PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

12Sep/100

What comes after

Say hypothetically you’ve been stalking Leica for 4 years.  While you wait for Leica to show that they are committed to digital, you make the closest approximation to a Leica lifestyle out of a Nikon D700 and small pile of Zeiss lenses.  One day Project-864 is revealed to the world, its outcome is the M9!  So you roll up your pennies for a year and you get yourself on a waitlist.

Now you are set on a path to own two complete high-end camera systems that do basically the same thing.  Oops.

On this post from May 2008 I depicted my Master Plan™.  Note this was before the D700 was announced and Project-864 wasn’t even started at Leica.  Here is the diagram from that post…

Despite a few detours, I ended up executing on this exact plan as it turned out.  The PC-E was a wild idea, so I did skip that, and the printer is still to come...  but the rest is pretty much what I’m using today.  When I made that chart all I had on it was a 35mm Distagon, I lucked out when the D700 came out precisely as I wanted it to be (a D3 with the grip cut).  

What am I going to do with this picture going forward?  I think one of the contentious points is what to do with the ZFs once I switch to the M system.  There’s also another lingering question that has troubled me for months : how exactly am I going to account for (kid) sports photography?  I currently do not own any auto-focus lenses, nor stabilized lenses, nor a telephoto longer than 100mm-e.

I think I may have an answer to both of these questions, and this post is essentially intended to store this idea for my future retrieval.

I think of all the 75mm aperture lenses I looked at in a recent post, the one that captivates my imagination the most is the 150mm Zuiko.  It’s compact, very fast and reputedly one of the best optics available anywhere.  I have suspected for a while (years) that the best complement to the M system (the least telecentric system on the market) could be the E system from Olympus (the most telecentric).

Adaptation to the E mount would shift my ZFs comfortably out of the M camera’s range : 35 to 70, 50 to 100, 100 to 200.  Also each of them would gain image stabilization for free as a result, I have to say that’s a compelling thought.

Here is that possible future chart and my wish for Olympus…

This is what I would like Olympus to do : take an E3 camera, give it a micro-4/3 mount and an EVF.  Then make an adapter (possibly specific to the new camera and/or using a pellicle mirror) that enables normal Zuiko lenses to be focused using phase-detection on this camera.  Then not only would this camera be a great platform for ZFs and a secondary platform for ZMs, but I would be thrilled to pair this camera with a 150mm Zuiko as my sports lens.

There’s a chance we’ll see exactly this for Photokina this year.  Just a chance.  There is a rumor to that effect already.