My 'black Friday' treat. Panasonic GX8 + 14-140mm lens. Very nice price and my second GX8. This may well be 'the one' in terms of my my workhouse stock photography camera and the poor battery life is the only thing I can fault it on. It's pretty much my perfect camera for stills and video and has the great advantage of still possessing all the small footprint virtues that mirrorless etc. should have in my opinion, plus an amazing lens range and a very nice design. The black one is a bit less retro than the silver I already have, but I like that too.
I've spent a lot of time (and money) on Fuji and Sony, but I keep coming back to Panasonic, Olympus and m4/3. Whether or not mirrorless etc. ever takes over from DSLR's (as if it mattered anyway) this is still a great system that offers something different to 35mm film sensors and Nikon and Canons endless recycling of the digital SLR. And while 'full frame' and APS-C have a place I still get a real pleasure from the 4:3 sensor and what it lets me do. Smartphones are great and I like using them and the freedom I get, but m4/3 is a really nice system to work with for wide-angle, fast prime and telephoto lenses. Until smartphones come up with a lens solution that makes them more versatile, I'll be sticking with m4/3.
i'm using my monster Canon 5Dr to carry out my 'Tourist Britain' job, so I decided to order a Kipon AF 'Speed booster' adapter that should let me use my expanding Canon lens collection on the Panasonics with AF. The Kipon is significantly less expensive than the Metabones version and gets some good reviews, so it should be interesting to see how it performs. In combination with my Nikon lenses and my 'native' Panasonic and Olympus lenses, I will have a very large choice for stills and video. This use of 'alternative' lenses was the reason I got into m4/3 seriously in the first place and I've always liked the creative possibilities that these bring.
When all this discounting, cash backing and drop the prices activity calms down I'll have to have a bit of a clear out. I've got too many cameras sitting doing nothing at the moment (So what's new !) and it's time for a sort out. And apart from anything the GX8's make good sense financially. I've never been particularly bothered by that, but it's tax bill time after the new year, so needs must.
It seems that we have lost Samsung as a mirrorless alternative and while that is no surprise, it does I think have some implications for what might happen. For example Fuji have been VERY quiet lately and whether or not the mythical X-Pro 2 ever appears it seems that they aren't inclined to invest that heavily in a large product range, Sony seem to have given up on APS-C as well and I have to say that despite all the fuss about the FE system I wouldn't be at all surprised if they 'cut and run' if sales of non smartphone cameras drop much further. They have done it in the past with other product ranges and since they don't have any great history in terms of being a camera manufacturer, I doubt they feel any particular obligation to their customers. The way they cynically drop their prices is testament to that.
Panasonic do seem to be different. They indulge in far less price slashing and product 'realignment' than some of their competitors and seem to be a bit more serious about the long term. Now I could be proved wrong but I've always got the impression that their camera division is actually important to them and they are in it for the long haul. Their association with Leica is always encouraging and it seems this is going both ways currently, with the new Leicas full of Panasonic tech. And these days camera manufacturers have to come up with something special to stop more and more people deciding that their (ever improving) smartphone cameras are all they really need.
And all this is actually important to those of us who like to explore beyond the snapshot. The less people make cameras, the less they sell, the more expensive they become. It's always been my view that one of the reasons holding mirrorless etc. back from 'world domination' is that they are too expensive and if prices go up to compensate for dropping sales then I don't hold out a lot of hope. We may well descend into a vicious spiral of less people using 'proper' cameras and that lessening choice leading to higher prices, less innovation and therefore less sales. However we aren't there yet and I'm glad to say that Panasonic and Olympus show no signs of following Samsung.
So at this present time the GX8 ticks more boxes than any other camera I've ever owned and I bought the camera plus lens outfit for less than I paid for my first GX8 plus the 14-42mm kit lens. So it was a good deal. And this year in terms of camera gear here in the UK, there were precious few of those on 'Black Friday.'. And following on from my previous comments, the price I paid is much more in line with what I think is the 'right' price and hopefully some of these manufacturers will get the message. (Sony take note !!)
Now all I need is for it to stop raining!