After a little bit of struggling to find a way to get camera gear at a price that’s a little more tolerable, I think I’ve come up with a solution.
First, I want to state what my goals have been for gear lately. I travel a whole lot. Packing 30 pounds of camera gear is a bit much at times, so I have been trying to find a way to shed weight without losing quality. Generally speaking better cameras weigh more, or so I thought. I had a dream of owning a 20 megapixel camera body with fast and good lenses, all in a small package.
Honestly, I can’t afford new equipment, it’s just too expensive. Sure, the new Canon 5d mark III is nice, but it’s costs as much as I spent on my car. It’s too much. Add to that a couple of F/2.8 L lenses and we are talking about $10k or so. More than I’ve spent on every car I’ve owned for the last 7 years. Over the years I’ve found good deals on used gear through Craigslist and eBay, but I’ve also noticed that there are literally thousands of older lenses out there for 35mm bodies that are not being used and could be had for cheap. Good glass, and in some cases at a fraction of the cost of what would fit on my canon DSLR. The question then became how can I take advantage of this?
I’ve already proven that I don’t have the ability to handle shooting film in a reasonable or cost effective manner, so using an old film body is not a good solution, which is too bad. Maybe someday I’ll be able to set up my own dark room and play with the magic of film, but that’s at least a little ways off.
At some point I started thinking about adapters for lenses, a piece that would mount on my canon DSLR body and allow me to use older lenses of varying brands, and that’s when I found the micro four thirds crowd. It seems that there are quite a few folks who are just like me (imagine that!) and want something a little different. Micro four thirds cameras are made by olympus and panasonic at this point, and they both use the same lens mount. The awesome thing about these little cameras is that they are mirrorless, so they are small, but the best part is that it’s possible to put an adapter on them and use older 35mm lenses with no change in the focal length. This makes quite a bit of sense, and solves a couple of my delimnas. First, is a decent micro four thirds body can be had for a fraction of the cost of an SLR with similar qualities. Second, is that lenses can be purchased for cheap, good lenses actually. Third, i want to get away from using the bigger CF memory cards, and switch over to more modern SD memory cards. Fourth is that i want to be able to buy bodies as deals come up of more than one manufacture. And finally, the whole thing is quite a bit easier to pack around.
Now I’m going to have to try it out. I ordered a used panasonic lumix dgc-gf3 body and found a 50 mm prime lens that already has an adapter with it all for under $200. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it to the ship, so my report on how it works will have to wait until I get off work in three weeks. I am excited and can’t wait to give it a test. Luckily I’ll be in Baltimore at that time, so I aught to be able to find some interesting stuff to take pictures of!