I took the above picture early on a cool, breezy, cloudy morning while walking down along the water’s edge with my Leica camera. Well, I am allowed to dream and that is what the picture brought to mind.
Do you have any idea of what it is actually a picture of? It is a picture of a portion of the sky that I took and converted to B&W. It really was a relatively cool, cloudy morning and I was taking Misty on her morning walk and happened to have my Pentax K-5 with the 55 – 300mm lens on it. I haven’t taken that setup for a walk for a long time. The combined weight is over 2.6 pounds, and it is large to have hanging from a strap.
Lately I have done a lot of soul-searching about what camera(s) would be best for me. I have chosen a camera and lens that I think I would like to have, but they probably aren’t realistic. [No, it’s not a Leica.] So far it’s just a dream and I’m still seeing what I can do with what I have and then trying to think through an evolutionary process of moving towards my dreams.
In my assessment I have balanced cost with image quality, size & weight, and focal length reach. All of these are fairly easy to determine except for focal length; and it turns out that the primary factor affecting the weight and cost is the length of my focal length. How long a zoom lens do I really need? If I can get by with a shorter more normal fixed focal length lens, I can afford, and carry, a larger sensor camera. In addition, good full frame long focal length lenses are quite expensive as well as heavy. The size and weight of a lens really drops with sensor size; i.e. the micro 4/3 lenses which I tried in the past. The problem with this assessment is that it is a subjective measurement and depends on what I wish to photograph … how close can I get to it?
In the past I had an effective 600mm lens. I then dropped back to an effective 450mm lens. Can I go lower? I’m now thinking that I won’t be able to answer that question until I try again; therefore, I’m considering getting the Sony 18 – 200mm lens for my NEX-6 which will give me a maximum effective reach of 300mm for a more practical walk-about system. It will also give me a smaller system with a weight of about 1.8 pounds. If you remember, I tried this before and rejected it; but I now have a stronger reason to succeed if it would enable me to sell my Pentax gear and get one of the newer full frame cameras with more pixels for crop-zooming.
But, there is another approach. Come at it from the other direction. I could possibly get a full frame camera with a single prime lens or two and then see which system I use the most and whether I could manage without longer length lenses, but it would require a substantial cash layout upfront until I could decide what to sell. No matter which route I choose to take, it comes down to what I’m going to be photographing and that doesn’t seem likely to change. Maybe I’m just dreaming about anything different.