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Jesus Wept

 

It's an outstanding piece of industrial design with probably the best user interface available in any camera ever.

 

And it's a Leica with outstanding image quality and versatility.

 

Do I need to spell it out - quality costs more than the global mediocrity norm.

 

Sheesh

 

So brilliant that I can't even see what aperture or speed the thing is set at before I look at the back. (turn it on first and touch it, of course).

 

So wonderful that in order to look through it (for better stability) I need to mount a sticky-out external EVF.

 

So thought-through that there is no image stabilisation in either the body or its lenses - something that all other manufacturers have managed to integrate.

 

So carefully considered that there are no other focusing aids apart from image magnification.

 

You are obviously judging its looks, without thinking about using it's 'best user interface'.

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HI there

Excellent post . . . and that wonderful new sensor of which you speak would only cause another post processing catastrophe, when the software of your choice wouldn't decode the new format (Fuji are still suffering for doing better than Bayer)

 

 

 

I think you're right - 16mp has advantages as well as disadvantages, It's certainly good for 24" prints, and perhaps if you want more than that you better go Medium Format.

 

The comment about needing to go to Medium Format just seems irrational. The D800 and the A7r 36mp FF sensors are already considerably better than 16mp APS-C and will enlarge much more, give much more detail and enable greater focus separation. They also allow far greater cropping and suffer less noise. These FF 36 mp sensors are so much better that rather than moving to MF, previous MF users are switching to them.

 

In my own work I can still see a considerable difference between my now old 21 mp 5DII full frame sensor over any 16mp APS-C sensor I've used (either Leica X-2 or Fuji X100s).

 

For your own work (and for most people), this new camera may well be all that is needed, but I see that as no reason to discount the many and significant differences in IQ between it and what a full frame 36 mp camera can provide.

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Actually James - everyone was really rude about the iPhone when it first came out - similar arguments to yours about this camera (where's the removable battery, where's the memory card slot etc. etc.)

 

I understand the criticisms of the camera (I certainly should do, I've had one since October). Added to which I've bought and used the obvious opposition cameras. But for many people, when they've handled it and realised that it encourages photography in a different direction then it becomes rather hard to resist.

 

Put it this way - for me the gloss has long worn off (my feelings, not the camera). But when Leica ask for the test camera back I'm just going to have to buy one - and the other mirror less cameras I've had over the last year or two are all going to the wall. Not because the T is better, or because I can't afford to keep them - but because Taifun really is different, and it encourages a different method of shooting (which none of the others do).

 

I love it that whilst everyone else goes retro and adds more and more options to the menus . . . Leica goes modern and deletes everything from the menus.

 

Hi Jono,

 

I respect your opinions and to be fair I've not seen or used the T, I'm only going on what I've read.

 

I totally agree about the retro thing, it's great that Leica have avoided that.

 

I do still think that they've released an underwhelming product however, but hopefully for them the style and status will be enough for potential customers to overlook some technical aspects and choose to pay the premium for the T over other available products.

 

Genuinely I hope it proves a success for them.

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it encourages photography in a different direction then it becomes rather hard to resist.

 

and it encourages a different method of shooting (which none of the others do).

 

it pushes you in different directions.

 

This is something that I'm curious about. For me photography has been about the context of the image (where it fits in the history of the medium; what the image is about; how the image might operate in the world; why are we even making images; etc., etc..) And how I interpret my world comes from sources far outside of the physical act of making a photograph. It's also in relation to how other practitioners of the medium before me have interpreted their world, and specifically how my own representation fits into that history. And I'm making these images in the same manner a writer would write a novel or piece of non-fiction, i.e., I have a particular audience that I'm addressing.

 

Therefore my 'way of seeing' (to quote Berger) has already been established through other means and most likely isn't going to be defined by the tool I use to make the images. The tool itself is only something that facilitates that way of seeing (i.e., images of my interpretation of what's happening in the material world.)

 

So with all that said, for me the camera itself can't really "encourage a different method of shooting (which none of the others do.)" It either facilitates me or it doesn't (or it operates as a reasonable compromise.) The camera is part of the process of physically making the image. The result from a particular camera/lens and the processing and materials used to make a final image can certainly operate to help inform that image. But the camera itself doesn't change one's way of seeing the world; it's the mind that does that. The camera itself can't really "push [one] in different directions." It can facilitate or hinder them but it won't change their world view.

 

I have several different types of cameras (as do most image makers) and each are chosen for the way they might facilitate me to write about the world. None are really inspirations in themselves; none of them "push me in different directions." And the reality ends up that any camera is always a compromise of sorts.

 

I guess what I'm asking is how does the T camera "encourage a different method of shooting." And specifically "which none of the others do." Or "push [someone] in different directions?" I can understand that this camera may be a tool that could more transparent (i.e., the camera's functions might not get in the way.) But the way I've always worked is to start from the image and then work backwards to define which tool would best facilitate me in making those images. So maybe that's why I never understood this notion that suggests a particular camera will give a person a new way of seeing the world or somehow push them in "different directions." That to me is really more the domain of the marketing of the product by the manufacturer. It sounds kind of metaphysical or something.

 

Anyway, I don't profess to know anything and this is only my own experience. And maybe I'm reading too much into your comments. Nonetheless I do appreciate the design of the camera and that it's no doubt quite nice to hold and to use. I think it's very likely been well thought out. And I'm guessing that it will be pretty successful.

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Someone with more will and tenacity will use a T within the spirit of "making it so" as have pioneers such as HBC and Robert Frank have made true.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my Etcha-sketch.

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Therefore my 'way of seeing' (to quote Berger) has already been established through other means and most likely isn't going to be defined by the tool I use to make the images. The tool itself is only something that facilitates that way of seeing (i.e., images of my interpretation of what's happening in the material world.)

 

So with all that said, for me the camera itself can't really "encourage a different method of shooting (which none of the others do.)" It either facilitates me or it doesn't (or it operates as a reasonable compromise.) The camera is part of the process of physically making the image. The result from a particular camera/lens and the processing and materials used to make a final image can certainly operate to help inform that image. But the camera itself doesn't change one's way of seeing the world; it's the mind that does that. The camera itself can't really "push [one] in different directions." It can facilitate or hinder them but it won't change their world view.

 

I have several different types of cameras (as do most image makers) and each are chosen for the way they might facilitate me to write about the world. None are really inspirations in themselves; none of them "push me in different directions." And the reality ends up that any camera is always a compromise of sorts.

 

I

 

Hi there

I've clipped you a bit - sorry - but what an interesting post. I have an absolute answer, which hinges around knowledge: first stage thinking and second stage thinking, the decisive moment and deliberation. I'm planning an article about it (but never seem to get around to it). . . but tomorrow I have to do this 100k bicycle ride for charity, and I really ought to go to sleep.

 

Suffice to say that I'm not implying that the camera is informing one's artistic vision, but that the different way of working informs one's methodology (like using different paintbrushes perhaps).

Photographic 'conventional wisdom' is very averse to the kind of first stage thinking which certainly HCB and many other photographers relied on.

 

Whatever - very interesting discussion

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Just read all 7 pages of all the usual to-and-froing, rather pointlessly implied 'Ive never used one but I'm sure it's crap/deficient/underwhelming/disappointing' comments ........

 

The only crap, useless...... and most expensive camera is the the one you never use .......

 

I have a safe full of them ..... great on paper and all wonderful in some ways ..... but all deficient in all-round usability......

 

These days, unless I have some specific plan, when I go out I reach for my X-Vario .... it's a delight to use, is simple, flexible and the images are consistently great ......

 

Sod 36mp, image stabilisation, sensor cleaning and every esoteric function known to man in a camera ....... if I don't LIKE using it, it will stay at home......

 

I applaud Leica for their sticking to the main functional needs in a camera and dumping the rest .... and producing a superbly crafted product. They have had to make compromises ...... but none are at the expense of image quality and functionality, which to my mind are by far the most important factors.....

Edited by thighslapper

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The comment about needing to go to Medium Format just seems irrational. The D800 and the A7r 36mp FF sensors are already considerably better than 16mp APS-C and will enlarge much more, give much more detail and enable greater focus separation. They also allow far greater cropping and suffer less noise. These FF 36 mp sensors are so much better that rather than moving to MF, previous MF users are switching to them.

 

Whilst I'm not denying that a 36mp sensor offers more than a 16mp one must be careful. I make prints, and if a 36mp file makes a fine 36" print, then a 16m file will make a fine 24" print (and that's if you discount the advantage of bigger pixels). This is not (IMHO) a very big difference, and doesn't allow for 'far greater cropping'. MP is a measure of area - but in prints we're talking linear, it's so easy to conflate the two

 

Certainly I have a stack of 36mp A7r files here - and for the sake of a print the improvement over the T files is extremely small . . . . well, like 36 against 24 I suppose.

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You're fighting a losing battle Jono .........

 

The statistics brigade will always hide behind graphs and charts and ignore the real world that the rest of us inhabit .......

 

Hi There

I quite understand that - and to be honest, on check box terms the camera doesn't tick too many. But actually the print size issue is perfectly specific and scientific. it's made more invidious by the fact that people showing print size nearly always show 1/4 image - making the difference in size look twice as big.

 

I'm not really trying to be an evangelist though - I just think that the camera is interesting, and transcends specification comparisons (which, anyway, are becoming less and less relevant as sensors get better and better).

 

all the best

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I'm always surprised by these threads. Who cares about price? Isn't this about a quality "object of desire" and don't the lenses have anything to do with it? Comparing the T to a NEX or a Canon M is ridiculous IMHO. I'm getting one and what's more? I'm dressing it in yellow.

 

LOVE IT.

 

First world problems - and if you don't want one and don't think it's worth it than good for you - move on!

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I've had a long think about this overnight - and will probably continue to do so for a while whilst I should be out taking photos :roll eyes:.

 

What will the T offer that my M240 and Monochrom do not?

 

Not improved ergonomics/user interface.

I've been using cameras with focus & aperture rings and shutter speed dials in more or less the same position for about forty years so anything (for other than point and shoot), with different ergonomics will be inferior for me. Although it does mean I can pass the camera to someone else to take a photo without having to give them a quick camera lesson.

 

 

Not improved viewfinder.

I so much prefer the rangefinder viewfinder to anything else (accepting it's framing limitations and I rarely shoot with lenses longer than 90mm). For when I need fast and/or long lenses wide open in low light or the 28-90) the M240 EVF is more than adequate (but could be better). I like looking through glass rather than a mini-TV screen on the back of a camera or down an external VF. I absolutely cannot frame properly Zombie style off the screen on the back of a camera so it is uncommon for me to use a camera in that way.

 

 

Not improved focusing.

For me now, nothing beats a RF (or even off a fresnel focusing screen ±micro prism collar /split centre ring). Focus peaking, etc. still has too many limitations, especially for WA lenses and the process of using magnified areas on a EVF to focus is not something I want to do all or most of the time. However, there are times such as for more casual family & friends photography etc when autofocus would be nice and easy.

 

 

Not improved image quality.

The M240 and Monochrom, and their Leica primes are spectacular, as are my only zooms (28-90 Vario-Elmar-R and the MATE if I can put it in that class for the purpose of discussion). The APS-C images form the XVario are fantastic (and I assume the same will apply for the T) but they are different to FF probably in the same way that MF is different to FF, and I am very spoiled by FF Leica digital. This is not for pixel peeping on my screens but I frequently print to ≥A2.

 

 

Not for a backup body.

I have an M240 and Monochrom, and probably need to sell the M9 depending on whether my son gets into his photography or not (he also really likes the rangefinder). Although the T will turn my 135 into a 200. But in the end it's a smaller sensor so is a different body.

 

 

Not for electronic gizmo features.

I'm really not interested in GPS or iPhone control or beach/ski/fireworks expose presets. Although I do use the video function occasionally on the M240.

 

 

Size and compactness cuts both ways.

The size and weight of a Leica M is just right. My hands reach the controls perfectly and the weight has a certain stabilizing effect. A Leica M with a single standard lens is not that big or heavy. In fact, one of the other reasons I decided against an XVario is that it really isn't that much smaller than an M.

 

I would only shoot with a viewfinder so the camera is not quite as small in use as it would otherwise appear.

 

Once a camera is over my shoulder which is how I usually carry it, whether it's a T or M, the difference in size and weight is usually irrelevant (and does not compare to FF DSLR etc). I don't have a handbag or manbag so a camera that small is rarely going to be of advantage unless I want to pop it in my wife's handbag. I can generally pack my camera and a few lenses into a very small bag (Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home or Hadley Digital), or if taking just one extra lens using a small Lowe digital camera pouch on my belt. With a camera bag or backpack the smaller size really isn't an issue.

 

Having said that, fitted just with the 23mm Summicron I would be more likely to have it with me in situations where I just otherwise wouldn't take a camera with me - as they say: the best camera you have is the one you have with you!

 

 

Not a different style of photography. Oh please. It's not like going from MF/LF to a FF or compact. I don't think I'll have a different view of the world through the EVF of a Leica T. I cannot see how it will transform any artistic talent I may have or how I interpret my surroundings. It will not make me a better or different photographer. The T is not revolutionary - just what appears to be a very high quality (that includes for output) and well thought out compact camera system.

 

 

GAS and possible purchase justification

Oh yes. For all that I've written above, there are times that I really don't need what the M system offers. I would use the T sometimes where I want a pocketable camera and where I don't need the discipline of the M system or it's image quality - family functions & casual photography, photographing abstracts or slides off presentations in meetings, where I really do need a very compact camera, but most importantly to anticipate where my wife will ask yet again "you're really not bringing that thing out again with us, are you?"

.

 

We also need another camera system in the house that other family members can use and will want to use. My D-Lux 4 is really is getting a bit old.

 

And it is without doubt a desirable piece of industrial design with excellent lenses and output.

 

 

Anyhow, my name is down for a black one and 23mm Summicron, so I have plenty of time for a cooling off period and to make sure there's nothing else I want to spend my money on (? newly release ed M lenses, etc.) before making a final decision.

Edited by MarkP

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Photographic 'conventional wisdom' is very averse to the kind of first stage thinking which certainly HCB and many other photographers relied on.

 

I agree that 'first stage thinking' is a big part of making images. That certain 'instinct' that a good photographer possesses can be critical. It's also what can often help define one photographer over another if you gave them both identical cameras and made them create images in identical environments at the same time. However, I would argue those 'first stage' workers (e.g., HCB; Frank, etc.) already have their 'second stage' or more deliberate scenario in their head. It's already in place. It's also why their work is identifiable and unique to them. It's their own world view.

 

But that should happen (at least I would hope) no matter if one is using a T or an F or an M, etc.. Unless the camera is somehow interfering in the process. Then as I have already said, it's not the right tool. It's simply hindering the author.

 

Several artists I know work extremely deliberately (Jeff Wall; Jo Ann Callis as examples) where that 'first stage' is not as critical. It's all been pre-planned like storyboards in a film production. And that's not to say that at the last minute 'first stages' won't happen at the time of production. They absolutely do. It's that visual instinct that is in play.

 

Yet all of this of course doesn't mean one resorts to using something they abhor. Clearly it's important to be comfortable with one's tools. And to enjoy the process of using them; the act of making an image.

It does mean however that they choose what best facilitates what they are doing. I will often use a Leica rangefinder because it best facilitates what I'm doing in certain applications. But it doesn't really create any new directions for me, or new way of working. It may facilitate or not facilitate what I'm trying to accomplish but that's really about it.

 

I've never bought a camera based solely on the premise that I might be able to somehow put it to good use. I'll buy it if a particular use comes up first, and then whether or not that particular camera will help me get it done. It's probably why I've rented more stuff than I own. And it's not to say I couldn't use a T (and a T only) in the "spirit of making it so." I certainly could. I spent my entire graduate program with one camera and one lens only. It was a compromise at times, but I "made it so."

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CalArts you've made some interesting posts that really get to the heart of the difference between photographers and camera enthusiasts. When Leica tries to sell me on the idea that I should buy a camera because someone spent 45 minutes hand polishing it I get completely turned off and feel they are insulting my intelligence.

 

I know Leica has to go in new ways to re-define itself from its days of simply being a good tool used by many photojournalists (and others of course.) But really???

Edited by AlanG

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For your own work (and for most people), this new camera may well be all that is needed, but I see that as no reason to discount the many and significant differences in IQ between it and what a full frame 36 mp camera can provide.

 

Well of course for your work(and a couple photographers in the world -one is long gone-) this camera is obsolete. We can all fully understand this you don't need to tell us.

In the mean time, obsolete manufacturers like Leica will still chose Jonoslack and others for their true benchmarking for some strange reasons.

Edited by diogenis

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this camera is obsolete, obsolete manufacturers like Leica will still chose Jonoslack and others for their true benchmarking for some strange reasons.

 

definition of obsolete please..... and some examples of cameras that aren't ..... plus why....

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CalArts you've made some interesting posts that really get to the heart of the difference between photographers and camera enthusiasts. When Leica tries to sell me on the idea that I should buy a camera because someone spent 45 minutes hand polishing it I get completely turned off and feel they are insulting my intelligence.

 

I know Leica has to go in new ways to re-define itself from its days of simply being a good tool used by many photojournalists (and others of course.) But really???

I would say that the fact that anyone is discussing the camera here would suggest that there is a degree of the 'camera enthusiast' about them. Leica have just added more choice to the camera market - I don't think that this one is of interest to me, but I don't see it as something that I should complain about either. I wouldn't buy a Rolex (I use an iPhone to tell the time), a Porsche (it would get trashed) or many other expensive relatives or perfectly good and far less refined alternatives either. But hey, that's life. Why criticise finesse? I expect that this new camera will produce excellent images - in the right hands - and arguing about its concept/marketing/price are apparently what forums are for.....

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Whilst I'm not denying that a 36mp sensor offers more than a 16mp one must be careful. I make prints, and if a 36mp file makes a fine 36" print, then a 16m file will make a fine 24" print (and that's if you discount the advantage of bigger pixels). This is not (IMHO) a very big difference, and doesn't allow for 'far greater cropping'. MP is a measure of area - but in prints we're talking linear, it's so easy to conflate the two

 

Certainly I have a stack of 36mp A7r files here - and for the sake of a print the improvement over the T files is extremely small . . . . well, like 36 against 24 I suppose.

 

The calculations that you give are for equivalent size sensors and would be the case if both sensors were 36x24. As it is, one sensor is 36mm wide and the other only 25mm. That makes a significant difference.

 

The density of pixels is almost the same, and all other things being equal ( the necessarily more careful technique required) it should mean that if you are happy with 24" wide with the Leica T, then you should be happy with 48" wide with the 36mp full frame. This is a considerable difference.

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Enlargement is enlargement and larger sensors are always better than smaller sensors. MPs are a sideshow in this regard.

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