Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/05/03

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Subject: Re: [Leica] It's the lens, stupid.
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 12:55:16 -0500

At 09:10 AM 5/3/99 -0700, you wrote:
>I'm glad Leica is putting their money where their glass is and as you
>say "where the tire hits the road" instead of in the AF tidal wave. But
>it's only us quirky connoisseurs that appreciate that.

Actually, I think AF is great. When you need it, there's no substitute. But 
that's actually a much more limited role than many people seem to think. I 
can shoot baseball as fast as an AF camera can. Just give me a couple big 
lenses I can point at 2nd and 3rd bases (if I ever get a job at a big paper 
I'll do it!) with foot switches. No need to focus at all! :-)

Go to a track meet, and AF really shines. Just try to follow focus a long 
jumper with an MF camera and try to take on a Nikon F5 with the AF-S 80-200 
2.8. No competition. The F5 will win every time. Unless the photographer is 
very lucky. Or a focusing genius. I am neither. Though I can always come 
back with the goods. Last time I didn't was the very first volleyball game 
I shot ever in my life back in 1988. October, I think.

Leica is going to have an AF SLR. In a couple years it looks like. I'm all 
for it. As long as I can use my older lenses on it. Change the mount? I'm 
back to Canon in a wink. Or Nikon, if they smarten up between now and then. 
But I'll always keep my 70-180 2.8 Vario Apo and My M6 system. (They 
literally don't have any competition, at this point).

But what makes Leica stand out is they weren't willing to cheapen the build 
of their lenses just so they could have AF. They did not compromise 
centering of lens elements - which means major quality advantages for them. 
I'm all for that kind of thinking. AF is not a fad. But it's also not a 

Eric Welch
St. Joseph, MO

He who laughs last thinks slowest!