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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

No, no, no - there is nothing like a free lunch. Focusing problem are also happening with Canon glass on SLRs. Whenever you auto focus at an aperture other than full aperture, you may run into focus shift. Distortion wise, size wise, quality wise no Canon lens matches a current Leica M lens. I owned my Canon and realised its limitations - very nice cameras and glass, but Leica offers nice camera and much btter glass as well as superior mechanics.

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Tim,

I have used Canon SLRs, DSLRs and lenses for many, many years before I bought my first M Leica at the end of 2006 - an M8. I do hate the problems that the M8 has, but I will never use any other glass than Leica glass again - unless I absolutely have to. I don't care if anyone else sees the difference, but I do.

 

So, if I were you I would think twice before giving up for good. As you said: It's the glass...

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but I think the leadership at Leica is correcting a mistake by firing Mr. Lee

he came from a very different business culture (electronic retail sales) & upset Leica's long time relationship with their dealers

I believe that this move will only prove to help the firm as I think Dr. Kaufmann is dedicated to keeping Leica not only viable but an exemplar

I suspect he will take over the helm & that the engineers-production team will be given first priority & Leica's long standing relationships with retailers honored ...they have an outstanding product & now have to reliably deliver the goods

from what I have read almost all in the company & its retail network are celebrating this move by the board (Dr. Kaufmann)

your many thoughtful contributions here (as well as your fabulous photographs) will be missed should you decide to go to a Canon system

certainly a DSLR compliments RF photography (I am waiting on Fujifilm's next DSLR offering to replace my S3 ...I don't like the look I see from CMOS files) ...I suspect you will end up using both systems

hopefully I am correct about this & Leica will be stronger for the change

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Guest stnami

.

...... using more small sensor P&S gear in the other, depending on what I'm working on

Tim I went down the P&S road while it was good fun I found the compressed and lower dynamic range quite limiting in PP work, you could see the files stretch. Use your m8 as a P&S it's not that much bigger. Half baked shots with a small pocketable camera on the way to the theatre never work let alone watching Arsenal get wallopped

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Tim,

I have used Canon SLRs, DSLRs and lenses for many, many years before I bought my first M Leica at the end of 2006 - an M8. I do hate the problems that the M8 has, but I will never use any other glass than Leica glass again - unless I absolutely have to. I don't care if anyone else sees the difference, but I do.

 

So, if I were you I would think twice before giving up for good. As you said: It's the glass...

 

 

That's been exactly my experience. Comparing the Canon 50 1.2 to the Noctilux and Summilux ASPH, the Leicas beat the pants off the Canon. My other lenses are too different to compare brand to brand. Additionally, I have autofocus issues with both my MkII and 5D that give me fits. No focus issues at all with my M8 or any of 8 lenses. I think your mind is probably made up already, but I'd just caution that whatever system you use, there are strengths and weaknesses to deal with.

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As a happy DMR owner, I'm glad that I haven't been tempted to take the jump to the M8 yet. I remember the grumbling that went on after the DMR launch with problematic AWB, flawed firmware, noise above ASA 400 and poor continuous frame rates, but at least it took consistently good images.

I like my M2, M6TTL and CLE, but would be utterly frustrated at the carry on that everyone is having with their M8 and assorted lenses. There are times when I think that I'll buy a M8 (if she must be obeyed will let me), but as an amateur for whom speed is not of the essence, M film cameras are fine.

Good luck

 

Charlie

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Tim, I certainly understand your angst, but why switch now? It sounds like you have finally got your kit working for you as it should. If you are intent on switching then perhaps Nikon may be the way to go at the present time. It pains me to say that because, in addition to my Leica M8 kit, I have rather large investment in Canon. However, Nikon has recently come out with some excellent glass and they have the advantage of using the Zeiss ZF glass. I know you can adapt Leica, Contax, and other glass to Canon, but the Nikon approach (license their mount) seems more elegant.

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No focus issues at all with my M8 or any of 8 lenses.

 

Neither do I with mine and 5 lenses.

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I think this Steven Lee firing is getting everybody jumpy. Like Tim I bought heavily into the M8 over the last 12 months, but I have no summiluxes or a noctilux, and this is were the problem is worst.

 

I also have Canon stuff, 5D and L lenses though none of the real fast primes. But I think they are also difficult to focus (even AF), the 50 and 85 mm f1.2 lenses have caused problems when used wide open. The DOF is so so narrow.

 

I keep my 5D, the 70-200 f4 and especially the 300 f2.8 are wonderful lenses.

 

Leica is a small company going through a massive change, I am sure they will get on top of all this in the next couple of years and have good future with the DRF.

 

If I get a summilux it will be the 50mm but then I already have a 50 cron which is so so nice (and small).

 

I would say sell one M8 body if you have to, keep all the glass and get the next M (if it is a real step up) when it arrives, but dont be an early adopter.

 

At the moment I am still enjoying and learning my Leica M photography so wont be selling anything.

 

 

Jeff

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Tim

 

If you absolutely don't have to have AF then your options may be greater. I'm no pro or fine art photographer but I do notice the incredible difference in the files though.

 

For my 2 cents, some options ot consider, used them on Canon dslr's and love them.

 

1. 35L

2. Zeiss 25/2.8

3. Zuiko 18/3.5

 

Only the 35L will offer speed but if speed is not a priority for the sides then the other 2 are great performers., the Oly is my favourite landscape lens on a 5D.

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As a happy DMR owner, I'm glad that I haven't been tempted to take the jump to the M8 yet. I remember the grumbling that went on after the DMR launch with problematic AWB, flawed firmware, noise above ASA 400 and poor continuous frame rates, but at least it took consistently good images.

I like my M2, M6TTL and CLE, but would be utterly frustrated at the carry on that everyone is having with their M8 and assorted lenses. There are times when I think that I'll buy a M8 (if she must be obeyed will let me), but as an amateur for whom speed is not of the essence, M film cameras are fine.

Good luck

 

Charlie

 

That's what DMR owners have over M8 owners - they don't have problems focussing. Leica got it wrong. They thought the issue with a "Digital M" would be sensor vignetting. They cracked that with Kodak's help but failed to recognise the lens focus issues.

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Tim I went down the P&S road while it was good fun I found the compressed and lower dynamic range quite limiting in PP work, you could see the files stretch. Use your m8 as a P&S it's not that much bigger. Half baked shots with a small pocketable camera on the way to the theatre never work let alone watching Arsenal get wallopped

 

I agree. In theory p&s is great - but I've never been pleased with the results from either film or digital pocket cameras.

 

Tim, why not sell just one M8 and keep one?

 

For Canon its 135 f2L and 35 f1.4L. 24-70 2.8 and 80-200 2.8 great for commercial work. Beyond that maybe a 50 1.4 or 28 f1.8 but not sure what more you would need. No none will be the same as Leica but it really doesn't matter that much. I like the M gear for portability mostly, but I bought all of my lenses long before the M8 craze when one could pick them up for a a song and a dance. If I had to do it now, no way. I would go Nikon or Canon.

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As a happy DMR owner, I'm glad that I haven't been tempted to take the jump to the M8 yet. I remember the grumbling that went on after the DMR launch with problematic AWB, flawed firmware, noise above ASA 400 and poor continuous frame rates, but at least it took consistently good images.

I like my M2, M6TTL and CLE, but would be utterly frustrated at the carry on that everyone is having with their M8 and assorted lenses. There are times when I think that I'll buy a M8 (if she must be obeyed will let me), but as an amateur for whom speed is not of the essence, M film cameras are fine.

Good luck

 

Charlie

 

 

Hmm. I just bought a DMR to complement my M8 system. I must say they are not exclusive. Together they are the dream team (provided one does not run into Tim's problems)

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I also have Canon stuff, 5D and L lenses though none of the real fast primes. But I think they are also difficult to focus (even AF), the 50 and 85 mm f1.2 lenses have caused problems when used wide open. The DOF is so so narrow.Jeff

 

Yes, the 35 1.4 and 24 1.4 both difficult to focus wide open esp the 24. You don't have the nice crisp rangefinder patch and I've always found AF to focus on nothing you really want it to focus on. I usually focus manually, not great with Canon AF lenses and one reason I sold my Canon film system and lenses. The 35L is a must have lens for anybody owning Canon though. It really is their best lens. The 24 is great due to it's speed but nothing compared to the 24 Elmarit FF.

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Much as it pains me to say it, Canon has Nikon beat when it comes to fast primes. The jewell in Nikon's crown is, or was, the 28mm f1.4, until someone decided to stop making it.

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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.

 

Hey Simon

 

I respect your opinions very much but can't figure out why you feel the current R glass will have limited utility on an R10 (or whatever). I believe the R10 will marry current R manual focus glass very well and add to that a new series of AF glass to be introduced. I don't have any need or want of AF so to me the issue is how to maximally take advantage of the characteristics of the old R glass which is frankly better than anything currently on the market. I want a FF sensor, more resolution and more dynamic range than currently available. Please Leica, bring us the R10 and let those of us who have bought the wonderful R glass and held on to it through the last several years of digital "wars" be rewarded with a body to match the glass. If you don't , then bye bye

 

Woody Spedden

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Do we really think Leica will have the engineering resources to introduce new AF lenses or will the body just provide focus confirmation which would support any R lens?

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Tim, I certainly understand your angst, but why switch now? It sounds like you have finally got your kit working for you as it should. If you are intent on switching then perhaps Nikon may be the way to go at the present time. It pains me to say that because, in addition to my Leica M8 kit, I have rather large investment in Canon. However, Nikon has recently come out with some excellent glass and they have the advantage of using the Zeiss ZF glass. I know you can adapt Leica, Contax, and other glass to Canon, but the Nikon approach (license their mount) seems more elegant.
Mark Thats what I did ..went to a D3 and the new 2.8 zooms. I didn t give up on the M8 as I still really like rangefinders. The Nikons don t quite match the Leica M8 or DMR but the system is so much more versatile. To my eye they are a notch up on the 5D and L glass and the new sensor is fantastic allowing use of much higher ISO to improve image quality. And I had to give up on a lot of zeiss and leica glass to do this. I will still be on the list for the R10 but the D3 is quite a camera.

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Do we really think Leica will have the engineering resources to introduce new AF lenses or will the body just provide focus confirmation which would support any R lens?

 

I don't know about making lenses but.....

The Digilux 2 and the 4/3's lenses are made by Panasonic and perhaps there could be some technology transfer in the other direction to get auto focus into the R range?

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The 85 1.2 (either version) and the 135 2.0 are justifiably legends - the best glass in their focal lengths from any maker. I've used the 85 a lot; for me the 135 is not an especially useful focal length. The 80-200 f2.8 IS (at least my copy) is truly remarkable for a zoom. The "at least my copy" is important because you get a bit of sample variation in the Canon line, even from the L glass.

 

The 35 1.4 and the 50 1.4 are fine lenses but . . . they'll seem pedestrian to you after using the equivalent Leica lenses.

 

I have found all of the Canon L wides disappointing in one respect or another. (I haven't tried the latest L wide zoom.) I have the CZ 21 and 28 adapted for Canon - as you might expect they are outstanding. But the default Canon focusing screen doesn't work well for manual focusing (and the screens that work with manual focus can cause metering issues) and you're stuck with a stopped down view of the world.

 

BTW the new Nikon platform looks very interesting with CZ glass available and focus confirmation for non AF lenses.

 

Good luck with this. Keep us informed.

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