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GarethC

M8 and landscapes

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I posted this over at DPR originally but seems to have been met with apathy except for one person

 

I'm hoping to generate a debate with my extremely limited M8/rangefinder knowledge in order to get a better idea of the pros and cons of shooting landscapes with my 5D or the what now seems almost inevitable M8.

 

I find that and SLR offers the ability to control DR with the use of GND's but from what I've read the M8 has greater DR anyway so that is a partial wash at the very least.

 

I was reading in another forum a thread about an M-series shooter who was asking about landscapes and was told to use a tripod. That said, the M8 is less susceptible to camera shake apparently, is this due solely to weight? I was amazed that somebody would even mention a tripod, that seems to be a virtual given.

 

Another plus for a tripod for me is that it forces me to take my time to set up and look at the scene. The inherent photojournalist type rangefinder experience seems to suggest that you don't stand and study what you're taking a photograph of.

 

With a 5D I always use manual focus and fixed focal lengths so there's nothing between the two there.

 

Then of course there are tilt shift lenses, can't beat them.

 

I'd love to read about other's experiences and observations.

--

good_stuff Photo Gallery by Gareth Callaway at pbase.com

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I have seen some great photos taken by an M on tripod. But for myself, the largest tripod that I use with an M is Leica's tabletop. And it really can rest on the chest in order to provide more stability when shooting in low light conditions.

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HI Gareth

Was it me that answered you on dpreview? It might have been. I shoot a lot of landscape with the M8.

 

I posted this over at DPR originally but seems to have been met with apathy except for one person

 

I'm hoping to generate a debate with my extremely limited M8/rangefinder knowledge in order to get a better idea of the pros and cons of shooting landscapes with my 5D or the what now seems almost inevitable M8.

 

I find that and SLR offers the ability to control DR with the use of GND's but from what I've read the M8 has greater DR anyway so that is a partial wash at the very least.

 

I was reading in another forum a thread about an M-series shooter who was asking about landscapes and was told to use a tripod. That said, the M8 is less susceptible to camera shake apparently, is this due solely to weight? I was amazed that somebody would even mention a tripod, that seems to be a virtual given.

 

Why is it a given? If you shooting with a 21mm you should be able to hold it completely steady at anything over around 1/50th second - and for reasonable results much much slower. Remember, there is no mirror clanging out of the way and setting up vibrations before the shutter opens - I often take candids with the 75mm lens at 1/20th and less.

 

Of course, if you want to use small apertures in fading light then you'll want a tripod, but for lots of situations I wouldn't dream of it.

 

Apart from anything else, a small Leica setup allows you to shoot 'opportunist' landscapes, travel a decent distance, climb through hedges and ditches.

 

Another plus for a tripod for me is that it forces me to take my time to set up and look at the scene. The inherent photojournalist type rangefinder experience seems to suggest that you don't stand and study what you're taking a photograph of.

 

 

Hmm It's a different methodology - I find that my first take on a scene is usually the right one, and fiddling around with a tripod and taking my time ends up producing anadyne results - but of course, each to his own. If you want to use a tripod because it forces you to take your time, you could try various other techniques like tying one hand behind your back

With a 5D I always use manual focus and fixed focal lengths so there's nothing between the two there.

 

Then of course there are tilt shift lenses, can't beat them.

 

There you certainly do have a point.

 

Okay, I don't have a 5D, but I've seen enough responses from others around here, and I have a long history of landscapes with a Nikon dSLR and different lenses.

 

1. Most people think that the Leica image quality is better than the 5D, especially the dynamic range.

2. I find composing landscapes with framelines and a larger view a huge freedom after years of viewfinders which gave me 96% of what I was going to get - it's so much easier to choose what to include when you can see it!

3. The lenses - I was always thinking whether I should use a particular aperture with a particular lens - nowadays I don't give it a thought - sharp from corner to corner every time.

4. I think that the innacurate framelines made landscape with a film Rangefinder very tricky -but with the instant feedback of digital, it's suddenly a delightful experience.

5. File 'resiliance' : I'm no techie, but the Leica RAW files seem to take a huge amount of modification before they start to look digital - as I understand it this is not the case with the 5D.

 

To sum it up, I understand from your other response that you were thinking you'd end up keeping the 5D for landscape - I'd be extremely surprised if that were the case - apart from the tilt/shift lenses I really can't see any other advantage it has (and there are lots of disadvantages).

 

I took my first shot with a rangefinder camera last October - it's been love at first sight, and especially for landscape - it's such a joy to go out with a small bag over the shoulder and still be able to come back with files which will make huge and beautifully detailed prints.

 

I hope this helps (sorry about the flippant beginning)

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Guest hammertone

Unless I am travelling with light equipment, I never would chose a M Leica for landscape. This is really not an area where RF cameras dominate SLRs. Depth of field control, a more reliable viewfinder image, better filter control, macro, tele, shift and tilt possibilities all speak for SLRs. And I would not even think of doing landscape photography without a tripod. The necessity to use a tripod is landscape photography section 1.0.1.

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after years of slogging around my R8s, R9DMRs etc... I have belatedly come to the conclusion that many of my best and published landscapes were made with my M6 or M7!!! I recently started using my M8 and the magic is still there... I love my DMR but see myself moving toward my M8 as my primary landscape camera...

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Unless I am travelling with light equipment, I never would chose a M Leica for landscape. This is really not an area where RF cameras dominate SLRs. Depth of field control, a more reliable viewfinder image, better filter control, macro, tele, shift and tilt possibilities all speak for SLRs. And I would not even think of doing landscape photography without a tripod. The necessity to use a tripod is landscape photography section 1.0.1.

 

Hi Joachim

Should I be ditching 20,000 images then?

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Guest hammertone
Hi Joachim

Should I be ditching 20,000 images then?

Please feel free to do so

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Guest guy_mancuso

BTW you can use a shift lens on the M system. I use a modified Olympus 24mm shift that was converted to a R mount than use a R to M adpater. Now It is guess work but having a LCD to preview solves all that and i get excellent results from this. Macro work you can also do with a M system. Most of these limitations are the photographers mindset and not the camera.

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Guest hammertone
Most of these limitations are the photographers mindset

Thank you for this. At least I hope you agree that it makes sense to use a tripod when shifting a lens. Sorry, Guy, you will have a hard time to convince me that your solution is more convenient than a dedicated shift lens on a SLR camera (or the Linhof I use for landscape but that's another story).

 

Gareth: Bear in mind that you were asking in a M8 forum. You most likely would get other answers in a nature photography forum.

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Guest guy_mancuso

My point is these things can be done and not to just discount them as you can't do that , and that happens to often. if you need a shot and you don't have a Linhof than what do you do. Folks need to find ways to work around physical limitations. You just can't bury the creative process and say no that can't be done, sure it can just need to figure a way that will work, yes sometimes that may mean renting something. But folks pigeon hole this M system all the time , like it can't be used besides a reportage camera. Hello i am using it commercially everyday and that is in the studio on location with multiple strobe setups and stuff like that. It's a camera with a sensor, frankly the only real limitation is the brain. You need a 200 lens well it may not be a perfect solution but there is a Viso. not saying it can do it all but burying it in the category of a reportage camera only is really pretty lame. Must think outside the box.

 

And yes i do use a tripod for many things but not all the time just depends on what you are doing

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Please feel free to do so

Thank you - what a relief, they've all gone.

 

Now I'm liberated, I can say that I think that all these "known known's" with respect to landscape photography were learned in the days of film - the ability to double process raw files gives you a 'virtual' 4 stoop Neutral density filter. Review on the LCD gives you more accurate framing. Many Many of the shots I've taken just couldn't have been done if I'd been using a tripod, and most of them wouldn't have been done (mind you, you might consider I've been wasting my time).

 

Do feel fee to browse the poor remnants of my 'now deleted' photographs on my website.

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My point is these things can be done and not to just discount them as you can't do that , and that happens to often. if you need a shot and you don't have a Linhof than what do you do. Folks need to find ways to work around physical limitations.

 

. . . snip

 

Must think outside the box.

 

And yes i do use a tripod for many things but not all the time just depends on what you are doing

 

Absolutely agree Guy - and yes, I use a tripod as well, but the number of times I've been told that it's not worth doing landscape without it.

 

As for tilt and shift - obviously it's an advantage, but I've developed a nice technique of double exposing with different focus and sandwiching the results.

 

Nice to agree wholeheartedly!

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Guest hammertone
this M system all the time , like it can't be used besides a reportage camera. Hello i am using it commercially everyday and that is in the studio on location with multiple strobe setups

Well, Gareth is asking about landscape photography. He is not asking about doing occasionally some landscape shots besides reportage or studio work. Why not recommend the system which is best suitable for this work? Why recommend a system which has lots of benefits and certainly also can be used for excellent landscapes but is for sure not first choice for +95% of all landscape photographers.

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At 70 years old I no longer can hike long distances with a full DSLR kit. And I have both a DMR and 5D and lots of wonderful R glass and have done wonderful landscapes with both and will continue to do so when the hikes can be short.

 

However I bought the M8 back in November and have been doing landscapes with it ever since with great success. I bought a small set of Gitzo legs and the Really Right Stuff B40 small ball head which works very well with the M8. Gets a little unstable with the 135 3.4 lens hanging off the front though. But in general this tripod which collapses to less than one foot and weighs very little is handy to take into the field with the M8. I can carry my M8 and five lenses in my Artisans and Artists Image Smith bag and the whole kit and kaboodle, including the tripod weighs just a bit over 10 pounds.

 

Great stuff for us old folks who don't want to give up fine arts landscapes

 

Woody Spedden

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Guest guy_mancuso

Name me a system that has better glass than leica and zeiss in this format of 35mm, trust me there is none. You want to shoot lanscapes only than 4x5 with a 10 k betterlight back or a Phase One 39 mg back with bodies, than that is over 40k, there the best solutions for digital and the price of admission is high. otherwise go back to film 4x5 and drum scan.

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Well, Gareth is asking about landscape photography. He is not asking about doing occasionally some landscape shots besides reportage or studio work. Why not recommend the system which is best suitable for this work? Why recommend a system which has lots of benefits and certainly also can be used for excellent landscapes but is for sure not first choice for +95% of all landscape photographers.

Yes, but he was asking about a comparison between the 5D and the M8 for landscape photography - not a general question.

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Jono, keep swimming against the current of generally accepted photographic principles. Obey only your instincts ... something you already do with excellent result.

 

Stamp out all pedantigraphy before it begins.

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Guest hammertone
Name me a system that has better glass than leica and zeiss in this format of 35mm, trust me there is none. You want to shoot lanscapes only than 4x5 with a 10 k betterlight back or a Phase One 39 mg back with bodies, than that is over 40k, there the best solutions for digital and the price of admission is high. otherwise go back to film 4x5 and drum scan.

The original choice was between a M8 and EOS 5D (as just again confirmed by Jonathan). Both take Leica glass. This is not the point. I am also not arguing that you must use 4x5 (I said above that the Linhof is another story).

Woody, this is an argument I can fully accept.

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Guest guy_mancuso
Well, Gareth is asking about landscape photography. He is not asking about doing occasionally some landscape shots besides reportage or studio work. Why not recommend the system which is best suitable for this work? Why recommend a system which has lots of benefits and certainly also can be used for excellent landscapes but is for sure not first choice for +95% of all landscape photographers.

 

My point is if it works extremely well doing this commercially than it would also be good for landscapes, my goal is the absolute best images i can produce for a client with a certain budget of expense for the gear , yes i want a MF system but until than i can do it with the M8. Is this not the same truths for landscape shooters, don't they want the sharpest images with the best micro detail to them. Sorry the 5d is not the answer

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Guest guy_mancuso
The original choice was between a M8 and EOS 5D (as just again confirmed by Jonathan). Both take Leica glass. This is not the point. I am also not arguing that you must use 4x5 (I said above that the Linhof is another story).

Woody, this is an argument I can fully accept.

 

 

I think i said all along was the M8 was the best choice between them. It has No AA filter and has much better micro contrast. The 5d can't match the micro details with any lens leica or not. It may have a better tilt and shift solution but i'm doing it with a M8 also, it may not be that convienent but it can be done.

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