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Author Topic: The M9 for landscape  (Read 18976 times)
eleanorbrown
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« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2010, 09:18:59 AM »
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My main landscape camera has been, for years, Phase One backs (currently the P60+) on an H2 body.  I'd never even held a Leica (save for my dad's old early 40's original Leica which recorded all of my childhood!).  Thanks to all the M9 reviews, especially Michael's, I bought M9 with the 35 and 75 cron asph lenses.  In short, the M9 and Leica glass is astonishing for landscape (yes hand held) and for most other things.  I carry it with me a lot as it is inconspicuous....I recently did a series on window reflections here in Houston and the Leica glass on this series has a wonderful quality.  On landscapes, the Leica glass coupled with no AA filter has to be seen to be believed.  eleanor
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2010, 11:18:26 AM »
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Eleanor,

Thanks for sharing! Nice that Leica "hit home run" with a new digital camera!

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: eleanorbrown
My main landscape camera has been, for years, Phase One backs (currently the P60+) on an H2 body.  I'd never even held a Leica (save for my dad's old early 40's original Leica which recorded all of my childhood!).  Thanks to all the M9 reviews, especially Michael's, I bought M9 with the 35 and 75 cron asph lenses.  In short, the M9 and Leica glass is astonishing for landscape (yes hand held) and for most other things.  I carry it with me a lot as it is inconspicuous....I recently did a series on window reflections here in Houston and the Leica glass on this series has a wonderful quality.  On landscapes, the Leica glass coupled with no AA filter has to be seen to be believed.  eleanor
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ndevlin
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« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2010, 03:38:38 PM »
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I, too, shoot Leica for landscape, and can confirm that it is both wonderful and a total pain in the ass.

On the wonderful side, it's a real camera and feels that way in the hand (not a plastic p-o-s), is far more compact, and produces stunning images.  I feel that there is a noticeable difference in quality between the M9 and the 5D2.  It's a *qualitative* difference - the images have their own visual signature to them, which I prefer. They are much sharper at wide apertures and at frame-edges. This is especially true with wide angle lenses. The Leica lenses are awesome, the Canon lenses suck at the edges and corners. The AA-less CCD chip produces lovely images - especially at low ISOs.

Put it this way: I would use the Leica for serious landscape photography, but not the Canons (if I'm doing dslr, then it's MF-or-bust for serious landscape). The overall micro-detail and quality of the image on the Leica is finer, with none of that annoying, plasticky feel the Canons often deliver (probably due to the AA filter and the internal noise processing).  I can't comment on the D3x personally, but if you're going to carry that kind of weight, might as well go MF.

On the pain-in-the-ass side, it's irritating to have to change lenses all the time, and the framelines are awfully inaccurate. This means shooting, chimping, move the camera slightly, reshooting, re-chimping, etc.  That's just the price of using a RF.

Overall, I love the Leica for this kind of work, but it's horses-for-courses.

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
tnargs
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« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2010, 07:47:20 PM »
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Again I say, show me the prints, and without telling me which is which first. I agree with Rob, "folks tend to see what they want to see, especially when they have spent a lot of money".

Ken 'RealRaw' Rockwell has a lot of good photo and camera knowledge, and a great philosophy of "I'm only raving on about equipment because my customer base expects it" (my words), but as an authority his weakness is that he has a tendency to greatly exaggerate differences.

As a landscape photographer you take your 18MP 550D and put it on your tripod (after admiring the sun, the butterflies and the great scenery), attach your used $300 Canon prime lens (not even an 'L'), shoot at an aperture and ISO that flatters the lens and camera because you want a great photo and that's why you are standing there anyway not to conduct some extreme camera test, use just the right amount of USM to counter the AA filter, make a good sized (not crazy) print using all your considerable skill. Even the corners are great because the FF lens is coasting on an APS sensor, and you stopped it down for the shot, remember?

Now tote out your equivalent (heavier, slower-lensed, but only slightly so) 18MP M9 kit and do the same. Hand the two prints to your friends without telling which is which and watch them squint.  
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James R
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« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2010, 09:53:39 PM »
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Quote from: tnargs
Again I say, show me the prints, and without telling me which is which first. I agree with Rob, "folks tend to see what they want to see, especially when they have spent a lot of money".

Ken 'RealRaw' Rockwell has a lot of good photo and camera knowledge, and a great philosophy of "I'm only raving on about equipment because my customer base expects it" (my words), but as an authority his weakness is that he has a tendency to greatly exaggerate differences.

As a landscape photographer you take your 18MP 550D and put it on your tripod (after admiring the sun, the butterflies and the great scenery), attach your used $300 Canon prime lens (not even an 'L'), shoot at an aperture and ISO that flatters the lens and camera because you want a great photo and that's why you are standing there anyway not to conduct some extreme camera test, use just the right amount of USM to counter the AA filter, make a good sized (not crazy) print using all your considerable skill. Even the corners are great because the FF lens is coasting on an APS sensor, and you stopped it down for the shot, remember?

Now tote out your equivalent (heavier, slower-lensed, but only slightly so) 18MP M9 kit and do the same. Hand the two prints to your friends without telling which is which and watch them squint.  

I'm selling my M9 for a 550d and non-L glass.  You convinced me, I'm just not sure of what!  Maybe understanding the great photographic philosopher Ken Rockwell will provide the insight.  Maybe people see what they want to see regardless of the price of the gear.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2010, 03:11:13 AM »
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This is a more or less pointless debate, even thoug it is fun  

Of course if you have the money, and like using a rangefinder, the M9 is a great camera, and the Leica lenses are arguably amongst the best there is. However, when thinking about landscape, I suppose the regular "rules" apply: you need a solid tripod and head, a bunch of filters, and so on. Once you factor that in, than the "reduced weight" advantage of the M9 system is less obvious?

The "M9 landscape testimonials" are based around hand held landscape photography, or using a monopod. I think that is a bit of a loose definition of landscape photography. Again, if you have deep pockets, the M9 is a great camera, but I would say that the type of landscape photography you can do with it is a bit limited (filters, tilt and shift lenses?).
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aaron
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« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2010, 07:56:15 AM »
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Why is it that when photographers comment on Phase & Hassy MFD backs when used for landscape, the conversation turns to how annoying it is to not have Live View, to not have more auto focus points, to not have better high ISO, to not have better long exposure etc.. ... ...

But when discussing the use of an M9 all those things don't apply,  Huh? I don't get it.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2010, 08:06:32 AM »
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Quote from: aaron
Why is it that when photographers comment on Phase & Hassy MFD backs when used for landscape, the conversation turns to how annoying it is to not have Live View, to not have more auto focus points, to not have better high ISO, to not have better long exposure etc.. ... ...

But when discussing the use of an M9 all those things don't apply,  Huh? I don't get it.
Because the Leica does not have all these technolgy facilties but it is minimalist.
Backs does not have those either, but they are not minimalists. On the contrary.

That's my intuition about why is like that.
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Rob C
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« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2010, 08:38:28 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Because the Leica does not have all these technolgy facilties but it is minimalist.
Backs does not have those either, but they are not minimalists. On the contrary.

That's my intuition about why is like that.



Also, if you are into the LF ethic you look at things from a different mental perspective. There is no concern with speed, auto this or auto that: it is about ultimate control and everything being just so. And that is wonderful.

However, I suspect that people using anything else are all taking short cuts, myself included on the rare occassions when I venture into the world of landscape. I think the division between men and boys happens before the bag is loaded - I think it's there in the attitude towards the work. Okay, a small camera might let you into places a large one would prohibit, but then perhaps it isn't worth doing the shot anyway if it's going to be a compromise.

And that's one of the major problems with photography: there are so many opportunities for compromise and I think that when you are working for yourself, that's the very time you should never compromise. What's the point if you are the client, and there is no external pressure, for you to do other than the very best? It's yourself you are ripping off.

Everything has its best solution - most of us know what that is, but how often do we betray ourselves?

Rob C
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ndevlin
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« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2010, 08:40:01 AM »
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This whole discussion is premised on money not being an issue.  If it is, then get the best camera you can afford, and enjoy! The differences are scant for the price.  But if money isn't particularly an issue, then get a camera you love, because you will use it more.

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
feppe
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« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2010, 09:05:56 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Because the Leica does not have all these technolgy facilties but it is minimalist.
Backs does not have those either, but they are not minimalists. On the contrary.

That's my intuition about why is like that.

I give credit to Leica: it takes big balls to sell a camera with a lackluster feature set as a "minimalist" camera. Even bigger ones to charge several times as much for it as the competition. At least the images have magical qualities, and unicorns recite sonnets praising your photographic abilities when you press the oh-so-quiet shutter.

MFDBs are being laughed at due to their lack of features, but you get megapixels, bigger sensor and slightly more DR; with M9 you pay a premium for a camera which lacks many features which have been in 200 EUR point & shoots for years, and has only slight edge in some areas of IQ compared to cameras with similar weight from Canon and Nikon.

It does come with a red dot, though.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 09:06:31 AM by feppe » Logged

James R
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« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2010, 10:38:18 AM »
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Quote from: ndevlin
This whole discussion is premised on money not being an issue.  If it is, then get the best camera you can afford, and enjoy! The differences are scant for the price.  But if money isn't particularly an issue, then get a camera you love, because you will use it more.

- N.

The whole discussion was not about money.  Fred stated, "Also, and I don't know if it is because of the lack of AA filter, the Leica glasses, but I found the M9 files (that I had the chance to explore some months ago) nothing less than the best 35mm IQ available today."  To Fred it is about the captured image.  Mentioning money is about as enlightening as entering a discussion about P&S cameras and toting the advantages of a 1d4--it's off topic.  For some reason, when Leica is mentioned, people complain about its cost.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2010, 10:50:05 AM »
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I can understand why many people are looking at Leica with a sort of reservation.
It just looks like an old machinery that has just the red dot as a sale argument, comparing to today's products.
Then, the check bill hurts, not as much as MF but it does.

Some time ago, I would have written "against" Leica, but I've been learning to understand why it is very special,
I've been learning to respect it. I may not want to buy it when it comes to be reasonable, wich is my case today,
but indeed, I can understand why so much top photographers are enjoying it.

Talking about price when we talk about Leica is like talking about price when talk about Ferrari.
There is an Audi sport that is as performant and much cheaper, but...
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2010, 11:12:05 AM »
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Quote from: pbizarro
The "M9 landscape testimonials" are based around hand held landscape photography, or using a monopod. I think that is a bit of a loose definition of landscape photography. Again, if you have deep pockets, the M9 is a great camera, but I would say that the type of landscape photography you can do with it is a bit limited (filters, tilt and shift lenses?).


There is also a tendency to an even tighter definition of landscape photography that is based on always using a tripod etc etc to maximise resolution or 'image quality'. It's absolutely the case that my 35mm rangefinders never get used on a tripod - occasionally a monopod stick, but never a tripod. My dslr does get used on a tripod as does the MF RF, though they both also get used handheld.

Horses for courses, but it's all about making pictures

Mike
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2010, 12:16:38 PM »
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We all know that all equipment has trade offs and compromises...yes the M9 only has 18 megapixels but it's a camera that I am able to take many many places that would be difficult for me to take my medium format, even with the Med. format's smallest lens, the 80mm prime.  I can get landscape shots with the Leica that I otherwise wouldn't get with a larger heavier set up.  Last spring I took both systems to Capitol Reef, Utah and never pulled my medium format out of the bag.  Handheld the Leica and the files are bitingly sharp.  Nothing is ideal for all situations.  Eleanor
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Don Libby
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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2010, 01:36:54 PM »
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Eleanor and I are in very much the same boat just using slightly different oars as she uses her P60 with a AFD type camera while I use my P45+ on a technical camera.  I believe Eleanor could "get by" without a rock solid tripod on a long hike however I need it any time I want to take a shoot with my Cambo WRS as it just isn't suitable for handheld photography.  

Working in the Southwest as I do there's still plenty of opportunities to take shoots in out of the way places by traveling on roads or trails requiring high clearance (sometime 4x4) vehicles where I can walk within several hundred yards with my Cambo/P45+ (and a tripod that literally weights more than the camera setup itself).  However that's not always the case and that's where a camera such as a M9 shines.

I did a 7 mile hike in the Chiricahuas where the elevation change was several hundred feet in less than 1/2 mile, sometimes over steep rocks; and lets not forget about the weather.  Any time I shoot in the Southwest I need to be aware of my water supply and while in the jeep carrying and extra gallon or two isn't noticeable try carrying just one-gallon on a hike.  One-gallon of water weighs close to 8.25 pounds (one-gallon equals 3.78 liters and 8.25 pounds weighs close to 3.74 kg).

Anytime I can capture images that are close to what I expect to capture from my P45+ and can carry all my lenses as well as a monopod, water and other items that might be needed for emergencies and still be less weight than if I had my Cambo/P45+ I'll do it in a heart beat.  The fact that my M9 and 3 lenses weigh less than another system I've used hasn't escaped my attention.

(My M9 and 3-lens along with an extra battery all fit in a very small case while the Cambo/P45+ along with 3-lens and extra batteries and cable releases require a regular backpack, not to mention a method of carrying the tripod.  All this and we haven't even gotten to the basic necessities such as water, GPS, sat-phone, and food)

I'll admit I was put off at first that the M9 was "only" 18 megapixels till I started comparing files sizes to other cameras that we own and use.

Phase One P45+ average file size: 42.544kb
Leica M9 average file size: 35,580kb
Canon 1DsIII average file size: 24,202kb
Canon 1DsII average file size: 16,531kb

I've used the M9 handheld, on a monopod and on my primary tripod and in each case the image file is stunning.  Is it better than medium format? No.  Do I like it better than the files the 1DsIII produce?  Yes.  Again the answers depend on how exact the captures were taken.

Is the M9 for everyone?  No, just like a P60 or P45 isn't.  I further agree with Eleanor in that there isn't an ideal camera for all situations and probably never will.

I'll continue to use the M9 until I can afford to hire a sherpa to carry all my medium format gear on these long hikes.

I don't think I've drank the Leica Kool-Aid more than I've found a set of tools that fit my needs and requirements; I'll change one or the other as my requirements change.

Don
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2010, 04:31:33 PM »
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Quote from: Don Libby
I did a 7 mile hike in the Chiricahuas where the elevation change was several hundred feet in less than 1/2 mile, sometimes over steep rocks; and lets not forget about the weather.  Any time I shoot in the Southwest I need to be aware of my water supply and while in the jeep carrying and extra gallon or two isn't noticeable try carrying just one-gallon on a hike.  One-gallon of water weighs close to 8.25 pounds (one-gallon equals 3.78 liters and 8.25 pounds weighs close to 3.74 kg).

...

Don


It's a good job you're not in the UK. Here a gallon of water is 4.54 litres and weighs 10lbs!

Useful comments about your experience of the Leica files, although the size difference may just be the canon's lossless compression.

Mike
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tom b
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« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2010, 07:58:50 PM »
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At present the Leica M9 is the smallest FF 35mm camera available. It has great lenses and image quality. It has no mirror and has excellent build quality. I can see why it would make a great landscape camera.

The Leica doesn't have lens stabilisation, dust control or autofocus. It also costs a lot of money. I can see why other photographers dismiss it.

At work I have a 5D mk II with battery pack, 17-40, 24-70, and 70-200 lenses. I pick up the backpack and each time I do I realise that it's a nice kit but I wouldn't like to walk very far with it.

There is a gap in the camera line for a moderately priced small FF 35mm camera with good lenses, lens stabilisation, dust control or autofocus. The sooner a camera manufacturer fills that gap the better. Until then we will continue to have this conversation. Oh, and of course it will have to have some kind of viewfinder for us blind grumpy old men.

Cheers,

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tnargs
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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2010, 01:03:57 AM »
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Quote from: James R
I'm selling my M9 for a 550d and non-L glass.  You convinced me, ....

Hehehe    

I'm sure you didn't buy your M9 because of its price-performance ratio: who would? It is a stupendous piece of kit and highly desirable, and the fact that its IQ is mythologically boosted although doubtless very good indeed, is bordering on irrelevant.

My point is more that, looking only at the image quality of real life prints and the weight that has to be lugged around, which are the two primary points of the article, a 550D plus non-L full frame Canon primes probably competes *extremely* well, and if the IQ and weight of the M9 kit is what is tempting to the reader then a 550D/primes kit is a very serious option.

I mean, it would be a pity if high quality, excellent quality, landscape photography was only available to the wealthy.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2010, 03:09:57 AM »
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Quote from: tnargs
Hehehe    

I'm sure you didn't buy your M9 because of its price-performance ratio: who would? It is a stupendous piece of kit and highly desirable, and the fact that its IQ is mythologically boosted although doubtless very good indeed, is bordering on irrelevant.

My point is more that, looking only at the image quality of real life prints and the weight that has to be lugged around, which are the two primary points of the article, a 550D plus non-L full frame Canon primes probably competes *extremely* well, and if the IQ and weight of the M9 kit is what is tempting to the reader then a 550D/primes kit is a very serious option.

I mean, it would be a pity if high quality, excellent quality, landscape photography was only available to the wealthy.
The M9 is not targetting the same consumer that the 550D.

Of course there are fantastic cheap dslr today that coupled with primes can do the job very fine. The Canon is one, there are also some bargains in Nikon and Pentax.

First, you have to be able to buy one. Second, you have to need or want its particular design. An M serie will be smaller and lighter than the Canon.
Then, it targets a sort of purists or very demanding photographers in terms of lens quality.

The MFD users feel "at home" more than with any other dslr because of no AA filter and the image processor.

This is not comparable IMO to this 550 or any other camera.

Maybe the best bargains I can think today are the Canon 5DII and this Sony A850.
But some photographers are not looking, neither in need to find bargains but the very best device available to complish a specific task.


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