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I was wondering if anyone has checked out the Digilux 2? For an amateur, could it be a good stepping stone before jumping into Ms?
thanks for any advice
Welcome to the forum. I'm sure that you will find lots of good, friendly advice here.
In answer to you question: I think that it depends very much on what you want. A scruffy M6 won't cost you much more than a D2. The price difference will be more if you go for the almost identical Panasonic version, though.
If you prefer using digital, get the D2. If you like using film, get a used M or a Bessa or a Canonet or whatever you can afford - they are very M-like cameras. The D2 might be the most M-like digital camera there is, and it appears to be a very fine camera in its own right, but we all have different reasons for choosing the right camera for ourselves.
I'm not trying to be awkward here - I'm just trying to say that it is difficult to generalise. If you let us know what you are looking for in a camera (even if all you want is a red dot!) I'm sure that we could give more directed advice.
Thanks very much Helen for your thoughtful reply.
Here's what I am after:
1. Good lens...I have (may be a wrong intuition of an amateur) a guess that optics and not the tech behind the machine is good for photos. (also judging from the pics of D2)
2. Something which is mechanical and manual and will be give me the complete sense of what I am shooting.ie., ctrl over zoom, ap etc..and something which is SIMPLE.
4. Something I can carry around and shoot in the city always.
3.A beginners guide to rangefinders
4. Digital ---as making tons of mistakes on the long run is cheap.i.e., no more film
also, result is immediate and hence will be my correction of the error.
5. Ultimately and definitely want to switch to M series..although don't know which one.
6. If I can help the Red dot!
Although I don't know your goals (as far as final print, slide or what.), I strongly suggest getting either an M or Voigtlander. Six months ago I would not have said that, but with the Epson Digital Rangefinder coming out any investment in lenses will retain their value and useability far into the future. I have thought about the D2 also, but, unfortunately, a digital camera is "outdated" quickly. In three years it will become a beautiful doorstop. (Is there any interest in the D1?)
With a manual rangefinder one can learn so much that will continue to be useful no matter what you use in the future. When I first bought a beaten-up M3 I gained so much knowledge from the lack of meter, manual focusing, etc. Your brain is active with these cameras. Now it comes in handy when I do photography and photoshop work.
So with a "moderate" investment in a used M or new Voigtlander, you will be making a good start.
REcently I bought a new Voigtlander L body for $50! It's so simple and great and cheap. Just camera and lens, period. (Well there's the wonderfully placed meter too.) I stuck the Voigtlander 28 3.5 lens and finder on it and took it to Argentina, strapping the thing to my hand. I swear there's no better photography class than that. Judge distance, understand lighting, simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Get a combo like this and the lens will still be useful with a digital Leica in the future.
I'll agree with Helen and the Doctor... and add that while the Digilux is relatively M-like for a digital camera, it's only faintly so; still a vastly different experience. So different, I suggest, that it is not a reasonably stage on the way to a Leica M camera.
I think better stepping stones on that path might be a Russian Zorkii, a new or used Voigtlander Bessa-R, or a Leica M6 "user". Any of these, or even a leaf-shutter RF like a Canonet or Olympus RC, would give you a good grounding in the RF "scene" so you'll know whether to take further steps.
The instant-gratification factor of digital is nice but also has its downside in affecting the way you work, cheapening the individual exposure, that would frustrate a later transition to film.
If you process your own B&W film, or choose one of the chromogenic C-41 B&W films from Ilford or Kodak, then you have pretty fast feedback. With the C-41 films, B&W or color, there are the 1-hour labs. And if you do your own traditional B&W then it comes as fast as you want to work. :-)
In any case, welcome, and have fun shopping!
Thanks so much for the sugg guys.
I WILL look into used M6s...I know that they are awesome. But what about the fact that YOU REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU CLICKED.And in a digital (A) you can see immediately what ap/sh speed gets you what result and (B) its free as ilms are not involved at all.
I am curious about Doug's conviction that D2 is "still a vastly different experience" from the Ms. The truth is that I have NEVER used any of these equipments. So, if it is really such a big difference (as I never expected,) then I guess I should wait and get the M6.
I'll really appreciate if you guys could help me more in this regard with advice and a reply to my above stated point.
Thanks as always,
Also, I was wondering whether if you guys knew of any decent place I could look into for buying an used M6. And are used equipments trustworthy?
If you are in NYC you should go to B+H photo, the Leica Gallery and http://www.photovillage.com/
Go handle the equipment and see if it feels right for you. It either clicks with you, so to speak, or not. Maybe you're one of the rare ones who prefers automation (the majority actually).
For me as soon as felt the weight of an M camera I knew where I wanted to be.
Used equipment: many people buy from Ebay. You really can't go wrong with used Leica stuff, since they can always be repaired to perfection. I had my battered M3 completely cleaned and repaired to new condition. Most modern things you just throw away.
Regarding not seeing your image after taking it (as in digital), and not knowing other information: this is precisely what people love about manual equipment. Your brain does the seeing. If you rely on a viewscreen to frame your shot you're thinking in electronic terms, obsessing over a 2" image and looking like a dumbo. For me, I know when I've seen a great shot with my eyes, and I know it's in the camera when I want it.
Keep in mind that digitals are great for some things. You need to decide on your purpose. If you are very computer oriented and have a good printer and photoshop, a digital camera may be the thing for you. (I still love my little slides -- mini masterpieces.) But you'll never really understand what light is all about if you let the digital camera decide it for you. Automation is over-rated.
Go to the above-mentioned places and check the stuff out.
Thanks very much .....will check out the places since I am in Manhattan.
So this is the crisis: I went and checked out the D2s and the Ms @BH. OH! Jeez..the D2 thing is a toy! but a great toy indeed for the sharpness of the images...however here seems to be the problem...From what I have seen n all the D2 images...nearly everthing is in focus and there's no DOField.
Furthermore, I did not get any feel for it as I did for the Ms..twas different as if I had more to offer to it.
The thing is this: for a beginner its too expensive (time+$$wise) for trial and error self learning through reg manual cameras. Hence my only reason for using the D2-get instant free input and make notes and corrections. (I have no obsession with the digital world whatsoever) . So, what I am thinking of is this: I'll buy a D70 body which is 900$ cheaper<D2--Use that and meanwhile within a month or 2...get the cash and buy a used M6.
just my 2 cents worth here...
if you want to learn about photography and how a final print will look, i don't think digital will give you that.
start with black and white film and process the negs yourself, or use one of the c41 films and use a one hour processor.
i think you will learn more this way.
digital certainly has a place in this world and lord knows more and more pros are using digital but i'll bet most learned on a film based camera.
As I said I have NO inclination towards the D thing. The only + is its FREE, and immediate feedback...How can this be any different from actually learning from manual? Don't you think a DSLR set on a complete manual setup can give a great intro to photographic controls...may be I am chickening out and missing the point.
i'll be honest and say that i have limited experience with a digital camera. i have borrowed my buddies oly 5050 a few times.
and yes the instant feedback was kinda cool but it was so very different from seeing a print emerge from the developer. i like being able to manipulate a neg with light, not on a computer.
but more to your point, using film and a manual camera forces you to look at a scene and envision what it would look like as a final print. can you do this with digital? i guess...but if you use different films and then process them yourself you have all the control and all the need to be able to 'know' what the print will look like on each differing type of film.
i don't think i'm making too much sense here - maybe i'm just holding onto a way of shooting that is slowing going away.
if it were me i would invest that money into something small, mechanical and film based.
I get your point...the thing is that seeing the D2 was such a turn off...and then the Depth of field issue... basically you are talking wbout total block to individuality and creativity...and not only that but a false sense of security that your work was amazing given that the D2 has such amazing lens and delivers a sharp image.
I am geering up for a M6 or 7 whichever I'll get used. O boy will I go broke! I mean for the processing stuff
sharp isn't always the best, sometimes 'creative blur' is better.
i like control of dof - i seem to prefer a shallow dof - just like the look better.
darkroom stuff is getting cheaper if you don't mind used. many people are moving on to digital and getting rid of traditional equipment. i just traded in 2 old but good enlargers for a couple of old rf cameras from the 60s/70s. i still have my old bessler to enlarge with.
btw, what part of new york are you from. it has been a long time but i was born in brooklyn and raised in queens. have not been back for awhile...kinda miss it some times.
I am in the upper east side...what do you think of Bruce Davidson's Brooklyn gang?
I am crazy over that stuff.
those photos are from 1959, i was 9 at the time, there is a vague familiarity attached to some of them.
the boardwalk pics from the beach- we used to go there too, under the boardwalk to 'make out'. and the candy store pics, very much like some i had been in as a youth.
i like the feel of the photos, very gritty and real.
it's photos like that and others that got me hooked and kept me hooked into b&w shooting.
ain't nuthin' like it!
I live in Brooklyn. Coney Island, although much changed since 1959, is a wonderful, vibrant place. I encourage anyone to go out there, especially for the Mermaid Parade, which is sometime in the Spring. (The parade always attracts the largest group of Leica M-users I've ever seen in one place.)
Don't think digital is really "free." It IS gratis to view the images, but adjusting the image in photoshop takes time and printing can be just as costly in ink and paper (about $2 a print + time). The value is in instant gratification.
I don't know why you think there's going to be such a long learning period. A Leica with a built-in meter can be as easy as a point-and-shoot. You will have decent photos in your first roll.
I agree with the D.O.F. issue. It's my biggest pet-peeve of digital stuff. Yes, images are instantaneous, but they're often ugly and garish. Nothing beats the beauty of a photo with a center of interest in focus and a blurred background (for many but not all images).
When I bought my M6 it was at the highest price (around 1995) for around $2200, so I feel your pain. Even though the dollar is low, I think you can get one much cheaper now. My M6 has never failed me, although in bright sunlight the rangfinder patch can be sometimes hard to see. Sometimes I wish it had shutter-priority auto exposure, but that's silly. If you get one you will find yourself staring at it for hours. The shutter being so quiet is a real plus, as is its weight (a camera should be heavy so you can hand-hold it.)
I would buy the M6 and Voigtlander 50mm Nokton first. (Or Voigtlander body.)
If you shoot slides (which I often do), you can bring them down to labs all over the city (I can recommend) and have your instant gratification in a few hours for a cost maybe five or six clams. (That's a total of $10 for 36 slide images, compare to the time/cost of digital.)
Doctor and the rest,
Thanks for the sugg. Ya, as I said before when I saw the goods things changed, and am saving up slowly for a good used M. Forget D.
1. In your very honest and humble opinion (and please not from an expert's point of view...given that you are) how HARD and challenging was it when you learned the M up? I am just a tad bit nervous.
2. Why in your opinion is "shutter-priority auto exposure, but that's silly"? Geez cut me a little break. I need a little easy time with the machine. A few good shots at AE is not too bad for my beginner's motivation. So, once I get to your level I can scoff at it.
3. Y a I have checked the prices @BH..can get good stuff. Will do so. First I will by the body, then in a month the lens...speaking of which...I saw a nice deal for a Summicron f2/50 for <500$. Shall I go for it?
4. How in your opinion is the tri-elmars? I have heard that its a bit shaky@ 28. I mean (if I sacrifice the speed) I get 3 in 1?
p.s: I love Brooklyn. Am there quite often. Am a Crazy Bruce Davidson fan. Wanna have his images.
1. No need to be nervous. The M6 tells you when the light is right and the rangefinder tells you what's in focus, so there is really nothing else.
(It wouldn't hurt to know photo basics. I'm not sure what your level is, but you can get basic photo books anywhere. I've also gotten the old Leica manuals pretty cheap. The Leica Gallery downtown sells this stuff, although they're really not necessary.)
When I first got my M I already knew the following (forgive me if this is redundant to you):
A. Camera shakes at speeds slower than 1/15 (but if you're not inebriated you can hold it longer.)
B. The higher the aperature number (i.e. f/22), the less light entering the lens but the greater the depth of field (i.e. more in focus). The lower numbers (f1.4) = more light = shorter depth of field.
C. Wider the lens, the greater the depth of field.
D. The correct exposure can be reached in several speed/aperature combinations. Eg. 2.8/125 speed is the same amount of light as 2.0/250. The difference is choice of depth of field.
E. That's really it. Nothing to be nervous about. Remember how many of the masses took photos this way before automation.
2. I didn't mean to scoff at AE, I just don't want to spend money again on a new body. AE comes in handy, but I'll wait.
3. I have a 50 Summicron, which is awesome, but I really started loving my 1950's Canon 50mm/1.4 for its speed. I think the one stop is worth it. Buy the Nokton and a wider lens for the same price.
4. Don't know the Tri-Elmars, but they seem like a great idea, and I've read decent things about them. They're just too damned expensive, and I've gotten used to single focal lengths.
Thanks a whole lot! Doctor
Am so looking forward to it.
Just to butt in with my 2c...
You seem to be overly worried about making mistakes. Don't be. It's a cliche, but everyone makes mistakes. Another true cliche is that you learn from making mistakes.
If you buy fully auto-everything, all you are going to learn is how to frame your shots. You'll never learn what massively overexposed skies look like, or what strange accidental choices in focusing can do for you.
"What happens if I do this?" is a useful thing to ask yourself when you are learning, and the opportunities to ask that become less common the more automatic your equipment is, because it makes all those decisions for you.
Don't worry about mistakes. You WILL make them, and some of them will turn out to be way more interesting than the things you were actually trying to do.
There really can be no art without the possiblity of mistakes.
I absolutely understand what you guys are talking about and am embracing for more in order to be better!
And let there be no doubt about it.
What I worried about is how $$ will be my mistakes....if you remember the whole thing started while I was trying to decide b/w a d2 and a M. And again a D2 will be cost free in this regard (ok yes arguably)
But I have to thank you guys for helping me make the obvious choice..i.e., M---the right way for a beginner!
if you really want to start on the cheap, but a old canonet or olympus rf camera. (also many others for consideration).
you will learn the power of one lens, one camera and after that it will be easier to decide on which focal lengths are best for your style of shooting.
That's a great suggestion from Joe - spend 30 bucks on a manual classic RF with a fixed lens - if you haven't used a RF before you may realize that you hate it and decide to go the SLR way. It's not for all and there are times when I know my RF's will NOT get the job done and the SLR comes out.
It will also, as Joe says, indicate to you what focal lengths you are likely to use (if you constantly wish you were 'closer' or want to pick out details in more distant objects then you know you will shoot a fair amount with longer lenses and if you decide to go the Leica M-way that means you have to consider the viewfinder magnification as well so that it fits the way you see.
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