If you were starting from nothing, which system would you buy?

ac12

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None of the 3 seems to have outstanding reputation, I'd say it's not going to be the deciding factor among the 3 systems. Nikon has the lightest, similar weight as the 12-100. The other two are about 200 grams heavier.

I'll compare the 24-105s and see if one of those helps choose.
The 24-2xx are not pro lenses, but GP superzooms. With all the compromises associated with a non-pro superzoom, like lower IQ and build quality, in order to hit that sub $1,000 price point.
It is probably great as part of a 2-lens travel kit, paired with a 35/1.8 for indoor low light.

I would use a GOOD 24-105 as my GP lens at home, and the 24-2xx as a GP travel lens.
Although the 24-2xx are bulkier and heavier that I would like.
 

BDR-529

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Could just be the pending release of the Nikon Z5 and Canon EOS R5 and R6. Seems like the FF mirrorless war is really just starting. If the Nikon Z5 and rumored Sony A5 are released in the $1,000 range, all current FF mirrorless bodies will drop in price. And if the R5 and R6 are as good as rumored/advertised, then high end mirrorless (A9/A7Riii/iv/Z7) prices will also drop.
This FF mirrorless war is just the reason why I have hard time deciding which system to select if I was starting from nothing today.

For me it's clear that all major camera companies went all in to mirrorless FF and now they can't even afford to let their own older SLR and crop sensor cameras to cannibalize FF volume so all R&D investments will be allocated to mirrorless FF models. So whatever is "future proof" must be one of the mirrorless FF systems but I truly believe that only 1 or 2 will survive.

Things might become suddenly easier if FF mirrorless price was is extended to lenses as well. It's just bodies that are cheap at the moment because camera manufacturs could literally give them out for free if only they can lock customers into their proprietary mount which will then become the de facto standard which forces everyone to buy their lenses at huge profit margin. Lenses are still so damn expensive that I would not buy a full set from brand A just to discover that this company is forced to exit from entire camera business in 1-2 years to save the rest of the company from banktrupcy.

If also lenses were dirt cheap I would just buy a full kit of whatever has the best price for a set that meets my requirement and run for the exit. I will anyway write down the investment at shop door and use the set for next 10 years.
 

PakkyT

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that this company is forced to exit from entire camera business in 1-2 years to save the rest of the company from banktrupcy.
I would hardly call the small effect that the camera business had on their bottom line as enough to save the company from bankruptcy.
 

BDR-529

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I would hardly call the small effect that the camera business had on their bottom line as enough to save the company from bankruptcy.
Small effect? It's not small even today and losses will go instantly ballistic if market simply turns out from our proprietary system and leaves you with 100% of the cost but 10% of the planned revenue.

Only Sony and Panasonic are large enough to both keep covering heavy losses from camera business for a year or two and still make substantial investments into camera R&D and marketing which are absolutely mandatory to gain back the lost market share. Both of these would just axe the whole division if they see that it didn't make it and market share has dropped below the level where any profit can be made.

Nikon and Canon are so much smaller that they would not be able to keep investing heavily into loss making Camera Unit even when they know that without increased investments that unit will just keep bleeding market share untill they can't cover the losses any more.

BTW note that the first one to exit - Olympus - is not selling just their cameras. They will divest all consumer products (recorders, binoculars etc) and concentrate on medical and scientific business units which actually cover 93% of their revenue. Canon and Nikon have very similar company structure even though cameras make relatively larger share of their revenue but they could become instantly more profitable by just divesting loss making consumer products i.e. cameras.

I did have a quick look at Canon Q1 results and it seems that the whole Imaging System Business unit is contributing less than 20% to total revenue. Nikon Imaging Products Business was still 38% of total revenue though so it's not easily sold off but if that starts generating serious losses, the whole company will end belly up.
 
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PakkyT

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Small effect? It's not small even today and losses will go instantly ballistic if market simply turns out from our proprietary system and leaves you with 100% of the cost but 10% of the planned revenue.
Huh?

First off, Olympus is not going bankrupt. Over all they are making money and show a net profit on their annual report. So "save the company from bankruptcy" is false on its face, they are not losing money.

Second, the imaging business lost about 10M yen and a category below that called "other" lost about 2.7M yen. But the other three divisions made about 145.6M yen. Based on revenue the imaging business is only about 6% of Olympus's business.

So saying getting rid of the camera business is going to save the company is like saying dropping Netflix and your Gym membership will allow you to keep your house.
 

BDR-529

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First off, Olympus is not going bankrupt. Over all they are making money and show a net profit on their annual report. So "save the company from bankruptcy" is false on its face, they are not losing money.
What on earth has Olympus to do with this?

I'm talking about remaining camera manufacturers and to which of them would I dare to put my money if I had to buy camera gear right now. Also Nikon, Canon, Sony and Panasonic. Fuji and Pentax are technically speaking still around but I left them out since they will not enter mirrorless FF market.

As I already mentioned, Olympus consumer products including cameras were only 7% of their total revenue anyway but they are already out of the game as far as mirrorless FF market is concerned. I used Olympus just as an example because numbers explain why they were the first to sell entire camera business. It was so easy for Olympus because cameras nearly disappeared in rounding errors in their income statement and this was the only consumer product unit in the whole company.

And as per today I would not buy into any other system than mirrorless FF because that's the only segment were remaining manufacturers will allocate their future R&D investments (assuming that I start from zero which is the topic of this thread).
 
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PakkyT

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Ah, when you said ...
just to discover that this company is forced to exit from entire camera business in 1-2 years to save the rest of the company from banktrupcy.
I assumed you were specifically referring to Olympus. If you meant in general, and my apologies for misunderstanding, Nikon is probably the only one were this is true. Clearly Sony and Panasonic are massive companies whose camera business is also a smaller part of everything they do and make. Both could simply drop their camera divisions without even noticing and have done so in a wide range of products and industries over their histories.
 
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ac12

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Some thoughts on Nikon, Canon and Sony

Nikon Z
  • The Z mount "fixes" the incompatibility issues of the F mount.
    • This incompatibility is not the mount itself, but the many different lens/body coupling methods.
    • Hopefully, Nikon did their homework, and will not have a repeat of the F mount incompatibility.
  • The Z FX and DX share the same mount.
  • At present the Z FX has IBIS, but the DX Z50 does NOT have IBIS.
    • This makes the use of non stabilized Z FX lens on the Z50 = NO stabilization.
    • Hopefully, like Canon did with the 2nd R camera, Nikon will put IBIS in their DX Z camera.
  • I think future Z cameras will get BIGGER.
    • The Z6/7 is small because stuff was left out. 2nd card slot, ability to mount a battery/vertical grip, etc.
Canon RF
  • The 2nd R camera finally put IBIS in the body.
    • I think Canon had a strategic change of plans, maybe marketing driven, to not rely on OIS as it's sole IS method.
  • The FF R and APS-C M use two different mounts.
    • So unlike Nikon or even the Canon EFS APS-C camera, a M user cannot use a RF lens. They can only adapt the EF lenses.
    • The M mount MUST have its own decent M lens landscape.
Both Nikon and Canon
  • The Z and R lens landscapes have a long ways to go to flesh it in, and will take many years to get there.
    • How important that is, depends on what lenses are important to YOU.
    • And if that lens is currently in production, on the roadmap, or not even on the roadmap.
    • This is a significant disadvantage when compared to Sony's mature lens landscape.
  • Will we get a full line of f/4 lenses, or will they go back to the high margin (and heavy) f/2.8 lenses?
  • Will the APS-C Z50 and M50 again be the stepchild of the brands; supported, but not very well on the high end?
Sony
  • Has a massive headstart, compared to Nikon and Canon mirrorless.
  • Have a wide and mature lens landscape.
    • The disadvantage they had in prior years compared to Nikon and Canon dSLRs, has now reversed.
  • Have had many years of evolution to develop and fine tune their mirrorless cameras.
    • Nikon and Canon have yet to release their 2nd generation of mirrorless cameras.
A common industry lens mount is unlikely.
  • The time for this decision is long past.
    • It should have been done BEFORE the Z/R cameras, as part of their spec design.
  • Now, it is a mater of pride and advantage (who's mount is chosen),
  • And survival (for the ones who's mount was not chosen).
    • They have to change the mount and electronics in their cameras = more cost.
    • And yet another mount change, and all the issues associated with that, and creating yet another lens landscape.
    • And creating an orphan product. If Z is selected, all the R/RF gear is orphaned. If R is selected, all the Z gear is orphaned.
  • And for Nikon and Canon, their common enemy is Sony.
3rd party lens manufacturers; Sigma, Tamron, et.al.
  • Nikon and Canon have always had closed systems, where the 3rd party guys had to reverse engineer the mount.
    • This protects their own lens sales. And that is not likely to change.
    • 3rd party lenses have stopped working with new camera models or updated camera firmware. If you have a Sigma/Tamron lens, you will have to have a lens dock, to allow you to update the firmware in the lens, to fix the incompatibilities that crop up with different cameras/firmware.
  • I think they will design to the lowest common denominator, to be able to use the design on several different cameras.
    • So I doubt they will take advantage of the larger diameter Nikon Z mount.
 

BDR-529

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I assumed you were specifically referring to Olympus. If you meant in general, and my apologies for misunderstanding, Nikon is probably the only one were this is true. oticing and if have done so in a wide range of products and industries over their histories.
Actually I forgot one name: Sigma is now making mirrorless FF cameras (just one camera really) and it's fully dependent on ILC sales thanks to lens manufacturing.

Unfortunately they can't exit the camera business even if it turns into red. Sigma fp is really a cool product and it packs full hybrid camera features into extremely compact package. I would very much consider that if only it had IBIS since L-mount has - thaks to Sigma - nice portfolio of inexpensive lenses too.
 
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Which “clean slate” choice would you make?
I think I already have it. So, no need to change, it would be m43 for me.
But it's not my first system, I started to be really serious with photorgraphy with DSLR APS-C.

As a whole system, it has the most interesting set up of body & lenses for me.
Which means: lot of lens choices (I like having very different lenses), compact set up, good compromise between image quality and shooting pleasure.

I like all types of gear, so when I attend a photo gear show like the "Salon de la photographie" in Paris, I try most of what is available.
There is a lot of other cameras & lenses I'd love to have. I may buy some one day in addition to what I have.
But if I have to stick to ONE system, chosing all what I want in it, without any price limits, it would be m43 and I would end up pretty much with what I have now.
 

comment23

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If I had ever handled one, and E-M1 Mark III. It just fits. Then I’d start with the 12-45mm PRO because it goes so well with that camera body. Especially when accompanied with a selection of small primes for if it’s dark and a 40-150mm R (a.k.a. plastic fantastic) for range when needed. And a small, cheap, well-featured back-up body like the E-M10 Mark II. After that I’d add some indulgences.

[checks signature]

Yep.
 

cjoliprsf

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To answer the original question:
"If you were starting from nothing, which system would you buy?"

If money is no object...
I'd have a M4/3 system for light and small, that would be a small body such as Pen-F or GX series, a couple of small primes and a do-all zoom lens.
AND I'd have a FF DSLR system. I do fundamentally prefer DSLR to mirrorless for a number of reasons, but I also appreciate some advantages of mirrorless. Canon EOS 6D for example would be perfect for this.
I then have best of all worlds. If for a project I want more depth of field, I take M4/3, if I want shallow, I take FF. If I want to bring a camera to a hike or travel, it is the M4/3, if around the house, the FF DSLR.

If budget tight, it would then be APS-C small DSLR such as the SL series of Canon. It is small and light enough to carry and in my opinion is a good compromise between the 2 systems above.
 

Saledolce

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The 24-2xx are not pro lenses, but GP superzooms. With all the compromises associated with a non-pro superzoom, like lower IQ and build quality, in order to hit that sub $1,000 price point.
12-100 seems to another unique proposition that seems "possible" only in m43 world, GP superzoom with pro features: IQ, build quality ...
 
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Interestingly, a bit more than one year ago I "started from nothing". I was used to working with compact cameras, and had upgraded to a Canon G7X 2 years before. That was fun, but I wanted more. More zoom range, a bit more IQ, better handling...

I considered a lot of options: full frame and APS-C DSLRs (Canon, Nikon, Pentax), full frame mirrorless (Sony; there wasn't much else), APS-C mirrorless (Sony, Canon M, Fuji) and finally MFT (Olympus, Panasonic).

I ruled out DSLRs pretty quickly. I like my camera equipment to be small and lightweight, and the idea of an OVF did not appeal to me at all (it felt old-fashioned). Also, it started to become clear that mirrorless was the future anyway (with Canon and Nikon just starting to work on their mirrorless offerings). Pentax's cameras are affordable and feature-rich, but heavy, and they have a mirror...

I also read about Sony's full frame mirrorless system, with everyone raving about the Sony A7 iii. Well, first of all I did not see myself spending € 2300 on a camera body (and much more on lenses). And secondly, a friend let me hold his A7 iii for a while, and that cured me immediately. The ergonomics were horrible, and even during that short testing period I hated the hand cramps that it gave me. The RAW files were excellent though. Better than anything else I have tried. The only system that does not show noise in blue skies when viewing at 100%. (I am not saying you should care, and I have learned not to. But the difference was obvious.)

Sony's and Canon's APS-C mirrorless systems do not have the twin dial set-up that I like, and their lens line-ups are limited.

I very much liked the idea of Fuji's cameras with their retro dials. They evoked a feeling of (fake) nostalgia to cameras that I have never used (okay, I made a few pictures with my father's Pentax MV, and I used to own a film compact camera; but I'm mostly part of the digital age). But the whole thing seemed useful too: you just look at the top of your camera and you know the settings, without staring at a screen. And it helped to focus on the fundamentals of photography: shutter speed, aperture and — dare I say — ISO.

But Fuji had shortcomings too. The cameras had no image stabilisation and used a weird (X-Trans) sensor. When I looked at Fuji RAW files, they still looked noisy (compared to the A7 iii files that I had seen earlier). The lens line-up also felt strange. Want a good 50mm equivalent? Buy the 35mm f/2. Want to upgrade to a faster lens? Buy the 35mm f/1.4. But then you lose weather-sealing and gain a noisy focus motor. The 18-55mm is reportedly excellent (for a kit lens anyway), but if you want to upgrade from that, your only option is (or was) the 16-55mm f/2.8, which is a lot heavier and more expensive. The upgrade path just didn't appeal to me.

The final revelation came when I actually felt a Fuji X-T2 in my hands in a camera store. I hated the ergonomics, with the tiny grip, and the dials were not as nice to use in practice as I thought. With my eye to the EVF, the shutter speed dial was hard to reach and too stiff to turn.

I then tried a Panasonic G80, and that felt like a glove. The ergonomics are just perfect. Very nice grip, and very smooth dials. And the MFT lens line-up is excellent. A lot of choice, whether you want big or small, and "pro" or "cheap". The upgrade path is also nice. Want better IQ than the 12-32mm? Buy the 12-35mm. It's more expensive, but still affordable, and also still relatively compact and light, and it's weather-sealed and has a constant aperture. And as I found out later, it is very easy to find good deals on second-hand MFT lenses. I often find them for half the retail price.

So yeah, as MFT was the right system 1½ years ago when I started, it still is for me.

Now I sometimes cannot resist reading stuff on the internet about other systems, of course. There is only one other system that appeals to me right now, and that is Nikon Z. The ergonomics seem good, the sensor excellent, the lenses reasonable. It is still too expensive for my taste, there isn't much on the second-hand market yet, and their lens line-up is far from "complete". Maybe in a few years' time I will reconsider, especially if they make some nice compact (and slower, if needed) lenses. But for now it's MFT all the way. :)
 

BDR-529

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A common industry lens mount is unlikely.
We already know that never happened. Camera industry is still living in the past decades of constant growth and was simply not able to even consider such option.

Instead we ended up in a situation which is as if every electric car manufacturer is using their own proprietary charging stations which are intentionally made incompatible with each other.

Even car industry understood that without a common standard they will face a format war and customers will avoid touching any of the options untill a winner is declared if they can afford to wait. And based on profit warnings which named slow consumers adaptation rates as one cause, they apparently can in camera business.

I still predict that in 10 years there will be only one mirrorless FF mount ecosystem left simply because it became the de facto standard in such a marginal industry that there was no volume left for anyone else. Maybe a smaller second one will exist too if someone else managed to become standard among videographers.

Even MFT could still be alive in 10 years. MFT has already such a huge selection of cine lenses and other accessories that it can survive on this niche alone. So buying today into MFT format might turn out to be safer choise than some well known brand mirrorless FF system.

BTW why did you leave out the whole L-mount alliance? If I had to guess which one becomes mirrorless FF mount of choice for videographers, I'd bet on L-mount.
 
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AmritR

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- Probably best to put all the options, camera, preferred lenses, weight and prices in excel.
- Use https://camerasize.com/ for comparison
- Make sure to check out the cams in real life.

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I prefer using a shoulder bag. I have found that there is a distinct weight (for me) were a shoulder bag becomes more or less annoying after some time walking around with it. Its from around 2000 grams and more. A 100 grams more or less matters, as does size.

So going small with a EM5, I also bought a new Crumpler camera bag. Shaving off another +/- 300 grams compared to the Crumpler bag I had.


- Nikon D750 + 17-35 f2.8 (1600 gram) + (old)Crumpler (700 gram) = 2300 gram.

to a

- Olympus EM5 III + Panasonic 8-18 (730 gram) + (new)Crumpler (430 grams) = 1160 grams


So I basically shaved off 50% weight. The Nikon stayed at home way too often, the Olympus doesn’t.

I checked the Canon RP with a comparible lens. Yes a f2.8, but no other option. That would weigh about 1300 grams. Total weight definitely an improvement, though I didn’t check the price of the lens.
In camerasize.com I checked some other Canon Lenses. The body is remarkably small and light, put a lens on and it’s big.


And a personal camera size comparison, I ran into an old pic. Not hard to guess which of the two is a 35mm :D

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ac12

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To answer the original question:
"If you were starting from nothing, which system would you buy?"

If money is no object...
I'd have a M4/3 system for light and small, that would be a small body such as Pen-F or GX series, a couple of small primes and a do-all zoom lens.
AND I'd have a FF DSLR system. I do fundamentally prefer DSLR to mirrorless for a number of reasons, but I also appreciate some advantages of mirrorless. Canon EOS 6D for example would be perfect for this.
I then have best of all worlds. If for a project I want more depth of field, I take M4/3, if I want shallow, I take FF. If I want to bring a camera to a hike or travel, it is the M4/3, if around the house, the FF DSLR.

If budget tight, it would then be APS-C small DSLR such as the SL series of Canon. It is small and light enough to carry and in my opinion is a good compromise between the 2 systems above.
I actually have that now.
My primary system is m4/3
  • I have a light/travel kit: EM10, Pan 12-60, Oly 40-150R, 17/1.8.
  • I have a heavy pro kit for use at home/near a car: EM1, 12-40/2.8, 40-150/2.8
My field sport (football, soccer, lacrosse) kit is an APS-C Nikon D7200 + 70-200/4.
The reason is the lens. The zoom ring on the Olympus 40-150/2.8 and 12-100/4 are not as light and easy to turn, as the NIkon 70-200/4.
I may do similar in the gym (basketball and volleyball), with a Tamron 17-50/2.8. The zoom ring of my Olympus 12-40/2.8 is not as light easy to turn.
Because I am CONSTANTLY working the zoom ring for up to FIVE or SIX HOURS, a light easy to turn zoom ring is important, for ME.
When I stop shooting sports, the specific need for those lenses will disappear, and this kit will probably be retired.

So I currently shoot with what is essentially three systems; the light and heavy Olympus kits, and the Nikon DX kit.

I had thought a lot about adding a HIGH rez FF camera as yet another system, for max IQ.
Nikon D850 or Z7.
But the weight of a D850 is too heavy, so it would have been a still heavy D810 or the much lighter but expensive Z7.
And I am not keen on the weight of FF lenses.

For you film guys, my film equivalent is 35mm + 6x6 Medium Format + 4x5 Large Format
Each has it advantages and disadvantages. Different tools in the tool box. Pick whichever one works best for the task.
 

John King

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I have the E-M1 MkII + 12-100 as my 'heavy' kit.

I also have moderately severe osteoarthritis in my thumbs and wrists (and most other places ... ) such that I take differing strength painkillers 5 times every day.

I do not have any problem turning the zoom ring on this or any other lens I own. I really cannot see this as a problem. I've also never noticed that any other brand gear has been significantly different.
 

ac12

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I have the E-M1 MkII + 12-100 as my 'heavy' kit.

I also have moderately severe osteoarthritis in my thumbs and wrists (and most other places ... ) such that I take differing strength painkillers 5 times every day.

I do not have any problem turning the zoom ring on this or any other lens I own. I really cannot see this as a problem. I've also never noticed that any other brand gear has been significantly different.
If you use a lens with a light easy to turn zoom ring, you will see the difference.
The zoom ring on my Panasonic 12-60 turns easier than ANY of my Olympus zooms, pro or consumer.​
This difference is even more so after turning the zoom ring almost constantly for 5 to 6 hours at a football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball or volleyball game.
These are sets of sequential games, which is why the shoot lasts so long.
 
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Don't want to hijack this topic too much, but I have a sense I may keep the small m43 kit (Pen and primes), sell the big m43 kit (em1.ii, pro zooms, large primes) and pocket the money for a while. A Canon with IBIS could be worth waiting for: they have a 24-105 "kit zoom" that has an excellent reputation, they have the "do it all" 24-240 lens. I will check the primes, but I would be really surprised if they don't have excellent 35/50/85 glass.
That's almost exactly what I did.
Sold the "big kit": E-M1+HLD-7, 12-45 F4, 100-300 ii
Kept my favorite stuff: E-M10ii, Oly 25mm, Lumix 20mm, DJI 15mm
Sold the "gap fillers"/"unnecessary" stuff: 17mm f1.8, 14mm f2.5, 17mm 2.8, Pen Mini 2, Pana 12-60
Kept some stuff that was so cheap that it barely justifies selling as long as I still have a Micro 4/3rds Camera: Olympus 9mm Body cap lens, 45mm 1.8 (I got it for 50€), Lumix 12-32mm

The 12-32 is just acceptable and I much prefered what I got from the Pana 12-60, and later, the 12-45F4 pro. But especially the latter seemed to pricey to keep it around when the future of this system is so uncertain. And the kit I love the most that took the best images for me was always the E-M10ii with either the 25mm or 20mm prime.

The reason I was such an Olympus fan was that I loved their jpegs, loved the way their cameras look, loved the OLED evf, liked the menu system.
The only manufacturers that can match or exceed Olympus jpegs are, in my eyes, Canon for portraits and Fujifilm for everything else.
Therefore, I briefly considered dipping a toe into the water with Canon mirrorless, but FF seems too large and expensive and Canon doesn't seem invested enough in EOS M at the moment. That said, an EOS M6 in metal actually looks quite sexy and could have swayed me... if it weren't for Fuji.

I shoot family gatherings and kids a lot, but am primarily a landscape photographer and the combination of Fujifilm jpegs, lens selection and quality and image quality has won me over. In a blind comparison, I preferred the warmer tone from the Canon but there was a higher level of detail from the Fuji kit, using medium range zooms and primes which is what I am aiming for. I can always tweak whitebalance and tone either in camera or in post.

Today I bought a used Fuji X-T30 with 18-55 f2.8-4.0 lens to see if that can replace my big kit, and maybe I can learn a thing or two about Fuji colors and/or manual controls.
 
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