System musings

Gromit

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Joined
Mar 27, 2017
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925
Location
Lincoln UK
Real Name
Richard
Hi all,

Some musings really, mostly surrounding my recent experiences in a partial move away from Mu43 - and a return. I'd been gradually whittling-down my collection of kit in the (slim!) hope of condensing everything into just one system. I've always wanted a Leica M, so 9 months or so ago I was offered (by a friend) a very clean, little-used, M-P 240 with a couple of Voigtländer lenses. The price was enough to tempt me, so much that if I didn't find it to my tastes (rangefinders are a little bit Marmite I suppose) then I could sell on at little or no loss.

By this time, I only had my Pen F with P20-1.7 - a combination I love - and my trusty old Nikon D700 with a couple of screw-drive AF-Nikkors (and a battered - but still rather capable - Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC).

More recently, I acquired a Nikon Df which is where the 'problems' started to kick in. Sure, the Leica is a gorgeous thing, with the Summicron 50 it does capture wonderful images, but the Df (with that glorious D4 sensor) matches it yard for yard. It also murders the Leica for high ISO. The Leica gives back with providing a wonderful shooting experience; not always easy (focusing in low light can be a bit of a disaster!) and its dynamic range is nothing to shout about either. The quality of its build lives up to its reputation too, with a feel that it is hewn from a solid block of brass and aluminium (which it mostly is I guess). The only camera I've owned which gets near to my old Nikon F3.

Now, where does Micro Four Thirds fit in?

Mu43 has been an itch (a pleasant one I should add) in my side for a few years now. I was once a bit of a Fuji Fanboi, but got sick of having to use Capture One for its RAW files (I don't blame C1 - it's a staggeringly capable tool) which meant LR plug-ins didn't work properly. Olympus came to the rescue - IQ was so near to the Fuji kit that it wasn't worth worrying about, and build quality on another level. IBIS was the game-changer for me though, although it has made me lazy. :D

The camera which sat quietly in the cupboard through all this was the D700 which I've owned for 8 years now. Not sure I'd ever sell it - it doesn't get used much, it's noisy (very!), heavy (very!) and huge but it's such a reliable tank that it'll outlast me. It still produces wonderful images too, with skin tones I'm convinced don't look any better from more modern sensors. Its a legendary camera, and rightly so 12MP rarely looked so good. :)

Roll onto yesterday, I took a trip into Lincoln to have a look and feel of a Nikon Z6; a mirrorless camera with the familiar Nikon UI? Got to be worth a go. A lovely bit of kit, and then some. Feels wonderful in the hand, up there with the E-M1.2 in fact, quite compact, light and with a feeling of solidity. Did I buy one?

No.

I came away with a (nearly) box-fresh E-M1 Mk2 with a 12-40. Had I not seen theOly on the shelf, the idea wouldn't have crossed my mind, but picking it up, feeling its small yet oh-so-comfortable form (I have large hands), its quiet shutter, the click of its well-placed dials, I was brought back home.

Here's where the 'thinking out loud' bit comes in. :D

What to keep? The D700 stays. The Df is lovely, as is the Leica of course but something has to give - I have too much kit. The Nikons are quite versatile (ie they'll take any glass you care to fit) and certainly rugged enough to withstand days out walking in the hills in rough weather. IQ on all three cameras is excellent, although I'd probably give - at a nose - the nod to the Df simply because it's so capable in more situations. Its high ISO performance is crazy.

At the moment, its looks as though the Leica will be moved on. Some years ago I owned a Laverda Jota 120 - a glorious piece of finest loud'n'lary Italian motorcycle. It was annoying, big, hard work to ride fast, not always reliable, but utterly beautiful and so packed with character it was a constant reminder of why I love motorcycles. I always regret selling it (it would be worth a fortune now) but look upon it with fond memories. The Leica's something along those lines - an itch to scratch for sure, but - for me - not a long term relationship which is why it's up for sale.

It's good to be back.

<you can wake up now> :D
 

Gromit

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'Little & Large"

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Panolyman

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Nice report Richard.
When you mentioned going to look at the Z6 I got a bit worried.
The reason: Steve M., one of the best photographers in this hallowed county switched from M4/3 last year and went the Z6 route, as he'd always been a Nikon aficionado.
I was lucky enough to obtain the 60mm Macro he disposed of and I got a friend of mine a bargain lens too, as did other club members.

Earlier this year I heard that after serious consideration, he was back with M4/3, citing the usual reasons we all know about. ;)
In your case, you appear to have the best of both worlds and I'm sure you'll get on famously with both systems.

Now then, as I generously donated that Leica M to M4/3 adaptor to you last year, I'm quite prepared to take it off your hands, as long as the
M-P 240 comes attached with it, 'gratis' as it were. :laugh:
 

Gromit

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
925
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Lincoln UK
Real Name
Richard
Nice report Richard.
When you mentioned going to look at the Z6 I got a bit worried.
The reason: Steve M., one of the best photographers in this hallowed county switched from M4/3 last year and went the Z6 route, as he'd always been a Nikon aficionado.
I was lucky enough to obtain the 60mm Macro he disposed of and I got a friend of mine a bargain lens too, as did other club members.

Earlier this year I heard that after serious consideration, he was back with M4/3, citing the usual reasons we all know about. ;)
In your case, you appear to have the best of both worlds and I'm sure you'll get on famously with both systems.

Now then, as I generously donated that Leica M to M4/3 adaptor to you last year, I'm quite prepared to take it off your hands, as long as the
M-P 240 comes attached with it, 'gratis' as it were. :laugh:

Thanks Brian - what a shame the 240's all boxed up and with the new owner's address label attached, and can't change it to yours as I've run out of pens and printer ink. :D

I will admit, the Z6 is a lovely thing in-hand. Great ergos (I have large hands) and I've always liked the Nikon UI. The new 24-70 f4 S is also a tidy, compact lump of glass and obviously makes for a neat package when attached to the 6. For sheer IQ though, I really don't think it'll beat the Df, and it would cost me a fair bit of wedge to swap to the Z system. My screw-drive Nikkors won't work (no focus motor in the body on the Z) and the Tamron SP 24-70, being a G1, isn't compatible either. Trouble is, move away from the 'kit' lenses in the Z system and of course things just go all big and 'FF' on us, although by all accounts their quality is stunning.

The Leica will be a wrench to move on, it's a fabulous bit of kit after all, and I've enjoyed using it very much. 'An itch scratched' as they say but picking up the E-M1.2 it reminded me why I love these little cameras so much. Just need to remind myself to keep away from the 300 f4 Pro image thread though as things will get expensive... ;)
 

Gromit

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Don’t you still have a Leica Q2 in your stable though? I imagine it’s a little less of a blow to walk away from the 240, when you still have a fabulous Leica in the wings.
Hi Chris - a Q2? Oh how I wish! :)

Apart from the huge cost, throwing 40MP+ files at my old iMac would have it putting up the white flag. :D
 

MNm43

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Mar 19, 2014
Messages
252
Hi all,

Some musings really, mostly surrounding my recent experiences in a partial move away from Mu43 - and a return. I'd been gradually whittling-down my collection of kit in the (slim!) hope of condensing everything into just one system. I've always wanted a Leica M, so 9 months or so ago I was offered (by a friend) a very clean, little-used, M-P 240 with a couple of Voigtländer lenses. The price was enough to tempt me, so much that if I didn't find it to my tastes (rangefinders are a little bit Marmite I suppose) then I could sell on at little or no loss.

By this time, I only had my Pen F with P20-1.7 - a combination I love - and my trusty old Nikon D700 with a couple of screw-drive AF-Nikkors (and a battered - but still rather capable - Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC).

More recently, I acquired a Nikon Df which is where the 'problems' started to kick in. Sure, the Leica is a gorgeous thing, with the Summicron 50 it does capture wonderful images, but the Df (with that glorious D4 sensor) matches it yard for yard. It also murders the Leica for high ISO. The Leica gives back with providing a wonderful shooting experience; not always easy (focusing in low light can be a bit of a disaster!) and its dynamic range is nothing to shout about either. The quality of its build lives up to its reputation too, with a feel that it is hewn from a solid block of brass and aluminium (which it mostly is I guess). The only camera I've owned which gets near to my old Nikon F3.

Now, where does Micro Four Thirds fit in?

Mu43 has been an itch (a pleasant one I should add) in my side for a few years now. I was once a bit of a Fuji Fanboi, but got sick of having to use Capture One for its RAW files (I don't blame C1 - it's a staggeringly capable tool) which meant LR plug-ins didn't work properly. Olympus came to the rescue - IQ was so near to the Fuji kit that it wasn't worth worrying about, and build quality on another level. IBIS was the game-changer for me though, although it has made me lazy. :D

The camera which sat quietly in the cupboard through all this was the D700 which I've owned for 8 years now. Not sure I'd ever sell it - it doesn't get used much, it's noisy (very!), heavy (very!) and huge but it's such a reliable tank that it'll outlast me. It still produces wonderful images too, with skin tones I'm convinced don't look any better from more modern sensors. Its a legendary camera, and rightly so 12MP rarely looked so good. :)

Roll onto yesterday, I took a trip into Lincoln to have a look and feel of a Nikon Z6; a mirrorless camera with the familiar Nikon UI? Got to be worth a go. A lovely bit of kit, and then some. Feels wonderful in the hand, up there with the E-M1.2 in fact, quite compact, light and with a feeling of solidity. Did I buy one?

No.

I came away with a (nearly) box-fresh E-M1 Mk2 with a 12-40. Had I not seen theOly on the shelf, the idea wouldn't have crossed my mind, but picking it up, feeling its small yet oh-so-comfortable form (I have large hands), its quiet shutter, the click of its well-placed dials, I was brought back home.

Here's where the 'thinking out loud' bit comes in. :D

What to keep? The D700 stays. The Df is lovely, as is the Leica of course but something has to give - I have too much kit. The Nikons are quite versatile (ie they'll take any glass you care to fit) and certainly rugged enough to withstand days out walking in the hills in rough weather. IQ on all three cameras is excellent, although I'd probably give - at a nose - the nod to the Df simply because it's so capable in more situations. Its high ISO performance is crazy.

At the moment, its looks as though the Leica will be moved on. Some years ago I owned a Laverda Jota 120 - a glorious piece of finest loud'n'lary Italian motorcycle. It was annoying, big, hard work to ride fast, not always reliable, but utterly beautiful and so packed with character it was a constant reminder of why I love motorcycles. I always regret selling it (it would be worth a fortune now) but look upon it with fond memories. The Leica's something along those lines - an itch to scratch for sure, but - for me - not a long term relationship which is why it's up for sale.

It's good to be back.

<you can wake up now> :D
Well your story pushes a lot of buttons for me. I've always wanted a Leica for the feel, the history, and the shooting experience, but I just could never get my head around cost - even though I could afford it.

I've been shooting Nikons for close to 50 years so the UI is basically ingrained muscle memory at this point. M43 started out as a dalliance while searching for a smaller travel kit and well nigh turned into an obsession. And then came the Z7 . . . and then a Z6 . . . To my eye, and for what I shoot, the Z lenses are the best lenses (consistent across the frame, consistent through the aperture range, with fine detail and contrast) I've ever used. All the M43 got sold.

Then 18 months later there I am cruising the ads looking for a Pen-f and when a silver one showed up and I sprung for it. And then when an EM1-II showed up I went for that as well remembering just how much fun it was to shoot and how good the images were that M43 could achieve. The fact is that these are all exceptional tools. And apparently I need to keep my feet in both camps.

From the charts that I've seen, the Z6 is pretty much an IQ match for the DF (I've never shot one). But if I had a DF, I think it is one of the last bodies I'd sell.

And about that Laverda . . . Some years ago, I had an MGC-GT. It was annoying to drive, hard to turn unless at speed, not very reliable, but a thrill to drive and yes, I should have kept it . . .
 

Paul C

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
236
"A change is as good as a rest"
==========================

One of the often unsaid things about switching cameras is that the "newness' forces you to think harder before taking a picture.
...and that takes time...and it is the "thinking time" that we often drop when the equipment we use gets so familiar that it has become second nature.

This is a good reason why the "CCD challenge" on this forum was such a breath of fresh air - as insteead of tempting us to "trade up" it makes us "look back" - and trying to get the best out of older sensors, or compact 1/2.3" cameras, makes you work harder to compensate for the loss of pixels, dynamic range, depth-of-field, hi-sensitivity sensors, low noise, speed of focus etc....all exercises that pay back in better results in every camera format. I always carry an old secondhand compact CCD camera wherever I go as part of that exercise - and regularly buy "new" decade old machines for coffee-to-go prices from auction sites and thrift shops to keep the "newness factor" in peak condition.

There is also a "newness factor" in learning from others.

Today, I was looking at pictures by Ernst Haas
- one of the pioneers of colour photography in the 1950's. .....
  • and his challenge - was that Kodachrome I was rated at 10ASA
    • yes - only TEN A.S.A.- the 25 and 64 ASA of Kodachrome II was a later 1960's improvement !
  • So take a look at the wonderful and inspriring Ernst Hass estate website and realise what was achieved with a fraction of our current photo-power....
Even better - look at the photos from his famous book "Creation" that ushered in the world of colour photography to the mainstream
So before you place a bid on that latest full frame Nikon, Canon or Sony - consider a look back over your shoulder and dial your current M4/3 down to base ISO, add a 4-5 stop ND flter to the lens to reach ASA 10 sensitivity and recreate the Ernst Hass shooting experience instead ! Now you realise why there was so much "movement" in his photographs - and with those limitations he still mastered colour, street photography, nature, landscapes.......


Enormous credit please to the Ernst Hass estate for posting the images from his most famous and inspiring books in a free-to-view web format.
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Gromit

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Messages
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Lincoln UK
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Richard
Morning all (or whatever time of day is relevant to your part of the world). :)

A bit of fun - nothing scientific I should add - but took a wander down to our beautiful village church just now. 3 cameras - E-M1.2, Nikons D700 and Df.
Lenses: Oly 12-40 Pro and Tamron 45-1.8 VC
All images jpegs, a little adjustment here and there - sorry the white balance is a little awry but of course this would be fixable in LR etc. Oly was shot in hi-res - the object of the exercise being to see what Mu43 is capable of (even in my clumsy hands). :)

Anyway, see what you think...

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RAH

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Interesting experiment, but after the auto-downsizing done by our forum, it is pretty hard for me to see much difference. The Oly hi-res shot would be very interesting to compare, but by you on your computer, I guess. I suppose some 100% crops would be better, but then the various resolutions make it difficult. I have always thought that comparing results from different systems is apples vs oranges and very difficult (not to say it isn't fun, of course! :)
 

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