#585. How many cameras do you own?

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Apr 23

By “own”, I actually mean “use”.

So, how many cameras do you own and use, on a regular basis? And why?



On the top shelf of my home office lies a lovely Fujica 645 film-era camera, with bellows and with a superb 75mm lens. It’s there because the folding mechanism broke and now one has been able to fix it for me. So the camera can’t be sold and holds too many memories to be thrown away.

But the in-working-order Linhof, Mamiya 7s, Nikon D800e, Olympus OM-D … all found new owners as I moved on to other cameras.

Today, my only working camera is a Sony A7rII, which is so good that it almost makes me touch the photographic sky and drives me bonkers when that “almost” bit becomes too visible. Paired with great lenses and a great post-processing app such as Photos or Capture One, it really delivers in spades.

So much so that it’s hard to imagine using anything else, and yet I’ve tried :

  • Tempted by camp Fuji (lead co author Paul and Bob Hamilton) and the prospect of excellent and cheap lenses, I mentally programmed myself for an XT2 and assorted glass.
  • Tempted by recent additions to the medium format world, I sold a bunch of precious stuff to finance either a Hasselblad X1D or a Fuji GFX system.
  • Always, permanently, almost pathologically, tempted by a return to my one true love, the Mamiya 7, I have often thought about processes to get the rolls processed and scanned painlessly.

None of these infidelities have come to fruition. Had they, though, the Sony would have been sold before the replacement made its way into my bag.

I just can’t see myself owning two cameras. Well, two non-smartphone cameras, at least.



And yet, it’s obvious in comments and private discussions that you brave souls own several. Not just backup bodies but completely distinct systems.


Why is that ?


Why do you own multiple systems ? Why do I only have one (besides being a cheap bugger) ?

Looking forward to the many unseen / forgotten reasons in the comments, here are a few thoughts :

  • Working in different conditions. This is probably the most likely. The full-blown system is for those special occasions or assignments, the walkabout camera is for every day. The D4 is the only body you can rely on when the weather gets awful.
  • Different projects. Maybe you enjoy street and macro. And that tiny life form just doesn’t cooperate with a Leica M, so you keep that ring flash at the end of a Nikkor lens mounted on a D750.
  • Legacy. You were highly invested in Canon glass when Sony arrived at the party. You bought an adapter and weren’t convinced enough by the system to ditch the Canon body altogether. Or, you bought that M3 as a student and have been adding M-mount glass to the collection ever since but can’t stress enough just how good AF is for when the grand children are home.
  • You’re a collector. You need help, you know it, and it makes you giggle. Good for you πŸ™‚
  • Clanic behaviour. You shoot brand A but want to be seen with brand B. You too need help. But who am I to judge, driving a Renault Megane and day-dreaming of far less politically correct alternatives?
  • Emotional attachment. You big softy, you. Memories are an important part of the illusion we call life. How could you possibly sell that Pentax you used to photograph the honeymoon and graduations?
  • It’s all such a mess. Too many brands out there (although, some are actively powering towards icebergs, be patient), reviews are mostly crap and contradict one another, how can you possibly decide what to make the big cleansing / splurge for? Why should you sell that old 70-200 when the new ones don’t seem particularly good.
  • Visual awe. Come on, have you seen how this thing draws? They don’t make bokeh like that anymore. And that CCD look? Priceless (that’s me, by the way).




So, now that we have a list of reasons for owning many cameras / systems, are there any good ones for sticking to just the one ?

  • Limited intellect. I struggle to keep my batteries charged and inside the camera as it is. Two cameras? Please …
  • That Zen thing. You know, the whole simple, intuitive, right-brain way of life. Yup, count me in.
  • Discipline. Secondary, in my case, but it’s easy to see that being an important reason for a minimalistic approach.
  • Being cheap. OK, we’ve covered that already. No need to get nasty about it πŸ˜‰
  • Easier learning. One system, one look, one user experience, so many variables out-of-the-way. Kind of linked to discipline, really.
  • The Sony covers all the bases. At the risk of sounding all fanboyish, there is a lot of truth to this. Emotional attachment to older lenses, high IQ, great enough shooting envelope for multiple styles …




So, what’s lying around your home and what’s your excuse for owning just one / so many camera(s)? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ What’s missing from the lists above?


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  • Paul Perton says:

    I’m a hoarder. You missed that one P.

  • The 2 bodies shooter says:

    Thereare 2 more – at least for me:

    1) avoiding dust/dirt/spray on the sensor. If conditions of that nature are predictable, I carry 2 bodies with 2 of my favourite lenses/focal lengths for predictable sceneries.
    2) same thing for being quicker – by not having to change lenses, just grabbing the other body

    • pascaljappy says:

      I was hoping no one would mention that πŸ˜‰ You’re absolutely right and those 2 reasons have been nagging me forever. As soon as I find a body that inspires enough confidence to be a long-term buy, I’ll probably buy 2, precisely for the reasons you mention (and backup). Cheers.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I have 4 and I use them for different purposes.

    Actually would prefer that the two smallest ones were only one cam – but there are times when the compact is “it”, and times when it’s inadequate so I use m Canon PowerShot. I love the PowerShot for the things it CAN do, with a 1 inch sensor and a “sensible” pixel count, giving great images, low noise, good low light shots etc – the compact fails in a lot of those areas, but like cellphones, it’s good at what it DOES do – and smaller. The menu system on the Canon drives me nuts, it’s intended for computer nerds, not ‘togs, and it’s all but completely incomprehensible to any normal person.

    Putting all of that to one side – I also have a D7200 and a D810, and again, I use them for different purposes. If I am really serious, the only choice is the D810. But again, it’s bulkier than the D7200 and I can use my Makro lens on the D7200 as a 150mm tele.

    Having said all that – I plan my shoots, and almost never take more than one cam with me.

    And no, I don’t have GAS. What I have is all I intend having. For the foreseeable future. Any additions will be techo stuff, in post processing.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Pete. Hold on to that D810. Great camera.

      At the risk of being unsavoury, I guess you use your compact as I use my phone (albeit with a better image quality πŸ˜‰

      You don’t have GAS because you’ve found the perfect match for your needs. I envy you πŸ˜‰

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        LMHAO πŸ™‚ – oh Pascal – if you ever get to see MY “cellphone”, you will understand immediately why I don’t use it for photography – and use the PowerShot or compact instead. I have an ancient, reliable, EXTREMELY compact Nokia cellphone – which is just that – a “cellphone”. Everyone else seems to lash out with something like a thousand dollars a year to buy the latest and greatest cellphone – I must have saved enough to pay for both my Otuses, by now, by NOT doing that !!!!!

        The PowerShot is a great little cam, but not . . . quite . . . small enough to slip into my pocket. So I’ve kept the compact, because I CAN shove it into a pocket, and spare myself the agony of a camera bag slung around my neck. Either will do, most of the time – I’ve had good stuff from both. But they are important to me, because I have now missed about three “once in a lifetime” shots for the lack of a camera, and won’t go ANYWHERE now, without one. The worst thing is that those missed shots are etched in my memory, and whenever I think of them, I can still see them – they are determined to haunt me, to the grave !!!

        The D810 is great – but heavier than your Sony. Why the D7200? – it’s lighter, and sometimes I do find that easier. It gets less use than the others, but I do use it and don’t want to part with it. 24MP is quite sharp enough, if you’re not printing wallpaper sized prints, and with no anti-aliasing filter, the D7200 really IS sharp. It’s also less conspicuous, for street photography.

        My biggest bitch about the Nikes is that neither of them have a tilt screen. That is really annoying, and I am too old to lie on the ground to make up for that deficiency in their design.

        • pascaljappy says:

          That’s a great point. People often rant about how great equipment is expensive but will throw money away constantly on less important and less durable stuff …

          My first digital camera (Minolta Dimage 7, I think) had a tilt screen. My first ever. And that was a revelation. Moving up to more “serious” stuff (Canon high end with all white heavy zooms) small and important touches went missing, such as the tilt screen and I found myself in a creative doldrums for almost two years …

    • Adrian says:

      Totally different system to you, but 4 cameras in E mount, because they are all good at different things. It started with an A6000 which had image quality better than my full frame Sony A850, fast focusing, and was the first mirror less camera I owned that could handle physique sports events with good image quality at the ISO settings needed. A Sony A7ii is my general workhorse for almost everything from travel to portraiture, and can be pressed to do physique sports too. A Sony A7s revolutionised my photography, and was my second E mount body after the A6000, purchased for available light work – mostly street photography and available light portraits. Being able to shoot a portrait at ISO12800 that I know I can make a great A4+ print from opens up a whole world of potential that never existed before. Lastly, the much unloved A3000, an APS-C sensor and internals from an A5000 in a plastic sumo suit to make it look like an SLR. Everyone hates them except me – it cost Β£200 with a kit lens and a battery, the image quality is really nice, it focuses well and it has a very low resolution EVF with focus peaking. The handling is mediocre, but once set up how I want it, provides a “back to basics” experience and can go places the other cameras cannot because it was so cheap, and so big and plastic it will bounce when fancy magnesium alloy cameras will crack and break.

      I also tend to carry only what I need, as they all tend to have very different uses. The A6000 is an extraordinary camera for its price, and having used it for about 4000 shots in the last 4 days, it has never really missed a beat. Although it doesn’t engender any dewey-eyed emotional bond that its peers attempt with look-a-Leica styling and ye olde worlde aesthetics, it impresses simply with it’s ability to get the job done. The A7s is the one that is most special to me simply because it never ceases to amaze me with it’s image quality – if you can live with “only” 12mp the image quality in almost every circumstance is simply lovely.

      I won’t mention all the other cameras I own, mostly pocket and fixed lens film cameras, kept for collection and sentimental reasons but now rarely used.

      • pascaljappy says:

        I’ll look up that A3000. “Back to basics” rather suits me πŸ˜‰

        The A6000 is a great camera. The original Nex-7, which Philippe owned while I settled for the cheaper NEX-5n, was one of the most anticipated cameras in my whole life. I didn’t buy it because the A7 had been rumoured a long time before its release. But the Nex-7 really reminded me of a tiny Mamiya 7, much like the Hasselblad X1D today) with a form factor I really love. So intuitive and great IQ …

  • Adam Bonn says:

    Pentax K1000, first SLR, well it’s my Dad’s. I borrowed it in 1990. About 4 months ago he even had the audacity to ask for it back. Cheeky sod, I said no.

    Fuji X-Pro2. My jack of everything camera. The main one I use

    Pani LX100. Gets used. A little bit. Everyone needs a decend compact IMO for the days and places that a bigger ILC doesn’t cut it for whatever reason

    Fuji FX 300. I was going to flip it. Ebay thinks it’s worth Β£30, so I kept it. Sees occasional beach use and I let my 4 yr old shoot with it

    I must be strange… I usually operate a one in / one out rule with cameras, even at times when there’s little financial reason to do so. I mean I get collecting…. (at one point I owned 14 wrist watches at the same) but I just don’t see modern digital cameras in that way… They’re just a bit too utilitarian perhaps? I think if you upgrade because of newer features that you actually want and will use, then are you seriously going to ever shoot the older one that isn’t as good?

    To have a system that you like and genuinely feel fits your bill, should be a sort of nirvana, “own good camera that I like to shoot with” Done. Dusted. Cross it off the bucket list.

    But instead we sort of feel that we’re missing out and cheating ourselves.

    I’m not sure why!

    Off topic but there’s a selection of cameras that I’d like to own for the experience, ones that I missed when they were hot, and are now either tepid or stone cold. That aren’t as practical as the one I do shoot with, so they’re all mild itches that I haven’t felt the need to scratch!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Ooooh, the wristwatch analogy is a good one … We’ve talked about that offline before and I agree entirely with you on that topic. I just wish I loved my camera like I love nice wristwatches.

      One camera in, one camera out is my motto. The dream is to have a camera and be satisfied with it for the looooong term. Then, I’d get two and that would be the end of GAS discussions (well, watches notwithstanding πŸ˜‰ )

      • Adam Bonn says:

        I look at watches in a completely different way to cameras… I have watches that aren’t as good as some of my other watches, but I like them more.

        With everything else being equal, my favourite camera is usually the best when I own.

        I suspect the watch to camera analogy quickly fails, because watches all effectively do the same thing – in fact a very expensive mechanical watch is generally a worse timekeeper than a cheap quartz, yet most ‘watch folk’ prefer their exquisitely made watch to a technically more accurate model that has worse build quality. You don’t tend to get that with cameras!

        • pascaljappy says:

          I guess Leica-M owners and film buffs fall in the category of expensive watches that don’t have the same technical performance as the more tech-oriented competition.

          Like you, I’m drawn to better cameras. But we have reached a point (in tech and in my age, probably) where the prospect of something that has no abvious ergonomic flaws and that I’d keep for 20 years, like a Chopard, is becoming more and more appealing. Certainly more appealing than a faster frame rate πŸ˜‰

          • Adam Bonn says:

            That’s the gotcha with digital though Pascal, even if you could nurse a digi cam through 20 years without any of the solder, sensor, capacitors failing… I doubt the battery would last that long nor would you still be able to buy a new battery after 20yrs…

            So, M7s all round then, cheaper than SonFuji decent selection of glass and if memory serves TTL metering πŸ™‚

            Of course that then leads to the whole “but is it still film once you’ve digitally scanned the neg” debate, but that’s waaaaay off topic for here…

            It’s a shame that obsolescence is a big part of digital and that no one has managed a camera with an updatable sensor/processor… not sure if it’s just an urban legend, but I think one of Leica’s CEOs suggested this.

            He got sacked!

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Adrian, I can’t say that I “haven’t” gone out there and tried everything I could. When I was younger, I had a great working relationship with the leading camera shop in the city where I was living, and tried out one thing after another. Apart from the very first ( a Kodak Box Brownie), I had two Voigtlanders, 4 Zeiss cams, a Linhof 4×5, a Bronica, two Pentaxes, a Panasonic, and an ancient folding cam that produced postcard size negatives.

      But the trajectory has been a bit like the young man starting out – sniffing ALL the flowers πŸ™‚ Now that I am older, more settled, and happily married, I only have (basically) three. The PowerShot (or compact) is, as Pascal suggested, simply my version of the cellphone – insurance against being caught with no camera at all, and capable of taking quite good shots. The D810 for really serious stuff. And the D7200 is a useful workhorse, “in between”. I guess that’s a bit like a workday watch, a wrist watch, and the bedside clock!

  • Fabrizio Giudici says:

    I’ve been using two bodies since 2004, when on day 2 of a long planned six-days trip in Netherlands I first bent the D100 lever that controlled aperture (Nikon bodies at the time worked that way) and then I broke it trying a quick fix on the field. So, the rest of the trip I had to go at full aperture… you get what I mean.

    Not only a second body was needed in the meantime the D100 was repaired, but I understood the importance of having a backup body in case of troubles. Furthermore it was a way to reduce the need for mounting and unmounting lenses. So I bought a D70 and I went on with two bodies; every time I bought a newest camera, the previous first camera became the second, and the second was put out of operations. When I switched to Sony, after completing the experiment, I kept on with the same attitude. Now I have a Sony a6000 and a NEX-6. I’ve just ordered the Sony a6300, and I’ve decided to go on with three camera bodies. After all, they’re small and stay all in the same bag. Since I’ve recently done a lot of exercises with macro, and learned how many interesting small subjects are even when I didn’t notice them, the idea is to keep the a6300 and a6000 for landscape; and the NEX-6 for macros (I’m using manual legacy lenses with an extendable adapter, and the NEX-6 is pretty good with them).

    I’ve never sold an old camera (I still have the F80 and a Nikon FG). First it was emotional attachment. Then I rationalised it and now I think that it’s a pity that a working piece of equipment collects the dust. In other hands it could still create pictures. So at the moment it’s just laziness, but sooner or later I’ll find the time to prepare the stuff at eBay’s…

    I won’t sell the Nikon FG, though. For some reasons, I have still emotional attachment for that mechanical piece of equipment.

    When I carefully studied the switch to mirrorless, I evaluated the possibility of having multiple brands. I’m pretty fine with Sony, but Fuji cameras are fine too and I like the ergonomic choice of putting the aperture control on the lens. Sometimes I can enjoy it when I use a legacy lens mounted on my Sony cameras. m43, on the other hand, would offer a lighter solution for long focals. But I discarded this option for “economy of scale”: by having a single brand you spend less in accessories, and you have the two cameras working as a backup. Had I more money, I’d have bought cameras from different systems as well.

    • pascaljappy says:

      That’s an interesting twist on the buy-one, sell-one principle. Keeping one generation as a backup body is cheaper than buying two new bodies (which I’d only be happy doing if convince that was a long-term purchase). The downside is that the n-2 gen body you sell must take a huge financial hit, but it’s still cheaper than selling to n-1 bodies to buy two new ones, probably.

      I feel your pain, having seen cameras die on me in the middle of nowhere. Worst episode was in a very remote location in NW Australia, having to finish the shoot with an underwater compact that has the most horrendous colours out of water … ugh !

  • David Mack says:

    I always enjoy the DS notes on gear. Yesteryear was all about the cost of film/processing, because lenses/cameras could only go so far. Now cameras are like computers, upgrade every 3 years with different companies trying to out tech the others. Glass has had to keep up. Both items very expensive with no end in sight. That’s not counting software gadgets. I just purchased a Wacom Tablet at $500. Photography is quickly becoming a very large hole. Market value of photos is in the toilet, but we always have the travel/hobby chit to cash for an excuse.
    So if we commit to one system, it likely will be 2nd or 3rd best in a few years or obsolete in a few more years, so how good is good enough and for good for how long? If I never bought another camera for the rest of my life, todays cameras systems are outstanding for 95% of most photographers.

    I have two systems. Nikon Ds 810 and 500 for my nature photography. Clearly pixel count for macro/landscape and the 500 for action shots of sports and wildlife, particularly birds. The second is the Fuji XT 1 with 3 lenses. Its my go to for street/city/casual photography. I really like both systems for their jobs. Cameras are like tools. I have most of the lenses for the Nikon and all the peripherals, of flashes, GPS set up, wire releases etc. To switch systems for a single one would be so costly, that I wouldn’t be able to afford outfitting the new one. I would really like to have a 50 mp camera, so I’m hoping Nikon comes through for a reasonable price of they remain in business. My only real temptation is the new Fuji mid formate, but even at age 72, I think I’ll wait for the next rendition for the inevitable bugs to be worked out. Then there is the cost of a whole new lens system. Have to try and sell the entire nikon system, good luck with that!!!

    • pascaljappy says:

      “How good is good enough ?” Great question … I really think that, these days, most systems are now good enough for most applications, from an image quality point of view. But all the other parameters are what justify using different cameras and there is still great inequality in that respect. Sony just hit very hard with a camera that has enough resolution for most and seems lightning fast. A huge shooting envelope to boost. So maybe the days of a single camera (backup notwhithstanding) are near. But my feeling is that we’re going to see niche cameras being developed to keep us buying 2 or more (GPS, ruggedness … vs speed and discretion, for example).

      I too was tempted by the recent set of MF digital cameras. But Sony have now increased the resolution of their 33×44 50Mpix sensors to 100 Mpix so these brand new offerings feel obsolete already. I think you did well to wait πŸ˜‰

      Selling gear is tough. That’s one of the reasons I try to have a very small system at all times. Beyond the stuff I keep for review comparison purposes, I’m down to one body and 5 lenses (3 M-mount, 2 Nikon mount) all used on the same camera. New stuff always replaces old stuff πŸ˜‰

  • Dallas Thomas says:

    2 bodies for me. Walk around is the D4s I just like the feel of it in my hand quick focus, low light and of course a good frame rate when required. D800 for landscape slightly better DR than the 4s. I have had the pleasure of shooting with top end glass of late and they may find there way into my kit if I can convince myself that I really need them!

  • John Wilson says:

    I own 5 cameras but only use two on a regular basis. The third is an old Sony R1 I keep for an extended project I’m working on and want to keep the look the same. The other two get no love at all. My main camera is a Fuji X-T1 and a bag of lenses – that’s the BIG camera. The other “main” camera is a Nikon V3 with a set of lenses. ???!!!! you say … this is my street camera. I do a lot of street photography and this to me is the ideal street camera – small, unobtrusive, quiet, fast accurate focusing, the lenses are sharp sharp sharp and the sensor … while no the best … is “good enough” for a 13×19 print. The Nikon actually get’s more mileage than the Fuji, but I love them both and wouldn’t part with either … except for an X-T2.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi John. 13×19 is plenty for street photographs so that sounds like a great choice. I’ve never had the opportunity to use the Nikon V cameras but hear they are super fast. That must be a real pleasure, plus the camera is very small … I find it particularly interesting that you are keeping the older Sony to maintain a consistent look throughout a project. So many people seem to go for sharpness or some other technical criterion when look is so much more important. You should be happy with the X-T1 in that respect πŸ˜‰ Many of my friends are now using Fuji cameras and report that the lenses have a very consistent rendering throughout the range. Tempting …

    • Adrian says:

      Nikon didn’t market the 1 system well, and so many photographers were very dismissive of it, but I owned a V1 and liked it so much I got a very cheap and tiny J1 to go with it! Incredible cameras in many ways – sharp files, super fast focusing, excellent metering, and 10-30fps with full focusing! What better camera to recommend to people who want to know what camera to get to photography their children running around! Of course, photographers tell such people to buy something like an SLR, which is probably totally unsuitable for them. As a fair weather camera – mine wasn’t terribly good at low light – they were brilliant little cameras.

      • pascaljappy says:

        It’s a real shame that they didn’t position them better as upgrades to Smartphones. They have the convenience (not sure about social sharing, though) and are much faster and probably have better IQ. A missed opportunity by Nikon.

        • Adrian says:

          They were in many ways brilliant little cameras- image quality more than good enough for “consumers”, with fantastic AF, blazing fast focusing, very small and light. They were initially also much to expensive until hey ended up in the bargain bin, and for enthusiasts the posh pocket cameras lile the RX100 were a better choice as the Nikon 1 system as hobbled by slow aperture zoom lenses, which didn’t play to the small formats strengths, whereas the pocket cameras had similar sensors with fast aperture lenses – bit without thr super fast AF and frame rates etc. I took some great daytime.photos with my J1 and V1 and would consider a newer model if they weren’t quite so expensive. Having said that, I was recently looking at the latest J5 and the 1 system ultra wide zoom, and the total price was less than an RX100 mk5 – which for a pocket friendly ultrawide solution isn’t bad. Only the dynamic range limitations of the small sensor pit me off – imagine the joy of my back carrying such a tiny camera to shoot Singapore at night on a tripod!

  • Michael Demeyer says:

    Kolari thin-filter Sony A7 with an assortment of M and LTM lenses as my primary rig for day-to-day purposes. A Cambo Actus with the Sony as a back and 24 (Actar), 35 (PC-Distagon), 60 and 90 Rodenstock Digaron technical lenses, and APO-Rodagon-N and -D lenses for table-top and macro work.

    Fuji E-E2 with the 18-55, 35 1.5, and 14 for travel.

    Can’t bring myself to sell the Horseman 4×5, but the Hasselblad is gone…

    • pascaljappy says:

      Nice! How is the Kolari modification working out for you ?

      • Michael Demeyer says:

        I guess I’m not impartial since I’m the Michael who worked with Kolari to develop the modification originally. πŸ™‚

        That said, if you use M or LTM glass exclusively, it’s a win, period. This has been shown over and over again. The degree of improvement varies with lens, F-stop, and distance, but it’s always better – or perhaps I should say closer to the design characteristics of the lens. Some will critique field curvature changes and like it or not, but that depends on how the original lens performed and whether you like that or not.

        Best to develop color profiles for it or use ones those of us who use it have posted.

        However, if you also use native glass it’s less clear. Changing out the stack degrades the native lens performance since you are removing glass and creating an optical path that the lenses are designed for. The degree varies by lens – perhaps enough to bother you, perhaps not. Since I don’t own any Sony lenses, this is a non-issue for me.


        • pascaljappy says:

          Thanks Michael ! I had no idea you had worked on that project. So this is interesting. I own one camera but use 5 lenses regularly : 3 M-mounts and 2 Nikon-mount, all 5 on Novoflex and Voigtlander adapters. What you’re suggesting is that I should buy a second body, have the current one modified by Kolari for the M lenses and keep the other for the Zeiss in Nikon mount ? πŸ˜‰ It would make a lot of sense, except for backup, which I don’t do anyway.

          Cheers, Pascal

          • Michael Demeyer says:

            What are the two Nikon mount lenses? They might work fine on the modified camera. You could always modify a body, try it, and then decide on a second.


            • pascaljappy says:

              Distagon 25/2 and Otus 85/1.4. Not sure the 25 would fare too well πŸ˜‰ But it is tempting. We’ll see when Sony release a new A7r body.

  • Ronnie says:

    You can’t have too many cameras. Let’s face it: do you know a guitarist with only one guitar, or a painter with only one brush?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Aaaaahhhhh, now that speaks to my heart πŸ™‚ Thanks Ronnie. A Strat with custom shop 54s will sound totally different from a Les Paul with humbuckers. It’s really a matter of tone or, in the case of photography, of rendering, right ? So, don’t you think that guitars are more like lenses in that respect ?

  • PaulB says:

    Hi! My name is Paul . . . . and I’m a techno camera junkie!

    Wait, I think I may have mentioned that before. So I am glad you mentioned the β€œand use” part of your question. It reduces the number of cameras I own considerably.

    My working collection falls into four groups, Leica M, Micro 4/3s (2), Sony A7II, and compacts (2).

    My primary general purpose, street, travel set is built around a Leica M9 and 4 lenses from Leica and Zeiss; 21mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm. I have other Leica and Voigtlander lenses but these see occasional use. With the exception of the 75mm all of my M lenses are designed for film rather than the latest models that are modified for digital. I have been a Leica guy for almost 20 years, so this is my first choice for making images. Though there are times when I do miss having the option for pursuing macro work.

    I originally avoided digital in an effort to avoid the constant upgrade cycle that was going to happen in the early years of development. I started in digital with compacts. First was a Fuji point and shoot that was not very memorable. Next came a Canon S90, because I needed to learn to process raw digital images. I have added a Sony RX100 recently, and both compacts fill in for use in conditions I don’t want to risk my bigger cameras or are carried as a better option to my phone camera.

    I did not start digital in a serious way until Sony announced the NEX-5 and there was a prospect of using M-lenses on the Sony body; not to mention the once in a lifetime jewel of a Leica R lens I stumbled into. This did not work out quite as well as I hoped, so I traded the NEX-5 for an Olympus EP-3. Which worked rather well with lenses longer than 21mm, and was my only serious digital camera until a friend offered me a good price on his M9 so he could get the then new M240. The A7II came into the stable as a trial platform to try my M and R lenses before making the big commitment to an A7RII, and the EP-3 has been showing its age so an Olympus Pen-F is now in my stable as well.

    Did I mention that I have GAS?!? Along the way I succumbed to the idea that it might be interesting to see how Nikon AIS lenses performed on the Sony as well. So a few of these have come and gone, with a 50 F1.4 AIS and 18 f3.5 AIS remaining in the closet for now.

    The Pen-F is now used as a travel camera for times when weight and space matters. Plus it is a very good street camera in its own right, and as a platform for using M lenses there is nothing better under 40MP. An added benefit of the M4/3 sensor is the smaller sensor size is only using the center of the image circle projected from the lens so this can bring new life to some really nice vintage lenses that do not work well on the Sony or a Leica; the 50mm Summicron Dual Range for instance.

    The Sony A7II is still more of an experiment in progress for me than a trusted tool. It is a deliberate tool and it can be temper mental of lenses, adapters, and focus technique. As a walking around and spontaneous camera this is not my first choice. Though, I think I may have enough practice focusing it on a tripod to have good results when using it hand held; it is still a slow process for me. On the other hand, compared to a Leica M or the Pen-F, the size and weight with the better lenses I have make the A7II more of a tripod camera for me. And because of that the A7II is probably going to be traded as soon as a newer high MP option becomes viable.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Wow! Now that is a collection πŸ˜‰

      The NEX-5n started my mirrorless journey with M-mount lenses too. I have fond memories of the Distagon 25 and the Voigtlander Colour Skopar 35 on that little camera. It died on me, (twice, the replacement also) so it wasn’t difficult to let it go … From then on, I think the psychological burn made me very cautious about keeping anything digital around for too long. So now, instead of buying new cameras to scratch my GAS itches, I rant about the ills of my cameras, praying for new versions to be released πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately for me, the recent bodies are so good that it’s difficult to find anything meaningful (ergonomics are one area) to complain about.

      The issue of obsolescence is a biggie, though. In the days of film, there were cheap cameras and expensive cameras just like today. But you got to keep them for decades since the sensor technology of the day (film) wasn’t physically attached to the camera. The digital back solutions are really tempting, and they have a very well thought out upgrade plan. But the entry price is just so high …

      • PaulB says:


        I think we may have reached a point where we can rethink the term obsolescence. Early in the digital age “improvements” were happening rather quickly and to a large degree. Today things have slowed down considerably. in fact in some ways improvements seem to have stopped, or have turned to more of a qualitative nature than a quantitative nature. There seems to be more discussion about dynamic range than increased resolution. Look at Nikon. The D500 gave us an improved DX speed machine, but the D7500 is moving backwards compared to the D7200.

        So if we can decide to be happy, or at least satisfied, with what we have and use it until it breaks to the point it is unrepairable, We are probably better off. Personally, I am happy with what I have as long as I can keep using it. Its when I am stuck at work and can’t work with my cameras or my images, that I wander the web in search of articles about photography only to find gear reviews and other things that push my buttons for good, better, best.

        An example is my M9. I do still like using the M9 and as long as I can get close enough it makes good images. My time using the M10 was nice, and the viewfinder is certainly a big improvement. The increased dynamic range is also an improvement. But these were not enough of an improvement, and it does not have the CCD look the M9 has, to justify the cost for only 24 MP. I will probably have one in the future. But it will probably be used. In fact most of my collection of lenses was obtained used.

        Concerning MF Digital, I have to agree. The cost of entry, even used, is very high, and the gain may not be enough to justify the change from a top end 35mm (A7RII, etc.). The image quality gap between top end 35mm and bottom end medium format has never been that great even in film. I would like to think that with good lenses and technique the differences between 40-50MP 35mm and MF cameras will be rather slight. Particularly with the next generation of sensors and processors. Though, even today if we consider the A7RII to be a digital back the performance to price value it provides is rather high.

        • pascaljappy says:

          Hi Paul, Sony have a knack for making me break my vows, when it comes to obsolescence. Unlike other manufacturers, every new generation of Sony has been a significant step up from the previous. But, even with Sony, we have reached a quality point where it’s hard to want much more. Quality and reliability issues are a larger concern to me (though my past experience may have been particularly rare). Still, Leica build bodies that do not change as significantly from one generation to the next and are built to last. Whereas Sony gives you that feeling of a purely tech machine that gets better every time and needs replacement, more like a computer. I’m pretty sure that’s a strategic decision of theirs.

          All this being said, I may not buy the new generation and skip one, as I usually do with phones. This means comparing gen – 2 prices (A7r) to gen – 1 prices (A7rII) when the A7rIII is released. Maybe it just makes more sense to stay on a continuous upgrade path. It’s hard to tell.

          As for MF, there are no low-hanging fruits. It makes sense to go full-in on a larger sensor 100Pmix (soon 150Mpix) camera, because the look is so different from FF, but the smaller MF make no financial sense to me.

          • PaulB says:


            I think we have reached agreement. On a few things.

            Yes, a full size medium format would be nice. But it is definitely hard to justify that new car price when your lively hood is not dependent on it.

            Also yes, Leica’s do have a very stout build. They may be victim of their own success in this regard. But all is not perfect in Leicaland. Things go wrong with Leicas as well, so the question becomes how well do they take care of the customer in this case. One of my fellow Leica users here is on his third, yes third, M10 since buying the first in February. He drew the short straw and got what should have been the one bad sensor in the production run, which failed about a month after getting the camera. So he traded his landscape system in to get the second M10, which also failed after about two weeks. Camera #1 is now at Leica Service, and I believe camera #2 was replaced by the dealer with #3. Fortunately for him, cameras with sensor problems have to go back to Germany for service; Leica service in the US is very slow.

            • pascaljappy says:

              Wow, that’s a horrific story. The problem with Leica, I guess, is that the mechanical heritage is excellent (mind you, there are horror stories about rangefinder calibration, too …) but the mastery of electronics is far from what a much larger company can achieve. Also, Leica have a sad history of not following up on strategies. Those who bought the excellent, and super expensive, Leica S are now facing an aging camera that’s been dropped completely by the mothership. No more bodies, no more lenses … So, as you say, all is not perfect in Leicaland. I think that thesitating between being a top player in IQ (as used to be the case in the film era) and being a fashion item for collectors certainly cannot be helping.

  • Very nice landscapes, Pascal! Is the dune Europe’s biggest one near Bordeaux?

    On topic: I’m more the utilitarian guy. I use different cameras for different purposes. Only if I feel they don’t meet that (new) purpose anymore, I buy a new one. (Though I like reading camera reviews)

    My main camera is the small, trusted A6000 with dozens of native and adapted primes. I also still own my old A77 for my big zooms. Though it didn’t got much love in recent years. My third camera is a underwater camera for scuba diving. I used to have a GoPro which drowned last year in Sogod Bay, The Philippines. I think I will replace it with a SeaLife DC2000 before my next trip. The DC2000 should also work as a always-with-me true pocket camera, which the A6000 is not. I was short of buying the wonderful Ricoh GR. But I can take out the DC2000 of its housing and will get a very small compact with 31mm prime and the 1β€³ Sony-sensor from the RX100-series. Sounds nice.

    I would also like to get a original A7S for its silent shutter and low light abilities. I’m also very much interested in experiencing lenses in their original, intended purpose and focal length. But I’m still fighting with myself because I actually don’t have any issues with shutter sound and low light abilities from my current setup, and getting FF would mean a complete change to my current workflow. This is something I’d naturally like to avoid as much as possible.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Steffen, yes, that is the Dune du Pilat, near Bordeaux. A splendid place.

      I’d never heard about the Sealife DC2000 ! Care to share your thoughts if/when you get yours ? That sounds like a tremendous little thing and my underwater camera needs replacing (turns out the Olympus Tough is not that tough πŸ˜‰ )

      • Sorry for being late. Don’t get any reply notifications πŸ™

        Of course I’ll write a review for the DC2000. Next to Otus reviews and MF discussions it looked like the perfect match to me πŸ™‚ Most likely I’m in Egypt in November for a livaboard dive cruise. I’ll probably will be the DC2000 in early September before my summer holiday. So that should give me some possibilities test it under various real life conditions. I’m not a fan of quick reviews. Only when someone has used a gear for a long period of time he can really say something substantial about it. Everything else is just early impressions.

  • Brian Nicol says:

    I have been doing photography as a hobby since the early 1970s and have bought and sold more equipment finding what works for me. I learned back in the 80s that glass was more important than the body in general and invested in glass that achieved the rendering I wanted. The unfortunate thing, especially today, where there are no camera shops in more rural areas to try a lens one finds it hard to find a competent review of lens depicting image rendering at various subject distances, background distances, lightings conditions, and so on. Instead, most reviews show subjects that could be taken with a cellphone and focus on resolution only versus what generally the more important qualities for more advanced users. Ironically, most people focus on buying every incremental camera upgrade and the most pixels, and then either never print large or show their images as relatively small jpegs.

    After much mucking around since I transitioned into digital in 2008, I have settled on the following two camera system focussed on keeping it comfortable to carry from my point of view.

    Leica M, Leica M 18mm f/3.4, CV 21mm f/1.8, Zess ZM 35/1.4, Zeiss ZM 50mm f/1.5
    Sony A6300, Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM, Sony FE 1.4x

    The Leica M will be replaced by the Leica SL so that I can more effectively focus at wide apertures and better enjoy shooting with lenses wider than 35mm. The evf available for the M was rebranded old tech that was not integrated into camera operation but was better than nothing with wider or longer than normal lenses. The rangefinder was great with 35mm and 50mm in general. I love the tiny lenses and their rendering. I used to have a Leica 50mm f/1.4 and sold it thinking Zeiss would bring out a 50mm f/1.4 that would be cheaper and even more amazing like their 35mm f/1.4. I loved the Leica 50 and regret selling it as it is a more general usage lens compared to the CV 50mm ZM f/1.5. I will never sell the CV as it has an unique gorgeous rendering with the right subject under the right lighting-the only competent review of this lens is on this site.

    I will replace my Sony A6300 with either an A7iii or A 7Riii when it becomes available. I sold my Sony A7r when the A6300 came out because it was still being sold and I did not suffer much loss in value.

    With the above kit, I am carrying a relatively compact and light two camera kit that minimizes lens changing. I can pick a more compact kit by leaving various lenses at home or in the trunk depending on what I am doing.

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