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How to approximate my old compact RF's

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dixeyk, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I was over on seriouscompacts reading a thread about what constitutes "that Leica look". There is a lot of great discussion going on with a lot differing opinions. I'm the first to admit I have no clue what might constitute a Leica look. If I had to guess I'd say the fact that you are working with top quality glass has something to do with it. Also, shooting with a RF camera is a whole different experience than shooting with a DLSR or anything other than a RF. I don't have a Leica (nor am i Likely to have one anytime soon) but i've shot with some compact RF cameras that I have (Konica Auto S3 and S2) and even though they aren't Leicas they have a very different feel to them. Ever since geting into using digital I have wanted to recreate the fun I had shooting my of compact RF cameras. I always assumed it would take getting something like an M8 or M9 and some matching glass and since that wasn't likely to happen I just figured it was a thing of the past. Then I started thinking about it.

    If I wanted to approximate my own RF experience using m43 I wasn't sure I could do it. for instance there is no substitute for a good RF style VF (of course the Leica VF is not only good but it's GREAT but even a RF that is simply good is very different animal than an EVF or LCD). Also I'd want a fast lens with a normal FOV. I'd want something that was like the 38/1.8 Hexanon on my S2. If I wanted Summicron good then I'd be out of luck. I could do it for a short tele lens. The 40/2 Summicron C or the Pen-F 40/1.4...both come to mind. For the normal and WA I think I'm pretty much gonna have to stay with native glass. Clearly it's not something I could recreate without taking some creative liberties. Here is what I came up with. I have a GF2 but any compact RF style body will do. Pick one that suits you. i like using an EVF but for this I decided to go with using the LCD, AF and the touch to focus/shoot option as low rent substitute for the fast RF. The E-P3 does this as well but I like the combination of the touch screen/clickable thumbwheel on the GF2. The only other RF style Panasonic body has that does that the GX1. Lens wise the P20 seems like the best option. The O45 and P14 are nice additions to the setup and while my S2 was fixed lens I was using creative license so adding lenses is kosher. I tried it out yesterday and I was pretty happy with the results. It was a lot of fun bopping about town snapping away and I have to admit it was almost as much fun as that old S2 was. Sure it's a compromise but it was fun. I think using the touch screen made the biggest difference. I have always viewed as something that was interesting but I wouldn't use it that much. I keep it off on my GH2. I was wrong.

    I was pretty happy with the results for a first try. There is part of me that would like a lens like the O12/2 for the more "old school" feel, aperture on the lens barrel and the 24mm FOV but for the money the P14 does the job. It's not going to displace my GH2 anytime soon but it sure is a fun little combo.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixeyk/7343558488/" title="Rose by dixeyk, on Flickr">
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    "1024" height="684" alt="Rose"></a>

    OOC JPEG in case anyone is interested.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixeyk/7158349933/" title="College Town by dixeyk, on Flickr">
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    "1024" height="684" alt="College Town"></a>

    Gotta love SilverEFX Pro2
    • Like Like x 1
  2. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    Thanks for this post, Dixeyk, very interesting exercise. I've had a Leica M3 for several years, but it gathered dust in a shelf because I spent more time shooting digital. One of the reasons I got into :43: was to use my Leica M3 lenses on a digital body without spending the crazy amounts of money on a digital Leica RF body. Over the 18 months I've been using :43:, the most RF-like combo for me is the E-P1 with an Oly 17 and the VF-1 in terms of compactness, discreteness and speed of framing. With the Oly 45 and the original Pen F 38mm, I have come close to matching the focal lengths I had on my Leica.

    The rig, and a few photos taken with it:
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    • Like Like x 2
  3. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    There's so much obsessing over Leica lately that I sometimes forget that this is actually a micro 4 3 forum.

    Honestly, when I head out the door with my either the G1, E-PL1 or now the E-M5, its specifically because its a micro 4 3 camera and not some alternative to something else.

    Just sayin...
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oh yes...

    No matter what people say... there's no such thing as the "Leica look" or "Leica Fairy Dust". Just good optics that render either well or uniquely... neither of which is the definition of "Leica Look". How can a single notion describe an entire line of 50 years of optics anyways?
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    When folks were referring to the Leica look I thought it was pretty obvious that a hand built lens that cost $5K must be pretty nice. What I find attractive is the RF part. I like shooting with a RF. I find it quite enjoyable. It's a different process than using an SLR. Not necessarily better or worse but different.
  6. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    People that describe a "Leica Look" are choosing some unfortunate phrasing. More often than not when I see that term bandied about it is someone referring to a shallow DOF image. A sharp subject with a bokehlicious background.....usually rendered in b/w. Any full frame camera with a good lens can do it....perhaps it's the uninformed multitude looking for a tag for it. Oh, Leica is a fancy camera that takes pictures like that....must be the Leica Look.

    Whatevs..... I'd like to have one because they are great cameras, but I might rip off the logo :eek:  so no one knows I have it.... I'm more into the great camera than the status it has accumulated in the last couple decades.
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010

    I think Leica gets used in the same way folks use Kleenex or iPad. The brand has become interchangeable with a broader description of something.
  8. How about limiting yourself to 24 exposures a day? Then take the SD card into a developer, and pick up the prints one hour later?

    Or you could buy an old compact RF again and do the real thing. The process won't have changed much. ;) 
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm intimately familiar with this... I was responding as Leica shooter whose primary system is the Leica M... being a bit sarcastic.

    These notions that elevate the Leica branding to something of mystique is largely originating from either non-Leica shooters who see it as an object of desire or by Leica shooters who simply find it necessary to share with others their justification.

    The 50mm Summarit, Summicron, Summilux, and Noctilux exist because they render differently which is why I own 3 of those examples. They even vary in look over the last 50 years. Kinda like a particular year of wine some specifically go for a particular version.. (not just the most modern) To say that there is a shared characteristic among all of them that is so obvious that a photo can be easily identified as "Taken through the Leica Optic" is far fetched. Excellent quality glass... YES... Magic.. no.

    Its an awesome experience shooting with a Leica M.... EXCELLENT glass... a system that is an extension of ones eye... and vision.. But heck its still just a camera.... capturing the same spectrum of waves as everyone else.

    In my experience, most people don't even notice the camera... which is fine by me.
    • Like Like x 3
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I THOUGHT I remember you being a Leica shooter. You're right. The "aura" of Leica is pretty funny. I spent some time over on a Leica forum...it can be quite entertaining. It reminds me of my days in HiFi. Audiophiles (in fact any "-philes") are the same. Great gear is...well great, but it's the photographer that makes it all work.
  11. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Now there's a funny thing...

    View attachment 210316
    New rig by Mark Bowerman, on Flickr

    ..which replaced this...

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    Old rig by Mark Bowerman, on Flickr

    The results are pretty much the same.
  12. LeicaLook

    LeicaLook New to Mu-43

    Jul 23, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I think there is such thing as a "Leica Look". As many have mentioned, Leicas are known for their high contrast, wide open, sharp images. I was reading about MFT charts and how Leica lenses were optimized for contrast, while Zeiss were optimized for resolution. I always thought they were the same, but the long write-up suggested otherwise. I don't remember where I saw the article, but I will post it if I find it.

    Another thing about the newer Leica digital cameras, is that they have their own color signature. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus all have their own "looks" that is partially defined by their color profiles. Leica has it's own color profile that when converted to black and white, is optimized for high contrast. Because the high contrast is a result of their lenses and color profiles, not via Photoshop, it is a difficult effect to replicate. It's like trying to replicate good bokeh in post.

    If you read Ken Rockwell's post about his Leica M9 output, he complains about the color signature of the Leica. He corrects it in post, minimizing the so called "Leica Look".

    By the way, I've been very interested in this issue for about a year. It started when I was started looking at pictures from the Leica X1, M8, and M9 (even to a smaller extent, their Dlux line) and noticed there was something different in the picture quality. I couldn't explain it. I decided to buy an X1 and after taking many photos with it and analyzing the color profiles, I think I've figured out how to get my photos from my GH2 to look very similar to my X1 using Lightroom or Photoshop. It's not 100%, but I would say 80% of the Leica Look.
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