As I mentioned on another thread, I was burgled a few days ago, and the burglar took almost all of my photographic equipment, save for two canon FD film bodies, a Weston Master light meter, some old flashes to go with the Canon FD bodies and a Canon FD to Micro Four Thirds adapter. The Micro Four Thirds equipment that I had previously is listed in my signature, and on top of that, I had a large collection of legacy film (Canon FD) lenses and a cheap Canon camcorder, neither of which I had used very much recently. Happily, I have home contents insurance with a new for old policy (I am not quite sure how that will work for items bought secondhand in the first place and/or that are discontinued; I have assumed for the present that values for these will be based on secondhand prices), so should be able to replace what I have lost. Given that I almost never used the camcorder and film cameras, I see an opportunity to consolidate my equipment in the digital camera line of things, as well as update what I had, especially as regards the camera body. Whilst I do not seek people to give me a list of equipment that I should buy (I should rather make up my own mind in any event), I should be grateful for people's input on the topic more generally in case there were any matters that I had not considered adequately or at all in my own provisional assessment so far. As to budget, incidentally, my own assessment of the new for old replacement value on all items taken is just under £4,500, but that includes things other than photographic equipment, such as watch, that I wish to replace, and a loss adjuster is likely to reduce that amount to some extent as I have yet to find clear proof of ownership for all items and he/she may well find more inexpensive sources of the items than I have sourced (the insurance policy contains a clause permitting the insurer to replace items directly rather than pay replacement value on the basis that the insurer has bulk discounts with certain suppliers, although I have doubts that that would cover either legacy Canon FD equipment or Micro Four Thirds equipment). One might work provisionally on the basis of a budget of £2,000 - £3,000 to replace photographic items. System Although I am provisionally strongly minded to stick with Micro Four Thirds, I am keeping an open mind to some extent, just in case, for example, Sony have massively increased the selection of lenses in their NEX range since I last made the format decision in 2011, although I remain sceptical of that. What attracted me to Micro Four Thirds in the first place, as opposed to other mirrorless formats (and my view is that the DSLR is a film era anachronism) was mainly the fact that it had a far better range of lenses than any other mirrorless format. As far as I can make out, that has only become more so since 2011. I am particularly fond of macro photography since I bought the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro earlier this year; am I right in thinking that the two alternative relatively serious mirrorless systems, Sony NEX and Fuji E-mount have no macro lenses (let alone fisheyes)? I also think that the size advantage of the shorter lenses is a great boon for the Micro Four Thirds system over rival mirrorless systems with larger sensors (which often have similar or only marginally better image quality): one of the principal reasons that I stopped using my film SLRs in the first place in favour initially of digital compacts was the unpleasantness of carrying a huge weight and bulk just to take photographs. (I know that the Pentax and Nikon mirrorless cameras are even smaller, but they are hardly a serious consideration). Body Assuming that I do stay with Micro Four Thirds as I am currently minded to do, the camera bodies that most interest me at present are the Olympus E-P5 and Panasonic GX7. I was very happy with the handling of my E-P3, although I found myself wishing for the better dynamic range and high ISO performance of the later sensors. The in-body image stabilisation was one of the main reasons that I chose Olympus over Panasonic in 2011, and so it is that I have been watching the thread about the IBIS in the GX7 against that in the EM-5 with some interest. It is somewhat frustrating that there is not a more definitive comparison of the two IBIS systems available. One thing that worries me slightly about the E-P5 is the grip: with the E-P3, I replaced the grip for the optional larger interchangeable grip, as I found the original too small: it hurt my hands after a while to use the camera without the larger grip. The E-P5's wi-fi feature means that its grip is not interchangeable, and is the same size, more or less, than the E-P3's default grip. The GX7, meanwhile, looks as though it has a rather chunkier grip that would suit my hand better. Other outlying body possibilities that I have not ruled out are the E-M5, E-M1 or E-PL5; but, whilst I think that I should like to try them in a camera shop (if the E-M1 is in any shops here yet), I suspect that the E-M1 will be too big for my tastes and its price reflects features that I am unlikely to be interested in using more than very occasionally, the E-M5 may well be ergonomically inferior to the E-P3/5 and the E-PL5 probably has insufficient manual controls; also, I found the in-built flash of the E-P3 useful for fill-in work or for when I wanted to use the camera to take snapshots on social occasions, and none of those cameras have a built-in flash (I am not fond of adding to bulk by carrying a flash around, and the tiny add-on flashes on some of the Olympus cameras seem fiddly). However, if I am re-inventing my equipment selection entirely, it seems reasonable to consider whether an add-on flash is a worthwhile thing. What are people's views on that subject? Weather sealing is probably not of the greatest importance, since taking photographs in the rain is not a particularly fun thing to do in any event, but could be worthwhile at least in some cases, I suppose. I generally prefer to compose photographs on the rear screen than using an electronic viewfinder, but I did buy a secondhand VF-2 after using my E-P3 for a while, as I found it invaluable when taking photographs in very bright conditions, and also useful for manual focussing (although that became less relevant as I replaced manual lenses with native lenses). I found the VF-2 to be a perfectly satisfactory electronic viewfinder, although I should be very interested to go to a photographic shop and test the VF-4 and/or EM-1's EVF. There is also the question of how many bodies: I previously had one, which was sometimes a little limiting, as I used a good number of fixed focal length lenses, and changing them frequently became time consuming and potentially caused missed opportunities. I am also considering doing some video work, and two bodies would be a useful thing for multiple angles. The disadvantages are cost and bulk - a second body certainly would not have fitted in my previous camera bag. Lenses My previous collection of lenses is apparent from the list below. I had also been meaning to get a 17mm f/1.8 lens, but had not got around to that (which rather points in the direction of the E-P5 "super-kit"). There may be something to be said for considering afresh the question of whether to focus on fixed lenses or zoom lenses, however, In 2011/early 2012 when I put my kit together, the high quality fixed aperture zoom lenses now (and soon to be) available had not even been announced. I found the Olympus 14-42mm lens very unsatisfactory in terms of sharpness and contrast, and only really started enjoying using it fully when I used adapted manual lenses or bought my first native Micro Four Thirds lens other than the kit lens, the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5. However, I do like the compositional flexibility of a zoom: I was never one of the people who would always use it at one of the extremes of its focal length. When I did use the 14-42mm, many of the photographs were taken at intermediate focal lengths, 31mm, 24mm and so forth. The ability to obtain different perspectives without changing lenses is very useful. Balanced against that, I do like the ability to take photographs in low light either without a flash or, sometimes, using the camera's not very powerful built-in flash, and even the f/2.8 zooms are only f/2.8, rather than f/2.0, f/1.8 or even f/1.4 as were the better fixed lenses. In principle, the faster maximum aperture should mean that the lenses acquire focus faster (as the CDAF has more light with which to work), although I did used to find that the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 used to have great difficulty focussing accurately in low light, so I am not sure how this works out in practice. I definitely wish to replace the lost macro lens (probably with the same Olympus 60mm type as before), and also replace the fish-eye lens (I found the Samyang to be most satisfactory in most respects, although focussing manually was sometimes a bore). The Olympus 45mm lens, however, I had found myself using far less than the other lenses after I had obtained the Olympus 60mm macro, as the focal lengths were quite close. It was a useful portrait lens, but I did not very often take portraits, and the 60mm did a good job of that, too, albeit with slightly less subject isolation. The 45mm also had an irritatingly non-standard filter thread of 37mm, shared in commonly with the less than adequate 14-42mm, unlike the 46mm thread of the other lenses, which was awkward when it came to attaching my polarising filter of that size. One possibility is the Panasonic/Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro, although I am somewhat reluctant to get that one, as, from what I understand, the Olympus is the better macro lens (it was certainly more than satisfactory for my use), and is also a useful focal length for non-macro subjects - possibly more so than 45mm.Still, the f/1.8 capability of the Olympus 45mm was useful at times. I had previously shunned the reputedly superlative Olympus 75mm f/1.8 as bulky and expensive. It is also rather close to the 60mm focal length. However, its qualities are so renowned that, when reconfiguring my kit entirely, this lens should not go without at least some serious consideration. There is no point in asking owners of this lens what they think of it because I can readily predict the answer - perhaps a better enquiry would be how useful that people find this focal length as against 45mm and 60mm. I did enjoy using the 25mm f/1.4, and it can produce some excellent results, but it could be very frustrating trying to use its autofocus in low light, and it is very bulky for a standard lens, taking up, especially together with its lens hood, quite a lot of space in my camera bag. On the other hand, the alternatives are somewhat unpromising: the Panasonic 20mm, although far less bulky is, I understand, very slow to focus and has chromatic aberration problems (and I do especially dislike chromatic aberration). The Sigma 19mm lens is only f/2.8, and the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is too noticeably wide to be a standard and has poor edge sharpness even when stopped down, which is problematic in certain contexts, although not so much of a problem in the social/street type photographs for which I suspect that it was mainly intended. I only occasionally used the old manual 135mm f/3.5 Pentax Super Takumar with adapter. Such a long lens required the EVF to focus accurately, which I found cumbersome to use compared with composing the photograph using the rear screen, and the more extreme the lens, the fewer opportunities that there are for using it. It was also very prone to sometimes quite extreme chromatic abbarration, in one case, showing tree branches silhouetted against the sky thrice over (one for each primary colour), where each chromatically separated branch did not overlap the other at all! Nonetheless, I did take some lovely pictures with it, including frame-filling squirrels and birds in a local park, and so I should not like to lose >100mm telephoto capacity. I have yet to decide what sort of lens with which to seek to do this, however. On the wide end, despite the somewhat disappointing edge sharpness in some cases, a recent statistical analysis that I carried out showed that a higher proportion of photographs that I took with the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 were "flagged" in Lightroom than any other lens that I used, and it did have a certain je ne sais quoi about it, perhaps relating to its rather pleasing bokeh. If I decide to take the zoom route, however, this would duplicate the lower end of the zooms. I am also wondering as to the relative merits of the wide zooms, the 9-18 and 7-14 (and I know that the latter has had trouble on some Olympus bodies). These are less sharp than the 12mm f/2.0, I know, and sharpness is something which really does make a photograph stand out (even if one does not immediately recognise it as sharpness). Camera bag I had previously had the Lowepro ILC Classic 100, which I found in many ways very convenient: Lowepro had even been so kind as to send me for free in the post an extra divider to add to the bag to create four small compartments instead of two small ones and one large one, which makes me very favourably disposed to Lowepro generally. The bag is also inexpensive, yet of good quality: in the time that I had it (end of 2011 until it was stolen), it had shown no visible signs of wear at all, at least that I could discern. However, it had become a little crowded. I had wanted a 17mm f/1.8 lens, and it would barely have fitted, if at all: a second body would have had no chance. I had already had to leave the 14-42mm lens out to fit the fisheye, albeit in view of the former lens's inferior quality, that was no great hardship. If anyone has any good thoughts on a slightly larger but still very compact bag (and one which, like the ILC Classic 100, could sit around my shoulder providing me with easy, waist level access to my equipment), I should very much like to know them. Another, possibly fanciful, but potentially workable, idea is to have a very small bag for one body and two or three lenses and a slightly larger bag for two bodies and a larger range of lenses. Does anyone do this? I have often in the past taken my camera out without a bag, with perhaps a spare lens in a pocket. Perhaps this is a better arrangement than a smaller bag for when travelling light.