Sunday, February 20, 2011

Twin cameras... (updated)

I have sometimes thought, like when looking at the new Fujifilm X100, that somebody like Fuji, instead of making a possible exchangeable-lens camera with all the compromises that involves, or the size it would need for a zoom camera with a large sensor, to make just two cameras.

Many enthusiast photographers, the only thing they really miss when they have a good street camera with a moderate wide-angle lens like the Fuji's 35mm-equivalent, is a lens for portraits and moderate tele work. To get the soft backgrounds, and the better perspective for portrait work.

Thus you could have your wide scenes in the upcoming X100, and you might have an X101 or whatever, with a 90mm-equivalent lens, hopefully a fast lens and hopefully also quite compact. This can be done, as seen for example with Pentax's excellent and very compact 70mm F:2.4 lens.

Admittedly it would be ridiculous to most people to buy two cameras, when zoom lenses and smaller sensors make really fine pictures, but for hardcore enthusiasts, there really is a difference in quality, and and the strong interest in the X100 demonstrates that this group may not be so small as one might think.

... You know, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever heard of any dedicated portrait/short-tele camera. I'd really like to see one, it could be very cool.

Mike Johnston of tOP educates me:
I think we'll actually see this if the X100 does well. 
The best-known camera that took this approach was the Rolleiflex; aside from the ubiquitous normal-lensed Rolleis there was the Rollei Wide and the Tele-Rollei, with 55mm and 135mm lenses respectively. 

There was a Minolta point-and-shoot (I think--maybe a Konica?) that had a two-position-only lens--you had a choice of 40mm or 80mm, but nothing in between. 

For years I photographed with a Contax and two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm....


Miserere said...

Fuji has a history of making medium format film cameras with fixed lenses in two flavours, so it wouldn't surprise me if the Fuji X100N (they like adding a letter to the 2nd camera's name) has a 35mm f/1.8 lens, to complement the X100's 23mm.

How much does a high quality, all metal 35mm f/1.8 lens cost? If it were a Canon L or Leica, definitely over $1,000. So instead of buying a 2nd lens for your Canon or Leica camera, you're simply buying another camera with a different lens on it...for less money! Actually seems like a good deal :-)

eolake said...

Sounds good, except a 35mm is only a normal lens on that sensor. I'd prefer a 60mm lens, 90mm-equivalent.

Marcelo Metayer said...

Do not forget the strange (and beatiful( Kodak V570, with two lenses... One of 23mm (eq.) and a 39-117 zoom.

eolake said...

Back in the Instamatic 110 days (, I had an Agfa camera with two lenses, you slid one away to be replaced by the other.

The negative was very small, though, 13x17mm. (Fuck, I actually remembered that correctly!) So quality was horrible.