Leice R9 System Goes Digital--What A Monstrosity!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jeremy, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. jeremy

    acl Guest

    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.
    acl, Jul 19, 2006
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  2. jeremy

    Bill Funk Guest

    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, Jul 19, 2006
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  3. jeremy

    Bill Funk Guest

    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, Jul 19, 2006
  4. jeremy

    RichA Guest

    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:
    Olympus OM Zuiko
    some Nikon

    Particularly in the WA sizes and for FF Canon bodies..
    RichA, Jul 19, 2006
  5. 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.
    Chris Loffredo, Jul 19, 2006
  6. 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
    Toni Nikkanen, Jul 19, 2006
  7. jeremy


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

    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
    , Jul 19, 2006
  8. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    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"
    jeremy, Jul 19, 2006
  9. jeremy

    acl Guest

    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.
    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.
    acl, Jul 19, 2006
  10. jeremy

    Alfred Molon Guest

    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, Jul 19, 2006
  11. jeremy

    Alfred Molon Guest

    True, unless you sell your photos. If so, every couple of years or so
    you might have to upgrade your equipment, otherwise stock photo sites
    might not accept your photos anymore. Based on what I've heard, the
    minimum resolution some stock sites will accept is now 10-12MP and
    perhaps in a couple of years you'll have to use a 16MP camera.
    Alfred Molon, Jul 19, 2006
  12. jeremy

    Bill Funk Guest

    Fair enough.
    Of course, as you know, it will become more difficult to find new
    cameras that match your wants as time goes on. :-(
    Bill Funk, Jul 19, 2006
  13. jeremy

    Bill Funk Guest

    Pros should be making enough money to support their business. Buying
    the newer equipment to keep current in your business is expected.
    But not everyone is a pro.
    Bill Funk, Jul 19, 2006
  14. jeremy


    I wasn't trying to indicate that this is all there is to photographic
    equipment. My point was that, depending on how you use it, a modern
    DSLR can be easier to operate than an older, "simpler" type of camera.
    This was in response to acl's comment, "It takes more technical
    knowledge to use, for example, a Nikon D200 than a Leica rangefinder".
    Me too. But contrary to what I may have unintentionally implied, I'm
    pleased with it because of the flexibility and control, not because of
    the automation. It would make very little difference to me if the
    automatic modes on my camera disappeared entirely; I don't use them.
    But if you do use them, the camera can be operated with zero technical
    knowledge...which is the point I was trying to make.
    I didn't replace it because it was obsolete - I replaced it because I
    outgrew it. I bought it because I didn't own a camera, and was going to
    Europe, and it seemed like a camera would be a good thing to have
    along. A year later, I had developed an interest in photography as a
    hobby, and upgraded to the Rebel. If digital photography didn't exist,
    I would have started with a 35mm point-and-shoot, and moved up to a
    film SLR. Either way, I'd be on my second camera right now.
    Again, I didn't replace my camera because it was obsolete. My needs had
    changed. I still use my Fujifilm for situations where the DRebel is not
    appropriate (sometimes I want something smaller; sometimes I don't want
    to risk loss or theft). I wouldn't call it obsolete; it takes pictures
    just as well today as it did three years ago.
    If I said anything that suggested it was, then I wasn't careful enough
    choosing my words.

    - Darryl
    , Jul 19, 2006
  15. jeremy

    acl Guest

    Yes, I agree completely. This, and the live histogram, are the nicest
    things about EVFs (I don't like external LCDs except when I have to use
    the camera in awkward positions; but my compact doesn't have this, so I
    don't have much experience with it). But I find current EVFs limited in
    both resolution and night use (compared to SLRs). This surely can be
    fixed with time.
    acl, Jul 20, 2006
  16. I think that problem would have existed, if there had been room for
    improvement in film cameras.
    But, resolution was more or less film based, so no scramble for the
    latest sensor and optical "revolutions" were limited to zooms.

    No one thought about putting a tape recorder in for taking notes for
    instance, there was no slr with polaroid preview, no 8mm movie mode,
    you couldn't stuff in a hundred yards of film into an extralarge
    magazine and no prepackaged bags for the lab ever dropped out of
    any film camera either.
    Therefore, after auto exposure there was essentially no need for
    new film cameras anymore, only for the occasional lens replacement.

    But digital cameras have acquired all those features over time and will
    acquire many more, therefore people will switch more often.

    Lots of Greetings!
    Volker Hetzer, Jul 20, 2006
  17. jeremy

    acl Guest

    But people could buy large backs holding hundreds of frames worth of
    film for some SLRs; how many did? They could buy medium format equipment
    and get much more ability to enlarge; also interchangeable backs and the
    ability to use polaroids for preview. How many did? Why would they find
    them indispensable now, if not because "they exist, so I must have them"?

    By the way, some of the features of digital cameras you're talking about
    (eg the ability to print directly from the card, video mode etc) are
    really not what people who pay 2000 euro (say) for their cameras want
    (well they may want them but that's not what they pay for). eg my DSLR
    has no video mode, if you shoot jpegs you really don't want to print
    them without postprocessing, it has no voice annotation (and I
    personally wouldn't have used it anyway, but others might), and can only
    fit around 60 photos on a 1GB card. What you pay for is image and build
    quality, things like built-in intervalometers (not a gimmick!) and speed.
    acl, Jul 20, 2006
  18. I have never seen such things. If they had been sitting on the shelves like
    digicams today, I might have bought them. How where they marketed?
    Also, how much would a polaroid preview cost? The viewer comes for free.
    A bigger CF card holding more images doesn't make my digicam any bigger or
    Even a bigger sensor is a one time investment, as opposed to 6x9 camera,
    film and nonstandard development.
    Yes, but people who pay a few hundred dollars want them. Digitally it's
    possible to make them cheap enough. If it's cheap, the threshold for
    a replacement sinks, so people change their equipment frequently.

    The reason I imagine for pros to change is IMHO primary the sensor
    quality. Resolution, noise and dynamic range are all good reasons
    for upgrade. Yes, even resolution. Last holiday I found myself repeatedly
    taking one wide angle shot (8MP) and cropping it into two non overlapping
    jpg's, so new ways of working will be possible with high quality wide
    angled lenses coupled with high-res sensors. So, even if resolution, noise
    and range get better than todays films, new ways of working will emerge
    that use those capabilities.
    In a few years I imagine SLR bodies with replaceable sensors, like, with
    big pixels for the night and indoors and lots of small pixels for landscape.
    The sensors then come in small, dust protected black packages and are
    inserted, uh, like different films today...

    Lots of Greetings!
    Volker Hetzer, Jul 20, 2006
  19. jeremy

    acl Guest

    Actually, I don't think we disagree at all! I never said nobody should
    upgrade. My point was that it is hardly logical to complain that cameras
    improve too quickly, since you can simply pretend they don't. But the
    fact that they do improve is, if you ask me, a good thing.
    acl, Jul 20, 2006
  20. jeremy

    J. Clarke Guest

    35 years ago their existence was well known to high school kids in a town in
    the boondocks where none of us would ever hope to see such a thing other
    than by ordering it or taking a trip to NY or LA.
    To professional photographers.
    Depends on the system.
    So? They were available.
    How is that a "new way of working"? You can do the same with film. The
    question is why one would want to other than as a salvage operation or for
    forensic analysis.
    Interesting thought. Unlikely to happen though--easier just to span pixels
    for low light.
    J. Clarke, Jul 20, 2006
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