Ok all, you saw the thread title, help me find a new camera system. I'm posting in the Sunset Bar because everything is on the menu. Requirements are somewhat in order:
1. Small, light and portable. I had a Nikon FM with a small Sigma 28-70 zoom that I took EVERYWHERE because it was small and while not a stellar performer, that lens could do almost anything. I'm trying to get back to that size. My current everywhere camera is an old Canonet GIII - nice, but very limited (top shutter speed 1/500) and not real reliable, though I just did some work on it, so that may improve. My Canon 10D with 17-35, 50/1.8 and 85/1.8 made a nice travel package, but if I could have traded the zoom for a wide prime I would have.
2. Durable. I would like to lie and tell you that my cameras live in a padded Pelican case that floats on air, but that is not the case. I have fallen on the Canonet on scree fields more often than I want to admit. My Canon 10D and L glass was used shooting sailing in a tornado (not weather sealed my @ss). That said, I don't abuse my gear and aside from my 50 'cron that took a trip down a flight of stairs, I have never broken a piece of camera equipment from abuse.
3. Zero shutter lag. I shot with a Nikon 8008 and Canon 10D long enough that I learned to anticipate the shutter lag, but life is too short and moves too fast.
4. Color fidelity and dynamic range. I think this is what I love most about my DMR and was such an eye-opener coming from my Canons at the time. Color fidelity and dynamic range are more important to me than resolution.
4.5 That 3D Leica look. Last time I checked Leica didn't patent it, and to some degree my Canonet has it, but my old Canon digitals didn't and neither did my Nikon film cameras. Hasselblad V series does, my Fuji 6x9 didn't.
5. Fast. The camera needs to be fast and easy to operate. I'm not really sure how to quantify this, but I think you know what I mean. The Canon 10D is not fast. The Nikon D2x is very fast. My Canonet is fast (I can shoot about 3 fps on it). The DMR is slow, but the lack of shutter lag kind of makes up for it.
6. Good view finder. Someone on FM once described the the 10D viewfinder as looking at a postage stamp at the end of a dark tunnel, and was ultimately my last straw with the camera. The viewfinder on the Canonet is tiny, but bright and easy to compose. I'm not going to limit my choices to an optical viewfinder. I have no experience with EVFs, but wouldn't rule them out.
7. Flexible. Since I really can only afford to have one camera system, it needs to be able to do anything. That said, I would give a camera like the M8 a pass as it is pretty flexible within its range and I can easily pickup a low end Canon to shoot telephoto. If I had to sum up what/how I shoot I would say to think travel photographer -- anything and everything, but rarely in a studio or that holds still for very long.
8. Resolution. I need minimum 10mp to shoot magazine double truck. I would say my average print size is 16x24. The DMR handles this with ease, but they are very high-quality pixels.
9. Battery life. I am often away from electricity for days at a time, so power economy is important. This can be somewhat negated if batteries are small, light and cheap and I can carry a bunch (e.g. Canon BP-11).
10. System price. This is another area where something like the M8 is deceptive. New prices are insane, but used lenses can be somewhat affordable.
There are so many options that seem to have some of what I want that I don't know where to start. Ideally I want the power of a 1DsIII in a package the size of a M8 with the color fidelity and general look of the DMR. I am assuming that digital is the best way to get this, but I am not opposed to film and in time may add a 4x5 or 6x9 for when image quality trumps all else.
I realize this seems like a crazy, "pie in the sky" list, and to some degree it is. I realize that I won't be able to get everything in one camera body (though I hope I'm wrong about that), but I think this is what most people really want, not just me.
Thanks for the help, your insight is much appreciated.