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The decline and fall of Reflex.

Wes

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Leica used to be a camera for the hard working pro.

Since it costs a lot to use German labor, I don't see what else they could do except move "upstream" into the luxury amateur market. Same for German cars - I have two (tho one is a poorly designed VW Vanagon)... I always buy Japanese cars when I want a daily driver and something new.

"New" means < 10 years old...

oh - I also wonder if the f/8 quote was referencing the f64 movement (??)

https://www.britannica.com/art/Group-f64
 

rdenney

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Leica has the best aberrations. They are like a Nelson Pass amp...

The f/8 and be there thing is much older and from street photography - maybe in the 1950s. Dunno if Viet war photogs popularized it or not tho.
I suspect that any average Leica lens performs as well as the very best of Canon or Nikon lenses, simply because Leica won't let it out of the factory if it doesn't. Their designs are perhaps no better, but their quality (and therefore cost) model is a bit higher. The price model is much higher, of course.

What has surprised me are just how good are the previous generations of Pentax medium-format lenses, which have shown to be really superb in my own testing. And their current models are as good as anything on the market, including Leica. The 28-45 zoom for the Pentax 645z is a phenomenal performer, and the only downside to that lens is weight and bulk (and price).

As to the origins of "f/8 and be there", I have never seen anything really authoritative. Many credit it to Arthur Fellig (aka "Weegee"), a New York press photographer who often used flash bulbs with a Crown Graphic. Others credit it elsewhere. My memory was an interview with a Vietnam-era Life Magazine photographer, identity unremembered, but I don't trust that memory at all. I know that Weegee prefocused and fired the shutter when the subject arrived at the spot, so f/8 (which would normally be pretty wide open on a 4x5 press camera) would have worked.

It flows at least philosophically from an earlier statement from Walker Evans when he was working to document rural poverty for the Farm Services Administration during the Depression--"F/11 and hold it steady"--which means mostly the same thing. He mostly used a Leica when the word "hold" could mean anything. He also used large-format cameras.

Rick "not going to compare a Depression-era Elmar to anything modern" Denney
 

rdenney

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...oh - I also wonder if the f/8 quote was referencing the f64 movement (??)

https://www.britannica.com/art/Group-f64
No, no way. Group f/64 was formed by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and others in opposition of the then-popular pictorial style that used soft-focus and other effects to simulate painterly techniques. They believed that if photography was to be taken seriously as art, it needed to be true to what makes photography unique, which is sharp rendering. At the time, f/8 would have been wide open on most lenses they used, and the depth of field would have been razor-thin on their standard format, which was 8x10. Lots of just about any image would be noticeably unsharp. It certainly would not have been consistent with their stated principles.

And when it comes to the importance of technique, I doubt the inventor of the Zone System would have wanted to discount its importance too much, though he still agreed with the importance of subject. The statement Adams made about the importance of art over technique was, "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept."

But of the two basic exposure settings--aperture and shutter speed--many photographers would argue that aperture is the more important, because it affects profoundly how the photograph looks. So, it's not surprising that a lot of rules of thumb center on the aperture. Another one is the "sunny 16 rule", where mid-day scenes in full sun are correctly exposed by a shutter speed of the reciprocal of the film speed (or ISO) and the aperture is f/16. Like all rules of thumb, it's not always correct, but it avoids disasters, too.

Rick "closer in spirit to Group f/64 than to 'f/8 and be there'" Denney
 

JeffS7444

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No, actually, I think you (okay, maybe not you) are underestimating my ability to adapt, but also underestimating the value of the experience behind why I wouldn't want to.
I was thinking more about people who are feeling unhappy at the prospect of no major new tech infusions to Nikon F, Canon EF and Sony A-mount systems. But the hardware itself could easily still be useful a decade or two hence. Heck, I refurbish and use film cameras, and I've been hunting around for a deal on a 35/2.8 PC-Nikkor, 28/2.8 AI-S Nikkor, 50/2 Olympus OM macro, 43/1.9 Pentax FA-Limited, even a 50 mm Kern Switar.
 

JeffS7444

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I suspect that any average Leica lens performs as well as the very best of Canon or Nikon lenses, simply because Leica won't let it out of the factory if it doesn't. Their designs are perhaps no better, but their quality (and therefore cost) model is a bit higher.
Let's just say that Leica is the one brand where I'd want to unbox and test new cameras, binoculars and lenses before finalizing a sale. The best way to appreciate Leica products is as low-production items engineered and assembled by humans who sometimes make mistakes. Minor features may or may not work very well, and it's best not to get too fixated on the small stuff. If you're the sort who insists that everything work 100% right from the start and down to the most minor feature, buy Canon.
 

Wes

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By saying "Leica has the best aberrations." I mean the old lenses. Leica glow, lovely flare, etc. etc. It really reminds me of audio sayings (except I can immediately see some attributes of Leica Look)

Their lenses have always been the best or among the best for any given vintage.
 

thefsb

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Hmmm. Cameras are used by hands, and they have to fit them.
5 or 6 years ago I knew a photog in New York who shot Leica RFs. He's good at it. But then he pulled out an SL with 2.8–4/24–90 ASPH and handed it to me. Oh my! I could hardly lift it. If that camera would be used by my hands, I'd need serious strength training first. I'm not sure what the idea of that is.
 

rdenney

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5 or 6 years ago I knew a photog in New York who shot Leica RFs. He's good at it. But then he pulled out an SL with 2.8–4/24–90 ASPH and handed it to me. Oh my! I could hardly lift it. If that camera would be used by my hands, I'd need serious strength training first. I'm not sure what the idea of that is.

You really should lift some really heavy cameras before complaining about a Leicaflex SL :)

I have hiked mile after mile carrying heavy cameras, including (as a sampling) a Pentax 67 (with tripod), a Kiev 60 (as heavy and about as useful as a concrete block), a Canon F-1 (with winder), and lately a Pentax 645z.

And then there’s the large-format stuff.

Rick “the heaviest camera I can carry” Denney
 

Wes

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IIRC, Nikon once claimed that a heavier camera was easier to hold still for longer shutter speeds.

At the other end of the scale is the GM5 Lumix - a tiny and lightwt. thing that is nice for backpacking but hard to use in an ergonomic sense. There are limits on knobs, buttons etc. at small sizes - one reason the iPhone is hard to use as a camera, no matter how much automated processing they stuff into it.

Eventually, we will use voice commands for control and the EVF will be built into your glasses.
 

thefsb

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You really should lift some really heavy cameras before complaining about a Leicaflex SL :)

I have hiked mile after mile carrying heavy cameras, including (as a sampling) a Pentax 67 (with tripod), a Kiev 60 (as heavy and about as useful as a concrete block), a Canon F-1 (with winder), and lately a Pentax 645z.

And then there’s the large-format stuff.

Rick “the heaviest camera I can carry” Denney
I know. Real photographers carry a Fairchild K-6 to the top of Denali.
 

rdenney

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I know. Real photographers carry a Fairchild K-6 to the top of Denali.
Only if the tool they are using to carry it is an airplane :)

(I remember those "real programmer" posts on USENET and the whole Real Men Don't Eat Quiche BS. As a person who sold programs written in FORTRAN, BASIC, Structured BASIC, Pascal, Object-Oriented Pascal, and C++, and on computers ranging from a CDC Dual Cyber to an Amdahl V7 to a Nova 1200 to a VAX to a Kaypro to a PC, I can say that Pascal programs made me the most money when calculated in terms of hourly pay. I wrote software as a side hustle, and was paid a commission on each license seat sold, not by the hour, so minimum time to product was important. I happily gave that up a little less than 30 years ago, when I discovered I actually do like quiche, and when I discovered I don't actually like programming all that much.)

My first large-format camera was a Linhof Kardan Color, while in architecture school. I learned then that my teenage years spent stocking groceries--carrying bales of barrel bags and kitty litter and milk crates three at a time around the store--wasn't going to go to waste, at least in terms of upper-body strength. That thing was a beast! The big Pentax is a good compromise of image quality and portability, but I still miss the image control capability of a view camera, and so still have lots of 4x5 film in the freezer. (Now, all I need is someone willing to process color sheet film with some semblance of convenience and affordability.)

The only thing worse that struggling to carry a heavy camera is not having it when the once-in-a-lifetime image appears when turning a corner.

Kiev 60:
juneaufrommountroberts2001.jpg


Pentax 67:
67_crater_in_soft_light_lores.jpg


Canon 10D (a mere 6 MP):
summerstormalaska2007.jpg


Canon 5D (only 13 MP):
IMG_0014.JPG


Pentax 645z:
IMG_0129.JPG


Sinar F2:
loftstairssaltbox2012.jpg


On the screen, all of these could have been done with an iphone and a lot of software manipulation, well, except for the lack of lens diversity. But the Pentax (both of them) and Sinar images can be enlarged to prints measured in feet with no loss of the sense of endless detail.

Rick "any excuse to show pictures :)" Denney
 
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Blumlein 88

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IIRC, Nikon once claimed that a heavier camera was easier to hold still for longer shutter speeds.

At the other end of the scale is the GM5 Lumix - a tiny and lightwt. thing that is nice for backpacking but hard to use in an ergonomic sense. There are limits on knobs, buttons etc. at small sizes - one reason the iPhone is hard to use as a camera, no matter how much automated processing they stuff into it.

Eventually, we will use voice commands for control and the EVF will be built into your glasses.
Hey, my phone has many simple and useful ways to focus and adjust plus it has voice command. If I can hold it up more or less in the right direction like a nearly sober person it will get me pretty pictures.
 

JeffS7444

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Now, all I need is someone willing to process color sheet film with some semblance of convenience and affordability.
I've been thinking of picking up Cinestill's customized sous vide heater:
https://cinestillfilm.com/collectio...emistry-and-precision-film-processing-at-home
Apparently optimized for the lower temperatures one typically sees in film processing, and there's no real price premium versus a unit sold as a kitchen appliance. In the past I used to process sheet film with the aid of a Jobo processor, but those are way more expensive in 2021 than they were in the 1990s, and I no longer shoot nearly enough film to justify the cost.
 

rdenney

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I've been thinking of picking up Cinestill's customized sous vide heater:
https://cinestillfilm.com/collectio...emistry-and-precision-film-processing-at-home
Apparently optimized for the lower temperatures one typically sees in film processing, and there's no real price premium versus a unit sold as a kitchen appliance. In the past I used to process sheet film with the aid of a Jobo processor, but those are way more expensive in 2021 than they were in the 1990s, and I no longer shoot nearly enough film to justify the cost.
Yeah, that's the issue with me, too. I have a temperature-controlled mixing valve (an old Kodak-branded Leedal that still works perfectly), and could construct a bath for C41. But I can't hardly motivate myself to process black and white any more, and that runs at room temperature.

Rick "always preferred to be in the field with the camera, and not in the darkroom (or sitting at the computer)" Denney
 

Wes

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Looks like it might work as a wine chiller too...
 
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Ron Texas

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Nikon is introducing the Z9. Meanwhile the F-Mount 80-400 is discontinued. Has anyone noticed that many Z mount lenses are more expensive than their F mount counterparts?
 

audio2design

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Nikon is introducing the Z9. Meanwhile the F-Mount 80-400 is discontinued. Has anyone noticed that many Z mount lenses are more expensive than their F mount counterparts?

Don't have to compete with used stock. I have to expect they optimized the MFG to lower cost on the new ones. Then again may be a touch more difficult optically. Could be Covid pricing too.
 
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Ron Texas

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Don't have to compete with used stock. I have to expect they optimized the MFG to lower cost on the new ones. Then again may be a touch more difficult optically. Could be Covid pricing too.
Why do you think a new F mount 80-400 is on the way when every few months F mount lenses are being discontinued and no new F mount lenses are being announced?
 
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