Last weekend, I wrote about downsizing my photo equipment, in an effort to actually ensure that I start to take a camera with me when I leave the house.
Well, we’re a weekend later, and I still don’t know what I’m going to buy. But I think I’ve figured out what I’m going to try.
So without further ado, the nominees:
Candidate one is the legendary Leica.
- Cost. Leicas are expensive. If I sell all my gear, buy a used Leica with one (used) lens, I’ll probably also have to chip in some cash.
- Weight. Many online reviews describe the Leica M as ‘a tank’. While it is definitely a less bulky option than my current DSLR setup, it weighs in above the other cameras in the shortlist. (Leica does sell other cameras, but I’m sure they’re not as good. That will bother me.) (I think.)
- Is it that great? There are a surprising number of articles on the internet designed to convince the reader that the Leica is good branding on a mediocre camera.
Quality. There are endless articles detailing how [insert other camera here] is superior. They show you specifications. The other camera will have more megapixels. Or a tiltable screen. Or autofocus. They’ll tell you that it’s a less pleasant experience.
And then they’ll show you pictures. They will talk about the technical superiority of the non-Leica image. They’ll zoom in on something that you couldn’t see in the original photo to make their point. They’ll show you more noise at ISO 12800. They’ll claim the colour is more accurate on the other camera.
In every single picture in every single article, where the reviewer attempts to compose and take the same photograph twice, once on a Leica, and once on something else … and the picture taken with the Leica is better.
It’s crazy. It might not be sharper (it usually is). It might have more noise. Or ‘less accurate’ colour. But it’s always better.
I mean, what the hell. If it takes better pictures, it’s the better camera. That’s how these things work.
And I constantly prefer the images from the Leica.
Candidate number two is the full frame mirrorless Sony.
- The look. I know. It’s not supposed to matter. But look at the other two candidates. Then look at this candidate. Yeah.
- The size. The Leica might be heavier (barely), but the Sony is bigger — smaller than a DSLR, but the largest of the available bodies. Sony lenses are also bigger, on average, than their Leica or Fujifilm counterparts. If the goal is to go small, Sony might not achieve that.
- Lenses. Size aside, Sony has the weakest choice of made-for-the-camera lenses.
The specification. There’s no doubt about it — the electronics in Sony’s cameras are superior. It performs more tricks, and performs them better, than other cameras. Hell, other camera manufacturers tend to use Sony’s parts. Sony gets them first.
Sony wins every side-by-side stat comparison hands down.
Candidate three. Fujifilm.
- Sensor size. The Fujifilm X-series cameras do not have full frame sensors. (Some Leicas, to be fair, also do not.) (But they are inferior.) Full frame looks better.
- Mixed reviews. These cameras have excellent reviews. Across the board. But comparisons always seem to have a but. With Leicas, the ‘but’ is the price. Sony cameras don’t get a ‘but’. The ‘but’ worries me. Adobe doesn’t handle the RAW format well. The colours look off. And so on.
- Not the best camera. There are arguments that the Leica is the best camera in this list. There are arguments for the Sony. Fujifilm simply does not stack up, side-by-side. It may be the best value for money of the three. It may be the best fit for me. But it sure ain’t the best camera.
- Cost. It’s by far the least expensive option here. I’ll be able to fully kit it, or pocket some money (probably) after selling my current Nikon gear.
- Size. It’s smaller and lighter, by a fair amount. There’s a trade-off in sensor size and specs. But, it’s there.
- Updates. Fujifilm has a reputation for releasing firmware updates that add new features and make huge improvements to their cameras. Sony and Leica only fix bugs, and leave the user to buy the next camera if they want the latest features.
Is yet to come.
Now I have to spend silly amounts of time playing with cameras in shops, while fending off salespeople.