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Author Topic: Leica M8 Revisted  (Read 42285 times)
djgarcia
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« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2007, 01:20:04 PM »
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Rob, I think that may be because it's easy to mush up the basic look and feel of a lens in the digital realm. Some feel you can reproduce any lens personality by altering the digital processing. I myself don't, so I use Zeiss and Leica glass and try not to mush it up .

One thing hard to emulate or correct for is excessive backlight flaring and lack of contast due to flaring which both Zeiss and Leica usually handle so well. Of course you can always do some really fancy and convoluted area cloning ...

As always, YMMV ...
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2007, 09:08:48 AM »
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Loved the article. I've lusted after a Leica for some time, but I swear, if I buy any more gear in the next year or so, I should be committed :-) But hey, if a new Leica came out with a 16MP full frame with no AA filter, and maybe a little finger grip (oh, heresy!!!) - well, being committed might not be too high a price after all.
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Thanks James Russell for a great article.  I miss you on the forums!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 01:26:28 PM by infocusinc » Logged

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thompsonkirk
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« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2007, 12:44:11 PM »
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In the fall issue of LFI (leica Photografie International), p. 27, you'll find this (bad) news about the special Leica 'glow', in an article about the new Summarits & their return to spherical lens design:

"Can we expect a renaissance of the creamy Leica glow of early days, which has its special appeal but is in fact nothing more than an aesthetically pleasing side effect of undercorrected spherical aberration?

"The answer is no," because of design & production techniques that reduce optical aberrations.  

Kirk
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 12:47:18 PM by thompsonkirk » Logged
Craig Lamson
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« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2007, 01:15:50 PM »
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« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 01:26:08 PM by infocusinc » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2007, 04:04:45 PM »
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Seems a strange explanation for a pleasing effect - but they should know, I guess.

Maybe itīs just another example of things improving without getting in the least bit better.

Cheers - Rob C
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djgarcia
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« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2007, 04:17:16 PM »
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How did that Winston jingle go ... "What do you prefer, good grammar or good taste?"  
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2007, 11:19:24 AM »
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In the fall issue of LFI (leica Photografie International), p. 27, you'll find this (bad) news about the special Leica 'glow', in an article about the new Summarits & their return to spherical lens design:

"Can we expect a renaissance of the creamy Leica glow of early days, which has its special appeal but is in fact nothing more than an aesthetically pleasing side effect of undercorrected spherical aberration?

"The answer is no," because of design & production techniques that reduce optical aberrations. 

Kirk
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mm, except maybe with the new Canon 50 f1.2 L. I am reluctant to jump on the bandwagon with the crowd over at that other place, but it's taking a while to learn the foibles of this lens. I think I am pretty sure I'm getting some weird backfocus at certain apertures and focus distances (and they're not necessarily where you think they might be). Allegedly a result of the spherical aberrations from the design.

I happened to notice a particularly interesting glow on some of my shots from yesterday. Just a result of the fog, or some nasty CA perhaps? I don't know if it's anything like as attractive as the Leica glow.

I love the lens in general, but it is going to take a while till I figure how to get the best from it.
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melgross
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« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2007, 01:14:37 AM »
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melgross

The Leica wasnīt the only one with a film loading design flaw: the Nikon F back too had to be taken OFF in order to put in film! But they cured all that with the F2 which was a honey of a camera. Then, of course, the F4 was created to drive me insane with constant reloading problems which, in essence, meant that it always took me at least three goes at it to get the damn thing to engage. Just think about that if you have human subjects... Which, of course, is why I got rid of it and bought one of the last F3s.

Ciao - Rob C
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True, though I was never much of a Nikon person, and loading was one of the reasons.

But, at least Nikon did change that in response to requests (demands) from it's customers.

I never really felt that Leica cared as much what its customers felt about such things. Leica has always had this belief that people would buy its products because of its idiosyncrasies.

There is NO reason why the bottom must still come off.
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Rob C
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« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2007, 04:26:11 AM »
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Melgross

"There is NO reason why the bottom must still come off."

When I was a young photographer I never heard that said; now that Iīm an old photographer I hear nothing else.

Ciao - Rob C
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drew
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« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2007, 09:50:45 AM »
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Interesting thread for me.....
Earlier this year, I bit the bullet and finally sold all my film gear (well almost all, you can never have too many cameras). So as well as my existing Canon digital outfit (1ds MKII/5D), I had some money to splash. I have read a lot about the M8 and in spite of the problems with it, I thought I was tempted not least because I thought it might give me a fresh outlook (not that fresh as I have used Xpans), but also because it was a digtal alternative. Also, I have to be honest and admit that a middle-aged man past his prime might look cool with one round his neck (in the right sort of secure environment you will understand). I had a look at the prices and determined that the camera was cheaper to buy in the UK, while the tri-elmar 16-18-21 lens with viewfinder was much less in the US. So, since I was in Chicago last month, I thought I would have a serious look at this combination in Calumet.
I must say, when I picked up the camera, I just thought I am going to have this. Then a bit of common sense kicked in and I had a look at it together with the tri-elmar. Right, so you set the focal length on the lens and then remember to apply a focal length multiplier of 1.3. You set the corresponding focal length on the viewfinder bearing this in mind (so that is 21mm only then for 16mm on the lens). Then you focus through the camera's finder and if you want your framing to be slightly less inaccurate, you dial in your parallax correction on the lens viewfinder. then you compose and shoot......hmmmm. By this time I would have got off at least ten shots on the 5D. Then I compared similar files out of it directly with one of Calumet's own 5Ds. If you turn the noise suppression off in ACR, the files out of the 5D show less noise at the same ISO and less moire and they are sharper, leaving aside the issue of the optics which may be better on the Leica. So, sadly the latter day Sebastaio Salgado within me died quietly on the spot and I gave the camera back. I did splash some cash on a very nice and compact 70-200 F4L IS USM lens for the Canon. Only wish it was black though.
I think there is an awful lot of complete twaddle written about Leicas and I absolutely agree with the person who invoked the old analogy of the emperor's new clothes. All this stuff about 'bokeh' and Leica glow...please give me a break. Can anyone show me a single photographer who built his or her career on the quality of their 'bokeh' notwithstanding what Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz continue to write on the subject???
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Rob C
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« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2007, 10:58:07 AM »
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Drew, I am also all for secure environments; there is something wrong when everywhere isnīt secure enough to permit us gentlemen of a certain age to progress smoothly wherever we legally wish to go.

But then. this isnīt really new. I remember l956 and the Suez crisis: I had a Bond three-wheeler (Iīm amazed I can admit to that) becasue it was one step up from a bicycle, what with a 197cc Villiers two-stroke engine putting out a masive 9 horses, but a head-on wind was often a challenge too far. Anyway, I am distracting myself. One particular foggy night I climbed into the thing, armed with my camera which (I can no long remember  for sure) was either a Voigtlander Vito B or an Exakta, determined to get some foggy atmospherics of the Clyde waterside... right, night, Glasgow south-side, Gorbals but a stone-throw away - I didnīt get anything at all because within a couple of minutes I was off in a cloud of characteristic two-stroke exhaust. Chicken? damn right.

But back to the Bond: I eventually gave up and went back to a bicycle.

Ciao - Rob C
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idenford
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« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2007, 08:35:41 PM »
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I love to read the stories on What's new in Luminous Landscapes, plus I buy the videos and read all the educational posts.
But I have to tell you that I think James Russell's work and his comments on his website are about the most narcissistic I have observed and read recently.
Anybody who starts out bragging about his platinum or black american express card to me is about the most tasteless comment you can make imo.
Now I recognize that I am a relatively new photographer and probably know a microcosm of how to shoot a good commercial photo for a multi million dollar client, but his models look awful for the most part, way too thin and the tone of the shots makes them look even worse to me.
But most importantly, for me, I look at his photos and it's about how clever he has made them look, rather than not noticing who took the shot. For me a great photo is one where I am not thinking about the photographer, I am engaged in the image and the photographer has made me forget he/she was there.
I never feel the presence of the photographer when I look at Michael Reichmann's shots, he takes me someplace and I forget he was there. To me that is genius and art.
It's like good fiction, you forget you are reading a made up story and are transported into a world that exists in the author's mind, but involved a reader as well, rather than, "look at my creative use of language here, aren't I clever"?
My apologies if I offended anyone as I am not in the earnings or experience stratosphere of James Russell and my never be, but I never want to shoot like that thanks nor look at anymore of his stuff or read his opinions.
I'll skip the Leica and save for The top of the line Canon Mark lll ds
« Last Edit: December 24, 2007, 08:36:29 PM by idenford » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #32 on: December 25, 2007, 05:36:05 AM »
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idenford

I think you are entitled to your opinion, as we all are, but I do think you are missing one or two tricks.

In business, the appearance of success is almost as important as the substance of success; much of the time you are selling to, and dealing with, people who neither appreciate your skills nor really understand what you are doing. The website is for clients, not other photographers, and the more status symbolism you can introduce the better; for a start, your client will not expect a cheap job...

Your remarks about the models strike me as more about yourself than the work; look at any agentīs website and all the fashion guys are pushing a common style of visual look - only the names are different. This is cyclical, in some ways, and illustrates how insular is the world of fashion photography AND its clients. You need only look at work from different periods to see how similar it always is within its time-frame - the look of the day is what makes the whole thing tick.

That is also one of the reasons why many fashion people find themselves moving on to other lines of photography after about ten years (if they are lucky) because they no longer fit the īnowīof the thing.

Whether or not one particular guy rings your chimes is always going to be a personal opinion - in mine, few American photographers manage to do so because, compared with their European counterparts, I feel they over-produce what they do. That said, I do feel the same is slowly happening in Europe too, with the unique, personal approach of the 60s, 70s and even 80s photographers being eroded and diluted by the ever-growing input of the TEAM. There was a time which I remember fondly, when you took a girl and went out into the street with her; she could and did do her own hair and make-up, the pictures belonged to both of you. Now, who is the creator?  I remember hearing the late Helmut Newton make this same point: he remarked that in his prime they used to let you out onto the streets of Paris like mad dogs; you did what you did. Now, he said, it is all different, everything has become a production, everything is such a big deal, there is so much cost involved...

Iīm glad I had my time when I had my time.

But you still have to understand the ethos of the moment.

Ciao and Merry Christmas

Rob C
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idenford
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« Reply #33 on: December 25, 2007, 09:16:45 PM »
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idenford

I think you are entitled to your opinion, as we all are, but I do think you are missing one or two tricks.

In business, the appearance of success is almost as important as the substance of success; much of the time you are selling to, and dealing with, people who neither appreciate your skills nor really understand what you are doing. The website is for clients, not other photographers, and the more status symbolism you can introduce the better; for a start, your client will not expect a cheap job...

Your remarks about the models strike me as more about yourself than the work; look at any agentīs website and all the fashion guys are pushing a common style of visual look - only the names are different. This is cyclical, in some ways, and illustrates how insular is the world of fashion photography AND its clients. You need only look at work from different periods to see how similar it always is within its time-frame - the look of the day is what makes the whole thing tick.

That is also one of the reasons why many fashion people find themselves moving on to other lines of photography after about ten years (if they are lucky) because they no longer fit the īnowīof the thing.

Whether or not one particular guy rings your chimes is always going to be a personal opinion - in mine, few American photographers manage to do so because, compared with their European counterparts, I feel they over-produce what they do. That said, I do feel the same is slowly happening in Europe too, with the unique, personal approach of the 60s, 70s and even 80s photographers being eroded and diluted by the ever-growing input of the TEAM. There was a time which I remember fondly, when you took a girl and went out into the street with her; she could and did do her own hair and make-up, the pictures belonged to both of you. Now, who is the creator?  I remember hearing the late Helmut Newton make this same point: he remarked that in his prime they used to let you out onto the streets of Paris like mad dogs; you did what you did. Now, he said, it is all different, everything has become a production, everything is such a big deal, there is so much cost involved...

Iīm glad I had my time when I had my time.

But you still have to understand the ethos of the moment.

Ciao and Merry Christmas

Rob C
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thanks for the feedback, I was not being mean spirited in any way, the guy clearly is talented and knows his craft, I just dislike what he does and the whole nine yards about the credit card and everything. I think in art understatement is more appealing as in business. But Mcdonalds is not understated nor is Burger kIng. They are right in your face with their product.
If money is the motivator, you gotta do what the market wants.
I think you can learn from stuff you don't like and I always try to look at something and see what the artist is trying to do, as I said, I feel in his case his work is more about him and less about  the story he is trying to express in his shots.
But I know many respect him, he does not speak to me, just like people who love Motorhead are most likely not going to be fans of Celine Dion.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 07:54:26 AM by idenford » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2007, 12:09:48 PM »
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idenford

Well, as you appreciated, the site is ALL about busines and I canīt think of any way you can sell your services in a business where first visual impressions are so important and patience not a known trait, without being in-your-face, as it were. Also, part of success is being able to have a signature style; that, of course, is ever more difficult to achieve now that PS experts are also having an input and THEIR eyes are not unsullied by references to their own competitors... oh those simple, honest days of the 60s, where what you saw in a print was usually what had been there in the first place!

I should also have mentioned, in my earlier post, that another aspect of making a big show of your busines is that when people have to spend huge sums of money on a campaign, they need to be sure that the bloke being entrusted with the work isnīt going to desert or run off with product or advances and leave them in a mess!

So yes, the more positive something looks, the better the feeling a client will get.

He might well end up getting a lousy job, but thatīs something which can happen to any photographer, regardles of reputation, photography being the unpredictable bitch that it is!

Ciao - Rob C
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melgross
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« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2007, 02:39:28 PM »
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Now, we seem to be getting to the differences between photography as art, or as work for hire.

When I started out, in 1969, all of 19 years old, ad photography, except for a few such as Stern and Avedon, was just pictures, ephemeral and often thrown away after they weren't needed any more, except for the Black Book.

Later, we began to see ad work as art. Now, sometimes, it's difficult to see the product in some ad photography, esp. when it's fashion.

Things have come a long way from the style of just showing the product. A long road from Stern.

Now, every photographer must have a distinctive style, and not just know the technicalities of the craft. This leads to some poor, but distinctive work.

It's the way of the world.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 02:39:59 PM by melgross » Logged
idenford
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« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2007, 03:23:23 PM »
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Must be my wife rubbing off on me a bit. She was brought up in the Uk just toward the end of the war and it was socialism central for years.
I was the in your face person when I went to sell her books for a television series and now we have two, one of which airs on CITY TV and UKTV in the new year.
So yeah, none of that would have happened without me being in somebody's face and pushing like hell.
But . . . .  you guys are giving me a great lesson and great feedback on this. It's not going to change my mind about my opinion, but it is interesting to hear a response to my feelings about JR's work. Clearly there is a formula for success here, but I had the impression that not all his stuff was about ad work.
thanks
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picnic
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« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2007, 03:59:37 PM »
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Must be my wife rubbing off on me a bit. She was brought up in the Uk just toward the end of the war and it was socialism central for years.
I was the in your face person when I went to sell her books for a television series and now we have two, one of which airs on CITY TV and UKTV in the new year.
So yeah, none of that would have happened without me being in somebody's face and pushing like hell.
But . . . .  you guys are giving me a great lesson and great feedback on this. It's not going to change my mind about my opinion, but it is interesting to hear a response to my feelings about JR's work. Clearly there is a formula for success here, but I had the impression that not all his stuff was about ad work.
thanks
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I feel as though I must have missed something.  I read James' D3 review (where he pulled out his Amex card 3x to buy it--same card this lowly shooter has) and I read the Leica M8 article and I've yet to see where he flaunted anything about his status (i.e., gold and black Visas??)---but yes, its obvious he does well LOL.

I've visited his site many times over a number of years.  I'm not into fashion photography particularly, but still look at his (and others) work.  I'm more drawn to his sports images--and others.  

I actually felt that James was telling it like it was--he had his own issues with the M8--but still loved it.  I sort of saw it as a little love letter to Leica (and I don't own one, just wish I did).  I've missed his wit and knowledge (and others--from the RG forum and here) and enjoyed both very personal reviews of gear that he enjoys using.  Neither are in my future--that doesn't make me enjoy less his and others pleasure with these wonderful tools.  

I still wonder if I missed something LOL.

Diane
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Rob C
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« Reply #38 on: December 27, 2007, 03:28:38 AM »
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melgross

You started in ī69 and I started in ī60 with my own little show kicking off in ī66. So yes, we both are a little long in the tooth!

Having said that, I think you missed a little bit of history when you figured photography as art in ads started so late: have you no memory of the American car ads? Those beautiful shots from the 50s, and even the 60s were really great art in themselves. The cars were also works of art (in the States and perhaps in Italy for the expensive post-war ones) which is no longer the case, in my view. Further, the LP covers of the 50s were pretty interesting too, doing a hell of a lot to sell the square format! Stern was/is a great photographer in his own right, but no photographer in advertising is truly free any more - itīs back to this bloody TEAM thing that has turned fashion into what it is, something that doesnīt reflect the tight photographer/model relationship but merely represents what passes for some sort of trade consensus of what fashion photography is about, no, what fashion photography is.

It would be interesting to hear some feedback from the photographer about whose work/camera experience this thread is a result. Perhaps he doesnīt see any of this comment reflected in his life.

Sometimes the internet makes you feel like a dog baying at the moon.

Ciao - Rob C
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Camdavidson
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« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2007, 07:09:49 AM »
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If interested, there are several other user reviews of the M8 that some may find interesting or helpful.

Uwe Review

Andy Biggs

Todd Korol

Online Photographer Blog

Zone Numerique

Bruno Stevens

Roger Richards

Reid Reviews (A paid site - many updates to the M8 review including lenses)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 06:13:37 AM by Camdavidson » Logged
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