...The cameras I used to make the prints are a mix of Nikon film, Leica film and Leica DMR (10 MP, no AA filter, Leica APO glass). ... Their reaction to the DMR prints is always the same: jaw drops, eyes bug out, the brain's speech center is temporarily knocked out of order. They stand back to look at the whole print, they get really close to the print and look over the entire surface of it. Invariable they first things they say are a comment on the color quality and detail, and "What camera are you using"? Great fun.
Good story! Reminds me of the "FF prints easily beaten for dynamic range by MF prints even at 5x7-inch even viewed at 20 feet via a glimpse after walking through the door of a dimly lit camera store" story.
A pity your print viewers asked the wrong question. Like the hifi nuts whose jaws drop at the sound of a system and their first question is "what amp are you using?"
.... An M serie will be smaller and lighter than the Canon....
Not so, I guess you missed post #14.
...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.
...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.
Definitely agree, and 'the very best device available' is a matter of many factors not just a matter of image quality; there is no way a 550D can match the tactile experience of an M9, for instance. If one has the money and the M9 resonates then by all means buy it, take and make outstanding landscape prints, and live the good life. The bickering only starts when the M9 owner lapses into leicaphilia and starts raving about stunning superiorities in pure image terms, or even in image-per-kg terms. Them's fightin' words, even if they are delivered with an air of calm superiority. The Canon 18MP sensor is a natural contestant, its kit weight with primes is slightly less than the M9 kit, the primes are FF so their IQ is mostly about their centre performance whereas the m-series are being stretched to their edges, so it looks like a green light contest to me.
The biggest problem would be finding an unbiased reviewer on the internet, with access to both cameras and lenses, interested in landscape photography, prepared to not only test the usual extremes of performance (pixel peeping, edges and corners, high iso, huge enlargements, max aperture), but also compare the results of sensible practice where one tries to use one's equipment to best advantage and make prints of typical print size and view at normal viewing distance for that size (may I humbly suggest A3 max for arm's length viewing, larger prints for viewing at larger distances), photographed at non-max apertures, and in reasonable light levels or using a tripod rather than high iso when things are dim.
It would be a great contest to do blind comparisons of such prints. But the reviewing world is not oriented to such comparisons because the cameras have different customer bases, and reviewing is all about comparisons of market competitors. Review-world does not seem to take seriously the possibility that something much cheaper could be indistinguishable in *any* aspect of results: that is not the way product ranges work or the way salesmen want us to think!
To the "Leica is too expensive" crowd:...For some reason, every time somebody discusses a Leica camera, there is this desire to berate the purchaser for making a wrong decision....
I agree, to some extent there is that, and to some extent there is the opposite where someone raves about their wonderful affordable kit and there seems to be the desire for someone to point out their Leica. But the bigger piece of bait is when someone makes unsubstantiated claims of innate superiority.
Jack Perkins' article says "...What I was working with now was a camera that is significantly lighter and easier to handle, with lenses lighter and much smaller than 35mm lenses and thus more appropriate for eschewing the back-, shoulder-, or belly-pack , putting a few lenses into pockets and heading off to photograph. If light levels were low or terrain especially uneven I might carry a monopod ...What I early discovered was that these luscious Leica lenses have a different way of rendering. The Leica-look, aficionados call it..."
I would love to see the results of an objective investigation of the twofold claims of lightness and quality. I have suggested an alternative of similar weight; is it inherently lower in quality in a way that is detectable with normal landscape prints? I suspect we will never know. I also reckon it is incumbent on those making the claim of (innate, everyday, easily-seen-in-average-prints) superiority to back it up with something objective.
BTW I think is not common knowledge that someone seeking a lightweight high quality digital landscape kit has any genuine option to the Leica. The general mood seems to be that dslr-based kit is much heavier. I think it would be a surprise to many readers to realise they can get a dslr with a quality 18MP sensor and equivalent prime lenses that adds up to a kit actually lighter than the M9 kit. It might even be a surprise to Jack Perkins!