Leica MP vs. EOS-1D -- a comparison

Started Oct 14, 2003 | Discussions thread
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DavidP Forum Pro • Posts: 29,088
Leica MP vs. EOS-1D -- a comparison

Cutting to the bottom line, I'll be returning my Leica MP and 50/1.0 Noctilux to Adorama once they re-open.

Here are my observations of using the Leica MP vs. using the EOS-1D:

1) Film sucks. Make that 35mm film sucks. I knew it did at ISO 800 and above, but had never really compared ISO 200. You can debate it all you want, but digital is better than 35mm film.

2) The Leica is INCREDIBLY light. That's certainly nice. But I sure miss my portrait grip. It felt very awkward trying to use the camera in portrait orientation.

3) The lack of mirror slap and noise is really nice, too. And having to wind the film for each shot? Well, let's just say that it's "quaint". LOL.

4) The rangefinder is nice in that you can see more of what's going on around you. Especially nice for folks like me who shoot right-eyed. Though if you use a higher magnification viewfinder, some of this benefit goes away.

5) Having the lens block the right portion of the frame with the Leica is REALLY weird. How can one compose without seeing the entire frame? Take your best guess, I guess.

6) Using an aperture ring again is definitely different. I can see why zooms in MF lenses would be awkward. You have to focus, zoom, AND set the aperture with the left hand.

7) Having a real DOF scale is very nice. Every f/stop from f/1 to f/16 is marked. Though there's not a lot of detail on the distance scale. That could've been a bit finer.

8) Only 1/2-stops on the aperture ring. Somewhat expected. But the shutter speed is in full-stops only. Well, they make an exception by putting in 1/50 for the X-sync. Speaking of which: 1/50 vs 1/500 -- wow!

9) A minimum shutter speed of 1/1000? Wow! Don't take that high-speed film out on a sunny day.

10) Loading the film was kinda neat, and not nearly as difficult as people made it sound. Though I did lose a few frames on one roll because I thought I'd rewound it all the way. Apparently I'd let go of the rewind knob just enough to let it slip away from "catching", which I mistook for the end of the roll.

11) Be careful where you put those fingers on the right hand. A few times the rangefinder focus just seemed to dissapear. Oops, finger over the rangefinder window.

12) The focus area is incredibly small. Better get used to focus and recompose. And forget about focusing on faces. Better use the nose and/or ears, or a piece of clothing, etc. At least in poor lighting. Focusing was a bit slow, but deadly accurate.

13) So much for Leica quality control. Though the equipment WAS used. But the Leica MP has only been out since March of this year (well, not counting the one from decades ago), and it was in great shape. The rangefinder mechanism wasn't focusing correctly at infinity. If I'd decided to keep it, I would've had Adorama pay to get it calibrated.

14) Oh, yeah. 50mm without the 1.3x crop is short! The shots I got weren't bad (for me), but I was only 3 to 6 feet from my subjects. Any further away, and I would've really missed having a longer fast prime.

15) Using the Leica is definitely very "retro". Kinda neat, but VERY pricey for what you get, IMO. I mean, the MP body is almost as much as the 1D is now, and the 50/1.0 is the same price as the Canon 50/1.0

Bottom line: can't justify keeping it. Not for what I want it for.

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