Leica vs. Nikon on the issue of ergonomics

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by sanjin, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. sanjin

    sanjin Member

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    Hello to the forum!

    I have recently decided to switch back to shooting film after trying out the dSLR thing for a few years and it disappointing me miserably. I was a Nikon F-301 user before the move to the EOS 7D, and I am now looking at two cameras, between which I cannot decide.

    The combination I am looking at is either a) Nikon FE2 with a Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f2, or b) Leica R6(.2) with a Summicron-R 35mm f2 (I mainly shoot this focal lenght, so this is the start before I purchase a 85/90mm portrait lens, which is all I would use). These combinations both cost the about the same, but I cannot find anyone around here that has a Leica R-series camera, so I could try it out. I have searched through this forum as well as other sources, and this question is usually not as represented as comments on its reliability, viewfinder, etc. My main issue is that my hands are of a slightly-below-average size, and I have struggled with the control of some more squarely-built cameras. So my main question would be, is the camera hand-holdable for hours while you're shooting?

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  2. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I have a Leica R8, and smallish hands. It's basically too big, and I find that the exposure compensation system is, well, sub-optimal. However, I think the R6 would be a much more manual affair, and probably nicer to use all round. It's pretty small compared to the R8 too.

    I think you'd likely be happy with either if you like simple, manual cameras. I do, and that's why the R8 does not work for me.
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have FEs/FMs and find them really easy to use and carry.
     
  4. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    There was recently an FE2 vs. OM4 thread- it contains some very useful user feedback on the FE2: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/102388-nikon-fe2-vs-olympus-om-4t-i.html

    Personally I would go for the Leica R6 + Leica 35/2 any time, just because of the lens. It renders b&w sooo much nicer than the ZE/ZF line of lenses (I find those kind of harsh, high-contrast). Also, I could never get to terms with the on-off 'switch' on the FE2; check this thing out before you buy.
     
  5. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I don't own an R6, but the form factor should be very similar to the R5.

    Ergonomics: Are very subjective! :smile:
    I prefer the R5 to the FE2 mainly for size & placement of the shutter release and speed dial. More comfortable position the first, easier to actuate with one finger the second (again, assuming the R& uses a similar dial).
    For me the R5 is more comfortable for hours.

    Viewfinder: the R5 is definitely nicer (brighter, snaps into focus better).
    The FE2 has a needle which indicates the shutter speeds which becomes nototriously hard to see in low light.

    Reliability: Nikons are notorious tanks, but the R6 should have no problems. Incidentally, the R6.2 is purely mechanical while the FE2 is electronic.

    Lens: the Summicron 35mm is probably my favorite all-round 35mm lens (I have many! :wink: ). Actually, the Zeiss 1.4 might be my absolute favorite, but it usually stays home because it's big & heavy. The 35mm ZF is undoubtedly excellent as well.

    For more or less the same price, the R6.2 + 'Cron seems a steal.
    Getting more lenses for your R6 will definitely cost more than getting Nikkors, but if you choose wisely, you can get some truly great lenses for not too much.
    The 35mm 'Cron isn't especially large & heavy, but many R lenses are: a factor to keep in mind if you get an entire kit and want to carry it around for hours...
     
  6. sanjin

    sanjin Member

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    It is actually all about the placement of the dials, and the Leica seems to be the winner here. I also remembered that the F-301 that I used also had an awkward placement for the shutter dial, which used to be frustrating as I missed some shots in crowded places.

    Thank you all, you were of much help!
     
  7. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    Fist time you see pictures taken by the Leica....
    Leica hands down!
     
  8. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I have only very briefly handled a Leica R6.2 and couldn't see any major ergonomic problem. On the other hand, I have used FM series cameras quite a lot and in my opinion they are not very good ergonomically. I wear glasses and mostly use my left eye, so the advance lever poking into my right eye has always annoyed me. Also, to see the entire screen you constantly have to move your eye around. Although they are very durable and capable tools I would prefer and F2 or F3 if I had to choose from Nikon.

    One thing that surprised me with the Leica R6.2 was the noticeable shutter lag. There was this thread about it: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/97063-leica-r6-slr-slight-lag-shutter-normal-not.html

    All in all, for the same price the Leica looks like the better buy, mostly because of the lens. But I don't know how much that shutter lag would annoy me in the long run.
     
  9. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

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    If you liked the F-301, you might find the FE2 a bit uncomfortable to hold because it doesn't have a grip. How about F3? Size is about the same as FE2, it's a bit heavier but not so much to make it hard to shoot for hours, it has a great grip and its finder is much better too.
     
  10. Araakii

    Araakii Member

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    The R is a giant brick. I can't imagine using it.
     
  11. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    Olympus OM-1 is the best camera to handle; as good as a Leica. I have both
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Try using the Maimya RB67, everything else is small!

    Jeff
     
  13. kapro

    kapro Member

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    As a owner of R6, R6.2, FM2 (almost same as FE2) and FM3A I don't see any advantage of FM bodies over R6 and vice versa. Since I prefer Leitzs over Nikkors I don't use Nikons anymore and continue using R6+R6.2 Time to time I take a walk with FM2, F3 and F2.


    You forgot to add some number to the R. R6 definitely isn't a brick.
     
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  15. sanjin

    sanjin Member

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    kapro, thanks for the comment... I wanted to hear from someone who used both systems to give me a sense of preference. And yes, the more I read about Leitz glass, the more I am convinced that going the R6.2 (or possibly R7?) route is the way to do it.

    OldBodyOldSoul, I was looking at the entire F-range, but then decided to fix my interest on the FE2 for it's unobtrusive styling and simplicity.
     
  16. kapro

    kapro Member

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    I'd stick with 6 or 6.2. Those are mechanical. Difference between 6 and 6.2 is 1/1000 vs 1/2000. I use both in studio with winder and almost exclusivelly with 90mm and Macro 100mm lenses. Those are terrific.
     
  17. KrankyKraut

    KrankyKraut Member

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    I have had manual Nikons from F-301, EL-2, FT2, to F4. Currently use Leicaflex SL2 and R7. R7 is about the same size and weight as R6. R7 is great to use, bright viewfinder, ergonomic, relatively small and quiet. Ergonomically, the Nikons suit me, as well. The real difference is in the lenses. There I think Leica can't be beat.
     
  18. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Oh god not another Leica VS Nikon...

    The fact that these two are even on a similar enough level to compare in threads like these, then you look at the price point... Nikon wins every time. Spend the surplus on lenses, spare bodies, and film...
     
  19. Araakii

    Araakii Member

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    Oh yes, my bad, I meant R8.
     
  20. sanjin

    sanjin Member

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    That's why if you look at the origin post for this thread, you will see that I mention that the bodies in combination with the lens are about the same price. The Zeiss 35mm f2 being about 20% more expensive than the Summicron, and the Leica R body being more expensive than the Nikon.
     
  21. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    You're facing the common myth that Leicas are *always* absurdly expensive and *never* worth their price... :wink:
     
  22. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

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    Being worthy of price (or expensive) is a very relative term. Just like what they say about being old - it's not about how many years you have had but how many you have left.
    And we are all quite clueless when it comes to that, especially when other people are in question.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2012
  23. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Let your hands decide - Close your eyes and see which feels the most comfortable to you

    The less toughy-feely approach is to work out what lenses you wish to work with and how easily they are available to you, generally Nikon of course, but you might find a source of Leitz-R lenses in the FLs you need
     
  24. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Where Nikon wins out in my opinion, is in the sheer variety of camera bodies. I too have small hands and for me the F90x and F801 bodies fit the hand perfectly when a built in drive is needed. They are light and very compact. For more contemplative, non-motordrive photography, I prefer my FM bodies, or my F. The original Nikon F is perfect in the hands in my opinion.

    I've tried the Leica R8 (unwieldly and heavy) while the R bodies are basically all the same shape and size. You're certainly not the only one to return to film after being dissillusioned with digital. I found digital gear a nightmare of unreliability and never ending expense. Now I can grab my cameras and "go" , without worrying whether my batteries have "drained" overnight.
     
  25. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    Love the R8. Yes it's big and heavy, but it fits my hands perfectly.
     
  26. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Hmmm, I own several Nikons of various vintages and have played with Leicaflexes and a R4 and R5 over the years. I wished Leica made third party lenses in a Nikon F mount back in the day.

    I find the FM2, F3, N90s even the F2 and F nicer to handle than the Leica bodies. Never liked the shutter lag on the R4 and R5, not to mention Leica R glass is getting silly expensive these days. Add in there are more places that can fix Nikon compared Leica R, that settled my choice.