Blasphemy Alert : What difference would Leica make for me??

Started Jan 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
jeff hladun
jeff hladun Senior Member • Posts: 2,946
Re: Blasphemy Alert : What difference would Leica make for me??

Brian addresses even more value-added benefits to the rangefinder set-up than concern me.

I appreciate the depth-of-field markings on the manual focus lenses. For street photography this allows zero lag time for focussing, so that time can be spent on composing as opposed to focussing. This isn't a quality that exists for Leica lenses only. I'd think all manual focus lenses have this property. Unfortunately very few autofocus lenses have this (most of my Canon L lenses have only a rudimentary DoF guide; my Canon 28mm AF lens has great markings.) Those who rely on autofocus, or even focussing through the rangefinder viewfinder, often waste the empty front focal plane, when by using the zone focus method, more of the rear focal plane can be sharper. Since I like to shoot f8 or slower most of the time, in order to get as much of the image in focus as possible, using manual focus lenses are extremely important. If your Olympus lenses have the DoF markings, there is no reason to switch to a rangefinder. Except... Brian pointed out, seeing what goes on outside of the framelines when looking through the viewfinder is far better than your method of keeping your left eye open when using the Dslr. Your left eye sees what is going on with your method, but it doesn't help with the composing of the image, unless through an amazing amount of experience you can visualize the frameline limits of the focal length you're at. For the immediacy of street photography, your method is limited to moving the composition left-right-up-down, but sometimes the composition needs a tilt, which the left eye won't help with. In other words, the open left eye gets you to the best subject of interest, it doesn't give you the quickest way to compose. The rangefinder viewfinder does. The open left eye works great with the rangefinder approach as well, I should add.

Both of these issues aren't an argument for switching to Leica...just switching to the rangefinder format. Leica makes the only digital rangefinder, but if you enjoy film, then there are all sorts of manufacturers. I have great Zeiss and Leica lenses but the truth is, compared to my Canon, Fuji and Hasselblad optics, I could really care less about vignetting, corner softness, "pop" and all the other factors which Leica is famous for having or not having. If I can make a great image it has everything to do with story telling, composition and emotion, not with optical characteristics. It is nice to have the two co-incide, nonetheless!

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