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Thread: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Talking A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    And so it is, my love affair with rangefinder cameras is just not over yet in the end. After being RF-free and Leica-free for more than a year, I just gave in and a couple of months ago I got myself a Leica M Monochrom! After using it for a couple of months, I thought the time has come to share my impressions of it and some images as well, so I put (digital) pen to (digital) paper and wrote an article on the Monochrom on my blog, which is more an image-rich homage to black & white, street, RF photography with some impressions on the camera. You can read it here:

    THE LEICA M MONOCHROM: IS IT (RANGEFINDER) LOVE AGAIN?

    Hope you'll enjoy, best

    Vieri
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Great review, and my thoughts exactly regarding the M Monochrom. Rather than Voigtlander lenses however, I've gone Sonnar-crazy with a coated 1963 Jupiter 3 and now an uncoated 1937 Carl Zeiss Jena, both 5cm f/1.5.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Vieri,

    Very nice article! Since getting the MM I'm constantly amazed with the files and what it can produce. A lot of folks have said they want to have the option to also shoot color, but I've found not having this option has been extremely freeing. I no longer have to spend time processing in both and then perseverating over which looks better.

    Again enjoyed the article and your images!

    Cheers,
    Michael

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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Very nice article, Vieri. And the MM is a wonderful camera.

    Ah! Istanbul: "The Red Apple", "the city of the world's desire"; it's very easy to see why.
    Last edited by Robert Campbell; 7th December 2013 at 01:04.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by asiafish View Post
    Great review, and my thoughts exactly regarding the M Monochrom. Rather than Voigtlander lenses however, I've gone Sonnar-crazy with a coated 1963 Jupiter 3 and now an uncoated 1937 Carl Zeiss Jena, both 5cm f/1.5.
    Ah the Sonnar bug! I loved the Zeiss 50 f1.5 a few years ago (sold it to Jono, which seemed to like it a lot as well). How do you like your pre-war sonnar?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtsullivan View Post
    Vieri,

    Very nice article! Since getting the MM I'm constantly amazed with the files and what it can produce. A lot of folks have said they want to have the option to also shoot color, but I've found not having this option has been extremely freeing. I no longer have to spend time processing in both and then perseverating over which looks better.

    Again enjoyed the article and your images!

    Cheers,
    Michael
    Hello Michael, I totally agree with you - it is really freeing to only have B&W as an option. Feels like being back to the good 'ol film days, without having to go through the bad 'ol developing PITA...

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Very nice article, Vieri. And the MM is a wonderful camera.

    Ah! Istanbul: "The Red Apple", "the city of the world's desire"; it's very easy to see why.
    Thank you Robert! Indeed the MM is wonderful.

    Istanbul is great, too bad the current government is trying its best to send Turkey back to the Middle Ages...
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    Ah the Sonnar bug! I loved the Zeiss 50 f1.5 a few years ago (sold it to Jono, which seemed to like it a lot as well). How do you like your pre-war sonnar?
    Hi Vieri
    Nice article, and glad to see you back to taking looser photos, maybe street photography is important to us all (whether it be in the town or country)

    As for your 50 sonnar, I loved it, and used a lot until I got a noctilux. Now my son Silas has it, and it gets used every day, mostly on a much loved classic M6. If you're interested you'll see plenty of examples on Silas's Flickr site

    Here

    All the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member segedi's Avatar
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    I too have been bitten by the Monochrom bug. I find its sensor liberating and the experience of using a rangefinder, a real one, very nice. In my bag is the monochrome with either 50, 75 or 35mm and a GXR if I want some color.

    I opted to get a grip (Photo Equip) instead of the thumbs up. Found them used and have one for the M7 too. I really enjoy the 75mm focal length and with the grip, the camera feels more balanced for me.

    One thing you mention is auto ISO. I haven't used this at all, but now will give it a try. My experience with it on other digitals has not been great as the high ISO on them has been lacking. But ISO 10,000 on the Monochrom is perfectly acceptable in my eyes and makes nearly everything photographable with a fast lens. Thanks for the article and tips.

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Vieri
    Nice article, and glad to see you back to taking looser photos, maybe street photography is important to us all (whether it be in the town or country)

    As for your 50 sonnar, I loved it, and used a lot until I got a noctilux. Now my son Silas has it, and it gets used every day, mostly on a much loved classic M6. If you're interested you'll see plenty of examples on Silas's Flickr site

    Here

    All the best
    Hey Jono! Glad to "see" you again, hope you are doing well. Between all the camera changes, I actually never stopped shooting in the street - I just slowed down my posting of such images around the fora... it is indeed very important for me and it's something I'll never stop doing if at all possible.

    I am very happy to hear that my Sonnar is alive and well and that Silas is enjoying it. I gave a look at his gallery, there is some very very nice work there, send him my kudos! And - quite a few images of you as well, well done

    Quote Originally Posted by segedi View Post
    I too have been bitten by the Monochrom bug. I find its sensor liberating and the experience of using a rangefinder, a real one, very nice. In my bag is the monochrome with either 50, 75 or 35mm and a GXR if I want some color.

    I opted to get a grip (Photo Equip) instead of the thumbs up. Found them used and have one for the M7 too. I really enjoy the 75mm focal length and with the grip, the camera feels more balanced for me.

    One thing you mention is auto ISO. I haven't used this at all, but now will give it a try. My experience with it on other digitals has not been great as the high ISO on them has been lacking. But ISO 10,000 on the Monochrom is perfectly acceptable in my eyes and makes nearly everything photographable with a fast lens. Thanks for the article and tips.
    Hello segedi, how do you like the Photo Equip grip? I found the Leica one to be very uncomfortable for my hand, and the Thumbs Up the best solution for me; maybe because I was very much used to the film lever of the older Ms.

    About Auto ISO you are very welcome, as you said high ISO on the Monochrom is perfectly usable, which makes Auto ISO a very good proposition when you walk around and haven't the time to play with settings every minute. Glad you found the tip useful!
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Nice article

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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Vieri, it is like you wrote my thoughts in your article ... very parallel experiences.

    Leica M Rangefinder = B&W photography.

    I've mentioned before that I only ran a handful of color film though 30+ years of M film cameras, so the MM was like a home-coming after M8s, M9s. Even a recently tested M240 was a reminder of how much I like and prefer the MM.

    BTW, not only does the RSS bottom plate solve any tripod/monopod issue (for the rare times one is needed), it is also easier to operate, even with gloves on.

    Thanks,

    - Marc

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Nice article
    Thanks Peter! Glad you enjoyed, best

    Vieri
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Vieri, it is like you wrote my thoughts in your article ... very parallel experiences.

    Leica M Rangefinder = B&W photography.

    I've mentioned before that I only ran a handful of color film though 30+ years of M film cameras, so the MM was like a home-coming after M8s, M9s. Even a recently tested M240 was a reminder of how much I like and prefer the MM.

    BTW, not only does the RSS bottom plate solve any tripod/monopod issue (for the rare times one is needed), it is also easier to operate, even with gloves on.

    Thanks,

    - Marc
    Hello Marc,

    thank you for your comment, perfectly put:

    Leica M Rangefinder = B&W photography.

    I am glad I am not the only one feeling like that on this I haven't tried a M240 yet, I probably will early next year next time I'll be in Italy; however, I think I'll have the same reaction you had - I'll try and keep an open mind of course, but I am very happy with the MM and I doubt that the M240 will best it for B&W, though it is of course the "best" camera between the two as far as technology, features etc.

    Thank you as well for pointing out the ease of operation of the RRS bottom; I didn't think about it that way, but indeed it is easier to open and close: the hatch on the RRS bottom works better and it's easier to open with gloves. With your permission, I'll add it to the article (and credit you for it of course).

    Best,

    Vieri
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Vieri,

    It was a very interesting read and your superb images are well integrated with the narrative. I am aware that you used to shoot the Sigma DP Merrill cameras. IMHO, despite their quirkiness, these cameras produced the best monochrome images that I have ever shot or even seen from anyone for that matter. Can you give some insight regarding how the MM compares with Sigma strictly on IQ perspective.

    Sven

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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by sven View Post
    Vieri,

    It was a very interesting read and your superb images are well integrated with the narrative. I am aware that you used to shoot the Sigma DP Merrill cameras. IMHO, despite their quirkiness, these cameras produced the best monochrome images that I have ever shot or even seen from anyone for that matter. Can you give some insight regarding how the MM compares with Sigma strictly on IQ perspective.

    Sven
    Hello Sven,

    first of all, thank you very much, I am glad you enjoyed the read. I haven't done any side-by-side test between the DPs and the MM, but I definitely agree with you on your assessment of the DPs (and the Foveon sensor in general) when it comes to B&W: they produce simply wonderful images, that easily bests anything out there in the same category of cameras, and - more important - bests much of what is out there, period. As far as resolution, my feeling is that they are on par with the MM, more or less. Tonality-wise, the DPs have the advantage of being able to use "(digital) color filters", so to speak, after the fact, and thus change your toning, while the MM of course is stuck with what you got at the time of shooting. However, the MM produces wonderful tones, which should please most users (I know that I, for one, love the MM's output) and if you aren't pleased you can filter it the "old way" with red/orange/green/blue filters if so you desire. That said, as far as ease of use the MM beats the DPs - it's no contest, really; plus you have a zillion lenses to choose from, which is relevant to your question: it is quite difficult to compare the IQ of a Nocti with the DP2, or of a 28 Cron with the DP1, or the 75 f1.4 with the DP3 and name a clear winner... it's so much a personal matter. Technically, however, I'd say that the little DP Merrills have nothing to envy to the MM, and if you are happy with the DP's optics and with using the LCD, and you don't mind the dinosaur-like writing speed, then you can get the three DP cameras twice over over and still save money vs an equivalent MM kit, and enjoy the same IQ (if not better). Lenses, though, is the main reason why people love the IQ of the Leica M system, so there you have a conundrum that pretty much only you can answer according to your personal taste.

    Hope this helps

    Best,

    Vieri
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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Vieri

    Wonderful blog post and wonderful images. The MM is a camera I lust after. May you enjoy it a long time...

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    Re: A never ending love affair: back to rangefinder, back to Leica...

    Quote Originally Posted by white.elephant View Post
    Vieri

    Wonderful blog post and wonderful images. The MM is a camera I lust after. May you enjoy it a long time...
    Thank you Chris, I am glad you enjoyed the post and the images! Get your MM as soon as you can, you'll not regret it... a great camera!
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