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Rob C

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2008, 06:54:45 am »

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Kamber's article on the M8 is very interesting.

There are other opinions from photojournalists though:

http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0709/cam...r-leica-m8.html

http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4133/extre...m8-in-iraq.html

http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0709/cam...assignment.html

and fashion photographers:

http://www.lexar.com/dp/tips_lessons/irakly_leica_m8.html

After two years in the market and a very high price the M8 needs a revision, but Kamber's view is too negative (I agree with several points though).

R.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201114\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

How can Kamber´s reply be too negative? Assuming that he tells the truth, where is the overstatement which would lend weight in the direction or being too negative?

It´s not really a matter of one agreeing with one or two points: it´s a matter of a camera that is patently not up to requirements. That others have had samples that work does not in any way negate the terrible QC problems that appear to exist back at the ranch.

But anyway, something else Leica-related.

I mentioned on another thread that I´d been watching an interview with Annie Leibovitz - twice on the tv screen and, again, last night on the computer. This isn´t a love letter to Annie but the result of difficulty with the DVD that made me try it again but via the computer.

The experience turned out to give me a lot more than I had bargained for or even expected.

First of all, watching the thing in the office, close up to a monitor on which I see my own stuff, made it an incredibly more personal adventure into her life and work. Not only that, but even the feeling of her pictures changed dramatically from the impact on tv. In a very positive manner indeed.

For a start, the photographs look quite different from that perspective; the sense of the images being photographs is so much more real. Also, there seems to be a much more readily identifiable sense of filmic quality than I had expected. This applied not just to the sense of granularity in her early Stones work but also to the idea, the feeling of vision, of how something looks through a 35mm camera as against how it looks when filmed.

Another thing that surprised me was that she seems perfectly able to wield an 6x7 Mamiya without tripod - I had imagined that that would have been a disaster, especially since she appeared to be doing it outdoors in conjunction with flash. But, getting back to Leica Ms, she also fondled one of them a great deal, making me wish that I had been less realistic in my earning years and had bought an M version just for the fun of it. Why is it possible for those machines to make one salivate with nostalgia even when one has never even owned one and they are virtually obsolete? Magic does truly exist.

Shame, as somebody wrote, that they seem to have blown their heritage.

Rob C

situgrrl

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2008, 08:47:40 am »

Rob C - is that interview online?  I'd very much like to see it.

I disagree with you about obsolecense - sure an M is basic - but that is different - to me, it simplifies the decision making process and enables me to concentrate on the photography rather than the camera.  I don't deny that technology has it's place but equally, any photographer and especially a PJ in a warzone has an intrinsic knowledge of the few variables that actually matter and those decisions become subconscious.  Which metering mode to use or autofocus point to select - to me anyhow - are conscious decisions.  Under fire, I would rather my consciousness was set firmly to avoiding bullets and capture.

Ray

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2008, 09:51:46 am »

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M8 image:


5D image:


(Page 6)
See the vignetting in the Canon image.

How can he prefer the Canon photograph?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201600\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You should also notice that the Canon shot not only has better color but has been taken at a wider aperture (or effective wider aperture, bearing in mind the 5D is full frame 35mm). This would explain the vignetting. See how the background is more out-of-focus in the Canon shot.
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James R Russell

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2008, 01:41:12 pm »

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Shame, as somebody wrote, that they seem to have blown their heritage.

Rob C
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I really think you have to use this camera to know what it's about.

It's simple, sometimes complicated, it's small but somewhat unwieldy, it's easy, it's difficult, it produces tremendous imagery under the right conditions, under the wrong conditions it's not worth a damn,  but most of all it's unique.

I like so much if I could find a way to quickly tether it, I'd probably use it for 90% of my work.

I personally love it's limitations because that is what makes photography unique from real life, to use the limitations to produce something that looks different than what we see with our eyes.

Regardless of my personal opinion, I don't see how it makes any sense to look at two snapshots of a couple of fellows changing brake pads and say, "see, see, this Canon is a much better camera".

Obviously the guy shooting the 5D;s should just keep on keeping on.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 02:18:08 pm by James R Russell »
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Nemo

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2008, 05:45:35 pm »

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You should also notice that the Canon shot not only has better color but has been taken at a wider aperture (or effective wider aperture, bearing in mind the 5D is full frame 35mm). This would explain the vignetting. See how the background is more out-of-focus in the Canon shot.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201707\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Just select different parameters for "in camera" processing.

You cannot get general results from a particular case.
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Rob C

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2008, 06:21:25 pm »

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Rob C - is that interview online?  I'd very much like to see it.

I disagree with you about obsolecense - sure an M is basic - but that is different - to me, it simplifies the decision making process and enables me to concentrate on the photography rather than the camera.  I don't deny that technology has it's place but equally, any photographer and especially a PJ in a warzone has an intrinsic knowledge of the few variables that actually matter and those decisions become subconscious.  Which metering mode to use or autofocus point to select - to me anyhow - are conscious decisions.  Under fire, I would rather my consciousness was set firmly to avoiding bullets and capture.
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Hi situgrrl

I´ve just looked at the DVD and it says BBC One, the date is 11th of this month. I can´t tell if it is/will be available online, but for your sake I hope it is - well worth watching. We caught it on satellite.

I agree with you about basic camera designs. I sold my F4s, bought by mistake when it came out because I had imagined that the lack of Nikon advertising meant that the F3 was out of production. When I discovered that was not the case, I dumped the 4 and embraced the 3. The only downside for me was losing the rough spot meter of the F4s.

My humble D200 is used with the only three lenses I now own: 24, 50 and 135mm, manual ones all. But I do think that the F3 is as obsolete as is the M range with Leica. It isn´t something governed by camera construction but by the replacement of film by sensors. I can´t believe film will be commercially viable much longer.

Even though I still have the F3, I have not used it since the D200 came into the house... that freezer is still full of transparency film and some lonely HP5 and FP4 Plus.

You just can´t ignore the fact that the amateur market has always governed what is and is not produced. I feel that even today, with the very expensive (to me) Hasselblad digital systems, the amateur rules. It´s just become a more expensive hobby for those fortunates with the disposable income. As for the pro, I suppose he has either to jump aboard or miss the train. What choice is that?

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 06:27:45 pm by Rob C »
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Ray

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2008, 10:31:42 pm »

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Just select different parameters for "in camera" processing.

You cannot get general results from a particular case.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201794\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

To change colors, yes, and to some extent vignetting can be corrected in PS, but the issue of the significant vignetting in the 5D shot, which was presumably the purpose of showing this comparison, appears to have been exaggerated by choice of aperture.

I comment on it because I find this type of comparison occurs frequently on this forum. Issues get muddled and as a result one simply doesn't know what's going on.

It could be that the lens on the Canon was used at full aperture, and it's often the case that a lens on a full frame 35mm format will exhibit vignetting at full aperture, in which case stopping down one stop with the 5D would not only have reduced the vignetting but also would have equalised the DoF in both shots and probably resulted in a slightly sharper 5D image at the point of focus.

On the other hand, perhaps the purpose of the comparison was to demonstrate that the cropped format is less prone to vignetting and also delivers greater DoF at the same aperture. It's just not clear what's being demonstrated.
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Ray

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2008, 10:44:12 pm »

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Regardless of my personal opinion, I don't see how it makes any sense to look at two snapshots of a couple of fellows changing brake pads and say, "see, see, this Canon is a much better camera".

Obviously the guy shooting the 5D;s should just keep on keeping on.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201753\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Was that a swipe at me, James? I understood the purpose of the two shots of the car was to demonstrate the superiority of the M8. My comments were directly at the fact that the two shots are different in respect of DoF, not that one is superior to the other. It was you who made the comment earlier that the 5D had better color and I agreed that it does. At the same time, I fully understand that color can be changed in post processing, but changing DoF is more difficult.
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James R Russell

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2008, 09:56:42 am »

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I really think you have to use this camera to know what it's about.

It's simple, sometimes complicated, it's small but somewhat unwieldy, it's easy, it's difficult, it produces tremendous imagery under the right conditions, under the wrong conditions it's not worth a damn,  but most of all it's unique.

I like so much if I could find a way to quickly tether it, I'd probably use it for 90% of my work.

I personally love it's limitations because that is what makes photography unique from real life, to use the limitations to produce something that looks different than what we see with our eyes.

Regardless of my personal opinion, I don't see how it makes any sense to look at two snapshots of a couple of fellows changing brake pads and say, "see, see, this Canon is a much better camera".

Obviously the guy shooting the 5D;s should just keep on keeping on.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201753\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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situgrrl

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« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2008, 12:11:24 pm »

Rob - thanks for that, I will try and fathom my father's Vista box to use iPlayer.  If anyone from the Beeb's iPlayer team is here - please look after those of us who don't use MS it can't be that hard!

With the specific point of capture medium, I fully accept that film is fast approaching obsolesence - but I also think more film is still used professionally than many here realise.  I suspect - I have no firm knowledge - that somewhere like Iraq - which is now rarely headline news, it is easier to shoot film than for most photojournalists.

Regardless, I wish, for convenience sake, that my M4-P was digital, but I wouldn't swap it for another digital camera (well, I would probably take an M8) so that it wasn't obsolete.

schrodingerscat

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2008, 02:11:27 am »

If you bother to read the original screed, he actually preferred the 5D image. It seems he was interested in presenting the older gentleman as the focal point of the image and felt that the the fact that the M8 image tended to flatten everything to a single plane made the 5D image closer to what he was after. And I have to agree with him, it is much more compelling. Convert it to a b&W  image and see what you think.

If the M8 was full frame, I'd probably have one today. And it does seem that they need to rethink the user interface as well to make it a "fergetit and usit" tool. I used M3's and 4's for thirty years and now the closest I can come in digital is a 5d with a 35 1.4. Kinda like using a 12lb sledge to do finishing work.
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Ray

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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2008, 03:22:40 am »

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If you bother to read the original screed, he actually preferred the 5D image.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=202020\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Indeed! Which is why I was surprised at his later comment along the lines, 'it doesn't make any sense to look at a couple of snapshots.... etc'.
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James R Russell

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2008, 12:28:14 am »

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Regardless, I wish, for convenience sake, that my M4-P was digital, but I wouldn't swap it for another digital camera (well, I would probably take an M8) so that it wasn't obsolete.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=201914\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Today took a break and went to the Met to the photo show which is chonilogical from early works to the 60's.

It's interesting, most we've seen before.

Then went down to the Leica Gallery as I had to return something to Kurland.

The interesting thing of the Met and especially the Leica gallery if you go nose to print and look at the images, regardless of format few blow you away in a technical sense.  There are clumps of grain, strange areas out of focus, dust spots and though none of this takes away from the art and the value of the image, (maybe it enhances it), it does remind me that with digital we have a new sensibility and judgement value when it comes to a photograph.

Especially at the Leica gallery where the grain clumps are so large, the detail so soft that even the little M8 shot at 1600 iso is slightly technically superior, in fact it doesn't look that much different than the prints hanging in the gallery.

I am positive if you posted a full rez Bresson image on a forum today, there would be a heated brand war discussion of how crappy it was compared to a Canon 20d or whatever those cameras are called.
 
All photographs do not have to be super smooth, noise (grain) free, have perfect focus and edge to edge sharpness.  In fact few of those attributes (if they are attributes) rarely have anything to do with a beautiful photograph.

In a way this is one of the reasons I bought the Leica, because  to me it's the one camera that doesn't need an upgrade, higher resolution, or even pin point sharpness.  Yea, it looks good at low iso, and when sharp is very sharp, but still that doesn't change the fact that when used like a Leica has historically been used, under low light, blured hand held shots in pushed black and white it looks pretty screwed up, just like pushed black and white film.

Somehow I find that comforting.



JR
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Rob C

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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2008, 04:17:13 am »

James

I was slightly amused by your post regarding photographic quality because it takes me right back to where I was some months ago when I voiced a sadness about the way in which fashion photography has evolved.

At the time of writing, I was admitting a nostalgia for my own era - 60s to mid 80s - and noting how different everything is today. In particular, I referred to the fact that once upon a time we would just pick up the model, take along the clients´ clothes in the back of the car and go shoot something off the cuff or in accordance with some location arrangement made earlier in the week. And that was it: from humble little me to Horvat, Sieff and probably anyone else outwith New York, it was just photography. Then came the make-up people, the hair people and on and on and up went the total costs. I remember Helmut Newton saying on Fashion TV (the show with Jeannie Becker - Toronto) that in his "good old days" they just went out on the streets of Paris like wild dogs and shot and shot; today (his last few years) "everything is such a big deal..."

And that sort of sums it up.

Closer to your point about photographic quality, I can only take your own stuff as example. Yes, it is very impressive, but for ME, and possibly only me, it is exactly the same as all the other work that appears in the mags: skin is not skin, everybody looks too plastic-perfect; nothing much seems natural. The same quality is to be found in the portfolio of the Australian chap that posts here - Elitesometing? - which, as with yours work, is most impressive on a technical level but, to me, at the cost of the emotional. And if fashion is not about emotion then it´s about nothing.

I understand only too well that you have to go with the market, so no criticism is given, what I do say is that I believe it is all linked to the over-complication of everything in life today, from digital cameras and their compulsory computers to the fact that photographers have to be other than photographers, Jacks of all trades, if you will, and you know how seldom Jack does it all well.

The reference to the lady in France (another, but relevant thread) who gets somebody else to do the actual shooting is not as absurd as it seems at first glance. Is she not just doing a level above what art directors do, the ones who don´t trust the photographer?

So, if you tie up the basic truth of what you remarked about the Leica pictures you saw on show and marry it to the ethic of the commercial world, do you see a conflict between too much technical "perfection" and emotional expression? I don´t think I see much work anywhere that combines the two qualities with a lot of success.

Ciao - Rob C
« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 04:21:16 am by Rob C »
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James R Russell

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2008, 11:11:48 am »

Maybe I'm too close to it, but I don't agree with your assessment.

Yes a lot of work, mine included and especially for commerce can be over produced, but that is just the nature of commerce and what happens when the room swells from 5 people to 2 dozen.

It's not that the photographer doesn't have a vision, or just wants to see the room and the expenses grow, but the resulting size of production is just a reflection of what is involved, usually a committee driven concept and once again, there is nothing "wrong" with this as it has proven over time to work.

Then again I don't think things are much different today than they were in the past.

For small editorial such as this

http://russellrutherford.com/paris_editorial/




The production is small, and the lighting on this was limited to either what was available and I used one tungsten Fresnel for fill.  (The two black and white images were shot with the leica, BTW).

Also when we do a personal project like this, the production is even smaller, down to two assistants, makeup, hair, stylist and models.  I may shoot just 5 frames a session.



You may have a rose colored remembrance of the past and believe simplicity produced a pure look, but I think the past is just that, the past and of the pure photographs I see from those days, few really grabbed my attention or will last past their own publication dates.

I think what works is just what works.  Sometimes it takes a huge crew and cast to produce even a simple retail shoot, where left to our own devices, a smaller crew will produce equal or even superior imagery, but then again that's because we start with a more simple agenda.

Commerce, especially when the money increases, will always have a more complicated agenda but I can promise you in this industry the past is just that . . . the past.

To move forward you do what works today, but it's not always that complicated and just because it's digital doesn't make it any less or more pure than before with film and wet darkrooms.

I don't believe in being nostalgic for anything.  It just slows me up and will keep me from going forward and the photographers I know that miss the good old days, usually aren't working that much, if at all.


JR




Quote
James

I was slightly amused by your post regarding photographic quality because it takes me right back to where I was some months ago when I voiced a sadness about the way in which fashion photography has evolved.

At the time of writing, I was admitting a nostalgia for my own era - 60s to mid 80s - and noting how different everything is today. In particular, I referred to the fact that once upon a time we would just pick up the model, take along the clients´ clothes in the back of the car and go shoot something off the cuff or in accordance with some location arrangement made earlier in the week. And that was it: from humble little me to Horvat, Sieff and probably anyone else outwith New York, it was just photography. Then came the make-up people, the hair people and on and on and up went the total costs. I remember Helmut Newton saying on Fashion TV (the show with Jeannie Becker - Toronto) that in his "good old days" they just went out on the streets of Paris like wild dogs and shot and shot; today (his last few years) "everything is such a big deal..."

And that sort of sums it up.

Closer to your point about photographic quality, I can only take your own stuff as example. Yes, it is very impressive, but for ME, and possibly only me, it is exactly the same as all the other work that appears in the mags: skin is not skin, everybody looks too plastic-perfect; nothing much seems natural. The same quality is to be found in the portfolio of the Australian chap that posts here - Elitesometing? - which, as with yours work, is most impressive on a technical level but, to me, at the cost of the emotional. And if fashion is not about emotion then it´s about nothing.

I understand only too well that you have to go with the market, so no criticism is given, what I do say is that I believe it is all linked to the over-complication of everything in life today, from digital cameras and their compulsory computers to the fact that photographers have to be other than photographers, Jacks of all trades, if you will, and you know how seldom Jack does it all well.

The reference to the lady in France (another, but relevant thread) who gets somebody else to do the actual shooting is not as absurd as it seems at first glance. Is she not just doing a level above what art directors do, the ones who don´t trust the photographer?

So, if you tie up the basic truth of what you remarked about the Leica pictures you saw on show and marry it to the ethic of the commercial world, do you see a conflict between too much technical "perfection" and emotional expression? I don´t think I see much work anywhere that combines the two qualities with a lot of success.

Ciao - Rob C
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« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 11:36:38 am by James R Russell »
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Rob C

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2008, 02:29:38 pm »

Hi James

Yep, rose coloured may well be the tint!

However, I do like your two b/w shots very much, the second one, by the wall, just screams Peter Lindbergh at me, underlining exactly the simple but super-strong essence of a picture.

I don´t think I implied any lack of photographer vision - I just feel that, as you indicated, over production might be a strong influence on the sort of image that turns me off. I have also stressed that my thoughts were no criticism of photographers paying attention to the status quo: you have to do what the market thinks it wants. It has no personal effect on me at all because I am long retired from battle, but I still retain an interest in the fashion/model work types of photography. What the hell else is there worth looking at on the web?

The problem, if there really is one for anyone other than myself, is that I fail to see how anybody, however talented, can produce those magical moments when working in a theatre full of extras. Perhaps it is just a matter of what one is used to doing, and as I was very much a solo act (wife as assistant on travel shoots at most), the crowd scenario doesn´t thrill me at all. However, even if those moments do get captured, the dehumanisation of the model kills it for me. And perhaps for most women on the reading side of the magazine too. Could that be the reasoning behind the Dove things?

In your previous set of pics, the central one of the kid in the cap, that´s the treatment I was very much interested in as a young photographer and it´s also sort of indicative of much of the freewheeling style of shots that I had in my portfolio. However, I have to say, though the portfolio (book, for class of today) did get me work, more often than not the client wanted a lot more detail for his buck. This made commercial sense, but when your mind is trying to turn your work into your life´s love, things can get confused...

Anyway James, a  nice body of work!

Rob C

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2008, 12:34:57 pm »

Quote
Because the bottom shot is prettier, better pose, better skin colors and I think the vignetting adds a tranditional film look to the image.

Regardless, the M8 will do this, but you'll have to work it in post and if you work it right, it will do more.

JR
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I agree with the above and I think that the vignetting looks nice, and I also like the background blur in the Canon image...
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James R Russell

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2008, 01:39:58 pm »

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I agree with the above and I think that the vignetting looks nice, and I also like the background blur in the Canon image...
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Well, neither of these images are apples to apples, as the Leica image is either way stopped down, or a different lens alltogether.

The thing I don't understand about  his review is why not just keep on with the 5D's because obviously he likes them and obviously they work.

I do agree with the guys review about Leica's quality control.  I love this camera, but it's a fright and I would never shoot anything important with it without a backup, (probably multiple backups).

I've returned two leica lenses just because they back focus a lot and the 90 by about 2 feet.

Leica will probably take about a year to figure that one out.

There digital camera really should have been as robust as thier film cameras and for some reason something got dropped in translation.

Leica will probably work most of this out, but they better do it sooner than later.

JR
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DarkPenguin

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2008, 02:13:13 pm »

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The thing I don't understand about  his review is why not just keep on with the 5D's because obviously he likes them and obviously they work.

From his review ...

"Like many, I was enthusiastic about the release of the M8.  My Canon EOS 1Ds and 5D have done well for me over the past several years.  But I missed the Leica’s unobtrusiveness and precise focus.  The small size and quiet operation are something I very much need.  On many assignments I have to sneak photos day after day, frequently in front of armed men, both here and in West Africa where I was previously based.  In Iraq, it is now prohibited to photograph car and suicide bomb scenes, detainees, hospitals and morgues.  I often work un-embedded on the Baghdad streets, trying to shoot along the edges of a situation; I find it hard to blend in with a large SLR."
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Rob C

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M8 in war zone article
« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2008, 03:28:07 am »

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From his review ...

"Like many, I was enthusiastic about the release of the M8.  My Canon EOS 1Ds and 5D have done well for me over the past several years.  But I missed the Leica’s unobtrusiveness and precise focus.  The small size and quiet operation are something I very much need.  On many assignments I have to sneak photos day after day, frequently in front of armed men, both here and in West Africa where I was previously based.  In Iraq, it is now prohibited to photograph car and suicide bomb scenes, detainees, hospitals and morgues.  I often work un-embedded on the Baghdad streets, trying to shoot along the edges of a situation; I find it hard to blend in with a large SLR."
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Hey, Mr P!

Q.E.D.

Rob C
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