Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 34 of 34

Thread: Nikon user considering M-system.

  1. #1
    Matt Cullen
    Guest

    Nikon user considering M-system.

    Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here after browsing for the last two days, mostly in the this M forum. I'll give some background, I've pretty much always been an SLR shooter. I started using my dad's Pentax Spotmatic II, then when digital SLRs started becoming more affordable I switched to digital. I used to shoot with Canon but for the last couple of years I've been shooting with Nikon gear, mainly a D2X and F100, I recently sold my D200. I usually shoot events such as birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, receptions, as well as some sports and model work for pay. However on my one time I do mostly nature and street photography.

    Now I love my Nikon system, and for wildlife and macro photography it's indispensable. On the other hand, there are plenty of times when I'm out shooting in the city and would love to have something lighter smaller, and more discreet but not at the expense of image quality. I've pretty much ruled out most point and shoot cameras due to the lack of low light performance both as a result of the small sensors and lens speeds, as well as the lack of RAW. I also prefer prime lenses to zooms, even with my SLRs, definitely a big fan of fast glass and selective focus.

    When I was first considering an M-mount rangefinder I was looking at the Zeiss Ikon and ZM lenses, but after reading more and more on Leica lenses, looking and sample images, and finally actually handling and trying out an M8, there isn't much doubt in my mind that I'd prefer a Leica system. As far as lenses it seems like the 75mm FL makes the most sense to me, since my 85mm f/1.4 is on my F100 most of the time, I'm more of a telephoto guy than a wide-angle guy. Eventually I'd probably want 50 and 35mm lenses as well. Starting out I've been looking at used M7 and M6 bodies, although I'd really like an M8. With this kind of investment in lenses digital would be nice, especially if I want to use the camera for events and sell prints. However a cheaper body would also allow me to spend more on lenses initially. I'm also considering this system as an alternative to buying either a D700, or Sony a900 and Zeiss lenses as a primary walking around camera.

    Any body advice, lens advice, experiences, samples.. etc would be much appreciated. My flickr page is in my sig to give you an idea of some of the things I photograph in my own time, no client work is on there. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    You should get a lot of feedback on this forums as there are many contributors that use both Nikon DSLR and M8 s. This is the short version of my POV.

    1. Using a rangefinder is a highly personal decision and will depend on the type of work you hope to do, your ability to accurately focus a rangefinder and your financial resources. (Leicas are expensive). This is so important that most will recommend you find a way to borrow or rent a rangefinder camera.

    2. Assuming you are still condidering a rangefinder...my POV is to go for a good used copy of the M8( street price seems to be between $3000 and $3500. The forum buy sell is a good place to find one. You can learn with film but starting with digital gives you the ability to shoot a lot and get used to the camera.

    3. Some good threads on what one or two lens kits are preferred. The answer is generally a 28mm and a 50mm. These provide the a 32MM and 67MM filed of views. This is the most common range for leica images. Since the M8 has a 1.33 crop factor you will probably prefer the 50 over the 75. Its much easier to get your focus and to frame properly. You can learn to get closer.

    4. Leica M lenses are very expensive ..think over $3K new . Used leica lenses are a bargin in comparison. The lenses are built like a tank and last for decades. The 28/2 summicron is generally considered the best all around wide angle..but there are many that like the 21 or the 35 because its the way they like to shoot. In the 50 s many like the pre asph 50 summilux as the best all around. But you can have a debate on any of them.

    5. Zeiss zm lenses provide excellent alternatives at half the cost ..with most focal lengths around $1K. The voightlander lenses are bargins an available around $500. Read Reviews a paid website has reviewed each focal length for use on the M8 .. a good investment . Lenses don t depreciate like the digital bodies ..so you can buy and sell with most losses .. a mistake is a $1-200 error.


    If you read the M threads you will find more of this discussion as well as plenty examples. As you get to the detail decisions it may be better to ask each one separately ..e.g. where to find a good used M8?


    This is a great forum and you will get modestly biased input ..but nobody is really trying to sell you something . Of course I use M8s as my primary system ...so I prefer the Leica solutions.

    Roger Dunham

  3. #3
    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA USA
    Posts
    2,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    53

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Hi Matt,
    Welcome to the forum.

    I had a similar experience to yours. I started learning photography on a Pentax SLR when I was about 7 years old. I slowly graduated to more and more fancy SLRs and eventually to a Nikon D1. That was a revelation to me since I wasn't worried about film any longer. I later moved to Canon dSLRs because they got ahead in the image quality race. About 3 years ago a friend of mine insisted that I try shooting a Leica rangefinder. He loaned me his old MP. I fell in love. Why? Because I no longer had this large black weapon in between my subjects and myself. Also, I could shoot with both eyes open and see not only what was in the frame but also what was coming into and going out of the frame. I still take out my Canon dSLR from time to time, especially where I need autofocus and for sports, but 90% of my photos are on my M8s now, and I am taking the best photos of my life.

    As for purchasing advice, as with SLRs, spend more on lenses than on bodies. That's not hard to do with Leicas! I suggest you get an M8 (the M8.2 is much more expensive) and start with a 50 and 90. A used 50 summicron f/2 and a 90 elmarit f/2.8 would be a good start for you. I think you'll want shorter lenses too, perhaps a 35 and a 24 would round out the kit for you.

    Lastly, I do have a perfect black M8 for sale here if you're interested. No pressure here.

    Welcome to the group and feel free to contact me or any of the wonderful people here in the forums for more help.

    -Brad Husick

    P.S. I bought and used the Nikon D700 for a week in New York City. I loved the image quality at high ISO levels, but found the camera to be too heavy to enjoy, even with light lenses on it.

    P.P.S. There are a few accessories for the M8 that make handling much more comfortable. I recommend a Luigi grip case or the PhotoEquip M8 grip, plus the wonderful Thumbs-Up from Tim Isaac. They make a huge difference in being able to hold the camera with one hand. I can send you links if you like.
    Last edited by bradhusick; 31st October 2008 at 14:18.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    103
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    38

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Get the M camera, you will love it. Keep the Nikon for long lenses. The two systems are not mutually exclusive, rather I think they work well together. I have M cameras since the M2 and Nikons since the F, and I like them both. Regards. DR

  5. #5
    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    924
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    74

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Once you use a M your Nikon will stay on your desk....mine did.
    Mike

    website under construction

  6. #6
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Another big thumbs up for the M8. I'm a huge fan and my Nikon has been sitting in its case since I started getting comfortable with the Leica. One of the really excellent aspects is the variety of wonderful glass available. There are some very fine distinctions that can be made and lots of freedom for your own style to emerge with the variety of lenses that fit the M8.

    However, the rangefinder thing has thrown more than a few well-intentioned buyers. Find a way to see if the rangefinder method will be comfortable for you.

    Best of luck!
    Tim

  7. #7
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Lots of good answers
    I particularly enjoyed Roger's excellent and well reasoned response . . . . and there's Brad's nice black M8 waiting for you

    I bought an M6 and shot film for a while, but it wasn't long before I wanted an M8 . . . it would have been easier to have gone straight there!

    A slight warning about lenses, most of us have immediately spent large amounts of money on lenses, I guess we all have our favorites, and the leica glass is lovely . . .. but it doesn't need to be expensive.

    My first 3 lenses were:
    15mm Voigtlander
    50mm Leica f2 summicron
    90mm Leica f2.8 elmarit.

    It was a good start, and I still own all of them, but the 90mm doesn't get much use.

    I now find that I like
    15mm voigtlander
    25mm zeiss zm
    50mm f1.5 zeiss sonnar
    75mm f2 summicron

    these are all relatively small lenses, and as I have a dSLR system as well, I prefer to use the leica with small lenses . . . they also aren't that expensive. I've had a noctilux, and still own a 16-18-21 tri-elmar, which is fab . . . but it's also big.

    I'm not recommending my choice of lenses particularly, and in general I agree with the comment about spending money on the glass . . . . . but If you're contemplating RF, I'd grab a secondhand M8 while they are still a good deal, and get a couple of modest lenses to get the feel of things.

    Unlike most SLR systems, there really aren't any BAD lenses about for the M mount (at least, I can't think of any).

    I've also spent a lot of money on accessories - grips, straps etc. . . . and I've ended up abandoning all of them. The strap which comes with the camera is unromantic, but grips well on a leather jacket and is light and flexible. Hand grips may mean it 's easier to hold the camera . . . but they make the camera bigger, and you weren't really going to drop it were you?

    Just this guy you know

  8. #8
    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Gatos, CA
    Posts
    853
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    236

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Matt,

    I came to the M system about 18 months ago, after shooting DSLRs exclusively for 5 years. A couple of things to point out...

    Shooting a range-finder is very different than shooting a DSLR. In many, many ways. Focus is obviously different, but there are several other key differences:

    The M does not have the speed of a DSLR. You can't just lean on the button and get 6-8 fps. You have to be more aware of the situation unfolding, and time your shot with more precision.

    After you shoot the M for a while, you'll find that you get much closer to your subjects with an M. The small body and lenses are far less intimidating, and you'll find that you can get right up to your subjects without them feeling gun-shy, like they would with a big DSLR and 70-200 lens pointed at them.

    Because of this, you'll find yourself using wider lenses. A 35 or 50 on the M are very good portrait lenses. Many people use a 21 or 28 for street photography.

    Since you can't instantly get perfect focus, a more typical approach to street photography is to get "approximate focus" using the distance scale, and put your attention more on the scene, and shoot it wide, just at the right moment. With the wider lenses, the DOF will cover you, and you'll get sufficient focus.

    The viewfinder also is a very different experience, since you can see outside the framelines. As a result, you'll have far more attention on composition and timing your shot, and less on precise focus.

    Until you master the M system, you may find that you can't get a high percentage of shots in focus with a 75 lens, in quick-shooting street type shots. That's why I'm suggesting to start with something in the 21 / 28 / 35 / 50 range, where you'll get more keepers, especially once you learn to get closer to the subject.

    If you can afford it, the 28 cron (28mm f2) is a superb street lens. Very compact, very fast, and wide enough to have a pretty deep DOF, which really helps when you have to quickly raise your camera and get a shot.

    If you're like me, you'll find that your shooting style will change significantly as you embrace the M. For me, it was definitely for the better. While I still use my Canon system for sports / wildlife, and high ISO (1600 or higher), I use the M8 for everything else, and absolutely love it.

    Mike
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

  9. #9
    Senior Member otumay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Istanbul, Turkey
    Posts
    1,690
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    I'll keep it short:
    Inexperienced amateur, new to the hobby (or should I say way of life?). For the last for years used D100, Kodak SLR/n, D2x, Fujifilm S5Pro and D300 with sixteen F-mount lenses, most of them top-of-the-line.
    Then comes along a second-hand, small, black affair with a few retro-looking lenses. Not frightfully efficient in ambient light conditions, not overly easy to focus, not the most user-friendly camera I've encountered.
    But my D300 and others await their turns patiently while I shoot with my M8 with reckless abandon. Results? I'm in love with them. The reasons were stated very well in previous responses to your question.
    Sorry for this rather lengthy reply; my enthusiasm plays games with me. Buy an M8 and see for yourself.
    Best of luck and best regards,
    Osman

  10. #10
    Matt Cullen
    Guest

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Well I've read all your posts, and I guess this was pretty much the kind of response I was expecting that the M8 is the best choice, rather than spending a lot of money on a used film body. With around $7000 invested in Nikon lenses I'm also no stranger to putting more money into lenses than into bodies. I'm not one of those people who buys a 4-5k DSLR to use with a $200-300 third party super-zoom, and those people are out there.

    It's good to know that there are really no poor quality M-mount lenses out there from Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander. However I own the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 for Nikon F-mount, and while the bokeh, sharpness and contrast are all excellent, chromatic aberrations are definitely on the high side, which is workable, but something I'd rather not deal with. So I'd prefer to buy lenses that are apochromatic or close to it when possible. That's one of the reasons I was so interested in the 75mm, although I get the impression from what I'm reading that the 75mm framelines are relatively poor on the M8, so maybe a 50mm is the better option, although I still tend to prefer the subject isolation afforded by longer lenses.

    I do want to keep the camera relatively compact, but I'm not too concerned about weight since I'm currently used to carrying around a D2X with either an 85mm f/1.4, a constant f/2.8 zoom, or a 300mm f/4. So the dimensions of the M8 will be welcome no matter which lens is mounted. I'll have to take a look at some of the other hand grip options mentioned, when I tried the camera out it had the Leica grip attached, and I liked that one a lot, made it pretty similar to holding a DSLR.

    As far as focusing, as people have mentioned, this is another reason why the M8 seems like a better choice than film bodies. I'm used to manual focus with SLRs, but I've never owned a rangefinder before, or used one for an extended period of time. On the other hand, I can't imagine that they would be as popular as they are if they were much harder to manually focus than a a DSLR without any kind of split prism and an f/1.4 lens, and I have no problem doing that. I'm actually eager to get used to focusing with one, but it would definitely be more convenient to waste costless digital frames practicing than rolls of film.

    So at the moment my plan is looking like a used M8, and Brad, if you're willing to wait a week or two I can probably take you up on the offer. As for lenses, I guess a 50mm is a good start unless I see a really terrific deal on something else. So for a more specific question, between the Summicron, ZM 50mm f/2 Planar, and 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar, or a used Summilux, what would people recommend?

  11. #11
    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA USA
    Posts
    2,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    53

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    The Leica 50mm Summicron is one of the most popular lenses of all time, for good reason. It's tack sharp, easy to handle, compact and fast. I shoot this lens all the time at f/2.8 with spectacular results, not due to the photographer, but owed to the lens

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    good plan!
    Owning nearly all focal length for the M the most used from my side are 28 and 50.
    My favorite 50 is the 50/1.4 asph - it is very sharpo but still with a smooth bokeh.
    The 50/1.4 pre-asph should also be a great lens, a little smoother.
    I also own the 50/1.5 Zeiss. I really like the tones it delieveres. There is some focus shift reported (mayning focus changes when you stop down). In my experiecne not as bad as some people report. I like the lens but the bokeh can sometimes be a ittle funky.
    50 cron I bet a great lens but personally I prefer the rendering of the lux - warmer, and for my taste I find more life in the lux-images.
    Cheers, Tom

    Second lens: get yourself a 28/2.0asph. its a perfect lens IMO

  13. #13
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    You will be happy with any of the 50 s you mentioned. The zeiss 50 /2 planar is an outstanding and at about $600 used an excellent value. It is really the lens for photographs with fine details..high contrast,exceptional sharpness, saturated color. The 50 summilux comes in two popular models ..the newest asph is one of the best all around lenses on an M8 . Better IMHO than the planar and a 1.4 ..but the bokeh is somewhat harsh...actually looks sharp due to the high contrast. The pre asph model of the summilux is very popular on the M8 because wide open its has a smooth bokeh with the Leica glowing highlights. Stopped down its right in there with the best. The summicron has a beautiful look and has been the leica standard forever ...it has great color . The zeiss sonnar is well regarded for its smooth ,glowing look wide open and excellent all around performance stopped down.

    Technical perfection takes away some of the lens character but you gain better rendering of details and better tone separation(better know as micro contrast). So if you think about smooth bokeh,glowing highlights ,lower contrast wide open on one end and super sharp,high contrast and saturated colors on the other.........think zm sonnar,leica preasph,leica summicron ,zm planar and then the leica asph. No right answer just preferences ..unless you say this is exactly what i intend to use it for.


    I like the pre asph summilux 46mm version for its special character. I do also like the zeiss planar for travel photography and black and white street work. I have all except the zm sonnar so I have used them .

    You should get a subscription to Reid reviews as he explains this much better than I can.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Hacker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cyberspace
    Posts
    383
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    With the M8, I tend to carry it with me more often, taking shots I would normally not take as the DSLR is often too big and clumsy (relatively). But the M8 pales when it comes to tele shots.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    32
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Matt,

    If you are going to be shooting longer apertures with the M8 you should consider purchasing the new Leica 1.4x eyepiece magnifier. It makes critical focusing a lot easier than the 1.25x magnifier with longer lenses.

    I got an M8 when it came out (I survived all the original issues and now have an M8.2. While I still use my D3 and H3 a lot, I find the M8 a real joy to use - the images have a snap and feeling that is unique. I have used several M-series cameras over the decades. Working with a rangefinder to this day still changes the way I see.

    I have used almost all of the CV and ZM lenses, and they are all great, each in their own way, I still keep coming back to Leica M glass.

    Glenn

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    32
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Oops that should have said longer focal lengths not apertures, duh. Hit send too soon, apologies,

    Glenn

  17. #17
    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    North Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    1,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Matt,

    Similar background to you also and I had a pair of M8s and a slew of lenses. All I can say is make darn sure you don't mind the manual focus on every shot (hyperfocal excepted). I found I was missing shots I expected to get and would have gotten with AF. In the end, although I loved the feel of the M8s, I sold them and went back to a pair of D300s. As I say, I adored the feel of the cameras in my hand, but do I regret selling them, not for a moment.

    One other thing to consider is that you specifically mentioned you are a "telephoto guy" and the 75mm is almost the longest you're going to be able to shoot comfortably on the M8.

    Just another perspective.

    Ciao,
    Last edited by simonclivehughes; 3rd November 2008 at 14:16.

  18. #18
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Well, I'll go against the tide here and share my own experiences ... a dangerous game on a M forum : -)

    I am a 30+ year M shooter ... never been without one. Currently a M8 owner with 24/2,8 ASPH, 28/2ASPH, 35/1.4ASPH, 50/1.4ASPH and 90/2.8 lenses. Have owned most of the Leica optics and most of the M version cameras at one time or another.

    My M8 now is religated to less use. A Nikon D700 with Zeiss ZF glass is used more frequently. Like you, a bit more weight doesn't bother me ... and being able to bring one AF lens with me on a trip can be useful.

    Now the real reason is the ability to shoot ambient light at super high ISOs compared to the M8 which tops out at a marginal 1250 ... the D700 screams past the M8 on to 2000, 3200, 5000 ... I've even done ISO 6400, 8000 and ocassionally ISO 10,000 with good results for that kind of ambient image making in places where the M8 dare not tread. So, it depends on what you want to accomplish.

    BTW, there is a HUGE difference in manually focusing a D700 compared to a D300 or other crop frame Nikons. Add a diagonal split prism screen and it's even easier ... or for really critical focus use the moveable focus point for focus confirmation instead of center focus recompose which with fast glass up close is a deadly combo.

    I primarily use the ZF 28/2 and 50/2 Macro which are 28mm and 50mm on the D700 not a 1.33X lens factor like the M8 ... and now the excellent ZF85/1.4 ... I may look at the ZF21/2.8 eventually.

    Just an alt POV, as unpopular as it may be.

    When and IF the M8 get to a usable 3200 ISO it may come back into play more frequently.

  19. #19
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Well, I'll go against the tide here and share my own experiences ... a dangerous game on a M forum : -)

    (snip)
    Just an alt POV, as unpopular as it may be.

    When and IF the M8 get to a usable 3200 ISO it may come back into play more frequently.
    I rather felt that (at least around here) the M8 users were rather pragmatic as opposed to dogmatic (unlike some of the MF users I might suggest)

    Well, I quite agree with you (how could one not). But I still reckon you get quite different response from victims when you point a D700 at them - even with a small lens.

    The joy of the M8 is that (in my experience) you are pretty much ignored, which certainly has its advantages

    Just this guy you know

  20. #20
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I rather felt that (at least around here) the M8 users were rather pragmatic as opposed to dogmatic (unlike some of the MF users I might suggest)

    Well, I quite agree with you (how could one not). But I still reckon you get quite different response from victims when you point a D700 at them - even with a small lens.

    The joy of the M8 is that (in my experience) you are pretty much ignored, which certainly has its advantages
    Sorry, but I believe it's the shooter not the camera that gets "noticed." Lots of pretty great candid work being done with something other than a M camera. I suppose it depends on how quick and cool you are

    Here's quick snap on Holloween in NYC using the D700 @ ISO 2500 + 1 stop comp, and 28/2 ... shot pretty close to the subjects without detection as I walked toward them ... loved the expression on the older woman's face

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    141
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    In my mind, the Zeiss ZM lenses give up very little compared to the Leica lenses. The biggest thing they give up is maximum aperture and in some cases, some size. For example, if you want a 28mm lens, the Leica and Zeiss both offer wonderful 28/2.8's, but only Leica offers a 28/2 (at 4 times the retail cost of the ZM 28/2.8 and more than twice the cost of the Leica 28/2.8). Something to keep in mind.

    The ZM 35/2 and 50/2 are smashing lenses. While the 35 is a bit larger than a 35 Summicron, once you add a hood to the cron you are about the same size. The ZM lenses in general don't need hoods as often as the Leica lenses.

    That being said, the Leica 50/1.4 ASPH and the 75/2 ASPH are untouchable (and expensive).

    I also don't want to slight the CV lenses. They make some wonderful lenses and some of them are real bargains. The 15mm is not to be missed and the 28/3.5 seems to be universally loved. The 50/1.5 gets great reviews, as does 35/1.2. My advice would be to select one or two 'bread and butter' focal lengths and buy Leica or Zeiss (depending on your tastes) and fill out other focal lengths with CV.

    All this is nice, but my question would be, do you really want a rangefinder system if you primarily shoot telephoto? It's not really the system's strength. I like RF's but then again, the longest lens I've ever owned was 100mm lens, I only used it for macro, and I sold it about 2 years ago. I do plan on getting a 135/2 for my Canon SLR at some point, but it's lower on the priority list than some other things. I like wide to normal a lot more than telephoto...

  22. #22
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Sorry, but I believe it's the shooter not the camera that gets "noticed." Lots of pretty great candid work being done with something other than a M camera. I suppose it depends on how quick and cool you are
    Ah well - we all know how quick and cool you are Marc (and if we didn't, your shot would prove it) but it was unkind to point out to every one that I'm not (which of course is true).

    I didn't say you couldn't use an SLR (rather the opposite I thought), and your halloween shot is a good example of one where the D3 is a better bet. On the other hand, over here, shooting in the street with an SLR is likely to get you hassled by the police - not to mentioned being collared by parents of children (or scantily clad girls) . . . but not with an M . . . That also goes for getting into concerts - you just get refused when they check your back and there's an slr in there, the M gets ignored.
    Last edited by jonoslack; 4th November 2008 at 11:19.

    Just this guy you know

  23. #23
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    I had a chance this summer to test both alternatives ..street shooting in NYC. Without a doubt your body language and shooting techniques are the first thing that gives you away. I know it is possible to do great work with either an M or a D700/D3 . However each has its advantages and disadvantages:

    1. The M s are much less visable and you can get away with shooting much closer. I do a lot of prefocusing and setting up shots ...rather than point and shoot......"the set the stage technique" ..great location ,great light....wait for the moment.

    2. The Nikon D700/D3 shout photographer....I had people give me dirty looks when I just looked at them. If you work it ..you can still get great stuff but its much less discrete. I have two friends that are professional journalists ..both use D3 s and can walk right up and get natural photographs. I have studied their techniques and clearly the photographers approach and skill make a hugh difference.

    3. The high ISO capability of the d700/d3 is the big advantage ....night shooting in NYC is pretty darn amazing and the auto ISO capabilities going up to 6400 work great. And of course at night its not as visable as the M8. I do like the M8 with the Noctilux or the summiluxes at 640 which is just enough at dusk ..but not enough after dark.

    These were my findings using the M8 s for week (1500 images ) and then the D3/d300 s for another week (1000). Both had enough time to get really comfortable with the equipment . Even with the advantages of the D cameras ...I much prefer the M s for street work. But then I am not selling my D3 either.

  24. #24
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I had a chance this summer to test both alternatives ..street shooting in NYC. Without a doubt your body language and shooting techniques are the first thing that gives you away. I know it is possible to do great work with either an M or a D700/D3 . However each has its advantages and disadvantages:

    1. The M s are much less visible and you can get away with shooting much closer. I do a lot of prefocusing and setting up shots ...rather than point and shoot......"the set the stage technique" ..great location ,great light....wait for the moment.

    2. The Nikon D700/D3 shout photographer....I had people give me dirty looks when I just looked at them. If you work it ..you can still get great stuff but its much less discrete. I have two friends that are professional journalists ..both use D3 s and can walk right up and get natural photographs. I have studied their techniques and clearly the photographers approach and skill make a hugh difference.

    3. The high ISO capability of the d700/d3 is the big advantage ....night shooting in NYC is pretty darn amazing and the auto ISO capabilities going up to 6400 work great. And of course at night its not as visible as the M8. I do like the M8 with the Noctilux or the summiluxes at 640 which is just enough at dusk ..but not enough after dark.

    These were my findings using the M8 s for week (1500 images ) and then the D3/d300 s for another week (1000). Both had enough time to get really comfortable with the equipment . Even with the advantages of the D cameras ...I much prefer the M s for street work. But then I am not selling my D3 either.
    Big difference between the D3 and a D700. Even if they see you, one screams pro and the other looks like every other person in the crowd with a ubiquitous Canon D Rebel. Times have changed ... more people with DSLR cameras everywhere you go.

    Not knocking the M which I find excellent @ ISO 640 ... have one, and a fortune in fast glass. But man, how liberating to be able to shoot a black cat in a coal mine at midnight

    Point is, I knew I'd be in NYC in October ... easy choice of cameras ... F6 and B&W film during the day ... D700 and high ISO at night. A couple of lenses to fit both.

    I also agree with waiting for the moment. People may be on guard at first, but that fades quickly, and it doesn't matter what camera is dangling at your side.

  25. #25
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Yep, there's definately a place for the M ... which is why I keep mine. It's just getting less use than before ... but I DO use it.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    653
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    This has been a fantastic thread to read. I have always lusted after an M body Leica and I think my path has been very similar to a lot of yours out there.

    Some of my best work is from travel and street photography. I have taken a D200 to Namibia and Tunisia for example. Tunisia was a little tricky as I shot blind in the streets with the camera about my waist. Shots like this...



    In February, we are going to Cambodia and Laos. I'm thinking an M8 would be a perfect companion to my D700 (which I adore!). I shoot a lot with the 50 1.4, so I'm thinking an M8 w/ a 35 of some sort. This will be my trial run with an M body. I'm trying to get up to speed on the lenses, but I'm sooooo faaaaaaaar behind. Since I want to do a lot of street and people shots while I'm there, I'm thinking the M will fit the bill nicely.

    Also open to any opinions, and in resurrecting this thread, more comments from those who have recently transitioned from dSLR's into the M world.

    Thanks a lot and this is a wonderful forum!

  27. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    2,077
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Yep, there's definately a place for the M ... which is why I keep mine. It's just getting less use than before ... but I DO use it.
    Marc

    I am confused. I thought, based on some of your previous posts, that you had purchased an M9 and were raving about it for your wedding work.

    Did I have one too many martinis? LOL

    Woody

  28. #28
    Senior Subscriber Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    411
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Marc

    I am confused. I thought, based on some of your previous posts, that you had purchased an M9 and were raving about it for your wedding work.

    Did I have one too many martinis? LOL

    Woody
    Woody,

    I was confused by Marc's post when I first read it today. But this is actually an old thread. Most of these comments were more than a year old. Meanwhile, Marc has moved on to Sony A900 and Leica M9... This shows how fast things change in 'digital age.'

    Kind regards,

  29. #29
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Marc

    I am confused. I thought, based on some of your previous posts, that you had purchased an M9 and were raving about it for your wedding work.

    Did I have one too many martinis? LOL

    Woody
    No Woody you just missed the dates ..the posts were last years "best practices". Marc has M9 s now which are good to ISO 1000 and with fast glass open up the night shooting. He sold his Nikons and Zeiss ZF glass ...much of it to me.

    As a maybe interesting follow up. I have a complete set of Zeiss ZF glass and a D700/D3X . In Oct 2009 ....I took a workshop with MAGNUM in NYC focused on street shooting . On the last day I repeated my test of street worthness (will people notice).

    In the morning I went out shooting the Nikon D700 and the Zeiss 35/2 and the 85/1.4. I shot 90% with the 35/2. I shot in Greenwich Village around Washington Square. Since I was working with manual lens..I used a mixture of prefocus,hyperfocus and of course manual focus thru the finder. I tried to make it exactly like I use the M on the street. It was raining ..sometimes hard....great distraction. THE NIKON WAS EASILY RECOGNIZED....even when I held the camera on my lap ..people picked up on it.

    Later in the day I used the M9 with the Noctilux. Obviously a different look but on the street I wasn t noticed nearly as much.

    My PJ buddies have the same experience....they can make the Nikon s work and they do as required ....but the camera they all want for street is the M9....and if they ever make the X1 with a faster lens ....they will be all over it.

    Technique really matters ...but a smaller form that looks like an amateur ...helps as well.

    The gear is getting very close to covering all the major requirements. Better ISO , fast wide primes .

  30. #30
    Senior Subscriber Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    411
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    ...

    I shot 90% with the 35/2. I shot in Greenwich Village around Washington Square. Since I was working with manual lens..I used a mixture of prefocus,hyperfocus and of course manual focus thru the finder. I tried to make it exactly like I use the M on the street. It was raining ..sometimes hard....great distraction.

    ...
    Roger,

    Were you happy with D700 and Zeiss 35/2 ZF combo for street shooting other than size and weight? I like the image quality produced by this combo very much but haven't really use this in the field much. Thank you.

    Kind regards,

  31. #31
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    I like the D700/ZF 35/2 for just about everything. The D700 without the vertical grip has a small form with the zf35. I have no problem with the size and weight. The Nikon sensor produces excellent IQ up to about 1600 and you have 3200/6400 if needed.

    The only issue I had with street shooting was that people recognized it as a serious camera. In fairness..this was in the area know as the Photo District...so I am sure some recognized the camera.

    The M just attracts a lot less attention. Once I start shooting I could be happy with either one..but I like the M better.

  32. #32
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Muelver View Post
    This has been a fantastic thread to read. I have always lusted after an M body Leica and I think my path has been very similar to a lot of yours out there.

    Some of my best work is from travel and street photography. I have taken a D200 to Namibia and Tunisia for example. Tunisia was a little tricky as I shot blind in the streets with the camera about my waist. Shots like this...



    In February, we are going to Cambodia and Laos. I'm thinking an M8 would be a perfect companion to my D700 (which I adore!). I shoot a lot with the 50 1.4, so I'm thinking an M8 w/ a 35 of some sort. This will be my trial run with an M body. I'm trying to get up to speed on the lenses, but I'm sooooo faaaaaaaar behind. Since I want to do a lot of street and people shots while I'm there, I'm thinking the M will fit the bill nicely.

    Also open to any opinions, and in resurrecting this thread, more comments from those who have recently transitioned from dSLR's into the M world.

    Thanks a lot and this is a wonderful forum!
    Jason

    No one system seems to ever do everything we desire. Even within the Leica line we used to beat about the M verse the R(reflex) series.

    The biggest issue I would have with the d700 and a M8 together ..is that the images would be rendered considerably differently. When you begin to edit your images you will find that they just look different. Most Leica M users will swear that you will pick all the M images over the D700. I am making an assumption here that ..you would like to either create your book or a collection of images(prints or web). This means the images frm the two cameras need to work together. (If you don t care and just are happy with a bunch of nice photos ..maybe a batch of prints then this isn t an issue).


    I have both systems ..Leica M and Nikon D (FX) ....and I try to make a decision before I go on a trip . What do I need? Do I need a lens longer than 180mm FOV? (longest I can get with a Leica on an M8).

    Two alternatives

    1. Get an M8 and try to find two lenses.....a 21 and either a 35 or a 50. This would give you a 28mm FOV(perfect for street...you would have gotten the feet in your image with a 28FOV) and either a normal (47mmFov or short tele ..a 50mm is a 67FOV). Just take the M8 and the two lenses..get a wrist strap ..no bag . Hit the street and shoot a ton. Have enough batteries and cards. Experience the joy of Leica M street photography.


    2. Put a hold on the M system and get a Zeiss ZF 28/2 lens for you D700. This is a superb lens for street . You can find them used for less than $1K . You can use the lens a lot like an M ....prefocus,hyperfocus etc. Its fast,sharp and produces great color. The ZF 85 1.4 is also a really nice lens.

    The advantage of the nikon alternative is you know it and can make it sing on a nice photo rich trip.


    Either one or two beats the mixed system. If you go mixed you have to go wider on the M8 because of the smaller sensor ...a 35mm lens creates a 47mmFov (1.33X). You really want a 21 or a 28mm for an M8.

  33. #33
    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    653
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Roger....

    Thanks so much for the detailed reply and to everyone else for their input. This is the direction that I am thinking of taking.

    D700, 50 1.4, 35-70 2.8, 70-200 VRII (inbound, don't have it yet, but will) This will be for the long shots, or when "going big" won't matter. Flipside, when going dark in very low light.

    M8 w/ Zeiss 25 biogon and a second lens? Would love a faster wide, but I can't afford 3k for a lens at this point.

    I have been on the fence between getting a D3X, but my heart is screaming M8 and glass so I can have a camera on me pretty much at all times.

    Thanks again!!!

  34. #34
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Nikon user considering M-system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Muelver View Post
    Roger....

    Thanks so much for the detailed reply and to everyone else for their input. This is the direction that I am thinking of taking.

    D700, 50 1.4, 35-70 2.8, 70-200 VRII (inbound, don't have it yet, but will) This will be for the long shots, or when "going big" won't matter. Flipside, when going dark in very low light.

    M8 w/ Zeiss 25 biogon and a second lens? Would love a faster wide, but I can't afford 3k for a lens at this point.

    I have been on the fence between getting a D3X, but my heart is screaming M8 and glass so I can have a camera on me pretty much at all times.

    Thanks again!!!
    Jason

    You will have it covered with that set and its more adaptable than a D3X. You might consider the following:

    1. On the M8 ..consider the 21/2.8 Zeiss(Erwin Putts calls this their perfect lens)...it also provides a 28mm FOV on an M8. If you shoot from the waist or lower ...or higher ...you will need the extra FOV to keep from cutting off hands and feet. I have this only important with street shooting. This also sets up the possibility of getting a 35mm summicron or the zeiss 35/2 . The 50 zm lenses are also special..the f2 planar being highly corrected and contrasty and the 50 1.5 sonnar has that old timeless look. The 25 is highly regarded so its definately not a mistake and if you only have one lens ..its had to argue. Read Putts and Digilloyd on the Zeiss ZM lenses.

    2. On the D700 you might find a 85 1.5 ZF lens . Your images will have substantially greater contrast and color saturation than the Nikkors. A less expensive alternative is the Nikkor 85/1.8 which is suberb and small. The 85 FOV pairs nicely with the 28 to 35 FOV for street.

    3. Carrying and working with two cameras ....the M8 and a 21 is your goal ....use it a lot and get close enough to have a good size subject. This give your images context. You are zone or hyperfocusing ..f5.6 . Then the D700 and the 85 are used when getting closer isn t possible .

    The zeiss alternatives can be found used for less than $1000 and some as low as $600. They are easy to resell because of the price point .

    You also have the advantage that the zeiss glass renders in a similar way (even if the sensors don t) and you can mix and match images while retaining the same look.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •