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cme4brain

Please keep me from selling the M8 for a Nikon D40

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Please help me with a conclusion I am not interested in making. Below are comparison shots taken at the same time today with my Leica M8 with CV 25mm and my 6MP Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens. All exposures were taken at f/8 and 1/250th, ISO160/200 equiv. All pix converted from RAW NEF or DNG to highest quality JPEG using Photoshop elements 5.0, auto WB and exposure. My conclusion seems to be that I can tell virtually no objective difference between these 100% crops. That thought tells me that a 6MP amateur DSLR with a $100 kit lens at f/8 is pretty daggone comparable to my $5000 10MP M8, at least in this example. If that is true, then why pay for the Leica? Please anyone steer me away from that direction! I hope that I am missing something obvious and you all can point it out to me. Perhaps the CV lens would be sharper wide open, but I don't shoot wide open most of the time. Even if that is so, is then f/8 the great equalizer?

 

The first is the full frame shot, then see two pairs of 100% crops, first the NikonD40 and Leica M8 center crops, then the Nikon and Leica corner crops.

Edited by cme4brain
correction

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You must do whatever your eye/wallet ratio tells you is right. As do we all.

 

Tim

 

I own both cameras, so the wallet is not a consideration. I would like an objective opinion about the photographs to hopefully tell me of some photographic principle I am missing! Someone please tell me that my eyes are deceiving me and that these crops are NOT incredibly similar. How on earth can a kit lens be in the same neighborhood as a rangefinder lens? While all cameras are compromises, I bought the M8 and lenses for the highest possible image quality. This above example would speak against that, I want someone to help talk me out of selling the M8 and switching to the Nikon D300 or D700. Yes, I know the D700 is much larger, but you don't need viewfinders for wide angle lenses, you have a sophisticated flash control, and zoom lenses. I would have to balance those issues with the compactness of the M8, but until this comparison, I felt that the M8 was a winner with clearly better image quality. I realize we all have to choose what platform- rangefinder or DSLR- we prefer, but who had the edge on imaging? Based on these images, neither does. Please someone provide other examples of DSLR to M8 comparisons!

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Sell or do not sell, your choice. I own a D700, which is fantastic and the Leica, which I carry everywhere.

 

The cameras make for different styles of photography, for different ways of "seeing." I make much different photos with a rangefinder than I do with an SLR.

 

Size is also very different -- The Leica can and does go everywhere.

 

At f8, you are not going to see a huge difference in lenses. Most lenses, even cheap kit lenses, should perform well at f8.

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Sell or do not sell, your choice. I own a D700, which is fantastic and the Leica, which I carry everywhere.

 

The cameras make for different styles of photography, for different ways of "seeing." I make much different photos with a rangefinder than I do with an SLR.

 

Size is also very different -- The Leica can and does go everywhere.

 

At f8, you are not going to see a huge difference in lenses. Most lenses, even cheap kit lenses, should perform well at f8.

 

If you have any examples between the D700 and M8, I would appreciate them, especailly at larger apertures. How often do you carry the D700 around as opposed to the M8? Is the size different enough to preferentially chose the M8?

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Even if that is so, is then f/8 the great equalizer?

 

 

That is a factor, plus most cameras and lenses have gotten pretty good in general. It may be that the zoom lens has a bit more distortion, but that might not bother you and can be corrected.

 

From the accuracy of the framing, I'm assuming you used a tripod.

 

I once compared my Zeiss 80mm on a Rollei 6006 with a $59 Arsat 80 on a Kiev 66. At f8 the images were very similar - just a slightly different color cast. Now maybe I would have seen a difference at f2.8, but I mostly use it at f8-16. Considering that $59 is just a bit more than a Leica lens cap, it makes you wonder how they do it.

 

The Nikon lens is made for a 1.5 crop sensor. The CV lens is made for full frame.

 

The resolution of the sensors is also a factor. The newest 1.6 crop Canon has 15 megapixels. On full frame that works out to about 39 megapixels. I think one would need to compare lenses using a higher level of pixel density. You simply are not getting the most out of either lens at 6 and 10 megapixels. Although that is all the detail most people need. I'm amazed by what my cheap p&s can do.

 

I sharpened both images the same amount:

Edited by AlanG

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Sell or do not sell, your choice. I own a D700, which is fantastic and the Leica, which I carry everywhere.

 

The cameras make for different styles of photography, for different ways of "seeing." I make much different photos with a rangefinder than I do with an SLR.

 

Size is also very different -- The Leica can and does go everywhere.

 

At f8, you are not going to see a huge difference in lenses. Most lenses, even cheap kit lenses, should perform well at f8.

 

I have the M8 and the Nikon D200 i fine the Nikon worthless in comparison to the M8. I shot a parade last year using both cameras, almost every shot with the Leica, about 80 was dead on, perfect exposure and sharp as a tack and out of 120 or so shots with the Nikon gave me about 10 useable images and they were questionable. I can use just about every photo I take with the M8 as is without any PS, that us not the case with the Nikon. I also have a Kodak DCS Pro14 which uses all the Nikon lenses, the same shots taken with the same lens the Kodak always comes out better.

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Honestly, if there is no perceived difference to you in either working with the camera or with the output, why bother asking the question here on a Leica forum?

 

If your primary indication of how good a camera is relies on pixel peeping at 100%, and I'm in no way chastizing you if this is indeed the case, then there are probably better cameras for you. If there is any delta between the M8 and any DSLR, I'm happy to live with that delta for the kind of creative freedom the M8 gives me in the photographic process. There are more important things for me in a photograph than the ability to resolve of bricks or ground cover. Again--I'm not denigrating anyone for whom those things are important. Just saying that for me (and perhaps for others), the value of the camera is not the sum of pixels exclusively.

 

I will say, however, that if this particular shot (or ones like it) are the criteria for your decision, perhaps you're weighing the wrong factors. What's valuable about each camera is what one can do that the other can't. There are probably pocket cameras cheaper than the D40 which can take this shot reasonably well. Where you'll find one camera more valuable than the other is in situations where only one camera would work.

 

Anyway, I'd say if you're asking here, you've probably already made up your mind.

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Pretty much all the digital image makers can produce an excellent image. Even my Pentax istd (the original) with those wonderful limited lenses is excellent and compares very well to the M8, including size and weight. The istd even took lithium batteries so for trips I didn't even have to pack a charger, just one extra pair of batteries.

 

There is so much more to cameras then the sharpness of the final image. If the final image sharpness was the only criteria to judge the value of a camera, then you wouldn't have had so many choices in the 35mm film world considering you could have almost the same image quality shooting Canon, Nikon, Leica, Pentax, Minolta, Contax, etc because you could put the same film in all of them.

Edited by JEFS

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Unfortunately your comparison relies on using jpegs viewed on a computer screen. This would be like comparing a Porsche and a base model Toyota, on speed alone, using a clock that only has an hour hand.

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The tool does have an effect on the tool user. And although we talk about how important the photographer is in the image making process, tools count too.

 

I grew up using my dad's Vaughn wooden-handled hammers. His opinions about rubber grips, steel handles, etc. somehow migrated into my hammering ethos. Recently I picked up a couple Douglas hammers (still steel and wood). I like them. My oldest brother has developed a fondness for titanium hammers.

 

All of them drive nails. But each of them feels different, and therefore the experience of hammering nails is a tiny bit different.

 

I have a pair of D300s. I use them to shoot sports, and also for static shots (such as photos for eBay sales). Ain't no way that anything hanging off the front of an M8 is going to be superior to a nice Nikon 300 f/2.8 AF. And an SLR for technical, set-piece work is just plain convenient.

 

But the M8 strips away a lot of the ancillary technical crap that seems to be inseparable from current DSLRs. With less technical factors to worry about, I concentrate more on the image. Also, I like the fact that whoever designed my lenses -- Leica, Cosina, or Zeiss -- understood that I plan on using them wide open from time to time.

 

So look at your nails. Think about your hammers. And decide if you are building something with your Leica -- and if you like the experience. If not, either change your photographic goals, or invest in a DSLR that suits you better.

 

(BTW -- A Vaughn hammer still feels pretty good.)

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I find this assertion quite amazing: "Ain't no way that anything hanging off the front of an M8 is going to be superior to a nice Nikon 300 f/2.8 AF."

 

Exactly what do you mean by "superior"? I have that lens, and while it is indeed well made, it doesn't come close to any of my Leica M lenses. In build quality, contrast, speed or sharpness. Is there another factor?

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Guest stnami

.........user error, you just have to work harder with the m8, go beyond point and shoot

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mmmm, But M8 is much more fun to use! To me image quality is 2nd nature. I mean M8 can produce great images which Japanese ones do-. So WHy would I use M8- because it is pleasure to use it. I am only hobbyist, not pro-I can miss some shots no worrie-

I love my M8!!!!

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Red Baron, I love the analogy. It's the equivalent of asking - Keep me from selling my Ferrari because my Toyota Corolla does the same things but way better. Both can manage 60 mph on the freeway and can bring me to work efficiently. But the Toyota has an automatic transmission, is quieter, and even has 4 seats. It actually allows me to ferry my friends around too and I have to leave the Ferrari at home. So why should I even bother keeping the Ferrari?

 

As a former Nikon owner, there is no doubt that there are a lot of things that the Nikon does well that the Leica does not do. There are lots of other reasons why you would use an M8. Qualities that are less tangible that comes with using a super precise rangefinder. If you only plan to shoot pictures at f/8 of dogs, kids and your lovely home, please sell your M8 to someone that would love it more.

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Unfortunately your comparison relies on using jpegs viewed on a computer screen. This would be like comparing a Porsche and a base model Toyota, on speed alone, using a clock that only has an hour hand.

 

I don't get the car analogy. If anything, the D40 is more like a Porsche which is also very technologically advanced. But I think he is just concerned with basic photographic results stripped of intangible qualities.

 

Jpegs would be a concern if the pictures were degraded significantly. But the detail from both looks pretty good. Isn't that the point? Especially if he is happy with the result.

 

Will a $3,000+ Leica lens really produce a photo on the M8 at f8 that is so much better than the D40 with the kit lens also at f8, for this person to care? And how carefully do you have to shoot to see the difference?

 

Last year I taught a class in architectural interior photography. All of the students were using relatively modest camera bodies, generally with modest zoom lenses. I had never used any of those inexpensive bodies or lenses. The technical quality across the board looked very good to my eyes.

Edited by AlanG

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Will a $3,000+ Leica lens really produce a photo on the M8 at f8 that is so much better than the D40 with the kit lens also at f8, for this person to care? And how carefully do you have to shoot to see the difference?

 

He's not using a $3,000+ Leica lens.

 

f/8 is a great equalizer and bright sunlight with a static subject is not a technical challenge. If this is all he'll be using the camera(s) for even the D40 is overkill.

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Half of the photos I take are at very wide f stops. I would not be too hard on this guy. Let us hope he posts some pics in low light conditions. I must confess tough, Leica lenses render subjects in a 3D quality in a unique way. The school where my daughter goes had their class photos taken by a photographer I know (a nice guy) that uses Nikon DSLR's. When I got her photo from the teacher, I did not recognize my daughter AT ALL in the photos. the photos were technically good, but looked featureless, not the 3D quality that my M8 brought out with my 90mm Tele elmarit , studio strobe, and umbrella.

 

I too learned long ago in film days when I was using Minolta gear (X-700) that sharpness with these lenses was achieved at medium to small f stops. Leica freed me in that my lenses were usable at ALL f stops, hence giving me much more control over the image. One thing here: How about how Leicas wide f stops can really isolate the subject in very dim light and maintain sharpness? Yeh, the DSLR's have image stabalization, but at smaller f stops, and questionable sharpness with most lenses (except for a very few select pro lenses). Also, M lenses maintain their value. I just bought a used 50mm summicron today made in 1997 for $700 USD on Ebay. How will I have felt if it were Nikon? With Leica, it was like buying a bank CD that was insured by the government. The nikon lens would make me feel like I bought a car (worth less as soon as you drive it off).

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Whoops! I missed the CV lens bit. That would be like putting a Ford engine in the Porsche and then comparing it to the Toyota, just to confuse the analogy even more!

 

The key of my initial point is the clock, not the cars.

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.........user error, you just have to work harder with the m8, go beyond point and shoot

 

One of your better contributions Imants! Detox working.

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