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Does the digital CL feel like a "real" Leica?
Old 01-01-2019   #1
karateisland
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Does the digital CL feel like a "real" Leica?

Hi all--

I've been circling a Leica purchase for a number of years now, and figure 2019 will be the year I finally go for it. It won't be a film camera--my Contax G2 and Rolleiflex are scratching that itch--but a digital.

I have been eyeing the CL, and seeing some wonderful results from it (Sara M Lee's "Tender are the Nighthawks" series is stunning), but the only question I have is this: If I mount a manual focus lens on it, will it feel like a "real" Leica? Will buying into a CL system mean that I am missing out on what makes a Leica special?

This question is about as subjective as they come, and there is probably no simple answer. But I thought it couldn't hurt to ask!

Sub-question: If you had to start buying Leica TODAY, would you invest in an L-mount camera?

Other points, just in case they come up:
* The M9 feels like a risky buy if I want to develop my own color-processing style, the M240 is too bulky for my taste, and I simply can't afford an M10.
* The Rolleiflex suits me perfectly when I'm in the mood for slow, deliberate shooting.
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Old 01-01-2019   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
I have been eyeing the CL, and seeing some wonderful results from it (Sara M Lee's "Tender are the Nighthawks" series is stunning), but the only question I have is this: If I mount a manual focus lens on it, will it feel like a "real" Leica?
I'll let others with actual CL experience answer the broader question, but will note that it has an APS-C crop sensor, so your manual lenses will not feel the same; they will have 1.5x their marked focal length. Also, I've never quite taken to focus peaking as a focusing aid, so I rarely feel confident relying on it using my collection of Olympus manual focus lenses on my Fuji. You may find the 18-56mm CL lens a better option than a raft of MF primes. Best try it in person.
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Old 01-01-2019   #3
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Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
I'll let others with actual CL experience answer the broader question, but will note that it has an APS-C crop sensor, so your manual lenses will not feel the same; they will have 1.5x their marked focal length. Also, I've never quite taken to focus peaking as a focusing aid, so I rarely feel confident relying on it using my collection of Olympus manual focus lenses on my Fuji. You may find the 18-56mm CL lens a better option. Best try it in person.
Currently, no manual focus lenses in my stable. Had a CLE with a Summicron-40 but never really got on with that lens, preferred a 50, so I sold the whole kit.

I would be totally OK buying into the L-mount lenses (even the 35mm 1.4 doesn't look too big for my taste), but I keep hearing that the system as designed doesn't have the feel of a real Leica. I can't tell if that's a bunch of hogwash from traditionalists (I am not one) or a true fact.

Your suggestion that I try it in person makes a lot of sense. I'm wondering why that never occurred to me...
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Old 01-01-2019   #4
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I think you mean that it doesn't have the feel of a Leica M, because the CL is also a real Leica.
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Old 01-01-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
I think you mean that it doesn't have the feel of a Leica M, because the CL is also a real Leica.
That's why I used the scare quotes around "real," since we all know that it is, no matter what people say, a real Leica.

Since I hope not to get sidetracked by semantics, here's my reasoning for phrasing it as I did. I didn't want to ask if it feels like an M, because some writers I have checked out use the Q as a point of comparison, saying that the CL doesn't have the Leica feel that the Q offers. In other words, apparently there is some ineffable quality common to Leicas, and some think the M and Q have it, but the CL lacks it.
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Old 01-01-2019   #6
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Nothing is going to feel like a Leica M; not CL, not Q, not SL, not S. It's the whole rangefinder gestalt.
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Old 01-01-2019   #7
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I don't use CL because I do love M with "manual everything".

My own thinking is if your other cameras are Contax G2 and Rolleiflex that you may like the opposites: G2 can be auto-everything and the other manual everything.

To that logic, if you buy CL and don't have any Leica lens, go for one (or two?) TL lens.
I think that aps-c format bothers only people owning Leica lenses already.

Give CL a try, if you are not happy with CL, you may want "real Leica M" by then.
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Old 01-01-2019   #8
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It doesn’t feel like an M because it has an EVF. If you actually want an EVF, I’d recommend the SL because then you don’t have the crop messing things up. If you want a reverse Galilean viewfinder and don’t mind the crop, I’d recommend the Fuji X-Pro2 instead of the CL. If you want an EVF and are ok with the crop, then I’d recommend the Fuji X-E3 because of the controls, which are more Leica-esque. If you don’t want the traditional controls, the CL is for you!
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Old 01-01-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
Currently, no manual focus lenses in my stable. Had a CLE with a Summicron-40 but never really got on with that lens, preferred a 50, so I sold the whole kit.
If you didn't get on with the CLE (I know you say it was because of the lens), but a CLE is 90-95% the "real" Leica experience. Not exactly a Leica M, but probably as close as one can get. Regardless of the 40mm lens, if you didn't get on with that set up, not sure you're going to be missing anything going with the CL or some other digital Leica variation.

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Old 01-01-2019   #10
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"Does the digital CL feel like a "real" Leica?"

No. It feels like a really nice APS-C camera, a step above what Sony makes.

If you want to scratch that 'real Leica' itch, you need to get an M. And the M240 is the best used deal going. While it may feel a little bit bulkier than an M9 (I've owned both), the shutter on the M240 (and M10) is so much smoother and more responsive and quieter that shooting it feels far more like shooting a real (film) M camera.
The M9's shutter release is notchy, gritty feeling (you need to try one to see) with an imprecise release in comparison, plus then the shutter cocking action is loud and drawn out. Kinda bizarre really.

Another downside of the CL, as others have mentioned, is if you want to adapt manual M lenses. Everything gets cropped. So a 35mm lens becomes a 48mm. If you have a 28, it actually becomes a 42mm lens. You need to go to a 21 or wider to have a regular wide angle lens, then you're dealing with either a slow lens, or a huge lens on the small CL.
I have a bunch of adapters for my M240, Oly M43 and Nikon Z camera. And the cold reality is once the novelty has worn off, the native lenses are so much better for the cameras.

The CL is a fantastic camera. Just not what you are looking for if you want that 'real Leica' feel.
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Old 01-01-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
...
I have been eyeing the CL, and seeing some wonderful results from it (Sara M Lee's "Tender are the Nighthawks" series is stunning), but the only question I have is this: If I mount a manual focus lens on it, will it feel like a "real" Leica? Will buying into a CL system mean that I am missing out on what makes a Leica special?

...
Sub-question: If you had to start buying Leica TODAY, would you invest in an L-mount camera?
...
Yes, the CL feels like a camera ought to. I work with mine exclusively with Leica R and M mount lenses. It also makes images that render the way Leica lenses and bodies do.

The CL body is essentially the same size as a Leica M-D body but is 200g lighter. There is very little difference between the size and weight of an M9, an M-P 240, and an M-D ... Yes, I've had them all, still have the M-D (and M4-2, and R6.2 ...). Fitted with the same lens (and M Adapter L mount adapter), the CL and the M-D each take up about the same amount of space in my bag.

I don't "invest" in photographic gear because I expect no return on my camera purchases, other than the enjoyment of using the gear to make the photographs I want to make. One should never consider buying cameras as an investment. Buy what works to do your photography and just use it: that's what it's all about.

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Old 01-01-2019   #12
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Any Leica made camera feels special. Even re-branded Panasonic and Fuji feels special with Leica logo on them.

As for EVF camera to give same feel as RF camera... forget it.

Heavy sensor crop makes many good manual focus lenses as useless tele.
So if you want cropper camera with AF get its native lenses with it.

But what this Leica feel has to do with your pursue of been special in color?
For digital it is all about post processing. More special you want to be on colors, less dependent it on sensors and optics.
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Old 01-01-2019   #13
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I am a must have OVF person.
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Old 01-01-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
If you didn't get on with the CLE (I know you say it was because of the lens), but a CLE is 90-95% the "real" Leica experience. Not exactly a Leica M, but probably as close as one can get. Regardless of the 40mm lens, if you didn't get on with that set up, not sure you're going to be missing anything going with the CL or some other digital Leica variation.
A very, very fair point. Just looked through some of the pictures I had been taking with the camera earlier in 2018, and they look great. So, it was probably not the lens.

And I had hoped you would respond, Godfrey, that's very reassuring. The CL seems like just the right amount of Leica for me.
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Old 01-01-2019   #15
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A trip to Montreal or Boston seems in order. Handle one.
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Old 01-01-2019   #16
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When I received my CL this summer, I took the M-4 I've used since 1974 out of the bag and put in the CL with M adapter. I use the same old Mandler M lenses with a couple of Voitlanders. To me, the camera feels like a Leica - small, solid, intuitive. The viewfinder is far superior to a SLR, not a rangefinder, but very fine. I do not have a desire for autofocus or zoom lenses so far. The files are great.
Maybe I'll return to the rangefinder some day, but this unit is what I like now.

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Old 01-01-2019   #17
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It has a Leica logo on it, so I suppose it does feel like a real Leica. Not sure what else you're looking for... It has an EVF and crop sensor, so its really up to you if its "real" or not.
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Old 01-01-2019   #18
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Cl

I shoot a CL primarily with a 50 lux. It feels like shooting a leica, film or digital M, to me. I have the profiles set to focus either by magnification or peaking, as needed. The EVF is excellent, magnification alone works very well (my eyesight is sub-par). Optical RF focus is not critical to me.

The camera is small but dense, handles well, produces excellent files even to iso 3200-6400 and works nicely with my small set of M lenses. I use it to its strengths, normal to short tele focal lengths, due to the 1.5x crop sensor. What Godfrey said re rendering like a Leica is accurate for me with my M lenses using the L-adapter.
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Old 01-01-2019   #19
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If you're willing to tolerate a cropped sensor and need to have the Leica "feel" then buy an M8.
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Old 01-01-2019   #20
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Yes, a Leica M8 would be a good inexpensive test to see if the "real" Leica rangefinder experience is what you like. The sensor has a 1.33x crop factor rather than the 1.5 or so for the CL but still gives you a feel for that side of the experience as well! Many users admire the "look" of its CCD sensor, and the 10Mpx is "adequate".
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Old 01-01-2019   #21
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If you're willing to tolerate a cropped sensor and need to have the Leica "feel" then buy an M8.
A cropped sensor is no big deal. Just pick a 40mm to use as a 50mm.
If one is crazy about ultra wides, a cropped sensor may give some grief otherwise it´s just math.
What matters is the image, your vision translated to picture, If it´s made w/ a 35mm or a 28mm, does it really matter?
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Old 01-01-2019   #22
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For almost 3K...you better really like it..as there are so many less expensive options..
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Old 01-01-2019   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
Hi all--

...

I have been eyeing the CL, and seeing some wonderful results from it (Sara M Lee's "Tender are the Nighthawks" series is stunning), but the only question I have is this: If I mount a manual focus lens on it, will it feel like a "real" Leica? Will buying into a CL system mean that I am missing out on what makes a Leica special?

This question is about as subjective as they come, and there is probably no simple answer. But I thought it couldn't hurt to ask!

....
First of all I don't own a CL. But I have considered buying one as I like the size being very pocketable with the right lense. Since I prefer the 35mm focal length my thoughts if I were to buy the CL, I would start with the Leica Summicron-TL 23mm f/2 ASPH. I think that would be the perfect kit. Unobstrusive and quiet.
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Old 01-02-2019   #24
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I have been using M cameras since 1976. Yes, my CL feels like a "real Leica" with M lenses, but an EVF, good as it is, is quite different from a Rangefinder-Viewfinder. For me no problem at all, but that is a personal matter of preferences.

The cropped sensor argument is neither here nor there IMO. I have never seen anybody able to display "better" photographs based on sensor size.
24x36 is no full frame, it is as much a miniature format as APS. Full Frame is a camera that is used for contact prints. Like an 18x24 view camera.

The whole term is an invention by Canon Marketing when they brought out the 1D. Nothing more...

https://petapixel.com/2017/10/03/ful...ll-difference/
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Old 01-02-2019   #25
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The cropped sensor argumenty is neither here nor there IMO. I have never seen anybody able to display "better" photographs based on sensor size.
The crop sensor is clearly "here or there" for manual focus lens selection.
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Old 01-02-2019   #26
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Someone lend it to me one for one day. A fantastic camera with a Leica feel, at least as far as luxury is concerned. If you have M-lenses and do not mind buying the M-adapter for an extra $ 395, perhaps a rangefinder alternative for you. Not for me: I have a few rangefinders and too many digital cameras as we speak. This said, I agree with jaapv...the crop/sensor size does not stand in the way of making good pictures.
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Old 01-02-2019   #27
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Quote:
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I have been using M cameras since 1976. Yes, my CL feels like a "real Leica" with M lenses, but an EVF, good as it is, is quite different from a Rangefinder-Viewfinder. For me no problem at all.
The cropped sensor argumenty is neither here nor there IMO. I have never seen anybody able to display "better" photographs based on sensor size.
Nobody told it is better photos. Some, including me, wrote it is not giving M FOV.
Honestly, then 21mm lens gives 32mm it far from good.
If your are wide in vision, crop sensor is nothing good for wide M and other FF lenses.
If you are 50mm and tele then crop is fine.
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Old 01-02-2019   #28
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My big surprise in this thread is that there are so many different views on what makes a "real" Leica.

For what it's worth, I'm pretty agnostic when it comes to VF. If the EVF refreshes quickly enough that I can snag a split-second expression, then it's good enough for me. I'm in my early 30s and I grew up looking at screens, so an EVF doesn't bother me. Besides, if I want a magical viewfinder experience, I'll just break out my Rollei! Nothing like it.

As for the FOV issue with APS-C sensors, I'm mostly a 50mm+ kind of guy, and rarely need something wider. Have been using an X100F for about a year, and most of the reason I started looking for a new camera was because the 35mm equiv lens on that camera feels too wide for the way I see.

I am also coming at this decision from an unusual position, at least for this forum: I currently own no M-mount lenses.
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Old 01-02-2019   #29
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I own and use a M7 and a M8. Love them. But my CL with tl 18 and 23mm ln addition to
my M and Nikon lens is by far my preference. Really prefer the EVF. Waiting availability of
tl 55-135. Have used CL for almost a year.
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Old 01-02-2019   #30
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The real Feel comes from looking at the VF(whatever VF, optical, electronic, plastic, german, chinese, japanese, portuguese..) and taking the shot.

it´s all that matters.
Anything else is baloney.


PS: but the best feel of all comes from developing your film and printing your pictures.
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Old 01-02-2019   #31
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The crop sensor is clearly "here or there" for manual focus lens selection.
Only if you are hung up by numbers. The field of view is what you make of it by your own framing - the angle of view depends. And if you want to go wide - does 15 mm equivalent suffice? - There is a very nice Voigtländer 10 mm.
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Old 01-02-2019   #32
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My big surprise in this thread is that there are so many different views on what makes a "real" Leica.

For what it's worth, I'm pretty agnostic when it comes to VF. If the EVF refreshes quickly enough that I can snag a split-second expression, then it's good enough for me. I'm in my early 30s and I grew up looking at screens, so an EVF doesn't bother me. Besides, if I want a magical viewfinder experience, I'll just break out my Rollei! Nothing like it.

As for the FOV issue with APS-C sensors, I'm mostly a 50mm+ kind of guy, and rarely need something wider. Have been using an X100F for about a year, and most of the reason I started looking for a new camera was because the 35mm equiv lens on that camera feels too wide for the way I see.

I am also coming at this decision from an unusual position, at least for this forum: I currently own no M-mount lenses.
The EVF is close to the SL one which is arguably the best on the market. Yes, you can catch any impression in good light
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Old 01-02-2019   #33
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The CL is a digital camera with built in obsolescence..
A new model all the time, battery availability another means,
of killing a model. If your income has no problem with digital Leica prices, go for a full frame Leica..An M.
Lenses will be what designed for..
Film is alive and well and very competitive..
I love the slowness (no longer doing pro assignments),
the tactile feel of holding an image..
Only you the buyer can decide what you should do!
I have looked at the 28mm 1.7 summilux camera,
that never opens aperture more than f2.4 ?..
A cropped image at higher views..
The CL can never be a Barnack!
Those old cameras are unique and all the mods cannot compare!
I have used them, the results very interesting with old lenses..
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Old 01-02-2019   #34
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Nobody told it is better photos. Some, including me, wrote it is not giving M FOV.
Honestly, then 21mm lens gives 32mm it far from good.
If your are wide in vision, crop sensor is nothing good for wide M and other FF lenses.
If you are 50mm and tele then crop is fine.
Please define "far from good".
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Old 01-02-2019   #35
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Honestly, then 21mm lens gives 32mm it far from good.
Because...?

This is myth. If there is any difference is in more depth of field and if you are shooting a 21mm you don´t want less depth of field.
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Old 01-02-2019   #36
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The CL can never be a Barnack!
Those old cameras are unique and all the mods cannot compare!
I have used them, the results very interesting with old lenses..
The more people buying expensive cameras for bad reasons.. the more pristine good cameras on the used market.

Yeah: buy a Leica M10, ME, MP, MA!!!
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Old 01-02-2019   #37
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Only if you are hung up by numbers. The field of view is what you make of it by your own framing - the angle of view depends. And if you want to go wide - does 15 mm equivalent suffice? - There is a very nice Voigtländer 10 mm.
NOt to mention a cropped angle gives usually the best sharpness of any lens.

Otoh.. the more baloney around the M8, the cheaper it becomes. More power to shooters.
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Old 01-02-2019   #38
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All of this hardware talk doesn't mean a thing. What matters is what you have captured...either with film, or digital, with a cropped or full frame sensor, or with a phone.
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Old 01-02-2019   #39
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Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
All of this hardware talk doesn't mean a thing. What matters is what you have captured...either with film, or digital, with a cropped or full frame sensor, or with a phone.
This ^^^^^^^^^
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Old 01-02-2019   #40
ptpdprinter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
A fantastic camera with a Leica feel, at least as far as luxury is concerned.
And it has a red dot.
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