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Leica CL as main camera

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Jaap clearly likes his new camera. I dare say his tune will change when he buys a different Leica camera in the future.

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I guess I am a worse photographer than some... These "restrictions" don't seem to affect my photography...

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Jaap clearly likes his new camera. I dare say his tune will change when he buys a different Leica camera in the future.

You mean like the SL, T, M10, S, etc I didn't buy? 

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they are simply not marginal

 

M4/3s - been there done it. Just well below my threshold of noise. DR and everything is noticeably lower

Compare APS-C to FF of the same technology and its less then the jump down to M4/3s, but its light and day at the pixel level, which effects both cropping and edit absorption. Also try DOF separation at wide angles and see even more difference. This effects everything, including falloff, which is why photos appear to pop, and FF will always appear to pop more then APS-C - with the right lenses.

 

Listen I get great photos from my iphone, but blow them up, start editing, drop the light a bit, and the difference becomes stark between sensor sizes ...

 

 

Certainly there are inherent pro's and con's to any format.  For a given sensor quality level/generation, as the sensor grows you get more control over depth of field, you get greater dynamic range, better high-ISO performance, and you have the potential for more detail in the image since you aren't pushing the lens as hard since the image is magnified less.  As you shrink the sensor, you lower cost (both in the camera and in the lenses), you lower the size and weight (both cameras and lenses, again), and you increase depth of field for a given subject distance, angle of view, and focal ratio.  I don't think anyone on this thread would disagree with the above as a general statement.  So all formats and all cameras involve compromises.  

 

The question, though, is whether the set of compromises in the CL make it a better choice as a daily use camera for the traditional rangefinder photographer than the current generation of 'M' cameras--the M10 and M240 and its variants.  I was surprised to find that in my case the answer is, "Yes".  The image quality with the native TL lenses is very good.  As good as an 'M10'?  Depends on the situation and the subject.  If the subject demands autofocus, obviously the CL is the better choice.  If the subject demands a narrow depth of field, obviously the M10 is the better choice.  If one shoots 90% of their shots using zone focus, the M10 is the better choice.  So there are use cases where either camera would clearly be better.  But what about the overlap?  Situations where you could effectively use either camera?

 

This is where I was surprised to find I generally can't tell the difference and so am happier with the convenience and size/weight of the CL.  Is there more dynamic range in the M10 at base ISO?  Frankly, no.  Both are close enough that I can't tell the difference.  Better performance at higher ISO's?  Yes, I'd say the M10 is somewhere around 1/2EV better.  That will be enough to matter to some.  If you are happy with an M(240)'s high ISO performance, though, I'd say the CL is it's equal.  What about resolution and the "look" from the TL lenses vs. the "look" from the M lenses?  That varies a bit from lens to lens, but the TL lenses are no slouches.  I find the 50mm M APO has an edge on the 35mm TL in the corners, but not enough to matter in most images and I can't tell them apart in the center of the frame.  35mm FLE vs 23mm TL?  Again, the edge goes to the 35mm in the corners, but in the middle of the frame I can't tell them apart at any equivalent apertures.  The FLE is a stop faster, of course.  While I can tell the difference if I go looking for it, the difference is small enough that I don't care much.  As a result, I have sold off my M10 and all its lenses.  Well, all except the WATE--I kept that for use on the SL since there is no ultra wide solution for the SL at this point.

 

For photographs where either camera is appropriate--either the CL or the M10--I find the CL does almost as nice a job as the M10 in terms of pure image quality, and it's a lot smaller, lighter, less expensive to buy lenses for, and has some convenience features an M can't touch.  For me it's the better daily use camera, and two weeks ago I didn't think I would be making that claim.  

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I couldn't agree more; let's get back to Barnack's original concept: A handy and easy to use camera, suitable to carry every day. Optimal image quality for the chosen (small) format through a very good lens and precision engineering. All controls needed for everyday photography, but nothing more. No wish to compete with the large format cameras of the day on image quality - which was impossible anyway.

I would suggest that Leica in the M line has remained true to the ideal, but  now has added a new camera that is totally true to the original concept.

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I find the crop argument spurious. One uses a lens to gain an angle of view. The number on the barrel will not be visible on the photograph. Nor do M lenses lose their character on APS. As for ultra wideangle lenses, yes, that is true, the CL cannot be the main camera for someone who shoots mainly ultra-wide. What percentage of photographers is that?

Preferring not to use manual lenses on an AF camera is just a preference, the CL does the job well.

I don't shoot mainly ultra-wide but I'm sure a lot of folks shoot wider than 28mm quite often.  With the CL the fastest and widest you could go is 28mm (FOV) and F2.8. That's not sufficient for many use cases. With other systems there are options for 21mm, 24mm, 28mm all at F1.4 or F2.0..... and don't get me started on the longer primes with IBIS/OIS.

 

The TL lenses all seem to be great and show a lot of promise. But is it mature enough to use as a main system? Sorry but it's just not there yet. 

Edited by Mr.Q

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FF is FF and APS is APS. There is no equivalent to Elmar 50/2.8, Biogon 35/2.8 or SEM 21/3.4 asph, among other lenses, in APS-H or APS-C format.

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I find the crop argument spurious. One uses a lens to gain an angle of view. The number on the barrel will not be visible on the photograph. Nor do M lenses lose their character on APS. As for ultra wideangle lenses, yes, that is true, the CL cannot be the main camera for someone who shoots mainly ultra-wide. What percentage of photographers is that?

Preferring not to use manual lenses on an AF camera is just a preference, the CL does the job well.

 

 

It's not a spurious argument – in fact, far from it. A cropped sensor was annoying enough with the M8 but, being the only digital game in town for M lenses at the time, most of us muddled by. It isn't even a question about "ultra" wide angle lenses. Obtaining a moderately wide 28mm equivalent means buying an 18mm and I don't buy the argument that a cropped 18mm has the same characteristics as a 28 Summicron or similar. I get that you like the CL (I wanted to like it too) but don't pretend that the cropped sensor is a non-issue or a virtue. An APS sensor is fine if the system is a "closed" one but as soon as you start mixing systems (e.g. using a CL in conjunction with M cameras and lenses) it becomes an annoying fudge (involving obtaining lenses that you wouldn't otherwise need or want) and is a retrograde step back to 2007.

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It's not a spurious argument – in fact, far from it. A cropped sensor was annoying enough with the M8 but, being the only digital game in town for M lenses at the time, most of us muddled by. It isn't even a question about "ultra" wide angle lenses. Obtaining a moderately wide 28mm equivalent means buying an 18mm and I don't buy the argument that a cropped 18mm has the same characteristics as a 28 Summicron or similar. I get that you like the CL (I wanted to like it too) but don't pretend that the cropped sensor is a non-issue or a virtue. An APS sensor is fine if the system is a "closed" one but as soon as you start mixing systems (e.g. using a CL in conjunction with M cameras and lenses) it becomes an annoying fudge (involving obtaining lenses that you wouldn't otherwise need or want) and is a retrograde step back to 2007.

I don’t need to pretend I like CL because I love it. Own 11-23 lens.

I own and shoot with the SL. Own 90-280 and 75 native lenses.

I own M mount lenses at these focal lengths, all Leica except for 10mm: 10, 18, 24, 35, 50, 90

For me the CL and SL work together like the best team. Annoying? At what point?

Maybe you should try before drawing theoretical conclusions.

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Maybe you should try before drawing theoretical conclusions.

 

 

 I have tried the CL, there is nothing theoretical about what I'm saying. I have also lived with mixed full frame and cropped sensor systems in the past and I have no intention of going back to pre-2009. The CL is a nice camera but it isn't remarkable enough to entice me to start using my 28 Summaron-M as some kind of near normal "42mm". I'm not sure why you are being so defensive – it is no skin off my nose that you "love" your CL and nor should it be any off your's that I'm not anything like as keen.

Edited by wattsy

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I have tried the CL, there is nothing theoretical about what I'm saying. I have also lived with mixed full frame and cropped sensor systems in the past and I have no intention of going back to pre-2009. The CL is a nice camera but it isn't remarkable enough to entice me to start using my 28 Summaron-M as some kind of near normal "42mm". I'm not sure why you are being so defensive – it is no skin off my nose that you "love" your CL and nor should it be any off your's that I'm not anything like as keen.

 

:-(

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:-(

 

 

I thought you were blocking me – "off my list, mate" or whatever it was you wrote in your PM just now? A bit weird if you ask me....

Edited by wattsy

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FF is FF and APS is APS. There is no equivalent to Elmar 50/2.8, Biogon 35/2.8 or SEM 21/3.4 asph, among other lenses, in APS-H or APS-C format.

 

 

Yes. I think one of the defining factors – and probably what differentiates those who don't mind the cropped sensor and those who do – is whether you find particular lenses important or whether it is just about "focal lengths". In my case, I only really use two M lenses of the five I own and I like them exactly as full frame lenses and the particular rendering I get from them. An 18mm lens (TL prime, SEM or Zeiss – whatever) isn't going to substitute for my 28 Summaron-M. Any effective focal length substitute is simply going to be too different and I would lose all that I like about the Summaron.

Edited by wattsy

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It's not a spurious argument – in fact, far from it. A cropped sensor was annoying enough with the M8 but, being the only digital game in town for M lenses at the time, most of us muddled by. It isn't even a question about "ultra" wide angle lenses. Obtaining a moderately wide 28mm equivalent means buying an 18mm and I don't buy the argument that a cropped 18mm has the same characteristics as a 28 Summicron or similar. I get that you like the CL (I wanted to like it too) but don't pretend that the cropped sensor is a non-issue or a virtue. An APS sensor is fine if the system is a "closed" one but as soon as you start mixing systems (e.g. using a CL in conjunction with M cameras and lenses) it becomes an annoying fudge (involving obtaining lenses that you wouldn't otherwise need or want) and is a retrograde step back to 2007.

It never bothered me on the M8, Ian. If you look back to  my posts you will see that I quite acknowledge the indisputable fact that a smaller format  is limiting at the short end, obviously.  In fact, you even bolded it in your quote of my post.

However, this is offset by the advantages for long lenses.

 

I tend to use lenses as they work on the camera that is in my hand, without being dogmatic about the nominal value they represent on another format. In fact, if I need ultra-wide I will simply take a full-frame camera. No camera can do all. If I need very long lenses I will move to MFT, although the CL with long R lenses or the SL 90-280 is worth considering too.

 

I do think that the CL the most universally usable camera in the Leica stable in terms of a combination of portability, versatility, image quality and adaptability. Of course there are other cameras for specific applications and styles, otherwise Leica could simply stop producing the rest of their palette.

 

This discussion is about whether the CL has the potential to become one's main camera, not whether it is the ultimate tool for all situations; no camera is.

 

Edit -

My Super-Elmar 18 lives on my M9, Ian. It will never be used on the CL, but that is obviously not my main photographic concern.

And the Summaron doesn't work for me -never did, full-frame or not. Somehow my mind doesn't mesh with the 28 mm focal length and the way it renders.

If it did it would live on the M9 too. But given its rendering, again, it would not be part of my main system.

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This discussion is about whether the CL has the potential to become one's main camera,

 

 

For sure, it absolutely could be a main camera – I wouldn't dispute that at all. In fact, I truly believe that, for some people, an iPhone has the potential to be a main camera.

Edited by wattsy

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Precisely. But an iPhone has not got the potential to integrate into other systems.

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I agree 100% with Jaapv on this, and I too love my 18mm Super Elmar, indeed this one lens is now THE reason for keeping my MP240 and although I have of course tried it on my CL I much prefer the CL's own 11-23 Super Vario Elmar which I regard as being one of the most versatile lenses I have ever used.

 

So to return to the question would I use the CL as my main camera the answer for me at least is increasingly yes, but as Jaapy points out no one camera will do everything and so like him I have several others, and other systems as back ups. Don Morley

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I don't shoot mainly ultra-wide but I'm sure a lot of folks shoot wider than 28mm quite often.  With the CL the fastest and widest you could go is 28mm (FOV) and F2.8. That's not sufficient for many use cases. With other systems there are options for 21mm, 24mm, 28mm all at F1.4 or F2.0..... and don't get me started on the longer primes with IBIS/OIS.

 

The TL lenses all seem to be great and show a lot of promise. But is it mature enough to use as a main system? Sorry but it's just not there yet. 

Ummm... Voigtländer offers 10, 12 and 15 mm lenses.And Leica Summiluxes and the Noctilux. Part of of the usability of the CL is the possibility to adapt external lenses, something Leica (and not only Leica) has incorporated into their cameras since the M240.

 

I think I am one photographer who specializes in long-lens hand-held photography. Yes, I would like IBIS, in fact, the potential of using an 800 mm equ. lens @ 1/60th handheld on MFT is quite liberating, however, over the years I have developed enough shooting technique to be able to work around a lack of IBIS and OIS. Having said that, I agree that the 55-135 would have benefited greatly by OIS. And my 105-280 R by IBIS.

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For sure, it absolutely could be a main camera – I wouldn't dispute that at all. In fact, I truly believe that, for some people, an iPhone has the potential to be a main camera.

Not potential. It actually is, and many of them are talented photographers.

 

The value of the kit is only in so far as it helps the photographer achieve what they want. It doesn't take much a an awareness of photography today to see that the answer to the question asked in this thread is: of course it can be a main camera. So can a smartphone, a pinhole camera, an Instax etc. 

 

This thread is for the photographer who defines their photography by the number of lenses they can use.

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Not potential. It actually is, and many of them are talented photographers.

Yes, indeed. I was paraphrasing Jaap's use of the word potential in my response.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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