[LRflex] Re: Saturday night...

  • From: David Young <telyt@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: leicareflex@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 17:04:12 -0700

Elliot said:

>Thanks for posting David. Great results!

Thank you!  The DM-R has a steep learning curve, but once you get the 
'hang' of it, it delivers amazing results.  :-)

>  I see that you are really putting the DMR through its proverbial paces. Any
>tentative conclusions ( i.e., pros and cons ) that you feel able share?  Was
>there anyone else at the meet that had used the DMR, and were there any
>opinions from such others?

I was the only one with a DM-R.... but you have to remember that mine 
is only 2 months old, and is serial number 1387, so there aren't a 
lot of them around, anywhere!

At our meets, there is a great "show and tell" atmosphere, and the 
DM-R did garner a fair bit of attention.  However, it was neither the 
winner nor the second place finisher.  Second place went to Tom. A., 
who was sporting an early 1950's Nikon Rangefinder fitted with the 
latest Nokton f1.5 (at least I think that was what it was...) lens 
from Cosina... but it is the only such lens made in Nikon Rangefinder 
mount, in the world!  (A bit difficult to upstage that one!)

However, the clear winner was Joe Leung, who also organized our 
superb dinner.  He's cobbled together a 90mm Summicron Visoflex lens 
head onto the helical focusing mount of some nondescript lens he'd 
pulled the glass out of, and put it all on his digital Rebel!  All 
hung together with double sided tape!  It looked great, and worked well, too!

(a photo of Joe and his 'creation' can be found in the group 
at:  http://www3.telus.net/~telyt/Leica_nite_06.htm

Of course, one should never forget Henning Wulff's  LOREO shift w/a 
lens in a lens cap, for full frame Canons!  It set a new standard for 
lack of quality!  Surprisingly, it does work!


As for "tentative conclusions"... well, there is a 3 page article 
coming out in the next issue of the Viewfinder... which should be 
mailed within 10 to 12 days (It's in final proof reading, now).

If you're an LHSA member, you'll get it automagically.  If you're not 
a member, you should be!

( http://www.lhsa.org and tell Madge I sent ya!  If you join now, 
they'll send you the back issues from Jan, 06.)

The "Reader's Digest" version?

The DM-R is a superb picture taking instrument. I'll put it up 
against the 16 mpixel Canon, any day, and I believe I can win, on 
picture quality.  However, it has a number of annoying drawbacks 
which all seem to stem from it's Imacon heritage.  After all, very 
few Hasselblad's are used for sports or press work.  They're more 
often used in studios, their digital backs frequently tethered to a 
laptop.  Speed was not essential to Imacon's design goals...but it 
should have been for Leica.

Leica has a different electronics supplier for the coming Digi-M, 
and, with any luck, they've learned from their mistakes with the 
DM-R.  If they have, the Digi-M will be a huge success, and Leica 
should once again be solvent.  If this happens, I understand that 
their next project will be to adapt that technology to the 
oft-rumouored R-10d (or whatever it might be called).

That will be an integrated dSLR - possibly on an R9 chassis... and 
possibly not.  If they get that far, I will buy one, for sure!

That being said... why buy a DM-R now?

Well, several reasons...  (not necessarily in any order)

1 )  If we want Leica to survive, to make new products for us, we 
have to buy what they have. Wait for the R-10d and you're pretty much 
guaranteed never to get it!

2 ) I considered the Canon 5D as a step up from the 20D I had.  But 
the price to go all they way to the DM-R was only CAD $1500 more and 
I would regain the R8's wonderful finder (though the 5D's finder is 
much improved over the 20D, I'm told), spot metering (also now in the 
5D) and auto diaphragm, which is impossible with Leica lenses on a 
Canon via an adapter.

3) The fine detail of the DM-R cannot be matched by any Canon.  All 
dSLR's except the DM-R use an anti-aliasing filter, which reduces 
resolution and thus the rendering of fine detail.  No MF digi back 
has one. They fight Moire patterns in software, when needed.  The 
DM-R is the same.

4) The dynamic range of the DM-R is better.  It is a full 16bit 
system... whereas the Canons and Nikons are 12 bit machines.  (Of 
course, if you shoot in .jpg mode, you lose any advantage, as .jpgs 
are 8 bit files, by definition.)  Sure, you can still blow the 
highlights, but you can with film, too.  But it's much less likely 
with a 16 bit machine.

5) Colour rendition is much more natural that anything I've seen from 
the Orient.

What can I say... the DM-R is a helluva lot of money, but it's worth 
every penny!

Even Ted, who has offered spirited arguments against the DM-R, in 
this forum, today wrote me to say... "[Y]ou sir have made me a 
believer! ;-) There is without question something completely 
different looking to each in such a positive manner it's quite 
obvious a successful piece of gear much as the Leica with film has 
always been different, better and ahead of others."

It's not for everybody.  Slow, methodical photogs like Doug Herr and 
myself will find it a superb piece of kit.  Sports and other 
fast-action types will need to wait for the R-10D.  But, if you can 
live with it's flaws (and it has a few, but none truly serious) it is 
a magnificent picture making machine.



David Young,
Logan Lake, CANADA

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