I've been on extended hiatus the last couple months doing that activity almost as much fun as talking about cameras and photos... actually taking photos. Sorry to neglect this channel, but I plan to resume active blogging in mid-September. Who knows, may find time for a post or two before then. Btw, I'm lusting after the new Samsung. That's right, Samsung... the only camera company so far that seems to really get the all-around package when it comes to mirrorless, though Panasonic and Olympus both have individual features that are great. By all-around package, I mean easy, light ergonomics; small, fast pancake lenses; solid construction; and preferably, a built-in electronic viewfinder (though I realize the upcoming NX200 will not have one, falling as it is in the compete-against-Nex/GF/EP realm). The item holding back every company except for Sony has been lousy sensors; Samsung's antique version is especially egregious... but I have a feeling were about to see a strong update rolled out in the next 24 hours. Sony's Nex rollout has been the camera equivalent of releasing a car with no wheels: there are only a few (three?) lenses out at this point and none of them are any good. Being able to use a coat pocket size camera with fast 16mm, 20mm, 30mm, 60mm and 85mm primes- now that's an idea I can get behind. Anxious to see what Samsung has to offer. Especially if its competitively priced- Samsung's earlier releases indicate that the Korean company is no Fuji-discount-Leica-brand when it comes to pricing. I want one.
Update: The Samsung NX200 has clocked in at $899... a bit pricey for my tastes, particularly considering that the only kits offered are two with similar variable aperture consumer lenses. Surprised that Samsung has pushed through such a sharp price spike- the NX100, only about a year old, is on discount racks at $399. Samsung's justification presumably is their new 20 megapixel sensor. News flash for the company: That's what other companies do, update their sensors once in awhile. Just because Samsung has updated a grossly antique 2007 sensor doesn't mean that their value has suddenly risen $200-$300 above equivalent products from their Olympus/Sony/Panasonic competitors. Samsung has the best lens lineup of any of the mirrorless companies (for my needs); and in the near-impossible-to-find NX10, the best form factor; but I really don't get their business model. First, they let their sensor lag so far behind that their being whipped in image comparison tests by much smaller 4/3" sensors. Then, they release an ambitious lens lineup but make finding the cameras like some sort of Indiana Jones project- it's been ages since the NX10 has been listed on mainstream sites like B&H and Adorama and I'm not sure the NX11 finally arrived. Then they release the NX200, which looks to have a solid sensor given its 20 megapixel largesse, but price the camera- which lacks some of the snazzier features like in-camera stabilization or an electronic viewfinder- at $899 with a choice of crap lenses. Huh? I know Samsung has a lot of money to throw away, but given the amount of thought they've put into developing this product line you would have thought they would give more thought into the sales and marketing model.
Here are my simple desires for a mirrorless camera, which for me will be a backup, not a primary: 1) High quality, wide aperture pancake lens (Sony is now out of the running), 2) Reasonable 3200 ISO- no need for 6400 or 12800, good old 3200 is fine (every brand other than the Fuji X100- and potentially, the new Samsung, is out of the running), 3) Kit available in a reasonable $600-$750 range, comparable to what a similarly capable consumer SLR and a prime lens would cost (Fuji X100 and Samsung NX200 are both out of the running, as is the Ricoh GXR). 4) Manual focus capability (cross out the Fuji X10, despite their retro design I see nothing in the new Fujis that indicates good manual focusing prospects). Which leaves me eyeing whatever Pentax and Nikon have to offer this fall or a compromise product (Panasonic G2? GF3?) off the discount rack. Am I too picky because I have no desire to pay a $300-$400 premium simply for the privilege of a camera company removing the mirror assembly and leaving everything else intact? I don't think so.