Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/02

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica technology, creative control
From: Alan Ball <>
Date: Thu, 02 Jul 1998 16:13:07 +0200

Eric Welch wrote:
> In practice, that's not the way it works. You have to keep your mind on
> exposure, but with a Leica, it's much easier to just do it and get on. With
> the new whiz-bang cameras you're always thinking "Am I in the right mode
> for this camera? 

Funny thing with this thread is that me, as a person, I also feel more
comfortable with the 'trad' 35mm photo procedures. So it seems I'm
acting a bit like the devil's advocate. I would argue that the new
technologies allow and/or imply new interfaces and new procedures. That
there is a learning curve there as well. But at the end of the day, the
option is there to delegate a vast amount of the technical decisions to
the camera's IT system. 

I have intensively used a F90x (N90s) system during more than a year and
must admit that by leaving it on full auto mode, I had no more waste
than by using aperture priority/central or spot metering. For me, that
means the IT system is excellent. With the F5, which I have never used,
I'm ready to believe the metering/expsosure management is even better
and that the AF sensors of the F5 are ideally placed to allow the camera
to take most of the focusing decisions as well.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I recently had the opportunity to play
around with an EOS1n and 200mm EF 2.8. Please believe me if I tell you I
was really impressed by the setup: balance, finish, speed of operation,
noise level, ergonomy. That USM AF system feels like magic: it is
instantaneous and seems extremely reliable. Why frown ? Even a child can
do great pictures after 5 minutes with that setup, if he/she has the eye
for a good image. And if you have a masters in photography, you have
access to almost infinite power.

So, if you and I were not biased and "polluted" by old fashioned habits,
we might feel very secure with such systems, forget about the tech
decisions and concentrate on the main things. Which are not the tweaking
of settings. These cameras can be extremely complex to use and extremely
simple to use. Depending on the photographer's will to delegate. They
can also be used the old fashioned way. That makes their strength on the
market: zillions of features and great auto power.

If I was making a living out of 35mm photography, I would choose the
tools that are potentially the most productive. That seems to exclude
Leica. But photography is not my profession.

Now, if money was infinite, and if I could just walk in a shop and buy
any system, I would probably choose the R8 and a few lenses. But I am
biased and polluted (thanks luggers !). And money is not infinite....

Friendly regards,

> Opps, gotta change modes, oops, reach back there and
> switch focusing zones, no, that's the wrong zone, there, now you notice in
> the background something happening, and want to increase depth of field,
> move focusing point where  you want it, focus, recompose, oops, in the
> wrong mode, now have to go from manual to depth of field mode...change
> custom settings from A to B (on an F5) because focus priority isn't right
> for this kind of picture, on and on...
> Yep, that's getting technology out of the way.
> Leica.
> Meter, set exposure, recompose, focus, snap. It becomes automatic. :-)
> You can do that with the other camera, but then why bother with all those
> extra modes?
> --
> Eric Welch
> St. Joseph, MO
> I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.