A funny reader post at Huff's:
I guess it's not for everybody after all.
A funny reader post at Huff's:
I guess it's not for everybody after all.
I actually can relate to it. I find the Leicas slow too.
The guy not taking the lens cap off and missing a shot is the camera's fault?
That is a hint in itself
>The guy not taking the lens cap off and missing a shot is the camera's fault?
Lets say the camera is not sophisticated enough to detect it. Could happen to me :-). This all is from using digital only cameras for too long and before SLRs.
That's why we have UV filters.... lens caps are meant to stay in the closet.
Slow? I shot a Pearl Jam concert two weeks ago with my two M9's with everything from a 24 to a 135 and rarely missed focus out of 800 plus shots. Dude just has to practice a little....
Agreed with Charles...I have shot 30 plus weddings, a good chunk wiht the M9, and haven't had any issues....
But while Leicas and rangefinders are not for everyone, none of these criticisms really resonate with me at all...sure, things could be better -- a nicer screen, a faster processor. But I don't notice those things very much in my work...
If he can't shoot at 1/60th of a second or below and cannot reliably focus, then it's not the camera for him!
However, I think it is reasonable to say that a M camera can be a PITA for some types (or styles) of shooting. I've used Ms for 40 years, and not for one second do I think the M is generally faster than a modern Canon/Nikon/Sony DSLR ... and focusing has become more difficult to nail with the M9 and the crop of new fast optics IMO.
What is deemed to be "well focused" does seem to be somewhat subjective these days ... but the DSLRs (not all of them), have generally raised the bar on quick and accurate focus.
I can't disagree with anything the guy complains about. It's all true. If only my Canon gear could inspire the same passion as my Leica gear, then I'd do the same thing. But as a friend once said:
"If it's for a big job with a truck load of lights, it's medium format with a DB.
If it's a quick job with a limited budget, it's Canon (or Nikon).
If it's for me, it's the Leica"
Crop was not written as in crop sensor. It was written as a synonym to batch. So, the sentence could have read M9 and the batch of new fast optics. Crop is used to denote a bunch of new lenses that came out around the same time. Like harvesting a crop.
Signs your lens cap is still on...
Your exposure meter says 32" - in broad daylight.
As this guy aptly demonstrates.
I'm about ready to give up on Leica. Yes, it's all my fault for being an insensitive myopic clod. Fine. But I do keep missing the shot. Sometimes it's focus, sometimes it's not noticing that the aperture depends on the lens, and thus can change when I change lenses. Sometimes it's inability to see the frame lines in the viewfinder. At least the blinking 32" helps with the lenscap on problem.
But I no longer care what the reason is. It's not fun and the results aren't there for me after 10 months with this system.
It's very true that rangefinders (not just Leica) aren't for everybody. They take a lot of work, and good/quick hand/eye reflexes. The point being made is that it's not the camera's fault. They take years of practice - my first rf was an Olympus XA back in 1982 or so. And I've shot Leicas, Mamiyas, Fuji's etc since then, along with slrs.
The story I like to tell people considering an M is when an old girlfriend bought her father an M6. He'd fawned all over mine, and she said he'd always talked about owning one. Well, she presented it to him on a family vacation we were on in Italy. I watched in sadness as he slung it over his neck and then proceeded to take pics the rest of the time with his taped up Minolta p&s. He maybe shot two frames with the Leica. I'm pretty sure it went onto a bookshelf and there it lived. No matter how much I tried to help him it was just too much camera for him. I think we should have bought him a Contax T2 or Leica minilux.
So don't feel bad and just use what works for you. I recommend people buy a used M6 and Voigt lens and see if they even like the rf way of working before plopping down $10k on an M9 and lens.
The goodbye letter and following comments are an interesting read. Many of the opinions expressed are echoing a lot of what Stefan and I were talking about in the end of tolerances reached thread.
Film photography is a mechanical medium and digital is an electrical medium. Mechanical mediums reduce tolerances by simplifying and this is the purist approach. The original Leica M is an archetype of the purist approach. It does a handful of things really well, but it is not a multi-tasker.
Digital mediums reduce tolerances by constantly integrating and multi-tasking. This means Leica digital cameras are always going to be expected to have everything (and the kitchen sink) that the other digital cameras have. IF auto-focus, video and live view are standard on most digital cameras, then over time, the audience for the digital M is going to expect it to be the same way.
The digital M is a hybrid between mechanical and digital mediums. The original audience for Leica is made up of purists and they imagine a simple digital camera (similar to an MP with a sensor instead of film.) but the new audience for the digital M is going to increasingly reject the purist mentality and start making more demands for features that are on other digital systems.
I'm not trying to be controversial or make value judgements, but I do think that the purist mentality of mechanical is eventually going to lose out to the integration mentality of digital when it comes to digital rangefinders. It's just a matter of time.
I don't care what gear I have.
Things I sell: http://www.shutterstock.com/sets/413...html?rid=61105
M9s aren't for everyone, just like Canons aren't for everyone.
I must say that I never had a problem focusing any M, also not the M8 or M9. And the M9 is easier to focus than the M8, as it is FF.
But it is true, you have to be able to do so and I know many folks who are not - this is not anything bad, else that they better use a different camera.
The M9 is not a beginner camera, because it's not good at shooting the things beginners like - and need - to shoot.
It's terrible to shoot running children with.
It's a terrible sports camera for field sports.
It's a terrible wildlife/birds in flight camera.
In fact, it's terrible for all the exciting action subjects beginners like to photograph.
Good photographers though, understand good photos are a function of the photographer, not the subject. A good photographer can make interesting images of a sink full of dishes. And the sink full of dishes isn't moving anywhere. It's just sitting there, among the trillions of other daily details that normally go unobserved, unexpressed.
The Leica M is a camera for visual poetry - the everyday, boring things we don't normally notice. These are essential parts of our lives and define it far more than the occasional exuberant color and flash. The decisive moment is within the mundane, predictable, everyday. If you can predict it, because it happened a million times before, then you can be ready for it. The M9 rewards visual preparedness. To repeat a lately overutilized saying: go where the puck is going to be, not where it is. Be prepared to shoot what will come, not what's in front of you. Unless, like most of the world, it's static and relatively unchanging.
The M9 a terrible f/1.4 "portrait" camera.
But it excels at f/11 portraits where lots of context and location, lights, scene, LIFE, is included with a 35 or 28mm lens. Or even wider!
And that brings me to the final point: it excels at shooting with wide angles. The beginner wants (and needs!) to isolate. The M9 doesn't isolate well - it wants to include ever more! As more is included the stakes are raised. Working with "the entire room" is inherently more difficult and easily turns into visual soup. We teach beginners to isolate - because they have to start somewhere, not because it has some sort of inherent value. It doesn't. But it's a starting point. One which is, IMO, better served with a small DSLR with a fast 80-90mm (or 50mm for APS-C) lens.
Of course, in many situations shooting is reactive; there's no getting around it. It's no longer acceptable to return from a PJ assignment in a war zone and come home with a handful of excellent shots. Editors want hundreds, if not thousands, to choose from. AF, AE, and zoom lenses are required tools. But the same PJs, when they have time to stop and think, when it slows down and they don't have to shoot reactively - will reach into the bag and pull out the Leica. This is what will be used to capture the everyday, mundane aspects of life: the storekeeper sweeping piles of cartridges off the sidewalk in front of his store, the kids on top of the debris of what used to be their home. The stuff that communicates mood and mind.
I read the letter - nicely glib, but still an admission of defeat, however nicely he wrapped it up.
I don't think it's tough shooting an M9 - and I certainly don't think it's slow (the review might be, the buffer might be; but taking a picture isn't).
I don't really think it's about being a good photographer either . .
I think it's about practice - not saying that I'm an expert, but I do practice, i have old eyes and old reactions, but I still get more keepers with the M9 than I do with any other camera.
We just came back from 3 weeks in Crete - I shot with the M9 with a noctilux . . . and mostly with an EP3 with various lenses, and I was thinking that the EP3 shots were fine (catching the important subject, getting that distant object, getting that close object, getting that nighttime subject) being a pragmatic photographer in fact. The truth however is that I shot about 10% of the images with the M9 (I was trying to ring the changes) . . . . and about 60% of the winners. Nothing to do with IQ . . . just concentration and interest.
So . . . .Basically . . . I think he just didn't put in the practice to make it work for him. (you don't need to practice to take pictures with an EP3/5D/D700/K5 whatever)
Just this guy you know
I like to frame with my lens cap on, and every time someone would come over to tell me that my lens cap is on, and then I have to explain to them that I am not stupid.
And if you use aperture priority, the camea does tell you that your lens cap is on.
1) I believe the question if a camera works for sombody depends a lot on the camera and the person. What works fine for some doesnt necessarly work good for others. So I fully accept if someone does say the Leica M9 doesnt work for him.
2) The lens cap thing happened to me to at least 10 times over the years. What happens? You want to take an image, have the cap on, the exp is soo long that you imediatly realize and have to take the shot again. If it is the one moment never coming again-well, then its bad. In my cases it has not been this moment and I had a small laugh about myself and switched the camer off and on and took the cap off and repeated to shoot the same thing.
3) Focusing depends a lot if the lens is calibrated accurate- and often even new lenses are not calibrated accurate (which I believe is bad for such an expensive lens). As soon as its calibrated the focus works pretty accurate - and yes, I believe the M9 works very well for shallow DOF shooting (for me).
Personally I had much more problems with inaccurate focus and too large focus sensors of the K5 and the Canon 7d than I get with the M9.
(Exception has been my Nikons and I had over the years and which AF has worked very accurate IMO.)
But I really believe a lot depends on personal taste and how good a userinterface works for the photographer. For example I have been trying to make m4/3 to work for me (EP2 and now G3) and for some reason I just dont get to the point that those cameras feel intuitive for me.
And forother it may be the same with a Leica M-camera.
There is a "not knowing what you don't know" factor to learning the M cameras. In some cases the idea of shooting a rangefinder sounds good but you don't really know the intimate derails of what can be "off". As a newbie it is hard to know that the rangefinder is off or that a lens needs to be adjusted or what exactly can be optimized on the camera. Every new M owner really needs someone that can help them figure these things out and help get their camera and lenses optimized.
Do you really think so Terry? I think rangefinders are as simple as can be, you just need to have experience and desire to work with cameras where you have to tell them what to do rather than ones that do most of the technical thinking for you. I started with a film Leica, only after a year or two of photography, but that was coming from Canon FD slr's. I did not need anyone to show me how to use the rangefinder...you make the two objects come together, it's not rocket science.
The only people I have met that have had trouble with rangefinders (note, not people who don't like them, but people who can't use them) are people with poor eyesight or people whose only experience is with modern do-it-all digital SLR's or EVF cameras. I have never met anyone who, for example, had shot 4x5 and had any trouble with RF. I think it is just that photography is now so far separated from the basics, that many people can take successful photographs without really knowing how to control the technical aspects of a camera.
I really think so. Yes, lining up two patches sounds simple but there are times when the rangefinder needs alignment, lenses need adjustment etc. How much time was spent by Tim Ashley trying to figure out what was going on the the 35 lux on the M8 until the problems of focus shift were diagnosed. How many people here have had to send stuff Off to Leica for alignment.
What I'm saying is learning how to use the camera isn't hard. Understanding what is wrong when things aren't going right isn't so easy. I do think that sometimes people don't get good results and don't really know that the camera may need adjustment and it isn't a user problem.
I'm not talking the basics of photography or telling the camera what to do. I'm talking about mechanics of rangefinders and lenses.
I agree that people who just want to take beautiful photos and by no means want to deal with technology and technique behind are completely the wrong clientel for the M.
You need to know what you are doing and which photo to take and you need to know the basics of photography and then you can work nicely with the M. I of course agree that it is annoying if the lenses are not calibrated or if the RF gets uncalibrated or other small things which also made me angry about the M. But as soon as the technical environment is set up and working, then it remains only the issue of user experience to get great results.
Well this experience cannot be bought for any money, in some cases it takes years to accumulate and thus it is definitely not a camera for everyone. At least not for people who want just quick success and think if they buy expensive enough equipment then they get top results. Which makes the M even a more beautiful camera for me
That makes sense Terry, and I would agree with you to a certain extent. But I still think that knowing when an error is your fault and when it is the that of the camera or lens is more of a matter of carefulness and confidence. If something does not work or seem right, then it's best to set up a controlled test, and that will show you whether it's you or the camera. But not everyone works or thinks this way, so I am sympathetic to your line of reasoning here...it's just that my experience is the opposite here...in that the more that the camera does for you, the more difficult it is to diagnose a problem or issue. Rangefinders are a snap...they are so easy to focus and see exactly where they are supposed to be focused, that if they are not focused there, either your eyesight is not good enough or there is a problem with the camera or lens! If only AF were so easy to diagnose (and I speak from experience...multiple instances, and in fact as we very speak kind of experience.).
Hmmm, I'm not sure I agree with any of this Ms are easy stuff. It is either denial or it's pretty wide ranging standards of end performance.
I've shot these cameras from the M4 ... and from the M6TTL onward they have been a basket full of trouble in some way or another. White out VF patch, slow untrustworthy service, inaccurate frame lines, terrible service, magenta blacks, denial+ crap service, focus shift, denial-more crap service, can use this lens-can't use another, paint finishes that rub off just putting them in a bag with claims of "it's cool looking" ... if the results weren't occasionally spectacular and the experience unique (when it's actually working), no one would be using an M. And, I am fast coming to agree that the end of tolerances is fast approaching, if not already here. I know my personal tolerances are just about reached.
Practice? How's 40 years of uninterrupted use? Not plunking around with a M, intense use in all sorts of situations.
Jono may be able to use a M faster than anything else he uses, but I'd never say such a thing ... I could run circles around my M self with a Sony A900, (let alone a Nikon), because I also am well practiced at those cameras ... and I've yet to meet a M user faster than I am (they may well exist, but I've not met one yet).
Marc, I dont understand your message. Are you serious or is this ironic?
I've experienced everything I listed, and lot more. I missed the cracked M9 sensor episode, but made up for it with cracked S2 sensor.
We all love our Ms like a cute little dog that occasionally bites you. There are plenty of positive things to say about the M, but "easy to live with" is not one of them IMHO ... and pretty long experience. I also think that those who claim the M is easy to focus don't use it much in really low light under any kind of decisive moment pressure ... frankly, that is what a M is for IMO, and it isn't easy with a fast aperture lens on a M9 ... where I don't even think about it when shooting in those conditions with my A900.
These M digital cameras are not very forgiving, nor are they any where near as trust-worthy as a decent modern DSLR ... which I'm not a huge fan of ... unless I absolutely must get the shots While they don't inspire the affection that a M does, they do inspire trust and confidence more than a M ... at least for me. Frankly, my clients just don't care what I use as long as I get the shots ... all of them, not just some of them
It is standard practice to have at least two of everything when shooting professionally, but it is an emotional necessity if the cameras is a M. Shooting for myself, the pressure is off and I just carry a NEX as back-up.
Doesn't mean I don't like my M9s and the King's ransom in lenses I use ... I'm just a realist as far as expectations and applications.
And maybe I have been lucky with Leica M since the M6 I have used for many years never failed.
The M8 I bought had allready the modification so I never had a problem with the M8 and the M9 I got the week after the announcment and other then me dropping it on the floor and needing a new topplate it has never failed.
The only thing I needed more then once was focus adjustment/calibration and therefore send in camera bodies + lenses more than once.
And yes, I agree if I absolutly realiable need to get a fast shot I would use my D700 rather than my M9 but on the other side I feel often I can get more special images with my M9 and therefore use the D700 very very seldomly. Even when taking images of my kids who are not sitting still at all.
For example, a mechanical camera built on a purist philosophy (Alpa TC, Leica MP, RolleiTwinLens6x6 etc) are very limited in terms of features which means it requires greater skill from the operator. These mediums are considered "hot" mediums because they required a highly skilled operator and are only useful for specific tasks.
Digital cameras are electrical mediums which means that they are constantly working towards integration. This means that the medium itself is always working towards ease of operation so that the user is not required to have extensive skills. Cool mediums are simple enough for a wide range of people to use and are considered "participatory." These mediums are loaded with features and are designed for multi-tasking.
Hot mediums are specialized and do not multi-task. Ironically, cameras built on the purist philosophy might be the simplest in terms of features but they are also the most difficult to use. The simpler the camera = the harder it is to use = low in participation = hot medium
Cool mediums are easier to access and multi-task. They do not require great skill in order to operate and have wider appeal to a great range of consumers. Digital cameras built on the philosophy of integration are cool mediums because they attempt to do everything for the user (auto-focus, auto exposure, software fixes in post etc) The greater the features = easier to operate = high in participation = cool medium
The person that wrote the goodbye letter to Leica wants to work in a cool medium. He wants something that can multi-task and has lots of features. The reason that he's confused is because the Digital M camera is confused. It's not sure what it wants to be. It seems to want to be a purist camera (hot) like an MP but the digital medium itself is participatory (cool)... So it's sending mixed messages.
Read the letter posted on Steve's site. Enjoyed the humor.
I would have to accept what the author wrote as he was just being honest with himself though a little frustrated it seems. But I don't necessary agree with all the points he made.
But at the end of the day, each to his own liking/preference. Just as many of you have already mentioned earlier. A Leica M RF may not suit everyone's photographic genre and not everyone can draw out the best of what an M RF could do.
I don't find any of these "I'm leaving" posts very useful. Some people like Leicas (I do). Some don't. It doesn't make me silly for staying with it, nor people like Paul silly for going back to SLR. Whatever works for you.
Selection of work: http://weinschela.zenfolio.com
i find myself in Marc's camp here. The D3 I have is my ultimate 'go-to' camera... for shots/jobs that *have* to be made. It's bullet proof, and have never had a shot lost with it due to hardware, software or focus issues. That being said, the M9 is by far my favorite camera to use, and the images I get when using it are among my favorite. If I had to live with just one camera, it would be the M9.. if I had to make a living with only one.. it would be the D3.
I agree with most of what is said here but imo, a DSLR and a Leica M are two different beasts. Different strong points and weaknesses, I don't think anybody would deny that.
For me, it goes beyond the image quality/ease of use. I remember going across the Golden Gate Bridge last year in very thick fog, M8 around my neck. Most people don't notice the camera but one person stopped me to chat and joked that I would be better off with a Holga in that weather. While he had a point that fine details are less apparent in that case, nothing is as FUN as shooting with a Leica M (maybe because it feels like I'm 'making' the image as apposed to just 'taking' it (read automation)). It makes me enjoy photography more. After all isn't that the whole point?
Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
Hey, I love the M9 files, no doubt about it ... and I do use it for paying work all the time ... I just don't trust it 100% when the chips are down and I have to get the shot, no second chances. Something as simple as a dad walking his daughter down the aisle in a cave like a church, no award winner to be had there ... but I damned well better get the shot.