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Spent the afternoon with a pal's Leica m8

Took loads of photos and only one was both in focus and framed ok - rest were out of focus but framed well or in focus and not framed!

These rangefinder things are tricky to use - beautiful, compact, a whole different and enjoyable aesthetic, but not easy. I loved the feel, loved the lenses, love the size - but couldnt get the knack of handling

Makes you realise how nifty a SLR with good autofocus really is

si
 

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Spent the afternoon with a pal's Leica m8

Took loads of photos and only one was both in focus and framed ok - rest were out of focus but framed well or in focus and not framed!

These rangefinder things are tricky to use - beautiful, compact, a whole different and enjoyable aesthetic, but not easy. I loved the feel, loved the lenses, love the size - but couldnt get the knack of handling

Makes you realise how nifty a SLR with good autofocus really is

si
It's a skill to practice, definitely. Once you develop a modicum of familiarity w/ any particular lens, some would argue the consistency of the hand-focused process offers a more pleasant experience than the guesswork of leaving your focusing to the camera...which often leaves you half-pressing...then half-pressing again...then half-pressing a third time...while the camera chooses different objects. :)

But I have to agree, modern AF motors make for some darn convenient shots w/ very little brain involvement, leaving you more liberty to worry about other things, much of the time.

The other thing is that nowadays, (besides rangefinders like the M8 or the Epson R-D1), most cameras don't offer proper focusing mats or manual lens mechanisms, making the manual focusing option a real chore. I actually *like* the action of a proper manual focus lens like a Summilux, or a Voigtlander, etc. Trying to manual focus w/ a modern servo-controlled focus-by-wire lens, w/ no focusing mat to help you guage focus...annoying.
 

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Leica is the camera you don't "take" pictures with. You "make" pictures with Leica. Pretty much any rangefinder requires skill and practice. You need time to get used to the camera, lens, metering, etc. Leica is not a camera that will focus super fast. It needs someone to drive it properly. Metering on it is just center weighted I believe, so you need to realize what to lock the metering on.

DSLR on the other hand is quick to focus, has evaluative metering that in most situation does all the brain work for you. Advanced DSLRs with good, fast glass are used in sports photography. You just can't use Leica to photograph a sports event. It's focusing is not made for that.

Every camera model and type has a purpose. I learned that I only start producing decent images when I realize all the shortcomings of a particular body/lens combo. When I get a new camera and/or a new lens I always come up with crappy photos because I tend to play around with features, settings, etc. Once I'm passed that, the photos become much better. Just my personal observation.

Is Leica obsolete? To me it isn't. It just has a certain purpose. Once you know what it's good for, it will be the best at it.
 

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Thanks - so, what would you say was the purpose of the Leica? what is its place in today's photography? What can it do better than other cameras?

My experience of one was too short and my skills too few to get the best out of it. I loved the novelty for me of "manual" focus, fixed lens aesthetic. I loved the weight n feel n size. But there are plenty of other cameras that can meet all these criteria and add much else beside and cost a tenth the price,

But cant stop thinking of the Leica. Is there a correlation between loving automatic watches in a digital age when most phones tell time more accurately - and desiring a Leica (manual or digital) when most Digital compacts can beat the Leica on specs n abilities n price etc??

si
 

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Hi, I have been using Leica M3 (had both Double stroke and SS) and currently Leica M6. I also have a canon 5D Mk1. I love the leica, its perfect for street photography, you can just walk into the city/country and take photos without anyone taking note of you - Its easy to carry and the Manuel settings make it a real joy to use.
I feel that Most SLRs are too big and bulky like my canon - takes great pictures but it lacks passion, theres something about a leica M and the lens.

Leica lens are some of the fastest on the market and works really well in poor lightings (hand held:-!).
I really would like to get the M9, but way too expensive. may be an M8.2 soon;-). Theres a unique aesthetic to pictures taken by leica Ms b-)

Can't compare My Leica to Canon 5D, its like comparing a Porsche to a Lexus, Both totally different, one far superior in terms of build and picture quality. (i am sorry for saying this).
Comparison in watches would by be an Omega/ IWC to Seiko/citizen. If you are thinking of getting a Leica M, you will never regret it :)

BTW it takes couple of days to get use to rangefinder but its quite easy :-!



regards
mith
 

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The view through the viewfinder of a Leica or any good rangefinder (like a Konica Hexar, film) is quite special in that you can see more than the framed picture. It's not tunnel vision, more like your own. You can anticipate what will come into the frame, what outside the frame should come in, etc. It's open, involving.
 

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Leica is the camera you don't "take" pictures with. You "make" pictures with Leica.
where as i would and do agree with what audiphile1 has to say about learning how to use each individual camera or type of camera ,i believe the above quoted statement is complete nonsense.

is it impossible to "make" a picture without a leica, i don't think so.
and im stopping here before i go into rant mode lol
 

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Sorry guys.

Used Nikon for years, then sold all except a F3HP that my friend uses, to buy an M7, with the 28, 50 & 90mm lenses. That was in '03.

Best damn camera ever made! ... and as long as the M7 in popular in SE Asia, there will be film made for it.!

Then I will buy the M9, which makes the M8 look sorta silly. My lenses work on the M9!
 

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What advantages do you see in using an M7 over, say, a Nikon D700?
Would you think it worthwhile moving from digital SLR to film M7?

I love my Nikon, but am wondering about a more stripped down, pensive approach to photography. Rather than snapping of loads of shots then cropping- I'm trying to think composition and frame more carefully. I've never owned and used a film camera - but am wondering if I missed out on an experience and a training which these give?

si
 

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Sorry guys.
... and as long as the M7 in popular in SE Asia, there will be film made for it.!
That doesn't mean you'll be able to get it easily. Can't seem to get Astia in Britain anymore at all. And Kodachrome is almost over. If all they're gonna put out is Provia (too blue) and Velvia (awful people), I might have to pack it in.

What advantages do you see in using an M7 over, say, a Nikon D700?
Would you think it worthwhile moving from digital SLR to film M7?

I love my Nikon, but am wondering about a more stripped down, pensive approach to photography. Rather than snapping of loads of shots then cropping- I'm trying to think composition and frame more carefully. I've never owned and used a film camera - but am wondering if I missed out on an experience and a training which these give?

si
The biggest advantage an M7 has over a D700 is it uses film and not pixels and so the resulting photo has natural depth and doesn't just look like a scene painted on a wall that you took a photo of.

Would I buy a new Leica? Probably not. I think they've gone wrong. Instead of putting out a film camera that has actually moved forward, they have wasted their efforts making those digital monstrosities.

Now, I think Zeiss has moved ahead with their Ikon. I know it doesn't have the sheer quality of a Leica body, but it has an excellent viewfinder and much more intuitive controls that you don't have to take away from your face to use. I don't know why Leica perseveres with exposure comp on the back, the Zeiss/Voigtlander is much better in that respect. (And don't the M7 and MP shutter speed knobs rotate in different directions?)

In fact I would say that the Voigtlander r3a has the best magnification of them all, you really can shoot with both eyes open and have a rangefinder patch float in front of you! But the baselength is just too short to provide good enough focus for shallow depth of field, especially when your eyes get old and tired!!! You can however buy magnifiers for Leica's .72 and Zeiss' .74 to make them approx 1x.

For myself, I have no problem with Nikon, an FM2n or FM3a is a good bet and I've always preferred the split circle / microprism collar than a rangefinder patch. You can use manual or auto focus Nikkors or if you really want, a lovely Zeiss ZF. Heck, I think you can still buy an F6. Plus you can use your existing lenses and you are not restricted to 15-135mm (although I've never actually met someone who goes higher than 90mm).

If you're looking for quality of photograph, stop looking at Leica altogether - even a crappy medium format camera will give better results than the best 35mm camera.

I do have to admit to having been tempted several times, either by an M3 or an M6 though. Maybe ...

This is not the ideal forum for rangefinder advice though. There is a dedicated one. Only trouble is, I'm not sure that lot would tolerate mention of SLR's, let alone digital ones! :-d

I'm really a firm believer in the pictures you take rather than the equipment you take it with. Do I care that the pictures my grandfather took 50 years ago were with an Ilford Sportsman rather than a Leica? Heck no, I'm just glad he took so many that I have them to enjoy now.
 

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The preference of using a rangefinder over an SLR would is surely personal. I borrowed a Contax G2 and felt very comfortable with it, so much that I wanted to explore this a system of use. My friend told me of the Leica viewfinder system, which at the time, and still is possibly the best ever made. I got the M7, and decided almost immediately that the SLR's had to go.

Fortunately, I bought before Leica raised prices on all its equipment. With the M9 coming out, making the M8 obsolete, all previous M mount lenses can now be used, without modification!

Personally, a film camera with a damn good scanner is still better than any digital camera, or better yet, using a darkroom with an enlarger! ... alas, ...
 

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where as i would and do agree with what audiphile1 has to say about learning how to use each individual camera or type of camera ,i believe the above quoted statement is complete nonsense.

is it impossible to "make" a picture without a leica, i don't think so.
and im stopping here before i go into rant mode lol
I think you took what I said out of context. So let me chew this for you up a bit and make it a little easier to digest because it seems that it didn't get through properly.
I didn't say it was impossible to make pictures with any other camera. What I meant is, that with the Leica, or other camera similar in operation(not fully auto, no evaluative metering, etc) you need to think a bit more not only about composition but also about how the camera functions, what it will do in the given situation with exposure, etc. There are more things to worry about in the rangefinder such as Leica before pressing the shutter.
 

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you need to think a bit more not only about composition but also about how the camera functions, what it will do in the given situation with exposure, etc. There are more things to worry about in the rangefinder such as Leica before pressing the shutter.
I believe there has been at least one famous leica user who used to preset everything on his camera - shutter speed, aperture, even focus distance - and would just sit there with the camera until the scene changed to suit his settings. Then he'd snap the photo!
 

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I think you took what I said out of context. So let me chew this for you up a bit and make it a little easier to digest because it seems that it didn't get through properly.
I didn't say it was impossible to make pictures with any other camera. What I meant is, that with the Leica, or other camera similar in operation(not fully auto, no evaluative metering, etc) you need to think a bit more not only about composition but also about how the camera functions, what it will do in the given situation with exposure, etc. There are more things to worry about in the rangefinder such as Leica before pressing the shutter.

WOW! I can not disagree more!!!!

The only difference between shooting an F3HP and an M7 was the viewfinder, and the lack of ka-plump when the shutter released, and the mirror came crashing down! Any one who can use a center weighted metering camera can use a Leica rangefinder.



Oh ... and I forgot the price ....:-d
 

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I believe there has been at least one famous leica user who used to preset everything on his camera - shutter speed, aperture, even focus distance - and would just sit there with the camera until the scene changed to suit his settings. Then he'd snap the photo!

Well said!:-!
 
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