Digital M In Light Of Nikon D200

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by akochanowski, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. I'm curious what effect the 10.2 MP Nikon D200 will have on the
    upcoming DM. The reason for that is that up to now, the only DSLR's
    that I am aware of that could meter MF lenses were the high end
    Nikons-- Canon's MF lenses were incompatible with the EOS line from
    the 1980's. Now Nikon has a DSLR with the same general specs as the
    specs for the DM, 10MP, a CCD sensor,and essentially the same MF
    capability with all Nikkor lenses going back to the 1980's. The street
    price for the D200 is about $1700, and a 24/2.8 Nikkor (for a 36mm
    equivalent) and a 28/2 or a 35/2 (for a 42-52mm equivalent) run about
    $400 for the pair. I've handled one and it's built like a tank-- it is
    built on the F100 chassis. Much as I like the 35/2 Summicron etc,
    there's no way that a DM body will be worth an extra $3000 just to be
    able to use it. Other than just the fun factor of having something
    different, is there any reason at all to buy a DM?
     
  2. Canon meters fine in AV and manual mode w/MF lenses. Just not Canon MF lenses :)
     
  3. But it's stopped down metering, isn't it? You can't put an Oly MF lens on a D20 and have full AE fuctionality with the viewfinder at widest aperture as if it was on a film body. That is what many of us, well at least me, would like out of a digital rig, the ability to use either AF or MF lenses without a loss of functionality. It was that ability that seemed attractive about the DM, putting aside the price issue, hence my question: would you pay $3000 to be able to expose the same size sensor to Leica vs Nikon glass?
     
  4. "...and essentially the same MF capability with all Nikkor lenses going back to the 1980's"

    Oh no, its worse than that. When I buy a D200 I can put brand new, manual focus, Zeiss ZF glass on it.
     
  5. I understand that the D200 will give full functionality (matrix metering , aperture etc) with Nikon AIs and Zeiss ZF manual focus lenses.
     
  6. Why are you comparing an SLR to a rangefinder? This debate had been going on for a loooong time. Why spend $3000 on a Leica M when you can get a Canon/Nikon/whatever film body for a lot cheaper and with lots more features? The arguments for using a rangefinder over an SLR system is about the same for digital.
     
  7. On the D200 I think you have to program the real focal length of any (each) Ais/Manual lens to be used (and it's maximum aperture value). Having done so it is permanently in a menu. Every time you select that lens again just make sure you have instructed the D200 via the menu. After that it has full metering and aperture control as normal.

    I may be wrong. Perhaps Eric~ can tell us. (He uses the D200)
     
  8. No, Max, it is not at all the same argument. The DM will not have the silent M shutter, it will be the same clickety-clack shutter as is in every other camera body. It will weigh about the same as a mid-range DSLR (the M body already does), its exterior dimensions will be essentially the same, and presumably it will have the same host of customizable settings and parameters that every decent DSLR has. Other than the loss of AF, of course, the sole difference between a DM and a DSLR will be in the viewfinder functionality and in the fact that it will be capable of using M-lenses and producing a file larger than the Epson's 6MP.

    Trevor, I did not realize you could use the Zeiss glass on the D200. So my question still stands, but is modified, who is going to be willing to shell out $3000 so the glass in front of the CCD sensor is Leica and not Nikon or Zeiss?
     
  9. "Max Fun , apr 24, 2006; 02:25 p.m. Why are you comparing an SLR to a rangefinder? "

    Because accelerated depreciation/technical redundancy will be felt far more keenly by someone paying at least 5000 dollars for a digi-cam than someone paying 1500 - 2000 dollars for a D200 or similar. The 5000 dollar camera will halve in value in a year or two and so will the D200.

    Financial loss to Leica owner = 2500 dollars and to D200 owner maybe 700 - 1000 dollars.

    The Digi M is not going to be a collectors asset because it will be technically obselete so quickly at greater financial loss. Neither will Leica be the only 'vehicle' for quality manual glass if one can buy new Zeiss Nikon mount for the D200.
     
  10. Trevor, you're tempting me. I sold my D20 and have been doing a little looking.....

    As an aside, after owning the D20 and a couple of lenses for 15 months and shooting about 7000 frames, I recovered about 78% of the cost in the sale. Not bad at all, I expected a bigger beating.
     
  11. FYI I think the Pentax DSLRs will also allow wide open metering with manual focus lenses. The digital M would still have some appeal due to its size and quiet shutter.

    Of course, I'd never be able to afford one. :-(

    larsbc
     
  12. > Other than just the fun factor of having something different, is there any reason at all to buy a DM?

    Same reason one bought an Leica M instead of (or in addition to) an F100 or whatever SLR. RF vs SLR, just with digital instead of film.

    Personally, I use both RF and SLR, so I ordered a D200 (but never received it as the overnight-delivery people lost it... different story) to go with my RD-1, and will certainly take a look at the DM when/if it appears.
     
  13. The specifications of Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica previously, why would you suspect it would have any now? Purchasers of the DMR, though having a crop-factor and approximately 2/3 the resolution of the 1DS-MKII, claim it is far superior and froth at the mouth at the faintest challenge to that assertion. So it will be with the M Digital, regardless of how its specifications compare to Nikon and Canon, and in fact, regardeless of how its performance compares to legions of photographers. They will simply be dismissed as incompentent to judge image quality. Tis an old tale.
     
  14. If the digital M has low noise at high ISO like the Canons, I'll buy one. If the sensor has the same noise issues that the Nikon has, I won't buy one. And so what if it loses resale value over time? That's an issue if you're buying the camera as an investment. If you're buying it to make photographs, it makes no difference.
     
  15. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    we know what u ment Andy...

    of all the raw files i've shot, D70, 5D, D200, and D2x, and a dvd full of DMR examples, I like the D200 the best. The D200 high iso noise is comparable to the 5D and is miles ahead of the D2x and DMR. I imagine the D200 will sell like hot cakes if Nikon can get them on the shelves.

    My concern with the digi m is that it wont be a high iso noise performer. and it better have more than a 1000th top shutter speed with ttl flash. it's 2006...
     
  16. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "The specifications of Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica previously, why would you suspect it would have any now?"

    are you kidding Terrance? or do you mean "Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica since the mid '70's"?
     
  17. "If the digital M has low noise at high ISO like the Canons,..."

    Since the sensor is smaller, the noise will be worse. But the owners of DM will claim that it is more film-like than the plasticky Canon images and their noise, and therefore better and has more character and quality to it - i.e. glow. We already know the arguments.
     
  18. Eric, there are a number of the D200's at one of my local dealers right now, that's where I handled it. With the 18-70 lens they're $2000. Now you're tempting me too.....
     
  19. From my 20D experience and all I've read, the high-ISO noise issue for other manufacturers is only relevant at 1600 and 3200. There's no doubt that Canon's forte is the ability to use those speeds. There's also no doubt in my mind that my departed 20D would sometimes turn out some ugly-looking people pix. It was most pronounced where there was a strong light in the background.
     
  20. I am planning on getting 2 of D200 when the banding issue becomes non existent. Everything about the camera is just what I wanted.

    Canon, Oly, Leica etc do not have the iTTL system that Nikon offers. This alone pushes the D200 over any other, IMO.
     
  21. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "Since the sensor is smaller, the noise will be worse."

    Nels, the reported digi m sensor, 1.33, should be bigger than Nikon's 1.5 and hence have the ability for less noise than a 1.5 sensor. Perhaps a "in-between" level of performance of ff 5D and a D200?

    Andy, it'll probably be the last dslr you buy. Probably mine too as I don't use the D2x much anymore.
     
  22. any Dslr which is not "full-Frame" is not worth the money.... Leica lenses or not.
    Sharpness can be digitally achieved with any digital contraption, the out of focus quality
    however is a totally different issue, this is in my opinion what make leica lenses good. This
    simply cannot be achieved with 1.x crop factors.
    Another fact is that digital M's are bound to become unsuccesfull.... has leica ever built
    anything electronic that actually worked good ?
    I am a great fan of leica, as long as it doesn't depend/rely on batteries.....
     
  23. "No, Max, it is not at all the same argument. The DM will not have the silent M shutter, it will be the same clickety-clack shutter as is in every other camera body."

    I would say it is exactly the same argument, and do you know about the shutter for certain?

    "It will weigh about the same as a mid-range DSLR (the M body already does), its exterior dimensions will be essentially the same,"

    This is another reason some people have favoured rangefinder size over slr size for years until now, it is part of the RF vs SLR argument.

    "Other than the loss of AF, of course, the sole difference between a DM and a DSLR will be in the viewfinder functionality and in the fact that it will be capable of using M-lenses and producing a file larger than the Epson's 6MP"

    Sole difference!? You've just mentioned all the things one weighs up when choosing an RF or DSLR, most importantly viewfinder and manual focusing. If they mean nothing to you then there's no choice, get the D200. But for many;

    Size difference, Lens design, Viewfinder, Basic operation, Manual focus

    ..are the main points of difference between the two camera types and are all the points argued about. If you're looking for a reason to buy the D200 rather than the digital M, then it'll be all the same reasons faced by some choosing the F100 over the M6.

    Size difference, lens design, viewfinder, general manual operation, manual focus. The recording format is the only thing the same, same goes for DM or DSLR and F100 vs M6. These are very significant differences to most photographers. I'd buy the D200, then handle the DM when it's available, then sell the D200 if you want the DM, but they will be very different to use.
     
  24. ky2

    ky2

    "I think you have to program the real focal length of any (each) Ais/Manual lens to be used" -- you don't have to do that at all... only if you plan to use Matrix metering.

    "I am planning on getting 2 of D200 when the banding issue becomes non existent" -- it's gone Vivek; I tried my D200 to show banding and I havent been able to do it, even under extreme lighting situations.
     
  25. Since 1991 I have used Leica M6 rangefinders almost exclusively. Last year I finally took the plunge to digital, in the absence of a decent digital rangefinder (yes, I know about the Epson RD-1) first with Nikon D70 bodies, now with two D200 bodies. My fear was that the switch from rangefinders back to SLRs would mess up my way of shooting. Well, fortunately it didn't and I'm quite happy with the D200's. To me, my portfolio at http://www.cabophoto.com/download/CubaPAE.pdf (all Nikon D200 with the 20/2.8 AF-D Nikkor) doesn't seem that different from my M6 work.

    Carsten

    http://www.cabophoto.com/
     
  26. [​IMG]
    APS-C Ultraviolet capture (yeah, 1.5X crop sensor).
     
  27. Vivek,

    I think the banding issue is over. My first D200 (I received it on Dec 17th, the first day the D200 was available over here) had no banding at all. In mid-February I received my second body, which did show some banding. Nikon fixed within two days (I dropped off the camera at the German Nikon service center on a Tuesday and it was back in the mail by Thursday).

    Carsten
     
  28. It's sometimes hard to believe that some participants in this forum actually read anything before they begin typing. Ross, I started the thread by saying that a DSLR which (1) has the same size and type sensor as the projected DM, (2) can focus manually just like the projected DM, but which (3) actually costs $3000 less than the projected DM (4)apparently now exists. I was and am curious whether Leica fans (and I am one) would pay out $3000 more to keep Leica glass in front of the sensor of a digital M.


    It was not an argument to buy one or another-- although one now exists and the other does not, which would make even that argument hypothetical. I've existed pretty happily for a couple of years with a DSLR, an SLR and an M, and can appreciate how/where they all differ.

    But I am still curious, who here would pay $3000 to put Leica glass in front of their 10MP CCD sensor over Nikon or Zeiss glass, even accounting for a difference in the viewfinder?
     
  29. Yaron and Carsten- Thanks.
     
  30. For those considering a D200 with MF lenses keep in mind that the standard viewfinder screen isn�t very good for manual focus. I find it a little hit or miss with a 105/2.5 shot wide open unless I use the focus indicator. The good news is that Katzeye makes a screen with a spilt image range finder and works much better for manual focusing (according to the folks that have used it).
     
  31. "The specifications of Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica previously, why would you suspect it would have any now?" are you kidding Terrance? or do you mean "Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica since the mid '70's"?Put another way: Leica has not paid any heed to the specifications of other marques, has not given a whistle that technology has passed them by, and why would anyone expect them to start now, sinc the loyal fanciers continue to line up with cash in hand for each successive product introduction and maintain staunchly that Leica is irrefutably superior.
     
  32. Bruce,

    I found that the Nikon viewfinder magnifier for the D200 (DK-21M, if I remember correctly) helps with manual focus.

    Carsten

    http://www.cabophoto.com/
     
  33. ... Yes my point exactly .... ....

    Not the best of "Bokeh" now is it ?
     
  34. "..the out of focus quality however is a totally different issue, this is in my opinion what make leica lenses good. This simply cannot be achieved with 1.x crop factors.."

    The digital sensor will not change these properties at all. You will still be using the same lens and it will retain whatever properties it already has. DOF is the same no matter whether you stick it in front of a sensor or a film. Does the OOF properties change when you slightly crop a print?
     
  35. terence mahoney , apr 24, 2006; 03:59 p.m.
    "The specifications of Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica previously, why would you suspect it would have any now?" are you kidding Terrance? or do you mean "Nikons and Canons has not had any effect on Leica since the mid '70's"?

    Put another way: Leica has not paid any heed to the specifications of other marques, has not given a whistle that technology has passed them by, and why would anyone expect them to start now, sinc the loyal fanciers continue to line up with cash in hand for each successive product introduction and maintain staunchly that Leica is irrefutably superior.

    Reportedly, the M digital shutter is the same as the R8/R9, which means maxmium 4000/sec speed. I would be really surprised if it is something different. Not that I'm defending Leica digital--- for those for whom cost is a concern, the Nikon DSLR mated with Nikon MF lenses and the new Zeiss ZF lenses looks to be a far better buy.
     
  36. The reason for that is that up to now, the only DSLR's that I am aware of that could meter MF lenses were the high end Nikons
    The Olympus E-1 meters fine with my Manual Focus Zuiko lenses. It does, however, require stop-down metering, which I believe is identical to the Nikon implementation. Other adapters are available for the E-1 and other E-System cameras to use Contax/Yashica, Nikon, Leica R, Leica Visoflex, Pentax M42 Screw Mount, Pentax K, Minolta MD, Rollei SL, Exakta, and Topcon lenses.
    Skip
     
  37. The Olympus E-1 meters fine with my Manual Focus Zuiko lenses. It does, however, require stop-down metering, which I believe is identical to the Nikon implementation.
    Nikon lenses do not need any adaptors to use with the D200 and there is no need for exposure compensation either. So it is different.
     
  38. "It does, however, require stop-down metering, which I believe is identical to the Nikon implementation."

    Not sure that is true of the D200. I think it has the little aperture arm/lever necessary that the D50 and D70 dont have.
     
  39. No, my understanding was that the D200 does NOT require stoppped-down metering with Nikon MF lenses. Stopped-down metering is a PITA; I've done it on a 20D and it's not worth the trouble unless you shoot flowers in your backyard or bridges on a tripod and have an hour to fiddle around. From what I've read, the aperture flange on the Nikkor MF lenses is fully engaged so all the aperture metering functions are preserved.
     
  40. Carsten -- Your Cuban portfolio is stunning! Very beautiful, especially the backlit and silhoutte images. I think your jump to Nikon digital has been a good thing. Bob Meier
     
  41. A real test will be a print swap between D200/Nikon AI-s/Zeiss ZF users and Leica M Digital users. (Screen jpgs a few hundred pixels across will not prove anything.)

    Eric~ , you are good at arranging print swaps! Fancy doing that one?
     
  42. Andy,

    Max wrote:

    The arguments for using a rangefinder over an SLR system is about the same for digital.

    You replied:

    No, Max, it is not at all the same argument.

    It's sometimes hard to believe that some participants in this forum actually read anything before they begin typing. Isn't just Andy.
     
  43. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Andy, this is as good as I get.

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  44. It's sometimes hard to believe that some participants in this forum actually read anything before they begin typing. Ross, I started the thread by saying that a DSLR which (1) has the same size and type sensor as the projected DM, (2) can focus manually just like the projected DM, but which (3) actually costs $3000 less than the projected DM (4)apparently now exists. I was and am curious whether Leica fans (and I am one) would pay out $3000 more to keep Leica glass in front of the sensor of a digital M.
    Andy, you're sounding like you'd never used an M before. Let's take apart some of your arguments:
    1. The D200 is a 1.5x sensor and the DM will have a 1.3x sensor. If all things are the same with the DMR, it would also have a 16 bit a/d converter ala medium format digital backs, instead of the 12 bit converter found in just about all other DSLRs.
    2. Manual focusing with the D200 is nothing like manual focusing on any rangefinder. Especially when you're trying to focus in a dark environment with a slow lens (try finding a wide angle DX lens faster than f/2.8), the rangefinder is just so much better.
    3. Leica has always been a few times more expensive than anything else out there, be it the R or M, and the performance gained has never been commensurate with the price difference (depends on who you ask I guess), so there's no difference here. Leica is not for the faint of heart and light of wallet.
    4. This is the only point you're right on. If you want the digital rangefinder experience, you have to get a R-1Ds, or an M with a scanner. No DSLR will give you the rangefinder experience.
    Now for other points not yet said:
    1. The DM will be about the size of the M, and the lenses... will remain the same, so you'll never find a DSLR that can match the DM for physical size (with the lens), especially not a clunker like the D200.
    2. Yes, the DM will not have a cloth shutter like the film Ms, but it will still be mirror-less, so you'll not have the loud mirror slap sound. Honestly, the loudest noise from an SLR is from the mirror (try it with mirror lockup), so even with a metal shutter, the DM will be more silent than a DSLR. Frankly, even the film Ms aren't the most silent cameras around (honour will have to go to shutterless digicams), but is still quieter than all the SLRs I'd used before.
    3. Along with no mirror, you'll be able to hand-hold your shots much better than with a DSLR for better low-light performance.
    These are some of the differences between using a DM and a D200, and much of it is the same for any rangefinder and SLR.
     
  45. Trevor, you are correct about how the D200 uses older lenses. You program them in the first time used and then the camera remembers the setting. You then have full metering, including matrix metering for thoses lenses. Quite nice feature.
     
  46. "Digital M In Light Of Nikon D200"

    Let me understand this. Because Nikon makes a DSLR that has some similar specifications to the digital M but is cheaper, Leica should hardly bother. There is no good reason for buying a Leica digital M camera other than the "fun factor".

    Well for years Nikon has made film SLRs better specified than the Leica M film cameras. I guess Leica shouldn't have even bothered with these.

    I could care less about the D200. I'm not invested in Nikon lenses nor do I have any more desire to own a digital blobflex than I did to won a film blobflex. The premise of this thread is inane.
     
  47. Thank you, Eliott, I stand humbled before your wisdom. Your latest monograph in Aperture was a transcendental photographic experience. Forgive me.

    Eric, thank you, I take it these are uncorrected?

    Max, I understand your points but disagree that they make the slightest difference in getting any sort of picture you could conceive of attempting with small-format equipment. So would you buy a DM?
     
  48. As much as I am inclined to buy/use the D200, I have to agree with Eliot (!#@), "The premise of this thread is inane."
     
  49. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Andy, yes, straight from RAW with smart sharpen, 1.7/135 applied.
     
  50. Andy,

    Have you ever used an M?
     
  51. Reasons to buy Digital M over D200? I can think of the following

    a. It's smaller.

    b. It focuses better in low light

    c. If you want to shoot in certain types of shots/situations where a rangefinder is preferred over a DSLR (eg concert, in court, etc)

    d. If you want to use your existing Leica glass

    e. If you like using rangefinders

    f. If you hate scanning film.

    g. If you got too much $$$.

    "there's no way that a DM body will be worth an extra $3000 just to be able to use it"

    A thing's worth is a very personal judgement. You have made yours. Others will make theirs. What I understand now, four years into using Leicas, is that

    (a) Price and quality are related. By quality, I mean as in the difference between a Bentley and a Lexus, not just in terms of meeting specs or mean time between failure

    (b) Resale value is very good, so when you sell out, you don't lose much, esp. if you buy second hand

    (c) Although there are some crazy prices, by and large Leica prices are so because they are handmade by expensive but highly skilled German workers, using premium materials. To take lenses for example, using metal may not affect optical performance, but it sure makes the lens user feel like a million dollars.

    On the depreciation of a digital M, I suspect it may not follow the usual route. Witness the DMR-- resale prices are holding up very well, basically because of the low production, because most buyers intend to keep and use it for a long time, and because Leica has no habit of releasing new products every 18 months (unlike Canon).

    Sensor technology has peaked (many observers have stated that the megapixel race is over), so further technical improvements are going to be limited. Rather, like film SLRs before, manufacturers will compete on features (eg autofocus performance, WiFi/WiMax capability, etc). But Leica stands out for its manual controls and will not be involved in such competition.

    If there is no Digital M2 to replace the Digital M in 18 months, prices are unlikely to change much in the resale market, and the depreciation will likely be minimal.

    This is a good time to be introducing the Digital M. I do not agree with people who feel Leica missed the digital revolution. Given Leica's brand position (absolutely high-end stuff) and limited resources, releasing a cheap 4 or 6 MP Digital M would have compromised the brand identity, especially since it would have cost $5,000. The most expensive part of a digital M is not the sensor, but the labour and materials that goes into making it. Now that sensors are much cheaper than 3-5 years ago, and they are cleaner and higher pixel count, it's finally possible for Leica to make a digital M that will meet users' expectations (10 MP or more) and one that will not face megapixel obsolescence so quickly.
     
  52. Depreciation of an M digital in an industry that is still experiencing rapid changes in technology is an issue. However, if history is guide, Leica still made and sold film cameras despite the advancement in film camera technology, addition of AF, built-in motors, multi-pattern metering, etc. etc.

    I would not necessarily expect a digital M to depreciate as rapidly as digital SLRs, although no one can predict what will happen.
     
  53. If the price is right I'll certainly buy a digital M, for all the points Max has listed - smaller size, quieter shutter, better ability to hand-hold at lower shutter speeds, better to manually focus in low light and the ability to use all my Leica lenses.

    The D 200 is still a clunky blob of an SLR - being digital doesn't change that, lenses are big and not that great wide open (the Zeiss's may be an exception), and wide angles will be slow.

    Of course, it will have all the advantages that SLRs have and will be much better for wildlife photography, sport and macro - none of which I'm very interested in.
     
  54. Yes, Max, I have an M7 with a 35/2 and 50/1.4. And I photograph quite a few things, and have for years. And I can afford to buy a DM, maybe even 2.

    So, let me rephrase my original question: other than doctor fondlers, would anyone really buy one?
     
  55. Michael Reichmann on Luminous Landscape says sensors are already outrunning the
    quality of available lenses -- so, he says, lens quality does mean something, and to put
    his money where his mouth is, he went out and bought a bunch of digital-specific lenses
    for his MF back. Generally, the feeling he projects is that routine Canon/Nikon/Zeiss glass
    no longers matches up with sensor quality.

    Also:

    Shooting RF is different than shooting SLR. I still plan to use my SLR, but frankly, haven't
    picked it up (it's a D2x) since I got an R-D1. The experience of shooting is not the same.
    Maybe for somebody else, it is. And when summer comes, and I can get out on the
    landscape again, I'll be working with the D2x some more.

    The "roughly the same size" school of thought hasn't handled both. My 17-35 Nikon
    zoom, all by itself, feels as though it weights as much as my R-D1 with a tri-elmar
    attached. I haven't looked up the exact weights, so it may be an illusion. I know I can fit an
    R-D1 and five lenses in the bottom of a briefcase, and a Nikon system with five lenses
    would need wheels. Nikon does have much better flash than Leica's ever had -- much
    better than Canon, too -- but Leicas aren't really thought of as flash cameras.

    The high ISO argument is not so simple. Which has a higher ISO? A Canon that shoots
    excellent 1600 at 2.8 or a Leica that shoots excellent 800 at 1.4? And the D200 (while an
    excellent camera) is not known as a brilliant high-ISO performer; that means Leica will
    give you an extra stop or two.

    There's a thread on the Rangefinder forum right now about the difference between
    shooting a DSLR and a Rangerfinder. A big DSLR says, "There's a photographer in the
    house, look good!" while a rangefinder doesn't seem to say much of anything. People tend
    to think of them as touristy P&S cameras.

    When people shot film, most serious photographers shot SLRs because of their obvious
    advantages with telephotos and macro work. And there are some great SLRs -- I've haven't
    been without multiple Nikons since sometime in the 1970s. But at the same time, a lot of
    great photographers were shooting RF. They had reasons for doing that. Those reasons
    might not be worth $3000 to some people, but for others, they would be.

    JC
     
  56. Andy, actually DoF does change depending on the crop factor, read this article by Bob Atkins.
     
  57. http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/digitaldof.html

    Remembered to paste it this time ;)
     
  58. There's Zeiss lenses in F mount???
    Cool.
     
  59. Other than doctor fondlers, it's basically the digital crowd. You know, the people who prefer to scan film, work on photoshop and print on inkjets rather than use an enlarger.

    A real fondler would go for the limited editions, the latest being the Ralph Gibson model.

    I'm not keen on the digital M because (a) I don't have $5,000 to blow right now, and (b) I prefer the darkroom. But that's just me.

    Minus you and me, there WILL still be a long queue of buyers for the digital M when it comes out. And believe it or not, these will be people who buy it to use. They will be serious amateurs, and maybe some working pros (like wedding photographers). And they will make good use of the digital M, not just put it in a display case.

    Believe it or not, if you are currently scanning film, the digital M will save you so much time (and give you so much better control over white balance to boot) that $5,000 is nothing, esp. when you amortise it over 5 years. And the high resale value will help if you ever want to sell out.
     
  60. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Barry, take a look, esp the 85 f 1.4

    http://www.zeiss.de/C12567A8003B8B6F/GraphikTitelIntern/03/$File/03.jpg
     
  61. Max Fun has explained it very, very well.
    I would add another point: rangefinder lenses have less restrictions than reflex lenses. You
    don't need retrofocus lenses for wide-angles, and you can get superfast lenses (up to f/1)
    with impressive quality even wide-open.
     
  62. I would pay $2K for an updated Epson but never $5k for a Leica. If I was a well-paid
    Photojournalist I would.
     
  63. Andy, if you'd used an M, then how is it you can't tell the difference between using a rangefinder and a SLR? Why did you get the M7 instead of a Nikon F5/6?

    As for whether I'll get the DM, I'll have to say that it depends on how well the images look at high ISO settings. In any case, the D200 is not the best tool for low-lights anyway, for one thing because it is not a rangefinder, and secondly, if I'm going to use a DSLR for low-lights, I'd use the Canon 5D.
     
  64. Does an f/1 lens on full frame still remain f/1 on a cropped sensor?
     
  65. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "If I was a well-paid Photojournalist I would."

    probably not, John. PJ's use fill flash and zooms for 99% of their work and would only buy something with those abilities. Documentary style, maybe, with your own look when you can do things at your pace, yeah, i could see it.

    Max, it's all a trade off. The only reason I don't have a 5D at the moment is because of the lack of wide angles from Canon. When they get thier 17-55 out, I'll give it another shot. Until then, I'll take a little bit more noise, from Nikon, with a lot more lens choice.
     
  66. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "Does an f/1 lens on full frame still remain f/1 on a cropped sensor?"

    yes, a sensor wont change how much light is transmitted through a lens.
     
  67. Andy, your argument is sound with respect to most people, but it doesn't apply to those people who currently own half a dozen M lenses and no Nikon ones.

    Since I own 3 of each, I guess for me it would depend on what Leica comes up with. I've been meaning to buy a D200, but B&W film still does it for me, and for my digital needs, my Pentax *istDS has been perfect (meters with lots of cheap, nice old lenses too).
     
  68. Eric, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS will not fit the 5D, but you have a wide choice of 20mm f/1.8 (from Sigma), 24mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.4 or the 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom (no APS-C lenses start at 24mm) lenses.
     
  69. "other than doctor fondlers, would anyone really buy one?"

    No. Wealthy doctors, dentists, and collectors are the only Leica users who could possibly be interested in a digital M. Well, maybe a chiropractor here and there. Or possibly a veterinarian. No one else.
     
  70. How 'bout a "faith healer" ... he/she might fit the profile best of all -:)
     
  71. They'd probably wait for the limited edition kangaroo skin version. Well, maybe not the vet...
     
  72. For the record, my veterinarian uses a Canon FT. (He's also my Dad)
     
  73. rj

    rj

    The comparison of the D200 to the Digital M is not correct, nor will it ever be, no matter what sensor is in the cameras. Using a rangefinder is a completely different animal than an slr, its kind of like saying a crown graphic is just as good at 150 bucks than a Canham DLC 4x5 at 2000k. They are completely different animals that could allow you to shoot the same kind of film, so they must be the same. So the Crown must better because it is cheaper and anybody buying a Canham is a fondling richy who desperately needs to show his superiority.

    BTW, the Pentax digital slr cameras can meter with MF lenses.
     
  74. A system is only as good as its lenses. If a Nikon dSLR can AE meter with Leica lenses then we'll talk, else if an F mount Zeiss 21mm is on the way. Meanwhile all those Ai lenses collecting dust in every Main Street used photo dealers' shelves will continue to sit there.
     
  75. If I were going to buy a digital M, the two primary reasons for doing so would be that 1) it allows me to use the Leitz glass that I alreay have, and 2) it allows me to shoot digital with a rangefinder. I don't think I'll be buying one until they come out with a full-frame sensor, though (and even then it's questionablbe whether I'd spend what it will cost).

    If I'm going to shoot with an SLR, I'll stick with my full-frame 5D--it has great performance in low-light, manual focus is good (for an SLR), image quality is comparable to medium format film, and (best of all) it's already paid for.
     
  76. My 2nd system is Pentax. - Manual focusing DSLRs isn't what I'd call fun.

    I picked RFs up with digital in mind and hope I'll be able to make it there, at least to some Epson for the 15mm... - If shooting SLRs is the really right thing, why are we able to enjoy our film RFs at all?
     
  77. Eliot Rosen Photo.net Patron, apr 24, 2006; 06:18 p.m. Depreciation of an M digital in an industry that is still experiencing rapid changes in technology is an issue. However, if history is guide, Leica still made and sold film cameras despite the advancement in film camera technology, addition of AF, built-in motors, multi-pattern metering, etc. etc. Exactly. Leica has not paid any heed to the specifications of other marques, has not given a whistle that technology has passed them by. The loyal fanciers continue to line up with cash in hand for each successive product introduction and maintain staunchly if not rabidly that Leica is irrefutably superior. Wealthy doctors, dentists, and collectors are the only Leica users who could possibly be interested in a digital M. Well, maybe a chiropractor here and there. Or possibly a veterinarian. No one else.Perhaps in the states, but over here with socialised medicine I doubt the average practitioner can be quite so cavalier.
     
  78. "Does an f/1 lens on full frame still remain f/1 on a cropped sensor?"

    In terms of luminosity the response is "yes".
    In terms of minimum DoF the response is "no". You must to multiply by the crop factor:
    1*1,33 = 1,33. So you have the equivalent of a f/1.4 lens in terms of DoF.
     
  79. Thanks for the clarification, Ruben.

    So how would the Leica loyalists feel about their cherished Nocti's becoming f/1.33 as regards DOF? What will they have to brag about then?:)
     
  80. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "You must to multiply by the crop factor: 1*1,33 = 1,33. So you have the equivalent of a f/1.4 lens in terms of DoF."

    I don't think so? What ever dof you have at a given f stop you still have regardless of sensor crop or film. If for arguement sake you shoot 50mm at f4 on film and have say 8 inches of in focus dof, when you put that lens on say a 1.5 crop factor digi, you have 75mm focal length with the same 8 inches of in focus dof. That's my take. It sure is nice though having this crop factor and longer focal lenghts with fast f stops.
     
  81. Hey Eric, it's getting closer... I may be a yellow and black Nikon man soon.
     
  82. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I think you'll like this camera Andy. No one's complaining about a thing with it. The viewfinder is great, not the best, but great. They say the D2x has the brightest and largest finder on all the dslr's, not sure about that or if it's Nikonian hype, but I hardly notice a diff when I pick up the two cameras and I'm in low light all the time. But whatever makes one shoot and play is my slant on it all.

    Max, sorry just noticed your valuable Canon info re lenses. Thanks man! But what a drag, even the latest Canon lenses don't fit on the latest bodies? And the best wide primes are offered by third rate third parties? Hmm...no wonder everone gets an adapter for Leica glass!
     
  83. Eric, the lens does not fit the 5D because it's meant for APS-C sensors, not full frame; using it on a full frame camera will give you severe vignetting. Digital is a whole different kettle of fish that needs quite a bit of research before it actually makes sense. Also, I recommended the Sigma 20mm lens because it's the fastest 20mm lens for Canon/Nikon systems. Heck, I don't even know of any other manufacturer that has a 20mm lens that's f/1.8 or faster.

    Still, your argument for the lack of wide angle lenses doesn't seem to make sense with a full-frame camera, since using fast wide angle lenses is one of the benefits of using full-frame.

    Andy, I see that you're sellilng your 1yr old M7. I guess this really show the difference in style; some people likes SLRs, some prefer rangefinders.
     
  84. Or it could be that I have another M body...

    Max, I know the difference between RF and SLR's quite well. I also know something about digital imaging. In my opinion, whatever minor differences there are bewtween lenses are trivial compared to the processing and post-processing software, and even the choice of sensors and anti-aliasing filters that come into play in digital photography. As far as I was concerned, the only thing that made the DM remotely appealing-- though only at a second-hand price-- was the idea of a smallish body that could crank out 10MP files (good enough for 16x20 prints) coupled with good quality manual focus lenses. Hence my original question.
     
  85. As far as I was concerned, the only thing that made the DM remotely appealing-- though only at a second-hand price-- was the idea of a smallish body that could crank out 10MP files (good enough for 16x20 prints) coupled with good quality manual focus lenses.
    Andy, have you read all the stuff that the various RF users have listed as the differences between the RF and SLR? These are some of the reasons why people buy and use the M. If you don't find these 'appealling', then you might as well just sell your other M and get a Hassy.
    I really can't understand why you can't or don't want to acknowledge the differences. I found that moving from DSLR to M was a huge paradigm shift in how I see and approach my photos. Maybe because it has a lesser impact on you that all you can recognise is the physical size difference. But even then, people who 'needs' to work light would say that the size difference is great enough incentive to replace the DSLR with a digital rangefinder. Obviously not your case. Still, if you have to look so hard to find a 'reason' to buy a Digital M, probably the whole rangefinder thing is not for you. If all you really want is the Leica experience, then just get an R; great range of lenses including zooms.
     
  86. "In my opinion, whatever minor differences there are bewtween lenses are trivial compared to the processing and post-processing software..."

    I feel just the opposite. For me the look of a wide-open summicron is a central part of the effect I'm after for my pictures. If I could start with that look, I feel like all the other variables could be more or less managed (at least for color pictures). But there's no way my Nikon lenses, or my Pentax lenses, or my Hasselblad lenses, nice as they all are, can create that specific look no matter what I do post-exposure.
     
  87. Max, I guess I find the whole "RF experience" to be largely contrived. I quite like the Leica M as it is because it feels very nice in the hand and is small and takes small, fast, wonderful lenses. The viewfinder experience is fine, but it just doesn't make or break the process of taking photographs. For every situation where it's nice to see a bit beyond the frame lines, one could also be limited by not seeing the available DOF. A good film SLR viewfinder like the OM4T I also shoot with is enormous, clean, and bright. Anyone who thinks they miss a shot because they have a 35mm SLR next to their eye instead of a Leica is fooling themselves-- they missed the shot because they weren't good enough to take it. (I speak from plenty of experience there)

    I've shot hundreds of rolls of film on the street, literally getting in people's faces and never had the snik-snik of a mirror in my OM cause me to lose a shot I "would" have gotten if I had used a Leica that day. With all due respect because I don't know what you shoot, but much of the RF "advantages" I read about on this forum seem to come from people who read each others' posts-- certainly the photographers I know who shoot with Leica M's will tell you they like the heft and the lenses, but never have I heard of a photographer who actually uses one in the street say they use a Leica M because of the viewfinder, sorry.

    I guess I just don't get the whole quasi-mystical experience that seems to turn up when you mix Leicas and Internet forums. Why can't people just admit they like a nice, well-turned out camera and leave it at that?

    As for the DM, I think it will be purchased almost entirely by people like Elliott Rosen, who don't like blobby cameras. Enough said about that.


    Beau, let's agree to disagree on this issue. Shooting RAW with a good converter program allows a whole lot of fine tuning.
     
  88. "...but never have I heard of a photographer who actually uses one in the street say they use a Leica M because of the viewfinder, sorry."

    One of the reasons I use a Leica M on the street is the viewfinder. I just prefer a rangefinder to an SLR and IMO the Leica M viewfinder is top notch. To each his own...

    Dennis
     
  89. I tend to agree with Max, in that you obviously don't read other peoples reasons for using M's well enought to actually digest them Andy. Ironic since you complained of this to someone earlier in the thread.

    I've spoken to a number of street shooters who do use M's for the better viewfinder, and I'm one of them. I also use a Pentax LX, which, like the OM4ti has a great, bright viewfinder - with the newer screen it seems to me even brighter and easier to use than the OM and is just as bright as the Leica M6.

    However, in dull light, at wide apertures, it is much more difficult to focus accurately than the M. A good rangefinder snaps positively into focus and even at f1.4 you know you've got the focus. With an SLR, my experience is that often there is manual hunting, since the focus aids become far less distinct, and then the focus can be marginally out.

    A good example of this for me was photographing at f1.4 women moving around and lighting candles in a Kathmandu temple , the M was much, much more accurate than the SLR. This is for me an important difference and one that many people say keeps them using M's. If you don't shoot in low light it might not be important to you, but don't dismiss its value to others.

    I've also, consistently, found that I can hand-hold the M at shutter speeds lower than any SLR - sometimes up to two stops. This can also be important to low-light photographers.

    These strengths should be carried over just as well into the digital model, making for a small, quiet, low light instrument, a very positive advance for some of us.

    If you're into action photography where you need to focus on things on the move, and can't easily prefocus, then the ground glass focusing of an SLR makes it much easier for rough and ready accuracy. As does auto focus.

    The best point you make, is that both cameras have strengths and that some will appeal more to some than to others, depending on shooting style and shooting circumstances.

    Good luck with the D200.
     
  90. rj

    rj

    I would like to respond to Terence Mahoney's response up above when he says "Leica has not paid any heed to the specifications of other marques, has not given a whistle that technology has passed them by."

    This is the superiority of the Leica M, for me. It is the fact that Leica hasn't jammed the technology and the specifications of the other camera makers into their cameras, forcing another "me too" product into the marketplace. They have thankfully kept the cameras functionally similar over the years and have kept the operational controls simple and the lenses great. I would never had bought a Leica if they had gone down a different route and competed with Nikon and Canon or whatever new technological wonder laden camera is at the top.

    The loyal fanciers line up with cash in hand precisely because the M camera system is different than other slr systems, and that it is a camera system that is built with professional robustness and reliability.
     
  91. Why can't people just admit they like a nice, well-turned out camera and leave it at that?
    Why can't you accept that other people have legitimate reasons for prefering to work with a rangefinders instead of an SLRs? Or is any rationale for doing things differently than you do a matter of contrivance?
     
  92. Just another note, I'd spoken with Alex Webb, a Magnum photographer, why he exclusively uses an M, and he told me that it was because of the viewfinder. He likes it that with the RF, you can see everything clearly and you don't have the DOF effect you get with the SLR.
     
  93. Max,

    yes, I know Alex and that he loves the M Leicas. So did David Alan Harvey, who shoots Nikon DSLRs now...

    Carsten
     
  94. Carsten, there's no rule that says that people can't change their preference; I was a fully SLR person for awhile. But it doesn't say anything about the advantage or disadvantage of using a rangefinder.
     
  95. Max,

    that is true. My point is that the advantages of a rangefinder may not be the most important factor. I used SLRs when I was young and switched to rangefinders (Leica M6) in 1991. From then on to late 2004 I used them almost exclusively, so I guess I can claim I know the advantages and disadvantages. Now I'm shooting D200's almost exclusively becuase they offer some advantages the Leicas can't offer at the moment. Of course I'd love to have an RF camera with the performance of the D200, but so far it's simply not there. I'm curious about the digital M, but I have my doubts. Still, no sense in speculating; let's just see what Leica will show us at Photokina.

    Carsten
     
  96. Carsten, my point is that each photographer has their own personal style. Some only shoot LF, some only shoot MF some only shoot RF. Just because your style slant towards one format doesn't mean that the benefits of using other formats don't exist. I shoot mainly 35mm but I will still acknowledge some of the advantages of shooting MF or LF.
     
  97. Max,

    >>Some only shoot LF, some only shoot MF some only shoot RF

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here ;-)

    As I said, for instance David Alan Harvey used to shoot only RF for years (just as I did, but he's in a different league). After discovering digital cameras, he switched to SLRs. I think your statement "some only shoot RF" may be true in some specific cases, but not in general.

    For quite a while I believed in the "an RF camera is less obtrusive, less noisy etc. etc. stuff" and I think it has made me a better photographer, for it forced me to push further (thinking "if I don't get a good picture here, it's certainly not the camera's fault, but mine"). However, now that I've switched back to (D)SLRs mainly because there is no decent digital RF camera around, I realized that one's vision is so much more important than the type of camera one uses.

    Of course your mileage may vary, as they say.

    Cheers

    Carsten
     
  98. Argh Carsten! You're not getting the point... I'm not saying everybody only shoot 1 format/style; I use both RF and SLR depending on the requirement. But just because they use only one format, it doesn't mean that other formats don't have their advantages, and similarly even if David switched to DSLR, doesn't mean that the RF will suddenly become loud, and the viewfinder become small and dark. The whole world can switch to DSLR, but the M will still remain the same.

    You don't have to be defensive about switching to the D200; whatever rocks your boat man, but we are discussing how some people enjoy the advantages afforded by using the RF and there are also pros (not all) who will only use it. Other photographers may not agree, but that's just individual styles.
     
  99. having spent most of my professional life shooting slr's, Nikon first and then Leica and
    really, REALLY appreciating the quality of the Leitz lenses in the days of Kodachrome when
    everyone else was saying how contrasty it was and I was loving K 64, 40 rolls a day on a
    fashion shoot on the beach... I shot with my daughter-in-laws D200 now four times and
    am blown away. Since being retired and living in ketchum, ID where the labs are non-
    existent (pro labs.. black labs are abundant) and scanning dirty film, I am definitely going
    to go with the Canon D5 (as I have the lenses) and have done some comparisons. Digital
    makes my life much more simple and especially with the epson 4800 printer and
    photoshop... life goes on and I still have my '72 M4 which I'll never get rid of, but SLR's
    still seem to be the way to go and I agree, with auto focus and zooms, the "street" camera
    seems to be the digital SLR. nobody notices it at all... it's quick and pretty silent and as
    long as you are not looking at each image after you shoot, it's unubtrusive. That seems to
    be the major fault of digital shooters, looking at each picture rather that "being in the
    moment" and looking later. Fun thread and the Cuban photos are brilliant!
     
  100. Max,

    >>You don't have to be defensive about switching to the D200

    I'm not; and who knows, if the digital M is good, I'd be the first to switch back.

    Carsten
     

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