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Thread: Leica R system for pro work

  1. #1
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    Leica R system for pro work

    Hi All,

    I am considering moving back to shooting film for my wedding clients. I currently use D3's and have a M8 as well as a H3D.

    I know with all the news on the S2 and the prices changes in the MFDB that looking at the R system does seem to have many negatives. I love the feel of the camera and have the option to purchase a R8 and DMR at a very good price, I also feel that the R glass produces a very different feel to the images and that is what I want to make my work different to everybody else that is shooting digital and over processing their images in PS.

    So getting a couple of cheap R8 bodies (not sure if there are issues with the R8's I have seen some stuff about film scratching?) R9's seem to add little extra value??

    Any advice, views and comments would be great as will only have a few days to decide if I change and if I do I will replace the M8 with the R system. As the new price here in OZ for the M8.2 is just stupid and the S2 is a joke, I do not see many moving from Phase or blad for the S2.

    Thanks again for any advice as your combined experience is very welcome on this topic.

    Regards

    Rodney

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R system for pro work

    Hi Rodney

    I am a little confused as if you are considering returning to film why are you interested in the R8/DMR deal?

    Anyway, I shoot with the R9 and DMR and just love it and the beautiful R lenses. The DMR at 16bit per colour depth should give you the edge over the M8 for tonal range which I know is the bain of a wedding photographers life! Just dial in a half stop of exposure compensation when dealing with the harsh Ozzie sun though!

    As far as the R8/R9 debate goes I just love my R9 but others prefer the
    R8 as it does not have the mode dial stop that the R9 has and some folk find that the latter gets in the way for continuous shooting, but only if you tend to keep switching the camera on and off. I prefer to let it go to sleep and a quick dab on the shutter release wakes it up quicker than booting it up from off anyway!

    The R lenses are of course heavier than M lenses but not as heavy as N or C equivalents as they don't have auto focus. The Leica R's are easy to manual focus though, usually snapping in or out through the viewfinder. I always have more keepers with MF than I ever did with AF.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Member overgaarcom's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R system for pro work

    Well, film would kill me ;-) but that's mainly because my E6 lab is now 3 hours away so it's via mail back and forth. And then the scans.

    But the look!

    Anyways, I've used the R8 with motor (as well as Leicaflex SL) for film work for some years and now use the DMR on R8/R9.

    I know of no issues with the R8/R9, except the attaching the motor can require upgrade of the electronics in the R8. When mine had that, Leica did it for free (and by the way also make it fully compatible with the DMR).

    I prefer the R8 for the non-locked dial, but it's almost the same. It's a minor minor detail. And the difference in weight (100 g lighter R9) you don't feel.

    Using the DMR you can get somewhat the same feel as film so that's an option. And the workflow of course will be that much faster.

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    Re: Leica R system for pro work

    Hi Rodney, we seem to be in the same business, and use similar gear.

    If your business environment is similar to the way it is here, I agree that the pricing on some of this new gear is a joke that's not funny.

    I recently sold my Leica R9 and DMR. Prior to the DMR I shot film with a Leica R for decades. It was just a bit slow for my style of wedding journalism in certain conditions, even fitted with a Brightscreen magnifier... and the DMR did not provide for TTL flash control which caused fits in certain lighting conditions. While I used the DMR for some commercial work, it had to be in excellent lighting conditions, or it just could not compete with a Canon or Nikon in low available light. Also, do not count on swiftly swapping out the DMR back to use the R camera for film. It isn't THAT easy, and I would never have tried it at a wedding.

    I also have returned to using film, and rather than keeping my Leica R gear, I swapped it out for a Nikon F6 and a few select Zeiss ZF optics. I fitted the F6 with a $29. diagonal split screen for manual focus, and use the F6's in-viewfinder focus confirmation feature for harder to see situations. If you have not handled a F6, give it a try. It's quite the camera ... maybe my favorite to date. Love the feel of it.

    So for low light digital work its a D3 or D700, and for film the F6 ... both of which I can use the new Nikon AFS lenses, or the superb Zeiss ZF optics (the 28/2, 50/2 Macro, and 85/1.4 are stunningly sharp with beautiful Bokeh.)

    Here's another thing to consider ... if you have a H3D, (so do I) then look at the H2F body for film work. Focus confirmation works with that camera also ... and with a CF adapter you can use any Zeiss 500 series manual focus V lens. This really provides an different look especialy with B&W film.

    Just a few alternative thoughts based on experience ... especially shooting weddings.

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    Re: Leica R system for pro work

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the very helpful comments. I have shot a few roll son the R8 and now have the DMR unit agin and will test a bit more. I do love the abilities of the D3's and will still keep them. I was using the new C1 4.5 pro and the feel of the DMR files is just very attractive and yes I know that with the limited iso capabilities of the DMR it is not a camera for all situations as maybe a D3 is. I also feel that for me it is easier to focus than the M8. I did not consider the F6 so may think about that as well.

    I think from a business view it does make a lot of sense to aim very high in the market and explain the value and feel that this kind of equipment can provide both digital and film and I think that the DMR is the closest that I have seen to a film look. The key is always to be different and this is my way of adding to my craft to do that for my clients. Will let you know how I go.

    Rodney

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    Re: Leica R system for pro work

    I acquired a R9/DMR combo this fall;
    just love the handling of the R9 and the lenses.

    It shoots very similar to a MF digital back; that is its strength and weakness.
    Lenses are great, no doubt. Focusing can sometimes be tough at wide apertures.

    Two examples from quick-n-dirty headshots before a theater production.

    Peter

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