Eric L. Woods

This last week has been a GAS sufferers nightmare. Saved by “That’ll do.”

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This was a rough week for GAS sufferers. Well it was for this one anyway.

First the Sony A1 announcement and then the FUJIFILM GFX 100S.

They need to space these things out. Could financially ruin more folks than this GameStop imbroglio.

What also likely did not help is that this is a perilous time in history that welcomes distractions in order to sustain one’s sanity.

But I escaped the announcements mostly unscathed. Friends and family may disagree after I verbally assailed them with my gear spec rantings. But I am back.

What stopped me ultimately?

Short version:

I do not need any of this.

Heck, I do not need what I already have. In other words I reacquainted myself with the old phrase, “That’ll do.”

Long winded version:

What I will usually do to pull me out of these fits over whatever it is I am obsessing over that moment is find a massively inferior or technically limited bit of kit to compare it to and see if I can approximate what I am after to my satisfaction. Odd. But it usually works. An easy one is like when I use a mirrorless camera to mount M Mount glass to in order to alleviate my digital Leica M obsession for example. Even brought the unexpected perk of usable AF if so desired.

Sony A7c - 7Artisans 50mm f/1.1

Some other examples.

Exhibit A:

This happened recently when I began obsessing over the Hasselblad 907x as I wrote about not that long ago. I sat down and asked myself that after all the hype is put aside what did I really hope to accomplish above the new shiny bauble thing?

Answer: Shoot my Hasselblad glass using a digital sensor.

Solution: Kipon Baveyes 0.7x Optical Focal Reducer

Kipon Baveyes 0.7x Optical Focal Reducer Lens Adapter

Outcome: Success. Sure I lost the ability to access newer Hasselblad AF glass, but it met the base requirement of allowing me to shoot the Hasselblad V glass with all modern MF aids like focus peaking on a digital sensor. And the 907x path would prove to be wildly more expensive. Theoretically I lost resolution but that could be addressed by purchasing a higher resolution Sony body. Plus it added an EVF and easy access to TTL flash photography in addition to being much more cost effective.

Kipon Baveyes 0.7x - Hasselblad Zeiss 80mm f/2.8
Kipon Baveyes 0.7x - Hasselblad Zeiss 80mm f/2.8
Glow Modifier Test - Blog Post Pics
Kipon Baveyes 0.7x Optical Focal Reducer Lens Adapter

I was concerned that I would get this, not be satisfied and still pursue the 907x but that has not been the case at all. This offered the core functionality I was looking for. GAS attack averted.

On to the next example.

Exhibit B:

So what about this most recent time with the FUJIFILM GFX 100S? The A1 was relatively easy one to avoid, mainly because the do everything I need A7III exists, but like I stated in my write up this one hit close to home. But a move like this would have required that I go all in on one GFX camera. The way I am built I cannot see having other systems and also the GFX. So it would have had to satisfy all of my photography needs. Before I get to the near heresy level alternative I chose to compare below there are some things I would definitely miss with only one camera.

  • Variety.
    • I will just say it. I would find shooting one camera all of the time boring no matter how amazing it is. And I get about as amped about shooting a die a quick mangled innards death if you look at it funny old Russian camera as I am one of the social media darlings. I hear a lot of people talking about one camera/one lens and I understand what they are on about. But that does not suit me at all. I could literally see myself thinking, “Oh look. Another amazingly sharp photo with a completely blown out background. Yawn.” So selling all for one does not sound the least bit appealing when I think about it. Plus I became a bit ill when using KEH’s estimator tool to assess values and stopped. I am clearly not there yet.
  • Reasonable Preciousness.
    • I experienced an issue when I briefly owned a Leica Q. Even though I had a second hand copy with some miles on it I had a hard time using it as intended. A walkabout camera. While running errands I left it behind briefly and the stress levels were very unpleasant. With only one body that would be my every day.
  • Two bodies, one mount.
    • When I settle on a mount I prefer obtaining two camera bodies if possible. It comes in very handy when shooting an event not to have to switch lenses. There is no way I could afford two GFX bodies. After offloading everything and a vital organ the best I could do is a GFX body and a lens or two. It was especially helpful during my first and only wedding shoot (thanks to the world being on fire and all).
Kauffmann Wedding Shoot - The Wedding
A7III/Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
Kauffmann Wedding Shoot - The Wedding
A7II/Sony G 70-200mm f/2.8
Kauffmann Wedding - The Reception
A7II/Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
Kauffmann Wedding - The Reception
A7III/Samyang 45mm f/1.8

When the world does eventually stop burning and shoots like these are a thing again I would really miss having two same mount bodies. On to the topic at hand.

What I would really be looking to score more than the GFX body is the GF 110mm f/2 lens. Same question as above. After all the hype is put aside what did I really hope to accomplish above the new shiny bauble thing?

Answer: The mother of all portrait solutions.

Solution: (With caveats to come. Brace yourself.) Olympus OMD E-M1/Zuiko 75mm f/1.8

OMD E-M1/Zuiko 75mm f/1.8

Wait. Wait. Put down your virtual torches and pitchforks and hear me out.

I am not really talking about this lens only. Just that while no one portrait solution could match the GF 110mm f/2 there are quite a few more humble lenses that I hold in high regard when viewed in isolation. I already mentioned two lenses, the 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 and Rokinon/Samyang 85mm f/1.4, in the GFX 100S post but there are others. Here are a few lenses of varying sensor size, capture medium, equivalent focal lengths, mounts, etc.

Zeiss Hasselblad 80mm f/2.8 C T* (On film this time)

Graduation
Rollei RPX 400
Hasselblad 501c

Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited

Running Errands
Running Errands

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD

There are more but lastly I list the lens mentioned above, the Olympus 75mm f/1.8. I show two pictures that served to calm my gear acquisition syndrome ways once before. I was once intent on purchasing a Pentax 67 medium format film camera. Manu happened to have his one day so we jokingly took back to back photos. His picture of me with his Pentax 67…

Pentax67 taken by Manu for Zuiko 75mm comparison

…and then I took a photo of him with my little Olympus lens.

Olympus 75mm f/1.8

As good? As special a shooting experience? No and no.

Does it fall into the realm of “That’ll do.”? Yes.

Back to the Exhibit B question.

Would I trade one for these lenses alone for a GF 110mm f/2?

  • No. Of course not.

Would I trade this one GF 110mm f/2 at the expense of using these other lenses?

  • A little more complicated. Initially my answer was maybe. But then I thought about it for a couple of days. Once I shake off the haze experienced after viewing sample images taken with the GF 110mm and imagining what I could do with such a lens things change. I prefer the advantages listed above.
    • Variety.
    • Reasonable Preciousness.
    • Two bodies, one mount.

A lot of words. Bottom line is that I prefer a variety of great performers over ultimate performance.

So that discusses the lens in question. There is still one thing I have not mentioned. A key feature of the 100S that none of the solutions listed above had.

100MP.

Well after the haze above lifted I was reminded that while very nice to have I do not need 100MP.

The photo below was taken with a many years old 16MP MFT sensor.

Olympus 75mm f/1.8
Click to open in Flickr and zoom in.

I could literally do just fine with a years old MFT sensor and a great lens. Yes, there are those that can make use of that 100MP resolution. I am just not one of them. 100MP will just crush my local and cloud storage and will likely slow down my photo editing workflow. So MP count amounts to little more than a bragging right in my case.

Next phase. Rationalization of lower tier GFX GAS.

There is a potential positive GFX flip side to this. Hello 50MP.

The GFX 50S and 50R model prices are precariously close to the far more advanced 100S currently. I doubt that the market will support this for long. First there will likely be price adjustments to the 50S ($500 less than the 100S currently) and 50R ($1,500 less than the 100S currently). Second those two models will likely be hitting the used market in trade for the 100S. One may soon be able to pick up a 50S or 50R for quite a discount. Perhaps $3,000-$4,000 or so one day. But I have two issues with this:

  1. There is still that issue of a lens. That 110mm f/2 will still run quite the princely sum. Others in the range cost nearly as much or do not fulfill my ultimate portrait solution mandate.
  2. With the 50S and 50R I am right back where I started. Laying sensor size aside contrast only AF and 50MP is bested by a swift phase focusing Sony that uses the lenses I already have and has more MP. The A7RIV.

Next phase. What about that A7RIV.

With that I made a COVID restriction friendly visit to my local camera shop today to test drive a Sony A7RIV they had in stock. I took a couple of test shots with the A7RIV and as expected I was impressed.

A7IV_ (1 of 2) Test Shots
A7RIV/Rokinon-Samyang 85mm f/1.4
A7IV_ (2 of 2) Test Shots
A7RIV/Rokinon-Samyang 85mm f/1.4

I started discussing a trade. Threw in a few esteemed film cameras that got me there. But then I was reminded of something I stated at the start of this post.

I do not need any of this.

A large part of it is I cannot bring myself to part with my trusty A7III. Aside from one trip to spa that was due to user error it has been a great camera. It was purchased when released and a few cameras have come and gone for me since. I cannot part with it for MP alone.

7Artisans 50mm f/1.1

Conversated with Manu, Wilson, Jack, and Graham for a bit. We caught up on gear acquisitions (A GFX 100 was in the mix.) and Wilson and I took a few shots with the 7Artisans 75mm f/1.25 and TECHART AF adapter.

A7c and TECHART
Manu as shot by Wilson
A7c and TECHART
Manu as shot by Wilson when he realized that I purchased a K-1… again
A7c and TECHART
Wilson
A7c and TECHART
Wilson
A7c and TECHART
Crossfire

A couple of shots with the 7Artisans 28mm f/1.4.

A7c and TECHART
The amazing GFX 100.
A7c and TECHART
Manu.

And true to form Manu and I took some exchange fire shots. Will post his GFX 100 shot (Which I fully expect will blow my shot out of the water.) when he sends it to me. My A7c/Rokinon-Samyang 85mm f/1.4 contribution. (User error alert. I forgot to adjust my ISO when I went outside and had it set to 800.)

Manu

Would I still like to have a FUJIFILM GFX 100S?

Yes. Of course.

Is it needed? Will it alone improve my photography, so on and so forth?

No.

I am good. I do look forward to seeing what others create with this wonderful device. But I am good. I have made peace with “That’ll do.”

..but I may get a GFX 100S one day. Or what if a similar bodied GFX 50SII is in the works with phase detect for a reduced price? Who knows. We’ll see for now. But if FUJIFILM keeps at it with making medium format accessible there may be a GFX in my future.

Happy shooting.

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