Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/08/23

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica v Nikon
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 12:13:21 EDT

In a message dated 8/23/99 10:44:16 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 

<< I sold my Leica R7 and 3 R lenses in favor of a NikonFM2N (35mm 2.0,
 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, 180mm 2.8 and 105mm macro). I need an SLR to shoot
 reference photos for my work as an illustrator and the R just wasn't an
 economic feasibility. I only did this because I purchased an M6 with 3
 lenses and fell in love with the camera, the lenses, ease of use, ability to
 travel overseas with it etc.  >>

The weight and bulk of even my *lightest* Nikons ( 2 FM2n's + 6 lenses) was 
stifling my enjoyment of both my travels *and* photography.  (An equivalent R 
system I calculated would have been 50% heavier.  Leica glass doesn't provide 
any advantage over Nikon glass if it just sits in the closet!)  Then I 
happened upon Brian Bower's Leica M book in a store and it changed 
everything.  Before that I'd always considered the Leica a close-in 
people-picture camera and never considered it for travel photography.  And 
I've been a Leica rangefinder user for 30+ years!  I'd never realized that I 
almost never used anything longer than 135mm and rarely wanted for an extreme 
close-up.  It has taken some getting used to, and some "tricks" to deal with 
the framing at longer distances (where you get more on film than the 
framelines show) but the results are superior to my Nikon days (partly 
perhaps due to the optics and definitely because I can hand-hold the Leica 
steadier without the mirror slap).  I still use an F5 and long AF-S lenses 
for strictly wildlife shots, but the shorter lenses are gathering 
day I'll probably sell them.   I own a small Hasselblad outfit and a 6x9cm 
rangefinder-coupled view camera (which I use for landscapes) but the M suits 
99.9% of my needs.  I don't own any super-speed optics other than the 75 
Summilux, but I do have all the focal lengths covered.  I rarely go out with 
more than 4 lenses, though.  I recently added the 15mm Heliar to my arsenal 
(practically weightless).  I did take a long, hard look at the Contax G2, 
also, but found the lack of DOF scales on the lenses crippling for scenic 
photography, as was the lack of a 135mm lens.  On a major trip I pack a 
Visoflex (for macro, also) and a 400 6.8 "just in case", which also is a 
unique benefit of the M system.