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Compared to the 5D....made me laugh

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IOne unusual factor I've noticed in using the autofocus 10D as compared to the M8. You would think the 10D is faster, since it focuses right away, and you need to be quick for the street shooting I do. But that is often not the case, that is, the 10D is slower. The problem comes in the SECOND shot. The 10D needs to focus all over again, and I have missed many shots waiting for it to focus.

 

Steve, with apologies to the rest of the forum membership for this Canon digression...most long-time EOS users would say "why yes, of course; you mean you're not using rear-button focusing?"

 

One of the earliest innovations of the Canon AF system (going back to the EOS-1 of 1989) is the ease with which you can decouple AF activation from the shutter release, putting you in control of the focusing instead of the camera. On most EOS models you do this via Custom Function 4. This moves AF Start to the AE lock button, which you activate via your thumb (newer cameras have a dedicated AF Start button).

 

Interestingly, this focusing technique (which other vendors eventually borrowed), is often likened to a "rangefinder" method of focusing: photographers manually choose one AF point, pick a point of interest, focus, recompose and shoot... This feature, coupled with Canon's development of "full-time manual focusing" lenses with internal motors (which permit manual focus even when in AF mode), helped turn AF from a novelty into a serious professional tool "back in the day".

 

Gary

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I love my Leica M-Lenses and would like to use them digital.

So I hope the next digital M will be better than the M8. If not I will sell my Leica M-Equipment because I have no fun and time to scan films.

So go buy a RD-1 if you can't see buying a M8, and stop complaining. Personnally I would buy another M8 in a flash, if I had the money, mine has been flawless. I have a D200 also, but I use it less than 25% of the time. If I need an SLR, I get out my R8 and find it far superior to the D200, now if I only had a DMR for it.

Gene

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Steve, with apologies to the rest of the forum membership for this Canon digression...most long-time EOS users would say "why yes, of course; you mean you're not using rear-button focusing?"

 

One of the earliest innovations of the Canon AF system (going back to the EOS-1 of 1989) is the ease with which you can decouple AF activation from the shutter release, putting you in control of the focusing instead of the camera. On most EOS models you do this via Custom Function 4. This moves AF Start to the AE lock button, which you activate via your thumb (newer cameras have a dedicated AF Start button).

 

Interestingly, this focusing technique (which other vendors eventually borrowed), is often likened to a "rangefinder" method of focusing: photographers manually choose one AF point, pick a point of interest, focus, recompose and shoot... This feature, coupled with Canon's development of "full-time manual focusing" lenses with internal motors (which permit manual focus even when in AF mode), helped turn AF from a novelty into a serious professional tool "back in the day".

 

Gary

 

wat Gary said. I've been using Custom Funcion 4-1 and my Canon film and digital SLRS have worked exactly like my Leica M6 for years - focus, shoot, shoot again (if focus distance not changed), exposure lock by half pressing shutter release (this feature is of course only available in the M7/8

)

 

The newer Canon bodies actually took this a step further with a dedicated rear focus button, freeing up the "*" key.

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This struck me as kind of amusing because it was at a National Geographic Photography Conference in Washington, D.C., that one of the better known contract photographers first persuaded me to start shooting with Leicas more than 25 years ago. He did a slide presentation that knocked people out of their seats (this was in a roomful of NG shooters) and when questioned about what he was doing that made his work look so much better than everyone else's, he said, "Leica, folks. It's just the Leica glass." He then added that he hoped we all stuck with our Nikons and Canons and didn't listen to his advice because that was what gave him his competetive advantage.

 

If this guy's work and claim to authorship of his pictures is only differentiated by his gear, that says a lot about his photography cos he will fade into the background once someone works with similar equipment.

 

It's the equivalent of a friend saying, after looking at my pictures, "my, what a good camera you must have"

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If this guy's work and claim to authorship of his pictures is only differentiated by his gear, that says a lot about his photography cos he will fade into the background once someone works with similar equipment.

 

It's the equivalent of a friend saying, after looking at my pictures, "my, what a good camera you must have"

 

I didn't read it at all like that David. To me what was being said was that the technical quality, regardless of content, was different and the photographer was being asked what equipment was being used.

 

That is different from the 'good camera' comments - which I've had too <grin> - that imply it's the camera that does all the work.

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I highly recommend one of these for the finest in inconspicuous street photography. At least you could fend off any potential attackers.

 

This is much better than Canon 5D. I know it for sure. Now it is time to upgrade, Canon guys

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Because the 5D somehow has become a landmark camera every other quality digital camera is compared against. 5d is relatively small, not as heavy as the 1d series, low noise (most of the times), sharp, and the cheapest high rez there is (at least before the d300).

 

It is natural that both are compared, specially because the M8 is more expensive while all manual.

 

Bernie

 

I don't see why everyone would to buy the camera because this produces technically best shots. You forgot that Leica M bodies are actually rangefinders. Do you know what this word means? Maybe not. It is so pitiful that some people are so obsessed of pixels that they forgot of anything else.

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wat Gary said. I've been using Custom Funcion 4-1 and my Canon film and digital SLRS have worked exactly like my Leica M6 for years - focus, shoot, shoot again (if focus distance not changed), exposure lock by half pressing shutter release (this feature is of course only available in the M7/8 )

 

The newer Canon bodies actually took this a step further with a dedicated rear focus button, freeing up the "*" key.

 

Well, guys, thanks for the tip on focussing issues. I will give your suggestions a try. I find the star * button approach, to set exposure, too cumbersome, though when there is a need to move fast.

 

Steve

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I don't see why everyone would to buy the camera because this produces technically best shots. You forgot that Leica M bodies are actually rangefinders. Do you know what this word means? Maybe not.

 

Yes I know what it means, but everbody has a different interest in Leica cameras. Mine are to get a light (travel) camera that produces - at the same time - superior image quality. If I only wanted a rangefinder and travel light, I would instantly go for a Epson DR1 or even a Voigtländer film RF camera. They are much cheaper and for the saved money I can get a lot of things and travel far.

 

Should I get the M8 - and I am not yet sure - this would be mainly for quality in a light package, and I accept the RF concept. The premium price one pays for a Leica system HAS to translate (for me) into superior image quality, otherwise I won't spend that money....

 

Bernie

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Should I get the M8 - and I am not yet sure - this would be mainly for quality in a light package, and I accept the RF concept. The premium price one pays for a Leica system HAS to translate (for me) into superior image quality, otherwise I won't spend that money....

 

Bernie

If by superior you mean on the same level as Canon and Nikons top of the line cameras yes it is.

 

However in terms of final results on an 8.5 x 11 sized photographic print or CMYK print ad you could also get the same image quality from a whole range of cheaper DSLR's. The differences in print (rather then at 1:1 on a computer screen) given proper exposure, a top of the line lens, low ISO and competent post processing are pretty minute between digicams in the $1600 to $8000 range.

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If by superior you mean on the same level as Canon and Nikons top of the line cameras yes it is.

 

However in terms of final results on an 8.5 x 11 sized photographic print or CMYK print ad you could also get the same image quality from a whole range of cheaper DSLR's. The differences in print (rather then at 1:1 on a computer screen) given proper exposure, a top of the line lens, low ISO and competent post processing are pretty minute between digicams in the $1600 to $8000 range.

 

Hank, thank you for your interesting answer. I am indeed thinking about prints in 11x17 and 16x24 mainly, I don't see a quality problem with 8x11 prints with my current setup. I had a M8 for a few hours recently (loaner from Leica shop) and shot a few dozens of frames in the city. I currently print out 5d (my current main camera) and M8 files in A2 (16x24) size to get a better impression.

 

My interest in the M8 was attracted by David Adamson's "30x40 prints with M8" discussion on this forum and his generally very positive remarks on the camera. He pointed out that the M8 actually allows better results with large print sizes than other DSLRs. I am aware that it takes more than buying a M8 to get the level of results he is speaking of, and that is knowledge and years of experience with high end printing, but yet I got interested by that.

 

My impression so far is that due to the generally better glass for the M mount it is easier to make a sharp image with the M8 than with the Canon. The M8 files at ISO160 are very clean + the sharpness make a file that takes interpolation a bit better than the canon which has more noise at low ISO. BTW the ISO noise advantage of the Canon is eaten up partly by the necessity to stop down Canon lenses to F8 or better F11 to get really sharp images, at least with wider glass.

 

In order to get to a decision whether to get that M8 or not I have subscribed to a Leica directed workshop next week, where the participants can use the M8 with lens for a few hours and get the shots burned on a CD afterwards.

 

Finally should I also find only "minute differences" (your words) between the M8 and my current cameras in overall IQ, that is sharpness, color, dynamic range and the look of the prints, I may listen to my little voice of reason and forget the M8, at least for now. Weight and size of the M system alone will make it more difficult for me to let go of that money. Price is an issue with this system and the value of the M8 (even the old price which I still can get) buys a lot of useful things like a better monitor, and travels to take photographs with what I have.

 

regards,

 

Bernie

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Finally should I also find only "minute differences" (your words) between the M8 and my current cameras in overall IQ, that is sharpness, color, dynamic range and the look of the prints, I may listen to my little voice of reason and forget the M8, at least for now. Weight and size of the M system alone will make it more difficult for me to let go of that money. Price is an issue with this system and the value of the M8 (even the old price which I still can get) buys a lot of useful things like a better monitor, and travels to take photographs with what I have.

 

regards,

 

Bernie

 

While I prefer the M8 files to the Canon files I can get to pretty much to the same place with any good digicam with proper processing and workflow. However, the difference in working with an M and a DSLR in the sort of photography that the M was designed for can not be underestimated. For those (like myself) who like this way of working and the M ergonomics and finder it is in the words of a popular credit card ad "priceless".

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My impression so far is that due to the generally better glass for the M mount it is easier to make a sharp image with the M8 than with the Canon. The M8 files at ISO160 are very clean + the sharpness make a file that takes interpolation a bit better than the canon which has more noise at low ISO. BTW the ISO noise advantage of the Canon is eaten up partly by the necessity to stop down Canon lenses to F8 or better F11 to get really sharp images, at least with wider glass.

 

This is not my impression, at least not with the right lenses. Although I have expereienced Canon wide zoom lenses that were soft in the corners, the new 16-35 II is the best wide angle zoom I have ever used. The 35L and 24L are also very fine lenses when working to factory spec. I am sorry you have to stop your lenses down to f/8 for sharpness, but this is simply not a universal truth about Canon glass.

 

Gary

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While I prefer the M8 files to the Canon files I can get to pretty much to the same place with any good digicam with proper processing and workflow. However, the difference in working with an M and a DSLR in the sort of photography that the M was designed for can not be underestimated. For those (like myself) who like this way of working and the M ergonomics and finder it is in the words of a popular credit card ad "priceless".

 

I completely agree with what Hank said. Trying to justify the use of the M8 because it produces "better" quality photos than brand A or brand B of digital SLR is not to the point and you will just provoke an argument. (I'll extend this even to the "Leica are the only lenses worth shooting" camp.) The real value is that the M8 brings the rangefinder style of photography mostly intact into the digital age. That's reason enough for me.

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It's true that Leicas are generally more compact than top-end DSLRs and offer high image quality. Many people may use them for that reason, but there are other reasons as well.

 

1. Status. It's like owning a $5,000 watch. This reason is often denied, but if you could look into the heart of most Leica owners, I'd bet you'd find status in there somewhere. Leicas make Nikon owners nervous; Canons don't.

 

2. They're interesting machines and fun to use. They seem to fascinate the engineering mind, because they are extremely complicated and yet comprehensible. DSLRs are essentially black boxes -- no one person really understands every aspect of them, which is why every digital camera maker has recalls, firmware updates, etc.

 

3. Leicas are like guns, and people use them for some of the reasons that other people are fascinated by target shooting. When you really think about target shooting, it's nonsensical: you make a large noise to propel a piece of metal down-range in an effort to strike a small target. For what? Well, because it's interesting. It requires exquisite self-control, plus intellectual engagement at short notice in changing conditions, high-level training, and, at the bottom, a kind of hunter's instinct. The same might be true of a DSLR, but not to the same naked degree as with a Leica.

 

4. Because of lens limitations, Leica shooters must learn to work close, and therefore must become more engaged with their subjects, which gives photography a different feel. There are reasons to buy a 200-400 F4G VR IF-ED AF Zoom, but using it in street photography makes the user an observor, a sniper, rather than a participant.

 

5. History. Leica owners have always paid close attention to heritage -- even the lens names show that off. With a Nikon you get the above cited 200-400 F4G VR IF-ED AF Zoom; with Canon, perhaps an EF 70-200 f4.5-5.6 DO IS USM; with Leica, you get a Noctilux or an Elmar or a Summilux. You know them by names, and their names go back into the history of photography. It doesn't seem so much like you're just another user of a consumer product.

 

But as far as usability and IQ are concerned, a 5D, a D2x, a K10, etc., are just fine, and arguing about it is almost pointless. A good photograph is much more likely to come from the eye of the photographer than from the equipment he uses. (Although I would be willing to argue that Leica users get a higher percentage of non-cliche hits simply because of the kind of photography the equipment forces them to do...)

 

JC

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4. Because of lens limitations, Leica shooters must learn to work close, and therefore must become more engaged with their subjects, which gives photography a different feel. There are reasons to buy a 200-400 F4G VR IF-ED AF Zoom, but using it in street photography makes the user an observor, a sniper, rather than a participant.

 

For me, this lens limitation is a reason I use other cameras. Even for street photography, I feel I need long lenses and wide lenses - even fisheyes. Most of my street pictures are shot for assignments to be used in web pages or advertising for builders. The idea is to show why someone would want to live in a given neighborhood. As nice as it may be to "engage' the people, I try to be a fly on the wall and invisible, even working from a tripod. Additionally, I try to hide or blur the faces (tripod) so not to need releases.

 

I've shot countless projects this way. I'm sure I am seen, but after a while, I'm overlooked. I've posted a few representative samples below.

 

Yes it is a lot of work to carry a bunch of heavy lenses with me. And I could have much more fun if I just worked with a Leica. But often when I try to work with less, I see images I can't get and feel I am short-changing my clients by not applying myself as hard as I could. Sometimes the only way I can find to add punch to the scene or make it interesting and dynamic is to use a fisheye or long lens. So I put up with the weight and hassle.

 

If one is shooting for oneself, or in a particular style, it is a different story. And I too might prefer to use a Leica.

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This is not my impression, at least not with the right lenses. Although I have expereienced Canon wide zoom lenses that were soft in the corners, the new 16-35 II is the best wide angle zoom I have ever used. The 35L and 24L are also very fine lenses when working to factory spec. I am sorry you have to stop your lenses down to f/8 for sharpness, but this is simply not a universal truth about Canon glass.

 

Gary

 

Mr Voth is correct - good Canon lenses do not have to be stopped down to F8 to produce sharp images.You may have to apply more sharpening at times, but you get there just the same. (Also the prices are a fraction of Leica prices. )

 

The M8 produces great images ( and I believe it has somewhat better DR than DSLRS I have owned) but there is no magic and I wouldn't advise using it as your 30x40 imaging platform.

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I can completely understand the "5D-M8" comparison. Good ole EL does too.

 

I'm slowly gathering the funds for another. I go through gear until I find what I like, and I do like the M8, so I'm keeping that. I had traded the 5D for it thinking that the 5D would be useless, but it does indeed make some kinds of photography easier, and that's the point.

 

The pictures either camera produce are much more photographer limited, at least to the point of my poorly adjusted CV lenses, but that's another story (and the Canon 50mm f/1.2 just wouldn't reliably focus on the 5D...)

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If this guy's work and claim to authorship of his pictures is only differentiated by his gear, that says a lot about his photography cos he will fade into the background once someone works with similar equipment.

 

It's the equivalent of a friend saying, after looking at my pictures, "my, what a good camera you must have"

 

You entirely missed the point. I hardly implied that his work is ONLY set apart from others by his gear. This person was ALREADY in a very elite group of highly accomplished photographers. Is there something better than shooting for National Geographic? Yet, even other NG shooters noticed an image quality (detail, color rendition) that set his work apart enough for them to comment on it. If you really don't feel Leica glass is any different than Sigma, Tamron, Nikon, Canon, etc, etc., then I can't imagine what prompted you to buy Leica equipment in the first place. There is a reason people are willing to pay a premium price for this stuff. Is this to say one can't produce great images with other equipment? Hell no! But, all else being equal, the Leica glass does, in my opinion, his opinion and the opinion of many other people, give one a competetive edge.

 

As far as this guy "fading into the background," at the time I heard him speak and saw his slide show, he was in his 60's and had been a contract photographer for National Geographic for more than 20 years. I don't think fading away was a big concern for him.

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Guest Bernd Banken
It's true that Leicas are generally more compact than top-end DSLRs and offer high image quality. Many people may use them for that reason, but there are other reasons as well.

 

1. Status. It's like owning a $5,000 watch. This reason is often denied, but if you could look into the heart of most Leica owners, I'd bet you'd find status in there somewhere. Leicas make Nikon owners nervous; Canons don't.

 

2. They're interesting machines and fun to use. They seem to fascinate the engineering mind, because they are extremely complicated and yet comprehensible. DSLRs are essentially black boxes -- no one person really understands every aspect of them, which is why every digital camera maker has recalls, firmware updates, etc.

 

3. Leicas are like guns, and people use them for some of the reasons that other people are fascinated by target shooting. When you really think about target shooting, it's nonsensical: you make a large noise to propel a piece of metal down-range in an effort to strike a small target. For what? Well, because it's interesting. It requires exquisite self-control, plus intellectual engagement at short notice in changing conditions, high-level training, and, at the bottom, a kind of hunter's instinct. The same might be true of a DSLR, but not to the same naked degree as with a Leica.

 

4. Because of lens limitations, Leica shooters must learn to work close, and therefore must become more engaged with their subjects, which gives photography a different feel. There are reasons to buy a 200-400 F4G VR IF-ED AF Zoom, but using it in street photography makes the user an observor, a sniper, rather than a participant.

 

5. History. Leica owners have always paid close attention to heritage -- even the lens names show that off. With a Nikon you get the above cited 200-400 F4G VR IF-ED AF Zoom; with Canon, perhaps an EF 70-200 f4.5-5.6 DO IS USM; with Leica, you get a Noctilux or an Elmar or a Summilux. You know them by names, and their names go back into the history of photography. It doesn't seem so much like you're just another user of a consumer product.

 

But as far as usability and IQ are concerned, a 5D, a D2x, a K10, etc., are just fine, and arguing about it is almost pointless. A good photograph is much more likely to come from the eye of the photographer than from the equipment he uses. (Although I would be willing to argue that Leica users get a higher percentage of non-cliche hits simply because of the kind of photography the equipment forces them to do...)

 

JC

 

95% of the photographs in this forum tell that even a Leica is used the person behind is afraid to come close to the human object (in terms of streetphotography). So many shots from behind, from the side, for me they look boring because they have no hook.

 

Reason: It's not the brand or model it's the photographer's mind and personality as a result of education, life experience and some more reasons.

 

Most photographer don't stand the critical views of people who are aware of the camera but who are not the target, that induces an uncomfortable feeling I guess.

 

So It's not the brand it's the brain....

 

Bernd

 

D200/18mm in an old Bedford bus Malta

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