Question & Answer Wednesday – 2/29/12
A couple of years ago I used to publish a weekly Q&A post where I would answer some of the questions sent in by readers. With questions flooding my inbox every day, and many of them asking the same things, I figured I would bring this back so those asking can see the answers here because I can not get to all of the e-mails. If I did I would not have time to do any reviews! So here are some recent questions that were sent to me. Want YOUR question answered? E-mail me HERE with the subject heading “Q&A”.
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Question: Hi Steve, I love your site & your reviews. I just have a quick question. I am an amateur looking to upgrade my much loved safari limited edition Leica d- lux 4 (i love a good lolling camera!) to a 4/3s / mirrorless system to allow me to develop my skills. I have just placed an order for the nex 7 but am wondering whether the Fuji pro X 1 would be a better choice? What would you suggest?
Many thanks for your time,
Answer: Hey Sarah! Thanks for the question. This is a question that I get almost daily and I am sorry to say there is no real answer that I can give you that will solve your dilemma 🙂 In my opinion, any of the new breed of mirrorless cameras will be fantastic. The Sony NEX-7 is a wonderful camera, huge files due to the high resolution but when you think about it, it is a pretty damn impressive camera. It has just about everything in a body that I personally love. The EVF is fantastic, the controls are sweet and it shoot incredible video as well as stills. THE ONLY weakness is in native lenses as there really are only 2 or 3 I would own and that is the Zeiss 24 and 50 1.8. The rest are OK but these two are fantastic.
As for the Fuji X-Pro 1, I have no doubt it will have amazing image quality and color, plus the body is shaped like a classic rangefinder. But since I have not yet shot the Fuji (did speak with them yesterday and was assured I am on the review list) I can not say how it is just yet. There is also the new Olympus OM-D which looks like the best M4/3 yet.
The NEX-7 should be shipping ANY DAY now to those who ordered it. It is here now, and the Zeiss 24 is a wonderful lens for it as well. The Fuji will ship at the end of this month (or so they say) but it is also much more expensive at $1699 for the body only and no lens. The OM-D will not ship until mid April.
My guess is that if you are coming from a D-Lux 4 you will enjoy the NEX-7 just as much as you would the other offerings. Really, can’t go wrong with any of them. Go with whatever camera speaks to you the most.
Question: Hello Steve, Longtime reader and big fan of your site. Was hoping you might help me w/a question I have. I have been lusting after a Leica for quite some time. Unfortunately, I cannot afford the M9. But I can afford a used M8 plus the Nokton 40mm 1.4; from B&H. Problem is I will have to sell both my cameras and lenses; Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 85mm 1.8, Olympus EP3 with kit 14-42mm, Oly 45 1.8 and Pany 25mm 1.4 summilux. Is it worth it? Will the Leica M8 be a reliable camera? Would you do
I realize that it all comes down to what I am looking for in photography. I am not a pro. I like the files from the 5D Mark II but it is a big DSLR to lug around. I like small cameras. Small GOOD cameras. I currently take photos of family and friends but would like to venture more into street photography. Please Help! Huge. Quickly.
Answer: Well, if you decide to go with a used M8 and the 40mm Nokton all I can say is MAKE SURE you buy a UV/IR filter for that lens and every lens you will be shooting with. They are mandatory for good colors. The only thing you need to be aware of with the Leica M8 is that it will be MUCH different than the 5D you shoot with. If you have never shot with a RF before you may be disappointed at 1st. Many newbies give up after a week or two because it is trickily to get a grasp with it all after shooting with a DSLR all of the time. BUT, if you hang in there and learn the RF way, you will most likely LOVE the experience.
The M8 is great and provides amazing quality in good light. It is NOT a low light camera so if you are hoping to get low light shots, know that once you pass ISO 640 the noise is pretty bad. I have shot professionally at ISO 1250 but when you do that you have to almost crush the blacks to make the noise go away.
So if you are OK with that then you will probably love the M8 but it may take a while to get used to it. The 40mm Nokton will give you a just over a 50mm field of view, a 53.2mm to be exact so that lens is a good choice for a budget lens for the M8.
I never tell people what they should buy, I usually put out my thoughts and let you guys decide for yourself what is right for YOU. The kit you have now (5DII, lenses and E-P3) is a great kit so be sure you are OK giving that up if you go with the now aging M8. You may want to try an M8 before committing to it if you possibly can. Also, for used M8’s check with Ken Hansen (email: email@example.com) or PopFlash. They usually have used bodies and B&H sometimes has one or two as well.
GOOD LUCK! Let me know how it goes.
Question: Hello Steve,
How are you? I am a reader and fan of your website and I have first to congratulate your for your excellent work here. It is really nice to get some real use feedback from you on all those cameras and lenses! You are surely a really good websmaster/writer which should be advised, and is advised by me^^, to anybody trying to know more about cameras equipments and photography in general!
I recently read in one of your last posts, I think it was when you tested the 75 summilux, that you use a 1.4x magnifier for 50mm and longer lenses.
I Have a question regarding your experience with it. If you have time I would be pleased if you answer me. I would like to know if you can still see the 35mm frame lines after puting it. If you don’t, can we say that the entire frame of the finder is near 35mm then?
The other question is about making a review. Is it possible for you to make a kind of FINDER VIDEO where you show the differences with our without magnifier attached. There are a lot of glasses wearers around here and still all those magnifiers things are a kind of mystery which get no response. How does it work? What can you see with it? Will I still see the 35mm framelines? All those questions are asked really often on the other forum I read and there are always no clear response.
Maybe this could be a good and usefull article from you again?
Answer: Hey Guillaume! Thanks for sending in the question. There are two magnifiers for the Leica M. One is a 1.25 Magnifier which is recommended for 35 and 50mm lenses and then the 1.4 magnifier which is recommended for 75 and 90mm lenses. I was using the 1.4 magnifier and I found that it worked well with my 50 and the 75mm lens I tested. Basically all is does is magnify your RF window so you can see your focus patch easier. It will enlarge your frame and patch. With the 1.4 you can not see the 35mm frame lines as the 50mm lines fill the window.
The effect would be the same as looking through a magnifying glass. It screws on to the viewfinder quickly and easily and does indeed help you focus accurately when using fast lenses. As for making a video looking through the magnifier that would be a but tough to convey on video. But with the 1.4 magnifier you wouldn’t want to keep it on with a 35mm lens attached. IT IS A GREAT investment if you shoot fast 50’s – 90’s. It comes with a leather case that attaches to your camera so you can take it out whenever you want to you it, which is a nice touch.
Question: Dear Mr. Huff,
Since discovering your blog over 3 months ago, I have become an avid follower. I discovered your site during a resurgence of my passion for photography and while searching for reviews of mirrorless alternatives to DSLRs. I have always been a fan of German glass since owning my own Zeiss lens a number of years ago. Though I can now afford perhaps one Leica lens, I must confess that I am not a fan of Leica camera bodies. With all of the alternatives available today, I will be purchasing an NEX7 with the new Zeiss lens built for it but also want to purchase a Leica lens, something that would be a 35-50 mm equivalent. I don’t know if the NEX 7 would be compatible with these lenses. What has been your experience and findings after testing a few barrels of Leica glass on the NEX7? ( I read your article but wanted to know your ultimate recommendation).
With Thanks in Advance,
Answer: Well, your Zeiss 24 will be a 35mm equivalent so do you want another 35mm equivalent? That is the question! In any case, there are TWO lenses I can HIGHLY recommend for the NEX-7 when it comes to Leica. The 35 Summicron or Summilux will be phenomenal as would the 50 Summilux ASPH. The 35’s would give you just about a 50mm equivilant and the 50 would give you a 75mm equivilant. The NEX-7 has an APS-C sensor which will give you a 1.5 crop factor. You will need an adapter such as this one to use these lenses. Another alternative to these Leica lenses are the Zeiss ZM lenses. There are a few great ones to choose from such as the 35 Biogon, 50 Planar and 50 Sonnar. The Sonnar is a great lens. The Zeiss ZM lenses will give you brighter color pop and a more 3D effect. The Leica glass is more neutral. Whatever you decide on, good luck!
Question: Hi steve, thx A LOT for your great blog with all that insiration & information. I’ve got it in my RSS-reader and it’s the first thing I look at when travelling to work in the morning.
It’s getting really hard to choose from all the new cameras – especially from the mirrorles scene. I’m a young jr. artcirector who’s personal interest in photografie was revived with the purchase of the olympus e-p1 … because I’ve allways carry it arround – what I didn’t do with my first slr the canon 350d – I guess size does matter in this
I’m thinking of getting a new system but just don’t know what to get – or to wait after the photokina 12. I’d like a mirrorless system because of being able to have it with me all the time but working at a small advertising agency which clients often can’t afford professional shootings, (photo & video) I see the purchase of a camera that can deliver very or reasnobale foto and video (maybe) a good way of being able to “get ideas done / win presentations” without having to face the answer “WE CAN’T AFFORD THIS or THAT”. I’m not into filming/movies YET … but vimeo for example is exploding with a lot of great videos and it seems to be a desire of the creative scene … so this issue then would also make the movie-qualities of a future camera important. I hope you know what I mean.
So with looking at all the reviews of “the nex’s, the oly’s, the fuji’s” I get more and more confused – why can’t there be one system that combines … let’s say nex-7 & omd-em5?
So I wanted to ask for your opinion (maybe this is a blog / post / idea) – is there a mirrorless system out there that can do it all? Or is there simply NO compromise – and young creatives must just spend more and go for a DSLR (5dM II or so …).
I would be really really interested in hearing / reading your opinion on this and I don’t know maybe you’ve got other readers from the AD- or creative scene with the same questions and interests as I have.
Thanks again for your great site and reviews, hope to read from you,
Answer: Bottom line, for Video the NEX-7 is REALLY good. The Olympus cameras I have used were great but never excelled in video, the E-P3 has the “jello” effect. The Fuji X100 video was no good either due to lack of controls and image stabilization. The Sony, with the Zeiss 24 puts out some great video, day or night. So if video is something you are thinking about getting into I would recommend the Sony NEX5n or 7 if you want a small mirrorless solution. The OM-D may be good as well but I can not say as I have not been able to get a hold of one just yet.
The do-it-all mirror-less solution?
One mirrorless that does it all? Well, Olympus is close with the new OM-D it appears but again, can’t say until I review it but the best lenses right now for any mirrorless system are with Micro 4/3.