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Andrew L (gryphon1911)

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Andrew L (gryphon1911) last won the day on 27 May

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About Andrew L (gryphon1911)

  • Birthday 19/05/1974

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    street, portraiture, events, sports
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    Nikon Z6
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    Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4
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    Columbus, OH
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  1. Background Everyone should have at least one wide angle option for those times when you are in close or you want to get a massive vista without stitching. We are going to look into the GW-4 wide angle lens adapter for the Ricoh GR III. This adapter requires an additional purchase of the GA-1. New, all together, we are looking at a roughly $300 purchase to go from a field of view of 28mm to 21mm. While that may not sound like much, wider makes a more significant difference than a telephoto. Our investigation and review will cover image quality and overall usability of this lens adapter. Let’s go! Disclosure – images were post processed to my liking and in various styles. Some were processed from RAW and others may be custom film simulations that were run in camera. Handling/Size/Weight/Build The front element of this adapter is massive when compared to the size of the GR III. It also adds some noticeable weight to the front and you can feel the lens wanting to pull the camera downward. Now, in reality, this is still not a large lens and the lens plus adapter could fit in a coat pocket opposite the GR III. The rubber lens hood is an odd addition. It slips on the outside section of the metal lens. Overall it is a useable package, but the GW-4 does negate the slim profile of the camera. There are metal connections between the GA-1 and the Ricoh GR III that let the camera know that the wide adapter is attached and it registers on the display. If you look on the right side, you’ll see the word WIDE, letting you know that the adapter is registered. With the adapter attached, the EXIF information also changes to the new focal length/field of view rating of 13.8mm instead of the usual 18mm. Weather Sealed Not sure of the weather sealing, but it should survive a few drops from a light shower. However, please make your own decision on what you feel is an acceptable risk on weather sealing claims and the conditions you will be shooting in. Image Quality So here is what most want to know. This is a sharp adapter. We’ve had experience with the Fuji X100V and the wide and tele adapters and this one is just as sharp as the Fuji options. It pairs well with the Ricoh GR III. I cannot see anyone being disappointed with the IQ you get with this setup. As I like to do, let’s allow the images to speak for themselves. There is no aperture change either, so you get the full f/2.8 through f/16 range. Focusing Focus is still controlled by the actual lens that is part of the Ricoh GR III. I did not notice any change in focus speed with the GW-4 attached, which was what I expected. OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) The IBIS in the Ricoh GR III is still active and fully functional with the GW-4 attached. Bottom Line Serving a specific purpose and used for that purpose, this is a great lens add on. Sharp and does not really change the way the camera functions, other than giving you the wider field of view. it is a bit of an odd choice to have the GA-1 and the GW-4 sold separate and the rubber lens hood did not seem like a well thought out option either. All in all – the adapter and lens serve the purpose and do what is needed. Bottom Line = Recommend, but depending on need of a wide angle option. If you do need/want a wider field of view for your GR III – then you have no need to worry about declined image quality, focus speed or losing light from smaller apertures.
  2. Introduction Never, up until a few weeks ago would I have thought that I would be an inductee into the “Cult of Leica”. Not because I thought that the gear wasn’t capable…no it was more along the lines of “unobtainium”, the shiny thing that you think you could never gain, aspire or possess…with the Leica being out of the price range. My desire for the continued journey into photography has lead me to seek things that are more toward the stills-centricity than hybrid or video. This culminated and was cemented when I hit upon a good deal on the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D. A humble camera by todays means, but a flagship in its 2004 release year. It’s meager 6mp CCD sensor, analog controls and copious buttons reminded me of the love I felt for photography back in the late 1990 and early 2000’s – not only of the “gear” but more of the process – thinking of or finding subjects, exploring depth of field, angles, expressions, gestures – all that and less of the technical aspects like aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Looking at my dormant gear and checking on the state of Leica just for the hell of it, I realized that some of the Leica gear is now, on the used market, something that I could actually afford and experience. Yes, it may be years and years old, but the lesson learned from the Maxxum 7D experience showed me that age is less important as is capability of the photographer. I reached out to some online friend for advice and landed on a used M Typ 240. And thus, the journey begins!! I’ve shot and enjoyed the true rangefinder experience in the past, albeit in film with the Kodak Signet 35 and my favorite Yashica Lynx 5000E. Film and all that comes with it, as fun as it may be, is just not something that I wanted to pursue in a frequent shooter camera. In comes the Leica and the affordable options out there in the used market. Yes, let’s not quibble on the definition of affordable as that is subjective – however, looking at the prices of the M10 series and newer versus older models from M240 and lower, a strong case can be made for affordability. Let’s take a journey together. We will not only look at the Leica experience on its own merits, but this will be, also, from a primarily DSLR and mirrorless shooters experience. We also need to keep in perspective what this camera was designed to do and feed to its strengths and try to not make it out to be something it is not. Disclaimer – sample images represent was is possible to get from this specific camera and lenses used. The images are not straight from camera JPG (unless otherwise noted) and have most likely been post processed in Lightroom or other software to get them to the vision I wanted. All sample images taken with the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2 ZM lens. All product shots are copyright Leica-Camera.com Tech Stuff Body Picking up this body, you feel the quality construction right off the bat. It feels good in the hand. Like it was milled from a solid block of metal. There is no flex, creaking or perceived weakness in it’s construction. It is heavier than it looks. While holding and using the camera as it comes from the factory, it does suffer from the “candy bar” feeling where the ability to hold it is slightly compromised. There is a small thumb rest by the rear dial, but I did not feel comfortable with that on it’s own. So, I enlisted in some assistance in the form of a Match Technical Thumbs Up. This device sits in the hot shoe and provides a thumb rest above the rear LCD and below the top plate. Being as solid as the camera itself, it feels natural and organic on the camera when in use. Dials. There are basically 2 dials on the camera. A rear command dial and a top, clicky but free spinning shutter speed dial. The dials feel solid in operation and there is no fear of accidental bumping….at least I’ve not had that happen to me during my use. Exposure compensation is possible when in aperture priority mode. You can have it setup 2 ways. First, but pressing the front function button and then turning the rear command dial. Second is going into the menu system and setting the option to adjust exposure compensation directly. I have opted to setup the camera with option 2. Buttons. The buttons are plentiful, yet none are there as to be superfluous. So far, I’ve found every button on the rear of the camera to be in a good location and useful in day to day operations. While an ISO dial would be preferable, the button and rear dial combo are adequate for the infrequent times changing ISO is needed. Would have been nice to be able to remap the rear command dial for ISO changes as well…but again a small quip/issue on my part. Remembering that different isn’t bad, just different! Button size is just about perfect, as is the spacing. They have a very clicky feel to them – never mushy…but very satisfying. The only button that I will never use, and again would love to be able to re-map is the “M” button on the top plate used to start and stop movie recording. Shutter Release – The shutter release has a positive feel between locking in the exposure and actuating the shutter. It has a very soft feel down to focus actuation, then a positive stop. You can feel a positive click stop when exposure is locked and then just a little more pressure gives you an actuation of the shutter. I had no problems adjusting to it and did what I needed when I needed it. During the time of this review, the Ohio weather is cold an wet, so wearing gloves is common. Had zero issues handling this camera. The power switch sits around the shutter release. There are settings depending on how far you move the power switch to go from single exposure, the continuous, to delay. Delay time is set in the menu and cam be 2s or 12s. I love soft shutter releases and my M240 is adorned with a Leica branded red concave soft release! I have soft release on my Fuji X-Pro2 and one on my Nikon Df when I had it. Rear LCD – There is one 3″ LCD display. I find it perfectly useful for menu operations and checking exposure and relative sharpness of the images. It is even useful with focus peaking for use in live view. Flash There is a hot shoe, but I can honestly say that I see myself rarely using it for flash. I may for some portraiture work, but honestly – the hot shoe will most often be occupied with the Match technical Thumbs Up for ergonomic purposes. The camera has no built in flash. Viewfinder The viewfinder is optical and compared to more modern cameras is exquisitely good, honestly. The viewfinder is bright and beautiful. I was honestly surprised at how quickly I took to it. I thought that I would have issues with the framelines, the lack of data….but honestly speaking – there is enough information present to do the job and the frame lines are easy to see and easy to determine which ones are for your focal length of the lens attached. The rangefinder patch is a good size and when you have something in focus, it just seems to “snap” into crystal clarity. While I do live the Yashica 5000E experience – this M 240 blows it away in every respect. In day to day use, I’ve had no issues in framing images or with parallax with close subjects. Just a great experience overall!! Weather Sealing Honestly not sure about the weather sealing on this camera, but given it’s status at the time, I’m sure there might be some and it is probably well done…but I do not intend on bringing this into a downpour and I’ll let others take that chance to find out how weather sealed the M240 might be. Lens Line Up You have the entirety of the m-mount lineup as your native playground with the ability to adapt other mounts as well. If they are not rangefinder coupled, then you are going to be looking at zone focusing from the scales on the lens if present. Option 2 is to use the live view rear LCD and focus peaking. Performance Overall System Performance Do not expect this camera to be a speed shooter. It is a rangefinder, after all and anything with wide open apertures and at close distances will require you to focus conscientiously. You do, however, have the option of zone focusing which will give you speeds faster than any autofocus. System wise, I do see and feel some lag in operations of menus and image reviews. It is slight and honestly not a bothering thing to me…although I could see some people looking to change or review quickly it may be an issue. It is only when you try and access the menus too quickly after taking an image or when first powering on the camera. Autofocus = NO SUCH THING Manual Focus Is The Name Of The Game Rangefinder focusing with cammed lenses is what you’ll want to use. Otherwise, adapted lenses that are not rangefinder coupled can be used via zone focusing or use of the rear LCD. As mentioned previously, there is a very satisfying “snap into focus” feeling to my eye when the rangefinder patch is overlayed properly. It has made focusing very quick and efficient for me. Battery and Battery Life The Leica batteries are expensive. I’ve seen them go for between $125 and $225. However, I can say that battery life if excellent. In the first week, with all my experimentation, use of live view, rangefinder focus adjusting….the battery lasted an entire week with no fear of it being depleted. I plan to get another battery sometime in the future, but given the current performance, not anytime soon. If I were going on an extended trip, I would have at least one backup. Stabilization (IBIS/AS/VR) As far as I know, there is no Leica rangefinder or rangefinder lenses that are equipped with stabilization. If that is a must have for you, then these rangefinders are not for you and you can look elsewhere. Ergonomics For me, the size of a camera is important. There is a point of diminishing returns on size. You can only go so small before the controls are hard to reach and the camera is difficult to hold. Feel in The Hand I already mentioned that the camera feels solid. If a camera is too small it is hard to get to the buttons that are on the camera body. This camera feels very good to me. I did add a Match Technical Thumbs Up and a Leica concave soft release. This perfected the feel for me. Image Quality This is a much older camera system and the sensor does show that against a more modern counterpart. For color, I can tolerate up to ISO 3200, but prefer to stay at ISO 1600 and below. For monochrome shooting, I can run all the way up to max ISO of 6400. I would not consider this camera one that I would choose as a first choice for low light shooting, but used within it’s limits you can find a place for it. You can also mitigate the use of high ISO by getting a faster prime lens. Please, enjoy the image samples through out the review. Final Thoughts First, let me say that I did not NEED this camera. Leica has always been the “grail” camera – one that you possibly obsess over, never think you can get and look at to from afar. Prices on used digital Leica rangefinders are at a good place, in my opinion, in 2023 – which is the year I purchased this excellent condition M240. Feeling like a kid at Christmas – opening up the Leica packaging and getting that first feel of the camera was a grand experience for me. The big payoff though is in the getting out and using the camera. Leica, even the M 240 that has video, live view – a few things that may put off a purist – is a stills shooters dream camera. All the things that you want, in a place that makes sense and is intuitive to use. My major background is DSLR. Being used to through the lens viewing, having auto focus…I can say that it is not a situation where one is better than the other…but more of a “what kind of experience do you want” and “what kind of performance do you need” and use the gear accordingly. I’m not going to replace my Nikon D500 and Z6 with a Leica for sport shooting…but I can see me using the Leica for all my street shooting and for portraiture work. Even landscape work and documenting street art – the Leica is fantastic at that. If you ever thought about a Leica and you have the means, I highly recommend you checking them out via rental if you can or buying one used. While not for everyone – it is a situation where “if you get it, you get it”…and for me that was true once I got a chance to immerse myself into the ecosystem. There will be upcoming reviews of the lenses that I have now for the Leica M 240 and that is a whole different animal! Some additional images for your viewing pleasure!
  3. Columbus, Ohio Fuji X-Pro2 Fujinon XC 50-230/4.5-6.7 OIS II
  4. Introduction I always want to have a camera with me. I’ve tried several different iterations of compact cameras and interchangeable lens cameras that had smaller lens footprints. Got pretty close to some perfect cameras, from the Fuji X100 series, to the Olympus PEN-F with pancake primes and even the Ricoh GR II! I’ve reviewed that camera before and eventually traded it off for other gear. So why go back to another iteration of the Ricoh GR? Let’s take this journey together and discuss some of those reasons and our impression of this latest iteration. Tech Stuff Body Honestly, when you look at this iteration of the GR, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know if it was a GR II or a GR IIIx. The basics of the cameras have not really changed. That’s probably a good thing as far as upgrading goes or having multiple (if you decide to get the GR IIIx for the 40mm field of view) GR’s – they act just the same. Not much in my opinion of the camera has changed regarding handling and buttons layout. If you want to know more about that – check out the link I included above of my Ricoh GR II review. We will definitely concentrate more on the differences / updates of the GR III. Dials. Again, basically the same as the GR II. The dials and buttons are easy to get to, even one handed. There is a front wheel and a rear rocker switch. So controlling either aperture or shutter in Av or Tv mode is easy and both in manual is straight forward and intuitive. Something that I like to bring up as well is the ability to review images on the LCD without powering on the camera and extending the lens. Just long press on the PLAY button at the back/top right of camera and you’ll be in image preview mode. I wish more camera makers would have this. Don’t power the sensor, extend the lens, engage IBIS…do nothing but image review and a little post processing! Shutter Release – Like the GR II, the shutter release is a rectangular shaped button that is easy to find and press. Rear LCD – Difference number one! The Rear LCD is now a touch LCD panel. It does not articulate, but whether or not that makes a difference to you is a personal one. For me, not that big a deal…but some kind of articulation would be welcome to make shooting from the waist possible (if you are not one that likes to use the snap focus feature) or getting a low level view of the LCD when shooting low in portrait orientation. Remember – the only real time feedback you have for composing on this cameras is that rear LCD. The touch panel not only gives you a touch to focus or touch to actuate function, but it also allows you to navigate and choose menu options. It is a nice touch, and the responsiveness is very good. Flash Previous iterations of the GR had a built in flash. GR III does away with that. Some people like to have that built in flash for a pop of fill, others (like me) don’t really use a ton of on-camera flash and prefer to do off camera…so this is a non-issue. Viewfinder Composing shots with the GR series cameras relies on the rear LCD. There is no OVF/EVF that comes with the camera. The body is not setup to be able to accept an add on EVF either. You can, however, us an analog/optical only viewfinder that sits on the hot shoe. There is no possibility for getting any shooting data, but it does give you the ability to have a rough framing of the field of view of the lens (the lens is 18mm actual, APS-C ~ 28mm field of view). I did pick up a cheap Amazon 28mm finder. It is not optically good and is rather blurry – but there is enough there that makes the framing possible. When shooting in bright sunlight, the rear LCD can let you down, so having that optical option is beneficial. Ricoh also makes branded viewfinders in the correct field of view as do others that will have better performance than the inexpensive ones from Amazon or eBay. For me, the low budget version is fine for what I want. Weather Sealing One of the biggest criticisms for the GR series is the lack of weather sealing. The GR III is unchanged in this regard. The lens unit is the major culprit of where dust and dirt may get in. You can get an adapter that will allow you to add filters to the GR. This may be a good compromise for reducing the amount of dust that gets close to the front of the lens unit. Most likely, this will not give you the same level of sealing that say the Fuji X100F would, but it is better than nothing. The Lens Ricoh has improved this version of the GR lens. I had no issues with the prior version of the Ricoh 18mm lens attached. GR III lens is just as good if not better. You may need to pixel peep to be able to really tell the difference. With the APS-C sensor, we are looking at a field of view of 28mm and you get an aperture of f/2.8 Sharpness for this lens is not an issue at all. Engineers that worked on this lens did a great job. Rank it up there with some of the best compact, fixed lens cameras out there like the Fuji X100 series cameras. Ricoh does make a wide angle adapter lens for the GR III. This will get you to a 21mm field of view. The wide lens does require an additional adapter to be purchased for it work. If you want some telephoto action – you can set a function button on the GR III to crop the image to an equivalent of 35mm or 50mm field of view. This is a crop, but does not interpolate the file back to a 24mp size. You can get the same effect if you just want to crop the image yourself in post. Given the state of modern post processing, resizing the files after crop would be a relatively easy affair if you chose to go that route. The in camera crop would be a good tool to get the proper framing and aspect ratio. Performance Overall System Performance Do not expect this camera to be a speed shooter. It is capable of doing a lot of things, but a “sport” shooter of fast moving subjects, it will struggle. Powering up, though, is very fast, and the lens is ready to go quickly as well. Accessing items from the camera body buttons or the menu is quick. Autofocus Single Point The auto focus performance here is adequate. In good light, we have confidence when locking on. In low light, the speed slows down and there is a lot more “pulsing” before the camera locks on. Speed is really the issue and not accuracy – as when the camera does lock on you’ve got a sharp image. Changing the focus point is different than other cameras. You need to press the OK button to activate the focus point selection mode and then the 4 way selector now allows you to change to different focus points. Manual Focus I’m not intending to use manual focus much…but it is there and the rear ADJ lever is used for that. Snap Focus Set a specific distance and the camera will always use that as the focus point. A lot of people like this and it is stated by many that this could be a #1 reason for many to buy this camera. Not for me, but I really think I need to experiment with it and see if I can find a use case for my way of shooting that it makes sense. Continuous Focus The new sensor on the GR III incorporates phase detect in it, so will make C-AF a bit more or a viable option. While it will not be something that Ricoh is going to tout as a sport camera – it will make all focus modes more confident. Auto Point AF There is also a way to allow for the camera to determine AF points. Battery and Battery Life CIPA ratings are putting this at around 200 images. I’ve seen reports from others that they are getting up around 300-ish. I still stick behind my thoughts that CIPA really needs to rate mirrorless cameras based on a power on time versus number of shots…or even do both metrics. Only time will tell how this will play out. My guess is that the battery life will be slightly worse than previous GR iterations based the new LCS panel and on the information in the next section – stabilization. Batteries for this camera are not very expensive, so you can get an OEM battery for $40 or 2 Wasabi batteries with an external charger for $20. The GR III can charge the battery in the camera using a USB-C cable. Ricoh has chosen to not include an external charger in the box. I like having external chargers, so I went with the Wasabi battery/charger. I can see the benefit of having the capability to charge in camera – especially if traveling and you want to charge while driving or if you just want to go super minimal when traveling. Stabilization (SR) GR III now joins a slew of modern cameras that include in body stabilization. Yes, the GR III now includes a sensor based stabilization. From what I can find, it appears to be rated for 4 stops of stability assistance. Ergonomics For me, the size of a camera is important. There is a point of diminishing returns on size. You can only go so small before the controls are hard to reach and the camera is difficult to hold. Feel in The Hand The camera feels solid. If a camera is too small it is hard to get to the buttons that are on the camera body. This camera feels right to me but is on the verge of too small. If Ricoh went any smaller than this – I would probably not like it. No matter the orientation, it just gets out of your way and lets you use it for its intended purpose – capturing images. There is a nice space in the back for your thumb to rest naturally. Your thumb is then able to get to the rear rocker, the function button and the 4 way command dial to change options or focus points. Image Quality I find Ricoh colors unique in their JPG processing. Out of the box the colors are pleasant if not a it a muted. Other JPG settings can punch up the color, contrast if desired. Monochrome presets are also available. You have the ability to customize and save up to 6 custom JPG settings for use later. They can also be assigned to U1 through U3 The new sensor is fantastic. The lens does it justice. This is a modern APS-C sensor with all the benefits that come with it. Is it the best, no – there are others out there that may very well be better – but some of that can also be attributed to other items within the imaging pipeline and the decisions that the engineers made when putting the JPG engine together. No matter – you can get a lot of great stuff out of this sensor unit. As always, we want you to make your own decision – have fun exploring the images I’ve shot with the GR III. Also note, that images may not be straight out of camera JPG. I shoot and process images to see what I can get out of a camera and the files. If you are looking for more scientific analysis, then I recommend looking at another review for that. JPG file examples: Final Thoughts So, why go back to the Ricoh GR style cameras? Technical reasons are the update to imaging sensor, the shake reduction (IBIS), the great lens. This camera is small and something that you could potentially fit in a pant pocket. While I do love using my Fuji X-Pro2 and 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens, that is still a rather substantial camera. The Ricoh provides great value for the size. A unique look to the images from this camera also appeal to me as well as the ability to create film simulations and save them – much like the way I do with the Fuji cameras. I can pack this camera in with my small sling bag when going to walk the dog and add very little weight or bulk.
  5. I did a dumb thing yesterday and left on my dog walk without a memory card in the camera. To make up for that I had an impromptu portrait shoot with the dogs. Oly EM1.2 Oly 75-300/4.8-6.7 II
  6. Found it over on KEH.com. Was listed as bargain grade - but the glass was fine. The body a little dinged up - the picture of the lens at the beginning is my actual lens.
  7. Background Digging into the longer telephoto world for Minolta A Mount, we found this $50 lens – yes – you read that right…a 200-400mm f/5.6 telephoto for $50 used. Giving us a field of view of 300 to 600mm, we will look and see what this is all about. Will we find another gem, an average performer or a dud? We will report on all this and more in this review. All images were processed from RAW in Lightroom Classic. Disclaimer: I process images and see what I can get out of this lens through normal prost processing. For me, that is processing JPG or RAW files in Lightroom and if RAW, run them through sharpening in Lightroom or Topaz Photo AI or Sharpen AI. If you are looking for a clinical test, you’ll want to check out other sights for that. Handling/Size/Weight/Build Ok, so this is a big old horking lens! Not like 600mm fast prime big…but it is substantial. A push-pull design, it is smallest at 200mm and almost double when pushed out to 400mm. Rubberized coating covers roughly 90% of the barrel. The focus ring is also covered in the same material. Included was a tripod collar. It appears to be substantial and should have no issues supporting the weight of this lens and the camera that is attached to it. The front element is 77mm and accommodates a pinch cap nicely. My copy did not come with a lens hood. Build seems pretty good as there is minimal wiggle in the barrel when extended and given the age, the coatings are still in good shape. If you’ve never used a push-pull lens before it may seem a little awkward. I’ve used a few in the past and I found that I got used to the functionality of it quickly. It may not be for everyone though. Weather Sealed My guess is not, but you never can tell how some of these legacy lenses were built. In my short time with this lens it has been out in temps ranging from 40F down to 26F with no issues. Light rain…no problems. A dunk or downpour…probably would not risk it. Image Quality So here is what most want to know. Doing a little preliminary research, others have stated that it was acceptable at shorter focal lengths wide open, but as you push toward the longer end (yes, pun intended), you need to stop down to f/8 to get it in a more optimal state. So did this hold up with my testing? Let’s find out! For a lens like this, you’ll want to keep the shutter speeds pretty high and most likely seek out good light to feed that f/5.6 and potentially smaller aperture. Focusing Focus is relatively slow on this lens. Not glacially, but there is a lot of glass to be moved about here. If you have some moving subjects, you’ll want to incorporate some pre-focusing techniques for sure. For static subjects, that is less of an issue.
  8. Nothing there interests me at this point. I’m happy with my current Z6. Yes the Mark 1! i might look at a Z6 Mark III if the enhancements make sense. I don’t need high mp. I want clean high ISO. what I really want is the Nikon Z equivalent of the D500. An APS-C version of the Z9. Right now, the current competition in that space is running their crop sensor cameras at a great price point. $1499-$1799. Nikon brings that out and I’m a buyer on pre-order.
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