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Rumors => EOS Bodies => Topic started by: Canon Rumors on September 26, 2010, 06:29:06 AM

Title: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Canon Rumors on September 26, 2010, 06:29:06 AM

Yes, I wrote a Leica review

Please don’t give me heck for it, Leica and Canon can get along. Rest assured no Nikon review will ever appear here.


I did this because people ask me why I use one, so this seemed like a good way to tell them. It’s more of an experience review than a technical review of the camera.


I also did this because it’s a 1 of a kind camera, there is no other full frame camera like it. There should be more of them, and Canon should make one.


If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.


Read the review


cr


Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: jouster on September 26, 2010, 07:25:26 AM
Interesting. Leica and Canon can certainly " get along" as you put it, since they aren't really competitors. Maybe a very few people will be choosing between an M9 and a 1 series. I'd get a 5D2 or 1D4 and some great glass for the same dollars.

“...if someone doesn’t think this is the best camera in the world, they don’t deserve to own one.”

I know this is not your opinion, CR Guy, but for me it crystallizes what I find annoying and pretentious about some Leica shooters I've read online and in magazines. It's also flat out wrong.

What I take from this review is an increasing desire for a digital Canonet, with a 1.3 crop (at the least) sensor. Not holding my breath, though.
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Mark D5 TEAM II on September 26, 2010, 07:27:27 AM
Nice one, very balanced. None of that "bought priesthood" propaganda from fanatical zealots. Great shots as well.  8)
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Mark D5 TEAM II on September 26, 2010, 07:40:54 AM
Quote
"It does, but this camera isn’t about specs. It’s about user experience in making a photograph."

"User experience". I think I've heard that used many times before for another product...  :P If I got a penny everytime I heard that used for that fruity product I'd have enough dough to buy a 1DsIII.  ;D

Quote
"If someone doesn’t think this is the best camera in the world, they don’t deserve to own one”.
  ::)

And there it is again, if I got a penny everytime I heard that uttered by elitist equipment collectors, be it for cars, gadgets or some other mass-produced consumer product, I'd have enough dough to buy a Veyron...  :D
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Wolfdiary on September 26, 2010, 07:45:23 AM
Great article, I was just researching the possibility of getting a leica as a street camera. I found the review much more real world rather than just a spec fest and pointless comparisons. Ideally I would run around town with a 5dmk2 and the 70-200is 2.8, but have the leica around my neck for close shots. For now the canon s95 will have to do, but it's actually a great little camera. I met Douglas Kirkland 2 weeks ago and he always carries the s90 in his pocket... Frequently taking it out for the shot.

Overall I'm sick of technical comparisons. I completely understand having a camera that makes you want to take photos, and one that isn't as intrusive as a Dslr. If the battery life was better I'd say this would perfectly suit me, but until then I'm taking my 7D and 30mm 1.4 as my photo journal camera.

Thanks again Craig

Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Canon Rumors on September 26, 2010, 07:49:06 AM
Quote
"It does, but this camera isn’t about specs. It’s about user experience in making a photograph."

"User experience". I think I've heard that used many times before for another product...  :P If I got a penny everytime I heard that used for that fruity product I'd have enough dough to buy a 1DsIII.  ;D

Quote
"If someone doesn’t think this is the best camera in the world, they don’t deserve to own one”.
  ::)

And there it is again, if I got a penny everytime I heard that uttered by elitist equipment collectors, be it for cars, gadgets or some other mass-produced consumer product, I'd have enough dough to buy a Veyron...  :D

Hey, I updated your points a bit. "User experience" is a stupid catchphrase. So it's gone. :)

I also removed the quote, I think it went against the context of what I was trying to say without sounding like an elitest. I'm not, I just like the camera. :)

I hope that's ok.
cr
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Gcon on September 26, 2010, 08:03:41 AM
What it boils down to is a DSLR is big, heavy and conspicuous and this puts it at a distinct disadvantage for street and travel photography. M9 fills that niche admirably, albeit with quite a few compromises - manual focus being one of them.

Outside of those uses, I personally cannot see much point to getting the M9. I'm sure that if Canon built a reasonably-priced EVIL, that would take a lot of wind out of the M9's expensive sails. I would get one just for street/travel photography, and use my DSLR for everything else.

The other benefit of the M9 is the corner-to-corner sharpness of the wide-angles on offer. Again this is something that Canon can and probably will address at some stage, although it can be mitigated somewhat by stopping down to f/8, if shallow DoF and fast shutter are less of a concern.  Perhaps the patented 14-24mm will rectify this issue.

Enjoy the M9, and hope its resale value holds after Canon release a high-quality EVIL that blows the M9 away ;)

Title: Eyeglasses wearer
Post by: mgrayson on September 26, 2010, 08:09:26 AM
You don't by any chance wear glasses, do you? I have an Epson RD-1 and just can't jam my eye close enough to the viewfinder. Diopter correction means taking my glasses off ever time I bring the camera to my face. It's hard to get unbiased advice on this point, as no Leica forum member would ever admit that the viewfinder is suboptimal in any way.  ;)
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: richy on September 26, 2010, 08:10:23 AM
I think I get what you mean about user experience.I feel the same way about medium format. Some of it is definitely just in my head, but some of it is real. Some cameras work in a different way forcing you to work in a different way, sometimes that way is better for some things. I spent a couple of years taking terrible landscape stuff, then I got a MF 6x7 and a big part of it was probably just being able to compose the shot on the ground glass and being forced to do it slowly and think about it. Others have possibly rightly said the same could be done via live view.
There is a dealer in the UK who does a lot of leica stuff and their slogan is something terribly poncy and elitist. There is a set of leica owners as you mention for whom it is about making up for their having very small willies, but that doesn;t detract that leica makes some very capable cameras. They are definitely more suited to street work than say  sports, but I would argue theyre more suited to street work than dslr's.
I have to admit when I looked at a rangefinder it was at bessa's not leicas :)
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: kevbo on September 26, 2010, 09:01:06 AM

Wonderful article - was pleasantly surprised this morning to see it show up in my RSS. I'm a 5D2 shooter who just recently decided to jump the shark and try out an m9 because of its size and maintained image quality. If the shooting experience  turns out to be that much better, then that's even greater. Found a new 50 Summilux, which I now have after selling one kidney (almost serious) but awaiting an m9.

Had known there were problems with circ polarizers. Can you describe the device you mention in your article a little more? What's it called?

Thanks for a very well-written article. It mirrors much of my thoughts and I can't wait to try.
K
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: olav on September 26, 2010, 09:54:02 AM
I know it sounds worn out but user experience is what you need when using a very different "tool".
I know from my own experience with different stuff that it takes some time to get the best results but generally its worth trying. Of course, with the M9 price just trying is not possible for many of us so you might consider buying a used M4-M7 to see if you "can handle life without AF". Have fun with it!
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Maldical on September 26, 2010, 09:54:16 AM
Nice review.  I carry around an Olympus E-P2 for casual shooting instead of my 7D for similar reasons.  I mount a manual focus/aperture lens on it as well.  It really makes it feel like it's your own image.  It would be a Leica but can't justify the cost to my better half.
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: scalesusa on September 26, 2010, 12:28:08 PM
The Leica brings back memories of my first real camera, a Argus C-3 rangefinder bought new back in the early 1960's at Talls Camera in Burien (Seattle).  I used it with a external light meter. I generally used Kodachrome slide film rather than print film.  I used the C3 all thru the time I was in college, and for a couple of years afterword.  My first 35mm SLR was a Canon FTQL in about 1969, and built a darkroom in the garage of my first house in 1967.   I mostly developed B&W film, when I tried developing ektrachrome slide film, I often got a slight blue-green tinge.  I also dabbled with color printing, but after the first child came along, we moved to a larger house, and I had other priorities and no longer had a darkroom.

There is little question in my mind that a range finder camera is a unique experience, and produces excellent sharp images with little effort.  You do not have that big mirror banging up and down, not the large focal plane shutter, just a tiny click from the diaphram shutter built in to the body, and then  the huge pop and  flash from those press 25 bulbs.

Of course, you also did not get the advantage of thru the lens viewing, or the built-in light meter.  You were able to exchange lenses, but it was never something I was interested in trying.

Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Son of Daguerre on September 26, 2010, 12:50:01 PM
Quote from: Craig
...and was made solely for still images.

Last I checked, the EOS-1D Mark III doesn't shoot video  ???
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Canon Rumors on September 26, 2010, 01:45:32 PM
Quote from: Craig
...and was made solely for still images.

Last I checked, the EOS-1D Mark III doesn't shoot video  ???

All that writing and you comment about that?

Fixed

 :D
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Son of Daguerre on September 26, 2010, 04:20:39 PM
All that writing and you comment about that?

Fixed

 :D

Yeah, 'cuz the review was otherwise good.  8)
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: unfocused on September 26, 2010, 04:50:23 PM
Excellent Review.

I have no problem with you posting things like this on a "Canon-Centric" website. It's good to know what other companies are doing and what the pros and cons of other products are.

It actually prompts me to ask a Canon-related question.

I've been thinking about getting a smaller, lighter camera to carry around when it's not practical to lug the full bag of DSLR and lenses. I want something less obtrusive but which will still yield good quality images.

The Fujifilm FinePix X100 is interesting, but the fixed 35mm (equivalent) focal length is a deal-breaker for me. I've never liked that focal length (years of shooting with a 24mm).

Ideally, Canon will come out with an EVIL camera at some point, but in the meantime, I've been looking at the "G" series. Someone on this blog mentioned the S90, but my personal preference is to have a viewfinder. I just hate trying to compose through a rear screen.

I recently saw a story in which all the photos were shot with a G9, including some that were printed nearly full page. The quality appears to be there.

What do others think? Anyone else have any actual experience with a second camera for casual shooting.
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: roger on September 26, 2010, 09:10:37 PM
Great review. Well done.

I have two small questions though. 1: How does M9 compare to EVILs like GF1 or EP2? 2: If I recall it right, M9 uses a Bayer matrix CCD, right? So it's possible that removing the anti-aliasing filter could introduce moire into the pictures. Did you see any visible moire in your shots?
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Canon Rumors on September 27, 2010, 04:47:23 AM
Ideally, Canon will come out with an EVIL camera at some point, but in the meantime, I've been looking at the "G" series. Someone on this blog mentioned the S90, but my personal preference is to have a viewfinder. I just hate trying to compose through a rear screen.

I recently saw a story in which all the photos were shot with a G9, including some that were printed nearly full page. The quality appears to be there.

What do others think? Anyone else have any actual experience with a second camera for casual shooting.

I have an acquaintance that sells his travel stuff through Getty from a G9 and more recently a G11. In the right hand and right situations, the quality and usability of G files is excellent.

I love the S90, I will get an S95 as soon as I can. It's my 3rd option for a camera though, something truly pocketable.
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Canon Rumors on September 27, 2010, 04:51:47 AM
Great review. Well done.

I have two small questions though. 1: How does M9 compare to EVILs like GF1 or EP2? 2: If I recall it right, M9 uses a Bayer matrix CCD, right? So it's possible that removing the anti-aliasing filter could introduce moire into the pictures. Did you see any visible moire in your shots?

I owned a GF1 for a little bit of time. It just never felt right for me. I cannot shoot with EVF's yet., the quality just isn't there. I know it's coming. I've never touched the Olympus counterpart.

There is going to be Moire in certain situations, there's nothing much that can be done about that. I have not noticed any yet, I'm sure I will in some shots one day.
Title: Some questions about the M9
Post by: studio1972 on September 27, 2010, 05:07:40 AM
I thought that was a really interesting article, but as somebody who's never used a Leica it left me with a question in my mind:

Am I right in thinking that you focus the camera by judging the distance and setting the focus ring to whatever number you judged the distance to be?

If that's the case, how can you get a portrait sharp on the eyes when using these very fast prime lenses? It seems a shame there is no live view function as that would allow some kind of through the lens feedback at least.

I can understand that you might get quite good at this with practice, but when the depth of field is just a few mm surely there is no chance?
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: jouster on September 27, 2010, 07:25:01 AM
Studio1972:

There's a visual component too. It isn't just done by estimating the distance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rangefinder_window.jpg

Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: olav on September 27, 2010, 12:03:25 PM
I thought that was a really interesting article, but as somebody who's never used a Leica it left me with a question in my mind:

Am I right in thinking that you focus the camera by judging the distance and setting the focus ring to whatever number you judged the distance to be?

If that's the case, how can you get a portrait sharp on the eyes when using these very fast prime lenses? It seems a shame there is no live view function as that would allow some kind of through the lens feedback at least.

I can understand that you might get quite good at this with practice, but when the depth of field is just a few mm surely there is no chance?
[/quoteThe guessing the distance part is only related to street photography where you don't want people to notice that you're taking pictures. In the other cases you look throug the rangefinder/viewfinder window and turn the focus ring until the pictures match exactly = picture is sharp
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: able on September 27, 2010, 12:29:17 PM
Canon did build rangefinders dating back to 1933. Nikon also built rangefinders over the same time period. The following link shows a bit of Canon history.

http://www.cameraquest.com/canon7sz.htm (http://www.cameraquest.com/canon7sz.htm)
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: anthony11 on September 27, 2010, 12:32:34 PM
Were Canon to come out with a DSLR that omits the anti-aliasing smearer, would that change the equation at all for the OP?

I've seen some examples shot with bodies that had the AAF removed, and at modern pixel densities I don't see moire to be a significant issue.  IMHO it's time to dump the thing.
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: dchan316 on September 27, 2010, 06:45:28 PM
Great review!  Recently, I dug out my old Minolta X-370 with a 50/1.7 lens, went on ebay and bought a 135/3.5 and a 28/2.8 for 10 and 20 dollars, respectively, put in a roll of Portra 160, and started shooting.  I gotta say, I loved the much smaller size (compared to my 2.8 autofocus zooms), and manual focusing primes is quite fun!  I'm able to slip it in a small bag and take it anywhere, and shoot more discreetly. 

This got me to giving the Leica M8 (used) a serious look, as its price is more realistic for me.  Throw in some quite affordable Voigtlanders, and I'm very tempted.  Your review put to rest some doubts or questions I may have had, so as soon as I'm able to, I'm gonna try out a Leica!  Thanks!
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: dj on September 29, 2010, 08:00:12 AM
Hi ,

Great article!!  Thanks.  Am really looking for a full sensor canon EVIL with m- mount adaptor.  For me this would be ideal.  No huge payment for a M-9 body that will be outmoded by an improved model in the relative hear future (relative to the length of time I'd be owning the Leica or Zeiss or Voitlander lenses).    I love the comments about simplicity and ease of transport of gear.

Question: 
one person referred to the need to take off glasses while looking into the viewfinder of the M-9.  I am in that category.  My diopter is 2.5 right now.  Pardon my ignorance of the rangefinders but......   if I were to be wearing the correct diopter glasses (or glasses that are over magnified like a diopter 3.0 to be used only when using the camera), wouldn't this auto correct the focusing problem allowing me to focus accurately using the rangefinder???

thanks to anyone with experience along these lines.

dj
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: macfly on September 29, 2010, 10:51:45 AM
I enjoyed your review and pix, and was most interested to hear that the image quality equal of the 1Ds lll. I didn't realize that Leica had got to be such a great digi-body.  Is there any way you'd do a couple frames out the window of the two units side by side, so we could see the same picture of both units. If it really can equal or better the EOS I'd be very inclined to get one for travel and fun.
Title: Re: The Leica M9 Experience
Post by: Rocky on September 29, 2010, 01:49:42 PM
Hi ,

Great article!!  Thanks.  Am really looking for a full sensor canon EVIL with m- mount adaptor.  For me this would be ideal.  No huge payment for a M-9 body that will be outmoded by an improved model in the relative hear future (relative to the length of time I'd be owning the Leica or Zeiss or Voitlander lenses).    I love the comments about simplicity and ease of transport of gear.

Question: 
one person referred to the need to take off glasses while looking into the viewfinder of the M-9.  I am in that category.  My diopter is 2.5 right now.  Pardon my ignorance of the rangefinders but......   if I were to be wearing the correct diopter glasses (or glasses that are over magnified like a diopter 3.0 to be used only when using the camera), wouldn't this auto correct the focusing problem allowing me to focus accurately using the rangefinder???

thanks to anyone with experience along these lines.

dj
I have been using a M4 for more than  40 years. I am a glasses wearer. I have never have any problem using the view finder or the range finder. It does not have the same amount of eye releive as the modern DSLR. you should try it out yourself.