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Re-evaluating my priorities

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TonyTurley, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    A recent thread over at mu-43 has got me thinking, so I thought I'd share something over here. For a long time after I got my first E-mount (5R), I used only adapted lenses. I've bought and sold so many legacy lenses over the past two years I can't remember them all without going back and looking at old listings. Many of them I used a few times, then they got stuck in a box. Fortunately, I was able to sell most of them to their next homes. After much experimentation and consideration, I've pretty well settled on my kits.

    For E-mount, the NEX-6 and my two Pen F lenses, 38/1.8 and 20/3.5. I love the rendering of both of those lenses. They give an old school character that is very appealing to me. They are also tiny, with a small adapter. I seldom pull out any other adapted lens to use on the NEX.

    For M4/3, I've found I prefer 4/3 or m4/3 lenses on the E-M5. The 4/3 mount ZD 14-54/2.8-3.5 Mk II and newly acquired ZD 50-200/2.8-3.5 give me a hiking kit that is weather sealed and rugged, with excellent IQ. For those times I'm indoors, the Panasonic m4/3 20/1.7 is fast, small, and sharp.

    That's it, folks. The constant chasing of new-to-me legacy glass and other gear did not make me a better photographer, and actually led to a vague inner dissatisfaction after finding the "next great thing" didn't meet expectations.The recent sell-off of a slew of lenses has actually had a cleansing effect on my thought processes. I have several more lenses I'm going to be selling as soon as I can set aside time to take some decent product photos. I'm not keeping any large legacy telephoto lenses at all, and I only intend to keep a trio of MD lenses that were given to me by family members. My time will be henceforth spent on simply making the best art I can, with what I have. My goal is to reduce my camera gear to the point it can all fit into a single sealed tote for storage.

    Tony
     
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  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Well, all I can say is: Good luck to you, Tony! :D:p:)

    While I have recently divested myself of the last legacy lens that I owned, I don't want to deceive myself into thinking that henceforth the gear I currently own will be all that I ever need to shoot a good photo. Well, need, maybe. Want? Hah!

    For me there are two facts worth keeping in mind. 1) Buying new gear (when that something new is clearly "better" than what I currently own) does not preclude taking good photos. The two are not mutually exclusive. That's why, when the 16-35mm came out, I had a hunch that it might work better for me than my up-to-then favorite lens, the 24-70mm. The jury may still be out on that one. But the first results are encouraging to me. No, the new lens doesn't make me a better photographer. But it does make it easier to get the kind of photos I want to shoot. And as long as I can zero out my credit card balance each month, where's the harm?

    And 2) Technology marches on. When I look at some of the noisy, narrow dynamic range photos I used to get with the first and second generation µ4/3 gear and compare that with what I'm getting with the A7, it's very obvious to me just how quickly this photo technology world is changing. Even current µ4/3 gear blows my old stuff away. So while I'm very, very happy right now with the A7, I would not be at all surprised to find myself a year or two from now looking at the output from some new whiz-bang sensor and saying to myself: I MUST have that!!!

    Here's hoping that I can afford it when that sensor (and attached camera) comes out.

    Buying new gear and being disappointed isn't a bad thing, IMhO. It teaches me to be a little more selective about what I shell out for. And I have a long list of eBay sales that serves as a reminder of my many mistakes. But buying new gear and being as happy as twelve dogs about what it gives me, well, count me in!
     
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  3. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    HA! We are kindred spirits in that regard. Your post rings true, David. I'm not saying I'll never buy any new gear, just that at this point, I'm going to slow way down and enjoy what I have. When my sales are complete, I will have 3 lenses for the E-M5, 2 for the NEX, and a few display pieces simply for nostalgia. This is really just a subset of a bigger process we're going through of aggressive decluttering while we remodel our house. The amount of stuff I keep running across where I say "Why did I/we ever keep this?" is simply mind-blowing.
     
  4. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    I too am a big fan of older lenses, and have bought and sold about 15, keeping 3.

    I have recently rediscovered the joy of AF with the superb AF on the A6000.
     
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  5. pbizarro

    pbizarro TalkEmount Veteran

    354
    Nov 24, 2014
    Portugal
    Well, I have been doing photography since about 1990, started with Canon EOS, so I have my fair share of equipment learning curve. These days, I have pared it down to a bare minimum. I still use EOS for landscapes, night scapes, and so on, because the quality is there, and the new 16-35 f4 L lens is stunning for that. For family, travel, street, documentary, and so on, I have the A7II, that I use with adapted lenses. Rather than buying and selling lenses, I have researched a lot, and decided on two of them: a Zeiss C Sonnar f1.5 50mm ZM, plus a recent ebay purchase, a portrait lens to round up my small system. This ended up to be a Leica M Tele Elmarit 90 f2.8.

    So I am a happy camper.
     
  6. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    For my part, I find security in legacy MF lenses. I know there are no electronics to wear out and that as long as I take care of them, I can still be using for any number of years (decades) into the future. There's something to be said for a purely mechanical lens--even a trinity set. I think that's an 'investment' worth doing--which is why I really only seek out MF lenses of a known quality. Either MF or AF, I think the key is to be intentional with your purchases and make sure you have a good reason for having a particular lens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
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  7. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Agree 100%, Mike. I was guilty of too many "Me, too!" purchases. I do still like old legacy glass, particularly my Pen F lenses. My goal, nearly achieved, is to have a small set of high quality lenses that I really want to keep and use.
     
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  8. ztryfe

    ztryfe TalkEmount Veteran

    224
    Aug 19, 2014
    Mexico
    Vic
    This!

    I dont have as many years under my belt, but I came to this realization early on, what kind of pictures this lens will allow me to create? cant I do it with my current gear?

    As for the initial post, while I agree that narrowing down to native options for my kind of photography is in my roadmap, there is something to mounting a nice, all manual lens, and taking a couple of seconds to capture the moment the way you want.

    The only place where I see benefits more skewed towards legacy glass, is in Macro lenses ( I tend to be more of a macro shooter), there is a lot of legacy glass that can go side by side with many modern offerings :), and get you better bang for your buck ratios!
     
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  9. HabsFan

    HabsFan TalkEmount Veteran

    258
    Apr 10, 2013
    Ontario, CAN
    One of the original draws to the NEX/E-mount for me was being able to use legacy lenses. But as the kids have got older and never sit still, it gets to become a chore. I got rid of most of my more expensive legacy lenses with only the CV 75 2.5 remaining along with some random cheapie lenses. One of my other issues with legacy lenses is that most of them are almost unusable wide open (soft, hazy, flare, etc.) unless you spend a fair amount of money.

    I've actually given thought about going to a 1" sensor compact (RX 100/Canon G7X) for all my snapshot type pictures as even a NEX 5N with a lens can be too big to bring along on certain outings. I brought 5 lenses with me on a recent family vacation and only used 2 of them, the 18-55 kit and the 35mm OSS. My thought is to have a decent compact like the G7X for general pictures of the kids and then have a E-mount with a wide angle (for landscape/interesting perspectives) and the 35mm oss for low light.

    Kind of a rant here but I've been thinking of shifting my priorities as well.
     
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  10. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Thanks for joining the discussion, guys.
     
  11. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    712
    Feb 17, 2015
    And here I find myself on the other end of the scale, so to speak. I ended up with a couple of really nice lenses that were handed down from family and found I just can't afford to shoot them with the film cameras they came with. So I saved my pennies and dimes and got a used Nex-7 to adapt them all to. I still love my D7000, but I couldn't put the legacy glass on it, well most of it. I really enjoy having a 'new camera' experience every time I put a different lens on the Nex. For my every day, gotta get a quick snap shot of that I use my Canon ELPH. Great little pocketable camera that doesn't do too badly.
     
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  12. Dan Euritt

    Dan Euritt TalkEmount Regular

    191
    Jan 11, 2014
    you can learn a lot about photography by testing old legacy lenses, and doing so will take your photography skills to the next level.

    the problem is knowing when to stop :eek:
     
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  13. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    interesting post, but 'legacy glass' imo is a non issue to being 'content' with whatever 'contents' you. ive bought/sold/traded like you, more than i can remember. ive intentionally pared way down. gear doesnt make you better, but the right gear makes you happier. find it, legscy, af, mf, film, digi or some combo. embrace it. use it, be happy. dont look for the next thing.
     
  14. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    But what if the "next thing" is the "right gear" that will make me "happier?" :p
     
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  15. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    The fact that the vast majority of my lenses were
    legacy wasn't the point. They could have been expensive E-mount, and the point would have been the same.

    EDIT: darn phone -3 posts appear while I'm typing
     
  16. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    with the incredible variety of gear offering an incredible variety of user experience, all at excellent base levels of IQ, pretty much any novice or enthusiast can find the right gear for them if that is actually their goal. mine turned out to be a combo of the silent but deadly af rx1 for fast/discreet/lowlight, the lowly 6mp epson rd1 for mf/legacy glass/user experience and that 'look', and the cheap but effective epl5 for long tele work. all bought used at great discount. at some point, after one's tried enough gear, there appears a short list of what they really need/want to be 'happy', and new gear is by spec considered/discounted accordingly. like they said in the X Files, the answer is out there.

    to me, the legacy glass thing is primarily a matter of user experience: you want/really enjoy manual focus or you dont. if you want it, the 'fly by wire' of digi lenses geared primarily to auto focus, with no aperture settings, no distance scale and weird 'feel', just won't do. secondarily its a matter of look. you want that special non modern character or you dont. pretty simple, no?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  17. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I suspect a lot of what and how each of us are mainly interested in shooting influences our gear too.
    For example, all I use are manual Canon FDn lenses from the 80's...and with my interests, I seem to use focal lengths at each end of the focal length spectrum...Macros and wide angles for things like sunsets, flowers, mushrooms...then 300 & 400mm teles for bird shots, moon shots...have a ton of accumulated primes & zooms in the middle ranges that just live their lives in their padded cases.
     
  18. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    712
    Feb 17, 2015
    I used to be 'content' with my D7000+18-200 VR I lens. It had auto focus, was fast enough for the stationary objects (mostly cars) I was shooting etc and gave excellent results as far as I was concerned. Then I saw the 'look' of pictures I took with my grandmother's M3 and thought "How can I get that 'look' in digital?" When I found I could adapt all the old lenses I have to a NEX I was almost beside myself like a little kid. Now, I'm happy I have the D7k, but it no longer satisfies me with the 'look' I want or have been able to achieve so far with it. The Nex has gotten me 'off' auto and I find I'm thinking more about how I want my photos to look ie DOF matters, bokeh matters etc. I'm having fun with my cameras and the combinations of what I can shoot with are pretty cool too.

    I still wouldn't turn down a 'free to me' D750 though.
     
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  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I'm pretty sure I'm done buying cameras and lenses, but then I'm not at all reliable in making such statements.
     
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  20. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Good one, Amin. :D

    I appreciate all who contributed. I went back and looked at my last post, and in retrospect, it sounded argumentative. Sorry 'bout that. It really does come down to personal preferences. On my NEX, I do prefer the 50 year old Pen F lenses. On the OM-D E-M5, I like what the original 4/3 lenses have to offer, particularly because I wanted rugged, weather sealed lenses with premium IQ. I still set my cameras manually, even if I have to set f-stop by a wheel on the camera. It's all fun and good.

    Tony