23 January 2019

A chaotic eclipse event.

Skies cleared at an awkward time this past week. I had written off the lunar eclipse until just after it had begun, when I walked outside & looked up.

Oops! It's almost entirely clear out here!

I grabbed the GX1 and zD 70-300 and took a few shots (manual focus only) then decided the YI-M1 and its timelapse function would be easier. Oops the 70-300 won't focus manually at all on the M1(?) so try the sigma 100-300 instead, on my main tripod. By now the moon is almost totally umbra-fied so light is low and that special shade of copper! I then remembered the very small but solid kamay tripod that had never been used: out it came along with the GX1 and zD 70-300 again. Finally I pulled out the K-50 with 28-200 Sigma - and later the 10-20mm for some extra-wide views from Taurus to Leo.

No doubt I have a few keepers. It was a crazy 90 minutes though, and next time I need to do better. It's a classic case of 2MuGS (too much gear syndrome) - and that will definitely change Real Soon.

What hurts more about my frantic imaging episode is that I once was a dedicated star-gazer. If it was dark and reasonably clear I was outside, with camera telescope or binoculars. Eight years later and I don't even know where my sky journal is; I may have swapped computers a time or two since my last entry.

Hopefully that will now change!

22 January 2019

the value of planning

.. is pretty much zero in this household.

That applies to many things, but here I'll stick to cameras.
The G85 has arrived, which should put an end to acquisitions for some time*. The 12-60 covers most of my needs and seals up the camera for foul weather, and the 45-150 takes care of nearly everything else. For now the zD 70-300, a large 4Thirds native lens, can loiter about as the long-range option; since it does transmit data via the adapter unlike my Pentax options, it can tell the G85 how to best stabilize its images without me typing in a random number that pretends to cover any shot from 70 to 300mm. That's handy.

* But wait -
there's more.

image from review at
The cruel dealers and forum members informed me of a dumpsite deal on the Oly Pen eP5 body. Yes it's pretty old in camera years - but it features the talented Sony 4Thirds sensor, it's tiny, it has a tip screen, and it has Live Time for versatility the Lumix does not offer. It has nearly all the omD-EM5 features except weather seals and an attached viewfinder. Not bad. I've tried nearly every om-D body and found it cramped; I've also tried many PEN bodies and found them less so. The EP5 has dual dials in a sensible pattern unlike the PL versions, so that also will be a positive thing. And I believe I even have a spare battery from my brief EM5 phase!

And if I cannot bear it? 
Off it goes!

Yes the extra expense (and lack of shopping control) hurts - a little. However!
I will soon be offering up the Pentax gear, the YI M1 (and now the GX1) to others. My plan was to grab a 20-25mm m43 lens with that purchase. Well, not so much: it will now pay off the EP5 instead.

10 January 2019

hints at the new kit lineup

So here's what we know about the G85 kit.

Primes: I have the Lumix 14mm and see no reason for it to go anywhere. The DA Limiteds rule at 40 and 70mm, no reason for that to change. I have Pentax 100/2.8, 135/2.5 and 200/4 that can stay - perhaps. We'll see how that works out when sales begin on the Pentax kit.

Zooms: the 12-60 is the mainstay of the system and will serve 90% of my needs. Having looked into the longer range, I only see a rare need for more than the 45-150 that I currently own. The Olympus 70-300 is a nice range match for the 12-60, but its price and slow f/6.7 tele end is not friendly. That's the M.Zuiko which is specific to the micro 4:3 system.

Hmm now - here's a Zuiko Digital for way less; made for the original 4Thirds system, it weighs 600g± but is a half-stop brighter at f/4-5.6 and remains f/5 at 200mm. It also is marked as 'compatible' with CDAF systems, unlike many of the ZD dSLR-era lenses. I'll be giving this one a trial run, as it will only be used for bird and wildlife shots where 600g will not be punishing. I wish it had a tripod ring, hopefully I can cobble up something..

More nice features about the monster tele: 1:2 macro focus and 58mm filters just like the 12-60!

Note: after tests on several µ43 bodies I must conclude the takes of CDAF compatibility are .. well, WRONG.  Manual focus is fine and focal-length data is transmitted to the IS system. No autofocus without phase detection though.

so why a G85?

After several years of buying and selling cameras, mostly via used shops and forum posts, my wonderful wife has told me to order a G85 for our 12th anniversary! This will bundle weather seals, new 4k/8Mpx imaging tricks and several modern updates in to a single system. How strangely.. efficient of me.

So why is the G85 winning out over so many other choices? With so many options, what did this camera do that works "for me"?

  • First off it's a Lumix. I've found myself able to work with them comfortably - not just in hand but in brain. I've tried Olympus PENs and EM5/10/10ii but the feel in hand (just enough cramped) and brain (still recovering from 3fish-1fish Syndrome) have discouraged my trying the EM1 mark1. So Lumix fits me, in fact quite similar to Pentax; sure some features are in common but to explain further won't really clarify anything. Heck they even use the same USB cable, when GX85/9 aren't included.
  • Internal IS + weather seals. My digital Pentax gear had two major features I value: internal stabilization and weather seals. With both I can pretty much shoot anywhere in any light or weather. That's very liberating - especially to someone who for eight years of care-giving has not had been blessed with the best shooting opportunities. In order to have seals and internal-IS in a Lumix body, one must currently choose from GX8, G85 or G90.
  • The new shutter mechanism. This stops the GX8 from topping my list. If the price is about the same go with the substantially improved shutter mechanism, I 'always' say. Well I do now.
  • Lumix 12-60 'kit' zoom. I owned and liked this lens before. Having 24-120mme in a weather-resistant 200g package is really hard to undervalue.
  • G7 echoes. Two years ago I ordered a G7. It was an awful time to try out new gear both financially and mentally, and I sent it back. It fit my hand really well though, and it had some inriguing features. The G85 has all those and more (see last few bullets) - but toss in the super battery-saver option and the optional grip with second battery, and that's even better! While I prefer tip screens to flip types, I'll manage just fine I think. I'll also miss the GX85 in-cam charging.. but I shall manage.
  • Price is still a factor. I could make use of the new features the G9 brings into play, but for $1000 the K-1 reasserts its Why Not Me? argument, and I've presumably said No More to that at last.
So that's how I got here.

To enter the "Why Not Brand xyz" (no that isn't meant as a fuji-X sony-Y nikon-Z acronym - man all the acronyms are copyrighted nowadays) discussion is fruitless. Here's my short and sweet take: Fuji might be perfect for me but I've moved on from physical dials and they now annoy me. Sony's treatment of the true Alpha series still rankles. Nikon and Canon are fine without me, and vice versa. No more - need be said.

09 January 2019

Yes again. New year new gear.

I awoke on the 7th of January with a strong and surprising thought lodged in my head: No More.

No more holding on to two camera systems when I barely use one.
No more using one system to hold the other hostage.
No more reading and greed-ing over the best from Lumix or Pentax. Or FuCaNikSo for that matter (especially them).

No more. Just get a G85+12-60 kit. Grab your sealed camera and lens with stabilized sensor and an X at the end of the name. Let it be Lumix. It's not a G9, not an em1X, not a K-1. So what.

Time to spend no more on lenses for the K mount. Let go.

Well almost. Don't let go of the 40+70 Limited lenses yet. Maybe the 135 or 200 can stay a bit too..

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~
I spent two days fighting it.

The KP made a very good case for being the one true camera. In the end though, only the K-1 would really satisfy my Pentax desires. That's too much for now; no more.

We'll see how many aftershocks come in the next few days.

Oh wait there's more.

No More "reading and greed-ing" means something more: no more spending 45-minute chunks of spare time reading camera fora to learn more about cameras I shall never touch. No more reading threads about techniques I'll never practice, guided photo trips around the world I cannot take, or responding to things I don't really have the qualifications to answer.

No more clutter. Not in my camera bag, my gear closet, my favorites folder, my weary tech-stuffed brain.

Taking photos and making them look their best? More please! Not to post for glory or challenge, just for good friends and family. Maybe a couple per month on a forum or too.
Not often though.