TWiP 464 – Future to the Back

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TWiP 464 – Future to the Back

High­-end and renown camera manufacturer Leica is at it again. Heading down the “less is more” path with regard to features, or lack thereof in its newest camera introduction Leica M­D. Where companies like Sony, Panasonic, Olympus etc are moving to refine and increase the capabilities of their systems. For some camera makers, removing features has become their leading strategy.
Leica began this trend with the introduction of their “it only shoots in monochrome” M series. And Nikon joined the fray with their retro styled DF body with a “thrilling blend of classic and modern Nikon” features. These cameras eschew modern “luxuries” like video, touch­screens and built­in wifi transfer. Yet, offer an increased price point for the privilege of not enjoying these missing features.

In this episode we examine this trend of getting back to basics. And discuss the deeper issue of the camera as a fashion accessory versus a tool. Or can it be both?

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  1. Guys, if you don’t know what a camera CAN do, then saying what it CAN’T do is only half the job. Do your homework please. The reason the Leica Monochrom is interesting is that every pixel records luminance and is used to make the B&W image. A bayer sensor needs three pixels to figure out a color, but the Monochrom needs just one to land a value it can use. This means the Monochom will present a higher quality B&W image than a converted Bayer image all things being equal. Secondly, Martin the Monochrom images are fully editable (and it’s recommended). Sure there are no colour channels, but there are tone mapping tools and plug-in’s that allow amazing gradation so it’s easy to realise your vision as it’s far from baked-in out of camera – and (strange as it may sound) even tools like Silver Effex Pro have a role to play if you want. Thirdly, the files are incredibly data-rich – you can push sliders all over the place before the file complains, much more so than any other FF camera I have used as this sensor yields a range of data resulting in rich details, wide exposure latitude, and great sharpness (in the right hands). Lastly, the ISO/noise capabilities are impressive (due in part to “every pixel” delivering on it’s own). I know this camera is easy to misunderstand, but five minutes homework would have told you the above – TWIP owes it to its audience to dig a little deeper. Leica’s high prices make for easy criticism (I agree, they’re a lot of money and there are many cheaper options), but this camera delivers in a way a converted bayer image can’t – and after hiring this camera on two occasions, I’ve been staggered by the image quality – it’s near MF (which I know well) and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if B&W floats your boat. You just need to decide if it represents value to you or not.

  2. I’ve never shot with any Leica, but if money was no issue, I’d love to see what the big fuzz is all about.

    @Marksetgo, no need to be upset at the hosts for their opinions. That’s what the photographic community is for, share your thoughts, shed some light on the things the show didn’t clarify or where the hosts are ignorant. Martin is giving an educated opinion based on his experience which goes beyond one piece of gear. All About The Gear pixel peeps at camera details, TWIP is more about general ideas on the topic.

    But I’ll agree with Marksetgo on one thing, which I’m guilty of doing too. And that is not taking the camera for what it is instead of for what I want it to be. lol

    Who’s this photography approach for? I say rich people who want to use an expensive toy. Why? Given the technology available to us in current cameras, for a real professional, this Leica as well as the Monochrom are just a joke. For soldiers out there in the battle field, technology is about surviving and making a living, not about looking “hip” while at it, or feeling cool. The feeling I want is my pockets being filled with cash. Unless using Leica is part of your marketing, there’s capable tools that make more economical sense. But to each his own.

    In some ways all this reminds me of “The Last Castle” movie with Robert Redford. If I go to work, give me more options. If I’m going to play, sure add restrictions.