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Thread: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on...

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on...

    I don't know if it's just the endless gear itch or whether I actually have a good reason for considering a switch. Currently I have a Micro Four Thirds kit as well as a Leica kit, but I mostly use the Leicas.

    You can get a sense of what I like to shoot from my Flickr stream: Flickriver: Photos from Amin Sabet. Mostly I just take photos of my family and places we go together.

    My Leica kit is an M240, Zeiss ZM 18/4, 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE, 50mm Summilux ASPH, and 90mm Summarit. I'm flirting with the idea of selling those to get a Nikon D810, Zeiss ZF2 21/2.8, Sigma 35 ART, Sigma 50 ART, and Nikon 105/2.8 VR.

    On the one hand, it's a lot more size and weight. Here's the difference with 50s mounted:


    Image source: http://camerasize.com/compact/#389.276,557.399,ha,t

    On the other hand, I gain autofocus. Yet even the best AF will sometimes choose an unintended target, whereas my Leica gear (all fairly well corrected and calibrated) pretty much focuses where intended. I also have an element of distrust in Sigma AF that will be hard to shake.

    In terms of glass performance, I expect things to be mostly a wash. I can't find any real problem of any importance with my Leica/Zeiss lenses, and I expect the same would be true of the lenses I mentioned for the Leica. Plus I would gain image stabilization with the tele, and macro ability as well.

    Neither cost nor megapixels is a major factor in this decision. The superior low light ability of the Nikon is a small bonus to me, not a major one. My M240 has a nasty habit of freezing up every once in a blue moon when I shoot too many frames in quick succession, so performance wise that would be another point in favor of the Nikon.

    I know that no one can tell me whether I'd enjoy shooting more with an SLR or a RF. Thing is, I have plenty of experience with both to know that I like both processes very much.

    The reason I'm asking here at GetDPI is because there was once a time when it seemed like just about everyone was shooting a Leica, Jack and Guy included, and now the number of Leica shooters is far diminished. So I'm really wanting to get some perspective from those of you who left it behind. Are you happy with the switch? Do you ever miss your Leica?

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Keep your Leica and get a Ricoh GR. They're the perfect companions.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Amin,

    I left my digital Leica's (R9DMR and M8) long time ago. I sold all my R lenses as I figured out that there would not be any digital R development past DMR while I kept all my M glass (which is around 12 coded lenses) as I started waiting for a decent FF Leica M without major flaws. I have not found one so far - all still too much flawed IMHO, maybe the new digital MP comes close, but I still will wait for the next major incarnation of the M. But this does not say anything about Leica IQ and overall quality, it just reflects my observations and feelings and I could not be convinced other over the past years.

    I was working with EM5 and EM1 over the past years parallel to my Nikon FF system (D800E with several high end Nikkor lenses and the Zeiss 1.4/35 ZF.2, which BTW I absolutely adore - not very often I have seen a better lens). I recently sold all my Olympus gear, as I felt limited by the small sensor and was really attracted by the Fuji X system. Also for me Olympus builds too many "toy" lenses - I owned most of them and while optically good to very good I simply dislike the plastic feel of many.

    You will hear many different opinions not only at GetDPI about Fuji, EVF quality, issues with greens etc...I never could figure these flaws. I meanwhile shoot the XT1 with the lovely 18-55, 1.4/23 and the gorgeous 1.2/56. This lens is most of the time on the camera and is one of the best lenses I have ever used. It became my standard lens. Compared to the Nikkor 1.4/85 it is better WRT IQ and has much less CA plus it is much lighter. This lens became my absolute favorite! And I dare to say it tops equivalent Leica glass (or what would fall into its range around 80-90mm).

    One reason I bought into Fuji are the Film Simulation Modes, which many seem to hate, but others including me love it. Together with LR5 this allows to exploit the real potential of the Fuji RAW files while offering many perfect presets to start with from Film Simulation. Another reason I bought into Fuji is that I am waiting for the 2.8 zooms which should come this autumn or next spring and the rumored 120-400, which should equal a 180-600 from FF. I intend to use this lens for wildlife, where I currently use my D800E with a 140-400 equivalent lens.

    So how does that relate to your question? I intend to get back into the M system with Leica's next M camera which they may introduce in 2 years from now - so I would keep the M system. And meanwhile shoot with Nikon and Fuji in parallel, although I hope I can leave Nikon over the next years as the Fuji lineup becomes more complete for me - so keep the Nikon although much bigger compared to the M and maybe give the Fuji X system a try. Might very well be that you keep 3 systems.

    Hope that helps

    Peter
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Have you looked into the Fuji X cameras? Specifically, the X-T1?

    While I haven't switched, I did pick one up (along with the trio of zooms) to scratch that DSLR itch. Made me realize how done I am with the Canon gear, if nothing else. And does what the M will likely never do (at least without significant expense and with way better usability).
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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Thanks, all. I have a fair amount of experience with the Fuji system, Sony E mount, Canon DSLRs, Pentax DSLRs, and MFTs. Right now the only "switch" I would consider is back to Nikon.

    This thread has been helpful to me already. It helps to think these things through out loud, and I appreciate the input!

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Size and weight, weight and size. In the use you describe (and in my use), I would not get a FF DSLR system today, no matter how good it is. Just too much a burden. I myself have a smaller DSLR (Pentax) and an Olympus E-M5 and practically always I end up taking the smaller one with me. A few years ago I spent just one weekend carrying the Pentax with a smallish lens with a wrist strap and ended up having a tennis elbow for a year or two.

    EDIT: However, I have never even touched a Leica so this may not be that relevant...
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Amin,

    Just seven years ago I started with a Nikon camera, namely a D40, then came a D200, D300, D3, D800E, added a Leica M9, then Sony NEX-5N, NEX-7, A7R, and Olympus E-M5 and E-M1. My son now has the D300 and D3. His family gets a lot more use out of them. I still miss the D3 for its user interface and up to 10 or 11 frames per second.

    We still use all the other cameras, mostly with Leica M, R, and even V lenses. Of course, I also have native lenses for AF. The different cameras excel in and are useful for different situations from family shots to landscape, wildlife and sports.

    I certainly learned a lot and appreciate the different approaches. There is no single camera that combines the best features.

    Lately I have not been using my M9 a lot, but I think the time has come for me to use it again more extensively. I had planned to get the M240, also for my R lenses, but wasn't impressed by the M's electronics and robustness. So the A7R came in handy.

    As far as I am concerned, all these cameras can produce satisfactory results and are a joy to use. I just wish more cameras would offer the excellent 5-axis IBIS from Olympus or the equivalent.

    In the near future I might add a quadrocopter with camera and the Illum from Lytro. Let's also see what the next photokina brings.
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Interesting because I'm considering dropping Nikon D3s for Leica M. I know they are so different I should just keep the Nikon and that I'll miss it the day I sell it - so jury is out (but I do know I want to exit Nikon before the coming collapse - and I'm only half joking about that)

    To your question, the 810 is clearly a great camera, but have a think about the computer overhead too. If you do layered edits in Photoshop you're going to get very large files very quickly. It's not an issue if you have ample backup and a well spec'd computer. But it's a factor that I think catches some 800 and 810 owners by surprise.

    For family-orientated pics like yours, the advice on the Fuji is well placed, as you'll get superb results with less weight/bulk, but then if considering Fuji vs Leica, I think you'd want to keep Leica? Bottom line though, what's your final use of the photos? If you make prints, the 810 will be phenomenal. If not, it may be overfill for internet type snaps?

    Final word, I have found AF on my Nikon's to be first-class. Fast, reliable, a lot to like about it. I have owned the X100 and XPro1 from Fuji and dumped both for the lousy AF capabilities. Granted both were first generation, and I know the XT1 is much much improved, but I am a bit weary with Fuji's AF at the moment.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    FWIW, the latest firmware update to the X100 has pretty much eliminated the AF issues.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Well, as one who did what you are contemplating about 4 years ago, here was my final synthesis:

    I loved the M's, but my aging eyes developed a slight a-stig which did not mesh well with the RF. So I found myself struggling a bit in situations that required rapid focusing -- and invariably I would miss-focus nearly half when I had to work quickly. So I opted for something with decent AF. For me and the way I use my cameras, the current Nikon or Canon AF is more than adequate -- in fact, predictive mode in either system is almost good enough now to be considered psychic. (Okay, maybe not that good, but seriously not far off.) I don't use predictive mode though, generally preferring single AF and the rear AF buttons.

    I miss the size of the M, I miss the form, I miss the function -- I miss the way the RF involved me in the image. I also miss the classic look from several of the Mandler lenses I owned -- though my current stable of "look" glass for the Nikon renders similarly enough along with AF that I am very (extremely) satisfied. Not to mention that three of my M lenses netted me enough coin to pay for all of my Nikon glass...

    So in short, I miss the M, but not enough to ever return to it. Unless maybe I get some state-of-the-art LASIK's and have a weak sentimental moment
    Jack
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    cost me about the same (well,maybe a little more, and insurance did kick in) to get cataract surgery in me shootin' eye with astigmatic correction as it would have to get a diopter-only correction from leica. made the m fun again
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Amin,

    Fatigue can make some of our decisions seem like a good idea....

    To your question....

    I took some pics of my daughter and her now husband for an "engagement
    photo"...

    Leica Monochrom with 75 Summarit vs a Canon 1DX with the 85 1.4 Zeiss ZF.2 and an adapter...


    EVERYthing was in focus....

    BUT the pictures from the Summarit smokes the Canon....it now resides elsewhere.

    And I have a Leica S with a 70 CS lens....

    Really if your want everything in focus AF works but the reality for us non-Pros is that we need a few great captures not a bucketload of pretty good captures.

    The AF on the new A7s is very good and you can use your M lenses.

    For me....Leica/Sigma is a no brainer....if you have already allocated the funds and you will lose a significant amount when you sell or trade them....

    The 240 has a Live view...maybe not the best but good enough to overcome the inherent liability of focus-shift.

    Bottom line in all of this is whether you see reality as a RF anticipate the moment view or you prefer to see the manipulated view from the camera.

    I like the later but prefer the imaging and limitations of the M/S lens....

    Take a look here:

    PEBBLE PLACE


    I must say that I have regretted every sale of Leica equipment....

    And that I am a serial re-buyer of the same...oh the shame of it!

    Full disclosure...I am 60 ... have used Leica for 30 plus years ... had
    astigmatism in my 20's but when I hit it ... it sings.

    Tough decision....and everyone has their favorite cola....

    Regards,

    Bob
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Amin, you initially invited us (with a link) to take a look at the photos you've been making. I did so and found them quite enjoyable. But they're in no way 'gear-challenging.' None come close to calling forth the capabilities of the cameras you're considering, and none look like you'd want to make large exhibition prints of them.

    I don't know why you'd consider such complex systems. Even the Leica is too much to carry just to record these pleasant memories of your family and the places you've been. For these purposes I just slip an X100s into a fanny pouch – and face no issues at all of size or weight. You mentioned you have a micro 4/3 system too, which might the care of everything?
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I went the other way. After years of lugging around a DSLR I sold it all and bought into an M240. As I don't shoot fast moving subjects AF was a non issue for me but portability was critical. I wanted a camera that I could comfortably take anywhere with me. There are places were the DSLR just doesn't make senses, i.e. dining out, bicycle rides, country walks, trips around the antique quarters, museums, art gallery's etc. who wants to struggle along with the bulk of a DSLR in these venues. This environment is where the compactness of the M system comes into it's own, and you know, I get far more shots simply because I take the M everywhere, which was not the case with the weighty DSLR.

    And like others have said, if I need AF, my Fuji X-E1 is available.
    "There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer." - Ansel Adams
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    My advice is "Get off the gear acquisition train."

    Despite that I've acquired so much gear, or maybe because of it, my enjoyment of photography is greatly enhanced by no longer thinking about "what is better" or "what should replace what I have now." There's no gear I have that does not do an excellent job already for what it is: my enjoyment is now purely in using whatever I've got to the best of my ability.

    I have three M-mount Leicas (CL, M4-2 and M9). I don't shoot with them anywhere near as much as I've been shooting with the Oly E-M1 and Sony A7. Have I moved on? Maybe, maybe not. I have no pressing or immediate need to sell them, I like using them when I do use them. They all make excellent photos.

    Carrying anything large and heavy—from any DSLR to the Hasselblad—constitutes a special event for me now. Just don't need it or want to most of the time, and why bother if it doesn't matter? If it matter to you, do it.

    Go with whatever makes you happy and nets the results you want. Whether those results are fabulous picture quality, peace of mind that you have the best there is, or whatever: it doesn't matter.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I think people that chose a M because of size were presented with alternatives that moved them elsewhere ... or like Jack, as eyes aged, focusing a rangefinder became more of a challenge. I almost had to abandon rangefinder work due to vision issues ... but when I had cataracts removed, I had corrective lenses implanted and I was back in business.

    Only those that utilize the rangefinder way of making photos tend to stay with M cameras. Questions like yours don't even enter their minds. RF work is a considerably different creative methodology not always fully understood by everyone using a M.

    Not that anyone can't enjoy a M and the excellent lenses, but as someone else mentioned, the M may not be the best choice for the type of imagery you seem to do ... as may be the Nikon D800 type camera either, which presents its own set of challenges to spontaneous technique.

    In your case, less may actually be more.

    - Marc
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    They're the perfect companions.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    It is symptomatic of the age that there should be 17 replies and they all embark on putting the gear first and the image second as a way to choose.

    As the well known photographer and educator Paul Hill succinctly says "Personal taste and circumstances inevitably affect which method you use to make pictures, but the technology should always be in the service of your ideas and not the other way around"

    So this is just an idea, but if it is family pictures you like to make, which camera would best help you to retain the intimacy and spontaneity of family life? Is a large camera body or telephoto likely to help or hinder? Is it only AF you really need? Do you want to get your family involved in your photography and formally record their lives, or only observe them as they do random things?

    There are many questions similar to the above you could put to yourself, and the ultimate answer may be anything from buying a new P&S or an 8x10 field camera. There are simple ways to give a vocabulary to putting the image before the gear, for instance look at the way other photographers approach 'the family', from Emmet Gowin or Sally Mann to William Eggleston and many others, then describe for yourself how you would like to take your own images forward and what equipment you need to do it.

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    FF, good with M-and other non native glass, AF, state of the Art EVF, tilt screen, compact and lightweight, usable as a "general shooter", silent shutter. The A7s ticked all these boxes for me and replaced the A7r. It complements the more specialized M9 nicely.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I just sold my M9-P about 3 months ago after "testing" if the A7& A7r were good enough for me. I considered going the MFT route because there are times where I just need to shoot longer than 90mm reliably. I wasn't willing to give up being able to print extra large so I wanted a 24MP+ sensor (well I ended up with 24MP and 36MP sensors.) That being said I did keep all of my M lenses if that says anything about if I ever plan to return to a M if Leica produces another one that I love as much as the M9 (or MM that I've only tried in store.)

    If Autofocus is your concern I would actually consider upgrading the MFT system instead of the M. I know the costs won't balance out but you will definitely gain something in IQ by staying FF everywhere you can. Just my opinion though. If a financial decision is part of the equation then maybe sell your M240 and get a less expensive M if you are really having regrets.
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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    ....Do you ever miss your Leica?
    Every day. I went from M8/M9 to a variety of systems, but nothing has felt quite right. I'm still waiting for an affordable camera that is a unique pleasure to hold and use. I could not imagine using a big rig like the D810 for daily shooting of family, etc. Not to mention that it seems like serious overkill for that purpose. But that's me.

    For your mostly family pics, it's hard to see how your M240 and m4/3 kits would not cover your needs. Honestly, this sounds more like a GAS-itch for something different rather than a real need. Not that there's anything wrong with that; some itches just need scratching. But why is it so hard to be content with what we have!?

    John
    Last edited by JohnW; 28th August 2014 at 07:18.
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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Honestly, this sounds more like a GAS-itch for something different rather than a real need. Not that there's anything wrong with that; some itches just need scratching. But why is it so hard to be content with what we have!?
    Probably right, John.
    Last edited by Amin; 28th August 2014 at 08:00.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I think a part of the problem, for any photographer - is to find One Camera to Do it All(TM). I'd say for many, that's just not possible. If all you shoot is street, sure - a Leica RF would probably do it. But a lot of us are into multiple disciplines, have different ways of working and certainly different preferences.

    Of course, some of us might take this freedom a bit too far when the GAS hits...
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    You have a beautiful family and they appear to enjoy the non-AF method that you are currently using.

    But, if you really want AF, you could pick up a Df with kit 50mm and have fast AF, great IQ and ... it weighs less than your M240 and 50mm Summilux! ( http://j.mp/1AXuEvr ) You could pick up 35 and 85mm f/1.8s as well and have a very well rounded kit for less than the cost of the M240 body. Keep the glass... like others, every time I sell Leica glass I regret it and it can be adapted to other digital bodies via adapter if the itch ever arises.

    Whatever you do, wait until after Photokina!

    I've sold of my Canon DSLR and all but two lenses (still have a couple film cameras)
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I went the other way. After some twenty years shooting Hasselblad film and digital cameras for both professional and personal work I switched to the Leica M series. I'm currently using M9-P and M 240 cameras. I can honestly say I haven't had had so much fun in years!

    Having said that I can't see that the OPs requirements wouldn't be met by m4/3, in fact were I shooting primarily family and outings I wouldn't even consider lugging around a DSLR system.
    http://www.keithlaban.co.uk
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    ...-I like using cameras. The way an M240 and D810 feel and work in my hands is pleasurable to me. I've owned an X100S and didn't connect with it for whatever reason.

    -I do print my family photos quite large and feel that I have some few special prints (both family documentary as well as art), at least to me and my family, where the image quality contributes to my enjoyment.

    -I like pixel peeping and seeing sharp, high quality, aberration-free images at full magnification on my calibrated screen as I process them. It's just a process I enjoy, almost a separate hobby from the final product images.

    -Up to a point, I don't mind carting around some gear.

    -I enjoy lens connoisseurship - how certain lenses draw, finding low distortion superwides with low distortion, flat fields, and sharp corners, the feeling of a well made lens, etc. Again, it's a separate hobby for me than the photography, but it's one that I enjoy.
    Those points help me a lot to understand your thinking. Why not sell the m4/3 kit and get a D810 and your favorite prime? Use that and the M240 for a while and then decide.

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    you should have both. I have my Leica setup and my DSLR. Instead of getting the most expensive and newest model, get a used Nikon 800 or 800e if you need the 36mp. the Sigma glasses are great BUT heavy
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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Those points help me a lot to understand your thinking. Why not sell the m4/3 kit and get a D810 and your favorite prime? Use that and the M240 for a while and then decide.

    John
    Doh, you quoted me before I could delete my defensive post. Oh well. I do enjoy these cameras and don't care if they "outspec" me or were designed for better or more serious photographers.

    I love adjusting the focus tab on my 35mm Summilux to zone focus for my playing child as I raise the M to my eye. Love seeing the rest of the frame when I use the 50 or 90. But I also enjoy the more precise framing the DSLR gives me. I truly enjoy focusing manually with a rangefinder, but I appreciate great AF as well.

    I think Double Negative and John are right - I want both cameras, but I like the idea of owning only one of them .
    Last edited by Amin; 28th August 2014 at 15:45.

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I can only add one thing --- having just one system in the camera cabinet sure makes deciding which to use for whatever upcoming shoot a breeze
    Jack
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    It is symptomatic of the age that there should be 17 replies and they all embark on putting the gear first and the image second as a way to choose.

    As the well known photographer and educator Paul Hill succinctly says "Personal taste and circumstances inevitably affect which method you use to make pictures, but the technology should always be in the service of your ideas and not the other way around"
    All well and good, although in my case I've found that in the large, for my kind of photography, it simply doesn't matter much. The cameras themselves change the photos due to how they image, the other dynamics of the interaction between me and subject is pretty much the same.
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    All well and good, although in my case I've found that in the large, for my kind of photography, it simply doesn't matter much. The cameras themselves change the photos due to how they image, the other dynamics of the interaction between me and subject is pretty much the same.
    Very well said - could not agree more !!!

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I like to keep my photographic tools simple, just like they used to be. I have no problem doing manual focus, even on fast moving objects. That's how we all did it before 1980 and the Minolta 7000AF SLR.

    For me, it's the image which matters. I'm not too fussed about having the latest technology. Sometimes technology gets in the way between you and crafting the picture. So for me, a manual focus, manual control camera is perfect. Film or digital - well they have their own limitations and each have a different look, esp in black and white, which is my preferred medium.

    So, a Leica RF is perfect. My DMRs were good too and get used all the time - positively archaic in digital terms, but they deliver the goods. After all, that's what matters.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Very well said - could not agree more !!!
    +1

    - Marc

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    not sure i see it that way.

    shooting with a rollei TLR, blad 500, giant Canon or Nikon SLR or leica M all affect the engagement and dynamic of interaction quite differently. as does waist level viewfinder, square format, vs rectangular, loud shutter, quiet shutter, etc.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    not sure i see it that way.

    shooting with a rollei TLR, blad 500, giant Canon or Nikon SLR or leica M all affect the engagement and dynamic of interaction quite differently. as does waist level viewfinder, square format, vs rectangular, loud shutter, quiet shutter, etc.
    Not all Canons are "giant". Most of these Mirrorless, and some DSLR cameras have tilting LCDs for waist level work, or overhead work. The adaption to a square or rectangle may be an aesthetic choice but need not interfere with how you relate to a subject.

    While I do personally subscribe to the notion that a rangefinder allows you to see the world with less distractions, it doesn't mean that using a Nikon has to alter your vision or way of seeing the world around you. A decisive moment is a decisive moment regardless of the tool … be it a Hasselblad, TLR, Leica or Nikon/Canon etc.

    What's the old chestnut that gets bandied about whenever discussions like this arise?

    "Put anything into the hands of an experienced and talented photographer, and" … you know the rest.

    But we digress … the question is about shooting family images with a M or Nikon. If the OP is ultra skilled with a M it can work. If there is a lot of activity and diverse shooting, then maybe a Nikon or Canon, or (?) might be of more aid.

    I shoot weddings with a M and a DSLR. There certain things that I like doing with the M. There are certain things I wouldn't even consider shooting with a M, and I've been using one regularly for almost 40 years.

    The difference is, I can't just say "darn, I missed that one" like I can when shooting my own family snaps.

    - Marc
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    For family type photos an A7/R with FE 55 or 35 mm seems to work pretty well, including face, nearest eye detection, etc.
    Also, that system can easily be used by "non-expert" family members.
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I have these temptations occasionally . . Lots of great responses here, but there is one thing that nobody seems to have mentioned.

    This is a one way trip - you can get enough money from your Leica kit to fund a fine D810 kit - no question. But you wouldn't be able to sell your D810 kit in a year to fund a fine Leica kit again.

    I was actually very tempted to get rid of my µ43 kit and get a simple Nikon kit . . . . then I shot with it again, and it makes a wonderful compliment to the Leica M - and it's quite good enough to make huge prints of people.

    One always naturally thinks of print size in relation to mp size as comparable (so that 36mp is more than twice as much as 16mp) . . . when I'm contemplating going to 36mp I always look at this little diagram:



    I think you'd regret your M kit if you sold it.

    Just this guy you know
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    All well and good, although in my case I've found that in the large, for my kind of photography, it simply doesn't matter much. The cameras themselves change the photos due to how they image, the other dynamics of the interaction between me and subject is pretty much the same.
    Glad you agree with me that the photographer, and therefore the resulting image, makes the individualist statement and the camera goes along for the ride. I got the impression though that Amin had lost a bit of direction and a 'gear hunt' was on the cards to regain it. Everybody knows a new camera can refresh the way you look at things, or it can mean you just shoot the same things all over again except with a new camera.

    The alternative strategy is to refine the approach to the image, put that first, see where a camera's imaging ability can be employed for the job in hand. A small fast focusing EM-1 can change the dynamic's of the type of family photograph made just as a large format field camera can slow things down and put an entirely different feeling into the family image. If your photographs all look the same no matter what camera you use that reflects how you work, I was simply asking Amin to consider the way he works and not put the cart before the horse.

    Steve
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I sold off my Leica gear when I went to medium format digital. Do I miss it? You bet!

    Is it the best solution for shooting family and general travel images vs a current spec aps-c or m4/3 system? I'll wager that the answer is no. As mentioned, I'd also happily enable face tracking & focusing for family shots and almost any of the current crop of cameras would work superbly well.

    Would I trade from Leica to a Nikon full frame DSLR system (other than maybe a DF)? No I personally wouldn't for shooting the kind of imagery you showed. Landscapes, sports or still life? Sure, go for 24/36mp behemoths but I would counter that for general shooting 16/24mp is just fine. I'd take colour fidelity and DR over mega pixels any & every day. Also portability matters a lot and you're more likely to have a lighter/smaller system with you than a full size DSLR.

    Now the tricky intangible consideration is what do YOU ENJOY shooting with? I loved shooting with my Leica's even if I couldn't guarantee getting focus 100% of the time. It was a special experience and I appreciate the resulting special images. Ditto medium format tech, film (pano 35 & 617 & 4x5) and my Nikon Df system for some reason. My Fuji X series cameras do a great job but lack the special experience for the other systems mentioned. Ditto my Sonys. That said, in general shooting the Df, Fuji XT-1, Sony RX1r and Sony A7r all do a great job and I'd probably reach for them first!

    The thing I miss most about the Leica's were the lenses that I'd amassed and then sold. The m8/M9/M9p and film M bodies I don't miss so much and if I still had the glass I'd most likely be shooting with a Monochrom today. Digital bodies have a definite shelf life but the glass lasts forever.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    Glad you agree with me that the photographer, and therefore the resulting image, makes the individualist statement and the camera goes along for the ride. I got the impression though that Amin had lost a bit of direction and a 'gear hunt' was on the cards to regain it. Everybody knows a new camera can refresh the way you look at things, or it can mean you just shoot the same things all over again except with a new camera.

    The alternative strategy is to refine the approach to the image, put that first, see where a camera's imaging ability can be employed for the job in hand. A small fast focusing EM-1 can change the dynamic's of the type of family photograph made just as a large format field camera can slow things down and put an entirely different feeling into the family image. If your photographs all look the same no matter what camera you use that reflects how you work, I was simply asking Amin to consider the way he works and not put the cart before the horse.

    Steve
    Some of this makes sense to me … especially the part about "getting something new and shooting the same things all over again".

    Perhaps, removing gear from the equation may help? … I believe one can alter how they see and react to the world around them without any camera in hand. You do not need a camera to teach you how to see light … to recognize when to take a picture and when not to … to learn how to anticipate sometimes rather than just react all the time … to employ composition and design. All these things are independent of the tool being used be it a still camera, video camera, a brush, or a stick of charcoal.

    The camera comes into the picture when you want to record what you observe, but it doesn't do the observing, the composition, or provide the sense of timing. The most we can ask of the tool is to do what it is told when we tell it to … and in some cases one tool may fit your way of observing, your sense of timing, or your methods of composition better than another. The trick is self awareness regarding all those things.

    If you improve your own vision, the camera you already have may well suddenly be better than you thought it was.

    Again, the choices being contemplated aren't between some small fast AF camera, and a lumbering large format field camera … that just obfuscates the OPs inquiry.

    Moving from a M to a Nikon AF camera? How do those proposed choices work for or against the OPs advancement when shooting his preferred subject matter? At what point does technology trump acquired skill … or at what point does skill over-ride the conveniences of technology?

    - Marc
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    (snip) … So I'm really wanting to get some perspective from those of you who left it behind. Are you happy with the switch? Do you ever miss your Leica?
    Let's cut to the chase and provide a direct answer to the question you asked:

    While I never "left" the M system, I did opt out of the M240 camera for color work and now strictly shoot a M Monochrome. So in essence, I left the M behind as an everyday camera, and now use other cameras for color work.

    What I left behind, was a M9P … which while flawed, provided a special aesthetic look and feel for color images compared to other choices. That I DO miss.

    I never felt 18 meg was a hindrance even compared to 36 meg that's more common now … at least for work I used a M for.

    As a very long time M shooter, I feel quite lost. On one hand I'm loath to return to the older tech M9 or a new ME still sporting the same older tech and poor LCD. On the on the hand, the M240 just doesn't do it for me aesthetically. Trust me, I have tried to accept it, but cannot.

    I have no real love for most alternatives, be it three fourths, or any of the "Mighty Mouse" FF Sony cameras. I'm reminded of this every time I snap a M lens into place and bring my MM to eye. There's nothing like a Leica Rangefinder.

    If you already have a M240, and (unlike me) are satisfied with the imagery, I'd suggest renewing your relationship with it and improving how you make photos with-in its rangefinder parameters. Skill cost nothing but time and effort … and there is always room to improve one's skill.

    - Marc
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Let's cut to the chase and provide a direct answer to the question you asked:

    While I never "left" the M system, I did opt out of the M240 camera for color work and now strictly shoot a M Monochrome. So in essence, I left the M behind as an everyday camera, and now use other cameras for color work.

    What I left behind, was a M9P … which while flawed, provided a special aesthetic look and feel for color images compared to other choices. That I DO miss.

    I never felt 18 meg was a hindrance even compared to 36 meg that's more common now … at least for work I used a M for.

    As a very long time M shooter, I feel quite lost. On one hand I'm loath to return to the older tech M9 or a new ME still sporting the same older tech and poor LCD. On the on the hand, the M240 just doesn't do it for me aesthetically. Trust me, I have tried to accept it, but cannot.

    I have no real love for most alternatives, be it three fourths, or any of the "Mighty Mouse" FF Sony cameras. I'm reminded of this every time I snap a M lens into place and bring my MM to eye. There's nothing like a Leica Rangefinder.

    If you already have a M240, and (unlike me) are satisfied with the imagery, I'd suggest renewing your relationship with it and improving how you make photos with-in its rangefinder parameters. Skill cost nothing but time and effort … and there is always room to improve one's skill.

    - Marc
    Interesting, I have a M240 and my trusty old M9 and decided to sell the M240 for the same reasons. To my eyes the rendering of the CCD sensor is unique. The one in the M240 is just another "reasonably good" FF CMOS chip of which there are meanwhile a few around.
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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    This is a one way trip - you can get enough money from your Leica kit to fund a fine D810 kit - no question. But you wouldn't be able to sell your D810 kit in a year to fund a fine Leica kit again.
    It would be tough, but thankfully I have a very forgiving wife. Definitely something to think about though!


    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Now the tricky intangible consideration is what do YOU ENJOY shooting with? I loved shooting with my Leica's even if I couldn't guarantee getting focus 100% of the time. It was a special experience and I appreciate the resulting special images. Ditto medium format tech, film (pano 35 & 617 & 4x5) and my Nikon Df system for some reason.
    Thanks, Graham. This helped me a lot in getting my thoughts together.
    Last edited by Amin; 29th August 2014 at 18:18.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    My daughter-in-law lost her grandmother earlier this year. Although she was ailing, her passing surprised the family. They are not picture takers and have very few visual records of her . Last Thanksgiving, ever schlepping a camera, I managed some nice shots of Jeannette that I filed away like so many family snaps. After her funeral, I made a large framed print of one and, as a surprise, gave it to my daughter-in-law's family at a get-together. They were so appreciative of this simple gesture, to tears actually.

    Now it happened that the camera I used was my "anywhere" kit: M9+35Lux+75APO. I carry that kit nearly everywhere I go for three reasons: one, it's light and small; two, it's so crazy pleasurable to shoot; three, if I do my job passably, it will image beautifully. The shots could surely have been taken equally well with one of my Canon dSLRs. But they weren't and would never have been because I don't carry those bodies with me. They're not light and not small compared to the Leica. And though i enjoy shooting the Canons, they aren't nearly as high along the pleasure index as the Leica.

    No other camera gear I have delivers so well on all these three measures at the same time. That's why I haven't left Leica. The only reason I'd leave Leica is if I had to, meaning I could no longer afford the luxury.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I have these temptations occasionally . . Lots of great responses here, but there is one thing that nobody seems to have mentioned.

    This is a one way trip - you can get enough money from your Leica kit to fund a fine D810 kit - no question. But you wouldn't be able to sell your D810 kit in a year to fund a fine Leica kit again.

    I was actually very tempted to get rid of my µ43 kit and get a simple Nikon kit . . . . then I shot with it again, and it makes a wonderful compliment to the Leica M - and it's quite good enough to make huge prints of people.

    One always naturally thinks of print size in relation to mp size as comparable (so that 36mp is more than twice as much as 16mp) . . . when I'm contemplating going to 36mp I always look at this little diagram:



    I think you'd regret your M kit if you sold it.

    Some people say that 16Mp is enough for an A3 print. And of course, 36Mp is not really more than double 16Mp: to double the pixel resolution, you need to double the numbers on the vertical and the horizontal axis—which will give you 64Mp from the original 16Mp.
    Sláinte

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    I have really good A2 prints from the M8, AKA 12 Mp.
    Just crunching the numbers of pixel count and DPI does not relate to the real world of printing.
    There are aspects like viewing distance and the (lack of) resolving power of the human eye
    to be taken into consideration.
    Not to mention the subject matter. Some subjects do not need more than a few Mp for a wall-sized print.
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Hi Amin,

    I just opened this thread following the title "Looking for perspective"... I've realised that what brings me back to GETDPI over the years is the quality of photography I see here (along with the genuinely warm and friendly atmosphere! never to be taken for granted)

    The simple way I see this (from my own perspective), is that one can buy into the rare craftsmanship and brand of Leica - people who respect the history of photography as an art and a craft will look on in admiration/envy at someone so successful and well educated to be carrying this brand... you'll cherish being a member of that club, and enjoy owning/using such a special piece.

    ...and then there's the technical prowess of the 'big brands' CaNikon etc - heavyweight brands in every sense of the word. Since the (practically) same quality of imaging can be realised at a much more affordable level - if I was going for technical innovation I'd be looking at m4/3rds or the latest smartphone

    However you wish to spend your disposable income, remember to keep pointing the thing at the ones you love most!

    Kind regards

    Brian
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    It seems as though the consensus here is to evaluate what you most enjoy working with, and stick with that. I would heartily agree with Steve that the intended images and the preference of the photographer should dictate the gear, more than the technology. I also think Godfrey is right to encourage you to get off the gear train! Find something that you really like working with an stick with it. You will learn it inside out and become much more comfortable with it, which in turn will put your subjects at ease. Find a camera you don't have to fight! Even if the technology improves and the results from a newer model are "better", if the camera feels awkward to you, you are going to take inferior photos.

    I had a very clear example of this: A few years ago I shot with a Rollei 6008AF and film and got results I was very happy with. I thought medium format digital would be so fantastic, so I made my biggest camera purchase to that date and bought a used Sinar eMotion 54LV and Hy6. I had nothing but troubles with the digital aspect of the camera, and despite the high resolution, incredible lenses and medium format autofocus, I was never happy with the pictures. I often brought a film back along and shot with that. The results were much better. Another example would be the Konica Hexar AF. This is a glorified point and shoot camera from the 90s with a fixed 35mm lens and max shutter speed of 1/250th of a second. I usually take better photos of people and travel with this camera than I do with my M9 and 35mm f/1.4 FLE. It allows me to do what I feel is most important -- pick a clear focus point and set an approximate aperture, and then everything else it just does for me and steps out of the way. It is discreet, quiet and simple to use, and so it encourages me to be more spontaneous, which is what I personally need for travel and candids. I tend to be a contemplative photographer for most of my work, and I take it quite slow. But for travel and candids, I benefit from the Hexar's style. It's as if it is whispering to me, "hey, don't worry about it, just take a photo, I will handle it." Heh. It works! The M9 and S2 speak to me loudly and in accented German: "Vee vill do exactly vat you say vith utmost precision, Herr Richardson." For my professional work that is more what I want to hear.

    So, more succinctly, my advice would be to try to resist the urge to change gear for "something better", unless you feel like you are fighting your current gear. Trying lots of equipment is important, but only in so much as it allows you to find what really feels right to you. Once you figure that out, better to stick with it for the long haul...or at least stay within the system.

    P.S. As Jono mentioned, selling Leica is often a one way trip. Be aware.

    P.P.S. As Jono and Jaap mentioned, print quality has a lot more to it than just the megapixels and dpi. I print exhibitions for a living, and believe me, they have much less to do with the resultant quality than does the technique of the photographer, the subject matter, the quality of the lenses and the quality of the color. The best predictor for print quality is the structure and character of the image at 100%. If the image looks beautiful at 100%, it will usually enlarge very well and look good at low dpi. If an image at 100% looks mushy, grainy or otherwise a little off, it generally does not matter how many megapixels it has.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Some people say that 16Mp is enough for an A3 print.
    I have a series of A2+ prints made with the Olympus E1 (5.1mp) - they've been on the wall of the house in Cornwall for several years. They look excellent, certainly nobody has ever criticised them for lack of resolution. Of course, they're not perfect viewed from a metre, but that's not usually the point of pictures that size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    And of course, 36Mp is not really more than double 16Mp: to double the pixel resolution, you need to double the numbers on the vertical and the horizontal axis—which will give you 64Mp from the original 16Mp.
    You put it better than me! Personally, I feel that 24mp is the sweet spot between resolution and the processing power required.

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    Re: Looking for a perspective from those who used to shoot Leica M and have moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    So, more succinctly, my advice would be to try to resist the urge to change gear for "something better", unless you feel like you are fighting your current gear. Trying lots of equipment is important, but only in so much as it allows you to find what really feels right to you. Once you figure that out, better to stick with it for the long haul...or at least stay within the system.
    Excellent Stuart

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