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Thread: Leicas Versus MF

  1. #1

    Default Leicas Versus MF

    With all the hype about the optical quality of Leicas, how would a multi-thousand dollar Leica rangefinder's quality(on 35mm film) match up to say a several-hundred dollar TLR like an autocord, lubitel or a rolleicord(using 120 format film)?
    Would a mid level 120 format film SLR like a Bronica Sqi thrash the 35mm film output from a top end leica rangefinder? A bit subjective here so base this on a 35mm size cut-out from the 120 format negative.
    What do you guys think?
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  2. #2
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    You can't compare print sharpness between 120 and 35mm. 120 film, with a neg size 4x the size of a 35mm, is going to beat any 35mm.

    So why buy Leica? Black & white and slides. The texture that it renders that's brilliant.

    Sharpness is not everything, sometimes.
    Last edited by canturn; 22nd October 2004 at 10:16 PM.

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    Yah, and nobody will ever say, "You ain't a photographer till you've used a Seagull."


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoned
    With all the hype about the optical quality of Leicas, how would a multi-thousand dollar Leica rangefinder's quality(on 35mm film) match up to say a several-hundred dollar TLR like an autocord, lubitel or a rolleicord(using 120 format film)?
    Would a mid level 120 format film SLR like a Bronica Sqi thrash the 35mm film output from a top end leica rangefinder? A bit subjective here so base this on a 35mm size cut-out from the 120 format negative.
    What do you guys think?
    It is unfair to compare a 120 format and a 135 in term of image qualilty.
    Many ppl (like me) prefer to use a Leica becoz it is light and good at low-light photograpy. Many ppl also prefer a 120 becoz they shoot studio and etc.
    It is just a matter of getting a right tool for the right job!
    You can get a super-big hammer to nail a nail, well, it works! But do u want such hassle???

  5. #5

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    well actually thats why i wrote base comparisons on a 35mm neg size cut-out of the 120 format film. Will a leica "win" in that case?
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoned
    well actually thats why i wrote base comparisons on a 35mm neg size cut-out of the 120 format film. Will a leica "win" in that case?
    I see, you take for example a 6x6 and cut a 35 mm strip and compare it to a 35 mm frame taken with a Leica.

    Actually, I don't think there is a darn difference between sharpness in any top of the range lenses such as Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Zeiss and Leica. With modern technology, there is not going to be any difference in that "department". But of course there can difference in contrast and color, depending on factors such as coatings, and quality of the lenses even within the same company.

    My understanding is that some eons ago., Leitz was lagging behind Zeiss. Leitz just did not have the resources to compete head on with Zeiss. So the designers cleverly created a lens with sharpness in the centre and relative "unsharpness" in the edges, giving an illusion if 3-D, and the Leitz legend was born!

    Today, I think there is no significant differences in sharpness. However, the quality and tightness of quality control in Leica is unsurpassed! Just take a look at the lens mount and compare them to the competitors!

    But the main reason for using a Leica is as what Henri Cartier-Bresson used it for! Quiet (relatively speaking - the Mamiya and Rolleiflex is more quite), "small", low light, tough! (shoot even in rain!), and plain fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    I see, you take for example a 6x6 and cut a 35 mm strip and compare it to a 35 mm frame taken with a Leica.

    Actually, I don't think there is a darn difference between sharpness in any top of the range lenses such as Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Zeiss and Leica. With modern technology, there is not going to be any difference in that "department". But of course there can difference in contrast and color, depending on factors such as coatings, and quality of the lenses even within the same company.

    My understanding is that some eons ago., Leitz was lagging behind Zeiss. Leitz just did not have the resources to compete head on with Zeiss. So the designers cleverly created a lens with sharpness in the centre and relative "unsharpness" in the edges, giving an illusion if 3-D, and the Leitz legend was born!

    Today, I think there is no significant differences in sharpness. However, the quality and tightness of quality control in Leica is unsurpassed! Just take a look at the lens mount and compare them to the competitors!

    But the main reason for using a Leica is as what Henri Cartier-Bresson used it for! Quiet (relatively speaking - the Mamiya and Rolleiflex is more quite), "small", low light, tough! (shoot even in rain!), and plain fun!
    Thats why I still use a Leica!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    I see, you take for example a 6x6 and cut a 35 mm strip and compare it to a 35 mm frame taken with a Leica.

    Actually, I don't think there is a darn difference between sharpness in any top of the range lenses such as Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Zeiss and Leica. With modern technology, there is not going to be any difference in that "department". But of course there can difference in contrast and color, depending on factors such as coatings, and quality of the lenses even within the same company.

    My understanding is that some eons ago., Leitz was lagging behind Zeiss. Leitz just did not have the resources to compete head on with Zeiss. So the designers cleverly created a lens with sharpness in the centre and relative "unsharpness" in the edges, giving an illusion if 3-D, and the Leitz legend was born!

    Today, I think there is no significant differences in sharpness. However, the quality and tightness of quality control in Leica is unsurpassed! Just take a look at the lens mount and compare them to the competitors!

    But the main reason for using a Leica is as what Henri Cartier-Bresson used it for! Quiet (relatively speaking - the Mamiya and Rolleiflex is more quite), "small", low light, tough! (shoot even in rain!), and plain fun!
    Clearly put The price is the only killer i guess.
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  9. #9

    Default Leicas

    If you are comparing qualities like sharpness, contrast, etc, most modern lenses are fairly close and you will need to blow the image up very big to see an appreciable difference and even then, its a matter of taste.

    Leica's are no different. They are expensive, but then again, there are plenty of expensive cameras. I don't see that many people complaining about plonking down $4-5k for a DSLR + L lens every 2-3 years.

    As student said, you use a Leica because you like its intuitive handling, size and reliability. And aren't they beautiful! : )

    Alan

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipefish
    If you are comparing qualities like sharpness, contrast, etc, most modern lenses are fairly close and you will need to blow the image up very big to see an appreciable difference and even then, its a matter of taste.

    Leica's are no different. They are expensive, but then again, there are plenty of expensive cameras. I don't see that many people complaining about plonking down $4-5k for a DSLR + L lens every 2-3 years.

    As student said, you use a Leica because you like its intuitive handling, size and reliability. And aren't they beautiful! : )

    Alan
    Plonking down $4-5k for a DSLR + L lens every 2-3 years is even more expensive than a Leica!!! My friend been using a 2nd hand Leica M4-P which he bought for $1.6k and it had been used over the past 20 years! Wonder any DSLR ever come close to it?!

  11. #11

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    If you look at MTF measurements and resolving power, most medium format lenses are much worse than 35mm lenses. The larger size of the negative much more than makes up for this and the end result is a much more detailed print from a MF negative.

    http://www.photodo.com/nav/prodindex.html
    http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/mfbest.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by sriram
    If you look at MTF measurements and resolving power, most medium format lenses are much worse than 35mm lenses. The larger size of the negative much more than makes up for this and the end result is a much more detailed print from a MF negative.

    http://www.photodo.com/nav/prodindex.html
    http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/mfbest.html
    I know about that. But too bad many MF user still think otherwise!

  13. #13

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    if you're comparing similar sized cut outs I'll have to give my vote to a leica
    but of course who the hell uses a medium format camera to get 35mm cutouts?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX Boy
    I know about that. But too bad many MF user still think otherwise!
    And if you use most large format lenses to shoot 35mm film, they will probably suck as bad as a sigma 28-300 zoom

  15. #15

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    I shoot large format.

    Some of the newer lenses such as the Schneider super-symmar Xl are truly spectacular.

    Having said that, the reason for using an "inferior" large format lens is not really for its sharpness, but the preservation of tonality especially for 5x7 or larger format when there is no need for enlargement (of course yoy can enlarge 5x7 and 8x10!)

    For people who have not seen the tonality of straight contact prints, I would suggest have a look at these.

  16. #16

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    Some people carry a leica around Peninsula and walk pass old men who talks about Nikons just to prove they can shoot better. The Leica of course! Believe the myth! People are already practicing it. LOL.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimCB
    Some people carry a leica around Peninsula and walk pass old men who talks about Nikons just to prove they can shoot better. The Leica of course! Believe the myth! People are already practicing it. LOL.
    Oh, lotsa these folks around. Some even claimed they know what leicas/ Nikons are even without using them. I wonder how many of them have actually used these equipment to be able to say whether it is "better" or "not-as-good". hmmm.

    Yea, believe the myth

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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    I shoot large format.

    Some of the newer lenses such as the Schneider super-symmar Xl are truly spectacular.

    Having said that, the reason for using an "inferior" large format lens is not really for its sharpness, but the preservation of tonality especially for 5x7 or larger format when there is no need for enlargement (of course yoy can enlarge 5x7 and 8x10!)

    For people who have not seen the tonality of straight contact prints, I would suggest have a look at these.
    Higher tonality is inherent to the filmformat, NOT due to the use of an LF lens! ......res of large format lenses are indeed lower, but there is just no need to have sharper lenses for that format because the enlargement factors are much lower, and you already reach the film resolution at that mag factor (around 100 lines/mm).

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by hongsien
    Higher tonality is inherent to the filmformat, NOT due to the use of an LF lens! ......res of large format lenses are indeed lower, but there is just no need to have sharper lenses for that format because the enlargement factors are much lower, and you already reach the film resolution at that mag factor (around 100 lines/mm).

    You are right. My writing is incorrect. But I think the word "higher tonality" is not too correct. Probably "smoother" (OK, splitting hairs!)

    It is tonality stems from the fact that there is no "degradation" of image inherant in enlargement. It does not matter if I shoot a portrait with techpan in 120 format and enlarge to 8x10. The tonality of my 8x10 tri-x still beats the techpan flat!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by student
    It is tonality stems from the fact that there is no "degradation" of image inherant in enlargement. It does not matter if I shoot a portrait with techpan in 120 format and enlarge to 8x10. The tonality of my 8x10 tri-x still beats the techpan flat!
    Yes, its more that there are more silver grains available to make up the image with larger formats.......giving you more details.....

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