Autumn with Leica X-Vario - Whats next?

All images Leica X-Vario

I always find the onset of Autumn quite depressing. Yes the colours of the decaying leaves are a visual treat, but the shorter days and the restriction of my shooting time is always something I dislike. Like other photographers who shoot in the landscape, I  appreciate that the light also gets more attractive with the sun lower in the sky, but I'd swap all of that for a longer summer.

These pictures were taken with my Leica X-vario, which could be a last hurrah since I've very reluctantly put it up for sale. I haven't been able to overcome the problems with the viewfinder caused by my having to wear polarised sunglasses in bright sunlight. It does spoil the whole experience when I have to put up with not being able to see properly. When OLED viewfinders first appeared, I assumed that all EVF's from then on would be the same, but it seems they aren't. I also thought live view screens would be OLED too, but manufacturers seem intent on inflicting problems in sunlight on photographers. Its ironic that my Blackberry's screen is perfectly viewable in bright sunlight when the majority of my cameras aren't.

I've also responded to the news that Nikon might be releasing an FM2 styled small DSLR by cancelling my Sony A7r and RX10 pre-orders. I do realise that this may not happen and there are all sorts of reasons why, even if it does get released, it may not be right for me. Its just that the prospect of being able to use my Nikon primes with AF on a body with a D4 sensor in it, is just too tempting to pass up. I may eventually end up with the Sonys anyway, but I can afford to wait a while so see what, if anything, is announced. I've also put all my X-E1 kit up for sale on ebay. I do like the camera, but its now coming to my close season if you like, and I really have no need for four cameras and three different systems. I've also got a bit fed up with all the work required to get decent results from the raw images. I've been editing a lot lately and each m4/3 raw image I process and edit in Photoshop takes about half the time of a Fuji X file. Since I've still got 1000's to get through I decided that if I shoot more images the least I can do is to make them as quick and easy to edit as possible. 

So if I get what I want on ebay, I may be down to my two Panasonics soon, GH3 and G6, while I see what Nikon come up with, if anything, and more information about the Sony's becomes available. Certainly some of the sample images circulating are pretty dire. The consequence of giving photo hacks at freebie junkets pre-production cameras to play with, I guess. 

Never understood this. Surely manufacturers want images circulating that show just how good their products are. Much of what passes for sample images are in fact the complete opposite of that. Just ignoring the ineptitude of a lot of the photography, technically they are often terrible. And it probably can't help but be that way. The journalists, in their defence, probably have very little time to get optimum results and are under pressure to get something for the websites. However they don't have to go to these launches and scoff the vol-au-vents. They could actually say to the manufacturers, 'Look, we'll wait until you give us a production camera that we can get to know, get the best from it and shoot raw and jpg's with the latest firmware. Then we can make a proper assessment.' Remind you of anyone? Well yes this is exactly what DPreview do, and its no accident that they are still the pre-eminent site for any useful assessment of new gear, and their previews are refreshingly free of dodgy jpgs.. The rest are just embarrassing caricatures falling over themselves to get their noses in the trough and attempt to show that are actually relevant.

In the midst of all this dross there is the occasional useful information that surfaces. It seems that the A7 is different to the A7r in terms of the microlens design that seems to cause the same problems with wide-angle m-mount lenses that plagued the NEX-7. These type of problems are usually missing from SLR lenses, but I'd like to be sure, since my plan, If I buy an A7r, is to use my Nikon lenses exclusively. I've also seen some absolutely terrible images from an RX10, jpgs. that had detail almost completely obliterated by noise reduction. There is no way Sony would release a camera that did this, but again I'd like to be sure. 

So hopefully for once I can have a bit of mature reflection and decide where to go from here. I know one thing for sure, my Nikon lenses will be an important part of that, and finding them the right body and sensor is top of the list of my priorities.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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