March 25th, 2012, 07:59 PM
otse, I bought the GXR last fall, after my trip and the X100 failure.
I don't want to leave the impression that the X100 was a complete failure. I still managed to make photographs I was happy with, but as the camera unfortunately half way through the trip became a f/2 only camera, in the middle of summer, how I used it became much more restricted.
What the X100 did for me though was open my eyes to the capabilities compact cameras can offer. Until I went through that experience I'd no idea how far technology had come and in fact right up to mid-2011 I was still mostly shooting 6x6 medium format with a backpack full of heavy gear. No room for food or rainwear, a problem here on the wet west coast where I live.
Long story short - it was the success I had with the X100 that caused me to realize I should have bought into an interchangeable lens camera system. I checked out the NEX-5N; while good with my rangefinder lenses it didn't quite turn my crank; people here turned me onto the GXR and that's proven to be a fantastic match for me, and a terrific performer with RF glass. Others have bought into the auto focus lens modules Ricoh offers for this platform.
It isn't a perfect camera; some aspects of it are somewhat dated. But for shooting high quality rangefinder glass, one can argue that it has no equal other than the Leica M8 and Leica M9, and unlike those cameras, can be turned into an autofocus camera with the switch of a camera module. A bit unique, too unique for some. But it works well in practice; Unfortunately it can't work for a $1,200 budget unless forgoing the external EVF is an option. For me that would not work, I do need an EVF at least some of the time, but for others going without is not only viable but preferable for how they like to view the world and photograph.
Whether or not you need or simply want an optical, electronic, or in the case of the Fujifilm X100 and XPro - a dual hybrid viewfinder is one of the questions you'll need to answer. Coming to serious compacts from bigger camera systems the land felt a little foreign to me at least. For example I never thought I'd care fore tilt screen rear LCD panels but it turns out they are fantastic for tripod and odd angle work; I wish the GXR had one similar to the NEX arrangement. I also never thought I'd take to a removable EVF, which is why I bought the X100 in the first place over a NEX, yet a tilt EVF is excellent again for tripod work, architectural photography in tight spaces -- picture a tripod mounted camera tight in the corner of the room... you can still operate the camera standing to the side with the EVF pointed up. Shooting with a tilt EVF reminds me a little of the waist level finder experience on my Rollei medium format gear. Best to have an open mind about allt hese things, for what might seem like frills or unnecessary features on a camera might prove to be really useful, to some.
Like you I miss the days of small film SLRs like the N65. I still have my Contax 139, a camera that isn't much bigger than the GXR or some of these m4/3 cameras. Works as well as it did the day I bought it in the early 80s. On the other hand, neither had a tilt LCD or EVF and can't deliver a SDHC card full of images ready to "develop" in seconds. I have to say I am shooting a lot less film these days and am getting just as much enjoyment out of digital darkroom work as I did in a wet darkroom.
Sorry for the long winded rambling... one last comment: don't be surprised if you aren't shooting the same camera a year from now. ;)
Welcome to the forum Ollie, I can't wait to see some of your photographs from your trip!
Last edited by adanac; March 25th, 2012 at 08:12 PM.
Reason: Comment about tilt evfs and lcds and such.
March 25th, 2012, 08:12 PM
On my last long holiday (6 weeks) back in 2010 (eek, that long ago!) I carried a Canon 50D, 24-105 f4 and Sigma 10-20 + 2 more lenses I barely used. If you're prepared to carry a big camera there is no reason not to. Now I would happily do the same trip with a couple of CSC cameras, Micro 4/3 in my case. I particularly like the combination of the DSLR styled Panasonic and smaller bodied Olympus Pen, which gives the option of two cameras as well as providing a backup just in case. BTW, I wouldn't dismiss Micro 4/3 based on low light capability, certainly not compared to a D80. They have actually released some newer models in the last three years...
I'm currently waiting on a Canon G1X to arrive which was unfortunately too late to try out on a long weekend interstate. Express post, my a**e.
Last edited by Luckypenguin; March 25th, 2012 at 08:16 PM.
Nic (Canonite, Olympian, Panasonian, Samsunite) ~flickr~
March 25th, 2012, 08:20 PM
Yup, if not for the failure of mine, I would have used it for 95% of what I did. It is a great travel camera. Get a hood.
Originally Posted by Country Parson
Doing it over without the X100, I'd probably take my 18mm and 50mm (27mm and 75mm effective) if travelling light allowed me two lenses. A little wider and a lot longer than the X100, I could be happy with that for everything I'm sure.
For backup maybe if not the tiny Rollei 35 film camera, I would just use my smartphone as a backup of last resort (eep!). Or a credit card.
March 25th, 2012, 11:55 PM
Used X100 for USD800-900 for 95% of your shooting in urban environments. Olympus XZ1 or Fuji X10 for the rest.
March 26th, 2012, 04:27 AM
If you're good with a fixed focal length, the X100 is great, as is the GXR-28 if you like a bit wider. Having shot a lot with both, it'd be the GXR for me, but that's all down to personal taste. But, if you want some range with your shooting, I honestly don't think you can beat m43. I travelled all over Southern Europe in 2010 with an ep2 and three lenses, two tiny ones and one that was not large. And if you don't care about super wide, you could do it with two. A 14-150 zoom (that's 28-300 in 35mm terms) that is smaller and lighter than you could imagine for a lens with that range. Or maybe the new 12-50 if you dont care about the long end but like a bit wider at the wide end. And then maybe a small faster prime for low light and/or street shooting - something like the Panasonic 20 mm, f1.7. I like super wide also, and took a 9-18 (also remarkably tiny but great lens), but many wouldn't care. And today you could get a smaller and better body for a lot less money than I spent. Something like an epl3 or epm1 or GF3 or G3 if you really want a built in viewfinder.
You could probably do it for $1200 if you look for used lenses, or maybe even new, but it'd be a closer call.
Or you could just take an LX5 and just get on with it. I've taken that on short trips and been ecstatically happy with it. About the most fun to shoot with of any camera ever and if you don't need the ultimate in image quality, it's pretty damn good. Actually, for your criteria, I might take either a GXR or X100 and grab an LX5 for $200-$250 to give yourself a bit more versatility. The LX5 is about as good a little street camera as I've ever used and is versatile as hell and built like a little tank. I'd take it before an S100 in a New York minute, having owned both. Or if Fuji works out the sensor on the X10 (new one expected sometime in May) to get rid of the orbs without losing too much of what's great about that camera, that could easily be an only camera for a trip like you're taking. So if you can wait, it might be worth seeing how that one turns out. but I wouldn't take the current version if you like shooting in urban areas at night, just for the orbs.
March 26th, 2012, 04:42 AM
Don't underestimate what a Panny GX1 with the three primes can do. The 12 may be out of the budget but the 20 and Olympus 45 are stupid good, tiny and affordable. If you have an x100 throw that in for the low light work and you're done.
March 26th, 2012, 06:09 AM
Yep, m43 just works for this type of endeavor. Whether primes or zooms or a combination, you can do it with a VERY small kit. And if you have the 20 or 25mm Pany, you really don't need to bring an X100 just for low light - its a bit better but the GX1 and a Pany 25 f1.4 will handle plenty of low light, with the 20 f1.7 not far behind. Add a 14 for wider angle/street shooting and maybe a 45 f1.8 and you've got quite a nice little kit. Getting a little tight at $1200 though. But there are a lot of good options with m43, both in terms of bodies and glass, so something really good should be doable within the budget...
Originally Posted by flash
Last edited by Ray Sachs; March 26th, 2012 at 06:37 AM.
March 26th, 2012, 11:42 AM
That was the ace up my sleeve - my iPhone 4S with Studio Neat's Glif and a cheapo bottle cap tripod ;)
Originally Posted by adanac
March 26th, 2012, 12:28 PM
That sounds like it's worth the wait... and I had no idea the Olympus and Panasonic m43 lenses were interchangeable. Again, it would seem silly for to invest in a whole other interchangeable lens system - though I imagine I could probably accomplish most of my strobist work with the m43 system when I'm not galavanting in Europe .
Originally Posted by Ray
Worth considering, thanks for the input!
March 26th, 2012, 12:45 PM
If it were me, I'd probably either take a NEX/mFT/Nikon 1 along with a serious compact. Is this trip soley for photography? If not, and just a holiday trip, I wouldn't worry too much.
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