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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Old 09-20-2010   #51
gavinlg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Is it known if it has manual focus through a double image rangefinder?

Cheers,

Juan
No, it's not a rangefinder. It has autofocus and some sort of manual focus assist that we don't know yet.
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Old 09-20-2010   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lime View Post
I'm surprised it doesn't have an EXR or SuperCCD sensor. It would have been nice to shoot with 10 stops of range, but I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me
It seems manufacturers are using CMOS sensors in all APS-C and above cameras - including this camera per the published specs. It's not a CCD. CMOS sensors are less expensive to produce and less prone to overheating, which is why CCDs are used in all video cameras and DSLRs shut down when shooting video over a few minutes for overheating.
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Old 09-20-2010   #53
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Originally Posted by fdigital View Post
No, it's not a rangefinder. It has autofocus and some sort of manual focus assist that we don't know yet.
Then the R-D1 is a lot better as a photographic tool... (To me...)

This looks like the u4/3 hype, but paying more, and with a fix lens...

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 09-20-2010   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdigital View Post
No, it's not a rangefinder. It has autofocus and some sort of manual focus assist that we don't know yet.
If or not it is a rangefinder will depend on how the camera is programmed (in firmware). Because it could overlay parts of the EVF/LCD (coming from the lens - call it a digital patch) with the optical viewfinder. We don't know yet, but it sounds like the technology is there.

Juan, the big thing is the viewfinder with changing brightlines and the 35/2 lens. Basically a digital Hexar AF.
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Last edited by ferider : 09-20-2010 at 18:19.
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Old 09-20-2010   #55
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that's true - they could make a digital rangefinder sort of thing using the LCD overlay, but I seriously wouldn't hold my breath for it..
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Old 09-20-2010   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Then the R-D1 is a lot better as a photographic tool... (To me...)

This looks like the u4/3 hype, but paying more, and with a fix lens...

Cheers,

Juan
Exactly, too much hype and have to pay more. There are going to be other APS-C cameras out on the market such as the Samsung which has interchangeable lenses. People also forget that the DP1/2 has a large sensor with a fixed lens that costs below $1000. I hope Fuji learned something from their 670 MF release. I don't think this camera can sell as much as they'd want it to if it isn't priced to what the market can bear. And no, it's not a Leica, it's a Fuji.

Though I'd have to admit, it's a hot looking retro styled digicam
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Old 09-20-2010   #57
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This promises to have much better IQ than either the RD-1 or the m43 crowd and it promises the elusive and all-important "fun factor" (including ergonomics and looks) in use. That is a very powerful combo.

Bill already mentioned the low light performance of the M9. I bet the Fuji beats the pants off anything my Leica M8 and any f/1.0-1.2 lens can do (in terms of light capture, not DOF), not to mention the cron 28.

I'm really beginning to think that my commitment to the M system (through expensive lenses) is a mistake. Sure I'll keep some around to shoot film, which is irreplaceable for me. But somebody other than Leica has to get back soon into making a digital M-lens platform or I'll just have to cash out of the M-lens thing. The low-light limits of the M8 sensor are just unacceptable for me and the M9 is priced off the map.

This new offering from Fuji looks like it would really fit my style.
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Old 09-20-2010   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
Exactly, too much hype and have to pay more. There are going to be other APS-C cameras out on the market such as the Samsung which has interchangeable lenses. People also forget that the DP1/2 has a large sensor with a fixed lens that costs below $1000. I hope Fuji learned something from their 670 MF release. I don't think this camera can sell as much as they'd want it to if it isn't priced to what the market can bear. And no, it's not a Leica, it's a Fuji.

Though I'd have to admit, it's a hot looking retro styled digicam

I love the DP1, but have you tried using it in low light?
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Old 09-20-2010   #59
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I am not sold on digital per se, but this Fuji X100 does somewhat interest me. I like the form and size and functionality. For me, as for many, the IQ will be the key. Any image samples?
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Old 09-20-2010   #60
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Watching the Fuji product development video, it appears that the optical viewfinder with frame lines permits one to see outside the main shooting area, like in a rangefinder. So, although it's not a split-image RF focusing system, it has the RF advantage of predictive composition. It looks interesting, indeed.

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Old 09-21-2010   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdigital View Post
No, it's not a rangefinder. It has autofocus and some sort of manual focus assist that we don't know yet.
Yep - and that could be a technical feature that hasn't yet been fully explored in other cameras: I recall my old Nikon Coolpix 995 (one hell of a camera at its time) had an MF assist function that was quite viable - it superimposed over-accentuated contour lines in those picture areas that were in full focus, similar to a digital image with overdone unsharp masking. Actually quite effective.
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Old 09-21-2010   #62
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Bill, I probably wasn't entirely clear previously, I was thinking about significant design additions to the M9 to give the M10, not so much optimisation and ironing out creases. Leica will have to optimise the M9 model (mk2, mk3 etc.) in line with technology, but 'full frame' was the big ask and significant design feature from M8 to M9.

Following this hypothetical model numbering logic, I don't think there are any more 'big asks' to give the M10, short of bending the laws of physics and putting an S2 sensor inside an M body size! Oh, they could get VAG chief designer to put together a Titanium version with 'focussed design' (matching Summilux), 'shoulder holster' and leather finger loop. *swoon* It just matches up nicely with my R8..

Innovation is a different story, that's why the X100 has popped up with its combination of controls and hybrid viewfinder. Perhaps it is the M10 in terms of innovation, simply designing what alot of people have been fervently requesting - as was the case for the M9. Fuji have been listening to us lot, watching and contributing to the adventures of Leica - and what they have are pitching may be a real hit.
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Old 09-21-2010   #63
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I hate to say this, but this may be the camera that'll cool my infatuation for the R-D1. Boy does it pull at the heartstrings.
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Old 09-21-2010   #64
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Boy - once this camera is on the market, just imagine how R-D1 prices will drop ...
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Old 09-21-2010   #65
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Adrian Clarke suggests in today's press conference that the price may be around $1000, £650 - this could be the camera that I celebrate finishing my PhD with! Good price I think!
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Old 09-21-2010   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Is it known if it has manual focus through a double image rangefinder?

Cheers,

Juan
Would be great, wouldn't it? And why wouldn't it be possible?

The viewfinder and taking lens are separate, so it should be doable.. As far as I can gather, the finder is able to project an LCD image over the viewfinder to display frame lines and shutter/aperture/distance data, and it is also able to display what the taking lens sees. If those two functions were combined, you'd have the double image, and it would work for focusing if the taking lens image superimposed over the viewfinder image is displaced proportionally to the lens focus distance..

There's no need for complex and expensive moving optics in the viewfinder, the projected LCD image just needs to move..

It's just a question of Fuji having thought of it as well..
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Fuji x100 - is it the M10?
Old 09-21-2010   #67
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Fuji x100 - is it the M10?

Yes. Well spotted.

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Old 09-21-2010   #68
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It's the rangefinder view that matters to me. I could live with auto
focus in a small rangefinder type camera if I have to, but seeing the scene
clearly is a must. I shoot a Leica m6 .58 and a 35mm lens 90% of
the time. When I shoot digital I have a Canon G10 with a 35mm
brightline finder in the hot shoe. If the finder is as good as I hope on
this camera, I'll be standing in line for one!
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Old 09-21-2010   #69
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USD 1,000 = GBP 650 = EUR 750.

Me wanna X100, methinks
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Old 09-21-2010   #70
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I have not been so excited about a new camera for a long time...since the Nikon FM in 1977.

I have been trying hard to gleam details out of the Internet chatter and now various "hands-on" reports at Photokina.

The most important is of course the VF...no good in VF, no good in views found.

The OVF has a 0.5X magnification, which is independent of and wider than the sensor; and provides an extra 33% of the 35mm frame covered...ZI style. Framing accuracy is said to be 90%, with accurate parallax correction...far or close.

In EVF mode, the coverage can only be exactly as the sensor or 100%. I have seen an O/E switching image sequence that confirms the important DoF latitude bar within the distance scale shifted up slightly and wholly preserved. I have not been able to determine from second-hand comments whether the effective view is somewhat magnified or not. If it did take up the entire OVF space, then a ~0.65X will result.

[I can imagine a Fuji or third-part eyepiece magnifier...or even a home-made one if I am so inclined.]

The mini focusing quadrangle [a smaller frame, not a patch] in the view centre is present in both O/E modes...no doubt to help picking the auto-focus aim point. A combined AEL/AFL is provided in the back/right. With my maturing eyesight, that is not a bad thing.

I cannot confirm, still, whether the lens focusing ring is functional or decorative. A somewhat loose comment about the aperture/focusing ring is heard. Images showing the aperture ring rotated are available, but the focusing ring not...at least the lens front ring markings has not been shown rotated; or maybe the lens sports internal focusing.

Addendum: an engadget video shows [sort'a] the rotation of the focusing ring, then the aperture ring.

Fuji's online literature labeled the thumb wheel [back/right] as a "Convenient command lever". Some show photos did indeed confirm that there is a lever-like protrusion. Elsewhere, Fuji people was reported to have said the fixed lens implementation is better for maintaining quality for "ZOOM" [implementation]...might there be a zoom version in the works???

If so, the thumb lever would now make sense...most pocket digicams use similar lever for the T~W zoom function. It would be child's play for Fuji to add that labeling between now and product release.

Speaking of zoom, a moderate wide~tele is my preference...3X 28~85mm.

What about a wide~wider zoom? If so, the X100 will be an M-10 killer...still-born.

Last edited by Frankie : 09-21-2010 at 10:43.
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Old 09-21-2010   #71
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Problem with $1700 is it's too close to a used Canon 5D with a great 35mm f/2 might even fit in a used Zeiss or Contax lens for that money. But that neat inscription of the top is so "50's-70's"
However, many of us don't think of a DSLR as an alternative...
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Old 09-21-2010   #72
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Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Then the R-D1 is a lot better as a photographic tool... (To me...)

This looks like the u4/3 hype, but paying more, and with a fix lens...

Cheers,

Juan
Huh? So, having a traditional rangefinder is more important than anything? If you don't have that it isn't serious?
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Old 09-21-2010   #73
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USD 1,000 = GBP 650 = EUR 750.

Me wanna X100, methinks
Lol.. bought any new cameras lately ?

$1,000 = £1,000 = €1,200 in camera manufacturer land..
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Old 09-21-2010   #74
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=12000 NOK in the land of oil, fish and hydro-electric power. If we are lucky (approx $1900 at the moment)
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Old 09-21-2010   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damien.murphy View Post
Lol.. bought any new cameras lately ?

$1,000 = £1,000 = €1,200 in camera manufacturer land..
Sadly more or less true. At amateur Photographer they are saying 1000 Euros, which I guess will end up at £899.

Still, it makes those used R-D1 for $1400 look expensive, especially by the time you've shelled out for a 35mm equivalent lens. I was thinking of picking another up but the Fuji looks a bargain in comparison.
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