Back last month, our local full service camera store, Precision Camera had their 3rd annual Camera Expo. As I explored the vendor booths, tempted by the latest photo gear, I discovered something interesting about my recent camera tastes. I was spending the bulk of the time at two booths, Olympus and Fujifilm. Conveniently, there were located right next to each other. I also did a couple of stops at Nikon and spent some time at Panasonic and Sony. However, one place I didn’t spend any time at all was at the Canon booth. In the past, Canon would have been the first place that I visited. Not this time. What changed? Well, they just didn’t have any compelling things for me to look at and drool over. Maybe I already have most of the Canon lenses I need. Maybe it is because they haven’t introduced any significant still camera products. Or maybe they just seem to be behind the times and do not offer anything in the mirrorless system camera market. All Canon seems to be doing these days is to push their video, of which I have very little interest.
My immediate decision point was, do I get a new Olympus lens or get yet another camera, this time from Fujifilm? I’ve been eyeing a really neat $400 lens from Olympus, the 45mm f1.8 that works on my E-PL1. I extensively use my 20mm lens on this camera and the 45mm would make another neat low light lens. It would have a shallower depth of field and it should also be fantastic for portraits. On the other hand, having a high quality point and shoot with a large aperture zoom will really come in handy at times. The new Fujifilm X10 is such a camera. It has a 28mm to 112mm zoom that ranges from f2.0 to f2.8. The camera runs more than the lens at $600 but it could be really handy at times, especially on trips. As much as I love the Olympus E-PL1 and 20mm lens combo, there are times that I can’t zoom with my feet. Having that zoom with a bright lens in a small body would be enticing indeed. There are pros and cons with either decision and I went back and forth testing the lens and the camera to decide where to spend my cash. I guess I was having fun doing the empirical analysis and the weighing it against my gut, emotional feel. I finally made my decision after 2 days of much thought. I’ll talk about that in a future post.
I also visited the Nikon both to check out their new Nikon 1 line of mirrorless cameras. I posted Nikon Creates a Tablet (Nikon 1) but is it an iPad? 2 months ago and I wanted to play with the new camera to see how I like it. I’ve seen the camera in stores but I was able to use different lens combinations at the Camera Expo. Early verdict. The body seems bigger than I expected given the size of the sensor. The longer 30-110mm zoom lens was a lot more compact than I expected. I really love the way this camera shoots video. There are interface features that seem confusing for both novices and experience users. I would be much more excited if Nikon releases some large aperture prime lenses, which they are rumored to do. At that point, I would look at the system more carefully. The current crop of lenses really don’t interest me right now. From a pure, sense of desire point of view, I found the Fujifilm X-10 to be more interesting at this point that than the Nikon 1 series. Time will tell since the Nikon 1 will continue to get better as they build out their system.
I strolled over to the Panasonic both to see some of their latest goodies but was disappointed. Not with their products but the lack of products they had on display. Do you have the new GX1? Nope. Do you have the new Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4? Nope. Well luckily, the Sony both was right next doors. I commented about how it was interesting that the two giant consumer electronics companies, Sony and Panasonic were placed right next to each other. Sony was better prepared. They had the new, spectacular NEX-7 and the premium Zeiss 24mm f1.8 available to use. And though I explain in my previous post, Why I’m not buying the Sony NEX-7 – Revisited, I do think the NEX-7 is a very drool worthy camera — it’s just not for me at this time. I also wanted to do some more testing with the NEX-5n but they only had the NEX-5. The 7’s build quality and interface is fantastic. It is certainly the premium mirrorless camera on the market. Image quality shot in a dull and dark show floor was well, dull and dark. The image lacked the pop of the Olympus or even the Fujifilm X10.
Finally, the title of this post says it all. Though I am a Canon user, currently with a 7D and a slew of lenses, I did a quick walk by the Canon booth. I complimented the Canon video guy on a great presentation and that was about it. I hope that Canon, the last hold out in the new mirrorless race, will come out with something fantastic. If Canon makes the bold move with such a new camera, a move that Nikon did not make, then they can still potentially dominate the next big trend. Sure I would buy new lenses for such a camera system but I also have a bunch of EF lenses that I would love to use. Let’s see what 2012 will bring.