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Author Topic: Thoughts on a rainy evening - what do people think about the CES introductions?  (Read 864 times)

Dan Wells

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Is anyone likely to buy anything introduced in January? My only potential purchase (and I hope it's introduced this early) is a Nikkor Z 14-30. I've been very happy with the Z7 and the 24-70 - it is a shockingly sharp combo for relatively little weight! I may trade in some of my Fuji system to add a 14-30 to my Nikon bag (unless it's a lousy lens, I very much want one before the serious hiking season begins in May)...

Both the E-M1x and the new Panasonics look like they have some vexing design decisions to me... Is anyone interested in either one, and what are the really attractive features? I'm honestly curious, not bashing either manufacturer - both of whom have made some very interesting cameras and lenses over the years...

I've been keeping an eye on the E-M1x both out of curiosity and for an Olympus-shooting friend. It seems, to me at least, to be a deeply odd design. My Olympus-shooting friend has an E-M1 mk II which he absolutely loves - it offers the speed and durability of a high-end sports camera (1Dx mk II or D5) for about 1/3 of the cost and weight. At modest ISO, it offers very nearly the maximum print size of the other sports cameras - none of them are especially noisy below ISO 800 or so, and they're all ~20 MP. It doesn't offer the through-the-roof ISOs of the others, nor the subject isolation (the m4/3 equivalent to the pro sports photographer's favorite 300mm f2.8 would be a 150mm f1.4, which doesn't exist), but that's not a huge price to pay for its compactness and reasonable cost. It also doesn't have the "nuclear" batteries of the big sports DSLRs, although the battery life isn't bad.

What makes the E-M1x vexing to me is that it gives up the two best features of the mk II, the compactness and the reasonable cost, while retaining the one real downfall of the mk II - the sensor 1/4 the size of any other sports camera, which loses high ISO performance and subject isolation.

By a very crude calculation of volume (I simply multiplied published length x width x height), the E-M1x is a little larger than a Nikon D850, nearly twice the volume of an E-M1 mk II, and about 35% smaller than a D5. That's still noticeably smaller than competitors (apart from the Sony A9), but it's given up the night and day advantage. Could the built-in grip also end up "jamming" the pinkie fingers of large-handed photographers? It sometimes happens with accessory grips on smallish cameras - there's not enough height for a full larger hand, and the grip blocks putting a finger on the bottom of the camera. An X-T2 with a grip is uncomfortable with my big hand for that reason... The massive D5 and 1Dx mk II don't have this problem (although they can be uncomfortable for smaller hands), because they're tall enough to accommodate most hands.

Oddly, it doesn't seem to use a larger battery that could give it very long life... Could it take two batteries internally? Optionally, or will it require both batteries installed to function?

It's also nearly as expensive as the current price of the Sony A9, a very capable full-frame sports camera (if it's $2999, will $2999 vs. $3499 for the Sony make a real difference to anyone) - and twice as expensive as the E-M1 mk II.

Strikes me as an odd camera! Is anyone really excited for it, or are the Olympophiles all waiting for the E-M5 mk III or the E-M1 mk III?

 It does look like Olympus is getting a great lens - a 150-400 with a 2x factor means a lens capable of 800mm equivalent (at f4.0)! Even accounting for the two-stop difference in subject isolation, an 800mm f8.0 is only a stop slower than the enormous 800mm f5.6 FF lenses (and this one looks like it might fit in a regular bag, and may even be handholdable, at least for a while - especially with Olympus OIS).

The new Panasonics also seem neither fish nor fowl, at least to me? A 24 MP full-frame body, with a brand-new lens line? Why not Sony, Nikon or Canon (with a few extra MP)? Sony has a great native lens line, and both Nikon and Canon have first-party adapters to huge lineups. More recent information indicates good (but not fantastic) video - not far from an A7III or a Z6. Oh, and it's the size of a D850, with extra-bulky lenses?

The pixel monster version runs right into both Sony and Nikon - Canon isn't in that space yet, but soon will be. Again, either competitive lens line has a significant advantage. Both competitors have IBIS and PDAF. With the bulky body and high price, they also run right into Fuji medium format with a superior lens line! Panasonic would need one heck of a sensor advantage to overcome the lenses their competitors have - and the Nikon and Sony sensors are already pushing right up to the edge of what a 14-bit readout at ~45 MP can do. I haven't seen any indication that the Panny is either ~60 MP or has a 16-bit readout?

Yes, they accept a few existing Leica lenses, but I haven't seen any reason to be excited about those, especially at their prices. The 24-90 f4.0 is actually heavier than the Sony 24-70 f2.8 G-master, which is a full stop faster (and the Leica is twice the price). It's only a little lighter than the Canon 28-70 f2.0, although the Canon gives up range at both ends. Is it really a better lens than the excellent G-master? Or the ultra-fast Canon? The few reviews I've seen of the Leica suggest that the little Nikkor Z 24-70 f4.0 is a worthy competitor, at less than half the weight and a fraction of the price... The Nikkor is a very darned sharp normal zoom!


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Two23

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I nearly bought a really cool view camera last week.  It was an 11x14 with an additional 8x10 back.  It included extension rails and four film holders.  Damn, that thing was huge! :o   It looked like it was from the 1920s though, and probably not introduced at CES.  I am looking for a used Nikon 300mm f2.8 VR and hope to snag one for around $2,000 yet this year.


Kent in SD
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hogloff

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No plans for anything new. I'm taking time out from the endless buying the new shiny toy and just using my kit to make images.

I feel all of the latest gear is very capable of delivering amazing results as long as the person pushing the shutter is also capable. I'm focusing on the person pushing the button rather than looking at the latest greatest to improve my photos.

I'm resisting the big marketing machine!
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RichDesmond

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...I've been keeping an eye on the E-M1x both out of curiosity and for an Olympus-shooting friend. It seems, to me at least, to be a deeply odd design. My Olympus-shooting friend has an E-M1 mk II which he absolutely loves - it offers the speed and durability of a high-end sports camera (1Dx mk II or D5) for about 1/3 of the cost and weight. At modest ISO, it offers very nearly the maximum print size of the other sports cameras - none of them are especially noisy below ISO 800 or so, and they're all ~20 MP. It doesn't offer the through-the-roof ISOs of the others, nor the subject isolation (the m4/3 equivalent to the pro sports photographer's favorite 300mm f2.8 would be a 150mm f1.4, which doesn't exist), but that's not a huge price to pay for its compactness and reasonable cost. It also doesn't have the "nuclear" batteries of the big sports DSLRs, although the battery life isn't bad.

What makes the E-M1x vexing to me is that it gives up the two best features of the mk II, the compactness and the reasonable cost, while retaining the one real downfall of the mk II - the sensor 1/4 the size of any other sports camera, which loses high ISO performance and subject isolation...

There's quite a bit of angst of on the m4/3 forum regarding this camera. :)

I'll disagree that the sensor size is a downfall, any more than the sensor size of a FF camera is one compared to MF. It has a set of pluses and minuses, and it's up to the photographer to decide what they're looking for.

Honestly, I don't think this camera will make inroads into the sports/action market. Birders/wildlife may be another story, although it will be tough. What I posted on the m4/3 site:

"I think a lot will depend on how Canikon treats their APS-C lineup. There's a lot of birders (and other users of long lenses) that prefer APS-C to FF, based on the pixels-per-duck metric. :)  m4/3 has virtually no advantage over APS-C in that regard, but it does have a huge one over FF. If Canikon lets their APS-C bodies languish in their push toward FF, then that's an opening for Olympus. Otherwise, it's going to be a tough market to break into."
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John Camp

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For me, both the FF Panasonic and the New Oly are mysteries. I keep thinking, "These are big companies, they must do extensive market research," but I'll be damned if I can figure out the rationale for either one of them. I have the quite compact Panny GX8 (actually, I have two of them.) But I couldn't help notice that the Z7 is hardly any bigger than the GX8. For Oly to produce a camera with a smaller format sensor (m4/3) at 20mp, in a camera as large as a big FF DSLR and notably bigger than the Zs, seems odd -- the strength of m4/3 is its compact size and compact lenses, not its ultimate image quality. M4/3 has a number of drawbacks that I've been willing to live with for my kind of shooting, but my attitude is, show me a high quality FF camera that's just as compact, and I could go for it. No, I *would* go for it. I keep thinking, Oly must be up to something. I've asked on various forums what that could possibly be, and have yet to get a satisfactory answer. The only answer that I can find is that Oly decided to make the uber m4/3 camera, production and consumer cost be damned. (The answer I'm hoping for is that Oly has hired some brilliant computer guys who have replicated the cell-phone computer programming magic and the camera is big because of its internal computer and it will produce better-than FF images. Not likely.)

As for Panasonic...I really like their stuff, but the FF? Why would they decide to jump into the FF fight against four other established camera companies with great lens sets, etc., and little prospect of succeeding? Again, I keep thinking, they must be up to something. Panasonic is fully capable of producing camera sensors, so is it possible they've come up with some kind of leap in sensor manufacture or design? From what we know, it doesn't seem like it -- they seem to be pushing out a pretty conventional FF camera. I mean, even if it was a great video/still hybrid, there are already some pretty great hybrids out there. Don't understand it.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 08:36:56 PM by John Camp »
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Kirk_C

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...Leica lenses, but I haven't seen any reason to be excited about those, especially at their prices. The 24-90 f4.0 is actually heavier than the Sony 24-70 f2.8 G-master, which is a full stop faster (and the Leica is twice the price). It's only a little lighter than the Canon 28-70 f2.0, although the Canon gives up range at both ends. Is it really a better lens than the excellent G-master? Or the ultra-fast Canon? The few reviews I've seen of the Leica suggest that the little Nikkor Z 24-70 f4.0 is a worthy competitor, at less than half the weight and a fraction of the price... The Nikkor is a very darned sharp normal zoom!

But have you used the Leica SL with the 24-90 ?

I have and I've used the N Z 24-70 on the Z6.

The image quality is very good from both and not surprisingly the Leica color and detail is different from the Nikon. Then there's the in-hand experience, Leica is big but very easy to use and has a wonderful fast, silent autofocus. The Nikon is a Nikon, smaller and different handling.

Leica loaned me an SL with the 24-90 for 2 weeks and I really didn't want to give it back. I'll buy it or the SL2 if it comes out before the end of the year. IN the big picture the cost difference is insignificant when the images have the wonderful color and detail that Leica is known for. Much like the X1D images are just better than the Fujifilm 50s.
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Dan Wells

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For my specific style of photography, the Leica lens (and the SL body) is irrelevant due to its size and weight. I do landscape, often on very long backcountry hikes (my record is 450 miles). The Z7 was a breakthrough for me, because it offers near-4x5" image quality in a (relatively) small, light, durable package. Sony would be another option, but I don't fully trust their weather sealing - friends have had bad luck with Sony bodies and lenses, and their 24-70mm f4 is the underperforming "Zeiss" (the weight increase to the 24-105 is significant, but manageable).

Of course, people have different priorities, and the prohibitive weight of the Leica lens to me may be at most mildly annoying to someone else.

Dan
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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There are a lot of people who cling to m43 because of overall system size.  On a whole, the system is smaller and lighter.  I think even with a Em1x...at the end of the day it is still a smaller setup.  The total bag is lighter.  I know a lot of people that use m43 for wildlife, birds, and landscape that switched FROM medium format and full frame.  Not everyone needs the fine detail and cropping capability of huge files.  I know people that shoot from kayaks all day for birding and wildlife that couldn't work the same way with another system.  As photographers, we tend to see the photographic world through a lot of filters of who is who...but we would be surprised to find there are plenty of people not on forums and websites that love what m43 does offer.  I myself have known people that i let run around with my Olympus kit and went that same night and ordered their own kit.  Despite owning D850 and all the best glass.  Their own words... liberating and fun.  Those are the words I keep hearing from a lot of people that get into the Olympus system... liberating and fun.  Isn't that why we shoot?  I love medium format, I do.  I love massive files that can reveal a spider's eyes on a rock a mile away when you zoom in...its amazing.  I have NEVER called medium format fun.  And probably never will.  I have never called my full frame bag fun to carry...and never will.  M43... it's a lot of fun to shoot with for results that are still more than enough for a lot of people.  It isn't the compromise most people make it out to be.  I see a lot of people calling it one step up from cell phones now... couldn't be further from the truth. 

We don't know what Olympus has planned...but I am highly looking forward to it.  I am also looking forward to their next line of smaller bodies.  The Pen F or Em5 replacement I think will be making a large jump forward from the current generation.  Olympus always has a habit of leap frogging bodies.  If this EM1X is good... you know the next bodies out will be even better.  They have done that almost every time.
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Tony
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Telecaster

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I keep thinking, Oly must be up to something. I've asked on various forums what that could possibly be, and have yet to get a satisfactory answer.

I suspect the "something" is a hi-res mode that requires neither a tripod nor perfectly still subject matter. But we shall see…

-Dave-
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Kirk_C

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I suspect the "something" is a hi-res mode that requires neither a tripod nor perfectly still subject matter. But we shall see…


The new Panasonic S1/S1R will have a multi-shot highres mode with a 'suppress motion blur' option so clearly the technology is available .
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Pentax has that in their new camera too.  I haven’t tried it or heard much about it.  Olympus I’m sure will have a finally usable implementation of it.
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Tony
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John Camp

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I suspect the "something" is a hi-res mode that requires neither a tripod nor perfectly still subject matter. But we shall see…

-Dave-

That would be awesome...in a small body.
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Dan Wells

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First of all, dimensions of new Z Nikkor 14-30 have me salivating... It's about the same size and weight as a 10-24 Fujinon - but it's full-frame and mounts to a 46 MP body with the best (non-MF) image quality there is. We'll need to see if Nikon got the optical quality right, but they've done a darn nice job so far...

The Pentax high-res mode doesn't do a great job with subject movement. I won't say Olympus won't do better (it's foolish to bet against Olympus where moving sensors around is concerned).

There certainly is a size and weight argument in favor of Micro 4/3 if you're willing to accept the tradeoffs offered by the smallest bodies and lenses (no weather sealing, poor controls, lousy lenses).

E-PL9 + 14-42mm pancake + 9-18mm = 23 ounces

vs.

Z7 + 24-70mm + 14-30mm = 53 ounces

BUT

E-M1 mk II + 12-40 PRO + 7-14 PRO = 52.5 ounces

Oddly, adding a 300mm equivalent telephoto doesn't change that other than by the few ounces for the FTZ adapter - the only Olympus PRO option is the 40-150mm zoom - there are certainly very light consumer zooms as well, but they aren't great lenses (there's no high-end 150mm prime). The logical Nikkor is the 300mm f4 PF (they are exactly the same weight). Yes, the Olympus DOES gain versatility from the zoom. The aperture is probably a wash - the Nikon has better subject isolation by a stop or so, but the Olympus is one shutter speed faster at the same ISO

The Nikkor 500mm PF f5.6 is actually a tiny bit lighter than the Olympus PRO 300mm f4 (same deal on the aperture)

Yes, the PF lenses are cheating a bit, but they are the logical compact teles on a Z system. I own (and know) Nikon, but the same exercise with Sony would have pretty much the same result, except for the PF teles being notably light.

The lightest of Micro 4/3 isn't great, and the very  best isn't lighter than larger-sensor mirrorless, even full-frame (APS-C is somewhat lighter thann either - a Fuji kit would be about 40 ounces without the telephotos if you use the very sharp little 18-55mm) - you can have an extremely light kit OR an extremely capable kit, but not at the same time. There are situations where I'd pick the Olympus kit over the Nikon (sports, family photos, etc. where speed matters more than 46 MP files).

It's surprisingly hard to come up with an intermediate Micro 4/3 alternative - the body isn't a problem (E-M5 mk II), but you run into lens issues - there aren't really good lightweight zooms. If you're willing to be limited to consumer lenses and a few primes, you can do better.

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armand

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M43 can still have value in the hiking/landscape field secondary to the increased DOF, if the light is not very challenging and you can run close to the base ISO. Instead of the 7-14 2.8 and 12-40 2.8 I was using much more the 12-100 4.0, quite a convenient lens.

Telecaster

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In my experience some of the best m43 lenses are also tiny. I'm referring specifically to the Panasonic 20 & 42.5 f/1.7s, the Oly 12/2 & 45/1.8 and each brand's 12–35/40mm f/2.8 zooms. Pany's 35–100/2.8 isn't tiny but it's not large either. The low-end "standard" zooms, though, are meh.

Edit: I should've exempted Panasonic's 14–45mm, one of the earliest m43 zooms, from the meh list. It's pretty good (attached pic).

-Dave-
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 04:53:12 PM by Telecaster »
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Dan Wells

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For hiking in dusty or wet places, I pretty much ignore primes. Changing lenses is something I want to keep down to a couple of times per day. Of course, there are plenty of other workflows where primes make sense...
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hogloff

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For hiking in dusty or wet places, I pretty much ignore primes. Changing lenses is something I want to keep down to a couple of times per day. Of course, there are plenty of other workflows where primes make sense...

My landscape kit is composed of Zeiss primes and I have no issues changing lenses at the sea shores or deserts. Yeh I have to clean my sensor once in a while...but so what, it's easy.

Why are people so concerned about cleaning their sensors. Usually a quick blow with the Rocket blower is all that's needed. If more, I do a sensor swab.
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BAB

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2019 looks like a dud for anything next generation unless two year old sensors are retrofitted in new bodies with improved firmware that should of been released in 2018. 2020 and 2021 will bring real changes to the tools we use to capture images. I also like simple and found ergonomics in the buttons associated with my cameras and the menus to access functionality. The OP has it correct Leica SL is a winner the new SL 2 should be a slimmed down version and with Leica expanding the line of glass the combination could be a workhorse. As for Nikon Z the body doesn’t fit me, neither does the software hopefully Nikon will in its next version correct AF issues, non logical menu and the bad positioning of the joy stick (not a joy to use at its present location for me). I like the images just not the work in PP it takes to get to other images fro different systems I’m currently using.
The rumors have a few manufacturers on the hope and pray wait and see wagon but my gut tells me the resources are not flowing smoothly this year. A real winner was Fuji but just like the others not yet a complete solution same IQ practically speaking just easier to acquire.
My radar would be lasered on H7D, X2D, SL2, new M with built in EVF or pro cameras from Canon or Nikon and perhaps the new Fuji 100.
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Dan Wells

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Interesting on how personal ergonomics are - I find the Nikon Z joystick unusually well positioned for my hand. I wonder if manufacturers are going to start playing with interchangeable grips (not bases that add a lot of weight, but just the handgrip itself).

Pentax took a stab at it with the KP...  First of all, it was Pentax, which has a negligible market share and a unique lens mount (so there was a huge barrier to trying it). Secondly, the grips were non-electronic - to really do it right, some controls would need to move...
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Telecaster

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2019 looks like a dud for anything next generation…

My Leica M3 is soon to get shipped off for a precautionary CLA (clean, lubricate, adjust) and a re-cover. IMO the new "vulcanite" will make it a 2019 next gen winner!

-Dave-
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