NE Explorer Fred Kurtz is Moving On

Posted Sep. 18th, 2015 by Daniel J. Cox

So Dan, not a question but a revelation. For the past two years I have traveled with only Panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras – leaving the big Nikons at home – and having no regrets.

Today I was packing my cameras for South Africa and I decided to pack my D4 with the 200-400 lens along with a couple of Panasonic’s. I attached the 200-400 to the D4 and placed it in my camera bag. Then the revelation hit. I looked at that and said “no way” am I taking that. I pulled it back out of the camera bag and packed two GH4’s, a GX8 and a GX1.

One of Fred's photos from our Italy photo tour.

One of Fred’s photos from our Italy photo tour.

That tells me I am totally done taking the big Nikon’s on photo trips and when I get back, it is time to thin out the heard. I am thinking of selling the D800, 200-400, and a couple of other lenses. I will probably keep the D4 (as I love that camera), 24-70 and 70-200.

See you and T~ very soon.


Fred, I know where you’re coming from. The same exact thing has happened to me in the past year. It’s a bit sad, having shot Nikon’s for all my career up until about five years ago, but things change. Nikon makes some great products but then again so did Chevy when they built the 57 Chevy. Still a great car but nowhere near the advanced automobiles we’re using today. Similar analogy between Nikon and Panasonic. Nikon has always made great products but Panasonic and others have shown us what we can do with newer, lighter more advanced technology for capturing both stills and moving images. I’m sure Nikon will bring something to the game at some point but I’m afraid for me it’s too late. Thanks for your input on the Blog. See you in South Africa. Travel safe. See some of Fred’s pictures on his Explorers page where we showcase ten galleries of his beautiful photography.

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There are 7 comments on this post…
  1. Fred KurtzOn Sep. 20th, 2015

    Thanks Dan. I remember you saying you were not overly impressed with the 100-300 and that is why I have stayed away from it. I really do value your opinion and I am glad you have direct input to Panasonic. I cannot wait for the 100-400 and the GH5.


  2. Fred KurtzOn Sep. 20th, 2015

    Ray – good to hear from you. I do not have the 100-300 lens. I do have the new 100-400 on pre-order with Bozeman camera. So my longest lens is the Oly 40-150 with 1.4 tele so I can reach 420mm. I absolutely love that lens. One of the best ever. I will mate that with the GX8 for IS. I will put the 35-100 on one of my GH4’s. For the second GH4 will will use the 12-35 and the 42.5 f1.2 prime. I just picked up the 42.5 f1.2 prime and will be using it for the first time. Dan loves that lens and all reviews are five stars so I cannot wait to see what it can do. Hope to travel with you again soon. Fred

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 20th, 2015


      I have a 100-300mm with me I’m happy to let you use. Ray is right that it sometimes can be pretty good. But I’ve also found other times I’ve just not been happy. Not sure why it’s so inconsistent. I actually have some images that I shot at the 300mm end that are very good even though Ray says his are not good at 300mm. But other times no matter what folia length I’m not to excited at what I get. Can’t wait for the new 100-400mm. That should solve the long lens problems.

    • Ray HirschOn Sep. 20th, 2015

      Thanks for the reply Fred. I agree that the Oly 40-150mm is a phenomenal lens and on a tripod the Lumix 100-300mm is no match. My test was handholding the two lenses on the GX-8 and I found that the optical stabilization in the 100-300mm equalled or bettered the in body stabilization of the GX-8. All shots were 200 iso, f8, 250th sec. I put the series side by side in LR and using the X-Y compare @ 1:1 could not really detect much difference through 400mm effective (the Oly was used with 1.4x all the time). I found the Lumix @ 500mm effective still more than acceptable to my eyes, but at 600mm very marginal which has been consistent with my copy of this lens. It was also interesting that when Olympus delayed the 300mm f4, the rumoured reason given was inadequate stabilization with in-body alone at this long a reach. The dual approach may well be the superior way to go and I too am waiting for the 100-400mm Leica. I have not placed an order, but Dan if you read this, tell Marcia(?) to order one for me too.

      Have a great trip in Kenya Fred, and hopefully I will see you in Scotland or Ireland next year.
      All our best from Margie and I,

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 21st, 2015

      Ray, I agree that the 100-300mm can perform reasonably well at times but using it at F/8, rather than wide open, is something I almost never do and wide open is where the higher quality Olympus shines bright and clear. Additionally, the 100-300mm’s sharpness is not my only reason for my lack of enthusiasm for this lens. It’s disappointing auto focus speed is equally problematic. These two things combined are the main reasons I’m excited for the new 100-400mm Leica/Lumix zoom which I’m confident will be much superior to the 100-300mm AND give us the new Dual IS.

  3. Ray HirschOn Sep. 19th, 2015

    Hey Fred, I know exactly how you feel. Margie and I are just starting to pack for two weeks in Tahiti and I was initially going to go with all Sony full frame. Then when my bag was full and very heavy, I still had a couple of lens still not packed. So the Sony got reassigned to wide landscape only with the 16-35mm Zeiss and a couple of primes. That left room for my GH4 + GX8 and the 35-100mm f2.8 and 100-300mm Lumix (yes I’m leaving the Oly 40-150mm behind. After doing side by side testing of the GX8 and the 100-300mm vs. the GX8 and the 40-150mm the Lumix 100-300 holds it’s own very well all the way to about 250mm before it really falls off. Since I will be mostly hand holding the optical stabilization in the lens appeared to out perform the body stabilization alone. In the case of the Lumix 35-100mm on the GX8, the dual stabilization blows away the lack of optical stabilization on the 40-150mm. My advice Fred, is to pack your 100-300mm Lumix as well which will give you a 200-500mm with very useable results and weighs very little. Have a great trip, and I can’t wait to see your gallery!


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 19th, 2015

      Interesting to see your comments guys. As you two know I travel with lots of folks throughout the year. The one thing that just keeps coming up over and over is how tired people are of hauling 50-60lbs. of camera equipment around. I just can’t understand how Nikon, Canon and partially Sony are missing this. It’s a huge issue with lots of photo travelers including myself. I think Panasonic is going to reap rewards eventually. Amazing how few people know of the quality of their cameras and lenses. They have a monstrous challenge but they’re definitely doing things outside the box. Like the new 100-400mm that’s coming hopefully soon. And the GH5 which has to be on the semi-near horizon. It’s fun to be working with an underdog. Story of my life to pick a rather lofty challenge but it’s humbling to be appreciated and have folks interested in your ideas and knowledge. Have fun in Tahiti Ray and see you in South Africa Freddy. Always appreciate you guys adding your voices.

      See some of Ray Hirsch’s photos in his Natural Exposures Explorers Galleries

      See some of Fred Kurtz’s photos in his Natural Exposures Explorers Galleries

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