Leica New Leica M-E (Typ 240)

agentlossing

Veteran
Mar 23, 2015
104
Andrew Lossing
If you're using it via the live view and the other bells and whistles, it wouldn't be a rangefinder anymore, notwithstanding that it still wouldn't have autofocus or zooms. It's easier to just buy a Fujifilm or DSLR by that stage.
A DSLR is a good comparison, in that it's an add-on, additional way to see your subject. I don't think a rangefinder with manual focusing that is quick and much easier than any comparable optical method in modern cameras would be DOA. It might be a niche product, but Leica seems to be doing okay.
 

rayvonn

All-Pro
Jan 19, 2015
124
If you're using it via the live view and the other bells and whistles, it wouldn't be a rangefinder anymore, notwithstanding that it still wouldn't have autofocus or zooms. It's easier to just buy a Fujifilm or DSLR by that stage.
Indeed. Most find it too difficult to properly focus that F0.95 lens without the add on EVF and if you do that it's not really a rangefinder is it.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I've never had a problem focusing my Canon 50/0.95 on the Canon 7. No special shimming required, just worked when bought over 15 years ago.

For M-Mount, no problem with the Nokton 50/1.1 and 7Artisans 50/1.1.

I use Liveview on my Nikon DF when holding it up high to shoot over a fence, such as at a zoo. I also use it with a Perspective Control lens.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Indeed. Most find it too difficult to properly focus that F0.95 lens without the add on EVF and if you do that it's not really a rangefinder is it.
I don't get it though - RF focusing is exactly the same irrespective of what lens you have on it. As long as your camera and lens are calibrated, just ensure that the focusing patch lines up, it'll be in focus every single time. It's far, far easier to focus with a f/0.95 lens via RF focusing than with anything else.
 
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agentlossing

Veteran
Mar 23, 2015
104
Andrew Lossing
Leica is doing fantastic but for a completely different demographic and for completely different reasons.
You don't think there would be an equally enthusiastic demographic at a quarter or less of Leica's price range? I submit that half the reason many people go with Fuji cameras is to approximate the look and feel of a rangefinder, and even though they are very different things, I bet a lot of people would shell out a grand to be able to have something just like the street masters used.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
124
Switzerland
Matt
You don't think there would be an equally enthusiastic demographic at a quarter or less of Leica's price range? I submit that half the reason many people go with Fuji cameras is to approximate the look and feel of a rangefinder, and even though they are very different things, I bet a lot of people would shell out a grand to be able to have something just like the street masters used.
I'm sure there'd be a market, but I doubt that it'd be possible to provide a satisfying product, at least mid- to long-term. Rangefinders are expensive to make and expensive to maintain - so, while I'd say people would buy a cheap-ish rangefinder, they'd get what they pay for. Even Leica's top-of-the-line models need maintenance. Cheaper models would mean less reliability. It should be doable, but I'm doubtful as to what the resulting cameras would be like. I don't think it's doable (at today's production costs) for under $2000, if that.

That said, it'd be really great to have something less expensive available, if only to have a more affordable entry-point into RF shooting. I took ages to discover Leica mainly because of the cost of access that seemed prohibitive at the time - but I'd have saved tons of money if I had gone for M mount RFs sooner (I don't think I'd own any :mu43: gear, for a start - in spite of all its merits, it was always a substitue for the real thing, starting with the RF-inspired body shape of the Olympus E-PM1). It's what I like best by far - even though I have to say that having another system available that is zoom-friendly makes it easier to enjoy the RFs.

RF look-alikes aren't RFs, whatever anyone says. The Fuji X-E line certainly aren't, and neither is the Olympus PEN-F, Panasonic GX line, Sony A6*** or Leica CL (the current model). They're EVF cameras that happen to have a sleek body design with (mostly) small and lower-spec'd EVFs as a penalty (the CL being the notable exception here - its EVF is gorgeous). That's not to say any of those cameras are bad - some are tremendous value for money, even. Still, only Fuji has RF style cameras that come close to working like rangefinders; those are the X-Pro series and the X100 series. But having tried both, the experience is still completely different (and for me, not to my taste). It's nice in its own way, and certainly great for those who love that style, but as a RF experience, it's not much above wannabe ...

I think the best bet for someone who'd like to try a digital rangefinder would be to snatch up a M8. I couldn't be happier with mine - I use it as an EDC with impunity, and paired with the pretty affordable Voigtländer 28mm f/2 Ultron, it's a very nice shooter that offers the full RF experience (minus the operational speed you get with more modern bodies, starting with the M 240 - just ...). It teaches you all you need to know - and you can only upgrade from there, anyway (or else look for the elusive Epson RD-1).

So, a M 240 based "simplified" entry model (i.e. the new M-E) makes perfect sense in my book, but for those with tighter budgets, the M8 is a pretty decent offer that gets you all you need to dip your toe in ...

M.
 
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TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
You don't think there would be an equally enthusiastic demographic at a quarter or less of Leica's price range?
I agree with what Moonmind said above. And I repeat what I said earlier about the initial surge in sales but also the eventual loss of interest when people realise they'd rather have AF, zoom, and all the other auto functions that you won't get on a rangefinder.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
RF look-alikes aren't RFs, whatever anyone says.
I still can't believe the number of times I've seen people insist they own a rangefinder via their XPro or X100 cameras, and that they are equivalent substitutes for Leicas. They clearly don't even know what rangefinder means, they've never used one, and they're basing everything on Leica's classic looks as being the definition on what a rangefinder is rather than how it works.
 

agentlossing

Veteran
Mar 23, 2015
104
Andrew Lossing
I still can't believe the number of times I've seen people insist they own a rangefinder via their XPro or X100 cameras, and that they are equivalent substitutes for Leicas. They clearly don't even know what rangefinder means, they've never used one, and they're basing everything on Leica's classic looks as being the definition on what a rangefinder is rather than how it works.
Oh, to be sure. I am just saying that a large percentage of that crowd probably would buy an actual rangefinder if it fit their budget, purely out of desire to be seen as on the same level as the classic street photographers. I believe street photography is probably at its high point in terms of popularity amongst the "hip" younger crowd and is generally seen as the "woke" thing for photographers to do (which may be resulting in considerably more bad street photography presently, but whatever). It might not be a long term strategy, but I think if a current camera company wanted to produce a one-off rangefinder, they'd do okay.
 

agentlossing

Veteran
Mar 23, 2015
104
Andrew Lossing
A Voigtländer rangefinder camera - now that's a very intriguing idea. They certainly know how to make it work for film ... A digital Bessa R would be one hell of a feat ...

M.
That was really what I had in the back of my mind during this conversation.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Oh, to be sure. I am just saying that a large percentage of that crowd probably would buy an actual rangefinder if it fit their budget, purely out of desire to be seen as on the same level as the classic street photographers. I believe street photography is probably at its high point in terms of popularity amongst the "hip" younger crowd and is generally seen as the "woke" thing for photographers to do (which may be resulting in considerably more bad street photography presently, but whatever). It might not be a long term strategy, but I think if a current camera company wanted to produce a one-off rangefinder, they'd do okay.
I get the impression that the young and hip street photographers these days are being young and hipping on to the Ricoh GR compacts or the Fujifilm X100 cameras. Especially the GR III with its AF and snap focus functions.
 
Oct 20, 2012
104
The Netherlands
Ad Dieleman
Thorsten von Overgaard, a self-declared Leica-freak, wrote an article on focusing with a rangefinder as part of a series on the Leica M 240. I'm continuously agonizing over getting me a Leica M, mainly because I like the small lenses and because I remember how it felt to use my father's Contax rangefinder with a 50mm; my wife effortlessly made a perfectly sharp picture of me at that time, and she never managed that with an SLR. I now have a Sony A7R2 which serves me well but I feel I must have tried to use a rangefinder camera at some point in time.

The article is long so I picked some highlights from it, that got me thinking if a Leica M really is for me.
  • A rangefinder forces you to focus and recompose. I often use large apertures combined with placing my subject in the corner, and I'm worried that focus and recompose will degrade sharpness to an unacceptable degree in such a scenario.
  • A rangefinder enables you to see outside the frame for all but the widest lenses, seems like a bonus in street photography. Although the author thinks that it isn't all that important.
  • Leica offers an extensive range of high-quality and relatively small lenses.
  • Leica M cameras don't offer autofocus, so for that I'd have to keep my Sony FE system.
  • Rangefinders are delicate instruments, that can go out of alignment and must be treated with care. Hate that, to be honest.
  • No preview of depth of field; not all that important to me, I often bracket apertures anyway to select the best result in post.
  • Quote: Can be hard to see the focus center in dark.
  • Not suitable for telephoto. Another reason to keep the Sony FE system.
  • Wider than 28mm lenses necessitate a separate optical viewfinder. Or use the display or EVF, which is probably what I would do.
  • Quote: You will realize that you will never have 100% of your images in focus. For static scenes I have a hitrate over 99.9 % with the Sony A7R2.
  • Quote: Children is one of the major reasons many Leica M users give as the reason to look for a small quality camera. That surprised me. If and when I'll have grand-children, I'll know.
  • The author states that you won't have a 100 % hit rate with moving subject, autofocus or not. From my experience he's right.
  • The lens can be visible in the frame. Wouldn't bother me.
  • The author said he used the EVF-2 in a situation when he had to be absolutely sure that he'd be able to focus reliably. That remark made me cringe.
  • The author's plea for going easy on perfectionism doesn't really resonate with me.
And some musings of my own.
  • Focus shift impacts rangefinder focusing, whereas it's irrelevant for manual focusing with an EVF/display when the lens is set at the working aperture, like I always do.
  • I'd hate to have my camera's rangefinder calibrated at (ir)regular intervals. Leica's service is not known for its speedy turn-around times, to say the least.
  • Leica is expensive.
  • I might want to wait until a Leica M would also feature a high-performance built-in EVF and would carry a state-of-the art sensor. The present sensors in Sony and Nikon cameras are operating near the theoretical limits of dynamic range and noise performance, so such a sensor would be a boon in a Leica M.
  • I'd miss the sensor stabilization I have now, I can get away with hand-held shooting in a way inconceivable before that.
  • I'm basically a one-system guy, even a one-camera guy. Maybe the Leica M and Sony FE systems are sufficiently different so that I don't have trouble switching between the two.
I already read all posts in this thread, just curious for more thoughts, so get your flamethrowers out :).
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
  • I'd miss the sensor stabilization I have now, I can get away with hand-held shooting in a way inconceivable before that.
IS is less of an issue in RF by a long mile. I would shoot at the extreme slower shutter speeds, handheld. This was intentionally shot handheld at 1/8 because I wanted to get that exact effect of people walking past in a blur.

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Get an M and try it for yourself. Don't analyse it too much, just get one.
 

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