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Author Topic: Do I really need my full-frame DSLR any more?  (Read 13756 times)
bobtowery
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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2011, 03:21:06 PM »
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I think if you are getting results you are happy with and the handling experience works for you, why not use the lighter/smaller/cheaper gear?

I had a Canon 1DIII since its release, then picked up a lightly used 5DII, mainly for one trip. Well, I fell in love with the IQ and the smaller form factor pretty quickly. The 1DIII started getting left behind.. I finally sold it.

I have a bag (or two) of Canon L primes and feel like I can shoot nearly anything I want, and the 5DII IQ is great for my purposes. But when I have to haul that gear...

Enter the GH2. Got mine in January. Maybe I should do a trip like Michael where this is my only camera for a couple of months. It certainly performs well and the form factor is great. What bothers me though is the handling. Maybe it is 10+ years with Canon digital bodies? None of the controls feel really right to me. Changing ISO is hard to do while looking through the viewfinder (maybe more practice). I don't really like having to push in on the main dial for its secondary function. Battery life is atrocious - no chimping. ISO past 800 is not usable for me.

I'm mainly using two zooms, the 14-140 and the 100-300.

So I have been thinking... the GH2 is great for casual stuff. But like this fall I'll be going to San Miguel. I could go with the GH2 and the two zooms. Well, why not the same thing with the Canon? Get off my "prime high horse." Take the 24-70 and newly acquired 70-300mm, that's it. This is "carryable" and "carry-on-able." And I have a much more capable camera and better lenses.  Weight is more, but is manageable. I don't have the (effective) 600mm reach of the 100-300, but I can live with that.

Interesting conundrum and I'm glad to have the choices...



It's a lot easier to shoot the GH2 out of airliner windows I must confess though...

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feppe
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2011, 05:48:11 PM »
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Enter the GH2. Got mine in January. Maybe I should do a trip like Michael where this is my only camera for a couple of months. It certainly performs well and the form factor is great. What bothers me though is the handling. Maybe it is 10+ years with Canon digital bodies? None of the controls feel really right to me. Changing ISO is hard to do while looking through the viewfinder (maybe more practice). I don't really like having to push in on the main dial for its secondary function. Battery life is atrocious - no chimping. ISO past 800 is not usable for me.

UI is a common complaint with Panasonic MFT cameras. I'd recommend checking out E-Px cameras from Olympus, they are quite good in that regard. For example, I believe the new E-P3 has 4 programmable buttons.
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uaiomex
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2011, 06:12:54 PM »
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And for sneaking in between zoo cage bars but other than that, nothing beats a true dslr, either aps or FF. Anything else is a compromise or a convenience.
Eduardo


It's a lot easier to shoot the GH2 out of airliner windows I must confess though...


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Tim Gray
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2011, 08:17:21 PM »
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Regardless of whether its FF, APS, P&S, MFT, LF, MF or Smart/cell Phone they all give up something to get something else.
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aaykay
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2011, 09:40:34 PM »
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I have a Sony A900 (FF 24.6MP) and an APS-C (A55).  The A55 was primarily used for video (and stills too) but I just bought a Sony Cybershot model, DSC-HX-100V (reviewed by Michael), which can shoot 1080 60P and provide a 27mm-810mm range, and thus thinking of getting rid of the A55.  The downside is that the cybershot does not shoot RAW, which is definitely a big minus for me.

I find that when it comes to mission critical stuff (I am not a professional), I always gravitate to the A900 (and not the A55) and for the walkaround stuff and video, the HX-100V will get the job done, even though being a small sensor product, it is not going to win any rave reviews for image quality in challenging light.

Sure, I don't enjoy carrying all of that weight when shooting with the A900 (the big f/2.8 zooms and the large aperture primes) etc., but the luscious images that the A900 + 135/1.8 spits out is just unbeatable in 35mm land.  There are rumors that a high resolution SLT Full-frame is on the way in 2012, and when that appears, my A900 will take up backup duties.

Of course as a walkaround, I do enjoy shooting with just the A900 and the Minolta 35mm f/2 (240gms or so) or even the 50/1.4 but that is of course a different discussion.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2011, 11:41:17 PM »
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Hi,

The main reason I went with the A55 was that I needed LiveView for long telephoto work where AF is not always optimal. With LiveView I can nail focus exactly even with 400/4.5 and 2X extender.

That said I feel that the A55 and a 16-80 zoom works well as a walk around camera, add 70-300 and it can shoot almost anything. The A900 is more solid has much better UI and much better image quality at low ISO. Much prefer the A900 for serious work specially on a tripod.

I guess that it's nice to have the best camera one can afford, image quality is probably a bit related to price. If a camera sells at a high price it must probably have some benefits for justifying that price. On the other hand, a heavy camera in the wardrobe doesn't take pictures like a light one you have in your pocket.

Best regards
Erik



I have a Sony A900 (FF 24.6MP) and an APS-C (A55).  The A55 was primarily used for video (and stills too) but I just bought a Sony Cybershot model, DSC-HX-100V (reviewed by Michael), which can shoot 1080 60P and provide a 27mm-810mm range, and thus thinking of getting rid of the A55.  The downside is that the cybershot does not shoot RAW, which is definitely a big minus for me.

I find that when it comes to mission critical stuff (I am not a professional), I always gravitate to the A900 (and not the A55) and for the walkaround stuff and video, the HX-100V will get the job done, even though being a small sensor product, it is not going to win any rave reviews for image quality in challenging light.

Sure, I don't enjoy carrying all of that weight when shooting with the A900 (the big f/2.8 zooms and the large aperture primes) etc., but the luscious images that the A900 + 135/1.8 spits out is just unbeatable in 35mm land.  There are rumors that a high resolution SLT Full-frame is on the way in 2012, and when that appears, my A900 will take up backup duties.

Of course as a walkaround, I do enjoy shooting with just the A900 and the Minolta 35mm f/2 (240gms or so) or even the 50/1.4 but that is of course a different discussion.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 10:11:50 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

John Camp
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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2011, 11:57:15 PM »
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I've slowly worked my way down from a full-frame/APS-C system (Nikon D3 and D300) to a Pentax K5 and now to a Panasonic. The Nikons and K5 give better image quality and have more diverse systems, but the (almost literal) backbreaker for me was carrying the Nikons and the three f2.8 zooms and ancillary equipment in Iraq a couple of years ago: the weight was too much to deal with (although I'm older, in my 60s, so YMMV.) As it turned out, I never really needed the D3's low light capability as much as I thought I would, and for most of those shots, a Panasonic would have been okay, if not as good. You can wring a pretty damn good photo out of ISO 3200 with a GH2.

The K5 would have been fine for Iraq, even though it's not nearly as armored at the D3. I documented Middle Eastern archaeological digs with film N90s, in preference to F5s, because it was so damn hot that I just didn't want to carry the bigger cameras. It took three seasons to wreck the N90s, and we didn't treat them gently. I think the K5 would perform at least as well...in other words, I think the so-called "pro-build" of the big Nikon and Canons may be a little overdone. (But maybe not, depending on how much of a battering your cameras take. In Iraq, I was either flying or on military bases, and wasn't throwing my equipment around so much.) The K5 is not a hell of a lot larger than a GH2, though it is a bit larger. The problem is, the lenses are larger, except for the pancakes. Unfortunately, Pentaxes' pancakes don't make a full system, and the K5 does not have a flexible LCD, which I consider invaluable. But, it is a partial solution to the size/weight problem, and the high ISO quality is excellent.

The thing about the Panasonics is that you can carry a full line of lenses and three bodies in a briefcase-sized bag, and the GH's do have flexible LCDs. I use quite a small Kata backpack as my bag, and you can get it into the overhead even on small regional jets. I think the key thing about the Panasonics (and Olympuses) is simply size. You may not get quite the image quality of the APS-C and FF bodies, but for most purposes, it's fine. Most of the losses are at the margins, in low-light use or perhaps DR. If most of your shooting is in no worse than "poor" conditions, you should be okay; it's in "bad" conditions where you may have a problem. But again, for making the choice of an m4/3 camera, size is the key, not IQ. If the IQ is good enough for you, then the small size can be a great benefit. I used to work for newspapers as a reporter, and took occasional photographs for the paper, and I'd say that all of the m4/3 cameras would easily meet the requirements of newspaper and "typical" magazine shooting, except perhaps in sports, and the size/weight aspect would be a huge benefit.

If you really need maximum IQ in an armored body, well...you're gonna have to get a mule.

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Rob C
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« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2011, 02:56:29 AM »
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If one thing comes out of all this, loudly and clearly, it's that nobody has ever found an ideal camera system.

Trade-offs are all that we seem capable of finding; compromise upon compromise. But then, how can we reasonably expect otherwise? That's life; unless we all, magically, discover we are doing the same limited types of photographic tasks, there never will be a common response and, therefore, popular resolution to the conundrum.

My particular solution has changed radically from the attitude I had to live with as a working photographer: far from carrying everything (John's mule would have been a great accessory) these days, I have resolved to carry a single body and lens. Period. I decide before I leave the house that I am going to do this, that or the other. And I generally stick with that decision; I leave myself no alternative, thank goodness.

Is that putting a limit on what I can then do? Yes, but even more so, no! I can forget the rest and concentrate on the achievable. And as a huge benefit, changing lenses in the office results in no dust (just as long as I don't breathe onto the rubbish all over the desks!).

Rob C
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aaykay
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« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2011, 05:05:00 AM »
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Hi,

The main reason I went with the A55 was that I needed LiveView for long telephoto work where AF is not always optimal. With LiveView I can nail focus exactly even with 400/4.5 and 2X extender.

Agree.  I use the liveview of the A55 a lot.  In fact, that is one of the situations where I believe Sony badly miscalculated, when they released the A900, without liveview.  Bad misjudgement.  The sensor itself is clearly liveview capable, as evidenced by liveview available in the D3X.

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That said I feel that the A55 and a 16-80 zoom works well as a walk around camera, add 70-300 and it can shoot almost anything. The A900 is more solid has much better UI and much better image quality at low ISO. Much prefer the A900 for serious work specially on a tripod.

Agreed on both points.  I use the 16-80ZA and the 70-300G as a one-two punch, with the A55.  And the A900 for serious stuff on Tripod for seriously superior image quality, especially when shot RAW.  When equipped with the Zeiss 135/1.8 (the 135/1.8 provides a far bigger punch than even my 85/1.4ZA, on the A900), the A900 provides images that simply cannot be beaten, short of medium format (several of my pictures, printed out on 24x36" canvas, occupy pride of place on several walls, when shot with the A900/135-1.8 combo).

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I guess that it's nice to have the best camera one can afford, image quality is probably a bit related to price. If a camera sells at a high price it must probably have some benefits for justifying that price. On the other hand, a heavy camera in the wardrobe doesn't take pictures like a light one you have in your pocket.

Agreed and I believe I can understand why somebody might have an issue with the images from a 12MP FF and try to equate those with the images from other cameras with a decently sized sensor ( and similar resolution) and wondering why carry all of that gear.  At the end of the day, after carrying all of that weight, all you are getting are 12MP images, great though they may be.  And especially in well lit situations (where the FAR superior low-light abilities of the D3 sensor are not coming into play), the weight is hard to justify over newer products that are far smaller/lighter.

My A900 (similar to the Nikon D3X from a sensor resolution perspective) thankfully provides me superb 24.6MP resolution and for my type of shooting, I never crop and utilize every bit of that 24.6MP resolution.  I am a happy camper with the A900.  And I believe Sony rightfully decided on a 24.6MP for their FF sensor than coming out with a lower resolution sensor.    I personally wanted (at the time of the A900's release) a lower resolution FF sensor (like say 16MP or so) than the 24.6MP that the A900 came out with, but in hindsight, I am thoroughly happy that they decided on a high resolution sensor than a lower resolution sensor for their FF products.

Also, when the rumored Sony FF with the 40MP FF sensor appears in 2012, thankfully with a fully articulating screen and full-time liveview, I will immediately add that to my kitty. I will consider that as a worthwhile upgrade over the A900, which itself will serve duty as a backup. A 2012 Sony FF EXMOR sensor should have all of their latest sensor advances and should be second to none from a performance standpoint....we'll see.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 05:46:11 AM by aaykay » Logged
tomrock
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« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2011, 08:41:23 AM »
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If one thing comes out of all this, loudly and clearly, it's that nobody has ever found an ideal camera system.

Trade-offs are all that we seem capable of finding; compromise upon compromise. ...
Rob C

I agree. Everything in photography is a compromise. All set up for a shot? Want more depth of field? You have to give up shutter speed (or ISO).

EVERYTHING in photography is a compromise.

I've been shooting MFT for about a year. I didn't buy it to do jobs, but rather because my first grandson was born a year ago. I've also taken it on vacation a couple of times.

I'm amazed at these little cameras. But you do have to compromise :-)
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jmaxim
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« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2011, 10:55:57 AM »
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To share my experience:

Started with Nikon D40 upgraded to D300s plus 4 of the "better" Nikon lenses. Quite happy but not quite good enough IQ for my taste. Tried D700 but could not see enough IQ difference to switch. Bought G11 - hated the IQ loved size and handling. Bought superzoom P&S from Nikon and Leica and returned them. Realized that I really hate poor IQ. If I want portability and IQ not an issue - cell phone is enough. Then I met the GH2... love at first sight! Quickly bought it and another lens. Soon after tried the Pentax 645D. Love at first sight again! (or would that be second sight?) Bought it too. I cannot believe what a great combo this is. The 645D has significantly better IQ in virtually all respects than a DX or FX DSLR. When I want the best quality I use it. However, the GH2 is amazingly close IQ considering the vast difference in size, sensor and price. I use both regularly.

Jon
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Jon

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PeterAit
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« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2011, 03:16:24 PM »
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I appreciate all the replies and the interesting discussion. I spent some time doing tests to compare the D700 and the G2. These are hardly professional tests, but they serve me well.

My conclusion is that the 2 systems are pretty much equivalent in sharpness. This is of course with my lens selection. Of most importance is that I have never found the sharpness of G2 photos to limit my printmaking (up to 30 x 16). The G2 has a sharpness "advantage" with its image stabilization system. I am taking very sharp handheld photos with the G2 at 600 mm equiv!

Noise is where the D700 is the clear winner, in fact a real champ. Even as low as ISO 400 the noise on the G2 is quite visible.

So, I am keeping both cameras, selling a couple of Nikon lenses I rarely use, anad getting on with it.
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Peter
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EgillBjarki
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« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2011, 02:55:29 AM »
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Like many have pointed out, it depends on what you plan on using it for. If you do not miss the big sensor DOF or the collection of lenses from your FF 35mm system, the noise control and resolution (in the case of Canon), then I'm sure you will be better off with a G2/G3.

I made a simular move not so long ago. I had a Hasselblad H2 with a Phase One P30+ that I bought in 2007, I traded the bigger sensor, more resolution system in for a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I was using my "backup" (5D Mark II) much more often than I was my medium format camera, it was smaller quicker and very close in resolution. I simply could not justify keeping my Hasselblad if I was not using it.

I also think that we are very close to diffraction, the physical limit of the lenses. I noticed with my Hasselblad and P30+ back that after f/11 the images started getting blurry, a little on f/16 and not useable on f/22 in my mind. If this is not just my lenses, it to me seams that to utilize the new backs to their full potential, photographers are left with only a few apertures who can handle the resolution.

I recommend that you keep both systems for a while, shoot mainly with the G2/G3 and if you don't miss your FF 35mm, sell it.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2011, 11:35:09 PM »
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Hi,

Good points. Stopping down beyond f/8 mean loosing resolution and at f/22 you essentially reduce a 24 MP camera tp 6MP. Good news is that diffraction is relatively benign for sharpening. No, you cannot resolve what is not there but you can make what remain more decent. Smaller sensors may start loosing to diffraction already at f/8.

A larger sensor will mostly have less noise at nominal ISO, as it can collect more photons.

MFT (Micro Four Thirds) systems are designed around a small sensor without reflex viewing. They are optimized for a small sensor. With DSLRs there are few top class lenses actually designed for APS-C sensors. MFT makes a lot of sense to me.

Best regards
Erik


Like many have pointed out, it depends on what you plan on using it for. If you do not miss the big sensor DOF or the collection of lenses from your FF 35mm system, the noise control and resolution (in the case of Canon), then I'm sure you will be better off with a G2/G3.

I made a simular move not so long ago. I had a Hasselblad H2 with a Phase One P30+ that I bought in 2007, I traded the bigger sensor, more resolution system in for a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I was using my "backup" (5D Mark II) much more often than I was my medium format camera, it was smaller quicker and very close in resolution. I simply could not justify keeping my Hasselblad if I was not using it.

I also think that we are very close to diffraction, the physical limit of the lenses. I noticed with my Hasselblad and P30+ back that after f/11 the images started getting blurry, a little on f/16 and not useable on f/22 in my mind. If this is not just my lenses, it to me seams that to utilize the new backs to their full potential, photographers are left with only a few apertures who can handle the resolution.

I recommend that you keep both systems for a while, shoot mainly with the G2/G3 and if you don't miss your FF 35mm, sell it.
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2011, 10:41:20 AM »
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Tim there was someone on my recent Svalbard trip with the GH2 and he got great shots with it and was very pleased. Eleanor
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bluekorn
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« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2011, 11:13:02 AM »
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I have very much appreciated this discussion. I am one of those who has tired of the weight. I sold my D300 and lenses a couple of months back in anticipation of purchasing the GH2. Where are they? How does one track down this beloved little Lumix? Any ideas? Thank you.
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Pelao
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« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2011, 12:29:42 PM »
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UI is a common complaint with Panasonic MFT cameras. I'd recommend checking out E-Px cameras from Olympus, they are quite good in that regard. For example, I believe the new E-P3 has 4 programmable buttons.

I beg to differ. I have owned both, and much prefer the panasonic UI. In terms of controls, menus and ability to configure fine details (such as where to place the live histogram on your screen) Panasonic is more flexible and thorough for my purposes. The latest E-P3 has more programmable buttons than, say a G3 - but some are restricted, and it has no dedicated ISO button.

UI is a very personal thing. I advise try before buying and beware of absolute statements.

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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2011, 12:45:11 PM »
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Do a google search.  My husband is getting one...it arrives tomorrow.  He found some..new with US warranty... in stock at ajrichard.com. Eleanor

I have very much appreciated this discussion. I am one of those who has tired of the weight. I sold my D300 and lenses a couple of months back in anticipation of purchasing the GH2. Where are they? How does one track down this beloved little Lumix? Any ideas? Thank you.
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bluekorn
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« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2011, 01:39:57 PM »
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Eleanor,
I truly appreciate your response. I googled ajrichard.com and found a lot of posts questioning their "reliability". I do hope that your husband has a good experience in dealing with them.
Peter
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leuallen
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« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2011, 01:55:06 PM »
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Unique Photo shows the gh2 w/14-42 in stock, all others out of stock. I'd wait for the 14-140mm lens. I got it with the body because it was all I could find and I wanted the body. Did not expect to like it and I have plenty of other lenses. Now, it almost never leaves the camera. Love it.

You might check with them as they seem to have stock when others don't - it comes and goes.

Larry
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