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Leice R9 System Goes Digital--What A Monstrosity!

 
 
acl
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      07-19-2006
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> the camera, and it showed in the design. New computers and new cameras
> have the same failing: they're built for mass-market use by people that
> neither understand them, nor really want to understand them, and thus
> there is no emotional (?) connection to them.
>


While I do agree (mostly) with the spirit of your post, this sentence
is patently untrue. It takes more technical knowledge to use, for
example, a Nikon D200 than a Leica rangefinder. I once tried to help
someone who was getting underexposed pictures with his D200 and ended
up being called a computer geek (a term of derision for this person,
obviously). Why? Because he explained his metering technique with his
Leica M7 (I think), which consisted of pointing the camera towards a
bright area, metering, locking exposure and shooting. He tried to do
this with his D200, spot metering and aperture priority, and
(obviously) it didn't work very well. He refused to even listen to
explanations of centreweighted, matrix and spotmetering, the business
with zones, how spotmetering is linked to the AF point etc. He just
wanted to take pictures, as he put it. Now, I have nothing against him
or his attitude to photography, but this simply proves that there
exists at least one person for whom these old cameras are more user
friendly (obviously, they'd be a lot less user-friendly if that guy
tried to use slide film with his technique, but that's another story).

Yes, it's possible to set modern SLRs to programmed exposure and matrix
metering, but it's also possible to set them to manual exposure and
spotmetering (and manual focus if you're so inclined), and have a lot
more detailed control and feedback about the exposure.

More evidence of what happens when people who don't know what they are
doing get hold of a DSLR and try to use it may be found by reading some
of the questions in this group, as well as going to dpreview and
reading some of the questions in the forums (this only works for a
laugh, if you try to help anybody you'll quickly discover that you're
wasting your time). eg shooting sports matches with spotmetering and
shutter priority is a recipe for disaster if you don't know what you're
doing. Older cameras protect you from this by not offering spot
metering or shutter priority.

Anyway, my point is that modern SLRs may be set up in a wide variety of
ways, ranging from requiring practically no technical knowledge to
forcing the user to take care of every last detail in the exposure.

Despite the above rant, and however much I like it, I don't think I'll
feel the same way towards the D200 (or any other piece of photographic
equipment) as I do for my Minolta XD7.

> Old cameras have an advantage over old computers: you can still take
> really good pictures with an old camera, while there's no way that an
> old computer can hold its own against modern technology. My calculator
> is, quite literally, more powerful than several of my old computers.
>


 
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Bill Funk
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      07-19-2006
On Tue, 18 Jul 2006 21:37:23 +0200, Chris Loffredo <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
....
>>
>> I must have missed the frame size. I assumed, from the brochure, that the
>> existing Leica lenses could continue to be used without change.
>>
>> That adds even another reason not to buy it--your lenses have one focal
>> length when used with film, and other effective focal lengths when used with
>> the digital insert. It's like having two completely different camera
>> systems.
>>
>> Are you absolutely certain about this not being full-frame? Who would buy
>> such a camera system?
>>
>>

>
>1.37: Yes, I looked it up in the link you gave (I almost hoped Leica
>*had* used a full-frame sensor).
>
>I'm still watching and waiting. Canon and Nikon *don't* make the
>wide-angle lenses I like.
>I a lens like the Leica 19mm will give an effective 26mm with the
>digital back; nothing outstanding, but probably the best digital 26mm on
>the market. But personally I'm not convinced by any existing digital
>solution (as a replacement for my "serious" cameras")
>The digital M sounds interesting (also because of the relatively cheap
>Cosina/Voigtländer 12mm), but I doubt I'll be able to afford it new.
>
>So while "free film" has its charm, I don't see myself adopting digital
>for serous work anytime soon...


Why can't you buy a Canon full-frame camera (1Ds MKII or 5D)? These
will let you use any of the Canon (or third-party) wide-angle lenses
on the market.
--
Bill Funk
replace "g" with "a"
 
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Bill Funk
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-19-2006
On 19 Jul 2006 07:09:44 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:

>
>jeremy wrote:
>>
>> I wonder . . .
>>
>> Mechanical Leicas may have some appeal as collectable cameras. There is a
>> legitimate market for things like mechanical cameras--an item whose time is
>> past.
>>
>> But, consider electronic items. What happens to old computers, old cell
>> phones, old Walkmen, old video games, etc.?
>>
>> They end up in the trash--not in the hands of museums or collectors.
>>

>
>Now that's just not true. I can't speak for cell phones or Walkmen, but
>old computers and old video game systems are -definitely- collectible.
>I personally have a small collection of old 8-bit computers (and a
>couple 16-bit ones), and have only stopped collecting them because of
>lack of space (though if anyone has an Atari ST they want to get rid
>of, I'm sure I can find room). I'm not alone...something as simple as a
>web search for "old computers" will turn out several web pages. I'm
>-not- an old camera collector...but I think the principle is the same.
>Early microcomputers almost have personality: they have quirks, they do
>things in unusual ways, and they're generally very cleverly designed.
>Newer PCs are, with rare exceptions, all the same. (Apple does go to
>some lengths to keep new models interesting.) I think it's the same
>with, say, manual cameras: you really needed to learn and understand
>the camera, and it showed in the design. New computers and new cameras
>have the same failing: they're built for mass-market use by people that
>neither understand them, nor really want to understand them, and thus
>there is no emotional (?) connection to them.
>
>Old cameras have an advantage over old computers: you can still take
>really good pictures with an old camera, while there's no way that an
>old computer can hold its own against modern technology. My calculator
>is, quite literally, more powerful than several of my old computers.
>
>- Darryl


Collectibles are collectible not because they were "good", but because
they are "rare."
There are few things that are both collectible and in good supply.
Computers aren't among them, except for some types (Amigas?) where the
collectors are fanatics.
Even things designed for the "mass market" become collectible when the
buyers discard them as disposable (old bottles, anyone?). If the time
comes when there are very few Nikon D50s, they will be collectible,
regardless of a lack of an emotional attachment.
--
Bill Funk
replace "g" with "a"
 
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RichA
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      07-19-2006

jeremy wrote:
> "Alfred Molon" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> > A couple of interesting things:
> >
> > - no AA filter (they talk about software antimoire filtering which
> > sounds like nonsense, because you have to bandwidth-limit the signal
> > before the sampling)
> > - shifted microlenses at the edges of the frame, to make sure that the
> > light rays hit well the CCD cell
> > - they use the DNG file format in-camera
> > - SD cards instead of CF
> >

>
> I'd be interested to see what kind of images the camera creates. I know
> virtually nothing about the merits of Leica's decision to substitute
> software antimoire filtering instead of an AA filter, but Leica makes the
> claim that it yields a better result.
>
> I'm afraid to ask just how much this thing costs . . . But it has got to be
> a small fortune.
>
> So, what do we get in exchange for all that money? Even if there IS some
> discernable margin of quality over Nikon or Canon, how much extra must be
> paid for that extra margin?
>
> Leica is cornered. They require maintaining their reputation for producing
> superior cameras and optics in order to justify the price they charge, but
> how sturdy can anyone make a digital module? And why pay Leica prices for
> something developed and manufactured by Kodak?
>
> When one can buy a Nikon DSLR for $750, and can probably replace it in 2
> years with something twice as feature-laden at 2/3 of the current price, why
> would anyone be eager to throw their money into the black hole that is
> Leica?
>
> The only way Leica can compete is to go mass-market, and that might well be
> their end.
>
> I think that digital imaging is turning out to be a "killer technology" for
> the likes of Leica, just as fiber optics were a killer technology for analog
> long distance circuits, and broadband is a killer technology for dial-up.
> Leicas may become collectors' items, but who is going to actually use them
> for everyday shooting? It's sad to see them in this vice.


Unlike Canon, Nikon, etc, Leica can probably upgrade the camera by
changing the
digital module. It also shoots film for those who care.
As for lenses, high-end Canon users buy:
Leica
Zeiss
Olympus OM Zuiko
some Nikon

Particularly in the WA sizes and for FF Canon bodies..

 
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Chris Loffredo
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-19-2006
Bill Funk wrote:
> On Tue, 18 Jul 2006 21:37:23 +0200, Chris Loffredo <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
> ...
>>> I must have missed the frame size. I assumed, from the brochure, that the
>>> existing Leica lenses could continue to be used without change.
>>>
>>> That adds even another reason not to buy it--your lenses have one focal
>>> length when used with film, and other effective focal lengths when used with
>>> the digital insert. It's like having two completely different camera
>>> systems.
>>>
>>> Are you absolutely certain about this not being full-frame? Who would buy
>>> such a camera system?
>>>
>>>

>> 1.37: Yes, I looked it up in the link you gave (I almost hoped Leica
>> *had* used a full-frame sensor).
>>
>> I'm still watching and waiting. Canon and Nikon *don't* make the
>> wide-angle lenses I like.
>> I a lens like the Leica 19mm will give an effective 26mm with the
>> digital back; nothing outstanding, but probably the best digital 26mm on
>> the market. But personally I'm not convinced by any existing digital
>> solution (as a replacement for my "serious" cameras")
>> The digital M sounds interesting (also because of the relatively cheap
>> Cosina/Voigtländer 12mm), but I doubt I'll be able to afford it new.
>>
>> So while "free film" has its charm, I don't see myself adopting digital
>> for serous work anytime soon...

>
> Why can't you buy a Canon full-frame camera (1Ds MKII or 5D)? These
> will let you use any of the Canon (or third-party) wide-angle lenses
> on the market.


Because, $$$ aside, they are not cameras I like:

1) I don't like autofocus. While AF cameras *can* be focused manually,
they do a poor job of it (a bit like driving a SUV on a racetrack).

2) I don't want/need most of the other "functions" built into DSLRs,
which tend to get in the way of rather then aid photography (IMHO).

3) I don't like Canon lenses and especially the wide-angles.
Yes, I can use other lenses using expensive adapters and with fully
manual diaphragm (=dark image in the viewfinder). But that is a PITA.

4) I don't shoot enough to make such a acquisition worthwhile.
I have a digital P&S for when I need speed or volume.
For the rest, I have some excellent film bodies and lenses and they do
the job wonderfully.
 
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Toni Nikkanen
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      07-19-2006
Chris Loffredo <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> 1) I don't like autofocus. While AF cameras *can* be focused manually,
> they do a poor job of it (a bit like driving a SUV on a racetrack).


Well, it is true if you really have to have a rangefinder. OTOH, I get
good results manual focusing with a microprism/split-image viewfinder
on traditional SLR's, and these are available options on the 5D and
1DsMkII.

 
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madhobbit.geo@yahoo.com
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-19-2006

acl wrote:
> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> > the camera, and it showed in the design. New computers and new cameras
> > have the same failing: they're built for mass-market use by people that
> > neither understand them, nor really want to understand them, and thus
> > there is no emotional (?) connection to them.
> >

>
> While I do agree (mostly) with the spirit of your post, this sentence
> is patently untrue. It takes more technical knowledge to use, for
> example, a Nikon D200 than a Leica rangefinder.


This is both true and untrue, as you mention later on:

> Anyway, my point is that modern SLRs may be set up in a wide variety of
> ways, ranging from requiring practically no technical knowledge to
> forcing the user to take care of every last detail in the exposure.


I can take my Digital Rebel, stick it in green box or portrait mode,
and point it at things without paying any attention to what I'm doing.
Most of the pictures will turn out pretty decent. I've only been
interested in photography for a few years, and have never used any type
of older camera, but I'll bet that if I grab a random 30-year-old
rangefinder and point it at something pretty and click the shutter
button, the resulting picture won't be nearly as well-focused (if
focused at all) or exposed.

This is missing my original point, which I didn't state particularly
clearly: I think that purchasers of older cameras were expected to
-care- about their cameras to a certain degree. This isn't some high
philospophical point that the manufacturers were making; the technology
at the time simply didn't allow anything different. Computers were that
way; if you didn't spend some time getting to know how they worked, you
couldn't make them do anything. And I think that in an environment like
that, the end product tends to have a little more personality, because
the people designing it also care. It's probably an effect of an
industry being young - the companies are run by enthusiasts, not
businessmen.

But really, I'm not qualified to have this discussion, since I have no
experience with older cameras. The first camera I ever owned was a
Fujifilm 2MP P&S 3-4 years ago (still serving as my "pocket" camera).
Before that, I was completely apathetic photographically, to the point
that when I went on a one-week trip to Cape Town, I shot a grand total
of two rolls of film with a borrowed 35mm P&S, and that was more out of
a sense of duty than anything else.

- Darryl

 
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jeremy
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-19-2006
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
>


> I can take my Digital Rebel, stick it in green box or portrait mode,
> and point it at things without paying any attention to what I'm doing.
> Most of the pictures will turn out pretty decent.




There is more to photographic equipment than that.

I'm glad you're pleased with what you've got. But a lot of us aren't
jumping for joy over having to replace our cameras every couple of years,
like you had to replace your 2MP FujiFilm model.

I am still using the Spotmatic IIa that I purchased 32 years ago. It takes
better photos now (because of improvements and refinements in film
emulsions) than it did the day I bought it. It is all-metal construction,
and it looks like it just came out of the box.

Now that might not be important criteria for you, but not everyone goes for
cameras that become technologically obsolete in 2 years.

I shoot film and digital, and I do not see myself abandoning film entirely
in favor of digital. It is not now, nor was it ever, an "either-or"
situation.


 
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acl
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      07-19-2006
jeremy wrote:
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> >

>
> > I can take my Digital Rebel, stick it in green box or portrait mode,
> > and point it at things without paying any attention to what I'm doing.
> > Most of the pictures will turn out pretty decent.

>
>
>
> There is more to photographic equipment than that.
>
> I'm glad you're pleased with what you've got. But a lot of us aren't
> jumping for joy over having to replace our cameras every couple of years,
> like you had to replace your 2MP FujiFilm model.
>


Why do you have to replace a current DSLR in two years? The mere fact
that a new model is out doesn't make your camera take worse pictures!
If you are using, for example, a Nikon D200, or a Canon 30D or
something similar, you get results more or less equivalent to what
you'd get with a current 35mm film(*) at low ISOs (at higher, there is
simply no comparison, digital wins easily). And it's less hassle (of
course this might be a disadvantage for you, if you enjoy the process
of developing the film etc; I personally hate it). So, I don't see the
practical problem: Just keep your camera and keep using it until it
breaks, and pretend there aren't any new models out. You'll still get
quality at least equal to most 35mm films.

It seems that people have a problem with the fact that digital cameras
improve a lot faster than film cameras, because the technology is
newer. But so what? Nobody was complaining that 35mm cameras were
obsolete, even though one could just buy medium or large format gear
and get much better results. And good DSLRs perform quite adequately in
comparison to 35mm film, as I said.

This problem that people seem to have with digital cameras being
obsoleted very quickly seems to me to be a problem of perception (at
least nowadays): they don't like it that something better is out. Not
that I have any problem with this feeling as such. Please do correct me
if you mean something else.

> I shoot film and digital, and I do not see myself abandoning film entirely
> in favor of digital. It is not now, nor was it ever, an "either-or"
> situation.


Sure it's not. If you need/want a small, silent camera which doesn't
need batteries, you must use film. Similarly if you need to be able to
print bigger than is allowed by DSLRs and don't feel like paying
ridiculous amounts of money for medium format digital backs. Lastly,
you might prefer taking photographs on film for whatever reason. No
problem with any of these. I just don't understand the "it'll be
obsolete" argument.


(*) Let's not get into whether or not this particular film is "better"
than that camera. If you disagree with this point (ie that that 35mm
film and DSLRs are nowadays more or less equal at low ISOs, let's just
agree to disagree, and please ignore this post.

 
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Alfred Molon
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-19-2006
In article <(E-Mail Removed). com>, acl
says...

> While I do agree (mostly) with the spirit of your post, this sentence
> is patently untrue. It takes more technical knowledge to use, for
> example, a Nikon D200 than a Leica rangefinder. I once tried to help
> someone who was getting underexposed pictures with his D200 and ended
> up being called a computer geek (a term of derision for this person,
> obviously). Why? Because he explained his metering technique with his
> Leica M7 (I think), which consisted of pointing the camera towards a
> bright area, metering, locking exposure and shooting. He tried to do
> this with his D200, spot metering and aperture priority, and
> (obviously) it didn't work very well. He refused to even listen to
> explanations of centreweighted, matrix and spotmetering, the business
> with zones, how spotmetering is linked to the AF point etc. He just
> wanted to take pictures, as he put it. Now, I have nothing against him
> or his attitude to photography, but this simply proves that there
> exists at least one person for whom these old cameras are more user
> friendly (obviously, they'd be a lot less user-friendly if that guy
> tried to use slide film with his technique, but that's another story).


If you used a camera with live preview you would not have to worry about
over/underexposing images, actually you wouldn't have to worry at all
about exposure. Overexposed or underexposed areas of the image would
show up in the LCD screen before you press the shutter and you could
simply get properly exposed photos (in case the camera didn't meter
properly) by rotating the EV wheel left or right.
--

Alfred Molon
------------------------------
Olympus 50X0, 7070, 8080, E300, E330 and E500 forum at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MyOlympus/
Olympus E330 resource - http://myolympus.org/E330/
 
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