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Thread: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

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    Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    As a long time Leica M shooter but also someone infected heavily by GAS I own and use several systems.
    Every couple of months a new camera comes, other go, some stay long (like my 5dIII) others are sold even after a couple of months (some of the mirrorless).

    Today we often here questions, why people use "overpriced" Leica M equipment.

    For me the M is still a very very good compromise between:
    -excellent IQ; specially not just a good camera but also many excellent lenses
    -small size
    -very nice user interface
    -relativly fast to use for a manual focus camera

    -Yes, my Canon 5dIII is faster, has better high ISO, but it is indeed much bigger and the images do not have the same pop as those from the Leica M. (maybe PS specialists can make them pop)
    -M43 is also small, nice and fast, but the IQ looks flatter and I dont like EVF
    -The Pentax K (my 2nd favorite system at the moment) also has a very nice user interface, is kind of small, fast, good IQ (even though colors seem overcooked sometimes) and has good lenses, but the M lenses are even better and the M images look more neutral and natural to me
    -the Leica S beats them all in IQ but is big and expensive

    -So yes, I still think the M-system is an excellent photographic tool and not just a luxury for snobs. It is expensive, however it is also very stable in value, specially the lenses. I love the lenses, the viewfinder (specially for people who like 35 and 50mm FOV), to be able to see around the frame in the viewfinder, the colors and the intuitive handling; I feel I dont have to concentrate on the camera but can concentrate on the subject.

    For certain things I prefer a fast AF camera or a larger sensor, but if it was just one camera system it would be the M for me (or the Pentax K )

    Dont know why I wrote all this here...
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    That "snobbery" nonsense is mostly people that have never shot with a (real) Leica camera. Granted, they're not everyone's cup of tea... And that's okay.

    I actually wrote several articles on the matter:

    The Rangefinder Difference
    Why Buy a Leica?
    Leica and Bauhausian Simplicity of Design

    Which cover the technical, logical and emotional aspects, respectively.

    I used to shoot primarily Canon DSLR gear. But I simply got tired of schlepping it around, and waiting for a new body that interested me. Still waiting on the latter... Recently picked up a Fujifilm X-T1 and so far, I'm in love. It does everything the Canon did and the Leica does not, at a size that's totally reasonable.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    ...I actually wrote several articles on the matter...Which cover the technical, logical and emotional aspects, respectively.
    These are great articles Double-Negative. I found them very interesting - thanks for sharing.

    J.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    I agree, really nice articles!
    How do you get along with the X-Trans sensor? Which raw converter do you use?
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Interesting articles, Double Negative, thanks for the links.

    A couple of points; I think that the vogue for the SLR was driven (in part) by the change from b/w to colour, specially transparencies. Slides were usually projected rather than printed, and so the framing needed to be exact—you could mask off the sides bit, but it always looked strange in a series of 'normal' slides. B/w were normally printed, and there was room for adjustments to remove unwanted bits, straighten horizons etc.

    Today, we either view images as prints or online; it's easy to adjust the 'negative' if necessary, and it usually isn't apparent. So the exact framing of the SLR isn't so necessary.

    Secondly, and this isn't just about Leica. Many camera manufacturers buy in their sensors from a third party. And when the supply of sensors ceases, if your camera's sensor is broken, there's not much you can do. If you use film, and your favourite (Kodachrome) disappears, there's usually a replacement available.
    Sláinte

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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Thanks so much, guys!

    To answer the questions, in order...

    So far I'm enjoying the new X Trans II sensor in the X-T1. High ISO noise is really low, even at 6,400 I've found. I was a bit surprised. The output seems very nice; good colors that can be tweaked easily. I tried Iridient Developer which is supposedly the best solution, but alas - on my desktop at home that runs OS X Lion, useless (the UI is scrambled). So, I've updated ACR/DNG Converter to 8.4 and LR to 5.4 - no issues at all thus far. Still too early to form a real opinion in general, but so far - I like it.

    Interesting points regarding framing. You're right - in this digital world, everything can be tweaked in post and done so easily. A RF is a bit inaccurate inherently, and I tend to frame slightly loose... Which makes adjustments in post a breeze.

    Also true; film cameras will always work as long as there's film. With the recent upsurge in film's popularity... Time will tell what the actual numbers are and if the manufacturers will continue to produce it (meaning if it's profitable to do so). Digital bodies are a losing proposition, much like computers, smartphones or any other technology. I've said this for years - "Bodies come and go but good glass is forever." The wise man "invests" there. But you can't play the "what if" game forever and eventually you just need to bite the bullet. Enjoy the here and now.

    The M8, despite being a 2006 vintage is still a damn good camera (all things considered). But I've reported a few times about issues - such as the "coffee stain" on the LCD or the sensors replacement running low. One has to face the fact that no manufacturer will support an EOL product indefinitely. In fact, five years is the industry average.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    DSLRs have always seemed ridiculously huge to me.

    In fact the M9 seemed way too big. But the Sony A7s ( i tried both), got me used to the size.

    Now I'm hooked on the M9--I do like the build, but the real reason is image IQ.

    As to the "rangefinder" aspect of the M9: I would trade it in one second for the A7 system of EVF and MF aids.

    Everytime I look through the VF, I can't believe how small that patch is. Framing is equally primitive. Downright awful.

    Part of the charm, I guess
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    What I can say is that the IQ coming out of the M9 and MM are not threatened by the Fuji... So far. The latter lacks the "bite" of details. That's not to say it's not good; it's excellent. But I think the M cameras still have it beat. Now granted, I'm comparing M lenses on both bodies. I haven't shot with the Fuji zoom (a native lens) enough to say 100%.

    As for the M cameras in general, yes... They have a lot of... "Charm." But I don't think they're going to be threatened by the Fuji, no matter how much I'm enjoying the camera. They have the ultimate build quality and sheer simplicity that no other camera has... And I really enjoy both of those aspects.

    I've never liked EVFs - until now. The X-T1 has an amazing one. But I still prefer an OVF. There's literally no lag, and they're bright and clear - plus you can see outside the frame. But EVF features are growing on me just the same... WYSIWYG, info overlay, rotating info in landscape/portrait mode, mag/peak/split focusing aids, etc.

    All these options - we live in a great time.

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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    EVF brings a lot of great features to the table, but OVF with frameliines, crude and primitive as it is, is just a more enjoyable way for me to compose photographs.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Well-invested in M system, glass and bodies.

    M versus x-t1 files? agree with DNeg that M is superior.

    but since i got the x-t1 i haven't picked up an M

    *uh-oh*
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
    Well-invested in M system, glass and bodies.

    M versus x-t1 files? agree with DNeg that M is superior.

    but since i got the x-t1 i haven't picked up an M

    *uh-oh*
    Well, I find both is important - IQ but also to enjoy using a camera and that it doesn't get in the way. I have used a x-pro 1 for some time and Really like most part of the user interface and the hybrid viewfinder.
    I often (too often) get new cameras, for some weeks and months they are used but when the new toy factor is gone I start to wonder where there are the real advantages (or disadvantages) and I often come back to the M.

    I guess all mirrorless (Fujy, Sony, Olympus and others) offer very good systems of today, all very capable.

    I still think for people who do like optical viewfinders, who do like to use primes and who do like a simple user interface the M system is a joy to use and amazes me with the IQ.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
    Well-invested in M system, glass and bodies.

    M versus x-t1 files? agree with DNeg that M is superior.

    but since i got the x-t1 i haven't picked up an M

    *uh-oh*
    You know, I'm finding the same thing. I've been playing with the X-T1 non-stop since getting it. Of course, a lot of it has to do with that "new camera smell" and getting used to it, seeing what it can do and of course testing all my M lenses on it.

    But man, it's terribly addicting. I feel a little guilty.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I guess all mirrorless (Fujy, Sony, Olympus and others) offer very good systems of today, all very capable.

    I still think for people who do like optical viewfinders, who do like to use primes and who do like a simple user interface the M system is a joy to use and amazes me with the IQ.
    Agree - no other as complete a combination of image quality and pleasure in use as the Leica M, in my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    You know, I'm finding the same thing. I've been playing with the X-T1 non-stop since getting it. Of course, a lot of it has to do with that "new camera smell" and getting used to it, seeing what it can do and of course testing all my M lenses on it.

    But man, it's terribly addicting. I feel a little guilty.
    Yes, but I've had mine for several weeks now - nose oil on the LCD and other signs of use - and I still haven't used an M. Guilt has turned to bewilderment - how can this little fuji be so fun for me? I mean, I dislike EVFs and tilt-screens and AF ...
    --Mike

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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Throughout my ever ongoing journey through photography I came to the conclusion that currently - for me - Fuji XT1 with a decent Fuji lens lineup is the best (mirror less) system. I won’t say that I believe the X-T1 to be better than all others, it simply suits my needs more.

    Sure some of the M primes are better and sure the M is a very good camera (after lot of not so great iterations) - but the M will NEVER support AF and zooms and decent convenience shooting telephoto. After having used 43 and m43 extensively and tried many other APSC and FF incarnations of mirror less, finally Fuji wins.

    Why the XT1 - simply because of so far best AF and best EVF available and all of this combined with IQ I could not get with another system. Even compared to the M system.

    Well these are my findings and I do understand that others might feel different. But end of the day this is what counts for me and this is the most important.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    M Monochrom with 24-90mm M primes wins for me.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    I love shooting with my M9-P and my M4-P and M2 before that, but when I was talking to a large-format photographer the other day (he shoots 8x10 rail and field cameras with portra), his fist question was how the hell could a woman like me afford something like that and that I must be some kind of status-obsessed dilettante with a rich husband.

    Leicas make non-Leica shooters crazy.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Throughout my ever ongoing journey through photography I came to the conclusion that currently - for me - Fuji XT1 with a decent Fuji lens lineup is the best (mirror less) system. I won’t say that I believe the X-T1 to be better than all others, it simply suits my needs more.

    Sure some of the M primes are better and sure the M is a very good camera (after lot of not so great iterations) - but the M will NEVER support AF and zooms and decent convenience shooting telephoto. After having used 43 and m43 extensively and tried many other APSC and FF incarnations of mirror less, finally Fuji wins.

    Why the XT1 - simply because of so far best AF and best EVF available and all of this combined with IQ I could not get with another system. Even compared to the M system.

    Well these are my findings and I do understand that others might feel different. But end of the day this is what counts for me and this is the most important.
    Fuji would be my system if they only released a XT2 with a 24MP AA free aps-c bayer sensor. Lenses, haptics, ergonomics, looks, listening to its customers, is where Fuji trumps the competition imho. But I`m still struggling with these x-trans files.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Well, I find both is important - IQ but also to enjoy using a camera and that it doesn't get in the way...

    I still think for people who do like optical viewfinders, who do like to use primes and who do like a simple user interface the M system is a joy to use and amazes me with the IQ.
    That's the essence of my preference for using RFs.

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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by retow View Post
    Fuji would be my system if they only released a XT2 with a 24MP AA free aps-c bayer sensor. Lenses, haptics, ergonomics, looks, listening to its customers, is where Fuji trumps the competition imho. But I`m still struggling with these x-trans files.
    I heard that many have still issues with XTrans. I myself actually never had issues despite the fact that some RAW converters offered pretty late support.

    While I do not believe that there will be a Bayer array Fuji sensor anytime in their X lineup, I strongly believe that their next incarnation of the XTrans sensor will at least be 24MP - maybe even more, at least when they finally go organic. Which only might happen i 2 years from now, so 24MP XTrans seems to be most likely for the XPro2 and XT2 which should come next year.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    M's are great for 90% of most people's pictures provided you mostly shoot UWA to short telephoto. I still say it's the ultimate street camera and until about 18 hours ago I was still a M shooter (mostly in anticipation for the rumored Sony/Fuji MF camera and to finance my Profoto lighting kit.)

    I loved my M9... and I will probably get a Monochrom to replace it eventually. I'm keeping the lenses because I'm sure I will grab another at some point (and chances are they will be more than I'm willing to spend in the future) but for now the A7 and A7r get my love as they're a bit more versatile for me due to telephoto capability and adaptability to just about any lens known to man or woman.
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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    I heard that many have still issues with XTrans. I myself actually never had issues despite the fact that some RAW converters offered pretty late support.

    While I do not believe that there will be a Bayer array Fuji sensor anytime in their X lineup, I strongly believe that their next incarnation of the XTrans sensor will at least be 24MP - maybe even more, at least when they finally go organic. Which only might happen i 2 years from now, so 24MP XTrans seems to be most likely for the XPro2 and XT2 which should come next year.
    Peter

    See the thread about the (hopefully) Fuji MF camera. That, and my M system would satisfy me forever

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    Re: Leica M ... for me still one of the best systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    As a long time Leica M shooter but also someone infected heavily by GAS I own and use several systems.
    Every couple of months a new camera comes, other go, some stay long (like my 5dIII) others are sold even after a couple of months (some of the mirrorless).

    Today we often here questions, why people use "overpriced" Leica M equipment.

    For me the M is still a very very good compromise between:
    -excellent IQ; specially not just a good camera but also many excellent lenses
    -small size
    -very nice user interface
    -relativly fast to use for a manual focus camera

    -Yes, my Canon 5dIII is faster, has better high ISO, but it is indeed much bigger and the images do not have the same pop as those from the Leica M. (maybe PS specialists can make them pop)
    -M43 is also small, nice and fast, but the IQ looks flatter and I dont like EVF
    -The Pentax K (my 2nd favorite system at the moment) also has a very nice user interface, is kind of small, fast, good IQ (even though colors seem overcooked sometimes) and has good lenses, but the M lenses are even better and the M images look more neutral and natural to me
    -the Leica S beats them all in IQ but is big and expensive

    -So yes, I still think the M-system is an excellent photographic tool and not just a luxury for snobs. It is expensive, however it is also very stable in value, specially the lenses. I love the lenses, the viewfinder (specially for people who like 35 and 50mm FOV), to be able to see around the frame in the viewfinder, the colors and the intuitive handling; I feel I dont have to concentrate on the camera but can concentrate on the subject.

    For certain things I prefer a fast AF camera or a larger sensor, but if it was just one camera system it would be the M for me (or the Pentax K )

    Dont know why I wrote all this here...
    Some sort of M has been a staple in my line-up as soon as I could afford one … starting with a M4. That's pretty much the better part of 40+ years now. So, I guess I agree with you.

    In the interim, I've lost count of the other cameras I've worked with. They changed as my needs changed. DSLRs and MFDs have been an important segment of tools for me … but for the most part it was purely rational choices based on those specific needs.

    There is a connection to my past, present and future when I pick-up a M … and even though they are now digital, the experience is exactly the same IMO … an unbroken chain of familiarity. No other camera does that for me (except maybe a Hasselblad V, but I no longer have one because digital changed the "Square" experience).

    New "darlings" like the Sony A7R come, and they go. I just can't seem to connect with them. They live as long as there is some sort of need, then bye-bye.

    The one exception to that so far has been another Leica Product … my S2 kit. It is worming its' way into my psyche, and may be around a lot longer than the transient stuff.

    I have a shoot tomorrow. As always, the M monochrome is part of the mix. So is the S2. I will also have a Sony SLT A99/A7R+Adapter with me … but only because I have to, not because I want to.

    - Marc
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