My friend, Chris, says: "You date the cameras, you marry the glass."

I think about that now every time I buy a camera or a lens. Which is the alpha product and which is the submissive and subservient product? There's a certain thrill to buying the latest camera because you are accessing the "latest technology" which usually means a better sensor and a better surrounding electronic infrastructure that supplies faster processing and, by extension, more detailed and effective processing.

On the other hand a good lens is a thing of beauty to real photographers because it makes every sensor that much better. And a great lens has both a clarity and a character than shines through despite which camera in the system you use.

I'm happier buying m4:3 lenses than I was when I was buying into totally closed systems because I have a range of choice when it comes to bodies. I can use my Sigma, Panasonic, Leica, Olympus lenses interchangeably on any m4:3 body from Panasonic or Olympus, and maintain most of the features of the lens/body system.

I'm looking at a new lens for the system that I would never consider if I were locked into a single system scenario. I want to reward myself for finishing up the novel with a brand new Panasonic/Leica 42.5mm f1.2 but I haven't finished building the rationale yet. That pesky college bill that's coming down the pike means I need to up the amount of self-delusion I need to generate to make plainly irrational purchases.

I haven't hit the new tipping point yet, but......

Some updates.

To date nearly 60,000 (sixty thousand) people have taken my free course on Craftsy.com. My two other classes are doing well. Not 60K well but right in line with everyone's expectations.

I turned over a final manuscript to my editor and book designer last weekend. The novel, an adventure with a professional photographer dropped into a web of intrigue and deception while on assignment at a big foreign trade show (write what you know), is complete and is now being cross checked and elegantly designed to be the best looking e-book on the entire market. It should be available in the next few weeks and I won't be shy about trying to promote it.

Ben has successfully graduated from high school and has selected a wonderful, private college in the northeast U.S. and will head there at the end of the Summer. We are proud of his achievements to date and especially happy that his braininess and general good character earned him some healthy scholarship offers.

My swimming is undergoing a new evolution as Tommy Hannan, one of our new coaches, is placing a LOT more emphasis on kicking. I feel faster (and more exhausted) already.

I am loving the video files I've been getting with the GH4 and hope to have a fun video to share by the end of next week.


Studio Portrait Lighting


Mike Tesh said...

LOl I like that. Very true.
I started learnign photography in the mid 90's on an old Minolta SLR. Bought my first AF SLR in '97 (Canon Elan II) and from there jumped around from system to system for the next 16 years. Canon, Contax, Nikon, Canon again, Nikon again, Panasonic GH1/2 and most recently Canon again where I have decided I'm going to stay put.

I still kick myself a little bit for not just sticking with Canon from the start. I could have built up a nice lens arsenal over that period rather than jumping around. But back then photography was more of a hobby and video/filmmaking was my main interest. I had no idea DSLRs would one day arrive with great video ability and that if I had built up that lens arsenal it would be dual purpose today.

That said I've deciced to just stick with Canon glass and not allow myself to be tempted by other systems. My reasoning is that there is already a lot of good glass dating back nearly 30 years. Canon has both film SLRs, DSLRs and Cinema cameras which all use the EF mount. That EF mount is now being used by other companies like RED and Blackmagic Design on some cameras and there are adapters for Canon lenses for other systems with more coming in the future. Plus Canon and Zeiss make cine lenses in the EF mount if needed. On top of that Canon offers both APS-C and Full frame cameras and the APS-C sensor is close to S35 in size. So for a guy that does video/photography/cinematography it just seems to be the most sound choice as a long term investment.

Wally Brooks said...

I would add that you hang out with the off camera lighting. Which MFT takes care of except for when you would use autoTTL think 5 year olds running around at a birthday party! With high ISO the kids in motion is get,ting easier to handle though I would like auto off camera flash on par with pocket wizards does for Nikon or Canon

Frank Grygier said...

There is no rational reason at all for me to have this lens but then marriage is generally a compulsive thing in the beginning so I will promise to have and hold the Nocticron till system switch do we part.

Anonymous said...

"You date the cameras, you marry the glass."

Hmm, suppose that sort of explains why I'm still single, and my latest camera acquisition was a fixed lens camera, and I'm seriously considering another one with a fixed lens. ;-)

Polygamy isn't illegal or even frowned upon in photography, even less so in videography, but it can be expensive and high maintenance. Therefore for a bachelor with a thin wallet dating the young, low maintenance, fixed lens hotties is a viable option.

"I'm happier buying m4:3 lenses than I was when I was buying into totally closed systems because I have a range of choice when it comes to bodies. I can use my Sigma, Panasonic, Leica, Olympus lenses interchangeably on any m4:3 body from Panasonic or Olympus, and maintain most of the features of the lens/body system."

Congratulations for your (finally?) finding happiness with the mFT system. :)

Just like in choosing a spouse, it's a matter of taste, and highly subjective. Some people find happiness with mFT, some people are equally happy with something different, for equally valid and subjective reasons.

Most other systems aren't 'totally closed,' either. The perceived closeness of a system depends on a number of variables, like flange distance, sensor size, certain electronic/mechanical details, popularity of the system, number of manufacturers and so on.
You can use a versatile set of lenses from a number of different manufacturers with other lens mount systems, too. The only difference with mFT is the two brands of bodies instead of one. Except for Canon EF mount lenses, for which there are currently two brand options, too.
Besides, the Sony E-mount is actually an open standard system as well, even though Sony is currently the only brand making camera bodies for it.

With some other systems you'll get more sensor real estate and wideangle lenses with no need for digital distortion compensation even in RAW mode, more usable legacy and dSLR lenses to choose from without the need for focal reducers, more "voluptuous" bodies (when preferred), etc.

In other words, fortunately not all cameras, lenses and potential spouses are the same, and there's a chance for happiness for all (most) of us. ;-)

Gato said...

Interesting post, especially since I'm about to sell a lens I love because I am tired of dealing with the cameras that go on the back of it.

I think more than ever before the lens and camera have to work together - body design and handling, sensor, internal image processing, all have to complement the optics to make a package.

I am moving back to Panasonic after a year-long flirtation with another brand. (By coincidence, I made the decision just a few weeks before you started writing about the GH4,so I'm very much enjoying your thoughts on it.) It's not that I really love either the lenses or the bodies, it's that the combination works extremely well for what I do.

Mike Rosiak said...

Kirk, I am not sure how to send a message to you other than comments, but - it appears to me that some recent posts have disappeared. Also, yesterday, I received a "noreply" email on a May FIFTH post "Settling into the creative process by embracing my anxiety"

Some odd goings on, doncha think?

Timothy Gray said...

Congrats to Ben on graduating high school and best of luck as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.

And congrats to you and Belinda for raising such a good egg!

Enjoy your Summer! :)

Timothy Gray said...

Congrats to Ben and best of luck as he starts the next chapter of his life.

And congrats to you and Belinda for raising such a good egg!

Have a great Summer! :)

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait for the book. Will you be doing a printed version as well as the e-book version?

Claire said...

Bring that book on, I've been waiting for about two years, lol... Congrats to Ben for being a great kid, congrats to Belinda and you for being great parents. Heck, I'd almost congratulate the Studio Dog as I'm sure she had some positive influence ;) What you said about lenses is entirely true. However there are a few camera bodies out there that can grab you by the gut and refuse to let go. My NEX7 is one them. I can't believe I'm still shooting the same camera after two years (I tend to change them every three months, at best). And there are nearly no good native lenses for that baby...

Larry Cordeiro said...

Recently moved to a Fuji X Series camera, and the first accessory I purchased was an adaptor for my ancient Minolta MC/MD glass ;-)

Anonymous said...

A propos of dating cameras but marrying lenses -

I wish it were that simple for me. I think I do both.

But sometimes one returns to a long-lost love after several lengthy flirtations, too.

I sold my multiple film cameras - Pentax MX's and ME's and a lot of nice Pentax glass - decades ago. But Pentax made such nice glass I wound up eventually acquiring a beautifully made beast of a Pentax DSLR, the K200D, with more - and newer - but not necessarily better (than the old ones) glass. Both Pentax lenses and some nice third-party ones too.

But eventually the weight of lugging around that relatively heavy (built like a tank as the expression goes) body and lenses - which start to weigh a lot on long hiking trips - took its toll. And I reluctantly sold them all and became a micro 4/3 convert. One of my first and best mu43 cameras I partially bought because of one of your glowing reviews, Kirk - my late and still missed Olympus PL2 - one of the best cameras I think Oly ever made.

But I started buying some lenses, too....

You date cameras but you marry glass.


The PL2 got replaced by a technologically superior but ergonomically inferior PL5, which now has given way to a beautiful (as a camera, as a tool, as a picture-taking device) Lumix GX7. Which - as you so aptly point out - can not only use any of the fine stable of mu43 lens offerings - but easily converts to legacy glass -

Which brings me full circle back to Pentax: one of my best (in every sense of the word) current lenses is a semi antique 'legacy' manual focus Pentax 50mm (the f/1.7) which produces stunning images. I think it cost me all of $35 used, the mu4/3 adapter may have been another $15....but damn. What a lens.

My glass stable also includes a very cool member of Sigma's inexpensive A(rt) lineup, the 30mm which is almost pancake tiny and a ridiculously great lens for a stupidly affordable price.

In fact, come to think of it, I probably need another good body to shoot multiple lenses at the same time. You aren't thinking of thinning your herd soon and getting rid of one of your G6 bodies, are you? If you are....let me know.

The book sounds interesting btw. My 'day job' is being a writer - so I'm looking forwards to it.



Brook said...

Which is the alpha product and which is the submissive and subservient product? I thought it was obvious, Sony is the alpha product. :p