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  #1  
Old 04-10-12
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What is the Leica M buzz?

OK, guys - there are some big Leica fans here - Danny, MikeJ, Bob... and more.

But what is it about Leica M-series cameras that is so compelling to you? Personally, I don't really get it. The cameras are rather heavy and surprisingly large when you encounter one for the first time. OK, Leica lenses have earned a good reputation from their film days - but is that reputation really deserved in the digital era? An optics expert I know is not nearly convinced - and he is German! So is it something do with being able to buy a Leica now when you could only dream of one in their heyday? After all they used to be workhorse cameras used by jobbing pros; several of my journalist pals used them as cruise ship photographers; the cameras were sturdy and reliable.

Mmmm, forgive me for saying this but I feel Leica is mainly tapping into the wallets of well-heeled enthusiasts these days - and as for Hassleblad...!

Go on - convince me!

Ian
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  #2  
Old 05-10-12
Danny Chau Danny Chau is offline
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

I agree with you Ian, Leica M cameras weight a brick and the operation when compared to most decent cameras now are considered very slow and could easily miss great moments. One thing to make the digital close to film would be the battery technology as at present all digital cameras will having to wait to wake from the battery save mode and this has lead to lots of lost opportunities.

As regards to lens quality, we should know that some of the best work captured are never about sharpness, it is all about the moment, the feeling and although the lens quality is important but it is not the single most important factor. I have recently revisit some of the older digital files from my old and trusted Epson RD1 and I managed to make prints to 60" x 40" with minor adjustment such as adding grain and the CS5 RAW engine is so much better than the earlier versions. With the combination of a good RIP, making prints to these sizes are now a technical marvel.

To me the most important thing regarding to street photography is speed of capture and the moment of capture, some of the best street photography is never about sharpness but it's all about timing and feel.

I have recently sold my Leica M8.2 for the Fuji X-Pro1, with the latest firmware the X-Pro is now the camera that should have been in the first place, it was better to be late than never. The camera is now very responsive and every bit is faster and better than the M8.2, high ISO low light capture is the best in the business and I constantly shoot above 1600 ISO with jpeg set to black and white and still retains full colour information in the RAW files. It also uses all my M lenses but the good thing about the new modern digital lenses is their capability to do close focusing is where it can leave the older lenses behind.

I think Leica had no choice but to resting on it's laurels as the Leica name is about the 'idea' and the 'concept' of the old film days, I don't know how many people are willing to buy this concept, but for me it's over as I always enjoy the change as that is what life is all about.

I have enjoyed my years of film photography and I now fully engaged and enjoying the digital, I have fully embraced the change, how about you?
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Old 07-10-12
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Bob Ross Bob Ross is offline
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

Hi Ian,
I just kinda stumbled on this thread. I have used Leica M stuff for a bit over half of my 70 yrears, so I am one of those who can pick one up and still know how to swim the rangefinder stroke
There area lot of myths about Leica and most are romantic rather than real. When you live through all the engineering glitches in almost every body, the myths become humour.
One area that I will consider mythic is the lenses. This doesn't mean clinical perfection, but in the ability to RENDER, DRAW or WRITE and image and these seems to be qualities that many are not even aware of when listing SHARPNES, CONTRAST and COLOR as lens qualities.
Some of us Leica users are willing to put up with "old stuff" to get the rendering. Now-a-days we have more options for platforms for our M mount lenses, so the challenge has arived.
Bob
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Old 08-10-12
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Bob Ross Bob Ross is offline
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

Part Two: The "M viewfinder"
The M bodies do have something unique, Their viewfinder.....a floating frame in a window optical finder, Even in the film rangefinder days there were only a few attempts to duplicate it ( Nikon S ). The finder grants the ability to "see" outside the approximate capture frame. Use this for a few years and you'll take it for granted and miss it dearly.
The lens rendering and the viewfinder are good tools that go along with the simplicity of use, but in this time and day of "features", it was only time before Leica wised up to the needs of the modern 21st century photographer and produce the newest M.
Still no AF or IBIS..........
Bob
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Old 09-10-12
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

Thanks Bob - I understand the benefit of having a view outside of the frame via the viewfinder, which you vouched for very well.

Ian
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Old 09-10-12
Ray Shotter Ray Shotter is offline
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

Ian,

Thanks for the welcome and the pointer to your Leica M buzz.

Not having used a Leica since my M2 which I used for some 17 years until I sold it (in 1976 -I think ?) - on receiving an M9 in August 2011 - I have found it a little difficult to use a rangefinder again but have now managed to satisfy myself that I can now focus almost as accurately as I used to before I had to wear spectacles. There is no doubt that the price of a Leica M9 is exhorbitant (but mine was a gift !). However, as the lenses cost more than my Olympus Four-Thirds bodies - I concluded that if I wanted a few lenses then my Four-Thirds equipment had to go.

But to answer some of the misconceptions about the M9 (I can't make informed comments on the new Leica M as I have only read the brief details currently available). However, concerning the M9 - it is not heavy if you remember it is a "full frame" camera. Secondly, although the lenses are quite heavy for their size; they are minute compared to almost all the lenses for full frame DSLRs.

I miss the convenience of Automatic Focus which I have got used to with my former Olympus DSLRs and the E-P2; but I always had manual focus cameras before my first E-1 so returning to "manual focus only" is not a major problem for me. The quality of the images is exceptionally good and, although I haven't printed anything larger than A4 so far, I am certain that any size up to A2 will always be perfect if the photographs are focussed accurately. The ISO range is 80-2500 and although I don't use 2500 often it is quite acceptable. I usually limit myself to 1600 ISO as the noise is almost invisible at this level.

As to the new M I will reserve judgement until I see one. In some respects redesigning to include "live view" sounds like a good idea but I am not sure why it is being done unless it is primarily to allow the use of the R lenses. If "live view" means that a 10 times enlargement when focussing can be achieved with all lenses (M & R) then this is a real bonus for people like me whose sight is not what is used to be. I certainly found it useful when I focussed manually with my E-P2.

As to mounting an EVF-2 then, again, I can see the advantage if the usual aperture and exposure details are present in the viewfinder. However, although I found the VF-2 on my E-P2 very useful. I always thought it should have been included in the body - so I was delighted to see the E-M5 developed.

The design of the new Leica M perplexes me somewhat since it appears to be the first step in abandoning the need for the rangefinder. I hope I have misunderstood the details of the new design.

Ray.
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  #7  
Old 11-10-12
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

Ian, are you contemplating an adventure into the mysterious sickness of owning a Leica? It is easy to look at the surface and see very expensive limited production toys. It is harder to find out what is going on below the surface in the photographers that use the toys.
It is an expensive game to play. Most of my stuff was accumulated over decades. When the M8 came out I had an M5, M6 and four lenses. So I added the M8, 28/28asph and 50/1.1VC, during the 6 years of digital M. To replace all that kit at todays prices wold be a challenge even to my insurance comapany.... and that is where the newby is unless they are as lucky as RAY or inherit a box of rangefinder stuff.
Bob
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Old 12-10-12
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

I love all types of cameras and I am sure I would enjoy owning a Leica but the appreciation of all things Leica, espcially in the digital age, is something that is rather unique and that is what I am trying to tease out of Leica fans

Ian
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Old 12-10-12
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Re: What is the Leica M buzz?

I bet that I could really appreciate a new S ......
Bob
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