Lets talk leica

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  1. #1
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    Lets talk leica

    Hi guys

    I am new to photography but reading and practicing compulsively. Cant miss the influence of the Leica historically, nor its price, nor some of the mystical claims adherents ascribe to it. A new M9 just released without lens for the price of Breitling Navitimer :)

    I would really appreciate hearing people's comments, experiences - positive and negative about The Leica.

    thanks

    si
    Last edited by Simon; October 9th, 2009 at 18:41. Reason: spelling
    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" Jim Elliot - Missionary, Martyr

  2. #2
    Member SquishyPanda's Avatar
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    Doesn't Leica still use the M42 mount? If you really like the glass you could just get a $5 adapter off eBay and put it on your Canon/Nikon DSLR (though I hear some lower-end Nikons don't like to meter without a "proper" lens attached).

    I can sort of understand the cachet they have with film cameras, but I just can't see any point in buying their digitals at the prices they're asking for.
    Last edited by SquishyPanda; October 9th, 2009 at 18:36.


  3. #3
    Haf
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    I might be wrong, but I think that Leica has never used an M42 mount for its rangefinder cameras. Pre M3 they used a screw in mount called L39 and starting with M3 to present they switched to the M mount (Leica M mount).
    Voigtlander makes some awesome lenses in M mount that are a lot cheaper than their Leitz counterparts.

    From where I stand the M9 is worth the price only if you have the cash to go for it right away or you really really need a full frame digital rangefinder. I would love a digital Leica myself for street photography because I easily get spotted with my bulky DSLR, but I simply can't afford it.

    What I really don't like about it is the Kodak sensor that powers it, based on the samples I have seen on dpreview its high ISO potential is way behind what the other DSLR manufacturers (Canon and Nikon) offer. Again, I might be wrong by only judging the camera based on online samples, but some of the ISO 1600 samples have the same amount of noise as my D700 at ISO 6400
    Last edited by Haf; October 9th, 2009 at 19:07.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    I'd love one

    I cant afford just one lens, let alone the camera

    Whilst the cases are undeniably well made, beautiful even, in a classic aesthetic - the fact is the guts are technology which in 3 years will be redundant. I suppose Leica might offer upgrades/rebuilds of sensors and chips etc

    s
    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" Jim Elliot - Missionary, Martyr

  6. #5
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    I'm a Leica enthusiast and have used them for 25 years. Leica rangefinder cameras need not be expensive if you study which of the budget priced lenses can give the best results. Consider acquiring a 35mm f2.8 Summaron M lens and any M film camera (but the M3 will need a special "spectacled" version of the Summaron) and the results are likely to be superb for relatively little outlay. If you wish to learn about the M film system consider these two books: 1) 'Leica Pocket Book 7th Edition' which lists every Leica camera and lens made up until c. 2000 ish ... and 2) 'Leica M Compendium' by Jonathan Eastland. And if you wish to use Leica lenses on a non Leica digital camera that is very feasible with the adaptors available - and there are some bargain Leica R lenses available which are very easily adapted to Canon DSLRs.

    BTW , Leica has never used the M42 thread. Leica used L39 also called LTM (Leica thread mount) on their original screw mount rangefinder cameras, and still uses M bayonet mount on modern rangefinder cameras (both film and digital) . There is also Leica R mount for their discontinued Leica 35mm SLR system and the S2 mount on their latest medium format DSLR system.

    Leica have never offered upgrades to chips and sensors in their digital cameras.


    Cheers

    dunk
    Last edited by Harold Steptoe; October 10th, 2009 at 11:32.

  7. #6
    Member peterregiel's Avatar
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    I've had three: 2 Leica IIIf's, and a Leica M7. Out of the three the M7 got more use, but not by much. The IIIf is an extremely able and usable camera. My last one had red goat skin instead of the black vulcanite which made it a real crowd pleaser.

    All rangefinders in general are superb for street photography, as Haf said. They are unobtrusive, very quiet, and feel more natural when up against your face than an SLR. Since you are really just looking through another lens that often has a very similar field of view to your own, you can shoot with both eyes open, composing with one and surveying the scene with the other. This feels very strange if you come from an slr, but it is a technique that can lead to a very aware photographer that can take some very spontaneous photographs.

    Sadly, film cameras are the kind of things that are first to go when you need some cash. Now I have no camera other than the one in my cell phone. The rising cost of film, film development, darkroom materials, and printing supplies just kills the whole thing. I've never used a Leica digital, so can't comment on them.

  8. #7
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    Hi -

    One of my colleagues at work is a long-time Leica fan: he bought his first in 1962.

    Right now, he wouldn't buy any Leica digital body, having been badly burned on the M8.2.

    His take (which is mine as well): the glass is everything on digital. The bodies are disposable. Literally.

    I use Olympus digital kit (the only Japanese company that Leica was concerned about) and have adapters for the Leica R series lenses (as well as Nikon and OM). The two Leica lenses I have - the 100 f4 on bellows for macro work and a very battered 180 f3.2 APO - outresolve the sensors on both the E510 and the E30 (10MP and 12MP, respectively). While my Olympus Digital lenses come close (especially the 35 f3.5 and the 12-60 f2.8), there really is something about the Leica glass.

    Peter Regiel's comments about the "Leica way" are very good: I've used that same technique with my old OMs and the 50mm lenses, and while it took some practice, you remain aware of what's going on and can really get some great shots.

    My recommendation: get Leica glass and what is called a dandelion adapter (provides focus confirmation, very useful and easily available on eBay) and pick up a 4/3 camera.

    I recommend the 4/3 over others for three reasons:

    1) sensor matched to the center of the lens for legacy optics, which is the sweet spot.

    2) Easily available at reasonable cost, ranging from entry-level to weather-sealed and virtually waterproof professional kit

    3) Small, compact, more than enough features, AND: a number have in-body stabilization that simply works.

    Add to that the best dust-removal in the business (I've never had dust problems on my kit: never), and there is a reason to ask?

    For Leica M lenses, go MFT (Micro Four-Thirds) with an adapter: closest thing to an M9 without breaking the bank.

    To repeat: the bodies are disposable, meaning that they are stuck at a certain technology level and can't be upgraded. The lenses are keepers, since they don't change...

    JohnF

    PS: the usual disclaimer: I am simply a happy user and no connections to Olympus...
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  9. #8
    Member redbike's Avatar
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    How about a compromise: Lumix DMC LX3. Leica glass and Panasonic's circuits. I know the purists will cringe, but I just can't see spending money on film and developing for most amateur uses these days. When you can shoot for "free", I think it encourages you to be more creative. If your shot doesn't work, you can just delete it and try again.

    I'm pretty impressed with my LX3. It's far more versatile than I am...
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  10. #9
    Member om-4's Avatar
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    Re: Lets talk leica

    Leica sure has the mystique. To get a taste of that "Leica glow" I researched the possibilities within my budget. The now "obsolete" 5mp Leica Digilux 2/Panasonic LC1 fixed zoom, manual retro camera is reaching cult status. Altough practically the same camera the Leica flavor fetches about twice the money on the used market.

    I picked up a Panasonic version for as much as a preloved Sumo because I like black better than the chrome. It's a very interesting little camera. The rangefinder styling and classic layout for aperture control and shutterspeed dial will make any filmshooter feel right at home. Haven't shot any award winning stuff with it yet. I find the metering a little tipped to the overexposed side compared to my Olympus gear (E510, E-3).

    In the true rangefinder categorie I think the prices for a used M6 aren't that bad compared to an M7. But scrounging up a set of three lenses will hurt the coinbalance.
    To make a long story short I stumbled upon a mint Minolta CLE. I got the complete set (3 lenses, flash and leather bag) at a very attractive price. The little CLE is considered an M7 avant la lettre and even has TTL flash metering. Not bad at all for a camera almost 30 years old.

    I'm very excited to try out the CLE. Just missed the postman yesterday. I'll put up some glamshots of the two beauties and report back after some play time.

  11. #10
    Member Bad Voodoo's Avatar
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    Re: Lets talk leica



    :)

    Great cameras!

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