Monday, August 1, 2011
A New Tool on the Horizon
For a couple months after my recovery I've been using the XZ-1 and I've had some decent success with it. As a tool, the compact has proven itself to be competent and pro-minded, with extensive controls I appreciate and a lens second to none I've ever seen in a compact. It is a fantastic camera, plain and simple. But fantastic as it is, there has always been a strong pang deep down for something a little more... substantial.
The XZ-1 is small. Diminutive. Easy enough for my hands to hold, but very difficult to hold steadily unless cradled in a frankly retarded manner with two hands. Its shutter barely exists, making a nearly mute click-click when triggered that doesn't ever jostle the hands. Shooting it feels like playing with a toy, a tiny mock-up that doesn't hold strong in situations where a more professional demeanor is desired. Misguided as the perception may be, it's very difficult to be taken seriously as a photographer when the only tool at your disposal is a point and shoot. The camera will still have a place in my bag of tricks, but with a much more casual (and therefore limited) capacity. It is a camera for nights out at the mall with friends, at restaurants, at events where you'd rather not be noticed as "that guy with the camera".
It took time, but my patience and brand loyalties wore down enough to where I much more readily jumped ship, this time redirecting my system investments into yet another brand - Olympus. I've spoken plenty on the impressive JPG output of Olympus cameras, a strong need for the event shooting I am often tasked to do. RAW does not disappoint either, with much better support in ACR for Olympus lenses making my lens correction process as simple as selecting the utilized lens from a drop-down list. Despite owning and frequently using the LVF-1 viewfinder on my old GF1, I'd be lying if I didn't admit the unit was piss poor at its job, with utterly low resolution and color reproduction, whereas Olympus is nearly famous for the VF-2 viewfinder it managed to produce for use with its PEN line. And that is a rather important difference that influenced the shift - the presence of a compatible and VERY competent viewfinder. Something I've missed ever since I dropped the Nikon branding (and DSLRs in general) was the intimate feeling of composing through a clear eyepiece. Especially when candidly photographing people, I would constantly have one eye to the cup of the viewfinder and the other still open, one ensuring the proper composition of the image and the other keenly trained on the subject unobscured and ready to trigger a mental reaction to coax my finger down on the shutter. With the LVF-1 on the Panasonic this was much more difficult to achieve as the image in one eye did not even remotely match the other. Having tested the VF-2 on an Olympus, I already know the unit will more than exceed my expectations, necessities, hopes, dreams, etc.
E-P3, can't wait to meet you!