In praise of Leica and Hasselblad

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by asimrazakhan, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. I was just day dreaming and thought I'd share my thoughts.
    I started travel/street photography at age seven. Now, three decades later, I've realized that the joy of photography has more to do with the 'struggle' or challenge of taking a photograph than the end result. If only the end result were important then I might as well go out and buy postcards instead.
    In addition to this philosophy is attached the beauty of the mechanics and engineering of the camera itself. Cameras such as Leica M's and Hasselblad V's have really intrigued me. They are solid mechanical works of art that serve a unique purpose. And this purpose is juxtaposed by the joy of using them as well as their beauty when staring at them.
    Over the years, I spent money on camera after camera while focusing on acquiring better automatic and electronic gadgetry. I started with a no-name point and shoot, moved up to an Olympus XA rangefinder for sixteen years while yearning for an auto SLR, got a low-level Pentax MZ5n, and then finally build up to a Pentax MZ-S and LX with several prime lenses, including their top quality limited editions.
    Now I've realized that fast autofocus with auto modes and electric settings don't matter when taking the photo. In the end the only thing that counts the most is your shutter speed and aperture. Of course the quality of your lens and film is also a factor, along with stability and light quality. But in terms of camera technology, you only have the shutter speed and aperture in your control that will have an effect on the photo.
    This brings me to the thought that photography in its raw form is best enjoyed with a manual camera. Using an auto camera (and especially a digital camera), one tends to start firing away like a machine gun with little thought put into the process as well as the end result. Consequently, this machine gun approach takes away from the joy of using the camera and the 'struggle' and challenge in taking the photograph.
    This 'struggle' is a must in order to enjoy the hobby and art of photography. If cameras could do everything for the photographer and guarantee a perfect shot everytime while also making your breakfast and cleaning your house then we wouldn't really have to take photos at all. A couple of analogies; Why do people climb Everest? I'd say it's because individuals needs a struggle in order to acquire a sense of achievement. Why do people with endless amounts of money remain unsatisfied? I'd say its because they have no 'struggles' in their lives. And I actually dare to add on this photo website in a digital era that the reason we often find people turned off from digital photography is that their is a lack of 'struggle' in taking photos, and photography begins to feel bland and no longer challenging.
    So one day, I hope to get back to the basics with a Leica M film camera and a Hasselblad 501CM. Thats when I'll use my automatic Pentax MZ-S to take photos of the two cameras side by side.
    Maybe you'd like to suggest to me how to spend $1500 that I've saved up to spend on entering into one of these two brands.
     
  2. Asim -- great thoughts and I share your feelings. And I have a Leica M6 TTL that I will sell you for only $1200! Bob
     
  3. Leica M and Hasselblad is totally different system...if you like travel around, street photogrpahy, candid, snap and go, then, Leica M is a great choice, Hasselblad is a little heavy, not working as fast as Leica M. I have both system, and use for different setting. I travel with Leica M, take with me all the time. Hasselblad is 500 C/M, for portraiture, this one don't have the build in meter, therefore, it is really slow me down to take a meter reading...and is heavy. I can hand hold Leica in low light, but, not with hasselblad.
    There are lots Leica M, and hasselblad on ebay, I think you could get one you like for $1500 around no problem ;)
     
  4. First of all... Beautifully written. I really think that few people realize how much the mechanical and engineering excellence effects there love of a camera like these. I had a similar dilemma a little while back only on a bit smaller budget of $1100. I got a Leica M2 with a 50mm f/2.8 and a little meter. I was initially turned off by the high costs associated with 120 as compared with 35. (My TMax bulk 35 costs me about $2 a roll for 36 frames when all is said and done vs. $7 a roll for 12 frames of 120 at my local pro shop.) Despite these cost concerns I have found myself drifting back to the used dealer's websites in search of a clean body at a good price. They really are magical. I've also been considering a rolleiflex because I always thought that they too possessed that mechanical beauty that we all like so much. In the end this decision is really personal. These are different horses for different races. In the end you might end up with both so perhaps start with the more versatile and portable Leica.
     
  5. asim, you might want to read this: http://www.imx.nl/photo/leica/camera/MP/page30.html
     
  6. Asim, well said. I share your feelings and understand them too.
     
  7. Climbing Everest (not that I have done it) and photography have something in common. The view. To some extent you are right. The struggle is very important and valuable. But so is the view. And I would prefer to have my view than someone else's. So buying a postcard is not an option. I agree with Robert Meier that you should get a Leica M. Get the best one you possibly can, up to an M6. The current ones are too costly for your budget. Hasselblads are great too, though they have some cheaper parts in the new 500 model--my rapid wind lever is plastic and broke right off. But the Hass is harder to use and to handhold, doesn't have a meter, and does tend to jam at the worst times.
     
  8. * Click *
    Shoot what you own. Spend the 1500 on film, travel, and a photo.net membership.
     
  9. Dave, thanks for your helpful contribution and blind link; those are always appreciated and are really classy. (Not.)
    But I see from your profile that you're a TLR "fanboy" (can we agree that anyone who publishes in their portfolio photos not just by cameras but of cameras qualifies for the term?), so let's not throw the word around too lightly. After all, every photographer uses some kind(s) of camera, and usually there's a reason they chose that kind of camera over others. Are you saying that photographers shouldn't explain why they use that kind of camera to others who ask about it? What if someone asked about TLRs in the manual-camera forum and you answered; would it be OK to call you a fanboy?
    Sheesh. OP asks an innocent question ("How should I enter into one of these two brands?" ) and inevitably someone isn't able to resist showing how wise and "above the gear talk" they are.... when in fact they're just into different gear as opposed to actually being "above" gear.
     
  10. I started getting back into film recently as well and recently bought a Nikon FE2 which is fully mechanical. A great little camera that has helped me take my street photography to the next level (for me).
    I still love shooting my street photography with my D300 + 20mm f2.8 combination. But you're right, when I shoot with digital I tend to fire away at anything, but when I'm shooting film, I take my time and look around and only click if I consider the scene a 'keeper'. I've found I take my time, become more methodical and as a result more satisfied when the final photo comes back from the developer and exceeds my expectations.
    I've been looking at Leicas with envy for the last few months. I love how they feel, their look and history, but I still can't justify the expense. I just can't get out of my head that Leica's whole brand image is just an incredibly well set up marketing campaign supported by famous photographers over the years. Still, don't be surprised if you bump into me in the streets of Toronto with a Leica in my hand :)
     
  11. Leica M6 Classic. For a lens I recommend at 35mm Summicron or 50mm Zeiss Sonnar f1.5 (if you are shooting b&w). Just my opinion. Buy used. There are bargains out there now, especially if you are not concerned about cosmetics.
     
  12. Asim:
    You seem to be evolving and growing as an artist, along a path well-trodden by many great photographers. I have followed a similar path and use both the M and V systems today along with digital, which certainly has it's place.The M and V cameras are indeed works of mechanical art, but that may be the wrong reason for a photographer to choose them. Leicas are much more flexible in their application, as others have noted, and are definitely to be recommended as a next step. You will likely find a place for the Hasselblads later (as I did), should you become more focused on the particular styles of photography for which they are best suited.
     
  13. $1500 is not enough to get a leica m6 + 35/2 summicron pre-asph, for instance, but it will get you a hasselblad 501cm + 80/2.8 cb in mint condition.
     
  14. Asim, a well-concieved and well-written post.
    I understand your perspective and think the same way myself. After long thought and research, I am extremely happy with a Konica Hexar RF, Leica Summicron 50 / 2.0 (tabbed version), and a Leica Summar 50 / 2.0. The Konica is easier to shoot than a Leica M (easier metering, loading, and winding). Although it may not be the same marvel of engineering as an M, the Konica provides me with a simpler, more intuitive shooting process. The Summicron always astounds me with its image quality, even wide open, and the Summar (a clean example) gives me a classic/retro image quality that is radically different from the digital look .
     
  15. "$1500 is not enough to get a leica m6 + 35/2 summicron pre-asph"
    ... but it is almost enough to get an M6 with a 50 Summicron, as that combo sold recently on eBay for $1550 (sorry, not allowed to link even to expired eBay auctions).
     
  16. In "Being Happy", this is known as enjoying the trip rather than the destination.

    To accomplished photographer, digital is still a struggle. Nothing has changed from the film era for them, the EOS 1D isn't that much different from an EOS 1V except it doesn't use film.

    If you're shooting sports or ballet or news, an LCD isn't going to help much, there just isn't time enough to review histograms or ask the subjects to redo a poor composition.

    The struggle to get a good news photo, to capture the decisive moment in photojournalism, doesn't change much with technology.

    So to me, the attraction of using a fully manual camera is the feeling of being in absolute control.
     
  17. Yes, I am a 'fanboy'... of photography. I take it as a very nice compliment. I must be obsessed with photography and cameras since I've been using them since the age of seven. My other obsession is traveling. Fortunately, the two go hand in hand like shutter speeds and apertures. :)
    I remember during my last three month backpacking trip of South East Asia I saw one Leica, one Voigtlander, and one Hasselblad. It's interesting to note that I remember exactly where I was at the time, what the person looked like that was carrying each camera, and even what the weather was like. Besides this, I saw thousands of other cameras, but none that stood out like these. So yes, I am obsessed.
    Just two weeks ago I was on KEH.com about to click on the 'submit' button to purchase a complete Hasselblad V system for about $1800 (body and two lenses). I stopped myself in order to step back and rethink if I would really be putting mileage on the camera. I decided as a travel photographer, I would be better off with a Mamiya 6 or 7 and halted my purchase. Since then, I've been researching rangefinders and was lead to Leicas. Yes, I would be better served with a Mamiya 6/7 in medium format as a travel photographer, but the Hasselblad is a mechanical marvel that pleases the eyes. Of course the Mamiya is an amazing camera as well, but I'm more in awe of the Hasselblad than the Mamiya just for its sheer beauty and engineering. In fact, it was this viewpoint that took away from Mamiya down the road to Leica. Leica holds the same awesome beauty that Hasselblad does. The Mamiya (for me) seems to be the link between the two. It better serves my purpose but it doesn't fully gratify the desire. This is why I'm like Buridan's Ass sitting between an apple and an orange... a Hasselblad and a Leica.
    Currently I'm working overseas. When I get home I will purchase a slide scanner and become a full member of photo.net. I hope then I'll be able to share my work as much as I've enjoyed sharing all of your works.
     
  18. 4 cameras that have impressed with their beauty and build quality. Leica M6 (never owned one but they are beautiful to behold) Hassy 500 cm. (Superb but after two bodies jamming halfway through the first roll I sold them quick. (Yes I know it was something I must have done wrong but I never had that problem with any other camera.) Rollei TLR's (near perfect for what they are.) And finally the Contax G2. (Leica folks forgive me but I think it might be the most beautiful camera ever built) Each may have a different nitch but in the right hands they all are capable of beautiful photos. (That part is up to you.)
     
  19. asim - i hope you will have both leica, and hasselblad, cameras, some day. they are both great to own, and use. they are
    both fine for travel and street work. don't forget the hasselblad 200 & 2000 system - there are some amAzing lenses out
    there for it! a 110mm f/2, for example : ] have a look on flickr - mike peters' stuff, particularly - and you'll see what i mean.
     
  20. The M6 is the best small camera I have had. I prefer the TTL. You should be able to get one with a 50mm f2 Leica lens for a little above your budget.
     
  21. Asim, perhaps you could post some of your photos in the gallery. Always interested to see what photos struggling with equipment produces. I've always dumped gear I had to struggle with.
     
  22. Asim, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It helps to know that others share and have very similar thoughts regarding the equipment that they use. I often get jealous at those photographers who have very little problems deciding what equipment to use/purchase. I was recently given an Olympus OM-1. Wow! It's so simple and takes wonderful photos. I set the f/stop and shutter speed and spend most of my time with composition. I also own a used Hasselblad 503 CX. Many moons ago I served in the military where I learned about repairing photographic equipment. I put these skills to the test by disassembling my Hasselblad and servicing it myself. It was a journey in and of itself! If you think that the outside of a Hasselblad is a thing of beauty you should see the inside. It is a well choreographed dance of gears and levers working in perfect harmony. I must have sat there for at least an hour just watching how everything went together and worked together. Disassembling a film back is very similar. It's hard to believe that anything in today's world is still built with such precision. Of course, I still enjoy wearing a mechanical watch over a digital watch. Keep in mind that this is a very personal decision for you to make. You will be very happy with whatever choice you make. Good luck, and keep taking lots and lots of photographs!
     
  23. daaaaaaaa, sorry dude, but try taking ANY photo 1 workshop with a good teacher like. Then, either
    take up the fellow who is practically giving it away, if thats what you want , or get a diana plastic
    camera, and start dealing with THE IMAGE, NOT WITH THE EQUIPMENT, though you would be amazed
    what students can do with it, as well is other exhibiting shooters. NEXT, try the new little amazing
    looking leica...(sorry, i still cant afford it, though i dream about it...) the x whatever...if you check out
    the LCD you will see whats in front literally in B L A C K AND W H I T E...and youll go ooooooooooooo.
    i want that. just think, no equipment to log around, and you can let yourself be swept up by the
    image, god damn it. Your concerns raise the experience of this other dude who showed off his
    new canon at the moma when he first got his hands on digital equipment...i think he took 3 (not 2)
    trillions images, not one of them any good, but he was in canon heaven, so go figure. Some folks
    are just hung up on equipment, and its you, yes you, who are making all these companies raise
    their god damn prices ok. you heard it here first.
     
  24. For me a hand held meter and simple mechanical camera makes all the difference. I hated trying to figure out the Pentax PZ-20 my father gave me years ago. It was my first SLR and it seemed like one needed to be a rocket scientist to use. Then when I got my RZ67 which I could use with out jumping around a buch of menus my approach got a lot more simple and streamlined. Then when I bought a Nikon F2 I wonded why I wasn't steered torward a mecanical camera in the first place. So simple to use, it frees one up to actually concentrate on taking pictures!
    However, there's no getting around the fact that for many photographers it's all about the camera. These folks like to have the latest and greatest and the stores like to sell to them. Hey, if one has the $$$ to buy a new digital body or back every 6 months or a year then great. As for me, I see no reason to upgrade my cameras.
     
  25. In my opinion you try to generalise what is a very personal point of view. Of course a hobby can mean very different things for different people, but for me I wouldn't associate photography with 'struggle', certainly not the struggle with the technicalities of photography, at most the struggle with making a good composition and waiting for the good light (but that's too much fun to call it struggle). For me, the less camera technology I have to struggle with, the better. The fact that a camera can't guarantee a (technically) perfect shot has to do with the limits there still are in camera technique, mostly with exposure and (less so) with focus. I foresee a camera that has a greatly improved dynamic range (possibly with some sort of HDR-technique) that will make exposure a no-brainer. I've already seen camera's -admittedly very experimental- where one can shift the focus distance and dof after the photo has been taken. I am thrilled with these sort of improvements, shifting the focus away from technicalities to the creative aspects of photography.
     
  26. In addition to this philosophy is attached the beauty of the mechanics and engineering of the camera itself... ...If cameras could do everything for the photographer and guarantee a perfect shot everytime while also making your breakfast and cleaning your house then we wouldn't really have to take photos at all.
    Its all about the camera and then its not about the camera.
     
  27. Well, there is nothing wrong with admiring a finely engineered and crafted instrument made with fine materials. If one can afford such an instrument to do his photography with, then why not ? I can catch fish with my utilitarian spinning reel and a good rod but I can also catch them on my lightrweight graphite Orvis fly rod and finely machined aluminum alloy Orvis reel. It is a different experience. I used to have a Contax camera and many fine Zeiss lenses. I loved those lenses. They were as smooth as silk, looked and felt beautiful and yielded beautiful results.
     
  28. I hear what you are saying about old school shooting... I found a Zeiss contina 1a in a rummage shop yesterday for 20$, went home, hit the shutter with a hair dryer to loosen up the hard grease and get it clicking again, and shot a few rolls of 400 B&W yesterday. Scale focusing and guessing distance and exposure.... it was a blast, and suprising how many shots were good.
    I wonder, have you considered the m-mount rangefinder Leica CL (AKA Minolta CL/CLE) Based on what I have seen on craigs-bay around my area, if you were patient you could score the body a two lens kit for that kind of money. The build quality is above average, but you can always "upgrade" to the M series body if you felt it necessary and already have glass. You might fall in love with its pocketable size and super handling- it is a fantastic little camera all-around.
     
  29. "Using an auto camera (and especially a digital camera), one tends to start firing away like a machine gun with little thought put into the process as well as the end result."
    A great example of blaming the gear for the photographer's weaknesses.
     
  30. If you've "saved up $1500 to enter," my advice is that you cannot afford to enter into Leica. I've admired them for years too, but never felt justified plunking down that much cash to become an entry-level Leica owner. If manual is what you want, then I think for $1500 you could go very far in a Nikon F system (I sold a mint F body and 5 prime lenses, all for less than $700 a year or 2 ago). Or a basic Canon FD body. There is very good glass in both those lines. If you're set on a rangefinder, take a look at Zeiss Ikon M-mount, or some of the other M-mount cameras. I agree with you about the joys of manual cameras--for some kinds of photography they're great, for others (e.g. sports) they're not practical. But they do put you in control.
     
  31. Its interesting to read the responses to Azim's posting. We get the usual "mine's the best" argument, but I think they are all missing the point.
    There is magic to taking photographs with a purely manual camera and getting good results WITHOUT a light meter. The digital camp stress out about whether this or that option is correctly switched on etc...and worrying about whether all the options have been set.
    Don't get me wrong as I appreciate the load this takes off, say, a news or sports photographer. Its easier to capture the moment if all you worry about is composition. And that fine.
    But manual, film photography can reward the photographer in a different way. Its like the large format photographer who goes to Yosemite for a weekend and takes six photos. The excitement and challenge for him is the adventure of developing and successful printing. To see the image gradually appearing on the print as its forming during the development phase is magic...as is to know when to put the print in the fixer. All challenges. The results are like art. But its not for everyone...even at 35mm level.
    To me the art is about the difficulty and reliance on instinct and experience. Take William Henry Jackson. There he was somehow perched on the edge of cliff in the Rockies, with a donkey and assistant. He made his shots on HUGE glass negatives, having just mixed up his silver whatever by hand and smeared it all over the glass. Then rushing to the huge box camera on the tripod he mounts the glass and takes the shot. Then back to the tent to fix the image. He took about a dozen shots that day, having trekked two days to get there. He put all the glass negatives in a special slotted box and loaded this and all his gear on the donkey for the long trip back down the mountain. Alas, the donkey slipped and fell over a precipice and took all his negatives and camera to destruction. Damn! So what did he do? He went all the way down, caught a train to Denver and bought all new gear and went back up the mountain and tried again. THATS the challenge. Imagine his sense of achievement when his image is hailed by the The Sierra Club as a work of art, and today, hundreds of comtemporary photographers makee the trek and try to achieve an image as good as William did way back then.
    This is then the excitement Azim is talking about and which can still be experienced with a Leica or Hassy today.
    Google "William Henry Jackson" and browse his collection which has now been digitized.
     
  32. Using an auto camera (and especially a digital camera), one tends to start firing away like a machine gun with little thought put into the process as well as the end result.
    When I am shooting digital I place just as much thought into each shot shot as I do when I am shooting film with a totally manual camera. The viewfinder is the world at that time, ideally, and discipline, concentration, and the proper creative mindset are not the exclusive domain of any one brand or type of cameral.
     
  33. It has been quite a period of time since I logged into photo.net and this posting is rather timely. I kept almost all of my manual film equipment when I "went digital" several years ago. This weekend I moved it all over to my office with the intent of listing it on ebay and "cleaning out the closet."
    I agree there is something about the mechanics but I also miss the darkroom with its solitude and the magic of an image appearing in the print developer.
    The real difference I see in the image making experience between digital and film is when I visualize an image. With film I always tried to "see" the print before capturing it in the camera. With digital I see the image evolve on the computer screen.
     
  34. "....This brings me to the thought that photography in its raw form is best enjoyed with a manual camera. Using an auto camera (and especially a digital camera), one tends to start firing away like a machine gun with little thought put into the process as well as the end result. Consequently, this machine gun approach takes away from the joy of using the camera and the 'struggle' and challenge in taking the photograph."
    While i understand your thought, i don't agree. "Photography in its raw form," for me, is more about the resulting image than the physical act of pushing the button. It doesn't matter to me if i shot one frame with a manual focus, manual wind camera, or 10 frames with AF and motor winder. When the print is made, that's all meaningless.
    It also dismisses commercial work, where a photographer will "struggle" for 10 hours on a shoot, on a set, directing a crew, using motor winding, AF, and whatever technological advantages, all to capture, maybe ONE publishable image. Why is it more "work" to take one picture in ten seconds, using a manual camera, than it is to take a thousand in 10 hours, using automated equipment? You're making judgements based only on your personal experience. I suppose, that's what your post is all about, but you're making blanket statements about what 'real photography' is all about, and that applies to everyone.
    And, what of post capture? What if a photographer uses a manual camera, slowly, and with great forethought, but then hands the film over to a lab for processing and prints? Why is the pre-shutter release decision more important than what happens afterward? In my mind, the craft involves more than just a timing decision. It's about the choices that are made later.
    As Desmond says above, one can use an automated or digital camera with the same discipline and sensibility as a manual camera. AF, digital cameras also have manual focus and exposure capabilities.
    But., whatever. We all have prejudices. We should, though, know that they are prejudices and that they're not objective. My prejudice is for film, and against digital images. I use digital, but i would want all of my 'important' images to be on film. As well, when i buy someone else's prints, i don't think i would be interested in one that was shot on a digital camera. That may come in time, but for now, 'real photographs' originate on film.
     
  35. Amen, Derek. However Asim did say he was daydreaming, envisioning an ideal world.
    That's also one of the attractions of Nikon. They have not abandoned the F mount. Is there any other camera brand (other than Leica and Hassy) where the mount has stayed constant through all the generations?
    It's fun to ruminate.
     
  36. "There is magic to taking photographs with a purely manual camera and getting good results WITHOUT a light meter."
    Its just another way to do it. If pleasure is derived from using an finely crafted foot pedal sewing machine rather than a electric on with some pre-set functions then I'm glad for you but, putting it a pedestal of magic while looking down on someone else's method as "stressful" one moment and then claim that there are no 'worries' the next is silly. People enjoy doing what they are doing but we are creeping towards the Lieca is better than thou attitude again. If you enjoy it great but don't make everone else out to be soft on accomplishment.
     
  37. John, I don't think that Stephen Asprey's quote is in reference to Leica or any other brand in particular, but to the sheer joy of knowing enough about exposure to be able to nail it without a light meter. I confess that I can only do that under certain conditions, but some people have gotten very, very good shooting in manual mode and can do astonishingly well under a variety of conditions.
    Not only does that joy have nothing to do with Leica, it has nothing to do with film v. digital, either, in my opinion--as Stephen suggests. When I have shot my Canon 5D with a manual focus Nikon 600 f/4.0, I have shot manually, and I really liked it. I don't always nail it, of course, but that is where digital can also be quite helpful. One can shoot again and again until one gets it right, and, no, that does not necessarily mean getting sloppy or shooting too many shots. It simply means having one more way to do what one really wants to do with the equipment at one's disposal:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/5227368&size=lg
    The linked shot was made at ISO 1600 and so is a bit grainy with the 5D. I just bought some Hassy stuff and can't wait to see what I can get with both film and manual focus again. It's been a while. . . .
    --Lannie
     
  38. Asim --
    Thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking post. One of the things that one discovers about shooting with a Leica or other manual rangefinder camera is that characteristics that initially appear to be limitations (the focus, shutter speed and aperture all have to be set manually, one can't change focal lengths without changing lenses, the built-in viewfinder frames cover only a limited variety of lenses, etc.) turn out to impose a certain sort of mental discipline. One has to think about what one is doing, and make and implement conscious choices, in order to take a picture. The result is that one gradually learns how different choices about focus, shutter speed and aperture affect the pictorial qualities of the pictures one takes, knowledge that becomes useful when one wants to achieve certain results and knows how to get them. The knowledge one gains through this process is not limited to manual RF cameras, and can later be used with any automated, SLR or digital camera too.
    One should strive to shoot with mental discipline regardless of which type of camera one is using. It is certainly possible to achieve excellent results with highly automated film cameras, SLRs or current digital cameras. Leicas are not the only good cameras out there by any means. Snobbery about equipment doesn't make much sense. The most important pieces of equipment are always the eye and the brain behind the viewfinder, rather than the camera body or lens. Having acknowledged those things, however, there is a lot to be said about learning as much as possible about photography by seeing what one can accomplish using a Leica or other manual RF and a limited range of lenses, accepting and working within the limitations that such equipment imposes.
    With $1,500 many choices are possible. For example, one could buy a used Leica M2 body; a used 35mm lens such as a Canon 35mm f/2 LTM, a used Leitz 35mm f/2.8 Summaron, or a used second or third series Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron; and a Gossen Scout 2 or other hand-held light meter in good operating condition. Alternatively, one could buy a used Canon P and a used Canon 35mm f/2 LTM, or a Voigtlander body with a Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 lens. There might even be enough money left over to buy a used Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM lens and a Nikkor 85mm f/2 LTM lens, for a 3-lens outfit including a wide-angle lens, a high-speed standard lens for available light shooting and a portrait lens. These choices might not be fully up to the standards of the latest and most expensive current production Leica cameras and lenses, but they would be more than good enough to produce satisfactory results, and to explore the mental discipline and enjoyment of Leica or comparable manual 35mm RF photography.
    Whatever choices you make, and whatever equipment you acquire, good luck with your efforts to learn more about photography through the challenges you face in taking pictures.
     
  39. Thanks Landrum,
    You have got it. Its the experience of putting your judgement up against all the possibilities of a scene. the challenge that you can get it right just by looking.
    The other is the magic of Bresson and his contemporaries. He was not worried about the technical beauty of his images, as some a pretty crappy image wise, but only that his images told a story....but thats candid photography in a nutshell. His camera was pretty crappy by todays standards...A Leica III with a collapsible 50/2.8. He used it because it was small and portable.
    One has only to look at the images displayed on the Photo.net home page today. They are all artistically and technically gorgeous. Most are very over photoshopped and somehow artificial. Would you pay $500 for a copy?
    Have a look at Bressons "Isle de la Cite" that I have attached. It is recognised as one of his masterpieces. How would you feel if you could reproduce that image without any meters or any assistance....just your judgement. That would be awesome.
    This is what we are talking about with manual lenses of quality. They resolve light in a deeper and more pure way. You can tell.
    00SEm5-106910584.jpg
     
  40. Asim, I hope that you got some good counsel from Daniel's response early in this forum. I did, and I'm an M6 owner and longtime Leica shooter. Absorb his advice and check out the link he suggested for the MP modification. Jack your budget up a few hundred $s and you can own and shoot with the best of 'em.
     
  41. "It simply means having one more way to do what one really wants to do with the equipment at one's disposal"

    Exactly. The difference is that you didn't gratuitously add things such as "The results are like art", "Its easier to capture the moment if all you worry about is composition" or that "The digital camp stress[es] out about trivial matters. It is one thing to say that one method can be more challenging which makes it more enjoyable, Its another to make inferences that the other process is somehow unworthy or void for using instinct expereince and expertise or that the results are not quite at the level of "art". There is no reason to add these things unless the other process is claimed to lack these qualitites. That is the sort of thing that suggests there is elitism and not only appreciation.
     
  42. I shoot with both the Hasselblad 501CM and a Leica MP. The end result gives me satifaction, since I was an integral part of the operation. Occasionally, when I am a little more lazy, I shoot with an F6 & 20-35mm lens. The Nikon gives me satisfaction because it is such a solid and accurate machine.
     
  43. One has only to look at the images displayed on the Photo.net home page today. They are all artistically and technically gorgeous. Most are very over photoshopped and somehow artificial. Would you pay $500 for a copy?

    As though the great majority of pre-digital photography was pure in it quality. It too was riddled with less desirable attributes. Here we go again with the inferences that other's methods are unworthy; that digital users brought a huge swale of undeserving imagery to the photographic community as though that never existed before.
    Its the experience of putting your judgement [sic] up against all the possibilities of a scene. the challenge that you can get it right just by looking.

    Which can be done and is done by learned photographers using all mediums.

    The other is the magic of Bresson and his contemporaries. He was not worried about the technical beauty of his images, as some a pretty crappy image wise, but only that his images told a story

    Another implication that today's whippersnappers with their newfangled equipment don't know how to tell a story. Totally unnecessary to show that manual film photography is enjoyable. Storytelling with photography applies equally to film and digital. There is no reason to differentiate unless it to imply that one method is lacking in this artistic vision.
    Its great that these cameras and processes are enjoyable and worthy but suggesting that another method is not by providing false distinctions between them serves no good purpose.
     
  44. Asim, I can appreciate your post and I also agree that the struggle is what makes photography rewarding. If the process is too easy, then excellent photos become so commonplace, they are rendered obsolete. To a certain extent that is already happening.
    My love affair with photography began with a B&W photography class I was required to take in high school, nearly 30 years ago. Watching a photo develop was like a kind of magic I've never forgotten. At the time, my camera was a rangefinder, the brand of which I am unable to recall because I took it for granted at the time, thinking it was too limited. I wanted an SLR and when I finally purchased one( a minolta), the images never did equal those of the rangefinder. Partly as a result of my disappointment, I lost interest for many years. Eventually I purchased a Canon SLR and the while the results were far better, my love affair with photography was still tempered.
    Then along came Sigma-Foveon.
    As far your predilection for Leica and Hasselblad, I can only equate it to my appreciation of Sigma and the superb cameras and lenses they have recently released. And yes, I am entirely serious. The Sigma DP1 is fashioned like a rangefinder of old, with a detachable viewfinder and superb optics. It is the only small camera designed for serious B&W enthusiasts. Similarly the SD14, with its unique Foveon sensor, seems to me a thing of beauty when compared to the other DSLR's I've held. Both cameras are rather simplistic...but simplicity is a virtue. As you've come to realize, aperture priority is all you really need anyway. Neither camera offers the iso versatility of other dslr's, but working within limitations can be beneficial. Also, Sigma has recently released several lenses (primes and zooms) that have surpassed Canon and Nikon's best. Both in terms of design and philosophy, Sigma is the manufacturer that has motivated me to return to photography after all these years.
     
  45. Try what your dreams lead you to try.
     
  46. It is very nice to see all the responses from people that have planned over the years their strategies when approaching photography. Everything that I have said is from my thoughts regarding myself. I am not in any position to dictate other peoples' experiences. This website has an endless supply of amazing photography from both digital and film users. I am sure many of these people would look upon their digital cameras or non-Leica/Hasselblad cameras and stand in awe. Personally speaking, I have to tip my hat to Hasselblad and Leica above other manufacturers. Perhaps attitutes like this cause these companies to jack up their price, but I also hope that these attitudes will allow the availability of film to endure for years to come.
    There are many techniques and approaches to photography. And the reason we have such an array of choices is because there are different situations for each. I wouldn't backpack with a Canon 600mm f/4 IS nor would I show up to the Olympics with a Hasselblad. But for me personally, taking into consideration the kind of photography I've grown to love during my lifetime, I have to say that to me Hasselblad and Leica are machines of beauty and mechanical intrigues.
    I tend to think too much about photography. I research and research far beyond what is needed before taking the plunge. I am now in the process once again of researching and thinking. I have noted what people have said here and am trying to figure out the next step. Afterall, the next step could be to remain happy with the equipment I have and spend $1500 on taking photos and traveling.
    Decisions, decisions, decisions.
    And thank you everyone for giving your insight on this discussion. I'll be checking back to see if anyone else has added anything.
     
  47. Sorry but there is simply no way that we invest as much thought on taking a photograph with a dslr, as we do making decisions about focus, aperture and shutter speed with a manual camera. It is true that it is possible to programme out automation, but we don't. Not really, do we.
    Nice thread. Leica film cameras are always out of date, and therefore never obsolete.
     
  48. Sorry but there is simply no way that we invest as much thought on taking a photograph with a dslr, as we do making decisions about focus, aperture and shutter speed with a manual camera. It is true that it is possible to programme out automation, but we don't. Not really, do we .​
    I 'm able to set the aperture, shutter, and focus with my Leicas even when I 'm so drunk I can barely stand. It really doesn't take that much thought, just a fair bit of practice. I also can (and often do) spend a fair amount of time and thought carefully considering the composition, DOF, point of focus, etc. even when I 'm using an autofocus, autoexposure digital camera.
    I won't speak for everyone, but I can say that not all of us are so incredibly lazy that we need you to speak for us.
     
  49. I shoot with about the same care on both digital and film.
    I have two full-frame Canons, but some of the most fun I have had in the last twelve months has been with a Canon 7 rangefinder using the Canon 50mm f/0.95, frankly a great disappointment to me wide open (which was the whole point of buying it, after all). I would like to get a Leica screw mount lens for it and eventually get the body to go with that, but in the meantime the Canon 7 (vintage 1965 or so) will have to do. (I have to proceed incrementally, since the Hasselblad stuff on eBay set me back a bit.)
    If I were to get one Leica screw mount lens on a teacher's budget, what ought it to be? (Sorry that I don't know the terminology for Leica lenses.)
    --Lannie
     
  50. Asim, this is very insightful. With your revelation, you are now really ready to move to a higher level. My feeling is that, unless you are a Peter Lik, Jack Dykinga or Thomas Mangelsen and need the very best that technology has to offer for landscapes or wildlife, it really isn't about the equipment - it's about what is going on between your ears and simply being there. Countless highly emotion-evoking images have been produced on substantially less that state-of-the-art gear. Take Capa's Normandy invasion photos, for example.
    BTW, I believe your budget is quite adequate to get into Leica M. Not too long ago, I purchased a perfectly operating M2 and crystal clear 35mm Summicron III for $1100. Add a cheap Gossen digisix meter and the total is actually under $1200. Be patient, these are out there in the used market, especially in today's economy. Sellers on pnet and RFF are especially reputable.
    Best wishes to you on your journey.
     
  51. Sorry but there is simply no way that we invest as much thought on taking a photograph with a dslr, as we do making decisions about focus, aperture and shutter speed with a manual camera.

    Here we go again.
    Many users of digital equipment employ ALL of these decision and 'invest much thought' This claim above is patently false. Many people pursue this 'thoughtful' type orf photography but merely wish to have the results be in a digital format for whatever reasons. If someone prefers to use certain equipment more power to them but there is no need to inaccurately slam other people's choices. If anyone wonders why some Lieca or enthusiasts of other similar tools are thought of as elitist or snobs, the statement above is the poster child for that view.
     
  52. Everybody takes pictures for their own reasons I guess, but for me the end result is the ONLY thing that maters. I will patiently study every gizmo that comes my way to explore how it will allow me to express myself differently. Its like learning to play a musical instrument. You learn the theory, then you practice performing the task until you don't have to think about it anymore. Every camera is like that. I like equipment that gets out of my way and lets me respond to my subject. I use manual functions when they give me the best results and I use DSLR's with auto functions when they are up to the task at hand. I still use my Hasselblad sometimes and I still draw with charcoal on paper sometimes. I have seen some nice post cards, but my end results are more precious to me bay far. There is significant content in some images that has nothing to do with the precision of the machine. It has to do with the emotional depth of the photographer.
     
  53. Asim Raza Khan , Jan 24, 2009; 11:37 a.m.
    [snip]
    > This brings me to the thought that photography in its raw
    > form is best enjoyed with a manual camera. Using an auto
    > camera (and especially a digital camera), one tends to start
    > firing away like a machine gun with little thought put into
    > the process as well as the end result. Consequently, this
    > machine gun approach takes away from the joy of using the
    > camera and the 'struggle' and challenge in taking the
    > photograph.

    I think you've over-emphasizing the process and ignoring the end result. What's wrong with taking multiple shots? I've seen plenty of top-calibre professional photographers take lots of shots while working a scene. Do painters try to limit their use of paint to avoid wasting strokes? You may enjoy the process as an exercise but suggesting that it is the best way to enjoy photography doesn't make any sense to me.

    > This 'struggle' is a must in order to enjoy the hobby and
    > art of photography. If cameras could do everything for the
    > photographer and guarantee a perfect shot everytime while
    > also making your breakfast and cleaning your house then we
    > wouldn't really have to take photos at all. A couple of
    > analogies; Why do people climb Everest? I'd say it's because
    > individuals needs a struggle in order to acquire a sense of
    > achievement.

    You're basically drawing a line across technological progress and anyone above that line is not struggling enough to reach a sense of achivement. But that line is arbitrarily chosen by you. Instead of spending $1500 on a new system, why not build your own pinhole camera? Why not make your own light-sensitive emulsion? How can you feel any sense of achievement when you've had to spend $1500 in camera gear?

    > Why do people with endless amounts of money remain
    > unsatisfied? I'd say its because they have no 'struggles' in
    > their lives. And I actually dare to add on this photo
    > website in a digital era that the reason we often find
    > people turned off from digital photography is that their is
    > a lack of 'struggle' in taking photos, and photography
    > begins to feel bland and no longer challenging.

    It goes back to your earlier assertion about the end result not being the only consideration. Perhaps, but if it were the major consideration, I'd be surprised if merely switching to the digital process resutled in photographers' images suddenly achieving their goals. Perhaps these photographers need to raise their expectations a little higher?

    Thinking that switching to older technology is a solution makes you just as gear-focused as thinking that switching to newer technology is a solution. Machine-gun shooting won't make you a better photographer, but neither will single-frame shooting, either. A tool is a tool. It's up to you how to use it. You might try to limit your tool set but you're missing the point if you think it is your tools that are the problem.

    larsbc
     
  54. John wrote: "Everybody takes pictures for their own reasons I guess, but for me the end result is the ONLY thing that matters. . . . It's like learning to play a musical instrument."
    But isn't the act of playing of the instrument as meaningful as the final result? If all that mattered in making music were the "end result" [the perfect performance, I assume], one could presumably focus only on being able to sample/reproduce the sound from great musicians and then play the "end result" back over a great recording system. But where's the enjoyment in that? (Unless you're a recording-room guy, I mean.) Instead, millions of "non-great" musicians play instruments because they like to play , not because they expect to produce great music when they play.
    It seems to me there's a corollary there with enjoying the taking of the photo - including (gasp!) enjoying the camera being used - as opposed to, say, assembling ingredients of others' great photos in Photoshop to create one's own great photos. As Larry says just above this post, it's an arbitrary line, but each photographer does have a line, and different photographers have different levels of interest in various stages of the process (whether for them it's manually focusing and setting the aperture/shutter, doing darkroom work, post-processing on a computer, or shooting and turning the results over to someone else for pp). Very few photographers really live out the statement that "all they care about is the quality of the final photo": most want to at least frame the scene and push the shutter rather than take someone else's photo and riff on that on their computer.

    As is often said, "The journey can be as enjoyable as the destination." For many, many photographers, enjoyment of the using of the tools - and not merely the resulting image from the tools used - is a big part of the joy of photography. As you say, to each their own; I'm just pointing out that "the final image" isn't all that matters to an awful lot of photographers, including millions who choose not to shoot Leica or Hasselblad.
     
  55. "But that line is arbitrarily chosen by you"
    Even if Asim is being arbitrary, he has stated his preference as to what he enjoys and that is well and good. I will even suggest that he save even more to follow his preference in an even more enhanced way. We engage in photography because we love doing it. We do it the way we like and it doesn't matter if it is arbitrary or not. When some put down others, needlessly, for their preferences despite their talents and dedication then it is about posturing and not related to enjoyment of photography. If Asim considers the other ideas then thats fine but, I am very happy to see him pursue what he wants and his way is as potentially good as any other.
     
  56. I don't see why there are people who are just anti-manual photography types.
    Asim has explained his reasons for preferring a manual camera. It's the difficulty and skill of using one that makes his photography enjoyable.
    Is that so difficult to understand?
    To use another analogy, runners train very hard to win the Boston Marathon. And when they win, they are happy to win because they know it was the product of their own hard work.
    If I gave the winner a Sedgeway and an invisibility cloak so that he wouldn't be disqualified, and he won the marathon because of the Sedgeway and he didn't have to break a sweat, do you think he would feel a sense of triumph?
     
  57. I see I have accidentally touched a nerve in John H. Sorry John!
    I actually shoot more digital that manual film now. I have kept up with technology and I do respect the art of photography as shown to me by my grandfather, and its regardless of the method. My point which has been submerged by some personal sensitivities, is that taking an image by firing off a dozen shots at 6fps, then spending 3 hours in photoshop to make the chosen image gorgeous, is not artful composition in my opinion, its artful electronic graphic design.
    I don't set out to push a position, I just express my opinion.
    I have a friend who shoots sports with an old Rollei TLR. That he gets any sports images is amazing, but he does. His successful shots come from placing himself in the right place and making quick and correct judgements about exposure using his eye and brain. He gets funny looks when he rushes onto the rugby field to bring his 80mm lens into the movement. He then rushes back to not get bowled over...but you know he got the shot because of the big grin. What pleasure he gets from the final print too.
    I am also interested to see the push in the fashion industry to consider watermarking images that have been digitally enhanced or airbrushed. You can hear the screams right now! I am also interested to see that some agencies are now beginning to ask for photographers to supply images in RAW. A friend who works at one of our magazines remembers getting 2x2 or 4x5 colour slides from photographers. I typical fashion show would result in maybe 50 images to consider. Now he has to go though hundreds to make his selection.
    RAW only will catch on when more bandwidth in the internet becomes available. We will get back to composition and the right moment eventually. The advantage to me of digital is not the post processing in-camera and in computer, but the ability to take another shot straight away if the first one was bad. That's the convenience as far as I'm concerned. Its as equal an advantage in candid photography, as it is in fashion or studio. In these instances, what digital has done is replace the polaroid back on a Blad or Sinar, and the darkroom. The speed of print creation is almost the same....its just the technology that has changed.
     
  58. The magic isn't in the machine, its in my head.
     
  59. I don't see why there are people who are just anti-manual photography types... ...

    No one here has expressed such views.
    Asim has explained his reasons for preferring a manual camera. It's the difficulty and skill of using one that makes his photography enjoyable. Is that so difficult to understand?
    No one here has shown that they have any difficulty understanding that.
    Stephan... Thank you for your follow up.
     
  60. I really wish, sometimes, that I had a close friend, confidant, mentor, or what have you, who was a top commercial or maybe wedding pro, and who was good at what he (or she) did and made a good living at it. I'd like a person like that to comment on a post like this and give some honest opinions on the type of camera or format that he (or she) thought was the "best". I'd bet dollars to donuts it's a fully automated digital system of some sort and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if their photos, in all cases, were outstanding and something any of us would be proud of!
    I do not have to earn dollar one from my photography. I got a good day job. I am a Leica M6 and Hasselblad V series user; lots of other film equipment prior to that, never a serious digital user, and I would do absolutely nothing differently than the way I do it now. I shoot B&W film only and do all my own processing. It's easy as he** and I'll trade it every day for sitting in front of a computer all night long doing digital postprocessing. I love shooting all manual cameras, using only the most basic of film and processes. I do feel that keeping the equipment and the "craft" part of photography as simple as possible, and limited to the essentials truly results in better photographs...for me.
    I don't knock anyone who prefers the digital, or automated way of making pictures. If that's what works for them, more power to ya! I'm sure that for any high volume commercial or wedding pro, who has tons of "workflow" considerations, it's a no-brainer. But I don't make my living with my photographs. I used to think that you had to be a "pro" to be a serious photographer. What is a 'serious' photographer anyway? I am an amatuer all that way - I love what I do, I love the freedom I have to use the cameras and processes that make me the happiest, without the worry of what my client might think of it, and I love the fact that I can feel free to derive every last DROP of pleasure from releasing the shutter on my Leica, or my Hasselblad and I can think about my art (whatever "art" is to me) without being concerned about anything, or anyone, else.
    If you're lucky enough to be an amateur shooter who doesn't rely on making every image count to pay the rent, and you have the latest D700 or 5Dmk2 with all the bells and whistles and it makes you happy and lets you make the pictures that fulfill and satisfy you, good on you and best to you! If you're a "purist" and you want to make pictures the way the greats did it, with the most basic, most manual equipment out there, good on you and best to you! To me, that's the reason to invest in Leica M, or Hasselblad V.
     
  61. Why dont peeps post pics to back up their opines - pics are more interesting thanall dis word@Ge.
     
  62. This thread has me thinking...maybe we should start a new thread and call it something like "Film vs Digital", so that once and for all we can determine which format is best. Folks can weigh in with their opinions, pro or con, for each style, and as a group we can finally decide which is superior. Who's with me?
     
  63. Wai-Leong Lee wrote:

    > I don't see why there are people who are just anti-manual photography types.

    Has anyone in this thread adopted that position?

    > Asim has explained his reasons for preferring a manual camera. It's the difficulty and
    > skill of using one that makes his photography enjoyable.
    >
    > Is that so difficult to understand?

    Not at all. I only responded because, imo, he was also suggesting that this gear struggle was a necessity for other photographers to enjoy their hobby, too.

    > To use another analogy, runners train very hard to win the Boston Marathon. And when
    > they win, they are happy to win because they know it was the product of their own hard work.

    So should they train and compete wearing flip-flop sandals to enhance their struggle?

    > If I gave the winner a Sedgeway and an invisibility cloak so that he wouldn't be
    > disqualified, and he won the marathon because of the Sedgeway and he didn't have to
    > break a sweat, do you think he would feel a sense of triumph?

    No. But are you suggesting that buying high end camera gear is all that is required to reach one's photographic goals? That the equipment itself dictates the end result?


    Peter A wrote:
    > Why dont peeps post pics to back up their opines - pics are more interesting thanall
    > dis word@Ge.

    How would a photo backup someone's assertion that they enjoy the struggle of using a manual camera? You don't see the process in the result.

    larsbc
     
  64. After reading (almost) all of the above, Ansel Adams came to mind:
    “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”​
    The only "struggle" IMHO should be the struggle with your artist's vision to create the image you envision - with whatever camera you desire - and independent of the medium.
    ... one tends to start firing away like a machine gun with little thought put into the process as well as the end result​
    not true, arrogant and insulting.
    Here we go again.
    Many users of digital equipment employ ALL of these decision and 'invest much thought' This claim above is patently false. Many people pursue this 'thoughtful' type orf photography but merely wish to have the results be in a digital format for whatever reasons. If someone prefers to use certain equipment more power to them but there is no need to inaccurately slam other people's choices. If anyone wonders why some Lieca or enthusiasts of other similar tools are thought of as elitist or snobs, the statement above is the poster child for that view.​
    Thank you John, couldn't have put it better myself.
     
  65. All I know is that when I use my Leica, I am a craftsman, an artist. Composing, framing, my struggle is like that of a Van Gogh, a Da Vinci, to produce the finest work possible, like that of a true artisan. For I agree that this struggle itself is the beauty that the creative process seeks to discover. Only with a Leica can this beauty unfold itself.
    One could say that using manual, mechanical camera with the fine Leica lenses is actually exisiting on a higher plane than all other mortals. That ever so brief period when I am focusing, composing with my tool (though my Leica is so much more than that), I feel like I am closer to God (whatever one's conception of God may be).
     
  66. Interesting thread . Thanks to John and Mike for reminding me that the beauty of internet forum chat is the exchange of views and the downside is the awesome lack of perspective and the posturing. I love my M6 and I like my Olympus 510. Sorry.
    But a nice thread.
     
  67. People experience psychic entropy in varying degrees and in different ways. This gets in the way of having a flow experience. (Ref: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.)
    When you are in the "zone," it is a priceless feeling. For some people, the device/machine/tool that is being used, whatever the purpose, provides some heightened sense of enjoyment, even though the device might not add to the quality of the final product. What's going on in the mind of the user is important to the user, even though others might dismiss it as inconsequential.
     
  68. "All I know is that when I use my Leica, I am a craftsman, an artist. Composing, framing, my struggle is like that of a Van Gogh, a Da Vinci, to produce the finest work possible, like that of a true artisan. For I agree that this struggle itself is the beauty that the creative process seeks to discover. Only with a Leica can this beauty unfold itself. One could say that using manual, mechanical camera with the fine Leica lenses is actually exisiting on a higher plane than all other mortals."
    Jim, Leica is not your brand. it is your religion.
    --Lannie
     
  69. Asim
    Try the Hassy and then sell it to get the Leica, that would be my advice. Enjoy the smooth mechanics of the Hassy and the film jam and the shutter thunder; enjoy the agony of film change, necessitated by the long, winding film path because the lines of the camera must be kept beautiful, and the frustration of back change, savour the disaster of forgetting to cock the shutter before lens change, the missed shots because you forgot to pull out the film guard, enjoy the struggle of the inverted image, the dark viewfinder showing you staring at your own bewildered face because you forgot to cock the shutter. Enjoy all that, sell it and then buy Leica.
     
  70. Nee,
    Sounds like a different experience than I have ever had with Hassy's. Too bad for you. For me they have worked flawlessly, and luckily I remember things like removing the dark slide. So Asim, don't take this last set of comments to heart. Leicas AND Hasselblads are or can be a joy to shoot. Maybe the Karma of the photographer comes into play, however.
     
  71. As a user of Leica M6's, a Rolleiflex 2.8F, a Pentax LX and MX and now a Canon 5DII, I would say each has its benefits. Yes, the Leicas are beautiful, quiet, and an ergonomic wonder, equipped with the best of lenses, but no 35mm film camera, no matter how good its lenses, is going to compare in IQ to either the Rolleiflex or the ff Canon digital.
    I recently trekked again in Nepal and took an M6+35 & 90 plus the LX+50 & 21, both incredibly high quality mechanical cameras with decent lenses, and when the LX has the S69 screen, both have equally bright, clear viewfinders. I shot Tri-x, since I'm interested in reportage, not landscape, and now having scanned the images, I would have a hard time attributing particular images to a particular camera, other than by recognising the focal length. Perhaps the only exception to this is knowing that the razor sharp wide angle, wide open at f1.4 can only be the summilux asph. Yes, Leica lenses are generally better than Pentaxes, but it is only really significant wide-open, and even then the 50/1.4 Pentax is no slouch wide open, and beautiful at f4.
    What I did appreciate though, was the wearing the LX + 50/1.4 round my neck in heavy rain and not worrying about it, since it is such a well sealed-camera. Leicas can take some rain, but they are not sealed like an LX.
    Anoither benefit of the LX is the auto interface if you want it. With the MZ-s and an LX plus the limited lenses, you already have enviably beautiful equipment.
     
  72. "no 35mm film camera, no matter how good its lenses, is going to compare in IQ to either the Rolleiflex or the ff Canon digital."
    Robert, that is a pretty sweeping claim, considering all the different types of 35mm camera--SLRs, rangefinders, etc.
    I have the Canon 5D and 1DsII in digital. I would not say that they excel over film cameras in terms of image quality, although I enjoy their convenience and speed of processing.
    What do I do not have, however, is the Canon 5D II. Are you saying that it is that much different in quality from, say, the 1Ds II?
    At least you are not claiming that it is better than MF film. I consider that a preposterous statement, and I do hear it from time to time on various threads.
    --Lannie
     
  73. Jim Douglas says "Only with a Leica can this beauty unfold itself."
    So no other camera can create art like yours??
     
  74. Vic . [​IMG] , Jan 27, 2009; 08:49 p.m.
    People experience psychic entropy in varying degrees and in different ways. This gets in the way of having a flow experience. (Ref: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi .)When you are in the "zone," it is a priceless feeling. For some people, the device/machine/tool that is being used, whatever the purpose, provides some heightened sense of enjoyment, even though the device might not add to the quality of the final product. What's going on in the mind of the user is important to the user, even though others might dismiss it as inconsequential.​
    Pithy and to the point. I would add only that people should care less about trying to explain their preferences and beliefs about such stuff ( it doesnt work) and take care not to mislead others with their prejudice and beliefs - thats naughty.
     
  75. Asim, what can I possibly add? an M2, Leicaflex Standard, two SL's, an SL2 "50 Jahre", Leica I, D, IIIa, IIIC, IIIF, Hasselblad 500CM, 500ELM & SWC/M -- all these magnificent jewels have given me, and continue to give, pleasure in use and pride of ownership.
     
  76. If one loves photographic gear too much, one loves photography less.
    --Lannie
     
  77. Landrum: probably true. As the poet/critic J.V. Cunningham wrote: "The text was loss; the gain is gloss."
     
  78. “Only with a Leica can this beauty”
    Why do stars shine so much brighter with my Leica in my hand? A voice seemingly from above whispers in my ear when the gentle click of my shutter echoes through eternity. Why do my photos glow with divine light revealing a heavenly capture which could only be given from above? Why is the mechanical perfection so perfect if not given by he who stands above us all, who we will answer to on the day of judgement?
    Can you lost users of the mere mundane answer? No.
    Anyway that’s what me and my mate Peter A think after 18 rounds of the Golden Amber and a bash at
    “Tie Your Kangaroo Down Sport ”.
    So there.
     
  79. Well, that settles it for me. Give my mate another Leica, lass, and I'll have the rest of the Golden Amber.
     
  80. You know I finally decided what it was that I really liked about the film cameras,, particularly the manual film cameras.
    I just sold my 20d, hoping still to get a 5d one of these days well.. the 5d mk II now.. either way I decided to buy a Leica M6 with a summicron 50/2 lens. which was an expensive thing to do.
    I haven't yet decided if it was THE thing to do but I like it so far.
    back to my point. What I decided I DO like about film is the anticipation of finding out exactly how that darn picture came out. I mean it's great with digital you can get just as pretty a picture with digital as film manual,, put just as much though, etc.. But when you are done, on a digital you hold your camera out and look at what you got.. with film you think,, I sure can't wait to see how that came out. it's like christmas. :)
    I will tell you what though, If I decided I dont' like my newish purchase, I will sell the set up to you for 1800.. so save up 300 more just in case.
    00SIqv-107769584.JPG
     
  81. Asim:
    I not only went through similar questions (Hasselblad 501CM vs. Leica M6), I wrote reviews of both cameras for Photo.net (they should still be in the reviews section).
    Ultimately, I chose the Hasselblad. It's wonderful to handle, not too heavy, the lens (80CB) is superb, and it's traveled everywhere with me. With a tripod and a 45 degree top mounted viewfinder, it's a terrific camera for portraits, landscapes, anything that doesn't move around a whole lot. The one bad: it's really difficult to shoot a subject that's above your eye level (musicians up on a stage, for example).
    The Leica is also a very special camera, competitive in so many ways with the Hasselblad. But the negatives are smaller, so you're more limited in larger-sized prints. For casual shooting, it's terrific (though the rangefinder patch is not perfect, and sometimes whites itself out unless you own a fixed-up version). If you're doing anything related to journalism, coverage, sense-of-place, it's a great choice. Not so good for fast-moving stuff, or for close-ups, though.
    Both cameras have their own mechanical nightmare. On the Leica, the 35mm film does not always load perfectly onto the spool; I've lost a few rolls because I was not absolutely precise in the film load. And, on the Leica, the bottom plate must be removed in order to load the film--and if you misplace it, you're toast. On the Hasselblad, it is possible to jam the film rather miserably if it's not loaded properly (roll film is a little tricky). And, if you're changing lenses on the Hasselblad, you will inevitably jam the mechanism (we all carry an un-jamming tool, but under stress, you can really mess up the camera this way).
    Both cameras are limited in features--for some (myself included), this is a joy. At least the Leica has a built-in meter. For the Hasselblad, you'd be signing up for a separate hand-held meter (or a more expensive viewfinder with a built-in meter); this will make others who travel with you impatient, so most of your photo expeditions with the Hasselblad are likely to be solo endeavors. The Leica is more friends-and-family friendly.
    Be sure to read the reviews.
     
  82. Asim:
    I not only went through similar questions (Hasselblad 501CM vs. Leica M6), I wrote reviews of both cameras for Photo.net (they should still be in the reviews section).
    Ultimately, I chose the Hasselblad. It's wonderful to handle, not too heavy, the lens (80CB) is superb, and it's traveled everywhere with me. With a tripod and a 45 degree top mounted viewfinder, it's a terrific camera for portraits, landscapes, anything that doesn't move around a whole lot. The one bad: it's really difficult to shoot a subject that's above your eye level (musicians up on a stage, for example).
    The Leica is also a very special camera, competitive in so many ways with the Hasselblad. But the negatives are smaller, so you're more limited in larger-sized prints. For casual shooting, it's terrific (though the rangefinder patch is not perfect, and sometimes whites itself out unless you own a fixed-up version). If you're doing anything related to journalism, coverage, sense-of-place, it's a great choice. Not so good for fast-moving stuff, or for close-ups, though.
    Both cameras have their own mechanical nightmare. On the Leica, the 35mm film does not always load perfectly onto the spool; I've lost a few rolls because I was not absolutely precise in the film load. And, on the Leica, the bottom plate must be removed in order to load the film--and if you misplace it, you're toast. On the Hasselblad, it is possible to jam the film rather miserably if it's not loaded properly (roll film is a little tricky). And, if you're changing lenses on the Hasselblad, you will inevitably jam the mechanism (we all carry an un-jamming tool, but under stress, you can really mess up the camera this way).
    Both cameras are limited in features--for some (myself included), this is a joy. At least the Leica has a built-in meter. For the Hasselblad, you'd be signing up for a separate hand-held meter (or a more expensive viewfinder with a built-in meter); this will make others who travel with you impatient, so most of your photo expeditions with the Hasselblad are likely to be solo endeavors. The Leica is more friends-and-family friendly.
    Be sure to read the reviews.
    http://www.photo.net/equipment/leica/mp/ *sorry this is not an M6 review, but look around Photo.net and you'll find one or two
    http://www.photo.net/equipment/hasselblad/501cm-kit-blumenthal
     
  83. Kirk Tuck's M6 review is here: http://www.photo.net/equipment/leica/m6
     
  84. Michael,
    I am an artist and a craftsman--meaning that I am more than just a photographer. Because of who I am, and what I am (a true artist), I use a Leica as an extension of my inner creativity.
    I can't speak for others, i just know that my vision is what it is, and it can only be realized with the finest tools--my mind, my eye, my Leica.
     
  85. Jim, I don't know what medium you work in, but if you paint, may I recommend Schminke. It's from Germany and its colour characteristics matches the Leica lenses' characteristics very closely. It will render your photos most faithfully into a painting.
    On the other hand, Holbein, from Japan, has colour characteristics that matches Japanese lenses, Nikon in particular, very closely.
    I have not tried matching German/Japanese canvass/paper to the brands, but it should be interesting.
     
  86. This is my first post on photo.net. I revive this post because I found it while googling for "Hasselblad 501", and the reason for that is, that I just bought one on ebay. I never used one before, nor did I use a Leica before. Also, regarding the age of this thread, the original poster might already have made his decision (if so, I'd like to hear about it).
    Nevertheless, I find it quite interesting here for various reasons:
    1. I really enjoy to see how people who have photographs in their portfolio that I like, tend to have viewpoints that I can relate to (but so many people without. please upload some photos! It makes it so much easier to evaluate your opinion!).
    2. Although this digital vs. analog gets boring at times, it never gets old... ;-)
    My personal history:
    • I started analog and very cheap about 15 years ago. Had to sell all my stuff to buy some food.
    • Then many years no photography at all (food was more important).
    • Then a very cheap, very bad digital for some reason I can't remember. This gave me back my joy in photography, because I didn't have to think about the running costs...
    • I soon discovered that I wanted more. Good digital was way out of my budget, so I purchased an analog SLR, some good glass and a scanner (I love to post my stuff on the web).
    • I then discovered that it was just too much hassle for me to scan all the stuff (keep in mind that my income got better and better all the time...)
    • So again, I switched to digital. I loved the ability to put my stuff on the web, without all the bells and whistles.
    • I even upgraded, got more lenses, a better body. My love in photography grew.
    • During all that time I bought a lot of (good and cheap) analog rangefinders from the 80's, but I never really used them)
    • Then I bought a Pentacon Six, which I didn't use for a year or so, but when I started using it, I discovered a whole new way of photography, and I was amazed by the results.
    • My Pentacon Six broke very soon, and instead of paying 200 Euro for the repair, I decided to make a real commitment and buy a Hasselblad instead.
    Why am I telling all this? To show that I know both sides.
    What did I learn from it? I like both, analog and digital, but I really prefer the quality of analog middleformat to digital. I can't even say why exactly. Photos from a Pentacon Six and even more from a Hasselblad have a certain quality to it. I wouldn't be able to define what this quality is (it's not only about sharpness or resolution). Many times when I browse photos on flickr, I can see if a photo has been made by a Hasselblad, even if it's tiny... I really don't know why.
    On the other hand, I enjoy being able to "shoot like a machine gun" with digital. There are many situations where this comes in handy.
    I can think of street photography, where it's so important to catch the "right" moment.
    So my recommendation would be: go for a Hasselblad. It gives you the "certain" quality in your photos, when you have the time to take your time. And use digital for all the things "street".
    I'm sure all the Leica-Fans out there will be opposed to that ;-)
     
  87. “Brought up” with digital cameras I have never sought of Hasselblad og Leica´s , as they are fare out of reach in digital, but I more and more often find myself switching of all automatic, including the autofocus – and that’s my point – it gives you a wonderful sense control, and it makes your Everest a little steeper. So, of course the equipment itself means something, but may be the most wonderful thing is how you sense light through the camera, and how aware it makes you of things, regardless of film or digital, Leica, Hasselblad or just an ordinary plain Nikon.
    Re. Lars
     

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