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(97/366) Unusual wall decorated with pretty hub cap flowers. Seen whilst parked up outside a local Skoda sales room/derelict petrol station HWW!

This shot from 2009 (ignore what the date thing on Flickr suggests) when first seen for sale at a local garage. Think it was about £600, elderly lady owner from new. Wasn't immaculate, but good to see still around. Still around town, see photo taken in 2010.

Shot and processed on an iPhone. This collage makes extensive use of Superimpose to mask and blend a number of recently shot images and photographed textures. Leme Cam and Camera Bag were used to create lomo versions of existing images.

 

Photogene2, my favorite general go-to image editor (because of its similar feature set to Photoshop 7 from back in the day), was used to crop the images of the young man, older man, bird and nail.

 

The nail was captured with my new macro Ollioclip lens, which has superb depth of field - tilt-shift wasn't required to get the blur toward the end of the nail shank.

 

At a local garage sale, I found a number of pieces of ephemera like the math calculations in a European hand. They add a nice aura of mystery to the image.

   

There were about 74 dust spots in the sky area of this image.

It took me about 23 minutes to get rid of these dirty spots.

Removing dust spots is tedious and very risky, difficult and sometimes deprives all the good charm of the image!

 

I always clean my A7R sensor and so it has a very few dust spots but my A7M2 always has about 34 -45 dust spots and it is really difficult to clean the sensor properly due to the terrible IBIS implementation in that body. My A6500 has the same problem and this is why I am debating replacing it with a Panasonic GH5 or G85. I think one of the biggest advantages of using m43 system is the super effective self sensor cleaning system and thus we can change lenses outside of our room without the fear of inviting dusts....but most of so-called reviewers always dismiss or even intentionally ignore it........

 

The current state of the ILC world -Why Fuji will never become mainstream (updated)

 

In Japan all die hard Fuji fanatics call fullframe as "Furu-size format" and that roughly translated into English like "old dated format", "stupid old format", "oldman's format",etc., and they all complaining about the size and cost of FF lens system, but is so-called FF really more expensive than the Fuji as a whole system?

 

After trying out the Fuji X system and comparing it to my own Sony, m43 and Nikon systems extensively for about 4 months, I really feel it is the best time for me to write about some seriously annoying real life issues of the Fuji X system and the Sony FE mount system compared to more modestly priced Nikon or Canon D-SLR system...as my answer to the above question that our die-hard Fuji fans asked us a few months ago in my local area.

 

There are a couple of disclaimers:

1> I have been shooting Sony as my main camera system for over a decade now and so I might be too biased towards them or against them, but either way I am not a fan of Sony corporation, especially after I started dealing with them in 2009 as one of our main business partners, I've become a bit anti-Sony kind of a photographer and I honestly think it is very difficult for me or actually any one to fully trust Sony as a long term business partner or anything like that. However, I must admit recently Sony has been rapidly improving in service and support area at least in ILC market.

But I think I know them much better than an average forum expert on this matter or any so-called pro reviewer out there because I can read their original Japanese marketing materials better and I've known a few of Sony imaging people very well since about 2008 or 2009. So I think I am qualified to compare Fuji vs Sony vs Nikon lens line here and write about that the 4 system comparison frankly.

2> there is no one better system to all others or close to ideal system for everybody, and unlike common forum belief , it is not like the more expensive camera, the always better it is at everything for everyone. So lets be honest if I had the money and room to put all kinds of cameras, then I would buy almost all formats and most of brands cameras maybe except Pentax.

However, in real life my room size is not getting any bigger, my income is now pretty much fixed and not going up or down any time very soon, so I have to choose one or two systems or maybe three from my current 5 systems I have now. And I am not anti any one or any system at all, just trying to be as neutral and rational as I can be..........however, as I said I am not bias-free either because I know Sony too much and definitely have clear preference and so I may make some wrong assessments/judgement on some systems.

Honestly, there are no really bad systems any more maybe except Pentax , which I firmly believe will go bankrupt very soon.........But hey even they or any one go bankrupt who cares? we are not buying their share but their cameras.

Anyway,I've really enjoyed using m43 for pure fun. For pure personal shooting I honestly prefer it to my so-called FF or the Fuji X system, I've found m43, especially Panasonic models such as the G85, the GH4 and GH5 and the Olympus EM1M2 very very intuitive and fast in all ways. And they are the best or easiest cameras to travel with at least for a budget air traveler like myself. The Panasonic GH5 and GH4 are amazing video making tools and I love them always. But for pure stills , especially landscapes or high resolution studio stuff they are not adequate. A 16mp or a 20mp chip simply cannot produce the resolution we need for high resolution landscapes or studio product shots. After all I am too used to 36mp and 42.4mp FF sensor output qualities.

But even for that kind of use, with Olympus we now at least have the high-resolution pixel shifting mode and that actually produces better result than most of FF cameras, at least for completely static things such as studio or products shots.

I have used it for a studio poster shot of a motor bike I advertised a few weeks ago in a local mag , and the result was simply stunning! However, it cannot work well for anything even slightly moving like flowers or slowly moving leaves...........or a bit windy day landscapes, etc.

For tripod long exposure work, I always preferred and still prefer my ancient Sony A7R and Nikon D810, the reason for that is simple they lack the annoying extra sensor heat generating IBIS gimmick. The IBIS is the most overrated feature of any camera system and I would rather not have it in any FF camera I buy. It generates extra heat, requires a more powerful processor, more ram and thus also requires more room for proper heat dissipation system...resulting in a much bigger heavier body for the same performance without it. The A6500 is much bigger and heavier than the A6300, the Panasonic GH5 is a much bigger body than the GH4 is, and ironically enough, all the mirrorless system supposed to be cheaper and smaller with simple electronics finder system getting bigger and heavier every iteration.

Plus, the IBIS actually makes the sensor nosier and less stable and much more difficult to clean it. My first A7R, which I bought in November 2013 still has a pretty clean sensor even after 4 years of extensive abuse in cold mountains. But my relatively new just 9 months old A7R2 and just 5 weeks old A6500 have lots of dust on their respective sensor, and it is not easy to clean them without damaging the IBIS or the sensor itself.

So for me the IBIS is actually minus point at least in a FF body despite of extreme love for the IBIS in many common forum.

That all said though, the IBIS is not actually a very bad gimmick on the smaller sensor system such as m43 or Sony APS-C, and I think the pluses may beat the minuses in a smaller sensor system. So I need to be clear I am only against IBIS in a FF body.

A7R2 and A7R are extremely slow and make me often waiting waiting for everything and that makes me often miss a few incredible once a life time kind of shooting opportunities.

So for me they are useless for corporate events or decisive street shots,etc. Sure the A7R2 has decent AF and shooting speed, but the camera operation speed is still way too slow;too slow to format the card, too slow to change LCD to EVF, too slow to wake up from a long sleep, etc, etc. And its video is useless, only able to shoot a few minutes and then heating up and suddenly stops shooting and some times even shuts it down itself.

The A6500 is a bit better and shoots a bit better video for a bit longer period, but basically it still has the same heating up excessively and suddenly shutting down issue.

So I recently down graded one of my two A6500 cameras to A6300, which I had before I bought my A6500, and now considering selling it too for something even cheaper and thus more abuse-able camera probably the old A6000. The A6500, the A6300 are not much better than the ancient A6000......at least in terms of sheer IQ.

Any way, since I recently added Fuji system recently, I would like to just compare the lens line of the Fuji X vs the lens line of the Nikon FX vs the lens lineup of the Sony E mount. Many times I find the excessively hard and nasty lens criticism Sony gets from many reviewers and forum experts are extremely unfair, unfounded and dishonest...... And most of times those extreme critics of Sony lens line have actually never used any of expensive Sony or Zeiss FE primes or do not understand how to test lenses correctly.

So here it goes..........

Is Fuji better for lens selection than Sony or Nikon, or is Fuji at least a cheaper system than a FF system like Sony or Nikon?

Well...yes and no. It is not so simple.

Yes, they have APS-C dedicated fast primes that Sony lacks and their zooms are miles ahead compared to Sony APS-C zooms, but then again, the primes Fuji offers are pretty large and heavy, they lack OS and (esp older versions) have clunky and loud AF motors. And Nikon lenses tend to be much cheaper for the same quality or even a bit better optical performance than Fuji or Sony. However, if I can include FF lenses since I only have FF lenses for my Sony or Nikon or Canon, I would have to say Sony FE and Nikon F are much more complete systems than Fuji X. Plus, Nikon FX has really a lot of cheap thirdparty lenses and other cheap thirdparty accessories with incredibly huge selection of used lens market......

So if the native lens selection and the system performance per dollar is any importance to you , then there is still no mirrorless system better than the Nikon or the Canon system......So it's not all roses and sunshine in Mirrorless camp. I have used Sony system for over a decade and I have collected many lenses for my Sony E and A systems and I have a lot of Nikon lenses as well. Now I have been testing many Fuji lenses and they are indeed very good but not as amazing as many many Fuji fanatics in Fujirumor sites suggest they are, especially with respect to value/performance ratio.

 

Comp 1> 23-25mm FL: Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 vs Fuji 23/1.4 vs Fuji 23/2 vs Nikon 24mm f1.8G AF-S vs Sony SEL24mm f1.8Z.

Here I do not want to but I must admit the Nikon is the best lens especially considering its modest price tag and size. Then I prefer the tiny Fuji 23mm f2 WR for bad environment shooting. But if I have to pick the absolute best lens from this set, then I would have to pick the Batis 25 is a bit sharper lens than the the Fuji 23mm f1.4 or the APS-C dedicated Sony Zeiss. The one serious issue of the Batis 25mm f2 is the extremely pronounced CA in highlight or very high contrasty area, other wise, it is a near perfect lens, and I use it very often on my A7R.

The optical performance of the Fuji 23mm f1.4 is nothing short of amazing too but its mechanical quality is not as great as its optical quality.. The Fuji is very well built on paper and according to the fanboys, and renders OOF area or bokeh very very nicely and of course goes down to 1.4........but the AF is loud and just feels awkward, actually it cannot focus well in extreme lowlight where a really fast prime like it is really needed. It has very nice optical quality though...... the fly-by-wire focus ring is also extremely awkward to use in very dark places. Unlike the excellent Zeiss Batis, the Fuji is not weather-sealed and I doubt it is actually well built, to me it feels very cheap...........

The Sony Zeiss is actually a better lens in terms of build and mechanical quality than the Fuji XF23mm f1.4, very well built and very precise focus system and the AF of the Sony Zeiss is light years ahead of the Fuji XF23mm f1.4.

But again considering the price to performance ratio and pure optical quality and over all real life usability or practicality , the Nikon is the best bargain lens here and I mean by far the best bang for your buck kind of a lens not the absolute best -which, in my opinion, is the Batis 25mm f2.

The Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED is smaller and lighter than the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens or the Fuji XF23mm f1.4 lens and the Nikon is a lot cheaper than both the Fuji and Zeiss Batis. The Batis lens is very sharp in the center, but in the edges and corners it is still good but not as sharp as the cheap plastic Nikon f2.8G lens..........the green edged CA is annoying and hard to get rid of in PP, and after getting rid of it in PP, the final output becomes very much softer than without the software correction.

And it has incredibly heavy,pronounced distortion before the extremely heavy handed software correction.......that almost all makers mirrorless cameras apply to all their lenses.

So if MF is fine , I actually prefer my Zeiss 25mm f2 Distagon ZF2 lens for this specific focal length. For AF work, I prefer the Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED, which is an exceptional lens at very very modest affordable price.

Comp 2>At 50-55mm range: Sony FE55mm f1.8Z for Sony E mount vs Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art for Nikon F vs Fuji 56/1.2 for Fuji X vs Loxia 50mm f2 for Sony E.

Yeah I know, f1.2 vs f1.4 vs f1.8 vs f2 not a very fair optical comparison but still this is the most practical way of comparing the systems since not all of these systems have the same class similar optics with the same max F number...and their respective choice of sensor format is also different...........So the Fuji f1.4 lenses just roughly equal to the Nikon and the Sony f1.8 primes in terms of light gathering power and actual DOF-controllability.

I think most likely people use these systems with AF use these lenses and therefore I would like to compare these. Well the Loxia is pure MF lens but I've thrown it into this mix since it is my personal favorite lens for my E mount body and I use it a lot for video and paid corporate portrait work I sometimes do in the summer season(in the winter I am very busy and I have no time for any kind of part time work).

The Fuji is a very fast f1.2 lens but with very slow AF motor, and again it has the terrible fly-by-wire MF ring, and so does the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 Z lens. This is very annoying, and this is why I do not like the optically fantastic almost flawless(at least for the price) FE55mm f1.8Z.

The Fuji XF56mm f1.2 has amazing color and micro contrast and almost distortion free even before the usual software correction Fuji applies to any of their lenses, it renders beautiful skin tone with very pleasant bokeh.

Probably the Fuji has better copy to copy variation and tighter QC than Sony on their older fake Zeiss line lenses such as this FE55mm f1.8, the FE35mm f1.4Z, the FE35mm f2.8,though Sony has already improved it with the newer FE 50mm f1.4Z, which is objectively a great lens but I personally dislike for its awkward ergonomics and extreme Lo-CA at wideopen and near wideopen range. The FE55mm f1.8Z has significantly pronounced pincushion distortion but it is automatically corrected in the camera or in ACR or in C1 pro, or in DXO pro, however, that auto lens distortion correction makes the lens significantly softer in the edges and corners than it should have originally been without it. So in final images it usually ends up softer than the Fuji or the big FF Sigma lens on a Nikon body. The Loxia 50mm f2 is a lens designed after the legendary Leica mount Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens and its rendering characteristic is very similar to that of the Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens, but the Sony mount version is significantly sharper in the centers with a lot less lateral CA(still more pronounced green CA than the FE 55 or FE 50mm f1.4 Planar, though). And the Loxia is very good at handling complex contra-light scenes, and so it seldom produces terrible rainbow colored ghost...... , the Loxia is very very tactile and easy to MF precisely for video and for stills even including moderately fast moving things or people. So despite of its slightly slower max speed at f2 , I much prefer it to any of the other around 50mm primes for Sony or Fuji, or any of the Nikon 50mm primes.

However, if I can throw the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens into the mix, I prefer it to everything else I've compared here. The new Zeiss for Nikon and Canon mount is simply a superb lens with outstanding MF ring, I can MF it easily at f1.4 and get tack sharp images anytime......it's that good. IMHO, the Milvus 50mm f1.4 is the best 50mm prime ever made out side of the real Leica price territory..........the Leica 50mm f2 APO is slightly better I think but I can no longer afford it , I used to have it for a few months but I sold it to my grandpa(needed the money for my new storage system 70 four tera byte hard drives and 24 one tera byte SSDs, etc). I think the Milvus series is really underrated line of Ziess, it is actually as great as their more famous Otus line without the crazy bulk of the Otus series. I know the Sigma Art and the Zeiss Otsus series primes are fantastic optically, but they are too impractical in real life scenes(outside of studio and landscape), and therefore, I am not a fan of them.

I love the Milvus line and the older ZF2 line Zeiss primes more than the new Batis or Loxia line Zeiss primes for Sony ,and I am sometimes thinking about going back to Nikon main for that very reason plus better flash and cheaper more practical lens line-up than the Sony FE or Fuji X.

But if you are simply looking for the best bang for your buck kind of a person, then I think there is nothing really beats the Nikon AF-S50mm f1.4G, which is actually a sharp lens if you shoot it at f2.2 or smaller aperture. And if you are like me tend to stop it down to at least f5.6 or so most of times, then the cheap Nikon 50 mm f1.4G is just as sharp as the expensive Loxia 50mm f2 or Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art or Zony 50mm f1.4 Z. But for me the Milvus and the Loxia are both worth the high prices since they have the best MF ring for the Sony bodies, I really hate the fly-by-wire MF system of Zony or Fuji.

And it is obvious that all current tiny bodied mirrorless systems are overpriced and without the super heavy-handed software correction they can not compete well with the best Zeiss or Sigma primes for Nikon Canon mount system, in fact, the cheap Nikon f1.8G series primes beat many of the expensive Zony, Sony GM , Fuji XF lenses in terms of pure optical and mechanical quality, and it is a shocking fact to many.

I think why you may want to pay high premium for Loxia or Batis line if you shoot Sony FE system is that they seem to have very very high QC tolerances and chances are you may never get a bad copy of it at least an extremely bad one.

 

Comp 3> Sony 24-70mm f2.8GM vs Fuji 16-50mm f2.8 XF, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC USD.

No comparison here. Sony should be ashamed with their zooms. Although I had a very good 24-70mm f4 and f2.8GM, they were still way behind what the 16-50mm f2.8, let alone the new Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR......The Sony 24-70mm f4 Z is an OK lens for the modest price and compact size, but the 24-70mm f2.8 GM is a super expensive lens, costing about 300 hundreds more than the Nikon version and still optically not as good as the Nikon, or in fact I believe it is even a bit worse than the Tamron version for Nikon F mount.

In fact, lack of any quality zoom in the bread and butter range for event pros or part time paid photographers in the current Sony lens line up is a big minus point of Sony system regardless of the mirror type...........SLT or mirrorless.

And another issue is no Tamron, Sigma support for Sony E and A mount any more, this is a huge drawback of the system...........to say the least. If there was a Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC for Sony E mount, I would have bought it and replaced my Nikon mount version of it for my A7R and Nikon D750. It is very pathetic sad that we Sony users are always forced to get the overpriced GM or Batis line lenses even for the focal range where we might want to just get a "good enough" cheap off-brand lens option.

And in fact , in many cases I actually prefer Tamron lenses to Sony or Zeiss E mount lenses even without any discount or like that.

If I had the Tamron 85mm f1.8 VC option for my Sony system, then I wouldn't have bought a few copies of the Batis E 85mm f1.8 OSS and the Sony 85mm f1.4 GM and returned most of these. I simply prefer the Tamron to the Zeiss or Sony regardless of their prices or brand names in this case. The Tamorn 85mm f1.8,35mm f1.8VC, 45mm f1.8 VC, etc, are really great lenses and many times I've considered going back to Nikon main just for these modestly priced but high quality Tamron primes.

 

I think the Sony E16-70mm f4 (recent copies)are quite good, but still no where near the best APS-C zoom Fuji or Nikon makes for their respective APS-C system.........But in this case the Sony lens is at least very versatile and small unlike their FF zooms..........they are pure bogs, especially the 24-70mm GM and 70-200mm f2.8 GM....

 

Comp 4>Sony FE70-200mm f4 OSS, Nikon AF-S70-200mmf4GEDVR, Fuji XF55-200mm f4-5.6ED.

Well, in this comparison, I must say the Sony FE70-200mm f4G, at least the recent copy(made after 2015),is the best in the set. The Sony is cheaper and sharper and comes with tripod collar. The initial 3000 or so copies had the soft 200mm f4 setting issue, but the copies produced after 2015 July are much better, if you read the recent review on the Sony FE70-200mmf4 G at Ephotozine, you see it clearly, it is raved there, and they are usually an anti-Sony, pro Nikon site.

In Japan, the Sony FE70-200mm f4 G SSM lens is one of the biggest bargain lenses, and now Sony is giving a free Zeiss branded Protection filter for any one buys this lens.

So for me, in this range it is a no brainer. It is relatively compact, sharp throughout the range, with very well corrected almost flat field at most of focal range, it is a very very good zoom at very very reasonable price point.

The Nikon AF-S70-200mm f4G ED VR lens was a good lens when it was out. But now it seems really dated and overpriced. It is heavier than the Sony by about 205g, it is a bit longer than the Sony and much bigger and heavier than the relatively small(albeit darker)Fuji. The Nikon is less sharp at 70mm mark than the Sony at all aperture settings, with a bit more pronounced barrel distortion than that of the Sony. At 135mm setting, the Sony is still a bit sharper and better corrected. At 200mm f4, the Nikon might still be a bit sharper at 200mm f4 setting but not by much, the later recently released copies of the Sony is much better than the initially released copies that tested by most of so-called review sites, so you may see it seems much worse than it actually is at 200mm f4 setting at most of review sites, but it has really improved since 2015.

Compared to the cheap but dark Fuji zoom, the Fuji is overrated lens, obviously.

It is not the same class of the zoom as either the Nikon or the Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom. Claiming the XF55-200 dim zoom as good as the Sony FE 70-200mm f4 G is a bit of stretch. IMHO, the Fuji 55-200 is a bit fancier version of a typical kit zoom, that is all about it.

 

Comp 5> around 50mm macro lens: Sony FE 50mm f2.8 macro, Nikon AF-S60mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, Fuji 60mm f1.2 almost macro lens, Sigma 50mm f2.8 DG.

Well there is no need any serious analysis or reading at all about these lenses, I used to have all of these and I only kept the Sony.

The Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro is a fantastic lens especially for the modest price tag it carries. After all, it is the third very sharpest prime ever tested on the a7R2 and a7R.

It beats the about 100 US more expensive Nikon 60 G micro hands down, albeit the compromised slow AF, but in macro range no one use AF anyway.

For pure optical quality it is a absolute steal, it has very low CA, thanks to the amazing new ED element, it has very very low distortion, and it produces cool color(not as warm as Zeiss or G branded Sony lenses) and I prefer that personally, but many people especially those who love flowers or people head shots may prefer a bit warmer OOC color.

The Fuji 60mm f2.4 is an excellent lens too but it is not a REAL macro, it is only a half macro kind like the Canon EF24-70mm f4 L IS in macro mode.

So if you need the real macro capability in mirrorless system there is no other choice than the Sony or you must go down to m43 league, and I say go down but as for macro m43 system is not actually worse than FF or especially APS-C system unless you have super expensive macro lens plus macro ring flash and always 100 percent use a tripod.

The m43 allows you to focus stack automatically for better DOF, and it has excellent but reasonably priced compact macro lens choices such as the amazing Olympus 60mm f2.8, the Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Leica branded lens, the Olympus and Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro. And Panasonic will release long awaited X120mm f2.8 G macro lens very soon.

So for me and I think many casual macro shooters the m43 is the most interesting choice for macro work or just simple casual floower close up.

I love Sony 30mm f3.5 on my A6500 too, it is a cheap lens but very practical, you can really abuse it in rain, in cold mountains, etc, and it never breaks. Even if it breaks, hey who cares? it is very cheap indeed. But if you like shooting food or some product like some Star Wars figures or Mickey Mouse doll like I do, then the Sony FE50mm f2.8 macro is an excellent choice especially on the R bodies.

The cheap Sony macro is a bit less sharp than the amazingly sharp FE55mm f1.8Z on the A7R2, but it is just as sharp as the Sonnar on the A7R or the a7M2. And in my test comfortably beats the Loxia 50mm f2 in the center and especially in the edges, albeit a bit more pronounced Lo-CA in highlight or OOF area. In any case, the Sony FE50mm f2.8 is a real bargain deal lens in the current FE system, and this lens and the FE90mm f2.8G prove that actually there are many bargain deal lenses in the current harshly criticized as expensive or overpriced(mostly by non-Sony users) Sony lens system.

Comp 6> around 100mm macro lens: Sony FE90mm f2.8G, Tamron 90 mm f2.8 VC G2, Nikon AF-S105mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, etc.

Well there is really no comp here, the Sony FE 90mm wins hands down as DXO and others all confirm it firmly. I had all of these plus the famous Voiklander 125mm f2.5 APO macro, and the FE 90mm f2.8 G is the absolute winner here, of course the Voiktlander is also a great lens but it is not as practical as the Sony in real life use.

The Sony lens also beats both the Zeiss 100 mm f2 ZF2 and the Milvus version in resolution, CA, distortion, and light fall off, so it is an outstanding lens without any doubt.

The lens really shines on the a7R2, but it is really good on any body but if your sensor is just 24mp FF , then it easily outresolves the low resolution sensor. It actually even outresolves the 42mp sensor. It is that good with respect to sheer resolution and measurable so-called objective IQ.

However, it is not really easy to use in real life since it is big and not balances well on any of Sony A7X body, let alone on any of A6XXX body. I think Sony really needs a bit bigger body for this type of truly outstanding optics that're clearly designed to resolve the next generation high resolution FF. Many internet review sites talk about the latest sensors out-resolving the lenses very often as the biggest issue of the high resolution FF camera system, but it is a big myth or even lie, it is better to have a sensor easily out-resolves any lens you can put on it because it really eliminates all sorts of bad sensor artifacts issues.

 

Body wise, I can only repeat what I said before. The last APS-C body I personally bought with my own money was the Sony A6500 and it feels good in my hands and it has great quality RAW file but terrible jpg's just like all the other Sony cameras. The shutter sounds very cheap with helplessly bad shutter shock, the rolling shutter in Electronic shutter mode is very bad and it gets even worse in video mode. But I never have the infamous heat issue with my A6500 in stills mode, just in video mode. My A6300 has terrible heat issue both in stills and in motion modes. I do not really have any issue with Sony menu system any more but I am already extremely used to it by using almost every single Sony AXXX and A7X camera........the short battery life issue is already solved since I have special USB charger for my mirrorless cameras and I have already collected 12 Sony batteries since the first NEX5. And to be fair to Sony, no other company mirrorless system has better battery life than these Sony cameras. So over all despite of the flawed mount design and questionable mechanical quality with terribly slow general operation speed of these cameras, I think Sony E mount system seems like still the best cost effective choice in the current mirrorless world with respect to simple body usability aspect of camera system, especially if you do not mind using fullframe lenses on an APS-C body.

The X-T2 is built like a tank but quite a bit heavier in the hand than the A6300 but not much heavier than the new A6500, which I also own and think also built like a tank.

The A7R2 is even heavier than the Fuji, albeit the lower quality body material used and poor body sealing quality. The Fuji is a much faster camera in the real world use, it shoots much faster than the A6300, the A7R2 or the A7M2 but the A6500 is even faster than the XT2 with a much longer lasting big buffer. However, the A6500 does not have any sort of external grip option that might have helped the balance of the system when a long tele photo lens is mounted on the camera, so the real life usability of the Fuji with a big AF lens is better than that of the A6500. The A6500 and the A6300 have very fast single shot AF and decent C AF in good light, so they should have had an external grip option for better balance with a big tele photo lens for action shooting.

The eye-detect AF and faceAF on the Fuji is just OK compared to the Sony's, but it is the only one aspect of AF performance where the Sony APS-C beats the Fuji XT2 or X-Pro2. But I am sure none of the current APS-C and FF mirrorless are as good as the upcoming GH5(that I've already pre-ordered and consider as a game-changer) with respect to AF performance and in general operation speed.

The Panasonic has the best AF in mirrorless world but even that is not even close to the decent Canon or Nikon D-SLR for action tracking. The D500 still blows anything from Sony, Fuji, Olympus out of the water and the AF performance gap in real lowlight between the best mirrorless and the mid level D-SLRs such as the D7200 and 80D is not getting smaller but bigger, IMHO, especially when a big telephoto lens is mounted on them. Mirrorless lowlight AF is actually not getting any better except with Panasonic system, this is a real shame. But all other areas of AF performance the Panasonic GH5 and the G85 are both better than any D-SLR, period. These two Panaosnics can focus down to minus 4EV without any issue, any D-SLR or other brand mirrorless cameras cannot even touch it with respect to extreme lowlight AF accuracy......The Sony A7MK2 on paper can focus down to the same level of lowlight minus 4EV, but in real life the Panasonic is a lot better in these extreme lowlight scenes.

The Jpeg quality of the Fuji is quite amazing and sometimes saves a lot of time, so I kind of appreciate that. But the Fuji XT2 or XP2, or even much cheaper new XT20 still have the infamous dust issue as with the Sony A7X and A6XXX........and this is the real reason I can never shoot my Sony or Fuji in Jpeg mode, I always need to remove about 46 dustspots in the sky whenever I use my XT2, A6300, A7M2, A7R2, or A6500, they really have severe dust issue and the worst of all the sensor of the A6500, the A7R2 and the A7M2 is very very difficult to clean safely without sending them in for Sony service center. The sensor of the Fuji's and the older Sony are at least much easier to clean without damaging the sensor or IBIS. I think the really effective automatic dust reduction system of the m43 is really underrated, and it is, I consider, one of these most effective real life weapons of the m43 system that Olympus and Panasonic might be able to effectively use against the others in their marketing or educational materials.

This is the main reason why I sold my A7X2 series cameras and kept my A6300/A6500 and A7R.

As for Fuji UI and controls initially I liked it and I was finding my way around the camera very easily and the Q menu of the Fuji system much easier and more logical to use than any Sony menu system, there is no comparison in this department and I think Sony should focus on this area and also the over all usability with increased operation speed of the camera "system". However, I quickly found out the amazing controls and UI of Fuji that all Fuji fanatics in Fuji rumor sites rave about is kind of working against me or many non retro prime shooters around me. I really hate the retro style bodies and controls inherited or borrowed from film era "my granpa generation", who was one of those anti-Vietnam war hipsters wearing crazy bell bottom jeans and flare shirts.

For me the film era UI and controls are very very difficult to use and very much stressful on my peace of mind. When I was shooting the XT2 there were times I literally felt wanting to throw it onto my grandpa's concrete car garage.....using it for a long period of time every day was that frustrating.

 

I think both the Fuji and the Sony system have serious lens issues; there is no thirdparty lens support other than obscure manual prime options from cheap obscure names. Zeiss makes a great set of primes for Sony and a couple for Fuji, but they are all primes.....

I think they need more great zooms than primes to become true rivals to Canon and Nikon system for really budget minded average camera buyers. I think they really need to persuade Sigma, Tamron, and Samyang to re-enter into the system.

Lack of any decent quality zoom in the so-called bread and butter focal range for the Sony or the Fuji mount system is a huge issue for many. There are no decent quality zooms in 100-400 range or 24-70mm FF equivalent range...........even if you accept to pay 2k for each zoom range. And in case of Sony, their 70-200mm f2.8GM OSS is a expensive but horrible lens with really bad quality control and copy to copy variation to date...

I have tested three copies of that lens and all of these 3 were terribly de-centered.

They all have terrible anti-flare coating and they all produced terrible green or magenta/ orange rainbow colored ghost and spot flare......and the distortion at the 70mm mark on this lens was simply monstorus, very very difficult to correct in PP. At the 200mm mark on this lens it gets even worse, the pinchusioning type of distortion at the 200mm mark on this lens is even harder to correct than the barrel type distortion at the 70mm mark.

If you are a pure prime shooter, then you might love the current great FE prime lineup and XF prime lineup, but for a mostly zoom shooter or for a documentary type of work that really requires a great mid range zoom, the Sony E system and the Fuji X system are both not great. Especially not great for those events where you do not want to change lenses over and over due to the dust issue or due to your shooting objects move fast, or you cannot simply zoom with your feet.

So while I think the Sony and the Fuji systems are really good for studio or landscape or location work where you can safely change lenses all the time and allowed to work on a tripod at very slow pace. But for any thing requires speed or a set of great 24-70 or 70-200 and 100-400 kind of zooms , they are just a pure joke, simply useless systems.

And for that type of works the DSLRs are much cheaper and much more trusted tools due to the much faster general operation speed, much better zoom lineup, much better third party lens support, much more reliable flash system,etc.

All that said both the Fuji and the Sony system are already very good for most of normal use cases and getting better and better every iteration, so I am quite positive about their short term future success.....but not very sure in the longer run............especially considering the fact Nikon and Canon will get more serious about their mirrorless offerings very soon.

And in case of Canon they are already no2 in mirrorless market only second to Olympus in total unit sales, and only second to Sony in market share by value.

I think if the Sony FE system and Fuji X system will not sell very well, or will not better the all Canon Nikon D-SLRs in unit based market share, no thirdparty will make a great set of zooms or any decent moderately fast primes at reasonable prices, and this extreme focus on highend market of Fuji and Sony may eventually hurt them seriously.

In order to get more NEW users coming into their systems they really need attractive lowend bodies like improved more rugged version of their X-A3 or A5100. In case of Fuji the cheap but very capable X-T20 may rectify this issue, but still they have very expensive (for those potential consumer body buyers)lens line issue and that must be fixed or they will slowly lose the momentum they've got since the XT2.

Personally, if I have to choose all from scratch again, then I would still choose the Sony system as my main system and maybe m43 to back it up for documentary work done while I am traveling. IMHO, the Olympus EM1MK2 or the Panasonic GH5 or the G85 based m43 system is much better than the Fuji X-T2 or X-T20 based system, at least much more practical with more stabilized lenses and much better flash capability.

So the m43 for action travel and video, the Sony FE for serious tripod work is still the logical choice for me.

 

I think Nikon is the best value system for most of things still, but I just cannot go back to D-SLR main, I feel it really odd whenever I look into the OVF of my D750. It feels really anachronistic and I do not like it at all, I always try hard to like it, though.

I really think Nikon needs a serious mirrorless system that fully utilizes all the current great Nikon F mount lenses at very least the E series lenses, or they will slowly falling into the irrelevant category.

After having owned about 22 Sony cameras in last 11 years or so, I have come to realize I can never fully trust Sony in the long run, and always looking for something else to move to or simply better value system, but I cannot find anything better than my current E mount set up just yet. But the continuously pushing the user base to their higher end products by incessantly replacing or discontinuing products that they do think not high-end enough or highly profitable enough for them eventually hurts them because this strategy will eventually exhaust many of their long time faithful users and at the same time it will scare potential new users away.

  

UPDATE: I interviewed many NORMAL camera buyers in my area at our camera shop and asked them to tell us about what was the main reason they did not buy so-called mirrorless any more, and why they think the market share of these mirrorless decreasing at least in the Western world and the already developed part of Asia such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea , Singapore and HK.

They answered to these questions carefully as we paid some $$ and I think we found out a few interesting things about the NORMAL camera buyers' perception/opinion about ILC cameras and the culture surrounding the camera business:

 

1 to them, if it requires a bag even a tiny one, it's really not important what kind of camera system it is; a mirrorless or a D-SLR, a m43 or a FF, it is just too big and simply too annoying to carry around. So they use their cellphone more even though many of them already have some sort of One cameras or cheap ILCs.

2 To most of NORMAL camera buying people here it really does not matter FF or m43 or APS-C or MF because they are all too difficult to operate and actually really not much different to each other in real life use(at least to them).

This means maybe the small sensor camera systems like the m43 and the Nikon One will all fail since there is no market for them. Not many average camera buyers are interested in ILC systems but fixed lens all around cameras with good one button wireless connection to their phones. And not many the fanatics get interested in these cause most of them are obsessed with the best IQ possible they can get out of a camera system. Thus Olympus, Nikon and Panasonic will definitely need a bigger sensor system to entice them.

3 they do not want a lens like Zeiss Otus or Sigma Art even if it is selling for $50 or less. In fact, any kind of lens interchangeability is not important to them, in fact it is really annoying, and if it is an all around just fixed lens camera like the Sony RX10MK3 , it is actually a better camera system than any type of ILC with a set of primes that most of camera forum denizens want. They should realize they are not the majority of camera buyers and making and selling exactly what they want does not actually help any of these camera makers........

To them a set of great dedicated APS-C primes may be an important part of a good camera system, but to most of NORMAL people it is just not an important or an alluring feature at all.

So as opposed to what Tony , Thom, and many other self-proclaimed experts in many camera forums think, a great set of APS-C dedicated primes will NOT help Nikon or Sony. In fact, outside of the forums most of people actually prefer ZOOMS.

4 To NORMAL people all interchangeable lens cameras are big and quite intimidating.

This means that the very common camera forum trend to get mirrorless for being less conspicuous in the public reason is a silly idea , no one actually cares about if it is a mirroless or a D-SLR, to them all interchangeable lens cameras are annoying and intimidating to most of non-photographers.......so if they really want to be less conspicuous they should try one of the One inch sensor fixed lens cameras.

 

So as I already pointed out, the camera makers should focus on developing fixed multi lenses multi sensored computational cameras with easy one-button wireless connectivity to the phones. The software must be intuitive and 21st century design rather than the current 1980 design, I think it should be user programmable and as Thom points out open the source code to the smart kids and then some of them will develop some good apps for them for free.

Remember why the 5DMK2 and the Panasonic GH2 became such huge hits? Because of the hacked firmwares, I think it is the key.

  

UPDATE2:The last two weeks or so, I have been testing my Batis 85mm f1.8 (I have 2 copies of it and I have access to 6 extra copies of it at my shop) vs the new Sony FE85mm f1.8.

And surprisingly enough I found the Sony cheap lens actually quite a bit sharper at f1.8 and probably throughout all f stops.

The bokeh or out of focus area rendition of the Batis seems to be a bit smoother, it has a bit less lateral CA, but it seems to be softer, actually obviously so. It is not a copy issue since I have also tested 6 extra Batis we have at our store.

Another big con of the Batis vs the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is that the Batis has noticeably more pincushion distortion , if you turn off the in camera lens correction, you will see it in the EVF of any Sony A7X camera.

The color tone is also different, the Batis produces a bit warmer color than the Sony and many say they prefer the look of Zeiss, but honestly if you objectively blind test it you will soon realize the Sony renders everything more naturally with a bit more neutral tone. Many Zeiss fanboys just say it is a Zeiss, so it is a special lens, well really? Not all Zeiss lenses are great, only a very few Zeiss are actually great, and these days everything is designed with computer with using the same software, so every lens in the same size range is actually identically sharp, no dramatic difference there, really..

The Tamron 85mm f1.8VC, the Batis 85mm f1.8E, the Sony FE85mm f1.8, are all similarly sharp wide open, and from f2.8 the Sony is noticeably better than the Batis and the Tamron.

I also prefer the cooler out of the camera color of the Sony lens over the Tamron and the Zeiss Batis.

Now, we all know that Zeiss is not a better lens designer than Sony or Tamron , or any one..........maybe this fact is really hard for the fanboys to admit, but it is the reality.

IMHO, the only one minor drawback of the new Sony FE85mm f1.8 is the a bit harsh out of focus area rendition in strong back lit scene, and I think almost all Sony FE lenses share this issue.

The AF of the FE85mm f1.8 is much faster than the AF of the Batis 85mm f1.8E, so for shooting my cats indoor, I think the Sony is a much better lens. For weddings, I think the Batis may be a bit better since it renders our of focus area a bit smoother in extreme back lit scene. However, I do not like the warmer color signature of the Batis and many Japanese Zeiss lenses. I suspect the actual lens designer for the Batis series is Tamron, and therefore they share very similar look to the Tamron 85mm f1.8VC. I may be wrong here but I think I am right since the look Batis series lenses share is quite different from my MF Zeiss lenses including my Loxia lenses and ZF ZE lenses.

It is sad but I have to admit that almost all Zeiss Batis and Loxia lenses are just ok , nothing really special about these, except the 25mm, which is my favorite lens, and Loxia 21mm f2.8 and may be also the 50mm f2 Loxia.

The 18mm f3.5 Batis is a poorly designed lens, really should not carry the Zeiss blue badge. The Batis 85mm f1.8E was a great lens, at least I thought so until I compared it to the new cheap Sony 85mm f1.8, but now it is the softest 85mm in the current Sony E mount lens line up. The FE85mm f1.8, the Tamorn 85mm f1.8VC, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art, the Sony 85mm f1.4GM are all sharper than the overpriced plastic coated bulky Batis 85m f1.8.

I am selling the Batis and get the Sony FE50mm f1.4 soon to replace my Loxia 50mm f2 and Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8.

 

But the most important change that this very humble Sony FE85mm f1.8 has induced in this industry is that it has kind of killed all charms of them43 system and the Fuji X.

The Fuji 56 f1.2 and the m43 fake Leica 42.5 mm f1.2 lens are great optically, but as a whole system, they are a much less capable system than a cheap Sony lens on a FF body.

  

UPDATE3: Recently, I decided to sell some of my Sony, Nikon, and Fuji gear and the results were really surprising.

 

I sold a couple of Fuji X-T2, a Sony A6500, a A6300, a A7R, a A7R2, three A7MK2. I also sold my Nikon D800E, D750, and D810.

 

The most expensive camera by far of the list was the A7R2, but surprisingly I got about identical amount of money for it to what I got for my much cheaper(as a brand new) D810. I paid about 3200 USD for my A7R2 in 2015 and shockingly it was devalued a lot more than I thought, I could only get about 1750 USD for it.

I must say it was a terrible loss.

I paid around 2000 US for my D810 in 2016, and got back about 1800 US for it in May 2017.

 

I got about 123000 yen for my X-T2, and I must say the resell value of this camera is great, I think Fuji has been controlling the price of this camera quite well. I just lost about 5000 yen on this camera and I have used it for more than 7 months, so it was a great deal. Renting it over 5 months and paid only 45 US or less, is an amazing deal.

 

I got offered only 72000 for my A7R and it was really pity, so I did not sell it.

 

I got only 64000 yen for my A6300, but I expected this so it was not really shocking, still it was a bad value camera, though. But it was replaced by the A6500, so I did not expect too much for this one.......

 

I got about 75000 yen for my A6500 and it was quite shocking, I expected to get more for that since I paid 118000 yen for it in last Oct.

 

I got 95000 yen for my A7MK2, it was quite sad, deplorable since it is a FF and cheaper than the X-T2 in the used camera market here.

I got about 134000 yen for my 2 year old D750, and it was a positive surprise. I did not expect to get this much of money for it since I paid only about 158000 yen for it in 2014.

 

So I realized Sony cameras seem to hold the worst resell value (by far) in Japan and my Thai friend told me in Thailand too.

I was about to sell my second A7R2, but I decided to keep it just for my FE16-35mm f4 and Voiklander 15mm f4.5 and Sony 85mm f1.8...

 

But the shocking loss by far this time was the Batis 85mm f1.8 or the Batis 18mm f2.8, I have lost a lot of money on those 2 lenses, and I did not expect this.....I thought I might get about 900 US for my Batis 85, but I got only about 630 US for it.

The 18mm Batis was even worse, I paid about 168000 yen for it in 2016..... and now I could get only about 98000 yen for it, it was the most shocking and the biggest loss by far, I never thought the resale value of the Batis 18mm f2.8 this bad.

  

So now I decided never buy any more Batis series lenses, I have lost too much on this terribly built so-called Zeiss(actually Tamron made) lenses.

  

UPDATE4: I am now in the process of replacing all my Sony E mount lenses(except a few) with Canon EF mount lenses.

I hated adapters, but after I tried the Sigma MC11, I changed my mind and I think it is much safer to use my Sony bodies with Canon lenses since Canon EF mount is the safest long term future proven mount, and the resell value of the super expensive Sony GM and so-called Sony Zeiss are too bad, the Batis line is even worse. So I think by selling off all expensive Sony E mount lenses that cannot be reused in any other mount system in the near future, I will be more secured and adding the Sigma adapter expand the possible AF lens selection for my FE bodies. After all, I realized that Sony FE zooms are all mediocre , even the most expensive GM ones.

 

I will replace my FE16-35mm f4 Z with a Canon EF16-35mm f4 L IS, I have compared ten copies of each and I am 100 percent sure the Canon is the better lens and cheaper one. In fact, the adapter plus the lens price is the same as the Sony FE16-35mm f4 Z alone. And another benefit of this lens over the FE16-35mm f4 Z is that the Canon lens does not extend its length when it zooms out or in.

 

I will also replace the FE24-70mm f4 with the EF24-70mm f4 LIS.

I will get the 40mm f2.8 STM, which is a surprisingly good lens for the modest size and price.

 

I will also add Sigma 135mm f1.8 Art, which is the sharpest lens ever produced by any one according to Photozone,de.

 

I also add Canon EF70-300mm f4-5.6IS MK2 lens, which is really cheap and for me it is a worth lens since I am not a serious telephoto shooter and so I do not want to invest over 100000 yen for a lens like FE70-300mm f4-5.6G, which is clearly overpriced.

 

I also add Tamron 35mm f1.8VC to replace my Sony FE 35mm f2.8 and Loxia 35mm f2, both of which I actually detest for the terrible corner quality and terrible coma(in case of the Loxia).

 

I may also add the amazing Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC G2, which is about half the price of the Sony FE70-200mmf2.8GM, and in my experience, the Tamron is the sharper lens(I compared 4 copies of each once at my shop).

 

I will keep my FE85mm f1.8, which is one of the best 85mm primes ever made and I much prefer this to the overpriced oversized GM and my plastic coated cheap looking Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8E lens.

 

I will also keep my Voiktlander 15mm f4.5 and 12mm f5.6.

  

UPDATE5: Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their digital-imaging division(Sony DI) and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use-only. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.....and Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many armchair experts in many camera fora think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. No one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features... I think Sony should try to be an Intel of camera.

 

UPDATE6:I attended a few academic conferences in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. And I visited many many very crowded tourists venues there and I have come to realize the death of real camera thing is nothing but extremely exaggerated by those silly clickbait sites. There were many many people still using a REAL ILC camera along with their smartphones.

Then what is the problem I've found there?

Well there were a very few people using so-called mirrorless there , especially the high-end mirrorless cameras like theA7R/A7R2,theA7M2, the X-T2, the X-P2, etc. I saw many m43 cameras even the EM1MK2 and GH5, I also spotted many people with XT20, A6300, etc, but I never spotted any A7R2, A7M2, XT2,etc......even at the most crowded tourist places like Kinkaku-ji temple, Kobe Great earthquake museum, Kiyomizudera temple, etc.

And that makes me worry about the long term future of so-called Mirrorless, if Sony and Fuji actually going under before Nikon?

 

To be honest, there are many many Nikon shooters and of course Canon guys and girls, but no A7 or XT2 guys at all.

 

In my last academic conferences in Tokyo area, I found it the same, and in Bangkok and Korea I did not see any Fuji or Sony high-end mirrorless bodies at all.

And more worrying fact was that there were so many Chinese tourists there with big cameras, but none of them shooting a Sony or a Fuji, that makes me really nervous about the future of Sony.

 

Sony is investing a lot of money very quick into the FE system but the ship seems to be sinking. I think the stupid shill marketing and silly "mirrorless taking over the entire industry "hype generated by Fuji and Sony paid internet sites is not at all working for them , but maybe working against them.

  

The temporal D800 success in the camera forums made Nikon this stupid!

   

that drangonflies are considered lucky...but I'm not surprised. They are my very favorite insect...and I love insects...

Yesterdays loot from my local thrift market. Can you believe I found a tray matching my favorite flower box that I found at a garage sale earlier this summer? What are the odds right? Yay!

   

There were about 74 dust spots in the sky area of this image.

It took me about 23 minutes to get rid of these dirty spots.

Removing dust spots is tedious and very risky, difficult and sometimes deprives all the good charm of the image!

 

I always clean my A7R sensor and so it has a very few dust spots but my A7M2 always has about 34 -45 dust spots and it is really difficult to clean the sensor properly due to the terrible IBIS implementation in that body. My A6500 has the same problem and this is why I am debating replacing it with a Panasonic GH5 or G85. I think one of the biggest advantages of using m43 system is the super effective self sensor cleaning system and thus we can change lenses outside of our room without the fear of inviting dusts....but most of so-called reviewers always dismiss or even intentionally ignore it........

 

The current state of the ILC world -Why Fuji will never become mainstream (updated)

 

In Japan all die hard Fuji fanatics call fullframe as "Furu-size format" and that roughly translated into English like "old dated format", "stupid old format", "oldman's format",etc., and they all complaining about the size and cost of FF lens system, but is so-called FF really more expensive than the Fuji as a whole system?

 

After trying out the Fuji X system and comparing it to my own Sony, m43 and Nikon systems extensively for about 4 months, I really feel it is the best time for me to write about some seriously annoying real life issues of the Fuji X system and the Sony FE mount system compared to more modestly priced Nikon or Canon D-SLR system...as my answer to the above question that our die-hard Fuji fans asked us a few months ago in my local area.

 

There are a couple of disclaimers:

1> I have been shooting Sony as my main camera system for over a decade now and so I might be too biased towards them or against them, but either way I am not a fan of Sony corporation, especially after I started dealing with them in 2009 as one of our main business partners, I've become a bit anti-Sony kind of a photographer and I honestly think it is very difficult for me or actually any one to fully trust Sony as a long term business partner or anything like that. However, I must admit recently Sony has been rapidly improving in service and support area at least in ILC market.

But I think I know them much better than an average forum expert on this matter or any so-called pro reviewer out there because I can read their original Japanese marketing materials better and I've known a few of Sony imaging people very well since about 2008 or 2009. So I think I am qualified to compare Fuji vs Sony vs Nikon lens line here and write about that the 4 system comparison frankly.

2> there is no one better system to all others or close to ideal system for everybody, and unlike common forum belief , it is not like the more expensive camera, the always better it is at everything for everyone. So lets be honest if I had the money and room to put all kinds of cameras, then I would buy almost all formats and most of brands cameras maybe except Pentax.

However, in real life my room size is not getting any bigger, my income is now pretty much fixed and not going up or down any time very soon, so I have to choose one or two systems or maybe three from my current 5 systems I have now. And I am not anti any one or any system at all, just trying to be as neutral and rational as I can be..........however, as I said I am not bias-free either because I know Sony too much and definitely have clear preference and so I may make some wrong assessments/judgement on some systems.

Honestly, there are no really bad systems any more maybe except Pentax , which I firmly believe will go bankrupt very soon.........But hey even they or any one go bankrupt who cares? we are not buying their share but their cameras.

Anyway,I've really enjoyed using m43 for pure fun. For pure personal shooting I honestly prefer it to my so-called FF or the Fuji X system, I've found m43, especially Panasonic models such as the G85, the GH4 and GH5 and the Olympus EM1M2 very very intuitive and fast in all ways. And they are the best or easiest cameras to travel with at least for a budget air traveler like myself. The Panasonic GH5 and GH4 are amazing video making tools and I love them always. But for pure stills , especially landscapes or high resolution studio stuff they are not adequate. A 16mp or a 20mp chip simply cannot produce the resolution we need for high resolution landscapes or studio product shots. After all I am too used to 36mp and 42.4mp FF sensor output qualities.

But even for that kind of use, with Olympus we now at least have the high-resolution pixel shifting mode and that actually produces better result than most of FF cameras, at least for completely static things such as studio or products shots.

I have used it for a studio poster shot of a motor bike I advertised a few weeks ago in a local mag , and the result was simply stunning! However, it cannot work well for anything even slightly moving like flowers or slowly moving leaves...........or a bit windy day landscapes, etc.

For tripod long exposure work, I always preferred and still prefer my ancient Sony A7R and Nikon D810, the reason for that is simple they lack the annoying extra sensor heat generating IBIS gimmick. The IBIS is the most overrated feature of any camera system and I would rather not have it in any FF camera I buy. It generates extra heat, requires a more powerful processor, more ram and thus also requires more room for proper heat dissipation system...resulting in a much bigger heavier body for the same performance without it. The A6500 is much bigger and heavier than the A6300, the Panasonic GH5 is a much bigger body than the GH4 is, and ironically enough, all the mirrorless system supposed to be cheaper and smaller with simple electronics finder system getting bigger and heavier every iteration.

Plus, the IBIS actually makes the sensor nosier and less stable and much more difficult to clean it. My first A7R, which I bought in November 2013 still has a pretty clean sensor even after 4 years of extensive abuse in cold mountains. But my relatively new just 9 months old A7R2 and just 5 weeks old A6500 have lots of dust on their respective sensor, and it is not easy to clean them without damaging the IBIS or the sensor itself.

So for me the IBIS is actually minus point at least in a FF body despite of extreme love for the IBIS in many common forum.

That all said though, the IBIS is not actually a very bad gimmick on the smaller sensor system such as m43 or Sony APS-C, and I think the pluses may beat the minuses in a smaller sensor system. So I need to be clear I am only against IBIS in a FF body.

A7R2 and A7R are extremely slow and make me often waiting waiting for everything and that makes me often miss a few incredible once a life time kind of shooting opportunities.

So for me they are useless for corporate events or decisive street shots,etc. Sure the A7R2 has decent AF and shooting speed, but the camera operation speed is still way too slow;too slow to format the card, too slow to change LCD to EVF, too slow to wake up from a long sleep, etc, etc. And its video is useless, only able to shoot a few minutes and then heating up and suddenly stops shooting and some times even shuts it down itself.

The A6500 is a bit better and shoots a bit better video for a bit longer period, but basically it still has the same heating up excessively and suddenly shutting down issue.

So I recently down graded one of my two A6500 cameras to A6300, which I had before I bought my A6500, and now considering selling it too for something even cheaper and thus more abuse-able camera probably the old A6000. The A6500, the A6300 are not much better than the ancient A6000......at least in terms of sheer IQ.

Any way, since I recently added Fuji system recently, I would like to just compare the lens line of the Fuji X vs the lens line of the Nikon FX vs the lens lineup of the Sony E mount. Many times I find the excessively hard and nasty lens criticism Sony gets from many reviewers and forum experts are extremely unfair, unfounded and dishonest...... And most of times those extreme critics of Sony lens line have actually never used any of expensive Sony or Zeiss FE primes or do not understand how to test lenses correctly.

So here it goes..........

Is Fuji better for lens selection than Sony or Nikon, or is Fuji at least a cheaper system than a FF system like Sony or Nikon?

Well...yes and no. It is not so simple.

Yes, they have APS-C dedicated fast primes that Sony lacks and their zooms are miles ahead compared to Sony APS-C zooms, but then again, the primes Fuji offers are pretty large and heavy, they lack OS and (esp older versions) have clunky and loud AF motors. And Nikon lenses tend to be much cheaper for the same quality or even a bit better optical performance than Fuji or Sony. However, if I can include FF lenses since I only have FF lenses for my Sony or Nikon or Canon, I would have to say Sony FE and Nikon F are much more complete systems than Fuji X. Plus, Nikon FX has really a lot of cheap thirdparty lenses and other cheap thirdparty accessories with incredibly huge selection of used lens market......

So if the native lens selection and the system performance per dollar is any importance to you , then there is still no mirrorless system better than the Nikon or the Canon system......So it's not all roses and sunshine in Mirrorless camp. I have used Sony system for over a decade and I have collected many lenses for my Sony E and A systems and I have a lot of Nikon lenses as well. Now I have been testing many Fuji lenses and they are indeed very good but not as amazing as many many Fuji fanatics in Fujirumor sites suggest they are, especially with respect to value/performance ratio.

 

Comp 1> 23-25mm FL: Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 vs Fuji 23/1.4 vs Fuji 23/2 vs Nikon 24mm f1.8G AF-S vs Sony SEL24mm f1.8Z.

Here I do not want to but I must admit the Nikon is the best lens especially considering its modest price tag and size. Then I prefer the tiny Fuji 23mm f2 WR for bad environment shooting. But if I have to pick the absolute best lens from this set, then I would have to pick the Batis 25 is a bit sharper lens than the the Fuji 23mm f1.4 or the APS-C dedicated Sony Zeiss. The one serious issue of the Batis 25mm f2 is the extremely pronounced CA in highlight or very high contrasty area, other wise, it is a near perfect lens, and I use it very often on my A7R.

The optical performance of the Fuji 23mm f1.4 is nothing short of amazing too but its mechanical quality is not as great as its optical quality.. The Fuji is very well built on paper and according to the fanboys, and renders OOF area or bokeh very very nicely and of course goes down to 1.4........but the AF is loud and just feels awkward, actually it cannot focus well in extreme lowlight where a really fast prime like it is really needed. It has very nice optical quality though...... the fly-by-wire focus ring is also extremely awkward to use in very dark places. Unlike the excellent Zeiss Batis, the Fuji is not weather-sealed and I doubt it is actually well built, to me it feels very cheap...........

The Sony Zeiss is actually a better lens in terms of build and mechanical quality than the Fuji XF23mm f1.4, very well built and very precise focus system and the AF of the Sony Zeiss is light years ahead of the Fuji XF23mm f1.4.

But again considering the price to performance ratio and pure optical quality and over all real life usability or practicality , the Nikon is the best bargain lens here and I mean by far the best bang for your buck kind of a lens not the absolute best -which, in my opinion, is the Batis 25mm f2.

The Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED is smaller and lighter than the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens or the Fuji XF23mm f1.4 lens and the Nikon is a lot cheaper than both the Fuji and Zeiss Batis. The Batis lens is very sharp in the center, but in the edges and corners it is still good but not as sharp as the cheap plastic Nikon f2.8G lens..........the green edged CA is annoying and hard to get rid of in PP, and after getting rid of it in PP, the final output becomes very much softer than without the software correction.

And it has incredibly heavy,pronounced distortion before the extremely heavy handed software correction.......that almost all makers mirrorless cameras apply to all their lenses.

So if MF is fine , I actually prefer my Zeiss 25mm f2 Distagon ZF2 lens for this specific focal length. For AF work, I prefer the Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED, which is an exceptional lens at very very modest affordable price.

Comp 2>At 50-55mm range: Sony FE55mm f1.8Z for Sony E mount vs Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art for Nikon F vs Fuji 56/1.2 for Fuji X vs Loxia 50mm f2 for Sony E.

Yeah I know, f1.2 vs f1.4 vs f1.8 vs f2 not a very fair optical comparison but still this is the most practical way of comparing the systems since not all of these systems have the same class similar optics with the same max F number...and their respective choice of sensor format is also different...........So the Fuji f1.4 lenses just roughly equal to the Nikon and the Sony f1.8 primes in terms of light gathering power and actual DOF-controllability.

I think most likely people use these systems with AF use these lenses and therefore I would like to compare these. Well the Loxia is pure MF lens but I've thrown it into this mix since it is my personal favorite lens for my E mount body and I use it a lot for video and paid corporate portrait work I sometimes do in the summer season(in the winter I am very busy and I have no time for any kind of part time work).

The Fuji is a very fast f1.2 lens but with very slow AF motor, and again it has the terrible fly-by-wire MF ring, and so does the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 Z lens. This is very annoying, and this is why I do not like the optically fantastic almost flawless(at least for the price) FE55mm f1.8Z.

The Fuji XF56mm f1.2 has amazing color and micro contrast and almost distortion free even before the usual software correction Fuji applies to any of their lenses, it renders beautiful skin tone with very pleasant bokeh.

Probably the Fuji has better copy to copy variation and tighter QC than Sony on their older fake Zeiss line lenses such as this FE55mm f1.8, the FE35mm f1.4Z, the FE35mm f2.8,though Sony has already improved it with the newer FE 50mm f1.4Z, which is objectively a great lens but I personally dislike for its awkward ergonomics and extreme Lo-CA at wideopen and near wideopen range. The FE55mm f1.8Z has significantly pronounced pincushion distortion but it is automatically corrected in the camera or in ACR or in C1 pro, or in DXO pro, however, that auto lens distortion correction makes the lens significantly softer in the edges and corners than it should have originally been without it. So in final images it usually ends up softer than the Fuji or the big FF Sigma lens on a Nikon body. The Loxia 50mm f2 is a lens designed after the legendary Leica mount Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens and its rendering characteristic is very similar to that of the Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens, but the Sony mount version is significantly sharper in the centers with a lot less lateral CA(still more pronounced green CA than the FE 55 or FE 50mm f1.4 Planar, though). And the Loxia is very good at handling complex contra-light scenes, and so it seldom produces terrible rainbow colored ghost...... , the Loxia is very very tactile and easy to MF precisely for video and for stills even including moderately fast moving things or people. So despite of its slightly slower max speed at f2 , I much prefer it to any of the other around 50mm primes for Sony or Fuji, or any of the Nikon 50mm primes.

However, if I can throw the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens into the mix, I prefer it to everything else I've compared here. The new Zeiss for Nikon and Canon mount is simply a superb lens with outstanding MF ring, I can MF it easily at f1.4 and get tack sharp images anytime......it's that good. IMHO, the Milvus 50mm f1.4 is the best 50mm prime ever made out side of the real Leica price territory..........the Leica 50mm f2 APO is slightly better I think but I can no longer afford it , I used to have it for a few months but I sold it to my grandpa(needed the money for my new storage system 70 four tera byte hard drives and 24 one tera byte SSDs, etc). I think the Milvus series is really underrated line of Ziess, it is actually as great as their more famous Otus line without the crazy bulk of the Otus series. I know the Sigma Art and the Zeiss Otsus series primes are fantastic optically, but they are too impractical in real life scenes(outside of studio and landscape), and therefore, I am not a fan of them.

I love the Milvus line and the older ZF2 line Zeiss primes more than the new Batis or Loxia line Zeiss primes for Sony ,and I am sometimes thinking about going back to Nikon main for that very reason plus better flash and cheaper more practical lens line-up than the Sony FE or Fuji X.

But if you are simply looking for the best bang for your buck kind of a person, then I think there is nothing really beats the Nikon AF-S50mm f1.4G, which is actually a sharp lens if you shoot it at f2.2 or smaller aperture. And if you are like me tend to stop it down to at least f5.6 or so most of times, then the cheap Nikon 50 mm f1.4G is just as sharp as the expensive Loxia 50mm f2 or Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art or Zony 50mm f1.4 Z. But for me the Milvus and the Loxia are both worth the high prices since they have the best MF ring for the Sony bodies, I really hate the fly-by-wire MF system of Zony or Fuji.

And it is obvious that all current tiny bodied mirrorless systems are overpriced and without the super heavy-handed software correction they can not compete well with the best Zeiss or Sigma primes for Nikon Canon mount system, in fact, the cheap Nikon f1.8G series primes beat many of the expensive Zony, Sony GM , Fuji XF lenses in terms of pure optical and mechanical quality, and it is a shocking fact to many.

I think why you may want to pay high premium for Loxia or Batis line if you shoot Sony FE system is that they seem to have very very high QC tolerances and chances are you may never get a bad copy of it at least an extremely bad one.

 

Comp 3> Sony 24-70mm f2.8GM vs Fuji 16-50mm f2.8 XF, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC USD.

No comparison here. Sony should be ashamed with their zooms. Although I had a very good 24-70mm f4 and f2.8GM, they were still way behind what the 16-50mm f2.8, let alone the new Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR......The Sony 24-70mm f4 Z is an OK lens for the modest price and compact size, but the 24-70mm f2.8 GM is a super expensive lens, costing about 300 hundreds more than the Nikon version and still optically not as good as the Nikon, or in fact I believe it is even a bit worse than the Tamron version for Nikon F mount.

In fact, lack of any quality zoom in the bread and butter range for event pros or part time paid photographers in the current Sony lens line up is a big minus point of Sony system regardless of the mirror type...........SLT or mirrorless.

And another issue is no Tamron, Sigma support for Sony E and A mount any more, this is a huge drawback of the system...........to say the least. If there was a Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC for Sony E mount, I would have bought it and replaced my Nikon mount version of it for my A7R and Nikon D750. It is very pathetic sad that we Sony users are always forced to get the overpriced GM or Batis line lenses even for the focal range where we might want to just get a "good enough" cheap off-brand lens option.

And in fact , in many cases I actually prefer Tamron lenses to Sony or Zeiss E mount lenses even without any discount or like that.

If I had the Tamron 85mm f1.8 VC option for my Sony system, then I wouldn't have bought a few copies of the Batis E 85mm f1.8 OSS and the Sony 85mm f1.4 GM and returned most of these. I simply prefer the Tamron to the Zeiss or Sony regardless of their prices or brand names in this case. The Tamorn 85mm f1.8,35mm f1.8VC, 45mm f1.8 VC, etc, are really great lenses and many times I've considered going back to Nikon main just for these modestly priced but high quality Tamron primes.

 

I think the Sony E16-70mm f4 (recent copies)are quite good, but still no where near the best APS-C zoom Fuji or Nikon makes for their respective APS-C system.........But in this case the Sony lens is at least very versatile and small unlike their FF zooms..........they are pure bogs, especially the 24-70mm GM and 70-200mm f2.8 GM....

 

Comp 4>Sony FE70-200mm f4 OSS, Nikon AF-S70-200mmf4GEDVR, Fuji XF55-200mm f4-5.6ED.

Well, in this comparison, I must say the Sony FE70-200mm f4G, at least the recent copy(made after 2015),is the best in the set. The Sony is cheaper and sharper and comes with tripod collar. The initial 3000 or so copies had the soft 200mm f4 setting issue, but the copies produced after 2015 July are much better, if you read the recent review on the Sony FE70-200mmf4 G at Ephotozine, you see it clearly, it is raved there, and they are usually an anti-Sony, pro Nikon site.

In Japan, the Sony FE70-200mm f4 G SSM lens is one of the biggest bargain lenses, and now Sony is giving a free Zeiss branded Protection filter for any one buys this lens.

So for me, in this range it is a no brainer. It is relatively compact, sharp throughout the range, with very well corrected almost flat field at most of focal range, it is a very very good zoom at very very reasonable price point.

The Nikon AF-S70-200mm f4G ED VR lens was a good lens when it was out. But now it seems really dated and overpriced. It is heavier than the Sony by about 205g, it is a bit longer than the Sony and much bigger and heavier than the relatively small(albeit darker)Fuji. The Nikon is less sharp at 70mm mark than the Sony at all aperture settings, with a bit more pronounced barrel distortion than that of the Sony. At 135mm setting, the Sony is still a bit sharper and better corrected. At 200mm f4, the Nikon might still be a bit sharper at 200mm f4 setting but not by much, the later recently released copies of the Sony is much better than the initially released copies that tested by most of so-called review sites, so you may see it seems much worse than it actually is at 200mm f4 setting at most of review sites, but it has really improved since 2015.

Compared to the cheap but dark Fuji zoom, the Fuji is overrated lens, obviously.

It is not the same class of the zoom as either the Nikon or the Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom. Claiming the XF55-200 dim zoom as good as the Sony FE 70-200mm f4 G is a bit of stretch. IMHO, the Fuji 55-200 is a bit fancier version of a typical kit zoom, that is all about it.

 

Comp 5> around 50mm macro lens: Sony FE 50mm f2.8 macro, Nikon AF-S60mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, Fuji 60mm f1.2 almost macro lens, Sigma 50mm f2.8 DG.

Well there is no need any serious analysis or reading at all about these lenses, I used to have all of these and I only kept the Sony.

The Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro is a fantastic lens especially for the modest price tag it carries. After all, it is the third very sharpest prime ever tested on the a7R2 and a7R.

It beats the about 100 US more expensive Nikon 60 G micro hands down, albeit the compromised slow AF, but in macro range no one use AF anyway.

For pure optical quality it is a absolute steal, it has very low CA, thanks to the amazing new ED element, it has very very low distortion, and it produces cool color(not as warm as Zeiss or G branded Sony lenses) and I prefer that personally, but many people especially those who love flowers or people head shots may prefer a bit warmer OOC color.

The Fuji 60mm f2.4 is an excellent lens too but it is not a REAL macro, it is only a half macro kind like the Canon EF24-70mm f4 L IS in macro mode.

So if you need the real macro capability in mirrorless system there is no other choice than the Sony or you must go down to m43 league, and I say go down but as for macro m43 system is not actually worse than FF or especially APS-C system unless you have super expensive macro lens plus macro ring flash and always 100 percent use a tripod.

The m43 allows you to focus stack automatically for better DOF, and it has excellent but reasonably priced compact macro lens choices such as the amazing Olympus 60mm f2.8, the Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Leica branded lens, the Olympus and Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro. And Panasonic will release long awaited X120mm f2.8 G macro lens very soon.

So for me and I think many casual macro shooters the m43 is the most interesting choice for macro work or just simple casual floower close up.

I love Sony 30mm f3.5 on my A6500 too, it is a cheap lens but very practical, you can really abuse it in rain, in cold mountains, etc, and it never breaks. Even if it breaks, hey who cares? it is very cheap indeed. But if you like shooting food or some product like some Star Wars figures or Mickey Mouse doll like I do, then the Sony FE50mm f2.8 macro is an excellent choice especially on the R bodies.

The cheap Sony macro is a bit less sharp than the amazingly sharp FE55mm f1.8Z on the A7R2, but it is just as sharp as the Sonnar on the A7R or the a7M2. And in my test comfortably beats the Loxia 50mm f2 in the center and especially in the edges, albeit a bit more pronounced Lo-CA in highlight or OOF area. In any case, the Sony FE50mm f2.8 is a real bargain deal lens in the current FE system, and this lens and the FE90mm f2.8G prove that actually there are many bargain deal lenses in the current harshly criticized as expensive or overpriced(mostly by non-Sony users) Sony lens system.

Comp 6> around 100mm macro lens: Sony FE90mm f2.8G, Tamron 90 mm f2.8 VC G2, Nikon AF-S105mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, etc.

Well there is really no comp here, the Sony FE 90mm wins hands down as DXO and others all confirm it firmly. I had all of these plus the famous Voiklander 125mm f2.5 APO macro, and the FE 90mm f2.8 G is the absolute winner here, of course the Voiktlander is also a great lens but it is not as practical as the Sony in real life use.

The Sony lens also beats both the Zeiss 100 mm f2 ZF2 and the Milvus version in resolution, CA, distortion, and light fall off, so it is an outstanding lens without any doubt.

The lens really shines on the a7R2, but it is really good on any body but if your sensor is just 24mp FF , then it easily outresolves the low resolution sensor. It actually even outresolves the 42mp sensor. It is that good with respect to sheer resolution and measurable so-called objective IQ.

However, it is not really easy to use in real life since it is big and not balances well on any of Sony A7X body, let alone on any of A6XXX body. I think Sony really needs a bit bigger body for this type of truly outstanding optics that're clearly designed to resolve the next generation high resolution FF. Many internet review sites talk about the latest sensors out-resolving the lenses very often as the biggest issue of the high resolution FF camera system, but it is a big myth or even lie, it is better to have a sensor easily out-resolves any lens you can put on it because it really eliminates all sorts of bad sensor artifacts issues.

 

Body wise, I can only repeat what I said before. The last APS-C body I personally bought with my own money was the Sony A6500 and it feels good in my hands and it has great quality RAW file but terrible jpg's just like all the other Sony cameras. The shutter sounds very cheap with helplessly bad shutter shock, the rolling shutter in Electronic shutter mode is very bad and it gets even worse in video mode. But I never have the infamous heat issue with my A6500 in stills mode, just in video mode. My A6300 has terrible heat issue both in stills and in motion modes. I do not really have any issue with Sony menu system any more but I am already extremely used to it by using almost every single Sony AXXX and A7X camera........the short battery life issue is already solved since I have special USB charger for my mirrorless cameras and I have already collected 12 Sony batteries since the first NEX5. And to be fair to Sony, no other company mirrorless system has better battery life than these Sony cameras. So over all despite of the flawed mount design and questionable mechanical quality with terribly slow general operation speed of these cameras, I think Sony E mount system seems like still the best cost effective choice in the current mirrorless world with respect to simple body usability aspect of camera system, especially if you do not mind using fullframe lenses on an APS-C body.

The X-T2 is built like a tank but quite a bit heavier in the hand than the A6300 but not much heavier than the new A6500, which I also own and think also built like a tank.

The A7R2 is even heavier than the Fuji, albeit the lower quality body material used and poor body sealing quality. The Fuji is a much faster camera in the real world use, it shoots much faster than the A6300, the A7R2 or the A7M2 but the A6500 is even faster than the XT2 with a much longer lasting big buffer. However, the A6500 does not have any sort of external grip option that might have helped the balance of the system when a long tele photo lens is mounted on the camera, so the real life usability of the Fuji with a big AF lens is better than that of the A6500. The A6500 and the A6300 have very fast single shot AF and decent C AF in good light, so they should have had an external grip option for better balance with a big tele photo lens for action shooting.

The eye-detect AF and faceAF on the Fuji is just OK compared to the Sony's, but it is the only one aspect of AF performance where the Sony APS-C beats the Fuji XT2 or X-Pro2. But I am sure none of the current APS-C and FF mirrorless are as good as the upcoming GH5(that I've already pre-ordered and consider as a game-changer) with respect to AF performance and in general operation speed.

The Panasonic has the best AF in mirrorless world but even that is not even close to the decent Canon or Nikon D-SLR for action tracking. The D500 still blows anything from Sony, Fuji, Olympus out of the water and the AF performance gap in real lowlight between the best mirrorless and the mid level D-SLRs such as the D7200 and 80D is not getting smaller but bigger, IMHO, especially when a big telephoto lens is mounted on them. Mirrorless lowlight AF is actually not getting any better except with Panasonic system, this is a real shame. But all other areas of AF performance the Panasonic GH5 and the G85 are both better than any D-SLR, period. These two Panaosnics can focus down to minus 4EV without any issue, any D-SLR or other brand mirrorless cameras cannot even touch it with respect to extreme lowlight AF accuracy......The Sony A7MK2 on paper can focus down to the same level of lowlight minus 4EV, but in real life the Panasonic is a lot better in these extreme lowlight scenes.

The Jpeg quality of the Fuji is quite amazing and sometimes saves a lot of time, so I kind of appreciate that. But the Fuji XT2 or XP2, or even much cheaper new XT20 still have the infamous dust issue as with the Sony A7X and A6XXX........and this is the real reason I can never shoot my Sony or Fuji in Jpeg mode, I always need to remove about 46 dustspots in the sky whenever I use my XT2, A6300, A7M2, A7R2, or A6500, they really have severe dust issue and the worst of all the sensor of the A6500, the A7R2 and the A7M2 is very very difficult to clean safely without sending them in for Sony service center. The sensor of the Fuji's and the older Sony are at least much easier to clean without damaging the sensor or IBIS. I think the really effective automatic dust reduction system of the m43 is really underrated, and it is, I consider, one of these most effective real life weapons of the m43 system that Olympus and Panasonic might be able to effectively use against the others in their marketing or educational materials.

This is the main reason why I sold my A7X2 series cameras and kept my A6300/A6500 and A7R.

As for Fuji UI and controls initially I liked it and I was finding my way around the camera very easily and the Q menu of the Fuji system much easier and more logical to use than any Sony menu system, there is no comparison in this department and I think Sony should focus on this area and also the over all usability with increased operation speed of the camera "system". However, I quickly found out the amazing controls and UI of Fuji that all Fuji fanatics in Fuji rumor sites rave about is kind of working against me or many non retro prime shooters around me. I really hate the retro style bodies and controls inherited or borrowed from film era "my granpa generation", who was one of those anti-Vietnam war hipsters wearing crazy bell bottom jeans and flare shirts.

For me the film era UI and controls are very very difficult to use and very much stressful on my peace of mind. When I was shooting the XT2 there were times I literally felt wanting to throw it onto my grandpa's concrete car garage.....using it for a long period of time every day was that frustrating.

 

I think both the Fuji and the Sony system have serious lens issues; there is no thirdparty lens support other than obscure manual prime options from cheap obscure names. Zeiss makes a great set of primes for Sony and a couple for Fuji, but they are all primes.....

I think they need more great zooms than primes to become true rivals to Canon and Nikon system for really budget minded average camera buyers. I think they really need to persuade Sigma, Tamron, and Samyang to re-enter into the system.

Lack of any decent quality zoom in the so-called bread and butter focal range for the Sony or the Fuji mount system is a huge issue for many. There are no decent quality zooms in 100-400 range or 24-70mm FF equivalent range...........even if you accept to pay 2k for each zoom range. And in case of Sony, their 70-200mm f2.8GM OSS is a expensive but horrible lens with really bad quality control and copy to copy variation to date...

I have tested three copies of that lens and all of these 3 were terribly de-centered.

They all have terrible anti-flare coating and they all produced terrible green or magenta/ orange rainbow colored ghost and spot flare......and the distortion at the 70mm mark on this lens was simply monstorus, very very difficult to correct in PP. At the 200mm mark on this lens it gets even worse, the pinchusioning type of distortion at the 200mm mark on this lens is even harder to correct than the barrel type distortion at the 70mm mark.

If you are a pure prime shooter, then you might love the current great FE prime lineup and XF prime lineup, but for a mostly zoom shooter or for a documentary type of work that really requires a great mid range zoom, the Sony E system and the Fuji X system are both not great. Especially not great for those events where you do not want to change lenses over and over due to the dust issue or due to your shooting objects move fast, or you cannot simply zoom with your feet.

So while I think the Sony and the Fuji systems are really good for studio or landscape or location work where you can safely change lenses all the time and allowed to work on a tripod at very slow pace. But for any thing requires speed or a set of great 24-70 or 70-200 and 100-400 kind of zooms , they are just a pure joke, simply useless systems.

And for that type of works the DSLRs are much cheaper and much more trusted tools due to the much faster general operation speed, much better zoom lineup, much better third party lens support, much more reliable flash system,etc.

All that said both the Fuji and the Sony system are already very good for most of normal use cases and getting better and better every iteration, so I am quite positive about their short term future success.....but not very sure in the longer run............especially considering the fact Nikon and Canon will get more serious about their mirrorless offerings very soon.

And in case of Canon they are already no2 in mirrorless market only second to Olympus in total unit sales, and only second to Sony in market share by value.

I think if the Sony FE system and Fuji X system will not sell very well, or will not better the all Canon Nikon D-SLRs in unit based market share, no thirdparty will make a great set of zooms or any decent moderately fast primes at reasonable prices, and this extreme focus on highend market of Fuji and Sony may eventually hurt them seriously.

In order to get more NEW users coming into their systems they really need attractive lowend bodies like improved more rugged version of their X-A3 or A5100. In case of Fuji the cheap but very capable X-T20 may rectify this issue, but still they have very expensive (for those potential consumer body buyers)lens line issue and that must be fixed or they will slowly lose the momentum they've got since the XT2.

Personally, if I have to choose all from scratch again, then I would still choose the Sony system as my main system and maybe m43 to back it up for documentary work done while I am traveling. IMHO, the Olympus EM1MK2 or the Panasonic GH5 or the G85 based m43 system is much better than the Fuji X-T2 or X-T20 based system, at least much more practical with more stabilized lenses and much better flash capability.

So the m43 for action travel and video, the Sony FE for serious tripod work is still the logical choice for me.

 

I think Nikon is the best value system for most of things still, but I just cannot go back to D-SLR main, I feel it really odd whenever I look into the OVF of my D750. It feels really anachronistic and I do not like it at all, I always try hard to like it, though.

I really think Nikon needs a serious mirrorless system that fully utilizes all the current great Nikon F mount lenses at very least the E series lenses, or they will slowly falling into the irrelevant category.

After having owned about 22 Sony cameras in last 11 years or so, I have come to realize I can never fully trust Sony in the long run, and always looking for something else to move to or simply better value system, but I cannot find anything better than my current E mount set up just yet. But the continuously pushing the user base to their higher end products by incessantly replacing or discontinuing products that they do think not high-end enough or highly profitable enough for them eventually hurts them because this strategy will eventually exhaust many of their long time faithful users and at the same time it will scare potential new users away.

  

UPDATE: I interviewed many NORMAL camera buyers in my area at our camera shop and asked them to tell us about what was the main reason they did not buy so-called mirrorless any more, and why they think the market share of these mirrorless decreasing at least in the Western world and the already developed part of Asia such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea , Singapore and HK.

They answered to these questions carefully as we paid some $$ and I think we found out a few interesting things about the NORMAL camera buyers' perception/opinion about ILC cameras and the culture surrounding the camera business:

 

1 to them, if it requires a bag even a tiny one, it's really not important what kind of camera system it is; a mirrorless or a D-SLR, a m43 or a FF, it is just too big and simply too annoying to carry around. So they use their cellphone more even though many of them already have some sort of One cameras or cheap ILCs.

2 To most of NORMAL camera buying people here it really does not matter FF or m43 or APS-C or MF because they are all too difficult to operate and actually really not much different to each other in real life use(at least to them).

This means maybe the small sensor camera systems like the m43 and the Nikon One will all fail since there is no market for them. Not many average camera buyers are interested in ILC systems but fixed lens all around cameras with good one button wireless connection to their phones. And not many the fanatics get interested in these cause most of them are obsessed with the best IQ possible they can get out of a camera system. Thus Olympus, Nikon and Panasonic will definitely need a bigger sensor system to entice them.

3 they do not want a lens like Zeiss Otus or Sigma Art even if it is selling for $50 or less. In fact, any kind of lens interchangeability is not important to them, in fact it is really annoying, and if it is an all around just fixed lens camera like the Sony RX10MK3 , it is actually a better camera system than any type of ILC with a set of primes that most of camera forum denizens want. They should realize they are not the majority of camera buyers and making and selling exactly what they want does not actually help any of these camera makers........

To them a set of great dedicated APS-C primes may be an important part of a good camera system, but to most of NORMAL people it is just not an important or an alluring feature at all.

So as opposed to what Tony , Thom, and many other self-proclaimed experts in many camera forums think, a great set of APS-C dedicated primes will NOT help Nikon or Sony. In fact, outside of the forums most of people actually prefer ZOOMS.

4 To NORMAL people all interchangeable lens cameras are big and quite intimidating.

This means that the very common camera forum trend to get mirrorless for being less conspicuous in the public reason is a silly idea , no one actually cares about if it is a mirroless or a D-SLR, to them all interchangeable lens cameras are annoying and intimidating to most of non-photographers.......so if they really want to be less conspicuous they should try one of the One inch sensor fixed lens cameras.

 

So as I already pointed out, the camera makers should focus on developing fixed multi lenses multi sensored computational cameras with easy one-button wireless connectivity to the phones. The software must be intuitive and 21st century design rather than the current 1980 design, I think it should be user programmable and as Thom points out open the source code to the smart kids and then some of them will develop some good apps for them for free.

Remember why the 5DMK2 and the Panasonic GH2 became such huge hits? Because of the hacked firmwares, I think it is the key.

  

UPDATE2:The last two weeks or so, I have been testing my Batis 85mm f1.8 (I have 2 copies of it and I have access to 6 extra copies of it at my shop) vs the new Sony FE85mm f1.8.

And surprisingly enough I found the Sony cheap lens actually quite a bit sharper at f1.8 and probably throughout all f stops.

The bokeh or out of focus area rendition of the Batis seems to be a bit smoother, it has a bit less lateral CA, but it seems to be softer, actually obviously so. It is not a copy issue since I have also tested 6 extra Batis we have at our store.

Another big con of the Batis vs the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is that the Batis has noticeably more pincushion distortion , if you turn off the in camera lens correction, you will see it in the EVF of any Sony A7X camera.

The color tone is also different, the Batis produces a bit warmer color than the Sony and many say they prefer the look of Zeiss, but honestly if you objectively blind test it you will soon realize the Sony renders everything more naturally with a bit more neutral tone. Many Zeiss fanboys just say it is a Zeiss, so it is a special lens, well really? Not all Zeiss lenses are great, only a very few Zeiss are actually great, and these days everything is designed with computer with using the same software, so every lens in the same size range is actually identically sharp, no dramatic difference there, really..

The Tamron 85mm f1.8VC, the Batis 85mm f1.8E, the Sony FE85mm f1.8, are all similarly sharp wide open, and from f2.8 the Sony is noticeably better than the Batis and the Tamron.

I also prefer the cooler out of the camera color of the Sony lens over the Tamron and the Zeiss Batis.

Now, we all know that Zeiss is not a better lens designer than Sony or Tamron , or any one..........maybe this fact is really hard for the fanboys to admit, but it is the reality.

IMHO, the only one minor drawback of the new Sony FE85mm f1.8 is the a bit harsh out of focus area rendition in strong back lit scene, and I think almost all Sony FE lenses share this issue.

The AF of the FE85mm f1.8 is much faster than the AF of the Batis 85mm f1.8E, so for shooting my cats indoor, I think the Sony is a much better lens. For weddings, I think the Batis may be a bit better since it renders our of focus area a bit smoother in extreme back lit scene. However, I do not like the warmer color signature of the Batis and many Japanese Zeiss lenses. I suspect the actual lens designer for the Batis series is Tamron, and therefore they share very similar look to the Tamron 85mm f1.8VC. I may be wrong here but I think I am right since the look Batis series lenses share is quite different from my MF Zeiss lenses including my Loxia lenses and ZF ZE lenses.

It is sad but I have to admit that almost all Zeiss Batis and Loxia lenses are just ok , nothing really special about these, except the 25mm, which is my favorite lens, and Loxia 21mm f2.8 and may be also the 50mm f2 Loxia.

The 18mm f3.5 Batis is a poorly designed lens, really should not carry the Zeiss blue badge. The Batis 85mm f1.8E was a great lens, at least I thought so until I compared it to the new cheap Sony 85mm f1.8, but now it is the softest 85mm in the current Sony E mount lens line up. The FE85mm f1.8, the Tamorn 85mm f1.8VC, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art, the Sony 85mm f1.4GM are all sharper than the overpriced plastic coated bulky Batis 85m f1.8.

I am selling the Batis and get the Sony FE50mm f1.4 soon to replace my Loxia 50mm f2 and Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8.

 

But the most important change that this very humble Sony FE85mm f1.8 has induced in this industry is that it has kind of killed all charms of them43 system and the Fuji X.

The Fuji 56 f1.2 and the m43 fake Leica 42.5 mm f1.2 lens are great optically, but as a whole system, they are a much less capable system than a cheap Sony lens on a FF body.

  

UPDATE3: Recently, I decided to sell some of my Sony, Nikon, and Fuji gear and the results were really surprising.

 

I sold a couple of Fuji X-T2, a Sony A6500, a A6300, a A7R, a A7R2, three A7MK2. I also sold my Nikon D800E, D750, and D810.

 

The most expensive camera by far of the list was the A7R2, but surprisingly I got about identical amount of money for it to what I got for my much cheaper(as a brand new) D810. I paid about 3200 USD for my A7R2 in 2015 and shockingly it was devalued a lot more than I thought, I could only get about 1750 USD for it.

I must say it was a terrible loss.

I paid around 2000 US for my D810 in 2016, and got back about 1800 US for it in May 2017.

 

I got about 123000 yen for my X-T2, and I must say the resell value of this camera is great, I think Fuji has been controlling the price of this camera quite well. I just lost about 5000 yen on this camera and I have used it for more than 7 months, so it was a great deal. Renting it over 5 months and paid only 45 US or less, is an amazing deal.

 

I got offered only 72000 for my A7R and it was really pity, so I did not sell it.

 

I got only 64000 yen for my A6300, but I expected this so it was not really shocking, still it was a bad value camera, though. But it was replaced by the A6500, so I did not expect too much for this one.......

 

I got about 75000 yen for my A6500 and it was quite shocking, I expected to get more for that since I paid 118000 yen for it in last Oct.

 

I got 95000 yen for my A7MK2, it was quite sad, deplorable since it is a FF and cheaper than the X-T2 in the used camera market here.

I got about 134000 yen for my 2 year old D750, and it was a positive surprise. I did not expect to get this much of money for it since I paid only about 158000 yen for it in 2014.

 

So I realized Sony cameras seem to hold the worst resell value (by far) in Japan and my Thai friend told me in Thailand too.

I was about to sell my second A7R2, but I decided to keep it just for my FE16-35mm f4 and Voiklander 15mm f4.5 and Sony 85mm f1.8...

 

But the shocking loss by far this time was the Batis 85mm f1.8 or the Batis 18mm f2.8, I have lost a lot of money on those 2 lenses, and I did not expect this.....I thought I might get about 900 US for my Batis 85, but I got only about 630 US for it.

The 18mm Batis was even worse, I paid about 168000 yen for it in 2016..... and now I could get only about 98000 yen for it, it was the most shocking and the biggest loss by far, I never thought the resale value of the Batis 18mm f2.8 this bad.

  

So now I decided never buy any more Batis series lenses, I have lost too much on this terribly built so-called Zeiss(actually Tamron made) lenses.

  

UPDATE4: I am now in the process of replacing all my Sony E mount lenses(except a few) with Canon EF mount lenses.

I hated adapters, but after I tried the Sigma MC11, I changed my mind and I think it is much safer to use my Sony bodies with Canon lenses since Canon EF mount is the safest long term future proven mount, and the resell value of the super expensive Sony GM and so-called Sony Zeiss are too bad, the Batis line is even worse. So I think by selling off all expensive Sony E mount lenses that cannot be reused in any other mount system in the near future, I will be more secured and adding the Sigma adapter expand the possible AF lens selection for my FE bodies. After all, I realized that Sony FE zooms are all mediocre , even the most expensive GM ones.

 

I will replace my FE16-35mm f4 Z with a Canon EF16-35mm f4 L IS, I have compared ten copies of each and I am 100 percent sure the Canon is the better lens and cheaper one. In fact, the adapter plus the lens price is the same as the Sony FE16-35mm f4 Z alone. And another benefit of this lens over the FE16-35mm f4 Z is that the Canon lens does not extend its length when it zooms out or in.

 

I will also replace the FE24-70mm f4 with the EF24-70mm f4 LIS.

I will get the 40mm f2.8 STM, which is a surprisingly good lens for the modest size and price.

 

I will also add Sigma 135mm f1.8 Art, which is the sharpest lens ever produced by any one according to Photozone,de.

 

I also add Canon EF70-300mm f4-5.6IS MK2 lens, which is really cheap and for me it is a worth lens since I am not a serious telephoto shooter and so I do not want to invest over 100000 yen for a lens like FE70-300mm f4-5.6G, which is clearly overpriced.

 

I also add Tamron 35mm f1.8VC to replace my Sony FE 35mm f2.8 and Loxia 35mm f2, both of which I actually detest for the terrible corner quality and terrible coma(in case of the Loxia).

 

I may also add the amazing Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC G2, which is about half the price of the Sony FE70-200mmf2.8GM, and in my experience, the Tamron is the sharper lens(I compared 4 copies of each once at my shop).

 

I will keep my FE85mm f1.8, which is one of the best 85mm primes ever made and I much prefer this to the overpriced oversized GM and my plastic coated cheap looking Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8E lens.

 

I will also keep my Voiktlander 15mm f4.5 and 12mm f5.6.

  

UPDATE5: Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their digital-imaging division(Sony DI) and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use-only. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.....and Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many armchair experts in many camera fora think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. No one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features... I think Sony should try to be an Intel of camera.

 

UPDATE6:I attended a few academic conferences in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. And I visited many many very crowded tourists venues there and I have come to realize the death of real camera thing is nothing but extremely exaggerated by those silly clickbait sites. There were many many people still using a REAL ILC camera along with their smartphones.

Then what is the problem I've found there?

Well there were a very few people using so-called mirrorless there , especially the high-end mirrorless cameras like theA7R/A7R2,theA7M2, the X-T2, the X-P2, etc. I saw many m43 cameras even the EM1MK2 and GH5, I also spotted many people with XT20, A6300, etc, but I never spotted any A7R2, A7M2, XT2,etc......even at the most crowded tourist places like Kinkaku-ji temple, Kobe Great earthquake museum, Kiyomizudera temple, etc.

And that makes me worry about the long term future of so-called Mirrorless, if Sony and Fuji actually going under before Nikon?

 

To be honest, there are many many Nikon shooters and of course Canon guys and girls, but no A7 or XT2 guys at all.

 

In my last academic conferences in Tokyo area, I found it the same, and in Bangkok and Korea I did not see any Fuji or Sony high-end mirrorless bodies at all.

And more worrying fact was that there were so many Chinese tourists there with big cameras, but none of them shooting a Sony or a Fuji, that makes me really nervous about the future of Sony.

 

Sony is investing a lot of money very quick into the FE system but the ship seems to be sinking. I think the stupid shill marketing and silly "mirrorless taking over the entire industry "hype generated by Fuji and Sony paid internet sites is not at all working for them , but maybe working against them.

  

The temporal D800 success in the camera forums made Nikon this stupid!

   

*** REDUCED FROM €920.000 ***

This newly constructed four bedroom villa is located in the lovely residential development of Es Valls, just 2km outside the popular town of Begur and 2km from the lovely bay of Sa Riera.

 

The 230m2, south facing, hilltop property enjoys magnificent views of the town, the pine forested countryside and the sea. The rear of the property also boasts beautiful views across the Baix Emporda and to Toroella de Montgri.

 

The villa is in a plot of 800m2 with garden, swimming pool , covered porch, terraces and a garage.

 

The house comprises the following:

 

Lower ground floor: 34m2 garage; en-suite bedroom; utility room

 

Ground floor: Two double bedrooms (one with direct access to the terrace and swimming pool); family bathroom; guest WC; fully fitted kitchen with picture window enjoying sea views; living room/dining room (34m2) with fireplace, sliding glass doors giving access to the covered porch and terrace

 

First floor: Master en-suite bedroom with views to the east and south

 

Additional features:

Private swimming-pool

Air conditioning

Landscaped garden

Electric blinds

 

The property has been designed and finished to a high standard and its south facing aspect means that the property enjoys day long sunshine.

 

The house is within a 10-minute drive of 3 excellent 18-hole golf courses and a 10-minute drive of some of the best beaches of the Costa Brava. The town of Begur offers an excellent choice of quality restaurants, bars and shops whilst the nearby town of Palafrugell boasts an excellent market selling fresh local produce.

  

Residential Property

Commercial Property

Residency in Spain

 

PL-1941-7gVxptBT-17

 

Click to website, Price:

Local "garage sale" market. Like 100 years ago.

A dark and windy night

 

There were about 74 dust spots in the sky area of this image.

It took me about 23 minutes to get rid of these dirty spots.

Removing dust spots is tedious and very risky, difficult and sometimes deprives all the good charm of the image!

 

I always clean my A7R sensor and so it has a very few dust spots but my A7M2 always has about 34 -45 dust spots and it is really difficult to clean the sensor properly due to the terrible IBIS implementation in that body. My A6500 has the same problem and this is why I am debating replacing it with a Panasonic GH5 or G85. I think one of the biggest advantages of using m43 system is the super effective self sensor cleaning system and thus we can change lenses outside of our room without the fear of inviting dusts....but most of so-called reviewers always dismiss or even intentionally ignore it........

 

The current state of the ILC world -Why Fuji will never become mainstream (updated)

 

In Japan all die hard Fuji fanatics call fullframe as "Furu-size format" and that roughly translated into English like "old dated format", "stupid old format", "oldman's format",etc., and they all complaining about the size and cost of FF lens system, but is so-called FF really more expensive than the Fuji as a whole system?

 

After trying out the Fuji X system and comparing it to my own Sony, m43 and Nikon systems extensively for about 4 months, I really feel it is the best time for me to write about some seriously annoying real life issues of the Fuji X system and the Sony FE mount system compared to more modestly priced Nikon or Canon D-SLR system...as my answer to the above question that our die-hard Fuji fans asked us a few months ago in my local area.

 

There are a couple of disclaimers:

1> I have been shooting Sony as my main camera system for over a decade now and so I might be too biased towards them or against them, but either way I am not a fan of Sony corporation, especially after I started dealing with them in 2009 as one of our main business partners, I've become a bit anti-Sony kind of a photographer and I honestly think it is very difficult for me or actually any one to fully trust Sony as a long term business partner or anything like that. However, I must admit recently Sony has been rapidly improving in service and support area at least in ILC market.

But I think I know them much better than an average forum expert on this matter or any so-called pro reviewer out there because I can read their original Japanese marketing materials better and I've known a few of Sony imaging people very well since about 2008 or 2009. So I think I am qualified to compare Fuji vs Sony vs Nikon lens line here and write about that the 4 system comparison frankly.

2> there is no one better system to all others or close to ideal system for everybody, and unlike common forum belief , it is not like the more expensive camera, the always better it is at everything for everyone. So lets be honest if I had the money and room to put all kinds of cameras, then I would buy almost all formats and most of brands cameras maybe except Pentax.

However, in real life my room size is not getting any bigger, my income is now pretty much fixed and not going up or down any time very soon, so I have to choose one or two systems or maybe three from my current 5 systems I have now. And I am not anti any one or any system at all, just trying to be as neutral and rational as I can be..........however, as I said I am not bias-free either because I know Sony too much and definitely have clear preference and so I may make some wrong assessments/judgement on some systems.

Honestly, there are no really bad systems any more maybe except Pentax , which I firmly believe will go bankrupt very soon.........But hey even they or any one go bankrupt who cares? we are not buying their share but their cameras.

Anyway,I've really enjoyed using m43 for pure fun. For pure personal shooting I honestly prefer it to my so-called FF or the Fuji X system, I've found m43, especially Panasonic models such as the G85, the GH4 and GH5 and the Olympus EM1M2 very very intuitive and fast in all ways. And they are the best or easiest cameras to travel with at least for a budget air traveler like myself. The Panasonic GH5 and GH4 are amazing video making tools and I love them always. But for pure stills , especially landscapes or high resolution studio stuff they are not adequate. A 16mp or a 20mp chip simply cannot produce the resolution we need for high resolution landscapes or studio product shots. After all I am too used to 36mp and 42.4mp FF sensor output qualities.

But even for that kind of use, with Olympus we now at least have the high-resolution pixel shifting mode and that actually produces better result than most of FF cameras, at least for completely static things such as studio or products shots.

I have used it for a studio poster shot of a motor bike I advertised a few weeks ago in a local mag , and the result was simply stunning! However, it cannot work well for anything even slightly moving like flowers or slowly moving leaves...........or a bit windy day landscapes, etc.

For tripod long exposure work, I always preferred and still prefer my ancient Sony A7R and Nikon D810, the reason for that is simple they lack the annoying extra sensor heat generating IBIS gimmick. The IBIS is the most overrated feature of any camera system and I would rather not have it in any FF camera I buy. It generates extra heat, requires a more powerful processor, more ram and thus also requires more room for proper heat dissipation system...resulting in a much bigger heavier body for the same performance without it. The A6500 is much bigger and heavier than the A6300, the Panasonic GH5 is a much bigger body than the GH4 is, and ironically enough, all the mirrorless system supposed to be cheaper and smaller with simple electronics finder system getting bigger and heavier every iteration.

Plus, the IBIS actually makes the sensor nosier and less stable and much more difficult to clean it. My first A7R, which I bought in November 2013 still has a pretty clean sensor even after 4 years of extensive abuse in cold mountains. But my relatively new just 9 months old A7R2 and just 5 weeks old A6500 have lots of dust on their respective sensor, and it is not easy to clean them without damaging the IBIS or the sensor itself.

So for me the IBIS is actually minus point at least in a FF body despite of extreme love for the IBIS in many common forum.

That all said though, the IBIS is not actually a very bad gimmick on the smaller sensor system such as m43 or Sony APS-C, and I think the pluses may beat the minuses in a smaller sensor system. So I need to be clear I am only against IBIS in a FF body.

A7R2 and A7R are extremely slow and make me often waiting waiting for everything and that makes me often miss a few incredible once a life time kind of shooting opportunities.

So for me they are useless for corporate events or decisive street shots,etc. Sure the A7R2 has decent AF and shooting speed, but the camera operation speed is still way too slow;too slow to format the card, too slow to change LCD to EVF, too slow to wake up from a long sleep, etc, etc. And its video is useless, only able to shoot a few minutes and then heating up and suddenly stops shooting and some times even shuts it down itself.

The A6500 is a bit better and shoots a bit better video for a bit longer period, but basically it still has the same heating up excessively and suddenly shutting down issue.

So I recently down graded one of my two A6500 cameras to A6300, which I had before I bought my A6500, and now considering selling it too for something even cheaper and thus more abuse-able camera probably the old A6000. The A6500, the A6300 are not much better than the ancient A6000......at least in terms of sheer IQ.

Any way, since I recently added Fuji system recently, I would like to just compare the lens line of the Fuji X vs the lens line of the Nikon FX vs the lens lineup of the Sony E mount. Many times I find the excessively hard and nasty lens criticism Sony gets from many reviewers and forum experts are extremely unfair, unfounded and dishonest...... And most of times those extreme critics of Sony lens line have actually never used any of expensive Sony or Zeiss FE primes or do not understand how to test lenses correctly.

So here it goes..........

Is Fuji better for lens selection than Sony or Nikon, or is Fuji at least a cheaper system than a FF system like Sony or Nikon?

Well...yes and no. It is not so simple.

Yes, they have APS-C dedicated fast primes that Sony lacks and their zooms are miles ahead compared to Sony APS-C zooms, but then again, the primes Fuji offers are pretty large and heavy, they lack OS and (esp older versions) have clunky and loud AF motors. And Nikon lenses tend to be much cheaper for the same quality or even a bit better optical performance than Fuji or Sony. However, if I can include FF lenses since I only have FF lenses for my Sony or Nikon or Canon, I would have to say Sony FE and Nikon F are much more complete systems than Fuji X. Plus, Nikon FX has really a lot of cheap thirdparty lenses and other cheap thirdparty accessories with incredibly huge selection of used lens market......

So if the native lens selection and the system performance per dollar is any importance to you , then there is still no mirrorless system better than the Nikon or the Canon system......So it's not all roses and sunshine in Mirrorless camp. I have used Sony system for over a decade and I have collected many lenses for my Sony E and A systems and I have a lot of Nikon lenses as well. Now I have been testing many Fuji lenses and they are indeed very good but not as amazing as many many Fuji fanatics in Fujirumor sites suggest they are, especially with respect to value/performance ratio.

 

Comp 1> 23-25mm FL: Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 vs Fuji 23/1.4 vs Fuji 23/2 vs Nikon 24mm f1.8G AF-S vs Sony SEL24mm f1.8Z.

Here I do not want to but I must admit the Nikon is the best lens especially considering its modest price tag and size. Then I prefer the tiny Fuji 23mm f2 WR for bad environment shooting. But if I have to pick the absolute best lens from this set, then I would have to pick the Batis 25 is a bit sharper lens than the the Fuji 23mm f1.4 or the APS-C dedicated Sony Zeiss. The one serious issue of the Batis 25mm f2 is the extremely pronounced CA in highlight or very high contrasty area, other wise, it is a near perfect lens, and I use it very often on my A7R.

The optical performance of the Fuji 23mm f1.4 is nothing short of amazing too but its mechanical quality is not as great as its optical quality.. The Fuji is very well built on paper and according to the fanboys, and renders OOF area or bokeh very very nicely and of course goes down to 1.4........but the AF is loud and just feels awkward, actually it cannot focus well in extreme lowlight where a really fast prime like it is really needed. It has very nice optical quality though...... the fly-by-wire focus ring is also extremely awkward to use in very dark places. Unlike the excellent Zeiss Batis, the Fuji is not weather-sealed and I doubt it is actually well built, to me it feels very cheap...........

The Sony Zeiss is actually a better lens in terms of build and mechanical quality than the Fuji XF23mm f1.4, very well built and very precise focus system and the AF of the Sony Zeiss is light years ahead of the Fuji XF23mm f1.4.

But again considering the price to performance ratio and pure optical quality and over all real life usability or practicality , the Nikon is the best bargain lens here and I mean by far the best bang for your buck kind of a lens not the absolute best -which, in my opinion, is the Batis 25mm f2.

The Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED is smaller and lighter than the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens or the Fuji XF23mm f1.4 lens and the Nikon is a lot cheaper than both the Fuji and Zeiss Batis. The Batis lens is very sharp in the center, but in the edges and corners it is still good but not as sharp as the cheap plastic Nikon f2.8G lens..........the green edged CA is annoying and hard to get rid of in PP, and after getting rid of it in PP, the final output becomes very much softer than without the software correction.

And it has incredibly heavy,pronounced distortion before the extremely heavy handed software correction.......that almost all makers mirrorless cameras apply to all their lenses.

So if MF is fine , I actually prefer my Zeiss 25mm f2 Distagon ZF2 lens for this specific focal length. For AF work, I prefer the Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED, which is an exceptional lens at very very modest affordable price.

Comp 2>At 50-55mm range: Sony FE55mm f1.8Z for Sony E mount vs Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art for Nikon F vs Fuji 56/1.2 for Fuji X vs Loxia 50mm f2 for Sony E.

Yeah I know, f1.2 vs f1.4 vs f1.8 vs f2 not a very fair optical comparison but still this is the most practical way of comparing the systems since not all of these systems have the same class similar optics with the same max F number...and their respective choice of sensor format is also different...........So the Fuji f1.4 lenses just roughly equal to the Nikon and the Sony f1.8 primes in terms of light gathering power and actual DOF-controllability.

I think most likely people use these systems with AF use these lenses and therefore I would like to compare these. Well the Loxia is pure MF lens but I've thrown it into this mix since it is my personal favorite lens for my E mount body and I use it a lot for video and paid corporate portrait work I sometimes do in the summer season(in the winter I am very busy and I have no time for any kind of part time work).

The Fuji is a very fast f1.2 lens but with very slow AF motor, and again it has the terrible fly-by-wire MF ring, and so does the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 Z lens. This is very annoying, and this is why I do not like the optically fantastic almost flawless(at least for the price) FE55mm f1.8Z.

The Fuji XF56mm f1.2 has amazing color and micro contrast and almost distortion free even before the usual software correction Fuji applies to any of their lenses, it renders beautiful skin tone with very pleasant bokeh.

Probably the Fuji has better copy to copy variation and tighter QC than Sony on their older fake Zeiss line lenses such as this FE55mm f1.8, the FE35mm f1.4Z, the FE35mm f2.8,though Sony has already improved it with the newer FE 50mm f1.4Z, which is objectively a great lens but I personally dislike for its awkward ergonomics and extreme Lo-CA at wideopen and near wideopen range. The FE55mm f1.8Z has significantly pronounced pincushion distortion but it is automatically corrected in the camera or in ACR or in C1 pro, or in DXO pro, however, that auto lens distortion correction makes the lens significantly softer in the edges and corners than it should have originally been without it. So in final images it usually ends up softer than the Fuji or the big FF Sigma lens on a Nikon body. The Loxia 50mm f2 is a lens designed after the legendary Leica mount Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens and its rendering characteristic is very similar to that of the Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens, but the Sony mount version is significantly sharper in the centers with a lot less lateral CA(still more pronounced green CA than the FE 55 or FE 50mm f1.4 Planar, though). And the Loxia is very good at handling complex contra-light scenes, and so it seldom produces terrible rainbow colored ghost...... , the Loxia is very very tactile and easy to MF precisely for video and for stills even including moderately fast moving things or people. So despite of its slightly slower max speed at f2 , I much prefer it to any of the other around 50mm primes for Sony or Fuji, or any of the Nikon 50mm primes.

However, if I can throw the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens into the mix, I prefer it to everything else I've compared here. The new Zeiss for Nikon and Canon mount is simply a superb lens with outstanding MF ring, I can MF it easily at f1.4 and get tack sharp images anytime......it's that good. IMHO, the Milvus 50mm f1.4 is the best 50mm prime ever made out side of the real Leica price territory..........the Leica 50mm f2 APO is slightly better I think but I can no longer afford it , I used to have it for a few months but I sold it to my grandpa(needed the money for my new storage system 70 four tera byte hard drives and 24 one tera byte SSDs, etc). I think the Milvus series is really underrated line of Ziess, it is actually as great as their more famous Otus line without the crazy bulk of the Otus series. I know the Sigma Art and the Zeiss Otsus series primes are fantastic optically, but they are too impractical in real life scenes(outside of studio and landscape), and therefore, I am not a fan of them.

I love the Milvus line and the older ZF2 line Zeiss primes more than the new Batis or Loxia line Zeiss primes for Sony ,and I am sometimes thinking about going back to Nikon main for that very reason plus better flash and cheaper more practical lens line-up than the Sony FE or Fuji X.

But if you are simply looking for the best bang for your buck kind of a person, then I think there is nothing really beats the Nikon AF-S50mm f1.4G, which is actually a sharp lens if you shoot it at f2.2 or smaller aperture. And if you are like me tend to stop it down to at least f5.6 or so most of times, then the cheap Nikon 50 mm f1.4G is just as sharp as the expensive Loxia 50mm f2 or Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art or Zony 50mm f1.4 Z. But for me the Milvus and the Loxia are both worth the high prices since they have the best MF ring for the Sony bodies, I really hate the fly-by-wire MF system of Zony or Fuji.

And it is obvious that all current tiny bodied mirrorless systems are overpriced and without the super heavy-handed software correction they can not compete well with the best Zeiss or Sigma primes for Nikon Canon mount system, in fact, the cheap Nikon f1.8G series primes beat many of the expensive Zony, Sony GM , Fuji XF lenses in terms of pure optical and mechanical quality, and it is a shocking fact to many.

I think why you may want to pay high premium for Loxia or Batis line if you shoot Sony FE system is that they seem to have very very high QC tolerances and chances are you may never get a bad copy of it at least an extremely bad one.

 

Comp 3> Sony 24-70mm f2.8GM vs Fuji 16-50mm f2.8 XF, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC USD.

No comparison here. Sony should be ashamed with their zooms. Although I had a very good 24-70mm f4 and f2.8GM, they were still way behind what the 16-50mm f2.8, let alone the new Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR......The Sony 24-70mm f4 Z is an OK lens for the modest price and compact size, but the 24-70mm f2.8 GM is a super expensive lens, costing about 300 hundreds more than the Nikon version and still optically not as good as the Nikon, or in fact I believe it is even a bit worse than the Tamron version for Nikon F mount.

In fact, lack of any quality zoom in the bread and butter range for event pros or part time paid photographers in the current Sony lens line up is a big minus point of Sony system regardless of the mirror type...........SLT or mirrorless.

And another issue is no Tamron, Sigma support for Sony E and A mount any more, this is a huge drawback of the system...........to say the least. If there was a Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC for Sony E mount, I would have bought it and replaced my Nikon mount version of it for my A7R and Nikon D750. It is very pathetic sad that we Sony users are always forced to get the overpriced GM or Batis line lenses even for the focal range where we might want to just get a "good enough" cheap off-brand lens option.

And in fact , in many cases I actually prefer Tamron lenses to Sony or Zeiss E mount lenses even without any discount or like that.

If I had the Tamron 85mm f1.8 VC option for my Sony system, then I wouldn't have bought a few copies of the Batis E 85mm f1.8 OSS and the Sony 85mm f1.4 GM and returned most of these. I simply prefer the Tamron to the Zeiss or Sony regardless of their prices or brand names in this case. The Tamorn 85mm f1.8,35mm f1.8VC, 45mm f1.8 VC, etc, are really great lenses and many times I've considered going back to Nikon main just for these modestly priced but high quality Tamron primes.

 

I think the Sony E16-70mm f4 (recent copies)are quite good, but still no where near the best APS-C zoom Fuji or Nikon makes for their respective APS-C system.........But in this case the Sony lens is at least very versatile and small unlike their FF zooms..........they are pure bogs, especially the 24-70mm GM and 70-200mm f2.8 GM....

 

Comp 4>Sony FE70-200mm f4 OSS, Nikon AF-S70-200mmf4GEDVR, Fuji XF55-200mm f4-5.6ED.

Well, in this comparison, I must say the Sony FE70-200mm f4G, at least the recent copy(made after 2015),is the best in the set. The Sony is cheaper and sharper and comes with tripod collar. The initial 3000 or so copies had the soft 200mm f4 setting issue, but the copies produced after 2015 July are much better, if you read the recent review on the Sony FE70-200mmf4 G at Ephotozine, you see it clearly, it is raved there, and they are usually an anti-Sony, pro Nikon site.

In Japan, the Sony FE70-200mm f4 G SSM lens is one of the biggest bargain lenses, and now Sony is giving a free Zeiss branded Protection filter for any one buys this lens.

So for me, in this range it is a no brainer. It is relatively compact, sharp throughout the range, with very well corrected almost flat field at most of focal range, it is a very very good zoom at very very reasonable price point.

The Nikon AF-S70-200mm f4G ED VR lens was a good lens when it was out. But now it seems really dated and overpriced. It is heavier than the Sony by about 205g, it is a bit longer than the Sony and much bigger and heavier than the relatively small(albeit darker)Fuji. The Nikon is less sharp at 70mm mark than the Sony at all aperture settings, with a bit more pronounced barrel distortion than that of the Sony. At 135mm setting, the Sony is still a bit sharper and better corrected. At 200mm f4, the Nikon might still be a bit sharper at 200mm f4 setting but not by much, the later recently released copies of the Sony is much better than the initially released copies that tested by most of so-called review sites, so you may see it seems much worse than it actually is at 200mm f4 setting at most of review sites, but it has really improved since 2015.

Compared to the cheap but dark Fuji zoom, the Fuji is overrated lens, obviously.

It is not the same class of the zoom as either the Nikon or the Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom. Claiming the XF55-200 dim zoom as good as the Sony FE 70-200mm f4 G is a bit of stretch. IMHO, the Fuji 55-200 is a bit fancier version of a typical kit zoom, that is all about it.

 

Comp 5> around 50mm macro lens: Sony FE 50mm f2.8 macro, Nikon AF-S60mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, Fuji 60mm f1.2 almost macro lens, Sigma 50mm f2.8 DG.

Well there is no need any serious analysis or reading at all about these lenses, I used to have all of these and I only kept the Sony.

The Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro is a fantastic lens especially for the modest price tag it carries. After all, it is the third very sharpest prime ever tested on the a7R2 and a7R.

It beats the about 100 US more expensive Nikon 60 G micro hands down, albeit the compromised slow AF, but in macro range no one use AF anyway.

For pure optical quality it is a absolute steal, it has very low CA, thanks to the amazing new ED element, it has very very low distortion, and it produces cool color(not as warm as Zeiss or G branded Sony lenses) and I prefer that personally, but many people especially those who love flowers or people head shots may prefer a bit warmer OOC color.

The Fuji 60mm f2.4 is an excellent lens too but it is not a REAL macro, it is only a half macro kind like the Canon EF24-70mm f4 L IS in macro mode.

So if you need the real macro capability in mirrorless system there is no other choice than the Sony or you must go down to m43 league, and I say go down but as for macro m43 system is not actually worse than FF or especially APS-C system unless you have super expensive macro lens plus macro ring flash and always 100 percent use a tripod.

The m43 allows you to focus stack automatically for better DOF, and it has excellent but reasonably priced compact macro lens choices such as the amazing Olympus 60mm f2.8, the Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Leica branded lens, the Olympus and Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro. And Panasonic will release long awaited X120mm f2.8 G macro lens very soon.

So for me and I think many casual macro shooters the m43 is the most interesting choice for macro work or just simple casual floower close up.

I love Sony 30mm f3.5 on my A6500 too, it is a cheap lens but very practical, you can really abuse it in rain, in cold mountains, etc, and it never breaks. Even if it breaks, hey who cares? it is very cheap indeed. But if you like shooting food or some product like some Star Wars figures or Mickey Mouse doll like I do, then the Sony FE50mm f2.8 macro is an excellent choice especially on the R bodies.

The cheap Sony macro is a bit less sharp than the amazingly sharp FE55mm f1.8Z on the A7R2, but it is just as sharp as the Sonnar on the A7R or the a7M2. And in my test comfortably beats the Loxia 50mm f2 in the center and especially in the edges, albeit a bit more pronounced Lo-CA in highlight or OOF area. In any case, the Sony FE50mm f2.8 is a real bargain deal lens in the current FE system, and this lens and the FE90mm f2.8G prove that actually there are many bargain deal lenses in the current harshly criticized as expensive or overpriced(mostly by non-Sony users) Sony lens system.

Comp 6> around 100mm macro lens: Sony FE90mm f2.8G, Tamron 90 mm f2.8 VC G2, Nikon AF-S105mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, etc.

Well there is really no comp here, the Sony FE 90mm wins hands down as DXO and others all confirm it firmly. I had all of these plus the famous Voiklander 125mm f2.5 APO macro, and the FE 90mm f2.8 G is the absolute winner here, of course the Voiktlander is also a great lens but it is not as practical as the Sony in real life use.

The Sony lens also beats both the Zeiss 100 mm f2 ZF2 and the Milvus version in resolution, CA, distortion, and light fall off, so it is an outstanding lens without any doubt.

The lens really shines on the a7R2, but it is really good on any body but if your sensor is just 24mp FF , then it easily outresolves the low resolution sensor. It actually even outresolves the 42mp sensor. It is that good with respect to sheer resolution and measurable so-called objective IQ.

However, it is not really easy to use in real life since it is big and not balances well on any of Sony A7X body, let alone on any of A6XXX body. I think Sony really needs a bit bigger body for this type of truly outstanding optics that're clearly designed to resolve the next generation high resolution FF. Many internet review sites talk about the latest sensors out-resolving the lenses very often as the biggest issue of the high resolution FF camera system, but it is a big myth or even lie, it is better to have a sensor easily out-resolves any lens you can put on it because it really eliminates all sorts of bad sensor artifacts issues.

 

Body wise, I can only repeat what I said before. The last APS-C body I personally bought with my own money was the Sony A6500 and it feels good in my hands and it has great quality RAW file but terrible jpg's just like all the other Sony cameras. The shutter sounds very cheap with helplessly bad shutter shock, the rolling shutter in Electronic shutter mode is very bad and it gets even worse in video mode. But I never have the infamous heat issue with my A6500 in stills mode, just in video mode. My A6300 has terrible heat issue both in stills and in motion modes. I do not really have any issue with Sony menu system any more but I am already extremely used to it by using almost every single Sony AXXX and A7X camera........the short battery life issue is already solved since I have special USB charger for my mirrorless cameras and I have already collected 12 Sony batteries since the first NEX5. And to be fair to Sony, no other company mirrorless system has better battery life than these Sony cameras. So over all despite of the flawed mount design and questionable mechanical quality with terribly slow general operation speed of these cameras, I think Sony E mount system seems like still the best cost effective choice in the current mirrorless world with respect to simple body usability aspect of camera system, especially if you do not mind using fullframe lenses on an APS-C body.

The X-T2 is built like a tank but quite a bit heavier in the hand than the A6300 but not much heavier than the new A6500, which I also own and think also built like a tank.

The A7R2 is even heavier than the Fuji, albeit the lower quality body material used and poor body sealing quality. The Fuji is a much faster camera in the real world use, it shoots much faster than the A6300, the A7R2 or the A7M2 but the A6500 is even faster than the XT2 with a much longer lasting big buffer. However, the A6500 does not have any sort of external grip option that might have helped the balance of the system when a long tele photo lens is mounted on the camera, so the real life usability of the Fuji with a big AF lens is better than that of the A6500. The A6500 and the A6300 have very fast single shot AF and decent C AF in good light, so they should have had an external grip option for better balance with a big tele photo lens for action shooting.

The eye-detect AF and faceAF on the Fuji is just OK compared to the Sony's, but it is the only one aspect of AF performance where the Sony APS-C beats the Fuji XT2 or X-Pro2. But I am sure none of the current APS-C and FF mirrorless are as good as the upcoming GH5(that I've already pre-ordered and consider as a game-changer) with respect to AF performance and in general operation speed.

The Panasonic has the best AF in mirrorless world but even that is not even close to the decent Canon or Nikon D-SLR for action tracking. The D500 still blows anything from Sony, Fuji, Olympus out of the water and the AF performance gap in real lowlight between the best mirrorless and the mid level D-SLRs such as the D7200 and 80D is not getting smaller but bigger, IMHO, especially when a big telephoto lens is mounted on them. Mirrorless lowlight AF is actually not getting any better except with Panasonic system, this is a real shame. But all other areas of AF performance the Panasonic GH5 and the G85 are both better than any D-SLR, period. These two Panaosnics can focus down to minus 4EV without any issue, any D-SLR or other brand mirrorless cameras cannot even touch it with respect to extreme lowlight AF accuracy......The Sony A7MK2 on paper can focus down to the same level of lowlight minus 4EV, but in real life the Panasonic is a lot better in these extreme lowlight scenes.

The Jpeg quality of the Fuji is quite amazing and sometimes saves a lot of time, so I kind of appreciate that. But the Fuji XT2 or XP2, or even much cheaper new XT20 still have the infamous dust issue as with the Sony A7X and A6XXX........and this is the real reason I can never shoot my Sony or Fuji in Jpeg mode, I always need to remove about 46 dustspots in the sky whenever I use my XT2, A6300, A7M2, A7R2, or A6500, they really have severe dust issue and the worst of all the sensor of the A6500, the A7R2 and the A7M2 is very very difficult to clean safely without sending them in for Sony service center. The sensor of the Fuji's and the older Sony are at least much easier to clean without damaging the sensor or IBIS. I think the really effective automatic dust reduction system of the m43 is really underrated, and it is, I consider, one of these most effective real life weapons of the m43 system that Olympus and Panasonic might be able to effectively use against the others in their marketing or educational materials.

This is the main reason why I sold my A7X2 series cameras and kept my A6300/A6500 and A7R.

As for Fuji UI and controls initially I liked it and I was finding my way around the camera very easily and the Q menu of the Fuji system much easier and more logical to use than any Sony menu system, there is no comparison in this department and I think Sony should focus on this area and also the over all usability with increased operation speed of the camera "system". However, I quickly found out the amazing controls and UI of Fuji that all Fuji fanatics in Fuji rumor sites rave about is kind of working against me or many non retro prime shooters around me. I really hate the retro style bodies and controls inherited or borrowed from film era "my granpa generation", who was one of those anti-Vietnam war hipsters wearing crazy bell bottom jeans and flare shirts.

For me the film era UI and controls are very very difficult to use and very much stressful on my peace of mind. When I was shooting the XT2 there were times I literally felt wanting to throw it onto my grandpa's concrete car garage.....using it for a long period of time every day was that frustrating.

 

I think both the Fuji and the Sony system have serious lens issues; there is no thirdparty lens support other than obscure manual prime options from cheap obscure names. Zeiss makes a great set of primes for Sony and a couple for Fuji, but they are all primes.....

I think they need more great zooms than primes to become true rivals to Canon and Nikon system for really budget minded average camera buyers. I think they really need to persuade Sigma, Tamron, and Samyang to re-enter into the system.

Lack of any decent quality zoom in the so-called bread and butter focal range for the Sony or the Fuji mount system is a huge issue for many. There are no decent quality zooms in 100-400 range or 24-70mm FF equivalent range...........even if you accept to pay 2k for each zoom range. And in case of Sony, their 70-200mm f2.8GM OSS is a expensive but horrible lens with really bad quality control and copy to copy variation to date...

I have tested three copies of that lens and all of these 3 were terribly de-centered.

They all have terrible anti-flare coating and they all produced terrible green or magenta/ orange rainbow colored ghost and spot flare......and the distortion at the 70mm mark on this lens was simply monstorus, very very difficult to correct in PP. At the 200mm mark on this lens it gets even worse, the pinchusioning type of distortion at the 200mm mark on this lens is even harder to correct than the barrel type distortion at the 70mm mark.

If you are a pure prime shooter, then you might love the current great FE prime lineup and XF prime lineup, but for a mostly zoom shooter or for a documentary type of work that really requires a great mid range zoom, the Sony E system and the Fuji X system are both not great. Especially not great for those events where you do not want to change lenses over and over due to the dust issue or due to your shooting objects move fast, or you cannot simply zoom with your feet.

So while I think the Sony and the Fuji systems are really good for studio or landscape or location work where you can safely change lenses all the time and allowed to work on a tripod at very slow pace. But for any thing requires speed or a set of great 24-70 or 70-200 and 100-400 kind of zooms , they are just a pure joke, simply useless systems.

And for that type of works the DSLRs are much cheaper and much more trusted tools due to the much faster general operation speed, much better zoom lineup, much better third party lens support, much more reliable flash system,etc.

All that said both the Fuji and the Sony system are already very good for most of normal use cases and getting better and better every iteration, so I am quite positive about their short term future success.....but not very sure in the longer run............especially considering the fact Nikon and Canon will get more serious about their mirrorless offerings very soon.

And in case of Canon they are already no2 in mirrorless market only second to Olympus in total unit sales, and only second to Sony in market share by value.

I think if the Sony FE system and Fuji X system will not sell very well, or will not better the all Canon Nikon D-SLRs in unit based market share, no thirdparty will make a great set of zooms or any decent moderately fast primes at reasonable prices, and this extreme focus on highend market of Fuji and Sony may eventually hurt them seriously.

In order to get more NEW users coming into their systems they really need attractive lowend bodies like improved more rugged version of their X-A3 or A5100. In case of Fuji the cheap but very capable X-T20 may rectify this issue, but still they have very expensive (for those potential consumer body buyers)lens line issue and that must be fixed or they will slowly lose the momentum they've got since the XT2.

Personally, if I have to choose all from scratch again, then I would still choose the Sony system as my main system and maybe m43 to back it up for documentary work done while I am traveling. IMHO, the Olympus EM1MK2 or the Panasonic GH5 or the G85 based m43 system is much better than the Fuji X-T2 or X-T20 based system, at least much more practical with more stabilized lenses and much better flash capability.

So the m43 for action travel and video, the Sony FE for serious tripod work is still the logical choice for me.

 

I think Nikon is the best value system for most of things still, but I just cannot go back to D-SLR main, I feel it really odd whenever I look into the OVF of my D750. It feels really anachronistic and I do not like it at all, I always try hard to like it, though.

I really think Nikon needs a serious mirrorless system that fully utilizes all the current great Nikon F mount lenses at very least the E series lenses, or they will slowly falling into the irrelevant category.

After having owned about 22 Sony cameras in last 11 years or so, I have come to realize I can never fully trust Sony in the long run, and always looking for something else to move to or simply better value system, but I cannot find anything better than my current E mount set up just yet. But the continuously pushing the user base to their higher end products by incessantly replacing or discontinuing products that they do think not high-end enough or highly profitable enough for them eventually hurts them because this strategy will eventually exhaust many of their long time faithful users and at the same time it will scare potential new users away.

  

UPDATE: I interviewed many NORMAL camera buyers in my area at our camera shop and asked them to tell us about what was the main reason they did not buy so-called mirrorless any more, and why they think the market share of these mirrorless decreasing at least in the Western world and the already developed part of Asia such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea , Singapore and HK.

They answered to these questions carefully as we paid some $$ and I think we found out a few interesting things about the NORMAL camera buyers' perception/opinion about ILC cameras and the culture surrounding the camera business:

 

1 to them, if it requires a bag even a tiny one, it's really not important what kind of camera system it is; a mirrorless or a D-SLR, a m43 or a FF, it is just too big and simply too annoying to carry around. So they use their cellphone more even though many of them already have some sort of One cameras or cheap ILCs.

2 To most of NORMAL camera buying people here it really does not matter FF or m43 or APS-C or MF because they are all too difficult to operate and actually really not much different to each other in real life use(at least to them).

This means maybe the small sensor camera systems like the m43 and the Nikon One will all fail since there is no market for them. Not many average camera buyers are interested in ILC systems but fixed lens all around cameras with good one button wireless connection to their phones. And not many the fanatics get interested in these cause most of them are obsessed with the best IQ possible they can get out of a camera system. Thus Olympus, Nikon and Panasonic will definitely need a bigger sensor system to entice them.

3 they do not want a lens like Zeiss Otus or Sigma Art even if it is selling for $50 or less. In fact, any kind of lens interchangeability is not important to them, in fact it is really annoying, and if it is an all around just fixed lens camera like the Sony RX10MK3 , it is actually a better camera system than any type of ILC with a set of primes that most of camera forum denizens want. They should realize they are not the majority of camera buyers and making and selling exactly what they want does not actually help any of these camera makers........

To them a set of great dedicated APS-C primes may be an important part of a good camera system, but to most of NORMAL people it is just not an important or an alluring feature at all.

So as opposed to what Tony , Thom, and many other self-proclaimed experts in many camera forums think, a great set of APS-C dedicated primes will NOT help Nikon or Sony. In fact, outside of the forums most of people actually prefer ZOOMS.

4 To NORMAL people all interchangeable lens cameras are big and quite intimidating.

This means that the very common camera forum trend to get mirrorless for being less conspicuous in the public reason is a silly idea , no one actually cares about if it is a mirroless or a D-SLR, to them all interchangeable lens cameras are annoying and intimidating to most of non-photographers.......so if they really want to be less conspicuous they should try one of the One inch sensor fixed lens cameras.

 

So as I already pointed out, the camera makers should focus on developing fixed multi lenses multi sensored computational cameras with easy one-button wireless connectivity to the phones. The software must be intuitive and 21st century design rather than the current 1980 design, I think it should be user programmable and as Thom points out open the source code to the smart kids and then some of them will develop some good apps for them for free.

Remember why the 5DMK2 and the Panasonic GH2 became such huge hits? Because of the hacked firmwares, I think it is the key.

  

UPDATE2:The last two weeks or so, I have been testing my Batis 85mm f1.8 (I have 2 copies of it and I have access to 6 extra copies of it at my shop) vs the new Sony FE85mm f1.8.

And surprisingly enough I found the Sony cheap lens actually quite a bit sharper at f1.8 and probably throughout all f stops.

The bokeh or out of focus area rendition of the Batis seems to be a bit smoother, it has a bit less lateral CA, but it seems to be softer, actually obviously so. It is not a copy issue since I have also tested 6 extra Batis we have at our store.

Another big con of the Batis vs the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is that the Batis has noticeably more pincushion distortion , if you turn off the in camera lens correction, you will see it in the EVF of any Sony A7X camera.

The color tone is also different, the Batis produces a bit warmer color than the Sony and many say they prefer the look of Zeiss, but honestly if you objectively blind test it you will soon realize the Sony renders everything more naturally with a bit more neutral tone. Many Zeiss fanboys just say it is a Zeiss, so it is a special lens, well really? Not all Zeiss lenses are great, only a very few Zeiss are actually great, and these days everything is designed with computer with using the same software, so every lens in the same size range is actually identically sharp, no dramatic difference there, really..

The Tamron 85mm f1.8VC, the Batis 85mm f1.8E, the Sony FE85mm f1.8, are all similarly sharp wide open, and from f2.8 the Sony is noticeably better than the Batis and the Tamron.

I also prefer the cooler out of the camera color of the Sony lens over the Tamron and the Zeiss Batis.

Now, we all know that Zeiss is not a better lens designer than Sony or Tamron , or any one..........maybe this fact is really hard for the fanboys to admit, but it is the reality.

IMHO, the only one minor drawback of the new Sony FE85mm f1.8 is the a bit harsh out of focus area rendition in strong back lit scene, and I think almost all Sony FE lenses share this issue.

The AF of the FE85mm f1.8 is much faster than the AF of the Batis 85mm f1.8E, so for shooting my cats indoor, I think the Sony is a much better lens. For weddings, I think the Batis may be a bit better since it renders our of focus area a bit smoother in extreme back lit scene. However, I do not like the warmer color signature of the Batis and many Japanese Zeiss lenses. I suspect the actual lens designer for the Batis series is Tamron, and therefore they share very similar look to the Tamron 85mm f1.8VC. I may be wrong here but I think I am right since the look Batis series lenses share is quite different from my MF Zeiss lenses including my Loxia lenses and ZF ZE lenses.

It is sad but I have to admit that almost all Zeiss Batis and Loxia lenses are just ok , nothing really special about these, except the 25mm, which is my favorite lens, and Loxia 21mm f2.8 and may be also the 50mm f2 Loxia.

The 18mm f3.5 Batis is a poorly designed lens, really should not carry the Zeiss blue badge. The Batis 85mm f1.8E was a great lens, at least I thought so until I compared it to the new cheap Sony 85mm f1.8, but now it is the softest 85mm in the current Sony E mount lens line up. The FE85mm f1.8, the Tamorn 85mm f1.8VC, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art, the Sony 85mm f1.4GM are all sharper than the overpriced plastic coated bulky Batis 85m f1.8.

I am selling the Batis and get the Sony FE50mm f1.4 soon to replace my Loxia 50mm f2 and Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8.

 

But the most important change that this very humble Sony FE85mm f1.8 has induced in this industry is that it has kind of killed all charms of them43 system and the Fuji X.

The Fuji 56 f1.2 and the m43 fake Leica 42.5 mm f1.2 lens are great optically, but as a whole system, they are a much less capable system than a cheap Sony lens on a FF body.

  

UPDATE3: Recently, I decided to sell some of my Sony, Nikon, and Fuji gear and the results were really surprising.

 

I sold a couple of Fuji X-T2, a Sony A6500, a A6300, a A7R, a A7R2, three A7MK2. I also sold my Nikon D800E, D750, and D810.

 

The most expensive camera by far of the list was the A7R2, but surprisingly I got about identical amount of money for it to what I got for my much cheaper(as a brand new) D810. I paid about 3200 USD for my A7R2 in 2015 and shockingly it was devalued a lot more than I thought, I could only get about 1750 USD for it.

I must say it was a terrible loss.

I paid around 2000 US for my D810 in 2016, and got back about 1800 US for it in May 2017.

 

I got about 123000 yen for my X-T2, and I must say the resell value of this camera is great, I think Fuji has been controlling the price of this camera quite well. I just lost about 5000 yen on this camera and I have used it for more than 7 months, so it was a great deal. Renting it over 5 months and paid only 45 US or less, is an amazing deal.

 

I got offered only 72000 for my A7R and it was really pity, so I did not sell it.

 

I got only 64000 yen for my A6300, but I expected this so it was not really shocking, still it was a bad value camera, though. But it was replaced by the A6500, so I did not expect too much for this one.......

 

I got about 75000 yen for my A6500 and it was quite shocking, I expected to get more for that since I paid 118000 yen for it in last Oct.

 

I got 95000 yen for my A7MK2, it was quite sad, deplorable since it is a FF and cheaper than the X-T2 in the used camera market here.

I got about 134000 yen for my 2 year old D750, and it was a positive surprise. I did not expect to get this much of money for it since I paid only about 158000 yen for it in 2014.

 

So I realized Sony cameras seem to hold the worst resell value (by far) in Japan and my Thai friend told me in Thailand too.

I was about to sell my second A7R2, but I decided to keep it just for my FE16-35mm f4 and Voiklander 15mm f4.5 and Sony 85mm f1.8...

 

But the shocking loss by far this time was the Batis 85mm f1.8 or the Batis 18mm f2.8, I have lost a lot of money on those 2 lenses, and I did not expect this.....I thought I might get about 900 US for my Batis 85, but I got only about 630 US for it.

The 18mm Batis was even worse, I paid about 168000 yen for it in 2016..... and now I could get only about 98000 yen for it, it was the most shocking and the biggest loss by far, I never thought the resale value of the Batis 18mm f2.8 this bad.

  

So now I decided never buy any more Batis series lenses, I have lost too much on this terribly built so-called Zeiss(actually Tamron made) lenses.

  

UPDATE4: I am now in the process of replacing all my Sony E mount lenses(except a few) with Canon EF mount lenses.

I hated adapters, but after I tried the Sigma MC11, I changed my mind and I think it is much safer to use my Sony bodies with Canon lenses since Canon EF mount is the safest long term future proven mount, and the resell value of the super expensive Sony GM and so-called Sony Zeiss are too bad, the Batis line is even worse. So I think by selling off all expensive Sony E mount lenses that cannot be reused in any other mount system in the near future, I will be more secured and adding the Sigma adapter expand the possible AF lens selection for my FE bodies. After all, I realized that Sony FE zooms are all mediocre , even the most expensive GM ones.

 

I will replace my FE16-35mm f4 Z with a Canon EF16-35mm f4 L IS, I have compared ten copies of each and I am 100 percent sure the Canon is the better lens and cheaper one. In fact, the adapter plus the lens price is the same as the Sony FE16-35mm f4 Z alone. And another benefit of this lens over the FE16-35mm f4 Z is that the Canon lens does not extend its length when it zooms out or in.

 

I will also replace the FE24-70mm f4 with the EF24-70mm f4 LIS.

I will get the 40mm f2.8 STM, which is a surprisingly good lens for the modest size and price.

 

I will also add Sigma 135mm f1.8 Art, which is the sharpest lens ever produced by any one according to Photozone,de.

 

I also add Canon EF70-300mm f4-5.6IS MK2 lens, which is really cheap and for me it is a worth lens since I am not a serious telephoto shooter and so I do not want to invest over 100000 yen for a lens like FE70-300mm f4-5.6G, which is clearly overpriced.

 

I also add Tamron 35mm f1.8VC to replace my Sony FE 35mm f2.8 and Loxia 35mm f2, both of which I actually detest for the terrible corner quality and terrible coma(in case of the Loxia).

 

I may also add the amazing Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC G2, which is about half the price of the Sony FE70-200mmf2.8GM, and in my experience, the Tamron is the sharper lens(I compared 4 copies of each once at my shop).

 

I will keep my FE85mm f1.8, which is one of the best 85mm primes ever made and I much prefer this to the overpriced oversized GM and my plastic coated cheap looking Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8E lens.

 

I will also keep my Voiktlander 15mm f4.5 and 12mm f5.6.

  

UPDATE5: Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their digital-imaging division(Sony DI) and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use-only. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.....and Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many armchair experts in many camera fora think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. No one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features... I think Sony should try to be an Intel of camera.

 

UPDATE6:I attended a few academic conferences in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. And I visited many many very crowded tourists venues there and I have come to realize the death of real camera thing is nothing but extremely exaggerated by those silly clickbait sites. There were many many people still using a REAL ILC camera along with their smartphones.

Then what is the problem I've found there?

Well there were a very few people using so-called mirrorless there , especially the high-end mirrorless cameras like theA7R/A7R2,theA7M2, the X-T2, the X-P2, etc. I saw many m43 cameras even the EM1MK2 and GH5, I also spotted many people with XT20, A6300, etc, but I never spotted any A7R2, A7M2, XT2,etc......even at the most crowded tourist places like Kinkaku-ji temple, Kobe Great earthquake museum, Kiyomizudera temple, etc.

And that makes me worry about the long term future of so-called Mirrorless, if Sony and Fuji actually going under before Nikon?

 

To be honest, there are many many Nikon shooters and of course Canon guys and girls, but no A7 or XT2 guys at all.

 

In my last academic conferences in Tokyo area, I found it the same, and in Bangkok and Korea I did not see any Fuji or Sony high-end mirrorless bodies at all.

And more worrying fact was that there were so many Chinese tourists there with big cameras, but none of them shooting a Sony or a Fuji, that makes me really nervous about the future of Sony.

 

Sony is investing a lot of money very quick into the FE system but the ship seems to be sinking. I think the stupid shill marketing and silly "mirrorless taking over the entire industry "hype generated by Fuji and Sony paid internet sites is not at all working for them , but maybe working against them.

  

The temporal D800 success in the camera forums made Nikon this stupid!

   

# www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqWeOmICIdQ&feature=related

  

Albert Owen designated second home in London and claimed monthly mortgage interest of £1,288 in August 2007. Claimed £629 for television, £73 for painting and decorating and £89 for cutlery

 

James Paice claims mortgage interest on south London flat. Spent £2,684 on furniture in May 2004 and in March 2007, spent another £2,130

 

Ian Paisley claims rent on second home in west London. December 2003, claimed for night at Jolly Hotel St Ermin’s in the city, including £3 on minibar

 

Nick Palmer rents second home in London. Switched between rental properties, claiming £424 in August 2005 for removal costs. Later switched back to rental flat in the original block

 

Owen Paterson claimed mortgage interest of £1,041 a month on flat near Parliament. Switched to another property in 2005, payments rose to £1,657

 

Ian Pearson has second home in West Midlands, claims mortgage interest. Other claims: £240 for 20 hours of gardening

 

Andrew Pelling does not claim additional costs allowance (ACA). Claimed the smaller London Supplement, which was £2,812 last year

 

Mike Penning , a shadow health minister, charged the taxpayer £2.99 for a stainless steel dog bowl

 

John Penrose's second home is Thames-side flat near Parliament, with tracker mortgage, on which he claims monthly interest payments of around £2,000

 

Eric Pickles claimed for £200 in petty cash monthly between 2005 and the middle of 2008. Claimed mortgage interest of less than £250 a month and service charges of £750 a year for a flat in east London. One of the lower claimers. Stopped using the additional costs allowance to run a second home when made party chairman.

 

James Plaskitt asked by fees office not to claim nominal sums such as £400 or £300 a month for groceries without submitting evidence of expenditure

 

Greg Pope claimed £1,590 for shopping at John Lewis in March 2006. In September 2006, submitted claim of £560 for two paintings, for which a receipt with no company letterhead was submitted

 

Stephen Pound is not eligible for second home allowance. Claimed £160 for guided tour of Palace of Westminster under Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP)

 

Bridget Prentice claimed no ACA. Office IEP expenses include £230 in 2004 for accountant to prepare her tax return

 

Gordon Prentice claimed £2,262 for items bought at John Lewis, including a £749 television, £649 fridge freezer and various furniture for London flat on top of £900-a-month mortgage

 

John Prescott claimed for two lavatory seats in two years

 

Adam Price claimed for books, including Bring Home the Revolution: The Case for a British Republic, by Jonathan Freedland. Queried by fees office

 

Dawn Primarolo claimed on second home in Bristol. In 2004, switched to London flat and claimed mortgage interest payments

 

Mark Prisk accidentally claimed £1,726 rather than £1,182 for one month’s mortgage interest on London home. Error was spotted by officials

 

Mark Pritchard moved flats in Westminster in 2007, claiming for £199 vacuum cleaner, £1,000 furnishings, kitchen utensils worth £66, bedding of £45 and a £145 microwave

 

Gwyn Prosser paid his brother from his taxpayer-funded expenses to carry out work on his London flat - despite the fact that he lived almost 200 miles away.

 

John Pugh rents London flat for £1,280 a month; rent claims rose to £1,500. In July 2006, told fees office his daughter would be staying while at university, so he would reduce claims on rent and utilities. Claims remained close to maximum

 

Ken Purchase spent £1,465 on new blinds for second home in south London in 2005-06. Regularly claims up to maximum £400 a month for food. Monthly mortgage interest payments were £580 last year, leaving an ACA of £14,713

 

James Purnell avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of his London flat after claiming expenses for accountancy advice. Bought expensive gadgets. Spent taxpayers’ money advertising at football and rugby league matches

 

Bill Rammell claimed £475 a month mortgage interest in 2008 for second home located in constituency. Claimed £1,360 for replastering and installing downlights in bedroom

 

Nick Raynsford: as an inner London MP, he is not eligible to claim a second home allowance, but he claimed the maximum London Supplement of £2,812 last year

 

John Redwood has admitted being paid twice after submitting an identical £3,000 decorating bill on his second home allowance

 

Andy Reed has a flat as second home in Westminster. In 2007, claimed £1,180 for the flat but this fell to £727 for a mortgage interest payment in 2008. Website states he claims about £450 aper month in mortgage interest payments

 

Jamie Reed claimed £8,640 stamp duty and £3,943 in legal fees when he bought London home in May 2006. Claimed £2,336 for two beds and two mattresses, but this was reduced to £1,000 by the fees office

 

Alan Reid claimed more than £1,500 on his parliamentary expenses for staying in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts near his home

 

John Reid used his allowance to pay for slotted spoons, an ironing board and a glittery loo seat

 

Willie Rennie's second home is a flat in Lambeth, south London. In 2005, claimed £708 for new cooker and fridge freezer. In 2007, claimed for £1,350 monthly rent

 

Sir Malcolm Rifkind claimed the smaller London Supplement, which amounted to £2,812 last year

 

Linda Riordan bought flat in Kennington in early 2006, claims for mortgage interest. Claims for beds/headboards refused, but £219 bedding, £1,310 sofa bed/chair and £1,936 carpet approved. Regularly claims maximum £400 for unreceipted monthly food bills

 

Andrew Robathan claimed monthly mortgage interest payments on London home of more than £3,300 before notifying the fees office he was switching his second home to a new property in his constituency, “which we are going to refurbish”

 

Angus Robertson successfully appealed to the fees office when they turned down his claim for a £400 home cinema system

 

Hugh Robertson rents second home in London for more than £1,800 a month. Main home, in Kent, belongs to his wife’s family. He checked with fees office that this arrangement was in order, they confirmed it was

 

John Robertson rents a second home in London for about £1,100 a month and has claimed £675 in window cleaning at the property since 2005

 

Laurence Robertson designates constituency house as second home, claiming £900 monthly mortgage interest and about £800 a year heating oil. Pays wife Susan’s travel and phone from office allowance. She works for him but they are separated

 

Geoffrey Robinson has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05

 

Peter and Iris Robinson both claimed expenses based on the same £1,223 bill when they submitted their parliamentary claims in 2007

 

Dan Rogerson bought London flat in 2005. Claimed £2,500 stamp duty, £1,572 legal fees, £340 survey; £1,108 furniture. In March 2008, changed mortgage to interest-only, allowing maximum benefits of ACA

 

Terry Rooney claimed interest payments on mortgage for home in Bradford using second home allowance. Between March 2007 and April 2008, claimed £1,200 for cleaning

 

Andrew Rosindell claimed more than £125,000 in second home expenses for a flat in London, while designating his childhood home 17 miles away - where his mother lived - as his main address

 

Paul Rowen claimed mortgage interest payments for second home in Battersea, south London. In 2007, claimed for a £325 rug, a chest of drawers costing £295 and an £85 bedside table, all from John Lewis

 

Frank Roy claimed £455 on “assorted bedding, curtains and furnishings” in March 2006. In July, submitted bill for £750 towards £795 HD-ready 32 in television with DVD player. In January 2008, claimed £265 for sink waste disposal unit

 

Chris Ruane claimed £4,560 part costs of buying flat in March 2006, then claimed £10,958 for remainder following month. Fees office noted on claim that this could not be paid because costs were incurred in 2005-06 financial year and it was then 2006-07

 

Joan Ruddock claimed £235 for training on debt advice provided by Shelter, the charity, in May 2008. Confirmed she paid tax on reimbursed accountacy fees

 

David Ruffley claimed for new furniture and fittings after “flipping” his second home from London to a new flat in his constituency

 

Bob Russell claims mortgage interest for south London flat he shares with fellow MP Mike Hancock. In July 2006, claimed £1,035 for replacing windows

 

Christine Russell claims rent on second home in London, which she shares with fellow MP Helen Southworth

 

Joan Ryan spent thousands of pounds on repairs and decorations at her constituency home before switching her designated second home to a London property

 

Alex Salmond claimed £400 per month for food when the Commons was not even sitting. He also billed the taxpayer £14,100 to try to impeach Tony Blair

 

Martin Salter has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05

 

Adrian Sanders claimed rent on his London flat of up to £988 a month. Claimed for £55 vase from the Dartington Cider Press Centre in Totnes, Devon

 

Mohammed Sarwar claimed almost £100,000 to cover mortgage interest that he paid from an account with a Swiss bank.

 

Alison Seabeck claims £1,100 a month mortgage interest for her constituency home, but billed £65 for a night in local hotel plus £10 breakfast after she had left her keys in London

 

Andrew Selous designates constituency property as second home, on which he claims monthly mortgage interest payments of more than £1,600

 

Grant Shapps claimed just £7,269 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

 

Virendra Sharma chose not to claim designated second home expenses under ACA after entering Parliament in a by-election in July, 2007, although he was entitled to them as an outer London MP. Took £1,958 in London supplement in 2007-08 and £15,988 in office expenses.

 

Jonathan Shaw claimed £240 in London hotel bills plus £800 monthly flat renta in March 2005, saying it was being redecorated

 

Barry Sheerman claimed mortgage interest payments of about £900 a month on London second home, £1,338 for 20 in Apple iMac on office expenses

 

Richard Shepherd has repaid £162 to the Fees Office after deciding he should not have claimed for cleaning and gardening at his constituency home

 

Jim Sheridan used his allowances to reclaim the cost of a 42-inch plasma TV, leather bed and hundreds of pounds worth of furniture. Claimed £2,091 for three-seater sofa, two-seater sofa bed, coffee table and lamp table for London home bought from Edinburgh dfs store in March 2006

 

Clare Short claimed thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money to which she was not entitled within months of standing down as a Cabinet minister

 

Mark Simmonds claims up to £2,696 a month for interest-only mortgage on second home in London

 

Sion Simon claimed £5,400 in stamp duty after moving house in London in May 2008. Also claimed £1,850 on refurbishing new home that month

 

Alan Simpson claimed £4,000 towards the cost of replacing the boiler at second home in Lambeth. In September 2007, claimed £10,000 towards £11,020 on stripping out old kitchen

 

David Simpson bought London flat in March 2006. Over two days, claimed £6,234 for furniture. Claimed £1,082 monthly mortgage interest payments

 

Keith Simpson has claimed almost £200 for light bulbs on his expenses

 

Marsha Singh claimed mortgage interest payments for London flat as second home. Claimed for £750 television, £229 DVD player and £400 music player with handwritten receipt

 

Andrew Slaughter is not eligible to claim ACA. In 2007, claimed for a fountain pen nib costing £90 using his IEP

 

Andrew Smith spent more than £30,000 of taxpayers’ money giving his house a makeover

 

Angela Smith sought payment for four beds for a one-bedroom London flat

 

Angela C Smith spent nearly £11,000 over two years on setting up a second home in London

 

Geraldine Smith spent £235 on picture and £185 on mirror for London flat in August 2005. Bought Bali table lamp, floor lamp and three cushions for total of £620 one month later

 

advice using expenses intended to fund their parliamentary and constituency offices. Bought expensive gadgets including an iPhone for her husband.

 

John Smith claimed £57,955 in second home expenses in four years without submitting a single receipt.

 

Sir Robert Smith claimed about £910 a month for mortgage interest payments on Lambeth flat in 2008-09

 

Anne Snelgrove claimed £4,100 for furniture including a bedstead, sofa and chest of drawers. Also claimed £499.97 for a television set, £454.70 for crockery and kitchen equipment, £655 on a table, chairs and bookcase, and £55 on towels.

 

Nicholas Soames claimed up to £1,340 a month for mortgage interest on Westminster home

 

Sir Peter Soulsby fell behind with the rent at his offices but when the £472 bailiffs bill arrived he billed the taxpayer

 

Helen Southworth claims rent on second home in London, which she shares with fellow MP Christine Russell. Claimed £709 for a television, £259 for an air conditioning unit and £239 for a Dyson cleaner

 

John Spellar claims for his constituency home in the West Midlands. Claimed £600 for a tree surgeon, £1.99 for a washing up brush and 47p for a pair of rubber gloves

 

Caroline Spelman made no claims for mortgage interest or rent on her second home in 2006-07 and 2007-08

 

Michael Spicer claimed for work on his helipad and received thousands of pounds for gardening bills

 

Bob Spink claimed about £25,000 for fees and refurbishment when he bought a flat in 2004. Included was £11,000 for decorators’ fees, £3,400 for a leather sofa, £3,000 for carpets and curtains

 

Richard Spring claimed monthly mortgage interest payments of more than £1,300 on a property in Suffolk. Also claimed £35.25 to treat a wasps’ nest

 

Sir John Stanley claims for rent on London flat, also claims for food, utilities, council tax and a cleaner

 

Phyllis Starkey claims for rent on home in consituency, along with utilities and council tax. Also owns a house in Oxford from which rental income is received

 

Anthony Steen claimed £87,000 on country mansion with 500 trees. He has announced he will step down at the next election

 

Ian Stewart claims rent on flat in London. Also claimed for a £500 leather suite and a £1,247 computer bought from the shopping channel QVC

 

Howard Stoate claimed thousands in DIY bills 'to ease the burden on the taxpayer'

 

Gavin Strang claims for his flat in London and for up to £400 per month in food. Also receives rental income from farmland and woodland in Perthshire

 

Jack Straw only paid half the amount of council tax that he claimed on his parliamentary allowances over four years but later rectified the over-claim. Used his office expenses to pay for a degree studied by a member of his staff

 

Gary Streeter claims for the mortgage interest on his constituency home in Plymouth, also claimed for food and £1.60 for a pack of 10 lightbulbs

 

Gisela Stuart claims for mortgage interest on constituency home in Birmingham and up to £2,000 per year for food. Also owns a family home in Worcestershire and a flat in London

 

Graham Stringer: hotel stays when in London and claims up to £4,800 per year for food. Hotel bills have included snacks such as Pringles crisps at £1.75

 

Graham Stuart shares a flat in London with Conservative MP David Mundell, shares costs with him and claims for rent, council tax and utilities. Bills for household items included £426 for duvet, pillows and towels

 

Andrew Stunell claims for mortgage interest on flat in London, also claimed for £5,545 replacement windows by Everest. Claims more than £1,000 per year for food in some years

 

Gerry Sutcliffe claims for mortgage interest on constituency home in Bingley. Claimed £3,790 for fitted bedroom, £2,616 for new gutters and sofit boards, and £1,745 for two sofas

 

Desmond Swayne has a second home in London, on which he paid a £652 monthly mortgage interest in 2005-06. Rose to £711 in 2007-08. Charged £6,131 for new kitchen and £411 for tree work in 2006

 

Jo Swinson included receipts for eyeliner, a “tooth flosser” and 29p dusters with her parliamentary expenses claims

 

Hugo Swire, the former shadow culture secretary, designated his first home in London and claimed for rent at his second home in Devon. He said London was his main home and his daughter went to school in the capital. In June, 2007, he claimed £349 for a satellite navigation system to “cover the 176.25 square miles of his constituency”.

 

Robert Syms claimed more than £2,000 worth of furniture on expenses for his designated second home in London, but had it all delivered to his parents’ address in Wiltshire

 

Mark Tami has a second home in Bromley, Kent. Bought London home in Dec 2007, claimed £9,000 stamp duty and mortgage interest rate increased to £1,300

 

Sir Peter Tapsell claimed rent for second home in London, which rose from £4,821 a quarter in 2006 to £5,417 a quarter in 2008. Total claims over fours years of £87,729

 

Dari Taylor claimed flat in south-east London as second home and charged monthly mortgage interest of £1,000 in 2008. Fees office asked for evidence of mortgage in October 2007

 

David Taylor has a second home in London, monthly mortgage interest payments of £375 in 2005 rose to £700 after buying new second home in 2007

 

Ian Taylor said he will retire at the next election after it emerged that he made second home claims on a flat in London although his main home is within 40 minutes’ commuting distance of Westminster

 

Matthew Taylor claims for flat in London while also owning another flat in London which he rents out. Bills include £350 for gardening, £1,373 for curtains and blinds

 

Richard Taylor claims for renting flat in London and for council tax. No claims for furniture, cleaning, utilities or food

 

Sarah Teather did not claim on her second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008

 

Gareth Thomas used public money to settle a £1,000 accountancy bill to recover a tax "over-payment" of £2,000. Has repaid more than £1,600 he claimed for gardening, £1,200 he overclaimed for council tax and mortgage interest payments and £30 for wine and other personal items

 

Emily Thornberry is not entitled to claim for a second home as an inner London MP. However, takes home the London Supplement, which was £2,812 last year

 

John Thurso claimed rent on designated second home in London and for hotels across Scotland because of “vast area of constituency”. Approved by fees office

 

Stephen Timms is an outer London MP who chooses not to claim second homes allowance. Claims the London Supplement which amounted to £2,812 last year

 

Paddy Tipping claimed mortgage interest payments of about £500 per month on a flat in London. His overall claims were only just over half the maximum amount claimed by some MPs

 

Mark Todd defended his expenses claims as "essentials" but included a marble table and an espresso coffee machine

 

Baroness Tonge claimed mortgage interest on her second home allowance as an MP, then after her retirement leased the property to a fellow MP who in turn recovered the rent from the taxpayer

 

Don Touhig spent thousands of pounds redecorating his constituency home before “flipping” his allowance to a flat in London

 

David Tredinnick tried to claim the £125 cost of attending a course on "intimate relationships" through his Parliamentary expenses

 

Jon Trickett claimed £761.68 per month in mortgage interest payments for a second home in London. Also claimed for food, utilities and council tax

 

Paul Truswell stays in hotels in London while at Westminster, usually paying £119 for a room, also claimed for £4.95 packets of nuts from the minibar. In 2007-08, claimed £2,255 for food and £18 for laundry

 

Andrew Turner used his office expenses to pay for his girlfriend, who is also his parliamentary assistant, to have "life coaching" classes

 

Des Turner claimed mortgage interest payments of up to £450 per month on a flat in London as his designated second home. Also claimed up to £400 per month food. Claimed roughly half of the maximum available under the second homes allowance.

 

Neil Turner claimed for mortgage interest on flat in London, and up to £400 per month for food some months. Also claims utilities, council tax and for small amounts of furniture

 

Derek Twigg moved his designated second home from constituency to flat near Parliament in 2004, now claims £1,343 a month in rent. Claimed £110 for an iron and radio in 2005, and £77 for same items two years later

 

Lord Tyler claimed for the mortgage interest on his family-owned flat in Westminster – and then sold his share to his daughter a month after he quit as an MP

 

Andrew Tyrie nominates a flat in property near his constituency as second home. Claims £700 a month in mortgage interest payments and £6,000 a year on service charges

 

Kitty Ussher resigned as Treasury minister after he expenses files showed she avoided paying up to £17,000 in tax on the sale of her constituency home

 

Ed Vaizey had £2,000 worth of furniture delivered to his London home when he was claiming his Commons allowance on a second home in Oxfordshire.

 

Shailesh Vara tried to claim £1,500 on his expenses for costs incurred before he was elected

 

Keith Vaz claimed £75,500 for a second flat near Parliament even though he already lived just 12 miles from Westminster

 

Sir Peter Viggers included with his expense claims the £1,645 cost of a floating duck house in the garden pond at his Hampshire home. He has announced he will step down at the next election and admitted he made a "ridiculous and grave error of judgment"

 

Theresa Villiers claimed almost £16,000 in stamp duty and professional fees on expenses when she bought a London flat, even though she already had a house in the capital. She has agreed to stop claiming the second home allowance

 

Rudi Vis receives second home allowance and claims £2,300 a month interest on a mortgage he took out in 2006 on his constituency home. Says main home is in Suffolk

 

Charles Walker claims £700 in mortgage interest payments for flat in Wandsworth, constituency home is 21 miles from Westminster. Claimed £6,732 for decoration, carpets, curtains and re-wiring at flat

 

Ben Wallace claimed for more than £700 to stay at Carlton Club after May 2005 general election. Included the cost of at least three Daily Telegraphs on bill. Most claims made up of rent, council tax bills and utility bills

 

Joan Walley claimed for more than £4,400 of furniture in London flat in 2004-05 and a £195 blanket. In 2005-06, claimed for £1,199 LCD Sony television. Fees office cut bill to £750

 

Robert Walter attempted to claim £1,008 for handmade carpets he bought while on a trip to India. Claimed for £16,000 moving costs; estate agents’ commission, stamp duty and solicitors’ fees. Then claimed for two flat screen televisions worth £749 and £399 and eight chairs worth £744

 

Lynda Waltho claimed £1,680 for food in one year. Billed taxpayer for £472 bed, £81 sheets, towels and a pillow and £1,022 of electrical equipment. Also claimed for £380 armchair and £8.32 kettle

 

Claire Ward, the MP responsible for keeping the Queen informed about Parliament, submitted monthly expense claims for hundreds of pounds of "petty cash" while claiming maximum allowances

 

Bob Wareing claimed for more than £4,000 in food bills in 2004-05. Then claimed for £176 air conditioning unit, as well as a £19.99 kettle for his Westminster flat

 

Nigel Waterson claimed mortgage interest/rent payments and food bills at his second home in Beckenham, Kent. Also billed taxpayer £1,055 to paint house and garage

 

Angela Watkinson claimed £3,100 to redecorate flat including new doors, latches and locks in 2005-06. Then claimed £6,350 for a new bathroom, as well as £804 for a television, microwave and fridge

 

Tom Watson and Iain Wright spent £100,000 of taxpayers' money on the London flat they once shared

 

Dave Watts claimed for refurbishment to kitchen (£3,543), bathroom (£3,500) and £742 redecoration. Also claimed for £549 Philips LCD 26 in television

 

Steve Webb sold his London flat and bought another nearby, while the taxpayer picked up an £8,400 bill for stamp duty

 

Mike Weir claimed £1,300 per month rent for his second home in London plus bills for utilities, telephone, council tax and food

 

Alan Whitehead claimed mortgage interest payments of up to £730 per month on his second home in London. Also claimed £1,942.98 for a replacement boiler

 

John Whittingdale claimed £1,828.30 for bathroom fitting, £1,800 for a replacement boiler, £774.50 on a sofa and rug from Laura Ashley and £1,014 on a bed

 

Malcolm Wicks was entitled to claim for a second home allowance but instead claimed for the more moderate London subsidy of £2,812

 

Ann Widdecombe claimed just £858 on her second home allowance in 2007/08. However, she did spend more than £9,000 of taxpayers' money on her own personal newspaper cuttings service over a four year period.

 

Bill Wiggin claimed interest payments for a property which had no mortgage

 

Betty Williams claimed mortgage interest payments of £519 per month on London flat. Also claimed service charge, utilities, telephone and food but made few other claims

 

Hywel Williams claimed more than £1,000 per month in mortgage interest payments on London flat. Also claimed £2,408.75 for a plumbing bill

 

David Willetts, the Conservatives' choice for skills minister, needed help changing light bulbs. He has agreed to repay the bill

 

Alan Williams claimed just £5,221 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08

 

Mark Williams claimed up to £1,300 per month to rent a flat in London as his second home but made few other claims under the allowance

 

Stephen Williams claimed up to £1,500 per month to cover rent at his second home, a flat in London. Also claimed for food and utility bills but made few other claims

 

Roger Williams claimed £1,200 per month in rent for a flat in London, which he designated as his second home. Also claimed for food, utilities and cleaning

 

Phil Willis spent thousands of pounds of public funds on mortgage interest payments, redecoration and furnishings for a flat where his daughter now lives.

 

Jenny Willott claimed up to £1,500 per month to live in a flat in London as her second home. Also claimed £519 for a sofa, £933.50 for a bed and £850 for a mattress

 

Michael Wills claims about £1,120 a month in interest for the mortgage on his house in Wiltshire. On one occasion, the fees office agreed to pay £2,633 for a claim made two months after the deadline for 2005-06 had passed. He said a “genuine mistake” had been made by a “trusted and normally reliable member of staff”.

 

David Wilshire claimed thousands of pounds of taxpayers money for monthly payments towards the cost of replacing curtains and carpets at some point in the future. Claimed up to £1,375 per month in mortgage interest payments and also claimed for council tax, service charges and food

 

Phil Wilson claimed £1,250 per month in rent for a London flat, which he designated as his second home. Also claimed £350 for a sofa bed

 

Rob Wilson did not claim on his second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008

 

Sammy Wilson originally claimed for hotels when in London. Later jointly bought a property in the city with another MP. Claimed £6,150 stamp duty, £1,406.90 solicitors’ fees and £2,914 on furniture

 

David Winnick claimed just £36,354 on his second homes allowance between 2004-8

 

Sir Nicholas Winterton and his wife Ann claimed more than £80,000 for a London flat owned by a trust controlled by their children. They have announced they will stand down at the next general election

 

Rosie Winterton submitted claims for “soundproofing” the bedroom of her London home and received thousands of pounds for gardening and decorating. She paid back more than £8,000 in mortgage payments that she claimed wrongly on her parliamentary expenses

 

Peter Wishart claimed £1,400 per month in rent for a second home in London. Also claimed for food but made few other claims under the second homes allowance

 

Mike Wood claimed just over £500 per month to live in a flat in London. Also claimed £3,421.76 for a central heating boiler, £599.99 for a television and £1,332 for a new bathroom

 

Phil Woolas submitted receipts including comics, nappies and women's clothing as part of his claims for food

 

Shaun Woodward received £100,000 to help pay mortgage

 

Anthony Wright claims rent for London flat, also claimed £498 for TV, £90 for trouser press. Accepted £10,000 cash payment from owners of flat, which meant taxpayer-funded rent went up

 

David Wright accepted a £16,787 payment from the owners of his flat in return for giving up the right to cheap rent, then moved out. Claimed £599 for a TV but a £64.99 claim for a razor was turned down

 

Iain Wright and Tom Watson spent £100,000 of taxpayers' money on the London flat they once shared

 

Jeremy Wright claims for flat in London. Spent £2,884 on furniture when he became an MP, including £809 for a bed and £399 for a television

 

Tony Wright claims for his rent in Dolphin Square complex in London, £995 for Venetian blinds, £1,630 for a new sofa and chairs and £799 for a sideboard

 

Derek Wyatt billed 75p for scotch eggs

 

Tim Yeo claimed for a pink laptop computer from John Lewis in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

 

George Young claimed the maximum second home allowance on his London flat for the past two years. He also billed taxpayers for the cost of a video camera so that he could broadcast clips of himself at work on YouTube

 

Richard Younger-Ross spent £1,235 on four mirrors and bought 'Don Juan’ bookca

  

Wild Horses Monument, Vantage WA

Single exposure

(Made Explore #2! - thanks everyone!)

Big thank you to my girlfriend for letting me take her camera out!

 

One of my co-workers saw my Stone Henge star shots and recommended that I check out this place a little further out.

 

This set of horse sculptures is amazing. I spent the whole afternoon, evening and entire night till 4am up at this place and it kept me enthralled the whole time!

 

The poses the artist, David Govedar, formed in the 15 horses makes this installation so dynamic.

 

I saw about 8 shooting stars, 4 sattelites, heard an elk bugle downriver, and the moon decided to visit just as I was leaving. Quite a beautiful night. I didnt' notice the Milky Way above the horses until I was halfway through the exposure and then, I was more concerned about getting some long exposures in than waiting for it to rise and gambling over the coming moon and dawn. I'd like to come back to this place and do some more compositions, but also add some light painting/illumination to the horses.

 

I'm planning on camping out another night, I'd like to head over to Palouse Falls and see the scene that Aaron Reed and Seattle Miles captured so beautifully. The locals rave about the place also.

 

Unfortunately, my camera battery is dead, it died 10 min after my last picture, and I forgot to get the charger on my way out :-( My head wasn't working so well because I also forgot the tripod mount at home :-( :-(, fortunately I had a cheapo garage sale tripod in the car that did the trick. Oi. I can be a dope sometimes.

 

So.... I guess I'll just have to enjoy the experiences tonight with just my eyes! The only recorded moments that may transpire tonight will be my memories. well...and maybe a pic or two from my phone.

     

Hi guys long time no post!

 

Well Ive been meaning to post this picture for along time its another custom ariel doll Ive made but shes smiling/laughing!

 

I also wanted to thank you all for all of the favs and helping me get rid of my doubles. 2014 was pretty fun! I went to Disney world, got my Associates in the Arts!! Any 2015 will be even more AMAZING! I just got accepted to an art college in L.A and I'll be going in the fall which means everything for sale MUST GO!!

 

This year you guys have the option to give me an best offer on all of the dolls, toys, figures, books and items all listed FOR SALE! I will be posting new group pictured of items for sale! they all need to be gone by July! I will be also selling things at local conventions, garage sales and other sidewalk sales. If you see something you want get it now! chances are it will disappear soon. I will not hold anything so everything listed for sale is up for grabs!

 

I also will add freebees and give discounts on group lots!!

 

Don't be afraid to ask :D and thank you all for your business and support :D

It's been a couple of weeks since I uploaded to flickr, but for good reason. It's a chair. I created a little project for myself yet again which was to find a chair that I could use as a portraiture chair, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I checked at Goodwill, eBay, Craigslist, even local garage sales but didn't have any luck. Sure there were several unique and fantastic-looking chairs, but all were labeled 'antiques' which only means $$$. My wife and I visited Joe's Collectibles in Omaha and found an interesting wooded dining room chair; a 'cross' cut into the top rail and wicker back. It was dusty, slightly broken, the cushion was worn and needed to be replaced but at $5…the price was perfect!

 

It took me a couple of weeks of sanding through the layers of polyurethane and stain before I added by own oak stain and polyurethane :) I also disassembled the cushion, washed the funk out of it, then glued the foam onto the wooden seat when it dried. We decided to go with red as our primary color and I let my wife pick out the material pattern at Walmat. After reviewing 'How to Upholster a Seat Chair' on YouTube, I grabbed my scissors and staple gun and went to work. When all was said and done, it was time to set up the shot and shoot.

 

I used my Nikon D300S with the 85mm f/1.4D on a tripod, SB-900 (triggered by CLS) on a stand shooting through an umbrella (left), octagonal softbox (right), DIY blue backdrop. Now it was time to center the chair and add the pedestal & faux plant. I took a few shots but chose this one; ISO was set to 200, exposure at 1/60th of a second at f/6.7 in aperture priority mode. I used Lightroom 3 for post processing to tweak the clarity, luminance, and sharpness. So there you have it.

In keeping with the buses artwork, here's a depiction of how things once were in 2007 during the final weeks of First Orpington Buses. Sadly the Faraday Way garage closed as an operating centre as result of a takeover by Metrobus. This DML shows how it looked with First Orpington by 2007, devoid of company branding and fleet names indeed it is even abscent of the Marshall "M" winged badge on the front panel. Looking closely the windscreen reveals a rubber chicken which was once a common sight of a T32. A driver renowned for light hearted humour with good intentions often displayed "Chicken", I always smiled happily upon seeing Chicken smiling back at me during my time as a driver in the Addington area. No doubt many other people really warmed to this comical side of local bus provision. I for one found it very refreshing and was often laughing.

 

New as DML375 as part of a substantial order in striking red and white colour scheme to match the new Croydon Tramlink Trams, this DML was used on routes T31 and T32. Subsequently it was later renumbered DML41375 as part of the First group national numbering system. Due to tendering losses, the vast quantity of red and white DMLs operating from First Orpington dwindled substantially to just 4 DMLs, of which DML41375 was one of them.

 

The fleet number changed again upon transfer of asset assigned to Metrobus where it became number 383 as a result of route T32 passing to Metrobus along with the other 34 vehicles at First Orpington. This DML was utilised as part of the R9 PVR, this one was the only red and white "Tramlink" DML to transfer to MB garage (the other 3 went to C garage for continued use on route T32).

 

W359 VLN was an unusual choice of registration number at the time of licencing, obviously not in keeping with its DML375 fleet number, but at the time the DVLA were not issuing registrations ending in "5", as W359 VLN was spare and available and so was assigned. It is unclear where DML41375 is now, having sat at Stafford Bus sales for many years.

 

This drawing and artwork is copyright T.Gurney 2015.

So I guess the saying "When it rains, it pours!" came to life last night in the huge storm that hit many states in central USA. When I went to bed last night, I was only asleep for about forty-five minutes when I was awakened by the fan in our room turning off, courtesy of a local power-outage. I could hear lots of rain and there was lightning flashing like crazy, probably once every second. Suddenly, I heard a tremendous noise and could feel something hitting our house. It sounded like our house was being torn apart by something, and it was getting louder as it went on. Courtney was awake as well, and storms just aren't her thing, so we got up to see what the rest of my family was doing, as it was absolutely NOT a noise you could ignore (that and the fact that no one in my family can sleep without a fan - we're spoiled). We all ended up sitting on my parents' bed, staying away from the windows and holding flashlights so we could see. It turned out that the noise was golf ball sized hail, slamming against the side of our house. Eventually the hail subsided and the power turned on, and we all went to bed. When we woke up, we found that two of our cars windshields (one being mine) were cracked and needed to be replaced. There are leaves everywhere, several branches on the ground, and little would-have-been peaches littering the grass beneath our peach tree. The roof over our rabbits' cages has several large holes in it, holes in the screens of our house, and loose shingles from our roof, but we came out of it just fine compared to others. My best friend Brooke's car's windshield is completely shattered, and we have some friends that have smashed windows and holes in the roof. I also saw that Iowa and Wisconsin had many tornadoes and baseball sized hail, so were very blessed compared to then.

 

And the other piece of bad news: my iPhone 4 is lost. I haven't seen it since yesterday morning at the hotel, and nobody has seen it. I'm really hoping it will be found, but I'm also pretty sure that it's a goner. I hope your day has been better than mine. :)

 

P.S. Just in case you need a little more envy in your life, I got this typewriter for $3 at a garage sale. ;)

 

+8 in comments.

Strobist Info: Olympus Fl-50 @1/2 power into silver reflective umbrella cam left 2 ft off ground. Nikon SB26 camera right @1/4 power for kicker.

 

Okay, so I know we could all be better, I am sure I do a million things every day that are messing up our planet. We are all guilty, and often little changes in our daily routines is all it takes to lessen your impact on the Earth. Here is a little list of things I found online of easy ways to go green.

 

29/365

 

#1

 

Save energy to save money.

 

* Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.

* Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.

* Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts energy use.

* Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.

* Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying. If you must use a dryer, consider adding dryer balls to cut drying time.

 

#2

 

Save water to save money.

 

* Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.

* Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.

* Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.

* Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.

 

#3

 

Less gas = more money (and better health!).

 

* Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.

* Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.

* Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.

 

#4

 

Eat smart.

 

* If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it's even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.

* Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.

* Watch videos about why local food and sustainable seafood are so great.

* Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain]. This is especially true for seafood.

 

#5

 

Skip the bottled water.

 

* Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.

* Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.

 

#6

 

Think before you buy.

 

* Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you've just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.

* Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.

* When making purchases, make sure you know what's Good Stufft; and what isn't.

* Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.

 

#7

 

Borrow instead of buying.

 

* Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.

* Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

 

#8

 

Buy smart.

 

* Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.

* Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.

* Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you'll be happy when you don't have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).

 

#9

 

Keep electronics out of the trash.

 

* Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.

* Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.

* Recycle your cell phone.

* Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.

 

#10

 

Make your own cleaning supplies.

 

* The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.

* Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.

 

The local animal shelter held a garage sale this weekend to raise some much needed funds. They had lots of donated merchandise on offer.

Warmley & Siston - One Hundred years of history - Part 7 of 7 - 1980 - 1999

 

1980

 

St. Ivel Way was now the most important new industrial area in the Parish. The area had, until a few years earlier, become a wildlife haven when the clay for the nearby pottery was no longer extracted.

 

Fish were introduced to this former clay pit and there was an abundance of newts, toads and dragonflies darting in and out of the bulrushes. In the 1970s, the clay pits were used for landfill and in time the area was used for further development.

 

In 1980 the Barrettine Group of Companies moved on to a 2.8 acre site at the end of St. Ivel Way. Originally, Barrettines began trading in Bristol but in the 1950s moved on to a piece of land in Tower Lane adjacent to William Champions Windmill Tower and Ice House.

 

The Company sold lubricating oils, solvents and allied products, either in large oil drums or small containers which had to be filled by hand. The product range increased dramatically and eventually the company needed a larger site where they could expand. At a time when the country was struggling during the recent depression, Barrettines continued to expand their market and most of the production is now done automatically.

 

Under the management of Colin Bailey and Alan Emery, Barrettine products are becoming a household name and are available both at home and abroad.

 

1981

 

Over the past century, industry has played a crucial role in the parish of Siston and at various times the skyline has been broken by numerous chimney stacks, predominantly associated with the colliery and pottery trades.

 

There were two stacks at Haskins Pottery and four more at the Hollychrome works. The Ochre Works had the tallest, there is one remaining at Webbs Heath. There is one stack near Norman Road, belonging to the Siston Hill Colliery and three connected with Crown Colliery making a total of twelve altogether in the district.

 

The most prominent was the stack between the Crown Colliery and the Midland Spinner, originally called Crown Inn. For half a century, J.W. Hembroughs used this site for offices and stores. In July 1980 they received a quote from J. Dawson and Sons of Clutton for £1,489 for the demolition of the stack, which was becoming unstable in high winds.

 

The stack was built about 1900 by Dawsons from specially curved bricks made at the brickworks across the road. In January 1981 demolition of the stack began. The bricks were hit down inside and taken to be dumped. At that time the clay pit from the pottery opposite was used as the refuse dump for the Kingswood District and it seems fitting that these bricks were returned from the very same ground they had come from eighty years earlier.

 

One of the brick-makers was a local man called Jesse White. He scratched his name and the names of his children on many of the bricks before they were fired. Most of the White bricks went to the tip, but several were saved, two can be seen at Bristol Industrial Museum and ten are in the Kingswood Museum collection.

 

1982

 

The winter of 82 saw extreme weather conditions that once again smashed all records. We became aware for the first time of the phrase Chill Factor, when low temperatures and high winds resulted in chill factors of minus 20 degrees.

 

Heavy snows in January and temperatures which remained below freezing point for six weeks resulted in the worst traffic conditions ever. The roads from Toghill and Kingswood became a sheet of ice, allowing articulated lorries down into the hollow but not up again.

 

Before the traffic was diverted, up to 150 lorries with their crews and cargoes were stranded and a continuous line of vehicles stretched from the Tenniscourt Inn to Wick. The road was now restricted to a single track with a ridge of frozen slush in the centre eighteen inches high. Pictures of this massive column of traffic were sent all around the world and a former resident of Goldney Avenue was amazed to see scenes of Warmley High Street broadcast to her home in Australia.

 

For nearly a week the lorry crews were entertained at the Warmley Community Centre where they were given a warm, dry place to sleep as well as plenty of hot food, all donated freely from the local community.

 

1983

 

The Ochre Works behind Station Road was finally demolished this year. No Ochre had been produced here since the mid-war years. Parts of the site have been occupied by The Warmley Body Works, who built and repaired lorries, coaches and other commercial vehicles. Another section of the old factory was used by Arthur Turner, building contractors, during the 1950s and 1960s.

 

As old industries were disappearing, new ones were badly needed to employ an ever increasing number of men and women. In June 1981, the New Work Trust Co. Ltd., was founded to provide help and assistance to small firms trying to get started in many aspects of business.

 

In 1982 the New Work Trust took over the abandoned Warmley C. of E. School in London Road as their marketing centre. The old building is used for customer presentations, exhibitions, conferences and sales training. By 1983, the school had been gutted and redecorated and began a new lease of life helping to promote these new enterprises. This was the first centre of its kind anywhere in Great Britain dedicated to serving small firms and providing professional assistance in new market opportunities and giving effective sales management.

 

1984

 

In October this year work began in redeveloping the old railway yard and sidings behind Warmley Station. All the station buildings had been cleared in the early 1970s and had remained unoccupied since that time, except for a brief period in 1974 when a group of gypsies set up camp there.

 

At about the same time, Sunway Blinds, who were trading in the former Brains Flour Mill in Chapel Lane, were extending their site onto a section of the Station Yard and building several new warehouse blocks thereby almost doubling their floor space. The rest of the yard was laid out for fifteen houses and one bungalow, appropriately called Station Close.

 

The two remaining sections of Warmley Station have been laid out as one of the main car parks on the rail path. The other piece between the railway and dramroad has been planted with trees and links up with Warmley Forest Park on the old brickyard and clay pits to the east.

 

1985

 

In October 1984, The Ashlands on the boundary between Bridgeyate and Warmley was put up for sale. The Ashlands was described as a substantial and imposing mansion house, standing in its own ground covering 5 acres.

 

The first known resident was Charles Hancock who lived in The Ashlands around the turn of the century. At this time the address is described as Bath Road not London Road as it is today. Other residents include Samuel Ludwig Elistrom, who with other Mormons established a sanctuary at The Ashlands.

 

In 1920, William Wilson Douglas, son of the founder of the famous motorcycle firm moved in. He had taken part in the 1911 Isle of Man T.T. Races and after the Great War was in the U.S.A and Canada promoting the firm. In 1923, at the age of 43, William Douglas tragically died and his family moved away.

 

One of the longest residents at The Ashlands was Albert Edward Palmer who owned a biscuit factory at Fishponds, Bristol. He is remembered locally for the fantastic orchids grown in his greenhouse. In 1953 Albert Palmers flowers were sent to London and used by Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation.

 

In the 1950s, The Ashlands was divided up into a number of self-contained flats. Since the new owner moved here in 1985, a great deal of work has taken place. A massive boundary wall has been erected and the stables block has made way for a twelve car garage. In the former paddock, a lake has been dug and a helicopter pad installed.

 

Memories of the great flood July 1968

 

Before the storm abated, seven people were to lose their lives, bridges were destroyed, dams were demolished and hundreds of homes and factories were flooded. Siston Brook, which rises above St. Annes pool, very quickly burst its banks and flooding occurred near Little Brook Farm, Goose Green. More flooding occurred around the Midland Spinner. The water was so high in the lower skittle alley, a chair became lodged in the rafters of the building.

 

The Warmley Brook, rising beyond Carsons Factory, created a lake that reached from the bridge in Station Road, Kingswood, to well beyond the bridge in Anchor Road. The fields along Tenniscourt Road were flooded and collected debris created a further blockage to the bridge in Deanery Road, making that road impassable.

 

At Warmley, Crown Gardens had become a collecting point for the deluge which was unable to drain into the brook. That night the ambulance service was called out to rescue frightened elderly people from their bungalows. The village constable, P.C. Doug Hardiman, was almost swept away as he waded through waist deep water.

 

The two tributaries now combined by the Champions Summerhouse in Tower Road North and the caravan park, being on the bed of Champions thirteen acre lake, once again became awash. Some of the caravan dwellers had to be rescued by rowing boats as their homes were threatened.

 

Further downstream the rushing tide of water had picked up a massive tree trunk and, acting like a battering ram, had charged into the dam wall at Willsbridge Mill, breaching the banks and releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of muddy water. The water tore down the valley in a tidal wave, swamping cars and low lying homes to the depth of several feet.

 

As a permanent reminder of this occasion an inscribed brass plate was erected at the Midland Spinner by landlord, Cyril Hemmings, giving the date and flood level. The plate is opposite the door and about 5' above the floor.

 

1986

 

To the north of Crane Close was a small piece of land recently used by the local council. Originally this plot was the village pound where animals were impounded for straying on Siston Common. The Keeper of the Pound was Jimmy Sandford who lived near the railway arch on the common.

 

When this archaic form of policing was no longer needed Warmley Council took over the site and built a high arched building to house their steam roller. In 1939, the Warmley Fire Auxiliary Service kept their equipment there and after the war the land was used once more solely by Warmley R.D.C.

 

After council reorganisation in 1974, the Stanley Road Depot was no longer needed and the old steam roller building stood unused for much of the time. In 1985, Caple Close was extended over the Warmley Brook and a council housing development was soon springing up.

 

As part of the development, the site of the Stanley Road Depot was needed and in 1986 the old engine shed was demolished. The site of the old village pound is now home for many of the pensioners living in bungalows at Crane Close.

 

1987

 

St. Barnabas Church, Warmley, celebrated its centenary in 1951 and will be looking forward to marking 150 years of religious leadership in the area in the year 2001.

 

The ecclesiastic boundaries of St. Barnabas were set out in 1851 and received the consent of Queen Victoria on the 23rd October 1851. The parish was formed out of the parishes of Siston and Bitton.

 

The boundary follows the small brook east of Cann Lane as far as Cowhorn Hill Bridge. From there it followed a foot path to the southern end of Wraxall Lane and proceeded up the middle of that road and down Grimsbury Road until it reached the main road.

 

The boundary then continued along Made-For-Ever Lane, now Tenniscourt Road, until it reached the crossroads at Fisher Road and thence along Anchor Road to Station Road. From here it goes to the railway bridge and over Goose Green Common as far as Brook Farm, where the boundary follows the brook downstream almost as far as the main road and then easterly between property boundaries towards Webbs Heath and eventually back to the starting point at Bridgeyate.

 

In the 143 years since the church was consecrated there have been thirteen vicars at St. Barnabas, they are:

 

1851 C.J. Stillingfleet-Bowles

1857 James Turner

1860 Thomas Henry Howard

1886 William Augustus Scott

1906 Frederick Rogers

1924 George Henry Dymock

1926 Henry John Say (Hon.Canon)

1944 Ronald Harry Down

1951 Cyril Winch Francis (Prebendary)

1961 Ronald Edgar

1966 John Pearce

1968 William George Parsons MA

1972 John Chilton Poarch BA (Hon.Canon)

1987 George Mitchell (Canon).

 

1988

 

With the growing population surrounding Siston Parish and with greater emphasis on the private motor car, a solution to congested roads was desperately sought. For over a decade, plans for a new East Bristol by-ass have been discussed to provide a connection from Keynsham north to the M4 motorway.

 

There was even a scheme to have an East Bristol Radial Road, which would have been bulit behind the houses in New Cheltenham Road and then on a raised flyover to join the by-pass on Siston Common above Fisher Road. However, this last scheme was abandoned in the 1970s.

 

The first section of the ring road, as the by-pass was to be known, was already under way in the Bromley Heath and Downend areas. In 1988 the section from Deanery Road to Wraxall Road had begun, gouging deep cuttings through the fields of Grimsbury Farm.

 

This exposed thick seams of surface coal left behind by the colliers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Near the Wraxall Road roundabout other important relics from the long forgotten coal industry were unearthed.

 

At Stone Hill a Romano-British settlement was discovered and it will be exciting to see the archaeological finds in 1995 when the final link of the ring road is cut across Siston Common.

 

1989

 

To connect the ringroad with the A420 at Deanery Road, an 80 metre diameter roundabout was constructed. On the 17th April this work began, including the blocking off of Baden Road, building two underpasses and the demolition of four houses opposite Brook Road, formerly known as Cider Mill Farm.

 

The earlier plan included the demolition of the Community Centre but due to local pressure the roundabout was realigned and the Centre saved.

 

Baden Road has now become a cul-de-sac. When Mr. Shepherd of Cider Mill Farm was building the house in Baden Road, he had planned that it should be called Baynton Road, after the 19th century owners of the land but the local authority decided on Baden Road. The underpass near Brook Road comes out almost exactly where Cider Mill Farm stood. In the 19th century, there were many orchards in the district and it would seem logical that the farm was where the apples were processed.

 

During the excavations here, several culverts were identified. One fed water to the spring or level by the bridge and two others were probably links to the Isaac Smith Iron Works. This foundry is marked on a 1750 map and was situated near Kingsfield School.

 

The Community Centre lost much of its field but the sale of this land has enabled two new rooms to be built and opened in this Centenary Year.

 

1990

 

This was the year of the first Kingswood Borough History Festival. The Mayor, Councillor John Lewis, started the event with the launching of The Kingswood Heritage Trail, setting off in the sidecar of a vintage Douglas motorcycle.

 

The Heritage Trail takes in much of which is best in Siston Parish. This, of course, starts in Siston village, with The Court and St. Annes Church. Pausing to view Webbs Heath Farmhouse which has 16th century origins, the visitor may be invited to look for one of the many ghosts that frequent our parish.

 

From here you pass the ruins of Webbs Heath drift mine and onto the Griffin Inn. This public house was built originally as a farmhouse back in the early 18th century. A popular Wednesday Market used to be held at the rear, selling all sorts of agricultural products as well as livestock but in the 1970s the weekly market was abandoned due to changing trends.

 

On now to Warmley station and signal box. The history of the station has already been told, but the signal box deserves some mention. It was built in 1870 and was in use for 100 years, finally becoming redundant when the line closed. It is a good example of that period with the interior unchanged and the control gear complete. It is now included on Kingswoods list of historic buildings.

 

Before leaving the parish, the trail includes Warmley Historic Gardens and Grotto. Again much has been written previously about the great William Champion and his Brassworks but his legacy was to leave behind one of the most unique industrialist gardens in the country. It has recently been included in the English Heritage National List of Historic Gardens, the only one in Kingswood Borough.

 

Warmley Grottoes are considered to be the largest man-made grottoes in the country and are a mysterious network of underground caves and vaulted chambers made from clinker from Champions zinc process. The gardens are the jewel in the crown of Siston and are public open space, giving access to us all.

 

1991

 

The church of St. Anne, in the heart of Siston village, has stood on this site for nearly one thousand years and may even have been established four or five hundred years earlier as a Celtic temple.

 

The Doomsday Book of 1085 records the parish of Siston among the lands of the great Norman warlord, Roger de Berkeley.

 

The leaded font inside Siston Church has been dated to the reign of William Rufus (1087 1100), the son of William the Conqueror. The Tympanum in the South Porch depicts the Tree of Life and is thought to have been carved around 1090 A.D.

 

Siston Church is one of the oldest churches in the Kingswood Borough and it is clear from the above dates that some great religious activity was underway in this rural setting sandwiched between the Royal Hunting Forest of Kingswood and the Royal Palace at Pucklechurch.

 

The present tower of St. Annes was built in the 13th or 14th century and was topped by a parapet. This became unstable earlier this century and had to be removed.

 

The peal of bells that has sounded all around the parish for hundreds of years fell silent in 1929 due to rotten timbers in the belfry. For over half a century the bells remained silent. In 1991, after a great deal of fund raising, the sound of bells once more echoed around the valleys.

 

1992

 

During preparation for the 1947 edition of the Ordinance Survey map, the survey team noticed recesses in the landscape and identified them as being part of a hitherto unknown Roman Road. The road began in Bitton village, went through Winterbourne and onto Gloucester. During excavations for the new Warmley C. of E. School in Poplar Road, part of this road was uncovered.

 

The course of the Roman highway then crossed the railway line at the end of St. Ivel Way, through the vicarage garden, across the field at the top of Winfield Road and then over the top of the hill next to Lodge Farm by Mangotsfield Golf Course.

 

Since 1989, Vizability,in association with the Kingswood Arts umbrella, have been active in promoting the Bristol and Bath Railway Path into a sculpture trail. In 1992, sculptor Gordon Young completed his Gaius Sentius, a drinking fountain in the design of a thirsty legionnaire, drinking from his flask.

 

The sculpture marks the intersection where the Roman Road and the Railway Path cross.

 

To complete the setting there are two tall columns about 50 yards either side of Gaius Sentius marking the course of the road and also a pair of stone benches inscribed 'Bath eight miles' and 'Bristol seven miles'. The funding for these sculptures came from J. Sainsbury plc and Wincanton Distribution.

 

1993

 

The famous play The Ghost Train was written by Arnold Ridley after he had spent some time waiting for a train on the windswept platforms of Mangotsfield Station. Warmley Station has not had any rail traffic passing through since the line was taken up over twenty years previously.

 

In 1993, a set of ghostly silhouettes appeared on the platforms waiting, it would seem, for a train that would never arrive.

 

This was the second piece of art commissioned for the Sculpture Trail in our area. On closer inspection the figures are cleverly designed out of sheet metal and each section depicts images connected with the railway network from the railway clock to a ticket or part of an engine. This piece of modem art is entitled Brief Encounters and is by Steve Joyce working with pupils from Kingsfield School.

 

1994

 

The latest development took place this autumn with the completion of nine new houses in Deanery Road and Deanery Close. The houses are part of a scheme by Kingswood Borough and Knightstone Housing Association to provide much needed new homes.

 

This small development straddles the Warmley Brook and is in both Siston and Oldland parishes.

 

For over a hundred years there has been a shop on this site. In the early part of this century the shop belonged to Philip Werrett who had connections with the nearby fireworks factory. Later Bill Osborn ran a hardware store here and sold anything from a screw to a box of shotgun cartridges.

 

The next owners were Ernie Atherton and his brother Bob. Ernie built a large extension on the side of the shop and extended the range of goods to include timber and garden products. Bob Atherton converted the front room into an estate agency.

 

In the 1980s, Accent Windows moved in and converted the buildings into a double glazing outlet and workshop. At the end of that decade the building was left unoccupied and fast became the target for vandalism.

 

In 1993 the site once more was cleared to make way for the latest residents within the parish of Siston.

 

And so to end this brief history. With our new neighbours we all look forward to the new millennium and the next hundred years of the Siston Parish Council.

 

1998

 

Popular local girl Jenny King was murdered near her home in Warmley.

 

Carson's chocolate factory at Mangotsfield is demolished to make way for new housing and the Ring Road's completion.

 

1999

 

Work to complete the Ring Road link from Warmley to Shortwood is started. We say goodbye to parts of the cycle track and after a well publicised protest, the old ABC Cleaners factory on Siston Common is demolished.

 

Phase 1 of the Aspects Leisure Centre opened in Longwell Green. 55 years after American GI's first came to the area (camped near Fisher Road on Siston Common), their culture arrives in the form of McDonalds. District Councils of Warmley, Kingswood and Mangotsfield came together under the umbrella of Kingswood.

Christmas Day was beautiful, quite unlike the cold, windy conditions that have hit Central Florida as the arctic blasts came through! We are still much better off than most of the country, but it's been pretty nippy here for folks who aren't used to it, that's for sure! No snow yet, which is a good thing. It has snowed before, though it's almost a freak event when that happens. It's surprisingly chilly, though, and because of the dampness and wind, can actually feel colder at the same temperatures than it feels up north.

 

When I was 17, I went to NY for Christmas to visit my father. He and my half sister picked me up at Kennedy airport and I was wearing a fake fur coat. She asked where I got it, and I said, "Florida". She didn't believe me! It actually felt warmer in NY than back home, and it was the same temp. Lots of reasons for that- poor insulation, single pane windows, ceiling fan forced heat, coastal winds, etc. When it does get cold here, it really feels chilly. The wind chill often makes it feel at least 10-20 degrees cooler than it actually is. Still beats the sub zero readings some of you are getting!

 

I can only recall a couple of times that the wind chill made it feel colder than zero here. Years ago, I delivered pizza for a living. I had a delivery to a local motel, and parked out back by the ocean. There were snow flurries over the water and icicles hanging from the railings! One other time, when I was in my early 20's, I had planned to have a garage sale. Of course, that January we had record lows, and it was about -9 with wind chill! I was stuck out in the garage freezing my patooties off for three days straight, and I also went on a motorcycle ride with a friend, and thought I was going to freeze to death! Even my bones seemed to freeze. I couldn't get warm for days!

 

Fortunately for us Floridians, these things happen very seldom. Although we had record low HIGHS this week, breaking a record that stood since 1942, it's still nowhere near what the rest of the country is going through, and we're already warming into the 60's today. Still LOOKS like winter, though- grey and gloomy.

 

I prefer the Christmas views. :-)

This is most of Jessi The Wonder Dog’s Collar Collection. I found some belt hangers at a garage sale and thought they would be perfect for hanging Jessi’s extensive collar collection, which they are, and it inspired me to photograph them. So, I laid them out on this navy blue blanket and took a couple of shots. This probably looks really decadent, and you may think our puppah is spoiled, but she has no idea nor cares what she’s wearing as long as she gets to go bye-bye. Most of these collars were purchased on clearance for $3 or $4 dollars, but as I was photographing them, I got a lump in my throat as I thought, these aren’t Jessi’s collars Kathleen; these are your collars. Why do you need this? We don’t have kids, so I suppose that is part of it, but it made me think of all the sweet puppahs out there who don’t have homes, much less one collar.

 

I thought about all the shelter dogs, and people going in to look at them, and what if they were wearing some of these lovely collars? What if instead of buying any more collars for Jessi, every time I see a good deal on a quality collar, I buy it and a few others and give them to the Humane Society? I support a number of animal charities, but I think there would be something more tangible about the idea of increasing their chances for adoption with a little personality appropriate fashion statement. =o) I also made a monetary donation to The Humane Society tonight. Giving feels SO good, and I happily noted my company is sponsoring an upcoming Human Society event!!

 

Maybe I sound “Legally Blonde” here, but I think it’s a good idea giving the collars, toys, and other stuff I find on clearance. I’ve decided to do it. I’m always checking the clearance bins at my local PetSmart, and other pet stores, maybe you do too, and maybe you would be inspired to do what I’ve decided to do. I’m also going to donate some of these collars as well. Jessi hasn’t even worn some of them even once. Hopefully the Humane Society will be open to it. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be, but of course they need lots of other stuff more, like food, cat litter, and such, and there are lots of ways to donate online. I’m excited to talk to them, and I’ll keep you posted. Jessi was a rescue dog from the SPCA, and she is the GREATEST DOG IN THE WORLD! If you are considering a dog, I hope you will consider a rescue dog.

 

Update 1-24-11 - spoke to a Humane Society volunteer, and collars, leashes, etc. are definitely welcomed donations.

 

Hugs and thanks for viewing! =o)

 

***All rights to my images are STRICTLY reserved. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing my images or if you are an educator or non-profit interested in use. copyright KathleenJacksonPhotography 2010***

 

Snapped this routemaster bus in King William street today, still in regular service, mainly as a tourist attraction but still going strong nevertheless

 

Routemaster

Manufacturer

 

Associated Equipment Company

   

Capacity

 

57/64/65/69/72 seated

   

Operator(s)

 

London Transport

Northern General Transport Company

British European Airways

   

Specifications

   

Length

 

27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)

30 ft 0 in (9.14 m)

   

Width

 

8 ft (2.44 m)

   

Height

 

14 ft 4 1⁄2 in (4.38 m)

   

Floor type

 

Step-entrance

   

Doors

 

1 door

   

Weight

 

7.35 long tons (7.47 t)

   

Chassis

 

Integral, with front and rear subframes

   

Engine(s)

 

AEC AV590 9.6 L or

AEC AV690 11.3 L or

Leyland O.600 9.8 L

6-cylinder diesel

Retrofits:

Cummins C-series/ISBe

DAF

Iveco

Scania

   

Power output

 

115 hp (86 kW) (AEC AV590)

   

Transmission

 

AEC 4-speed automatic/semi-automatic

  

The AEC Routemaster is a model of double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company (AEC) in 1954 (in production from 1958) and produced until 1968.[1] Primarily front-engined, rear open-platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances. Introduced by London Transport in 1956, the Routemaster saw continuous service in London until 2005, and currently remains on two heritage routes in central London.

 

The Routemaster was developed by AEC in partnership with London Transport, the customer for nearly all new Routemasters, although small numbers were also delivered to the airline British European Airways (BEA) and the Northern General Transport Company. In all, 2,876 Routemasters were built,[1] with approximately 1,000 still in existence.

 

A pioneering design, the Routemaster outlasted several of its replacement types in London, survived the privatisation of the former London Transport bus operators and was used by other operators around the UK. In modern UK public transport bus operation, the unique features of the standard Routemaster were both praised and criticised. The open platform, while exposed to the elements, allowed boarding and alighting away from stops; the presence of a conductor allowed minimal boarding time and optimal security, although the presence of conductors incurred greater labour costs.

 

The Routemaster became one of London's most famous symbols, with much tourist paraphernalia continuing to bear Routemaster imagery, and with examples still in existence around the world. Despite its fame, the earlier London bus classes that the Routemaster replaced (the RT-type AEC Regent and Leyland Titan RTL and RTW counterparts) are often mistaken for Routemasters by the public and by the media.[2]

 

Despite the retirement of the original version, the Routemaster has retained iconic status, and in the late 2000s work began on an updated version, which is set to enter service in 2012.

 

The driver's cab of an early Routemaster RM8.

The Routemaster bus was developed during the years 1947–1956 by a team directed by A. A. M. Durrant and Colin Curtis, with vehicle styling by Douglas Scott. The design brief was to produce a vehicle that was lighter (hence more fuel efficient), easier to operate and that could be maintained by the existing maintenance practices at the recently opened Aldenham Works. The resulting vehicle could seat 64 passengers despite being three-quarters of a ton lighter than the preceding RT, which seated only 56. The first task on delivery to service was to replace London's trolleybuses, which had themselves replaced trams, and to begin to replace the older types of diesel motor bus. The Routemaster was primarily intended for London use, being designed by London Transport and constructed at the AEC Works in Southall, Middlesex, with assembly at bodybuilder Park Royal Vehicles, a subsidiary company of AEC.

     

Rear platform of Routemaster RM 1776, with updated hand-rails for Heritage Route operation.

It was an innovative design and used lightweight aluminium and techniques developed in aircraft production during World War II.[3] As well as a novel weight-saving integral design, the Routemaster also introduced (for the first time on a bus) independent front suspension, power steering, a fully automatic gearbox and power-hydraulic braking.[4] This surprised some early drivers who found the chassis unexpectedly light and nimble compared with older designs, especially as depicted on film on tests at the Chiswick Works "skid pan". Footage of Routemaster RM200 (VLT 200) undergoing the skid test at Chiswick was included in the 1971 film On the Buses.[5]

 

The Routemaster design was a departure from the traditional chassis/body construction method. With London Transport being the primary customer, the option to use different bodybuilders was unimportant. The design was one of the first "integral" buses,[4] with the bus being a combination of an "A" steel sub-frame (including engine, steering and front suspension) and a rear "B" steel sub-frame (carrying rear axle and suspension), connected by the aluminium body.[1] The gearbox was mounted on the underside of the body structure with shafts to the engine and back axle.

 

Prototypes

     

FRM1 at the LT Museum Depot

London Transport received four prototype Routemasters, which were placed in service between 1956 and 1958. The first two were built at the London Transport works at Chiswick, the third at Addlestone by Weymann and the fourth, an experimental Green Line coach, at Eastern Coach Works at Lowestoft. The third and fourth had Leyland engines.[4] The Routemaster was first exhibited at the Earl's Court Commercial Motor Show in 1954.[3]

 

In 1961, a small batch of 24 longer RMLs (30 ft compared with the standard 27 ft 6in) were built as a test, before eventually going into production from 1965.

 

In 1962, the front entrance RMF concept was tried, with a single bus RMF1254 based on the trial RMLs. This was exhibited and toured, leading to a small number of orders as the RMF and RMA class.

 

In 1964, just before mainstream production of the RML, the final front-engined Routemaster model, AEC started work on a front-entrance, rear-engined Routemaster, the FRM class.[6] Completed in 1966, it was not produced beyond an initial prototype, FRM1. This saw regular London service, then on tour operations, before being withdrawn in 1983. This vehicle acquired the nickname "Fruitmaster".

 

Production

 

Production of mechanical components was undertaken chiefly at AEC's Southall site (though a significant number had Leyland engines) throughout the life of the Routemaster, with body construction and final assembly at Park Royal. AEC itself was taken over by Leyland Motors in 1962,[7] Routemaster production ceased in 1968.[7]

 

The majority of production examples were 27 feet 6 inches (8.4 metres) long to meet the then maximum length regulations. The regulations were later relaxed and 30 feet (9.1 metres) "long" types were produced, although these were delayed by union resistance to the extra work for conductors.[8]

 

The production classes were designated as follows:

RM - standard bus (27.5 feet (8.4 m))

RML - (lengthened) bus (30 feet (9.1 m))

RMC - coach (27.5 feet (8.4 m))

RCL - (lengthened) coach (30 feet (9.1 m))

RMF - front entrance bus (essentially a demonstrator to encourage sales outside London)

RMA - front entrance bus (designated by LT when purchased from British Airways)

 

RM and RML class

RML class RML 2304 owned by Millwall Football Club, painted blue in the club's colours.

At 2,120 RMs and 524 RMLs, these make up the majority of Routemasters. The RML class was simply a standard RM with a distinctive and seemingly out of place half-window section added in the middle giving eight extra seats. This was not a dramatic change, as it took advantage of the modular design approach of the Routemaster that would be copied in the future by other manufacturers.[8] The RML was originally to be the "Routemaster Leyland" designation, with ER to signify "Extended Routemaster".[8] The RM and RML featured a cubby hole beneath the rear staircase where the conductor could stand while not collecting fares without obstructing boarding/alighting passengers.

 

RMC and RCL class

Preserved RCL 2233 in London Transport Green Line livery.

The RMC was a coach version, produced for the "Green Line" routes. RMCs had modified suspension and interiors to allow a longer range and more comfortable running, and were fitted with an electrically operated door instead of an open platform.[9] The RCL was a long version of the RMC with a larger engine and similar coach style features.[10]

 

[edit] RMF and RMA class

 

The RMF and RMA class were production versions of a front entrance model Routemaster, primarily for non-London use.[11] Like the coach class, they featured an electrically operated door, although the staircase was moved to the front of the bus along with the door. After being exhibited and demonstrated to other operators, the RMF attracted little interest, apart from an order from Northern General Transport Company as the RMF and, in a short version, from British European Airways (BEA) as the RMA class.

 

Northern General

Preserved Northern General "RMF" Routemaster in two tone red and cream pre-NBC livery.

The British Electric Traction subsidiary, the Northern General Transport Company, introduced the RMF class in 1964/1965, with an initial batch of 18, followed by another 32 and later joined by the prototype RMF1254.[11] This order created considerable interest and raised eyebrows within the bus industry, as Northern had been one of the biggest investors in the new rear-engined Leyland Atlanteans. However Northern shared many routes with their Tilling brothers United who operated the Bristol Lodekka and the Atlantean just didn't match the performance and passenger satisfaction of United's Bristols, so Northern brought in the front-entrance Routemaster as a better match for it. The fleet were fitted with Leyland engines and a higher-ratio rear axle for operation on longer trunk routes.[12] Other notable differences were a standard single panel front destination blind screen, sliding windows and a one-piece driver's windscreen.

     

Northern General 2105 Preserved in livery as delivered new.

They operated in various Northern red and cream liveries[13][14] before surviving into the National Bus Company era receiving the poppy red corporate livery and NBC Northern fleetnames. The RMF fleet wore long standing adverts, "Shop at Binns". Northern Routemasters where well liked by their crews, the high axle ratio meant a good turn of speed on some of the long distance routes such as the Newcastle-Darlington, and the advantage of power steering was well appreciated on the heavy urban services in Gateshead and Sunderland. Their service in the north also produced the odd sight of a Routemaster with a rollsign for service "X1 to Scandinavia", by virtue of the connection to the ferry line from North Shields to Scandinavia.[15] However throughout the 1970s it became increasingly uneconomic for conductor-operated buses on inter-urban services, and despite the driver and customer satisfaction for the Routemaster in the North East, the management had little option but to replace them. Ultimately Northern placed a large order for Bristol VRs featuring a combination of both ECW highbridge and Willowbrook bodywork in 1977 to replace them. The last Routemasters were used until 1980, when they were disposed of in a variety of ways,[11] some finding use in London, although none were deemed suitable for regular London service.

 

British European Airways

 

BEA introduced the RMA class buses built to the shorter length (with trailers) in various liveries in 1966/1967 for use on airport bus service between the West London Air Terminal (above the London Underground triangle between High Street Kensington, Gloucester Road and Earl's Court stations) and Heathrow Airport.[16] These were all eventually sold to London Transport after being withdrawn in stages in the 1970s, finding various roles.[17]

 

Colourful Routemasters

RM 6 in Golden Jubilee colours.

With the Routemaster's longevity, there have been Routemaster buses painted to celebrate both the Queen's Silver and Golden Jubilee, in 1977 and 2002, i.e. 25 and 50 years on the throne respectively. 25 buses were painted Silver to celebrate the Silver Jubilee,[18] and out of 50 buses painted gold in London in 2002, 15 (12 RML, 3 RM) were Routemasters.[19]

 

During privatisation in London, from 1986, several private operators won contracts to operate London bus services, some of which including Routemaster operated routes. Before an 80% red rule for liveries was reintroduced in 1997 by LT, the contract tendering authority, some of these new entrants proceeded to run Routemasters in their own non-red liveries, most notably Kentish Bus on Route 19 and Borehamwood Travel Services (BTS) (now part of London United Busways) on Route 13.

 

The iconic nature of the Routemaster also appealed to the many new operators outside of London that appeared post-1986 in the UK following bus deregulation. Several operators took second hand Routemasters from London as a cheap way of expanding their fleets to stave off competition from new operators emerging after deregulation.[20] Likewise, start up operators also chose the Routemaster as a distinctive looking bus for their own start up operations. Subsequently, Routemasters were seen around the country painted in a variety of proprietary colours, and were used in regular service in Southampton, Blackpool, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, Hull, Carlisle, Bedford, Corby, Manchester (Stagecoach), Southend and Burnley.[4] During this era, several Routemasters found their way through more than one company and were also often loaned between operators.

 

One of the earliest, if not the earliest, examples of deregulated use of Routemasters was early in the history of the Stagecoach Group. Now one of the largest post-deregulation operators in the UK, Stagecoach combined the vintage Routemaster with their new and striking corporate livery of all-over white with red, orange and blue stripes,[21] to start one of their first operations, Magic Bus, in Glasgow, Scotland, in the late 1980s. This contrasted with the traditional identities still in use at the time.

     

Two preserved Reading Mainline Routemasters.

Towards the end of this period, in 1994 in Reading, new operator Reading Mainline built up a forty five strong Routemaster fleet to compete with the established operator Reading Buses, in the process becoming the largest operator of Routemasters outside London. They used conductors to compete on speed in the town centre and, in the outskirts, took advantage of the rear platform to operate hail and ride sections of route. After building up a network covering nearly the whole town, Reading Buses posted their first ever financial loss to purchase the company in 1998, with Reading Buses continuing Routemaster operation for another two years albeit reduced in number, until 2000.

 

With the costs involved in running elderly two-man buses and with a general reduction in the number of operators, buses and services in the years following in the deregulated industry as competitors merged or sold out, these examples of use outside London declined through the 1990s. Many of these buses found their way back to London to assist with the refurbishment program or as basic spares donors or to increase the fleet size generally.

 

The final withdrawal from mainstream London service saw another resurgence in the use of Routemasters outside of London[20] but, this time on a smaller scale than the post deregulation public transport fleets. Post 2000, usage was characterised by small novelty or seasonal routes.

 

Green livery

Preserved RMC 1476 coach with rear folding doors, in the "NBC Green" livery of London Country Bus Services, lighter than London Transport "Country" green.

The "green Routemasters" originally worked for LT's "country division", which took coach type RMC and RCL buses, for Green Line services, and later standard bus RMLs. The RMC class were initially used on Green Line routes in outlying towns.[9] Similarly, the RCL entered service in areas where the RMC was not introduced.[10]

 

These vehicles passed to the nationalised National Bus Company's subsidiary London Country Bus Services (known simply as London Country) in 1969, which took over outlying areas of LT bus operation resulting from the 1968 Transport Act. The transfer comprised 69 RMCs, 43 RCLs and 97 RMLs.[4]

 

By the latter half of the 1970s, most of these vehicles had been re-acquired by London Transport, as London Country modernised and standardised its fleet and as increased car usage and improved commuter railways reduced suburban bus demand. Most of the RMLs found use on red London bus routes,[4] and the RMC and RCL class were cascaded into the training fleet.[9] As the RCL class was relatively new (in Routemaster terms) and LT was suffering from lack of parts, between 1980 and 1984 several of the RCLs were converted to standard bus use.[22]

RT 1702 and RT 227 buses, as distinguished from Routemasters

The heyday of Routemaster operation was its first 25 years of operation, until September 1982,[23] when the type started to be withdrawn and transferred to training fleets, due to service reductions.

 

The RM class was placed in service from 1959 to replace trolleybuses, which finished in May 1962. Subsequent Routemasters, the last 500 of which were the RML types, began replacing the previous generation of buses, the RT-type AEC Regent and Leyland Titan RTL and RTW. RMLs also displaced RMs on central routes to cope with higher loadings.[8] The last Routemaster, RML 2760, entered service in March 1968.

 

The original London Transport concept included the routine overhaul and refurbishment of the Routemaster fleet at London Transport's Aldenham Works, usually every five years. Here the buses were completely stripped down and rebuilt, and left the works almost as new. As the number of Routemasters in London declined, however, and newer bus designs not suited to this practice were introduced, the overhaul routine was abandoned and Aldenham Works closed in the mid-1980s.

 

Decline in London

A Routemaster next to a DMS class one man operated bus. The Fleetline was slated to replace the Routemaster, but eventually was outlived by it.

Many of London's bus routes were converted to one-person operation (then known as one-man operation, or OMO) in the 1970s, out of a desire to reduce operating costs and address staff shortages. There was also, for a time, a parts shortage for Routemasters, aggravated by the closure of AEC.[24] With the introduction of single-deck Red Arrow services in London and successful conversion to modern rear-engined OMO buses around the country, LT was considering replacing Routemasters with modern buses. The operation of the Routemaster (very) gradually contracted to central areas only, with RMLs replacing RMs, where LT felt that the Routemaster still provided an efficient means of transporting large enough numbers of people to justifying the economics of two-man operation.[25] The rapid acceleration and rugged construction of the Routemasters also proved to be more suited to urban conditions than some more modern designs.[25]

 

The Routemaster fleet remained largely intact for around fifteen years after production ended in 1968, with withdrawals mainly due to fires. Following the defeat of the GLC in the House of Lords regarding their subsidised fare scheme, major service reductions followed in September 1982. Consequently, the first withdrawals commenced, with many of these early disposals being for scrap. The continued practice of route conversion to one person operation resulted in a steady trickle of withdrawals. This practice had largely halted by 1988, with comparatively few withdrawn up to 1992.

 

In the 1980s, several of the returned Routemasters purchased from Northern General, BEA and London Country, which had doors rather than an open platform, were put to use on London Transport's revived sightseeing operation The Original London Sightseeing Tour, alongside the RCL class (some converted to open top buses),[22] the RMF class,[11] and the RMA class.[17]

 

Privatisation of London buses

Routemasters RML 2724 and RML 2680 wearing First London and London General post-privatisation paint schemes, 2005.

In 1984, the process of privatisation of London bus services began and the Routemasters were transferred from London Transport operation to several different arms-length business units based on different garages, leading to minor additions to the standard red livery. Nine of the twelve new operating units inherited Routemasters, Centrewest, Leaside, London Central, London General, London United, Metroline, London Northern, South London and East London.[26] During this time, following the failure and premature withdrawal of heralded replacement vehicle classes such as the DM/DMS class Daimler Fleetline, the Routemasters that had not yet been disposed of saw their lives extended for use until privatisation. Where new route tenders called for Routemaster operation, these were leased from London Buses.[26]

 

By 1994, all the operating units had been sold and this produced some colour livery variations and additions to some Routemasters from their previous all-over red liveries. In the new London route tendering process, all but one of the Routemaster operated routes were allowed to keep their now privately-owned Routemasters[4] for the five-year contract period and further refurbishments resulted.

 

Life extensions

Routemaster RML 2619 in 2003.

Since the ending of production at Southall and later closure of the Aldenham works, new options for extending the life of the Routemaster became necessary if they were to continue to run. This made sense as even by 1987, when some buses looked decidedly worn out, inspections by London Buses revealed the basic structure of the buses was still sound,[24] requiring only replacement of engines and interior/exterior renewal.

 

From 1992 to 1994, all but two of the RML type were refurbished for ten years further service. This work, which included updating the interior to modern tastes and substituting Iveco or Cummins engines, was carried out by Mainline, TB Precision, Nottingham truck & Bus and by one of the new London Buses business units, Leaside Buses. 100 RM class vehicles were also re-engined.[4] Post-privatisation, in 1996, the Routemasters on London Central's RMs on route 36, Stagecoach London's RMLs for routes 8 and 15, and Arriva's RMs for route 159, all received new Scania engines.[4] Between 2001 and 2004, under new mayor Ken Livingstone and Transport for London, the replacement authority for London Buses, further refurbishment saw TfL buy back forty nine RMs from a variety of sources. Initially started by Marshall Bus, this was continued by Arriva London when Marshall ceased trading in 2002.

 

Withdrawal from London

A Routemaster seen with its replacements, a modern double decker and a bendy bus. Final 159 journey, December 2005.

    

Routemaster on Route 12 towards Dulwich, South London, in 2000.

During the new millennium, debates surrounded the issue of whether to replace or retain the Routemaster in London service. Supporters cited its continued mechanical fitness, speed of boarding and tourist potential, while opponents pointed to the economics of running increasingly elderly buses when newer, larger and more modern designs were now on the market following a resurgence in the bus manufacturing industry after recession in the 1990s. Opponents also pointed specifically to the lack of accessibility of the Routemaster in light of impending relevant legislation, which meant all new buses now entering service in London were of a low-floor design. The emergence of off-bus ticketing technology also reduced the argument for better dwell times, whereby the Oyster card and off-bus ticket machines would reduce the time it took to board the bus.

 

In 2004, following his second election campaign, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone announced the phasing out of the type in order to provide a bus service in the capital fully accessible to wheelchair users. Government legislation requires full accessibility by 2017 under the Disability Discrimination Act. As a consequence, the Routemaster was officially withdrawn from general service on 9 December 2005, although it remains in regular service on two "heritage" routes (see below).

 

Withdrawals began on the dates below as the routes' five-year contracts expired.

Route 15: 29 August 2003

Route 11: 31 October 2003

Route 23: 14 November 2003

Route 94: 23 January 2004

Route 6: 26 March 2004

Route 98: 26 March 2004

Route 8: 4 June 2004

Route 7: 2 July 2004

Route 137: 9 July 2004

Route 9: 3 September 2004

Route 390: 3 September 2004

Route 73: 3 September 2004; replaced by bendy buses

Route 12: 5 November 2004; replaced by bendy buses

Route 36: 28 January 2005

Route 19: 1 April 2005

Route 14: 22 July 2005

Route 22: 22 July 2005

Route 13: 21 October 2005

Route 38: 28 October 2005; replaced by bendy buses

Route 159: 9 December 2005

 

The Routemaster was gradually phased out of service by the end of 2005. A television documentary shown that year revealed that Livingstone had commented in 2001 that "only some sort of ghastly dehumanised moron would want to get rid of Routemasters".[27] By December 2005, only one route was left, the 159 (Marble Arch — Streatham). Friday, 9 December 2005 would be the last official running day.[28] On Thursday 8th, 24 special buses, including preserved RMs and RMLs, plus a number of their predecessors from the "RT" bus family, made guest appearances on the 159 route.

     

RM2217 arrives for the last time, surrounded by crowds. December 9, 2005.

On Friday, instead of doing a normal shift, with crews ending normally at around 11pm, on police advice,[29] the day was split into two duty shifts,[29] a Routemaster shift, and a VLA class shift (Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400), the replacement bus for route 159, with the Routemasters due to be replaced in the middle of the day.

 

Towards the last runs to the garage, crowds blocked the four-lane road,[28] bringing all traffic to a standstill. RM2217 was set to be the last official running bus, as per the timetable. Heavily delayed, RM2217 even took 10 minutes to turn the final corner into Brixton Garage.

 

The bus left the public highway at 14:07, accompanied by duplicates provided by preserved buses RM5 and RM6. Due to the delays, RM54 was actually the last in service, running into Streatham Station stand a few minutes later,[29] before running dead to Norwood Garage.

 

Later, RM5 and RM6, followed by RM2217 were moved to the old LCC Tramways depot at Brixton for press photographs in the quieter surroundings of the old tramways depot which, at the time, was complete with still visible tramlines.

Heritage Routemaster running off service on Route 9.

Two heritage routes were immediately introduced in London, recognising the nostalgia for the type among ordinary Londoners and their appeal to tourists. Although these buses are operated under contract to TfL and accept standard Travelcards, Oystercards or cash fares, they only operate for a limited time during the day duplicating short sections of two regular London bus routes. The Heritage routes operate around ten buses each,[30] with five each in reserve.

Heritage route 9: Olympia-Warwick Gardens - High Street Kensington - Royal Albert Hall — Hyde Park Corner — Piccadilly Circus — Trafalgar Square.

Heritage route 15: Trafalgar Square — Strand — Aldwych — Fleet Street — Cannon Street — Monument — Tower Hill.

 

The buses used were specially restored from remaining examples for this service and have clean environmental engines, modern electrics and sealed windows.

 

Other public transport uses

 

Most use of Routemasters in UK public transport service has now ceased.

     

Nottingham & District Omnibus Routemaster followed by a Nottingham City Transport bus.

On 7 April 2008 Routemasters were also introduced on a regular bus route in Nottingham, England.[31] They were operated by Bellamy's Coaches Ltd with red Routemasters branded as the Nottingham & District Omnibus,[32][33] on route 20 on a 20 minute frequency from 7am to 7pm, six days a week.[34] Bellamy's positioned the conductor and open platform features of the Routemaster as being able to compete with the incumbent operator's Nottingham City Transport (NCT) services, on increased speed of travel through the city centre bus stops, and through hail and ride operation in the suburbs. The Routemasters were withdrawn on 28 June 2008 with the company citing low passenger demand, although to satisfy bus service registration requirements, the service continued using single-decker buses into August.[35] The council, which has an 82% stake in NCT, was criticised for not doing enough to provide information about the service in public facilities, and for increasing the competition selectively on the Routemaster route.[34]

 

The London and South East of England operator Metrobus had retained a green-liveried Routemaster, RML 2317 (CUV 317C), obtained from sister company London General, which is sometimes used on regular routes as well as private and preservation appearances. This RML has however, now passed to Brighton and Hove Buses where is was painted into the livery of Thomas Tilling Ltd. Cavendish Motor Services operate RML 2324 in a light green and green livery, for special journeys as well as a relief bus for a number of their routes in the Eastbourne area.

 

Wilson's Coaches of Greenock operate three Routemasters (one open-top) mainly on private hire workings, but also see service on the company's routes from Greenock to Clydebank, Helensburgh and on Saturdays prior to Christmas on the company's local Greenock service.

 

Non-public service use

A Routemaster in use as a cafe in Brick Lane, London.

Aside from the London heritage routes, the last major operator of Routemasters in service in the UK, is in Edinburgh, Scotland. Local operator Lothian Buses tour operation Mac Tours[36] uses a variety of closed and open top Routemasters on regular tour bus duties.[30] Another tour operation, York Pullman, currently use two Routemasters on a city tour of York.[37]

 

Several operators in the UK maintain Routemasters for private hire usage, with the majority held by the successors to the former London Bus units, Ensignbus, London Bus Company Ltd (formerly Blue Triangle) and Timebus Travel.[30]

 

Many cities around the world have a Routemaster or an older RT variant somewhere, often privately owned and used for many different purposes (from Preservation to Hot Dog stands, tour bus to shop). Routemasters can be found far from Britain in places such as Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, China, Canada, Croatia, Southern California, Malaysia, Fairbanks, Alaska and Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

 

A number of Stagecoach-owned Routemasters have been exported to Montreal in Canada, where Stagecoach now provides a tourist service around the city. This is a unique case of London Routemasters being operated on a daily service in a foreign country by a former London Routemaster operator.

  

Source Wikipedia

This is a great hutch I found at a local antique mall a few months ago. It sits in the breakfast room and holds all of my sons' millions of school papers, books, etc.

 

The orange vases are local estate and garage sale finds and the great painting is from a local antique mall.

got this from a local garage sale and it still works! ive always wanted one of these so i can type on my polas.

It was cold and very dark gloomy , a very bad day.

  

There were about 74 dust spots in the sky area of this image.

It took me about 23 minutes to get rid of these dirty spots.

Removing dust spots is tedious and very risky, difficult and sometimes deprives all the good charm of the image!

 

I always clean my A7R sensor and so it has a very few dust spots but my A7M2 always has about 34 -45 dust spots and it is really difficult to clean the sensor properly due to the terrible IBIS implementation in that body. My A6500 has the same problem and this is why I am debating replacing it with a Panasonic GH5 or G85. I think one of the biggest advantages of using m43 system is the super effective self sensor cleaning system and thus we can change lenses outside of our room without the fear of inviting dusts....but most of so-called reviewers always dismiss or even intentionally ignore it........

 

Why Fuji will never become mainstream (updated)

 

In Japan all die hard Fuji fanatics call fullframe as "Furu-size format" and that roughly translated into English like "old dated format", "stupid old format", "oldman's format",etc., and they all complaining about the size and cost of FF lens system, but is so-called FF really more expensive than the Fuji as a whole system?

 

After trying out the Fuji X system and comparing it to my own Sony, m43 and Nikon systems extensively for about 4 months, I really feel it is the best time for me to write about some seriously annoying real life issues of the Fuji X system and the Sony FE mount system compared to more modestly priced Nikon or Canon D-SLR system...as my answer to the above question that our die-hard Fuji fans asked us a few months ago in my local area.

 

There are a couple of disclaimers:

1> I have been shooting Sony as my main camera system for over a decade now and so I might be too biased towards them or against them, but either way I am not a fan of Sony corporation, especially after I started dealing with them in 2009 as one of our main business partners, I've become a bit anti-Sony kind of a photographer and I honestly think it is very difficult for me or actually any one to fully trust Sony as a long term business partner or anything like that. However, I must admit recently Sony has been rapidly improving in service and support area at least in ILC market.

But I think I know them much better than an average forum expert on this matter or any so-called pro reviewer out there because I can read their original Japanese marketing materials better and I've known a few of Sony imaging people very well since about 2008 or 2009. So I think I am qualified to compare Fuji vs Sony vs Nikon lens line here and write about that the 4 system comparison frankly.

2> there is no one better system to all others or close to ideal system for everybody, and unlike common forum belief , it is not like the more expensive camera, the always better it is at everything for everyone. So lets be honest if I had the money and room to put all kinds of cameras, then I would buy almost all formats and most of brands cameras maybe except Pentax.

However, in real life my room size is not getting any bigger, my income is now pretty much fixed and not going up or down any time very soon, so I have to choose one or two systems or maybe three from my current 5 systems I have now. And I am not anti any one or any system at all, just trying to be as neutral and rational as I can be..........however, as I said I am not bias-free either because I know Sony too much and definitely have clear preference and so I may make some wrong assessments/judgement on some systems.

Honestly, there are no really bad systems any more maybe except Pentax , which I firmly believe will go bankrupt very soon.........But hey even they or any one go bankrupt who cares? we are not buying their share but their cameras.

Anyway,I've really enjoyed using m43 for pure fun. For pure personal shooting I honestly prefer it to my so-called FF or the Fuji X system, I've found m43, especially Panasonic models such as the G85, the GH4 and GH5 and the Olympus EM1M2 very very intuitive and fast in all ways. And they are the best or easiest cameras to travel with at least for a budget air traveler like myself. The Panasonic GH5 and GH4 are amazing video making tools and I love them always. But for pure stills , especially landscapes or high resolution studio stuff they are not adequate. A 16mp or a 20mp chip simply cannot produce the resolution we need for high resolution landscapes or studio product shots. After all I am too used to 36mp and 42.4mp FF sensor output qualities.

But even for that kind of use, with Olympus we now at least have the high-resolution pixel shifting mode and that actually produces better result than most of FF cameras, at least for completely static things such as studio or products shots.

I have used it for a studio poster shot of a motor bike I advertised a few weeks ago in a local mag , and the result was simply stunning! However, it cannot work well for anything even slightly moving like flowers or slowly moving leaves...........or a bit windy day landscapes, etc.

For tripod long exposure work, I always preferred and still prefer my ancient Sony A7R and Nikon D810, the reason for that is simple they lack the annoying extra sensor heat generating IBIS gimmick. The IBIS is the most overrated feature of any camera system and I would rather not have it in any FF camera I buy. It generates extra heat, requires a more powerful processor, more ram and thus also requires more room for proper heat dissipation system...resulting in a much bigger heavier body for the same performance without it. The A6500 is much bigger and heavier than the A6300, the Panasonic GH5 is a much bigger body than the GH4 is, and ironically enough, all the mirrorless system supposed to be cheaper and smaller with simple electronics finder system getting bigger and heavier every iteration.

Plus, the IBIS actually makes the sensor nosier and less stable and much more difficult to clean it. My first A7R, which I bought in November 2013 still has a pretty clean sensor even after 4 years of extensive abuse in cold mountains. But my relatively new just 9 months old A7R2 and just 5 weeks old A6500 have lots of dust on their respective sensor, and it is not easy to clean them without damaging the IBIS or the sensor itself.

So for me the IBIS is actually minus point at least in a FF body despite of extreme love for the IBIS in many common forum.

That all said though, the IBIS is not actually a very bad gimmick on the smaller sensor system such as m43 or Sony APS-C, and I think the pluses may beat the minuses in a smaller sensor system. So I need to be clear I am only against IBIS in a FF body.

A7R2 and A7R are extremely slow and make me often waiting waiting for everything and that makes me often miss a few incredible once a life time kind of shooting opportunities.

So for me they are useless for corporate events or decisive street shots,etc. Sure the A7R2 has decent AF and shooting speed, but the camera operation speed is still way too slow;too slow to format the card, too slow to change LCD to EVF, too slow to wake up from a long sleep, etc, etc. And its video is useless, only able to shoot a few minutes and then heating up and suddenly stops shooting and some times even shuts it down itself.

The A6500 is a bit better and shoots a bit better video for a bit longer period, but basically it still has the same heating up excessively and suddenly shutting down issue.

So I recently down graded one of my two A6500 cameras to A6300, which I had before I bought my A6500, and now considering selling it too for something even cheaper and thus more abuse-able camera probably the old A6000. The A6500, the A6300 are not much better than the ancient A6000......at least in terms of sheer IQ.

Any way, since I recently added Fuji system recently, I would like to just compare the lens line of the Fuji X vs the lens line of the Nikon FX vs the lens lineup of the Sony E mount. Many times I find the excessively hard and nasty lens criticism Sony gets from many reviewers and forum experts are extremely unfair, unfounded and dishonest...... And most of times those extreme critics of Sony lens line have actually never used any of expensive Sony or Zeiss FE primes or do not understand how to test lenses correctly.

So here it goes..........

Is Fuji better for lens selection than Sony or Nikon, or is Fuji at least a cheaper system than a FF system like Sony or Nikon?

Well...yes and no. It is not so simple.

Yes, they have APS-C dedicated fast primes that Sony lacks and their zooms are miles ahead compared to Sony APS-C zooms, but then again, the primes Fuji offers are pretty large and heavy, they lack OS and (esp older versions) have clunky and loud AF motors. And Nikon lenses tend to be much cheaper for the same quality or even a bit better optical performance than Fuji or Sony. However, if I can include FF lenses since I only have FF lenses for my Sony or Nikon or Canon, I would have to say Sony FE and Nikon F are much more complete systems than Fuji X. Plus, Nikon FX has really a lot of cheap thirdparty lenses and other cheap thirdparty accessories with incredibly huge selection of used lens market......

So if the native lens selection and the system performance per dollar is any importance to you , then there is still no mirrorless system better than the Nikon or the Canon system......So it's not all roses and sunshine in Mirrorless camp. I have used Sony system for over a decade and I have collected many lenses for my Sony E and A systems and I have a lot of Nikon lenses as well. Now I have been testing many Fuji lenses and they are indeed very good but not as amazing as many many Fuji fanatics in Fujirumor sites suggest they are, especially with respect to value/performance ratio.

 

Comp 1> 23-25mm FL: Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 vs Fuji 23/1.4 vs Fuji 23/2 vs Nikon 24mm f1.8G AF-S vs Sony SEL24mm f1.8Z.

Here I do not want to but I must admit the Nikon is the best lens especially considering its modest price tag and size. Then I prefer the tiny Fuji 23mm f2 WR for bad environment shooting. But if I have to pick the absolute best lens from this set, then I would have to pick the Batis 25 is a bit sharper lens than the the Fuji 23mm f1.4 or the APS-C dedicated Sony Zeiss. The one serious issue of the Batis 25mm f2 is the extremely pronounced CA in highlight or very high contrasty area, other wise, it is a near perfect lens, and I use it very often on my A7R.

The optical performance of the Fuji 23mm f1.4 is nothing short of amazing too but its mechanical quality is not as great as its optical quality.. The Fuji is very well built on paper and according to the fanboys, and renders OOF area or bokeh very very nicely and of course goes down to 1.4........but the AF is loud and just feels awkward, actually it cannot focus well in extreme lowlight where a really fast prime like it is really needed. It has very nice optical quality though...... the fly-by-wire focus ring is also extremely awkward to use in very dark places. Unlike the excellent Zeiss Batis, the Fuji is not weather-sealed and I doubt it is actually well built, to me it feels very cheap...........

The Sony Zeiss is actually a better lens in terms of build and mechanical quality than the Fuji XF23mm f1.4, very well built and very precise focus system and the AF of the Sony Zeiss is light years ahead of the Fuji XF23mm f1.4.

But again considering the price to performance ratio and pure optical quality and over all real life usability or practicality , the Nikon is the best bargain lens here and I mean by far the best bang for your buck kind of a lens not the absolute best -which, in my opinion, is the Batis 25mm f2.

The Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED is smaller and lighter than the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens or the Fuji XF23mm f1.4 lens and the Nikon is a lot cheaper than both the Fuji and Zeiss Batis. The Batis lens is very sharp in the center, but in the edges and corners it is still good but not as sharp as the cheap plastic Nikon f2.8G lens..........the green edged CA is annoying and hard to get rid of in PP, and after getting rid of it in PP, the final output becomes very much softer than without the software correction.

And it has incredibly heavy,pronounced distortion before the extremely heavy handed software correction.......that almost all makers mirrorless cameras apply to all their lenses.

So if MF is fine , I actually prefer my Zeiss 25mm f2 Distagon ZF2 lens for this specific focal length. For AF work, I prefer the Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED, which is an exceptional lens at very very modest affordable price.

Comp 2>At 50-55mm range: Sony FE55mm f1.8Z for Sony E mount vs Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art for Nikon F vs Fuji 56/1.2 for Fuji X vs Loxia 50mm f2 for Sony E.

Yeah I know, f1.2 vs f1.4 vs f1.8 vs f2 not a very fair optical comparison but still this is the most practical way of comparing the systems since not all of these systems have the same class similar optics with the same max F number...and their respective choice of sensor format is also different...........So the Fuji f1.4 lenses just roughly equal to the Nikon and the Sony f1.8 primes in terms of light gathering power and actual DOF-controllability.

I think most likely people use these systems with AF use these lenses and therefore I would like to compare these. Well the Loxia is pure MF lens but I've thrown it into this mix since it is my personal favorite lens for my E mount body and I use it a lot for video and paid corporate portrait work I sometimes do in the summer season(in the winter I am very busy and I have no time for any kind of part time work).

The Fuji is a very fast f1.2 lens but with very slow AF motor, and again it has the terrible fly-by-wire MF ring, and so does the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 Z lens. This is very annoying, and this is why I do not like the optically fantastic almost flawless(at least for the price) FE55mm f1.8Z.

The Fuji XF56mm f1.2 has amazing color and micro contrast and almost distortion free even before the usual software correction Fuji applies to any of their lenses, it renders beautiful skin tone with very pleasant bokeh.

Probably the Fuji has better copy to copy variation and tighter QC than Sony on their older fake Zeiss line lenses such as this FE55mm f1.8, the FE35mm f1.4Z, the FE35mm f2.8,though Sony has already improved it with the newer FE 50mm f1.4Z, which is objectively a great lens but I personally dislike for its awkward ergonomics and extreme Lo-CA at wideopen and near wideopen range. The FE55mm f1.8Z has significantly pronounced pincushion distortion but it is automatically corrected in the camera or in ACR or in C1 pro, or in DXO pro, however, that auto lens distortion correction makes the lens significantly softer in the edges and corners than it should have originally been without it. So in final images it usually ends up softer than the Fuji or the big FF Sigma lens on a Nikon body. The Loxia 50mm f2 is a lens designed after the legendary Leica mount Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens and its rendering characteristic is very similar to that of the Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens, but the Sony mount version is significantly sharper in the centers with a lot less lateral CA(still more pronounced green CA than the FE 55 or FE 50mm f1.4 Planar, though). And the Loxia is very good at handling complex contra-light scenes, and so it seldom produces terrible rainbow colored ghost...... , the Loxia is very very tactile and easy to MF precisely for video and for stills even including moderately fast moving things or people. So despite of its slightly slower max speed at f2 , I much prefer it to any of the other around 50mm primes for Sony or Fuji, or any of the Nikon 50mm primes.

However, if I can throw the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens into the mix, I prefer it to everything else I've compared here. The new Zeiss for Nikon and Canon mount is simply a superb lens with outstanding MF ring, I can MF it easily at f1.4 and get tack sharp images anytime......it's that good. IMHO, the Milvus 50mm f1.4 is the best 50mm prime ever made out side of the real Leica price territory..........the Leica 50mm f2 APO is slightly better I think but I can no longer afford it , I used to have it for a few months but I sold it to my grandpa(needed the money for my new storage system 70 four tera byte hard drives and 24 one tera byte SSDs, etc). I think the Milvus series is really underrated line of Ziess, it is actually as great as their more famous Otus line without the crazy bulk of the Otus series. I know the Sigma Art and the Zeiss Otsus series primes are fantastic optically, but they are too impractical in real life scenes(outside of studio and landscape), and therefore, I am not a fan of them.

I love the Milvus line and the older ZF2 line Zeiss primes more than the new Batis or Loxia line Zeiss primes for Sony ,and I am sometimes thinking about going back to Nikon main for that very reason plus better flash and cheaper more practical lens line-up than the Sony FE or Fuji X.

But if you are simply looking for the best bang for your buck kind of a person, then I think there is nothing really beats the Nikon AF-S50mm f1.4G, which is actually a sharp lens if you shoot it at f2.2 or smaller aperture. And if you are like me tend to stop it down to at least f5.6 or so most of times, then the cheap Nikon 50 mm f1.4G is just as sharp as the expensive Loxia 50mm f2 or Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art or Zony 50mm f1.4 Z. But for me the Milvus and the Loxia are both worth the high prices since they have the best MF ring for the Sony bodies, I really hate the fly-by-wire MF system of Zony or Fuji.

And it is obvious that all current tiny bodied mirrorless systems are overpriced and without the super heavy-handed software correction they can not compete well with the best Zeiss or Sigma primes for Nikon Canon mount system, in fact, the cheap Nikon f1.8G series primes beat many of the expensive Zony, Sony GM , Fuji XF lenses in terms of pure optical and mechanical quality, and it is a shocking fact to many.

I think why you may want to pay high premium for Loxia or Batis line if you shoot Sony FE system is that they seem to have very very high QC tolerances and chances are you may never get a bad copy of it at least an extremely bad one.

 

Comp 3> Sony 24-70mm f2.8GM vs Fuji 16-50mm f2.8 XF, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC USD.

No comparison here. Sony should be ashamed with their zooms. Although I had a very good 24-70mm f4 and f2.8GM, they were still way behind what the 16-50mm f2.8, let alone the new Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR......The Sony 24-70mm f4 Z is an OK lens for the modest price and compact size, but the 24-70mm f2.8 GM is a super expensive lens, costing about 300 hundreds more than the Nikon version and still optically not as good as the Nikon, or in fact I believe it is even a bit worse than the Tamron version for Nikon F mount.

In fact, lack of any quality zoom in the bread and butter range for event pros or part time paid photographers in the current Sony lens line up is a big minus point of Sony system regardless of the mirror type...........SLT or mirrorless.

And another issue is no Tamron, Sigma support for Sony E and A mount any more, this is a huge drawback of the system...........to say the least. If there was a Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC for Sony E mount, I would have bought it and replaced my Nikon mount version of it for my A7R and Nikon D750. It is very pathetic sad that we Sony users are always forced to get the overpriced GM or Batis line lenses even for the focal range where we might want to just get a "good enough" cheap off-brand lens option.

And in fact , in many cases I actually prefer Tamron lenses to Sony or Zeiss E mount lenses even without any discount or like that.

If I had the Tamron 85mm f1.8 VC option for my Sony system, then I wouldn't have bought a few copies of the Batis E 85mm f1.8 OSS and the Sony 85mm f1.4 GM and returned most of these. I simply prefer the Tamron to the Zeiss or Sony regardless of their prices or brand names in this case. The Tamorn 85mm f1.8,35mm f1.8VC, 45mm f1.8 VC, etc, are really great lenses and many times I've considered going back to Nikon main just for these modestly priced but high quality Tamron primes.

 

I think the Sony E16-70mm f4 (recent copies)are quite good, but still no where near the best APS-C zoom Fuji or Nikon makes for their respective APS-C system.........But in this case the Sony lens is at least very versatile and small unlike their FF zooms..........they are pure bogs, especially the 24-70mm GM and 70-200mm f2.8 GM....

 

Comp 4>Sony FE70-200mm f4 OSS, Nikon AF-S70-200mmf4GEDVR, Fuji XF55-200mm f4-5.6ED.

Well, in this comparison, I must say the Sony FE70-200mm f4G, at least the recent copy(made after 2015),is the best in the set. The Sony is cheaper and sharper and comes with tripod collar. The initial 3000 or so copies had the soft 200mm f4 setting issue, but the copies produced after 2015 July are much better, if you read the recent review on the Sony FE70-200mmf4 G at Ephotozine, you see it clearly, it is raved there, and they are usually an anti-Sony, pro Nikon site.

In Japan, the Sony FE70-200mm f4 G SSM lens is one of the biggest bargain lenses, and now Sony is giving a free Zeiss branded Protection filter for any one buys this lens.

So for me, in this range it is a no brainer. It is relatively compact, sharp throughout the range, with very well corrected almost flat field at most of focal range, it is a very very good zoom at very very reasonable price point.

The Nikon AF-S70-200mm f4G ED VR lens was a good lens when it was out. But now it seems really dated and overpriced. It is heavier than the Sony by about 205g, it is a bit longer than the Sony and much bigger and heavier than the relatively small(albeit darker)Fuji. The Nikon is less sharp at 70mm mark than the Sony at all aperture settings, with a bit more pronounced barrel distortion than that of the Sony. At 135mm setting, the Sony is still a bit sharper and better corrected. At 200mm f4, the Nikon might still be a bit sharper at 200mm f4 setting but not by much, the later recently released copies of the Sony is much better than the initially released copies that tested by most of so-called review sites, so you may see it seems much worse than it actually is at 200mm f4 setting at most of review sites, but it has really improved since 2015.

Compared to the cheap but dark Fuji zoom, the Fuji is overrated lens, obviously.

It is not the same class of the zoom as either the Nikon or the Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom. Claiming the XF55-200 dim zoom as good as the Sony FE 70-200mm f4 G is a bit of stretch. IMHO, the Fuji 55-200 is a bit fancier version of a typical kit zoom, that is all about it.

 

Comp 5> around 50mm macro lens: Sony FE 50mm f2.8 macro, Nikon AF-S60mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, Fuji 60mm f1.2 almost macro lens, Sigma 50mm f2.8 DG.

Well there is no need any serious analysis or reading at all about these lenses, I used to have all of these and I only kept the Sony.

The Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro is a fantastic lens especially for the modest price tag it carries. After all, it is the third very sharpest prime ever tested on the a7R2 and a7R.

It beats the about 100 US more expensive Nikon 60 G micro hands down, albeit the compromised slow AF, but in macro range no one use AF anyway.

For pure optical quality it is a absolute steal, it has very low CA, thanks to the amazing new ED element, it has very very low distortion, and it produces cool color(not as warm as Zeiss or G branded Sony lenses) and I prefer that personally, but many people especially those who love flowers or people head shots may prefer a bit warmer OOC color.

The Fuji 60mm f2.4 is an excellent lens too but it is not a REAL macro, it is only a half macro kind like the Canon EF24-70mm f4 L IS in macro mode.

So if you need the real macro capability in mirrorless system there is no other choice than the Sony or you must go down to m43 league, and I say go down but as for macro m43 system is not actually worse than FF or especially APS-C system unless you have super expensive macro lens plus macro ring flash and always 100 percent use a tripod.

The m43 allows you to focus stack automatically for better DOF, and it has excellent but reasonably priced compact macro lens choices such as the amazing Olympus 60mm f2.8, the Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Leica branded lens, the Olympus and Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro. And Panasonic will release long awaited X120mm f2.8 G macro lens very soon.

So for me and I think many casual macro shooters the m43 is the most interesting choice for macro work or just simple casual floower close up.

I love Sony 30mm f3.5 on my A6500 too, it is a cheap lens but very practical, you can really abuse it in rain, in cold mountains, etc, and it never breaks. Even if it breaks, hey who cares? it is very cheap indeed. But if you like shooting food or some product like some Star Wars figures or Mickey Mouse doll like I do, then the Sony FE50mm f2.8 macro is an excellent choice especially on the R bodies.

The cheap Sony macro is a bit less sharp than the amazingly sharp FE55mm f1.8Z on the A7R2, but it is just as sharp as the Sonnar on the A7R or the a7M2. And in my test comfortably beats the Loxia 50mm f2 in the center and especially in the edges, albeit a bit more pronounced Lo-CA in highlight or OOF area. In any case, the Sony FE50mm f2.8 is a real bargain deal lens in the current FE system, and this lens and the FE90mm f2.8G prove that actually there are many bargain deal lenses in the current harshly criticized as expensive or overpriced(mostly by non-Sony users) Sony lens system.

Comp 6> around 100mm macro lens: Sony FE90mm f2.8G, Tamron 90 mm f2.8 VC G2, Nikon AF-S105mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, etc.

Well there is really no comp here, the Sony FE 90mm wins hands down as DXO and others all confirm it firmly. I had all of these plus the famous Voiklander 125mm f2.5 APO macro, and the FE 90mm f2.8 G is the absolute winner here, of course the Voiktlander is also a great lens but it is not as practical as the Sony in real life use.

The Sony lens also beats both the Zeiss 100 mm f2 ZF2 and the Milvus version in resolution, CA, distortion, and light fall off, so it is an outstanding lens without any doubt.

The lens really shines on the a7R2, but it is really good on any body but if your sensor is just 24mp FF , then it easily outresolves the low resolution sensor. It actually even outresolves the 42mp sensor. It is that good with respect to sheer resolution and measurable so-called objective IQ.

However, it is not really easy to use in real life since it is big and not balances well on any of Sony A7X body, let alone on any of A6XXX body. I think Sony really needs a bit bigger body for this type of truly outstanding optics that're clearly designed to resolve the next generation high resolution FF. Many internet review sites talk about the latest sensors out-resolving the lenses very often as the biggest issue of the high resolution FF camera system, but it is a big myth or even lie, it is better to have a sensor easily out-resolves any lens you can put on it because it really eliminates all sorts of bad sensor artifacts issues.

 

Body wise, I can only repeat what I said before. The last APS-C body I personally bought with my own money was the Sony A6500 and it feels good in my hands and it has great quality RAW file but terrible jpg's just like all the other Sony cameras. The shutter sounds very cheap with helplessly bad shutter shock, the rolling shutter in Electronic shutter mode is very bad and it gets even worse in video mode. But I never have the infamous heat issue with my A6500 in stills mode, just in video mode. My A6300 has terrible heat issue both in stills and in motion modes. I do not really have any issue with Sony menu system any more but I am already extremely used to it by using almost every single Sony AXXX and A7X camera........the short battery life issue is already solved since I have special USB charger for my mirrorless cameras and I have already collected 12 Sony batteries since the first NEX5. And to be fair to Sony, no other company mirrorless system has better battery life than these Sony cameras. So over all despite of the flawed mount design and questionable mechanical quality with terribly slow general operation speed of these cameras, I think Sony E mount system seems like still the best cost effective choice in the current mirrorless world with respect to simple body usability aspect of camera system, especially if you do not mind using fullframe lenses on an APS-C body.

The X-T2 is built like a tank but quite a bit heavier in the hand than the A6300 but not much heavier than the new A6500, which I also own and think also built like a tank.

The A7R2 is even heavier than the Fuji, albeit the lower quality body material used and poor body sealing quality. The Fuji is a much faster camera in the real world use, it shoots much faster than the A6300, the A7R2 or the A7M2 but the A6500 is even faster than the XT2 with a much longer lasting big buffer. However, the A6500 does not have any sort of external grip option that might have helped the balance of the system when a long tele photo lens is mounted on the camera, so the real life usability of the Fuji with a big AF lens is better than that of the A6500. The A6500 and the A6300 have very fast single shot AF and decent C AF in good light, so they should have had an external grip option for better balance with a big tele photo lens for action shooting.

The eye-detect AF and faceAF on the Fuji is just OK compared to the Sony's, but it is the only one aspect of AF performance where the Sony APS-C beats the Fuji XT2 or X-Pro2. But I am sure none of the current APS-C and FF mirrorless are as good as the upcoming GH5(that I've already pre-ordered and consider as a game-changer) with respect to AF performance and in general operation speed.

The Panasonic has the best AF in mirrorless world but even that is not even close to the decent Canon or Nikon D-SLR for action tracking. The D500 still blows anything from Sony, Fuji, Olympus out of the water and the AF performance gap in real lowlight between the best mirrorless and the mid level D-SLRs such as the D7200 and 80D is not getting smaller but bigger, IMHO, especially when a big telephoto lens is mounted on them. Mirrorless lowlight AF is actually not getting any better except with Panasonic system, this is a real shame. But all other areas of AF performance the Panasonic GH5 and the G85 are both better than any D-SLR, period. These two Panaosnics can focus down to minus 4EV without any issue, any D-SLR or other brand mirrorless cameras cannot even touch it with respect to extreme lowlight AF accuracy......The Sony A7MK2 on paper can focus down to the same level of lowlight minus 4EV, but in real life the Panasonic is a lot better in these extreme lowlight scenes.

The Jpeg quality of the Fuji is quite amazing and sometimes saves a lot of time, so I kind of appreciate that. But the Fuji XT2 or XP2, or even much cheaper new XT20 still have the infamous dust issue as with the Sony A7X and A6XXX........and this is the real reason I can never shoot my Sony or Fuji in Jpeg mode, I always need to remove about 46 dustspots in the sky whenever I use my XT2, A6300, A7M2, A7R2, or A6500, they really have severe dust issue and the worst of all the sensor of the A6500, the A7R2 and the A7M2 is very very difficult to clean safely without sending them in for Sony service center. The sensor of the Fuji's and the older Sony are at least much easier to clean without damaging the sensor or IBIS. I think the really effective automatic dust reduction system of the m43 is really underrated, and it is, I consider, one of these most effective real life weapons of the m43 system that Olympus and Panasonic might be able to effectively use against the others in their marketing or educational materials.

This is the main reason why I sold my A7X2 series cameras and kept my A6300/A6500 and A7R.

As for Fuji UI and controls initially I liked it and I was finding my way around the camera very easily and the Q menu of the Fuji system much easier and more logical to use than any Sony menu system, there is no comparison in this department and I think Sony should focus on this area and also the over all usability with increased operation speed of the camera "system". However, I quickly found out the amazing controls and UI of Fuji that all Fuji fanatics in Fuji rumor sites rave about is kind of working against me or many non retro prime shooters around me. I really hate the retro style bodies and controls inherited or borrowed from film era "my granpa generation", who was one of those anti-Vietnam war hipsters wearing crazy bell bottom jeans and flare shirts.

For me the film era UI and controls are very very difficult to use and very much stressful on my peace of mind. When I was shooting the XT2 there were times I literally felt wanting to throw it onto my grandpa's concrete car garage.....using it for a long period of time every day was that frustrating.

 

I think both the Fuji and the Sony system have serious lens issues; there is no thirdparty lens support other than obscure manual prime options from cheap obscure names. Zeiss makes a great set of primes for Sony and a couple for Fuji, but they are all primes.....

I think they need more great zooms than primes to become true rivals to Canon and Nikon system for really budget minded average camera buyers. I think they really need to persuade Sigma, Tamron, and Samyang to re-enter into the system.

Lack of any decent quality zoom in the so-called bread and butter focal range for the Sony or the Fuji mount system is a huge issue for many. There are no decent quality zooms in 100-400 range or 24-70mm FF equivalent range...........even if you accept to pay 2k for each zoom range. And in case of Sony, their 70-200mm f2.8GM OSS is a expensive but horrible lens with really bad quality control and copy to copy variation to date...

I have tested three copies of that lens and all of these 3 were terribly de-centered.

They all have terrible anti-flare coating and they all produced terrible green or magenta/ orange rainbow colored ghost and spot flare......and the distortion at the 70mm mark on this lens was simply monstorus, very very difficult to correct in PP. At the 200mm mark on this lens it gets even worse, the pinchusioning type of distortion at the 200mm mark on this lens is even harder to correct than the barrel type distortion at the 70mm mark.

If you are a pure prime shooter, then you might love the current great FE prime lineup and XF prime lineup, but for a mostly zoom shooter or for a documentary type of work that really requires a great mid range zoom, the Sony E system and the Fuji X system are both not great. Especially not great for those events where you do not want to change lenses over and over due to the dust issue or due to your shooting objects move fast, or you cannot simply zoom with your feet.

So while I think the Sony and the Fuji systems are really good for studio or landscape or location work where you can safely change lenses all the time and allowed to work on a tripod at very slow pace. But for any thing requires speed or a set of great 24-70 or 70-200 and 100-400 kind of zooms , they are just a pure joke, simply useless systems.

And for that type of works the DSLRs are much cheaper and much more trusted tools due to the much faster general operation speed, much better zoom lineup, much better third party lens support, much more reliable flash system,etc.

All that said both the Fuji and the Sony system are already very good for most of normal use cases and getting better and better every iteration, so I am quite positive about their short term future success.....but not very sure in the longer run............especially considering the fact Nikon and Canon will get more serious about their mirrorless offerings very soon.

And in case of Canon they are already no2 in mirrorless market only second to Olympus in total unit sales, and only second to Sony in market share by value.

I think if the Sony FE system and Fuji X system will not sell very well, or will not better the all Canon Nikon D-SLRs in unit based market share, no thirdparty will make a great set of zooms or any decent moderately fast primes at reasonable prices, and this extreme focus on highend market of Fuji and Sony may eventually hurt them seriously.

In order to get more NEW users coming into their systems they really need attractive lowend bodies like improved more rugged version of their X-A3 or A5100. In case of Fuji the cheap but very capable X-T20 may rectify this issue, but still they have very expensive (for those potential consumer body buyers)lens line issue and that must be fixed or they will slowly lose the momentum they've got since the XT2.

Personally, if I have to choose all from scratch again, then I would still choose the Sony system as my main system and maybe m43 to back it up for documentary work done while I am traveling. IMHO, the Olympus EM1MK2 or the Panasonic GH5 or the G85 based m43 system is much better than the Fuji X-T2 or X-T20 based system, at least much more practical with more stabilized lenses and much better flash capability.

So the m43 for action travel and video, the Sony FE for serious tripod work is still the logical choice for me.

 

I think Nikon is the best value system for most of things still, but I just cannot go back to D-SLR main, I feel it really odd whenever I look into the OVF of my D750. It feels really anachronistic and I do not like it at all, I always try hard to like it, though.

I really think Nikon needs a serious mirrorless system that fully utilizes all the current great Nikon F mount lenses at very least the E series lenses, or they will slowly falling into the irrelevant category.

After having owned about 22 Sony cameras in last 11 years or so, I have come to realize I can never fully trust Sony in the long run, and always looking for something else to move to or simply better value system, but I cannot find anything better than my current E mount set up just yet. But the continuously pushing the user base to their higher end products by incessantly replacing or discontinuing products that they do think not high-end enough or highly profitable enough for them eventually hurts them because this strategy will eventually exhaust many of their long time faithful users and at the same time it will scare potential new users away.

  

UPDATE: I interviewed many NORMAL camera buyers in my area at our camera shop and asked them to tell us about what was the main reason they did not buy so-called mirrorless any more, and why they think the market share of these mirrorless decreasing at least in the Western world and the already developed part of Asia such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea , Singapore and HK.

They answered to these questions carefully as we paid some $$ and I think we found out a few interesting things about the NORMAL camera buyers' perception/opinion about ILC cameras and the culture surrounding the camera business:

 

1 to them, if it requires a bag even a tiny one, it's really not important what kind of camera system it is; a mirrorless or a D-SLR, a m43 or a FF, it is just too big and simply too annoying to carry around. So they use their cellphone more even though many of them already have some sort of One cameras or cheap ILCs.

2 To most of NORMAL camera buying people here it really does not matter FF or m43 or APS-C or MF because they are all too difficult to operate and actually really not much different to each other in real life use(at least to them).

This means maybe the small sensor camera systems like the m43 and the Nikon One will all fail since there is no market for them. Not many average camera buyers are interested in ILC systems but fixed lens all around cameras with good one button wireless connection to their phones. And not many the fanatics get interested in these cause most of them are obsessed with the best IQ possible they can get out of a camera system. Thus Olympus, Nikon and Panasonic will definitely need a bigger sensor system to entice them.

3 they do not want a lens like Zeiss Otus or Sigma Art even if it is selling for $50 or less. In fact, any kind of lens interchangeability is not important to them, in fact it is really annoying, and if it is an all around just fixed lens camera like the Sony RX10MK3 , it is actually a better camera system than any type of ILC with a set of primes that most of camera forum denizens want. They should realize they are not the majority of camera buyers and making and selling exactly what they want does not actually help any of these camera makers........

To them a set of great dedicated APS-C primes may be an important part of a good camera system, but to most of NORMAL people it is just not an important or an alluring feature at all.

So as opposed to what Tony , Thom, and many other self-proclaimed experts in many camera forums think, a great set of APS-C dedicated primes will NOT help Nikon or Sony. In fact, outside of the forums most of people actually prefer ZOOMS.

4 To NORMAL people all interchangeable lens cameras are big and quite intimidating.

This means that the very common camera forum trend to get mirrorless for being less conspicuous in the public reason is a silly idea , no one actually cares about if it is a mirroless or a D-SLR, to them all interchangeable lens cameras are annoying and intimidating to most of non-photographers.......so if they really want to be less conspicuous they should try one of the One inch sensor fixed lens cameras.

 

So as I already pointed out, the camera makers should focus on developing fixed multi lenses multi sensored computational cameras with easy one-button wireless connectivity to the phones. The software must be intuitive and 21st century design rather than the current 1980 design, I think it should be user programmable and as Thom points out open the source code to the smart kids and then some of them will develop some good apps for them for free.

Remember why the 5DMK2 and the Panasonic GH2 became such huge hits? Because of the hacked firmwares, I think it is the key.

  

UPDATE2:The last two weeks or so, I have been testing my Batis 85mm f1.8 (I have 2 copies of it and I have access to 6 extra copies of it at my shop) vs the new Sony FE85mm f1.8.

And surprisingly enough I found the Sony cheap lens actually quite a bit sharper at f1.8 and probably throughout all f stops.

The bokeh or out of focus area rendition of the Batis seems to be a bit smoother, it has a bit less lateral CA, but it seems to be softer, actually obviously so. It is not a copy issue since I have also tested 6 extra Batis we have at our store.

Another big con of the Batis vs the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is that the Batis has noticeably more pincushion distortion , if you turn off the in camera lens correction, you will see it in the EVF of any Sony A7X camera.

The color tone is also different, the Batis produces a bit warmer color than the Sony and many say they prefer the look of Zeiss, but honestly if you objectively blind test it you will soon realize the Sony renders everything more naturally with a bit more neutral tone. Many Zeiss fanboys just say it is a Zeiss, so it is a special lens, well really? Not all Zeiss lenses are great, only a very few Zeiss are actually great, and these days everything is designed with computer with using the same software, so every lens in the same size range is actually identically sharp, no dramatic difference there, really..

The Tamron 85mm f1.8VC, the Batis 85mm f1.8E, the Sony FE85mm f1.8, are all similarly sharp wide open, and from f2.8 the Sony is noticeably better than the Batis and the Tamron.

I also prefer the cooler out of the camera color of the Sony lens over the Tamron and the Zeiss Batis.

Now, we all know that Zeiss is not a better lens designer than Sony or Tamron , or any one..........maybe this fact is really hard for the fanboys to admit, but it is the reality.

IMHO, the only one minor drawback of the new Sony FE85mm f1.8 is the a bit harsh out of focus area rendition in strong back lit scene, and I think almost all Sony FE lenses share this issue.

The AF of the FE85mm f1.8 is much faster than the AF of the Batis 85mm f1.8E, so for shooting my cats indoor, I think the Sony is a much better lens. For weddings, I think the Batis may be a bit better since it renders our of focus area a bit smoother in extreme back lit scene. However, I do not like the warmer color signature of the Batis and many Japanese Zeiss lenses. I suspect the actual lens designer for the Batis series is Tamron, and therefore they share very similar look to the Tamron 85mm f1.8VC. I may be wrong here but I think I am right since the look Batis series lenses share is quite different from my MF Zeiss lenses including my Loxia lenses and ZF ZE lenses.

It is sad but I have to admit that almost all Zeiss Batis and Loxia lenses are just ok , nothing really special about these, except the 25mm, which is my favorite lens, and Loxia 21mm f2.8 and may be also the 50mm f2 Loxia.

The 18mm f3.5 Batis is a poorly designed lens, really should not carry the Zeiss blue badge. The Batis 85mm f1.8E was a great lens, at least I thought so until I compared it to the new cheap Sony 85mm f1.8, but now it is the softest 85mm in the current Sony E mount lens line up. The FE85mm f1.8, the Tamorn 85mm f1.8VC, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art, the Sony 85mm f1.4GM are all sharper than the overpriced plastic coated bulky Batis 85m f1.8.

I am selling the Batis and get the Sony FE50mm f1.4 soon to replace my Loxia 50mm f2 and Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8.

 

But the most important change that this very humble Sony FE85mm f1.8 has induced in this industry is that it has kind of killed all charms of them43 system and the Fuji X.

The Fuji 56 f1.2 and the m43 fake Leica 42.5 mm f1.2 lens are great optically, but as a whole system, they are a much less capable system than a cheap Sony lens on a FF body.

  

UPDATE3: Recently, I decided to sell some of my Sony, Nikon, and Fuji gear and the results were really surprising.

 

I sold a couple of Fuji X-T2, a Sony A6500, a A6300, a A7R, a A7R2, three A7MK2. I also sold my Nikon D800E, D750, and D810.

 

The most expensive camera by far of the list was the A7R2, but surprisingly I got about identical amount of money for it to what I got for my much cheaper(as a brand new) D810. I paid about 3200 USD for my A7R2 in 2015 and shockingly it was devalued a lot more than I thought, I could only get about 1750 USD for it.

I must say it was a terrible loss.

I paid around 2000 US for my D810 in 2016, and got back about 1800 US for it in May 2017.

 

I got about 123000 yen for my X-T2, and I must say the resell value of this camera is great, I think Fuji has been controlling the price of this camera quite well. I just lost about 5000 yen on this camera and I have used it for more than 7 months, so it was a great deal. Renting it over 5 months and paid only 45 US or less, is an amazing deal.

 

I got offered only 72000 for my A7R and it was really pity, so I did not sell it.

 

I got only 64000 yen for my A6300, but I expected this so it was not really shocking, still it was a bad value camera, though. But it was replaced by the A6500, so I did not expect too much for this one.......

 

I got about 75000 yen for my A6500 and it was quite shocking, I expected to get more for that since I paid 118000 yen for it in last Oct.

 

I got 95000 yen for my A7MK2, it was quite sad, deplorable since it is a FF and cheaper than the X-T2 in the used camera market here.

I got about 134000 yen for my 2 year old D750, and it was a positive surprise. I did not expect to get this much of money for it since I paid only about 158000 yen for it in 2014.

 

So I realized Sony cameras seem to hold the worst resell value (by far) in Japan and my Thai friend told me in Thailand too.

I was about to sell my second A7R2, but I decided to keep it just for my FE16-35mm f4 and Voiklander 15mm f4.5 and Sony 85mm f1.8...

 

But the shocking loss by far this time was the Batis 85mm f1.8 or the Batis 18mm f2.8, I have lost a lot of money on those 2 lenses, and I did not expect this.....I thought I might get about 900 US for my Batis 85, but I got only about 630 US for it.

The 18mm Batis was even worse, I paid about 168000 yen for it in 2016..... and now I could get only about 98000 yen for it, it was the most shocking and the biggest loss by far, I never thought the resale value of the Batis 18mm f2.8 this bad.

  

So now I decided never buy any more Batis series lenses, I have lost too much on this terribly built so-called Zeiss(actually Tamron made) lenses.

  

UPDATE4: I am now in the process of replacing all my Sony E mount lenses(except a few) with Canon EF mount lenses.

I hated adapters, but after I tried the Sigma MC11, I changed my mind and I think it is much safer to use my Sony bodies with Canon lenses since Canon EF mount is the safest long term future proven mount, and the resell value of the super expensive Sony GM and so-called Sony Zeiss are too bad, the Batis line is even worse. So I think by selling off all expensive Sony E mount lenses that cannot be reused in any other mount system in the near future, I will be more secured and adding the Sigma adapter expand the possible AF lens selection for my FE bodies. After all, I realized that Sony FE zooms are all mediocre , even the most expensive GM ones.

 

I will replace my FE16-35mm f4 Z with a Canon EF16-35mm f4 L IS, I have compared ten copies of each and I am 100 percent sure the Canon is the better lens and cheaper one. In fact, the adapter plus the lens price is the same as the Sony FE16-35mm f4 Z alone. And another benefit of this lens over the FE16-35mm f4 Z is that the Canon lens does not extend its length when it zooms out or in.

 

I will also replace the FE24-70mm f4 with the EF24-70mm f4 LIS.

I will get the 40mm f2.8 STM, which is a surprisingly good lens for the modest size and price.

 

I will also add Sigma 135mm f1.8 Art, which is the sharpest lens ever produced by any one according to Photozone,de.

 

I also add Canon EF70-300mm f4-5.6IS MK2 lens, which is really cheap and for me it is a worth lens since I am not a serious telephoto shooter and so I do not want to invest over 100000 yen for a lens like FE70-300mm f4-5.6G, which is clearly overpriced.

 

I also add Tamron 35mm f1.8VC to replace my Sony FE 35mm f2.8 and Loxia 35mm f2, both of which I actually detest for the terrible corner quality and terrible coma(in case of the Loxia).

 

I may also add the amazing Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC G2, which is about half the price of the Sony FE70-200mmf2.8GM, and in my experience, the Tamron is the sharper lens(I compared 4 copies of each once at my shop).

 

I will keep my FE85mm f1.8, which is one of the best 85mm primes ever made and I much prefer this to the overpriced oversized GM and my plastic coated cheap looking Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8E lens.

 

I will also keep my Voiktlander 15mm f4.5 and 12mm f5.6.

  

UPDATE5: Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their digital-imaging division(Sony DI) and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use-only. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.....and Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many armchair experts in many camera fora think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. No one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features... I think Sony should try to be an Intel of camera.

 

UPDATE6:I attended a few academic conferences in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. And I visited many many very crowded tourists venues there and I have come to realize the death of real camera thing is nothing but extremely exaggerated by those silly clickbait sites. There were many many people still using a REAL ILC camera along with their smartphones.

Then what is the problem I've found there?

Well there were a very few people using so-called mirrorless there , especially the high-end mirrorless cameras like theA7R/A7R2,theA7M2, the X-T2, the X-P2, etc. I saw many m43 cameras even the EM1MK2 and GH5, I also spotted many people with XT20, A6300, etc, but I never spotted any A7R2, A7M2, XT2,etc......even at the most crowded tourist places like Kinkaku-ji temple, Kobe Great earthquake museum, Kiyomizudera temple, etc.

And that makes me worry about the long term future of so-called Mirrorless, if Sony and Fuji actually going under before Nikon?

 

To be honest, there are many many Nikon shooters and of course Canon guys and girls, but no A7 or XT2 guys at all.

 

In my last academic conferences in Tokyo area, I found it the same, and in Bangkok and Korea I did not see any Fuji or Sony high-end mirrorless bodies at all.

And more worrying fact was that there were so many Chinese tourists there with big cameras, but none of them shooting a Sony or a Fuji, that makes me really nervous about the future of Sony.

 

Sony is investing a lot of money very quick into the FE system but the ship seems to be sinking. I think the stupid shill marketing and silly "mirrorless taking over the entire industry "hype generated by Fuji and Sony paid internet sites is not at all working for them , but maybe working against them.

  

The temporal D800 success in the camera forums made Nikon this stupid!

   

COPACABANA BEACH - RIO DE JANEIRO

 

FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / FLICKR / TWITTER

photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

 

To see more pictures from Copacabana click below:

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro

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thank you for your visit and comments ...

dziekuje za wizyte i komentarze... (Polish)

gracias por su visita y comentarios ... (Spanish)

obrigado por sua visita e comentários... (Portugese)

la ringrazio per la vostra visita e commenti ... (Italian)

je vous remercie de votre visite et commentaires ...(French)

ich danke Ihnen für Ihren Besuch und Kommentare ...(German)

поблагодарить Вас за Ваш визит и комментарии ... (Russian)

訪問とコメントをお寄せいただきありがとうございます... (Japanese)

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谢谢您的访问和评论... (Chinese)

شكرا لك على الزيارة والتعليقات... (Arabic)

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Copacabana is Rio de Janeiro's most vibrant and eclectic district, with countless attractions for locals and visitors. With over 160 thousand residents, it's almost a city within itself. The beach, landmark buildings, legendary nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques, and the trademark sidewalks are more than enough to captivate you. As you walk around and discover the parks, squares, sights, and especially the people, you will become a fan for life.

 

Copacabana is one of the reasons why people fall in love at first sight with Rio. The Princess of the Sea is one of the best areas for you to stay, with a higher concentration of hotels than any other neighborhood in town. Like Ipanema and Leblon, Copacabana and Leme share the same beach. This is where Rio's New Year's Celebrations happen, attracting 2 million people every year.

 

The name Copacabana has a Bolivian origin. Historians trace it to a XVII century image of Our Virgin Lady of Copacabana, brought by the Portuguese from a small village around distant Lake Titicaca. It was installed in a chapel that would later be demolished for the construction of Forte de Copacabana.

 

Until the late XIX century Copacabana was considered a distant area. It was covered with sand, dunes and shrubs - not unlike Barra in the 60's. A small fishermen's village concentrated most of the dwellers. The neighborhood only started to grow with the opening of Tunel Velho, connecting it to Botafogo and Downtown.

 

The inauguration of the Av. Atlantica along the beach around the 1900's was a major turning point. When Copacabana Palace Hotel opened its doors in 1923, romance and glamour became Copacabana trademarks. Neoclassical and art-nouveau skyscrapers (4 to 12 stories high) added a touch of sophistication and wealthy Cariocas started to move to the suspended mansions.

 

Copacabana today is one of Rio's most democratic and eclectic neighborhoods. There are penthouses and apartments along the beach that are easily worth more than a million dollars. There are also buildings with as many as thirty tiny studio apartments on the same floor, and no parking garage.

 

Copacabana is perfectly suitable for walking tours, as it is basically flat, and distances are relatively small. To better understand the diversity of the neighborhood we suggest you take your time, and use one or two days exploring all possibilities. Copacabana has a little (and sometimes a lot) of everything, and there's fun for everyone.

 

Wake up early and watch the sun rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. Somewhere else in Copacabana, at this very same time, fishermen are pulling their nets, senior citizens are going for their daily walk and dip in the sea, the first batch of fresh-baked bread is ready for sale at dozens of bakeries, and bouncers of Lido nightclubs are finally calling it a night.

 

If Rio is a city that never sleeps, Copacabana is on an guarana overdose. Copacabana Beach is where to spend New Year's Eve, a party that attracts two million people from all over the world. The fireworks festival and the stages with live music shows are a big plus, but the Cariocas are the main attraction. Most everybody dresses in white, a tradition to bring peace and good luck.

 

Copacabana keeps a close relationship with its neighbors. Walk South and after you pass Posto 6, it's 5 minutes to Arpoador and Ipanema. Go North to Leme. Lagoa is Southwest, a short tunnel leads you to Botafogo, Flamengo and Downtown.

 

This is the neighborhood of Rio with the highest concontration of hotels, and there are options in all price ranges. They tend to be lower-priced than their counterparts in Ipanema and Leblon.

 

BELOW INFO COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA

 

Copacabana is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the Zona Sul (southern zone) of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km balneario beach, which is one of the most famous in the world.

 

The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the tupi language, it means "the way of the socós (a kind of bird)" until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.

 

Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches: one, inside Fort Copacabana and other, right after it: Diabo (Devil) Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers used to go after its perfect waves, comes in the sequence, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema. The area will be one of the four Olympic Zones during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

 

Copacabana beach stretches from Posto Dois (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Leme is at Posto Um (lifeguard watchtower One). There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end by Posto Seis and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. One curiosity is that the lifeguard watchtower of Posto Seis never existed.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and residential buildings dot the promenade. The Copacabana promenade is a pavement landscape in large scale (4 kilometres long). It was completed in 1970 and has used a black and white Portuguese pavement design since its origin in the 1930s: a geometric wave. The Copacabana promenade was designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

 

Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revelers during the annual New Year's Eve celebrations and, in most years, has been the official venue of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

 

More than 40 different bus routes serve Copacabana, as do three subway Metro stations: Cantagalo, Siqueira Campos and Cardeal Arcoverde.

Three major arteries parallel to each other cut across the entire borough: Atlantic Avenue, which is a 6 lane 4 km avenue by the beachside, Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Avenue and Barata Ribeiro/Raul Pompéia Street both of which are 4 lanes and 3.5 km in length. Barata Ribeiro Street changes its name to Raul Pompéia Street after the Sá Freire Alvim Tunnel. Twenty-four streets intersect all three major arteries, and seven other streets intersect some of the three, but not all.

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

 

The Cariocas (Rio locals) have a saying: God made the world in seven days, and the eighth he devoted to Rio de Janeiro. Given its oceanfront setting, protected by Guanabara Bay and lounging between sandy shores and forested granite peaks, you might forgive the hyperbole.

 

Sugar Loaf Mountain rises vertically out of the azure Atlantic, while Christ the Redeemer, arms wide open, watches over the city from atop Corcovado Mountain. You’ll find beaches for strolling or watching the locals play volleyball, and the galleries and museums of the arty, bohemian Santa Teresa district. Visiting the vibrant favelas (shanty towns) gains you an utterly different perspective (not to mention great views) of one of South America’s most intoxicating metropolises.

 

Known around the world as the Wonderful City, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect combination of sea, mountain and forest.

 

Stunning natural sceneries, a free-spirited and welcoming people that transform anything into a party, and world-famous iconic monuments. These are the elements that make Rio de Janeiro a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable destination.

 

The enviable collections in Rio’s museums hold fascinating treasures telling the tale of its 450 years of history. Land of the Carnaval and Samba, the city also offers countless theaters, concert venues, business centers and restaurants open year-round.

 

But it is the combination between geographical traits – the sea, mountains and forests – and human culture that makes Rio de Janeiro such a unique city. Almost the entire city is surrounded by dazzling landscapes. Rio was the world’s first city to be listed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

 

In addition to its most famous attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer – an art deco statue of Jesus Christ – and Pão de Açúcar – a mountain range –, the city also offers endless programs involving nature, adventure, religion, history and culture, such as walks through the Botanical Garden and the Santa Teresa tram, visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art, and the possibility of jumping over the Pedra Bonita ramp and flying across the city.

 

Sports are also very important among cariocas (as those born in Rio are nicknamed). It is really no surprise that the Wonderful City was chosen to host the Rio 2016:tm: Olympic Games. There are always volleyball, soccer and footvolley matches being played anywhere across the city’s 90 km of beaches. The city is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as Pedra da Gávea and Bico do Papagaio.

 

The Tijuca National Park – the world’s largest urban forest – is also a great place for walks and other sports, such as rock climbing and free flight. In addition to preserving the Atlantic Forest, the Park protects springs and basins, such as those of the Carioca and Maracanã rivers, which supply water to part of the city.

 

Things to see and do in Rio de Janeiro

 

Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain

The statue’s iconic stance was not, in fact, the original design: earlier blueprints showed Christ carrying a cross. In the finished result, Christ himself makes the shape of the cross, his outstretched arms signifying a gesture of peace, as if he’s embracing the whole city beneath his feet. Peering up at the 30 m (98 ft) statue from its base, you begin to see the patchwork of weathered greenish-grey tiles covering its surface, and the lightning rods crowning the head like thorns.

 

Created by French and Romanian sculptors and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was commissioned by the Catholic Circle of Rio as a response to the ‘godlessness’ of society post World War I. Although Cristo Redentor (as it’s called in Portuguese) can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, getting up close to the statue reveals otherwise invisible details, such as the outline of a heart bulging from the chest. Just inside the base is a minuscule chapel where multilingual masses are held.

 

The best way of getting to the viewing platforms below the statue’s pedestal is to take the cog wheel train up through Tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, on Corcovado. On a clear day, you can look out over downtown Rio and the bay. Yet visiting the statue on a rainy day can be equally rewarding, as the crowds mostly scatter and you have the views to yourself.

 

Sugar Loaf Mountain

In a city that’s not short of panoramic viewpoints, the summit of this smooth granite monolith at the mouth of Guanabara Bay offers one of the finest. A three minute cable car journey takes you to the top, from where you can look back at Rio. In the foreground, tropical forest (where several rare orchid species grow) covers the lower part of the mountain, while Christ the Redeemer appears like a tiny stick man saluting you from a distant pinnacle.

 

From this vantage point, you can see just how much Rio is sliced up by hills and peaks, such as the ridge separating Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In the day, look out for rock climbers scaling Sugar Loaf’s four faces, but the ideal time to visit is sunset when the city becomes bathed in soft amber light.

 

The Avenida Atlântica promenade

One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting a feel for Rio is by strolling the promenade of the Avenida Atlântica. This 4 km (2.5 miles) oceanside avenue stretches from the area of Leme, near Sugar Loaf Mountain, to the end of Copacabana Beach.

 

The promenade’s striking Portuguese-style paving runs in geometric waves alongside Leme and Copacabana beaches. The beaches are Rio’s great social melting pot and locals from all walks of life, from the wealthy quarters and the favelas alike, come here to relax. On Sundays, the sand becomes near-invisible under a sea of parasols.

 

Looking out to the beaches, you’ll see games of volleyball (and soccer-volleyball, a home-grown variant), exercise classes, paddle boarders, sunbathers, surfers and gaggles of children. Groups gather around slacklines hitched up between palm trees. Workout stations are posted at intervals along the beaches. Shacks rent out parasols and kiosks sell coconuts, acai and other fresh juices, as well as the ubiquitous caipirinhas (the national cocktail, made with sugarcane liquor and lime), while roving vendors ply the sands touting ice-cold drinks. In the evening, saxophonists and other street musicians set up shop on the promenade.

 

The Rio Scenarium Club in Lapa

By day, Rio’s Lapa district is a compact, quiet area of restored 19th-century pastel mansions that speak of old Lisbon. By night, it roars into life. These faded colonial façades house bars, traditional barbecue restaurants and clubs that pound with the sounds of samba (and all its variations), bossa nova, Brazilian jazz, reggae from Bahia, and even Brazil’s own takes on rock and pop. The rhythms spill over into the streets, as do the clientele. On a weekend, the area around the Arcos da Lapa, a bright white aqueduct, is closed off to traffic and given over to the party goers and samba bands.

 

One of the best clubs is Rio Scenarium, a three-decker nightspot-come-antique-store idiosyncratically decorated with clocks, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, bright upholstery and other eccentric touches. It has a mezzanine overlooking the stage area, where musicians play everything from samba to forró. The latter is a fast-paced music style from northeastern Brazil and a striking partner dance involving much skipping and spinning.

 

Tour the favelas

Shanty towns are a disquieting but undeniable part of Rio. Endless-seeming jumbles of ramshackle shacks with corrugated iron roofs cling to the hills and mountainsides around Rio, intersected with narrow alleys, steep staircases and sluggish funiculars. They’re informal settlements originally built without planning permission as Rio expanded and workers flocked to the city but couldn’t afford the rents nor the commute from the cheaper suburbs. Today they’re undergoing a pacification process. The best way to visit them is via a favela tour with a guide who is able to help you explore these resourceful communities in a sensitive and respectful way.

 

Santa Marta is a particularly eye-catching favela, with houses that have been painted in vivid rainbow hues. Shops display bright hand-painted illustrations and murals showcasing their wares and services. Walls are emblazoned with graffiti and political messages. Lines of laundry and many a Brazilian flag are strung up between dwellings. Look out too for the mosaic mural and statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed his music video for They Don’t Care About Us here.

 

The Santa Teresa district

A rickety tram ride takes you to the top of the hill where this area of colonial old Rio begins. Its cobbled streets and belle époque mansions evoke its fin-de-siècle heyday, when industrialists, rich from Brazil’s coffee industry, moved there in droves. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the area was rediscovered by artists and creatives. Their traces live on in the district’s galleries, studios, handicraft shops and little backstreet bistros.

 

A number of historic buildings are found here, from an 18th-century convent to a 19th-century castle. The Parque das Ruinas, the shell of a mansion destroyed in a fire, is now a public park that offers some sweeping views over the downtown and bay area.

 

Climb the steps of the Escadaria Selarón

Covered in a mosaic of deftly painted tiles in the three shades of the Brazilian flag, this celebrated flight of steps is found in Lapa. Its creator, the Chilean painter Jorge Selarón, intended the steps as a tribute to his adopted country and spent years hunting down the scraps of tiles used in their design. Later, he added red tiles to surround the steps, admiring the ‘vivacity’ of this shade. On his death, local people carpeted the escadaria in candles.

 

The staircase has since been widely embraced by both the local community and the international media, providing the backdrop to many commercials and music videos.

 

Tijuca Atlantic Forest

A designated national park, this tropical rainforest is a contender for the title of the world’s largest urban forest. It’s a dense meandering mass of vegetation, home to wildlife including coatimundis and sloths, and exotic flora such a lobster-claw plants and birds of paradise. Shafts of sunlight pierce the tall canopy, lighting up the many hiking trails and walkways that crisscross the forest. Waterfalls cascade down rock faces and occasionally the greenery gives way to man-made viewpoints where you can look down over the rest of the forest, the beaches, the district of Lagoa, Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf.

 

You can explore the forest through guided walks and 4x4 tours which take you to the best viewpoints.

 

Best time to visit Rio de Janeiro

December to February is high season, and although there’s a lot going on (including Carnival) the city can get extremely busy. July and August sees the coolest temperatures. The months of March and April, and September and October, offer clement, sunny weather and fewer crowds, but it’s safe to say that the city can be a year-round destination.

 

Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit

Rio de Janeiro is at its most lively and exuberant during Carnival, when the samba schools dance and parade through the streets in kaleidoscopic, highly imaginative costumes or ride flamboyantly themed giant floats, and the air is full of cheers, whistles and drumming. Carnival takes place annually in February and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s followed by the Winners’ Parade the week after, which is a little more accessible to visitors and still offers the same exultant, high-quality performances.

 

LINKS:

 

www.rio.com

www.VisitBrasil.com

www.RioDeJaneiro.com

www.Brazil.org - Rio de Janeiro

 

Conde Nast Traveler - Rio de Janeiro

Travel Channel - Rio de Janeiro

Lonely Planet - Rio de Janeiro

Trip Advisor - Rio de Janeiro

 

Audley Travel - Tours in Rio and rest of Brazil

VIATOR - Tours & Activities in Rio de Janeiro

 

US News - Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro

NY Times - 36 hours in Rio de Janeiro

WIKIPEDIA - Rio de Janeiro

 

JW MARRIOTT in Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

casamarquesrio.com

Singer 28k made in 1940 at the Kilbowie factory, Clydebank, Scotland

 

I've been searching for a working vintage machine for several years, and was delighted to find this in a local garage sale. It was covered in dust and grime having been abandoned and unloved in an attic for a long time. It was also missing some crucial parts which we've managed to source, and yet beneath the grime I could see a fine machine waiting to be restored.

 

We've taken it all apart (husband is a precision engineer), cleaned and lubricated every single nut and bolt, polished the metal parts and waxed and polished the body and the woodwork and hey presto it now purrs and stitches perfectly. I'm absolutely delighted with the result, and I can even sit and sew in the garden without the need for electricity - happy days!

(photo unedited: Crystal star on burgundy

-- A small boy at a garage sale found a treasure, unopened, in the box.

Now I pass it on to you. May your day be full of beautiful light!)

 

Espanol abajo..

 

The Gift of King Harmen: a fable about happiness Draft 9 Feb 14, 2008, all rights reserved.

 

Once upon a time in a land encircled by snowcapped mountains, the great King Harmen wanted all the people in his kingdom to be happy. For many days he sat quietly in his royal purple robes and thought, “How can I help my people? What can I give them for them to be happy?” Finally he decided to call the wisest counselors of the land to help him, sending word to the edges of the kingdom. After many days the counselors began to arrive.

 

The moon was full and casting moonshadows when Counselor Pensa rode in quietly, gently from the North. The tiny crystals on her deep green gown sparkled like frost in the moonlight. The mane of her lean white mare, and her own long white hair flowed around her expressionless face in silent smoky circles. The sun was at its highest when Counselor Dramo thundered in from the South the following afternoon. He looked very much in charge in his sunny yellow cloak over short dark hair, smiling atop his golden stallion, with almost no shadow at all.

 

Early the next morning, Counselor Nansi calmly arrived from the East, walking in long, slow, steady strides through the mist. His pale blue robes fluttered behind him and brushed gently against his walking stick and the dark skin of his friendly face and weathered hands. Finally, that evening Counselor Delta's carriage was seen at a distance arriving from the West, so the other counselors and the king came out to the courtyard to meet her. Stepping from the carriage, she cast a long shadow across the smooth paving stones. She stood with her hands on her hips taking it all in, looking around at those gathered. The last rays of the setting sun flashed off the buttons on the sides of her boots, glinted off the buckle of her red tunic, and shone off her jet black hair. The king spoke to them all.

 

“Welcome, dear travelers. I am very pleased you have all arrived safely,” began the king, “I wish for my people to be happy. I have asked you here because I hope you, wise counselors, will help me to learn what I can give to them so that they will be happy.” So the counselors from the four directions all went in with the king to his inner rooms, and the five of them, this Council, discussed the matter long into the night. By the orange light of the fire, they drank tea and ate oranges, and considered all types of things that might make the people happy. They talked about giving the people gold, or games, or jewels. They talked of giving them food, or livestock, or musical instruments. They talked of magic and machines, the moon and the stars, but they were not decided what would make the people happy. Finally they slept.

 

Next morning the Council awoke to a crowd of people outside in the courtyard who had heard that the wisest of the land were inside. They wished to get help with their problems, so the king and the counselors agreed to hear them. A circle of nine cushions was set up in the shade of a large maple tree; five seats for the Council and four for those who wished to speak to them. So when the Council was seated, the people came up four at a time to speak. By the end of the day, sixteen people had spoken to the Council, and they became known as the Speakers. This is who they were and what they said:

 

In the first group a young man named Hutri, a keeper of pigs (who held in his lap a small piglet who kept trying to eat the maple leaves), complained, “People look down on us because our business is hard, dirty work. Is this right?” Then next from a blacksmith family there was a sturdy young boy named Peglo with a chain for a belt. He spoke in a strained voice, “My family and the family across the lake are always fighting and feuding. What in the world should I do?” Cona, a young girl in a big floppy hat that protected her from the sun as she tended her orchard, said, “Why do the people on the other side of the village get to live closer to the water, and I have to carry it twice as far?” For a young lady named Deba the problem was, “My older sister always wants to win, and get the best of everything. How can I keep from being angry and blowing up at her all the time?”

 

These questions were not easy to answer, so King Harmen asked the people to take a mid-morning rest and had cookies and milk brought out to them as the Council talked among themselves and thought about what the people had said. After some time, Counselor Pensa, who was a great thinker with a powerful mind, spoke for the Council. “It seems to me, “ she began in a very even voice, brushing her white hair (and a bit of a cookie crumb) away from her pale face, “that all of these problems can be worked out quite well if we work on how we think.”

 

“Hutri: Each of you has given me a lesson about how we need to look at things to be happier. You are doing useful work, and others who look down on you would do well to develop Humility, and not to act as if they are better in some way. We all have to do humble work sometimes, just like each leaf on this tree has a job to do. If we do our part as if it is noble and great, then we are noble, and it will matter less to us what others say.

 

Peglo: For those who have a history of fighting we need to develop Patience for the point of view of others. This can stop the chain of hurtfulness, and in time it can bring the season of fighting to an end, as the waves calm down to still water. Help everyone see that each person is a brother, a sister, each life is precious.

 

Cona: Those who always want more than they have will never be happy until they develop Contentment and realize how much they have already. You have what you need if you don't feed your greed.

 

And finally, Deba: There is happiness in daily pleasures and in our own successes, but also joy in celebrating the victory of others. If we can feel both types of Delight, we will have twice the happiness.” Counselor Pensa finished by saying, “This is what we have learned by studying the world around us and within us,” and she closed her eyes and was silent once again.

 

The king invited those who had been heard to stay on and rest in comfort, and he called the next group of four to come sit with the Council. A sad-looking woman named Kaipo spoke first, wringing her hands, and nervously adjusting her scarf. “I want to find a way to set up a hospital, but I have failed several times, how can I go on? I just don't know...” she could not finish, and her crying sent diamonds into the dust until she hid her face with her hands. Next to her, a tall man with fancy clothes and golden chains around his neck had been fidgeting with the coins in his pocket. Now he impatiently spoke up, “I am Hodi, and I have been robbed at the market.” It seemed he had borrowed money and thought he was overcharged. Two small children waited to speak, holding hands as they sat together trying to be brave: a little girl with freckles and curls the color of cornsilk called Genca, and a small boy with red hair and a comic book in his pocket, called Spibu. When the king asked why they had come, they spoke for each other. Genca shared, “Spibu's afraid to go to school because his classmates call him names.” Spibu thought for a minute then spoke for her, saying, “Genca is sad because the other children won't share their toys with her.” Happy to help each other explain, they both felt a little better. “Thank you for coming,” encouraged the king.

 

Again, the Council asked the people to rest, this time having a noontime snack of cheese and fruit brought out to them as they talked about what the people had said. Finally, when all had eaten, Counselor Dramo, who quite enjoyed the attention himself, and who knew the effect the sunshine had on his golden cloak, stood up tall in the bright light of day, and began his lively presentation. “The four who spoke to us just now have told of problems that can be changed for the better, but it will take all of us working together to do it. After talking in Council, we have decided that the key is to work on how we act. Think of the effect of each of your thoughts and each of your actions.

 

Kaipo: You are showing great Kindness to others by starting this hospital, but you need to also be kind to yourself. Do your best, but don't over do it. Care for others, keep trying, and you will inspire others to help you to make a little progress every day toward your goal.

 

Hodi: You are known in the market, and although someone there may have done wrong by you, there are some debts you owe as well. This will work for you: develop your Honesty, pay your debts back on time, and your good name will help you in the future.

 

Genca and Spibu: It was thoughtful and generous of you to support each other, and your comments were well spoken. Genca: it would be wonderful if all were generous and would share what they have when it could help someone else. Spibu: it is true that our words are very powerful and can help or harm. Your classmates would be wise to think more and speak less. So we as a Council ask all the older children and adults to try their best to set good examples for the children and each other by developing Generosity and Thoughtful Speech.”

 

Counselor Dramo finished, “We can lead by example if we listen more and speak less. If we share when we have enough.” And with that he made a deep bow, then sat down again. Kaipo acted less nervous, and Hodi acted less proud as they helped Genca and Spibu over to the others who had already spoken.

 

The king called up the next four to sit with the Council. The first of these was one of the elders called Resco who was brought a special chair, because he was bent over resting on a cane. He quietly pulled out a small scroll he had brought with him and read what he had prepared. “I have lived a long time and know a few things about my bookbinding business, but my family thinks I'm too old to listen to. They ignore me and tell me to go away. I want to help! What can I do?” As he put away the scroll, a girl with a very red face got ready to speak. She looked to be a potter by the mud on her elbows, and she looked like she had been crying. “I'm called Fola, and I want to know what you're going to do about the man that knocked over a pot in my shop and broke it. He said it was an accident, and I tried to fix it, but it leaks and this makes me sad. This time when he came in I tried to throw a knife at him and it cut me! Just look at it!” and she held out a bandaged hand. When she had calmed down a little, a woman called Graca spoke. She was wearing a neat white apron and helping the small child she held in her lap to blow his nose. “My mother has just come to live with me, and I don't know how I will take care of her in our house as I have my own children to tend to.” Finally, the last person to speak, a young woman known as Riche began her story. “I always wanted to go to school but had to be there to help my family. They depend on me. I'd like to check school off my list, but I'm too old to go to a regular school now. Could I start a school for people like me?”

 

This time as the Council asked the people who had spoken to rest, they had tea and biscuits with honey and butter brought to all those who had spoken and the four who were left to speak. The Council considered what the people had said. Finally, when they were all full of warm tea and biscuits, Counselor Nansi took his turn smiling, his blue robe gathering at his feet. He slowly reached up to a tree branch and pointed with a long, dark finger, saying, “Do you see that spider web? It is a reminder that we are all connected. We depend on each other, and we could be happier if we relate to each other better by developing Respect, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Responsibility.

 

Resco: you remind us that we should Respect and serve our elders and give honor to those who came before us because of their knowledge and wisdom. Very few of us would get far without our teachers and others who have taught us.

 

Fola: None of us is perfect, so we will make mistakes and will require Forgiveness. This is the best we can do in a human world. Holding a grudge is the blade that will cut you if you try to hold onto it. Forgive and you will feel better.

 

Graca: You are already giving great service to your children, but what your mother asks of you is but a small part of what she gave to you. Perhaps your children can watch the care you give her and develop their own Gratitude for all you do, by your example of thanking the one who helped you when you were small.

 

Riche: You have been the dependable one. Now take Responsibility to be the change you want to see for yourself and others. Go ahead and start that school, and stick with it through thick or thin, good times and bad..” With that, Counselor Nansi finished speaking and gently folded his big hands back in his lap.

 

The king called the final group of four. The first was a young man unknown to the local people. He was dressed in a strange style with baggy pants and white shoes. “My name is Prindi. I have lost my compass and lost my way. I have made mistakes. I want to make a new start here. May I stay?” A woman known as Asta had always wanted to start a bakery. With stars in her eyes, she said, “I have heard of a new way of baking in another village, but I don't know how to begin or if I can do it. Should I reach for somethi