A Dilemma

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Christilou, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Christilou

    Christilou Leica Place Veteran

    365
    Apr 5, 2013
    I got myself into a bit of a muddle and I'm looking for some input from those more knowledgeable than myself. I bought the Sony A7 and decided to sell the Leica M as my 50mm Summilux looks much the same on it. The only other Leica lens I own is a 90mm Elmarit 2.8 but I do have the Pentax FA77 and a couple of Contax G lenses that will work well on the A7 together with the Sony Zeiss 55 1.8 for AF. I sold the M at about £1000 loss, it's only about 3 months old and mint obviously! I have the opportunity to have it returned to me for my selling price still but I wonder whether I REALLY want it or I'm just liking the look and idea of it plus, I don't really equate the colours coming from the new M as being the Leica look I was after. I'm therefore wondering whether to swap the M for a 9P or an ME instead, or would that be a retrograde step? The other thing is, I believe that the newer M's rangefinder is easier to focus but since I have no experience of the M9 I don't know what this might mean for me? I really need to crystallise my thoughts here and would appreciate some input please!
     
  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I kept the M9 and bought the M Monochrom, took "a pass" on the M type 240. I have no problem with the M9 viewfinder, although I use a 1.25x magnifier for fast lenses. I'm okay with a 50/1.5 without it, but the magnifier makes it really fast.

    I would take it back, taking a 1000 pound hit for this camera is a bit much, I think you could probably cut that in half. The M240 is still in demand, and the warranty should transfer.

    If you made use of Liveview, stick with the 240. If you used the Viewfinder for most of your work, get the M9, M9P, or M-E. I tend to favor the color output from the CCD. With that stated, I just bought the Nikon Df as my Digital SLR, first one in over 12 years. Of course it was about 1/3rd the price of a Leica.
     
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  3. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf Leica Place Regular

    195
    Mar 30, 2013
    Hi Christilou,

    I don't know if I can be any help as I've only been shooting with my Leica M-E for a year. I have shot briefly with the new M at a shop in the Miami Leica store several months ago. I was not able to spend any time and was able to put one of my memory cards in and brought some images home to compare to my M-E.

    I found them to be very different. Not necessarily good or bad but just different. I've also recently downloaded someone else's new M DNG files to see again if I could process them in a way that would please me. I can see it would take me a bit of time in Lightroom but now that I know LR better I know I could have some presets to help me out.

    I don't know if you have ever read any of Thorsten Overgaard's work but he's been running a long term Leica blog on his website on how he's been using the new M. Most of his work is B&W but he's been doing more colour work. I think he too is working on his new M PP to figure out how to get his look with the CMOS sensor. I think he'd have no problem answering any of your questions either.

    I think I'd try giving the M some more time. You have a couple great lenses to use on it. Plus if you want to go wider you won't have any issues with the M as compared to possibly with the Sony A7.

    Nothing wrong with shooting your 50 Lux on the A7 but it sounds like the colour your getting from isn't convincing to you.
     
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  4. ajramirez

    ajramirez Leica Place Veteran

    267
    Mar 30, 2013
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Christina,

    I have not had an opportunity to try out a M 240, but I have seen some beautiful work (including yours, btw) shot with M 240 cameras. When I first got my M9P, it took me a little while to adjust to two particular characteristics (quirks?) of the camera: a tendency to set a much too cool white balance in daylight scenes, and a tendency to underexpose. The first is easy enough to correct in the raw processor; correcting the second required me to relearn how to shoot with a classic center weighted meter. Once I started getting white balance and exposure right, the image quality improved very significantly. I wonder if this may be the case with the M 240 as well.

    I think the decision of whether to return to the M should really be based on whether you enjoy working with a manual focus rangefinder camera. I enjoy it immensely, and would find it very hard to give it up. However, if you do not enjoy working with the rangefinder, no amount of IQ goodness will make up for that.

    I'm sorry we do not live closer (or at least in the same continent) as it would be great if we could trade cameras for a week or so. That way, you would get to try the M9 and I would get to try the M and all doubts would be cleared for both of us. The M9 comes with its own set of quirks that may or may not make a difference for you: it's slow writing to the card and the LCD is not high res enough to accurately judge whether a shot is in perfect focus. Neither issue bothers me too much, but they may bother you after using the M 240. As to the rangefinder, I don't see why the M9 would be more difficult to focus than the M. The viewfinder is bright and beautiful and the rangefinder spot crisp and well defined.

    I'm sorry I could not be more helpful, but hope you will make the right decision.

    Cheers,

    Antonio
     
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  5. Christilou

    Christilou Leica Place Veteran

    365
    Apr 5, 2013
    Thanks for your help Antonio, Brian and Duane. I decided to have it returned to me and to give it another chance. I'll be going to Miami Beach in a couple of weeks or so and hope to be able to give it a better trial in lovely sunny weather :) If when I get home, I'm still disappointed then I will reconsider but I don't think it will devalue any more for using it for another year or so if needs be. I have definitely trawled the net and have Thorston bookmarked, also I've been following Prosophos for many years on dpr and have admired his M9 pictures. Simon Goldsworthy also gets through quite a few cameras and always has something interesting to say and it's his positive review of the M, coupled with his pictures taken here in UK light, that convinced me to give it another try. I really missed that gentle shutter, the weight of the M and the connection with what's in the viewfinder that makes the actual picture taking process much more pleasing...... not to say that I won't be equally pleased with the snappier A7R at times!
     
  6. Amin

    Amin Administrator

    399
    Mar 28, 2013
    I would prefer an M (240) to all the rest, but it's such a personal thing. Peter (Prosophos) and my brother both prefer the M9 output, but I'd choose the 240 primarily for it's high ISO ability and quieter shutter. On the other hand, if I had that money to spend on a camera, I'd strongly consider getting the M Monochrom to complement the Sony A7R.

    All that said, I think the M9 is a wonderful camera. I'm sure you'd enjoy it and getting a used M9 at today's prices would offset the blow of selling the 240 at a big loss.
     
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  7. serhan

    serhan Leica Place Regular

    65
    Mar 31, 2013
    NYC
    You are not the only one, see Prosophos post "I came close to trashing all of my Leica gear this week":
    http://prosophos.com/2013/12/28/i-came-close-to-trashing-all-of-my-leica-gear-this-week/

    Sometimes pp even makes an ordinary image an excellent one as I saw one of Jim Radcliffe's post at dpreview. If you check his web site you can see the images do not change between the cameras that much, mostly if you can catch the dof differences between FF vs m8 vs APSC vs m43 vs P&S:
    http://www.boxedlight.com/

    So use the camera that you enjoy and feel comfortable esp when it is a hobby.... The IQ differences are smaller between the cameras as the digital sensors reached to maturity. Everybody is looking for that ultimate camera but it doesn't exist yet, maybe not in the future also as everybody's needs/desires/budgets are different...
     
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  8. NJH

    NJH Leica Place Regular

    99
    Apr 29, 2013
    I will say this, now I have my M6 I am in love with the thing but I don't quite feel I can just leave digital capture behind. I have decided however that the cost differential between the M8 and M9 for the extra pixels it gives means its likely that I will skip the M9 and wait for the price on the 240 to come down over the next year or two.
     
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  9. Christilou

    Christilou Leica Place Veteran

    365
    Apr 5, 2013
    Jim Radcliffe's Photoshop skills are unbelievable, he could make any camera sing :) Love his work too.
     
  10. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I like my Df, but on Christmas morning- my M9 gave the best pictures.

    I keep my Leica bodies in fitted half cases, and those in Nikon Pouch cases. The Best are "Circa Nikon F2" CS-9 and CS-10 puches, and the M8 in it's half case go into a Nikon case made for the D7100. I believe this protects it against some of the knockaround shocks that throw off the RF calibration.
     
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  11. asiafish

    asiafish Leica Place All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Andrew
    Christiou,

    You have received a lot of excellent advise here. I think you made the right choice in taking back the M 240, if nothing else because if you decide it really isn't for you, you can sell it on again at a much smaller loss than 1000 pounds.

    Also, while your 50 Lux may not be any better on the M 240 than on the Sony, when you eventually get a Leica wide it most definitely will be. Also, that lens was made for rangefinder focusing, which does take a lot of getting used to, but once mastered (I'm getting better, but nowhere near mastered yet) it is much faster than focus peaking.

    Incidentally, I got into this whole rangefinder money pit by means of a Sony NEX 7. Once I tried a 90 Thin Tele Elmarit on it, I just had to have a Leica body. The Tele Elmarit is now long gone, replaced by the very superior 90 Summarit, but I think rangefinder focusing is here to stay.
     
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  12. raid

    raid Leica Place All-Pro

    Apr 12, 2013
    USA
    Raid
    I am using an M8 with an M9, and I have no complaints.
    I would buy back your M and use it more often.
    I feel that the new SONY cameras are great to have as options in addition to an M or when you cannot afford an M.
     
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  13. Christilou

    Christilou Leica Place Veteran

    365
    Apr 5, 2013
    It should be back with me tomorrow. Bought a Zeiss 25mm 2.8 Biogon on ebay so looking forward to using that too :) I've been reading as much as I can about fixing various colour issues and have found someone who hit the nail on the head. It's not so much the colour as the white balance. It really is very unpredictable, when using bright natural light it seems to throw everything into a really yellow/green tint and artificial lighting can be even worse at times.
     
  14. asiafish

    asiafish Leica Place All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Andrew
    Update the firmware. From what I've read, Leica made some real improvements to auto WB on the M240.
     
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  15. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf Leica Place Regular

    195
    Mar 30, 2013
    I usually set the white balance to daylight when outside. I also manually set the white balance manually with a WhiBal card. I carry a credit size Whilbal card just in case.

    I think ink the right exposure has a lot to do with the colors I get with my M-E too.
     
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  16. ajramirez

    ajramirez Leica Place Veteran

    267
    Mar 30, 2013
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Yep, the WhiBal card is your friend. I always use it when shooting indoors. Outdoors, I find the M9P gets it correct most of the time and when it doesn't, I fix it in the RAW converter.
     
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  17. chalkdust

    chalkdust Leica Place Regular

    78
    Apr 3, 2013
    The Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 is one of my favorite lenses. I use it on a M8.2, so it will be different for you, but I think you will like it. It is amazing!
     
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  18. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    702
    May 1, 2013
    I'm reading that the Sony A7 and A7R don't have the sensor corner performance that the Leica 9 and M sensors have for wide-angle M-mount lenses. Must be those little "microlenses" built into the Leica sensor. :)

    With the M240 you have the option to use the electronic viewfinder. I'd find that very reassuring to have available - makes a misaligned rangefinder camera still usable until it could be adjusted. Perhaps nicer for getting critical focus, too?


    The M240 will always be manual focus, so more of a camera for "set and forget" zone focus or "sit still while I get critical focus and amazing bokeh" shots. My guess is the manual-only focus is always going to bother you a bit - does it really add to your photographic experience? For some it does, making them more connected to the shot, for others it can be a "I'd kill for a decent auto-focus about now!"

    Do you need the full-frame sensor and lenses? I don't know for sure, but it's a lovely look you get with the photos of your daughter and "Little B." Could you get that look with a 75mm f1.8 on an E-M1? Probably not entirely equivalent, but perhaps just as superb in a slightly different way.

    When I purchased the Leica X Vario and even a used M8, I definitely found the price gave me the hee-bee-gee-bees: was I really going to get that much greater of an experience for what I had paid for it? I suspect part of what you're going through is similar. Leica shooters have to somehow become insensitive to the very high price, otherwise they probably don't stay Leica shooters for long.

    Anyway, glad you're giving it another chance. I personally think there is something special it's helping you get with your portrait photography.

    You're probably aware of this, but if the Zeiss lens isn't M-coded just remember to do corner vignette corrections and such for yourself in post.
     
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  19. raid

    raid Leica Place All-Pro

    Apr 12, 2013
    USA
    Raid
    Sometimes it is best to just take a deep breath and keep your hands off the mouse when you see cameras in the classified.
    I mean, if you have excellent cameras available to you, maybe it is a good idea to first make sure that you have exhausted its capabilities before getting another camera.
    Needless to say is that I do not do what I have said above! It is so tempting to keep on adding stuff, but I reached a stage at which I decided to stop buying cameras.
    Lenses can give different renditions, and they keep their values, so adding lenses is less damaging than adding cameras.
     
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