An embarrassment of riches. So much, so soon.

Kirk's predictions from last week: 

"Canon will see the writing on the wall and come at the mirrorless market in two directions.  First they'll pump up their G family and add cameras in the $600+ market that are akin to the Fuji X10.  Bigger and quieter sensors, more in cameras processing and an ability to go toe to toe, in good light, with everyone's entry level APS-C cameras and m4:3rds cameras."

What I like about the new camera:  The big, fat sensor.

The two things that will kill the appeal of the G1x for me:  f5.8 at the long end of the zoom.  The same crappy style .80X optical viewfinder.  With an EVF it would have had a chance....
And from Fuji....

"8.  The current year will become known as the amazing year of prime lenses!  The m4:3rds market got off to a rough start when the only option for lenses was a handful of tame, mid-focal length zooms with apertures that started at 3.5 and quickly rushed to 5.6.  Couple a smaller sensor, increased depth of field and increased high ISO noise with a crippled optic and it's hard to make the whole package an easy sell.  Then one lens turned around the whole space.  Panasonic launched the brilliant 20mm 1.7 pancake lens for the format and sales started soaring.  The best implementation of this lens is on the Pen EP-3.  The camera provides really good image stabilization while the lens gives back high sharpness at an aperture almost guaranteed to ameliorate the need to go to nose bleed ISO's to capture everyday images.  And, did I mention the high sharpness wide open?

It didn't take the manufacturers long to learn the lesson and now, Alpha-Blogger, Michael Johnston, has named the recently launched 45mm f1.8 Olympus Pen
 lens as his "lens of the year."  It's fast.  It's sharp.  It's cute and cuddly.  And it works on more than one camera system.  If Olympus have fatally shot themselves in their own foot the lens will work just as well on the Panasonic m4:3 camera offerings.  (See points 5 and 6 above.  These cameras may be all you need).  Hurray for open systems.  This time....

The 45mm was followed by an amazing 12mm (24mm equivalent) and, in the Panasonic camp, a Leica branded 25mm f1.4 that's gotten the kinds of lens reviews usually offered only for the most elite and expensive of optics.  In fact, the one review I recently read was extremely boring.  It basically said:  "Sharp and perfect across the frame, wide open and stopped down.  No weaknesses that we could see."

How popular is the use of prime lenses on the mirrorless cameras (including Sony's, Olympus and Panasonic)???? Leica is currently in an extreme backorder situation with nearly all of their "M" optics, and since M9 camera sales haven't followed the same curve it only stands to reason that those lenses are ending up on something.  That something seems to be inexpensive mirrorless cameras.  Great sensors coupled with exhilarating optics in small packages.  Isn't that what the great documentary photographers always wanted?"

My take on the Fuji? :  The new Leica.  The Leica for this generation.  All primes all the time.  This camera is then next step from film cameras like the Contax G2.  If they fixed the little gotcha's from the X100 operation controls this camera is destined to be the "go to" camera for pro's who don't do sports. (PWDDS).  Can you say "fast maximum apertures."?  That with a great sensor might just be the holy grail of the street shooting, take anywhere, walk about (not "photowalk") camera.  It would also make a great travel camera.


So, after seeing all the new stuff, and after having a GH2 for a week, which one am I going to run out and buy?  None of the above.  I'm liking this 4:3rds stuff and my next purchase will probably be one of these.  

Small, nice EVF, nice form factor, great price, great sensor, really good higher ISO performance.  And did I mention "great price."?  If I buy anything at all it's bound to be more lenses.  But for which system...?

Just a quick update as I looked around the web today.  

By the way, since we're all way too focused on the smaller cameras lately, has anyone checked out what uber-flash master, David Hobby, is up to lately? Camera-wise?  Yep.  He plunked down for a medium format digital machine.  Mamiya with a Phase One back and a light smattering of lenses.   I look forward to hearing more:  http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/01/bailing-on-nikon-d4.html  Check out how good he is at rationalizing stuff...