Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/09/04

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Subject: Re: [Leica] lower classes don't use leicas?
From: Tarek Charara <>
Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2001 15:22:29 +0200

le 04.09.2001 14:06, Mxsmanic à a écrit :

> Tarek writes:
>> In my experience, errors came when I didn't
>> control what I was doing.
> With a manual camera, that is the only possibility.  The fact remains,
> however,
> that making manual adjustments typically requires more time than having them
> made automatically in a fraction of a second by a computer within the camera.

My experience also goes for automatic cameras.

>> Anything automatic (Exposure or focusing) is only
>> reliable to a certain extent. AF and AE can be
>> fooled.
> Yes, but I find that AF and AE on a good camera are accurate at least 99% of
> the
> time, and it is difficult to match that accuracy with any manual camera.

99% Wow! Fantastic. Great. I think it's more a 80/20 ratio.

>> There is no way around knowing your camera and
>> meter (tools). There is no way around practice. And
>> no way around learning from your errors.
> None of these with provide you with the requisite speed in many limiting
> situations.  That is why automatic SLRs are more frequently used for many
> types
> (all types?) of professional photography than manual rangefinders.

BS. My Arca Swiss is not even a rangefinder and it's a damn good
professional camera.

>> As for the limited conditions under which a
>> Leica can take photos... Sorry, but you'll have
>> to be more precise on that one.
> As precise as Leica's criteria for determining what makes a photographer
> professional, you mean?
> But since I am willing and able to answer questions, I shall do so here.  If I
> want to shoot at f/2.8 in bright sunlight with Tri-X, I cannot do so with a
> Leica M camera, as it does not provide shutter speeds beyond 1/1000 second.  I
> can do so with an F5, however, since it provides speeds as high as 1/8000
> second.

You'll need a 1/16000 of a second to shoot at 2.8 with Tri-X rated at
400ISO, but then again maybe you're rating it at 200ISO. In my original post
I suggested a ND filter...

> If I want to shoot racing cars coming towards me using a 90-mm lens, I cannot
> follow focus accurately or quickly enough to do so with a Leica M, but I can
> easily set an F5 to do this automatically, and it is very accurate.
> Many other examples could be provided.

Spare your energy. I'm not specialised in racing cars, so I don't know. I
did some high speed shooting with both the M and the R - no problems. But I
didn't do any racing cars. I wonder how they used to do it before F5's came
out? Huh? Hey Anthony, how did they do it before?

>> Shutterspeeds are not a real problem unless you
>> have the wrong film in your camera (nothing a ND
>> filter won't solve), what else?
> I cannot change film mid-roll.  Sometimes you must take pictures with what you
> have.

Rewind and put in another roll. Or are you trying to tell me that you are so
broke you can't afford to do that?

>> lenses?
> Leica lenses are excellent overall, although they are not AF, which can be a
> limitation in some situations.

Like when you're tired of focusing? In my career I haven't encountered many
situations like that.

>> As to the lack of speedy service, the Atelier
>> 102 is pretty speedy.
> Pretty speedy to me means within a few hours.  How fast is Atelier 102?

Speedy to me means they get the camera repaired before my next assignment,
they always did. And besides I have more than one spare camera.

>> As to deadlines, any camera that breaks down
>> will delay you.
> Yes, but a camera that is broken for several weeks at a time will put me out
> of
> business.
>> It's always better to have a spare body at hand.
> It's better still to have ten spare bodies on hand.

If you can afford them and can carry them why not. IMHO that's a stupid
statement, you can do better than that.

> But spare bodies are
> expensive, and thus not always cost-effective.  It can cost less to buy a
> camera with a good service network behind it than to buy several identical
> cameras just in case one breaks.

I guess you still don't get it... I don't buy identical cameras ONLY because
one could break. I actually use them. Sometimes I go around with 3 bodies,
same film different lenses. Or a B&W/colour combo, or...

>> It's a wonderful tool for travel photography,
>> indoor portraits, any kind of journalistic work
>> (I've seen M6 bodies that still worked after
>> losing the viewfinder glass!), involving HUGE
>> time constraints.
> Not if it breaks.

Wow! This one really made me laugh! Yo! Any broken camera is worth zilch.
You could have a super-duper N***n F5, once it's broken....

> And not for some types of journalistic work--such as sports
> photography.  I don't think there are too many photographers shooting road
> races with 400-mm lenses using Leica M rangefinders.

Probably not, although you could. Again it's a tool and you buy a tool
according to the use you have for it.

>> I happen to feel at ease with the Leica M system
>> and use it most of the time, to make money and
>> for my pleasure.
> If it works for you, fine.  But an assertion that it must be suitable for
> everyone, all the time just because you manage to get by with it does not
> logically follow.  The original point here was that Leica service is too slow
> for many professionals, and that appears to be true, at least in some markets.

The original point was answering your statements and giving you my point of
view. I never suggested that it must be suitable for everyone. That's your
way of doing things. How often have you sollicited the Leica Professional
Service in France?

>> Lot's of people thought that buying a Macintosh
>> would simply eliminate a professional layouter
>> or art director...
> For many applications, it has, and so they were right.

Shame on you, the point was in the rest of my phrase: It's not the tool that
counts, but the person that's handling the tool. Being un-experienced or
un-creative is hardly compensated by a tool. Here I don't know of any
application where it has.

Replies: Reply from "Mxsmanic" <> (Re: [Leica] lower classes don't use leicas?)