Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Camera quandaries

For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been happily shooting with a Nikon D300. Fine camera in its day, but sensor technology and camera processors have advanced a lot, and newer generations promise better image quality, wider tonal range, less noise, better low-light performance, etc.

Nikon has offered updates of much of its camera range, and a number of new models, without offering an updated version of the D300 incorporating comparable build quality and features in a more state-of-the-art and capable package. In essence, they have encouraged D300 owners to buy into the full-frame camera range formerly populated only by high-end professional cameras and utilizing some of the spectacular lenses used by the pros. However, the entry-level full-frame camera, with an appropriate kit lens, retails for somewhere around $3,000. Additional lenses for this class of camera are also much more expensive than the Nikon lenses I currently use, but would need to replace for use with a full-frame camera.

I’m an amateur photographer, which means that my photo equipment is not paying for itself every time I use it. Any photo gear I buy is not so much an investment as a net drain on family savings: lost opportunities to replace our scruffy old sofa, or remodel the 1960s-style kitchen counters, or help my kid pay for college. So a $3k camera, that requires a MUCH more expensive set of lenses than I currently own, is a non-starter for me. 1-800-DIVORCE COURT.

So I’m looking around at possible non-Nikon alternatives. Right now what appeals to me is the sleek, solid, capable, and relatively affordable  Fujifilm X-E2. A camera/lens combo would cost less than half of what I would need to pay for a full-frame Nikon camera + lens. And I doubt that I would actually notice a huge difference in image quality, especially since I’m not trying to sell my photos to hyper-critical image editors. I look forward to seeing actual test results of production models of this new X-E2 in the next few weeks, but it looks very promising. Its predecessor was highly thought of, and the updated model improves on that in significant ways while preserving the very appealing design & ergonomics. I am strongly attracted to the compact, retro rangefinder design, and doing away with the whole bulky & complicated SLR pentaprism/mirror assembly seems like a huge step in the right direction for electronic cameras. We’ll see, but I’m thinking about non-Nikon non-SLR alternatives much more seriously than any time in the past.

No comments:

Post a Comment