and performance improved. I’m not convinced it’s going to make that much of a difference on a larger pixel pitch, but every bit helps, I suppose.

A couple of new lenses – and that’s about it. Moving on…

A disappointing – but not surprising showing. We got the previously announced 40-150/2.8 M.Zuiko PRO to match the 12-40/2.8; a 1.4x TC to go with it, a minor firmware update, a silver E-M1 body and that’s about it. The lens is larger than expected, but then again, it is a 80-300/2.8 equivalent, extending to 110-420/4 – should be great for sport and wildlife if performance is as good as the 12-40. The rumoured 4K firmware/ device did not show, nor is there a fix for the shutter resonance issue between 1/160-1/350s other than single frame and EFC, which we had previously. This still severely cripples the E-M1, in my opinion. However, what IS rather intriguing is the open-source M4/3 camera module – I’m sure this will pave the way for some interesting applications…I can see myself using an array of perhaps 12 of these as an incredibly high resolution single-capture device, for instance. Or perhaps for interesting motion work…let us hope it also includes the 5-axis IS system.

15-30/2.8 full frame with stabiliser, anybody? Optics remain to be seen, of course – and the prototype looks enormous, but still, they must be given credit for trying.

I honestly though the cleverest product at the entire show came out of this company: it isn’t the DP1 Quattro, nor is it the 18-something super zooms or the warmed over super tele zooms: it’s the clip-on finder for the LCD. This instantly solves two problems for the vast majority of live view cameras: firstly, accurate focus; secondly, stability. You no longer have to hold the camera at arms’ length, and you have a much larger view than if you’d included an EVF. Plus it’s detachable. Unfortunately, it does nothing to improve the camera’s ergonomics. I’ve personally given up on Nikon’s viewfinders for adequate focusing with the Otuses, and am using a Zacuto 2.5x Pro cine-finder on the D810 with live view instead – using that, I can pull focus on moving objects at f1.4 anywhere in the frame with an 80% hit rate, with critical sharpness. By comparison, I manage perhaps 30% in the centre using the optical finder, which has a custom micro prism screen, and has also been shimmed/ aligned. Go figure. Now if only more manufacturers would offer that option!

Wrap up
Now we must take a step back and objectively look at what all of this means for the industry: traditional, small-sensor compacts were notably absent for the most part. They’ve been well and truly killed off by the cameraphone, not just in the hardware department, but also ease of use and processing horsepower. Social media was the final nail in the coffin. I suspect we’re not going to be seeing any more of these. Replacing them has been the class of cameras with larger sensors and matched/fixed lenses: these offer significantly improved image quality over the camera phones, and really demonstrate why the sensor must also be considered an optical device now – the lens pairing matters enormously. I believe that a good matched lens-sensor combination – the GR, for instance, or the Sigma Merrils – can effectively out resolve a poor combination with 1.5-2x the pixel count. And you don’t suffer from diffraction, size or processing overhead, either.

With this class of camera, the niches are also slowly being filled: camera companies are going to have to work even harder to part enthusiasts with their money (the Olympus module camera is an example of good lateral thinking), because the need to upgrade purely on numbers is pretty much gone. It has to be done on emotion and impulse – which is why I suspect the retro-styled cameras are doing so well; those who handled them in their youth are now able to relive that. It will be interesting to see how that design thread proceeds for the next generation, who will have about as much affinity to the traditional SLR design as the current one does to the Box Brownie. On that note, I honestly believe the optical finder’s days are numbered: Not because the view is any better through an EVF; it’s close, but still not there – but more because of practical issues like focusing and the cost of making a finder that can compete in size and brightness. I believe Sigma is showing us a glimpse of a very practical future here.

I suspect a lot of photographers are suffering from product fatigue: too many new releases, but nothing particularly exciting. To compensate, manufacturers are making even more products – but fewer that are really well thought through, which exacerbates the cycle. Nikon and Canon appear to have stopped innovating long ago; the other manufacturers are rushing products not ready for market – look at Sony and Olympus’ shutter vibration issues, for instance. Of all of the announcements, the only two that have me reaching for my wallet are the Zeiss 85 Otus, and the Olympus Module Camera – but even that’s not ready for sale yet. My accountant will be please…MT


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  1. Jack Atkinson says:

    Awesome writeup, Ming. You’re a valued and trusted source of information.

    Personally, I’m really torn between the 7DII and the D750. I shoot for a newspaper at a very large university in the US, and have been getting consistent freelance work from two local news outlets for the past four-odd months. I’ve been shooting on a mixture of older Rebels (t2i, XTi) and my hobbled D5200 (college budget being what it is and all), but have worked my way to a new body and few lenses. What I need is (in order of importance): something robust, something reliable, something with good low light performance (protests, concerts, outdoor night time events), and something with good C-AF. I was shooting the very early days of the Ferguson, Missouri riots/protests/conflict with my D5200 and it took a real licking, and I’m worried about buying something not quite up to that sort of task. The carbon fiber/composite build of the D750 is something that makes me a little nervous. On the other hand, I’m not sure how up to the task the Canon APS-C sensors are in terms of image quality. On the other other hand, that $500 difference is fairly substantial for someone like me, and I can stretch it a long way (trips, fixers, a pocket camera, etc.) …

    I guess I’m more using this comment to work through my own thoughts than anything, though if you’ve got any sage wisdom, I’m all ears. I am going to get shoved around a lot while working, and I am going to be shooting at night, and each camera has (seemingly) one very strong suit and one sort-of-weakness. Rock and a hard place.

    • Yes, a curveball: if you don’t shoot telephoto much, have a look at a Ricoh GR. Image quality is superb, and you can be super stealthy and just shove it in a pocket or stick it through small gaps.

  2. Hello Ming,
    I have been following your blog for a year and want to thank you for sharing your work, knowledge, and expertise via this site and your learning videos. My photography has improved from watching your FoP and MOI series. I hope to attend one of your workshops someday.

    Thanks for this Photokina 2014 rundown. Did any of the manufacturers loan you some of their latest & greatest equipment to play with?!

    Best regards,

  3. Ming; LX100 compared to RX100 M3..? I had the Sony; great IQ but no fun to use it. Do you think IQ will be better with the larger sensor on the Panasonic? And one more thing; did you ever see shutter vibration with the A7R when handheld?

    • Bigger sensor and 70% of the pixel count? If it isn’t, we have a problem. No point in speculating til there’s actually a physical camera to test though. I suspect it’ll be much better to shoot as a camera than the Sony because of ergonomics and controls.

      Yes, I did see shutter vibration/ double images with the A7R. One of the main problems with it – it’s very difficult to actually get the full 36MP out of it under any circumstances…

  4. Ming,
    Mansurov, one of your fellow bloggers, has mentioned the “Nikon DK-17M” magnifying eyepiece,
    in terms of greatly improving visibility for easier focusing.

    Just curious, what do you think of this option in terms of a focus aid…?


    • I use one, it helps somewhat, but reduces eye point significantly to the point you can’t see the edges if you’re wearing glasses.

    • I use one on my Nikon D3. It made a big difference in manual focusing. It does stick out a bit, so you have to watch not to catch the edge of it getting your cameras in and out of a bag or case.

  5. Thomas Swift says:

    I have a D800E and struggle with MF for macro work. Does the Zacuto finder you refer to above work well on it, or does it require the updated Live View display of the 810?

    • I actually never had a problem with the D800E’s live view – turn the sharpening up and don’t shoot JPEG, it only affects the preview – I don’t see why it should be equally helpful.

  6. Hello. From what I read, basically your grip is on full frame for IQ; APS-C have too much bulk to justify not going with full frame as their IQ is still limited. So m4/3 offer the best portability and image quality for the size – which is why you were a OMD em1 user. But Olympus is off the table because of the shutter shock. What are we left out with then with EVF for accurate exposure straight from the sensor? Panasonic GH4 and their Leica glass? Thanks.

  7. Bill Faulkner says:

    Hi, Ming. I am swayed by everything you say. Great points.

    To me, the only reason to go full frame is for shallow depth of field. (If we argue FF has better image quality and better ISO, then we seem to automatically get pushed to Nikon 810 and Otus, or something like that. Conversely, it seems to me that Micro 4/3rds should sprint to long telephotos, where small size counts, though the Panasonic video approach also seems valid. Anyway…)

    So, for shallow DOF I found the announced Fuji 56mm f1.2 R APD lens provoking. This lens to me immediately takes away the single best reason for going FF. To me, this was THE announcement from Photokina. Accepting everything you say about Fuji, and I have no reason to disagree with you, do you see this kind of lens as something smaller-sensor camera makers should be looking at? (Even though initial reviews indicate that it is not “better” than the regular 56mm f1.2 lens, besides not focusing as well and costing more…)


    • Shallow depth of field isn’t always desirable. It makes for weak storytelling, no context and generally lazy composition. It’s difficult to use effectively without the results appearing cliched and is frankly too often the preserve of amateurs. Where fast lenses are genuinely useful is for light collection and higher shutter speeds as well as isolating at distance – not walls of blur. Every image taken with a noctilux wide open looks the same. I’m all for better optics, but also proper use!

      • Bill Faulkner says:

        Thanks, Ming, for responding!

        I have actually done quite a bit of professional work–weddings (over 50), events, family, sports teams, horse-jumping, rodeo, magazine stories, products, animals, aerial, some video; shot digital since the Canon 30D, etc., etc.)–but I take your point, I think. On the other hand, I quite like shallow DOF for “art” shots, especially nature shots.

        Agree that much photography is a cliche. How many unshaven guys with tattoos or soulful lasses against chain-link fences can we look at? Thanks for “focusing” me on storytelling, context, and composition. Good advice, especially if those elements are not contrived.

        Sony makes a similar lens to the Fuji APD lens–the full-frame 135mm 2.8 STF–but I have not tried that either.


    • If only I had Fuji’s 1.2 lens! Then I’d finally be equipped to prove that my camera’s focusing system isn’t quite accurate. That’s the whole point of photography, right? We’re all test pilots, stretching the performance envelope. OK, I’m happy that some (including Ming) are busy doing that work, but I’ll be content using moderate apertures, making slightly blurred backgrounds. I can’t afford good enough gear to take the blurriest of photos.

      I doubt, though, that the f1.2 will deliver as narrow a DoF as the numbers suggest. Without looking up a DOF scale, I just picture the DOF scales on old manual lenses. They showed that DoF doesn’t change much at wide apertures, but it really opens up beyond F8. That’s the steep end of the log scale. I invite all quantitative thinkers with time on your hands to confirm this impression with solid numbers.

      The best reason I can give for using a FF camera is the optical viewfinder. After a month using a Fuji x-Pro1 while it was in repair, returning to the big view through my a850 was a revelation that made me shout out loud. That kind of OVF praise doesn’t get much respect hereabouts, so let’s also note that it’s nice to get wide-angle perspectives with not-so-short lenses. When you have to go below 16mm or so, any dust lurking on your lens tends to fall within focus, so lens cleaning becomes critical. Likewise, linear distortion is easier to correct. A FF DSLR also accesses several decades of old and new lenses, with plenty of choices in the crucial midrange lengths.

      • “After a month using a Fuji x-Pro1 while it was in repair, returning to the big view through my a850 was a revelation”
        Well, it is not exactly fair to compare an OVF and an hybrid finder that is in its development infancy, you will have a better impression with the X-T1 EVF…

    • There are other reasons to shoot FF than DOF. Ever Seen a wide-angle shift lens for a MFT or Fuji?

  8. Greg Donikian says:

    Canikon, is not jsut the camera, their customer service is a disaster, but the honest true, is more or less you can trust them , sony cameras, fujy and samsung give no customer service in south america, just told them i need this camera to be ready in one week i need to keep working and nothing happens !! at least canikon is here and they will always give fast service to a working Pro

    regarding cameras, i can deal with the diferences, i take pictures with a Mamiya 7, Canon g10, Yashica minister III, 4×5 large format, Pentax Mx, D800, d700 and Fuji xt1 and x100. after a week of shootin you get use to what ever the problem is, they are just tools !


  9. Thanks for great well-thought article. Actually I was looking at the event hoping Nikon D750 can trigger me to replace my beloved D700, especially from the rumours that the small , light form. But the D610ish body and AA filter keep me from upgrading. although I think swivel lcd useful, I find it so ugly on D750 body, actually.
    I am debating to get a compact body for everyday carry or light travel and trekking, and eyeing on Fujifilm x-t1. However, if a full frame dsrl camera can be compacted as small as the like nikon fm3a, with weight about 600-650gr and pro-built, I see no reason to buy mirrorless camera.
    What do you think the advantages of mirrrorless over dsrl, except the size&weight?

    • The XT1 also has the swivel LCD which you find ugly.

      Mirrorless? The EVF, actually. For perfect exposure. Also no focus issues because you’re focusing on the sensor.

  10. What we have now is an industry, scrambling in disarray, looking a bit like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

    The cash cow of ever-evolving sensor technology promised much in the early and mid part of the last decade — when there was still lots of practical headroom left to surpass film — but those days are past now, I think.

    As you have said several times, Ming, we have reached the point of sufficiency. Today’s state-of-the-art m4/3 cameras significantly outperform 35mm film quality … and the D810 with an Otus lens is far more resolution than most people (even pros) will ever need. (I won’t even start on medium and large format. That is — and has been since the popularization of 35mm — it’s own niche world.)

    Folks are aware of all this, I think, and not buying the way they used to based purely on iterative improvements. Call it market saturation.

    Then there’s the smartphone … and we all know what happened there. Say goodbye to your lucrative compact camera market, Japan Inc.

    So what’s next? Lateral thinking, as you suggest, perhaps hinted at by Olympus’ open source project. Better connectivity between cameras and their images’ final destination (with less links in the chain) … but this requires some serious software engineering, and a significant rethink of how folks will want to use cameras going forward (something Apple has become very adept at, but something Japan Inc. seems oblivious to).

    There was an interesting post yesterday about some new tech Canon is working on, and it speaks to something I’ve been talking about for a while now: new sensor technologies. Personally, I believe one way to get folks buying again is provide massively greater IQ than can be had in a smartphone, but to provide it in a much smaller “system” camera.

    For example, I think one of the reasons that Olympus is holding steadfast to the m4/3 system, and bringing out more quality lenses for it, is because they’re banking on sensor tech reaching a point in the not-too-distance future where a m4/3 sensor has the resolution of a Nikon D750, combined with the DR and low light performance of a Sony A7s. Imagine that sort of performance in a camera the size of an OM-D … coupled with further iterations of the useful technologies Olympus has already created. That’s a potent setup.

    There aren’t a lot of places left to go in the near-to-mid term; lateral thinking about what a camera is, is one; a more simplified and interconnected user experience is two; and a new “sensor arms race” with ultra high quality sensors in small system cameras as a means of pushing back the encroachment of smartphones, could well be three.

    • Even if we got massively better IQ, I think the market would be limited. I hear more amazement about the capabilities of iPhones than I do complaints – all the more impressive given the camera module itself is about half the volume of a sugar cube. Where do we go from here? Well, I think it’s education: get people excited about making images, and by the way, you might like this lens. Too much hard sell isn’t going to cut it anymore.

  11. Walked through the Photokina last sunday. What I found interesting: 1. The prototype of a Schneider Kreuznach 35mm 1,6 lens for DSLRs. Couldn’t test it, but the first look on the camera monitor was impressing. 2. There are some competitors for the Zacuto sreen magnifier. What I really enjoyed was the Leica presentation, they had some excellent monographic exhibitions and the new photobook museum outside the photokina. They do not only exhibit the books, but also show in some good samples the circumstances of production. Editorial, typographical, layout decisions. The cultural aspects were much more impressing this time than the few technical innovations.

  12. Can you give more infos on the Sigma clip-on finder for LCD? Have not found anything about this….Thanks!

    • I have been looking for this clip-on finder too. I guess since this was presented just recently, online coverage is a little bit behind.

      By the way Ming, you run an amazing blog. I’m learning a lot only by reading your posts. So thanks for the great content you provide. All the best from Vienna, Austria. Simon

  13. I was hoping for a Canon EOS M3 😦

  14. I think Ming is making a mistake to overlook Samsung as much as he has. The NX1 is packed full of latest tech and makes the Canon/Nikon approach look very old fashioned. I found the difference in outlook between Canon launching the 7D2 and Samsung the NX1 really striking – Canon being conservative and focusing on evolution, while Samsung ( with nothing much to lose ) throwing everything at their new product. The NX1 back lit sensor is also a very interesting development. And the AF technology as well seems “next generation” to me.

    I have never considered Samsung before, but the NX1 displays a confidence that is in stark contrast to Canon’s timidness IMO.

    • Well, if somebody is going to send me one and pay for my time to test it, I’ll consider it. But right now, it doesn’t fill any missing needs personally. Is it innovative? Undoubtedly. What’s the image quality like? No idea, but the previous Samsung sensors have been at least a generation behind the competition.

  15. Leica S has poorer AF than a Nikon D810 with an Otus? Oh.

  16. Most sensible write up I’ve read about photokina.

  17. Dear Ming… this is very sober, interesting and objective resumé of this year’s edition. I think that photography has changed a lot more than we passionate photographers want to admit. Social media, smartphones, tablets, selfies.. go on travel and you see what I mean, but all hardware related to this has almost no relationship with the traditional photography manufacturers. Photokina has become nothing else than a selfie itself of this market, completely in move, changing rapidly into something completely new. Once again, like in the beginning of the digital age, quite a few traditional companies get a serious hit by this aiming a bit too much for keeping the kind of products they’ve always made. On the other hand, in an already too dense market new players like Samsung (well, new…) this MLIC market is getting very overcrowded with a lot of ‘nearly perfect’ products and marketeers claiming they will take over the DSLR market soon. It is a kind of force-field, but I personally don’t believe it. There remains a bit too much adventure in this story, it’s really ‘enthusiast’ stuff with a lot of ‘toys for boys’ content, but in practice none of these systems is as versatile, reliable, flexible, stable as the traditional DSLR solutions are, and top of it the actual third party market support is mediocre unless you start speaking about expensive half cases and shutter release buttons. That tells enough, if someone cares more about the look of a camera than the actual result, I’m not sure if he’s always a true expert, and precisely that feeling is a bit what a get by graphite releases of existing models, or special editions. It feels a bit like there has also gotten a serious degree of fashion and style behavior into this market, while, of course, a camera is at the end of the day nothing else than a tool to make pictures. Hard to imagine that a company like Stanley would one day decide to hire a famous designer to make a special titianium edition of their hammer-range. Where is this all going to? Hard to predict. The big masses might shift even more to the smart-kind of stuff, people taking care for better photography will be cramped between MLIC and DSLR solutions for a while and the professionals… they will still base their toolset on more specialized stuff, varying from top end MLIC, over a lot of DSLR to MF… not?

    • It really is becoming a smaller and smaller enthusiast market – there’s going to be some consolidation in the coming years, that’s for sure. And you’re right about cosmetics: is it a tool, or a fashion accessory? Ironically though that may well be what saves the maker: appealing to a wider audience than before, though admittedly with some serious dilution of purpose.

      • It’s a dangerous remark to be made, but it disturbs me more and more that in the commercializing of products, people are only interested in the looks instead of the real content. When it comes to photography I can’t understand this kind of behavior at all. Take f.i. Fuji, what a fuzz is being made about this new silver edition of the X-T1, how high the hype goes magazine & blogs, while the much more serious X-trans RAW artifact problems aren’t solved after 2.5 years and nobody seems to care… Dear Greg.. I’m missing indeed this kind of no-nonsense ‘camera as a tool’-approach too.

        • You don’t even have to go that far. In this thread alone it seems people are slamming me for dismissing Fuji on workflow grounds. I know exactly what I need for my own work, but hey – there are so many people who don’t even produce any work in the first place that workflow is a distant last place to the color of the paint.

          I am starting to suspect though that it’s the conversion to fashion accessory that’s going to keep the industry running in the near term by attracting a new group of buyers – it worked for Leica…

          • I don’t have a Fuji. But I appreciate the design (read: controls) of their cameras, their innovations (like X-Trans and the X-T1’s EVF), and their user-friendlyness. There are few other camera companies that are so busy releasing firmware updates even for older models and who are actually listening to their customers. I’m an Olympus user and that company is downright tonedeaf in comparison!

            I also enjoy watching their X line of lenses evolve: In just a couple of years Fuji has been building up an impressive line up of lenses; put that in contrast to a company like Sony which doesn’t appear to have a coherent concept at all, and it’s all the more impressive.

            Lastly, I’ve never read anything bad about their lenses – and the photos from their cameras that I have seen have an amazing image quality. Particularly from the X100s! They have great tonality and colors, and have a “pop” that only the best MFT lenses achieve. I don’t know about the compatibility between Adobe and Fuji – I use DXO and Aperture – but many people swear on Fuji, including Zack Arias. To me Fuji has become what Leica once was: A company that is deeply passionate about photography and makes high-quality products that remain affordable for most people. I wasn’t impressed with the silver (excuse me, “graphite”) paint job either, but I think it’s not fair to put them in the fashion camp.

            • I agree with you on Olympus. We have to bang tables even if something is extremely broken before they do anything. Ricoh does a pretty good job with firmware, though…

              I don’t quite agree with lenses, though. The X100’s lens is poor wide open, and doesn’t really get there til 4-5.6; contrast that with the GR, for instance. If you look at the M4/3 primes, I don’t think any of them really gives up anything compared to the Fujis; the consumer zooms of both brands are frankly pretty weak. I do wonder whether that ‘pop’ you’re seeing is a DOF-related issue, since for a given FOV and fixed aperture, there’s going to be more separation on the Fuji since the sensor is larger…

              As for being a fashion brand: I have no doubt their success is partially due to the retro-look of their cameras and popularity with the hipster crowd – at least in this part of the world, where the X100 is carried by more fashion-types as a cool accessory than photographers!

              • Talking about Ricoh, I wished you had a chance/will to try the Pentax as their lenses are specifically APS-C designed. There might be a perfect match between body/lenses as with the GR…?

                • Which Pentax?

                  • K-3, which is labelled Ricoh as well. And super duper small primes, not crazy fast, but fast enough I think, and mostly allowing compact design especially in their special DA Limited edition. If K-3 had similar B&W renderings of GR, that would be a real treat…

                    • Ah, yes. For me it falls somewhat into the same camp as the Fujis, though: big enough to be ‘serious’, not big enough to bump IQ to the next level. For that size/weight I’d prefer to carry a D810 and small primes.

              • Hi Ming. I have only heard good things about the Fuji kit zooms. Yours is the first to counter that. You no doubt though have higher standards but I think for the average enthusiasts / pro on a budget the Fuji lens seem very good. Totally agree about the workflow and the general X-trans issues. Glad I got in early with the X100 which I still have. Do agree the contrast from the X100 is not that great but I think that is the way Fuji ‘configure’ their sensors too. They go for a refined fine grain look rather than the punchy but a little crude in the noise department as per Canon.

                This is the only mention of the Sigma clip on finder on the net. How odd! Any images of this item. Cheers Doug.

  18. Reblogged this on Bild & Pinal and commented:
    Photokina 2014

  19. I’m missing a Digital Mamiya 7.


  20. You have exactly captured the essence of this year’s Photokinia . I would like to add a that new Leica S does not have same sensor as Pentax Z(obviously) so they have designed CMOS 16 bit sensor , hopefully a true 16 bit sensor architecture , and if that is the case ; it will be first of it’s kind . It will be interesting to see the tonality from such sensor , but somehow the Dynamic range mentioned is 13 stops while d810/pentax Z can go beyond 14 stops .
    have a safe travel and enjoy your trip .

    • Can’t be the same sensor because the format is different (30×45, not 33×44). I believe it’s a CMOSIS sensor, similar to the Ms.

      The number of saved bits does not correspond to the sensor output. It’s possible to write 16 bits but have some which are empty…

      • I wrote obviously because of different aspect ratio and mentioned that the advantage will lie only if the architecture itself is 16 bit to record full 16 bit data 🙂 . But you are right , it seems like it is 14 bit architecture saving in 16 bit otherwise DR should have been higher . Anyways , I read somewhere that hardly any working Pro use the S , but they are very popular gift items in China .

  21. Hi Ming.

    You seem disapointed by the low count of MP in Canons. I read sensors have an optimum pixel count, like 16 for APS-Cs – which is what you find in Fujis. So what the real deal in your opinion?

    Also I tried a OMD-EM1, shooting RAW.
    (1) I Never felt like I got crisp images like on a Canon 60D with 70-200 F4L IS. May be RAWs neeed more sharpening and NR because the sensor is smaller?
    (2) It seems like I need to go higher on ISOs than with an APS-C – like 3200 in a low light room when it´d be only 1600 on my former Canon 60D.

    What do you think? I feel like I am missing something and might decide to not keep the camera when it is most likely a great system after all…


    • I’m disappointed by the fact that companies keep expecting customers to open their wallets for expensive product that does not really offer any significant improvements, nor does it bring the fight to the competition.

      You can read many things, not all of them are true, or are only true with caveats. I’m sure we can probably do better than 16MP for APSC, but photosite technology isn’t there yet. The Sigma Merrills and Quattros are also APSC and in the same 16MP ballpark, but have much better resolution.

      E-M1: you may have run into the shutter shock issue. Pixel acuity on that camera is better than the 60D, which still retains the AA filter.

      I have no idea why you need higher ISOs.

      If you’re so happy with your Canons, then why change?

      • Avoiding the bulk of a DSLR is the main reason to change actually. Because lighter camera means easier to carry, hence more photos. Never took as much pix than with the GR. A few more Ricohs at 50mm equivalent and 85mm to complement the 28mm would be just perfect!

        Indeed expensive products! You once wrote mirrorless cameras were cheaper to design/built than DSLR. Those savings don’t reflect yet on MRP unfortunatelly…

        Thanks for your answer, and tip on shutter issue. I’ll try the electronic first curtain. As for ISOs, I understand they should bethe same. Could not compare with two cameras at the same time. One thing for sure is that EM1 noise doesn’t look ugly, even add some kindof a nice texture in the shadows.

        • Sure, but only if image quality isn’t compromised. It is. So, it doesn’t work unfortunately. More images aren’t necessarily better – more images + tighter curation on the other hand, is much better.

          • So true. More is less. Digital photography allows you to be very critical of your own work. As for the. “High ISO discrepancy”, not every camera brand’s ISO is the same, no exposure meter is the same. Some brands (forgot which) notoriously overestimate their EV’s. That might be the explanation.

            • There’s also the t stop of the lens to consider…

              • Yes, that’s right. It’s not an exact science. Oh wait, it is!

                Actually if I’m not wrong even the D810 migration from the D800/E resulted in a slight difference in exposure, and that’s within one manufacturer’s family of (three) models.

                • A slight difference in exposure and a BIG difference in tonal response – once camera’s DR is shadow biased (D800E) and the other is highlight biased (D810). If you expose one wrong, the results look flat and muddy. But used properly, both are capable of great results. I wouldn’t choose between them solely on image quality grounds, though.

  22. You seem to dismiss the Fuji lenses or am I misunderstanding you? I find the Fuji lenses (although never tried the two cheap zooms) excellent and I’m tempted to say better than my pro Nikon glass. I can’t remember every reading a review that said they were only good (in other words mediocre).

    • I’m now trying to figure out why so many people seem to be attacking my stance on Fuji. Firstly: workflow is a disaster. Secondly: resolution is insufficient for my output requirements. And that’s basically the start and end for me because I don’t have time to waste with something that doesn’t work. I’m not a gear reviewer, I’m a working pro. Time is money. If other people are paid to hawk the brand or have time to fiddle with poorly designed software, good for them. I never said the lenses were poor – the opposite, actually: the selection of focal lengths is quite intelligent, and the apertures good. Not having any interest in the bodies, I haven’t spent much time with the lenses. I wouldn’t say they’re mediocre, but I wouldn’t put them in the top class of Zeiss etc. either. My impression is that they’re somewhere between the Nikons and better M4/3 lenses.

      • It seemed like a very legitimate question. The comment only questioned your remark about Fuji lenses. I think we all know your thoughts on the files and cameras, but I don’t recall hearing your thoughts on their glass before.

        • It just seems very suspicious to me that there have been so many comments on it in this post thread alone, and over email, in the last few days. And I have written about the glass before – in every review, actually.

      • Sometimes your answers can be quite defensive, like this one. And they often ultimately rely on the being a working pro argument to cut off one’s comment. This usually truncates the esteem you’re building otherwise with great perspective on the photographer’s work.

        • And there are a significant number of people who are rude, brand-trolling and expecting me to make them feel better about their purchases by writing positive reviews. There’s a difference between photography and equipment/ego stroking, and I want to make it very clear that I don’t entertain the latter. There are plenty of other websites for that. I think you too would be annoyed if you spent the same amount of time I do creating content for this site, for free, replying comments, and only to have people not read it, misinterpret it, or make offensive insinuations.

        • Exactly, I’m a working pro, too…for over 40 years. I have no problem whatsoever working with the Fuji x-files.

      • Woa! I’m sorry if you found my question attacking you personal or rude. I read your blog regulary, but I must have missed your previous comments about the Fuji lenses. I don’t often participate in discussions/comments like this but found your comment(s) about Fuji a little surprising so I just wanted to hear if I uderstood you correctly. Most readers of blogs like yours read others blogs as well. It’s perfectly fine that you have an opinion about Fuji – many has. It’s bit like reading discussions about noise on m4/3-files were the “believers” say they are as good as APS-C while others argue that there is less noise in APS-C. I also find my Fuji lenses better than my m4/3 (except for the 75mm), and I haven’t used Zeiss on my Nikon as I prefer AF.

        Since you obviously was offended by my question. I’m sorry about that and will stay away from commenting in the future. Yes, now I’m offended…

        • Lenses have nothing to do with noise. I don’t care which system I’m using so long as it delivers the results I want. Frankly, neither do, but the deficiencies are different. I’ve received so many emails from brand fanboys over the last two days that it’s getting rather tiresome to explain or defend a choice of one piece of gear over another. It doesn’t matter, the end result – the photographs do. But it seems that most people don’t really care about that.

          • Please don’t call me a brand fanboy. I use several different systems (Nikon, Fuji and Olympus at the moment). The only system I have been sort of faithfull to is Nikon, but it is also the system I use the least nowadays. Like with Canon, they seem to be stuck in the DSLR era.

            I’m sorry if my post made you feel like you had to explain or defend yourself and your choices. It was merely for the photographic discussion/opinion related to gear. You seem to be rather active in the comments fields so I guess I just thought it was okay to ask a question here. And I know lenses have nothing to do with noise – it was just to illustrate that there are qualified opinions on other systems too. It’s too easy to dismiss others opinions as coming from brand fanboys or people bought by the industry.

            • I apologise if that was what you felt. It’s impossible to know what *your* individual history might be. I’ve already clearly and rationally explained my opinion on Fuji many times. It annoys me when people seem to expect me to adopt their system because they say so, or because they think it’s good – if it works for you, great. I know very clearly what my needs are, and they’re not met by Fuji and not by a long shot – or M4/3, for that matter. I’ve stated that pretty clearly, too.

              • We get that “it doesn’t work for you”. But “it works” for many of us. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that the Fuji “workflow is a disaster”. Quite the contrary for me.

                • If you’re willing to accept jpegs, have time for silkypix or quite a big delta in image quality between ACR and silkypix…

                  • Don’t mean to argue with you, Ming. But that’s simply not true. I do not “accept jpegs”. I shoot raw using the latest version of LR. I process a large amount of files in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t have low standards. My standards are whatever the person, or group, paying me requires. I have tried Photo Ninja and Iridient, and see minor differences depending on the file…sometimes better, sometimes worse. I’ve had no complaints.

                    It works for me without making any compromises. Thanks for providing this space for discussion.

      • Fuji lenses “only merely good” might be mis-read as being mediocre and when you talk about workflow, you might have heard of PhaseOne? Sure you have, right? I have been using LR for many years but am using Capture One exclusively now. IMO LR doesn’t work as well for X-trans files as C1 does, but from a mere workflow point of view, C1 lets you squeeze a rather personal workspace with a variety of easily exchangeable output recipes.
        I understand that a lot of people in the industry don’t have time for minor Danish players, like PhaseOne and seem to think that ADOBE should be the only software considered, but some of us actually do like smaller players. Not everybody’s cup of tea, that ADOBE thing!
        Just saying, since you publish your opinions as a rather personal statement, rather than trying to cover what is possible these days.
        Deed (from Auckland)

        • You can’t retouch with C1, which means you still need to take it into PS anyway.

          I state clearly it’s a personal opinion. It isn’t my responsibility to try the entire universe of options (nor do I have the time or resources to do so, remember, this site is free), I’ll only do that if what I’ve got doesn’t work for me.

          • I appreciate that this is free and you can say and express whatever you seem fit on the day. The forum leaves room for a dialogue though, which I have had the liberty to use!

            C1 lets you select layers at RAW level, which PS doesn’t and lets you remove items, there is a healing a clone function and – one of my personal favourites – you can do selective adjustments, like apply a different white balance to various parts of the image, fantastic in mixed lighting conditions, which I seem to have a lot.

            I am a LR and PS shooter from version 4.0 on (Photoshot around 1995/96 that is and use NIK extensions now and again, but must say that the air is getting thinner around what I cannot do in C1 these days …

            Take care
            Deed (from Auckland, NZ)

    • I don’t know. Ming is right, the glass is OK, but the workflow kills the pleasure. Some Fujinons like the 18mm & 55-200mm are in my eyes not really strong players, they were rather made ‘to have something in the range’ covering this focal length. The 60mm is optically OK but extremely poor focusing and I find the use for Macro is disappointing. But it’s not only the optical quality, AF has been a disappointing story from the very beginning. There is for Fuji still a very long way to go when I compare the behavior of these lenses versus the ultrasonic drives we’re used from Nikon & Canon. And precisely that, the focusing story, the workflow, the quirks, the disorder and ongoing changes of menus, buttons and thumbwheels in every new Fuji model let me think – ‘why would I put a good oiled workflow based on the very best DSLR glass & sensors aside for something that stops me somewhere – where I don’t want to stop’ and delivers at moments only irritation.

      • AF with the latest FW is a lot better than it used to be, but fly by wire MF does leave a lot to be desired – look how long it took them to sort that out on the X100…

        What’s missing is consistency and intuitiveness – it isn’t because we haven’t had the cameras for long enough; M4/3 does a better job with ergonomics and operation than X does. You nailed it: the hesitation before getting the shot is annoying, and potentially costly.

      • Von Manstein says:

        Not at all. The 18mm lens was made to be pancake, something extremely small. An 18mm lens designed by Fuji for full performance would have looked a LOT different.

  23. Dirk De Paepe says:

    Hey Ming, today I was at Photokina, mainly to visit the Zeiss booth. First of all: CONGRATULATIONS! What a pleasant surprise to see some of your wonderful Otus pictures (both 55 and 85) on the poster-size screens at Zeiss!
    I mainly went there to try the Loxias, espesially the 2/35 Biogon, since the ZM Biogons pose problems at the corners when used with the A7r. I took several quick shots with it, enough to know that – to my pleasant surprise – there is no longer question of color shift, nor smearing. When I asked a technician, he explained how Zeiss really reworked the Biogon (and the Planar as well), among others altering the lenses (thickness of the glasses) and space between them. Everything was recalculated to make the light get on the sensor in angles that really work. I have to admit that I didn’t quite understand everything he explained, but the main thing is: it really works! So the reasons why I absolutely will order those Loxia lenses are: it’s the first classic MF glass from Zeiss that’s absolutely optimized in every way for E-mount, all Exif data is transmitted, also the automated focus magnification works and enhances the already great focusing tools of the A7x when used with ZMs. BTW, IMO the look and the feel of the Loxias suite the A7x perfectly well.
    Further I also tried the new ZM 1.4/35 on my A7r, and yes, also with this lens there is no corner problem. Apparently, new ZM glass will be develloped for film, Leica sensors and Sony sensors as well. There is some vignetting with this lens at full apperture, but I don’t consider that as a problem.

    • Thank you!

      Good to know re. Loxias – thank you for the clarification. I’ll update the article accordingly…

      • Dirk De Paepe says:

        Re. the Loxia performance vs. the AF FE series equivalents: they’ll more demonstrate a different character (Planar and Biogan vs. Sonnar) than a different quality (although I believe the Loxia build to be better). But most of all, those are the first of a new Zeiss line, intended for a different kind of photographer. I guess I’m a typical Loxia guy. As much as I admire the IQ of the AF Sonnars, I’ll never buy them, because I don’t feel good when the camera decides for me. I always shoot single shots in MF mode. The only “automated” function that I use is aperture priority, but still I often change the exposure with the compensation dial or by holding the release button halfway while reframing. I can assure you: guys like me are thrilled by Loxia. Since the AF Sonnars are no option for us, it absolutely makes sense that Zeiss started the Loxia line with the core business, being 50 and 35mm. I’m sure other Loxia types will follow and I’m sure to buy them.
        Oh yes, yet another big Loxia advantage over ZM is the considerably shorter minimal focal distance (30 and 45 cm vs. 70) – also a result of the reworked concept.

  24. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Re Canon G7-x:
    (for anyone who, like me, finds the desirable LX100 to big…)

    A Users Manual is available:

    It lacks some critical info, but I found some details not yet mentioned in previews.
    ( Much of it is , alas, about all those things the LX100 is happily without…)

    AE lock (in Program mode) seems to be preserved for following shots until it is unlocked;
    the speed/aperture combination can then be changed with the control dial.

    AF lock is also remembered (with manual focus enabled) until unlocked.

    The AE spot metering frame can be linked to the AF frame.
    The AF frame can be positioned also by touching the screen (you can configure the camera to shoot as you then release the screen).
    The AF frame can be resized.

    The lens ring can adjust zoom in steps (to 24, 28, 35, 50, 85 and 100 mm eq.);
    it is not mentioned whether this zooms quicker than the zoom lever.

    The flash can be used also with slow shutter speeds,
    and the flash output level can be locked.

    You can shoot remote (in Program mode) from a smartphone, apparently including zoom control.

    Menu layout can be configured.
    The lens ring and two buttons can be configured.

    • Seems sensible…and oddly like an RX100III clone without the EVF (RX100II?)

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        And it seems to give quite a bit of easy control, if not as straight forward as the LX100 seems to give.
        So let’s hope the lens delivers sufficiently in spite of it’s small size.

        Let me add a quote from DPReviews preview:
        “For instance, redefine the function of the lens dial in aperture priority mode and it’ll revert to controlling aperture if you then switch to manual shooting (rather than requiring that I go back and de-customize it).

        Equally, the provision of exposure compensation with Auto ISO in manual, and the intelligent, focal-length-based Auto ISO change thresholds suggests Canon has put significant thought into this camera.

        The other thing that was immediately apparent when handling the G7 X was how effective its image stabilization appears to be. It’s something we’ll want to properly test before drawing any conclusions but it seemed pretty impressive – not something I’ve found myself struck by on the RX100s.”

        • Agreed re. RX100 stabilisation: it’s effectively useless. I’m now finding myself curious about the LX100, actually…too bad about the low pixel count. But it might still be useful in certain casual situations.

  25. About Leica X

    **The X now has a f1.7 lens, sensibly maintains that excellent Sony 16MP APS-C sensor – I believe this is the best of the APS-C sensors currently – and I have to admit, I have a weakness for the way the thing looks – especially in silver with brown leather. Shame there’s no EVF though.**

    Would you consider this a better camera re. IQ than the GR?

    • I’d have to use one to be able to tell…I honestly don’t see how much more one can get out of that sensor, though. The GR combination is about the best lens-sensor match I’ve ever seen, on par with the Otuses/D810 sensor. I’d say I’d be impressed if it matched the GR, let alone exceeded it. The old lens was not that impressive (f4 to be critically sharp).

  26. The G7X seems like a pretty compelling product. At least on paper, its lens is faster the RX100iii’s in the mid ranges and has longer reach to boot, and it’s got a manual exposure compensation dial, a clicky lens ring for adjusting discrete values, and a touchscreen too. If the G7X lens/sensor performs as well as the RX100’s (which remains to be seen) it would make for an interesting alternative – trade the viewfinder for better ergonomics and a faster/longer lens.

    What I don’t get is the Leica X. Sure, in a vacuum it’s a pretty good product, but when you realize that it’s the same size as (actually, marginally bigger than) a full-frame Sony RX1, which can be purchased for less than what the X costs now, I don’t see them selling to anyone other than people who want to be seen with the big red dot. The ergonomics seem to be worse too.

    The LX100/D-Lux seems like something that would sell well, and it’s great to see separate physical dials for aperture and shutter speed. Too bad they didn’t go with a mechanical zoom ring though – on a compact, leaving manual focus to a button or a knob is fine, but electronic zoom is an annoyance. I wonder if there’s a mode that records the entire area of the sensor. If the information is there, you can always crop to whatever aspect ratio you want in post…

    • A mechanical zoom ring would be great – that way you could set everything without having to turn the camera on, much like the X Vario.

    • > “The G7X seems like …”
      … a damn ridiculous *name* for a camera, given that Pany has a “GX7” : what’s with all these vendors, can they not come up with something more sensible??! –and doing sequences for updates seems to tax the math abilities of vendor marketing, too : what comes after N? : no, surprise, not N+1 !!

  27. Where is the link to the Sigma clip on for the LCD? Is the Zeiss 2.8/21 Distagon compatible with auto aperture like the Otus for the D800?

  28. Good writeup. I find the Loxias interesting, but OTOH I also enjoyed shooting with a Nex-7. I very much like the rendition of the 35/2 ZM, so I think the Loxia 35 should be a very nice lens, particularly since I reading about and looking at pictures made with the FE 35/2.8, I haven’t been too keen about it. I also like the innovative switch to toggle between clickable and non-clickable aperture stops. Even for people who don’t do video it might be interesting and simplifies the 2nd hand market (no modified lenses around).

    But it’s obvious that Sony’s full-frame lens lineup is full of holes (where’s a good short tele for instance) and the first generation of full frame alphas have a bit of v1.0 air on them. Still, i admit being tempted by the A7 as a walkaround camera, Sony has done many things right too.

    • If they’d fix the shutter shock issue with the next release, and stop compressing the raw files, I’d probably get one to work with a Cambo for camera movements – unfortunately…pigs also fly.

      • Indeed, the shutter shock issue makes the A7r uninteresting for me. I’m however a bit more optimistic than you on Sony fixing it; they got so much negative feedback from it that I do expect them to act and they have made incremental improvements in the past. whether they fix the raw issue is anyone’s guess, but I can live with as long as the alpha wouldn’t be the only camera I own.

        They did show off a small and light 28/2, so if it’s good the whole thing might be getting somewhere…

        • I’m not so sure about that. They’re notoriously unresponsive: Lloyd Chambers had a meeting with their engineers in which they refused to admit there was a problem, but then also refused to say why they agreed to the meeting if there was no problem to begin with 🙂

          • Haha! Well, camera companies tend to be like that, a certain left AF point issue and a sensor dust issue come to mind… I guess we’ll just have to see. Personally I’d just like Sony to do the right thing since my Nikon is so damn heavy to move around if I have more stuff with me than a body + 2 lenses and I really like the EVF for exact MF, so I feel a bit of a pain that I’m still stuck with these ergonomic issues.

            • The D810/800E is not a mobile camera anymore, to my mind. It delivers much better results if shot with deliberation of a larger format on a tripod…somehow though, that inversion has not been met with any improvements in ergonomics.

  29. Photokina got better today: Schneider Kreuznach announced a FF DSLR trilogy with 35/1.6;50/1.4;85/2.4macro high res lenses. Maybe the SK 85/2.4 would be a smaller capable alternative to the 85 Otus for portraiture since portraiture happens @ f4-5.6 most of the time. Hopefully Ming Thein will compare the two any time in the future to crown the one best portrait lens.

  30. Ming, long time reader, first time poster here… Love your blog and your images are amazing so thanks for that!
    My question is about the E-M1; in this section you say “nor is there a fix for the shutter resonance issue between 1/160-1/350s other than single frame and EFC, which we had previously. This still severely cripples the E-M1, in my opinion.”

    However, your review of the E-M1 was that it was a rather amazing camera and it the followup (firmware) you stated: “and given us not only a solution, but a highly innovative one that doesn’t require sending the camera in. Kudos.

    Help, I’m confused; is it still a great camera or is it crippled by shutter shock?

    • It’s a great camera if you don’t need drive modes. I use it for documentary work, and I do, which means it isn’t quite as useful for me. Combined with my increased print resolution requirements, it doesn’t fit my needs anymore. But, then again, neither would a 645Z be ideal for everybody either…

  31. Do you have a link to the clip on finder for the LCD you referenced? I also shoot with the Otus 55mm. What info can you provide on the 20mm v the Distagon 21mm (does it work well in AP mode with the D800?)? Thanks!

  32. I think the LX100 is extremely interesting: Its effective sensor size is almost MFT (about 20% smaller), and yet it features a zoom lens with an aperture of ƒ/1.7–2.8. I have an E-M5 and was considering one of the two ƒ/2.8 zooms for some time. But those lenses alone cost as much as the whole LX100 – which by the way seems to remedy a lot of the issues I have with my E-M5 (mainly focus peaking, shutter noise and better video). Yes, it lacks a touchscreen; but the touchscreen on my E-M5 is horrible anyway.

    So I really think Panasonic nailed it with this camera. 12.5MP is fine enough for me. Only question is the quality of the EVF. It’s said to be the same as in the GX7, but I’ve never used that.

    I also think that Leica has gotten itself some real in-house competition by rebadging the LX100 as the new D-Lux. The new X might be pretty, and the lens might be good. And granted, its sensor is about twice the size of the LX100’s. But while it has an ƒ/1.7 prime lens, the D-Lux has a zoom lens that starts at the same aperture – and FWIW it’s good enough to carry the Leica name. It has an integrated EVF. It has OIS. And it has great 4K video, as opposed to the crappy video mode on the new X (and no video whatsoever on the X-E).

    Even the controls are similar (no PASM)! So the D-Lux appears to be an almost-X with a more versatile lens and an integrated EVF. And I think it’s closer to the M than the X is because of that. The D-Lux isn’t quite as pretty as the X and unfortunately, it doesn’t come in silver or with a colored grip, but it does have a similar shape. Personally I think this is the true mini-M.

    • I wouldn’t put too much stock into lens branding – if you’ve seen an uncorrected raw file from an LX7, you’ll know just how much software help that lens is getting.

      The D-Lux is obviously the successor to that 5MP thing from many many years ago with the mechanical aperture and zoom rings – but I’m honestly surprised the pixel count remains that low…

      • Who cares about uncorrected RAW files? If the software correction is part of the lens design and the result is satisfactory, I certainly don’t. Optical corrections aren’t lossless either, so I don’t think that’s a problem. And besides: The Leica-branded MFT lenses are pretty good! They’re not perfect, but then neither are the X and T lenses judging from most reviews. It seems to me that only the M and S lenses are really living up to the Leica myth, while the lower priced Leica lenses are merely “very good”.

        I don’t give much into these brands (Leica, Zeiss, Schneider-Kreuznach) on budget cameras. But the LX100 is marketed as a high-end compact camera, so I think there’s an expectation that they have to meet if they don’t want to hurt the brand name. Guess we’ll have to wait and see, but if it fulfills the expectations this might be my next camera. And again, with those controls and the view finder it reminds me more of the M than the X series does. Which is a shame, I think!

        • I don’t, but if it’s too extreme, then the resolution loss appears as smearing, or loss of very fine detail – especially at the corners.

          In the Leica world, the S lenses are excellent, the M lenses subject to varied QC, and yes, none of the other stuff is really there (but for the most part, not bad).

          If only the X was 28 or 50mm…and yes, had a viewfinder.

      • At 12.8 megapixels on that sensor, the diffraction limit is f8.2 minimum aperture. Cram in more pixels, and it’s not helping it much. I think low light performance was another decision in the pixel cell size. Personally I am glad to see manufacturers move away from cramming in more megapixels just to boost file sizes larger. There is a market for lots of megapixels, but once a D810 is purchased, other cameras become far less relevant, if you are using all the pixels in final output.

        • You’re rarely going to need f8.2 on a sensor that small, I think. One can only hope the smaller pixels actually translate into better low light performance, but it appears to me they just used the current 16MP Sony M4/3 sensor. The smaller crop factor is a result of both making the lens with a slightly smaller image circle, and the variable aspect ratio.

          I have to keep reminding myself now that most people do not use all the pixels in the final output…:)

          • “… that the smaller PIXELS [= better low-light performance]” :: don’t you mean “smaller pixel COUNT” –considering that the Sony a7S brought in fewer hence LARGER pixels for its better low-light (high-ISO) shooting?

            Which brings me to your remark re the new Leica S “Unfortunately, other than 4K video, I think it still has a tough time against the D810/Otus combination on the image quality and features front : nearly identical resolution, lower FPS, poorer AF, and an eye-wateringly high price.” :: does the Leica’s being a much larger sensor, with like-D810 pixel count (so, bigger pixel pitch), not count for much in final IQ? (“fat pixels” and all 🙂

            When in some camera-commenting corners there are remarks about the end of the pixel race –of photog pros going from “FF” to m4/3–, I get from your review an overall continued desire for more. But you do say that the Sony 16mpx APS-C sensor (used I think by Oly’s E-M5 (Pany’s in E-M1)) is quite good (for APS-C), and I’d think that the LX100’s only slightly smaller effective m4/3 sensors slightly fewer pix would be doing okay in that –and so might’ve answered the challenge you put to Panasonic to get a great lens (you praised the LX7’s 24-90/1.4-2.3) paired with a better sensor :: Pany up’d the size a lot, the pixel count a little. Are the 1″ sensors of the RX100 & “G7X” (grrr, re that name1) with 20mpx going to give better IQ than near-m4/3 11-13mpx ? –and which we’ll see in prints, say of 12×16/18, 16×20-24? (My LX3’s in need of replacement; and my D40 *system*, too.)

            (I find it interesting that current rumors of prices have the Leica-branded LX100 prices rather close to the Pany –starky different than in past models, where Leica was way more (and lacked a grip! (but had a Red Dot)), and still offering the longer (3- vs. 1-year) warranty AND Lightroom!? Maybe the Pany price is set for early adaptors and given room to drop, when the Leica might then diverge by remaining high?)

            • Yes, sorry – I meant smaller pixel count.

              The A7s might have better pixel-level performance, but if you downsize an A7R file…I bet you’ll find it actually looks better. This is one of the things that lead me to sell my D4 – the D810 files look much better when downsized at a given ISO.

              Leica S: the fact they capped it a 6400 suggests probably not, but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen files. The similarly-sourced CMOSIS sensor in the M240 is not exactly a low light leader compared to the competition, either.

              My own desire for more is more to do with my own work than any need in the market – what that needs is simplification and innovation, not button- and feature-itis. There’s far too much of that already, and more won’t help the manufacturers to shift cameras and stay in business. I find the LX100/D Lux interesting simply because they’re pretty darn close to being the ideal compact – except for the pixel count. Knowing what that particular 16MP sensor can do leaves me wondering if the GM5 is a more flexible bet, though.

        • Willi Kampmann says:

          This is a standard 16MP MFT sensor. Usually with those anything up to ƒ/8 is fine, and significant diffraction artifacts are only starting to show from ƒ/11. Personally I think this issue is way overblown on the web; a little post-processing sharpening comes a long way.

          BTW to my knowledge, the impact of diffraction is based on the viewing size, not the resolution. Meaning that it doesn’t matter if your sensor has 12 or 24 or 48 megapixels, at the same viewing size diffraction is equally pronounced.

          • Not quite. There is a mathematical proof of this…it’s basically the point at which the interference pattern from the physical aperture becomes visibly stronger than the resolved pattern, and it’s related to both the physical aperture size and the resolving power of the sensor, i.e. pixel pitch.

          • Print size and sharpness criteria are considerations. On a small enough reproduction of an image, the affects may not be noticeable, or a problem. My point is that, why not get the most out of what your equipment can produce. The other factor in this is that eyesight varies amongst individuals, and some just simply will not see a difference. Anyway, here is a link to a handy on-line calculator.

  33. Hi Ming…first…safe travels.
    Second, I am perfectly happy right now with my EM-10, mainly for long exposure stuff and my Sony RX1003 which goes with me everywhere…totally liberating.
    Third, I don;t worry about gear anymore (though I still have GAS attacks). After getting your Masterclass Compact video (watching it for at least 3 times) and seeing how you kick my “arse” with a $150 compact camera you picked up…lesson learned…lol
    As an offshoot to that lesson my wallet remains fuller (my wife thanks you as well).

    • 🙂

      We’ve got a new video coming Sunday though 😉

      • Frankly Id rather spend the money with you than gear…creativity over equipment. I now refer to you in my travels with photo friends as “Master Ming”.
        Funny how I spent 5K on the D2X when it came out, how many more thousands on 2.8 pro lenses through the years and have cut back to the small equipment needs I now own.

      • Hopefully, it is your long awaited master B&W workflow video!
        Ready to get that one!
        Too bad I did not know earlier you were coming down from SF to shoot with Lloyd Chambers or I would have liked to meet up and buy you a beer!
        Not much excitement for me from Photokina. My excitement is from finally converting (Leitaxing) my incredble Leica R 180/2.8 APO lens to use on my D800E! It joins my other APO lineup of Otus 55/1.4 and Leica R 100/2.8 APO. 🙂
        Any word on the next Otus’s focal length? Guessing 28/1.4.

  34. Ron Scubadiver says:

    Ming, thanks for the report. My take on the D750 is it will be a big seller and the D610 will either suffer another price cut or go away. It may not meet your needs or that of other photographers that crave high resolution, but the D750 will work great for many others. Fuji could solve its ACR problem by adopting a Bayer 24MP sensor without AA, like the one made by Sony. It seems to me it is a matter of “they did not invent it here” politics.

    • Pretty much – a lot of companies in this industry do things for the sake of it, not because it’s necessary or useful. Look at that pointless Leica with no LCD screen or even method of confirming it’s taken a shot…

      • Ron Scubadiver says:

        I don’t think the D750 is useless. It fits a need. PJ style shooters will like it.

        • I didn’t say it was, but I question why the difference between the D610 and D750 needed to be split in the first place: it isn’t as though that extra year and a half has brought anything in the way of technical improvements that didn’t already exist at the time.

          • Ron Scubadiver says:

            Having both the D610 and D750 in the line does seem redundant. That is why I think the D610 will either go away or be repositioned as a Gillette. That is a cheap FX body to get buyers into buying expensive FX lenses.

            • I still think Nikon should have done that with the much lower end bodies – instead they lost that to Canon…

              • Ron Scubadiver says:

                Ming, It’s no secret that Nikon is not doing great financially. That is even more alarming considering how the Yen has weakened, which should have helped them. Nikon may have some great products, but their business plan is somehow flawed, and the things you see are probably part of the problem.

                • It’s one of those spirals of death…mediocre strategy and so-so products with no innovation means you’re going to land up with no money for R&D, fear of risk…and it keeps going.

                  • Ron Scubadiver says:

                    I hope I don’t wind up with a pile of worthless F-mount lenses. Actually, I think Nikon will get acquired by a larger company, eventually.

                    • I highly doubt the lenses will become worthless – even lenses for deprecated mounts (e.g. the C/Y Zeisses, Hasselblad V) still hold reasonably well if they’re good. And F mount is pretty universal, with lots of interesting options; I’d be worried about the G mount lenses, but not things like the Otuses or Nocts…

          • I visited Photokina yesterday. Tried focusing on the roofs with various cameras which seems a good torture test to make them fail to AF with all the shiny things, dark areas and spots everywhere intertwined.

            Had not been particularly excited about the D750, but was shocked at the speed and ease it focused with. Since there were too many variables to make a reasonable even semi scientific comparison let me just say I tried no other camera that AF’ed as fast and with no false positives. And that included its bigger, older Nikon siblings as well as almost all the new cameras announced. I think this will indeed impress reviewers who have better techniques and stricter testing regimes than I have once the D750 gets in their hands. I own a D700. I thought the D750 would be a step backward. I now believe it would be a big step forward for me.

            Surprisingly the only other piece of hardware that impressed me was the DP2 Quattro. It fits my hands perfectly and that optional OVF… Boy, oh boy, is that huge. It is the size of a decent espresso cup 😉 Which may be a very big mistake since the DP2Q with the lens hood on could easily be mistake for a high end Italian espresso maker… One thing is certain – Foveon disciples should not leave their cameras behind in the kitchen!


            • “Since there were too many variables to make a reasonable even semi scientific comparison let me just say I tried no other camera that AF’ed as fast and with no false positives.” I understand you have cheked the resulting shots, no backfocus issues?

            • Did you attempt that with the D810, too? I found an enormous difference between that and my D800E, surprisingly. I would imagine the D750 to be similar since it uses the same base AF system.

              I don’t know how much coffee you’re drinking (probably about the same as me, I’d imagine) but that’s one serious espresso cup! 🙂

              • It is the OVF that is the size of an espresso cup 🙂

              • Hit the enter key a little to fast. I tried it against a D4s focusing on the same stuff (the D810 I tried was on the other side of the counter so I could not focus on the same things – and Nikon’s “booth” had exceptionally many visitors so even getting a little time was difficult). The D750 seemed faster than the D4s – may have been a function of better low light performance in the AF system.

                • That’s impressive, and quite a surprise. Did you use the same lens on both though, at the same focal length and the same AF mode? Setup and lens motor both make quite a bit of a difference.

                  • The settings on the camera were the same. And I think the lenses were also the same. But I tried the D750 on both sides of the area so I cannot say for certain. Apparently the masses 😉 had not quite heard Nikon is doomed and were there in numbers…

                    Although I must admit I cannot quite understand why Nikon bothers to showcase Coolpix and One products. The first area was mainly sought after because it was where freebies were handed out (lanyards, winegums etc.). I felt quite alone in the “One” area. At most we were two persons looking there. If I were Nikon I would make three areas for full frame DSLRs and one for DX in 2016; if there are any DX cameras in 2016 ;-(

                    Then again Sigma had there lenses for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony in “the front” of their booth with lenses for Sigma and Merrills/Quattros were in the back – almost out of sight. It probably reflect sales but felt wrong somehow.

  35. Hi Ming thanks for your overview of the market, quite useful to put it all under the same roof. I agree that there has been no announcement that really changed the playing field, which is good for our wallets as we can hold our breath for another few months and for our minds if we had just done some serious shopping and thankfully did not see the gear go obsolete overnight. I for one don’t feel the Fuji X100T has made me look at my X100S as inadequate just yet. I’ll wait for a X100U (?) with an added tilting screen for those waist-level shots that can be sometimes great… Truth is as always, it’s better to spend money on shooting (travel/workshops) and books than on gear! But then again, when your favorite compact the GR comes to a next iteration, I might feel the itch again. 2015?

    • At least every generation of the GR has some tangible improvements – even if it takes them 2-2.5 years…

      • Two years and change is a reasonable lag, shorter cycles only upset existing customers inflicting irresistible purchaser’s regret. Two years later, you accept the inevitable with equanimity. And a two-model replacement cycle of four years is sensible for a digital object around the 1000$ mark…

  36. Beside the 40-150 and the finally available tethered shooting for the E-M1 I liked a couple of the Olympus strategy announcements but they’re not relevant for everyone. At least here in Europe, where they offer their Service Plus in many countries, they’ve announced to expand their Service Plus to all OM-D models – previously it was just for the E-M1. This means, extra hotline, +6 months additional warranty, a pickup service and a max repair time of 3 days.In very urgent situations they usually shipped a replacement camera. The second one was the information that they want to keep 3 OM-D models and increase the cycle to at least 2 years for each model while keep updating the firmware during that period with new stuff. Those things weren’t as exciting for the press…they prefer to show new cameras…but as a customer who invested in the system it’s something I like to hear.

    Personally I would be really excited if the companies would work more together. An open protocol standard for tethered shooting would be fantastic for third party solutions, same about a single open raw format (whether it’s dng or something else) to solve the problems we see with Fuji and ACR for example. The big downside of one open standard could just be that it usually takes forever to integrate new functionality afterwards … so maybe it’s that what’s stopping the industry from doing so. But they could at least open their owns formats and protocols, so other developer and companies don’t rely on reverse engineering.

    • No sign of Service Plus here, but yes, professional support is always good news.

      Open standards need not take forever – that’s what M4/3 and 4/3 began life as in the first place…

  37. One thing got my attention, interview with Ricoh/Pentax and their confirmation of FF camera being in development. If it’s mirrorless (I doubt) it would be great competition for Sony because they know how to design cameras with great handling. If it’s going to be SLR, they might offer great alternative to CaNikon camp.
    What I was hoping to see is a surprise product and that, for me at least, would be mirrorless medium format camera housing that Sony CMOS, portable package like Mamiya’s RF film cameras (I use very often my Mamiya 6). I believe it would sell, the same way as MF RF cameras sold alongside the heavy studio beasts.
    (Sorry if this comes up as a double post, typing on the phone and the reception is flaky)

  38. A bit surprised at the offerings. Both 4k and built-in WiFi were expected additions for many cameras. Almost seems that video is being pushed more than stills. I am intrigued with the Panasonic LX100, though I will await some reviews.

    At the full frame level, and with the best lenses, getting the most out of them requires strict technique, and a solid tripod. In many ways, this takes away from benefits of smaller camera bodies. Diffraction is another issue, and I’ve even run into many professionals who do not understand that. So instead I see what should be optimal equipment, being used hand-held and below capability. I suppose that’s a bit like sports cars that just go stoplight to stoplight through crowded city streets.

    The 4k move is the odd direction, in that it’s only about 8 megapixels. Somehow I think the emphasis may get us away from the megapixel marketing race. Nothing wrong with 36 megapixels (and higher), though the capability is wasted on many. Realistically, cameras have been so good overall for many years, I think manufacturers are really running out of ideas.

    • The manufacturers may be running out of ideas, but there are still do many obvious deficiencies (such as focusing accuracy) that I question whether it’s just a culture of mediocre laziness for most of them. Even on the support/ tripod front, when was the last time we saw any sort of innovation?

      • A little bit with lighter travel tripods, which is a nice innovation. Some improvements in lighting technology too. Mostly evolutionary and not revolutionary.

        Manual focus is just severely lacking everywhere. Sure, it can be done, but accuracy is terrible. I was really hoping Sony would improve things, especially with the Zeiss announcements, but zooming the display is not always that useful. We’re at the functional equivalent of a Leica A Series, with separated rangefinder and viewfinder … this is where EVFs are today, slow to use.

        • I thought Sigma’s removable/integrated LCD magnifier was a step in the right direction – we just need higher resolution LCDs now.

          • I like the Sigma idea, but it reminds me of magnifier hoods on 4×5 cameras. Just a bit too bulky, and much better on a tripod. EVF viewfinders need to evolve more. Autofocus on the sensor suggests that distance information is there, but the engineers need to find a better way to quickly visually indicate focus.

            • Actually, I find I need those handheld – not on a tripod, because of the extra stability face-bracing brings.

              • Interesting. I looked into that for the Coolpix A, but I use the Nikon optical finder instead, and watch for the green autofocus light from the corner of my eye. If I run into someone with that Sigma, or that type of set-up, I’ll give it a try.

      • How about Canon putting 20 million phase detect pixels on their sensor?

        • Only useful if you’re exclusively using live view; otherwise those pixels are behind a mirror and shutter curtain when you use the optical finder. And if you’re that confident about your LV PDAF capabilities…why not make a model that has no optical finder at a lll, and eliminates all possible focus accuracy issues?

          • Why? Because some people don’t like looking at their subject on a tiny TV and prefer something direct.

            • But in order to take advantage of that development you just mentioned, you’re going to have to look at the tiny TV. Otherwise, it’s useless.

            • …that doesn’t look like at all to the final result. OVF=WYSINWYG, What You See Is Not What You Get. Acceptable in the 20th century but not at all nowadays. BTW EVF=100% frame coverage, try the wonderful XT1 or E-M1 ones…

  39. One thing got my attention, interview with Ricoh/Pentax and their confirmation of FF camera being in development. If it’s mirrorless (I doubt) it would be great competition for Sony because they know how to design cameras with great handling. If it’s going to be SLR, they might offer great alternative to CaNikon camp.
    What I was hoping to see is a surprise product and that, for me at least, would be mirrorless medium format camera housing that Sony CMOS, portable package like Mamiya’s RF film cameras (I use very often my Mamiya 6). I believe it would sell, the same way as MF RF cameras sold alongside the heavy studio beasts.

    • I have a feeling it will just be a full frame Pentax DSLR, but we can only hope they do something sensible with the viewfinder. I actually think anything else wouldn’t make sense because of their existing legacy lens lineup. We can only hope it’s going to be more ergonomic than the K01…

      • Thank you for response. Are you planning, off topic, to do a follow-up article about your experiences with 645Z or you it would make sense once tethering solution is out.
        (I decided to sell my digital back and will go that route too, I’m not a professional photographer, just infected with high resolution and medium format photography)

        • Probably later, once I’ve had a chance to shoot with it under a wider variety of conditions. I always found tethering quite a pain, so I honestly don’t plan to use or test that aspect of its capability. What I am still trying to figure out is the right lens solution – the SDM lenses are mostly excellent but very, very heavy and not so practical; testing the older glass is somewhat time consuming and not easy as it isn’t exactly readily available…

          • Have you tried your Hasselblad V lenses via adapter on 645Z or there’s no point? I’m thinking that for start (if everything goes well) I’d get 645Z with kit lens and would source FA 120 Macro lens (for film scanning) and that would be it, later would add FA 35.

            • I have, and some are actually pretty good – the CF 4/120 Macro-Planar and 4/150 Planar, for instance. The F 2/110 is supposed to be excellent too, but not easy to find at all…

  40. Dirk De Paepe says:

    I have a thought about the Zeiss Loxia shooter. First: imagine the typical Leica M shooter. Two important things that he wants is manual and compact/descretion. I would have gone that path, if the Leica prices weren’t that crazy high. With the Sony A7x, I can perfectly shoot manually, with added modern features (that Leica doesn’t offer and that I wouldn’t wanna do without anymore) and an even increased IQ. So you’ll understand that the ZM series are my preffered group of lenses – with a few things left to be wished. Loxia comes with the solution. This line will, IMO, really complete the A7x line for shooters like me. So I’ll place my order right away to switch my ZM Planar to the Loxia Planar, that is when tomorrow (when I’ll visit Photokina) the Loxia will “feel good” – which I expect.

    • Unless doing video, which most M shooters do not, why would you pick the Loxia over the Zeiss FE though?

      • I’m pretty certain that the Loxia 35 will be superior to the equivalent FE lens (being a ZM 35/2 user myself) and it’s a stop faster too. For the 50 it would really be about ergonomics, possibly looks for someone, but that would be rare.

      • Dirk De Paepe says:

        For me, most of the time, size matters. I bought the Sony because often I really don’t want to carry so many kg, especially when I’m on a trip for business, and I just have my camera with me for “passion”. The Loxias have a big advantage in that department over FE. And I have to say that the fact that they’re dedicated and native e-mount, making the system complete, kind of feels good. It finally sets me loose (in my mind) from the M system. Now I can really say that I’ll never buy a Leica, because there’s something better (IMO of course). I really enjoy having all those possibilities ànd IQ in a compact package. Those are all subjective reasons, I’m aware of that, but as photography is a matter of passion for me, subjective reasons are equivalent to objective ones.
        Sometimes, on the other hand, I don’t mind extra weight. That’s when I mount the vertical grip and the Otus…
        BTW, I don’t do video neither. I’m pretty comparable to the classic M shooter. Only, I always protested the Leica price policy and simply refused to give in. So I’m absolutely thrilled with Loxia, making the A7x not only a worthty alternative, but IMO even a superior one, with all the modern amenities, despite some flaws (that every system has and that for sure will be corrected in a next generation of bodies). Let’s be honest, we change bodies anyway every few years…

  41. As a Canon APS-C user, this was a dissappointing showing for me. I guess I’m naive, but I really wanted to se more EF-S only lenses to accommodate my system(where’s the excellent 22 mm that the EOS-M has?) As an amateur I don’t really need full frame(a lot have to do with size. I’ve tried the D750, and while it felt good, it’s just too big) and perhaps Fuji is worth a look, even though the workflow performance is lackluster.

    • Workflow is probably the biggest killer of any system – you just won’t use the camera when you start thinking of the pain of processing or the lacklustre files.

      • The funny thing is, I find me RX100 to be more “fun” to shoot with than my Canon. Not so great in low light, but it just slips in my pocket. I can take it anywhere without bringing a bag.

        • And I think that actually makes quite a bit of a difference, practically.

          • I really don’t get the thing with workflow and the Fuji Files – sorry I just came across that information. Is it really >that< bad? I mean, in the end this is a software problem? Sounds fixable – compared to let's say the whole shutter shock apocalypse.

            • Optimal quality = Silkypix. Optimal speed = ACR. ACR makes a mess of the files, Silkypix is…well, try it for yourself.

              It’s fixable, but most people would either compromise or shoot JPEG. Adobe has issues converting anything non-Bayer – note absence of Sigma support…

  42. Productwise a rather dissappointing Photokina … a couple of exiting products I was somewhat hoping for:

    Leica M 36mp
    Fuji xPro 2
    Maye a mid format witrh EVF rangefinder style sony/fuji
    Leica S with 50MP to justify the immense cost of the system
    Canon 1/5 replacement with a competitive pixelcount and sensor sensitivity

    But then again, photography is about the photographer and the art not the technology … maybe it teaches me a lesson …

  43. Not sure I agree with your underwhelm on the Olympus front. I was a 7D shooter until I bought your old E-M5 at your garage sale. Since then, I have gradually increased the proportion of EM-5 use to about 50% (this is for professional work – it’s much higher for personal work, because it’s so enjoyable to use).
    The 7DII is probably an automatic upgrade for me (I have nearly 400K frames on my 7D, and although many of the improvements are incremental, they are still substantive. I presume also that high-ISO performance has improved significantly in five years).
    However, the M43 as a system, and Olympus in particular, has really become a contender with the introduction of tethering and long fast glass. These two omissions were a serious Achilles’ Heel against the 7D, but – along with Wi-Fi – these two announcements really close the gap.

    • It depends on what you want to use it for. I would have much rather seen a full fix for the shutter shock issue than new lenses – after all, utility is limited otherwise…

      • Let’s try to not overblow this issue: with a comment like this, it seems that every shots taken from 1/160 and 1/350 is practically unusable from shutter shock. It is not the case. I, like many others, have done several repeatable test about this: mounting the E-M1 on a tripod and using manual focus and self timer I took shots with speeds from 1/25 to 1/1000 sec, and found that, foe example, with the 45mm lens at exactly 1/160 if looking at 100% size you can find a little but easily noticeable blur. After the firmware released in March of this year, shots taken under same condition doesn’t show the issue.

        • Well, every shot I took with EFC disabled from 1/160 to 1/350 WAS unusable, on 75 cameras, tested at Olympus Malaysia HQ. Perhaps we have different standards of what’s ‘acceptable’. The difference between EFC and non-EFC is quite dramatic, it’s like poor print registration. Whilst I agree the EFC firmware fixes it, it only fixes it for single shot capture. You have no drive modes without double images. I certainly don’t think it’s acceptable to pay that kind of money for a product only to be able to use it in a crippled way. We’re not even asking it to do something it wasn’t designed for: the camera cannot fulfil most of its design specification.

          • Well, I’m not debating what is “acceptable” or not. I was just saying that I cannot say to have seen an issue that in the majority of my shots, is NOT THERE. Sorry.

            • Then either you’re very lucky, or have much lower standards of what’s acceptable.

              • Well, probably I was lucky. But I repeat: it is not what is ACCEPTABLE. The blur IS there, or it is NOT there. Not “there, but after all ok anyway”…

                • I must be missing something here. It affects my photography in a large enough number of situations to the point that the image quality is unusable, relative to even its predecessor. Acuity is terrible, and you’ve got a clear double image. Olympus has publicly acknowledged it, and even allowed me to go through their entire stock of cameras to find one that was free of the problem – there weren’t any. I guess I must just be expecting too much.

                  • I want to explain me clearly, then I’ll left you to more interesting things to pursue (it is not fair for the thread readers to focus too much on just an issue): before firmware update, I found a noticeable blur. After, using EFC and comparing the shots side by side, the blur was gone. As said early, not an “acceptable” blur, but no blur at all. Mind me, I’ve just the 12-50mm and the 45mm lens to test on.
                    If you say that you have tested many cameras, and got unusable shots, I trust you. But I related my experience. That’s all. 🙂

                    • I think there’s a miscommunication now, my apologies. Without the EFC update, all cameras were unusable. EFC solves the problem but only for single shot mode. You cannot shoot bursts of multiple frames with EFC, that option does not exist. You must then revert to normal shutter mode and back to vibration again.

                    • I see! Now I understand! Yes, I don’t use continuous shooting and never bothered to check, so no surprise I never got probs!

                    • It severely cripples the camera for action/ documentary work.

          • Ming. First I read your Olympus comment about the shutter shock in the article, and I got a shock too! Wasn’t that solved with the EFC previous fix and is maintained in the latest FW? I think it was. I never thought about it is still a problem by C-AF.
            As for still I have set the shutter release to a delay of 1/4 sec which I feel improves sharpness avoiding the camera movement shake while pressing the shutter release button. I find the shutter release to be rather brutal.

            • It’s only solved for single exposures. You can’t shoot a burst and use EFC – you’ll see the ‘diamond plus multiple squares’ option is greyed out. Shutter delay makes it impossible to do any timing-critical work.

              • Yes .. shutter delay isn’t an option when timing is an issue.

                The EM1 is a camera system that almost has it all if no large printing is required, no spectacular shallow DOF using medium to wide angle lenses. Despite the 16 MP limitations the format 43 shooting verticals is making it for me. Lovely.
                I have only one little issue with the small sensor. Noise at ETTL. ETTR is a must keeping the noise down at minimum.

  44. I have the E-M1 and was interested in the new companion tele-zoom to the 12-40 f2.8. I’m becoming much more involved with landscape shooting and this lens would be perfect for much of that, especially with the 1.4TC. However, most landscape shooters (Hans Kraus comes to mind) are using full-frame and at least 24MP and I am hesitant to invest $2’000 AUD on a sub-optimal sensor size (for landscape at least). A second-hand A7 or A7R with a couple of excellent f4 Canon non-stabilized MF zooms to cover 24-300 for tripod use might do the trick. With a Canon TS lens for wider work.

    It’s a shame though, as the new Olympus 40-150 with TC sounds ideal for landscapes (if not a little faster than needed).

    Actually, I had been dreaming that perhaps Olympus might announce a full-frame system based on the E-M1 body. And/Or, that Olympus would announce that their future E-M1 models would have a replaceable sensor unit so that pros and enthusiasts could benefit from better IQ without being forced to buy a whole new body. Such is the build quality of the E-M1 that it seems a shame to retire it early just because a new sensor is released with a new body.

    I found Photokina a bit disappointing, too. The Fuji x30 is a bit of a non-restart. I had expected a larger sensor. Perhaps an APSC X-Trans. And, where is Ricoh’s variable focal length version of the GR?

    • Why would you put the 1.4x on the 12-40? I’m not even sure it’s compatible as the TC appears to collide with the rear elements. You’d be better off with a prime in the 60-70mm range, both for speed and optics.

      Pixel count is irrelevant unless you print, regardless of subject matter. And full frame in an E-M1 body is unfeasible because it would require a new mount, new lenses, and you’d give up the stabiliser because of the weight of the sensor and power requirements on the magnets. We’re more likely to see even higher pixel density, though diffraction is already an issue at f8 and smaller.

      • I think the TC is only compatible with the 40-150 and the soon-to-be-released 300 f4 PRO. I agree, it makes no sense to put it on a standard zoom. Cheers.

      • Is the full-frame really just about resolution? I got the impression that it also has markedly better IQ, not only larger dynamic range but how it resolves it. The photosites in the A7 are huge compared to the E-M1. Four times the surface area of the sensor and only 50% more photosites must improve receptivity to a noticeable degree. If I can get really beautiful and detailed landscape shots from the E-M1 I’ll gladly get the new 40-150 f2.8, and the TC, and the 75/1.8, and the…

        Ahem, yeah the 40-150 was the highlight of Photokina for me. The 750 looks nice but really is it needed over the 610? I agree with your comment about Canon and Nikon needing to begin the transition to EVF. A mirrorless 750 would have smacked everyone on the shoulder.

        I see your point about fitting a 5-axis full-frame in an E-M1 but I trust Olympus to work their technological magic with that one 😉

        • Full frame is about larger photosites, better dynamic range and acuity – but you also need much better lenses to have decent corners. There’s always a tradeoff…

          • Yes. The A7 might be the way to go for maximum IQ with a little bump in resolution. Apparently, a lot of the Canon L glass is a good match for the A7.

            Then again, most landscape shooters seem to have an HDR process in their workflow and maybe this is where the IQ disadvantage of the E-M1 can be reduced or even removed.

            Regarding the E-M1 shutter shock issue perhaps the EFCS firmware setting is the best Olympus can do, unless they recall badly affected units? I was going to suggest that perhaps stabilising the camera on a tripod with a heavy lens might help. However, the sensor being on a gimbal would probably nullify any benefit from stabilisation. Unless, IBIS when disabled will render the sensor fixed to the damping effect of a stabilised body.

            • Tripod and couple mass makes no difference. I’ve tested this extensively too – it’s a resonant vibration cause by the interaction of the shutter mechanism with the IBIS. Remember that the sensor is suspended magnetically…

              • Perhaps Oly would grant us a FW update with a full electronic shutter. I know there would be other issues with that, but for stills the shock is gone.

                BTW a new EM-*X* is seeing daylight in 2015. Wonder what they will bring to the table? For me it would enough with a low noise sensor 🙂

                • That would be perfect, but I suspect there are reasons with the readout why it isn’t possible.

                • Hi Gerner, where did you read about the new Olympus camera? It would be good to see the partnership with Sony result in a next generation hires sensor in a full-frame version of the E-M1 using the OM mount adjusted for mirrorless. Olympus have a great legacy in developing for full-frame and to me it would be a logical progression.

                  Maybe we only have to wait till Photokina 2015…

                  • No, the logical progression was the invention of the 4/3 sensor, the developing of said sensor, then the invention of the M4/3 mount and now the refinement of camera specs. Why going back?

        • Hi Nick,

          good to see that other people have those thoughts as well, since this is exactly where I am right now. My E-M5 is a bit too small for being my only body, I am lacking a good MFT mid-range zoom, so I need to do something. The E-M1 might be the obvious choice, but the price of body and lens is more than I am prepared to pay for an MFT camera (I once moved to FT also because of the excellent price/performance ratio, which seems to have disappeared now), and I don’t like the M1 ergonomics that much without the additional grip. But mostly, and this might be part of your point as well, I think that the pictures taken with MFT/FT have a certain “digital” look, which could be (among other things) down to sensor/pixel size. From time to time I shoot with my wife’s D700, and those pictures are partially magic to look at… maybe due to fewer pixels on a large sensor? This even brought me to thinking about the A7s (also triggered by Michael Reichmann’s Medium Format look comments), but I am not convinced yet that it’s worth the price (seems Sony has added a video bonus). I hardly ever print larger than A3, so even 12MP might do, but 24MP for sure will. And even only on a screen, I’d like to see a picture that looks the way I like it…

          • ” I think that the pictures taken with MFT/FT have a certain “digital” look, which could be (among other things) down to sensor/pixel size. ”
            No, it depends from the lens choice. When I want a less “clinical” look, I shoot with Olympus OM system or Zorki/FED lenses.

          • Pixel size matters a lot for color accuracy, dynamic range, noise and acuity…

            • Exactly. The engineers have known this a long time. If we took several same megapixels cameras, each with a different pixel size (meaning different total chip sizes), then we would be able to see differences between the final images. If we took cameras with similar pixel cell site sizes, but with different chip sizes, then we would find somewhat more similar results. Obviously there are other variables, but on chip performance, especially diffraction limits, there are constraints based upon the size of each pixel.

              Chips can be made in which the pixel well is shallower (Sony and Nikon pushing this way), or with less dead area between pixels (Canon approach), but the pixel size still affects outcome. We’ve seen tuning and efficiency, and better A/D conversion chips, though mostly evolutionary improvements. In general, larger pixels should work better in low light conditions, if other variables were little different.

  45. What a disappointing Photokina. Really nothing new of any consequence except that Panasonic phone – a waypoint on the demise of the compact, if not yet it’s death knell. Otherwise mostly tweaks and predictable line extensions. Where’s the breakthrough product?

    • Missing, I’d say. Innovation seems to be nonexistent, unless it’s figuring out how to make names more confusing and extract more money for pointless limited editions.

      • I have to say you have a blind spot for Fuji, Ming. that OVF/EVF is amazing and the focusing window trick is brilliant.
        You keep complaining about workflow on the XTrans sensor, but (a) workflow starts with shooting, and shooting a Fuji is a pleasure (b) ever since Adobe has introduced Fuji-specific profiles there is little to complaig about workflow at all. I process Fuji X100S, Leica M9 and Leica Monochrom pretty seamlessly once they have been imported with the right preset, the only difference being the obvious ones of FF vs APSC depth of field and of Mono vs Color processing. But then again, my standards and needs are not yours…

        • No, I don’t. I’ve reviewed three Fujis on this site and been very disappointed every time with image quality, though I agree they were fun to shoot with. To me, there is no point because I photograph for the output, not for the process. I frankly don’t have any more time to waste for a camera that doesn’t address any of my needs. The profiles might fix color, but they don’t fix detail rendition or edge jaggies.

  46. > I would ignore the Sony mount manual focus Loxia line – they are re-mounted/re-shelled ZMs, and lose AF compared to the native FE glass.

    It’s unfortunate to make such a statement. For years optical experts have pointed out the detrimental effect of the cover glass with adapted M-mount lenses. Now Zeiss gives us designs that have been properly adapted and people immediately start complaining they’re just “re-shelled”… If you look at the comparison pictures, the difference in sharpness is actually quite striking.

    Also, the 50 mm has much less distortion than the ZM version. And yes, you lose autofocus versus the previous FE offerings, but you also gain a proper manual focus ring. And you get automatic image magnification when turning the focus ring, as opposed to not getting it with adapted lenses. Which means this will be the first complete manual focus experience on the A7x bodies. Lastly, you also get proper EXIF data (which you also don’t get via adapter). So no, nobody has to like those lenses, but they’re far from redundant either and not at all to be ignored for serious (non-video) shooters. (And did I mention Sony didn’t even have a 35/2? More versatile than the existing 35/2.8 and surely more affordable than the 35/1.4 that is to come…)

    • The point is that hairs are being split over a solution that didn’t really have a problem (what was wrong with the Zeiss 55/1.8 and 35/2.8 FE?) when there are bigger holes to be filled by Zeiss for E mount: other focal lengths, for instance. In any case, it’s all academic until Sony gives us a body that has both adequate resolution and no shutter shock problems.

      • I agree both that there are much more pressing problems in the lens lineup and that there is much work to be done on the A7r (or its successor). But if that’s the point, why not write it that way. 😉

        Note, though, that if you object to the Loxias on grounds of their (near) redundance, you’d better also object to nearly all current Zeiss DSLR lenses. For what did Canon or Nikon 50/1.4 or 35/1.4 or 85/1.4 lenses lack that was fixed by Zeiss’s same offerings? The answer is, of course: proper manual focus, and a little bit of image quality (and perhaps those shiny metal barrels). That’s just been Zeiss’s main strategy for the past ten years or so; with the Loxias, they’ve just done it one more time. Not necessarily a good thing, but definitely not a new thing.

        • Because it isn’t Zeiss that’s offering two alternatives: the FEs are their design, too. As are the Loxias. And the prices aren’t that different. Put it this way: if somebody who can justify an Otus can’t see the use of these, they’re going to have a much, much harder time selling them to less informed consumers.

  47. Hi Ming,

    A few comments:

    Loxia lenses are optimized for FE sensor stack:
    (sensor stack:

    Fuji: A couple of lenses includes a 140-400mm zoom…

    Sony: Considering that the main complaint of FE is the lack of lenses, 5 new photo lenses shown seems pretty important:


    • Sorry, wasn’t clear on the Loxias: they’re the same optical design as the ZMs, but yes, with some modifications.

      This wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive report, there are other sites for that. Fuji’s 140-400 isn’t that exciting, and the Sony lenses show exactly why a small body isn’t ergonomically feasible with full frame – the optics must still be large to be of adequate quality. It’s also unclear if those are in-development prototypes or actually for sale…

  48. Compacts getting bigger sensors is also a trend that I’ve noticed; but it seems like phones may also be going that way (with the Lumia 1020 and now, Panasonic).

    I’m surprised not many people commented on missing strap lugs on that Leica M-60… everyone talks about the silly price and usability issues, but without lugs it seems like it was designed to be purely a trophy item to be put on a shelf.

    Canon does feel underwhelming. Your comment about their lenses being unable to resolve 36MP may be true for some of their older models, but many of their new lenses are at least adequate. I’ve been playing with the 16-35/4L IS on a Sony A7R via Metabones Mk4 adapter and initial impressions are very positive.

    • I thought it had the same kind of ‘hidden’ insertable lugs like the T. But those are pretty impractical too, frankly.

      Nikon is no better with its lenses: many frankly cannot match the D800/810 unless very stopped down, if at all. Few are any good wide open.

  49. Gary Morris says:

    Good assessment. The camera that has me scratching my head is the Canon 7DM2. With the prices of full frame being about the same as the APSC 7DM2, why spend the $1800 on the 7D? I know it has more auto focus points than the 70D but at double the price of the 70D, are the extra auto focus points cost effective? And seriously, FIVE YEARS to bring out what’s arguably a slightly beefed up 70D? That’s not innovation… that’s stagnation (or hardening of the sensor arteries).

    The Nikon D750 looks nice and if one waits until the year-end Christmas season, that $2300 dollar camera will be closer to $1900 (or $100 more than the 7DM2 when it finally goes on sale).

    Finally, you write of the exceptional optical quality of the Otus lens(es) but they are manual focus (and weigh a ton) and to get the maximum quality from these lenses on a camera that was ostensibly never designed for manual focus lenses (Canon or Nikon have been working to advance auto focus and not manual focus) you have to attach a clunky thing to the LCD to get best focus. Maybe it’s time we camera fans need to formulate a new hardware perspective and/or expectations going forward.

    Again, your assessment is mostly spot-on, which reinforces my estimation that it’s perhaps time to reassess perspective and expectations.

    • Some people need speed/fps/AF tracking and greater pixel density? Depends on what the pixel quality is like, I suppose. It looks squarely aimed at the wildlife photographers and amateur videographers.

      Focusing: we just need the camera makers to abandon the optical finder and give us a decent EVF if they’re not going to do it properly…

      • The day there’s no optical finder is the day I stop buying cameras. I have zero interest in cameras with tiny TV sets.

        • John McMillin says:

          What Von said! I need a camera that doesn’t intrude between me and my subject. I need to see the true colors, in the natural DR of the scene. I need that basis of reality for composing an image. I need to fall in love with the image before I click the shutter, or I might not bother at all. The alterations and corrections, grids & levels and other PP work, let that come later. I don’t want to do it in-camera, and they pollute the purity of the clean VF. Others are welcome to feel differently, but for me and any others, EVFs are just a target acquisition device, more for for a Predator drone than a roving artists’ eye.

          • Please… The old “arty” mumbling… Well, IF you want play that game stop digital and shoot film. On a RANGEFINDER camera.

          • Well said sir, well said. I agree 100%…no, 200%!

            • Well, another “artist” here. Strange that the b/w fine arts project with wich I’ve just won the grand prize at the annual visual art convention was shot with a soul-less drone-eyed E-M5… 😉

              • Btw this reply aimed to mcmillin, sorry.

              • It’s not the tool, it’s the image!

                • Exactly what I’m saying! I don’t understand all this talk of a “pure camera approach” vs. “artificial camera approach”, it is the result that means, and the camera is a tool that I bend to my liking. If a photographer can’t figure how customize hiscamera I suggest to him to read the manual: it is time more worth spending, instead that arguing on a forum 🙂

                  • When all else fails, read the manual! 🙂

                    IMO, if one wants to see a scene unimpeded by a camera, move the camera away from your face. That seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? If you accept that, then I claim that viewfinder-less cameras like the iPhone are the least intrusive devices since you can trivially scan the scene outside of the camera’s FOV.

                  • Or just use another camera. We’re pretty spoiled for choice these days…

        • …”tiny” tv sets that you clearly have not tried at all. The last two years, with the EVF on Fuji, Olympus and Sony top cameras, a line has been drawn in the sand. You can’t simply compare new tech with old tech. And btw, I shoot film since 1989, so I think I have my share of experience with OVFs… 😉

          • I’ve tried the Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7r. Those EVF’s are woefully, woefully inadequate. STILL tiny TV sets. Not even remotely close to real life. As John said above, those EVF’s are target acquisition devices. The color of life is crushed, the tonality, gone. Absolutely nothing like a real scene.

            Not. Good. Enough.

            • I think you may need a view camera…

              • That would be nice…however, other issues come into play.

              • That’s taking the argument to irrational extremes, Ming. You’re better than that. The only reason I was prompted to jump into this old OVF/EVF debate was that you implied that the camera makers won’t give us “a decent EVF” until they abandon the OVFs entirely. That might make sense if you’re locked into the Nikon/Canon systems, but I’m not and you’re not, either. Current EVFs are about as good as they can get now, but next year they’ll be a little bit better. That’s what makes EVF cameras ideal consumer products: guaranteed technical progress, with predictable functional obsolescence. If every camera you own now will be replaceable with better VF’d version in five years, maybe the camera market does have a future.

                I’m all about choices, which would include everything from camera phones to view cameras. In the past year, I’ve used a VF-less LX7, an x10 with a small zooming OVF, an XPro-1 with the hybrid finder, and a Sony a850 with one of the best OVFs ever made. All take nice photos, but latter one is much, much more pleasant to look through. That’s just me, of course, and von, and a lot of other folks who have probably given up this debate and plan to quietly hang on to their preferred OVF cameras. I can understand a preference for EVFs in certain situations that I don’t face often: dark scenes, low contrast daylight, and work where the last exquisite fraction of focus is paramount. But what I can’t understand is the outright hostility towards optical finders among the new wave EVF crowd. It’s almost like how big dogs behave towards toy breeds. Sometimes the net sounds like a propaganda poster: “The glorious EVF future will only come when the last remnants of resistance are obliterated!”

                • I don’t see it as extreme: it’s actually pretty logical. I don’t think there’s anything that compares to the Hasselblad 6×6 for VF/EVF/live view, and the view camera is the natural extension of that. I know I make better images simply because I can see far more into the scene. And that’s certainly one of the reasons I bought a 4×5 – I could just as easily stitch with the D810, but it isn’t the same compositionally.

                  I think you’re confusing my position a bit. For SLRs, yes, they’re in competition with everything else the SLR stands for, and frankly, knowing these companies: if they can squeeze a bit more out of you, they will; not to mention the lack of innovation. I don’t ever recall being anti-EVF; there are plenty of reasons and situations under which I prefer using one (and I’ve said many times that the current generation is pretty much on par for usability in my mind) such as for perfect ETTR exposure, tricky metering, and yes, precision of focus. The Otuses, for instance, are so finicky on critical focus that I use live view on my D810 coupled with a cine finder over the LCD – the OVF simply isn’t accurate enough.

                  • Sorry, but the statement “get a view camera” sounds much like “Get a horse, you obsolescent coot!” I accept that you didn’t mean it that way. I do regard you as very pro-EVF, though. It’s hard to get excited about mirror less cameras otherwise.

                    A view camera certainly gives the biggest optical image possible, but it puts a myriad of technical and operational obstacles in the way, too. I’d prefer the huge VF of the Pentax 645, but I happily settle for the big, 35mm-quality OVF of the a900 series, in a reasonably sized and very usable body (that’s now a great used bargain, priced near its model number in USD).

                    One feature I’d welcome in a camera would be an option for TTL focusing at the moment before exposure. That would optimize focus within a second or so after the mirror flips, useful in cases like landscapes where sharpness is vital but precise timing is not.

                    • No, I was pretty serious – I have one for that reason. Whilst I’m pro EVF a for other reasons such as focusing accuracy, I like the immediacy of optical finders too.

                  • As much as I hate the idea of attaching a bulky box to an already bulky, boxy DSLR, you point out a good way to go. Although I find string problems with color and DR rendition in every EVF I’ve seen, I’m pretty happy with the realism of the images I see in rear LCD screens. Is that because they aren’t magnified by VF systems? I don’t know.

                    What I REALLY want to see return from my days in the late view camera era is a folding sunshade to shield the rear LCD. It should be made exactly like the viewing hoods on old Linhof Technikas, with a spring-loaded metal back/top plate and thin side panels of fine leather, creased to fold. If you find one of these fifty-year old wonders in a used shop, it will probably work better than the plastic Hoodman version you would buy new. It’s significant that those Linhofs had four sides to shade the screen, not three– that missing bottom shade panel on the current versions admits plenty of light from sunlit beaches or concrete surfaces.

                    • Come to think of it, sticking a Hasselblad waist level finder on might not be a bad option either…

                      I think the LCDs have better color simply because they have larger pixels, but I might be wrong. In any case, you can’t judge color or gamma/ tone from either display since you’re probably going to work the raw file anyway; all you want to know is if the exposure is correct and things are in focus. The rest is usually adjusted to taste anyway.

                  • I started trying Monochrome setting for some shooting situations. It seems that finding critical focus is just slightly easier. Of course, I am shooting raw, so all the information is still there, if I want a colour image in post processing.

            • I’m sure in 1-2 years of time, when CaNikon will be pressed to jump the shark, I’ll see you with one of their latest mirrorless cameras saying “EVFs are teh best evarrr!” 😉

              • Nope, not going to happen. You say that only because you are religious about your beliefs.

                • “Digital will never be as good as film!” then “I’ll never shoot digital!”. “EVFs will be never good as OVF!” then “I’ll never shoot with an EVF!”. Is THIS a religious behaviour. And if you’ll stop shooting just over a triviality like this, I don’t think I’ll miss your “works”…

  50. Hi MT,

    I’d love to know how you have the Zacuto finder set up. I’m assuming that you are using it with an L bracket. I looked at it a while back but lost interest as it looked like Lego and I couldn’t find anyone in Sydney who could help me.

  51. Not sure if it was a Photokina announcement or it just came out at the same time, but for me the most interesting piece is the new Voigtlander 10.5mm f0.95 for m4/3.

    Especially considering the current lack of ultra wide primes for that system.

    • Honestly, given the rather poor performance of the existing 17.5 and 25mm lenses at f0.95 – and even f2, I’m not holding my breath. It’s for desperate times or bragging rights.

  52. Interesting and thoughtful observations. At first the LX100 seemed the ideal replacement for my LX7. But you’re swaying me toward the GM5, which allows me to use my lens collection.

    • It’s larger than it looks, which kicks it out of the pocket camera category. Unless you live somewhere where a jacket is normal, I suppose.

      • “ideal replacement for my LX7” + “out of the pocket-camera category” :: Did you ever use the LX7 in your pocket? I’ve had an LX3 (since ’09), long ago lost its (controversial!) lens cap, and carried it w/soft-case (or nothing, tucked between cycling jerseys or other garments); while the LX3 could fit into a shirt pocket (not easily), that never felt comfortable IMO (re weight & falling-out …).

        Now, to GM5 + what lens, to match LX100’s 24-75eq./1.7-2.8 ? –12-35/2.8? –collection of primes?


  1. […] admit to having a change of heart. Yes, I was rather lukewarm bout the initial announcement at Photokina; but I do also remember saying that this would be the camera for a lot of people: right size, right […]

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