The Samsung 85mm 1.4 lens.
©2014 Kirk Tuck
©2014 Kirk Tuck
I recently discovered that the lens I've had in my equipment drawer for a couple months now may be the most fun 85mm 1.4 lens I've had the pleasure to own. It's solid and externally boring but it makes images that I find exactly in line with what I want. Longer than normal (120+ equiv.) Incredibly detailed and sharp in the middle, wide open. But is that enough to buy into a system?
When I was growing up in photography there were tons of photographers whose daily bread was made shooting Nikons and Canons. But a large number of them also had an additional camera around their necks. It was a Leica M3 or M2 or maybe an M4 and they generally had one lens for it. The guys who liked portraits had a 50mm Summicron and the people who were more inclined to shoot traditional photojournalism generally opted for a 35mm Summicron. No big system investment. A lot of the cameras were bought used. But the little outlier camera and lens was generally thought to be the shooter's "personal camera" or "art camera." The mechanism that aligned with his core vision.
Now I am certainly not comparing the consumer-aimed Samsung NX30 camera to a Leica M3 but I must admit that even in my fervor to make the Panasonic GH4 and its family my primary shooting system I am happy to have the option of sticking a very well made 85mm 1.4 on the front of a camera with a slightly larger (and very detailed) sensor for shooting portraits. The combo of the NX30 and the 85mm has yielded some nice portraits for me and as soon as one of my clients makes their selections and launches some of the new people images on their websites I'll share them with you.
While it is mentally convenient to "lock into" a system it's also nice to have options. The Samsung 85mm 1.4 is an option I like. Now I am waiting to see if the rumors are true. Will they introduce a professional caliber NX-1 at Photokina? Will it feature 4K video? Will it be affordable?
In the meantime I'm heading back into the giant time vacuum that is known as Final Cut Pro to finish up a long and hesitant edit on a project. Hesitant because when given a huge range of choices it's alway harder to start.....