Superb versatile modern zoom vs. psycho exotic prime

Today we were birthday party bound (except we didn’t *know* it was somebody’s birthday, which caused us to very awkwardly show up empty handed… Well, not quite. Since we were visiting our friends Charlotte and Guillaume, I packed the NEX7 and the Navitar 75/1.3, knowing it’s Charlotte’s favorite rendering lens.

DanielMai14-02The logical, sane choice of lens for this outing would obviously have been the Sony 16-70 F4 Zeiss. Except it’s boring as ..uck

DanielMai14-26Most modern lenses are (boring as ..uck)

Now, vintage, weird, exotic and rare manual focus primes, that’s another story.


So I took the Navitar for a spin instead of the Sony AF, super versatile zoom, and I had an absolute blast…

DanielMai14-03I suppose it’d only be fair I mention the fact I received the Fuji XT-1 this morning, at 8:07 sharp

DanielMai14-04It was back in its box and tagged with its return label by 9:20, tops

DanielMai14-05Well, the front dial was lose (and actually broken), but that has very little do do with it. Ergonomically speaking I hated everything about it

DanielMai14-07Thank God I hadn’t sold my E mount lenses off, and aside from 3 “to Fuji X” adapters, I won’t have lost much in the process

DanielMai14-06So I guess I’ll have to live with all the small annoyances I’ve had with NEX for the past two years, as absolutely NO camera that I’ve tried over that period has done better for me than the NEX7






DanielMai14-11See what I mean about that lens ?















DanielMai14-25So looks like I’m still a Sony girl tonight πŸ˜‰


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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14 Responses to Superb versatile modern zoom vs. psycho exotic prime

  1. MJWC1 says:

    That Navitar is an amazing thing. You are absolutely right – while modern AF zooms are very handy and useful and fast and reliable and all of that, they simply don’t match the experience of using a solid, manual focus lens (quirks and all). There is simply a different type of engagement with taking the time to manually focus. I also find it helps me to pay more attention to my apertures (sometimes digital, even on aperture or shutter priority, tends to make it very easy to forget about your settings at times when you should be aware of them) and allow me to use hyperfocal distances where relevant.
    The blue eyes on those little girls are incredibly intense!!
    I love the idea of photos in lieu of a birthday present. Sometimes people underestimate how much a nice photo can mean to parents.
    Now, the XT-1… I suspected you might have a problem with its ergonomics. A shame in a way, as I have seen some incredible IQ out of the Fujis and was looking forward to seeing what you would do with it. I think I understand exactly where you are coming from (there are advantages to digital controls on digital cameras, rather than trying to mix analogue and digital), but I assume (hope) you are going to do a post on your 60-odd minutes of disappointment!

    • marla2008 says:

      Matthew, in all truth, I had not planed on posting about it. Maybe because I’m not thick skinned enough to enjoy having half of the planet’s photo blogosphere coming at me with picks and shovels, for voicing my opinion. Because my opinion is *not* going to sit well with most people. It’s become some kind of dogma right now that analog like, marked dials, at the cat’s ass, and that everybody *must* love them. So Fuji has slapped a bunch on their cameras (a bit Γ  la Df) and you’d better not disagree.
      Ok, the XT1 is a beautiful, gorgeous camera to look at, perfectly sized, with good density, and it feels very good in the hand. I’ll give it that. That’s about the extent of my satisfaction with it then. The minute you want to actually *use* any of those controls, be it knobs, buttons, dials, or even the screen’s hinge, the experience starts going to shit. I’ve read over and again how it was a simple camera, that never “gets in the shooter’s way”. Well it got in my way every single minute I tried to shoot it. For a Manual mode shooter, adressing slightly different lighting conditions becomes a chore as you must change three, sometimes four settings for every exposure !! Aperture is physical on the lens. Works for me on older, manual focus glass, but not on a modern camera. I just find it useless, fake, and dumb. Not to mention the fact that the aperture ring gets knocked way too easily on those Fujinons. Then, change the ISO. Oh wait, you have to press the darn lock first. Then, change the shutter by turning the big dial (and if you happened to be in Shutter mode just before that, you also have another lock to disengage). And last, because the shutter dial is only marked at “full stops”, you’ll still need to fine tune by turning the front dial (which happened to be simply broken on my unit, but that’s another matter). So what would happen in a second flat and without pulling the camera from my face on the NEX7, thanks to its TriNavi and well implemented controls, I’d already lose at least three or four on the XT1, bitching because all the dials’ firmness is inversely proportioned to what it should be ! The exposure compensation is stiff to the point of being useless, while the Drive and Metering dials are so lose that both go turned *every* single time I tried to adjust the ISO and Shutter speed dials… So after the 3, 4 seconds I spent trying to negociate a proper exposure, I had to use 2 more to get rid of the Bracketing, or Pano mode, and Spot metering or whatever, I had accidentally set. GRRrrr…
      The shutter sound is puny (that’s totally subjective so I guess you can disregrard it), and the IQ is perfectly good… and absolutely nowhere superior to what any 2 year old 16MP NEX body will deliver, I actually think my 5R does a little better in low light.
      See why I didn’t want to make that post now ? πŸ˜‰

      • jls says:

        So the XT1 left its mark on you. An interesting and amusing read. For you your initial reason not to buy one turned out to be the right one. Up for an XE2?

      • marla2008 says:

        Jane, I’m done with Fuji as the philosophy behind all their bodies is the same : pre 1980 controls. That just doesn’t work for me… I totally accept the fact it is bliss for others (though I can’t quite comprehend it) but for my style of shooting it results in constant grief 😦

      • MJWC1 says:

        I hear you, sister. I’m glad you didn’t make that post – I’ve become fond of you and your little family and would hate to see you violated by hordes of rabid Fuji fanboys!
        I really like the idea of analogue controls – in theory. I love the feel of those classic-era 70s and 80s SLRs – back before AF came along and spoiled the fun.
        The thing is – having those kinds of controls for aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation were perfect when they were the only controls you had. It didn’t matter if ISO was tricky to change, as you hardly ever changed it. It didn’t matter if you had to interrupt shooting to change shutter speed as you were interrupting shooting to wind on to the next frame anyway. Even if you had a motor drive fitted, it wasn’t long before you were pausing to change a setting or the film. You couldn’t accidentally bump the bracketing or pano mode or file size setting or white balance or display or video record button because you had none of those things. You couldn’t even accidentally change the custom film simulation mode because, well, because you had already made your film choice and that was it.
        So, yep, I know where you’re coming from and it is a bit hard to argue with the IQ you are getting out of your Sonys.

  2. An amazing set! Great pic of O, and those of Charlotte and the little blue eyed kid are gorgeous. If it ain’t broke………there’s nothing to fix here πŸ˜€

  3. jls says:

    At the end of the day, it’s what works for the person behind the camera isn’t it. I just don’t get the fanboy mentality at all. I enjoy your blog (only one of a handful I enjoy reading) and love your pictures even though I’m not even into horses! And yes, that little NEX is still a lovely little black box.

    Time for some more of Google and Piroutte.

    • marla2008 says:

      Jane, you are enterily right, it’s absolutely about what *works* for someone and is enjoyable to them. The XT1 is a fantastic camera, and a very handsome one at that, it just doesn’t offer a shooting experience I’m comfortable with. I’m humbled and flattered by your trust and readership, and hope we can continue trading views on cameras for a long time !

  4. Thanks for another great post Marla. I so agree with your contentment with the Nex-7. Although It’s not a camera I own, my own photographic gear journey is very similar to yours. I’ve actually now gone back in time and picked up an almost new Nikon D700. The controls are pro level and the high iso noise is fantasticly low. I am selling my D610 today as its not fast enough and I don’t need 30 MP files !! (I shoot semi-pro and largely action photography)

    • marla2008 says:

      Mark, welcome and how lucky you are to own a D700 again. It’s truly the one DSLR that stands in my mind as an absolute benchmark, and yes I’ve had Canon 1D series before, and Canon FF as well. The D700 is without any question the best DLSR I ever shot (had two of them). If I could give up exposure preview and a tilt screen, I’d gladly buy one again.

  5. I was wanting to mention before I hit “enter” that I too purchased the Fuji XT-1, with high hopes it could end my need for DSLR’s, however that was not the case. I should have been prepared for the fanboism and how it distorts reviews, etc. It simply cannot focus track in low light like a DSLR can… sorry. Wonderful images, but you need to be ready for a complete muscle memory reboot if you’re coming from any other camera line (Sony, Nikon, Canon) etc.

    • marla2008 says:

      The “muscle memory” is what really made the switch impossible for me. Those SLR like, marked dials, completely get in the way I shoot, every second, that was just not even an option for me.

  6. Another drop of my cheapo DSLR (this time only the nifty fifty has suffered from it) made me pause a second and think about what my next line up could be. The use of vintage lenses on the NEX6 or 7 is definitely, terribly, attractive.(I guess I should blame you for that)……but at the same time I am starting to enjoy shooting my son’s soccer and will, hopefully, one day, be able to afford a real birding lens…….so I just don’t know….

    That little girl has the most intense blue eyes I have ever seen….

  7. padam says:

    Damn, these beautiful pictures will make me by a swirly lens πŸ™‚

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