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Author Topic: "Out on the streets with the Leica M8"  (Read 2787 times)
AlanG
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2014, 12:55:48 PM »
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Ben,

You'd be surprised at the number of people who write to us each year, wanting to understand "the whole leica street photography thing". There are newcomers to photography who have never shot, film, never shot with a rangefinder camera, and never had a chance to enjoy the Leica. If one works on the assumption that this is "ad nauseum" then one ignores those who might find it interesting. Which clearly we don't want to do.

Michael


I can't understand why today one would feel that a Leica is a better choice for so called "street photography" than countless other cameras would be. It seems to me that some people just are hung up on following some kind of camera tradition. Is there a point to that? I have no idea, but if it makes them happy, I'm fine with it.

Keep in mind that W. Eugene Smith used Minoltas SRT 101s for Minamata. And I certainly never heard anyone trying to follow the Minolta SLR tradition although many would do well to have a fraction of Smith's talent and passion. He used a variety of cameras over his career.

I can't say that any of these photos resonated with me. So maybe it was the fault of choosing to use an M8 instead of a Minolta.  Wink
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 01:05:49 PM by AlanG » Logged

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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2014, 01:38:41 PM »
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I always find it odd when somebody expresses a preference for a particular instrument (camera, guitar, car) and somebody else tells him he's wrong. How can a preference be wrong? On the other hand, I have my doubts that bcooter's files are better when he uses the Leica, or really, even much different than what he could pull out of another camera, plus Lightroom or Photoshop, in terms of a print.

It's not always about whether prints can be made to look indistinguishable under controlled conditions.  I can't speak for bcooter but I make better photos when I enjoy using the camera.  In the real world, if the camera drives me up the wall or somehow rubs me the wrong way I can't give the photo the attention it deserves.  Similarly if a file from one camera requires more PS or LR work to look as good as files from another camera, I'll use the second camera.
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JeanMichel
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 01:41:15 PM »
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I am not absolutely sure of the accuracy of the following exchange (I thought that it was between Hemingway and Capa), but it is a fun if easy tidbit:

Ernest Hemingway: "Good pictures, what camera do you use?"
Irving Penn: "What typewriter do you use?"

I use a Leica, have done so since 1968; and a variety of MF and LF equipment in the past, and now mainly a Canon 5d2. I still prefer to use my M9 whenever I can. Yes, there are many cameras today that make using a Leica a bit quaint. Then again, using a Leica reduces the chance of achieving well-exposed, in-focus mediocre images.

Jean-Michel
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OldRoy
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2014, 12:29:46 PM »
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Now the concept of "street photography" has always seemed a bit nebulous to me and appeals not at all. However, should I chose to take up the challenge, I'd be inclined to select a camera (a) with the possibility of AF, and (b) a tilting screen which would enable me to shoot from waist level and/or discreetly.

Choosing a manual focus rangefinder would seem to be a perverse option unless it's overwhelmingly important to feel spiritually aligned with the Old Masters of the genre. Not that such a choice would necessarily preclude producing great results, clearly.
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LKaven
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2014, 01:37:27 PM »
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Now the concept of "street photography" has always seemed a bit nebulous to me and appeals not at all. However, should I chose to take up the challenge, I'd be inclined to select a camera (a) with the possibility of AF, and (b) a tilting screen which would enable me to shoot from waist level and/or discreetly.

Choosing a manual focus rangefinder would seem to be a perverse option unless it's overwhelmingly important to feel spiritually aligned with the Old Masters of the genre. Not that such a choice would necessarily preclude producing great results, clearly.

Getting the appeal of doing it is partly what helps to determine what camera is best and in what situations.  It has to work for what you're doing.

The Leica appeal is partly historical, but also has a rational basis.

Leica street modality: (i) lightweight camera with controls fit to the hand, (ii) bright, contextual viewfinder, (iii) wide angle, (iv) zone focus, (v) no shutter lag, (vi) you are in the action.

There are other street modalities, but this is the classic street modality.  Zone focus is typical, but there is no faster, surer way to focus an ultrawide than through a rangefinder.  You are in the action, so you are engaged with your subject, and the camera's eye is /your/ eye.  With practice, you can lift the camera to your eye, frame, and shoot, within one second.

My personal favorite street camera was the Nikon F with straight prism.  It was small enough to carry in one's palm.  
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 06:16:47 AM by LKaven » Logged

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