System evaluation III: a non-Pentax update

I somehow enjoy reflecting about my equipment once in a while, one could call it already a tradition as this is already my third iteration. Looking back, once more much has changed. Hence, I would highlight two main aspects: 1) Equipment meeting the requirements 2) quality of the pictures.

1) Equipment and requirements

Over the time I have realized that requirements can change much more often than I would have imagined and hoped for. Back in 2006 when I joined Pentax, apart from affordability the size & volume was a major reason. The more I became settled, less important became both aspects. Intrigued by the much proclaimed “full frame” look I bought a much larger system (Canon 5D & lenses), only to realize that this was too much for my use case and my photography would not improve accordingly. Fully back to Pentax, I restructured my lenses.

In 2013 I finally got my driving license for motorcycles, revamping my preferences. Portability became more important yet again. In preparation of a south east Asian holiday and reflecting the experience from China, I spontaneously bought into the Micro Four Thirds System with an E-PL3, 14-42 II and the 45mm. The holiday plans did not work out, but the results I gained impressed me. Moreover, I’ve found the EVF to be very useful. Adjusting the exposure to match my expectations is much easier, shooting black and white is amazing, and so is the Single AF e.g. combined with face detection. Soon a 20mm F1.7, 12-50mm, OMD EM5 and 40-150mm followed.

In result, my Pentax did not get much sunlight. Hesitating to sell anything, I gave myself more time. But every time I picked up the Pentax, it was too large, too heavy and I was disappointed by the OVF. The MFT equipment just meets my requirements even better. Quality-wise I did not lose much, but gained a lot of portability, usability and quality.

2) Quality of my pictures

Looking back I am much more satisfied with the results from last year. What is the reason? Pretty simple: I did shoot much more. Whenever I go for a walk, visit friends, go for a ride with my bike – I have a lightweight, capable camera with me. I can even use two cameras as I did in Istanbul without feeling burdened by the weight. Though I sometimes feel sorry for my remaining Pentax stuff, I am so happy currently. Sure, there is still some GAS. For Pro Zooms such as the 12-40mm, the Panasonic 15mm F1.7, the Sony or Fuji system. But in the end, I would hardly gain anything apart from weight again. Why?

I have started to print again. A pretty simple A4 Canon printer (MG7550) gives me a lot of great moments because I can print whenever I want in a very decent quality using Canon ink and paper. No strings (cables) attached due to wifi/NFC. Brilliant! In terms of post processing I have now signed Adobe’s creative cloud. Again, in terms of usability a huge gain: I am on regular business trips and can post process my pictures on the iPad, synchronize and take it from there when I am at home.

So what is the bottom line?

A: Know your preferences and the limitations of the equipment you use. M43 has limited DOF and noise performance, but that currently does not bother me. The IBIS and a small flash (Metz 24 AF) cover the noise performance, the Panasonic Summilux 25mm and Olympus 45mm give me the DOF I need.

B: Next conclusion: output medium. Printing A4 and A3, some of the limitations just disappear – literally. Noise is much less of an issue. Same accounts for most of the web sizes for pictures.

Thanks for reading, best regards and great light for everyone!

Previous Versions:
System I – Pentax
System II – Pentax vs. Canon

Kit lens & adapted Samyang 85mm are missing…