Leica Leica: Nothing makes sense and everything is wonderful

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
The rumor has it that the next version of the compact APS-C Leica CL will come out by springtime and will have a 26 MP chip and an IBIS. In another words, much like a Fujifilm X-T4 but with Leica flavored processing and everything.

The Leica crop sensor TL system is a small one. Just 4 primes and 3 zooms and that's it, no more announced or coming.

But they are very desirable indeed. Leica CL squeezes very respectable performance out of the sensor with a very Leica-like color out of the box. And I don't have to tell you that the lenses are extraordinary. And to boot, Leica made it a priority to keep the lenses compact. Alongside Canon's M series, Leica TL lenses are about the compactest stuff you can get.

Of course value-wise there is no comparison to M4/3 bodies and lenses, there's much to be gained from IBIS (that Leica TL/CL bodies currently lack) and the overall package.

But CL2 might tip things if it comes with an IBIS with good performance. Suddenly we have a small body with a bright EVF that will be comparable to compact M4/3 bodies but with better everything. (For whatever reason M4/3 cameras won't place the best IBIS systems in small bodies: Pen-F and EP5 are the only compact bodies with 5-axis stabilization, Panasonic's compact bodies can't match G9 either.)

It will be costly and value-wise it won't make much sense. But the style, the build, the lens performance, the color, the leica look, the firmware, the ux. Everything would be wonderful.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Thanks. The title was a spur of a moment thing, my current sentiments, and I wrote the post trying to match the title.

I suppose it's a good title. On the first part, there's that one interpretation where if you're a Leica hater or just hate consumerism or capitalism even, then you say "Leica is nonsensical" because you get the same specs on a camera 1/10th of the money.

Then there's the other equally famous interpretation where I know Leica's not good for me but I have to have it. It somehow calls for me. Fujifilm and other rangefinder-styled cameras should be plenty enough for me but yet they aren't. I need to have the real deal.

And when I got it, it's has been a wonderful thing ever since. There are flaws; I tolerate them. There are limitations; I learn to bypass them. I just love my Leica.
 

CraigC

Top Veteran
Location
Toronto, Canada
Real Name
Craig
I have been eyeing the current CL - it looks to be a perfect APSC camera for stills (adding IBIS would make it so for me). Pairing the 23mm pancake with Sigma’s 56mm 1.4 would cover most of my needs. The Leica 35mm 1.4 looks to be excellent, if larger in size, but those lens prices are just 😳

Sigma did just release the full frame Contemporary I line of 24/35/45/65 lenses, all of which are fairly compact in size and could be affordable options for the L mount systems.
 

christilou

Legend
Location
Sunny Frimley
Thanks. The title was a spur of a moment thing, my current sentiments, and I wrote the post trying to match the title.

I suppose it's a good title. On the first part, there's that one interpretation where if you're a Leica hater or just hate consumerism or capitalism even, then you say "Leica is nonsensical" because you get the same specs on a camera 1/10th of the money.

Then there's the other equally famous interpretation where I know Leica's not good for me but I have to have it. It somehow calls for me. Fujifilm and other rangefinder-styled cameras should be plenty enough for me but yet they aren't. I need to have the real deal.

And when I got it, it's has been a wonderful thing ever since. There are flaws; I tolerate them. There are limitations; I learn to bypass them. I just love my Leica.

That's the thing with Leica .... it makes you work so hard for that one picture ..... and then it's all worthwhile :wink:
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
It actually takes a bit of doing to scale up the IBIS from mu43 to APS-C. Fuji famously struggled to get the unit small enough for the X-S10. The problem with IBIS in general is that it can really eat up the battery if done badly. The first generation E-M5 went through some early struggles.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Leica processing speaks to me. Each new raw file opened for development feels like a shot of dopamine. I do great injustice to the files by letting my poor grading dirty them up.

People often dismiss the difference in processing "because you can alter everything in post process". People say, because a Sony silicon factory produces the chips for every major players nothing matters really. I have to heavily disagree.

The sensor is just a small portion of the image making. Camera manufacturers, Fuji, Nikon, Leica, they take the Sony chip but they have to add these things to the package themselves: microlenses, optical low-pass filter, uv filter, cover glass, color-filter array (and choose the matrix and the dyes to use). Then the second bit is also heavily up to the manufacturer: the processing of the raw values into raw digital data. The sensor may have certain noise qualities but ultimately the ISO performance is shaped very much by the processing. For example if you want to leave highlight headroom then it has to show in the shadow recoverability to some tiny extent.

2021-01-03 (Sun) 12-46-44.jpeg
 
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christilou

Legend
Location
Sunny Frimley
Leica processing speaks to me. Each new raw file opened for development feels like a shot of dopamine. I do great injustice to the files by letting my poor grading dirty them up.

People often dismiss the difference in processing "because you can alter everything in post process". People say, because a Sony silicon factory produces the chips for every major players nothing matters really. I have to heavily disagree.

The sensor is just a small portion of the image making. Camera manufacturers, Fuji, Nikon, Leica, they take the Sony chip but they have to add these things to the package themselves: microlenses, optical low-pass filter, uv filter, cover glass, color-filter array (and choose the matrix and the dyes to use). Then the second bit is also heavily up to the manufacturer: the processing of the raw values into raw digital data. The sensor may have certain noise qualities but ultimately the ISO performance is shaped very much by the processing. For example if you want to leave highlight headroom then it has to show in the shadow recoverability to some tiny extent.

View attachment 244761

I have often said this. you can stick a Leica lens on a Sony body but even if you process the Leica DNG files and the Sony's much the same, the Leica always looks better, even though the Sony has better highlight recovery by a long way.
 

QBI

Veteran
Of course value-wise there is no comparison to M4/3 bodies and lenses
I totally agree - Leica offers massively more value than M4/3.

Leica is more expensive in £s or $s but delivers so much more for your money.
I got back into photography when Olympus brought out the EP1 which I used with native Oly, Panasonic & adapted Canon glass. I upgraded to EPL5 then to Panasonic GX9. I hated that Panasonic because I spent so much on it, it had a ridiculous number of user definable buttons, dials & switches and produced the most life-less images I've ever taken. In the M4/3 world I'm definitely an Olympus guy.

Anyway, my choice EDC was the 14mm f/2.5 panasonic lens on the M4/3 bodies. Then I had a chance encounter with a Leica X2 and have never looked back.
 
People often dismiss the difference in processing "because you can alter everything in post process". People say, because a Sony silicon factory produces the chips for every major players nothing matters really. I have to heavily disagree.

The sensor is just a small portion of the image making. Camera manufacturers, Fuji, Nikon, Leica, they take the Sony chip but they have to add these things to the package themselves: microlenses, optical low-pass filter, uv filter, cover glass, color-filter array (and choose the matrix and the dyes to use). Then the second bit is also heavily up to the manufacturer: the processing of the raw values into raw digital data. The sensor may have certain noise qualities but ultimately the ISO performance is shaped very much by the processing. For example if you want to leave highlight headroom then it has to show in the shadow recoverability to some tiny extent.
I suppose I have to agree with you. I cannot compare Leica to Sony or any other brand myself, but I feel an indirect confirmation comes from my transition from the Sony A7Rm2 to the A7Rm4. I have gone to some lengths to have the R4 replicate the output of the R2, but so far I didn't succeed, despite profiling attempts with Colorchecker charts and some manual adjustments. And I'm talking about raw, I still have to shoot my first JPEG. The results are really different, and that's for a camera line from the same manufacturer only 2 generations apart. Sony apparently changed the "color science", apparently to a degree that isn't easy to counter for.

So most probably the output of a camera has a distinct signature in terms of tonality, color rendition etc. even when based on the same silicon chip as you mention. And that means that an important property of a camera (brand) is how you like the output when processing the way you want to. Some time ago I decided that Leica M cameras have too many downsides for me, but I'll get seriously interested when Leica comes to its senses and makes an M-like camera with IBIS and a good EVF; I don't think I care much for the optical rangefinder.
 
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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
I have often said this. you can stick a Leica lens on a Sony body but even if you process the Leica DNG files and the Sony's much the same, the Leica always looks better, even though the Sony has better highlight recovery by a long way.
Christi, I have always enjoyed seeing your images. They always have a quality to them that is different, that I can't quite identify, but find very pleasing. I don't know if that is Leica magic or your own workflow, but it works.
 
The sensor is just a small portion of the image making. Camera manufacturers, Fuji, Nikon, Leica, they take the Sony chip but they have to add these things to the package themselves: microlenses, optical low-pass filter, uv filter, cover glass, color-filter array (and choose the matrix and the dyes to use). Then the second bit is also heavily up to the manufacturer: the processing of the raw values into raw digital data. The sensor may have certain noise qualities but ultimately the ISO performance is shaped very much by the processing. For example if you want to leave highlight headroom then it has to show in the shadow recoverability to some tiny extent.
The camera manufacturer has input to the sensor design, buy the sensor must be manufactured with the microlens array, color filter array, etc. Kodak, later Onsemi, turned out the CCDs for the M8, M9, and M Monochrom with the IR absorbing cover glass in place. CMOSIS did the same with the M240 series. For processing: more true of CMOS sensors than CCD's. The latter: turn "lens detection" off and you get very close to unprocessed digital samples. Lens correction on: you get a non-uniformity correction applied, not much else. This is why I prefer the CCD cameras, any processing applied is out of the camera.

I wish Leica firmware was better quality. Leica used to outsource firmware development to a company specializing in realtime firmware, including Aerospace applications. Firmware for the M Monochrom and V2 and up for the M9, and all firmware that followed - is done in-house. It is extremely poor, responsible for cameras locking up and repeatable errors with the shutter advancing long after the picture has been taken. With the M9: this error was introduced when the firmware development was brought in-house. It is unreliable.
 

serhan

Hall of Famer
Location
NYC
Color is subjective and changes with every camera even with same camera manufacturer as Ad said... It is same with even Leica's as I used CL, SL2, Q2. I know last Q2 firmware is supposed to correct Q2 colors which had bleeding reds in my old LR 6 and I know it took a while to get it right raw colors with Capture one... So it even changes with each software that you open eg it depends on their interpretation as well... I know Christi's images from Sony or Leica look more similar to me so it depends on the user as well... Here is some color comparisons of M vs other cameras:

Leica M10 vs Leica SL vs Canon 5D Mark IV - Comparing Color Rendering — STREET SILHOUETTES


On the Leica CL, the sensor will not change much eg current used ones are selling for $1300-1400 in FM. Other additions will make CL2 more usable esp when the tl lenses do not have any IS, even the zooms... Again none of their lenses have weather seals either. At least Sigma released cheaper 16-30-56mm lenses with additional smaller dn lenses coming which makes the entry to CL cheaper. Hopefully the CL2 will not be too big as SL2 like... I am guessing maybe Q2 body can be used esp with sealed body and same evf... Ultimately Leica is not creating a Leica M with EVF eg CL or Q2 is as close as it comes....
 

serhan

Hall of Famer
Location
NYC
Not related to CL, but if you have time, I recommend also below video: "Special Holiday Stream: LEICA NERD TALK (feat. a bunch of millionaires!)". It is good discussion with street photographers who ended up with a Leica (film or digital) and has different experience levels:


Also Leica is releasing a cheap film M camera, but what that means in Leica prices is a question:
A new cheap Leica M film camera is rumored for 2021 - Leica Rumors
 

christilou

Legend
Location
Sunny Frimley
I suppose I have to agree with you. I cannot compare Leica to Sony or any other brand myself, but I feel an indirect confirmation comes from my transition from the Sony A7Rm2 to the A7Rm4. I have gone to some lengths to have the R4 replicate the output of the R2, but so far I didn't succeed, despite profiling attempts with Colorchecker charts and some manual adjustments. And I'm talking about raw, I still have to shoot my first JPEG. The results are really different, and that's for a camera line from the same manufacturer only 2 generations apart. Sony apparently changed the "color science", apparently to a degree that isn't easy to counter for.

So most probably the output of a camera has a distinct signature in terms of tonality, color rendition etc. even when based on the same silicon chip as you mention. And that means that an important property of a camera (brand) is how you like the output when processing the way you want to. Some time ago I decided that Leica M cameras have too many downsides for me, but I'll get seriously interested when Leica comes to its senses and makes an M-like camera with IBIS and a good EVF; I don't think I care much for the optical rangefinder.
I have always preferred the A7RII over the A7RIII output but having said that, the colour from Sony A9 is much better regarding skin tones :hmmm:
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Location
New Mexico
Real Name
Larry
I have an X 113 coming this week. I let go of my first, thinking I could use my Pen-F (which I love) and the 20mm Panasonic to approximate the shooting experience. But when I want to use a focal length in the 35-40mm eqv., nothing comes close to the X113 for me. I get the same kind of joy using it that I got from the Olympus 35 SP film camera. The Leica controls just make shooting more enjoyable for me. The Sony RX 1 has a "better" sensor, being full frame, and has many real advantages, but it is fusssy to shoot with, and I just did not make a connection with it. Maybe when the new CL comes out, I will be able to afford the first generation with a 23mm lenses. I love Leica controls and output, but so far only used X series cameras have been within my budget. Does the red dot obsession come into play? Maybe, but Leica lenses are special. I tried the Fuji X100F, figuring the hybrid finder would win me over, but we just didn't get along. Many people don't, but I like the lack of so many bells and whistles in the Leica X series cameras I've owned. I even wish the video button on the X 113 weren't there, or at least that you could shut it off or program it. I occasionally use my Pen F for video, but mostly my Note 8 cell phone is all I need.

Blah blah. What I'm trying to say is the advantages on a personal level of shooting with the Leica are quite real. I'm not a snob (I can't afford to be) , but I know what I like. It doesn't have to make sense; it just has to fit. Do you like your sweatpants with an open leg or elastic? What DxO mark has to say holds little interest for me. Highlights in Leica files are a non-issue. You had to be careful with Kodachrome too, and I shot truckloads of the stuff. Shooting the X113 or the X1 is just different, wonderfully so.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
I have gone to some lengths to have the R4 replicate the output of the R2, but so far I didn't succeed, despite profiling attempts with Colorchecker charts and some manual adjustments. And I'm talking about raw, I still have to shoot my first JPEG. The results are really different, and that's for a camera line from the same manufacturer only 2 generations apart. Sony apparently changed the "color science", apparently to a degree that isn't easy to counter for.
I think that's across the board now Ad, with all the current and new gear. If you like the image output as currently defined by the camera makers then it's not a problem but if you're looking for something different or to your own alternative specific definition of how an image should be rendered, then it is. I don't think Leica is exempt from this.
 

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