Comments about how Leicas are made

This article about how Leica M10s are made is more interesting for the comments than the actual article.

eric writes:

Simply beautiful. Every Leica is a handcrafted masterpiece. As a camera should be.

brian_x replies:

Why though? Hand-assembled hardware doesn’t improve the picture quality in any meaningful way. All it does is jack up the price because economies of scale disappear.

eric replies back:

If you ever shot with an M and learned to appreciate the rangefinder experience you would answer your own question.

brian_x replies back:

You sound like the reason I wouldn’t want to get into making overpriced tchotchkes for the filthy rich.

Leica gallery in Los Angeles

https://www.apparelnews.net/news/2017/sep/08/fearless-genius-leica/

That sounds like a pretty interesting exhibit. Too bad I don’t live in Los Angeles.

And the Leica store and gallery in Los Angeles looks way more awesome than the sad little space in Soho that the Leica store in New York City occupies.

Why is there no Canon or Nikon gallery? Obviously, the message from Leica is that Canon and Nikon are fine for shooting pictures of your cat, or for doing “senior portraits,” but to do real art you need to buy a Leica.

Is Leica a lightweight camera for landscape photography while hiking?

I read on another blog (I read it here) that a Leica M is a good camera for taking landscape photos while hiking because it’s allegedly light weight.

Let’s see how Leica stacks up against an Olympus Pen-F with the 12-40mm f/2.8 “PRO” lens.

Leica M (Typ 262): 21.2 oz
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH (most lightweight Leica lens): 6.9 oz

Total: 28.1 oz

Olympus Pen-F: 15.1 oz
Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 “PRO” lens: 13.5 oz

Total: 28.6 oz

So it’s about the same weight (less than half an ounce difference), but the advantage of the Olympus setup is that you can zoom from 12mm to 40mm (equivalent to 24mm to 80mm). With the Leica, you are stuck at one focal length. Plus with Olympus you get image stabilization for sharp landscape photos when the light becomes more dim. Image stabilization more than makes up for the Leica having a full-frame sensor.

I previously tested the Olympus 12-40mm lens and determined that it was as sharp as prime lenses, although sharpness is a bourgeois concept so maybe you shouldn’t care about that anyway. However, if you are going to be a sharpness Nazi, then you should probably get another brand of full-frame camera that has a high-resolution sensor of more than 40 megapixels. The Leica M (Typ 262) has only 24 MP, so if you are imagining making these huge 40 x 60″ prints, the Leica doesn’t have the resolution that you really need for that.

* * *

If people were actually reading my blog and leaving comments I can imagine at least two types of angry comments.

1. You FOOL! The Leica is FULL FRAME! Any camera with less than FULL FRAME makes garbage photos! You MORON!

2. You FOOL! No lens is sharper than LEICA. NO LENS! You MORON!

Sorry, I don’t buy into either of these arguments. The real test would be to make some really big prints, one from photos taken with the Olympus setup, and one with the Leica setup, and do an experiment to find out if knowledgeable viewers can consistently identify that the Leica print is somehow superior without knowing in advance which cameras and lenses were used.

There’s no mode dial on a Leica TL2

Olympus and Panasonic both experimented with cameras without mode dials. There were several Panasonic “GF” models without mode dials, and Olympus made the E-PM1 and E-PM2 without a mode dial.

The lack of a mode dial was unanimously cited in reviews as a bad thing. Because, the reasoning went, not having a mode dial made it harder to change modes. Both Olympus and Panasonic gave up on the idea of making cameras without mode dials. Olympus abandoned its cheap “E-PMx” line, and Panasonic included a mode dial with the GF7 and all subsequent “GF” models.

But now we have Leica selling $2000 “TL” cameras without mode dials, and instead of receiving the same hate as Panasonic and Olympus, Leica is praised for making the camera “simple” and more like an iPhone.

With Leica comes great responsibility

I learned from watching a Spiderman movie that with great power comes great responsibility. This applies to owning a Leica. Leica is a very powerful brand. (Why else do people pay outrageous sums of money for Leica cameras if not for the power of the brand?)

If you post a mediocre snapshot on the internet and announce that it was taken with a Leica, it’s hard for people to resist making sarcastic comments. So unless you are posting a photo that’s actually worthy of such an expensive camera, you should remove the EXIF data and keep quiet about what gear was used to take the photo. And even if the photo is worthy, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to name-drop Leica. It may be better to let people notice for themselves that the photo has a “Leica look” without spilling the beans. And this way, you don’t come off as bragging about your gear.