Shout out to JDevaunPhotog since a Twitter message exchange with him inspired this post I had been meaning to write. Camera gear update: It has been a few months now since I went back fully to the Samsung camp and truly glad I did.
My first approach was prime heavy (went a little crazy) and I cheaped out on zooms.
I was much more selective this time around and I have a kit that better suits my needs and now fits in my small Swiss Gear bag instead of requiring the Lowepro backpack which is now used for all of my film gear. The mirrorless bag weighs like depleted uranium admittedly, but it is small enough to be somewhat inconspicuous or fit in another larger bag when I do not want to scream “I have camera gear!”.
- The aforementioned NX300 I adored, sold, snapped out of it, repurchased and now adore again.
- The NX1. Simply put the best all around stills and video camera for the dollar available today in my opinion.
- 30mm f2.0 that performs well above price and size.
- The extremely versatile 50-150mm f2.8. I thought being limited to 150mm would be a problem, but since I do not shoot long that often and the sharpness allows for heavy cropping I was actually more pleased that at 50mm I was able to leave this lens on the camera for normal shooting rather than swapping or requiring a second body offering more flexibility than the 75-200mm f2.8 Pentax I had owned previously.
- The 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 Power Zoom. I was saving up for the f2-2.8 16-50mm until the reasonable price, compact size (something oddly therapeutic about watching a power zoom extend and close when powering the camera on and off), great reviews, and the fact that a power zoom is better for video prompted me to get the f3.5-5.6 16-50mm first. Good choice because it is so good I see no immediate need to get the f2-2.8 for now. Insanely sharp lens. The power zoom implementation is quite clever. On AF the ring zooms and on MF the +/- toggle zooms and the ring focuses and the speed of the zoom is configurable. It also responds quickly to zoom inputs compared to power zooms I have used before.This may be the surprise bargain lens for me. In fact this lens scratched 3 lenses off of my immediate shopping list:
- 16-50mm f2-2.8: No arguing the superiority of a brighter aperture, but even indoor, like a recent car show, I have yet to run in to a situation where I was hampered by a lack of available light. Plus with the 30mm f2.0 on hand I have options in low light right in the middle of this focal range.
- 60mm macro: While not macro lens close this lens offers a minimum focus distance of 9.48 inches at 50mm and when you combine that with the sharpness it rendered a macro redundant for my current purposes with a little cropping. And mind you I owned and very much enjoyed to 60mm macro the 1st time around.
- 12-24mm zoom: This is another lens I owned previously and loved, but right now I do not see spending more to gain 4mm of wide angle. Admittedly a good margin, but not enough to trade off keeping one lens on the camera.
- Having now covered 16-150 I decided to purchase the most loved lens I have ever owned next, the 85mm f/1.4. Again. I love this lens and I do not use this word lightly. Also the only item I have ever sold/traded that I regretted selling as I was putting it in the mail to the person who bought it from me on Amazon. Only the Mitakon 50mm f0.95 I had for the previously owned Sony A7 battles it for first place on my want list. Great value also. Granted not as bright an aperture. but with AF it costs a little less than the all manual Mitakon. Also the used NX1 and the new 85mm combined cost about as much or less than others charge for their factory 85mm f1.4 lenses.
Needs covered. I do not regret the sell/swap/buy process that led to this because after having tried so many manufacturers and pieces of gear it has erased any doubts. For the first time that incessant voice in the back of my head urging me to get some other piece of gear or system has gone silent. Will there be change in the future? Certainly. I may get a 10mm fisheye again (previously gifted by Samsung USAs PR arm) for giggles or repurchase the 12-24mm I also adored out of want. Some day down the road I will be drawn to other gear due to the march of time (especially if Samsung carries out the rumored ditch the mirrorless plan) but I am quite happy across the board for the first time ever with my current kit. -ELW
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