Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/02/16

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Subject: Re:Canadian vs. Wetzlar
From: (Curt Miller)
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 22:12:33 -0500 (EST)

I have been reading with great delight the variety of opinions on the
qualities of Leitz lenses, glass, etc. in between the flames.  I also note,
with great happiness a tone of moderation from some of our other
members...both on the issue of flames and also on the issue of lens quality
and photography with the Leica.

My photographic experience dates to the late fifties and early sixties when,
as a kid, I began using my dad's Rollies (he had, by this time lost his IIIC
- but I still have his original manual - mint!).  Anyway, I had heard from
him all my young life, that it wasn't the camera but the photographer.
Strange, though, his choice in cameras was Leica and Rollei...and worked for

A few years ago I picked up the Leica on my own and became spellbound.  Now,
I am first and foremost a photographer and I pride myself on constantly
trying to improve my level of craftsmanship in the art.  Whether it is to
the quality of the Leica that I can attribute an improvement in my 35mm
work, or not, I can't say.  But my work has improved.  Perhaps the pride and
craftsmanship with which these jewels are made somehow causes me to create
more carefully, more deliberatively...again, it's hard to say.  But one
thing I will say is that I am totally unconvinced of any objective or
subjective quality difference between Canadian made products and those from
Wetzlar.  I own both M-4 and M-4-2 and 50mm Summicrons from Wetzlar and Midland.

I was studying the detail in some 11X14s (400 ASA TMY) from my M-4-2 and
Midland 50 before writing this (and after considering all the claims made in
the group - pro and con).  While it's tough to say the Leica enlargements
stand up to my 11X14s from my Hasselblad with T-Max 100, they certainly are anyone's standards.  Not only is the datail fine but it is
visible in the deepest shadows.  The highlights glow and show marvelous
separation.  And I'm somewhat of a Zone system perfectionist.

My thoughts for those not having quite the same experience with (Midland)
Leitz equipment as I have had is to consider a few fine points.  Are we
making fair comparisons; are we comparing prints made from negative from
both lenses that are: 1)made on a tripod, 2)are carefully focussed and
3)painstakingly processed and 4)printed with quality optics, etc.??  I will
also add that when I compare 'snapshots' made with either I can't see any
difference either (given the same degree of processing rigor as I've
described above).  If these conditions have been met, then is it possible
that the lens was dropped, elements have loosened and it needs to be collimated?

I'm with some of the others.  I want to talk about working with and creating
beautiful photographs these wonderful instruments.  I don't mind hearing
some good dialogue about lenses, but I don't enjoy the noise.  And, if
anyone has any Canadian stuff with which they wish to part...