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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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Old 10-11-2018   #41
airfrogusmc
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I don't own a zoom. Even when I had my Canon digitals I had a 24L, 35L, 85L and 200 2L.

I am all Leica M digital now and I have a 24 2.8 Elmarit ASPH, 35mm 1.4 Lux FLE, Zeiss 35 2.8 Biogon C, 50 f/2 Jupiter 8, 75 2.5 Summarit, 90 f/2 Summilux APO. Never liked zooms.
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Old 10-11-2018   #42
Doug
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I mostly use my prime lenses. Every once in a while I get interested in a zoom lens and buy one. But fairly soon after I'm reminded of the drawbacks: larger, heavier, slower, and loss of IQ at the extremes of the frame and focal length. I then put it in the drawer and use my prime lenses.

With a zoom, I tend to set it to an anticipated focal length and treat it as a prime until some other focal length need intrudes. It also seems to me a zoom is most useful at both the very wide angle range (16-35mm say) and at longer range (90-300mm say) because framing is most difficult at the short and long focal lengths. The more common middle range of wide - normal - short tele is well handled by primes, while ironically a popular coverage range for do-it-all zooms (like a 24-90mm)!

FWIW, my best zoom is the f4.5/55-100mm Pentax 67 wide-to-normal. It's a heavy monster (1210g) but with excellent build and image quality.
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Old 10-11-2018   #43
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Both, somewhat depending on mood though my zoom use apart from specialist times is a 12-32 or soon 12-60 m43 ones. Then if I am pushing my son in the buggy I will be using a prime 17 or 25 as I can shoot without messing around with changing focal length. Mainly I seem to prefer primes though and especially when I was using the big Sony the zoom stay in the drawer for 18 months. Once used to a focal length I do find primes a lot faster to work with having a good idea of framing before I lift the thing up to my eye as invariably it feels like the zoom is at the wrong setting. I should add I use the 12-32 as a dual FL lens either at 12 or 32 its easier to use like that as it can be set on the way to the eye.
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Old 10-14-2018   #44
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I have the 10-24 and 18-55 Fuji zooms. I use them to frame in camera rather than crop in LR. Not surprisingly, I almost always print full frame.
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Old 10-14-2018   #45
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Zoom Never ... Prime Forever
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Old 10-30-2018   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Zoom Never ... Prime Forever
Never say never ... I saw you recently bought a Leica T:
The kit zoom 18-56 is remarkably good.

Iíve always avoided zooms especially kit zooms, but this one is a game changer for me ; itís small enough and sharp enough to pass as a prime.
However you still want to accompany it with a fast prime indoors and at night.
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Old 10-30-2018   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
Never say never ... I saw you recently bought a Leica T:
The kit zoom 18-56 is remarkably good.

Iíve always avoided zooms especially kit zooms, but this one is a game changer for me ; itís small enough and sharp enough to pass as a prime.
However you still want to accompany it with a fast prime indoors and at night.
I never cared much for zooms but with the X-Vario (similar zoom to the newer one you mention) I feel like I have 4 superb fixed focal lengths (albeit slow ones) at my disposal without need to change lenses. This may be in part due to the fact that the X-Vario with zoom feels more compact than my X Pro 2 w 23 f 1.4
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Old 11-03-2018   #48
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Several posters have noted the same thing that Bill mentioned: fussing with the zoom and missing the moment. That problem goes away when I use a 28-35-50 Tri-Elmar. It does not focus correctly between the three main focal lengths, which makes choosing which length to use very easy. At f/4 it works well except when the light fades, so I have Summiluxes for those conditions. Don't have the wide Tri-Elmar, as I don't shoot wide-wide, but I sometimes wish Leica would make a 75-90-135 f/4.
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Old 11-03-2018   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
Never say never ... I saw you recentl
Yes iy bought a Leica T:
The kit zoom 18-56 is remarkably good.

I’ve always avoided zooms especially kit zooms, but this one is a game changer for me ; it’s small enough and sharp enough to pass as a prime.
However you still want to accompany it with a fast prime indoors and at night.
Hmmmm...
Yes You are correct, lots do rave about the kit zoom for the T

I was actually thinking of getting not the cron but the Elmarit 18mm/27 equiv
So sweeeet and tiny, Have You tried it ?
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Old 01-05-2019   #50
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During a 6-day vacation in San Francisco, I brought three lenses for my D600: 20mm, 85mm, 200mm micro, plus an M2 with 50 Cron Version 3. Heavy bag, but I had what I needed. There were moments that a zoom would be handier!

However it was a whole lot more fun and easier on my back and knees to leave the bag in the car trunk and walk around with the Leica and no meter, that's for sure!
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Old 01-05-2019   #51
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Both. The RX1Rm2 obviously only has an (beautiful) 35 mm Sonnar and I also use primes on the Z7R3, but when I will be in a situation where I have to rapidly change FL then I use the 24-104 G.
Also, when hiking I mainly use the 24-105 G and take a fast prime like the 28mm F2 or the 55m 1.8 for lowlight situations.
Primes are a lot better nowadays than they used to be and sometimes speed is important or I dont want to change lenses in the open.
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Old 01-05-2019   #52
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These days I find that RF cameras need a fixed focal length lens while a SLR somehow looks bulky and better suited for a zoom lens.
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Old 01-05-2019   #53
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Like a lot of other responders, it's horses for courses for me. I'm old enough to have grown up with primes (first camera in 1970 was a Yashicamat TLR) and developed the ability to see in the perspective of a few primes when I could afford my first 35mm SLR. For medium format today, it's all primes, mostly 80 or 100mm on a Hassie 500 C/M or a 903 SWC. For 35mm film (all B&W these days) it's all primes, either 95% modern AF 28mm or 50mm Nikkors and occasionally an old 200mm f/4.0 AIS or a 28mm or 50mm Leica, depending on the camera I take. For full frame digital, as above but with 14-24mm zoom for very wide angle and a 200-600mm for sports. The zooms get used maybe 5% of the time. Oddly, with my Olympus EM-1 MFT, it's almost 100% 14-40mm or 40-150 mm zooms. Those Olympus zooms are great lenses, and I tend to take that camera on trips when I want to travel very light and photography is not the main focus. Modern full frame zooms are also very good though. They are just bulky in full frame applications.
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