Year end musings

As 2015 draws to a close, it's time for a short review of my state of the photo nation.
  1. I'm down to three camera systems: Nikon FX, Nikon CX, and Fuji X. M43 has gone away, and hasn't been missed.
  2. The D3 is now on its eighth year, and still going strong. The batteries are due for a replacement though, as they are at the end of life per the indicator, and don't hold as much of a charge.
  3. The D5200 gets the occasional use when I need the extra resolution. I'm still not as impressed with the high ISO IQ though.
  4. The V1 is gone, replaced by the V2. I haven't had much time to use this camera, and plan to save it mostly for surfing and video. There is already a flaw in the plan though as the Sigma 500mm won't work with the FT1. I don't know if this is a problem with the V2 or with the FT1 as  I upgraded the firmware on the latter. The firmware upgrade allowed the FT1 to do continuous AF with the V2, but it seems at a cost. I'm waiting for a response from Sigma to find out if there is a fix. If not, I'm stuck with the 70-200mm + TC-14E for surfing (756mm 35mm-equivalent). Still not a bad combination, but not quite the 1350mm 35mm-equivalent I'd get with the Sigma.
  5. The V2 also has some weird restrictions when shooting at 15fps. There's an aperture limitation (no greater than f/5.6) in this mode. Nikon wants me to call them to discuss this, but I haven't had the opportunity over the hectic holidays.
  6. The V2 IQ is a bit grittier than the V1. Looks like I need to work on my sharpening settings.
  7. The Fuji X-E1 has been a great walkaround camera over the last five months. Yes, the AF is dog slow, but I've been mostly using it with adapted lenses, so that hasn't been an issue. The IQ from the camera has been very good though, and it's a good balance between the IQ of FX and the portability of CX. Nikon, where is your mirrorless DX body?
So overall things are looking good for 2016. No new hardware is in the cards, for now at least.

From the V1 to the V2

Earlier this year I was looking at getting a used Nikon V2. As much as I enjoy using the V1 for surfing photos, the damned image review that can't be turned off has cost me quite a few shots. I've been waiting for Nikon to make that oh so small change to the firmware, but that's been a waste of time.

In the meanwhile, I got distracted by the Fujifilm X-E1. The IQ is so much better than the V1, although AF speed can't compare. Despite that drawback, the X-E1 has replaced the V1 as my small, carry anywhere body.

So where does that leave the V1? Well, it was going to remain my surfing camera (which means selling the 10mm, 18.5mm and SB-N5), but then I found a V2 body with the 10-30mm PD lens going for a decent price (thanks again, Craigslist).

A few observations:
1. The V2 body is smaller and lighter. It's not that much smaller than the V1, but being thin with that big grip gives the impression that it's much smaller. Being lighter also helps, but that is at the expense of battery life.
2. The PD lens is very convenient. Turn on the camera and the lens opens and extends, no need to remove a lens cap and then push a button to extend the lens. Hopefully the mechanism doesn't break down.
3. The grip makes it easy to hold the camera, but it gets uncomfortable after several minutes. The corners are not as rounded as on a Nikon DSLR body, which is probably one reason my fingers start hurting after using the V2.
4. There are some surprising missing features compared to the V1, such as no battery status (really, Nikon?), no interval timer, and no option to independently turn the AF confirmation and shutter sounds on or off.
5. Auto ISO is still not correctly implemented with a minimum shutter speed setting as on Nikon's DSLR bodies. I thought the algorithm was favoring lower shutter speeds in aperture priority, but a quick test with the V1 shows similar exposures.
6. There's no way to manually select between the electronic and mechanical shutters (aside from picking silent mode). With the V1, I tend to shoot using the electronic shutter, even at slower speeds.
7. I found out my FT-1 was one firmware upgrade behind when I was unable to focus continuously at 15fps. I did a rough test using the same lens on both the V1 and V2, and the V1 feels like it's focusing faster (or refocusing more often) than the V2. 

Not having image review is a relief though. I'm looking forward to the next trip to Hawaii so I can test the V2.

The V1 is off to another Nikon fan. It will get some good use and will still be loved, but by a new owner.