E. Puts: "Reflections on the future of the Manual focus coupled Rangefinder camera"

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by john_gleason|1, May 12, 2009.

  1. Good grief. Puts has slipped over the edge. Is this ad copy for Leica?
  2. I envision signing up for a photo cruise with Erwin, Roger Hicks and Ken Rockwell as the resident mentors.
    He certainly chose challenging typography.
  3. I think Mr. Puts is, as most of the time, right on in his historical review, and in his last paragraph comments on the future. I am dedicated to Leica, and now in digital form, as a camera for all purposes, and if they would add live view, then truly a universal instrument for the thoughtful serious photographer.
  4. Its just pure marketing hooey. His historical review is now a cliche, and really a smoke screent to hide the fact that more and more, the M, as much as we love them, are basically irrelevant to the present and future of photography.
  5. Wrong.
  6. But thanks for dissing my camera. ;)
  7. I don't have time to read the article, I'm too busy scanning my photos that are irrelevant because they were shot with an M7...
    Of course they'd be much more relevant if I had shot them with a D700, or maybe a Canon Rebel. Ha.
  8. Are your M8 photos any better than your 5D photos? They both look good to me. But go ahead, you should take the time to scan the artical, then you will see why I gag...:0
  9. If the M's were to disappear, I would still be taking the same lousy photos with or without. If I were to disappear, M users would still be taking the same lousy photos. It sounds even to me..basically to be clear, I see lots of people that take awful photos using the best M's or the best SLR's of every stripe, and I see people using modest camera's take good photos. So where does the quality start to make a difference. Its hard to discern differences here. I could see it in the dark room, but not with digital files.
  10. All I could do was skim it. That font is absolutely horrible.
  11. Yes, font bad!
  12. "EVIL"...he made that up, right? Seems like something that Ken Rockwell would make up.
  13. You mean the difference with other cameras is irrelevant? Why would it be irrelevant? Why would you own like half a dozen basically different types of cameras then? I thought you meant irrelevant in general, but any camera that takes photos is potentially relevant in a profound sense.
    Puts irrelevant? I have no idea. I never read his stuff.
  14. My hat is off to the writer. Grizzled and cynical veterans of Leica rangefinder photography may find it "historically cliche" and ungraciously question Mr. Puts motives, but I think there is some value here.
    IMO, it is nice that there is some positive continuity as a resource for those entering into, or curious about, this type of photographic experience. Maybe it's aimed at the younger, emerging photographer ... thus the small font ... LOL!
    Not all that long ago, I introduced the M to a photographer of considerable talent who was well aware of the Leica M but had never used one. He took to it immediately and sold off his Contax G kit, as well as shelving a good deal of his 35mm SLR gear. All I can say is that it fit him. It doesn't matter if people believe that he would be a good photographer with anything in his hands ... what matters is "what he believes." He intensely believes in the optics, and specifically likes the simplicity of the classic rangefinder method. His M work was recently selected for exhibition at the National Gallery in St. Petersburg Russia, and one of his delightful shots was selected for LFI Editor's Choice. His name is Irakly Shanidze.
    I see the M in my future, as I saw it in my past. A part of the over-all experience ... not to the exclusion of other more diverse tools, but as a specialist tool that does something specific, and does it very well. Just my personal opinion... but in the end, personal opinion is all we really have isn't it?
  15. At least he's a fan.
  16. Marc, its not so much the facts he sites, but the fact that he goes through the same litany on every review I've ever seen. Just a footnote to the "history"would do. I have to spend 15 min. just to find out where the actual review is. Then he usually uses the history for justifying a mystical attachment to a lens or body etc., a "way of seeing" it's b.s. I use range finders, DSLR's, seeing is seeing, either you do or don't. I know that many really believe it makes a difference to the way they work, and that is fine, but I don't think it's as big a deal as the hype wants to make. And I have and use Leicas, slr's, medium format, film and digital, so I'm not just blowing smoke. It would be nice if he (and I)could be succinct once or twice. I will say for IQ Leica glass makes a difference in the darkroom, I'm not so sure it does in the digital world. All prefaced with IMO.
  17. Rangefinder view is independent from focal length of the lens used
    Talk about making a virtue out of a necessity! Let's face it, these are quirky cameras, but no more annnoying than most digitals.
    I think Leica's 1980s advertising hype had it right: concentration on the essentials. That's what sold it to me. I finally succumbed 7 years ago, and I have no regrets whatsoever.
  18. It might not be discernible to an onlooker whether you feel completely comfortable in your coat or slightly uncomfortable, but you know it yourself. I've had that old coat for 30 years, feels as good as the day I got it. I like walking in it better than the one that's slightly tight or the one that's a little too big, or the one that's not quite warm enough or the one that's too warm. Means I don't have to think about it, it just does its job and I walk free as a bird.
  19. Puts, eat your heart out!
  20. Well, yes, the font's too small and there are typographical errors (even wrong words used that sound like the correct words). I've seen this guy referred to in various posts on this forum, and wondered who he is, and never ever been able to read through an entire article written by him.
    Well, who is he?
    I agree, most of the article is blather. Must have hit a dry spell for new things to write about, while trying to make it to a certain word count.
  21. He certainly chose challenging typography.​
    That sums up the article nicely. :)
  22. I vote with Barry Fisher -- but I love my lousy photos taken with my M2 more than my lousy photos taken with a digital camera!
  23. There you go again Barry, making sense and all.... Stop it!

    Funny read...
  24. It is not so much the font, its the fact that there are no additional spaces between the paragraphs that makes it difficult to read.
    Not one of best statements. Rambling and actually rather boring this time. I think Puts says sensible things a lot of the time, but this one is rather long-winded and dull to me. My view is the same as Barry's, really.
  25. ..."biotope"?...now there's a stretch - I get the metaphor but...egads....Erwin...it's just a piece of equipment. The advantages to the M system can be summed up in one sentence. The M cameras are nice because of the operating simplicity, size, weight, and lenses.
    You either like and understand the total package - or you don't. If you don't, then you use other equipment and still make photographs. Will the M system continue on forever? Doesn't matter. Leica M system equipment will be available on the new or used market for at least another 50 years - if you want to use it, it will be available. All of the ruminations about equipment relevancy is ...well, irrelevant as it has absolutely NOTHING to do with making interesting images.
  26. Re: The font size that he chose: In Firefox (at least), hit Ctrl + a couple of times, and the font will be large enough, even for my tired old eyes. That doesn't address any of the other criticisms, of course.
  27. Two features I'd like to see in the next M film camera are vibration stabilization and date stamp in between the frames. My Contax RX had this latter feature 15 years ago.
  28. The Leica rangefinder camera might be analogous to the old navigator's sextant. The best of these might be the one made in Germany by Plath. It, like the Leica, was a masterpiece of precision that served the purpose of letting the captain know exactly where his ship was on the globe.
    To use it, you had to know the exact time of day and have the most up-to-date version of star tables. Not just anyone could use the sextant. Knowledge of its use elevated a man in worldly stature.
    Then came GPS. Sextants became nice ornaments for fireplace mantles. You can get a decent GPS (new) for $100. It tells you at the flip of a switch, your exact location.
    I appreciate the Leica as much as anyone, but its days are probably numbered. The same might apply to all kinds of other good things!
  29. Barry, in a nutshell: Puts has always blown a lot of hot air given the time. I am a Leica user since many years, and I have no idea what Puts' sermons are good for. I can't even imagine that someone pays him for these tracts.
  30. I can agree with very little in Puts' article - it seems to elevate M-photography into a religion.
    Leica M-lenses are without doubt of excellent optical quality - but the rangefinder concept is outdated. And don't understand why Leica can't offer camera with AF that allows the use of M-lenses - with an optical or electronic finder and a similar sensor size as the M8/M8.2. To me, this would certainly make more sense than the development of the S2 system.
  31. Rangefinder view is independent from focal length of the lens used
    And what exactly does he call those 50-year-old Canons with variable magnification finders? This is more than ridiculous even for the High Priest of Leicadom himself.
  32. If anyone had been watching, they would have noticed a firming of the market for quality used manual cameras, rangefinders especially (incl Canon & Nikon). Even old Olympus and Yashica rangefinders are getting $3,4,500 on eBay. M3's are up to $1500 again, Leica III's, $1k. A Nikon FM2n sold on ebay for $1400 two weeks ago, and there is one in the window of one of our better retailers for $950. The same dealer reports increased sales of film for the first time in four years. Fuji restarts Velvia 50 production after the adverse reaction to ceasing it. Sales of scanners are up and one can get a 35mm scanner for $200 today.
    I wonder why.
  33. Dieter, he seems to get every new product they put out to test. Maybe he's just independantly wealthy?
  34. "The great accuracy of rangefinder focusing." Indeed. A lot more accurate, especially with wideangles -- but it depends on how sharp your eyesight is, and also on personal preferences. Some people just never get the hang of rangefinders. But I agree AF can sometimes miss the mark and can be a bit hit and miss, especially with macros.
    All in all, a useful, thoughtful article from Putts. Is the man not entitled to his opinion, backed up by some historical facts, research, and logical argument? Why is it so many on the Leica forum spend their time dissing Leicas? Seems strange. It was not always thus...
  35. I like Dieter's take. I don't dis Leica's, I use them and love em. I do dis the religiousity surruonding their use. Erwin Puts only tells part of the truth in his historical recaps. The other part of the story is though Leica's were The camera for jouranlist and documentarians, because they were the most advanced camera with the best lenses for a time. But when the Japanese SLR market came into being in the late 50's and 60's the Leica and in fact all rangefinders, lost their place at the top of the pro use heap. That's just a fact. The features that news and magazine shooters needed were not provided.
    That doesn't mean that no great photographers used Lecia's, they obviously have and still do because they are excellant, and you do get used to a rangefinder. They are great within their usable range. The point is, that all the equipment does not a good photograph make. I have no problem with people discussing equipment; we all need to get information. When I say that rangefinders and Leica's are not relevent to the present and future of photography, it's basically a general truth. The rangefinder has become a niche market. I don't think that fact is earth shattering, and its not a criticisim of Leicas either, regardless of how people want to interpret the remark.
  36. i should add, not just need information(about discussing equip), but enjoy discussing the various aspects, that's fair play by me.
  37. "I envision signing up for a photo cruise with Erwin, Roger Hicks and Ken Rockwell as the resident mentors."
    Under the radar snipe, but funny.
  38. You either dig it or you dont - either way what's to sweat about?
  39. With regard to any comments about Erwin Puts's diction (choice of words) and spelling, he lives in the Netherlands, apparently speaks Dutch as his native language, and writes in English as his second (or maybe third or fourth) language. He posts on the Internet in English because there are many people worldwide who can communicate in that language. His English is clear, readily understandable and fluent for someone who has another native language, and he is clearly an intelligent and well-educated individual. Let's put it this way -- his ability to communicate in English is a great deal better than the ability of most of those posting on this forum to communicate in Dutch or other languages.
    He takes a moderately technical approach to discussing hardware. He clearly has at least some background in mathematics, optical physics and engineering. (I don't know what he does for a living, but it's not photography, which is merely his hobby.) He also takes a philosophical approach to analyzing abstract concepts about photography. He is sufficiently intelligent and well-informed to make for interesting reading. Among other things, he writes about how the approach taken by Leica engineers toward the optical engineering of lenses has evolved over time. He does have a particular viewpoint, he sometimes repeats himself, and his comments emphasize thoroughness over brevity, but his insights make up for those things.
    Erwin Puts is someone who likes rangefinder cameras in general, Leicas in particular, and Leica lenses especially. He has a variety of technical, theoretical and philosophical reasons for his opinions. One might characterize his approach to photography as teleological. If you're someone who prefers brief, pithy comments focusing on the practical aspects of photography, his observations may not be to your personal taste. Few of those commenting adversely on the aridity or prolixity of his writing style can match the sophistication of his analyses, though.
  40. Well put, Peter. "Prolixity". I had to look it up but it's a goodie. And I must apologize for giving Erwin Puts an extra "t". If you are criticizing someone -- positively or not -- it's nice to get their name right.
  41. This particular article was not analysis, it was religion. I love my Leicas, but come on.
  42. Yes, Mr. Puts teological approach appears sophisticated, but I don'tt think it's anti-intellectual to say, as Mr. Powers has, that his approach is essentially religion guised as "objective" analysis. I still believe it is marketing, either directly or indirectly. No one get's that much product to review unless there's some association with the manufactorer.

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