Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/07/26

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Subject: [Leica] Leica craft and digital
From: Robert Appleby <>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 21:02:47 +0200

Like everyone else I've been following the digital/emulsion threads here,
with arguments about the relative merits of digital and emulsion based
printing and cameras. My take on it - I know you've been waiting for this -
goes back to my decision to use Leica in the first place. I was considering
medium format for image quality some time back, but in the end stayed with
the 35mm format simply because in use it's so much more flexible than MF.
And similarly when digital cameras offer me what my M's offer me now, I'll
go to digital.
For me those qualities are (in no particular order):

* good depth of field in low light
* low light focus capability that I can totally rely on and control
* small size
* robustness
* cheap, small size, readily available media with sufficient storage
capacity to not need changing every 12 shots
* no battery worries
* good fast optics
* sufficient resolution to do a double-page spread or a nice 10x15" print.

The craft of photography doesn't interest me much - in fact, I'm not a
photographer in the way Mark Rabiner, for instance, seems to be. I used to
like fiddling about in the darkroom, but I shoot slide now anyway. What
does interest me is being able to take pictures that have a certain impact,
and I don't believe that the negative size/resolution makes much difference
in that area (beyond a certain point). I also need a camera that will meet
the above set of criteria. I'm sure digital will do it within ten years,
probably much sooner. At that point I'll be only too happy to junk my M's,
with all the problems of sorting, captioning, storing, scanning etc.
slides. No doubt I'll miss the chunky feel of the M, but no doubt there'll
be digital cameras that also satisfy this need, which I think a lot of
people feel. Or maybe I'll be able to get it converted.

I quite sympathise with Erwin and other people's feelings about the
uniqueness of film and manual cameras, but for me it's a practical matter,
and I think the technical limitations of digital that hold people back now
will soon be overcome. 

What I _will_ say, is that for me at the moment the M6 is the camera that
fulfills all the criteria listed above. But its days are numbered.

Robert Appleby
V. Bellentani 36
41100 MO
tel. (+39) 059 303436
mob. (+39) 0348 336 7990