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Digital Leica M8 / M8.2 / M9 / M-E /Mono / M10 aka "M" Discussions about the Leica M8 /M 8.2 / M9 / M9-P/ M-E / M Monochrom / M10 aka "M": Leica digital M mount rangefinder cameras. Naming the new digital M the "Leica M" is VERY unfortunate as it will only confuse newbies with other Leica M cameras of the the past. Happily there is room for confusion with only the past 59 years of Leica M production ... since Leica introduced the Leica M system in 1953. All Hail for the Leica Marketing Department learning Leica M history!

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Made the Plunge
Old 01-05-2013   #1
ktmrider
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Made the Plunge

Have been reviewing the digital M forum and came across something I posted almost a year ago about getting a digital M or even something like the X100. Well, I just ordered the Leica ME from PopFlash to use with my five M mount lenses. I decided to either get a digital M or sell my M system and it is obvious what I decided.

I know I still have a lot of work to do in learning a digital work flow as I acquired an X100 about 18 months ago but have shot only jpegs (technology is incredible and used it for a lot of travel in Nepal, Cambodia, and Thailand this year).

From what I have read, the ME will be a camera to use in Raw so I guess I will be getting into Lightroom which was downloaded when I owned a DLux5. Any hints or suggested websites about learning the process would be greatly appreciated.

My M lenses are 15/21/35f1.2/50Sumicron/90 and was wondering about using any/all of these lenses on the ME. Any specific techniques for any/all of these lenses would also be appreciated.

I figure my main travel kit will be the 35 and 90 and when I get lazy the 50 Summicron. I may pick up a 75 which would be teamed with the 35 for travel but am not sure the 15mm difference between the 75 and 90 is worth another lens.

My current M is an M2. I plan on keeping it as I love the viewfinder and still enjoy film (while feeling lazy when I just want to take the X100). Will be putting a lot of TriX or HP5 through the M2.

Am leaving for Alaska for two weeks in mid January and wondering which cameras to take. I know the M2 works fine in cold weather and have a bit of experience with various film M's in Alaska (cold affects battery performance) so I am reluctant to go only digital (lots of cross country skiing planed) but am presently leaning toward the ME and Fuji X100. Anyone have extensive experience with using any of the digital M's in very cold weather.

I know this is a long post. I have used film cameras for 45 years and would not hesitate to travel any where/any time with a film camera (Leica M's, Nikon F's or even a blad). Not so confident about the limitations of modern digital cameras but I know they should work fine in cold climates (most of National Geo photos are now digital) so any hints or suggestions are more then welcome.

I have been putting off spending a lot of time in front of a computer and would like to avoid common mistakes in learning digital darkroom stuff so I would love to hear from others who have converted from film to digital. Thanks, RDN
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Old 01-05-2013   #2
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Get some serious harddrive storage space. I shot through a terabyte of my 5TB RAID5 with my M9 in maybe 8 months.

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Old 01-05-2013   #3
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Get the Lightroom book by Scott Kelby. Despite the bad jokes and bad musical taste it is the best book for the first ( and intermediate) steps on the postprocessing learning curve.
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Changed my Mind
Old 01-09-2013   #4
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Changed my Mind

After obsessing about my next camera for a couple months and finding a great deal on an ME from Popflash, I changed my mind because even $5400 is a lot of money for a digital camera with 3 year old technology. So I took another look at a D600 with a 50f1.4 Nikkor less then half the price of an ME with much, much better digital technology. In the end I passed on it as well primarily due to its size. Thought a bit about one of the Fuji X cameras since the X100 is such a hoot.

Well, I finally ordered a mint M6 so I have a camera with a meter to go with my 1958 M2 and the five M lenses I have. Have owned two M's before and like an idiot, I sold them so now I find myself back with the exact same bodies I owned in the late 1990's. In some ways, it is funny and sad, more funny then sad.

Guess what goes around comes around. Now a wet darkroom or learning Lightroom?
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Old 01-09-2013   #5
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If your thinking is that way, you'll never be satisfied with anything and run around in the marketing hamster wheel.
In case you want a digital RF, the "3 year old technology" will most likely still be sufficient for your photographic skills.
Make up your mind before you buy - but obviously returns are so easy nowadays.
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Pretty Normal for the Forum
Old 01-09-2013   #6
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Pretty Normal for the Forum

Seems to me I am pretty normal for all the equipment swapping, guys going from digital back to film or vice versa etc. It really comes down to the fact that I am comfortable with film, darkrooms and wet printing.

I think about joining the 21 century but realize I prefer an older analog time with fountains pens (actually learned to write with one), mechanical watches, and wool clothes, not pile for cold weather wear.
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Old 01-09-2013   #7
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Congrats on your M-E.

Get the camera. Put the 50mm lens on it. Set the M-E to record raw files. Spend all the time you have shooting with it just like that and bringing the files into Lightroom, 30-50 exposures at a time. Examine them carefully without making any edits at all, see what you did wrong with exposure and try to make them better.

Once the majority of your photos look good without any adjustment or manipulation, you know the camera well enough that fitting other lenses and exploiting its subtleties is a simple matter. Then you can go further by learning how to optimize and render the exposures with LR. You'll find it's not so different from using a film camera when you learn it this way, and it gives you many more options.

Don't expect to learn it overnight. Did you learn how to make top quality pictures with a film camera overnight? Likely not. Give it time and learn a little at a time by doing, practicing, observing, reading and doing little experiments.

I've had my M9 for a year. I'm still learning what a great tool it is. Getting there, and enjoying every minute of it. Love my film cameras too.

G
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Old 01-10-2013   #8
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Godfrey,
the OP changed his mind within 3 days from M-E via D600 to stick to film with a M6...
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Old 01-10-2013   #9
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Never change a winning team (or running system) ... if you have access to a high quality scanner then it should be sufficient for you to just scan everything and then make necessary corrections in the software that fits your needs best. The frames you like best could be printed in a darkroom if you have the space and time. US$ 5400 is lots of money and since nobody serious about photography would work without a back-up a second body would be in order if you want to go 100% digital.... expensive.
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Old 01-10-2013   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icebear View Post
Godfrey,
the OP changed his mind within 3 days from M-E via D600 to stick to film with a M6...
I saw that. But it doesn't matter. The advice I posted will help someone, somewhere, I hope.

G
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Old 01-10-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoc View Post
Never change a winning team (or running system) ... if you have access to a high quality scanner then it should be sufficient for you to just scan everything and then make necessary corrections in the software that fits your needs best. The frames you like best could be printed in a darkroom if you have the space and time. US$ 5400 is lots of money and since nobody serious about photography would work without a back-up a second body would be in order if you want to go 100% digital.... expensive.
Never is a very long time. You'll not get to the end of that.

There is an order of magnitude difference, at least, between the malleability of a digital capture image and a scanned film image. So much of what you want is fixed, locked in place, fitting the constraints of the recording medium with film there's almost no comparison.

I love working both mediums. They're very similar on one level, and very different on another.

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M6 and M2 Make a Great Pair
Old 01-10-2013   #12
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M6 and M2 Make a Great Pair

Thanks for all the comments. I admit that my flirting with the ME was primarily a system of GAS. As I exhaust my Ektar 100 I will be using my film cameras primarily for TriX and developing at home. I used to be pretty good in the darkroom.

I figure the X100 for color and if I do shoot color film, then scans at Precision Camera. As much as I like the classic M's like the M2 or M4, a meter is very useful so my M2 and M6 will give me the best of the Leica film world.
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