10.26.2014

Preferred camera of the day. Olympus OMD EM-5 with the Sigma Art Series 60mm f2.8 lens. Yummy.



It seems like an eternity since I've been downtown for a good Sunday walk through the city. After a nap with Studio Dog I headed to the studio in the early afternoon to go through the ritual of choosing the "camera of the day." We used to think of cameras as precious items that were costly and more or less permanent choices. Now I think of cameras as parts of life that are as interchangeable as your jacket or your favorite pair of pants. You like them but you get bored using them all the time. You crave a little diversity, some spontaneous choice. At least I do. I spent my last weekend with the GH4 camera and the impressive but boringly perfect 12-35mm lens. I pressed the newly re-appreciated Nikon D7100 into service all during the work week. I was ready for a change. A realignment of sorts. 

I pulled the black Olympus OMD EM-5 out of drawer number three and clicked on the Sigma 60mm lens. Nice and long. So different from the wide orientation I played with in Saratoga Springs and, even with the battery grip attached, the camera seemed tiny compared to the "work" camera. 

I had one interesting insight about this camera today. I had the EVF set to high refresh rate on all three of the EM-5 bodies and it reduces "lag" to the point that I can't see it but I realized that it does so by reducing the overall resolution of the screen. Since I don't do a lot of (any) fast moving action with my cameras and I'm not a sports photographer I changed all the cameras back to normal and the big difference in image quality that I'd been seeing lately between the EM-1's I've been playing with and the EM-5 seemed to subside into a much vaguer and subtle difference. Not so much to get all fired up about. 

I dragged the camera all around town and shot sparingly. I met a VSL reader out on Congress Ave. He was sporting a Panasonic GX7 and was obviously having a blast. We chatted for a block or two and then, true to our concept of "Lonely Hunter, Better Hunt" We split up and went our own ways. 
After visiting a pristine small town in the northeast Austin all of a sudden seems so downmarket. So shabby and grungy. Sixth street seem to swell today with drunken football fans lurching from seedy bar to seedy bar while the ever increasing bands of street people seemed more aggressive and pungent. I remind myself that every big city has nice spots and not so nice spots but it's a bit embarrassing that our downtown has become so "low rent" especially so given the high rents...

But I am hardly a social anthropologist so I just looked for things to shoot that seemed interesting to me. 



The building frenzy continues unabated. Condos everywhere. Two of them opening within spitting distance of Barton Springs. But the cranes look so dramatic against the blue sky. 


This is a new, giant condo building across the street from Whole Foods on Sixth and Lamar. Do you think adding several thousand new tenants will increase downtown traffic? At what point does growth strip away everything that made a city special in the first place? Time to head to the next cool spot?



I love street art. I'm so happy someone found this particular spot to put up this particular piece of art. Just in time for the "Day of the Dead." It sits in a window opening on the old Children's Museum building. Nice.


It seemed like the camera and lens could do no wrong today. Everything I pointed the combo at seemed fun to me. And the in body IS makes this particular cheap lens sing. 





Tomorrow is my birthday. I think I'll start out with a swim at Barton Springs followed by coffee and a bowl of Cheerios and walnuts. Maybe a run up to the camera store to see if they have any more used EM-5s. Some strategic future planning with Studio Dog. Coffee with Frank.  And then dinner at Asti Trattoria with Belinda. That should make for a nice day. Especially so if I can bargain for a great price on yet another camera.....

......it never stops.

If it was your birthday and you could rationalize getting another camera for less than $1,000 (and your spouse didn't need to know...) what would you buy?  No lenses please! That's too personal. But I would love to hear what camera has you interested right now.  In this moment. Hypothetically. Just for fun. Go ahead. Post it in the comments. It would be nice to hear from you on my birthday. 



55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Panasonic Lumix GX7, a cousin to your EM-5.

billstormont said...

Here's my friendly wish for your birthday, may it be as vibrant and interesting as your portrait work.

As for a camera under $1K...I'll fudge a few bucks (prices are dropping) and say a Sony A7. I'm using the NEX 7 (thanks to your input many days ago) with an assortment of Minolta/Sony/CanonEF/Pentax lenses, which would work nicely with a FF body. When I pick up my 5DII...I keep wondering where the EVF is!

Enjoy your cake!

Anonymous said...

I would love to get the Canon 6D. Unfortunately I don't have the money to get it.

Stefan said...

Hey Kirk!

Happy Birthday to you! I wish you lots of interesting moments and pictures for the future...

Some days ago I got the Panasonic LX 100. Good controls, nice haptics, similar image quality to the m43s cameras.... definitely worth a look!

Enjoy the day!!!

Ron Nabity said...

Happy Birthday, Kirk!

I realize I've been following your commentaries since the early days of the strobist/Flickr boards. I've enjoyed your common-sense insights, your gear-hopping swings and the many candid stories about the struggles of making art with your business. And right now I'm about 37% through the Lisbon Portfolio.

To answer your question, I'd probably pick up a Fuji X100s, if for no other reason than the fixed lens.

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

None. Have an E-M1. Have two M-240's. Lotsa lenses. no mas! Must use what I have.

scott

Anonymous said...

I took the same plunge about a month ago - a used E-M5 from Lensrentals, along with Sigma 30mm and 60mm Art lenses to supplement the Oly 12-50 zoom and Panasonic 14mm and 20mm primes already hiding out in a desk drawer. Add a small Domke bag and it's a light, sweet go-anywhere outfit that's been used far more in a month than my older travel rig, a Pentax K-5.

Andrea said...

The older DP Merrill, the one with the almost-50mm-equivalent lens. Just to have a digital alternative to my med-format Mamiya C220...

JustinPhotoArtist said...

Have a great birthday Kirk. As far as cameras go a Panasonic GM5 would be my birthday wish.sigh, I have to wait eight months to make my wish come true.

Tom Simonsen said...

Happy birthday :)

IF I could rationalise another camera, I think I would go for an Olympus OM-D E-M10.

Wally said...

Panasonic LX 100 with Tascom recorder for recording audio- no mic input.

Mike Rosiak said...

Happy birthday, Kirk.

I got the GX7.

Now on my wish list ... LX100.

Yeah, it never ends.

RickD said...

Since you ask, I think I would go for another E-M5. They're just too wonderful for words. But you have three of them already?
Well, I have four Olympus MFT primes, so maybe one body for each is a nice excuse.

Frank Grygier said...

Happy B Day! Sony A6000

Tim Calabro said...

Hey Kirk

Thanks for all your work. It's a great joy to doddle away a few minute each day when I know I should be doing my own work!

If I read the date on your post correctly, it looks like you and I share a birthday. So happy birthday to the two of us.

Cheers
Tim

Juan Carlos said...

Happy birthday Kirk! I wish you many, many more healthy and happy years!

To the camera gods, I'd ask for a digital back with a 6x6 sensor for my Hasselblad CM -- to shoot in a square, uncropped format as they intended for the V series, but in digital. Sale price: $900. :-)

Waking up from dream now ...

Anonymous said...

Not practical but Fuji X100t or Nikon DF - I miss the user interface of the old cameras, with the aperture dial on the lens and the shutter dial on top of the camera. Just a personal preference.
Enjoy your day!
Ken

Gato said...

Happy Birthday!

Cheerios with walnuts sounds good. Will have to try it.

As to a camera, I'm so happy with my current Panasonic set I'm not even looking - a first since I started in digital. I'm sure there will be something in a year or two, but for now I'm happy.

If someone pressed a grand into my hand and said I had to buy a camera it would be something with a largish sensor - 1-inch or better - and a fairly fast fixed zoom. I'd want fast flash sync and good video features. I know there are contenders from Panasonic and Sony (maybe even Canon) but I can't keep them straight. I'd have to research to figure out which make and model looked best.

RiverdogsCrossing said...

I would run out and buy the still outstanding Fuji X-Pro1. Really want a system Fuji with an optical viewfinder. Would then match it with my metabones adapter and shoot Nikon primes all day long.

wolfgang said...

Happy birthday Kirk,
will try to sell me EM-5 and all the lenses to get a lx-100. I'm just in the mood to minimalize everything in my household.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I think you could find a OMD EM-1 for close to $1,000. I have it and the EM-5. I tend to shoot the EM-5 stripped down with small primes and use the EM-1 with an L bracket and zooms. The EM-5 also serves as a backup when I travel. The EM-1 might be nice for you since it has focus peaking and would work with all those manual lenses you have.

Happy Birthday! You are not quite as old as I am, but both of us can enjoy carrying these lighter cameras and smaller lenses.

Phil

Jean Marc Schwartz said...

Salut Kirk et bon anniversaire depuis la France, CHAMPAGNE !

Pour répondre à la question, actuellement l'Olympus EP-5 est mon choix. Il est tout simplement magnifique. Bon ok, le viseur électronique est en option, alors je le prends aussi.
Bonne soirée en amoureux.

Martin Bennett said...

I have quite a few Zeiss lenses in the Contax/Yashica mount (and a couple of Contax bodies) I converted the 85mm f2.8 to a Nikon mount to see how it looks on a digital sensor using the Leitax adapter but am reluctant to convert the others.

I would get a Sony A7 to try out the rest of the lenses.
btw - Happy Birthday

Jim Putka said...

Happy Birthday!

I suggest a Sony A6000. It is much better than you'd think for around $800. I have one and I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the image quality. Pair the A6000 with a free Sony only copy of Capture One and it could be heaven.

Anonymous said...

And a VERY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Mr.T. Enjoy the cake and a glass of nice Red.

My camera pick - my heart is set on the Fuji X-T1. The Sony A6000 is also a dynamite buy for less than $1k. But the Fuji just makes my heart go pitta-pat.

Cheers and have a GREAT day.

JohnW

Jim Simmons said...

Have a youthful energetic birthday! I'm happy to keep my Fujifilm XE1, so I'd spend my hypothetical $1000 on a birthday present for you -a Fujifilm XE2. But alas I don't have that grand, and if I did, my Minister of Finance would know about it anyway and it would buy yet more supplies for "our" garden.

Rufus said...

Happy birthday.

Don't buy a camera like the ones you already have.

Buy something completely different. Something that also excels in different lighting conditions.

Get some high ISO action. Shoot in places where you can't control the light. Get a Sony A7S. Chop the D7100 in part exchange.

It will challenge you and make you mix up the creative juices a bit. Go shoot in the dark !

Tom H. said...

Love my Fuji X-E2. Would consider a lightly used X-T1 body for < $1K.

Michael Hagburg said...

Happy Birthday. My birthday is also this week but I am waiting until Panasonic comes out with the g7 (all the good stuff of the g6 with the new improvements from the fz1000 added on) before moving up from my g5.

Racecar said...

I recommend the Panasonic GX7 - can't go wrong now that the price has dropped considerably. Has built-in stabilisation (switches off for lenses with stabilisation), built-in EVF, tilting back, and it's smallish. Nice holiday and walk around camera.

Mr said...

*~! HAPPY BDAY !~* :D

hope yer cheeriors were tasty n did/didnt get too soggy.. depending upon your preference.. afterall, it is your bday.. who am i to declare the proper texture of your cereal...

hmm
camera... $1000.... well sinc eyer going used, im assuming used is ok...

id get a used sony rx10 for just under $900... that way, when i eventually get bored with it and i give it away to someone, it would make a great camera for my sister for a family cam, and my nieces to learn on being an all in one. no lens swapping hassle for them and worrying about kids dropping lens stress for my sister. lol

oooor.... stretching the bufege by $50, a new sony a77ii and use it to play around with sports photography a bit

G Gudmundsson said...

Happy birthday! Have the GX7 (love it), am thinking about the Panasonic LX100 ....

Carlo Santin said...

Happy Birthday Kirk.

One of the Fuji's (not the x30) for sure. I've always been curious about those sensors. Probably the X-Pro I if I had to pick just one.

Josh B said...

Happy Birthday Kirk!

I would probably get a Fuji used x100s. Or XT-1. I dunno. I've been waffling on both of those for about a year now.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thanks for all the great birthday wishes. I'm loving it. And right now I am struck with how well represented Fuji Lust is here. That and appreciation for the Panasonic GX7. I have always been interested in the Fuji XT-1 and will have to give it a go. I am also looking longingly at the Panasonic LX100. It seems like a really great camera in a small package.

I notice no one has a brand new Canon Rebel on their list....

Mark Gillett said...

Hi Kirk happy birthday. It's lenses I'm looking at for my Nikon D5300 - the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8.

John F. Opie said...

Happy birthday from this side of the pond as well.

Under $1k camera sans lens? Hmmmm...

Well, a quick check with B+H made it simple: Olympus Pen EP5. Either silver or black. Probably silver because I have a black EM1. Same battery as the EM1 as well, a big plus. I've got the EVF already.

Anonymous said...

Two (2) GoPro Hero4 Black. At $499.99 including lens, I can get two (2) for my $1,000.00. ;-)

At this point in my life, I'm more interested in selling cameras, than buying more of them. YMMV.

BTW Happy Birthday!

Ima Robot

Ed said...

Hopefully, a OM-d EM5, and a 12-50mm, 9-14mm and now maybe a 60mm.
All based on selling some DSLR equipment.

neopavlik said...

Nikon D600 looks like it can finally be had for under $ 1K so that's what I'd get.

Strangely I'm more excited that my brother can buy a D300 or 7D for such a low price to photograph his kids whenever he gets the itch.

Scott said...


Olympus E-M10.

More than good enough for me, quite portable, and a great value.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! My $1K camera would be an Olympus E-M1. I have an E-M5 but I am really curious about the wifi remote features on the E-M1. But.... I'll admit I am more of a gadget geek than a photographer.

Edward Richards said...

> At what point does growth strip away everything that made a city special in the first place?

For Austin - about 1980.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Happy Birthday to you! And here's wishing you many, many more.
I'm very content with my current system of a GX7 and GH3. Love them both. If I had to add one...??? Maybe the GH4 just because it's out there and you're asking.

~Ron

Anonymous said...

Samsung NX30. My NX 10 is getting long in the tooth.

Old Gray Roy said...

First and most important - Happy Birthday!!

Camera? - hhmmm - haven't been looking as money is an issue. Don't know much about the newer cameras and very little about EVF. Have to be careful about size as I have large hands, now stiff and somewhat arthritic. That said, the GX7 looks really interesting.

Ed Brooks said...

Recently, I sold my EM-5 and replaced it with (drum roll) the M1. This newer camera just feels so much more at home in my hands. For the first time, I'm starting to look at moving towards making this camera my primary system. My Canon gear will travel with me in my truck, but when I'm hoofing it - off road the Olympus gear will be near.

Vites said...

Happy birthday. Headed to the comments section to suggest a LX100, but I see others have beaten me to it. Kind of the spirit of a Ricoh GR, but with some zoom thrown in.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday! I am going to break the rules and say that I would put the money into my HMI fund and keep using the cameras you already have. You seem to be really enjoying the HMIs with their super high CRI and light that is up there compared to your LED and Fluorescent lights. Just my $0.02

Godfrey DiGiorgi said...

Happy Birthday, Kirk!

For a camera under $1000, I'd buy a used Leica X1 (X2 if I could find one) and a Voightlander 35mm Optical Viewfinder. Fixed and excellent 35mm lens, utterly simple and easy to use, superb photos for the kind of walkabout street shooting you do (when you're not working a long lens field of view, that is).

I've had an X2 since 2012. It is the perfect digital replacement for my much loved and used Rollei 35S and it's produced so many keepers that if I could only have one camera, I could do far worse than selling all the rest.

granitix said...

Pentax K-s1. Sweet-spot 20mpxl, small, 'cute' but well featured. Too bad no wx seals and fairly short battery life, but my K-5 IIs can do those days. A different camera but not wildly so.

Glad you had a good day!

Fred said...

Well, I'm late to the party but I looked at a GX7 the other day that was very cool. The owner suggested that it you didn't need the video of the Gh4 that the GH3 had buttons that you could more easily use with gloves on (an issue in winter here in the north east.) HMMMM
Or........

Dave said...

Sony A6000 is what I'm considering as I ponder selling off my Nikon stuff. The best of APS-C, great AF and a nice video companion to my RX10.

Anonymous said...

Under $1,000? That's easy. 35mm film. Actually, I could get both: Nikon F-5 and a Canon EOS 5. I can get both, in excellent used condition for under $500.

Olympus OM-D said...

I pulled the black Olympus OMD EM-5 out of drawer number three and clicked on the Sigma 60mm lens. Nice and long. So different from the ... olympusom-d.blogspot.de