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Pingus

Upgrade from X-vario ?

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Hi - looking for some advice on the next potential purchase. I’m a longtime X-vario user. I’m a pretty serious amateur artist who uses the camera to take reference photos for my paintings . Take the photo, transfer to a 30’ monitor next to the easel and paint away. Mainly landscapes, some still life and portraits. I’ve noticed some limitations with the x - low lighting, auto focus, cropping to see details, etc. 

I’ve  handled the CL and it’s pretty sweet. Is the improvement over an X Vario worth the inevitable $5-7K investment I’m talking about ? The 18-55 zoom seems like it’s straight off the X Vario. I know technology improves and the sensor is larger.   SL is out of question due to size. Is the bang worth the buck ?

 

thanks for any feedback ; it’s greatly appreciated 

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If you could live with a 28mm lens only, I'd opt for the Leica Q - you'd get full frame, superb low light performance, and fabulous IQ for $4K.   (It will also allow for 35mm and 50mm apsc sized images). 

The 18-56 is not a fast lens but the CL sensor should be more sensitive in low light, so will outperform the X Vario in low light situations. Whether it is worth  $5-7K is your judgment call.  

 

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38 minutes ago, wda said:

Pingus,  welcome to the forum. Yes, owning a CL system opens up a whole new world of opportunities. But first follow this link to my recent thoughts on the Leica Q  http://macfilos.com/photo/2018/11/13/leica-q-28mm-focal-length-as-all-rounder

WDA: I enjoyed reading your review. Your reviews hits the nail on the head" in its discussion of the Q. Rob

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Hi Pingus,

I was a delighted XV owner and waited to upgrade to the CL, because like you, I questioned “how much better” could the CL be? 

Long story short - I rented a CL and fell in love. I had already upgraded from the XV to the T (so your upgrade is an even bigger leap of improvements) and I had a few TL lenses. The CL makes these lenses, (especially the zoom), and therefore the entire camera, *way* more usable. 

The results, especially regarding focusing speed and accuracy and low light performance  - are very much improved over the XV and T. That combines with much faster and improved haptics and handling to make it well worth *every* penny IMHO.  I certainly have no regrets (even though I consider it to be a very expensive upgrade).  The EVF alone is worth it (especially if you shoot in lower light sometimes).  Such an improvement over the XV’s EVF.

I do sometimes miss the XV macro focus ability but can use (inexpensive) Leica Elpro close focusing lenses (from eBay) for that when I am so inclined.  (You can also use the M macro adapter for getting close with M lenses.)  You can otherwise just crop the heck out of photos with any of these TL lenses to bring objects closer, similar to the Q.  Their resolution is pretty amazing  

Speaking of cropping...

I have a general question to the group, please, regarding the Q and cropping - and *compression*.  Shooting something with a 70 lens, say, can produce a very different result than cropping a 28mm FOV to a 70mm frame.   The background is compressed differently with a longer FL lens.  I’m not speaking about wide angle distortion that can also be a problem when close focusing a WA lens on something. 

That’s a principle reason why you might want to use a medium tele lens for a portrait, no?  Facial compression is typically very evident (and more pleasing) when using longer FL lenses.  

Even the difference in facial compression between a 28mm and 50mm lens can be *very* noticeable.  (I find this is very true when using the TL 35 (50mm FOV) which always seems to slightly compress and bring out the best in my subjects’ facial features. People remark all the time about this improvement in the subject’s look. 

This seems relevant when considering to crop with the Q or any camera.  

I am somewhat surprised that nobody has remarked about this sometimes being a drawback with cropping the 28mm on the Q.  Is this not also an issue sometimes here?

The Q is otherwise a beautiful camera and there is certainly nothing wrong with cropping in general.  I am definitely NOT knocking the Q.  

Back to Pingus - You couldn’t go wrong with either camera, but the CL seems more versatile for me with interchangeable lenses (yet you can use it as a 1-lens rig if desired.). The IQ differences really are not that significant to my eye (especially if we are talking about sometimes cropping down to a 10MP image on the Q to get to a 50mm FOV).  

The key question for you is: how much do you use that zoom versus shooting @ 28?  I often avoided the long end of the zoom on the XV and T because it was only useable in good light. Now I am using the zoom a whole lot more on the CL - even in low light.   It opened up a whole new world for me with the zoom. 

The CL with 18-56 is like a super-charged interchangeable lense XV.  If you like the XV, you’ll love it. 

The TL 35, btw is a special lens with sharpness and bokeh that creates really lovely images (and this lens is why I asked about compression). I would miss this lens too much even though I use the zoom more.  (It creates absolutely beautiful portraits and still life photos.) The 11-23 is also spectacular, especially for landscape and architectural photography btw.  These may be of future interest to you for your style of photography.

In the end, you can’t go wrong with either camera. Both cameras render similar natural colors and micro contrast details, and draw shadows and light in a way only Leica lenses can. 

Best of luck with your selection. I hope this is helpful.

We look forward to your posts and pics. Cheers.  

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Wonderful article about the Q  !

‘Most of the landscapes are shot at 28 to get a broad field of view. The last one I painted was a 30x60 inch panoramic harbor scene. When doing still life or portraits I’m at 70 to avoid any distortion in faces or cylindrical objects.

‘One  last question about the CL/TL lenses. I started manually focusing with the X Vario out of frustration with auto focus. Now I’ve gotten to appreciate it and pretty much manually focus 100% of the time. Is that an option with the lenses available on the CL ?

thanks much for the thoughtful comments.

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9 hours ago, jaapv said:

Yes, it is an option, but there is no need.

I agree. But the zooms on the CL allow manual fine adjustment which, for subjects like horticulture, allows precision fine tuning. I use that feature a lot and guess many users are unaware of it.

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2 hours ago, wda said:

I agree. But the zooms on the CL allow manual fine adjustment which, for subjects like horticulture, allows precision fine tuning. I use that feature a lot and guess many users are unaware of it.

What do you mean by manual fine adjustment with the CL zooms? Guess I'm one of those who are unaware of this feature, or are you speaking satirically?

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1 hour ago, Archiver said:

What do you mean by manual fine adjustment with the CL zooms? Guess I'm one of those who are unaware of this feature, or are you speaking satirically?

Question 1. Use AF conventionally on a subject of choice, say a person in a group at far end of a dining table. Using multi-field focusing the camera will focus on one of the nearer people in the group. Not what you want. Retain half pressure to hold AF; at the same time gently rotate the manual focusing ring (I have focus assist selected) and you can move the focus plane precisely where you want it. Shoot. With plant photography it is invaluable because I can shift the focus incrementally onto say a butterfuly on one of several flower heads. I feel in control. No hit or miss as sometimes happens with spot focusing.

I think the technique works with TL prime lenses which I don't have.

Question 2. No, I am not speaking satirically. I am trying to be helpful to fellow members.

Edited by wda
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The X Vario is a fine camera, but either the Q or the CL are a big improvement even if  only for  the convenience of a built-in EVF. For what you're doing, the CL would be a better pick because you can not only use the excellent TL zoom lenses but also any other lens you'd like out of the different Leica lens series, not to mention from third parties. 

On the other hand, I'm not sure how much "better" suited for your particular photographic needs any other camera might be. Most of the (few) painters I know who use a technique that seems like what you describe aren't really looking for absolute color and tonal gradation in their photographs, they seem to use the photographs more as reminders to their mind's eye of what the scene was like and recreate the tonal/color scape from their mental image rather than from the photograph itself. 

I compare output from my CL and my M-D now and then. Given that the smaller format CL does not capture the edge rendering of the lenses' image circle the way the M-D does, I'd have to say that for the portion of the image circle that it DOES capture, the tonal and resolution qualities are so close as to say that there is no difference at all. The cameras have somewhat different sensor response curves, but that's simply a matter of adjusting the camera calibration profile and raw conversion settings to match. The CL's more recent sensor design has a bit more sensitivity and lower noise, but smaller photo sites, the balance of which is mostly irrelevant until you're working at ISO settings over 3200 to 6400 (the upper limit of the M-D sensitivity anyway) ... I can't see setting the sensitivity so high for landscape or still life scenes that you're going to translate to paintings, but perhaps I don't fully understand your shooting situation and needs.  

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On 11/17/2018 at 4:56 AM, wda said:

Pingus,  welcome to the forum. Yes, owning a CL system opens up a whole new world of opportunities. But first follow this link to my recent thoughts on the Leica Q  http://macfilos.com/photo/2018/11/13/leica-q-28mm-focal-length-as-all-rounder

Thanks for the review, really enjoyed reading it. 

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