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Does anyone here prefer a Leica film body over the current digital M bodies


petereprice

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Hi all,

I love my M6 and it feels so natural in my hands.  I love the shooting experience, the limitations of film and even the processing.  However there are some times especially in low light where a digital M comes in handy.  Or just the instant gratification of digital output.
 

I just picked up the Leica M11-P and before that I had the M10-R, and I feel like these high resolution sensor Leica’s are a bit of a struggle for me.  I have a hard time relating to them.  I feel like even with my shutter set high to avoid camera shake the higher ISO sort of muddies the image in a not so good way.  Sometimes images are too sharp and other times I feel like I’m struggling with focus.  So then I try stopping down and then we’re back to higher ISO that then muddies the picture.  
 

When I take out the M6, I don’t think about any of that and it all just makes sense.  I also don’t feel like this when I’m shooting with the Q3.  
 

Has anyone else struggled with the digital M bodies as well?  I want to embrace the M11-P like I do my M6 but I’m a bit worried and when you put that much money into a camera body you want to be attached to it and love it.  And I’m struggling.  
 

Would love to hear your thoughts…

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Digital or Film is a seasonal thing for me, with a switch to digital in the winter months as light fades, becomes more variable and more call for indoor shooting.

The M11/M11M do not add enough for me over the M10/M10M, so no upgrade.

The cost of buying and running M11s is a bigger factor than even; with the current trajectory, I may bow out and only keep film Ms in the future.

Using film is a comfort zone; film is forgiving and far less stressful to use ( pre-visualised IQ expectations are lower ) followed in enjoyment by EVF cameras with histograms; current digital M takes more exposure skill and chasing highest pixel level IQ with digital M pushes photographer's ability, lenses and camera to the extreme.

For digital M to stay relevant, I'm really looking for a M version of the SL2-S ( pixel count, cost, high-ISO, DR, in VF histogram ) ; with two bodies costed in to reduce in-field lens changes, for day to day redundancy and six month repair/service cycles.

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1 hour ago, petereprice said:

When I take out the M6, I don’t think about any of that and it all just makes sense.  I also don’t feel like this when I’m shooting with the Q3.  

Using a loaner Q I can relate to this that you wrote very much. I think what does it for me is the lens has to have an aperture ring. I also must be able to put the camera in Manual mode and play with the speed and aperture or just one of them, as I see fit.

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25 minutes ago, Harrydog said:

Had the use of am M 6 and loved it.  The only issue I have with it is no shutter lock, so no meter till wound on, then you kind of have to take the shot. 
I have an old Canon F1 and am waiting to see the comparison between images. 

Don't leave the shutter cocked and the battery will last a long time. The other option is to set the shutter speed dial to "B".

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29 minutes ago, Harrydog said:

Had the use of am M 6 and loved it.  The only issue I have with it is no shutter lock, so no meter till wound on, then you kind of have to take the shot. 
 

Take a meter reading from a representative part of the scene, set the aperture or shutter speed, re-compose and press the shutter. Set to B equals off.

 

Edited by 250swb
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3 hours ago, jaapv said:

No - but I stuck with the M9. I saw no reason to go to an M10mor M11.

I shoot with M8. I also had an M-P 240 until last weekend. Also feel like you, no reason to push for newer models to be honest. Also in combination with my M6, life is good. 

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I have my m10r and occasionally m11 alongside my M Films anytime, so yeah I always carry at least one of each to compensate when necessary, being low light is probably one of them though not definitive 

I found almost the same experience like you do, so it makes it two of us, but since I have tried to find the best possible way to overcome, say, image blurry? it will take slower to shoot on the digital, and keep it well steadied, that including to control your breath 😃 

for images being too sharp, not anymore since I paired the digital with the old or at least the reissue lenses, might be personal preference here, not that they aint sharp, but less from being perfect is closing the gap between the old and modern days

if u r asking about preference, honestly speaking I can't decide which but definitely take both 

of course due to its limitation on films, when going on documenting or professional shooting I would rely more on the digital, but the film is always there or at least being a reliable backup

 

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I feel you’ve asked the wrong crowd. This crowd will fight to the death about the differences between a Leica M4 and an M4-2 so what hope does a slightly chubby digital M have, or one without a Fresnel window for frame lines. 
 

I don’t own a digital M, maybe when I win the lottery, but they do have a modern aesthetic and at a quick glance it looks like a film M. 

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12 hours ago, petereprice said:

 

I just picked up the Leica M11-P and before that, I had the M10-R, and I feel like these high-resolution sensor Leica’s are a bit of a struggle for me.

That's an interesting point, as I feel the same with any high-resolution sensor. This also applies to filmmaking where I prefer 4k over any higher resolution (roughly the resolution of well-exposed 35mm cine film).

The finer the tolerances become, the more accurate the system must be. Even a seasoned photographer struggles to nail critical focus all the time, add to that the unavoidable, mechanical tolerances of the range finder system and you have a recipe for soft images.

High-resolving sensors require digital aides like EVF (WYSIWYG) for critical focus and image stabilisation to allow hand-held operation.

Knowing the tolerances of the range finder lens coupling, Leica refers to their new EVF for achieving a precise focus for the M11. That, however, does not solve the motion blur issue (and somewhat defies the range finder).

With higher shutter speeds and deep DOF, perfectly sharp pictures are possible with 60MP, of course. But this feels pretty limiting to me because digital is all about convenience and opportunity.

I think with 24MP the M10 is probably the best bet for digital M cameras. But if you ever experienced what an SL2-S is capable of (with M lenses) you will probably understand Leica Ms as the pinnacle of 35mm film photography and the digital siblings as a necessary development back then when Leica had to move to digital.

So, no digital M for me but a heavily used twin set of an M6 and an M4P.

 

12 hours ago, FrozenInTime said:

For digital M to stay relevant, I'm really looking for an M version of the SL2-S …

Agreed. But won't happen for many reasons. One is the M11’s ability to cut down resolution, and then there are many others such as that the price must be in the same ballpark etc.

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Got rid of my digital Leica's about five years ago and never looked back.  I have owned Leica M film bodies since 1974 and still my favorite film camera brand unless there is a need for an SLR like macro photography.  Leica got the camera shape right and one does not need to add anything (cases, grips etc) for a great shooting experience.  And with the M2 Leica got the viewfinder right.   If I want digital today, I will use a Fuji XT-5 or Ricoh GR3.  

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Thank you for this thread, it walked me back from buying yet another M body, a M10-P, a camera that this past week I had almost talked myself into "needing" when in all honesty I don't. GAS? Yes of course, that's an age old addiction for me and recovery is tough, near impossible. I have, have had, too many cameras, cameras dead or still working, cameras sitting openly on shelves where others would put books or flowers, pretty stupid to tell the truth.Dust magnets..............So I am going to whittle down the M's I have, primarily the digital ones and then a couple of the analogue too, keep one or two that I use and flog the rest, lenses too....again, far too many, dumb. For "walk around" note-booking snaps I will dig out one of my buried old iPhones. I no longer use a smart phone having nailed that addiction a few years back, but the usefulness of a small iPhone when just used as a notebook, ( no internet connection or actual 'phone use, just snaps ), makes it a sensible "carry". I use a "dumb" Punkt 'phone for communication now and like the absence of clutter and diversions..............So, again thanks.

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I think Leica chickened out with the M9 (although a great camera still) and they should have cut the aesthetic link with the film cameras to start with. With the link gone at the get-go they could have been much more adventurous without all the backwards comparisons that have haunted all the digital M's such as 'we don't want video', 'we want it kept simple', 'we want an OVF/don't want an OVF', etc. And we'd have got over these shuffling 'improvements' that Leica make to justify yet another price hike. We could by now have a rangefinder style camera packed full of modern technology with genuine excitement and anticipation about what Leica will do next, not something that always has to have a foot in the nostalgia camp. 

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6 hours ago, Smudgerer said:

So I am going to whittle down the M's I have, primarily the digital ones and then a couple of the analogue too, keep one or two that I use and flog the rest, lenses too....again, far too many, dumb.

I mentioned it above, but maybe it's interesting in your context. I found two film-Ms the sweet spot for my film photography (an M6 for fast-paced documentary photography and an M4P for that hair-trigger experience and the slow exposure times handheld). I like to have one camera loaded with slow but high-resolving film and the other camera with high-speed film, colour and B&W.

I also own an SL2-S. I use the film Twins more, but I need it for assignments that have short turn-around times. I also own only three lenses: a 35mm Summcorn ASPH, a 35mm Nokton 1,4 SC (basically a Steel Rim knock-off) and a V4 50mm Summicron that I use rarely (but it's a brilliant lens). I will get a V3 35mm Summicron at the end of the year so that when using all three cameras, I don't have to swap 35mm lenses. 

That's it. Don't need more.

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