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I got to play with a lot of cameras in Denver last weekend.

OK, the forum is up and running again....finally! Hopefully, this will make fora little more activity here on the photography board.

Jennifer and I were in Denver last weekend for Jennifer's participation in the "Denver Chalk Art Festival." She did a really nice piece that was well received for its concept and technical execution. In fact, she made the Denver Post.

I have posted two photos below for FYI purposes. I will post the video stream later.

However, that is not what this thread is about. The paragraph above is just back story. This thread is about several cameras I got to play with as I was standing around the festival, shooting stills and video for the time lapse sequence.

Denver is a want-to-be high tech city. There are a number of large office for the high tech industry such as Storage Tek, Sun, Apple, etc. This brings a certain technically competent person to the city's residence - with discretionary income for toys such as cameras.

I was able to go hands-on with cameras I have only seen in magazines, and can't find in South Florida. I know that reads as sort of weird but it is true. I am posting some thoughts below for others with similar interest.

In full disclosure, I am a Nikon shooter and probably will be forever because of entrenchment in lens investment. Further, I recently purchased a D7000 which I thoroughly put through its paces this last weekend during the festival. The D7000 was purchased to be a still/video while my D90 was on the tripod shooting time lapse sequences. I will write my thoughts about the D7000 in a separate thread.

Panasonic GH2

I noticed a guy staying at our hotel walking around with one of these and an attached panel light. I originally stopped him to question him about the panel light but got to play with the camera for a little while. The camera's owner would not say his name or who he was with but said he was beta testing the panel light.

Of course being a micro 4/3 system it is small, surprisingly smaller than my brother's Nikon D40. I couldn't really say how the much the camera weighed because of the panel light but with its fold out screen and easy to use video buttons, I can see why it is popular with guys shooting video.

Also, it will focus in live mode, I did not know that fact, my Nikon will not do that. That alone may be the price of entry for some folks.

Leica M3 and Leica M9

Some old curmudgeonly dude, who said he was a retired photo journalist wandered by with these two cameras swinging around his neck. His M3 was all beat up and brassing. He said he has owned it for over forty years, and I believe him. Neat camera, quiet shutter, really quiet shutter. Built like a tank and just as heavy.

I was more interested in the M9. Because of its ridiculous price for the body/lens combo, I will likely never own one. So when someone lets me play with theirs I always do. Amazing build quality, and nearly as heavy as the M3. He had a Summicron 50mm attached. While typical Leica quality, it is not their best 50mm lens, but their work horse lens. Stated another way, the work horse lens you would expect a working photo journalist to own.

I was disappointing in the LED panel - low resolution and not very bright. The rangefinder viewer was amazingly bright and fast focusing with the manual lens. I would have liked to have seen some files coming out of this camera.

Olympus E-PL2

The lady had an Electronic View Finder attached because out of the box operation is by using the back panel LED. She said she owned it so was going to shoot it but was unhappy with focus speed and I have to agree. The lens did a lot of hunting, even in bright light. The LED panel would not get bright enough to overcome sunlight so I understand why she purchased the extra cost, EVF. This camera will almost fit in your pocket.

Panasonic GF1

As of today, this camera is two generations old. The guy who owned it said he purchased a second one and it is hiding in his closet because the GF2 is not a nice. Again, a micro 4/3 mirrorless camera. Definitely pocketable with the 14-40 attached (it becomes something of a pancake when the camera powers off.) Faster to focus than the Oyl. Bright screen in daylight. I say a little video clip on the back of the camera - it did not "jello" too badly. I would probably buy this camera.

Leica X1

Some young chick-a-boom must have been given this camera because she didn't know what she had. VERY slow to focus - really struggled when I handled it late in the day for high contrast shots. The camera's brain didn't know what to "look" at. Poor LED finder too, if you ask me. Should be MUCH more for the price.

Fuji X100

Surprisingly small - about as small as the X1 but a little taller. Amazingly bright combo viewer. I was super impressed with the information displayed in the viewer particularly in the EVF mode. Super, super quiet operation. The owner has the stupid electronic (artificial) noise for the shutter turned off - I would say the camera was silent to operate. Write time of the file seems a little slow - but I did not ask what storage media he was using. The LED panel was bright and high resolution. The guy said it was a battery drainer. I am not sure about the fixed lens. I will wait to see if an interchangable mount comes in the next generation or two. I suspect not, because that would require a new full line of lenses for Fuji to create. Their market seems to be compact cameras, having abandoned the SLR market.

I hope these notes were helpful to others. Two photos of Jennifer's Denver street painting follow.



  • ChuckcChuckc Posts: 4,397 Captain
    I'll be interested to hear your take on the D7000.
  • mississippi macmississippi mac Posts: 4,222 Captain
    i'm curious about the d7000 as well even though i'm commited to canon....
    what i had read about it was that it was the nikon move over the canon 7d....
    i think when the dust settles there won't be a lot of differences between the two to get lathered up over...
    must have been fun and your bride does some incredible work....

    The Real White Dog

    if you can't catch a fish...catch a buzz....
    #12976, joined 8-17-2002
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