Why use a Leica screw mount camera today?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by BradS, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's why you're confused. The definition isn't anything to do with what you like, I admire Atget and Evans work greatly, but neither are remembered as SPs. While there were precedents and exceptions, for candid photography the hand held compact 35mm camera was the tool that enabled street photography.

    I know how Winogrand did it. He pre-focussed and shot freely, only using the rangefinder if he had the opportunity. A 28mm lens allows you to do that. It's one of the reasons street photographers do not generally use a 50mm lens. People think because they're carrying a Barnack and a 50 like HCB they're street photographers. To get the depth of field and freeze motion with a 50 requires great light and fast film. Most of the time your subjects will be distant, or out of focus or blurred. You're unlikely to get a half body shot and infinity in focus on a 50, something has to give. I'm certainly not claiming candid street photography cannot be done on a 50mm lens, but there's a reason street photographers choose wider focal lengths. Shooting street on an old rangefinder camera means you will be pre-focused much of the time, or you're shooting portraits not candidly.
    I absolutely agree. Most current street photography is shot on smart phones.
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    5,894
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, they do glow, at least they do on my screen - but it's the lighting and subjects, which the lens did a great job of reproducing :smile:
     
  3. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Location:
    MiltON.ONtario
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I'm just looking at it broader. Yes, I like it with people. But it doesn't have to be candid. Atget, Evans and Bresson took plenty of pictures with people aware of their picture been taken.
    And even more so in Winogrand's case. Or obviously with Gulden.
    To me everything taken on the street with spark of creativity is the street photography. It could be OOF and with blur.
    Here are two examples:
    http://rangefinder.ru/glr/showgallery.php?ppuser=7332&cat=500
    http://rangefinder.ru/glr/showgallery.php?ppuser=2988&cat=500

    And I think you are spending to much time on technical accepts, but without practice. On practice, I have missed the focus with 50mm lens on rangefinder camera only few times. Because of focus tab and practice. All what needs to be done is to study DOF calculator, close look at the lens focus scale and learn, get used to positioning of focus tab. With practice it becomes second nature to move focus tab instantly.
    And even with RF it takes couple of seconds to focus. With practice.
    50mm lens on rangefinder, some are taken with ff2.8. And those are where I don't have much time to focus:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This one is with 50 and f2 taken spontaneously:
    [​IMG]

    This one with 50 and f1.5. Candid is not always about taking it quickly or by "hiding":
    [​IMG]

    The practical reason why we are going wider is only because we want to get closer and still have enough content in the frame. If I walk from less crowded part of the city to the downtown, I could use 50mm lens first and once it is getting crowded, switch to 35mm.

    I'm aware what phone is most used camera these days. But I'm not aware of any street photographer who has emerged with it.
     
  4. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Listen I'm not going to debate what street photograph is and is not with anybody, because experience suggests people get it or they don't. What I challenge is your lack of experience point. I've shot candids on an SLR, a rangefinder, manual and AF point and shoots and a phone, with varying degrees of success and lack of it, and all kinds of focal lengths. In doing so I know what is and is not technically possible, and the rest is instinct.

    For myself and most other people SP is about composition, those fleeting moments that only photography throws up when for a fraction of a second a little miracle of juxtaposition happens. Sometimes it's one person doing something so extraordinary or crazy or true to life that it carries the shot, but mostly it's a variety of elements coming together. That is the opposite of a portrait, visually and generically. A 50mm lens on a 35mm format camera separates elements in the frame. It works on formal subjects, the kind of thing HCB shot, but it's bad at extracting something interesting from chaos. It's an elegant, hands-off kind of focal length. I shot a 50mm for years and still return to it occasionally, including shooting a Bessa L with a Kontur finder. which takes no prisoners with technique.

    The best focal length is a matter of how close you're prepared to go, combined with the technical aspects of the lens. 28mm is popular because by pre-focusing you can attain a wide depth of focus, using apertures that don't flirt with diffraction. F8 plus whatever shutter speed the light and film speed allows. I find 35mm a better compromise but have gone down to 16mm. I don't want to appear didactic or authoritarian on the subject, but I do know what people consider street photography represents and the techniques and approaches that facilitate it, and a 50mm is making life hard for yourself.
     
  5. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This is an above average critique of how to look at pictures, and be ruthless with your editing choices. Note, it is not the only way but good advice is not common on the internet.
     
  6. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Location:
    MiltON.ONtario
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Challenge accepted. :smile:
    I'm sorry but from what I read from you it looks like you are more on the side of the keyboard and theoretical forum warrior, while I have more than decade in regular practice and experience in street photography.
    With all kind of equipment. Film and digital. The proof link is always available in my sig.

    People like me are doing it not because we want to follow or copy HCB or because we claim to understand what street photography is, like you think you do. :smile:
    But because we are just like Winogrand. We just want to see how it looks on photograph.
    We are studying our countries, just like Winogrand was studying America and like HCB did study USSR, India and China.
    You walk on the street and for some strange reason you are more interested in taking picture where, instead of landscape, portrait, macro and else.
    This is 35mm lens:
    [​IMG]

    And this is my vision about extracting from controlled chaos :smile::

    [​IMG]


    I'm absolutely agree what advice and judgement from picture-less folks on the Internet is often so-so. :smile:
    Instead, I like what HCB wrote about photography and what John Free is teaching about street photography.
     
  7. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Reel yourself in a little. I'm commenting on a thread about screw mount Leicas, in particular their viewfinders based around the 50mm focal length, and how useful that is or is not as a street photography camera-lens combination. I have not commented on any of the photographs you've posted, and will not do so. I do not post mine anywhere on the internet for various reasons, so never pass judgement on other people's unless they are known photographers of repute. One of the reasons is the internet is addicted to approval, and I really don't care what people on the web think of my photos, in fact I only trust the judgement of a very few people I know personally. I also have national photographic awards to back up that I know what I'm talking about, and over 40 years experience of working with film. I mention those things only because you've equated my comments with purely theoretical knowledge against your decade of experience in the medium.

    You are entitled to your opinion, and you are entitled to use your pictures as exemplars of street photography. This is not a camera club and we are not having a competition. I maintain that a 50mm focal length is unpopular among street photographers for sound aesthetic and technical reasons. Photo bombing the forum does not dissuade me from that conclusion.
     
  8. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Location:
    MiltON.ONtario
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Was it me who started lecturing here who is experienced or not? If so, I'm sorry to make you feel this way.
    I do use film for 40 years and I have international award in photography. Well, not with film camera. :smile:

    As for usefulness of viewfinders with 50mm where was nothing to comment on usefulness. HCB used it, so do I for street and else :smile:

    Regarding your "bombarding" comment... In case if you haven't noticed, this is the photography forum. It is very common practice to illustrate your words with photos on photography forums.
    Writing how great and understanding you are without pictures is also common, but less creditable, sometimes :smile:.
     
  9. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I am not a paying member of the forum, so contributing photographs to illustrate my point is not an option. I had a Flickr page long ago, but I found it an unstable platform because ownership continued to change, passwords were not retrievable and there is no longer a contact by which to fix things. Instagram is a likes exchange.

    There's an issue on this forum that people take comments as personal insults, even when they are nothing to do with the person concerned. As I don't criticize individual's work, I can't be held responsible for their identification with an objective comment I make.
     
  10. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Location:
    MiltON.ONtario
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Peace and take it easy then!
    I can't stand Instagram, either. I think it is more concept than photography exchange and more politics than photography is involved :smile:.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    27,532
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
    Moderators, could you please convince these two to get a room? Now back to the topic of the thread: Why use a Leica screw mount camera today?
     
  12. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    ...and the biggest spoon comes to stir a pot that's nicely settled. As usual.
     
  13. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,300
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2016
    Location:
    Nashville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Because you like to? Need there be any additional justification? Why are three pages of posts required?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    27,532
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
    I think I said that in the beginning. And I do not own one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  16. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,459
    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would say it is one of the better pocket rangefinder options.
     
  17. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,254
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Gig Harbor & Palm Springs
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    27,532
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Groups:
  19. Barry Kirsten

    Barry Kirsten Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Location:
    Brookfield, Vic. Au.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the link, Theo. Great article and just what I was looking for. It's been many years since I owned a rangefinder and due to advancing age I'm now looking to downsize. At the moment I'm debating with myself the merits of either Canon P or a Barnak. I don't know which way the decision will eventually go, but the process is a very pleasant one.
     
  20. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,010
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Chillicothe MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Barry, I've used Barnack and both Canon P and the similar Canon 7 models extensively, and prefer the Barnack for its compact size and build quality. The smoothness of the Leica is obvious when one uses both brands side by side. The Canons have better viewfinders and shutter speed dials. Extensive familiarity with the Barnack diminishes these advantages.
     
  21. Barry Kirsten

    Barry Kirsten Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Location:
    Brookfield, Vic. Au.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for your input, Jim. I think you're probably right, and the thing that will likely swing it for me is the legendary Leica precision, something that's sadly lacking in many cameras. Over on RFF there is a thread for images made with old uncoated lenses, something I've been taken with for a while now. I've explored this somewhat in LF with my old Zeiss Tessars and others that I have, and I love what I'm seeing with old Elmars and Hektors etc. Exciting prospects for exploring when age slows ya down. :D
     
  22. polka

    polka Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Indeed, the IIIg being the last model just before the Ms, it has a new and better type of viewfinder with a luminous frame moreover correcting the parallax. To my opinion, the only justifiable choice of a "barnak" over a M.

    I find the viewfinders of all the preceding barnaks just horrible.

    Polka
     
  23. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No, the IIIg arrived after the M series. It was an uber-Barnack for M39 buffs.
     
  24. Europan

    Europan Member

    Messages:
    408
    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Basel, Switzerland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Brad, I can give you a rational reason for using a screw-mount camera and lenses. You can underlay shim washers for close and macro shots with washers just following up the near focus end of a lens. Extension rings and tubes will allow still shorter distances. To frame and focus I put a matted piece of plastic on the film rails. Turret movie camera systems by Bell & Howell and Paillard-Bolex have rackover accessories that allow to preset a lens before swinging it in front of the taking aperture.
     
  25. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    5,894
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    On a screwmount Leica it is impossible to view the film gate without disassembling the camera.
    There is a Leitz accesory called a "focaslide" that makes your Leica/Leica clone into a rackover closeup/macro outfit, https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/227324-what-does-a-focaslide-do/
    A third party copy attachment, Schull Speed O Copy http://www.arguscg.org/manuals/speed-o-copy.pdf
     
  26. BAC1967

    BAC1967 Subscriber

    Messages:
    500
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Focaslide makes macro work much easier as does the NOOKY attachment. It's definitely nowhere near as simple as an SLR system though.

    Focaslide
    [​IMG]Leitz Focaslide by Bryan Chernick, on Flickr

    This was shot using the Focaslide.
    [​IMG]Barnacles by Bryan Chernick, on Flickr

    The NOOKY is much easier to use than the Focaslide but it won't get you as much magnification.
    [​IMG]Leica IIIc with a Summitar lens and Nooky-Hesum Closeup Attachment by Bryan Chernick, on Flickr

    This is about as close as you can get with a NOOKY
    [​IMG]Third Night by Bryan Chernick, on Flickr
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies. If you have a Photrio account, please log in (and select 'stay logged in') to prevent recurrence of this notice.