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Author Topic: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series  (Read 1516 times)

Kevin Raber

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New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« on: January 04, 2018, 09:54:28 AM »

I just published a new article. The Leica Stroy continues. After a Holiday break, we pick up the Leica Story today with a chapter on the Leica M-Series. This segment includes two video interviews. The story of the Leica M10 and the M-series is fascinating. You'll learn that at one point Leica almost discontinued the M-Camera. You'll learn what saved it. Enjoy!
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Kevin Raber
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algrove

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 10:57:14 AM »

Well done again Kevin. Your Leica series is very enjoyable to watch and see your enthusiasm about using Leica cameras.
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 04:37:53 PM »

Yes, I enjoyed the two videos, but the second one, on the stairs, had me on the edge of my seat: when that strap was removed from your neck and the camera placed on the edge, all I could see were the flying arms and the near-misses... how far down would it have flown? On the first of the two new videos, the strap, when the camera was back in the table, was just as much of a danger; I broke my last Weston meter because of the cord getting caught as I moved my hand doing something else in the near vicinity... so many dangers that seem to increase in direct proportion to the possible costs involved!

The idea of the M10 really has a lot going for it. An small thing that puts the lenses on another planet to my Nikkors is the DOF scale: in all the decades that I have owned Nikon, I have never found the DOF scales useable: the colour coding system is incomplete and simply doesn't seem to make sense. Perhaps they thought that a reflex camera didn't need those aids - they were mistaken. It's a great way of focussing for some subjects - a subject-related thing, not a camera type thing. Manual lenses especially need all the help they can get.

Nice stuff to watch and, and to nurse along the dreams. Thanks!

Rob

Kevin Raber

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 04:43:25 PM »

Rob, you are funny.  We had a giant airbag under the ledge just in case I knocked it off. Luckily we didn't need to use it.
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Kevin Raber
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JeanMichel

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 05:22:13 PM »

Two enjoyable videos. Thanks.
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KLaban

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 05:22:39 PM »

Yes, I enjoyed the two videos, but the second one, on the stairs, had me on the edge of my seat: when that strap was removed from your neck and the camera placed on the edge, all I could see were the flying arms and the near-misses... how far down would it have flown? On the first of the two new videos, the strap, when the camera was back in the table, was just as much of a danger; I broke my last Weston meter because of the cord getting caught as I moved my hand doing something else in the near vicinity... so many dangers that seem to increase in direct proportion to the possible costs involved!

The idea of the M10 really has a lot going for it. An small thing that puts the lenses on another planet to my Nikkors is the DOF scale: in all the decades that I have owned Nikon, I have never found the DOF scales useable: the colour coding system is incomplete and simply doesn't seem to make sense. Perhaps they thought that a reflex camera didn't need those aids - they were mistaken. It's a great way of focussing for some subjects - a subject-related thing, not a camera type thing. Manual lenses especially need all the help they can get.

Nice stuff to watch and, and to nurse along the dreams. Thanks!

Rob

Rob, I mourn the loss of DOF scales on many modern lenses. The comprehensive DOF scales were key in my decision to buy into the M series. A cursory glance at the lens allows me to pre-focus, set the aperture and approximate the DOF: particularly useful when raising the camera to the eye would offend.

And Kevin, I have to agree, there is something very special about the feel of the cameras in the hand: it's something I've never experienced before. 
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Telecaster

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 05:37:04 PM »

Rob, I mourn the loss of DOF scales on many modern lenses. The comprehensive DOF scales were key in my decision to buy into the M series. A cursory glance at the lens allows me to pre-focus, set the aperture and approximate the DOF: particularly useful when raising the camera to the eye would offend.

I use the DOF scales quite a bit too with Ms. Something my dad taught me.

-Dave-
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SrMi

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 06:16:01 PM »

While Leica SL lenses do not have DOF scales, the body has a DOF readout on top LCD. A feature I wish other manufacturers would implement as well.
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JeanMichel

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 06:43:21 PM »

Yep, dof scales made my film Mís into really high quality  Instamatics! With digital Mís I tend to shorten the scale by a stop on either end.
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paristo

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 10:47:00 AM »

Rob, I mourn the loss of DOF scales on many modern lenses. The comprehensive DOF scales were key in my decision to buy into the M series. A cursory glance at the lens allows me to pre-focus, set the aperture and approximate the DOF: particularly useful when raising the camera to the eye would offend.

The DOF scale on lenses is... How to say it gently, not useful.
As the depth of field that we perceive and range we accept to be in focus changes all the time depending the image size, viewing distance and eye sight (etc as people know), it as well changes based what medium we use to view the image. Like a paper print is totally different than viewing on a computer display with 127 PPI.

But when as well the DOF changes based how we crop images, the whole DOF scale is at best just a very rough estimation. Because if the DOF calculations are based to 8x10" print, viewed from a arm length (diagonal 12" or 30cm) and taken with a old decades old black and white ASA 100 film (grainy) without any cropping, then the DOF calculations and all DOF scales are totally wrong if the print ain't taken in standard specimen.

Like example if I decide to do a new print on top of fireplace, and I know that the print will be hanged in frames size of a 40x30". And then I know that people will be viewing that print from a 1-1.5m distance at closest, and typically from a 3-5m distance. Then I still have a problem to calculate the DOF because I must be sure that I do not crop the image after capture moment. Or I don't know even what the scene is that I want there, so I don't know what kind paper or print method I want to use to photograph that is still untaken.  And then there is always the question that if I perceive something still to be in focus, does others do the same, or is it out of focus for them?

The rangefinder helps some in this as you can see little out of the frame of the captured, while others would need to use a shorter focal length and then crop the center piece to achieve the same capability, yet changing the DOF scale even more.

Why even the Zeiss idea to implement a digital OLED DOF scale to lenses is very odd, unless you could enter the given print sizes etc and get that way a little more accurate DOF scale change.
But anyways, it is just easier to go for a f/8-16 and get things in focus than try to fight with smaller F-values.

Quote
And Kevin, I have to agree, there is something very special about the feel of the cameras in the hand: it's something I've never experienced before.

That those really do have. Only Olympus PEN F (the new one) has managed to do the same experience and feeling in this modern era. Something just very very nice feeling. And that must be difficult for Leica designers these days as they have so strong heritance that even small changes can ruin the experience.

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KLaban

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 12:38:33 PM »

Rob, I mourn the loss of DOF scales on many modern lenses. The comprehensive DOF scales were key in my decision to buy into the M series. A cursory glance at the lens allows me to pre-focus, set the aperture and approximate the DOF: particularly useful when raising the camera to the eye would offend.

And Kevin, I have to agree, there is something very special about the feel of the cameras in the hand: it's something I've never experienced before. 

The DOF scale on lenses is... How to say it gently, not useful.
As the depth of field that we perceive and range we accept to be in focus changes all the time depending the image size, viewing distance and eye sight (etc as people know), it as well changes based what medium we use to view the image. Like a paper print is totally different than viewing on a computer display with 127 PPI.

But when as well the DOF changes based how we crop images, the whole DOF scale is at best just a very rough estimation. Because if the DOF calculations are based to 8x10" print, viewed from a arm length (diagonal 12" or 30cm) and taken with a old decades old black and white ASA 100 film (grainy) without any cropping, then the DOF calculations and all DOF scales are totally wrong if the print ain't taken in standard specimen.

Like example if I decide to do a new print on top of fireplace, and I know that the print will be hanged in frames size of a 40x30". And then I know that people will be viewing that print from a 1-1.5m distance at closest, and typically from a 3-5m distance. Then I still have a problem to calculate the DOF because I must be sure that I do not crop the image after capture moment. Or I don't know even what the scene is that I want there, so I don't know what kind paper or print method I want to use to photograph that is still untaken.  And then there is always the question that if I perceive something still to be in focus, does others do the same, or is it out of focus for them?

The rangefinder helps some in this as you can see little out of the frame of the captured, while others would need to use a shorter focal length and then crop the center piece to achieve the same capability, yet changing the DOF scale even more.

Why even the Zeiss idea to implement a digital OLED DOF scale to lenses is very odd, unless you could enter the given print sizes etc and get that way a little more accurate DOF scale change.
But anyways, it is just easier to go for a f/8-16 and get things in focus than try to fight with smaller F-values.

That those really do have. Only Olympus PEN F (the new one) has managed to do the same experience and feeling in this modern era. Something just very very nice feeling. And that must be difficult for Leica designers these days as they have so strong heritance that even small changes can ruin the experience.

"approximate the DOF"

Did you miss that bit?

How can I say this gently, I'm a photographer, certainly not a pixel peeper. Good, bad, indifferent, well, it's not for me to decide. But for those who are pixel peepers then please feel free to indulge yourselves.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 12:59:00 PM by KLaban »
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Telecaster

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 03:12:40 PM »

Approximate is a dirty word in the technical world.  :)

Funny how *many folks I come across who, like myself, have worked in highly technical professions and now spend their post-work lives doing what they can to shed technical centrism. It can be hard: when I pick up an AF camera I become an instant stickler for accurate focus. In fact I finally gave up on D-SLRs mainly due to focusing issues. But put a rangefinder in my hands and the fixation goes away. I still like to get the focus right but it's no longer an overriding concern when I'm doing pic-taking.

-Dave-

*Percentage-wise it's probably not high at all. More likely I just remember the conversations better due to shared aims and sentiments.
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 04:55:28 PM »

Approximate. Yes, and if, like me, most of your career with the 135 format meant not cropping, then approximate becomes pretty damned close...

Of course I had to crop with 6x6, but mainly only white paper, and as I was almost always on a tripod with roll film (120) focus depended on many other things than scales!

As Keith pointed out, the point of dof scales is for when precise focus is not able to be made using the regular viewfinder aids, for whatever reason the photographer has to contend with when making the shot.

I trust I was as gentle as possible here?

:-)

Rob

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2018, 05:21:07 PM »

Approximate is a dirty word in the technical world.  :)

Funny how *many folks I come across who, like myself, have worked in highly technical professions and now spend their post-work lives doing what they can to shed technical centrism. It can be hard: when I pick up an AF camera I become an instant stickler for accurate focus. In fact I finally gave up on D-SLRs mainly due to focusing issues. But put a rangefinder in my hands and the fixation goes away. I still like to get the focus right but it's no longer an overriding concern when I'm doing pic-taking.

-Dave-

*Percentage-wise it's probably not high at all. More likely I just remember the conversations better due to shared aims and sentiments.

I think part of the problem with digital focussing issues could fall neatly into the obsession with too much sharpening. I assume that it is an obsession because of the many different sharpening systems on the market and discussed here on LuLa...

I tend to sharpen very little; in fact, if anything, I find that I degrade the digital file a little bit with added grain and like the effect because it feels far more comfortable to my senses. A tiny bit of sharpening on top of that is enough. As we all know, dof is a relative myth if only because there is only one sharp plane - the one we focus upon regardless of where we might think we have focussed. Digital sharpness exacerbates that, and there have been times when seeing that I have missed the right plane, I mask it off and soften the rest of the image and then cheat my way back to a better shot by some local sharpening of the intended subject... if subtle, it works to an extent. However, as I currently enjoy working wide open or just a stop down, dof scales are largely irrelevant for this period of my life!

In fact, though my usual lens of choice is f1.8 or f2, there is still often too much dof for my liking. I made a shot today of three mannequin heads where I wanted only one sharp, but there is still too much dof to stop it looking like a mistake of missed focus. That promises a little bit of fun and games in a day or two's time when I hope to get round to playing with it. The lens in question is the 1.8/50mm used on the crop D200. I suppose the thing would have been better on the ff body instead, but that wasn't what I was carrying.

Rob

P.S.

Excuse a humble Nikon in a Leica thread, but this is the image referred to in this post:



« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 06:09:42 AM by Rob C »
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KLaban

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 06:21:03 AM »

I think part of the problem with digital focussing issues could fall neatly into the obsession with too much sharpening. I assume that it is an obsession because of the many different sharpening systems on the market and discussed here on LuLa...

I tend to sharpen very little; in fact, if anything, I find that I degrade the digital file a little bit with added grain and like the effect because it feels far more comfortable to my senses. A tiny bit of sharpening on top of that is enough. As we all know, dof is a relative myth if only because there is only one sharp plane - the one we focus upon regardless of where we might think we have focussed. Digital sharpness exacerbates that, and there have been times when seeing that I have missed the right plane, I mask it off and soften the rest of the image and then cheat my way back to a better shot by some local sharpening of the intended subject... if subtle, it works to an extent. However, as I currently enjoy working wide open or just a stop down, dof scales are largely irrelevant for this period of my life!

In fact, though my usual lens of choice is f1.8 or f2, there is still often too much dof for my liking. I made a shot today of three mannequin heads where I wanted only one sharp, but there is still too much dof to stop it looking like a mistake of missed focus. That promises a little bit of fun and games in a day or two's time when I hope to get round to playing with it. The lens in question is the 1.8/50mm used on the crop D200. I suppose the thing would have been better on the ff body instead, but that wasn't what I was carrying.

Rob

P.S.

Excuse a humble Nikon in a Leica thread, but this is the image referred to in this post:



Rob, I wish my mistakes looked as good!

And, may I say, nice image frame!

;-)
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Rob C

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2018, 06:25:23 AM »

Thanks, Keith, I just wish the chicks were real. But then they probably wouldn't be as beautiful. I have sometimes wondered whether I might find access to the places where these creatures are created. But all I discover on the web are places selling hellish creations with blobs for heads.

;-(

Rob

P.S. I noted that you were not too thrilled with very blurred frames... ;-)

paristo

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2018, 05:34:50 PM »

"approximate the DOF"

Did you miss that bit?

How can I say this gently, I'm a photographer, certainly not a pixel peeper. Good, bad, indifferent, well, it's not for me to decide. But for those who are pixel peepers then please feel free to indulge yourselves.

No, I didn't miss it.

As I just reminded, you can't even approximate the DOF if you don't know what you are going print and what you are going to photograph by looking the DOF scale on lens.

The DOF scale was great when you did just those 8x10" prints etc. That is the moment when you can even approximate the DOF via the scale.

But that is as well one of the challenges of the rangefinder design when you don't look through the lens, you are better just by knowing what you get about from approximated distance (and that you can do just by looking the distance anyways) or in time by moving the focus ring itself.

And this is not about pixel peeping, it is about just getting the wanted results.

Sorry if you felt to be insulted, that wasn't the purpose.
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paristo

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2018, 05:54:56 PM »

Approximate is a dirty word in the technical world.  :)

Funny how *many folks I come across who, like myself, have worked in highly technical professions and now spend their post-work lives doing what they can to shed technical centrism. It can be hard: when I pick up an AF camera I become an instant stickler for accurate focus. In fact I finally gave up on D-SLRs mainly due to focusing issues. But put a rangefinder in my hands and the fixation goes away. I still like to get the focus right but it's no longer an overriding concern when I'm doing pic-taking.

I don't care so much about accurate focus, as long I can get what I want. Maybe a 30% of my MILC use is done via manual focus. And when I use AF, I quickly move the AF point to frame position that my main subject is placed in my composition, before I even raise camera on my eye.

One of the reasons why I am not fixated about focus, is that I have done my own printing tests and I think fairly often before I even grab a camera, that where the image will come, how it will be viewed. That takes like a 100ms time in mind and then all camera settings are adjusted to match that target.

It is actually opposite on me that when I use a rangefinder, I am more fixated to the focusing as the whole camera operation is mainly about focusing instead just composition. And you can't do the same manual focusing so easily but compose-recompose-focus-recompose path is required.
  That was one reason why a reflex cameras got me so well hooked as I could just look how the focus moved. Didn't need to point camera anywhere else and in challenging situations it was fast just to quickly scan the range and you got it about there. And that is even today the method that I use with focus-by-wire lenses as they allow so easily and quickly get the manual focus accurate without thinking it.

The fairly common sharpness chase is something I don't follow so much, like if something is 5-10% sharper than another, it doesn't matter as my print anyways likely will be by size and content the factor that eliminates such differences that pixel peepers will find on computer screens.
  It must be to do something that once you started with a 135 B/W ASA 400 film, then worked with a 120 film and enjoyed about the increase of details, then be amazed by using a 4x5 or 8x10, and then back to 135 where you managed to get things nicely as wanted. It must be so that when digital cameras allows to capture so much more than 135 or 120 and so much easier way, the fixation for "best possible IQ" is gone when it ain't anymore just the technical perfectionism.

So spending time to even blur photographs, add grain, lower the dynamic range etc to get the photographs look good, is just something that makes photography fun when you focus to the content.

And that I think that Leica magic is all about, to simplify the operation so much that you must think the content more than with a fancy all-in-with-kitchen-sink body and the limitations in Leica becomes then its strong point.
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KLaban

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2018, 04:23:56 AM »

No, I didn't miss it.

As I just reminded, you can't even approximate the DOF if you don't know what you are going print and what you are going to photograph by looking the DOF scale on lens.

The DOF scale was great when you did just those 8x10" prints etc. That is the moment when you can even approximate the DOF via the scale.

But that is as well one of the challenges of the rangefinder design when you don't look through the lens, you are better just by knowing what you get about from approximated distance (and that you can do just by looking the distance anyways) or in time by moving the focus ring itself.

And this is not about pixel peeping, it is about just getting the wanted results.

Sorry if you felt to be insulted, that wasn't the purpose.

You're telling me I can't do something that I've been doing for 40+ years.
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GrahamBy

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Re: New Article - The Leica Story Continues - The M-Series
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2018, 06:13:22 AM »

Nothing stops you using "halfway to the DoF mark" as your DoF mark... or 1/4 or two times.
It can be useful information for calibrating your mind to different lenses, knowing that I can tweak this one about the same number of degrees at f/4 as that one at f/5.6.
I don't use them much, but I can see the interest... and different people work differently, thankfully.
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