As I reduce the number of my cameras, I keep evaluating the pros and cons of the remaining ones as I slowly reduce the number and decide whether I need another camera other than the Fuji X-T1. Yesterday I sold all of my Canon gear (70D and five lenses) as well as my Leica X2 camera. This morning I started thinking harder about my Lumix LF1.
The advantages of the LF1 are that it fits in any pocket, takes pretty good macro images, and has great depth of field. When I walked Misty this morning I had it in a hip pocket of my jeans. The disadvantage can be the image quality, but that depends on how the camera is used and how much light is available.
I took the above pictures while walking this morning as the sun was starting to clear the trees on the horizon. The light was just adequate for the camera. My preference is to use the camera for small details like with the small feather, but it even works for distant photographs like this morning’s moon.
Based on the above images and my ability to carry the camera in a small pocket, I am thinking harder about keeping the LF1. Since I am trying to get down to one or two cameras, I now have to decide whether to keep the LF1 or the Nikon J5 which is larger, has a larger sensor, and theoretically should have better image quality. As it looks now, I am thinking that the LF1 will make a better compliment to the Fuji X-T1 and prime lenses, but the final decision will depend upon how and when I decide to use a second camera.
I am in the throes of trying to decide whether to totally give up taking pictures of wildlife with long zoom lenses. I have made the decision to change to a lighter weight camera with prime lenses to reduce the size and weight of my gear … at least for the events I photograph here at Homewood. If all works well, I will be using a Fuji X-T1 with two or three prime lenses to replace my Canon 70D with lenses between 17 mm and 255 mm.
I have two options that I’m considering for my other photography. First is to keep my Nikon J5 and lenses as my second camera. If I go that route I could still use my Nikon one inch sensor camera for wildlife and flower images like above which were all taken with it at 110 mm and then cropped and resized. The second option is to sell the Nikon 1 system and keep my Leica X2 or Ricoh GR primarily as a backup camera and use my X-T1 with a few prime lenses for all of my photography. If I take the second route I will have no long focal length lenses for wildlife. The first option gives me more opportunities for different types of pictures and the second option retains a higher quality camera and forces me to learn how to get the most out of wide-to-normal prime lenses and photograph exclusively with them.
It is coming down to sticking to what I have mostly done in the past when I used long focal length zoom lenses, but with lower quality, or forcing myself to learn what I can photograph exclusively with wide-to-normal prime lenses with a better camera and lenses. My long zoom capability has been my crutch in the past when I didn’t know what I was going to photograph. I always seemed to be able to extract an image from a distance out of the overall larger view. Prime lenses would force me to get up close.
I am waiting for the new camera to be delivered so that I can spend some time using it and see which choice I prefer to make: only using shorter prime lenses with better image quality, or keeping an option for longer focal length images albeit with lower image quality.
It was a noisy morning wakeup for some on Friday. They showed up outside my Villa at 6 am. I waited until it got lighter to make these images. You can’t see it was noisy, but it was. You can see the dust they were stirring up. They were cleaning the roads before they seal them.
I used my Leica X2 with its 24 mm lens to make the above images. I really like that focal length and camera, but I am not sure about the future. I miss having a viewfinder and a tilt LCD on the Leica X2; therefore, I am thinking about replacing it with a Fuji X-T1 with a prime lens.
I am also planning to sell my Canon 70D and all of its lenses. It just isn’t fun to walk around using the camera due to the size and weight. I am going to try replacing it with the Fuji X-T1 with prime lenses rather than heavier zoom lenses. That will create a big change in how and what I photograph as well as reduce the amount of gear I use.
If I get the X-T1 and use it to replace both my Canon 70D and Leica X2, I have been thinking about getting three primes lenses and no zoom lenses. The prime lenses I had been thinking about were the Fuji 18 mm, 35 mm, and 60 mm. I could also get the 23 mm f/1.4 R lens with an effective focal length of 35 mm, but I don’t want too many lenses. The 23 mm focal length has been a good all-around focal length for many pictures and it could possibly be a one lens compromise for the 18 and 35 mm lenses.
The above dithering about what lens focal length I should get wasn’t getting me to a decision, so I took a step back and thought about why I’m making a change in cameras. I feel that it is necessary to reduce the size and weight since it is hard to walk around with a cane and a camera and sometimes with a bag; therefore, I need something lighter and smaller, but with good image quality. From this perspective, smaller and lighter, both the Fuji 23 mm and 35 mm lenses are medium in size; but, the Fuji 27 mm F2.8 lens is a smaller and lighter lens and is also a focal length compromise between the 23 and 35 mm lenses. It also has a better price, so I plan to try it as a better compromise due to weight and size. I have ordered the X-T1 with the 27 mm lens. I will use that lens while seeing if I like the X-T1 in terms of size, weight, and ergonomics. If I keep it and sell the Canon and Leica, I will then probably eventually get the 18 mm and 60 mm lenses.
As you have probably already figured out, this change in my cameras and lenses will create changes in what and how I photograph. I am going to let the “tail wag the dog” so to speak; i.e., adjust my photography to fit lighter and smaller gear. I will be writing about that after I get the X-T1 and am sure that I’m keeping it. I tried the Olympus E-M5 with the 14 – 150 mm lens and ended up not keeping them. The ergonomics and image quality weren’t quite what I’m looking for. Note that I haven’t mentioned how the Nikon 1 J5 camera and lenses fits into my future scheme. I’m still pondering that.
The Men’s Group here at Homewood at Plum Creek toured Penn Township’s Emergency Services Center. Our bus driver had stars in her eyes as she dreamed.
I am contemplating a change and reduction in cameras. I’ll have more later about it, but I will make note here that I took most of my pictures at 17 mm (effective 28 mm on the Canon 70D). I literally had my back against the wall to make it work for the group shot.
Another reference point for later: I got tired of carrying and using the Canon 70D with the Sigma 17 – 70 mm lens while walking around with a cane.
Definition of perspective: “the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance.”
I named my blog “Everchanging Perspective” to serve as a catch-all title for my changing ways of viewing life. I wasn’t limiting my blog to the main definition as noted above, but it is a part of my personal perspective relative to how I see things. I like to use long focal length lenses to collapse the visual space and that affects the illusion of depth and distance. I also like to use my articulated LCDs to get down low and look at common everyday things in ways that not all people would look. This gives them a different perspective on everyday objects. I have also changed my perspectives relative to photography in terms of what cameras and lenses I use.
There was a time that I preferred prime lenses rather than zooms because the prime lenses were faster and lighter and had better image quality. In needing to go with lighter and more ergonomic systems I started using shorter and shorter lenses to cut weight. It finally reached the point where I considered giving up photography with long focal lengths and started thinking more and more about taking my pictures with prime lenses and fixed lens cameras like the Fuji X100 series and the Leica X2. Cameras with only a few normal prime lenses worked well for me while traveling when I really needed to cut the weight … but then I stopped traveling internationally. In addition those cameras work great for street photography in dense urban areas. I don’t walk crowded streets.
When the bulk of my photography was done close to home, I went back to bigger and heavier cameras with relatively faster zoom lenses. I still have my Canon 70D and mostly use it with the Sigma 17 – 70 mm, f/2.8 – 4 zoom lens for photographing events, etc. here. I also still have my Leica X2 which I sometimes use on local trips when I need a light-weight camera. Neither of the cameras was of much value to me when I took walks so I gave up most of my flower, local landscape, and other photography normally made with long focal length lenses while walking. I also gave up most of my collapsed perspective images … until recently.
I acquired a Nikon 1 J5 camera with the 30 – 110 mm lens and have returned to making many of my personal images at an effective 297 mm focal length. I like them and I plan to continue with them for a while. If you have followed my blog for several years, you have noted that I often change my cameras and lenses, so my current situation, perspective, etc. might not last for long. I like to change; need to change.
We had a lifting fog and I was standing out front when I took the first two pictures as Misty and I were starting our morning walk. The last picture was taken when we got back to the Villa and I switched from the Canon 70D to the Nikon 1 J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens to get a picture of the morning sun shining through the high fog.
I am still conflicted when it comes to which camera I prefer to use and a bit of the problem is that I don’t know what I will be photographing. Out of the cameras I’m currently using, the Leica X2 is the easiest to carry, next is the Nikon 1 J5, and then the Canon 70D. In terms of image quality the Leica X2 is best (used to make the above picture), then the Canon 70D, with the Nikon 1 J5 at the bottom. In terms of versatility the Leica X2 is the most limited.
The differences really come to the front when I look at which lenses I use with them as well as what I photograph. If I am photographing with a fixed equivalent 35 mm focal length, there is no question to the all-around best. It is the Leica X2. The only problem I have with the Leica is using it out in the sun since I have trouble seeing the LCD to compose. That could be remedied if I purchased an add-on optical viewfinder.
For long-range photography at focal lengths beyond an equivalent 80 mm I can use the Nikon J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens when the lighting is adequate. It is so much easier to carry than the Canon 70D with longer lenses, that the weight and size advantages out-weigh the better image quality of the 70D for long focal lengths. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case for others, but I walk with a cane or walking stick when going further distances and often need to shoot with one hand. My main problem with this choice is that I have to use the LCD to compose and I have the same problem as with the Leica X2. If the LCD is in the sun it is hard to compose with it.
It is somewhat limiting, but I can usually resolve the sunlight on the LCD issue by only photographing when the LCD is adequately shaded. I find that trying to shade it with my hand doesn’t work, so I usually need to use if from within the car or in a heavily shaded location or during the hours close to sunrise and sunset.
I have not decided on what I will do when photographing inside when I need focal lengths other than an effective 35 mm. The Nikon 1 J5 with the two zoom lenses might work if I don’t pixel peep; i.e. look too closely at the digital noise. So far, when photographing something critical for others, I have used the Canon 70D with the Sigma 17 – 70 mm lens. It isn’t light or small, but I’m not walking much when shooting inside so I have been able to use it; but that might not continue.
There are other issues that haven’t affected me too much yet. One is that it takes two hands to shoot with a zoom lens. The lenses in the Nikon CX format are very easy to turn to zoom and I have managed; but often times, since I primarily shoot at either end of the zoom range, I pre-zoom it and leave it there. It is another reason that I prefer to shoot with prime or fixed lenses like with the Leica X2.
The second remaining issue is camera control. I like the Canon and Leica controls and ease of using them. I can set and use them in any manner I prefer. The Nikon is somewhat limiting, but I have been working around most of them … not all. The third issue can be real limiting depending on what I am shooting. That is needing to use an articulated LCD for some work. The Canon 70D has a fully articulated LCD and I can shoot with it in various ways. The Nikon has a tilting LCD and that suffices. I just don’t bother to use the Leica X2 down close to the ground since the LCD doesn’t move and I have trouble bending.
Another issue I have is switching back and forth between different camera systems, controls, etc. It has always been my dream to have and use only one camera for everything I photograph. So far that hasn’t been possible; but there is a potential solution that solves most, if not all, of the above conflicts and issues.
The solution is to limit what I photograph and use only one or two of my cameras. I have been gravitating in that direction since it is the least costly solution; but, I have been doing it mostly by only using one camera for a period of time and not switching frequently. I have been using the J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens for my outdoor shooting while photographing flowers, wildlife, etc.; but using the Leica X2 whenever I plan to only photograph with an effective 35 mm focal length and/or I desire the smallest setup just in case I see something.
My current plans are to primarily use the Canon 70D when I’m not walking much and/or while inside. I am also thinking about getting the hand grip and the optical viewfinder for the Leica X2. To a degree, my expanded uses of either the Nikon 1 or Leica X2 (or to using only one of them) also depend upon the style of processing I use as well as subjects that I photograph and on my desired image quality. I am not sure of what I will be photographing in the future and this is my primary issue. If I had ample opportunity subject-wise, I would prefer to just photograph with the Leica X2. If it had a viewfinder, articulated LCD and a normal zoom lens it would be perfect.
I have been making some more test images with my Nikon 1 J5 camera and the CX 30 – 110 mm lens. Both of the above pictures were made at the 110 mm focal length. I liked them, but they didn’t tell me what I wanted to know. How does the Nikon 1 system compare to my Canon 70D with my longest lens for distant images?
To learn more about the differences I photographed a distant rock pile with the Nikon 1 J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens at 110 mm focal length and with the Canon 70D with the 55 – 250 mm lens at the 250 mm focal length. It was raining lightly when I made these so I photographed from my porch with both cameras in the program mode. But note that they were made at different effective focal lengths.
Since I mostly photograph at the extremes of all lenses, I went ahead and made comparison images at the extremes, but this resulted in an effective focal length of 297 mm with the Nikon and an effective 400 mm with the Canon. I then cropped the images quite a bit to arrive at the following comparison images. The first is the Canon image and the second (on your right) is the Nikon image.
Both of the images are straight from Adobe LR6 with medium tone curves and lens corrections made by the software. They have no other adjustments. The Canon image was at ISO 160, f/5.6, and 1/160 sec. The Nikon image was at ISO 400, f/5.6, and 1/320 sec.
Guess which combination I’m using from now on for my outdoor, long focal length, walk-about photography. It will be the little Nikon 1 J5 which is a lot lighter and smaller and easier to carry; but harder to hold steady since it doesn’t have an EVF and I have to hold it out away from my body. I think that the Nikon 1 system has been way under-rated, at least with the latest one-inch sensor that is in the J5; and I really like the 30 – 110 mm CX lens.
I decided to make a limited real-world comparison of my Canon 70D with the 24mm lens vs. the Nikon 1 J5 with the 10 – 30mm lens vs. the Leica X2 with its 24mm lens. This is a comparison of the results that I got with different sensors and lenses, and how they choose settings in program mode. I was comparing the 20MP APS sensor in the Canon to the 21MP one-inch sensor in the Nikon to the 16MP APS sensor in the Leica. In addition, I made all the images hand-held since I rarely use a tripod. Was it a fair comparison? Probably not, but I needed to see how they compared so that I had a better feeling of what to use when and where; as well as whether I really need three cameras.
The following images were taken outside on an overcast day, but fairly bright with no strong shadows. The compositions are slightly different due to the different focal lengths or changes made during vertical corrections: but they are full size, uncropped. All of the images were taken in raw format and then processed in LR6. I made no changes to the Adobe standard settings except that I did use the lens profiles and used the auto vertical correction on each. All were also focused using the center focus point on the white gazebo in the center. I will let you decide whether the advantages of the higher priced Canon and Leica with their larger sensors and greater size and prime lenses are worth it relative to the smaller Nikon 1 J5 with the kit zoom lens … at least for displays such as this on the web.
Did you figure out which was which? 150626-101407 was the Leica which chose ISO=100, f/5.6, and 1/640 sec. 150626-101345 was the Nikon which choose ISO=160, f/4.2, and 1/800 sec. 150626-101316 was the Canon which choose ISO=100, f/8, and 1/250 sec. If you click on one of the images you will shift to gallery mode where they will be larger. You can also pick a larger size to review them closer.
After looking at the above images, I decided that I needed to use a more demanding situation, so I switched to indoors. I wanted to see how they performed in lower mixed lighting where they would have to crank up the ISO settings. The following show what I got with the three systems.
As I expected, this was a tougher situation and the differences were more striking. 150626-104639 was the Nikon which used ISO=2800, f/4, and 1/60 sec. 150626-104702 was the Canon which used ISO=2500, f/3.2, and 1/125 sec. 150626-104753 was the Leica which used ISO=640, f/2.8, and 1/30 sec. If you looked closely you saw that the Leica image was blurred due to camera motion. I started to retake it but didn’t since it taught me a valuable lesson. I can’t rely on the auto settings for the Leica and I need to probably shoot in manual or shutter mode to ensure that I always have a fast enough shutter speed; but that slows me down. I also went back and checked the Canon settings and saw that I had the shutter speed set to 1/125 sec for the floor when deciding to adjust the ISO. Maybe that wasn’t fair but I can’t make that setting with the Leica. The Nikon lens was the only one with image stabilization.
The color balance of the Canon was probably closer to the actual colors, but if I had adjusted the WB, I would have corrected that on all three. The differences in WB and exposures can be easily adjusted in LR6, but the camera settings, etc. can’t be changed after the fact.
There are other factors to consider such as ergonomics, ease of adjusting controls, how sturdy they are, ease of carrying, weight, etc. which are all relative to the usability of these cameras; but, I was surprised by the image quality of the Nikon 1 J5. The small size of the camera and lenses is a big plus for it in my view, but the size also works against it in some ways. It doesn’t have a large enough or suitable hand-grip and I occasionally find that I have accidentally changed something.
Primarily, this comparison has caused me to focus more on the usability of cameras and less on their image quality. That means that my quest isn’t over. I still find that the Canon 70D is the best compromise I have tried so far, even though it is too large and heavy. My search is still on. In addition to finding a camera that I can easily take with me and handle and shoot with one hand, I am still looking for that one camera that is the best compromise for what I need for my photography. I still have the option of just using my Canon 70D with lighter-weight, smaller prime lenses; but I would prefer something even easier to carry and hold. I might try the Sony A6000 next.