Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1995/07/30

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To: (Leica Newsgroup)
Subject: Leica vs. SLR's
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 1995 23:50:52 -0400 (EDT)

Hi Group -

	An update of my original post:

	July 29th:
	Earlier today I responded to the question of Leica vs. SLR's
	in the leica_users group and reading a number of posts in this
	group, I thought it might be of interest here also.

	The original question (from I don't remember who, sorry)

> >Does anyone have an opinion of buying a Leica M6 vs Nikon SLR such as
> >FM2n?  Thinking of optics, durability, reliability, quality of photos
> >taken, etc.  Thanks.>

Gang Huang's Response:	(From:

> None of the above is significant enough to be the basis of choosing one over
> the other. It really depends on what type of photography you intend to do.

To this added my $0.02 worth (edited slightly here):

	REMARK: 25-30 years ago I used a couple of original
	Nikon F's and five assorted lenses. I recently re-discovered
	photography and so set out about getting back in. Because of
	lack of use, the old Nikons have problems which are expensive
	to cure and so I looked into what's out there now.
	I re-discovered Nikon (because of all the lenses I have)
	and also the Leica, a camera I dreamed about back then.
	That was two months ago. Now I've shot about 20-25 rolls
	of film here and abroad with them.

+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+

	Hi -

	Gang Huang's response was perfect, albeit incomplete.

	I faced the same question as that asked originally. I
	ended up buying both M6 and N90s.

	In my case, I've discovered the following features related to
	each system:

		M6			    SLR System (Nikon N90s)
	^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^	^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

	Permits quiet, unobtrusive	tssk...tssk...KLUNK...whirr
	picture taking.

	Pictures incredibly sharp	Picture quality depends
	excellent contrast		on lens. Some lenses superb.
	Lenses feel nice to operate	as good as Leica's. Others OK.

	Very limited lens selection	Incredible range of lenses
	No zooms. 7 lenses:		to choose from. Ultra-wide angle
	21mm-135mm that's it,		to long_telephotos. PC-control
	but the most important		Macro; Micro; Slide copy...
	focal lengths are there

	Viewfinder for people with	N90s viewfinder superb even for
	glasses is LOUSY (rotten)	people with glasses

	Focusing easy, sharp		Autofocus quite good, smart,
	but you've got to do		fast. But sometimes not critically
	everything - fast		focused.
	(** See Note at bottom)

	Requires lots of practice	Autofocus/Auto-exposure is
	or pre-setting camera to	is incredibly good and fast.
	capture "the moment"
	(** See Note at bottom)

	Price outrageous (3*SLR)	Price not too bad (=Leica/3)

	Resale value usually high	Resale value so-so

	Metal construction		Lots of plastic

	Exposures > 1 sec requires	long exposures, no problem
	cable release

	Use of filters difficult	Use of filters a snap
					(Exposure compensated, etc.)

	Leica has a nice feel to it	Nikon also feels nice

	There's probably more, but the above list is what I've found
	over the past month or so.

 	The nice thing about my Nikon is that I am using lenses that
	I bought 25-30 years ago (in aperture priority mode) and
	they work just as well and are just as sharp as then
	(viz. the 105/f2.5 short tele is as nice as I remember it)

+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+

	And subsequently I added the additional summary remarks:

Leica M6: A precision instrument. Can be used without batteris.
	Requires active participation by the photographer to
	get good pictures. Capable of truly superb photos but
	that requires considerable thinking, insight and/or
	experience. Even if only to obtain "good" or "OK" photos,
	requires active user thought and participation. Flash
	pictures require considerable participation by the user.

	You really have to think when using this camera. You
	can get involved with your subject. The quiet and
	silky smooth operation allow you that. I think that
	this will turn out to become my favorite 35 mm landscape
	camera and a camera for taking unobtrusive pictures of
	people, events (reasonably slow moving events).

	Each photo is a deliberate action on the photographer's part.

Nikon N90s: A well-built camera. Use requires batteries. With
	minimal participation by the user, good pictures are usually
	obtained, under a diverse range of shooting conditions.
	Using the mating flash unit guarantees properly exposed
	flash pictures every time. A cinch to operate. Just press
	the button. With thought and insight on the photographer's
	part is also capable of generating great photos (I'm
	referring here to technical matters, i.e. properly
	exposed and focused photos.)

	A photo results every time you press the button. You can
	expose a 36 exposure roll of film in about 9 seconds!

	I use this kind of camera as a "point-and-shoot" camera
	as well as a complex photo taking instrument. This is a
	great camera for taking pictures under complex lighting
	situations; Uneven illumination; sport/action photos; photos
	with un-usual lenses (really wide angle, zooms, long-telephotos,
	macro and micro work, polarizing filters, etc.)

** Note: Added July 30th:

	I just discovered the wonderful article "The Leica Mystique"
	written by Carl Weese in the July/August issue of _Darkroom
	and Creative Camera Techniques_. Weese writes that he's
	been using Leica's for ages and he nicely deals with all
	the important issues - ergonomics, Leica lenses, the mystique,
	handling and technique (focusing: faster than auto-focus?).
	I learned a lot from this article.

	Interesting quote:

	"It's not an easy camera to use well. Proficiency with it
	needs to be learned, and practiced. ... with enough practice,
	your technical success rate will exceed that of the latest
	computerized wunderplastic."

	And even better, he tells what the Leica means to him:

	"The Leica is a camera for exploring the world: for looking
	outward, not inward. It's not a tool for exploring the
	pictoral possibilities of our inner thoughts, but for
	TAKING pictures: for snatching them out of the thin
	air of experience."

	Weese is not pushing Leica sales. He has produced what I
	consider a well-written essay about manual rangefinder
	cameras and Leica's, in particular. He debunks a lot of
	Leica hype and provides good insight into this
	very different style of photography. Recommended reading.

+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+	+

	I hope that I haven't belabored the point.

	Whatever you use, remember it's not nearly as important as you.

	-- W. Sachse
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