Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/10/09

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Subject: Re: [Leica] M's and flash
From: Alexey Merz <>
Date: Fri, 09 Oct 1998 14:04:07 +0100

JG wrote:
>>Slight correction on what I wrote:
>>They were also shooting B&W. Color has put new demands and strobe is on=
>>of the requirements as part of the process.
>>Should and now reads:
>>They were also shooting B&W. Color has put new demands and strobe is MO=
>>OFTEN THAN NOT one of the requirements as part of the process.>>>>>>>

Ted replied:
>Naw, although you changed your wording mine stands regarding light. :)  =
>photojournalist who understands light shoots colour the same as B&W.
>Actually shooting B&W is more difficult, as you only have 2 things going
>for you: " Light and Content!"  You don't have colours to take up the sl=
>if you haven't made a good photograph. :)
>Sorry my friend it isn't the flash that motivates you to take pictures,
>it's the light on the subject. Yes and there are some guys that are
>magicians with flash fill and you don't know it's been done. However, th=
>are few and far between.

I think that this discussion on flash, which originated with an=20
equpipment discussion, has gotten really interesting. Maybe a good
argument for the equipment talk - it sometimes transmogrifies into
real conversations about real photographic (artistic) questions.

In reply to both of the above comments, I would point to the work of
William Albert Allard. Now, I should put my colors on my sleeve from
the beginning. I think this guy does absolutely brilliant work. And
his work is particularly germaine to this discussion because: (1) he
is a Leica (R & M) user; (2) he shoots color exclusively, mainly=20
Kodachrome; (3) he is renowned for working in very marginal light;=20
and (4) he mostly works in available light (and is reputed to own
summicron, summilux, AND noctilux 50's for his M), but he has also
done a lot of *very* good location work with strobes. A number of=20
Allard's most effective pictures combine longish exposures in ambient
light with minor flash illumination to partially freeze action.=20
While such pictures can sometimes be gimmicky, many times they=20
convey a mood and a sense of movement that can be obtained using=20
no other technique.=20

Allard's work provides strong examples which serve to refute both=20
the idea that flash is NECESSARY for professional color work, as=20
suggested by JG, and the idea that available light is NECESSARILY
superior to flash, which is near to (but more extreme than) the=20
notion put forward by Ted.

Now, back to the M6 TTL...=20

So is the M6 TTL a good idea? No! As so many of us have said, TTL=20
alone is not enough to justify modification - especially *any*=20
increase in size - of the M body. I will add one more vote to the
chorus asking for retention of the unmodfied M6 and the *addition*
of an electronic-shutter, polymer-frame, TTL meter and flash,=20
aperture-priority, motorized M with a hinged back. It should not
cost more than $1500 US. Oh, yeah. The M7 should have a SECOND
curtain flash sync, (the Konica Hexar does!) or - even better -
a choice between first and second curtain sync. Such a camera=20
could offer a true MF challenge to the Contax G2, while retaining
system compatibility with the existing M line.

Alexey Merz | URL: | email:
            | PGP public key: | voice:503/494-684=
            | "That pig. He eats french fries like I drink whiskey and=20
            | smoke cigarettes. I don=92t begrudge him his fries, but he=20
            | didn=92t offer to share them. It was beyond greed, the way =
            | buried his face in this little red plastic basket. It=20
            | shocked me."            =97 Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, on Clin=