Interesting desert thread
Old 03-27-2007   #1
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Interesting desert thread

This gentleman on LUF took his M8 into the Namib desert. Not only did the cameras perform perfectly in an environment that will strip the paint of a cars to the bare metal within days, the photographs he took should lay all doubts about the suitability of rangefinders for landscape photography to rest. Simply amazing.Go to the last page.
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Old 03-27-2007   #2
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holy moly,
beautiful pictures. makes me proud to be a M8 owner
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Old 03-27-2007   #3
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Seems like you have to join the LUF to see the images, if I get the time I will later on. Anyway I've always wondered why some people think the Leica was actually designed for (and moreover, from some philosophical point should be limited to) street photography alone. I had an interesting conversation with Brian Bower not long ago, who also shares the opinion that the Leica can do landscapes well once the photographer learns how the framelines relate to actual capture at various distances. I'd also think the instant 100% coverage feedback of the M8's screen would facilitate doing landscapes even more. Glad to hear the M8 made it through the dusty area. In my experience the M's are better sealed than people think. Tight, precision fit of parts is probably as good or better in that regard than a bunch of gaskets between loose-fitting parts
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Old 03-27-2007   #4
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Nice photos. I agree about using RF's for landscapes, but I guess my biggest concern would be in situations that would benefit from the use of filters.
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Old 03-27-2007   #5
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Reallly nice images, and the Youtube clip helps put the environment in perspective. Definately a place to use a filter if for no other reason than to keep your front element from being sandblasted.
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Old 03-27-2007   #6
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Interesting. SOme of the images are so clean and bright, it looks like produced by POV-Ray or such
I like the shots.
It's also impressive to see the short video of the sandstorm he posted. Duststorm, whatever.
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Old 03-27-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Z
Seems like you have to join the LUF to see the images, if I get the time I will later on. Anyway I've always wondered why some people think the Leica was actually designed for (and moreover, from some philosophical point should be limited to) street photography alone. I had an interesting conversation with Brian Bower not long ago, who also shares the opinion that the Leica can do landscapes well once the photographer learns how the framelines relate to actual capture at various distances. I'd also think the instant 100% coverage feedback of the M8's screen would facilitate doing landscapes even more. Glad to hear the M8 made it through the dusty area. In my experience the M's are better sealed than people think. Tight, precision fit of parts is probably as good or better in that regard than a bunch of gaskets between loose-fitting parts
Ben Z,
Here's a link to the Flickr slide show this person put up:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8735232...29503610/show/
Amazing stuff, I think!
Rob
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Old 03-27-2007   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Z
I've always wondered why some people think the Leica was actually designed for (and moreover, from some philosophical point should be limited to) street photography alone.
Ben, I don't think anyone's said that the Leica should be limited to street photography, and it wasn't designed for street photography; it was designed to make test exposures for movies. Certainly the rangefinder is better suited to street photography than an SLR, a Rollei or a Hasselblad, or an 8 x 10 view camera. On the other hand some people have done quite satisfactory landscape with a 35mm, just as Eugene Atget did some pretty fine street photography with what was approximately an 8 x 10 stand camera. You can drive a nail with the handle of a screwdriver, but it's not a very efficient way to do it. If you compare a contact print from an 11 x 14 camera with an 11 x 14 print from a 35mm camera or a 10 megapixel digital rangefinder the difference is pretty obvious. After working a bit with some of Jaap's .DNGs, I'm convinced that Leica did a fabulous job with M8 image quality, in spite of the high-range 8 bit conversions. But I wouldn't stack the results against even medium format digital, much less large format film.

Looking at .JPEGs of this stuff on a computer monitor doesn't really tell you much of anything, but here are two very different shots that help me say what I'm trying to say.

The first is from an R-D1. I can't say I'd never have been able to shoot this picture with a D2X, but considering that I had less than a second to aim and shoot it'd have been very unlikely. I'm sure it would have been of better technical quality if I'd been able to shoot it with an M8, but for this kind of picture, technical quality is nice, but secondary.

The second picture isn't landscape exactly, but it's close to that. I shot it with a D2X. The 16 bit (14 useful) .NEF file off the camera is over 19 megabytes with no 8 bit conversions or compression. It would have been better if I'd made this shot with an 8 x 10 view camera or a Hasselblad, but I'll stack it up against any digital rangefinder image currently available.

Dan Suskin certainly made some astonishing photographs in the Namib. I suggested to him that he make some large prints and try to find a gallery for them. If he hangs them I doubt anyone's going to ask what kind of camera he shot them with. We all fuss a lot about equipment but the only thing that matters in the end is the print.
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Old 03-30-2007   #9
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Hello,

Thanks for the great compliments on the Namib images. The environment is challenging, but certainly worthwhile. The sand challenges your equipment, the heat challenges you.

I have now made some large prints (well, 24x34 inches) and am very pleased with the quality of the print files. I am convinced the M8 and the TriElmars (both types) are up to the task of any kind of photography. And, they're fun!

Best,

Danni
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