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| p.1 #4 · When a DSLR is too much...what then? |
As you haven't said what you intend to shoot, it is hard to come up with a specific recommendation. Renting a Leica without prior rangefinder experience is risky IMHO. My own recommendation would be that, if you are shooting landscapes, NEX is the way to go, either 5N or 7. The nEX family offers the highest IQ-for-size ratio at the moiment. NEX 5N has the same acclaimed sensor as the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5. You can fit it with great MF primes, like Leica M and Zeiss ZM, or moderately priced good AF primes, like Sigma 19mm and 30mm, and Sony 30mm macro and 50mm. Even the kit zoom is one of the world's best, for a kit zoom, that is. Only a high-end zoom isn't there yet, though it should be announced momentarily.
My own recommendation: Sony NEX 5N with Contax G 28mm, 45mm, 90mm. Well within your budget, and absolutely world-class glass. You will need an adapter, either Kipon or Metabones. Focusing on the ring is clearly not the best, but acceptable. Search the NEX images thread for examples, and you will be amazed that the IQ from such a small kit (the Contax G are rangefinder lenses, so very compact).