Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/05/10

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Subject: [Leica] digital camera question (Long)
From: datamaster at (Gary Todoroff)
Date: Tue May 10 09:47:00 2005

I've mentioned it before, but the Olympus C-8080 with 28-140mm equiv zoom
has been a very "M-Leica-like" camera for me. The f2.8 lens at 28mm is fast
for digital and the shutter lag is acceptable, except in low light (set it
to manual focus then). The quality and sharpness of the lens are remarkable.
I have also used the wide angle supplementary lens. The tail is wagging the
dog with that huge piece of glass added on in front, but the 22mm equiv
results are stunning (and no f-stop loss). The 8 megapixel image makes great
enlargements, too.

Wish list for a "C-8181" upgrade to the 8080 would be - proper manual focus
at infinity, faster write times to the card for RAW and Tiff files, a true
optical finder (altho you get used to the high-rez eye-finder pretty
quickly), power-off button that isn't so easy to hit accidentally, a
twistable LCD monitor so you could do waist level portrait orientation shots
(landscape orientation works great with the tiltable LCD monitor - it's
amazing how often I use that feature like a TLR set on the ground or high
overhead), faster auto-focus (it's not a camera for shooting sports), manual
zoom-ring and manual focus-ring override.

I much prefer the "rangefinder" feel of the C-8080 to any D-SLR I've tried
(have always shot Leica M's ten-to-one over my Leica SLR's, so am biased
there from the beginning). It handles solid and fast, there is no mirror
blackout or noise, and, unlike a D-SLR, you can use the LCD for composing,
not just reviewing the shot. The Olympus even comes with a cool lens hood
that differentiates this camera from the rest of the P&S digital crowd. At
about $700, most folks would not consider the 8080 a "professional" camera,
but my clients have appreciatively paid for it many times over in six months
of use.

Bill - just consider the 29-140mm lens capability a bonus. Now if Leica
would just study the C-8080 and add the above features, we would have a
perfect digital M8!

Actually, I wish Leica would take a long, hard look at this Olympus camera.
Leica cameras have been an integral part of my photography over many years
because they have met the need. Other cameras are meeting the need better
now - the creative capabilities in some of these new digital boxes is
astounding. Leica had better get back in the game soon. Nostalgia is a great
emotion sometimes captured in photographs, but nostalgia only sells cameras
to a steadily diminishing group of photographers.

Leica has virtually ignored the creative advances made possible by the
latest photographic tools or, at best, just doesn't seem to have
comprehended the faster timeline of the digital marketplace. Imagine a
digital Leica with rangefinder-like capabilities, the main removable lens
being a 28-140mm zoom, the ability to interchange prime lenses for super
wide angle, plus all the advantages of digital -- histograms, white-balance,
bracketing, flexible LCD finder, variable ISO, instant photo review, etc.
They imagined the 35mm "Leica I" when everyone else was shooting 4x5's.
Where is the forward and imaginative thinking at Leica nowadays?

Gary Todoroff
(Tree LUGger)

Ladies/ Gentlemen:

What's the best compact digital camera w/ a fixed wide angle (28mm or under
35mm equiv.) lens w/ a color/ B+W combination capability?


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In reply to: Message from wrs111445 at (Bill Smith) ([Leica] digital camera question)