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The decline and fall of Reflex.

LTig

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The compactness of 4/3 is hugely appealling but some full frame models like the RP and Lumix S5 seem to be pretty similar to 4/3 models in size and weight.
Be careful, this amounts to bodies only. FF lenses are much bigger and heavier than 4/3 lenses.
 

JJB70

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I find phone cameras are only good for small images, viewed on a phone, on a web page, small print etc. The minute I try to blow them up to a bigger image, or try to crop them by any amount other than just a tiny bit of framing, I end up with coarse images, contrast problems etc. Not having access to a raw image to work on also is very limiting. For comparison my 'normal' camera is a Canon 80D. For macro, or birding, etc, a proper lens and camera are still required. A friend has a Sony mirrorless. Yep nice, but not ready to make the swap, and it will be to something that lets me continue to use all my lenses.

Most people I know just want to capture memories and don't want anything more than to view on a screen or the equivalent of post card size. For those people the absence of raw and limitations of smartphone cameras are all but irrelevant. It's the market that once bought point and shoot compacts and were perfectly happy with them. I must admit, I am very happy with my phone camera when viewing it as a replacement for a compact camera.
 

JJB70

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Be careful, this amounts to bodies only. FF lenses are much bigger and heavier than 4/3 lenses.

The 4/3 format seems to offer a lot in terms of good optics without having to spend silly money. Some of the Zuiko, Panasonic and Leica lenses seem to excellent and to get similar wide aperture lenses in Sony FE, L etc would be pretty pricey.
 

LTig

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However I want to return to action photography and macro photography as a hobby after a few years off. I want something reasonably compact and lightweight, but I also accept that once you use a camera then there's some extra weight and bulk to carry around. The compactness of 4/3 is hugely appealling but some full frame models like the RP and Lumix S5 seem to be pretty similar to 4/3 models in size and weight.
I think most people (including you), even semi-pro amateur photographers, will be perfectly fine with MFT. Reasons to buy FF are related to the big sensor - higher SNR, higher resolution, more special lenses (e.g.shift lenses, ultra high aperture, nice bokeh) availability which usually pro may need but are prepared to pay for and to lug around.

Looking at the great landscape pics my Nikon D200 made with its old CCS based sensor (perfectly usable up to ISO 400) and 10 MP there's no reason why my Panasonic GX9 (perfectly usable up to ISO 800) and 20 MP wouldn't be a suitable successor. In fact since I own the GX9 the D800 has seen almost no use (1 1/2 years).

I'd say go for MFT, choose the body and lenses according to your needs and be happy.
 

LTig

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The 4/3 format seems to offer a lot in terms of good optics without having to spend silly money. Some of the Zuiko, Panasonic and Leica lenses seem to excellent and to get similar wide aperture lenses in Sony FE, L etc would be pretty pricey.
The same aperture number on MFT does not mean the same optical effect as this number on FF. For this you must double all MFT numbers (aperture and focal length). So the wonderful f 1.8 / 75 mm MFT lense offers the same depth of view and field of view like a meagure f 3.6 / 150 mm on FF. There are for example no equivalent MFT lenses for very high speed FF lenses like a 1.2/50 (no 0.6/25 for MFT), 1.4/105 (no 0.7/52.5 for MFT), 2.0/135 (no 1.0/67.5 for MFT), 2.8/200 (no 1.4/100 for MFT), and so on. However since most of those FF lenses are so expensive that just one of them could buy a complete MFT system they would not apply to most people anyway.
 

JJB70

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Thanks for that, I never realized that the F stop number also had to be adjusted.
 

keith_h

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Sony have discontinued the A mount (SLR/SLT) in favour of the E mount (mirrorless) at the end of 2021. Their future is with mirrorless at the premium end of their camera range and by all accounts they are giving it a red hot go with some superb bodies and excellent optics. A mount lenses are still an option with mirrorless bodies via adapters, but without the full range of capability for AF in some cases.

As a result A mount lenses are now affordable secondhand and I've scooped up a bunch of premium lenses at give away prices. I'll be shooting on A mount bodies for as long as I can keep them running (decades potentially) and gathering up a few more lenses as prices continue to fall. I prefer the Minolta AF lenses for their image quality and am currently making out like a bandit on the back of Sony's decision. :)

http://gallery.heinrich.id.au/gear
 

JJB70

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I am seriously tempted to buy a really nice 35mm SLR for a similar reason. You can pick up nice examples of cameras like the OM-4 (though not, sadly, the OM-3), RTS series, F2, F3. RE Super/Super D, LX etc at nice prices along with some really good optics. I don't want to go back to film photography as my primary tool but it would be nice as an indulgence as I miss the tactile feel and mechanical precision of those old warhorses.
 

keith_h

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I have a collection of vintage cameras some of which I used to run a roll of film through now and again (116/120/35mm). In years long past I used to roll and develop the film and make wet prints too. I have come to realise nostalgia ain't what it used to be and this is no longer the case.

But its useful as a means to frame the discussion regarding for example the merits of EVF vs OVF and the other advances and declines in usability. In my collection I have a Kodak A1 with a prism viewfinder used at waist level. Somehow our forbears were able to wrangle some decent images from this device. And it does metadata too, directly onto the recording media no less. A Zeiss Ikon with a 5mm square OVF that does no more than frame the image. A Canon iib rangefinder where the focusing in the tiny viewfinder works really well, and a TLR with a top mounted focus screen. And a number of different SLR's as well which have different focus techniques employed. So please spare me the observations about the drawbacks of hi res OVF for critical focus. ;)

Regarding the observation of using a precision instrument, my view exactly but with vintage lenses. I like the look and feel of them, I like the images they create. That's a personal choice but something I've not seen mentioned until the previous post. Yes this comes with some optical challenges to be managed, its no big deal.

In my case its the best of all worlds, a robust body with vintage lenses. Old school tech for sure but nice to work with which should be part of the experience of creating images.
 
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Roland68

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Sony have discontinued the A mount (SLR/SLT) in favour of the E mount (mirrorless) at the end of 2021. Their future is with mirrorless at the premium end of their camera range and by all accounts they are giving it a red hot go with some superb bodies and excellent optics. A mount lenses are still an option with mirrorless bodies via adapters, but without the full range of capability for AF in some cases.

As a result A mount lenses are now affordable secondhand and I've scooped up a bunch of premium lenses at give away prices. I'll be shooting on A mount bodies for as long as I can keep them running (decades potentially) and gathering up a few more lenses as prices continue to fall. I prefer the Minolta AF lenses for their image quality and am currently making out like a bandit on the back of Sony's decision. :)

http://gallery.heinrich.id.au/gear
But don't forget that the FF and APS-C lenses from the analogue era, and also many from the first 10-12 years of DSLR photography, cannot transmit the resolution of the current digital sensors.
At 15-16 MP you can already see significant limitations in resolution.
I myself used to collect high-quality lenses from Zeiss, Leica etc. and used them with adapters on digital cameras, but after a resolution test about 6-7 years ago I sold them all.
 

Multicore

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But don't forget that the FF and APS-C lenses from the analogue era, and also many from the first 10-12 years of DSLR photography, cannot transmit the resolution of the current digital sensors.
At 15-16 MP you can already see significant limitations in resolution.
I myself used to collect high-quality lenses from Zeiss, Leica etc. and used them with adapters on digital cameras, but after a resolution test about 6-7 years ago I sold them all.
It's a good point.

Although once you have the lenses for a modern hi-res sensor you have another problem. When I got a Sony 7RM3 I had a Sonnar 1,8/55 ZA to use with it. Now the problem is focus. Tiny amounts of motion or defocus blur both become obvious. So I needed to adapt to that by improving my technique, which makes everything harder and slower.

It's a bit like what happened when I upgraded my microphone. I got a Warm Audio WA-47jr. Very impressive mic in terms of accuracy, color and noise. But now I found that I'm just listening to the sound of my untreated room in the recordings and not my guitar or voice. Others seemed unconcerned about these details but I found them intolerable. After much struggle figuring out what it would take to treat the room (k$s and a lot of disruption/rearrangement) I decided to return the mic and forget about recording in this room. I'll pay my friend Brant to use his treated space when I need to. He has mics too.

There's something to be said for maintaining an eye/ear that is uncritical of fine technical detail and can instead concentrate on the message. If I could enjoy the notes in the music without being disturbed by the defects in the recording or in the playback equipment then I'd be a more content music listener.
 

Roland68

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It's a good point.

Although once you have the lenses for a modern hi-res sensor you have another problem. When I got a Sony 7RM3 I had a Sonnar 1,8/55 ZA to use with it. Now the problem is focus. Tiny amounts of motion or defocus blur both become obvious. So I needed to adapt to that by improving my technique, which makes everything harder and slower.

It's a bit like what happened when I upgraded my microphone. I got a Warm Audio WA-47jr. Very impressive mic in terms of accuracy, color and noise. But now I found that I'm just listening to the sound of my untreated room in the recordings and not my guitar or voice. Others seemed unconcerned about these details but I found them intolerable. After much struggle figuring out what it would take to treat the room (k$s and a lot of disruption/rearrangement) I decided to return the mic and forget about recording in this room. I'll pay my friend Brant to use his treated space when I need to. He has mics too.

There's something to be said for maintaining an eye/ear that is uncritical of fine technical detail and can instead concentrate on the message. If I could enjoy the notes in the music without being disturbed by the defects in the recording or in the playback equipment then I'd be a more content music listener.
But that is a different and general problem of the pixel density on the sensor.
Of course, if I shake the camera half the height of a pixel, the picture is sharper than if I shake it a whole pixel. So when the pixels get smaller ...
This is of course always to be seen in relation to the pixel size.
 

audio2design

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But don't forget that the FF and APS-C lenses from the analogue era, and also many from the first 10-12 years of DSLR photography, cannot transmit the resolution of the current digital sensors.
At 15-16 MP you can already see significant limitations in resolution.
I myself used to collect high-quality lenses from Zeiss, Leica etc. and used them with adapters on digital cameras, but after a resolution test about 6-7 years ago I sold them all.

Bingo
 

rdenney

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But don't forget that the FF and APS-C lenses from the analogue era, and also many from the first 10-12 years of DSLR photography, cannot transmit the resolution of the current digital sensors.
At 15-16 MP you can already see significant limitations in resolution.
I myself used to collect high-quality lenses from Zeiss, Leica etc. and used them with adapters on digital cameras, but after a resolution test about 6-7 years ago I sold them all.
The old lenses on my Pentax 645z do pretty well, particularly with good technique. That's an example of adding pixels by making the sensor larger presenting less of a demand on lenses than adding more smaller pixels to an existing size.

The statement quoted seems to me to assume that we expect the sensor to set the standard for adequate resolution, rather than the displayed work (print, in particular). Some make really big prints and need everything they can get, but they are very much the exception.

Professionals made large prints from medium and large-format cameras--prints that were sharp enough to sustain the illusion of endless detail even when viewed closely (which is my personal standard). The lenses they used were just like the ones you sold. But those lenses could make big prints then and they can now.

But when we view an image on our monitors at 100%, the typical 100-pixel/inch monitor represents much greater enlargement than any print most of us are ever likely to make. My 645z, viewed at 100 pixels/inch, makes images over seven feet wide--a print that would be something like 60x84 inches. Those who make prints that large are the vanishing minority. But if I can make an image sufficiently sharp at that resolution, that would seem to me to exceed the requirements implied by any of my use cases. I own two newly designed lenses for the 645z and many older lenses designed in the 90's for the film version of that camera, but new enough to be computer-optimized with low-dispersion glass (in some cases) and with autofocus. In nearly every case, I can attain my standard even at 100% on my monitor, if my technique is optimal. Of course, these lenses were intended for professional use.

But stuff those same 50 MP onto an APS-C sensor, and one's lenses now have to render detail onto the sensor one fourth the size mine do. Or, we could make the same prints we have always made and even those old lenses work great.

This is quite similar to the concept of the audiophile buying music to demonstrate his system. Buying lenses to make images look good at 100% on a monitor is, well, masturbatory. Making images and displaying them meaningfully is, for nearly everyone, utterly unlike that 100% monitor representation.

Of course, focus-plane performance requires that everything measured to that level of sharpness be exactly in the focus plane. Even within the depth-of-field window, stuff outside the focus plane will be less sharp. That is, again, a matter of technique.

Rick "who only has one lens for the 645--of 15--that cost him more than $700" Denney
 
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keith_h

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But don't forget that the FF and APS-C lenses from the analogue era, and also many from the first 10-12 years of DSLR photography, cannot transmit the resolution of the current digital sensors.
At 15-16 MP you can already see significant limitations in resolution.

Focus on "resolution" misses the point, it is the look and feel of the images created with these 30+ year old lenses that is the reason I use them.

I can do clinically sharp as well with new lenses (I have them too), but for the sorts of images I make consumed on social media or my web site, high resolution is not a consideration. It's why I've resisted going upmarket with equipment for a long time, it's just not necessary - in my case. I mentioned fringing and flare are things that need managing under certain conditions with vintage optics, its part of the craft and no one has ever complained about these things in my images. Most people would not know or care.

Below an image taken with Sony A99 (now 10 years old) and Minolta 500 Reflex (1990 thereabouts) illustrating good enough resolution at a distance, but with the color and look and feel these things were renowned for. Tis a magnificent thing the 500 Reflex. And best of all I paid just $300 for it.

For those with an application that would benefit from newer tech like birding or wildlife, sports maybe, or you shoot for a living, or it just makes you happy to have the newest shiniest thing or satisfies your pixel peeping OCD, then by all means, that's reason enough to have it. But I can't justify the cost to move to mirrorless. The cost/benefit does not stack up in my case.

Ansel Adams - There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
_DSC0822.jpg
 
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JJB70

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A fundamental difference between audio and photography is that a lens and camera are part of the creative process, I guess it's similar to the fact that amplifiers and speakers for electric guitars which are also part of the creative process are very different than those designed for music playback. So flaws are what they are, people may like some 'character' (i.e. flaws) in a lens and use it creatively.

I think it is easy to get too focused on measurements, where optics and sensors have something in common with audio is that at a certain point measured performance basically just because a matter of bragging rights and marketing, and indeed becomes another form of subjectivism. I struggle to remember a lens I've used that didn't have the sharpness, resolving power etc to produce perfectly good images if used correctly. And some of those that need some care are the result of clear compromises which the manufacturers don't hide, such as ultra-wide aperture designs which trade off against getting the maximum aperture right down.

And that is without considering that performance is not the only reason people like things. I'll straight up say my interest in old camera gear is about the tactile feel and the mechanical precision, I'm perfectly happy with my mirrorless camera and mobile phone in terms of photographic tools. I love the feel of nice MF lenses and of mechanical cameras.
 
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