What Leica would best suit you ?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by anthony_brookes|5, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Having owned and used most models of Leica from a Leica 1A to a Leica C including Rs and Ms I have reached a
    conclusion as to what my ideal Leica would be. The body would be an M. It would be digital full frame. It would
    have a vario summicron zoom lens 28-135 with manual or automatic focusing. Have I any chance of seeing it ?
  2. M3 or M2 (each has strengths and weaknesses) become digital by having a replaceable sensor, fitted as easily as changing a roll of film. Indeed this sensor should approach the thinness of film and slot into the same space. Thus it would obviously be full frame. We could begin with something equivalent to the current Canon 50 megapixel sensor, which could of course be discarded as the technology develops. Existing M2s and M3s should all work with no conversion required - somehow the slot in sensor will also incorporate the battery and SD card or equivalent. Miniaturisation should mean that everything can fit into the space available for the film canister. I'm sure I have every chance of seeing it.
  3. SCL


    +1 for Anthony & Alastair. I'd be happy with an M2,3, or 4 body (or even a II or III), with the enhancements described above plus a variable diopter eyepiece to accommodate my aging eyes. Of course there was the vaporware scam about 10-15 years ago with the film cannister-sensor, which I was drooling over until the truth came out...but I still believe somebody will ultimately create a similar solution so we can still use still use all those wonderful 35mm cameras but digitally instead of with film.
  4. I dreaming all this for years, but, it is going to be an old mans dream. Technology and business go forward to get newer and newer gadget to make business, and money. At the presently available technology, it is possible to get a digital film, RAW images only, no monitor to chimping, you learn to use the light-meter in the camera as you did in the last 50-80 years, producing all those beautifully slide films and millions of B&W negatives, prints, without, to keep looking to the monitor all the time you triger the shutter. In visual art, as son as technology involves, the art slowly dissolve and disappear as pure art. To process a beautiful B&W print, it was an art and know how knowledge. Today, most of the people just hit the proper key and plug in, and get a B&W print.
  5. In order to use a zoom lens, or any lens 90mm or longer with an M camera, you will need full-time live view with focus enhancement. The existing camera that comes closes to this is the M (aka M240). There is a detachable live view eyepiece which only slightly detracts from the lines of the M. If $8k is too rich for your pocketbook, wait a couple of years for used M's to come on the market. With the advent of full-frame Sony Alphas (I have the A7ii) which make better use of Leica lenses than any M camera, there is considerable market pressure for Leica to grow or die.
  6. This is too easy - body of the Fuji X100T, hybrid zoom viewfinder with parallax correction, M-mount. It would not have the now quite archaic rangefinder with all its drawbacks.
    Alternatively, Leica could just take the Sony A7II, modify the sensor stack and include their lens correction software so that M-lenses work as well on it as they do on the Leica M.
  7. SCL


    Edward - you are basically right with a small exception. There were a couple of early AF zoom lenses (for SLR bodies) which had the AF phase-difference detection, focus, and batteries in the lenses themselves. Years ago I took one of these, a Tamron Adaptall AF IF 70-210 zoom, mounted a Leica R adapter on its rear, then a Leica R to M adapter, and the whole contraption to a Leica M4. Didn't have to worry about focus, as the lens did that for me....framing was a different issue however...but with a little experimentation I was able to determine with the framelines and RF window what was included at the ends of zoom scale. Long ago I showed two shots at extreme zoom ends with this experiment in one of the forums here. I think there was an early Canon FD AF zoom of shorter range which could also be adapted for use on an M body with better use of the built in framelines. Today there are much simpler solutions, as you mention. Anyway, here is a shot of what I used.
  8. Anthony, I think Edward provided one answer, which would be the new Leica M with an R-mount zoom lens (which is great news for R lens users) and live view manual focussing (you did mention you would accept manual or autofocus). However, I would prefer to save my dollars and let Leica rethink its production and marketing, while purchasing a Sony A7 series full frame mirrorless camera and possibly adapting a Leica R series zoom lens or other.
  9. Anthony. I doubt it. I would want that too. I think it is too much of a risk for them to produce such a camera given their usual market obsession with a conventional M. I think a fixed lens camera would work best myself. I think Sony have more of a chance of developing such a beast, but I somehow doubt they will, although something like the RX10 comes close (except it's not full frame).
  10. Agree with Arthur. The Sony A7 series has changed the rules of the game.
  11. I have read several reports about the Sony A7 - all favourable but it's an SLR which I don't want. My R4s is a nice small camera which I should be quite happy with if I wanted an SLR
  12. The A7 is not a reflex. It has no mirror. Its finder is electronic, not optical.
  13. let Leica rethink its production and marketing
    given their usual market obsession with a conventional M​
    The crux is right there in these two sentences - maybe Leica would like to rethink but the market doesn't let them? It's my belief that it isn't so much Leica's obsession with the M, but the users' - and it puts Leica in a bind! They move away from the classical rangefinder design - and will find few will purchase because it's no longer an "M"? Though I think that the latest incarnation of the Fuji hybrid viewfinder trumps Leica rangefinder in every aspect - but I am certain that most M fan(atic)s disagree.
    Had Sony not screwed up with regard to the performance of their A7 Series with UWA and WA Leica M-mount lenses, IMO, the days of the digital Leica rangefinder would be numbered already.
    Sony, however, did succeed to come up with the R-solution that Leica promised many years ago - because the M certainly isn't it. And now with the Sony A7 II, one can even get those venerable R lenses image-stabilized! Compare that to the clunky contraption the M becomes when it's fitted with the necessary "warts" to allow the use of R-lenses - not even considering the substantial price differential.
  14. I'd love a 240 with a Tri-Elmar, but my Gawd the cost! Of course I'd want a DR Summicron and 90 Tele-Elmarit along, just in case.
    Until then, I'll have to make do with a Leica II and Elmar, and some Tri-X.
  15. Mukul - yes of course but it has viewfinder on top which makes it bulky like and SLR
  16. If and when I get around to it, either an M4 or an M4-2. The bodies are not so terribly expensive considering, but I continue to have sticker shock when looking at the lenses....
    For the time being, I'm pretty happy with my Canon LTM
  17. Bela - I miss 'proper' photography from film development to enlarging and printing. All those skills are no longer required. One just needs a finger for any quite decent picture. Of course there is skill in artistic interpretations but some of us enjoyed the technical side of photography.
  18. The OP seems to limit the discussion to M bodies in the digital world. Mowever Mr. Plumpton correctly outlines the practical and financially sound solution of using a Sony A7 body with Leica (and Leica compatible) lenses. It retains the compact structure of an RF camera, and in e-shutter mode, is nearly as quiet as the M9 (soft and discrete modes). I bought a Sony A7ii to fill this need. Had it been available in the Summer of 2014, I doubt I would have sprung for an used M9, but that's water under the bridge. The M9 has a marginal advantage in image quality, at least in sunlight. I now have two superb digital bodies with common use of a set of superb lenses. Life is good in a kit weighing under 10 pounds.
    The ergonomics of the A7ii and in-camera image stabilization knock any Leica M out of contention. The focus aids, including peaking and two stages of magnification, have the effect of full frame rangefinder focusing. It is nearly impossible to get an out-of-focus image with any lens, wide open, up to 300 mm (my longest, discounting tele-extenders). Full stage shots of 120 musicians with a 35mm lens at 1/30 second are literally eyelash sharp, without a tripod. I can use either Nikon or Leica lenses on the A7, but the Leica lenses are roughly twice as sharp.
  19. Edward Ingold, what Leica/Sony adapter do you use?
  20. I'm using Novoflex adapters for M-E and Nikon-E. They are pricey, but have an excellent reputation for fit and finish. Both are machined from the block, and lined with sharp grooves for suppression of reflections.The body is anodized aluminum with a dead black interior. The flanges are stainless steel.
    The fit is perfect - snug and rattle free without excessive force needed to mount and dismount - almost identical to the fit between a Leica M and a Leica lens.. The Nikon adapter has a stiff ring labeled o-----O. Leave it at the small setting (o) and use the aperture ring on the lens, or for a G lens, adjust the adapter to subjectively set the aperture.
    The aperture ring is stiff enough that it won't be easily changed by accident. Yet it is smooth enough for fine adjustments (over a 1/2" span).
  21. By Vario you mean a Leica multifocal length lens (rather than a zoom)? Because other than the lens, the M9 works for your purpose. The multiple-prime focal length lenses are kind of large for Leica lenses and REALLY expensive. And as great as those lenses are, I can't help but think that there are SOME optical compromises. I think as conservative as Leica is, the closest you may get is a 35-50-90 or something like that.
  22. For whatever qualities an X100 has, it gives up image quality (except high ISO) and the solid feel of an M.
    From what I understand its RAW converter is Silkypix, a software I didn't care for the few times I used it
    with an LX5. That said, I've seen good pictures from it, and it's an intriguing option if I had endless amounts of cash and time to experiment with cameras.

    For the most use, I prefer a film or digital M, with whatever refinements and improvements Leica can muster and still keep the basic design. I've had a Leica M for 35 years.... I'm attached to it like a best friend.

    There are scores and probably hundreds of alternatives out there already, so I don't see the need for the classic M to go by the wayside. We have what a lot of people were wanting for years- a digital M, and later, a full frame digital M. I for one am impressed that Leica accomplished it as well as they have.

    I have used other cameras as well- 5D, Ricoh GR, DP-1, Olympus OM-4, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, etc, all great in their own way.
  23. For digital, I agree with Edward above. If you want full frame and a Leica M, or some M zoom if it ever is made than you are better off with something like an A7. There's a Leica T but its not full frame, and after using if for about an hour, I would rather use a M3/4 with an adaptor. That T is slow. with the fixed lens 35 equivalent Summicron in T mount they gave me to use. Slow to focus and lag between shots seemed to make it very easy to miss shots. I need an afternoon or a weekend with it to really get a sense of what it can do. The files themselves look nice and crisp. But that kind of EVF is what you would need for a Leica full frame using a zoom lens.
  24. Which is perfect for me? The one I just bought, an M4, with 35 and 90mm pre-ASPH Summicrons and a 1970 50mm Summicron, in addition to a Contax IIA outfit I've been using now since January. Back to shooting, processing and scanning my own black & white film again, and I seem to be having much more fun doing this now than I did prior to 2004 when I went all digital. It's a great change of pace, and it keeps me off some of the digital forums I have frequented the past several years, which is no bad thing.
  25. Eventually the M is going to evolve into a professional mirrorless cameras. At present, we have the M with its lifeboat mirrorless mode. I do not see the professional mirroress camera as an old man's dream. It it just a matter of time.
  26. The CEO of Sony made a self-serving prediction this Winter, that SLRs will become obsolete within 5 years, replaced by EVFs. Considering how Sony has stirred the pot starting in 2014, I'm confident this prediction will come true. Like vinyl discs, film and rangefinder cameras, there will be relics afield.
    The lag time of the Sony A7 viewfinder is short enough for sports and "critical moment" timing. The information available at a glance and focusing aids are invaluable. What I miss, in manual photography, is the clear space around the frame lines in a Leica M, which lets you anticipate action. I also miss the ability to preview the field of view of a lens before I attach it. The last is less important as you gain experience with a camera, but it's still a matter of trial and error if the framing is critical (e.g., you need all the pixels you can get for a landscape or large group portrait).
    The megapixel race has not abated. This is not necessarily a benefit for huge enlargements. High resolution captures textures which add subtlety to a portrait or scene, much like the large format portraits and landscapes common 50 years ago. More important, higher resolution gives you the freedom to crop creatively while keeping enough pixels to make two page spreads or large prints.
  27. This is not necessarily a benefit for huge enlargements​
    You then went on to list the benefits, what are the disadvantages?
  28. I do agree that the full frame mirrorless camera will be with most of us soon, my only disagreement with the FF mirrorless proselytizers is whether this constitutes a "revolution", which is what the likes of Sony want us to believe. I see it as an evolution that makes not a great deal of difference to the practical act of taking a picture and has no effect on digital output. My other feeling is that the size of FF cameras will not change radically in the long run, mirrorless or not. About the only company that seems to have the money and the audience to keep things small is Leica. As an example of the trend see the new Zeiss 35/1.4 FE lens. At 630 g, it is bigger than the Canon 35/1.4L at 580 g.
  29. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

  30. I'd like that wooden Leica to convert to a
    functional pinhole camera.

    Otherwise, as long as we're make I'druther lists,
    I'druther have a Fuji X Pro 2 with manual focus
    confirmation in optical viewfinder mode. That
    would be handy for M mount lenses via the Fuji
  31. What are the disadvantages to the expanding size of digital sensors? The file sizes are proportionately larger, which may slow processing and uploads. Battery life is also affected. You want to carry three or four spare batteries if you're out for the day. Memory size is of little consequence, since the sweet spot of $$/GB is hovering between 32GB and 64GB. A 64GB card in my Sony A7ii (24 MP) holds nearly 2000 images or 3 hours of 1080p30 video at 50 MHz bandwidth (the low end of broadcast quality).
    The ability to crop freely and extensively means I feel no pressure to add a zoom lens to my menagerie, at least the collection I'm likely to carry at one time. My Nikon 28-70/2.8 is a beast, but performs very well on the A7. While only manual focus on the Sony, the aperture ring works and it's easy to focus manually. It also outperforms the Sony vario-tessar 24-70/4 in both resolution and distortion by a substantial margin. I'll eventually get the Sony/Zeiss lens for convenience and auto-focus.
    The body of a Sony A7ii is about 1/4" smaller than that of a Leica M in all dimensions. The weight is nearly identical.
  32. I'd be completely happy with a 35 (f:2) - 50 (f:2.5) - 90 (f:4).
    But I'd want the bright-lines to show 100% of the FOV at "real-world" distances, such as 25 ft. For close-ups, that's what the rear viewfinder is for.
  33. A most interesting thought experiment. It would be great if we could somehow bring together the advantages of the Contax G with the advantages of the Leica M.
    What follows is a pure rant, so feel free to ignore:

    If I was to have an M system, the closest existing set that would meet my expectations would be:
    M7 (most silent shutter out of all the film bodies)
    Zeiss 21/4.5 (negligible distortion, but I'd compare first to the CV 21/4)
    Leica or Zeiss 28/2.8 (but the CV 28/2 has surprisingly little distortion for its type, so I'd compare these three before choosing)
    Zeiss 35/2 (no distortion)
    Leica 50/2.4 (no distortion AFAIK)
    Leica 90/2.8 Elmarit M (negligible distortion AFAIK)
    Tri-Elmar? Hmm.
    Any lens with focus shift or distortion would be out of the running. Distortion can be corrected automatically with digital files but focus shift cannot be. Will anyone notice a distortion-free image? No. But they will notice a distorted image. And that's the point. Anyway, if I want substandard lenses, I know exactly where to get those.
    There are some features that Leica should have included in the M but haven't, which is puzzling. Such as deriving distance information from the RF to put into the metadata of each file. This won't work for macro or adapted lenses, but that is no reason to reject the idea. Think about it: all RF coupled lenses that have been designed with the standardized mount since the '30s can benefit from this feature. It can assist in distortion correction and can assist in calculating flash exposure.
    And how come motor winders are noisy when AF motors are not? The current motor drive M, a very compact unit, is quite good from what little I know of it, but surely it can be as silent as an AF lens?

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