a little disappointed

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

Now, I'm gonna say this because I am new to the ranks of R8 users but did take the plunge and got a body & some used (current versions) lenses. Very exciting. Very fine camera, I like the way it gets you over the initial "My god but it is so big and so fat" and into "My god it is so big and so fat and so comfortable and easy to use!"

I did think the diopter adjustment method was a bit strange but I think I did it correctly.

I am a professional photographer and have been for 20 years. I use Canon daily for work, indoors and out. I took my Canon EOS 3 and the f2.8 / 28mm -70mm zoom and stuck it on a tripod and then put the R8 on the tripod and, using different settings on the Canon zoom and 35mm f2/ 50mm f2/ 60mm f2.8/ 90mm f2.8 on the R8, shot the same picture of flowers at f2.8, 5.6, and 11. I shot E100SW film, all on DX settings on both cameras. The Canon was set to autofocus and the R8 was focused manually with the Universal Screen. The day was overcast -natural softbox- lighting.

I just had the film processed without mounting or cutting so I could lay the results from both side by side.

I went through each frame by frame with a Schneider 4x loupe.

I have to say, if there is a difference, I can not see it.

Both rolls show wonderful sharp images with the contrast you would expect to see. The Leica was nothing special. No where was there a knock your socks off edge that looked like it could cut you, which, I must say I was kind of expecting.

Don't get me wrong, the lenses were all sharp. The colors were lovely, mostly yellows and greens with a lot of beads of water from a recent rain on the leaves.

Perhaps I was expecting too much or the wrong thing, and I understand that there could be shortcomings on my part and ability, but, dare I say it? I was surprised at , either, how good the Canon was or how "average" the Leica images were.

I have used M series equipment for quite awhile and love the system dearly. I don't feel that the R stuff measures up.

I would love to hear from anyone ( please don't seek me out and stone my house) that has done any similar "real world" testing.

Okay, I'm going to hit the Send Now button...okay here I go... okay.. or as my 10 year old son said in the movie TITANIC as it went on and on...

so sink already.

-- Robert Burgess (bobburgess@earthlink.net), June 23, 2001


Robert, I bought an R7 system and used it for a year or so before selling it. I got rid of it because I wasn't getting images consistantly any better than those taken with my Nikon SLR or my Leica M. The proof is in the pudding as they say. None of the top SLR' glass is much different these days in my opinion-all of it is very good. If your looking for a dramatic improvement in image quality, you may be better served in spending that money on a medium format camera where you will notice an improvement over any 35mm SLR because of the larger negs.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), June 24, 2001.


If you use a 4x loupe to judge then there lies your fault. A 4x loupe is like making 4x6 prints and comparing those prints!

I have done extensive testing and the Leica's put both Canon and Nikon prime lenses as well as the "pro" zooms to shame. Honest!

Thank you.

-- Mike Foster (mike567@acgecorp.com), June 24, 2001.

"I went through each frame by frame with a Schneider 4x loupe.

I have to say, if there is a difference, I can not see it. "

Yes, with it is 100% true. You will not be able to see difference with 10x loupe. It is the problem with eyes, not lens.

You need at least a good 20x loupe.

I use EMO-Weltzar Octoscope (costs of 4 corrected lens and their combination for eight selectable magnification from 2x to 28x ) and Emoscop (5x, 10x 15x 25x and 30x ) to check negatives details.

The eyes need a lot of boost, 4x is just not enough.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

Octoscop by EMO-Wetzlar, Germany

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

Seibert Emoscop

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

I usually set the Octoscop at 6x in one end and 28x at the other; I use the 6x for general viewing of negative, and turn to 28x end to check fine details of negative.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

Octoscop and Emoscop were designed by Arthur Seibert of EMO-Wetzlar. Arthur Seibert was a wizard who designed the super sharp COMPLAN lens on Minox camera-- sharper then any lenses I own, sharper then Leitz, Zeiss.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

I had the R system fior a year or so and although it was good - as you say, all modern SLR equipment is good - it wasn't anything, IMO compared to the M series lenses, especially the latest asph lenses. I suspect it's partly a matter of being able to focus so much better with the M (my problem) but nonetheless.

-- rob (rob@robertappleby.com), June 24, 2001.

The R lenses are every bit as good or better than M lenses.

The M system, however has one advantage over R: it has no mirror flip, hence less vibration. the R camera also has to close down the diaphram before trip the shutter.

To really compare, you must put a M and a R on tripod, prerelease the mirror on R and compare, not handhold.

M has another advantage over R: rapid shutter response, from pressing shutter release to shutter trip, it takes about 4-5 millisecond for M, and it takes 40 ms for R; autofcous SLR much longer.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

Most of the R lens lineup are older designs, whereas much of the M line has been updated in recent years. I can see some better wide- open performance in some of my R lenses versus some of my older manual-focus Nikkors, and against some of the consumer-level AF zooms I've tried out, but with the top-end AF Nikkors (comparable to the Canon "L" series) it's a nose-nose race. Certainly there is nothing there to entice me to pay the astronomical price of new R lenses. When you go looking at your 35mm slides and negs through 20x and higher magnification, IMO it's time to think seriously about switching to medium format.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), June 24, 2001.

I should clarify that the Leica R lenses I owned were better wide open than the comparable Nikkors-but not by much. I read at the LUG site that many of the R owners will admit the gains in optical quality over the better Nikon and Canon stuff are small and probably not reflected in the large price difference. The fact that people are saying above you need to be looking at the images with basically a microscope to tell the difference bears this out.I also could not get the same low light performance from the R camera I could from the M, due to better focus accuracy of my M3 and zero vibration from the rangefinder design. On a tripod with the mirror locked up, the 35, 50, and 90 R lenses were every bit as good as the M equivalents. But I don't shoot very often with a tripod and the mirror locked up! The fact the Leica R sales are in the dirt also says something about the image quality per dollar of the current Leica R stuff not being good enough to justify the cost difference.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), June 24, 2001.

Got rid of a complete Olympus system a couple of years ago to dive into the R. One of the lenses I had was a 90 Tamron macro that was one of the sharpest lenses I have ever worked with (and known for its sharpness). Have to admit I've not seen a great difference in my photos - sharpness wise. What I have noticed however is this: when using Olympus and M together things just looked different, especially color casts and gradation in B&W. I appreciate that now, when I use both cameras for a project, as I sometimes do, the resulting negs and chromes all look like they came from the same system of lenses.

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), June 24, 2001.

It is true the performance of R lenses is better than corresponding ones from other makes, but it is also true that the difference is not as big as the difference in price.

Manufacturers do watch one another closely like hawks, if some one has a lens tested be be better or equals to Leicas, they immediately charged the same astromomical prices.

It is akin to sportmanship, the fastest man was only split second faster than then silver medalist, but the champion got all the sponsorship .

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

June 24, 2001

Dear friends,

I do want to thank you for the rapid and interesting responses to my “disappointing” concern.

I have read them all with great interest. I feel that: 1) If I need a 20-60x microscope to see the difference in Leica vs. Canon pro lenses, then the money is too much for the Leica.

2) If I need to shoot on sticks with the mirror up to see any difference, the n the money isn’t worth it.

3) I do feel that the color I get on chrome film is stunning with this Leica glass and, perhaps, a shade better than other makes.

4) I do acknowledge the cachet of shooting with the Leica R and enjoy it. I hope this does not blind me to the truth, however.

5) The M series is still my favorite system...by far.

6) I will keep some of the R gear and sell some. I will let folks know what I will sell middle of July when I get back from a self-indulgent vacation in France in case some are interested. I will also have more to report under real conditions, as I define them.

7) I wish Leitz would decide whether or not they are going to be players in the SLR field or just come up with something to fill the gap, no better, no worse.

8) I am very lucky to have you all out there to give me such good council.

In the meantime, the glass is good the film is good, the loupes are too underpowered and I remain, the weakest link.

Good bye

Bob Burgess


-- Robert Burgess (bobburgess@earthlink.net), June 24, 2001.

Your results are probably as good a comparison as you could get but I would suggest that the Leica would only show its strength at full aperture using a 4x loupe. This is certainly so with my R4s. My brother's Canon is as good up to F3.5 but the edges go off after that compared with the 50 mm Summicron on the Leica - under an 8x loupe.

-- Anthony Brookes (gdz00@lineone.net), June 24, 2001.

Thanks for posting your web site; your pictures are terrific! You deserve the very best equipment -- whatever that is.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), June 24, 2001.

Not long ago, Popular Photography tested a Leica Summicron (Summilux ?) vs a cheapie Takumar lens. The conclusion: the 8x12" enlargements from these two lenses showed no difference.

If 4x is all you want, save your money and buy a Takumar, it is as good as Leica lens at 4x or even 8x.

You buy Leica R lenses for its reserve power, for its performance at exhibits size 16x20" or 20x 24", not for 4x or 8x.

You don't need to enlarge to 20x24" for all pictures, but when you need it, Leica will deliver.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 24, 2001.

Hi, Robert: I agree with Bill. I really enjoyed some of your pictures. The ones from Provence are special. I can understand your going back to France and hope you will take M gear with you and share the results. I also think that if you have to look at your pictures through high magnification devices in order to profit from the qualities of your lenses the money would be better expended somehow else. Unless you are a pro who doesn't want or can't use MF gear to shoot images that will get enlarged to such an extent as for making differences readily apparent.

Regards, Robert. Et bon voyage !

- Iván

-- Iván Barrientos M (ingenieria@simltda.tie.cl), June 24, 2001.

We are messing with deeply held beliefs in this thread, sacred stuff. But in 30 years in the magazine biz, half of it as a managing editor underpaying dozens of talented photographers (I'll roast in hell, for sure) I never encountered a single one who used leica R, not even the ones who were also shooting for National Geographic. I hear Salgado does, and there must be others. Maybe they're more common in Europe.

Lots of those Nikon and Canon using pros also carried Leica M's for the situations in which only an M will get the shot. But -and here my apostacy gets worse- never once in hundreds of hours locked in mortal combat with my art directors over the light tables did a Leica chrome so stand out from all the Nikon chromes that we could tell at once it must have been shot in a Leica, something the regulars here say can be discerned easily by their wives, kids and golden retrievers.

Somewhere in photo.net Phillip Greenspun opines that the chief difference between a Nikkor 180 EDIF prime and a Leica R 180 prime is the price advantage Nikon derives from economies of scale. But if the leica faithful see things in the corners I never saw before my eyes got all rheumy with age, who am I to say them nay? They have, after all, paid -bigtime- for the privelege..

-- david kelly (dmkedit@aol.com), June 25, 2001.

Hi Robert,

Perfectly sane mail, Robert, corroborated my the real life experience of most people, I'm sure.

The mirror-up, sturdy tripod, 40x enlargement, super high res film requirements set by some to allow perception of the "Leica glow" are contradictory with what 35mm photography is all about. They are at the opposite of the Leica philosophy of the origins.

Those requirements fit the bill for larger formats of film. They are necessary for those very few users who need to produce originals that will be blown up to extremely large proportions or that will need to be absolutely flawless for high end glossy type publication.

In the 35mm world these days, the Leica R system does not enjoy any objective competitive advantage.

The benchmarked optical superiority of the Leica R lenses serves no other purpose than to reassure the user that any defect in an image will solely be due to his/her technical choices.

I'm convinced that opting for Leica R is a choice in favour of a very unique photograhic experience when it comes to the picture taking process itself, more than when it comes to results.

It is a choice for mechanical over electronic, a choice of metal construction over polycarbonates, a choice of manual operation with automatism options against automatic operation with manual options, a choice of specific tactile feedback against productivity oriented handling, a choice of smoothness of operation against speed of use. I personally feel it as a choice of human control against robot perfection.

The real differenciators are not necessarily where the marketing hype say they are.

Do they justify the price differential? The answer belongs to the users, and, IMHO, it is much more affective than rational. Personally, I feel they do. I cannot find the smallest ounce of pleasure when having to handle any new generation high end SLR. But using any Leica M or R systematically brings a happy grin to my face...

-- Alan (alan.ball@yucom.be), June 25, 2001.

I don't know if it's the same with Rs as I own only Ms, but one of the things I love about Leica lenses is their consistency: M lenses with different focal lenghts (and/or) from different generations, give pictures with a same 'family' look (oof area, contrast, ...). I don't think any other current lens manufacturer has so much consistency. In fact I had very different results using different focal lenses on Canon. Some lenses were stunning while I didn't like some others, and I am talking about top quality glass here, not the cheap ones. By the way, although it's not true on all focal lengths, if you buy top Canon or Nikon lenses, a lot of them are not cheaper than the Leica ones. Some are even more expensive.

-- Xavier Colmant (xcolmant@powerir.com), June 25, 2001.

Have you tried any of the APO R lenses? The 100mm APO macro, the APO telyts in 180- the F.3.4, or the 280's? The 100mm APO macro is really worth looking at.

For me, there is something about the colors and color consistency from lens to lens with the R lenses that is wonderful, especially the APO lenses.

Glad you didn't hit any icebergs!

-- Maureen Stretch (mstretch@sprintmail.com), June 25, 2001.

I would like to add my experience to yours in upgrading to Leica-R. I purchased an R6.2 and 50/2, 28/2.8 (latest version) and 100 apo. I tested this system against my Minolta 9000 and 50/1.7, 28/2.8 and Vivitar 100/3.5 macro. Now I could go into pages of detail into my complete test, but my conclusion was that the Leica lenses were vastly superior to the Minoltas in every respect. Some people may think that the extra cost of the Leicas is not justified, but after my test I am convinced they are. I used Agfacolour 50 print film, enlarged to 7x5 inch prints and did not need a magnifying glass to come to my conclusions.

Another aspect of your test interested me - you said you tested the Canon 28-70/2.8 zoom; correct me of I'm wrong, but isn't this lens one of the most expensive and best Canon lenses?

Also; what Leica lenses did you use? It is known that some of them need updating and their performance is no better than equivalent Canon or Nikon, such as the R-24mm.

-- Simon Coates (michael@scoates.freeserve.co.uk), June 25, 2001.

There is a point that has not been brought out here but I think that it should, because it makes the difference between electronic modern SLR system and the Leica R. I always say that camera and lenses are just tools, so I compare camera systems with tools. With a £1 spanner you will tight a nut as well as using a £15 high quality spanner, do the same job a hundred times using the £1 spanner and you will end up damaging the nut or breaking the spanner. Is it worthy the difference in price?, depends on what you are looking for. If you like to change the gear every 4 years, you will be fine with any of the modern electronic high quality system (which are very good but I believe are designed to be changed every few years), but if you want to have the same system and lenses for many years then Leica could be worthwhile. Anyway, I still believe that the difference in price is too much. Leica should apply to their camera systems (M and R) the same policy that they apply to their range of binoculars or microscopes. Leica binoculars are excellent, much much better than Nikon or Canon, and as good as Zeiss or Swarovsky binoculars. Leica, Zeiss and Swarovsky have all them very similar prices and they are the best in the market with almost no difference in performance, however, why do Leica camera systems are so expensive?, I don't know.

-- Javier (j_perezbarberia@hotmail.com), June 25, 2001.


Like everyone else says a 4X loupe is really not enough to tell any differences, but I also suspect that you are expecting too much. I find that you need some time with any lens before you find out the differences betweem them and whether you like them. The wider Leica Ms are somewhat special I assume (28-21) but the others M and R are probably less so. Also remember that many Canon L lenses have very high prices too.

I have not done any tests except back in the mid '80s and perhaps the landscape is very different now. Actually, I don't think it is really except that zoom lenses improve. Back then I found that R glass was superior to Canon and Olympus and this was noticeable when at wider apertures, but over f5.6 you have a job to tell them apart. I like R because in general I know I have the best/up with the best and therefore I cannot blame my tools - also there are simply no other manual lenses that have the same standard of finish and construction as R today. It is a perennial issue this testing business but I doubt that your test is really exhaustive - I am not sure I would go with Martin's deep testing procedure, but one roll each seems not enough. As an aside I also do not rate the E100 films (including 100SW) as sharp by the way - they have very low grain, but this is not the same thing. I think you might find more differences if you tried Sensia 100 or K64. I don't use the Kodak E film for this reason.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 25, 2001.

When the Leicaflex I came out in 1965 it was technologically outdated before it hit the street. Not only was it behind Nikon,Canon,Minolta and Pentax, but also behind Topcon (who was actually #2 behind Nikon), Mamiya-Sekor, Petri, and Miranda, yet it survived the demise of all four, and survives until now, 35 years later, *still* technologically about a decade behind the rest. If there is nothing more than image holding them in the race, then the entire business world owes Leica a standing ovation.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), June 25, 2001.

Well, in my opinion "technologically behind" in camera bodies means little - most of what the many other cameras offer is of little use in photography to anyone who knows anything about it. For those who don't it can help them get shots, but we are not really talking about those people are we on this site? Also although the original Leicaflex was "behind" those afformentioned cameras because it did not have TTL metering, at least it did not require a large accessory photomic head to accomplish any kind of metering. Also, the later 1968 SL was technologically ahead of the competition at the time by offering open aperture metering which neither the Spotmatics nor Nikon F offered - this is never mentioned. Also the Leicaflexes are just beautifully constructed. I think it is a bit of a myth to go on about being the Leicaflexes being out of date - a manual camera is never out of date really, it does what it does and assumes the owner knows how to work it. Much of camera progress assumes that owners need more and more features and automation. This seems to be a fact of economics and technology (particularly software), but most of us here know that this is not really what we really need to get great images.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 25, 2001.

I'd like to back up what Allan said earlier. Just as the M is a camera requiring a different mindset than an SLR, the R requires a different mindset than other SLR's. I like my R for the same reason I like a mechanical watch over an electric, and why I keep pouring money into my Alfa Romeo instead of opting for a nice new gee-whiz car. The precision and smoothness of the lenses and body just aren't reproduced elsewhere these days (except maybe the F5). I don't need autofocus nor a gazillion auto exposure modes, and the R fits my needs perfectly.

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), June 25, 2001.

It's neither here nor there but I think that it's quite amazing for a zoom to come out so well compared to Leica primes. It's obvious that Canon has some pretty good optical engineers. It's too bad that the mechanical aspects have slipped vis-a-vis the products of the 60's & 70's. The breechlock FL & FD lenses were very well built but I think that only Leica builds anything like that today. BTW, we have a Leica microscope at work and it appears to have succumbed to polycarbonatism. Is anything else as well built as the stuff I remember?



-- Duane K (dkucheran@creo.com), June 25, 2001.

Duane, unfortunately the 'cheap' feeling you're seeing with the Canon and Nikkors comes part and parcel with the drive for everfaster A/F. The only way to get the high speed people demand with A/F is to make the parts light enough so everything moves fast. It's one of the reasons that the Contax G is slower than top class SLR A/F (though the G2 is a huge improvement). The Ziess lenses for the Contax still have a lot of metal in them. I for one will take the build quality of the Leica R lenses over A/F anyday. Hopefully my eyes will hold up long enough that I never have to change my mind.

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), June 25, 2001.

Leica binoculars are excellent, much much better than Nikon or Canon.

Poppycock. Nikon Superior E porro prisms have long blown away Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski roofs. And with the Venturer line, they make the best roofs as well. www.betterviewdesired.com

-- Mark Ciccarello (mark@ciccarello.com), June 25, 2001.

Actually Mark, I'll take you to task on this one. No where on the BVD site could I find 'real' test results, and in fact in a number of places the author states (in the test of the Swarvoski's for example), that in his OPINION the Nikon is better. Once your up in the upper ranks of optics (whether it be cameras or binoculars), opinion doesn't go very far.

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), June 25, 2001.

French photography magazine Chaseur d'Image tested eighty Nikon lenses, and put them into a binder: Nikon Lens Test Dossier

Among the 80 lenses, only 4 lenses rated five star, 36 of them 4 stars, the rest 3 star and 2 star.

The percentage of 5 star in Nikon lenses is only 6.3%

5 star + 4 star is only 50%

Leica has much higher percentage of 5 star and 4 star lenses

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2001.

Is it in the net Martin?; I have seen a page with the same test to several Nikon lenses if noy most, there are some good ones but most of them are found with diferences from one lens to another of the same design, so before you buy one of this you better try it, so there can´t be much wrote about a product that differs so; that´s a good thing about Leica lenses, you can study them even before you put your hands on one.

-- r watson (al1231234@hotmail.com), June 27, 2001.

Robert, Chassuer d'Image sells lens test reports dossiers, so they don't put them on the net.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2001.

I meant roberto

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2001.

Why 22x Loupe is great for check out lens

Popular Photography published hudreds of lens test report, each test summarized in a suject quality chart-- listing the performance of lens at different magnification from 4x to 22x from wide open aperture to smallest aperture, the best picture quality is rated as A+ with red square, followed by A, b+, B...the worst is F

At 4x colum, almsot any lens is solid red, including zoom lenses, in other words, at todays technology, almost any lens at any fstop will produce A+ quality picture-- a Leica lens is as good as a Takumar at 4x.

As magnification increases, the number of red square decreases, the first to gives are aperture at both ends, when it come to 22x no lens, including Leica achieve solid red A+ from F1.4 to f16.

For example, Canon EF 28mm/f2.8 lens at best can only get B+ grade at 20x24 or 22x magnification.

On the other hand, a Leica 35mm/1.4 got two A+ grade 20x24 and two A grade 20x24" for a total of four A+/A grade pictures.

At 22x, the quality of lens shows up clearly: Leica 35/1.4 is a grade A lens, capable of producing top A+/A grade 20x24, Canon EF 28/2.8 is a grade B lens produces lnly B+/B grade 20x24 .

That is what 20x loupe is all about

The talk about "if you need microscope to see picture quality" is pure nonsense.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2001.

I dont have the magazine at hand. Popular Photography test fifty standard 50mm/1.4 lenses, from Leica to Canon, Nikon.

PoP called the test "The Great 50mm Shootout "

If I remeber correctly, the winner was Carl ZEiss Planar 50mm/1.4 followed by Leica 50mm/1.4. Both Zeiss and Leica lenses can produce grade A+/A grade 20x24 (22x) enlargements at the optimum apertures (from f4 to f11).

I don't think Nikkor 50/1.4 has any A+ grade 20x24, it is at or near the bottom.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2001.

Leica R and M has many top rated lenses, capable of delivering A+/A quality 20x24" enlargement. There is no need to use MF.

But not all brands of 35mm lens can perform that well at such size, for them, if they want A+ 20x24, they have no option but MF

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2001.


"Leica R and M has many top rated lenses, capable of delivering A+/A quality 20x24" enlargement. There is no need to use MF. " mmm? - so all the top studio/landscape photographers carry all that heavy equipment and the inconvenience of roll film for nothing.

Comparing medium format & 35mm is total poppycock if your comparisons are grain size, sharpness and tonality.

I have used a hasselblad system for years and recently purchased a leica m and konica RF. For fast work at an event or on the street, I'd agree that the rangefinders produce better results because they are smaller, lighter, easier to handle and have greater depth of field but for this kind of photography the technical quality of the photography is not the key issue.

There are also photographs whose content is so great that they should be blown up to to 16x20 or whatever BUT even at 10x8 I can see better technical results with medium format at 16x20 it is a quantum leap apart.

With all high end 35mm you are talking about slight difference, medium format (esp 6x7) will blow it apart but takes a lot more effort to get right.

I am not trying to denigrate Leica - I think that the small amount of gear I have is fantastic and the quality for 35mm is amazing but it ain't medium format and it ain't large format and will NEVER beat them on their turf.


-- Tapas Maiti (tapasmaiti@aol.com), June 28, 2001.

The days of MF is numbered

A new superfilm on the block capable of 1000x enlargement may make MF obsolete. Gigabitfilm< /a>

My MInox may even beat MF :)

-- martin tai (
martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 28, 2001.

What is Gigabitfilm

Leica plus Gigabitfilm beats MF

A Minox loaded with Gigabitfilm may beat MF too

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 28, 2001.


-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 28, 2001.

"PoP called the test "The Great 50mm Shootout "

If I remeber correctly, the winner was Carl ZEiss Planar 50mm/1.4 followed by Leica 50mm/1.4. Both Zeiss and Leica lenses can produce grade A+/A grade 20x24 (22x) enlargements at the optimum apertures (from f4 to f11).

I don't think Nikkor 50/1.4 has any A+ grade 20x24, it is at or near the bottom.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), June 27, 2000"

From Pop Photography Feb. 1999.

"By a small margin, the 50mm f/1.4 Carl Zeiss Planar delivered the best overall image quality... It edges out both the 50mm f/1.4 Canon EF and the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-R."

If you look at their test results the Zeiss gets 3 grades of A+ for 20x24 enlargements and 2 A grades. The Canon get 1 A+ grade and 3 A grades. The Leica gets 4 A grades. The Minolta gets 2 A+ grades and 2 A grades. The Nikon also gets 2 A+ grades for 20x24 enlargements and 2 A grades.

-- Marc Bergman (mbergma2@ix.netcom.com), June 29, 2001.

The Canon f2.8 L 28-70mm is a very good lens, period!

-- Mitchell Li (mitchli@pacbell.net), July 01, 2001.

Caon EF 28-70/2.8L indeed is an excellent lens

It is best at 50mm focal length, at f8 it can produce on A+ grade 20x24" and one A grade 20x24".

At 70mm range, it can produce 3 A grade 20x24"

At 28mm wide angle, it is slightly soft, 3 A grade 16x20.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), July 01, 2001.

What is all this A grade A+- a little bit more a little bit less nonsense?

They're all good - as good as the snapper at least.

-- rob (rob@robertappleby.com), July 01, 2001.


Superb answer - I've never heard anyone reject pictures because they weren't Leica,Canon,Nikon etc. I guess no sane person hangs 20x24 pictures of lens test charts on their wall.


-- Tapas Maiti (tapasmaiti@aol.com), July 02, 2001.

Pop SQF is based on MTF AND correlate with actual 20x24" enlargement of real picture then rated by a panel of photographers, so "hanging 20x24" test chart on wall" is nonsense and ignorant

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), July 02, 2001.

Centre D' Essais Chasseur d'Image tested a lot of Canon FD and EF lenses. They collected them into Dossier Canon. In this Canon lens test portfolio, there are only 2 awarded five star *****, the rest are

The percentage of top 5 star lenses in Canon line up is only a dismal 3.4% about half of that of Nikon.

Among Nkon 80 lenses tested only 2 lenses are 2 star lenses

The percentage of lousy 2 * Canon lenses is 14 ! a woopping 23 %

The total number of 5 star and 4 star canon lenses amount to 22, less then 38%, while there are about 50% Nikon lenses are 5 and 4 stars.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), July 02, 2001.

Rob you are so right. Of course it is the person behind the camera. I have a Leica R4 with 3 great lenses and a Minolta Maxuum 7000 (which is supposed to be a lousy camera but somebody gave it to me so who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth...) with a Sigma zoom lens - two cameras seemingly two worlds apart but I have taken great photographs that I loved with the Minolta as well as with the Leica. I appreciate the dependability of a manual camera and I really like that I can shoot infra red film with the Leica but I am so fed up with having to feel insecure about my gear (the Minolta for instance) when really it's all about a photographer's vision and creativity. If you have to use a 20x loupe to see a difference then let's face it - there is no difference!


-- Gail Hammer (gail@hammerphotography.com), July 04, 2001.

This is more an answer to Simon Coates: yes the Canon f2.8 / 28mm -70mm zoom is one of the best lenses from Canon and sure it is expensive.... though not as much expensive as the leica glass. If you accept that it can do such a nice job as the leica combination 35mm f2/ 50mm f2/ 60mm f2.8 at the same cost as a single one of these prime lenses...... then, since yours is only a question of price, you should jump over the canon charriot.

Regards, Wayne

-- Wayne Rainey (WAAKo@techemail.com), August 03, 2001.

Leica is a cult more than a camera. While it might be worth joining that cult for an M rangefinder and its absolutely superb feel, ergonomics and cachet (I own an M3), the SLR's are another matter entirely, being many years behind the pack technologically. IMO Canon EOS rules the 35mm SLR world these days, with Nikon a struggling second.

I might get flamed for saying this--there are quite a few Leica fanatics out there who feel the need to vigorously defend their exorbitant purchases--but I believe that, as one poster said, high- end glass these days is going to be pretty much the same, regardless of the manufacturer. (It's the "Japan-ization" of the photo world.) If you want a retro look, get some older M (or SM) lenses. That's when a Leica was a Leica, and being so meant something.


-- Peter Hughes (ravenart@pacbell.net), August 03, 2001.

I should also add that if your images are so weak that people are concentrating on the sharpness or lack thereof, instead of on the picture itself, then it simply doesn't matter which camera or lenses you shoot with. To put it another way, if you're poring over your negatives/sides with a 20x loupe trying to discern differences in sharpness between Leica, Canon and Nikon lenses, then you need to get out and shoot more.

-- Peter Hughes (ravenart@pacbell.net), August 03, 2001.


Well said!!!



-- Tapas Maiti (tapasmaiti@aol.com), August 03, 2001.

to me it isn't the contrast and sharpness that makes the overall impression, but more the content and composition. however, i do photograph using the m-series because its quiet.

-- david carlos (davidcarlos32@hotmail.com), August 09, 2001.

Your a brave boy Robert ,saying those sort of things but good on you.Forget the 20 x lupes i think you should be able to see a better clarity in about a 10x8 print.Year after year.That is where i find a big advantage over Cannon or Nikon ZOOMS. In my experience with the Nikon 80-200,Cannon 70-200 and the cannon 28-70 they were very sharp when new but go soft when the tolerences loosen up.

-- Tim (timphoto@ihug.com.au), August 10, 2001.

Superior optics is a consideration but I like the Leica rangefinder because of the craftmanship, ergonomics, etc. as others have mentioned. But these days Leica AG seems to think "improvement" = "bigger" which is the antithesis of why I like the M. Anyway there is no reason why your Leicas can't coexist with your Nikon/Canon.

-- ray tai (razerx@netvigator.com), August 10, 2001.

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