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Just based on image quality- M8 vs. M9 vs M240
Old 02-26-2012   #1
rf1552
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Just based on image quality- M8 vs. M9 vs M240

I used to work at a camera store. Last saturday I went back with my M8 and 28 elmarit asph and 35 cron asph. I sat in the Leica section for about 1.5 hours testing both lenses on the M9 and on the M8. Took a bunch of indoor shoots, outdoor shots, close up shots, etc. It was fun

I got home and loaded up the images on lightroom. Other than the crop difference, and resolution, I could not see a much of difference between the M8 and M9. Yes, higher iso did look better on the M9 but I dont care about that either.

Based solely on color and dynamic range, is the M9 supposed to be better than the M8?

--------- admin edit

M240 added to the comparisons on this very interesting thread

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Old 02-26-2012   #2
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The pixel density of the cameras is the same, so a cropped M9 picture is essentially the same as an M8 picture that starts out cropped in the first place. For me, only prints matter. And for prints up to A3 or A2, even the difference in resolution is not apparent. The real benefit comes from larger prints, or on significantly cropped (edited in PP) pics. The difference in high ISO performance is well known, but even here technique matters.

Color is a personal matter and can be affected by a host of variables besides in-camera factors...conversion software, PP choices, and even whether one uses an external UV/IR filter (which some do even on the M9, where internal IR filtration is sometimes not as effective as the M8 with external filters). In fact, because of stronger in-camera filtration, the M9 files may be marginally less crisp out of camera, but this is inconsequential due to PP controls.

Anyone who claims to see the differences in reasonably small prints would never pass a double blind test. But that's true of most camera/lens combinations in real world prints where pixel peeping is irrelevant.

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Old 02-26-2012   #3
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I can't say I'm surprised really. I would be inclined to think of the M8 as a crop M9 that needs external filters.

The resolution difference will show up at some print size, but is not really huge (about 30% linear). Although people are happy making big prints with M9s, I tested (very unscientifically I will admit) an M9 print at 36 by 24 against a 30 by 24 from my Mamiya 7 using Ektar and the medium format print was clearly better. A similar result to a comparison I did before with Mamiya 7/Ektar vs 1Ds3. But the res difference of the files there is much greater - 360ppi (non Bayer, but thre is a question over underlying scan resolution of course) vs 144 ppi (Bayer)

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Old 02-26-2012   #4
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Other than the difference in resolution and slightly greater sharpness out-of-camera, assuming IR-cut filter correction, I think the M8 files are hard to distinguish from the M9's.

Last year I did a similar print test to what Mike describes. Up-rezzed M9 files to down-rezzed Mamiya 7 E-6 scans, printed large. M9 held up well, but the Mamiya prints were better at one foot inspection. Actually increased my confidence in printing M9 files beyond my usual 11x14 35mm limit.
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Old 02-26-2012   #5
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As soon as I tried the M9, I thought the image quality had gone from 'almost 35mm' to 'for all practical purposes, 35mm'. I didn't WANT to think that. I didn't WANT to buy an M9. But between the image quality, and getting all my old focal lengths back, buying the M9 was something I felt I had to do. Bear in mind, of course, that I can put it through the business, so it's not just a toy. But I found the difference impressive http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...%20review.html

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Old 02-26-2012   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
As soon as I tried the M9, I thought the image quality had gone from 'almost 35mm' to 'for all practical purposes, 35mm'. I didn't WANT to think that. I didn't WANT to buy an M9. But between the image quality, and getting all my old focal lengths back, buying the M9 was something I felt I had to do. Bear in mind, of course, that I can put it through the business, so it's not just a toy. But I found the difference impressive http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...%20review.html

Cheers,

R.
I have to agree with Roger - comparing the two side by side, there was no way I could choose the M8 over M9. I find the images substantially better in all ways (and the M8 is very good!) and, for me, full frame and the ergonomics are much preferable.
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Old 02-26-2012   #7
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Gimme some of what those guys are smokin'.

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Old 02-26-2012   #8
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Originally Posted by gdi View Post
I find the (M9) images substantially better in all ways


Ridiculous statement.

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Old 02-26-2012   #9
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Both are coming down--I saw a clean low count m8 for 1750 and have seen several M9s for 5k

The M8 may not be an M9 but it's looking like a good deal these days

I find M8 images impressive myself.
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Old 02-26-2012   #10
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Why would image quality even be a consideration? For the M system it's always been about operation and weight.
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Old 02-27-2012   #11
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Ridiculous statement.

Jeff
Not quite - the larger sensor with the same pixel density will result in less magnification. That will result in better contrast and color transitions, and less noise.
Subtle, but clearly visible - provided the photographic technique is up to it. No camera shake, perfect focus, proper exposure, good postprocessing and printing technique. As soon as one of these factors is lacking the advantage will evaporate.
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Old 02-27-2012   #12
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Ridiculous statement.
In what ways do you find the M8 images better? Or are you merely arguing about the word 'substantially'?

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Old 02-27-2012   #13
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I noticed that my M8 was better in resolution only over my M9, tested with both cameras on tripod, using the same lens. I think this was due to the weak filtration on the M9 and is only seen at 100% magnification, so it's really a moot point.
The M8 was a great camera but the M9 is better. They are different enough that it could make sense to keep an M8 for the extended spectral sensitivity it has. I loved my for the limited amount of far IR imagery I did.
The M9 is just a basic fantastic camera that has almost completely taken the place of my film M camera (when the M9 isn't off to the factory for repair.)
Regardless they are both excellent tools but they tax the technique of the photographer in order to make the use of their strength to resolve images that rival the best from other manufacturers in the miniature format industry.

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Old 02-27-2012   #14
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Ridiculous statement.

Jeff
Of course not. I just pay closer attention to details than you.
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Old 02-27-2012   #15
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Not quite - the larger sensor with the same pixel density will result in less magnification. That will result in better contrast and color transitions, and less noise.
Subtle, but clearly visible - provided the photographic technique is up to it. No camera shake, perfect focus, proper exposure, good postprocessing and printing technique. As soon as one of these factors is lacking the advantage will evaporate.
Exactly, I had both for a while and compared them with the hope that I would find the images close enough to continue to be satisfied with the M8 and forget about the new camera. That wasn't the case so I sold the M8.
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Old 02-27-2012   #16
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
In what ways do you find the M8 images better? Or are you merely arguing about the word 'substantially'?

Cheers,

R.
He probably finds a slight advantage in the unsharpened image on a pixel level due to the thinner IR filter, but forgets that there is a decisive difference in magnification.
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Old 02-27-2012   #17
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Exactly, I had both for a while and compared them with the hope that I would find the images close enough to continue to be satisfied with the M8 and forget about the new camera. That wasn't the case so I sold the M8.
Ok, so the people that had both the M8 and M9, why EXACTLY is the M9 better than the M8 minus the resolution, ISO, FF, larger prints.

Are you saying the color is better in the M9?
Does it have more 3D 35mm film pop to it?
Are the advantages worth the difference in price?

My theory is because m9 is FF, shooting wide open will appear to have more "pop" but does it really?
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Old 02-27-2012   #18
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It has more resolution for the same print size which gives, as I said, better contrast transitions, better color transitions, less color bleeding and less noise. Also the color rendering has been altered which gives better differentiation. Simply said, more pixels per square cm of image at the same final image size gives more data per square cm of image gives better quality.

If that is worth the money is an individual decision - many people are quite happy with far less than an M8, let alone an M9 or - the Lord forbid- an S2....
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Old 02-27-2012   #19
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C'mon guys...substantially? in every way?

I own 2 M8.2s and would have owned 2 M9s instead (cost is not an issue), but after trying the M9 and making prints for 14x18 (framed) size, there was no justification for moving to the M9. I don't print super big, don't shoot super wide, nor at high ISO (400 ASA worked fine for me for a few decades).

Given my workflow, I find that there are far more differences in print quality by what happens down the chain after the files come from the camera (once starting with either the M8 or M9)...everything from software to papers to custom profiles to printer to inks...and all the myriad judgments and settings along the way.

I recently hung an exhibit of color and b/w prints for a gallery at a major TV network studio, where there is a 3 year wait list for shows. The building manager and many staff told me it was the nicest show they had seen in years. All prints were made using the M8.2 (except one scan from an M6 neg).

I suppose my show would have been 'substantially' better in 'every way' if I had only had the common sense to use an M9. Absolute horses**t.

Oh, and not that it makes any difference in the print quality, but I'll take the following features of my camera any day compared to the M9: the 2m frame lines are the best I've used on any M...ever (and this has real effect on my picture taking); I much prefer having a top display; and I get chrome and sapphire screen without having to pay anything extra. In addition, for the same FOV, I prefer using my 50 Summilux asph asph and the 50 frame lines anyday compared to using my 75 Summicron asph...never liked those 75 lines on any M.

Plus, with a second generation camera (M8.2), I didn't have to put up with all the teething problems of the M8, unlike what some M9 users have had to endure along the way, e.g., red edge, purple fringe, card issues, sensor crack issues, buffer issues with huge files, etc. I expect all this to be sorted out, and none was a real influence on my purchase decision, but you did say the M9 was substantially better in every way. Please spare me.

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Old 02-27-2012   #20
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Of course not. I just pay closer attention to details than you.

Right, after 40 years of studying and collecting photographs (and other art), including vintage prints from some of the world's greatest photographers, I have no idea what a really good print looks like. Back to school for me.

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Old 02-27-2012   #21
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Come on - where did I say substantially - there is a difference - but it is subtle. I mix M8 and M9 images without hesitation. The content and photographic execution has magnitudes more impact.
But we were reacting to somebody who claimed a technical superiority of M8 images - and that is clearly untrue.
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Old 02-27-2012   #22
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Come on - where did I say substantially
Try reading the whole thread, Jaap (at least from pst #8). You jumped in the middle.

My point wasn't that the M8 is better, only that the M9 isn't (substantially) better (in every way) either. For my needs, there is no significant difference.


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Old 02-27-2012   #23
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Not quite - the larger sensor with the same pixel density will result in less magnification. That will result in better contrast and color transitions, and less noise.
Subtle, but clearly visible - provided the photographic technique is up to it. No camera shake, perfect focus, proper exposure, good postprocessing and printing technique. As soon as one of these factors is lacking the advantage will evaporate.
I'd say that sums it up in the most objective way. I've got camera steadiness, focus and exposure down pat, but postprocessing and printing technique, no. I just can't seem to force myself to delve into it. So for me, I haven't found print-image quality jumped ahead since I made the move from M8 to M9.
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Old 02-27-2012   #24
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I just can't seem to force myself to delve into it. So for me, I haven't found print-image quality jumped ahead since I made the move from M8 to M9.
And if you took the time to 'delve into it,' and really mastered it, you'd find that prints from your M8 would be better than anything you're currently producing with your M9. And if you're not concerned about print quality, then why bother with any of this? Your agreeing with Jaap holds no water if you haven't verified it...in print.

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Old 02-27-2012   #25
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If I only plan on using 28-35mm lens on the M8.2, will I see a benefit from the revised framelines vs. the M8? Or is it only for lens 50mm and >?
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Old 02-27-2012   #26
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The framelines on the M8 and M8.2 are not essentially different. RF framelines can only be 100% accurate at one given distance. As the lens is focussed to infinity, they will get too narrow. Experienced users compensate for this. Normally one would expect framelines to be accurate at the shortest focussing distance, to avoid accidentally cut off edges. And that was the way it was on the M8. As the M8 attracted quite a few new users that were not familiar with the phenomena and protested, Leica decided to take a chance and shift the optimum accuracy from 1 m. to 2 m. As this is closer to the usual shooting distance of 3 m. and less pronounced at infinity, the gamble paid off in far less complaints. But the "zoom" effect of the field of view in relationship to the framelines is unaltered. And now the framelines are too wide at closest focussing distance on the M8.2. So on the M9 they reverted to 1 m. And you know what? Nobody even noticed...
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Old 02-27-2012   #27
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The framelines on the M8 and M8.2 are not essentially different. RF framelines can only be 100% accurate at one given distance. As the lens is focussed to infinity, they will get too narrow. Experienced users compensate for this. Normally one would expect framelines to be accurate at the shortest focussing distance, to avoid accidentally cut off edges. And that was the way it was on the M8. As the M8 attracted quite a few new users that were not familiar with the phenomena and protested, Leica decided to take a chance and shift the optimum accuracy from 1 m. to 2 m. As this is closer to the usual shooting distance of 3 m. and less pronounced at infinity, the gamble paid off in far less complaints. But the "zoom" effect of the field of view in relationship to the framelines is unaltered. And now the framelines are too wide at closest focussing distance on the M8.2. So on the M9 they reverted to 1 m. And you know what? Nobody even noticed...
Different strokes. I am an experienced user, and for my shooting habits (distance), the 2m lines are the best I've used, including all my film Ms. I think Leica erred by not including these in the M9, and others (Sean Reid, some of my experienced M user friends) agree. YMMV.

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Old 02-27-2012   #28
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Quite possible - I have the 2m lines on my M8 u, and 1 m lines on the M9, and I have yet to find a problem. But then I have been using RFs for 40 years...My mind is geared to them, I guess.
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Old 02-27-2012   #29
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I don't use printers nor scanners to compare cameras but developping files from M8 & M9 with the same raw converters gave me the feeling that the M9 files need more sharpening than their M8 counterparts. Not a big deal to be honest but the M9 files need also more IR correction which is hardly satisfactory for a $7K or 8K camera IMHO. I would still use my IR-cut filters on the M9 if i had one i guess but the M10 will do better on this issue hopefully.
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Old 02-27-2012   #30
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Quite possible - I have the 2m lines on my M8 u, and 1 m lines on the M9, and I have yet to find a problem. But then I have been using RFs for 40 years...My mind is geared to them, I guess.
Hey i did not think you were that old Jaap I've been using M cameras for 41 years myself but the M8.2 framing is so much superior to me that i wonder if i'll buy the M10 if it keeps the M9 framelines as is seriously.
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Old 02-27-2012   #31
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Originally Posted by rf1552 View Post
Ok, so the people that had both the M8 and M9, why EXACTLY is the M9 better than the M8 minus the resolution, ISO, FF, larger prints.

Are you saying the color is better in the M9?
Does it have more 3D 35mm film pop to it?
Are the advantages worth the difference in price?

My theory is because m9 is FF, shooting wide open will appear to have more "pop" but does it really?
<<Better color?>> I don't see a difference in my prints, but I've never done a side-by-side same subject, light, lens, etc. More experienced users report smoother tonal gradations which are likely related to the larger sensor and lack of file compression. I always used IR-cut filters on my M8, btw.
<<More 3D?>> Can't say, the 3D thing is hard to fathom. Generally I like the way both cameras image with the lenses I use.
<<Worth the price difference?>> Yes, but not for the reasons you're considering. I made the change for resolution, mostly.
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Old 02-27-2012   #32
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Quite possible - I have the 2m lines on my M8 u, and 1 m lines on the M9, and I have yet to find a problem. But then I have been using RFs for 40 years...My mind is geared to them, I guess.
And about 35 years for me (and most other formats along the way).

A good friend, whose work I admire, had the M8.2 and moved to the M9, primarily since he tends to print quite large. He almost didn't buy the M9 because of the frame lines, and would trade his camera (or update it) immediately if that were a possibility.

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Old 02-27-2012   #33
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I don't use printers nor scanners to compare cameras but developping files from M8 & M9 with the same raw converters gave me the feeling that the M9 files need more sharpening than their M8 counterparts. Not a big deal to be honest but the M9 files need also more IR correction which is hardly satisfactory for a $7K or 8K camera IMHO. I would still use my IR-cut filters on the M9 if i had one i guess but the M10 will do better on this issue hopefully.
Nearly all digital cameras need IR correction or filtering. According to leica the M9 is in the top 30% which is quite a feat with the -optically dictated- relatively thin IR filter (0.8 mm) which is, btw, the reason one needs a tad more sharpening than the m8 (0.5 mm).
Yes - in high-IR situations and on not too short lenses I do use 486 filters.
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Old 02-27-2012   #34
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I know this: my M8 produces files better than drum scanned 6x 4.5 ACROS 100 negs shot with a Fuji GA645, so its more than good enough for me.
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Old 02-27-2012   #35
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And if you took the time to 'delve into it,' and really mastered it, you'd find that prints from your M8 would be better than anything you're currently producing with your M9.
Can't disagree with that. However, in that case the prints from my M9 would also see an increase in image quality.

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And if you're not concerned about print quality, then why bother with any of this?
You're assuming facts not in evidence. Never said I wasn't concerned about print quality, just that I don't have the patience to f+ck with postprocessing. There are other ways to get quality prints done than print them myself.

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Your agreeing with Jaap holds no water if you haven't verified it...in print.

Jeff
Again assuming facts not in evidence. Never said I haven't verified it in print, just not in prints I've made myself.
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Old 02-27-2012   #36
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Again assuming facts not in evidence. Never said I haven't verified it in print, just not in prints I've made myself.
But, you said: "So for me, I haven't found print-image quality jumped ahead since I made the move from M8 to M9." Sure sounds to me like you haven't verified Jaap's comments in your prints...in any way whatsoever.

But, in any case, we have different views on printing one's own work...I get far better control, choice of papers and inks, and better results printing my own work...same as I did with my darkrooms over several decades. And, on top of it, the turnaround time on a print is far less (saves my time, not increases it), as is the long term expense. YMMV.

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Old 02-27-2012   #37
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But, you said: "So for me, I haven't found print-image quality jumped ahead since I made the move from M8 to M9." Sure sounds to me like you haven't verified Jaap's comments in your prints...in any way whatsoever.
Is this RFF, or PNet? I didn't realize someone would use my comment as a springboard to a pointless pissing contest, so I didn't spell it out. But I believe I clarified myself adequately in the post directly preceding, so I think we're done here.
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Old 02-27-2012   #38
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Is this RFF, or PNet? I didn't realize someone would use my comment as a springboard to a pointless pissing contest, so I didn't spell it out. But I believe I clarified myself adequately in the post directly preceding, so I think we're done here.
Very mature way to admit your mistake. Your quote above is crystal clear, and totally contradictory, and you're the only one who appears pissed.

Now we're done.

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Old 02-27-2012   #39
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Right, after 40 years of studying and collecting photographs (and other art), including vintage prints from some of the world's greatest photographers, I have no idea what a really good print looks like. Back to school for me.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
Very mature way to admit your mistake. Your quote above is crystal clear, and totally contradictory, and you're the only one who appears pissed.

Now we're done.

Jeff
Dude, why don't you just chillax? You childishly insult people with a different opinion than yours, and when you get reasoned rebuttal, you question their maturity?

Have you considered creating a blog? You wouldn't have to be bothered by differing opinions - as long as you don't allow the posting of comments. Then yours could be the final word every time; you would find it a lot less frustrating.
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Old 02-28-2012   #40
Jeff S
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdi View Post
I hear one is never too old to learn, so why not go for it?


Dude, why don't you just chillax? You insult people with a different opinion than yours, and when you get reasoned rebuttal, you question their maturity?

Have you considered creating a blog? You wouldn't have to be bothered by differing opinions - as long as you don't allow the posting of comments. Then yours could be the final word every time; you would find it a lot less frustrating.
Interesting summary of the discussion. Let's recap.

I challenged someone's statement about a camera (saying that it's ridiculous to say that it is substantially better in every way), but I never personally attacked any person. You, however, insult me personally by making a snide personal remark that you pay more attention to the details than I (post #14). You don't even know me. Then when I respond with personal information to inform you, you respond with this post.

In Ben's case, he offers a contrarian view to mine, which is fine, but he admits that he has never experienced the results he endorses in his own prints.

Look inward, guys.

Jeff
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