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Old Sep 29, 2009, 7:48 AM   #1
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Default Shall I buy a new camera or not?

I take pictures of my life; my family, my friends, my City (London), and places I visit on my travels.

If you are not familiar with my pictures I have just put together a portfolio website: http://peri.org.uk which should give you an idea. My great heroes of photography are people like Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Corinne Day, Steve McCurry, Sebastian Salgado, Martin Parr, William Klein.

I use a Canon 5DMkII, but I find DSLRs big, clumsy and heavy, especially when you stick an L lens on the front. I want something smaller and simpler but still with great image quality. I also use a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera which I love, but I'm not mad keen on developing and scanning. 95% of my prints are 8x12 or smaller. I don't like zoom lenses and just need a normal lens (40-50) for 90% of my shots and a medium wide-angle (28-ish) lens for around 10% of my shots.

Some options:

* Leica M9 + 50mm f1.4 or f2, 28mm f2.8. (Would trade-in all my Canon gear to part-fund.)
* Panasonic GF1 + EVF + 20mm f1.7.
* Leica X1 (Not released yet but it sure looks good from the specs.)

What do you think?
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 4:21 PM   #2
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I think I'd wait a bit longer to see what else is offered by various manufacturers.

More EVIL type cameras are probably going to be introduced in the near future as this niche gains in popularity. So, I'd probably hold off a bit longer before selling all of my gear to go with something like a Leica M9.

Don't get me wrong... I still have a Canon 35mm Rangefinder wearing a Summicron 50mm f/1.9 lens right now. It was a nice camera when I started using it many years ago. But, you'd get more flexibility with a small dSLR model using a bright lens (prime or zoom) right now, at a relatively low cost.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 5:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
I take pictures of my life; my family, my friends, my City (London), and places I visit on my travels.

If you are not familiar with my pictures I have just put together a portfolio website: http://peri.org.uk which should give you an idea. My great heroes of photography are people like Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Corinne Day, Steve McCurry, Sebastian Salgado, Martin Parr, William Klein.I've always been a fan of Cartier-Bresson, also Alfred Eisenstadt. Cartier-Bresson, like Eisenstadt..as you know, used the Leica Rangefinder with the standard 50mm lens and were able to get the 'decisive moment' by taking pictures many times without their subjects being aware that it was happening.

I looked at some of your pix and I can see that you employ similar techniques...the Leica rangefinder, especially with the standard 50mm or the moderate wide angle 35 mm is still perhaps the best camera for this style...as I'm sure you have found, particularly because of the extremely quiet shutter actuation and general unobtrusiveness of the small Leica itself.

As an aside I think this kind of photography is more difficult today as opposed to Bresson's time...people are more aware and conscious of their photos being taken...thanks to the prevalence of paparazzi. I realize the paparazzi thing is not your deal.

I use a Canon 5DMkII, but I find DSLRs big, clumsy and heavy, especially when you stick an L lens on the front. I want something smaller and simpler but still with great image quality. I also use a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera which I love, but I'm not mad keen on developing and scanning. 95% of my prints are 8x12 or smaller. I don't like zoom lenses and just need a normal lens (40-50) for 90% of my shots and a medium wide-angle (28-ish) lens for around 10% of my shots.On a daily basis, I carry a Pentax KM digital which is very small compared to the Canon 5DMk11. It has 100 to 3200 ISO and I find it less intrusive then my Pentax K10D with battery grip which is larger and draws people's attention. A fellow photog friend has a full frame Canon similar to your 5D and while it's a tremendous machine...stealth is not it's strong suit.

I am suggesting you take a look at the Pentax KM (k2000 in the US)...or the new Pentax KX which I believe may be a similar small size to the KM, but with a greater range of ISO, etc. I haven't handled the KX yet as it was just introduced.

Now part of the reason I'm suggesting you check out the KM/KX is because the Pentax 'Limited" lens series has some small, excellent quality glass...like the very small and thin, aptly named Pentax Pancake primes... 40mm...or the 21 mm...which would translate on a digital DSLR to the traditional 50 mm lens view you like.

I think the 21 mm and 40 mm are 2.8's and their is a newly introduced 55 mm (translates to around 74 mm on digital) that is an F1.4.

These small, thin lenses attached to the small bodied KM, much reduce the width of typical DSLR with the more common zoom lens.

Here is a link to some of these lenses..reviews, specs, etc.


http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensrevi...DA-Lenses.html

These lens are quite jewel like and beautiful, in addition to being excellent performers...but they are pricey, however nothing like the expense of a Leica lens.

Another body to consider is the Pentax K7...the KM/KX are the entry cameras...the K7 the top of the lone...metal body and chassis...many features...expensive, rugged, but relatively compact.

Here's a link.

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source...lNEiHbeYWoQRsw

Living in London you should be able to rent some of this equipment to see if the performance, size, etc. meet with your standards.


Some options:

* Leica M9 + 50mm f1.4 or f2, 28mm f2.8. (Would trade-in all my Canon gear to part-fund.)
* Panasonic GF1 + EVF + 20mm f1.7.
* Leica X1 (Not released yet but it sure looks good from the specs.)

What do you think?
The Leica equipment has a very strong appeal...in fact I have an old Leica Rangefinder (11F) with a 50 mm 'pancake foldable' Leitz F 3.5 Elmar. I've had it since 1981 and it is a pleasure to use. I still use it.

Another option you may want to consider is buying a used Leica digital rangefinder with lens. Still expensive, but..
..

Good luck on your choice and btw...great pictures. I enjoyed looking through them.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; Sep 29, 2009 at 5:51 PM.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 7:08 PM   #4
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i say if you are going to go in. go all in.

get the m9 plus 2 nice primes.

it seems to fit your shooting style. and is the kit you REALLY want, and would only be TRULY happy with. so it's either now or later. no use getting a stop-gap and wasting more money.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 2:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the comments.

Dustin knows where my heart is. :P
JimC is the voice of reason as always.
Les - I have always liked Pentax, and their pancakes are great, but if I am going to stay in the DSLR world I think I might as well stick with my current setup. Better the devil you know. :-) But the idea of an M8... that might work if the prices drop enough, and they may well do. The flaws of the M8 just never quite made it attractive enough for me, but at bargain prices it may be a different story.

I have recently been using a Canon 50mm f1.4 again instead of my 50 1.2L because it makes the whole setup 300g lighter, and looks a lot less intimidating. The camera + lens actually looks a lot smaller than a mid-range DSLR with a big zoom. I have no complaint with the IQ of the 5DMkII; it's fantastic, more in fact than I really need.

Although the sticker price on the Leica gear is high, I would anticipate it having a much longer lifespan than my Canon stuff. The M-lenses would probably last me till I died. The camera 5,6,7? years as opposed to 2.5-3 years for my Canon upgrade cycle. Actual cost per month is probably no more for the Leica than the Canon.

Of course the versatility of the SLR system goes, but it would mean that I would be standardising on a single system - the M-mount. One digital body, one film body as backup or for fun, a few lenses. (Probably most of them 50s. I already have the Zeiss 50 f2 Planar which is wonderful for colour photography.) The combined weight for a body and two small M lenses is under 1kg. Body and lens around 750g, which is less than half of my 5DII and L lens.

The only thing that's stopping me (apart from the empty savings account) is that the M4/3 cameras might be effectively as good for my style of photography, and considering that I don't really need to print very large, have good enough IQ. The tests of the new Panasonic 20mm f1.7 show that it is a stunning lens and GF1 + 20 is only 500g!! And of course insanely cheap by comparison to an M9 plus a couple of lenses. But that would then leave me with 3 systems: M-mount, EOS and M4/3. Which seems a bit silly and wasteful and very un-Zen, and confusing and probably in the long run even more expensive than the Leica.

That little Leica X1 sure looks interesting though. Is that a camera that could simply replace ALL my gear? Could I live with a 36mm equivalent? I prefer 50, but I've had good success with 45-e before, and when I'm out shooting with a 28 I seem to adapt quite well.

Fortunately there is no rush, and October is bonus month, so with a small bonus and selling all my Canon equipment I might just be in a position to put the remainder on my credit card in November, especially if I use my current M lenses and can therefore hold off on the unbelievably expensive Leica lenses for a while.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 6:54 PM   #6
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I really like the 35 mm Leica Rangefinder, as mentioned before I've had one (11F) that's almost 60 years old, for almost 30 years.

I love the precision, the 'feel', the small size, the simple, but elegant and truly timeless, design. Then there's the the robust build, that in the case of my aging 11F seems to be head and shoulders above even the top pro digital slr's available now. My old Leica is essentially a little tank.

It's not perfect, but I'm still amazed how good the pictures really are. The focusing (manual) is a delight...the way the images 'snap' together even in low light.

The range of lenses available is limited, extreme telephotos to my knowledge are not a possibility due to the design of a Rangefinder.

I have a number of different cameras and camera types. Medium formats, TLR's Rangefinder, digital , SLR's.

With all this, If I could only have two cameras...one would be a digital SLR, the other...a Leica Rangefinder.

I'm probably the wrong one to ask, as I do have a definite bias towards the Leica Rangefinder.

PhotoNet has a review of the M8 and discusses the issues, particularly the magenta concern:

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source...QvyGDGp_AqJU6A

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 9:45 PM   #7
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do you mean the UV/Infrared problems that plagued the m8 making dark fabrics etc seem purple?

if so, it appears they have fixed that in the M9
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/leicam9/page8.asp
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Old Oct 1, 2009, 1:42 AM   #8
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Fortunately 50mm is about as extreme a telephoto as I ever need :-)

The M8 just had too many flaws for it to be attractive to me at its price. They seem to have nailed it with the M9 though, and if the M8 really does drop in price dramatically then I may consider it.

I love shooting with a rangefinder. My "keeper" rate seems way higher than with the DSLR. I'm not sure why but most of my best pictures of the last 18 months have been with my Zeiss Ikon.

When I was upgrading from my 20D about 4 years ago I had to choose between an M8 and Canon 5D, and although I really wanted to love the M8 I didn't fall in love with it. Instead I ended up with a 5D and Zeiss Ikon for film. Now though, finally it seems like the M9 can give me the best of both worlds, rangefinder and digital.
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 1:48 AM   #9
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And yet the convenience of the 5DMkII is something special.

Just on a walk to the park with the kids, and able to capture incredible high-def video of my youngest learning to walk and some great shots of my 5-year-old with her friends. Couldn't do that with a Leica.

Reality is starting to filter through on the M9...
Moire appears to be a semi-significant issue.
Crummy battery life.
Still a little bit IR sensitive.
Some reports of a lot of dust getting on the sensor.

Nothing too serious, but it does bring things back down to earth a bit. And ebay is showing some real bargain prices for M8s.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 4:37 PM   #10
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so you are now considering to keep the canon gear and pick up a used m8.2?
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