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tashley

It's the glass, stupid....

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Please treat all that follows as a thought experiment. For now that's what it is. But it might become real soon.

 

 

------------

 

Right. After a year or more of having the M8 as my main system, and having now accumulated two bodies and ten lenses, I'm about ready to move on.

 

Both my bodies and all my lenses are currently with me rather than in Solms or in a post office and they all currently work with each other in any combination. This is a very rare arrangement of the stars and I know it won't last. I am, simply, fed up with the focus issues and dread their recurrence, especially if it happens, as it did last summer, while I was away with only one body.

 

I will keep one body (and my MP) and a small selection of glass so I can do certain kinds of work for which the M8 is well suited. Otherwise I'm going back to DSLR land in one direction, and using more small sensor P&S gear in the other, depending on what I'm working on. I'm going to dig my 5D out of storage but I can see myself ending up with a 1DS III for my main fine art work.

 

It's been a blast.

 

Now the one thing I've learned from the whole M8 experience has been, 'it's the glass, stupid!'

 

Before acquiring one, I very rarely shot with primes. Mostly L zooms. And they are simply not as good.

 

My question is: if I go this way, and purchase a selection of the finest L primes, will they, ball-park, be as good as my luxes and crons? Is there a Canon lens as sharp as a 50 lux and with such nice bokeh? A wide angle as cheeky and sharp as a CV15? A lens cap as sharp and well mannered as a 28 cron? A portrait lens as gorgeous as a 75 F2?

 

Fingers crossed...

 

Tim

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Can't answer your L glass question but somehow this doesn't totally surprise me. Your posts as of late hint at a bit (or more than a bit) of frustration. Good luck! And your small sensor choice is ??????

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Tim, at 50mm, there's nothing in Canon's lineup to compare to the 50 lux or the 50 cron. They're good but not excellent ... you can grab a 50 lux or 50 cron in R mount and one of those AF confirmation adapters for EOS cameras, focus is SPOT ON.

 

Canon's 85/1.2L both 1 and 2 version are pretty damn good ... if you want AF.

 

I'm currently adapting the 35 cron, 50 lux, 80 lux, 90 AA, on my Canon DSLRs and have them calibrated to the 1-series' electronic focusing system. Best of both worlds - if Leica is combined with Canon ... they'll be impeccable.

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Guest s.m.e.p.

EF 24mm 1:1.4L USM

 

EF 35mm 1:1.4L USM

 

EF 85mm 1:1.2L II USM

 

EF 135mm 1:2L USM

 

Very fine lenses!

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The 24,35, 50, 85 and 135 L lenses are superb. The 85f/1.8 non-L is also an excellent lens. Wide-open they are very good - stop 2.5 to 3 stops and they are exceptional. The 24 T/S is good when stopped down just a bit.

 

The 70-200 f/2.8 + 300 L's are also stellar.

 

My experience with the older wide-angle L zooms was not the best in the world (a lot of CA on the edges) - however, the new versions are supposed to be very good.

 

I use mine on the 1D Mark III and the 1Ds III. I am very happy with the Canon glass.

 

My favorite Leica glass is my two ASPH Summicrons - the 28 and 35,

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Can't answer your L glass question but somehow this doesn't totally surprise me. Your posts as of late hint at a bit (or more than a bit) of frustration. Good luck! And your small sensor choice is ??????

 

Hi Terry, and thanks.

 

I currently use a GRDII and a PannaLeica LX2 and they're both fine for certain sorts of work. Easy to carry too!

 

t

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Tim, at 50mm, there's nothing in Canon's lineup to compare to the 50 lux or the 50 cron. They're good but not excellent ... you can grab a 50 lux or 50 cron in R mount and one of those AF confirmation adapters for EOS cameras, focus is SPOT ON.

 

Canon's 85/1.2L both 1 and 2 version are pretty damn good ... if you want AF.

 

I'm currently adapting the 35 cron, 50 lux, 80 lux, 90 AA, on my Canon DSLRs and have them calibrated to the 1-series' electronic focusing system. Best of both worlds - if Leica is combined with Canon ... they'll be impeccable.

 

D you mean you're adapting your R glass? AFAIK M glass can't be adapted other than for macro. But i suppose I could trade a lot of M for R and then adapt - but is the R glass the same as the M glass in terms of look and performance?

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Tim

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Any interest in waiting around to see what the R10 does?

 

You know what Mark, not really. I've developed a fondness for Leica but I've never been one to buy by brand, just by what it does for me (whore that I am) and what with the whole management shakeup and general weird announcement thing going on with Leica at the moment, I don't think it would be wise to wait around for anything in particular. It looks like an organisation in trauma. Anything could happen. Sadly.

 

t

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EF 24mm 1:1.4L USM

 

EF 35mm 1:1.4L USM

 

EF 85mm 1:1.2L II USM

 

EF 135mm 1:2L USM

 

Very fine lenses!

 

Thanks, I'll take a poke around them!

 

t

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The 24,35, 50, 85 and 135 L lenses are superb. The 85f/1.8 non-L is also an excellent lens. Wide-open they are very good - stop 2.5 to 3 stops and they are exceptional. The 24 T/S is good when stopped down just a bit.

 

The 70-200 f/2.8 + 300 L's are also stellar.

 

My experience with the older wide-angle L zooms was not the best in the world (a lot of CA on the edges) - however, the new versions are supposed to be very good.

 

I use mine on the 1D Mark III and the 1Ds III. I am very happy with the Canon glass.

 

My favorite Leica glass is my two ASPH Summicrons - the 28 and 35,

 

And how do you rate them by comparison? IMHO the 50 lux is the 'best' lens I've ever used, but the 28 cron is my lens cap. It is brilliant, easy, reliable and I really really want a Canon replacement in the 35mm range that has the same qualities...

 

t

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I used Canon for 4 years until Nikon came out with the D3 so I have perhaps some unique input.

 

For starters, I am a pretty simple guy in terms of Leica glass. I only have the 28 Summicron, 50 Lux Asph and a mint 50 collapsable Summicron for my M3.

 

In Canon I had the 24, 35 and 85L lenses are far as primes go.

 

When I got the D3, I did some comparing to the Nikon stable I was building up. Among other Nikon lenses, I now have the Carl Zeiss 35/2 and 85 1.4 ZF lenses. I did a side by side comparison of the 35L, Nikon 35 1.4 AIS and Carl Zeiss 35/2 ZF. When either the Nikon or the Canon were stopped down to F2, the Carl Zeiss still beat them handily. Color saturation, sharpness, contrast and the overall 3-D effect of the CZ 35/2 make it one my favorite lenses to use on the D3.

 

As far as 85's go, the Canon still is the sharpest one wide open, but the CZ is not far behind when focused dead on. By 2.8, the CZ starts to pull ahead and by F/4, it is noticeably sharper than the Canon.

 

Now, as much as I like having AF, I like to M/F better, so the super smooth action on the CZ lenses simply blow away any AF lens in this regard. I did a job last week out of town at a resort and the resulting files from the D3 with the CZ glass were nothing short of incredible. I can now see why CZ paired up with Nikon with this glass.

 

So what I am getting at is this: CZ has recently introduced the 28/2 Distagon. It is easily as good as the CZ 35/2 which in my opinion is by far the best 35 I have ever used for any format. I would think this lens will emulate my 28 Cron fairly easily. As far as the 50 Lux or cron goes, CZ might have the cron matched with the 50/2 Makro-Planar. While I don't have that lens, Michael Reichman seems to have one hell of a time taking that lens off of his D3 or 1DS-III.

 

As much as I love the M8, I think recent occurrences make me feel uneasy about the future of Leica in this regard. Reading about all the focus issues many of you have does not make me feel any better. I don't use the M8 as often as I do my D3 or even as often as I thought I would for the reason I bought it. The primary reason I bought the M8 was so that I did not have to tote a Canon digital rig along with my MP-3, M6 when shooting Kodachrome. In theory this seemed like a great idea, in practice due to needing to remove the IR filters from my lenses to shoot color film, it is not any kind of solution at all.

 

What turned out to be the solution was to go back to Nikon and bring the D3 along with my FM3A and F100 when shooting Kodachrome, now that is a workable solution and then some.

 

So I am not 100% sure yet, but I think I am getting out of the M8 while the prices are still good in the used market and just shooting film M's only.

 

I still think the M8 is a great camera, but for the most part, it is $4,300 sitting around when I could be putting that towards a nice engagement ring for my lady.

 

But the glass...I think if you were dead set on duplicating the look, for the most part, you might be able to pull it off.

 

I don't think there is a single person on earth that would look at an image you made with the 35L and say: "Oh, that would have been so much better with a 35 Lux". I agree that the 50 lux is unique so since mine is the LHSA version that is matched to my MP-3, I am not getting rid of it.

 

Leica glass is not hype, but it is not the only way you going to make great images if you find it is just not working for you.

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In my experience, and I have not tried the 24L or 35L, but I have tried both 85L and 135L, the Canon lenses all have CA to a lesser or greater extent, which always bothered the hell out of me, and while I still had my 5D, I ended up with almost all Leica lenses (except for a 17-40L which would have been brutally expensive to replace with Leica glass). The bo-ke on my Leica lenses is easily better than the Canon lenses I have tried, possibly except the 85L. I personally would not go back, but would entertain the idea of picking up a Nikon system, if the R system doesn't work out in the fall, but I need an SLR.

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Touching on Dan's thread a bit and to pick-up on a comment Carsten made.

 

Exceptional glass is critical to many shooter - this is why the Leica has always been of great interest to professional shooters. I hope that Zeiss will make these lenses in Canon mount. Their explanation on the web site says that there are licensing issues with the EOS mount.

 

Many of the Canon L lenses were designed for the film cameras. I have never seen CA in my 135 f/2 L or my 85 1.2 L II (which is designed for digital). Maybe the copies Carsten used had it - I can't address that - my copies do not. They are truly phenomenal lenses.

 

My new 24 1.4L and the 35 1.4 L are incredible lenses and am am very happy with them. I don't recall ever seeing CA with them - except extreme back-lighting through window frames in a very small section of the edge of the frame that was overexposed on purpose.

 

Dan (KM-25) touches on something that is very important to Leicas success. The M8 debacle (infrared, filters, coding, reliability issues, service delays, upgrade program) has created and continues to create distrust with professionals who are considering the system. Not all of them, most shooters are also using a DSLR or a MF system. After having failures in both of my M8's, I started bringing my Canons along with me on shoots. Defeating the purpose of purchasing the Leicas: to have a small lightweight camera that was easy to transport and shoot fantastic files without a lot of fanfare.

 

Leica has a problem on their hands with the bad publicity and service. I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who is a well known New York photo-j guy. He was trying to get his M8 to format a 4 GB card. The camera would not format the card. He tried everything: removing the battery, trying to format after reinserting the card. I recall seeing something that not all cards were good-to-go with the M8. After telling him what I had read, his response was not good or printable. He could not shoot without going home to get a couple of smaller SD cards. Not a good place to be. He is a long-term M film body shooter and the M8 had been lent to him to test out. He was not surprised to hear that I had sold both of my M8's at a loss.

 

I think Leica is losing professionals - never their biggest market by any chance - but important for feedback and prestige.

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He was trying to get his M8 to format a 4 GB card. The camera would not format the card. He tried everything: removing the battery, trying to format after reinserting the card

 

The M8 will not format SDHC cards. I have a 4 gig Transcend card that works fine, but it's standard SD.

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With out a doubt, the 24L, 35L, 85L and 135L are stunning lenses. I used them on both a 1DmkII and 5D, the only slightly weak one is the 24L. I'd agree with Carsten, the fast L's have a tendency to CA or sensor bloom, but I'd qualify that in saying only in areas where things have very bright backgrounds or extreme contrast.

 

I have missed the 85L so so much since returning to RF's but not so much that I'd consider returning to dSLR's. The zooms 24-70 and 70-200 ain't half bad if you get good copies but I found they tend to make the setup that much more heavy to carry around not to mention more noticeable.

 

I hope it all works out for you Tim, if your going FF, 35L to replace the 28 Cron, 85L or EF 85 as a portrait lens perhaps even the 135 for more reach but I have no knowledge of the new 50L 1.2.

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Tim- Is it your concerns about Leica's future more than the focus issues that trouble you enough to consider switching? I knew about your 35 lux focus shift problem, I didn't realize it was more of a general concern. I can't help at all with Canon suggestions, but if you are considering building up a Dslr system you might consider Nikon as another poster suggested. That D3 looks pretty great. The new 14-24/2.8 is getting spectacular reviews that say it beats even top primes in that range. The venerable 28/2.0 AI-S is excellent, but not a match for the 28 cron (which I finally gave in and got, in part thanks to you!). I would put the 85/1.4 in the same range as the 75/1.4 lux, not as punchy as the 75 cron. The 105/2.0 DC is a wonderful portrait lens as well. best....Peter

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- but is the R glass the same as the M glass in terms of look and performance?

 

Many of the last generation R Lenses are at least on par with (if not better than) the last generation M lenses in terms of performance, this has been proven by numerous independent lab test results and also by Leica's own MTF charts.

 

From 90mm and above, it's ALL R territory.

 

I still have more than 10 R lenses not being adapted ... and being used with the R9.

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One thing needs to be point out is ... if you don't already have R cameras and/or lenses, you shouldn't buy them now (unless you can get them at ultra low prices).

 

Although it's pretty much speculation, now I really suspect that the "legacy" R lenses will only be usable on a "R10" in a compromised manner.

 

Since now, Leica has wasted another year under the management of a "wrong" CEO. I wouldn't hold my breath for a "R10" either.

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"It's about the glass, stupid . . . "

 

I had a Nikon system before coming over to Leica. Yesterday, we put up some B&W portraits on our wall with a Nikon 85 mm and F6. The portraits were sharp, but there is/was quite a difference from our Leica B&Ws. We used the identical workflow for both (scans, software, etc.). The Leica photographs are quite a bit warmer than the Nikons which is quite a bit more pleasing and they also exude a 3-Dness (if I can say that) that is just not present on the Nikons.

 

If we didn't have the Leica pics up, then we probably would have been happy as a claim with the Nikon pics. But we've seen the difference in the glass right on our walls and we don't intend to leave Leica any time soon.

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