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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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Lens Rental - Hooray!!
Old 02-05-2016   #1
Bill Pierce
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Lens Rental - Hooray!!

There are a few photo oriented websites that I visit every morning with my first cup of coffee. Most of them have new posts every day. One doesn’t. That’s the Lens Rental site. But when they do post every few days get ready for an intelligent, fact filled piece by someone who really knows what he is talking about. Here is today’s entry. Read it and you will realize why I think the site is unique and valuable.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016...lity-assurance
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Old 02-05-2016   #2
Oscuro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
There are a few photo oriented websites that I visit every morning with my first cup of coffee.-...-Read it and you will realize why I think the site is unique and valuable. http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016...lity-assurance
Dear Bill,

I'm printing this out and putting it in my camera bag for those "why are you shooting that lens? The XYZ is so much better..." occasions.

At well past 60 I'm no Susan Sarandon but I have always suspected that someone bragging about a particular brand/lens/stock/sensor (and always by the stronger sex), is a version of "would you like to see my etchings?"

Cheers,

Mme. O.
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Old 02-05-2016   #3
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I second Lens Rentals Blog as site where intelligence informs the postings without fear or favour and recognises the biases end users bring to the table.
It is worth looking at the rental pages as well if you are considering buying a lens or particular focal length as the footnote commentary can be very succinct on the merits, or otherwise.
No affiliation - I wish there were!!
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Old 02-05-2016   #4
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Over the years I have tested lenses by seeing if they will mount on my camera. If they do then I am all set. So far 100%.
(Laughter) Join the club, dearie. I suspect that most of us, unless there is a problem that becomes apparent, use this method. ❤️

Warmest,

Mme. O.
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Old 02-05-2016   #5
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100% with you Bill. Intelligent, thoughtful, geeky, funny. And useful. And some nice historical pieces from time to time by Roger.

Kirk
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Old 02-06-2016   #6
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If one knows the complete story about Lens Rentals, one's admiration for Roger Cicala increases exponentially above it already high perch.

Lens Rental deserves every word of praise ever written about it.
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Old 02-06-2016   #7
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The Lens Rental blog is best understood as the successor to the work of the late, great Norman Goldberg, who pioneered teardown analysis and thoughtful, informed commentary on design and manufacturing issues in his column and test reports for Popular Photography. I mean that as the highest possible praise. Although many on the discussion boards today won't be familiar with Norm Goldberg and his work, our host Bill Pierce will know it well. I still remember the user report he wrote as a companion to Goldberg's teardown on the Leica M4-2.

There was nothing else like it for many years after Goldberg retired from POP. Many thanks to Roger Cicala and colleagues for stepping up to fill that role once more, and for doing it so well.
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Old 02-06-2016   #8
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willie 901--what IS the complete story behind lens rental? I'd love to know--those folks are simply great. Thanks!
Paul
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Old 02-06-2016   #9
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Roger was a dr. Needed some gear for a trip, couldn't get it, lensrentals was born... a lot of my friends work there... all good staff, nice guys
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Old 02-06-2016   #10
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very interesting... thanks for posting the link...
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Old 02-06-2016   #11
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Thanks for mentioning Norm Goldberg. Cicala and cohorts dismantle lenses and report what they find like Norm did, but no one, and I mean no one takes cameras apart to appraise the engineering and construction quality any more.
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Old 02-06-2016   #12
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Originally Posted by nikonosguy View Post
a lot of my friends work there... all good staff, nice guys
If my friends were working there, I would call them "nice guys"

I like the Lensrental blog. He gives a lot of insight in lenses and lens manufacturing. I found this last blog interesting as it shows some of the difficulties in lens designing a lot of folk don't know or don't think about.

What kind of dr. was he? A medical or another kind? As he shows engineering knowledge in his blogs.
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Old 02-07-2016   #13
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willie 901--what IS the complete story behind lens rental? I'd love to know--those folks are simply great. Thanks!
Paul
All I am prepared to say is any reasonable person should admire what Roger has accomplished.
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Old 02-07-2016   #14
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So does that explain why lensrentals is the only rental house that has consistently disappointed me ?
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Old 02-07-2016   #15
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All I am prepared to say is any reasonable person should admire what Roger has accomplished.
Might be true, but I can't validate that bold statement. And I still don't know what kind of doctor he is
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Old 02-07-2016   #16
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And I still don't know what kind of doctor he is
Roger is a physician with a specialty in anesthesiology and pain management. Not sure he's practicing any longer, though.
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Old 02-07-2016   #17
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but no one, and I mean no one takes cameras apart to appraise the engineering and construction quality any more.
Probably because by the time you have done it there is a new model out, the pace of digital has largely replace the need for construction quality, honorable exceptions for the flagship pro bodies from the big two, and hopefully the D500
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Old 02-07-2016   #18
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Roger is simply the best independant lens tester today. There is still much I'd like to know from him, as he often stops at F/2!

But he shown the emperor Sony as a lens maker without clothes, or consistent quality. It seems this article is to explain how such a thing can happen.

TY Bill for the link
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Old 02-07-2016   #19
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He's not practicing anymore.

They have a great staff
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