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My m43 complement dilemma

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by phrenic, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    To get this out of the way, I'm fully dedicated to m43..I have lots of lenses and multiple bodies in the system and believe it's the right balance of lens selection, iq, size, weight etc..

    But I also have a bit of a wandering eye. Recently I think I've gotten caught up in the hype from the Sigma DP2 Merrill. Not so much the tech reviews, but the user experiences and samples like: DP2M Photo Gallery by Rick Decker at pbase.com Better in Black and White: Sigma DP2 Merrill: A Real World Review Sigma DP2 Merrill Review — MONO - CULTURE

    I can't but think this would be a fun complement to my m43 kit..whether hiking or travelling. Or when I'm just in the mood for 'slow photography' (oh I'm very aware of the many, many weaknesses). There is something almost romantic to the slow process though. My G5 is highly functional..but I have to admit that it's not always the most fun to use. Good when I need to get the shot, but not necessarily a fun challenge (heh..my old E-P1 has more of this..."character").

    So I suppose my rationale is that for the size, weight, and cost of another high end m43 lens, I could carry around a 45mm equivalent prime that frankly blows away anything comparable (in optimal conditions). Not sure if the comparisons to medium format digital backs are valid, but I do believe that it exceeds everything up to maybe the top of the line nikons and maybe a leica m9 with the very best lenses.

    A colleague of mine who has many more years of experience thinks I'm chasing..just a case of GAS. He thinks there's too many compromises for the cost and that it would just lead to carrying too much (I'm not convinced that it's much trouble to carry an additional pseudo-compact). I would gladly dump my backup body that I traditionally travel with for it.

    He argues that if I want an IQ boost for occasion, I should look at the Fuji XE1. I agree that it outperforms m43..but I'm not finding that I need the additional low-light benefits. And I like m43, so I'm not looking to switch systems..nor can I afford to maintain 2 parallel systems. If I bought an XE1 with kit I know I'd start lusting after the 35mm..maybe a wide angle option. And then adapt my OM lenses..

    There's something satisfying about the idea of having a small, simple, best of the best IQ camera for $1,000. With no temptation to 'upgrade' or expand it..a nice stand-alone. But is it useful in comparison to the Fuji X system which is also right up there for lens and sensor performance..and obviously could grow with me.

    Sorry for the essay...just torturing myself here.

    And an additional thought is I could just splurge on the 60mm macro. Opens up a new style of photography and is something I'm missing focal length wise.

    Not that the money will burn a hole in my pocket..but I am feeling like indulging in a new toy soon. :rofl:

    Would appreciate your thoughts..anyone else in the same boat?
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    To be blunt..... a photographer with many years of experience should already know that its not the camera but the photographer. Your purchase decisions should be driven by "need" not by G.A.S.

    Building a secondary non-complimenting system which IMO the Fuji falls into is a dead end money pit. If you were to say that your need is sports photography and that the micro 4/3 does not fill that need, I would be in total agreement and a DSLR would be a system to fill that need.

    First and foremost, I am a Leica M9 shooter... wouldn't have it any other way. Why micro 4/3 as my other system? It compliments a classic rangefinder since it fills needs were my primary system can't:

    * Although I prefer primes, rangefinders have no zooms (I have kids and sometimes its a convenience of a single lens is ideal)
    * Base length of a rangefinder limits the max focal length to about 90mm
    * Limited macro capabilities.

    Along the ability to adapt my M mount optics to the OMD E-M5, this system is an ideal system that fills certain needs. If these needs didn't exist (until recently, I had no need for macro, long teles nor zooms), I would not have jumped onboard with the micro 4/3 system. Fuji has been make excellent cameras lately that has attracted my interest (high ISO is great even though I usually don't need it), but its 1.5x sensor size which translates to larger lenses and its lackluster AF performance doesn't seem to make me ask Fuji AND micro 4/3... but more like Fuji OR micro 4/3.

    I've been shooting, teaching, and retail related photographic areas. One thing I can guarantee, is the notion that camera equipment are simply the enabler... no more no less. New purchases rarely improve the final results. Your needs should drive your purchases not the other way around. You don't buy a new lens to establish a new "style". You establish a new "style" and new stuff enable you to build further on it.

    PS> E-PM1 is smaller than the Fuji, shares the same lenses you already have....
    • Like Like x 1
  3. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    I totally agree with your colleague. DP2m is not a "compact camera", it's ~ half a kilo with one battery installed and one extra, and it's a piece of gear of very limited use. I'd only go for it if you absolutely require all that image quality it produces (= regularly make large prints). Otherwise that focal length is well covered in MFT and you can get roughly the same kind of images with 20/1.7.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Once you consider the Fuji XE1 with lens, the DP2m is more compact.

    Whether or not a fixed lens is seen as an advantage or disadvantage is a personal decision. In the old days, classes would require you to shoot with a single focal length for extended periods. Some rather successful photographers shot their entire career with mostly a single focal length. Henri Cartier-Bresson shot almost exclusively with a 50mm. Garry Winogrand only focused on 28mm and 35mm . The key is that you learn a single focal length and master it.
  5. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Hence my love for my x100 :smile:
  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The grass is greener ... I've been thinking of chasing a few different systems, Fuji, Sigma, even Leica film ... for me it would be more of a collector's syndrome than a photographic passion. For some the chase is integrated into their passion and that's okay if that is their approach. But for me GAS is just gas, if sorta feels good at the moment, then it just passes and the purchase sorta get stagnant hanging around doing nothing. but geting more stagnant.

    Get the macro. If the chase was an integral piece of your photographic passion, then you wouldn't have started this thread. So I suggest a macro, a photographically beneficial and long term relief for GAS.

    • Like Like x 1
  7. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Interesting point. I'm currently printing 16x20's and 11x17's from the G5's 16 megapixels and pretty happy with the output. I wonder how much you can appreciate the difference in IQ in print? Is it more of a benefit for larger prints?
  8. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010

    It's certainly the cheapest option! (well besides maintaining the status-quo and not doing anything).

    But yeah it might be a better option to open up a new shooting style.
  9. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010

    Yeah. Agreed with the Fuji. Marginally better IQ than my current set-up, but doesn't add anything new capabilities wise--besides shooting at ISO 6400 I suppose. But unless I was going to splurge for some fast lenses, it's a wash. No particular needs that I'm missing from M43, not a sports shooter. More of a curiosity of what I could do with increased performance capability.

    Frankly, if either Panasonic or Olympus came out with a rangefinder styled body with built-in EVF I think I would be shopping around a lot less. Again, my G5 is very capable but I guess it's not particularly fun. Not clicking with it as much as my E-P1. Far less rage inducing though!
  10. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Get that DP2M or X-E1. Life is too short to not try something new.

    Sometimes shooting with a different camera brings out different techniques and ideas.

    Although all the cameras you mentioned are mirrorless, you can still give each system a designated role.

    One strength that I see in m43 will be fast zooms and tele work over the Fuji.

    However, I'd expect Fuji's 14, 23 and 35 primes to be a notch above a m43 equivalent.

    Perhaps one system can be zooms with ultra versatility, and one can be just prime work?
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I don't think the X-E1 would be an IQ upgrade for me. I use Lightroom for just about everything, and there are many reports that LR doesn't give max IQ from the Fuji. I guess I could be persuaded to try other RAW apps if the image quality that much better and I were a landscape photographer, but I'm not convinced the sensor IQ is that much better.

    The DP2M is another story. I've seen a ton of samples, printed a couple, and I'm a believer. The image quality from that camera is on another level. Colors aren't super accurate, but they are very pleasing and I don't need super accurate. Corner to corner detail is superior. Foliage and certain other subjects (especially red dominant) look better to me with DP2M than I've seen with anything else this side of medium format. It's a dedicated low ISO camera with terrible battery life and operational speed, but I can see it being just perfect for the needs you describe. I was tempted but decided against one. My new toy is the Sony RX100, which can't hold a candle to the Sigma DP2M but fun in other ways.

    There's a great DP2M thread over here: Sigma DP2 Merrill shots - The GetDPI Photography Forums
  12. I usually compliment my m4/3 by saying, "good camera".
    • Like Like x 3
  13. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    At 16x20 you will see the difference. Not sure about 11x17, probably. DP2M produces really high-quality images, there are comparisons out there where it kinda beats Nikon D800. The problem is that the camera sucks, only the sensor and the lens are good. No viewfinder is no go for landscape photography in my opinion, the controls don't look good, the battery... and the single prime lens that you're stuck with. There's difference between consciously limiting yourself sometimes with one prime lens as an exercise and being stuck with one lens forever. And don't forget that quality is good in good light only, as soon as you increase ISO the magic is gone. Not to mention that you can't use any raw-converters except the sigma's software which is nowhere as good as Adobe/C1.

    IMO there are just too many flaws in DP2M to justify buying it.

    Again, all that "slow photography" is possible by attaching a similar focal length prime to whatever camera you already have (and G5 is an excellent camera with a decent sensor, fine degree of control and in-built evf), and DP2M doesn't look like a camera that is fun to use. Its main and probably only strength is the image quality. Imo people buy things like X100 or RX100 for fun, but not DP2M. The latter is no fun at all with lots of shortcomings, and you only put up with them in order to get the image quality out of that brick. Try to find some samples and print them, there have been some comparisons with full size images, and just try to decide whether the image quality difference is worth it for you.
  14. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Others have said it. I wouldnt bother with the Fuji unless you find m43 lacking and want to switch systems. Try the DP Merril if you are OK with the money (either the outlay or loss on resale, unless you can find a used one).
  15. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I was tempted to pick up one of the new Sigmas. I think I could deal with all the compromises there (raw workflow, lack of evf, slow speed), but not at all excited about the potential for getting dust on the sensor (e.g. Luminous Landscape review).

    I'm holding on Fuji until they get 3rd party raw figured out.

    I don't think you are giving m4/3 enough credit here! That PL25 of yours tests as well as the Fuji X 35mm. The upcoming Fuji wide primes look nice, but I am guessing the P14, O12 and P20 will keep up optically (and smaller physically, of course).
  16. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I am not taking anything away from the PL25. It's definitely the star in my lineup.
  17. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Good to see a view from the other side of the fence. :smile:

    Indeed, life is too short to not try new things or deprive yourself of something fun (within reason of course).

    Financially, I could do it (hardly a trivial amount, but not going to make me miss a mortgage payment either), but as has been brought up in this thread..it might not be for the right reason. And I'm under no illusion that it would necessarily improve my photography. (But within reason, ceteris paribus, it would give me better photo outputs in daylight, non-action scenes). I shoot all sorts of things, so maybe I don't quite have a set style yet ( Flickr: illvilliaNY's Photostream https://picasaweb.google.com/115206420218300518776 ). Given the variety of shooting environments I find myself in, I have no doubt that I would get some good opportunities though. Especially when travelling --and travel photography is one of my major passions in life. I find myself in some neat places, and sometimes wish I had the best IQ available to me when I'm in these once in a lifetime situations (again, not that I blame my m43 equipment as a handicap but I am aware that it's not an the cutting edge of the performance spectrum). So given the fact that I'll never be a FF guy, nor can I afford or justify a Leica setup..is the DP2M the closest I'll get to that? I don't have an interest in carrying around 10k worth of bodies and lenses..but a thousand dollar camera plus m43 kit, that's something I can live with in sketchy situations.
  18. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I'm surprised you haven't jumped on it, given the fact that you're willing to try lots of different equipment and systems! It's a lot more exciting than the incremental upgrades you see from system cameras imo.

    As you say, I'm not thinking I'll be blown away by an IQ upgrade from the Fuji..should be better on paper: bigger sensor, cooler sensor technology, excellent lens quality etc. But not night and day difference. Now those DP2M comparison shots..when matched up to other high end cameras, I feel like the DP2M just blows away the competition (in the limited, optimal shooting conditions); not even in the same league.
  19. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Depends on the type of person you are. I'm the type, that if I have 2 systems, I will obsess over testing them both and comparing them incessantly, and life is to short for me to get wrapped around that axle! But if you are better adjusted than I, then maybe try the Fuji.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. I get bored very quickly with any kind of monotony, and as such the thought of only ever shooting with one camera and one lens might possibly have me looking for a new hobby. That's half of the reason why I just ignore all the usual negative connotations to do with the term GAS. The other half of the reason is that if I was looking for a new television, it wouldn't be for the purpose of becoming better at sitting on my arse, so I don't know why it is assumed that anyone looking for a new camera is wanting it for the purpose of becoming a better photographer. Very curious.

    Anyhow, that's neither here nor there. There are plenty of reasons to want something different to shoot with. The key for me is whether another camera is different enough to make it worthwhile to use both. Whether the difference you seek is based on output, handling, features, looks, etc depends on what you specifically are looking for. If another camera keeps you interested, keeps you curious, and gets you to approach photography in a different way then it is worth every cent. For now I'm quite happy with my Canon G1X as a compliment to my Micro 4/3 gear.

    The idea of looking for a camera with better print quality is a tricky one however, and highly dependent on your end use. My preferred print medium is canvas, which I suspect is probably less demanding on absolute resolution than normal printing paper. I have a few 40" canvasses printed from images that were taken with my 2005 model Canon 350D, and I don't look at them and wish that I had taken them with a better camera. Having said that, I do appreciate the differences in output between cameras, however big or small they may be, and there are few things in photography that are more satisfying than a great image that continues to look great no matter how closely you look at it.
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