Thoughts – Canon EOS-M

Recently Canon announced their long awaited mirrorless / interchangeable lens camera.  Honestly, the announcement is something I awaited for a long time.  It was not too long ago that when I travelled I would carry an almost pro kit – DSLR, selection of L lenses and occasionally complimented with a medium format camera.  This resulted in a fairly packed Tenba shooter bag.  Lately I travel with a only Leica M2 and Canon G12.  Before anyone scoffs – the small kit resulted in numerous photographic awards and gallery entries.

I have a strong desire for a good, capable, and moderately portable digital camera.  My basic requirements are few but important to me: viewfinder, good manual controls, and good autofocus speed.  Good image quality should go without saying, and perhaps I am a little forgiving in this area as I do a good bit of B&W conversion.  While I expected a new lens mount when Canon finally decided to make this camera, I really hoped my needs might make it into the system.

Being used to the G12’s autofocus speed (not great, but manageable) I expect the M will be no worse.  The lack of viewfinder, and this is a me preference, is almost a deal breaker.  As an eyeglass wearer one would think I would be all for LCD panels for composition; not the case – at all but I will not get into that now.  Sadly, the deal breaker for me will be the touchscreen for a majority of controls.  I could write paragraphs about much I do not like touchscreen controls but here are basics: gloves, bright sun, hot / sweaty fingers (I live in Texas), and on and on.  I have little doubt the image quality will be on par.

Canon had plenty of time to sit on the sidelines and watch the competitors so I guess they know their market.  Yes, they offer an adapter for their large EOS lens lineup but if I have those lenses I have a body already.  Honestly, I cannot see that being a good selling point for people moving from a basic PnS.  To take full advantage of the M I would almost certainly require at least one lens, and if I have to invest in a new system I’m not sure it would be Canon.

Looks like I need to keep looking for a smaller digital that meets my needs.  Perhaps something from Fuji or talk myself into the Leica X2 with Olympus EVF.

Opinion – Canon 70-200 2.8 ISL MKII

I finally made the plunge on Canon’s most popular lens, and it was about time.  I’m not going to rehash all the information already available on this lens.  Frankly, some people have too much time – me, I’d rather be shooting than zooming in at 200% looking for CA.

I have always been a prime snob, and still am at the wide end of lenses but for most of what I do the 100-200 range is where I spend the most time.  To that end, I have a 135 L and 200 L.  Neither of those lenses are light and certainly lack image stabilization.  I rented the previous iteration of 70-200 IS as needed and was always happy with the results but never enough to justify the cost.  The difference alone between the IS and Non-IS was another good prime lens.

Now comes the MKII, and a hefty price increase over the MKI.  Since then, my med-telephoto primes have not left my bag.  The autofocus is much improved.  Shooting ice hockey with available light, in servo focus mode is spot on.  For portraits or event work, the color and contrast is on par with my primes.  Sure you could find images to contradict that, but really?  Go shoot.  The convenience of only needing one lens, w/out swapping out primes out weighs the minor improvements the primes may have.

Is it worth it?  Depends.  If I already had a newer MKI and was not a pro, but a weekend shutter bug, probably not.  Granted, you can still get decent sale price for a MKI but the cost up-tick to MKII is not slight.  If, in my case, I did not have a prior release and wanted something new (v. Craig’s List) then yeah, I think it’s worth it.  This lens will be with you for years.

The only drawback I find is it is the “pro” colored lens.  I love street photography, shooting from a distance capturing people doing what they do.  This lens is not discrete, and people react completely different when you have it on your camera.  That is where I will either fall back to the black primes or buy one of those lame fabric kits for the lens.