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Thread: Nikon vs. Leica

  1. #31

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    Well, I have been using Leica for a while (old 3f and now an M6) with leica glass and voigtlander glass. I also have a Canon A1 which I pulled out recently to shoot interiors of a house. This got me thinking, is there any noticabile difference between the Leica glass and the Canon and Voigtlander. I did a test. Not very scientific, loaded some fp4 in the Leica and Canon and went and shot some stuff (same shot, different glass each time) then loaded some crappy Kodak gold 200 and did the same thing.

    I can attest to the fact that here is a difference in the look of the prints. And what is interesting is that I was showing them to another photographer who looked at them and pointed to some of the shots and said "Leica?" and was correct each time. Is the Leica glass better? That's a matter of opinion and taste but I am sure that there is a difference.
    David Boyce

    When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. Oscar Wilde Blog fp4.blogspot.com

  2. #32
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    I'm surprised that NO ONE answered that Leica M lenses are better than Nikkor SLR lenses, and then said WHY. Because it's true, and here's the "why" part:

    Rangefinders don't have a reflex mirror. For a 35mm SLR, the mirror (to show full frame) needs to be (24mm*sqrt(2))mm across, MINIMUM. So that's 34mm of volume in which the lens elements cannot intrude or they'll get whacked by the mirror. So the lens flange (where the lens connects) needs to be at least that far from the film. A Rangefinder, with no mirror, can place the flange much much closer -- back-protruding lens elements can go almost right up to the shutter curtain (some moving lightmeters actually hit some extreme-wide lenses!)

    Okay, so how do you make lenses for a camera with (Nikon) flange distance of 43.5 mm when the focal length may actually be less than that? By using retrofocus designs, additonal elements, thicker glass. The same applies to even color-correct normal lenses. The rangefinder, meanwhile, can use simpler lens formulas, fewer elements, and thus have higher contrast and MTFs.

    When I got my Contax, I could see the difference immediately, right on the negs, compared to my Canon SLR. The RF negs are just plain snappier.

    Leica SLR lenses have the same limitations as Nikon or Canon. But RF optics like those from Leica and Zeiss are indeed superior in the middle and short lengths. For long lenses, you should go SLR anyway. And flange issues disappear.

    KB
    (Currently in a hotel two blocks from Yodobashi Camera )

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    ..... For long lenses, you should go SLR anyway. And flange issues disappear.

    KB
    (Currently in a hotel two blocks from Yodobashi Camera )
    Why?

  4. #34
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCallum
    Why?
    Because the flange distance (that 43.5mm for Nikon) will be less than the focal length. Significantly so. Therefore, simple lens designs can be used, without retrofocus issues. And long lenses are more easily and accurately used with SLR viewing (even for Visoflex).

    Sharpest retail lens on the block used to be the Contax-G 45mm rangefinder lens, narrowly edging-out the 50mm 'cron. The prize is now held by a tele L Canon lens. But no SLR normal/wide comes close to the Contax or Leica normal lenses, in terms of pure sharpness, flatess, contrast, etc. They have an innate physical advantage.

    KB
    (who ironically was just out shooting with his Contax G, after visiting the Nikon bis21 gallery earlier today )

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  5. #35

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    Leica & Nikon

    I've used both Leicas and Nikons as a professional photojournalist for 30 years.

    When you put a Leica neg in the enlarger and look through the grain focuser you know you're looking at the product of Leica glass.

    The thing I like best about the Leica is that it is so compact and quiet that it is always with me. I have an M6, 50, Summilux and 35mm Summilux with me pretty much 24/7.

    You can't take a picture unless you have a camera.

    With the Leica I am both prepared and unencumbered.

  6. #36

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    "When you put a Leica neg in the enlarger and look through the grain focuser you know you're looking at the product of Leica glass."

    Why? What specifically is different?
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  7. #37

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    Leica/Nikon

    Mind you, we're not talking about a world of difference. Nikon glass is stellar, but the Leitz lenses seem to have a crispness and luminosity that is unique. I see that crispness most clearly manifested along the defining edges of objects. Additionally, nothing renders the out of focus areas quite as beautifully as Leitz glass.

    Again, we're not talking about a world of difference or an epiphanous experience, but there is a unique quality of rendering.

  8. #38

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    It seems that you are talking about differences in "Bokeh" (the rendering of out-of-focus areas of the image).

    That, IMO is the basic difference - and there are differences between different E. Leitz lens types as well as differences between Leitz and Nikon.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  9. #39

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    Nikon & Leica

    It's not solely about bokeh...

    It's the transitions from gray to gray to gray, It's the crispness around the edges of things (thought that is in part due to choice of developer).

    I don't want to infer that Leica glass is better than Nikon glass, but it is different. Either you wil appreciate and enjoy that difference or not.

    I own both brands of cameras and shoot with both as the job dictates. I also own a couple of Nikon wide angles (90mm & 65mm) for my 4x5 and they are outstanding. I also have a 47mm, 75mm and 120mm Schneider Super Angulons. Again, different from the Nikons. Not better or worse, just different.

  10. #40

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    Yep, I agree. It is sorta like the difference between an Azo contact print developed in Ansco 130 and one developed in Michael Smith's Amidol.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

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