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Lilserenity
12-15-2008, 14:19
I've started to write a review of the Leica M2 that I have now bought on my blog:

I Leica A lot (http://lilserenity.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/i-leica-a-lot/)

I'm trying to write it as openly and honestly as I can without regurgitating what has been written a thousand times before and without being too gushing, and to be honest about the choices and operational experience.

I hope to write the third and final part soon which will cover actually using the camera. I can't write it yet as I don't have a lens yet to get out there and shoot as much as I can't way to do so!

Thanks!
Vicky

gilpen123
12-15-2008, 16:19
Great story, I want to see how it ends up...........goodluck oh and btw, what lens are you getting for your M2?

tedwhite
12-15-2008, 18:20
Quite a nicely done story. I, too, want to see how it ends. And do tell us which lens.

payasam
12-15-2008, 23:37
Don't leave us hanging, Vicky.

Lilserenity
12-16-2008, 03:11
Thanks! I'm glad you've enjoyed it so far.
I'm getting a Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f/2.5 -- from someone off of here actually, it's the LTM version so I've ordered the adapter from Robert White yesterday and should have it all ready to go by Friday. That said, I was not very well last night (nasty bug going around) and if it carries on, I might not get to share the results before I go away. With any luck though I'll get a chance to shoot some Tri-X on Friday and over the weekend before souping it up and scanning it (never the best way to view results, prints -- wet or inkjet are the best way) -- so fingers crossed if my ailments disappear I will hopefully have some findings to report soon!

My next lens will likely be a 90mm, though the Nokton 50mm f/1.5 may pip that to the post. I need a decent low light lens for gigs so the 50mm may take a precedence.

tedwhite
12-16-2008, 06:27
Congrats on the lens - I have the very same lens in LTM with adapter on my M6 - and it's a darn good one. Also, I especially like the focusing tab as it makes focusing easier and faster (at least it does so for me). My other lens is a 50mm Canon LTM f:1.8 - also very good, and much, much cheaper than a Summicron or a Nokton.

Gadge
12-16-2008, 08:29
Interesting review. Looking forward to part 3. Personally, I think you need a Contax T2 or Minox 35mm - That is what I normally take for a walk to avoid the weight of the Leica :-)

BTW...

"I already have an Olympus Trip 35 but it’s a 40mm aspect which whilst seemingly not far off my favoured 35mm focal length, does make a difference. It’s also a bit of a guess when it comes to precise focussing. "

Have you tried turning it upside down? Mine has distance markings in ft and meters on the bottom of the lens. Not especially obvious.

Gadge

Lilserenity
01-05-2009, 04:43
I have now finished part 3 of 3:

http://lilserenity.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/i-leica-a-lot-part-3/

I'll upload some scans soon too but they will be relative to my scanner rather than the overall quality.

Gadge, re: the smaller cameras, I have an Olympus XA for the very purpose of a wide angle + small light form! I have seen the distance markers on the bottom although I seldom look at them given that it's not in the most intuitive place!

Ronald_H
01-05-2009, 05:10
I have now finished part 3 of 3:

http://lilserenity.wordpress.com/2009/01/04/i-leica-a-lot-part-3/

I'll upload some scans soon too but they will be relative to my scanner rather than the overall quality.

Gadge, re: the smaller cameras, I have an Olympus XA for the very purpose of a wide angle + small light form! I have seen the distance markers on the bottom although I seldom look at them given that it's not in the most intuitive place!

Well written, and so many things that sound familiar. I have written a blog of 'the Leica experience' myself a while back, but it is in my native language, Dutch. Maybe I'll translate one day.

Tom A
01-05-2009, 09:55
Vicky, great write up. You got the idea behind the basic M. A box that will hold film, with a shutter that controls "speed" and a finder to judge distance. This is of course fundamental to all cameras - but with the Leica's it is done with "feeling".
I am a great fan of M2's - simple, unassuming and no extra's. It just works!
Your choice of lens is perfect for the M2 - the 35 soon becomes instinctive in use. Prior to lifting the camera to your eye, you know what it will cover. I suspect that one could survive with just the 35, but adding a 90 is great for longer views (landscape/portraits). Check out the Apo Lanthar 90f3.5 for a reasonably priced short tele. Very sharp - and a true apochromat in spite of its modest price.
Looking forward to your shots on the blog.

amoebahydra
01-05-2009, 10:25
Vicky, great write up. You got the idea behind the basic M. A box that will hold film, with a shutter that controls "speed" and a finder to judge distance. This is of course fundamental to all cameras - but with the Leica's it is done with "feeling".
I am a great fan of M2's - simple, unassuming and no extra's. It just works...


Besides, M2 is the only Leica RF that has depth of field indication...

drewbarb
01-05-2009, 10:44
Besides, M2 is the only Leica RF that has depth of field indication...
Oh? Both of my M3's have D.O.F. indicator tabs- not that I use them all that much.

Nice write-up Vicky- although I think you'll find that after walking a full day with a loaded pack, ANY camera hung round your neck will rub you raw and feel like an anchor. I carry an Olympus XA in an easy-to-reach pocket or pouch under those circumstances. You might try to work out some way to hang a camera not from your neck, but where you can still reach it easily. When using an external frame pack, you can hang a camera over the top of the frame behind you. A really long neck strap allows the camera to hang at your chest, but the weight is on the pack, not your neck. A good waist belt transfers it all properly to your hips, and a sternum strap keeps the camera from banging around too much.

Anyway, I look forward to reading part three. I hope you feel better, and get that lens on and can do some shooting soon! Best wishes.

thomasw_
01-05-2009, 11:34
Hi Vicky,

Your blog post was enjoyable to read; thanks heaps! You have brought out the M2 fans with your post; many here are big time M2 fans. But to me the reason is self-evident once you've used one; you do a fantastic job of articulating that fact in your article, too.

Cheers, Thomas

Lilserenity
01-05-2009, 11:35
Well written, and so many things that sound familiar. I have written a blog of 'the Leica experience' myself a while back, but it is in my native language, Dutch. Maybe I'll translate one day.

Thanks Ronald, your blog does sound interesting, it's just a shyame my command of Dutch is non existent!

Tom A
01-05-2009, 11:45
Besides, M2 is the only Leica RF that has depth of field indication...

for some reason. even after almost 50 years of using M2's - i have never bothered to use the Depth of Field indicators! I have tried to figure them out, but it was far too complicated and I just relied on the lens and my experience. They do look cute though.

Lilserenity
01-05-2009, 11:50
Vicky, great write up. You got the idea behind the basic M. A box that will hold film, with a shutter that controls "speed" and a finder to judge distance. This is of course fundamental to all cameras - but with the Leica's it is done with "feeling".


The more I use the leica the more I absolutely agree with the feeling part, I do feel very much connected to the subject in a way that sometimes the EOS 3 lacks a little of at times. That said seeing as I develop and print myself I do feel pretty much connected at every point of the journey from conception to the printed end result.

That said I'm sure I'll delve into the intangible element at some point on my blog but I made a very conscious decision to remain very factual (and even by my own standards -- avoid being gushy) and really spell out why a Leica M could work for you as someone who hasn't ever owned one but aspires to but criticially -- has always believed they could never afford it. I was of the latter group of people, I earn well enough but I had to save to buy any new camera, M or not.

I am a great fan of M2's - simple, unassuming and no extra's. It just works!

I think that is the beauty of them, they are very simple and to most people they are not much more than a slightly elongated, old fashioned looking compact, albeit a extremely well made sturdy one :)

Your choice of lens is perfect for the M2 - the 35 soon becomes instinctive in use. Prior to lifting the camera to your eye, you know what it will cover. I suspect that one could survive with just the 35, but adding a 90 is great for longer views (landscape/portraits). Check out the Apo Lanthar 90f3.5 for a reasonably priced short tele. Very sharp - and a true apochromat in spite of its modest price.
Looking forward to your shots on the blog.

35mm is my favourite focal length by a country mile. 35mm was love at first sight, 50mm was always a length I learnt to love over time. I guess the 35mm is how I see the world, wide eyed and with fantastical gaze perhaps. I could very easily survive on the 35mm lens, especially with its relative close focussing ability at about 2.5ft I have found it very good for portraits on location.

As such the 90mm is going to happen but for now the 35mm is exactly what I needed. In fact my Flickr profile (www.flickr.com/photos/lilserenity) shows that by and large 35mm is dominant, with 50mm second (I often get asked how I get my 50mm angles looking 'wide' -- that's the learning to love part I find coming through) and longer lengths a distant third. For me 35mm is sight with peripheral vision.

The only time I dare to use wider is in urban settings where 20-24mm can be incredibly effective at the kerbside or under a motorway/freeway flyover.

Lilserenity
01-05-2009, 11:55
Nice write-up Vicky- although I think you'll find that after walking a full day with a loaded pack, ANY camera hung round your neck will rub you raw and feel like an anchor.

Absolutely and I have no doubt that my M2 is already plotting the very evenings it's going to do that. That said, anything has to be better than carrying 2lbs+ of SLR around.

I carry an Olympus XA in an easy-to-reach pocket or pouch under those circumstances. You might try to work out some way to hang a camera not from your neck, but where you can still reach it easily. When using an external frame pack, you can hang a camera over the top of the frame behind you. A really long neck strap allows the camera to hang at your chest, but the weight is on the pack, not your neck. A good waist belt transfers it all properly to your hips, and a sternum strap keeps the camera from banging around too much.

Anyway, I look forward to reading part three. I hope you feel better, and get that lens on and can do some shooting soon! Best wishes.

Thanks, indeed there are some options I need to look into to 'optimise' the way I travel. I guess in part I can blame myself because I'm one of those people who slips off into the yonder with only a little planning -- I've always been much more of a do-er than a planner (that's a lie - what about that 3rd book I keep threatening to start writing....) Alas -- some interesting things for me to check out in the coming weeks in terms of how I can better carry any camera. At least with the M2 I can largely carry it around in my coat pocket.

Vicky

Lilserenity
01-05-2009, 11:57
for some reason. even after almost 50 years of using M2's - i have never bothered to use the Depth of Field indicators! I have tried to figure them out, but it was far too complicated and I just relied on the lens and my experience. They do look cute though.

I must admit I likewise ignore these notches, I knew they were there but generally I will either use the depth of field scale when composing landscapes or focus accurately for anything else which needs to be in focus and set the aperture based on experience. That said you never know, one day I might just be glad they are there after all!

MikeCassidy
01-05-2009, 12:04
Hummmmmmmm if i am not mistaken its about 42 yrs late. Leica already suckered everyone into buying M2s and M3s even though they were so *inferior*.

helenhill
01-05-2009, 15:28
What a Fun Read.... well Done & Congrats !
Since the man in my Life took my M4
I naturally just fell for the 2 :)
So now I'm an M2 gal as well
with a 1962 lux on a 1962 body...its Divine

All the Best to You- H

amoebahydra
01-05-2009, 16:51
for some reason. even after almost 50 years of using M2's - i have never bothered to use the Depth of Field indicators! I have tried to figure them out, but it was far too complicated and I just relied on the lens and my experience. They do look cute though.

Yes, I have to admit that I also seldom use this feature as it correlate to 50mm lenses only, it might be OK when M2 was introduced as most people use 50mm those days; now it is far better to use the DOF scale instead. I think for this reason, Leitz no longer provides such feature in subsequent M models. However, this feature make M2 unique in this respect.

tedwhite
01-05-2009, 16:55
Re: fatigue using neck strap.

Frankly, after years of walking around with heavy film SLR's hanging from my neck, I hardly notice the weight of my M6. Carrying on a shoulder offers relief but raises the spectre of the strap slipping off the shoulder and the subsequent too-horrible-to-think-of disaster.
As a safeguard, I frequently hang the camera from my shoulder and then don a jacket of some sort. Takes a bit of practice to swing the camera up to eye level but it's really quite do-able. A bonus advantage of this is that the camera remains hidden under the jacket when not in use. You might want to experiment.

I have tried Gordy's wrist strap, and it actually remains on my Bessa R (fitted with the 50/1.8 Canon). But for long term carry it doesn't work too well - sort of like being handcuffed to the camera - and fairly impossible to reach into one's pocket when trying to pay for a cup of coffee.

Drewbarb's idea of using the rigid-frame backpack has merit, but only if you're backpacking.

I have a photograph on the wall next to this computer of Henri Cartier-Bresson, published in Northern Journey Photography shortly after his death, and he's holding the camera just in front of his face and there's this curious lacing of the neck strap on his right forearm (I've tried to duplicate this lacing several times and each attempt has failed miserably) that suggests it might allow the camera to hang from the forearm rather than having to be constantly clutched in the hand. Also, a closer look suggests either a filter or a lens cap in his left hand that seems to be attached to his little finger by a cord? Haven't sorted that out yet.

I guess there are more ways of carrying a Leica than I would have thought.

Lilserenity
01-20-2009, 04:03
Here are a couple of pictures I have scanned. There are more but this is as far as I got last night (I'm very tired after using a computer all day and it's a bit like a bus man's holiday coming home and sitting down at my own!)

Shot with the M2 (obviously), Color Skopar 35mm and Kodak Portra 400NC.

Marlon dela Cruz
01-20-2009, 04:22
Great read!

I'm in the same pickle at the moment. I'm about to buy my first Leica and I have been offered R3M brand new for less than £200 but I want that 35mm frameline (28 would be ideal). I'm leaning towards the M5 though! Difficult choice!