I have been thinking more about whether I consider my cameras as tools or more. I definitely consider my Olympus E-M1 II with the long focal length lenses as a tool. Is not something I admire for its’ looks or quality nor does it inspire me to go out on the streets to make images; but, it is a good tool that I admire from a functional perspective. I like the ergonomics and ease of using it when I’m not just carrying it around just in case I see something. Last evening while I was looking at the E-M1 II with the 14-150mm lens on it I looked up and saw the above, so I photographed it with the lens extended all the way out.
My dilemma is that I find a lot more images when I have a long multipurpose lens like the 14-150mm on my camera. I could not have made the above image with a shorter prime lens due to the furniture, location, etc. But, when I go out walking I like a smaller camera/lens combination in my pocket or hand. That is why I have multiple cameras.
My current highest quality range-finder style camera for walking about and inspirational photography is the Olympus PEN-F with either the 17mm or 25mm lens on it; but, I don’t find it to be ideal. It is a little heavy and I don’t like the dial on the front since it gets in my way and sometimes gets turned accidentally when changing lenses, etc., and the lenses stick out more than I like for carrying in a jacket pocket. For those reasons, I am always looking for an alternative “personal” camera.
If the Fujifilm X-E3 had come out before I obtained the PEN-F, I would probably have bought it since I also had multiple Fuji lenses at the time; but they have all been sold. I am now wondering if I would prefer the X-E3 with a 35mm lens on it. That would give me an effective 50mm focal length which I often prefer over a 35mm focal length. That is why I sold the X100F.
Getting back to considering a zoom lens vs. a prime lens, I have found zoom lenses have greater utility in making images, like above. Since I don’t like their size, etc., I bought the Leica D-LUX 6 to get an effective 24–90 mm focal length. With the smaller sensors, the lenses are also smaller and not objectionable size-wise; but they are more limited from an image quality perspective.
Another alternative camera would be the Leica CL. The things I most like about the camera is the simplicity and size and weight and image quality; but the lenses are not small while still being smaller than other similar lenses. The ideal combination from size and weight would be the CL camera with the 18mm prime lens; but that is wider than I often like and way more money than I wish to spend.
Thinking back about previous cameras, etc., what I don’t like is the lens sticking out. I prefer pancake lenses. I used to really like the old Olympus Pen cameras with the Panasonic 14 and 20mm pancake lenses. I could still buy a new 20mm lens, but they aren’t ideal from a focusing perspective. If I remember they are slow, hunt, and a little noisy on Olympus cameras. I could also buy an extending/collapsing normal micro 4/3 lens, but the image quality and speed suffers.
From a size, weight, quality, and simplicity perspective what I would really like is a Leica X2 with an updated LCD and sensor; but, in the interim I have ordered the Panasonic 20mm lens to try on the Olympus PEN-F camera. For the cost I might put up with its other problems. In the meantime, I will continue to shift back and forth with cameras and both prime and zoom lenses; i.e., the best compromise tool for the job, until I find my ideal affordable setup.