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Big John

Advice for first M......for an SL owner

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Hi all,

I have had an SL with 24-90 for 18 months. Lovely IQ but heavy combination so been using a couple of Zeiss ZM lenses (35/1.4 and just got the 50/2).  Enjoy manual focus on the SL and the EVF is great....although it is still clearly an electronic VF, not optical  

The decision to go with the SL was difficult - I was torn between the SL or an M. At that point I had a full range of Fuji gear but wanted my first full frame digital and had always wanted a Leica. It really was a head vs heart debate - my head questioning the viability of a rangefinder mechanism today etc. 

Anyway....I am once again considering an M. Tried the M10 pre Xmas and produced some very pleasing images, with crisp focus.  I am happy staying at 35 and 50mm but a bit concerned about manual focus on the M and (probably a bigger issue), not ‘seeing what you get’ in terms of image as I am used to EVF. The lack of info in the VF concerns me a bit  

I have come close recently to buying an M10P and 35 summicron but wonder if I am better going for a used M to start with - chance to prove to myself that I can get on ok with it. Could even use my existing ZM lenses initially. So any advice on used Ms pls?  Cheapest entry is an M8 but I don’t want to go so cheap that I get an experience that puts me off....so an M240?

Other option is to rent one for a week, anyone help me out with recommendation pls (UK)?

Thanks everyone. 

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I would suggest getting a used M240 and one lens 35 or 50 (personally I’d pick a 35). That combo should let you learn RF technique and evaluate your interest in going further.   It is worth getting the SL adapter as i’m sure you will want to use whatever M glass you get on the SL.

On which 35mm or 50 to get,  depending on budget and your interest in compactness, I’d suggest getting the 35 ‘cron ASPH (the older model is fine, you might want to get a 6bit coded version). The later v4 (German) 35 cron’s are very nice, but a bit pricy because of the king of bokeh hype. If you are open to spending a bit more, I would consider getting a 35 lux FLE.  I’m in awe of this lens on any M and it is very well balanced and a good performer on the SL. 

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Here is no significant difference in focusing, framing from first film M to latest digital M.

Still same rf patch in the middle and framelines around.

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Posted (edited)

Your last point... rent one for a week.  Or demo from a friendly dealer.

Otherwise, buy a good used M from a reputable dealer with good warranty and return policy.  Even if you end up selling, the loss won’t be great and you will have learned about the system, which is largely similar between models.*

Some bond with the RF, some not.  Be sure your eyes are properly corrected if needed (astigmatism and/or distance) to optimize your viewing and focusing experience.

*One benefit of a model with LV is the ability to check lens/camera focus calibration issues.

Jeff

 

Edited by Jeff S

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1 hour ago, pixelman said:

I would suggest getting a used M240 and one lens 35 or 50 (personally I’d pick a 35). That combo should let you learn RF technique and evaluate your interest in going further.   It is worth getting the SL adapter as i’m sure you will want to use whatever M glass you get on the SL.

On which 35mm or 50 to get,  depending on budget and your interest in compactness, I’d suggest getting the 35 ‘cron ASPH (the older model is fine, you might want to get a 6bit coded version). The later v4 (German) 35 cron’s are very nice, but a bit pricy because of the king of bokeh hype. If you are open to spending a bit more, I would consider getting a 35 lux FLE.  I’m in awe of this lens on any M and it is very well balanced and a good performer on the SL. 

Thanks. I have the M adapter T already and have 2 M mount Zeiss lenses. Granted I may not get the full look of Leica M lenses on M body but I have seen what that looks like (and like it). So my current lenses will prob suffice initially. 

1 hour ago, Ko.Fe. said:

Here is no significant difference in focusing, framing from first film M to latest digital M.

Still same rf patch in the middle and framelines around.

Yes, I thought so.....although the larger VF on the M10 looks helpful. Thanks. 

1 hour ago, Jeff S said:

Your last point... rent one for a week.  Or demo from a friendly dealer.

Otherwise, buy a good used M from a reputable dealer with good warranty and return policy.  Even if you end up selling, the loss won’t be great and you will have learned about the system, which is largely similar between models.*

Some bond with the RF, some not.  Be sure your eyes are properly corrected if needed (astigmatism and/or distance) to optimize your viewing and focusing experience.

*One benefit of a model with LV is the ability to check lens/camera focus calibration issues.

Jeff

 

Thanks - if I go down the route of buying used, it is worth buying from a place where I am likely to buy new (if I like it), as I expect they may take part ex?

I do have specs for distance (although eyesight still v good). 

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There are a lot of good dealers, even when dealing remotely, but even better if you have one locally.  Building relationships, one or more, is always helpful.  I find some serve better for selling used gear... commissions and practices vary.  One can of course sell without a middleman, even through the forum.

I also wear glasses (distance and astigmatism), but with aging eyes, my viewing is best using glasses and a +.5 diopter.  These can be tested at the dealer or using trial diopters at most any good local optician.  [The focus patch on all digital Ms is set at a virtual distance of 2m]. 

Jeff

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There are advantages and disadvantages to everything in life.

Manual vs Automatic Focussing is a personal choice. AF is faster, much faster. MF is more artistically pleasing in many ways because you choose the focal point rather than the micro computer in a camera choosing it for you.

Art is more about making your own decisions. If you are interested in creating art then slow and manual is the way. Think of a painter in the landscape ... no rush, choose colours, choose brush size, compose the scene, and paint. Look at some of the great photos of all time. Most were taken using manual focus. AF will sell newspapers that will be tomorrow's wrapper for fish and chips.

If you are a sports photojournalist then you are in need of speed and being in the right place at the right time. AF is probably a better option.

Do you need an instant picture, or have you the time to compose? 

The choice is yours. Nobody can decide for you. Good luck in your choice.

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What do you want from an M that you can't have from SL?  the OVF?

if it's not OVF, stay with SL.

If it is OVF, your choice are M9, M10, and M240. I'd say get the m240. The used one should be the cheapest among the three.

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7 hours ago, Einst_Stein said:

What do you want from an M that you can't have from SL?  the OVF?

if it's not OVF, stay with SL.

If it is OVF, your choice are M9, M10, and M240. I'd say get the m240. The used one should be the cheapest among the three.

Aside from the overall size/compactness of an M and lenses, yes I am attracted to the OVF.  

I am not necessarily seeking the ability to see outside the frame lines but would like to see the real world rather than a very good (in the case of the SL EVF) electronic reproduction.  

But I am concerned about the fact that the image area in the OVF gets smaller as focal length gets longer - concern is too strong a word, it is more that since my first own camera in the mid 80s (an OM10), I have always had thru the lens viewing. 

Hence my idea of a trial via renting or buying used before committing to a nice new package of M10 and lens. 

One way to assuage my concern is to also get the EVF.  

Thanks. 

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9 hours ago, Peter Kilmister said:

There are advantages and disadvantages to everything in life.

Manual vs Automatic Focussing is a personal choice. AF is faster, much faster. MF is more artistically pleasing in many ways because you choose the focal point rather than the micro computer in a camera choosing it for you.

Art is more about making your own decisions. If you are interested in creating art then slow and manual is the way. Think of a painter in the landscape ... no rush, choose colours, choose brush size, compose the scene, and paint. Look at some of the great photos of all time. Most were taken using manual focus. AF will sell newspapers that will be tomorrow's wrapper for fish and chips.

If you are a sports photojournalist then you are in need of speed and being in the right place at the right time. AF is probably a better option.

Do you need an instant picture, or have you the time to compose? 

The choice is yours. Nobody can decide for you. Good luck in your choice.

As someone who came to M from AF DSLRs, I do question the idea that AF is much faster.  Your comment on the focal point is key - MF avoids focus hunting in low light, innacurate definition and a host of other delays and frustrations. Since shooting with Ms, I now stick with MF on my other cameras too.  I do think MF is much quicker on many occasions.

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Not sure where you are in the UK, but I’ve found all the teams in London shops really helpful. I tend to only buy used, and the teams at Aperture and Red Dot have been especially helpful as my knowledge has grown.

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Posted (edited)

I know this is an M forum, but have you considered a CL instead?

I come from an M background (M240 latest), added the SL and then the CL & TL2, and have just sold the M240.

You say that one of your drivers is the weight of the SL, so you have used it mainly with M lenses. Yes, an M will be lighter, but not that much lighter with the same M lenses. The CL and TL lenses will be considerably lighter, you can use it with M lenses (smaller than TL lenses) and have the benefit of an EVF, which you seem to like (though I realise you also like the real world view of an OVF). 

A separate point: if you want to use the EVF on the M240, you will be disappointed in comparison with the SL. The EVF for the M10 is better but still nowhere near the SL quality (I haven't had the M10 EVF side by side with the CL - my feeling is that the CL's EVF is still better than the M10's - it's a later generation after all). It's not so much resolution where the SL shines, it's lack of lag and low light performance. And neither M10 nor M240 are fast performers (catching the decisive moment) when using their EVFs.

Edited by LocalHero1953

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Posted (edited)

I’ve used Ms for decades because of, in addition to its simplicity (and wonderful small lenses), the RF viewing and focusing experience; not in spite of it. The EVF is not its strong suit, but is functional. After owning the EVF for the M240, I didn’t even buy the EVF when I traded for the M10.

But then I’m not fond of any EVFs, including the top end one on the SL.  The VF in the S would be perfect for me, but that would bring significant system trade offs with lens options, size, price, etc.  No perfect camera, for me.   But a lot of good choices... Leica and other... for specific needs and tastes.

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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Also coming over from Fuji, I went for a film Leica first (M6) and ended up getting a digital M a few months later. And yes, I've kept hold of the M6! 🙂

This has all been within the last 12 months, so a fairly rapid  changeover. I still have my Fujifilm kit, but it is the Leica I reach for.

Another possible option is to do the M experience session that Leica Store Mayfair do, it's free to do.

I went for a used digital body, in my case a M-P Type 240. Gives me the full Leica experience, but i have Live View, or EVF (I bought an Olympus one for mine) for ultra-wide or for when I want to use grads on a tripod.

Digital bodies will always depreciate rapidly, so if you go for a used one, someone else has taken the hit, and you can see if you like the M experience. If not, you can resell without having taken the full hit of a new one. If you like, then you can choose to stick with what you have, upgrade, or add a second body.

Having a couple of lenses already lessens the pain, and anything you add can be used on the SL. Best of both worlds.

Cheers, John

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1 hour ago, fixedwheel said:

Also coming over from Fuji, I went for a film Leica first (M6) and ended up getting a digital M a few months later. And yes, I've kept hold of the M6! 🙂

This has all been within the last 12 months, so a fairly rapid  changeover. I still have my Fujifilm kit, but it is the Leica I reach for.

Another possible option is to do the M experience session that Leica Store Mayfair do, it's free to do.

I went for a used digital body, in my case a M-P Type 240. Gives me the full Leica experience, but i have Live View, or EVF (I bought an Olympus one for mine) for ultra-wide or for when I want to use grads on a tripod.

Digital bodies will always depreciate rapidly, so if you go for a used one, someone else has taken the hit, and you can see if you like the M experience. If not, you can resell without having taken the full hit of a new one. If you like, then you can choose to stick with what you have, upgrade, or add a second body.

Having a couple of lenses already lessens the pain, and anything you add can be used on the SL. Best of both worlds.

Cheers, John

Spot on!  Contacted Mayfair last night re the M workshop. Thanks John.

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