It has been an interesting 2016 for all mirrorless systems ranging from Sony to Fujifilm to Olympus and Panasonic. Canon have come out with their latest model the M5 but a little late in my opinion. They have a lot of ground to make up over the established manufacturers and whether they’ll catch up is anyone's guess, but I won’t be investing in that system any time soon. Nikon have lost the thread and haven’t been seen for quite some time. Their new DL system is way overdue. Whether that system will see the light of day is also anyone’s guess. During 2016 I read and heard about more people jumping ship away from Nikon (and Canon to be fair) to another system, mostly the mirrorless systems. I have a couple of V1 cameras and a few lenses. They’re fine as far they go and the system has a couple of fine lenses. But...since Nikon doesn’t seem to know what it wants for the future, I won’t be investing in that system any longer. As a matter of fact I won’t be touching Nikon or Canon at all.
My intentions for 2017: Canon and Nikon have no real interest for me presently. I have no intention of investing in those system during 2017.
Sony. They seem to be the company pushing hard in all areas. They introduced the A6300 and the A6500 in 2016, as well as a few upgrades to their FF systems, for instance the Rx1rII. I have the original RX1 and a fine camera it is too. Personally I don’t need the upgrade for my photography but I can really recommend the camera. Their RX10 III is now also available but I hear some people prefer the RX10 II. Undoubtedly the star is the A7RII and I would dearly love to own one, but I’m not prepared to pay the price just yet. I may purchase one when the price is right sometime in the future. I am not a professional photographer and as such I have other priorities where the funds have to flow. They brought out two APS-C cameras in 2016 which is quite remarkable. They also seem to be fine cameras but two? Seriously? How do those users who bought the A6300 feel? I know you can’t look at equipment as an investment and they all lose value very quickly but still...
My intentions for 2017: I have slowly been losing interest in the Sony APS-C cameras for some months now but I did intend to purchase one earlier in the 2016. However, having thought about this and looking over their lens line-up I feel there are better systems out there that suit me. I will not be purchasing any Sony APS-C or FF cameras in 2017. If I do purchase a Sony it will be the RX10 III but I’m still in the mulling it over phase on that one.
Fujifilm. It’s been an interesting year for Fujifilm. I believe they are on the up-and-up for the next couple of years. The X-T2 has been voted camera of the year by a couple of sites, and a very fine camera it is too. My intention was to purchase the X-T2 for myself but looking again at prices, what I have in Fuji cameras and lenses, I think I’ll give this one a miss for now. My equipment does a fine job as it is. An exciting announcement for me was the medium format GFX 50S, a mirrorless medium format camera. That is a real step forward and very brave of Fuji to go in this direction. I think most manufacturers have been ignoring this sector and demand is greater than they think. When you look at other systems the asking prices for these systems are astronomical, apart for Pentax maybe. I believe if Fuji bring this camera to market at a reasonable price, they’ll have a winner on their hands.
My intentions for 2017: Hold on the X-T2. Wait for the GFX and see how it performs. No hurry and I will be holding on to my Fuji equipment. It produced some magical files during 2016 and are the best I have worked with for converting to monochrome.
M43: Olympus and Panasonic are, for me, the stars of the camera industry presently. The equipment they have brought out (and are planning) is just incredible. This is a system made in heaven for myself. I was a Four-Thirds user and I was really impressed with their lenses then (especially Panasonic). Since the introduction of the Micro Four-Thirds system things have only improved. A lot of people snub this system as being “not professional” enough and all I can say to those people is, open your eyes and look at some of the work being done with system.
It is small, light and offers some spectacular lenses. They have only improved as the system matures. Olympus have now introduced their PRO series and build quality, as well as image quality, is superb. Two lenses I really have respect for are the Olympus 300mm f4 prime and the Panasonic 100-400 f4-6.s OIS. Both are speciality lenses but ones which I do not own. I don’t NEED then, but sure as hell would LIKE them. And so I won’t be purchasing either in 2017. If I need one I might rent the Panasonic 100-400 for a week or so.
The G81 (as it’s called in Germany) is now on order and I’ll be expecting it shortly. I like the look of this camera and it has been praised by a number of sites since its release. Looking forward to using this camera as it offers a number of improvements over their previous models. DFD focusing, shutter shock has been apparently banned from their cameras and it’s heavier with some water proofing. I believe their new shutter mechanism is a big step forward. Why not the GX85? As a successor to the GX7 which a very nice camera, the EVF did bother me somewhat with it’s 16:9 format. So I opted for the G81. For those of you who have been following my blog posts you know how enamoured I am with the Panasonic GM5. Let’s hope the G81 is just as good. There’s not a lot to say regarding the Olympus cameras, I have a number of them and they have never let me down. All of them have produced the goods. However, I’m going to let the E-M1 II on the shelves for now and I’ll explain why my intentions have changed below in the sign-off paragraph. One Olympus lens that has me drooling is the new 12-100 f4 however. Perfect range, and perfect for me as a travel lens.
What also interests me is the planned Panasonic lenses. The 8-18 f2.8-4.0, the 12-60 f2.8-4.0 and the 55-200 f2.8-4.0. All will be high quality lenses and will produce stunning images. Why do I say that? Just look at the Panasonic 100-400. It has the Leica signature. It comes from the same stable as the new ones and the images I have seen are very, very good. I have no doubt whatsoever that image quality will be the same. I also like the fact all three lenses are f2.8-4.0. Makes them smaller and lighter. The fact they are f4 at the long end shouldn’t be a problem these days. The Olympus Four-Thirds 55-200 had the same aperture range and that lens was/is a stunner. I still have mine and have no plans to sell it.
The Panasonic FZ2000 has piqued my interest in the last couple of weeks as it becomes readily available on the German market. Lets see who wins this one, the FZ2000 or the Sony RX10 III. Getting to be an interesting sector.
My intentions for 2017: Skip the Olympus E-M1 II for now (although I know this camera will be a part of my arsenal sometime in the future). Take a real close look at the three new Panasonic lenses when they have been released. They could become my three travel lenses on my Panasonic bodies. The Olympus 12-100 f4 will most certainly be purchased.
Why have I changed my outlook on things?:
I shouldn’t really be surprised but the price increase from all manufacturers this year has caused me to rethink my outlook on my photographic equipment. Whether this price increase has been caused by shrinking markets, less profit or whatever it will force me to reduce my equipment purchases. Purchases will now be made on a “need” basis and no longer on “want” premise. This will at least allow me to focus on my PP skills and make me use what I already have on the hardware side.
Looking at the price of almost all new cameras and lenses, they come in between €1200 and €2000. That is a lot of money and careful selection has become a necessity, unfortunately.
This was a quick and dirty post as I was trying to sort things out in my mind and getting it down in writing was a good thing I thought. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Lets hope 2017 will be as productive as 2016 has been.