Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/12

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Subject: [Leica] My last word on RF
From: Dante Stella <>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 18:34:29 -0400 (EDT)

No, I didn't post that 7-item list, and no I never said the RF was
inherently superior.

My interest in the Leica line is in optics.  I've been through the body
experience.  The essence of Leica photography (which is really no
different from any rangefinder photography - it's just that Leica is the
only line left) is being able to shoot pictures transparently, discreetly
and be able to watch the scenes as they develop.  The transparency is the
key feature.  Can you see it and then shoot it is the key question.

I didn't find the M-body experience too fun.  Underbody loading and
match-needle metering don't really do it for me.  They take away from the
fun of taking pictures.  When I want to take my time, I use a Canon P and
a digital spotmeter.  Or my Rolleiflex.  But a lot of the time using a
lever-wind camera when you have left-eye dominance is unpleasant.  I like
to load the camera with a minimum of fuss.  That's why some automation (or
some updating) would enhance things.

The Hexar attracts nothing but attacks.  They all center around "quality"
and "precision" and whatnot.  I think the attacks are partly the proximity
of the RF to Leica's signature body line, and partly due to resentment at
Leica for not coming out with it first.  When it comes down to it, as long
as full manual control is available, there is no rational argument to be
made that the availability of automation is a menace or a burden or
whatnot.  There is not much argument to be made that having a higher top
shutter speed is irrelevant or an impediment, or that it is never
necessary to synch at 1/125 of a second.  Many of these criticisms are
best addressed as sour grapes.  

Where there are tradeoff arguments to be made are in the areas of

noise vs. compact motor drive
long-term reliability of electronic vs. mechanical shutters
better wideangle sighting vs. reduced EBL.

Those are all of the tradeoffs and matters of personal preference.

I certainly never intended to do anything
that looked like a troll - someone else did that - but I do think that
energy wasted in spreading hearsay about Hexar RFs is far better directed
to Leica AG, which has managed to mate the world's premier optical line to
bodies that could use some updating, in ways (such as loading) that have
no effect on performance.  Doesn't it gall anyone that Leica's only new
body innovation this year (or the last five, for that matter) is to reduce
frame magnification and eliminate a frameline?

Personally, using a lot of old LTM lenses (selected only for their optical
signatures)  with a Hexar makes using them much more intuitive and fun.
When you can take a 1951 50/1.5 and autoexpose through it (or through a
Summar, for that matter), I think you are closer to the Barnack ideal.


Replies: Reply from Axel Schwieker <> (Re: [Leica] My last word on RF)