Taken with a Sony R1 that I bought in 2005. Still works just right. Has an EVF.
I'd like to get one point right out in front: I don't blog in order to sell you cameras. If I did I'd have ads all up and down the sides of the blog. I blog to tell you how I operate as a photographer and as a person. I like buying and using different cameras and, if you read this blog and many other popular photography blogs on the web, chances are that you like new cameras as well. One thing I think you'll notice over time is that it's rare for me to request a "review" camera from a manufacturer which I then write about for no other reason than to boost affiliate or "click thru" sales. Generally I write about cameras that I've researched and then gone out and purchased with my own funds because I like the camera. I then use the camera to take images and I write about my use of the camera. When I've wrung all the enjoyment out of a camera I release it back into the wild and re-bait the hook and try again. No one goes fly fishing just to catch fish...if you need to catch fish dynamite and a big net will always be more efficient...
In the past six months we've had lots of new cameras come to market that are very, very popular. If my sole intention was to maximize sales to Amazon you would have seen "in depth" reviews of the Fuji XPro-1, the Canon 5Dmk3, the Nikon D800 and D800e (lots of fodder there for an extended collection of blogs with links...), the Sony RX100 and, of course, the Olympus OMD.
In fact, if I'd purchased an OMD I could probably have wrung twenty or thirty long blogs about it by now. All with links galore. I could probably make a meager living just selecting the most popular camera on the Amazon sales chart and gushing wildly about it until the next popular camera overtakes it. All sales all the time.
If I wanted to differentiate myself from other reviewers I could go after the cameras from companies with smaller market shares like Pentax, Samsung and Ricoh. But the reality is that when you come here and read stuff you can be pretty certain that, when it comes to cameras and lenses, I've bought it (skin in the game), I am beholden to no camera company for any income or free product and, at the time, I probably thought the camera or lens was interesting. I'm certainly not seeing much affiliate cash for my many essays on old Pen lenses or the ethics of photographing on the streets....
Some photographers seem to think that once you've committed by buying into a system that you are locked to that brand for the foreseeable future. Most blog readers who come here to my site are not in the photographic profession full time. For them camera purchases are just one of many things they buy from their family's discretionary income. They can't expense and depreciate their creative tools. And in their business life most things are provided for them by their employers. They don't wake up one day and say, "Oh crap, Windows really does suck so hard. I'm going out today and have my IT department replace my machine with a new Apple MacBook Pro Retina machine!" Most people either don't have the power to do that or they have become complacent about what they use because it's almost as good. And it works for the ranges of tasks that are part of their employment.
As several of our fellow VSL members who live in India have pointed out to me more than once there is also an income disparity between the U.S. and a number of other countries such that the purchase of a new camera constitutes scrimping and saving for a good long while before diving in and making a purchase. This is another way of being "locked."
I am lucky to be part of a group of photographers who still actually work in their field, doing photography. I don't intend to quit. I'm not trying to become wealthy or famous by blogging. I am not selling a DVD or an endless series of workshops. I'm doing the work. I'm trying to reach out to like minded people and share the process, sometimes logical and sometimes misguided, that drives my decisions, colors my art and moves my excitement of being involved in the media forward. Part of that is trying new stuff and incorporating what I learn into the not inconsiderable store of stuff I've found out along the way to middle age. And it's nice to have a certain sense of community...
Someone commented on a forum after I wrote about buying the Sony Nex7 that they "didn't get the whole Kirk Tuck brand." Well who could? I am not a product. I am not a mission statement and I'm certainly not a cult leader issuing orders about which "holy" camera to buy. Branding is for products and multinational corporations. I have a reputation instead of a brand. To clients I am a reliable supplier of content. I work to supply images for their marketing needs. To my vendors I am a source of income but also a good referral source. To my readers I hope I am believable as a normal, average, flawed human being, plagued with the same indecisions and foibles as they are when it comes to dealing with the tidal change in the overall application of photography. If I had all the answers I would be selling them to the highest bidder. What I am trying to do here at the VSL is share what I feel and what I see in the market place. I have the opportunity to shift gear around to suit my needs. I have a great local store that does fair trade-ins and consignments. The value of recent gear that I elect to shed doesn't drop in value to zero just because I'm no longer interested in it.
I've been playing with the micro four thirds cameras and lenses long before most of the rank and file forum rats discovered them. I've plumbed the depths and done some nice work with the cameras and lenses. Call it gear ADHD or whatever but I wanted to try something new. My gear allegiance right now is to the company that makes the best EVF. In my mind that's the change that M4:3 brought to the table (with the Olympus VF-2) and that's what is driving the market. Sony's EVF's in the a65, a77 and Nex 7 are the best in the industry right now. That's where my interest lies.
I'm not asking anyone to follow me into the store and do what I do, or like what I like. That's crazy. If I gave a crap about high ISO performance, if that was my primary metric, I'd be shooting with a Fuji X Pro-1, and trying to figure out how to make it focus consistently... If I wanted the best IS in the world I'd join the long line and snap up an Olympus OMD. If I wanted the ultimate in pixels there's a Nikon D800 at the local camera shop that could be mine within the half hour. No. I like the idea of bringing a finder up to my eye and seeing all the parameters of imagemaking beautifully and instantly resolved in the viewfinder BEFORE I snap the shutter. The ultrafast electronic first curtain shutter. It's an imaging paradigm shift.
You don't need to like the same thing. I probably won't care about the Sony brand when the other two "majors" finally get dragged into the current century and implement real EVF's in their top tier shooting cameras either. But I don't think that qualifies me for permanent, online psychoanalysis. The blog is a form of entertainment, for me and for you. It also keeps my books (which I worked really hard and long to produce) in the public eye. I love it when they actually get sold. But I don't flog them in every other blog post, nor do I flog products I don't use in every other blog post. So, brand addicted gear nuts: Get over it.
This is a blog, not a buying guide for people who are too something to do their own research and trust their own tastes.
Something interesting about our out of control acquisition: http://www.pixiq.com/article/the-ugly-truth-behind-our-beautiful-cameras
(Full disclosure about affiliate advertising. I take advantage of Amazon's affiliate program by putting links to products I blog about in the VSL blog. When a reader clicks on a link and buys something from Amazon I get a small commission which does not effect the price a reader pays on Amazon. My total of commissions so far for the first week of August is.......drumroll.......$40 US. Some weeks are a bit better and some are a little worse.
I am not currently accepting any placed advertising on the blog and have turned down requests from one of the biggest camera stores in the world to join their program. I am not currently promoting workshops or collateral items. I am not heading to Creative Live and, as a result, I am not flogging their programming either.
As an income generating venue I hope you'll agree with me that this has been a total loss. A time sink hole. Financial quicksand. Just thought I'd be really upfront about it. I have one great hope: When I bring out the e-book of my first novel I hope people will read about it here and then buy it. That's it. All done.)