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Thread: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

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    Member francesconyc's Avatar
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    Question Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Hi

    I need your recommendation, pov.
    Premise: I'm a semi pro photographer (im a designer as main job) and I own already Sony A7RIII, Canon 5DSR, Actus Mini and XL, Stackshot, and a bunch of Schneider lenses from 47mm to 150mm (i used to have 4x5 and 8x10) and I love to shoot only product/architecture and rarely portraits

    Im probably in a middle life crisis (i bought a motorcycle last year) and now i feel i want to do a "big" upgrade but I'm torn between few options:
    1. be responsible and wait for 2021 for Canon to release the 80MP R camera?
    2. Upgrade to Sony IV (pixelshift provide quality similar to MF but man what a pain in the *** the workflow)
    3. move in the used market for a DB MF... a Credo Leaf seem decently priced... or stick to mirrorless like the FUJI GFX 50 or 100...Hasselblad 50...

    the easiest of course would be to stick to Sony for now since my system wouldn't need any change... but the temptation is to finally move to MF... (that beautiful feeling when I bought my first Hasselblad 500C)

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    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    There is only one answer, and I am deadly serious:

    Try them.

    No specs, examples, recommendations, or anecdotes from others matter in the slightest. The system you feel best with will serve you best. If nothing feels better (use and output) than what you have, wait.

    Enjoy!

    Matt (for example, I didn't like the GFX 50 bodies at all, but the GFX 100 is my second favorite.)
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    lf you shoot mainly architecture / landscape and want to have the same feeling with your 500c...

    Get an Alpa STC a Rodenstock 40mm and an IQ3 100....

    So slow but so great...
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    I've used a Phase One DB for several years chasing the upgrade path from a P30+ ending with an IQ1-100. I've used a Mamiya and Phase One body as well as a Cambo tech camera. My work is primarily landscape, nature and wildlife (in that order).

    I used the IQ1-100 in Hawaii hanging out of a helicopter shooting the lava fields in the big island and got great results. I actually loved using the Phase One setup until it got too big. I found that the older I got the less I wanted to slep around a system weighing close to 8 pounds around my neck. Packing the system in a case that I had everything I needed for an extended period also became challenging especially flying.

    Then Hasselblad and Fuji came around and introduced their mirrorless systems. Both have the same basic sensor with the crop factor the same as my older P30+. I opted for the GFX50s and as soon as I had it I knew that was the system for me. I quickly sold everything that I had named Pahe One and Cambo and began what has been several years of using a Fuji system. I've flown to Scotland with the GFX packing everything I needed for several weeks in a single carryon; likewise I flew to Alaska to capture northern lights again packing everything in a single carryon.

    I just upgraded the GFX50s to the GFX100 and am just as pleased with that. I've found the GFX systems near as perfect as you can get for landscape, nightscape (capturing the milky way), nature (macro waterdrops) and wildlife.


    It helps that Sandy (my wife) shoots with a Sony A7rIV and I get to see the difference in the files. For me, my choice would be a GFX100. And yes I know that's expensive however it's well worth the added money compared to the GFX50 and will save you a lot more when compared to a regular digital back system.

    So there you have it, one persons take on the question. I fully expect there will more folks that will respond telling you why they think their system is better. We have a couple dealers here that will chime in saying why you should go with a DB. In the end it'll be up to you. What fits you hand the best. What brings a smile every time you use it. The camera maybe just a tool however you need to like using it. You need to look forward to taking it out and capturing your idea.

    Best of luck to you. In some ways I envy you as when I made the jump to medium format there was no mirrorless systems and what we had was just the very beginning of the digital revolution.


    Don
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    A key question; do you shoot in inclement weather or other unpleasant environments? If yes, then you should look at weather resistant systems.

    That was a big factor for me when I chose Leica S. Prior to that 4x5 view cameras were my main tools. However, I could not use them in wind, rain, snow, dust etc.
    Best regards,
    Jesse
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Another key question is whether you need movements (rise, fall, shift). You said you do architecture, so this could be the case.
    If you need such features then the Fuji and Hassy mirrorless could not be the best option. In this case you would need additional tools like shift lenses (plus adaptors, no native solutions for the Hassy X and Fuki GF right now AFAIK) or something like a Cambo-GFX. Then all the pluses of having a lightweight mirrorless system will evaporate in a sudden, and maybe digital back in conjunction with a Cambo WRS, an Alpa STC, or PhaseOne XT become a better combo, IMHO.
    Last edited by mristuccia; 22nd February 2020 at 09:33.
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Already some good advice given by other members. However, you may want to think about looking at your current assets. You already own an Actus, as do I, which can become the shift/tilt camera for whatever you purchase. I own a Phase 4150, GFXs and the new Sony 7RM4. What I have found is that the Sony marries with the Actus extremely well and delivers wonderful files from a focal length of 60mm and beyond with LF lenses.

    'IF' you need more pixels for whatever reason the Sony becomes the camera of choice. It will deliver not only more pixels than the GFXs but FMPOV better quality pixels. I shift a lot of time 15mm LR with the Sony (three shots portrait position) and end up with a file that is 137MP and is very comparable to the same image shot with the 4150. Plus there is the added benefit that the lens used for shifting changes its focal length by a crop factor of 0.66 giving a little extra real estate. My Schneider 60XL becomes a 40mm lens on the Sony once shifted 15mm LR. The other added benefit to the size of the Sony sensor is that even shifting 15mm the sensor never leaves the real estate taken up by a single shot 54 X 40 sensor - always staying in the sweet spot of the lens image circle.

    Food for thought......

    Good luck with whatever path you take.....

    Victor
    Last edited by vjbelle; 22nd February 2020 at 12:10.
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Choosing the next camera system, for me, is not dissimilar to choosing a life partner. You may think you know what you want, but you can't be sure until you handle them

    We recently chose the Fuji GFX system, much to my surprise as it happens. It is worth considering that Fuji have put considerable muscle behind the system and are growing it fast.

    Get some candidates then go and handle them. For instance, I acknowledge the technical merits of the Sony Axxx systems, however I find myself wanting to do physical harm to the camera every time I use one, even briefly.

    It's personal I think.
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    The choices you've outlined are all very different, and lend themselves to different shooting scenarios. If your pockets are deep enough to let you buy, try, and sell until you find something that works, then go nuts. But if not, I'd ask myself some questions...

    For example, why do you need a larger sensor? What's the equipment you already own not doing for you? I don't think there's any magic in medium format, so I'm pretty hard-nosed about this question. I did go medium format, but only after I could see some tangible benefits relating to the kind of equipment I would be able to use with the camera.

    You said product/architecture is what you do. Do you need movement? Lots of people shooting architecture and product seem to get by with focus stacking and software perspective correction. I personally love using camera movements, but I recognize there are alternatives. You can very easily do product and architecture with your Sony. In fact, put some of the excellent Canon T/S lenses on that thing and you're good to go. It's also great on your Actus. You can even use smaller sensors. Before I switched up a couple sensor sizes, I built an entire tilt-shift outfit around a Fuji X-T2. It didn't have the full range of movements I have now, but I got a lot done using that gear.

    Are you going to use the equipment only in controlled conditions (and indoors)? Or will you need to worry about rain and snow? I use a "studio" camera in swamps, so I think you can use almost any equipment anywhere if you take precautions. But that is a consideration. In a similar vein, do you want to be able to have a flexible solution that lets you use the camera as a "back" on a tech camera outfit, but also hand-held with native lenses?

    Finally, how much of the motivation is "business" versus "life is short so use equipment that makes you happy"? If it's the latter, then that changes everything. Cameras are cheaper than motorcycles, and life really is short.


    For what it's worth, I use a Fuji GFX 50R with adapted lenses because the kind of photography I do is done better (in my opinion) with camera movements. My main "adapter" is a Toyo VX23D because I wanted as close to a digital view camera as I could get. But that imposes some constraints that may matter more to you than me. For instance, there really are no affordable options with my setup wider than 35mm. I could go as wide as 25mm and still have all the movements, but that's a major investment which I can't currently justify given how little I shoot wide.

    One thing I really like about the GFX 50R solution is the ability to use it with the excellent Fuji GF lenses hand-held. I find it really awkward to use my adapted lenses hand-held, even though I can do that with a different adapter. I also just really like Fuji cameras.

    Good luck!
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    There is only one answer, and I am deadly serious:

    Try them.
    It's great advice.

    If, as your handle implies, you are in NYC, we're in midtown and are the largest Phase One dealer in the world and would be glad to earn your business. Glad to arrange a test of just about any Credo or Phase One back on a variety of tech cameras or XF body.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Dante is on the prowl !!

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    As a member of FOD (Friends of Dante) you can probably treat the following personal feedback with a grain of salt.

    For personal pleasure when shooting for shooting’s sake, for me, it’s the IQ4150 on my Cambo Actus. Very engaging but also challenging at times. However the process is very enjoyable (most of the time).

    For 95% of my shooting its with the Fuji GFX, originally the 50s but now the GFX100. Great system camera that does everything I actually need. Adapted lenses from Canon such as TSE can cover the tilt/swing needs too. The GF lenses are simply excellent and in my experience every bit as good in real world use as my Phase One lenses. I also shoot the GFX50s full spectrum now which reminds me of why in some ways I like the form factor of the 50s better than the 100 - I’m sure that’ll change over time as the 100 is relatively new to me and I’ve used the smaller form factor 50s since its launch.

    If I need a workout then the Phase One XF system fits the bill - excellent but bulky and heavy.

    I had the Sony’s up to the A7RII - for me they were soulless computers. I can’t fault the results but I just never loved using them.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    The World is a book, and those that do not travel read only one page ...
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    I agree the Sony + Actus is the perfect match, and i bought mainly it for stitching reason (i wanted to have 40+40MP files in outdoor situations) ...until I started hating stitching...too much work for my personal taste

    I'm now convinced to upgrade medium format... and i may take the crazy leap of the GFX100... (although i love the 50R for many reasons)
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I had the Sony’s up to the A7RII - for me they were soulless computers. I can’t fault the results but I just never loved using them.
    I agree on the Sony III, I was shocked how bad the interface was and how flimsy / toy-like it compares to my 5DSR...I bought pre-owned out of an impulse...i still don't understand the hype....

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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by francesconyc View Post
    I agree on the Sony III, I was shocked how bad the interface was and how flimsy / toy-like it compares to my 5DSR...I bought pre-owned out of an impulse...i still don't understand the hype....
    They're very capable cameras but not for me either. I had an A7R I had converted to full-spectrum and an A7RII. An image from the A7RII almost won me $15k USD in a national competition - I was one of 40 something finalists out of tens of thousands of entries - but I never particularly liked using them and sold them.

    DB/GFX is tough. I'm hoping to get a DB for my tech cam setup sometime in the not-too-distant future. If I were starting over today, I might go with the GFX100 as the practical option, but I'm not so sure. I went the practical route with the 645z once, and, great value for the money, but didn't really satisfy me.

    As others have said, try your options if you can. Many of us choose based on the intangible factors beyond spec sheets you can only discover for yourself through trial. Good luck!

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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by tcdeveau View Post
    An image from the A7RII almost won me $15k USD in a national competition - I was one of 40 something finalists out of tens of thousands of entries - but I never particularly liked using them and sold them.
    Do you think you would have won if you had used a different camera?...
    They are just tools for a job.
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSmith View Post
    Do you think you would have won if you had used a different camera?...
    Nope. Tools for a job as it says in your signature.

    Just trying to illustrate that for my uses even though I didn't like the A7RII, for me it was obviously a perfectly capable camera and it's done more for me than any of my MF images, and the reason I'm not currently using it is just personal preference. Have a similar story with a D500.

    My own outlook is that cameras across systems these days are so good that just about any of them are up to the task (for landscapes, what I like to do anyway - obviously not every camera is going to be the right tool for the job).... try them and see what fits one's budget/preference.
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by tcdeveau View Post
    My own outlook is that cameras across systems these days are so good that just about any of them are up to the task (for landscapes, what I like to do anyway - obviously not every camera is going to be the right tool for the job).... try them and see what fits one's budget/preference.
    Would it be too cheesy of me to quote Edward Weston in support of your excellent observation?

    "The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it".
    - Edward Weston
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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    I've used a Phase One DB for several years chasing the upgrade path from a P30+ ending with an IQ1-100. I've used a Mamiya and Phase One body as well as a Cambo tech camera. My work is primarily landscape, nature and wildlife (in that order).

    I used the IQ1-100 in Hawaii hanging out of a helicopter shooting the lava fields in the big island and got great results. I actually loved using the Phase One setup until it got too big. I found that the older I got the less I wanted to slep around a system weighing close to 8 pounds around my neck. Packing the system in a case that I had everything I needed for an extended period also became challenging especially flying.

    Then Hasselblad and Fuji came around and introduced their mirrorless systems. Both have the same basic sensor with the crop factor the same as my older P30+. I opted for the GFX50s and as soon as I had it I knew that was the system for me. I quickly sold everything that I had named Pahe One and Cambo and began what has been several years of using a Fuji system. I've flown to Scotland with the GFX packing everything I needed for several weeks in a single carryon; likewise I flew to Alaska to capture northern lights again packing everything in a single carryon.

    I just upgraded the GFX50s to the GFX100 and am just as pleased with that. I've found the GFX systems near as perfect as you can get for landscape, nightscape (capturing the milky way), nature (macro waterdrops) and wildlife.


    It helps that Sandy (my wife) shoots with a Sony A7rIV and I get to see the difference in the files. For me, my choice would be a GFX100. And yes I know that's expensive however it's well worth the added money compared to the GFX50 and will save you a lot more when compared to a regular digital back system.

    So there you have it, one persons take on the question. I fully expect there will more folks that will respond telling you why they think their system is better. We have a couple dealers here that will chime in saying why you should go with a DB. In the end it'll be up to you. What fits you hand the best. What brings a smile every time you use it. The camera maybe just a tool however you need to like using it. You need to look forward to taking it out and capturing your idea.

    Best of luck to you. In some ways I envy you as when I made the jump to medium format there was no mirrorless systems and what we had was just the very beginning of the digital revolution.


    Don
    Thanks for sharing your experience, seems to be good and sound advice.

    Just to say, I doubt the benefits of multishot in the real world. Shooting repro or architecture it would probably remove aliasing and moiré like effects, but else not very usable I would guess.

    Staying with what you have may also make a lot of sense.

    Best regards
    Erik

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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    Would it be too cheesy of me to quote Edward Weston in support of your excellent observation?

    "The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it".
    - Edward Weston
    It would be interesting to get Weston’s opinion today as the vast majority of people using cameras today haven’t a clue about the technical material he was referring to as all they do is point a phone and snap. And today the idea that a photography = a print on paper has long since moved to a photography = a selfie uploaded to the web.

    The paradigm shift in the definition of a photograph is tragic.

    Paul C

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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    It would be interesting to get Weston’s opinion today as the vast majority of people using cameras today haven’t a clue about the technical material he was referring to as all they do is point a phone and snap. And today the idea that a photography = a print on paper has long since moved to a photography = a selfie uploaded to the web.

    The paradigm shift in the definition of a photograph is tragic.

    Paul C
    I used to think that too Paul, but not anymore. Art has been around for millennia, but photography in the "fine art" form Weston practiced has only been around for the blink of an eye in comparison.

    When Gutenberg's printing press came out, people who illustrated manuscripts by hand, and the few who could read, thought it was the end of the world. I think we're better off now that reading is common and printed material ubiquitous. As photographers, it's our job to stay relevant, which means adapting. Not everyone wants to do that, or can do that; those folks get left behind -- sometimes happily because they don't care, and sometimes not.

    I'm exposed to loads of people who only know photographs as fleeting things on their phone screens. When they handle a high quality print for the first time, they're often amazed and full of questions about everything from the way I made it to the materials I used. Some people can still see a photographic print as something different and wonderful. All is not lost!

    Unfortunately, we photographers often don't do ourselves any favours by restricting access to prints and putting them out of reach. I know this isn't going to be a popular position among people who make a living selling "fine art prints in limited editions", but I'd much rather have my prints be in someone's hands and on someone's walls than sitting in a box in my closet. If that means I give them away or sell them for not much more than cost, so be it. I certainly don't do limited editions (a concept that doesn't make much sense anyway, but that's another story). I can do this because while photography is a major part of my job, I don't earn my income from selling prints. I fully appreciate that it's different for people who do make a living from print sales.
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    Senior Member ErikKaffehr's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    It would be interesting to get Weston’s opinion today as the vast majority of people using cameras today haven’t a clue about the technical material he was referring to as all they do is point a phone and snap. And today the idea that a photography = a print on paper has long since moved to a photography = a selfie uploaded to the web.

    The paradigm shift in the definition of a photograph is tragic.

    Paul C
    I am a bit disturbed by that notion. Photographs have many uses. Personally, I am not found of cell phones as picture taking devices and I don't really use my pocket camera (a Sony RX100, the first edition) very much either. I would probably not make an A2 size print from a cell phone image. But, I would guess cell phones are great for the 'f/8 at 1/125s and be there' kind of images.

    Getting a great image is more about vision and finding a good balance between things in the image. Folks interested in learning the stuff often are interested enough to get 'better' gear.

    Just as an example, we have some guys and dolls at our photo club who shoot JPEG. They don't know a thing about technique, but they have great vision. I used to help them make exhibition prints and it does happen that I pull my hairs over the image quality. But, I can make decent prints and viewers like the pictures.

    Best regards
    Erik

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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    My point is that most of those same folks have no clue how to produce an actual "print", as that part of photography has been totally lost or is being lost very quickly for the vast majority of persons taking an image. The need for knowledge how to take that image to paper for a traditional print is just not there, as once it goes to the web, it's gone. It's a very instant gratification process, shoot, post, forget. It's progress I guess.

    I am not trying to say you can't print an image from a cellphone, or only that shooting a jpg is wrong.

    Paul C

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    Re: Upgrading: torn between a DB / Sony IV / GFX50-100

    Social media is a different thing to 'art' whatever that is.

    'Art' is a thing designed by people who defined a market for themselves to make a living out of. There has been no great change or evolution in visual 'art' for decades now. The most intersting thing to art lovers is the historical significance of something and the context of its creation as well as the craftsmanship in it. However the basic craftsmanship is taught to high standards al over the place - paintings are almost as ubiquitous as photography.

    Art is also a collectible thing - where collectors typically buy what any collector buys- something rare. Photographic art is only as collectile as the market fixers ( dealers) allow it to be. There is no collectability in typical 'fine art' photography and it is a very crowded market. The memes asociated with and propogted by typical genres like 'landscape' are ubquitous and common - again it is wall covering stuff not particularly interesting and easily replaced/copied or replicated.

    For hobbyists, a good way to get enjoyment is to mimic stuff that is generally considered to be - good art. It is surprisingly difficult to do so - because whilst the tools are readily available and increasingly affordable - the time required to master the craft and tools even in copying subject matter typical of generally accepted examples of good stuff - is onerous.

    So photography for the most invested amateur - and let's get real here - there are easier ways to make a buck than flogging photos - is a personal journey.
    it is easier for hobbyists to talk gear and discuss this versus that tool - than make images that they themselves rate worthy of printing or putting in a book.

    I've come to realise that by my own standards I wouldn't give myself a pass in photography as far as making 'art' goes and I doubt that I will ever make an image in my life that anyone would consider to be fine art - so I am happy to make what I call happy snaps of family and friends and keep a visual diary of what I do - and make a book at the end of each year with my favourite moments and images and share this with family.

    So in answer to OP question after this long-winded intro- choose whatever 'gear' you think will help you on your own journey - and if that journey is talking to other people who use the same gear - just know that cameras are even less collectible than fine art photographic prints.

    Your post processing skills will have much more impact on teh quality of the finished image than any gear you are or will ever choose to use. But learning post pocessing takes time and mental effort.

    If you need any confirmation - go through teh hisory of this MF forum - and se the cycle of new product(s) being announced as the most perfect thing repeated over and over and over again- previous best things dismissed as being not god enough within a year or so as the next new best thing is announced- forum members extolling the virtues of this versus that over that or the other thing only to see same members change ffrom this to that or some other thing and hop on the this is the best thing and it is better than your thng high ground ...blah blahblah..

    I think the gigi is up for high end uber expensive 'gear' and has been for years now - it just doesn't deliver anything much better than pretty cheap gear - it is an uncomfortable truth.
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