28 May 2016


Although my transition to micro-four-thirds gear was not planned to be a complete kit makeover, the budget insisted that some changes be made. It turns out that shooters on a budget can do quite well in the µ43 gear pool! Finding a Pentax dSLR for under $200 takes one back many generations, but I'm managing to find Olympus Pen and Lumix G/GF bodies in that range pretty regularly. Basic m4:3 lenses and my Pentax primes can make up a decent kit in a hurry.

So despite the siren calls from forum folk and advertisers, many products just don't resonate with me.
  • Fast Zooms will not find a place for me. Yes the 12-35 and 12-40s are quite compact and perhaps one awaits me in the future. Definitely not the heavier f/2.8 telephotos however. I like this gear because it is compact and still talented, so adding big zooms will damage both budget and shoulder strap.
  • Ultrafast Primes also don't speak to me. The primes that reach f/1.7 (and even Sigma's f/2.8 trio) are enough for my sort of subject isolation, so f/0.95 just is not my style.  This excludes the speed-booster anticonverters as well.
  • 4k video cannot get much traction with me either.  The G7 swayed me with that call, but I have neither monitor nor TV screen that can show me the benefits. And pulling 8Mpx stills sounds wonderful.. but I so seldom shoot video even at 720p that I can recognize it for the gee-whiz feature that can grab my attention but only briefly.
So this list leaves a lot of gear available even at good prices. What do I expect to reach me next?
  • probably a Pen Lite, whether ePL5 or ePL6 it's hard to say. The pm5 is available at an excellent price, and it has enough features to challenge my need for the weather-sealed em5 I have now. It has the same internals, the tip screen and several more assignable buttons that the pm2 did not have, and if a viewfinder is needed it's a $100 clip-on option.  Even if this does not unseat the em5 it could take the NX300 out of the back room and send it away, so from a budget viewpoint that's a plus. The PL6 includes time-lapse functions; I always liked Pentax for including those, and used the feature perhaps.. twice? Maybe this is why I recognize the 4k feature as a must-have-won't-use option..
  • if the em5 survives the PL5/6 reality check, a sealed lens would be valuable.  The 12-50 is the easy and cheaper option so that's the nearest thing to a plan right now.
  • Primes.  Sealed primes would be a wonderful thing that even Pentax has not yet offered, but a few great primes would be very nice. I've found the Sigmas and the Oly 17mm (all f/2.8) to be sufficiently excellent for my needs, and the price & bulk that I avoid are both highly valued.
Just don't ask me to do this again tomorrow.  I hate seeing how those siren calls can sway me!

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