26 December 2016

Class of 2017

A bit more clarity on the arriving gear for 2017 - hopefully it will still be around next Christmas!

  • The Lumix 12-60mm arrived in time to hide beneath the Christmas tree. The ePL6 arrived on the 27th despite its "3-day" shipping tag. The lens is quite short, slightly stout and overall looks very nice; initial plans were for it to join the Pentax 100/2.8 and Rikenon 70-150/4 as the trio to get things done.  However..
from www.wrotniak.net
  • I found a 4Thirds copy of the Σ 55-200mm zoom online last night. I had owned this DC lens with my K100d in 2010 and I liked it quite a bit, plus using it on a 4Thirds sensor will improve any vignetting or corner-softness issues. Since it goes to 200mm, or 400mme, it has some advantages over the xx-150 zooms available in the micro format. A nice option to have even if I choose to stop at 150mm. The penalty will be its being adapted to the micro mount, which will likely result in deathly slow AF. It has a true mechanical focus with distance scale though, which means manual focus will not be an absolute pain - and the Rikenon would be doing the same thing anyway (and weighs 100g more) - so why not this? Panasonic makes a 45-200 but it too is over 100g heavier (though the 4Thirds adapter covers much of that difference). All the Sigma reviews I found are positive even at 2-3x the price I'm paying, which is less than those µ43 lenses that stop at 150mm - so again, why not? 
  •  The occasional deal on used GX8 and GX85 bodies are out and about, so that's nice to see. No hurry on this - or so I keep telling myself. The GX8 could even close out if they update it with the latest shutter mechanism next spring. And if the focus speed is awful with ePL6 and the 55-200 then an EM1 body begins to make more sense at a similar price!
So the micro kit to take me into 2017 = Oly ePL6 + Lumix 12-60 + Sigma 55-200  plus Pentax 50/1.7 and 100/2.8, 10mm extension tube for closeups, and adapters for PK, 4Thirds, T-mount and 1¼ telescope eyepiece! 

Sigma 55-200 on 4Thirds adapter, M100/2.8, A50/1.7 on K adapter, and Lumix 12-60 on ePL6

 Coming at some point - probably 20mm Lumix, 60mm Sigma and a (hopefully) sealed (Lumix) body - though an EM5 or EM1 would serve quite well.

I feel like I'm off to a pretty good start.

17 December 2016

not again.. yes again

The Pentax gear is (again) nearly gone,  a victim of yet another budget crisis. The home refinance was deferred to January, though we'll see how long that promise holds. At least we're scheduled for the home appraisal visit next week - assuming the snow melts like forecasts have implied.. unlike the 4" that was forecast at 1" max last Thursday, which still awaits a gentle melt!

We've been wading through snow in the Fiat 500 while I attempted to fix the 4wd SporTrac in our garage. My fixes were insufficient so into the shop it went; it broke down on the way ($85 towing bill) and won't come out of the shop until its bail is posted. It seems a major timing-chain malfunction is causing the rattle, which means the engine must be pulled. Ouch.

So the K-5 and several lenses have left the building, leaving the two NX300 bodies and a few good NX lenses. The next plan is in place mentally but only part one is underway.

I'm going µ4:3 again with a used Olympus EPL6 body.
I don't even know which color I'm getting, Adorama hadn't posted an image (Update: it's all black, with shiny red trim!). It has almost all I seek in a camera except weather protection:  a great Sony 16Mpx sensor, tipping touchscreen, small size and interval timing for stills and video. It also uses a spare battery I have around from earlier bodies, and with adapter it can take the 14-42 and 35macro from the E500 kit. I also have adapters for the remaining K-mount (Quantaray) lenses, and even a telescope adapter!  That will do for part one.

Next up: a Lumix 12-60mm lens. It's been tested out as a .. 'decent' lens. Very nice in some things, indifferent for edge sharpness and generally at the longer end. But it's splashproof (useful for part three!) and at 24-120mme it can do most everything I would tend to do. They are planning a faster Leica version of this lens, but the budget and I don't really care: small and splashproof wins over speed and brand-name cachet. Owners are quite happy with the current one, so no doubt I will be too.

Part three is a while off, and could be a sealed GX8 or a smaller but not-sealed GX85.. or an EM5 Classic can fill in as the foul-weather camera if funds stay tight. Hey I have a spare battery for that one too!