Reader Question: Which is the Best Camera?
Alexander W writes:
Just to continue this line of thought, I'm wondering what you think about the Olympus SHG lenses versus something like the Leica 280mm APO. I have sold my Canon 5D Mark II and 24mm TS-E II with the idea of buying a Gigapan along with a "world class telephoto lens" plus an ALLVIEW back.
I am an architect/shoot architecture so as long as I can lock down the NPP point I don't foresee problems like the smearing of clouds you encountered with the Gigapan. The main problem I see is focus related, getting a lens with flat field curvature and even performance across the frame as the corners would no longer be in a corner. That, and getting enough DOF, where the Micro Four Thirds setup would outperform larger sensor options.
On the other hand, besides being possibly better optically, the Leica seems more compatible with any future developments whereas the 43 SHG glass will require electronic adapters should I want to switch cameras in the future. Then again, with Sony providing the d800 sensors and their investment in Olympus maybe SHG glass is not such a bad idea after all?
Finally I wonder about how the Leica may compare to the new Zeiss line coming out, seems like it may be a bad time to make such an investment with all the changes in the market.
DIGLLOYD: There are several flawed assumptions here which I will touch on.
First, if one owns or contemplates buying the Leica 280/4 APO, this is a large and heavy and rare and very expensive lens. I have it, and rarely shoot it (because it is large and heavy!) Putting it on a MFT body makes no sense to me. If one intends to use this lens, it belongs on a full frame body; it is overkill on Micro Four Thirds. The Leica M240 would be a very good match, as would a Canon 5D Mark III (simple lens adapter) or Nikon D800E (lens conversion required).
Second, if you really want to shoot extreme telephoto for some massive stitch on Micro Four Thirds, then go with the Olympus SHG 150mm f/2 or (super extreme) the SHG 300mm f/2.8. And they might well perform better, and they’d have autofocus also.
Third, image quality of Micro Four Thirds is “pretty good” now, good enough for some uses for sure, but the idea that it is in the same league as a Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800E or Leica M240 is not a great assumption, especially with underexposure or difficult lighting.
As for the new Zeiss UP line, this should have Leica very concerned; there isn’t a lot of point to a 36 megapixel Leica S when Nikon and Canon will probably have 50+ megapixel DSLRs at 1/4 the price (at most) soon, which when combined with the new Zeiss glass should be phenomenal. Heck, even the existing Nikon D800E + the Zeiss 55/1.4 is going to be incredible, from the images I have seen so far. Only a pro with specific job requirements and who can justify the ROI on a huge investment should consider Leica S at this time. Anyone else— waiting is well advised. Within a year, I expect to see a serious shakeup in the high end DSLR vs medium format area.