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Author Topic: Advice on Leica kit.  (Read 1956 times)
perreault
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« on: May 30, 2013, 08:30:14 PM »
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Hello, I need advice from Leica users.

A little background first. I am a passionate amateur photographer. I shoot mostly street photography and travel photography. I used to shoot with Nikon (D3s and D800 and a lot of good heavy lenses). I was getting tired of walking with 5 to 15 kg of kit in my bag so I got a Fuji X system (X-pro-1 and X-E1 with 14mm, 35mm and 18-55 zoom) and I love it for travel photos. I love the small size and weight of this system. I love the "slowness" and the "purposefulness" of the kind of photography I do with the Fuji.

I am tempted to replace both kits with a Leica (M9 or M-E) kit to get the full frame quality of the D800 and the small system factor of the Fuji X in one. I was at a Leica store in Montreal today and "played" with the M-E and was impressed.

What do you think? Did you make this kind of switch? Happy? Regrets? Do you think it is worth it to wait for the M-240 which is not in stock anywhere? I am not interested at all by the video and only marginally interested with the liveview factor of the M.

Any input will be appreciated. Thanks!

Yves
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TMARK
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 11:06:26 PM »
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To answer your question, the D800e and an M9 are, to me, complements to each other. The files are certainly very different.  The D800 is much more flexible but is heavy, as is any DSLR compared to an M.   The Fuji system is a nice compromise.

The D800 sensor is much better than the M9/M-E sensor at almost any iso, and I say this as someone who uses both.  The M9/M-E files look different, my guess is the lenses and the CCD make up the difference.  I tried out an M240 and thought the files look more like D800e files than M9 files, which is not a bad thing, and you can shoot at high iso, which is useful at times.  I'm keeping the D800e, M-9.  I will end up with an M240 in a year or so, but I don't see it as a D800e replacement.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 11:14:49 PM »
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If the budget is not an issue, the sensor in the new M is better than the ME, which has the old M9 sensor. This also lets you use R lenses, which might be valuable if you like moderately long lenses. Telephotos are really not great on a rangefinder.

I love rangefinder cameras, but they are not for everybody. There are limits to close focus. The rangefinder parallax and rangefinder focusing have caused frustrations. Zoom lenses are out.

If you are not deterred, there are plenty of folks that have Ms and are quite content with the system. You may want to think of keeping the X-Pro1 and a few lenses as a backup/second body.
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David Watson
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 01:19:30 AM »
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Hi

I have both the D800E and the M9.  Like you I am not that keen to rush into the new M.

Having had several different lens combinations on the M9 I now only use the 35mm F2.  It is my take everywhere camera for street shooting and I love the quality of the files it produces.  With this lens and with the kind of subjects I photograph in urban environments I have not had a problem with the focussing at all.

I do not use it for studio work, landscape, or social (weddings and events) photography.  My studio work is all done on MF film and digital.  The Nikon does my social photography and my occasional landscape work.  They are all useful but I love my little M9.
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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 08:30:43 AM »
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Hi

I have both the D800E and the M9.  Like you I am not that keen to rush into the new M.

Having had several different lens combinations on the M9 I now only use the 35mm F2.  It is my take everywhere camera for street shooting and I love the quality of the files it produces.  With this lens and with the kind of subjects I photograph in urban environments I have not had a problem with the focussing at all.

I do not use it for studio work, landscape, or social (weddings and events) photography.  My studio work is all done on MF film and digital.  The Nikon does my social photography and my occasional landscape work.  They are all useful but I love my little M9.

This is essentially what I've done.  I like the Mandler designed Canadian 28 Elmarit and 35 Summicron.  I do shoot portraits with the M9 and various 50mm lenses.  I like the look of the old uncoated Summitar, the version IV Summicron and the Zeiss 50 Planar.  The 800e is brilliant, but if I can I shoot the Leica.  Or 6x6 film.
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IceMan
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2013, 09:12:19 AM »
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Hi

I added an M9 to my D3 in 2009 and have both added a Leica M and a D800e since then.

It took me a long time to get used to the rangefinder focusing (I wear glasses), but boy has it changed the fun in photography (for me).

I would go for a Leica M. Only insignificantly more expensive but you get Live view and can therefore use your Nikon Lenses with a Novoflex adapter.

And the M is much easier to focus than the M9 - and I mean the rangefinder, not Live View. They did something to the rangefinder focusing mechanism and it's much easier and more precise (especially with the Noctilux wide open). As for the files, I like both M9 and M and in my humble view nothing beats these cameras for portraits (not kids) street or concert photography (security mistake it for a piece of junk, look at me with a pitiful gaze and let me in), creamy bokeh and laser sharp landscapes.

I still use the D800e occasionally for long exposures, Action (Children), wildlife and Macro, but I feel less emotion while doing so and it shows in my pictures. I may actually get rid of my D800e as I can now use all my Nikon lenses with the M (with Live View). I love my D3 though :-) it just feels right ... the D800 is just a bit too small for my hands

On the downside, the Leica M is heavier than the M9 and especially with the EVF, the difference to a D800 not that big anymore.

So in summary, yes go for it, but be prepared for a steep learning curve - especially with focusing. Something done much easier with the M than the M9.

As for the Fuji, I can't comment, never touched one.

Cheers


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JeanMichel
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 09:18:10 AM »
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Hi,
If you were at the Montreal store that I think you were at you would be dealing with a very knowledgeable Leica user and dealer. I live close to Toronto but purchased my M9 from Montreal.
I came to the M9 in a different route: in film days I primarily used Leica's (M3,4 and 6) and Hasselblads. Moving to digital I settled on a Canon 5d and then a 5d2 -- great cameras with fine optics available. I continue to use the 5d2 for my art documentation work and much of studio work. But I sorely missed working with my Leica's (well, I did but the intermediate step of developing scanning negs became a bit cumbersome). I stayed away from the M8 because of the smaller sensor and the need to use an IR filter on lenses. Using the M9 is basically identical to using film M's -- I  even have the screen turned off,only occasionally referring to it. I happen to have decades old Leica lenses and that is what I use, almost all my images are made with a 35 Summicron (neat to use a Canadian-made lens, with goggles so that I can see the frame with my glasses on).
That said, the M9 is not a replacement for an SLR system; perhaps the new M might be, but not the M9. I would keep your dSLRs until you were satisfied that they were of no use to you.
I have not used the Fuji X-pro, but if I did not have Leica lenses I would be very much drawn to it. See Michael Reichmann's review on this site.

Jean-Michel

Hello, I need advice from Leica users.

A little background first. I am a passionate amateur photographer. I shoot mostly street photography and travel photography. I used to shoot with Nikon (D3s and D800 and a lot of good heavy lenses). I was getting tired of walking with 5 to 15 kg of kit in my bag so I got a Fuji X system (X-pro-1 and X-E1 with 14mm, 35mm and 18-55 zoom) and I love it for travel photos. I love the small size and weight of this system. I love the "slowness" and the "purposefulness" of the kind of photography I do with the Fuji.

I am tempted to replace both kits with a Leica (M9 or M-E) kit to get the full frame quality of the D800 and the small system factor of the Fuji X in one. I was at a Leica store in Montreal today and "played" with the M-E and was impressed.

What do you think? Did you make this kind of switch? Happy? Regrets? Do you think it is worth it to wait for the M-240 which is not in stock anywhere? I am not interested at all by the video and only marginally interested with the liveview factor of the M.

Any input will be appreciated. Thanks!

Yves
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perreault
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 09:31:08 PM »
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Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer my questions. There is a lot of good info in your answers.

I am inclined to go with a used M9 and one or two lenses to see how I like it and when the M240 is more easily available maybe make the switch.

How are Zeiss M or Voightlander lenses compared to Leica lenses?

Yves
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hasselbladfan
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 11:23:30 AM »
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I am inclined to go with a used M9 and one or two lenses to see how I like it and when the M240 is more easily available maybe make the switch.

How are Zeiss M or Voightlander lenses compared to Leica lenses?

Yves,

A used M9 is a wise decision. History tells us that the cheap Leica versions (like a R-E), don't hold their value very well over the years. So, I guess it will be the same for the M-E. A M9 is becoming a (digital) classic, which will give you years of pleasure.

With the money you save vs a new M, buy yourself a great set of (used) Summicrons. I have the 28/35/50/75/90 and I love them all. The Zeiss lenses are very good also, but if you can afford some (used) Leica glass, they are great and hold their value foreever and ever.

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Telecaster
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 01:24:51 PM »
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The Zeiss & Voigtlàender M lenses give you some different optical flavors to experiment with, if you're so inclined. Of course there are different generations of Leitz/Leica lenses too, all of which IMO have appeal.

For me, nothing beats a 50mm rigid Summicron with Tri-X or HP5+. I passed on the M240 after a test drive, but still have my eye on the Monochrom. I like the way the M9/M-E renders too...

-Dave-
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JeanMichel
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 10:37:19 AM »
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Hi again,
Regarding the Cosina/Voigtlander lenses: I have their 21mm lens and do like it. I purchased it, from Camtec, a few years ago for my film M's the lens and viewer cost less that a Leica viewer alone. Prints made with it compare well with those I made much earlier with a Super-Angulon. On the M9 there is a red edge issue but that is quite well corrected using  the 21 lens profile and Cornerfix in some cases. I have no experience with their other lenses.

Maybe you should check your files to see the focal lengths that you use most often and purchase one or two lenses that come close to your preferred working focal length. I happen to mostly use a 35 Summicron. 
Jean-Michel


Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer my questions. There is a lot of good info in your answers.

I am inclined to go with a used M9 and one or two lenses to see how I like it and when the M240 is more easily available maybe make the switch.

How are Zeiss M or Voightlander lenses compared to Leica lenses?

Yves
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TMARK
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2013, 11:04:36 AM »
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Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer my questions. There is a lot of good info in your answers.

I am inclined to go with a used M9 and one or two lenses to see how I like it and when the M240 is more easily available maybe make the switch.

How are Zeiss M or Voightlander lenses compared to Leica lenses?

Yves

No experience with Voigtlander lenses.  The Zeiss ZM lenses are fantastic, although I prefer the older Leica lenses for their look.  They really are no better or worse than Leica lenses, but they are different in their rendering.  The Zeiss 28mm Biogon is obe of the sharpest, contrastiest lens I've used in any format.  Razor sharp from 2.8 up to 11.  The only thing that changes as you stop down is depth of field.  No need for a hood, as it will not flare unless pointed into the sun.  I found it too sharp, too good, on digital. 

The Zeiss 50 Planar is a fantastic lens with a modern rendering.  Really good with color, nice OOF, as sharp as the 50 summicron.  The 35 Biogon F2 is awesome as well. 
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wosim
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 11:27:37 AM »
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Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer my questions. There is a lot of good info in your answers.

I am inclined to go with a used M9 and one or two lenses to see how I like it and when the M240 is more easily available maybe make the switch.

How are Zeiss M or Voightlander lenses compared to Leica lenses?

Yves

If you like, have a look here, where you will find reviews to nearly every M-mount lens:

https://sites.google.com/site/wosimsphotography/links-testberichte-reviews

Hope, this is helpful for your decision making!
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