I longed for the simpler times, now I long for the affordable days...

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
It's close to six months I've been shooting Leica M, and it's going ever so strongly. I got two new Cosina Voigtländer lenses (in 21 mm and 50 mm) on order to fill out my lens catalogue -- with a serious 75 mm lens it'll be complete for me.

Life's pretty great. Leica Q still shoots amazing shots but using it can feel somehow second-tier experience. Not to mention about the PEN-F, even though it has such a great shooting envelope, should I choose to make an attempt at making use of it.

The center-weighted metering is now in my backbones and it's my muscle memory (probably in the eye muscles) that knows to spot 18% gray. I shoot in manual mode more and more as I get comfy. (When I shoot Aperture priority, I seek out middle grey and lock exposure on that reading half-pressing the shutter.)

I even ditched auto-ISO. On M240 it works exactly as well as other cameras, but when you combine it with the aforementioned technique in M mode, it suddenly doesn't exactly do anything helpful.

With Leica M, life is indeed simple. Simple is very good, in this instance. The camera doesn't do errors, you do. You have difficulty focusing? Take a microfiber cloth and clean all the window surfaces. Buy a tele lens and have difficulty getting sharp photos? Buy a small magnifier and screw it onto the viewfinder. I love these physical solutions to physical problems.

The downside to this immense simplicity is the money. Damn if these things cost money. While I don't swim in debt and do very well for myself, my income and that stuff is certainly strongly undersized for a Leica shooter. Of course back in the day things used to cost, today you don't hear much about cameras or hifi costing 3 months' salary, but apparently it was a thing back sometimes.

In particular this money factor salts my wounds as I forked over 200 euros on a freakin' viewfinder while over at M4/3 camp they celebrate $70 lenses that admittedly produce amazing results.

Besides money, the bodies weigh a great deal. Even if I could afford it, don't know how enjoyable would it be to carry two bodies on me.

Fuji
----

I sold my last Fujifilm camera soon after Leica Q arrived in the household, but Fuji is the one brand I could fall back to. Direct controls, Leica-like design philosophies, great feature set by designers who know street photographer's needs.

Fuji is a great platform even if the lenses are expensive being only APS-C. You can have your main body of the latest generation, a backup body from the previous generation and a backup's backup, all for half money of a Leica M body, used.

The native Fuji glass is nice, if a bit clinical. Here are the biggest niggles I have with Fujifilm -- get clinical and great micro contrast, or get bit of character but soft-looking images. There are supreme options from a growing 3rd party set of makers. Fujifilm's focusing aids for manual focus lenses are the absolute best in the EVF camera world. The crop factor also helps a great deal when zone-focusing even if the fly-by-wire lenses feel crap compared to real SLR/rangefinder lenses.

The weather sealing of most Fuji bodies doesn't hurt either. And the little things like ultrasonic sensor dust-up.

Olympus
-------

I still have my PEN-F and the Panasonic 35-100. What a nice little lens. Perfect size for what it does and what I need from that focal range. Sad that in Fuji/Leica world you can only replicate the 75mm equivalent FL out of the zoom range, while still remaining as close to the physical dimensions of the little m4/3 gem.

Micro-4/3rds are in a really nice place but the big weakness is that the small native lenses don't render "FF-like". Now, if you shoot birds or sports it's not a problem but the focus transitions give a very digital impression in many cases. If you go with the Olympus PRO lenses, you get very beautiful rendition. But then again, the lenses are too big for my tastes. Olympus has a magnificent feature set in their cameras, it's just not geared towards street shooters at all. IBIS makes for pretty crazy things.

Before the M, I had my shit figured out. I had Q do the wide/normal photos and then PEN-F and the 35-100 worked telephotos (or the 7.5mm Laowa to handle ultrawide). Things were beautiful. I wonder, why can't I go back to the arrangement.

I can't say I long for the simpler days, because with Leica M I live them right now.

The solution?
-------------

Am I seeing a pattern here? Fuji bodies are nice, Fuji native lenses are a bit expensive for what they are; Olympus bodies are nice, M4/3 lenses render poorly...

Hmph. Am I having an epiphany here? Don't sell PEN-F because it's just crazy enough of a camera but don't buy any small, ugly rendering native lenses to it either. Instead I should probably go further with my Leica M glass and then purchase an adapter so that I can use my Leica glass for telephoto, landscape things. Oh my.



In conclusion
-------------

Yeah... I should probably warn you not to read this crap lol
 
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bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
124
Regarding clinical: one of my favorite things about the X100 lens is how it gives an oldschool look, with a milkiness to flares and other blown out highlights that just makes the whole thing feel organic.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
My u43 with the 17/2.8 gets quite a bit of use. Small, and I keep the flash on it.

The Leicas get the most use.

It is easy to go overboard... Go slow on getting new lenses. There are a lot of less expensive choices on the used market. A Voigtlander 75/2.5 is small, light, and sharp. Buying used typically means being able to sell it for close to what you paid. One way to handle expenses is to trade up. If you do fall into a great deal- be ready to snap it up. You can usually turn a profit on lenses when bought at a great price.
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I suppose I didn't stress enough that I currently totally dislike changing lenses on the go, would very much prefer a two-body solution with complementing lenses on different bodies. With Leica it's expensive and heavy to do so. (Well, expensive as in extra 2300 € added to an otherwise-7k setup.) Adapting a lens on the Olympus could work in theory, it's not expensive to buy a dummy adapter and try out an experiment.

The Q + Olympus combo was working for me because I mainly use the tele lenses for landscapes. There is considerable image quality difference in the shots but I didn't mind. In fact, many of the most stellar shots I had printed came from the Oly! A 70mm angle of view seems to work for me very well, regarding scenery. Now, that could be replicated by adapting the 35 Summicron on an Olympus.

Regarding clinical: one of my favorite things about the X100 lens is how it gives an oldschool look, with a milkiness to flares and other blown out highlights that just makes the whole thing feel organic.
True, and since 35mm is my favorite, it would be easy to build a two-body Fuji setup around an X100 series camera and an ILC.

It is easy to go overboard...
It is. I opted to get new in this instance because the 50 Heliar in particular doesn't get much sold on the second-hand markets. The 21mm kinda proved to be expensive because there are so many Zeiss 21/2.8 + viewfinder combos on sale for only a bit more. Well, new means scratchless. That's something right. :)

I'm also giving a serious thought about the 50/75 difference. Now that 50 Heliar is on its way, I'll see if it can work for me. No rush.

But the first 5 months I went with the Summicron (p much) alone -- that's going slow in my book!
 
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
I had resisted buying a Leica for literally decades - but on hindsight, that has cost me a load of money I wouldn't otherwise have spent. Sometimes getting "the right thing" just ends most worries. Now, I'm not above experimenting, but for me, the Leicas are "it". I have other systems and like using them (especially with zooms and long lenses), but I know what to pick if I just want to enjoy photography.

What I find especially rewarding: I'm over the "bigger/more/newer-is-better" bug. My daily driver is the M8 - relatively cheap (including the Voigtländer 28mm f/2 lens - great for its price), wonderfully tactile, slows you down a treat, and the files (even the JPEGs) are wonderful as long as you know what you're doing. For ultimate quality, I pick a different M (the M10 is an amazing camera), but that's about it for desired choices.

My lens stash is complete, too - even down to a whole array of 35mm lenses to play around with. The whole system fits into a pleasantly small space, too ...

And since we're there, Voigtländer lenses aren't that expensive, actually - for what you get, they're very good value for money in *absolute* terms. Yes, there are a couple of "character" lenses among them, but as someone has mentioned re. the Fuji X100, that can be a tool rather than a nuisance. But e.g. the new 35mm f/2 and 50mm f/1.2 are seriously good lenses, too - not flawless (what lens is - apart maybe from the 50mm APO Summicron-M that *does* cost an arm and a leg?), but very strong performers; the 50mm f/1.2 gives the 50mm f/2 Summicron-M a run for its money - already wide open (indeed, the Summicron only stays because it's small and light for its performance)!

For the record, I've looked - out of interest, not out of need - at Sony APS-C and Fuji again lately.

Fuji doesn't do anything special for me now that I have the Leicas, period. Even so, a future X-E4 with the current sensor might end up in my possession at some point in time - it's amazing what they put into their most affordable bodies.

Sony APS-C might have been a useful choice for me a while back (when I bought into Nikon APS-C for a while), and their technology is pretty darn impressive, but I seriously don't like the handling - the grips feel totally wrong, for one thing, and control points are all over the place; but I have to say that the A6000 (a five-year-old model!) and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 do an impressive job - good enough to keep that setup around. However, apart from other Sigma primes, I haven't discovered a lens that I'd really like to shoot on that body (I use the Samyang FE pancakes from time to time - that does work). As a system, it's DOA for me personally - mostly because of my previous experiences with :mu43: ...

So, here we are - because I do like the handling, performance and understated looks of the GX9 quite a bit, and it also allows me to carry a whole bag of lenses - and that bag may even be the ONA Bowery! And all those lenses (from 7.5mm to 300mm) are solid or at least reliable performers in their own right, yet small, light (comparatively speaking in the case of the 100-300mm and 12-40mm) and very handy. Yes, the images are somewhat different from the Leica ones, less depth, less pop. But bad they certainly ain't. And in many cases, I'd dare anyone to tell them apart from those taken with bigger sensors and/or cameras.

To borrow a Monty Python phrase: Now for something completely different: If you need something truely cheap as a backup or alternative, pick up a Panasonic FZ1000 - it does everything a system can do, but its lack of expandability is refreshing. The images are very good, considering ... I may actually pick that camera as a sidekick this summer: Leica as my main system, FZ1000 for everything those cameras simply can't do. Yes, it's a bit bulky, but still more compact than any *system* you could carry.

Otherwise, use what works for you, and if you don't need to, don't worry too much about cost. It's your decision, and it's your game, especially as an amateur. If you have to make ends meet by doing photography professionally, of course the equation changes, efficiency and sensible choices become paramount. But if it's about the joy and fun to be had, just use what fits your needs and wishes.

M.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
124
Lexington, Virginia
I have found simple desirable in my recent cameras. I go through and turn off most to the buttons. :biggrin: I’m enjoying Fuji now. I really enjoy the small primes and don’t find them too expensive.
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
I'm in the happy position of having an M10 and also the M240, although I can't imagine carrying two together because of the weight. Although I have a Sony A7RIII that I use for kid pics, I find I much prefer what comes out of the M10 even though I fail to get the right focus on many occasions! It's easy to see pictures taken with other cameras and think that it will make you a better photographer, I have reminded myself (often) that the kind of pictures I so admire are taken by people with talent and who would take a great picture whatever their equipment! Meanwhile I enjoy the whole process of the M cameras. I take less pictures but I value it more when I get a decent shot :)
 

rayvonn

All-Pro
Jan 19, 2015
124
I've come to understand that the value is in waiting however long it takes to get what you desire. You'll just spend more money on other camera gear in the interim otherwise.

However, I don't think you can generalise that m43 or Fuji has clinical lenses. The Fujinon F1.4 lenses are most definitely not clinical and render superbly. The Lumix 14mm F2.5 is, I think, a great lens and renders uniquely nicely, as does the 25mm F1.4. Personally, I find the 35mm ASPH Summicron to render more plainly than the Zeiss or older Leica lenses but that's just me. So swings and roundabouts.
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
However, I don't think you can generalise that m43 or Fuji has clinical lenses. The Fujinon F1.4 lenses are most definitely not clinical and render superbly.
Yeah I didn't make that generalisation. I said that small Fuji lenses* (fujicrons) and small Olympus lenses render poorly. I do agree -- the small Panasonic lenses somehow render better.

35/1.4 is as small and cute as they go, but it's a different story with 23/1.4 and 16/1.4, which are wonderful but Leica equivalents are smaller and result in same DOF
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I have not bought a new digital camera since 2013, with the Nikon Df. Digital Leica M- 2012 for the M Monochrom. Most of my money goes to vintage lenses, and that has slowed down. The cameras have depreciated, the lenses- have gone up in price.

Somehow I collected 8 Contax RF's, 2 Contax II, 2 Contax III, 1 Contax IIa, and 3 Contax IIIa- all working, all needed some repair. most bought with lenses on them. "In the Day", they cost more than a Leica. In the day- each represented several months salary for most people. The older ones are 80+ years old, the newest is over 60. Simple CLA to make all work again.
 
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
I said that small Fuji lenses* (fujicrons) and small Olympus lenses render poorly.
Let's just agree to disagree on that; I love what the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 puts out (but am equally fond of rendering of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7) ... Let's face it, in photography, so much is up to taste and preferences it's often no use arguing.

What put me off the f/2 Fuji lenses to a degree was, frankly, their size :rolleyes: They're actually bigger than their Leica/Zeiss/Voigtländer FF equivalents! Not that I find the images coming from them bad in any way - just not quite as good as I expected after all the praise I read. However, the 23mm f/2 is actually twice as big as the Voigtländer 35mm f/2; it's an AF lens, I grant you that, but it's no "little wonder" - not by a long shot. And the Zeiss C Biogon 35mm f/2.8, another smaller lens, renders the much crisper and clearer image wide open (it outdoes almost everything else in that respect, mind - as far as I'm concerned, it's *the* sleeper lens in M land). If I put either of those tiny gems on a M body, I get a package that's actually smaller and only marginally heavier than an X-Pro2 with a 23mm f/2.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that I haven't found either the current Leica Summicron ASPH or the Summilux ASPH better than their respective Zeiss counterparts. The best 35mm lens for M mount in my personal opinion is the Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 - a huge lens, but a fantastic optic that can do even more than the C Biogon because it's actually sharp and contrasty wide open, with very natural transitions and nice bokeh (while showing fewer aberrations than the Summilux!). By f/2.8, it's almost as sharp and crisp as the C Biogon, with slightly softer colours - a wonderful tool to work with.

However, the tiny Voigtländer comes impressively close (at least in the center) while being smaller *and* faster than the C Biogon - and actually a little cheaper. I really dig that ...

Mind you, what I said about the Fuji lenses goes for the highly acclaimed Panasonic 15mm f/1.7 as well: It's a good lens (clearly ahead of the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 I used to own), but it's *not* better than the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 or the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, both of which are considerably cheaper. Indeed, if any of the smaller format lenses reminds me of a 50mm Summicron, it's the Olympus ... Yes, its DoF is greater, but it's sharp as a tack wide open, and transitions are quite smooth. The Leica batch does not a wonder make (you may remember what I said about the Voigtländer 50mm f/1.2 Nokton in comparison to the Summicron ...).

btw. I often carry two (or more) cameras; if everything fits into the ONA Bowery, it's not going to be too heavy anyway - though I'll admit that I came close to overdoing it when taking a digital body alongside the Mamiya 6 MF ... (I don't remember which digital camera - possibly the Nikon D5500 with Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art, my EDC at the time).

FWIW, I took the A6000 along today because I wasn't sure if I could take any images at all. I turned out to be possible - and the camera did quite well. As many of us, I'm still prone to overthinking it - if I didn't know anything else, I most probably wouldn't keep niggling about the Sony's interface and handling; it's actually pretty workable. And while my feet hurt when I came back (wrong shows for walking long distances), my hand that had held the camera actually didn't ...

M.
 
Jan 28, 2014
104
Helsinki, Finland
I've looked for solution for my photography. Have I found it? Maybe, simplicity, aah not really. But am I happy? Yes, that's what matters.

I mainly shoot with Leica Q and Nikon Df with single lens, Voigtländer 58mm Nokton. For Zen photography I have Leica M8 again with single lens, Voigtländer 35mm F1.4 Nokton M.C.

I have a strange bond to MFT, therefore borrowed my PEN E-P5 to my wife and kept Olympus lenses 17, 45, 75 together with Pana Leica 25mm, which I sometimes use with my M5.2

I've got rid off my Sony cameras and selling last Fuji, X100S and 23 F1.4 lens. And I'm dreaming on cutting the bond to MFT and selling my M5.2 someday. PEN is beautiful camera and will be used by my wife as long it works.

Some people are perfectly fine with their one camera, iPhones or other phone cameras, and that's fine. I just don't get it :biggrin:
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
I happily went with X100T alone for a good 14 months or so. (Tried the X-T1 alongside but sold it after a month.) And when Q came along after X100T, I went happily with it alone another 16 months.

I don't know how my PEN-F will pan out but I'll see if the M-M43 adapter can breathe some life to it as a secondary body again.

Leica Q, sadly the one camera I thought will be forever, I put for sale.

Still think and perhaps hope that a Fujifilm system alone will be waiting for me somewhere at the end of the ride. In another life, the PEN-F would have been it.
 

mike3996

Veteran
Apr 2, 2018
104
After shooting 21, 35 and 50mm lenses I suddenly remembered there's the new and wonderful Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7 lens that is simply gorgeous on paper. As I don't like to change lenses on the go.

While it's said it's a big beast of a lens, it being for M4/3 it could be comparable to the larger Leica M lenses so maybe it's manageable?

Oh...

 
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
After shooting 21, 35 and 50mm lenses I suddenly remembered there's the new and wonderful Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7 lens that is simply gorgeous on paper. As I don't like to change lenses on the go.

While it's said it's a big beast of a lens, it being for M4/3 it could be comparable to the larger Leica M lenses so maybe it's manageable?

Oh...

View attachment 200486
I really loved what the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 put out when I had it, but it was too big for comfortable handling on my small APS-C DSLR (Nikon D5500) - and size was the reason for me owning the camera ... This looks considerably more bulky. Not sure about that - at all (I find the 12-40mm a bit big on the GX9). The WATE, on the other hand, is a handsome bieast - just out even of my league (especially factoring in the need for an external viewfinder). I don't mind using the 21-24-28 VF for the 21mm, though ...

M.
 

agentlossing

Regular
Mar 23, 2015
69
My u43 with the 17/2.8 gets quite a bit of use. Small, and I keep the flash on it.
The 17mm f2.8 is anything but clinical, it has a really cool punchy look that I like, having owned (and sold) it twice. Doesn't perform as well on Panasonic bodies.
 

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