Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2010/09/15

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Subject: [Leica] Format output obviousness
From: jhnichols at (Jim Nichols)
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 10:59:37 -0500
References: <>

Hi Larry,

Maybe its just our experiences as old-timers, but I tend to agree with your 
conclusions.  I jumped from shooting film in a Leica IIIf/Summitar and Exa 
to shooting digital with an E-510 and E-1.  I bought some used Leica-R 
lenses and adapters, and a Pentax adapter, so I could continue to use glass 
with which I was familiar.  I now find that the autofocus capability and 
quality of the Zuiko Digital 14-54 and 35/3.5 Macro make these my lenses of 
choices for most work.  I can see differences between the images produced by 
M9 users and the ones that I feel are my best, but, for me, that does not 
justify the investment in the latest Leica equipment.  Oly 4/3 gear works 
just fine for my needs.

Jim Nichols
Tullahoma, TN USA
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lawrence Zeitlin" <lrzeitlin at>
To: "Leica LUG" <lug at>
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Format output obviousness

> Richard writes:
> You tell that to Michael Reichmann. He said, in "Luminous Landscape":
> "At one point I found myself looking at raw files on-screen and not being
> sure if I was looking at Hasselblad P45+ files or Canon G10 files. That
> includes at 100% onscreen enlargements."
> In (a test) case no one could reliably tell the difference between 13X19"
> prints shot with the $40,000 Hasselblad and Phase One 39 Megapixel back, 
> and
> the new $500 Canon G10. In the end no one got more than 60% right, and
> overall the split was about 50 / 50, with no clear differentiator. In 
> other
> words, no better than chance.
> - - - - -
> I think the key point of Reichmann's "Luminous Landscape" article is in 
> one
> of the last paragraphs. He says:
> "Please don't write to me asking whether I think camera X or Y is as good 
> as
> the G10, or better than it, or how any of these might compare to a
> Hasselblad or Phase back. That's not what this is about. The point of all 
> of
> this is simple. As the industry matures the low end is improving rapidly
> while the high end's improvements are slowing down. This is narrowing the
> gap, and that's good news for all of us. Don't read too much more into it
> than that."
> It is quite possible that Olympus misread the public desire for a 4/3 DSLR
> format camera. I bought one of the first, an E-500. It was significantly
> larger than my Oly SLR OM1 and OM2 SLR cameras and, to my mind, less
> convenient to use. I was seduced by the fact that my excellent Oly film
> lenses could be mounted. They could, but shooting with them was a 20 year
> regression in convenience. And I agree that the E-5 may be the last full
> sized DSLR for Olympus. It is almost as big, heavy and expensive as its 
> full
> frame competitors. But the micro 4/3 format (and other sub full frame
> formats like the APC) have a lot of life left. I long for a 4/3 format
> camera with the size, handling ease and built in eye level viewfinder of 
> the
> old film Pen F, not the Mickey Mouse EP-1s that have stolen the name.
> Remember that Leica was derided as not offering the same image quality as
> its 6x6 and 6x9 cm. competitors until improvements in film and lens 
> quality
> made the difference too small to matter practically.
> I don't thing that anyone on the LUG maintains that the 4/3 format is the
> technical equivalent of full frame nor that P&S cameras like the D90 and 
> G11
> are suitable for truly professional work. But the smaller formats are
> adequate for most photographic needs of many on the list. Certainly they 
> are
> for me. These days I rarely print larger than 8x10". For those pictures 
> just
> about any modern digital camera that I can fit in my pocket is adequate. I
> find that if I compose carefully, my 4/3 camera will produce the few good
> quality 16x20" prints that I submit to regional photo shows. Some have 
> even
> won prizes. Sure, I wish I had an M9 but it would be a very expensive
> overkill for 95% of the pictures that I take these days. If I ever had a
> need to produce super quality pictures, I would pull out my 50 year old M3
> and go back to antiquated wet chemistry.
> When I was a car crazed teen ager the prevailing wisdom was "there is no
> substitute for cubic inches." Similarly, all things being equal, there is 
> no
> substitute for larger sensor size. But all things aren't always equal.
> Sometimes adequate is good enough.
> Larry Z
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

In reply to: Message from lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin) ([Leica] Format output obviousness)