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Thread: Nikon vs. Leica

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    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    Nikon vs. Leica

    Seriously, how much better are Leica optics than Nikon? I have an Nikon F3 and I'm considering switching to Leica M. I love the F3, but it's not a very good camera for situations where noise is critical. I just can't get away with taking a photo without everyone in a 1 mile radius noticing. Plus, I'm thinking that the lighter weight of the Leica will enable me to hand hold the camera at lower shutter speeds. There's just something magical about the Leica.

    If the optics are not that much better then I'll probably stick to the F3. Also, do you think it's possible to find an M body and lens for under $2000 (I can hear a few of you laughing right now as I type this)?

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    titrisol's Avatar
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    Leica and Nikon optics are maybe equally good, if the Leitz optics are not better.
    Rangefinders are a different world compared to SLRs, I'd advice you to go to a photo-store and "feel" one.

    Yes, you can find an M body for under $2000, look in the used section of KEH, B&H, Adorama. Or you can get a Voigtlander Bessa
    Mama took my APX away.....

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    An almost off-topic, left-handed kind of response to your question but... If you're after low noise, easy to hand-hold at low shutter-speeds, inconspicuous camera, have you considered keeping the F3 and adding a TLR?

    It's just a part of me shudders at parting with *that* much money for what is, when it gets right down to it, a 35mm camera. At least an XPan adds the panoramic ability (and *still* comes in cheaper)!

    (Please direct all flames to dev/null! )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian
    Seriously, how much better are Leica optics than Nikon? I have an Nikon F3 and I'm considering switching to Leica M. I love the F3, but it's not a very good camera for situations where noise is critical. I just can't get away with taking a photo without everyone in a 1 mile radius noticing. Plus, I'm thinking that the lighter weight of the Leica will enable me to hand hold the camera at lower shutter speeds. There's just something magical about the Leica.

    If the optics are not that much better then I'll probably stick to the F3. Also, do you think it's possible to find an M body and lens for under $2000 (I can hear a few of you laughing right now as I type this)?
    If you want to keep your optics while having a silent camera trade in yor F3 for an F5 . It's the GREATEST NIKON! It would made me consider changing from Canon to Nikon.

    Morten

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    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    I have a Rolleiflex TLR. I also have a Hasselblad 500CM. I think I'm in a real photographic rutt lately. I've been shooting alot, but nothing seems to really be inspiring me. That's why I thought getting a Leica would make me see things differently. I know, I know, it's not the tools but how you employ them. $2000 is alot to spend on a 35mm. If anything, I should get my darkroom going. Since college (1992) I haven't stepped in a darkroom, I have been just shooting and accumulating negs for 12 years. Thanks for the advice.

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    FrankB's Avatar
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    Ara,

    You're not alone! Try this thread (especially the posts by Les McLean): http://www.apug.org/forums/forum50/4074-photographer-s-block.html

    All the best,

    Frank

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    Leica/Leitz lenses are not really "better" but they do have a different look to them. I use Leicas soley for black and white and I like using Leica rangefinders better than using any SLR I've ever owned (Nikon and Canon EOS). Lens quality is not really a concern since everybody makes good lenses. The Leica excells at allowing you to shoot at slower speeds and take quick candid photos. It's not as versatile as an SLR, however, and I would suggest you keep your Nikon to be able to use long lenses, do close-ups, etc.

    By the way, Leicas focus in the opposite direction from Nikons. If you are used to the way Nikons handle, it can be frustrating when you try to use a Leica.

    Used Leica equipment can be found at reasonably reasonable prices. You should be able to get a really fine body and 50mm Summicron for less than $2000 if you shop around.

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    david b's Avatar
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    Since you are already using medium format and have found yourself in a rut, why not look into a mamiya 6 or 7? they are wonderful "handhold" cameras.
    I too use a hasselblad, but since I bought my mamiya 7II, I find myself shooting a lot more and seeing things much differently. It's a bit of freedom I guess, since I don't use a tripod much anymore.
    As for the mamiya optics, I don't think there is anyone here on apug who would find fault with their quality, sharpness, or color rendition.
    Take a look. You can get a M7 with an 80mm lens for about $1500 or so.

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    I second the Mamiya. I recently took the plunge and bought a Mamiya 7II, and I just love it. The camera is light, the viewfinder is bright, and the slides I've gotten back are just gorgeous - sharp with beautiful color (I only used Velvia 50 so far with my Mamiya though).
    Macy
    Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.

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    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I've used both and for all practical considerations the optics are equal. A choice would have to be made for other reasons. My rangefinder of choice these days is a Bessa R.
    www.ericrose.com
    yourbaddog.com

    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

    "The Dude abides" - the Dude

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