From m4/3 to Nikon DSLR's

Nikon D7000 D5100 10-24mm 16-85mm 35mm f/1.8 55-300mm

It seems that m4/3 and I aren't compatible any more. After my experiences photographing the lavender farm with the E-PL1 and the difficulties that caused, it may be that I have to give up using it, and probably all CSC's.

I've always been very sensitive to sunlight and have always worn sunglasses outdoors. Add in the fact that working with EVF's and live view screens seems to trigger my visual migraines and CSC's are a problem for me. Since working with optical viewfinders and polarised sunglasses the situation has been much improved. However using the E-PL1 for a couple of days has proved to me that, for my outdoor work at least, there are difficulties caused by these type of cameras.

Consequently, I'm going to be working much more with both the Leicas and Nikons.

Nikon D7000 10-24mm
Nikon D7000 10-24mm zoom

My comments yesterday - /soundimageplus/2011/07/cotswold-lavender.html  included "What I really want, and have always wanted, is a small, light rangefinder styled camera, but with AF, decent sized sensor, good lenses and an optical viewfinder. " But that isn't going to be possible, so I'm going to be using - Smallish, not that heavy SLR styled cameras, with AF, decent sized sensor, good lenses and optical viewfinders. The Nikon D7000 and D5100.

Nikon D7000 D5100 10-24mm 16-85mm 35mm f/1.8 55-300mm

When I first got the D5100 I wasn't looking to change my system because of the eye problems, as I hadn't worked out fully what was causing them. I was interested in trying what seemed to be a small light DSLR. That I liked using it so much, and consequently went on to buy the D7000, is the result of the excellent handling, design and image quality of both those cameras. Though I've always liked m4/3, I have always, apart from a very short period of time, had a DSLR as well. The Sony a850 and Pentax K-5 were recent cameras I used. 
However these two APS-C Nikons are the nicest SLR cameras I've used since film days. The combination of reduced weight, high specification, top quality build and a really impressive sensor has convinced me that the DSLR is far from dead. 

Nikon D5100 16-85mm
Nikon D5100 16-85mm zoom lens

It has seemed until recently that top quality DSLR's were just getting bigger and heavier. This in contrast to the developments in m4/3 and the other CSC's. I know that Nikon, Canon and particularly Pentax have been producing smaller lighter DSLR's for some time, but the D5100 struck me as the first budget DSLR I've used that both looks and feels like a "professional" tool. Yes there are compromises, but for its price point, it has a reassuring solid build, excellent performance and of course produces great images. While the Canon 550D / 600D cameras deliver the goods in terms of stills and video, I don't think anyone would claim their build quality is that great.

Nikon D7000 10-24mm
Nikon D7000 10-24mm zoom lens

Like the Pentax K-5 the D7000 illustrates that "professional" performance and reduced size and weight aren't incompatible. The more I use it, the more I'm impressed with it. I've already stated I think its the best Nikon DSLR I've ever used and indeed the best DSLR. In terms of ease of use, handling, construction and image quality I've not used anything better.

Nikon D7000 10-24mm
Nikon D7000 10-24mm zoom lens - multi image panoramic stitch

The Pentax K-5 was very close to being the right camera for me, but I find the D7000 faster, more intuitive for me, better laid out and it doesn't have its mirror rolling around in the body which was always somewhat disconcerting for me in the Pentax.

In terms of image quality there is virtually nothing in it, but the range of Nikon lenses is probably the final deciding factor me. Pentax lenses are (mostly) very good but there aren't that many of them. Something that Sony need to work on. They probably don't have more bodies than lenses but it often seems they do. Certainly the lens choice for my a850 was much more limited than for the Nikons.

So its a case of needs must, but not something I'm unhappy about. The E-P3 and 12mm and 45mm lenses are VERY tempting, and I will find them very hard to resist when they are released, but for the moment I'm happy to work with the Nikons.

Nikon D7000 10-24mm
Nikon D7000 10-24mm zoom lens

Nikon D7000 D5100 10-24mm 16-85mm 35mm f/1.8 55-300mm

Nikon D7000 D5100 10-24mm 16-85mm 35mm f/1.8 55-300mm