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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

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Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Conspicuous Consumption
Old 02-24-2013   #1
Bill Pierce
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Conspicuous Consumption

Digital Leicas continue to improve. Leaked info on the upcoming M with the CMOS sensor is positive, But digital M’s have two drawbacks. (1) They are for many folks prohibitively expensive, especially if you need multiple bodies for quick use with different focal length lenses or need multiple bodies for back up when you are traveling. (2) The tolerances for lens cams and cam feelers must be extremely high if a variety of large aperture lenses are to focus accurately on a several bodies. This has not always been the case. Thom Hogan, whose industry views I respect, has said, “I think we’ll see Leica move from manual, rangefinder focusing to something else. But not yet.”

We have an expensive, somewhat specialized and limited system with a great history. But, there is no question that over the last decades it has been marketed in part as a conspicuous consumption item. The Leica camera used to be in the hands of a lot of folks who used photography to preserve some important moments. I don’t see that very much anymore. And it saddens me. Any thoughts here on the Rangefinder Forum?
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Old 02-24-2013   #2
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I'd say be happy for Leica. If you're running a company, don't worry too much about where the sales come from, just be happy you've got sales. Yes, Leicas are a luxury item, and if that's the market where they can succeed, good for them.

The same must surely be true for DHW Fototechnik, perhaps to an extent, Hasselblad, Linhof etc.
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Old 02-24-2013   #3
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I'm not an average consumer with respect to cameras, and I doubt that many on a camera equipment forum specializing in rangefinder and film cameras are. So speculating on what trends might be in the larger context of the marketplace seems mostly a lot of opinion and personal predilection.

I've never seen the Leica M as anything but a somewhat expensive, high quality camera. It has its advantages and limitations, based on its design and what's available for it in lenses and accessories. I choose to use one because it suits what I do well, and works the way I like a camera to work. If that means I need to spend a bunch more money to get what I want, well, so what? ... As long as I can afford it, I don't care.

Leica seems to be selling both bodies and lenses as fast as they can make them, and making a respectable profit from doing so, so whatever the pundits might want to say I think the evidence is that Leica knows their business better than any of us outside the company do.

G
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Old 02-24-2013   #4
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Bill,

I completely agree that the Leica cameras of old, and for me old is 1950's, 1960's and early 1970's were used to capture important moments in history. Their use during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement alone will always leave a lasting impression on me.

But for the work I am doing now, the speed of an autofocus DSLR can really come in handy in the middle of a hectic story.

I have taken my "old" film Leicas out on assignment when I know I will be working in close and at a slower pace. And I have spent a number of months trying to outfit my one digital M to use on projects.

But the focus issue has bitten me in the backside. I love the "art" of rangefinder focusing, but am a bit at a loss on the tolerances which effect the accuracy. On my M8.2 (which was recently service by Leica), now that I am using the proper diopter (aging eyes), my four M lenses, including my 90 cron pre-asph, are spot on. But when I use that same 90 cron on my M6TTL (recently given a full CLA by Leica) it front focuses pretty badly at any distance past fifteen feet. Same results on my M3 (just had the focus on that adjusted by DAG). My 25mm ZM is spot on with the M8.2, but soft on both the film Leicas. Drives me a bit crazy, and precludes me from using them for work.

I love the Leica glass when it is spot on, just wish the Leica bodies were better at helping me achieve that.

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Old 02-24-2013   #5
Bill Pierce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegman View Post
I'd say be happy for Leica. If you're running a company, don't worry too much about where the sales come from, just be happy you've got sales. Yes, Leicas are a luxury item, and if that's the market where they can succeed, good for them.
I'm not worried about Leica. I'm worried about young photographers who can not afford and will not use Leicas. After a few generations in which Leica sales disappear from the main stream, we can then worry about Leica when the revenue from limited production limits their research and innovation to leather coverings in different colors or "editions" of cameras named after well known people or events.
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Old 02-24-2013   #6
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Could the best Leíca for amateurs and professionals be the used Leíca?

And what keeps professional media from souping up an iPhone 4 with Schneider add-on lenses (like the Yashica range finders of the late 1970's) and blend in where the news occur?

I've seen wedding photography made exclusively with iPhones and the pictures are superb! Even a photo-reportage made exclusively on iPhone camera on the Himalayas http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18604676 , and found it outstanding! Perhaps it is my 48 years of age eyes that have become too complacent!

I was very close to owning a Leica M3 with a 50mm f/2 lens (Summarit perhaps) meter, but in the end I decided to thoroughly use the equipment that I have in hand. Perhaps wait for a used X1 or X2 to jump into the digital bandwagon...
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Old 02-24-2013   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
I'm not worried about Leica. I'm worried about young photographers who can not afford and will not use Leicas. After a few generations in which Leica sales disappear from the main stream, we can then worry about Leica when the revenue from limited production limits their research and innovation to leather coverings in different colors or "editions" of cameras named after well known people or events.
I don't know about that, Bill. Seems to me that most of the new Leica M9 owners I've met in the past couple of years have all been relatively young and quite excited to shoot with a Leica. Many of them would go on extolling how much more they like their new camera compared to the CaNikoSonyTax they had before.

Photography always gets practiced by people with at least some money. If it's important to them, they put everything they have into it. If that includes a Leica, well, they do it.

Leica produces plenty of nice custom editions, but their mainstay has always been the standard model camera and it's always what sells the most. The rest just attract more attention to the brand.

G
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Old 02-24-2013   #8
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I don't worry about young or older new photographers using Leicas. The camera is just a tool for expression, documentation and a staring point or manipulated art... digital or analog. New photographers will find their way.

I do understand being sad about new photographers not having the analog photography experiences we enjoyed and cherish. Many decades ago I carried around a relatively small and minimalistic SLR with one or two prime lenses. Sometimes I see young people with large DSLRs and huge 18-200 mm zoom lenses and feel they are missing something.

My guess is older generations have felt this way over and over again for countless generations. The main difference now is the rate of change now seems breath taking.

I want to acknowledge the active young and new photographers on RFF who find value and enjoy analog cameras and mechanical lenses of all makes and types. Kudos to Steven Gandy for creating a means for experienced and new photographers to meet and learn from each other.
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Old 02-24-2013   #9
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I don't know about that, Bill. Seems to me that most of the new Leica M9 owners I've met in the past couple of years have all been relatively young and quite excited to shoot with a Leica.
That's good news.
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Old 02-24-2013   #10
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the new technologies have made sharing images easier and that's good news for the majority of 'photographers' and the industry in general. Even PROs and experienced shooters are starting to collaborate (collective-ise) to some degree. Manual upload/downloads are a pain in the a$$ for many individuals (see the current confussion at photobucket for example), and except for copyright issues, sharing (selective) photos is a positive thing. Most likely the majority of mfg's will continue to move in a more open and ease-of-use direction, at least in part.

I was reading some comments by an individual who presents himself as a PRO... he was saying he was dissapointed by the Leica experience (M9-P) after he went in that direction based on his desire to "be more serious about his photography". Maybe he was equating 'serious' with 'expensive' ;-)... expectations / lack of thinking thru issues...

The other aspect is the viewer of images... if your 'friends' don't take the time to even look at and comment on your photos, over time you might tend to become less diligent in "preserving your importaint moments" for 'them'... pride in execution of a task. As well the issue of internet vs. prints / who does slides any more...

My "user group" does not appreciate (or appreciates less) when I use b&w, so I am forced to improve my skills in post processing Fujicolor PRO400, which is more difficult for me than shooting RAW files. At least for now I 'social media' my images rather than attach them to an email... remember e-mail, it was before 'messaging' ;-).

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Old 02-24-2013   #11
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The top 1 percent in the USA in the last 20 years have become so rich that 7k for a camera is trivial. Tiffany is doing great as are companies that are building & selling yachts and private planes. I assume that is the way it is around the world. Why else is there a long waiting list for the new Leica M.
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Old 02-25-2013   #12
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The main motivation behind conspicuous consumption is showing off one's taste and of course bank balance, but taste is a far more important factor. Owning a Leica M, a digital one these days, is basically trying to say that one is aware of photography's history and Leica's shared heritage with some of the best works in photography... But this is also where things get tricky, because some people might perceive that its actually buying one's way into photography and attention seeking. Of course one does not have to be a racing driver to own a fast car but at the same time, owning a fast car and not knowing how to drive one or driving one to get groceries really makes the whole thing rather silly... I can also say this for certain that I have yet to see someone with a Leica M who actually used that camera confidently and with authority on the streets, most Leica M owners that I come across seem insecure and nervous, as if they're being made fun of or laughed at because they're using a Leica... I find that silly as well.
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Old 02-25-2013   #13
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The main motivation behind conspicuous consumption is showing off one's taste and of course bank balance, but taste is a far more important factor. Owning a Leica M, a digital one these days, is basically trying to say that one is aware of photography's history and Leica's shared heritage with some of the best works in photography... But this is also where things get tricky, because some people might perceive that its actually buying one's way into photography and attention seeking. Of course one does not have to be a racing driver to own a fast car but at the same time, owning a fast car and not knowing how to drive one or driving one to get groceries really makes the whole thing rather silly... I can also say this for certain that I have yet to see someone with a Leica M who actually used that camera confidently and with authority on the streets, most Leica M owners that I come across seem insecure and nervous, as if they're being made fun of or laughed at because they're using a Leica... I find that silly as well.

... I expect you have photos of these silly people? ... I would love to see them
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Old 02-25-2013   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upceci View Post
The main motivation behind conspicuous consumption is showing off one's taste and of course bank balance, but taste is a far more important factor. Owning a Leica M, a digital one these days, is basically trying to say that one is aware of photography's history and Leica's shared heritage with some of the best works in photography... But this is also where things get tricky, because some people might perceive that its actually buying one's way into photography and attention seeking. Of course one does not have to be a racing driver to own a fast car but at the same time, owning a fast car and not knowing how to drive one or driving one to get groceries really makes the whole thing rather silly... I can also say this for certain that I have yet to see someone with a Leica M who actually used that camera confidently and with authority on the streets, most Leica M owners that I come across seem insecure and nervous, as if they're being made fun of or laughed at because they're using a Leica... I find that silly as well.
I suspect you don't hang out with the right crowd.

Come on out to the SF Bay Area and I'll call for a day shoot in SF on the streets amongst my friends. Not a timid sparrow amongst them, all Leica owners/users... :-)

G
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Old 02-25-2013   #15
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Of course, its my own bad luck that I have not come across confident Leica users, but at the same time when I come across photographers, irrespective of what camera they use, I try to smile and make them feel that its good that they're photographing... I'd also never take pictures in order to mock or shame someone, in fact I stop myself from telling nervous photographers to just relax and not worry too much... After all I have been there myself and I know how it feels.
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Old 02-25-2013   #16
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Leica is still selling cameras and that's great, but look who's using them. The people I have encountered with digital M's are just amateurs. You almost never see a pro with a Leica anymore. And yes, some still do, but I bet you it's significantly less than 30+ years ago. I think that says something. It used to worth the money to have the well-built, high quality camera, but now the price doesn't justify the product when they are putting out equally great work from cheaper camera systems.
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Old 02-25-2013   #17
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"The Leica camera used to be in the hands of a lot of folks who used photography to preserve some important moments."

But, Leicas also were always in the hands of people who never preserved "important moments".
Bill, "important moments", is a relative term.
What's important to me might not be important to anyone else.
I've ordered the new M-Leica and I suppose I"ll never take a photograph with it that will be important to anyone else but me.
The Leica Camera Company could not exist if it relied only on sales to photographers who "preserve important moments."
I know a dozen guys who own several Leicas each, and not one of these guys has ever taken a memorable photograph.
That's the heart of the real Leica market....guys who love beautiful cameras and can afford them.
Just like the guys who wear Rolex Submariners and have never dived in anything but a swimming pool.
It's been that way for decades.
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Old 02-25-2013   #18
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Leica is still selling cameras and that's great, but look who's using them. The people I have encountered with digital M's are just amateurs. You almost never see a pro with a Leica anymore. And yes, some still do, but I bet you it's significantly less than 30+ years ago. I think that says something. It used to worth the money to have the well-built, high quality camera, but now the price doesn't justify the product when they are putting out equally great work from cheaper camera systems.
Good point. Where is the future if not used for serious stuff? Eye Candy?
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Old 02-25-2013   #19
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For folks like me, who are willing to buy old, used cameras, Leica can be the same as it ever was.

That said, it's disheartening to think that the firm is moving so far from its origins, that I might be priced out of ever owning a new one again.

If that weren't enough to dissuade me, there's also the issue of how rapidly some of the electronic models will obsolesce and/or die with no spare parts available (says the owner of an M8 with its orphaned sensor).
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Old 02-25-2013   #20
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Current Nikon and Canon bodies are almost as expensive as Leicas. What we need is a basic digital modul-M camera back under $2000.
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Old 02-25-2013   #21
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Leica is still selling cameras and that's great, but look who's using them. The people I have encountered with digital M's are just amateurs. You almost never see a pro with a Leica anymore. And yes, some still do, but I bet you it's significantly less than 30+ years ago. I think that says something. It used to worth the money to have the well-built, high quality camera, but now the price doesn't justify the product when they are putting out equally great work from cheaper camera systems.
I have no idea how many pros used Leicas on a regular basis 30+ years ago. Thats the 1970s/1980s, the era when the SLR dominated the market. Leica R were good cameras but certainly only rarely used by pros. Most pros I knew then used Nikons for their main camera if they were doing news, event, or sports work, MF for portraiture, weddings, etc. a few folks doing theater and other work where noise was critical used Leica Ms.

I know that 10-15 years ago, the number of pros using Leica RFs dropped precipitously as pros were the early digital adopter community, for reasons of productivity and cost. There were no digital Ms until 2006-2007.

Since the M9 shipped in 2009, more and more pros are using Leica again. Same rise in pro Leica usage since the S2 system shipped too. Because these are high quality modern cameras that deliver the goods the way a pro needs in the modern world.

But the majority of Leica users have not been pros, except for maybe a small niche group doing a particular kind of reportage and editorial work in the 1930-1960 time period. I don't know why "pro use" is of any real concern to the largely amateur and fine art photographer community here on RFF.

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Old 02-25-2013   #22
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Current Nikon and Canon bodies are almost as expensive as Leicas. What we need is a basic digital modul-M camera back under $2000.
That is true if you are buying the most expensive models. Even then, the technology far surpasses the Leica bodies. Leica still doesn't have a high-iso capable camera unless you count the Monochrom. And let's not forget the price tag on those Leica lenses compared to Nikons.

I can get two brand new Nikon D600's for the same price as one used M9 and maybe even have a little left over.
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Old 02-25-2013   #23
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... Leica still doesn't have a high-iso capable camera unless you count the Monochrom. ...
The Leica X2 is a fine Leica camera. Here's what the JPEGs and raw files look like at ISO 12800, 6400, 3200...


For many of the photographers on this forum, who sing praise of their Leica M fitted with nothing but a 35mm lens nearly all the time, the X2 is a very high performance, digital Leica at much lower cost than the M.

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Old 02-25-2013   #24
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I'm not worried about Leica. I'm worried about young photographers who can not afford and will not use Leicas. After a few generations in which Leica sales disappear from the main stream, we can then worry about Leica when the revenue from limited production limits their research and innovation to leather coverings in different colors or "editions" of cameras named after well known people or events.
Sorry, I misunderstood.

Well, yes, new Leicas (not just digital either) are not within reach of most young people. However, if we're talking digital, then I'm not sure if young photographers are losing out on a lot by never using Leica, aside from maybe a used M8, or M9 in a few years.

Certainly, Leicas, including the digital ones are lovely cameras, but I'm not convinced my photography gained a great deal by having a couple of M3s, M6, MP, and IIIf. I gained a huge respect for the quality of engineering in those times, and how a 50 year old M3 makes a new Sony or whatever just look like disposable novelties.

I guess for some people a Leica inspires them to get out and take photographs, and maybe some people might miss that. For me, I don't think what I can do with a Leica. I think more about what I can do with a tripod, and the time to use it.

I won't worry too much about innovation. Leica has not innovated really since the first M camera. I say that as the greatest compliment, you've only got to look at the "innovation" in all technology to see we're going backward as much as we are forward, in my humble opinion. I feel that the desire to make something great has been replaced with the desire to make something that will obsolete the last thing and sell in it's place.
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Old 02-25-2013   #25
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The Leica X2 is a fine Leica camera. Here's what the JPEGs and raw files look like at ISO 12800, 6400, 3200...


For many of the photographers on this forum, who sing praise of their Leica M fitted with nothing but a 35mm lens nearly all the time, the X2 is a very high performance, digital Leica at much lower cost than the M.

G
I was speaking only of the digital M's. But since you brought it up, I never understood why anyone would ever buy an X1/2 over a Fuji X100/s. To me, the Fuji's are pretty much superior in every way: built in hybrid viewfinder, faster aperture, lower price, files and high iso are just as amazing if not better.
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Old 02-25-2013   #26
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We all know that Leica lost its professional market dominance in the mid 1960s to Nikon SLRs and Japanese innovation and electronic wizardry in the ensuing years has pre-empted, overshadowed and out-manoeuvred Leica ever since.

So who is buying new Leica cameras today and keeping Leica AG afloat ?

Who is buying into a time-expired legend that is painfully limited by DSLR standards and prohibitively expensive to boot ?

I'll hazard a guess and say wealthy Oriental and Middle Eastern collectors, gnarled veteran amateurs with a good-sized pension pot, and a smattering of monied RFF'ers eager to strut their stuff with the most famous brand name in photography (!).

And where am I with Leica ?

I'm in the gnarled veteran amateurs group, with a large cabinet full of film-eating Leica gear, none of it newer than 1976, and none of it bought new.

I guess I don't figure prominently in Leica AG's survival plans ... (!!)
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Old 02-25-2013   #27
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I was speaking only of the digital M's. But since you brought it up, I never understood why anyone would ever buy an X1/2 over a Fuji X100/s. To me, the Fuji's are pretty much superior in every way: built in hybrid viewfinder, faster aperture, lower price, files and high iso are just as amazing if not better.
LOL ... that's grist for a different thread, don't you think?

I tried two of the Fujis, didn't like them, didn't like the raw files they made. The X2 is far nicer to use for me, produces nicer results. I like the optional viewfinders too, camera's more compact when I don't need one.

YMMV.

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Old 02-25-2013   #28
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For as much as I like Leicas I feel that they are trying to do two things which cannot be done at the same time: to be up to date and on the top of IQ ranking and to please the fans of the old M system. If we have to believe technical articles lenses for the digital sensors have different requisites than lenses for film, still Leica seems to try to make special sensors to correct these problems instead of starting a completely new system. Also what was state of the art in the 30s and 40s (rangefinder) is not necessarily the best solution today in the age of focus peak and autofocus. I hope that eventually they will split the concepts keeping a M for those who want to use their old lenses and market as a luxury item and making a new system with the traditional Leica lens quality but the new technology, which actually is also cheaper. Maybe they could make the new system backward compatible like Canon and Nikon did but with the possibility of buying new digital lenses. This because to me it is a bit hard to understand how is it possible that you buy a wonderful Zeiss lens at 300 US$ less than the Leitz lens and Sony give you a full frame camera for free! (Yep, I am thinking RX1.)

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Old 02-25-2013   #29
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Sometimes I wonder why Ansel Adams carried a heavy tripod and view camera .
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Old 02-25-2013   #30
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I agree with bill.
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Old 02-25-2013   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
....
We have an expensive, somewhat specialized and limited system with a great history. But, there is no question that over the last decades it has been marketed in part as a conspicuous consumption item. The Leica camera used to be in the hands of a lot of folks who used photography to preserve some important moments. I don’t see that very much anymore. And it saddens me. Any thoughts here on the Rangefinder Forum?
Hello Bill,

Leica M was never coming cheap. Nor will it ever be coming cheap. It is a top notch mechanical (since digital also opto-electronic) niche product. Quality has a price and small scale production with a lot of precision manual assembly by skilled workers doesn't help to make it cheaper. That's the Leica part.

To the consumer part:
It's just a matter of priorities in your life. Do you buy a new car every 2 or 3 years or do you drive around in a 12 year plus Camry that you bought used 8 years ago?

Since very few people make old fashioned largely manual photography a priority in their lives, they will not shell out money for a new Leica digital body. This is just the way it is.

How the marketing is perceived by folks with other priorities or how the target group ("poor" dentists & lawyers ) is seen by someone who would like to use an M9 or a MM is often topic of heated debate.

For me it's just a matter of priorities and to preserve important moments can be done a LOT cheaper.
Any $200 P&S with scene mode can do this nowadays.
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Old 02-25-2013   #32
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Hi Bill, Thank you for starting this thread. I would like to make the observation that agreeing with Bill does not automatically mean that we are bashing Leica. There are those of us who became photographers through the use of film M bodies and lenses and hit the streets after looking through books by Friedlander, and so many others. We all owe a visual debt to Leica. We also owe it to ourselves to point out the fact that today's Leica has drawn its line in the sand and decided to become an unabashed luxury brand. It has placed itself out of reach of most serious students. I hope Fuji and others continue to step in and fill the void.
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Old 02-25-2013   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwesi View Post
.... It has placed itself out of reach of most serious students. .....
As a serious student he or she should be serious about photography and not about gear.
The result does not depend on the type of tool being used.
Personal pleasure or preference using a certain type of tool is a different matter.
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Old 02-25-2013   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bille View Post
Not true.

And then compare lens prices.


Nikon and Canon's top of the line pro bodies are about the same price as the Leica digital bodies. $7000-$8000. The difference is that Nikon and Canon sell, alongside the top-priced pro bodies, cheaper bodies like the Canon 5DmkIII that have basically the same sensor as the high-end bodies (same image quality) in a less fully featured body for people who need the high-end image quality but cannot afford a $7000 camera.

The lenses, too, are a lot less for Canon and Nikon.
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Old 02-25-2013   #35
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I agree. An M-E with a typ 240 sensor but no live view would be a welcome addition to the M line
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Old 02-25-2013   #36
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Don't know about the rest of the folks here, but I have many personal photographic favorites that:

1> Are not in focus
2> Bear excessive grain due to push processing
3> Have motion blur
4> Use "inferior" optics

At the day's end, there are only several types of photographs that I expect to have sharp focus, zero grain and perfect optics: photos from space, landscapes and headshots.

For everything else, I believe the ability to stop a moment sans motion blur to be unnatural for the human experience. We do not possess the ability to recall things with absolute detail. I believe a photograph with so-called imperfections more closely aligns with my human experience.

I still want a digital sensor in the form of a film roll. It is important for the future of this planet to make as many reusable tools as possible; a walk through any flea market will have an astounding display of obsolete digital cameras that will probably never be resurrected and used again unlike film bodies.

If only manufacturers can work together to make the electronics replaceable without discarding the whole body -- this would be a positive step in making our consumer culture more environmentally friendly.

And please.. I really, really would welcome a digital film roll.
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Old 02-25-2013   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
We have an expensive, somewhat specialized and limited system with a great history. But, there is no question that over the last decades it has been marketed in part as a conspicuous consumption item. The Leica camera used to be in the hands of a lot of folks who used photography to preserve some important moments. I don’t see that very much anymore. And it saddens me. Any thoughts here on the Rangefinder Forum?
I agree, but I'm not particularly saddened. Folks today are just using the cameras they feel are best suited for the job; those are rarely Leicas. I have no sentimentality for the hardware, even though I used Leicas for many years.
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Old 02-25-2013   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
I'm not worried about Leica. I'm worried about young photographers who can not afford and will not use Leicas. After a few generations in which Leica sales disappear from the main stream, we can then worry about Leica when the revenue from limited production limits their research and innovation to leather coverings in different colors or "editions" of cameras named after well known people or events.
Does it have to be digital M ??

Surprisingly, most young people are not snobbish about using film.
Most derisive comments came from older "all-knowing" category.

I just get a comment from a young student taking photo class in college, she said she started to get why people may enjoy film photography.

If she kept her part-time salary, she'll be able to afford a used but serviceable film M body in no time.
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Old 02-25-2013   #39
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I found this article and it relates to the topic...

http://m.guardiannews.com/artanddesi...er-photography
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Old 02-25-2013   #40
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There are a lot of M9s out there in professional hands, sometimes the main work-horse, usually not. Some young people own them. There's the young lady at the Guardian and others who don't earn anything from photography. The cost of things is relative. Some people who really ought not to blow more than the cost of an M9 every few years on changing over their cars. To me the story of the last ten years in M mount is very nearly miraculous: the CV and Zeiss lenses and then the M8 and M9. Things have never been better.
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