Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/02/28

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Subject: [Leica] Shootout - L vs N
From: rdcb37 at (Rick Dykstra)
Date: Mon Feb 28 02:43:27 2005

Having discovered this magical puddle on the boulder out in the forest, 
and the incredible variety of birds that are attracted to it if I top 
it up with water, I spent the weekend standing on a stool behind Leica 
and Nikon lenses.  On the Saturday I was in an Ameristep Outhouse blind 
with my head jammed up in the attic - bit hot it got, when it was 
sunny.  So on Sunday I tried without the blind - and most of the birds 
were happy to play regardless - at a distance of only 2.5 to 3 meters.

I started with the apo telyt 560/5.6 and R8 and found trying to focus 
on birds doing spins in the puddle nearly enough to give me a cerebral 
hemorrhage.  I didn't feel like I was getting many keepers so on Sunday 
I dragged out a F5 and 300 AFS, hardly used since my soccer photography 
days.  It was very good for that so maybe I should give it a go with 
'da boyds'.

That Nikon made me feel like the God of Photography, on steroids.  Damn 
this is easy.  The 300 plus a 1.4 converter -  faster than my 560 so 
more wriggle room in the changeable light.  I machine gunned a pair of 
little thornbills as they splashed water over each other.  Great fun.

So I got four rolls processed today, two from the Leica gear and two 
from the Nikon.   With the Leica I got about 5 keepers from each roll, 
vs about 8 with the Nikon, which had felt better than that.  I'd been 
using the F5 on focus priority mode and so it only fired when it was 
happy, as I was with each shot.  And it did achieve focus with each 
shot, but not necessarily on what I would have liked - the bird's eye.  
When it missed, it didn't miss by much, usually picking up the feathers 
just in front of the eye.  Whereas my misses with the Leica gear were 
usually by more.  But a miss is a miss is a miss.

Two shots stood out head and shoulders above the rest, of a White Eared 
Honeyeater and a Scarlet Robin (boy did I get a surprise when when that 
guy jumped into the viewfinder!).  And, both were taken with the Leica. 
  It was the ease of focussing anywhere on the screen that made the 
difference.  No dicking around trying to get the sensor in the right 
place.  Complete freedom with composition.  Neither shot would have 
worked with the Nikon as the sensors were not where I needed them.

So, I have a good number of very engaging and useable photos from the 
Nikon, and a couple of absolute crackers from the Leica.  Those two 
shots did feel good as I took them - I remember saying 'Yes!' under my 

The moral?  Autofocus maketh one a God - not!  :-)


Replies: Reply from telyt at (Doug Herr) ([Leica] Shootout - L vs N)