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Author Topic: Leicaphilia  (Read 1222 times)

Rob C

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Leicaphilia
« on: July 09, 2018, 07:48:29 AM »

For those of you not familiar with it, check out

www.leicaphilia.com

which is currently undergoing communication-with-outer-world problems, but was not always thus.

Apart from his good writing, Tim is an accomplished photographer.

Rob

RSL

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 09:46:07 AM »

Thanks, Rob. A fascinating article, especially the hot female leica professional.

Telecaster

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 06:36:33 PM »

Yep. It's a site I'm familiar with, and has needed organizing for awhile now!  ;D  I'm also fond of Schopenhauer's writing…he has a keen sense of human limitations, including his own.

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 08:12:10 AM »

It's back on today, firing on all cylinders!

Rob

Ivo_B

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 01:44:33 AM »

Leica is Hermés. What is he expecting from this shadow from the past camera?
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Rob C

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 05:29:14 AM »

Leica is Hermés. What is he expecting from this shadow from the past camera?


That it remain a camera company, not a novelty brand.

I rather think that it's problems go back to the basic choices of market positioning, not just today, but always.

Having elected to stay at the top of the price range in film days, as well as to stay with rangefinder at a time when it was clearly far behind slr for ease of focussing as well as versatility re. lens range, it entered the straight reflex market very late on, based on Minolta - I think! - and didn't even have a screen that covered the entire area being captured by the film. That was never going to be ideal for a pro using that film format, where every mm counted.

Then, once and very late into digital, it gave birth to problems that forced the use of filters and went on to give itself what was, AFAIK, another unique quality: peeling sensors.

In what was possibly an attempt to widen its buyer range, it produced lesser cameras still way overpriced for what they were, and thus created more problems for itself in that more distractions were piled onto the team. FWIW, I think Leica still has a good base of friends and that the way to keep them happy is to do two things: continue improving the M-style camera and simplify to a single, excellent ff dslr. The lenses for both already exist, and seem impervious to time.

I suppose I'm saying that it already owns rangefinder, go for the top in dslr. Mirrorless? Will the core aficionado give a damn about that? I hardly believe so. I understand that many people already well accustomed to using cameras ignore or set up their cameras to the minimum of automation. That simplification already in-camera should lead to more reliability and less cost in manufacture. Even I, with tired old eyes, given the option would use a split-image screen before af. No need, then to compromise lenses in any way.

With the advent of diopter adjustment built-in, using a screen for focussing and not just for framing, is easy, and replacing current dslr-type screens with those designed for use as focussing screens on slr cameras would be heaven. There isn't disgrace in looking backwards when what was is superior to what is.

Rob

KLaban

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2018, 07:14:15 AM »


That it remain a camera company, not a novelty brand.

I rather think that it's problems go back to the basic choices of market positioning, not just today, but always.

Having elected to stay at the top of the price range in film days, as well as to stay with rangefinder at a time when it was clearly far behind slr for ease of focussing as well as versatility re. lens range, it entered the straight reflex market very late on, based on Minolta - I think! - and didn't even have a screen that covered the entire area being captured by the film. That was never going to be ideal for a pro using that film format, where every mm counted.

Then, once and very late into digital, it gave birth to problems that forced the use of filters and went on to give itself what was, AFAIK, another unique quality: peeling sensors.

In what was possibly an attempt to widen its buyer range, it produced lesser cameras still way overpriced for what they were, and thus created more problems for itself in that more distractions were piled onto the team. FWIW, I think Leica still has a good base of friends and that the way to keep them happy is to do two things: continue improving the M-style camera and simplify to a single, excellent ff dslr. The lenses for both already exist, and seem impervious to time.

I suppose I'm saying that it already owns rangefinder, go for the top in dslr. Mirrorless? Will the core aficionado give a damn about that? I hardly believe so. I understand that many people already well accustomed to using cameras ignore or set up their cameras to the minimum of automation. That simplification already in-camera should lead to more reliability and less cost in manufacture. Even I, with tired old eyes, given the option would use a split-image screen before af. No need, then to compromise lenses in any way.

With the advent of diopter adjustment built-in, using a screen for focussing and not just for framing, is easy, and replacing current dslr-type screens with those designed for use as focussing screens on slr cameras would be heaven. There isn't disgrace in looking backwards when what was is superior to what is.

Rob


Rob, you write about a camera manufacturer, a system and a working methodology of which you have a great deal of experience - the expertise of the hands-on - and contrast it with comment about a camera manufacturer, various systems and a working methodology of which you have little if any experience - the expertise of the hands-off. Can you see the flaw here?
 
The Leica M series is mirrorless, always has been and always will be. For the moment it is still the core business for Leica. Their other mirrorless cameras are selling well and as with other manufacturers this market will increasingly make up much of that business. In a time when camera sales are decreasing, particularly DSLR sales, Leica are doing particularly well and bucking the trend as are Sony and Fuji. Like it or not The DSLR is being consumed by mirrorless. Leica and other manufacturers including Hasselblad, Nikon and Canon are all too aware of this and are reacting to the inevitable. For Leica to introduce a new DSLR system would be economic suicide.

Despite eye problems including macular degeneration, retinal TIAs and the need for eyesight correction my hands-on experience is that the M series rangefinder is easier to focus than any other manual focus system I've ever used. Think of it as one of those beloved split screen focusing thingies. Yes, I know, you can't see DOF through the rangefinder but if necessary I'll use that other wonder, the EVF.

As far as Leicaphilia is concerned I do have to check every now and again that I haven't strayed onto Leicaphobia.com in error. Really at times it feels like a time warp.
 
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 12:39:38 PM by KLaban »
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Two23

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2018, 10:55:12 AM »

I own one Leica, a IIIc made in 1942.  I also own four Leica lenses of 1930-1940s vintage.  The package is small, sturdy, reliable, easy to use, and a lot of fun.  For me, they reached perfection!  I've felt no need to "upgrade."  As for the decline of DSLR, I see it as inevitable.  One hundred years ago people were ditching their 5x7 & half plate field cameras for new 6x9/120 folding cameras.  Those were then out of favor by the early 1960s by the flood of SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses.  The one constant through the past 90 years has been Leica. :)


Kent in SD
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Rob C

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2018, 02:44:36 PM »

Keith,

Yes, M bodies always have been mirrorless, Visoflex not included, which is why nobody thinks of them as such, but simply as digital rangefinder cameras. So they represent nothing new in the sense that "mirrorless" will represent for other manufacturers such as Nikon. Nikon did make rangefinder cameras too, eons ago, and I believe they even went the Leica route and made a celebratory run of one of the S bodies, complete with lens. Nevertheless, to all practical extents and purposes, Nikon history as remembered and perceived today, begins with the F slr, the opposite to Leica heritage.

I have seen through either a Fuji to Sony with evf - can't remember which brand - and it was "similar" to a normal dslr system but in a rangefinder-styled body. But no way did it feel the same. I think the viewed image felt even smaller than my digi Nikon D200 and obviously not as good as the ff D700. And peeping into an eyepiece way off the lens centre line didn't help much - also something I find horrid with the cellphone.

Okay, there is live view, but that also exists on dslr bodies, and not something I have used other than once when I photographed my apartment. If one's work demands much of that, then maybe 135 format bodies are far from your best buy.

I suppose nobody, not even Leica, knows what to do for the best. As a company, it has been rescued and refinanced time after time; that doesn't indicate anyone new had a better idea than the one before, just that the magic in the name makes belief in a better "tomorrow" possible. Taking that into consideration, along with the febrile fan base, I don't think that something like an improved R6 would do them any harm. As an object of desire, the later bodies resembled nothing as much as they did my two ugly old Exaktas, not exactly the most chick of shapes! And yeah, you apart, I think the perceived glamour is what draws the majority of buyers to dig deeply.

Actually, if you are going to have a rangefinder body and like digital more than film, there is not a lot to dislike about Leica! I have often wondered why Nikon and Zeiss didn't go there too, though having flogged off the Contax brand, it might be difficult or Zeiss. They did make a very good rangefinder at the end of their film camera days; some thought it superior to the M6 or whatever was current at the time.

Rob
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 02:47:39 PM by Rob C »
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Ivo_B

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2018, 02:53:53 PM »

I own one Leica, a IIIc made in 1942.  I also own four Leica lenses of 1930-1940s vintage.  The package is small, sturdy, reliable, easy to use, and a lot of fun. For me, they reached perfection! I've felt no need to "upgrade."  As for the decline of DSLR, I see it as inevitable.  One hundred years ago people were ditching their 5x7 & half plate field cameras for new 6x9/120 folding cameras.  Those were then out of favor by the early 1960s by the flood of SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses.  The one constant through the past 90 years has been Leica. :)


Kent in SD

I owned M2 (with glass prism) and the marvelous 50mm makro, M3, M4, M4-P and M6, still owning 2 IIIf, one with the collapsible summicron 5cm and one with the 3,5 summaron.
Leica did reach a certain degree of perfection, but that was in the earlier M3 series with glass prism and brass mechanics. All later models where inferior (what is inferior) to the M3. With the introduction of the plastic prism, the infamous focus patch issue was introduced, lower quality steel mechanics made the legendary smooth operation disappear and use of plastic components killed the fabulous shutter button smoothness of the M3.
.

There isn't disgrace in looking backwards when what was is superior to what is.

Rob

Im not sure if that is a valid statement. My frigging xpro2 is capable of producing better IQ than any old M I owned. (i can not speak for the modern Leica APO's in combination with the post purple syndrome digital M, o yes, I had a M8 for a while, in the period Leica was still denying the problem.....)

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Ivo_B

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2018, 02:57:38 PM »


Actually, if you are going to have a rangefinder body and like digital more than film, there is not a lot to dislike about Leica! I have often wondered why Nikon and Zeiss didn't go there too, though having flogged off the Contax brand, it might be difficult or Zeiss. They did make a very good rangefinder at the end of their film camera days; some thought it superior to the M6 or whatever was current at the time.

Rob

That was a real shame, I loved my whiiiip whiiiiip Contax G2. Imagine the deception when I got me a new Zeiss Ikon (voigtlander) rangefinder instead of buying a second hand M7....

About the G2, My copy had a 'the' range finder issue: not adequate focussing. But in those years, you could sent the camera to Oberkochen and get the technician on the line while he was looking at your camera. The guy I had on the line was a passionate photo gear technician and we had a half hour chat, he sent back the camera at no charge and adjusted to perfection.
Try that nowadays....
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:07:33 PM by Ivo_B »
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Telecaster

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2018, 04:11:17 PM »

My frigging xpro2 is capable of producing better IQ than any old M I owned. (i can not speak for the modern Leica APO's in combination with the post purple syndrome digital M, o yes, I had a M8 for a while, in the period Leica was still denying the problem.....)

I bought my first M8(.2) well after they were discontinued, in part because the "purple syndrome" (weak anti-IR filter) allows me to do handheld infrared.  :)

I like rangefinders mainly because of how they operate and handle. I see differently when using one.

-Dave-
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Telecaster

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2018, 04:21:43 PM »

Re. Leitz's SLRs: the first Leicaflex models were their own thing. Later on, after the initial models failed to take off, Leitz entered into a tech- & design-sharing arrangement with Minolta. This began with the CL/CLE rangefinder system and then the first R camera, the R3. The R mount 24/2.8 lens was a Minolta design and a very good one too.

-Dave-
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KLaban

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2018, 04:45:54 PM »

I bought my first M8(.2) well after they were discontinued, in part because the "purple syndrome" (weak anti-IR filter) allows me to do handheld infrared.  :)

I like rangefinders mainly because of how they operate and handle. I see differently when using one.

-Dave-

Dave, I used to take this sentiment with a pinch of salt - together with seeing beyond the frame - that is until I started using one, but now I have to say, ne'er a truer word spoken. My hope is my eyesight will allow me to continue using a rangefinder for years to come.

Very nice IR image, BTW.
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Telecaster

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2018, 05:07:56 PM »

My hope is my eyesight will allow me to continue using a rangefinder for years to come.

This is mainly why I decided, after hesitating for years, to get a digi-M: use it before you lose it.  :D

Quote
Very nice IR image, BTW.

Thanks. It's from right after I started using Affinity Photo on my iPad. Kinda beginner's luck processing-wise. I know far better how the software works now…I should take some new IR pics and see what happens!

-Dave-
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Two23

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2018, 06:04:55 PM »

I owned M2 (with glass prism) and the marvelous 50mm makro, M3, M4, M4-P and M6, still owning 2 IIIf, one with the collapsible summicron 5cm and one with the 3,5 s
.
Im not sure if that is a valid statement. My frigging xpro2 is capable of producing better IQ than any old M I owned.


I think too often we confuse "image quality" with "quality of the image."  What I mean by that is we often get so bogged down with things that can be objectively measured (resolution, dynamic range, etc.) that we forget the important thing--emotional impact.  Here's two photos I shot with Ilford HP5 using the 75 yr. old Leica IIIc and a 50mm made 1930-1932 and then a 90mm made in 1948.  I don't think they'd be any "better" if shot with my Nikon D800E and Sigma ART lenses.


Kent in SD
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Telecaster

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2018, 12:20:07 AM »

I think too often we confuse "image quality" with "quality of the image."  What I mean by that is we often get so bogged down with things that can be objectively measured (resolution, dynamic range, etc.) that we forget the important thing--emotional impact.  Here's two photos I shot with Ilford HP5 using the 75 yr. old Leica IIIc and a 50mm made 1930-1932 and then a 90mm made in 1948.  I don't think they'd be any "better" if shot with my Nikon D800E and Sigma ART lenses.

Yes. I think composition, geometry and tonality are the things that resonate emotionally. Along with familiarity if you're aiming to evoke warm feelings or "the shock of the new" if you're aiming to startle or provoke. Evoke a mood and you're there. Lenses from the 1930s are already more than good enough for this.

-Dave-
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Ivo_B

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2018, 03:39:32 AM »

Re. Leitz's SLRs: the first Leicaflex models were their own thing. Later on, after the initial models failed to take off, Leitz entered into a tech- & design-sharing arrangement with Minolta. This began with the CL/CLE rangefinder system and then the first R camera, the R3. The R mount 24/2.8 lens was a Minolta design and a very good one too.

-Dave-

Minolta sure knew how to make a decent lens.
It is said that the marriage of Leica and Minolta brought decent electronics to Leica and optic know how to Minolta. (I'm not sure if the latter was so necessary)
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Ivo_B

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2018, 04:01:23 AM »


I think too often we confuse "image quality" with "quality of the image."  What I mean by that is we often get so bogged down with things that can be objectively measured (resolution, dynamic range, etc.) that we forget the important thing--emotional impact.  Here's two photos I shot with Ilford HP5 using the 75 yr. old Leica IIIc and a 50mm made 1930-1932 and then a 90mm made in 1948.  I don't think they'd be any "better" if shot with my Nikon D800E and Sigma ART lenses.


Kent in SD

I don't confuse it. I talk about image quality.
And yes, you are right, one thing Leica masters is building in that beautiful rendering of the not in focus area, basically, what they do is creating lenses with beautiful optic errors outside the focal plane.

And your images will not be better with a modern camera, but are perfectly doable with modern workflow. I say 'workflow' because a part of the atmosphere of you pictures come from the used film and is dictated by the Fuji / Kodak chem engineers of that time. Now you have LR of PS to do it yourself.

what you cannot, or at last not so 'magically', is duplicate the lens characteristics of those old Leica lenses......

Another point is that I think film accumulates light different than a digital sensor, this, to my feeling, gives another mood in subdued, very low light scene. I you use 'old design film', with not so strong anti halo layer, and thicker base (not PET) you well get even more 'magic' (pe a Lucky film)




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Rob C

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Re: Leicaphilia
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2018, 04:38:33 AM »


"There isn't disgrace in looking backwards when what was is superior to what is."  ....  Rob C

Im not sure if that is a valid statement. My frigging xpro2 is capable of producing better IQ than any old M I owned. (i can not speak for the modern Leica APO's in combination with the post purple syndrome digital M, o yes, I had a M8 for a while, in the period Leica was still denying the problem.....)

The problem is, you made bold a word too late: I wrote "when what was ... " a very different sentiment.

Rob



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