Why not a Leica M9

~tc~

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Oh, I fully understand the law of diminishing returns (I used to run $100/m RCA cables in my car!) but M9 prices are a bit out there ... not to criticize the photography, but the examples shown above are kind of washed out and "dead" IMHO ... if that is the vaunted "Leica look", I don't see why people complain so about the Panny jpg, because they look a lot closer to that than Oly JPG do!
 

Fiddler

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Being a man of slender means - never likely to be able to afford the price of a Leica M9, one of my favourite mottos comes to mind:

"To be happy, be happy with what you have to be happy with."

All the best,

Colin
 

usayit

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I always say...

Buy a few expensive things...

or

Buy many cheap things...


Buying many expensive things is when you get into trouble.


Price is set by market and not solely driven by raw materials plus labor. The niche market, the exchange rates, and lack of competition only means Leica branded items will continue to rise.

I am lucky to afford an M9 but it means being happy with a small house (homes here are obscenely priced high. I bought at the right time), affordable clothing, skipping the techno rat race of gadgetry, not buying expensive cars, etc... It is all about setting priorities according to what makes you happy. I spent a year or so saving plus about $7k worth of selling stuff on ebay. Stuff that I do miss but I just wanted the M9 more.

Pretty much my last "Hoorah" as prices have gone up and salary goes down.... I've also run out of things to sell. No regrets...
 

Fiddler

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I understand what you mean. In my case I'm a musician first, and a photographer second, so most of my money got transformed into musical instruments. I can live without an M9, but I can't live without a really good violin. What we want and what we need can be the same thing sometimes, in which case the sacrifice is well worth it.
 

usayit

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Exactly!

I can't tell the difference between a cheap violin nor a really nice one....

Nor box wine versus $100+ bottles of wine...

Nor sound systems with $100+ cables versus cheap alternatives...

and more recently, a cheap Casio keyboard versus a Grand Piano (for my wife's lessons).

For ME... its stuff that I would sell in a heartbeat.

No different when the whole "Leica versus Others" discussion comes up in every forum I have ever participate. Justification for purchases is always internalized.
 

Brian S

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Okay- on image quality, you will not see much looking at the greatly reduced images on your computer screen. Looking at the M8 images vs the images from my Two Olympus EP2's, with the Leica at ISO 160 and the EP2 at ISO 200: the shadow areas of the Leica images is much cleaner. The EP2 is noisy by comparison. The "gently used" M8 with 400 clicks on it ran twice the cost of an EP2. As far as handling, if you want digital and an RF -and I do- you can choose between the RD-1, M8, and M9.
 

carpandean

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Buy a red dot, it's cheaper:

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Not mine; just something I've found in searching various things.

I know that I could never justify a Leica's cost given where I'm at in the spectrum of photographers. However, I do look forward to Panny or Oly making a rangefinder-style camera (similar to the X100, but with interchangeable lenses.) I would buy that in a heartbeat.
 

Pelao

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Okay- on image quality, you will not see much looking at the greatly reduced images on your computer screen. Looking at the M8 images vs the images from my Two Olympus EP2's, with the Leica at ISO 160 and the EP2 at ISO 200: the shadow areas of the Leica images is much cleaner. The EP2 is noisy by comparison. The "gently used" M8 with 400 clicks on it ran twice the cost of an EP2. As far as handling, if you want digital and an RF -and I do- you can choose between the RD-1, M8, and M9.
I feel this is an important point from a number of angles. I have not owned a Leica, but am familiar with the (wonderful) image qualities from these cameras and lenses, and with RF technique.

When presented at full size, and/or deliberately for comparison on a screen, it is possible to see some of the quality differences, but when carefully printed the true and full difference between cameras often comes to the fore.

I see this with my Full Frame Canon and my M4/3s. Online there are some differences, but the depth and aesthetics truly come to the fore viewed at native resolution on a calibrated monitor, or better yet in a print..

As more and more people seem to share their photographs online as opposed to in print (and not in addition to print) I feel image quality, and the equipment needed to achieve it, can take on different values. For me the ultimate expression is a good print, and I use my cameras with this in mind and according to their ability.

My M4/3s can produce great images, and can print quite large to a level that satisfies me. But my FF Canon, and the Leicas that I know (and can only touch wistfully) are capable of so much more, with qualities that are deeply satisfying. I love my Canon's printed results, but honestly it can pale against some Leica work.

I feel overall that the apparent dominance of onscreen viewing of images is changing expectations and requirements around image quality and gear.

The other thing I find interesting is the expression "RF style". I certainly feel my M4/3 offer some similar opportunities to a great RF camera: portable, discreet, quick and easy to use etc. I would have to admit though, that there is still a huge difference between an RF style camera (say GF1 or EP2) and a true RF.

My dream camera for much of what I shoot carries over the dimensions, speed, ease of use and image quality of a Leica, (OK, OK,close to Leica quality) but is not an actual RF. If I could achieve the image quality of the original Canon 5D in a camera like this I would be very happy.

Having said all that, if I were to achieve the opportunity to own and operate a M9 without sweating it's purchase or potential loss, I would be a seriously happy dude.
 

carpandean

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The other thing I find interesting is the expression "RF style". I certainly feel my M4/3 offer some similar opportunities to a great RF camera: portable, discreet, quick and easy to use etc. I would have to admit though, that there is still a huge difference between an RF style camera (say GF1 or EP2) and a true RF.
Yeah, I use that term for lack of a better one. Still, every time that I say it, I have the argument in my head. The form of a typical RF camera has been the left-set viewfinder with no hump, as opposed to the traditional SLR style with the center hump and viewfinder. Obviously, the form is not unique to RF cameras. The DMC-L1 had a similar form, but was in fact an SLR with a different type of mirror; the X100 has a similar form, but uses a hybrid (EVF/non-TTL optical) viewfinder; and even some cheap P&S use it with an equally cheap non-TTL optical viewfinder. However, when you say "RF-style" or "RF-form" camera, most people know what you are talking about, just as most people know what you mean when you say that the G1/G2/G10/GH1/GH2 cameras or even super-zooms are "SLR style" cameras. Functionally, they are different; they just look similar superficially.
 

Pelao

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Yeah, I use that term for lack of a better one. Still, every time that I say it, I have the argument in my head. The form of a typical RF camera has been the left-set viewfinder with no hump, as opposed to the traditional SLR style with the center hump and viewfinder. Obviously, the form is not unique to RF cameras. The DMC-L1 had a similar form, but was in fact an SLR with a different type of mirror; the X100 has a similar form, but uses a hybrid (EVF/non-TTL optical) viewfinder; and even some cheap P&S use it with an equally cheap non-TTL optical viewfinder. However, when you say "RF-style" or "RF-form" camera, most people know what you are talking about, just as most people know what you mean when you say that the G1/G2/G10/GH1/GH2 cameras or even super-zooms are "SLR style" cameras. Functionally, they are different; they just look similar superficially.
Oh I agree - I use it too, and happily. I did not mean this as a criticism in any way.
 

usayit

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I'm different...

I buy a Leica M because I want the rangefinder... the whole experience.. unabbreviated. Certainly, I do not endorse any idea that a Leica (or any camera) will make one a better photographer.... heck even cheaper consumer DSLRs are more than capable of producing stunning results.

I also own an Olympus E-PL1 and G1. Certainly capable cameras but its not about getting to the final print. Its all about the process to get to the final print. The E-PL1 may certainly look like a rangefinder but the experience is completely different. An experience I kept compromising and in the process took the long way to figure out what I wanted. I HIGHLY recommend not following my example:

(shortly before selling the jist of what I had... and that's not including my film cameras..... )
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sniff sniff... I kinda miss that R-D1. I shot the birth of my son with it....


curious...

Does anyone happen to remember the cost of a Leica M3 when sold brand new in the 50s?
 

dsteady

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I've been bit my the M9 bug -- I'm blaming Steve Huff -- but have taken a more cautious route: Photography classes in Chicago, a Lumix M-Adapter, and a used Leica 28mm/2.8 Elmarit. This gets me just inside the gates of Leica -land while I develop my skills and determine how serious I am about all of this. If I decide not invest in an M body I can probably sell the Elmarit for what I paid for it, or insignificantly less.

The GF-1 w/ a Leica M Lens is definitely a compromise, focusing is not always clear and takes some getting used to -- using the EVF I need to employ the MF assist a lot. I'm slowly getting the hang of it. The zone focusing ability of the Leica lenses is a joy though, great for hip shots -- two panels of concrete on a Chicago sidewalk is usually ~8'. Set focus ring at 8,' check aperture guides and shoot. Cool.

I still love the Panny 20mm/1.7.
 

usayit

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Um, no. Mostly because I was -21 years old then :)

Be sure to do the conversion from shekels into USD for us :)
Me too....

I was spoiled when I held a used CLA'd M3 for the first time before digital was widely available. In fact, the store let me borrow it for a few days. Going between a Canon Elan II and the Leica M3 did me in... I looked at it and wondered... Is the M9 really that much more expensive than when the M3 was new?

I searched and searched and couldn't find anywhere indicating the original new price of an M3....
 

linkedit

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A camera company that offers an RF body for $7000. and an SLR body for over $20,000 (!) says to me that this company is only interested in selling the camera as a status symbol. Not as a photographer's tool.

That being said, I would still love to have one!
 

usayit

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With all fairness...

* the SLR you speak about is actually a MF (a little smaller) digital. If you compare it to Hassy and such, its still on par. There are actually Hasselblad camera bodies that are more expensive.... up to $30+k

* top end Canon 1ds Mark III is $6k

* top end Nikon D3x is $7k

... no one says the same about those guys?



personally, I'd rather have a Hassy than S2. Not that I would ever come close to getting one.
 

BillN

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A camera company that offers an RF body for $7000. and an SLR body for over $20,000 (!) says to me that this company is only interested in selling the camera as a status symbol. Not as a photographer's tool.

That being said, I would still love to have one!
price - "water off a ducks back" to Leica guys

If you see how the M9 is made - you will realise why it is so expensive - the production line is "shades of the Morgan car co in the UK" - i.e. not in this century

If you think the bodies are expensive have a look at the lens prices - if you want to "fall off your chair" have a look at S lens prices and accessories - I think a spare battery costs more than a GF1

but it is all "good fun" in our democratic capitalist world

(PS - my doctor - well the doctor I go to - not "my doctor" has just bought a Hassy - and he is supposed to be a sensible guy! - plus a lens or two)
 

kevinparis

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A camera company that offers an RF body for $7000. and an SLR body for over $20,000 (!) says to me that this company is only interested in selling the camera as a status symbol. Not as a photographer's tool.

That being said, I would still love to have one!
While Leica is sold and marketed as a luxury brand, and they do pamper to the status symbol market, I do believe that they are committed to producing tools for photographers. Like all camera manufacturers the bodies are only made to sell lenses - and their lenses remain the very best you can get.

Unfortunately I think with Leica, due to financial and management problems, that they hung on to their traditional cameras too long, and were then late and ill equipped to face the challenges of the transition to digital.

The M8 seems to me a rushed attempt to catch up and get a digital camera out there, the M9 is probably what they should have and probably wanted to produce all along.

Having used both I still feel that they are first generation digital thinking shoehorned into a traditional RF camera body. There are too many little details that say to me that the M8/M9 was a reluctant and not as well thought out move forward as it should have been. Little things like the need to add a 3rd party thumbs up to add decent grip, the need to remove the baseplate to change battery and SD card, the shockingly slow time to write to the card, the IR issues they had with the M8, the fact that getting the lenses to work reliably with the rangefinder due to the tighter tolerences of focussing on the sensor as opposed to film.

The S2 seems to be more forward thinking in its approach, and while they seem to be having their share of teething problems seem to be gaining traction in their chosen field.

Maybe with the M10 or whatever they produce next they might start with a cleaner slate and offer something that delivers on the RF experience with out the baggage of their legacy past.... Maybe the hybrid VF of the Fuji X100 is something they should be looking at

just my thoughts

K
 

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