Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/20

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica Users digest V17 #339
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 13:34:28 EDT

Leica Digilux Zoom epiphany.

I just returned from a family vacation in Scandinavia. My first act on 
returning was to cancel my appointment for a skeletal adjustment with my 
local chiropractor. For this trip I carried a Digilux Zoom as my complete 
photographic armamentarium Instead of lugging around a half dozen kilos of 
assorted Leica cameras and lenses. It was both an eye opening as well as 
spine saving experience.

In prior trips, both as a photojournalist and as a tourist, I followed the 
photographic philosophy of excellence. I took the best equipment and film my 
budget would allow, hoping for those superb pictures that would make editors 
drool, contest judges swoon, and my wife allow me to enlarge to 2 x 3 feet 
and place on the living room wall. My success ratio with the latter category 
was quite small. Most of my prints and slides ended up in shoe boxes or press 
files, to be pulled out and viewed on rare occasions. This time I was 
determined to use my camera only as an aide memoir. I took only my recently 
acquired Leica Digilux Zoom and left everything else home.

The logic was fairly straightforward. Scenes along the Norway coast had been 
oft photographed in better weather than I was apt to encounter. It was 
unlikely that I would get enough saleable pictures to pay for any reasonable 
fraction of the trip. Second, I hoped to send a lot of the photos to my 
children to show them what their mother's childhood homeland looked like. In 
the past this would have meant having a lot of 4" x 6" pics printed up at the 
local K mart. 

The Digilux Zoom filled the job nicely. In a couple of weeks I took over 600 
photos of every aspect of a trip to Iceland, Norway and Denmark. All fitted 
nicely on a few large capacity SmartMedia cards. Every night I reviewed the 
pictures of the day on the camera display and erased the dogs, regaining 
their space on the media. On my return I transfered the pictures to my iMac. 
Those that needed adjustment or cropping were massaged by Photoshop. In a few 
hours I had a complete slideshow which could be viewed on a TV screen or the 
computer monitor. The pics were burned onto CD-roms in both Mac and PC 
formats for the kids (all of whom are computer savvy).

The resulting pictures, while not up to paper print standards, are as good as 
the display media will permit. The TV images rival those of commercial 
television. The CD-rom images display clearly and sharply with no visible 
artifacts at 6" x 9" on the computer monitor. The costs were more than 
reasonable. Film and processing for the equivalent number of conventional 
pictures would have been over $300. I would have paid at least double that to 
get 5" x 7" prints to distribute. On the other hand the media costs of 
CD-roms come to less than one dollar for each 600 image disc.

Now I'm not going to say that digital photography is better than silver based 
photography for all purposes but, judging by my experience, it certainly is 
the wave of the photographic future for the consumer. I have a lot of nice 
cameras and a small fortune invested in Leica equipment but as a user I may 
have to rethink my priorities.

Larry Zeitlin