Making choices

2009, Photography

Hoekelum by Wouter Brandsma
For long I found myself happy and challenged with smaller cameras. My style and my kind of photography really worked very well with these cameras (or at least I thought so). The compactness and the quality of the files was enough and workable. But, and this is a big but, it is not enough anymore. At times my current camera drove and still does drive me mad. I don’t like the image files, the lack of detail, the excessive blue noise, and the tougher post processing. I miss shallow depth of field and fast prime lenses.
Hoekelum by Wouter Brandsma
I would still prefer a small camera, but I don’t think there is no real option available. Oh yeah, what about the DP1? Yes, the prices are dropping and the image quality is superb. But I am still restricted to only one focal length. And a DP2 will set me back another 900 Euro. And that annoyes me when I still have some really good M42 lenses that cost almost nothing.
M42 lenses
Although I would love to have a rangefinder camera, I made up my mind and will choose a dSLR instead. So now I am checking for prices of used cameras and see what would work best for me and what camera would work best with my M42 lenses. I have a 35mm f2.8, 50mm f2.8, 58mm f2.0 and 135mm f2.8 at home. Maybe I look for an additional wide angle lens for landscapes (20mm or even wider) and a fast 28mm lens for general purposes. Although some cameras will have restrictions with the metering system, I reduced my selection to cameras like the Canon 20D, Fujifilm S3Pro, Nikon D70s, Pentax K10D or Sigma SD14 with a preference for the Canon or the Sigma (despite the 1.6 and 1.7 cropfactor). A refurbished or second hand Canon 5D is still too expensive for me although I would love to have a full frame camera. But we can’t have it all and the nice thing about these older lenses that they will work fine on both cropped and full frame sensors.
Hoekelum by Wouter Brandsma
I have no immediate intention to do so now, but this is what I am planning to do so for this year. I will of course keep my Ricoh besides me. I like to have a small camera in the bag.
Hoekelum by Wouter Brandsma
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma


23 thoughts on “Making choices

  1. Hi Wouter,

    i use a beside my gx100 nikon d80 and before that i used a d70. Also have some experience with canons. I prefer nikon because its simpler and easier to use to me (like the same way ricoh is comparing to other compacts). The difference between d80 and d70 is big. D80 has a lot more detail in high isos and less noise if you expose the shot right. D80’s viewfinder is much bigger than D70’s and if you gonna use a lot manual focusing lenses the viewfinder is important thing because focusing manual with a little viewfinder with slr is awful (as you know, i think).
    I don’t know whats the price difference in your country, but i encourage you do think about D80.

    Take care,


    1. Until now the prices for the D80 are still quite high, but I hope they will lower soon so I can add your suggestion to my list. I agree that the larger viewfinder is a huge advantage over the D70. Current second hand prices seem to be around 400 Euro for a body in the Netherlands.

  2. Wouter! Duuude! Time to clean your lenses, no?!? Do you manage to catch anything in between the particles?

    I really really really dig the first shot and the last one. I am so jealous of your skies! I think I live in a cloudless environment.

    1. That is right Nathalie. I haven’t used these lenses for more then 13 years. I will make them particle free when I can finally use them again.

      When I saw the horse on the last photograph I immediately thought of you. And the clouds were perfect indeed.

  3. I do like the outcome (what I see on the net) of the pentax…. !

    Of course the sd14 is a different ‘ beast’ altogether and is a good buy now with the sd15 around the corner.

    I have a strong favour for these two, less common known cameras BUT, i like the underdog position and not going with the mainstream.

    1. I like the underdog position too, but I care most about the photographs. For that matter I tape off the name of the camera. I just want to extend my creativity.

  4. Wouter,

    I am sorry you feel like this about the GX200. The good things you did with the GX100 inspired me to buy one and I am very pleased with it. The first one got dust after 2 weeks but the replaced has had no problems in 18 months.

    I have a fairly extensive Olympus E system, but the GX100 is always with me!

    If and when you get a DSLR, I am sure there will be many times that you will want a serious compact.

    Can you not find a new GX100 for sale somewhere?

    Here in the UK there are certainly some available. For example see Ffordes. the follow New Equipment/Ricoh Cameras and you will see one.

    All the best

    Peter J

    1. Hello Peter,

      I am glad you have so much fun with the GX100. Although I still have some doubts about the reliability of the GX100 it is in many ways the better camera. And I won’t replace my compact camera, I just add a dSLR to expant my photographic opportunities. And I might even sell the GX200 and get a GX100 again. Thank you for mentioning that retailer in Scotland.


  5. I love my Canon G9, but found its performance at low light conditions a restriction. So in January I invested in a Nikon D40 (light and small to carry around and unobtrusive for street photography), its been a revaluation. Great low light performance, fast, but the biggest surprise has been using view finder compared to the LCD – it has such an intimate feeling.

    1. Thank you for your comment Yesbuts. That really helps me. I am not only into better low light performance, but mostly after shallow depth of field. I just miss that so much.

  6. Wow. Wouter talking about going dSLR. I don’t know how I feel about this… kind of turns my world upside down. I feel cold inside.


  7. Good Luck Wouter! I think you have a good strategy…and it is called evolution. 🙂 I saw this today

    and said to myself “I would love to do similar B&W portraiture but that may not be possible with the GRD so I’ll try it with the G10….and if that doesn’t cut it, the D90.” But I’ll alway keep the GRD in my pocket for the street.

    P.S. I previously toyed with the idea of getting an Olympus e-420 and modifying it with rangefinder glass.

    1. A Katz eye piece is still more then 100 Dollar without installation. But it provides better manual focussing on most dSLR’s. WIth the minimum of light Yousuf Karsh used it is difficult to get good B&W portraits from a small sensor camera.

      I think the D90 with (for example) the Sigma 30mm f1.4 would be a great combination for portraitures.

  8. I use a couple of M42 lenses on my “very” old Canon D60 (the model that came out way back in 2002, I think). Anyway, the results are great, and it puts good use to old lenses. I also use a Pentacon-6 adapter so I can use some of the Pentacon medium format lenses I have, but admittedly I’ve rarely used that combo. All in all, using old manual lenses on modern dSLRs is fun, at least to me.

    I think perhaps in another 2~3 years time, we’ll see enough competition in the larger-sensor/smaller-camera with interchangeable lens arena. These first offerings from Panasonic and Samsung are a start, but the faux SLR shape leaves me stone cold.

    1. Grazie mille Kai. That is exactly the kind of news I like to hear. I think it is great fun to use these older lenses on modern dSLR’s.

      Not only the faux SLR shape leaves me stone cold too, but also the EVF’s. That is way I will go for the dSLR route.


  9. Hello,

    perhaps the old Olympus E-1 is an interesting thing. Kodak Full Frame Sensor, not very quick, but solid and robust.The Sigmas SD 14/15 are interesting as well. The future will tell – for myself – i am looking for a perfect camera too, but…

    Regards, Titus

    1. I can life with a non-perfect camera, as long as it fits my priorities. The simpler, the better in my opinion. Since I made A2 prints of GX100 and GX200 images, the camera needs to able to get similar (or larger) sized prints.

      The Sigma SD14 seems an interesting contender and I know how well the Foveon images can look like after I tried the DP1 last year.

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