Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Coffee With Mentors > Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

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!

 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

The "New Rangefinder"
Old 07-08-2013   #1
Bill Pierce
Registered User
 
Bill Pierce's Avatar
 
Bill Pierce is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,162
The "New Rangefinder"

I was scrolling through the sub sites of the RF forum, checking out which sub forums had the most viewers. Guess what? The clear winners had nothing to do with rangefinder cameras. They were

Digital Compact System Cameras - whose sub forums include Sony Nex, Micro 4/3, Fuji X and Ricoh M Mount.

Digital Fixed Lens Advance Compacts - whose sub forums include Leica fixed lens compacts, Fuji, Sony and others.

Are these cameras the “new rangefinder?” As a working stiff, I’ve always used a variety of cameras. But the camera that was always with me and the mainstay of my personal work was a rangefinder, a Leica, film and digital. But for some time now, I haven’t been using a rangefinder. I’ve been using cameras that are talked about in those two forums. The cameras have gotten better, and I’m learning how to get the most out of them. I’m stunned by the image quality of cameras that are small enough to almost always be with me and rarely intrude on what they are photographing. If those forum viewer figures are correct, I’m not alone. Have you switched? What have been the advantages? …the disadvantages? Any tips for others?
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #2
Timmyjoe
Registered User
 
Timmyjoe's Avatar
 
Timmyjoe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,920
Hi Bill,

There's something wonderful about the feel of a rangefinder in the hand. Hard to beat.

But for work, coming back with the image is always the most important thing. Used to use my M6 and M8.2 when I wanted to get in and work close (the DSLR's are just too intimidating to folks). That was pretty much the whole reason I owned the Leicas. But lately, I'm finding I can get "good enough" pictures (at least according to my editors, and after all, they're the ones paying the bills) when shooting a Nikon 1 V2. Which is even tinier than my Leicas, and with split second auto focus, it works great for those tight, fast moving shooting situations.

Took me a while to come around. When I have lots of time during an assignment (a rarity) I still like to use the Leicas, because the image quality IS better. But with most of my assignments, I am covering fast moving situations, and I can't beat the V2 for catching those fleeting moment.

Best,
-Tim
__________________
http://www.timcarrollphotography.com

New Photo Books
Sturgis Stories
& Scenes From Sturgis
now available
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #3
Keith
On leave from Gallifrey
 
Keith's Avatar
 
Keith is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 18,556
The small advanced fixed lens compacts are interesting and relate to the one camera one lens theory IMO. They limit you in an interesting way but certainly not image quality!

It's not hard to see why these catagories have become so popular .. they really simplify photography.
__________________
---------------------------
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #4
thirtyfivefifty
Noctilust survivor
 
thirtyfivefifty is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: 대한민국
Posts: 279
No, they are not. Smartphones replaced the digital point and shoots we used to have, and these new large sensor compacts replaced the old small compacts of yesteryear. Simple as that. Rangefinders are rangefinders just as DSLRs are DSLRs.
__________________
Instagram, Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #5
Larry H-L
Registered User
 
Larry H-L is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 579
I've pretty much made the switch to Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 cameras. I'll take out the RFs for special occasions, but my every day carry camera is almost always an m4/3.

Image quality is excellent, so good that I have used the cameras for some smaller commercial jobs. The fact that one can use most any lens brand is very appealing to me.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #6
Pablito
coco frío
 
Pablito's Avatar
 
Pablito is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Salsipuedes
Posts: 3,481
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
Have you switched?
Yes and no.

Yes, mostly for assignments that mean getting on a plane. Using NEX system with great success. The 7 and the 5r with EVF. Lovely IQ

But NEX is no good for fast moving stuff.

And for some jobs the D800 is just so much better.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #7
zauhar
Registered User
 
zauhar's Avatar
 
zauhar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,105
Recently I rented a Ricoh GXR with M module for the express purpose of having images ready at the end of an evening event, not 'in a day or so' (I always use film).

The GXR is good - it was easy to use compared to the few digitals I have tried, it produced nice image quality, and with no worries about mounting my Leica lenses. The EVF was not bad.

BUT, As I stated in another thread, I was also relieved to send it back! Maybe I needed more time to bond with it. Anyway, it eliminated any small yearning I had for a compact digital (at least for the moment), so that was a worthwhile investment.

Randy
__________________
Philadelphia, PA
Leica M3/50mm DR Summicron/21mm SuperAngulon/
90mm Elmarit
Canon 7/50mm f1.4
Leica IIIf/Summitar/Collapsible Summicron
Yashica Electro 35
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #8
rhl-oregon
Cameras Guitars Wonders
 
rhl-oregon's Avatar
 
rhl-oregon is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,921
After many years of being an intermittent shooter with an OM2s, I took a sabbatical from writing and publishing poems, and became increasingly committed to photography and also gear--more film gear than digital, more rangefinders than otherwise. I had a middle-class income that could sustain this peculiar variant on the pursuit of creative happiness, though I never had designs to be a collector, but to rotate the use of everything I had--the M4, the IIIc, the Rolleis (flex and 35s), and so on--with the M43 and GXR and GRD digitals on the supposition that technical (gear) variety helps keep seeing fresh and critical skills sharp.

When I do my infrequent LR censuses (I've organized photographs by camera for the past year) and cull the herd of images going back 4 years now, it's clear there are more keepers in the M43, GXR, GRD, and XE1 threads than in the film threads. This isn't surprising, since the only film cameras I have used more than 1-3 years are the OM2s and OM4, and it's far easier to learn from manual metering/exposure mistakes shooting manually on the GXR/M mount with instant feedback than to blow a roll of FP4 by metering the wrong EV for the scene with the M5.

Yet there are photographs here and there in my catalog that totally repay the whole of the modest investment in, say, the Rolleiflex 2.8D, and in the GW690, and especially in the Bronica RF and the 2 Ms.

But now I am in the unfortunate position of being downsized, so that film and development have become the luxury I can rarely afford. Like some of our colleagues here, I will soon have to return some of the film cameras to the great gearstream to offset the cost of living on a radically reduced salary. I will shoot my roll of film over a period of weeks, not hours, and will devote some involuntary free time to getting back into development, and being far choosier about what I pay to have scanned. But mainly I will be wringing every penny of investment and creative happiness out of the M43, the GXR, the GRD4, and the XE1. I don't expect to be as focused as Keith currently is with his Sigma, but it will be similar enough, and I will enjoy it the best I can--until I regain an income that supports rangefinder-love, or can draw on Social Security and retirement savings to shoot and develop as much as I can afford.
__________________
Robert Hill Long
Southern Pines, North Carolina USA


http://rhl.photography

Last edited by rhl-oregon : 07-08-2013 at 17:53. Reason: typo
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #9
Harry Caul
Registered User
 
Harry Caul is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 242
I actually made the opposite progression to many here. I found RFF while researching and eventually purchasing my Olympus E-P2 (digital compact system cameras). After many years of small P&S digitals, the E-P2 was my first "serious" camera purchase -- bought at a time when i finally had enough disposable income to play around with. RFF was a natural home for me in part due to the types of people populating the board and the approach photography I've felt I've always shared, but hadn't yet taken seriously. I was realizing that bigger sensors could achieve a different look -- one that I vaguely remembered to be more pleasing from during my film days (P&S then too), but at the same time wouldn't necessitate me buying a hulking black DSLR. For me my E-P2 just opened the door to what RFF had to offer!

Flash forward to today and I've rediscovered film by way of a Contax G2, a Leica M3, a few Rolleiflex, an Oly OM1, a Pentax 67, a Plaubel 670 and a Polaroid 195. And I just got my first 4x5 press camera in the mail 2 says ago! I did say I opened the door to what RFF had to offer -- that includes the GAS . Seriously though, I love knowing that you can buy and really use these cameras to figure out what works with your particular style, and then sell what you don't click with for essentially no depreciation. I've also learned very much about optics and the technical aspects of photography over the last few years. Changing formats that often really forces you to understand the science behind photography in a way that isn't even required to be a "pro" anymore.

Anyway, I still use my Oly, but now I've upgraded to the OMD. Is it the "new rangefinder"? In a technical sense, of course not. But could these new classes of digitals be the spiritual heirs to one of the rangefinder's most important characteristics -- a 100+ year legacy of pushing the bounds of marrying compact size with performance? Yes, I think they might be the first digitals to do so.
__________________
Plaubel 670, Rolleiflex 2.8E2 Planar, Polaroid 195, Leica M3, Contax G2, Olympus OM-D
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #10
Keith
On leave from Gallifrey
 
Keith's Avatar
 
Keith is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 18,556
Quote:
Originally Posted by thirtyfivefifty View Post
No, they are not. Smartphones replaced the digital point and shoots we used to have, and these new large sensor compacts replaced the old small compacts of yesteryear. Simple as that. Rangefinders are rangefinders just as DSLRs are DSLRs.

I don't think Bill was suggesting that these cameras are actually the 'new rangefinders' ... more that they have established their dominance in what is effectively a rangefinder forum.
__________________
---------------------------
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #11
thompsonks
Registered User
 
thompsonks is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 751
I'm right on the cusp: I didn't admire the color rendition of the M240, so I bought a second M9 body and then waited a few weeks to find out what a 'Mini-M' would be. I was disappointed or even pissed off by the hype for the Vario, so I reacted by buying a Fuji X100s. To date, the second M9 remains in its minty condition, almost unused, and I've been enjoying the Fuji considerably. The interface is maddening and the autofocus not too fast, but the images seem as good as M8 files were. I find I have to do less post-processing than with Leica files – the colors need a bit of added Vibrance or Saturation, but seem to register where I want them without as many LR/PS adjustments.

And I like the way it feels in my hand (with a wrist strap): its weight is less than a film M by about the same proportion as a film M is lighter/handier than an M9. When the Winogrand show appered in San Francisco, some of us from the SF RFF group saw it together and watched the video of Winogrand actually shooting, twitching the camera in front of his eye. The Fuji feels like you can use it that way, though the autofocus is a bit slow. It seems to want to be zone-focused, which is OK because there's more DOF wirh the APS-C sensor and 23mm lens. I've been able to slip some X100s shots into a portfolio about a changing neighborhood – 14x21 prints shot over a number of years with M8s and then M9s. The files seem as good as M8, though not M9; yet the higher ISO capability and faster shutter speeds for indoor shots makes it and the M9 a toss-up for low light. At f2 the bokeh is even OK!

The next generation from either Fuji or Sony could be a digital Leica-slayer: full-frame with built-in hybrid viewfinder and faster autofocus. This would be the Mini-M that I was hoping for – I wanted these features, or at least some of them, and a chance to use M lenses.

I remain a loyal rangefinder user – digital Leicas, plus Nikon RFs for film, and a battered and retired M4. I won't stop 'RFing.' But the Fuji is becoming a constant companion, the one always in my purse or pack, and almost the successor to my rangefinders. So I guess I'm close to being one of the switch-hitters that Bill was writing about.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #12
Contarama
Registered User
 
Contarama is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 1,235
I bet Bill will own a M240 someday if he doesn't already. It is an interesting question.
__________________
Art is the ability to make something...even if it is a big mess...
  Reply With Quote

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134530
Old 07-08-2013   #13
leicapixie
Registered User
 
leicapixie is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Toronto.Canada
Posts: 1,577
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134530

i am now retired from being a photojournalist.
i use point and shoot digital on almost every occasion.
No! They are not like a rangefinder, my M3 or M6.
They are adequate.They serve a purpose.
I have never felt a real bond with any electronic marvel.
i don't carry a cell phone. If i did it would be an i-phone..

Saturday night i snapped a Blues Band. I could not do real
justice. i thought about those high ISO numbers..
i am stuck at 400! Sure i can go to more.More blur.
i thought of a DSLR but most have really slow lenses in zooms..
So one needs a prime! i found a solution for next time..
I will use my real RF, the M3/M6.Push process to 800 or 1600,
a small flash to give a minute punch, close up.
Maybe the whole world is going mobile/DSLR/EVIL but i walk,
to my own beat. Always did.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #14
back alley
IMAGES
 
back alley's Avatar
 
back alley is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: true north strong & free
Posts: 49,133
my switch was from a pair of rd1s to the fujis. and while the fujis are not rangefinders they offer a very similar experience. i still focus and then compose, i shoot in the low numbers - never machine gunning, i still prefer to carry 2 bodies with 2 lenses when out for a specific shoot or just a body/lens when out running errands etc.
fuji has done an excellent job of offering something that has replaced the rf for me...and i never thought i would abandone my rangefinders...
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #15
Bingley
Registered User
 
Bingley's Avatar
 
Bingley is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 5,606
I bought into the m4/3 format several years ago. I was looking for a better quality digital complement to my film RFs, and the ability to change lenses and use "legacy" glass was a plus. I have not been disappointed. The Olympus E-PL1 is about the same size as a Leica CL, and with the Panasonic 14 and 20 mm lenses replicates in a digital context the 28/40 lenses that were sold with the CL. The jpeg images are really good. I recently upgraded to a Panasonic GX1, to get faster autofocus and better high iso performance, and b/c I already had the lenses for it. So far so good.

But here's the deal (for me, at least): these small, high quality digicams are not replacements for film RFs; they're complements. I can put a 14mm lens on an m4/3 camera and use it for indoor and low light photography, while keeping my RF for high quality bw and daylight work. Each "system" has its strengths. I will probably continue to shoot film as long as it's available and reasonably affordable, but the m4/3 cameras really do deliver great image quality and versatility in the spirit of film RFs (lightweight, stealthy, unobtrusive).

Right now, for me, a GX1 + Panasonic 14/2.5, and an M4-2 + Canon 50/1.8 is a really satisfying kit for travel and street photography.
__________________
Steve

FS: Zeiss-ZM Planar 50 plus hood, Pentax MX, Voigtlander Ultron 40/2.0 SLII in Pentax K-mount, Takumar 100/2.8 and 35/3.5 lenses: See my ads in Classifieds

M3, M2, R2A, IIIc, IVSB2, & T, and assorted LTM & M lenses
Minolta XD11, Pentax ME Super, and assorted MD Rokkor and Takumar lenses, Rolleicord III, Rolleicord Vb, Rolleiflex Automat MX-EVS

My Flickr
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-08-2013   #16
giellaleafapmu
Registered User
 
giellaleafapmu is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 887
I didn't really switch, I like RF and I use film Leicas but in this forum I also read more the forum you mentioned because there is very little which has not been said about those cameras and I cannot justify the price of a digital Leica. If it will ever come out a new Epson camera I will definitively switch to it.

GLF
__________________
<a href='http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=1808'>My Gallery</a>
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #17
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santiago, Chile
Age: 45
Posts: 19,746
Yes, I've switched. Main reasons:
  • Close Focus
  • Auto-focus is faster for my type of photography
  • High ISO
  • "Cheap" but great lenses
  • Rangefinder style body, SLR style 100% viewing
  • Leica's prices are out of control
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #18
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 23,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
. . . Have you switched? . . .
Dear Bill,

No. Mostly habit, no doubt. But thinking about how to use my Leicas is only slightly harder than thinking about how I should draw the next breath. Why embark on a new learning curve?

Cheers,

R.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #19
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 23,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Yes, I've switched. Main reasons:
  • Close Focus
  • Auto-focus is faster for my type of photography
  • High ISO
  • "Cheap" but great lenses
  • Rangefinder style body, SLR style 100% viewing
  • Leica's prices are out of control
No, they're firmly under control. And the control is what the market will bear.

Cheers,

R.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #20
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santiago, Chile
Age: 45
Posts: 19,746
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
No, they're firmly under control. And the control is what the market will bear.
Ok, fine Roger. Out of control in my opinion. Out of control for my wallet.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #21
hkleinespel
Registered User
 
hkleinespel's Avatar
 
hkleinespel is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Gillingham (Kent, UK) / Near Paris (FR)
Age: 28
Posts: 13
A rangefinder is just a focusing system...

I guess what most people really like in, let's say a Leica, is :
- great IQ
- compact (compared to a DSLR)
- discretion (again, compared to a DSLR)
- easy controls (shutter dial, aperture)

You can find that in some great compact system cameras today. In my opinion, the Fuji X line is what gets closest to this "RF feel". But even the M43, Sony NEX, etc offer all this for some models.

I thought about buying a Leica M6 after having started out on a Canonet because I loved the feel of it compared to my DSLR (which I quickly sold after getting the Canonet). But then I tried the X-E1 and I found everything I loved in my Canonet, but with interchangeable lenses and digital technology!
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #22
zuiko85
Registered User
 
zuiko85 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,871
Inherently I've always pefered TTL viewing and composing (at eye level, not on the rear screen). Up until the Leica M 240, with it's available electronic VF, this has not been possibile with a Leica M digital.

In the film era, the Leica rangefinder's more compact form, quiet operation, quick accurate focus, and being able to see outside the frame were the strengths that sold some photographers on using the Leica M cameras as their main camera. As far a quality of image, film was the great equalizer. Yeah, perhaps Leica's RF lenses were cutting edge optically, but if you could not make compelling pictures with Nikon or Canon, or Konica or Pentax lenses switching to Leica just won't help.

The advances in digital sensors and signal processing has muddied up those waters quite a bit. Even my old (in digital years) entry level, cheap, all plastic Olympus E-410 does a credable job, and that mounting legacy lenses. Too bad the screen is so crummy and small that accurate manual focus is hit and miss at best.

The other factor is, of course, price. For the hobbyist photographers I would think that few fit into the income bracket required for admission to the hallowed halls of digital M camera and lens ownership. For myself, and I suspect 90% of the members of RFF they are as far away as the Hasselblads dumped on the moon by departing Apollo astronauts.

So....we look elsewhere. I'm thinking for myself a used OMD body when my E-410 goes belly up (the nasty little beast will now probably continue to work just fine for the next 10 years).

Additional note; As Ed Mitchell's run in with NASA over a 16mm movie camera demonstrated, the agency still claims ownership of all Apollo related equipment. So, if you do find a way to go to the moon and collect a few discarded items keep it hidden from NASA, otherwise they will probably try to snatch them from you.

A word to the wise.

Last edited by zuiko85 : 07-09-2013 at 07:44. Reason: Addition
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #23
VF101
Registered User
 
VF101 is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 139
Quote:
I guess what most people really like in, let's say a Leica, is :
- great IQ
- compact (compared to a DSLR)
- discretion (again, compared to a DSLR)
- easy controls (shutter dial, aperture)
I think this sums it up just wonderfully. I may add some more points:
- primes instead of zoom lenses
- viewfinder
- a habit of "think before you shoot" (instead of firing thru hundreds of frames per hour)

So, for me I often use the Nikon V1 (just exactly the size of the Leica CL) or a small DSLR with a small lens. Both come rather close to the RF experience.
__________________
My brand new photo blog:www.lightmyday.com (german, some english)
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #24
Bill Pierce
Registered User
 
Bill Pierce's Avatar
 
Bill Pierce is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,162
Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
For the hobbyist photographers I would think that few fit into the income bracket required for admission to the hallowed halls of digital M camera and lens ownership..
My experience is the opposite. There was an initial carry over from those professionals who used film M's to digital M's. But as of late, I have only seen the newer M's in the hands of non professionals. Professionals are going to need multiple bodies, not just for the necessary back up against equipment failure, but to work with several lenses at the same time. The expense of multiple bodies of a camera that has become a conspicuous consumption item simply does not make sense, nor is it affordable, to most working photographers.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #25
willie_901
Registered User
 
willie_901's Avatar
 
willie_901 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,295
I use my Fuji X system cameras just as I used my film rangefinder cameras. So I have switched and I enjoy many of the advantages of the analog rangefinders. I no longer use DSLRs except for non-commercial work. This was the case when I only owned film cameras... I preferred RFs but used SLRs as needed.

As far as tips for others, I have a few.

Exposure

Maximize exposure at the sensor. Increasing ISO above the cameras's base ISO underexposes the sensor. Retaining highlights that are unimportant to make the photograph envisioned by your mind's eye underexposes the sensor. This is not necessarily the same as the cliche expose to the right. Above base ISO, ISO only increases brightness, not exposure. The camera's inherent dynamic range decreases as ISO increases because the sensor is under exposed. Using ISO 800 or 1600 can be liberating in low light, but that doesn't mean these ISOs are otherwise appropriate.

Optimizing shadow detail can be a bit different. Some cameras actually retain more shadow detail with ISOs moderately above base ISO even though the sensor is slightly underexposed. The optimum ISO for shadow detail is camera dependent.

Don't overestimate the importance of sensor surface area with regard to image quality. More surface area is always better, but increasing the lens surface area can offset a reduction in sensor surface area. All that matters is how much light reaches the sensor when camera to subject distances are identical. If a camera system is compatible with fast enough lenses, and you can afford them, and the lenses are not too large and heavy, a smaller sensor area is not a fundamental disadvantage. These two links discuss the concept of equivalent performance in detail.

http://www.falklumo.com/lumolabs/articles/equivalence/

http://www.josephjamesphotography.co...ndex.htm#noise

The importance of lens glass surface area means zoom lenses on cameras with smaller sensor areas are a disadvantage as light levels decrease.

Selective DOF is an entirely separate issue. And the fastest lenses available with a contemporary 34 X 36 mm sensor will provide the most signal to noise.
__________________
Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
Garry Winogrand
williamchuttonjr.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #26
Timmyjoe
Registered User
 
Timmyjoe's Avatar
 
Timmyjoe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
. . . I'm always conflicted when I own multiple systems.
I gotta say, this affects me too. Hate having too many choices/systems.

Best,
-Tim
__________________
http://www.timcarrollphotography.com

New Photo Books
Sturgis Stories
& Scenes From Sturgis
now available
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #27
daveleo
what?
 
daveleo's Avatar
 
daveleo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: People's Republic of Mass.
Posts: 3,686
I was in the process of switching from film SLR's to film rangefinders, but digital diverted
me and I never looked back.
I had shelved my FM3A and bought 2 Bessa-T's and a Leica lllf and lenses but the Digilux 2
diverted me to digital and that was it for film for me.
I could live with the EVF and autofocus so buying a true rangefinder digital was pointless and expensive so it never happened.

"The New Rangefinder" ? . . . yes in terms of small and always at hand, the new mirrorless cameras
are generally replacing the rangefinder (and the DSLR ! ) for many people.
For me, I can see me with a Fuji X-type for many years to come.
__________________
Dave

  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #28
SausalitoDog
Registered User
 
SausalitoDog's Avatar
 
SausalitoDog is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Sausalito, CA
Posts: 597
I've switched almost completely.

Rangefinder film...sold

DSLR...still use for certain things requiring big glass - no reason not to use it when situation calls for tripod

A drawerful of P&S ... Giving away...most of my family now has nice compact cameras :-)

Fuji's... My mainstay. The x100s is the closest to a true rangefinder and I don't feel any reluctance to take this with me as the only camera I will use today - It fits in most pockets and performs as well as almost any digital camera below medium format back size. It is just wonderful. The rest of the x series are great as well and should be even better when the peak focus firmware is release on July 23.

There is still room for improvement in this area (I believe sony and fuji will be the leaders for some time) but they are useable and addicting right now!

I just cannot see why anyone wouldn't love the auto focus option, hybrid VF, great sensors and (finally) really useable manual focus of these cameras.

I admit it, for now, I'm drinking (gulping) the kool-aid and loving it :-)
__________________
Tom O'Connell

“Dogs are friendly animals. They are very much like people with hair. But they don’t complain and don’t ask for money or a copy of the print.”
- Elliott Erwitt
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #29
zuiko85
Registered User
 
zuiko85 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,871
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
My experience is the opposite. There was an initial carry over from those professionals who used film M's to digital M's. But as of late, I have only seen the newer M's in the hands of non professionals. Professionals are going to need multiple bodies, not just for the necessary back up against equipment failure, but to work with several lenses at the same time. The expense of multiple bodies of a camera that has become a conspicuous consumption item simply does not make sense, nor is it affordable, to most working photographers.
My contention is not that all non professionals cannot afford a Leica M 240 set up. But that, of the non professionals on this on this forum, what would a show of hands reveal as to the precentage of members who have the disposable income to consider a current Leica M digital outfit. I would guess about 10%. Perhaps that figure is way off and I am completely out of touch with the modern digital market.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #30
thompsonks
Registered User
 
thompsonks is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 751
It's hard to say where individual choices might fall in purchasing digital Leicas, but now you can buy used M8 for as little as $1800 and an M9 for $3800, and keep using your M lenses. IMO the 240 would be worth it only if you like its color rendition and want the video, which some (many?) Leica users find superfluous. The point re: Fuji, etc., is that you can get many of the desired features of the 240 – high ISOs, quiet shutter, and excellent image quality for exhibition prints – in mirrorless cameras.

My guess is that a fair number of us who could afford a 240 just don't see the reason for buying one, because the 'marginal utility' seems slight. And of course Leica can't deliver them, which turns the issue into a hypothetical one for the time being. I probably would have bought a 240 and made my own color profiles for it, had I not tried a 100s while waiting. Now I'm off the waiting list. M9 and Fuji seem to cover all needs and situations.

I read that 50% of M240s have been sold in China. I have no idea whether or not this is true, but it looks like Leica has gone back to the Hermes days, when they were heavily pushing luxury goods – while Sony and Fuji are now working much harder on hand-held 'RF-like' cameras for photographers. Leica doesn't seem to be advancing smaller-format photography the way they hoped, with the S2, to advance medium format.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #31
SausalitoDog
Registered User
 
SausalitoDog's Avatar
 
SausalitoDog is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Sausalito, CA
Posts: 597
No question that it would be nice to have the full frame on the 240. But to tell you the truth files from the Fuji are definitely large enough.

I don't think it's price of a Leica that is holding people back from buying it. I think it's the older technology. Why in the world doesn't like to put autofocus in their bodies – if you don't like it, you don't have to use it.

I'm pretty well committed to Fuji now, and it will take an awful lot to pry me away at this point
__________________
Tom O'Connell

“Dogs are friendly animals. They are very much like people with hair. But they don’t complain and don’t ask for money or a copy of the print.”
- Elliott Erwitt
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #32
hkleinespel
Registered User
 
hkleinespel's Avatar
 
hkleinespel is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Gillingham (Kent, UK) / Near Paris (FR)
Age: 28
Posts: 13
Quote:
for as little as $1800
I'm sorry, but I think a lot of people don't consider this as "little"...

Not to say the Leica prices are not justified (people keep buying them so...), but even 2nd hand, they are not "cheap"...
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #33
Contarama
Registered User
 
Contarama is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 1,235
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveleo View Post

"The New Rangefinder" ? . . . yes in terms of small and always at hand, the new mirrorless cameras
are generally replacing the rangefinder (and the DSLR ! ) for many people.
I think this is the most important point when considering the OP question.

Camera history says the RF was displaced by the SLR. The mirrorless cameras perhaps should be called Hybrids or maybe something "special", new, revolutionary, etc. I think and they are fixing to hand the DSLR it's walking papers. Full circle almost. Film and the mirror are basically dead meat or specialty cuts now. The sensor and the processor have taken over. The masses demand it.
__________________
Art is the ability to make something...even if it is a big mess...
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #34
presspass
filmshooter
 
presspass is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,200
So far, I haven't switched. I tried an Olympus E-1 and lenses when they first came out and found the results disappointing. For work, when I need color and fast focusing, the EOS system does the job. For my personal work and long-term documentary work - chronicling the local volunteer fire department for the past 35 years - its a film M system. Maybe some day I'll try the 4/3 system cameras again, but that would add just another system, and I don't need the complexity.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #35
Timmyjoe
Registered User
 
Timmyjoe's Avatar
 
Timmyjoe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,920
I think alot of it has to do with what you want to do with the output of your camera. For me, if the editors who are buying the images can use the images from a small camera and lens package, that makes my life a whole lot easier.

If I were shooting something that I wanted to put in a gallery showing, I would certainly shoot FX sensor DSLR minimum, probably film and Medium Format at that.

If I'm just out and see something charming that I want to share with my wife, the iPhone works fine.

Horses for courses, I think the man said. And I think that applies to camera systems these days.

Best,
-Tim
__________________
http://www.timcarrollphotography.com

New Photo Books
Sturgis Stories
& Scenes From Sturgis
now available
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #36
RBruceCR
Registered User
 
RBruceCR is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Age: 54
Posts: 226
I haven't gone digital yet, I am not a professional photographer. I have even bought my fourth camera, a Rollei 35S and have been using the last week a Rollei 35 which I find fast despite the fact that it is not a rangefinder. The Rollei 35 is not as unobtrusive as an iPhone bit it is pretty small.
__________________
Mamiya Standard 23 6 x 9
Yashica Electro 35 GSN
Yashica Electro 35 GX
Rollei 35 S
Minolta Maxxum 600 Si
iPhone 5
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #37
TXForester
Registered User
 
TXForester's Avatar
 
TXForester is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alba, Texas
Posts: 1,242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I don't think Bill was suggesting that these cameras are actually the 'new rangefinders' ... more that they have established their dominance in what is effectively a rangefinder forum.
Not just the forum, but in many situations they are as effective, since they aren't intimidating, and they are quiet and now have great image quality for their sensor size.
__________________
Bender: I support and oppose many things, but not strongly enough to pick up a pen.

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey-cage.” ― H.L. Mencken
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #38
sepiareverb
genius and moron
 
sepiareverb's Avatar
 
sepiareverb is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Johnsbury VT
Posts: 8,265
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
I was scrolling through the sub sites of the RF forum, checking out which sub forums had the most viewers. Guess what? The clear winners had nothing to do with rangefinder cameras. They were

Digital Compact System Cameras - whose sub forums include Sony Nex, Micro 4/3, Fuji X and Ricoh M Mount.

Digital Fixed Lens Advance Compacts - whose sub forums include Leica fixed lens compacts, Fuji, Sony and others.
Considering how much more often those cameras change/upgrade/appear it's no wonder.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #39
hausen
Registered User
 
hausen is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Auckland
Posts: 910
My everyday camera is my Sony RX-1 The power to weight ratio of this gem still blows me away. My M6 Ti is still my favorite camera but RX-1 is generally in my briefcase when I head to work each day.
__________________
David
Auckland, NZ

Far too many cameras & lenses!
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-09-2013   #40
giellaleafapmu
Registered User
 
giellaleafapmu is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 887
Quote:
Originally Posted by presspass View Post
So far, I haven't switched. I tried an Olympus E-1 and lenses when they first came out and found the results disappointing. For work, when I need color and fast focusing, the EOS system does the job. For my personal work and long-term documentary work - chronicling the local volunteer fire department for the past 35 years - its a film M system. Maybe some day I'll try the 4/3 system cameras again, but that would add just another system, and I don't need the complexity.
May I ask what was disappointing with the E-1 and why would you consider digital in the form of 4/3 system again if it was disappointing. It was 5 Mpx, so if you want to print very large the resolution is not enough but besides this I think it was one of the best systems when it come out. Now the 4/3 and Micro 4/3 system are not enywhere near the competiotion, except maybe for some nice lens which can be had for a bit less money than the equivalent in another system.

GLF
__________________
<a href='http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=1808'>My Gallery</a>
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 23:25.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.