For a while now, I've been taking 'happy snaps' at conventions, festivals and monthly comics meetups with my trusty (albeit limited) Canon Ixus. Like my comics, I enjoy documenting and observing life. In the last six months I've progressively gotten more interested in street and B&W photography, and felt it was time for a step up in quality.
It's a subjective thing, but while I've used Nikon and Canon SLR's intermittently, I just never got comfortable with their clumsy size... not to mention their design. It's as though someone from NASA designed the internals, and then handed it over to some hick with a lighter who simplly melted plastic over it.
Don't get me wrong... I know that nothing but a high-end SLR can produce photography of a certain calibre, but I also know that the photography I'm most interested in (and the subsequent cameras that take them), are usually the micro 4/3rd's, and old-school rangefinders. They're compact, and designed a LOT better (in my opinion) than most SLR's.
After much deliberation, it was a toss up between the Panasonic Lumix GF-1*, and the Sony NEX-5. But I decided on the NEX-5 (below). Not only does it take great photos and do HD video, but (and this is a BIG but for me) I can mount almost any lense under the sun onto it with an array of cheap adapters. (I've already ordered an old 1970's Minolta Rokkor 50mm F:1.4 prime lens from eBay, and am waiting for it like a sugared-up kid on Christmas morning).
I'll simply remove the sony lens, apply an MC/MD adapter, and click in on.
It's all manual focusing with non-standard leses, but I love it!...it's the photographic equivalent of building an old musle car. Vroom!
An since my holy grail in cameras (Leica) are out of my financial reach... I can, however, use their lenses to mount on the NEX-5 if I chose to. With a full size APS/SLR sensor, the NEX should make for some very nice photos with these relatively cheap, yet old lenses... I can't wait.
Here are some quick shot's I took last night with the standard 24mm pancake lens that came in the box:
My drawing board:
Great bokeh (blurred) depth of field.
Gammon Street, Seddon (11pm at night. Hand held. No flash):
Low light ability is great.
Ok... back to comics.
* The Panasonic GF1 can also take different lenses on a variety of mounts too, but from what I've read the mounts aren't as easily as available as for the NEX-5. The NEX-5's push is for ease of use and expandability. While the two cameras compete, trying to set up the same configurations on both is more pricey on the Panasonic. Also, the NEX-5's menu settings are almost all on screen, while the Panasonic's are set as standard dials and knobs one would expect on a SLR-type camera. I guess in the end it'll come down to how you prefer to shoot and personal taste.