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Author Topic: Leica M8 vs. Alpa TC vs. ???  (Read 10796 times)
macdaddy
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« on: January 12, 2007, 08:18:28 PM »
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Let's throw this to the wolves and see what gets devoured! I'm currently shooting with an Olympus E-1. Love the camera, system, etc. but hitting it's limits due to age, pixel resolution, etc. Primarily, I shoot landscape and nature (NOT animals and/or birds!), with some architecture and minimal portraiture thrown in. I also shoot a Bessa R3M 250th Anniversary 35mm rangefinder FILM camera w/ Cosina Voigtlander 50mm/f 2.0 Heliar and APO Lanthar 90mm/f 3.5 lenses.
I'm looking for suggestions to move to a whole new system—what should I look for? I'd prefer digital, am comfortable with manual focusing primes AND decent zooms, am willing to spend REASONABLE amounts of money, even for a system with one good camera and one good lens to start. I've looked at the M8, the Alpa TC film camera and considered Canikons, but am not happy with either of their lens systems (Canikon, that is!).
I'd REALLY like to keep the total system cost under $8,000, if possible and have considered these combos:
Leica M8 digital and the new 2.8/28mm OR the new Tri-Elmar (which pushes it nearer $9,000!)
Alpa TC film w/ 6X9 film back and Schneider Helvetar 5.6/58mm (Around $7-7500) and...
everyone else!  I would REALLY like to keep the system digital, both for costs and workflow reasons. Let the devouring begin!

Rob
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braindeadmac
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2007, 01:31:59 AM »
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Let the devouring begin!

Rob
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Probably the first thing to consider is what size print you routinely make.  My comments on the M8 can only be based on my experience as the owner of a Leica R9/DMR; I think the DMR is probably the closest camera to the M8 in terms of performance. Like you I shoot primarily landscape.  I can make excellent 16x20 inch prints from my DMR routinely, essentially from any shot. Ignoring some issues with post-processing convenience and speed of getting the work done, these are indistinguishable in quality from prints made from my Canon 1ds2, Linhof 6x9 back, even 4x5 film. If I go up to 20x30 inches, quality starts to suffer a bit for both the 1ds2 and DMR, and this adversely affects certain images more so than others, particularly those with fine detail shot with the less well performing lenses.  Here 6x9 and 4x5 still have a significant edge over both the Canon and the DMR.  6x9 holds its own against 4x5 up to 30 x 40 or so.

The M8 is appealing if you want to travel light, and the lenses are unbeatable. If you aren't going to be making 24 x 36 prints, then go that way. It is not clear to me that the new Tri-Elmarit is going to be the cat's pajamas at 16 and even 18 mm, we will have to see. Consider some of those great Voigtlander and Zeiss M lenses though, and save some money.

The Alpa seems like an odd choice, frankly. It's a bit of an exotic, and you'll find it hard to find accessories and so on, especially if you want to find something used. The TC uses zone focusing, so will be very limited in utility and adaptability.  It looks like you'll be able to fit a digital back, but it will be an expensive road to take.  If you want to transition through to digital that way it would make more sense to me to consider getting a medium format system camera.  I think the Hy6 is going to at least temporarily resurrect the Rollei line, but that would be an affordable entry point espeicially if you are willing to consider used equipment.  Same thing if you are willing to consider a Hasselblad V system.  The cost of entry into the H system is a bit offputting, although if you are willing to spend 7000 on an Alpa TC, the H2 might seem downright reasonable and cheap to you.  If I was going to do something as quirky as the Alpa, I would also want to look at the Horseman options--well made (maybe not to the Alpa standard, but is that really necessary?) and more affordable.

I think there is more hype than substance to a lot of the internet jibberish on Canon and Nikon lens quality.  There are unfortunately real issues with sample-to-sample variation on even the "pro" glass with both systems, but some patience here searching pays off. The Canon system has difficulty on the full frame digital cameras in the wide range, especially below 24mm, but this is overblown a bit I think (note, I'm one of the instigators of the anti-Canon wide angle hype, so bear some of the blame for this). But for a bit more than $8000 you could buy a 5D with Canon 24TSE, 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 135/2, 200/2.8 and have a fantastic kit. Substitute in a 24-70 or 24-105 and you'll still have comparable performance from f5.6 down and a great walk around zoom.

One consideration on the optics end would be to use a Canon 5D or 1ds2 with Leica and Canon lenses, or Contax lenses on the Canon.  This was my solution to the performance problems I had with the Canon 16-35, Canon 14, and Canon 20mm, and my round about way of winding up being a Leica DMR shooter. For 12 months I had a stable system (and bank account) by using the Leica 15, 19, 21-35, and 50/2 on my Canon 1ds2. Yes, I lost auto aperture functions and had to manually stop down, but that seems sort of trivial after shooting with a view camera....
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DavidRees
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2007, 04:31:11 AM »
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I realise you prefer a digital system, but since you don't rule out a film system completely do consider a Mamiya 7 system for landscape work. 6x7 gives plenty of detail for large prints, and 120/220 film is still easily available, as is processing (via mail perhaps).

Advantages:
* cost (an outfit should be considerably less than $8,000, even factoring in a Nikon 8000/9000 scanner to get the most from your film).
* lenses (I can recommend the 43mm, 65mm, 80mm, and 150mm -- all truely great performers).
* weight / size (M7 kit is smaller and lighter than equivalent systems in 6x7)
* resale value (MF kit came down in price some time ago, and the depreciation on the kit, assuming you bought 2nd-hand, is likely to be far less than on a new digital solution, over any reasonable time horizon. Consider buying from the UK if you can -- prices on MF kit seems to be cheaper over here, esp. for Mamiya items. eBay can provide some good stuff, if you stick to sellers with extensive and good feedback.

Disadvantages:
* costs of film and processing
* scanning time
* not the latest, and sexiest kit.

I use 3 M7 bodies, and the above lenses, extensively for my landscape work, where it excels. I do think, however, that the M7 is not suitable for certain types of photography, such as portraiture, so this recommendation is based on your desire to do landscape work with your new system.

Just my $0.02 -- not seeking to start a flame war!
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David R. Gurtcheff
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2007, 12:00:30 PM »
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Let's throw this to the wolves and see what gets devoured! I'm currently shooting with an Olympus E-1. Love the camera, system, etc. but hitting it's limits due to age, pixel resolution, etc. Primarily, I shoot landscape and nature (NOT animals and/or birds!), with some architecture and minimal portraiture thrown in. I also shoot a Bessa R3M 250th Anniversary 35mm rangefinder FILM camera w/ Cosina Voigtlander 50mm/f 2.0 Heliar and APO Lanthar 90mm/f 3.5 lenses.
I'm looking for suggestions to move to a whole new system—what should I look for? I'd prefer digital, am comfortable with manual focusing primes AND decent zooms, am willing to spend REASONABLE amounts of money, even for a system with one good camera and one good lens to start. I've looked at the M8, the Alpa TC film camera and considered Canikons, but am not happy with either of their lens systems (Canikon, that is!).
I'd REALLY like to keep the total system cost under $8,000, if possible and have considered these combos:
Leica M8 digital and the new 2.8/28mm OR the new Tri-Elmar (which pushes it nearer $9,000!)
Alpa TC film w/ 6X9 film back and Schneider Helvetar 5.6/58mm (Around $7-7500) and...
everyone else!  I would REALLY like to keep the system digital, both for costs and workflow reasons. Let the devouring begin!

Rob
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Rob: I also shoot primarily landscapes (actually seascapes). I have been using a 1DSII. I recently added an M8. I have a local tavern here where I have 70+ prints hanging for sale, ranging in size from 13"x19" to 20"x30" (print sizes---mats and frames of course are larger). For the right type of subject matter which I usually do, e.g. sandunes, sky, snow fence and ocean, the M8 WILL make lovely 20"x30" prints. Also, you already have several lenses you could use with the M8, with adapters. My 1DSII is still my primary camera for birds, and studied seascapes with precise framing, and polarizer, but the M8 is quickly becoming the kit I always have with me. An example of the 20"x30" M8 shot is here:
[a href=\"http://www.modernpictorials.com/D216A%2072%20dpi%20.jpg]http://www.modernpictorials.com/D216A%2072%20dpi%20.jpg[/url]

Good luck
Dave G
Beach Haven NJ
www.modernpictorials.com
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macdaddy
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2007, 04:38:39 PM »
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Dave:
Nice shot! I'm leaning more and more towards the M8, possibly with some of the Zeiss lenses, as I can get two or three of them for the price of just one Leica lens and have probably 95-99% of the quality according to several posts by that Leica authority, Erwin Puts!  I rarely use a zoom, shoot wide to "standard" (i.e., 50-90mm in 35mm size) and, as you pointed out, already have two very good CV lenses to start! Of course, I have friends who consider the M8 to be a very expensive piece of junk, too, and think going full-frame with a Canon 1DS 2 or 5D is the way to go!
I appreciate the replies from all who've done so—keep 'em coming, folks!
Thanks,
Rob
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David R. Gurtcheff
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2007, 11:41:01 AM »
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Dave:
Nice shot! I'm leaning more and more towards the M8, possibly with some of the Zeiss lenses, as I can get two or three of them for the price of just one Leica lens and have probably 95-99% of the quality according to several posts by that Leica authority, Erwin Puts!  I rarely use a zoom, shoot wide to "standard" (i.e., 50-90mm in 35mm size) and, as you pointed out, already have two very good CV lenses to start! Of course, I have friends who consider the M8 to be a very expensive piece of junk, too, and think going full-frame with a Canon 1DS 2 or 5D is the way to go!
I appreciate the replies from all who've done so—keep 'em coming, folks!
Thanks,
Rob
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Rob--you can't go wrong with Zeiss ZM lenses. I only have one Leica lens, the 24mm ASPH, but I have 21mm, 28mm, 35mm f2, and 50mm f1.5 ZMs, along with a 15mm CV.
Dave
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2007, 08:05:10 AM »
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You sound like you are looking for provacative answers..so....don't buy either of the proposed cameras. Both are quite specialized, and your needs aren't. Nothing you do needs an M8.  The M8 is a wonderful camera (I share Michael's feelings re: prying it from my cold, dead hands), but I use it because the "M" ethos is what most of my work calls for.  

My suggestion is that you buy yourself a decent MF film camera.  You can buy Bronica SQ-A cameras with PS lenses for scrap-weight prices these days. (Ditto the 645 and 67 systems --- I just happen to really like 6x6).  Get the body, two backs, a prism and a 50/80/150 setup.  it will run you less than half one Leica lens.  Then shoot 1000 rolls of film. Print them, scan them, whatever.

Then start thinking of your next camera.....

and have fun!

- N.

ps. if you really need digital, just get a 5D with  24-105. You'll be perfectly happy then, too.
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macdaddy
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2007, 09:29:14 AM »
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Thanks! I prefer digital for the workflow speed and cost savings over film, but love the quality of shots made with film. Hmmm! What to do, huh? One thing I need to ask those of you currently using M8s—how well do they work for landscape and/or nature shots (given the proper wide angle lenses, of course!)? Photos I've seen posted across the 'net indicate they will work VERY well. It's just that my perception of Leica is that of a camera for primarily street photography and "edgy" avant garde type of shots done mostly in B & W. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
I would also add that whatever system I wind up with will be used for a Master's degree project combining my major of English with my passion of photography to produce a photojournalistic book. See David Plowden's site ( www.davidplowden.com ) for some idea of where that is headed! If you look at the book he's promoting on his site about vanishing America ("A Handful of Dust"), you'll get an idea of the mixed types of photography I'm going to be doing over the next 2-3 years. Seems to me, based on that future project, that the M8 or the 5D with proper lenses would be the ideal solution.
Keep those ideas coming, please! I have approximately 3-4 months to determine which system I'm going to get, but once that decision is made, I'm locked into it for the duration of this project unless my ship comes in, I hit the lottery (and I don't play it!) or my only rich uncle left a will giving me his money and they find it now that he's dead! (In other words, the ONLY monies I anticipate having are the ones given by the grant to do this project, and you already know those limits.)
Thanks,
Rob
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David R. Gurtcheff
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2007, 11:07:12 AM »
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Thanks! I prefer digital for the workflow speed and cost savings over film, but love the quality of shots made with film. Hmmm! What to do, huh? One thing I need to ask those of you currently using M8s—how well do they work for landscape and/or nature shots (given the proper wide angle lenses, of course!)? Photos I've seen posted across the 'net indicate they will work VERY well. It's just that my perception of Leica is that of a camera for primarily street photography and "edgy" avant garde type of shots done mostly in B & W. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
I would also add that whatever system I wind up with will be used for a Master's degree project combining my major of English with my passion of photography to produce a photojournalistic book. See David Plowden's site ( www.davidplowden.com ) for some idea of where that is headed! If you look at the book he's promoting on his site about vanishing America ("A Handful of Dust"), you'll get an idea of the mixed types of photography I'm going to be doing over the next 2-3 years. Seems to me, based on that future project, that the M8 or the 5D with proper lenses would be the ideal solution.
Keep those ideas coming, please! I have approximately 3-4 months to determine which system I'm going to get, but once that decision is made, I'm locked into it for the duration of this project unless my ship comes in, I hit the lottery (and I don't play it!) or my only rich uncle left a will giving me his money and they find it now that he's dead! (In other words, the ONLY monies I anticipate having are the ones given by the grant to do this project, and you already know those limits.)
Thanks,
Rob
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Rob: a quote from my above post:
 "My 1DSII is still my primary camera for birds, and studied seascapes with precise framing, and polarizer, but the M8 is quickly becoming the kit I always have with me."
I'm fortunate I have a DSLR and M8. As much as I love the M8, if I had to have *ONLY* one camera, it would be a DSLR for it's vesatility. My seascapes usually involve using a polarizer, and very wide lenses; the effects which are best seen with a DSLR.
You may be better off with a 5D.
Dave
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macdaddy
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2007, 11:20:32 AM »
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Dave:
Thanks for the response. As much as I love the M8, you're right in that it may be too limiting for the types of photography I anticipate. A well-respected Kansas photographer I've corresponded with is currently using a 5D because of its full-frame capabilities and has sent me some astounding high res (is the correct term HDR?) architectural photos he makes with it for his commercial clients, and even though he sells and uses ALPA, loves the versatility of his 5D. (Although he admits he'd have stuck with Nikon if they'd had a full-frame pro-level camera!)
Fortunately, I still have PMA within the time frame I have to commit to a system, so we'll see what's announced there before spending the money!
Rob
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2007, 04:30:18 AM »
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Dave:
Thanks for the response. As much as I love the M8, you're right in that it may be too limiting for the types of photography I anticipate. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=95999\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There is another way to look at this, and possibly it would help: consider not the gear, but the shooter. Some cameras bring out different things in the photographer. Some great gear has passed through my hands over the years, and been sold because it just doesn't help me take good shots. The keepers  somehow just fall to hand. With them, the mind/eye/hand/gear combination just works together.  

The Leica M is one of those cameras, be it film or digital. Other gear, while flexible, competent and extremely efficient, and even superbly engineered, just don't resonate in the same way. This approach suggests that you find something that you find is a joy to use, and with which  you want to work and explore. Cameras (like all artistic tools) have a discipline - given time, they will teach you and take you places.

Some folks work better a broader set of isues on their plate; for them, changing lenses, changing viewpoints, and more flexibility is important - and they need a camera system in all of its extents.

Go borrow one of the cameras you are thinking of and use it for a day. The Alpa and Leica M's are not the most flexible of systems. Try focusing at 10" with an M.....But boy that small M size is pretty seductive....

Geoff
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2007, 10:22:34 AM »
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Geoff - that 'personality' aspect is so important it shouldn't need stating, but I'm afraid, from reading all this, that it does.

I'm also stunned that people whose questions about photography appear to indicate a knowledge about it that's close to next to nothing are willing and, worse, able to spend such huge sums on equipment. It amazes me that the two can exist together.

At the beginning and also the end of the proverbial day, you can spend as much as you like on equipment but if it's the wrong gear and you don't have the talent then it's all a total waste of time.

Ciao - Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2007, 12:42:59 PM »
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I'm also stunned that people whose questions about photography appear to indicate a knowledge about it that's close to next to nothing are willing and, worse, able to spend such huge sums on equipment. It amazes me that the two can exist together.

At the beginning and also the end of the proverbial day, you can spend as much as you like on equipment but if it's the wrong gear and you don't have the talent then it's all a total waste of time.

Ciao - Rob C
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Rob C:
Not quite sure where you're headed with this statement (although I have a pretty good idea!), but for the record, I'm just a mere lad of 58 who's been photographing for just under 37 years total—an insignificant time compared to someone such as yourself, I'm sure! I just never shot with any format larger than 35mm. I'm one of the (apparently quite rare!) individuals who has also never owned anything but an SLR EXCEPT the Bessa R3M I use and love and have only handled Leicas in the very recent past. Of course, I'm stupidly trying to gain additional knowledge about a format I freely admit (which is more than some are able to do!) that I know nothing about.
For my purposes, I'm trying to ascertain whether anything larger than 35mm is:
1) Needed for the project I envision;
2) Will involve compromises that are unnecessary for me to make; and,
3) How best and how wisely to spend what monies I have available to meet at least 95% of the anticipated contigencies I might run into on a multi-year project.

As for talent; I don't know. The folks who've bought over $75,000 of my landscape prints from 3 galleries in Atlanta who carry my works either think I have it or are as dumb as you hint they must be to even contemplate buying something my feeble hands and eyes might have created!
Well enough chatter—I'm still looking to get worthwhile information from people who care enough about the craft to bring POSITIVE comments and suggestions to the table.
Later,
Rob W
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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2007, 03:22:05 PM »
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Rob W,

Having reread this entire thread, I thought I'd put in my 2 cents. I have been photographing for about 50 years, using mostly 35mm but also 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras and some MF (film) cameras. I went digital about four years ago, and most of my work is landscape or abstractions. My first digital camera was the Canon 10D, and I have recently upgraded it to the 5D (full-frame, 13MP.) My last two serious film cameras were a Pentax 67II (6x7) and a Mamiya 6 (6x6 rangefinder).

My 10D (6 MP) was able to match anything I got from the medium format film cameras, and the 5D betters them both. So I would suggest at least trying out a 5D with the 24-105 L IS lens.

On the other hand, it is with great reluctance that I recently sold my Mamiya 6, which was a wonderful camera for landscapes and for quick, hand-held work. The Mamiya 7 would probably be even better, if you wanted to stick with film.

I am persnickety enough that I could never trust my film to anyone else for developing, and I am now closing my darkroom. That's why the M 6 had to go.

One more suggestion: unless your eyes are much younger than mine, you should probably consider a system with good autofocusing (which I scoffed at, but later regretted, when I got my Pentax 67II.) Yes, sometimes the autofocus on the 5D doesn't get it perfect, but I messed up more shots trying to focus manually on the Pentax.

I agree with the poster who urged you to try things out to see how they feel in your own hands. "Personality" is important.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

Eric
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2007, 04:17:37 PM »
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Rob W

Wish I could claim the same tender years as you can - my numbers are, sadly, somewhat higher up the totem pole.

Where I'm 'heading' to is simple: how in hell can anyone expect somebody else to make personal decisions for them? With the years of camera ownership that you say you have knotched up, surely you understand and know your own strengths and weaknesses by now? There is nobody out here, there or anywhere else that can make those choices for you; as another lad here wrote, it all comes down to how you 'feel' a particular camera fits your personality - you might as well ask the guy next door which girl he thinks you should marry - it becomes the same relationship in a very short time. If you don't know that already, then your years of camera ownership have been very shallow if not totally wasted.

That's all, folks.

Ciao - Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2007, 04:23:29 PM »
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I agree with the poster who urged you to try things out to see how they feel in your own hands. "Personality" is important.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

Eric
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[/quote]

Eric:
Thanks for the kind reply! While I haven't stated it until now, before I "plunk down the coin" I indeed plan to either find a dealer with one of the systems I'm considering and rent it for at least a week (preferably a month) or find a real end-user and get with them for several days. I've already arranged to do just that with the Alpa system through a dealer in the Midwest (my old stomping grounds!)  and hope to do so with an end-user of an M8, since they are scarce at the moment.
I'm renting the 5D and the 24-105 IS lens next month locally and waiting for PMA before doing the same with the 1DS II. Of course, Olympus plans great things then too, and the E-1 has been a champ (and money-maker!) until recently for me, so I'll keep a "weather-eye" out for what they announce (and hopefully, deliver!).
Guess I didn't make it clear that I don't intend to go into this blind and without quality hands on time with whatever I wind up with BEFORE I plunk down the money! And for previous commentors, I'd suggest going onto the main site and reading Michael's essay about "It's not just the photographer" before casting dispersions.
Thanks,
Rob W
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2007, 04:37:06 PM »
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Rob W

Where I'm 'heading' to is simple: how in hell can anyone expect somebody else to make personal decisions for them? With the years of camera ownership that you say you have knotched up, surely you understand and know your own strengths and weaknesses by now? There is nobody out here, there or anywhere else that can make those choices for you; as another lad here wrote, it all comes down to how you 'feel' a particular camera fits your personality - you might as well ask the guy next door which girl he thinks you should marry - it becomes the same relationship in a very short time. If you don't know that already, then your years of camera ownership have been very shallow if not totally wasted.

That's all, folks.

Ciao - Rob C
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Hmmm! I don't recall (and as I get older, the mind DOES get fuzzier, alas!) asking ANYONE to "make personal decisions for me", as you so eloquently phrase it! I have merely asked others for their OPINIONS AND EXPERTISE with a format that I'm not familiar with. I certainly intend to lay hands on every single one of the pieces of equipment I will eventually purchase, and am not, have not and will not ask others to make those choices for me, including you, sir!
Obviously, your grasp of English is lacking indeed if you somehow read into anything I wrote that I'm asking others to make these decision for me! However, so that YOU understand me clearly (and as an English major, it is my responsibility to make myself as clear as possible!) I am NOT asking others to hand-hold me; I simply want their considered expertise AS THEY HAVE HAD THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES WITH OTHER FORMATS THAN 35MM! Can I make it any plainer? Good! Shall we then get over it, go on and enjoy this forum, because I really don't have any more time to waste on such foolishness as these little exchanges with you!
Rob W
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2007, 10:07:43 AM »
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I use both M8 and Alpa camera but I would not compare them together. M8 has the rangefinder system that can allow a much faster and precise focusing, and it is an ideal camera to get close to subject with more action and more flexible with wide to short telephoto lenses. While an Alpa, is really a wide angle system that for most of time I would expect to use smaller aperture to cover enough depth, typically, more step back from subject. Especially I am using P45 on Alpa, to have to wake up the back and make the shoot within few seconds, it is far from M8, even if it was shooting film, still much different.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2007, 10:42:09 AM »
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Rob W

Delighted you now have time for better things; maybe you'll find your life more focussed...

Ciao - Rob C
« Last Edit: January 20, 2007, 10:44:06 AM by Rob C » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2007, 01:18:13 PM »
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I use both M8 and Alpa camera but I would not compare them together. M8 has the rangefinder system that can allow a much faster and precise focusing, and it is an ideal camera to get close to subject with more action and more flexible with wide to short telephoto lenses. While an Alpa, is really a wide angle system that for most of time I would expect to use smaller aperture to cover enough depth, typically, more step back from subject. Especially I am using P45 on Alpa, to have to wake up the back and make the shoot within few seconds, it is far from M8, even if it was shooting film, still much different.
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Thanks for the information. I figured that using an Alpa is an unhurried process, regardless of whether it's with film or digital! IF I purchased one it would primarily be for either landscape or architectural subjects which normally don't require fast setup times. (With SOME minor exceptions!)
However, others who use the system say that, once you become accustomed to the "guess the distance" way of shooting (or, use a laser rangefinder like the Leica Disto) that actually setting up for a shot becomes a reasonably fast and relatively accurate process. Certainly not as fast as using an M8 with its framelines, but reasonably fast nonetheless!
I appreciate the input.
Rob W
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Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.... But then I repeat myself.  -Mark Twain
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