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Author Topic: M9  (Read 7865 times)
fredjeang
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« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2010, 04:46:28 AM »
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Quote from: jackmacd
Ah Michael,
You should visit the Leica forum's reaction to your article, more than here.

How big are you enlarging your M9 images?
Said another way, I know you sell very large prints. How large are you willing to go with the M9?
Sure the P65+ is the max but for a much heavier load.

When you get the P65+ back, and have a choice of what to carry, how often will you take the heavier kit?
10% 50% what do you think?

Such reactions always happen, specially in communities. Remember the hostile reactions when Michael reviewed the Pentax K7 ?

I'm also a Pentax user and didn't buy the K7 because I came exactly to the same conclusions as Michael. Instead, I upgrade with
a KX,  cheap entry-level camera that actually delivers better pictures quality and is more fun to use...

Communities have no free minds (like football supporters), Michael has, and that is why I like and trust his reviews or comments in TLL.
I think he might have had good reasons to put online such a letter, and looking in Leica website recently, it didn't take too long to smell
something is wrong: when marketing department starts to sell golden M8, or the China's revolution model...
They may want to exploit their image for some Emirates clients, as you would buy a vintage Bordeaux wine for ten
thousand dollars. OK, they have the right to do it, they are the only ones who can do it, but it smells the beginning of a decadence.

Quite frankly, a debate about Leica's future in photography and for photographers seems to me more healthy than "diamonds M"
for rich collectors wifes. A little bit more of this marketing and we will see Leica gear in satin box with fois-gras and champagne.
It won't surprise me at all if it would happen soon or later. Seriously,

I hope Leica will take in considerations the points in Michael letter and will hear the voice of users in the benefit of all.

   
Fred.


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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2010, 08:59:35 AM »
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Theresa,

There are a lot of disadvantages to the SLR concept. In short:

The mirror needs a lot of space. This mean that wide angle lenses need to be inverted telephoto designs (to make place for mirrors), optically this design may not be optimal. Also, all the components like lens, mirror, view screen deflection prism on mirror and AF-sensor need to be perfectly aligned within a few microns to achieve optimal quality. This makes SLRs complex, heavy, hard to build and very sensitive to chock, With EVF you would have cameras that were:

- smaller
- more robust
- cheaper

Regarding lens performance, wide angles would probably be sharper but have more vignetting.

The other side of the equation: will an electronic viewfinder work in the dark?

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Theresa
I will probably never get a Leica.  I think it would be a great mistake to get rid of the rangefinder.  It is a brilliant concept that Leica brilliantly implemented.   I could see autofocus and liveview, even though I never used liveview.  I also think that when they replace the pentaprism in SLRs with evf it will be a great loss and a step down.  I see evfs as the equivalent of mp3s when compared to LPs or even CDs which are the rangefinders and SLRs of the camera world, dumbed down and implemented just because they can be and are cheaper.  It doesn't matter to the marketers whether something is worse, just as long as it can be sold with a higher profit.
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ctribble
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« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2010, 09:02:20 AM »
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Quote from: michael
I have been so pleased with the M9 that I have been using it extensively for the past few months. My P65+ was at the factory for a firmware upgrade, so I ended up using the M9 more than I might have otherwise.

Consequently, because I was using it for some types of shooting (landscape) for which I otherwise might have preferred to use an non-RF camera, some of its flaws and hassles shone a bit brighter than they might have otherwise. Also, a vacation is a good time to do some thinking about fundamentals.

Michael

Michael - thanks for the thoughtful article - my only cavil with it is that I have the feeling you're asking the M to be all cameras to all people - and in my experience that's not the way I'd want to go.

I've used Ms for a long time - and now have 2 M9 bodies with a range of lenses.  I also use 5 series Canons + zooms and longer lenses.  The Ms come out for travel, documentary, personal work.  The Canon's come out for theatre / music performance and some corporate work where I know I'm going to need flash or to have the flexibility of auto-most-things when I need it.  If I'm travelling light it's the M set up.  If I have a car or know that it's not going to be too long a walk when I'm hauling the Pelican, it's the Canons (and sometimes both).  As I don't work with assistants and don't have major studio commissions, that's enough of a system for me.  If I did the work that you do, I'd want large format + tilt and shift and all the rest of it - and that would mean a third system - not the remodelling of either the RF or SLR system.

What I'd really like to hear now, I suppose, is the field report you mentioned earlier on your experience of working with the M9.  I am interested to hear about how you get on with the Apo Telyt 135 (a lens I have and love using) and what your evaluation is of prints made from M9 files processed with LR3.

My two cents - and thanks for the stimulating discussion and the ever useful web site.

Best

Chris Tribble
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 09:03:15 AM by ctribble » Logged

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2010, 09:04:25 AM »
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Hi,

When asking for innovation we may keep in mind that Leica is not exactly flush with money. Would Leica have been a normal company they would probably not be around any more. Anyway they need to earn money.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: Mosccol
Great article Michael. I hope they listen...

A comparable story is that of the Merc S class in the 1990s: it became both incredibly over-engineered and obsolete at the same time and painted itself into an evolutionary corner just when Lexus and Infinity were becoming affordable alternatives.

For those who don't remember each new Merc was longer and heavier than the previous one - to the point where they had to use titanium chair frames to lighten the load! The 1991 model (the W140) really bombed because it was becoming irrelevant even to the rarefied market for very large luxury cars. This near-death experience resulted in the car being totally redesigned, coming up with a lighter, shorter, faster more reliable car in 1997 (the W220) that was actually larger inside. In other words evolution had reached a dead-end and the engineers had started another branch of the family tree...

You can see the parallels: Kodak can sell sensors to other people, the Leica M lenses are widely available in all sorts of mounts, etc. Having seen the ability for, say, Sony to break into the very competitive 'proper' SLR market, it is only a matter of time before somebody goes after Leica's lunch.

François

(with apologies for the many mixed metaphors!)
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michael
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« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2010, 09:38:07 AM »
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Quote from: ctribble
What I'd really like to hear now, I suppose, is the field report you mentioned earlier on your experience of working with the M9.  I am interested to hear about how you get on with the Apo Telyt 135 (a lens I have and love using) and what your evaluation is of prints made from M9 files processed with LR3.

Chris,

Depending on my time over the next few weeks I may write something about using the M9 in La Gomera. As for the 135mm APO Telyt, it's a stunning lens. I haven't used it enough to have more than superficial experience, but every shot with it has been satisfying. My real issue is that 135mm is just too long for a rangefinder. With more than 40 years of M Leica use, I have never used a 135mm prior to this, and can't say that it's a happy combo. But for travel, when a reach longer than 90mm is needed, the lens delivers. The 1.4X viewfinder magnifier is a must though for accurate focusing.

As for overall M9 image quality, it's everything that one could want. The closest thing to medium format that I've yet seen from 35mm. Canon, Sony and Nikon full frame cameras offer somewhat higher pixel count, and certainly lower high ISO noise, but not better overall image quality. And of course in terms of size, weight, and lens quality the Leica simply shines.

Doing some printing of shots from La Gomera this past week, I have found myself able to make 20X24" prints with IQ that stands up to visiting photographers pressing their noses against the glass.

Lightroom 3 Beta does a very fine job on M9 files. So does Capture One 5.x, and I haven't decided which is better from an IQ perspective.

Michael
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 09:39:46 AM by michael » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2010, 10:51:11 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
There are a lot of disadvantages to the SLR concept. ...
... all the components like lens, mirror, view screen deflection prism on mirror and AF-sensor need to be perfectly aligned within a few microns to achieve optimal quality.
Agreed, and I will add that rangefinder focusing systems have the same or greater critical alignment problems. "Direct from sensor" focusing and composition tools (like EVFs) will almost surely become the most precise, compact and efficient approach in time.

Another disadvantage of SLR VF's: the secondary image off the frosted glass/plastic has far lower resolution than the lens or sensor delivers, whereas direct from sensor VFs can potentially show full resolution (and already do when used with magnification modes.)

Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Regarding lens performance, wide angles would probably be sharper but have more vignetting.
There is no sense in which "non-SLR" lenses need suffer more vignetting or any other optical quality disadvantage, since one design option is to use exactly the same optical designs as in an SLR lens. Any optical performance disadvantage would only be a design choice for the sake of cost and/or size advantages, as with many current Micro Four Thirds lenses.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2010, 11:43:52 AM »
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Hi,

You are slightly wrong on this issue, IMHO. Inverted telephoto designs have an advantage regarding vignetting but tend to have significant problems with corner sharpness. So I guess that more symmetric design would be chosen for wide angles, which have the disadvantage of light fall off in the corners. Many extreme wide angles for for mirror less designs require a center spot ND filter for that reason.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: BJL
There is no sense in which "non-SLR" lenses need suffer more vignetting or any other optical quality disadvantage, since one design option is to use exactly the same optical designs as in an SLR lens. Any optical performance disadvantage would only be a design choice for the sake of cost and/or size advantages, as with many current Micro Four Thirds lenses.
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hankg
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« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2010, 06:02:27 PM »
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I think the M should remain an optical RF camera perhaps with more accurate LED frames. The body shape is clean and compact and I would not mess with it much.

I think Leica should focus it's development of a truly modern reportage camera on the X platform. Something lighter, smaller, cheaper and not constrained by the M's legacy and customer base. A specialized camera for wide to normal fast lenses geared to discreet documentary photography. A Barnack camera for the 21st century.
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LKaven
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« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2010, 03:12:06 AM »
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I see a city somewhere not too far in the distance.  It has an optical viewfinder at full sensor resolution, and 60+ frames per second.  And if it can do this, with some additions, it is a movie camera at full sensor resolution.  No doubt this is the same city Red sees.  Many roads lead there.  

My question is this.  How much resolution does an EVF need to have and at what frame rate in order to qualify for critical users of traditional Leica rangefinders?
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BJL
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« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2010, 10:01:52 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Inverted telephoto designs have an advantage regarding vignetting but tend to have significant problems with corner sharpness.
Erik,  you have missed my main point: those inverse telephoto designs can still be used with mirrorless systems, if advantages like less vignetting are important enough. To repeat: removing the SLR mirror box only adds some lens design options, it does not take any away.

Them again, a small amount of vignetting is easily correctable with digital photography, whereas corner sharpness problems are not, so I would bet on a dominance of lenses designs that sacrifice a little vignetting if it leads to improved corner to corner image quality in other respects.
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ctribble
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« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2010, 01:07:42 PM »
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Quote from: michael
As for overall M9 image quality, it's everything that one could want. The closest thing to medium format that I've yet seen from 35mm. Canon, Sony and Nikon full frame cameras offer somewhat higher pixel count, and certainly lower high ISO noise, but not better overall image quality. And of course in terms of size, weight, and lens quality the Leica simply shines.

Doing some printing of shots from La Gomera this past week, I have found myself able to make 20X24" prints with IQ that stands up to visiting photographers pressing their noses against the glass.

Lightroom 3 Beta does a very fine job on M9 files. So does Capture One 5.x, and I haven't decided which is better from an IQ perspective.

Michael

Michael - thanks for the comments - your experience confirms mine - both in terms of the 135 (great to have but tough to work with on a range finder) and also the IQ from the M9.  In the end (for me) it's this combination of small size + fully acceptable IQ + the range of glass available that makes the M9 such a worthwhile tool.

I look forward to reading the essay if you have time - and regret that London UK's a long way from Toronto, so I can't come and press my nose against the glass.

Thanks for the stimulating piece - I may not agree with it, but I like being made to go back and think about fundamentals.  More power to you and your projects!

Best

C:
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Chris Tribble
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« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2010, 03:07:10 PM »
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Hi!

Yes, you are right on the issue. In my view the present SLR systems are anachronistic in a sense. The major issue I see with EVF that hey may not work in the dark.

Another reflection I have is that once when looking in the finder on my DSLR I couldn't say if what I saw was a bull or a boulder, so I took a picture with AF and enlarged the view so I saw it was a deer with a fine rack. That much for manual focus!

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: BJL
Erik,  you have missed my main point: those inverse telephoto designs can still be used with mirrorless systems, if advantages like less vignetting are important enough. To repeat: removing the SLR mirror box only adds some lens design options, it does not take any away.

Them again, a small amount of vignetting is easily correctable with digital photography, whereas corner sharpness problems are not, so I would bet on a dominance of lenses designs that sacrifice a little vignetting if it leads to improved corner to corner image quality in other respects.
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shellyg
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« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2010, 01:17:19 PM »
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Quote from: LKaven
:
:
:  

My question is this.  How much resolution does an EVF need to have and at what frame rate in order to qualify for critical users of traditional Leica rangefinders?


An EVF that matches the resolution of the human eye in full color for an 1:1 magnification with 50 mm lens should have about 5.5 mega-pixels.
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Jim D T
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« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2010, 04:17:06 PM »
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A comment about the idea of replacing RF with a "focus confirmation" feature. To implement this, it would be necessary to keep the shutter open prior to the shot so that the sensor can 'see' and evaluate the image projected by the lens. Then, when the user presses the shutter release, the shutter would have to close, then re-open for the 1/250 of a second (or whatever) during which the image is captured. The result: a delay of a few tenths of a second while all this mechanical stuff takes place.

IMHO, one of the most appealing features of the film Leicas that I have used has been their remarkably quick reflexes. With a leica, you have a fighting chance of capturing 'the decisive moment', not 'a moment after the decisive moment'. This has been especially important in portraiture or stage photography when you can pre-focus, then watch your subject carefully to capture a telling gesture or fleeting facial expression. My concern would be that implementing a system that uses the sensor to determine/confirm focus would result in a slowness of response that would undo a core leica virtue!

For me, one of the most disappointing things about P&S cameras has been the palpable delay between pressing the shutter release and getting the shot! I haven't had the opportunity to work with a 'state of the art' EVF camera like the Pansonic GF1 or GH1. Can anyone comment on how well these cameras work when 'the decisive moment' is critical?
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2010, 06:40:08 AM »
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Quote from: Jim D T
....... To implement this, it would be necessary to keep the shutter open prior to the shot so that the sensor can 'see' and evaluate the image projected by the lens. Then, when the user presses the shutter release, the shutter would have to close, then re-open for the 1/250 of a second (or whatever) during which the image is captured. The result: a delay of a few tenths of a second while all this mechanical stuff takes place. .......

Though the idea looks valid on the first sight, I can't imagine how a shutter which is able to perform exposure times of 1/250 flash syncronization should use tenths of seconds for such an operation. I'd like to hear an engineers voice about this.

A personal reaction time of 1/10 of a second is usually pretty good.
Which anticipation from watching a scene maybe less.

I also wonder if the sensor would really need a fully open aperture for such a feature - maybe someone can answer this.

Thank you
~Chris
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DavidP
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« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2010, 01:11:45 AM »
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I guess it would really be a niche item, but I bet they could make a really great black and white only version of the M9. Like that special phase one back that is available. no bayer filter higher base ISO. would probably produce really beautiful grayscale files. That would fit in with the classic black and white look that you think of with the Leica. I guess it would be extra expensive and most people could not justify the expense. I like the idea though.
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