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Archive 2023 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR

  
 
kinetic
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


Anyone come from a Nikon or Canon DSLR background and switch fully to a M system?

Since 2007, all of my photography work has been mainly on Nikon DSLRs. Occasionally some big jobs came with the gear, such as Canons and Sonys, but otherwise I would use my own gear or rent which was always Nikon DSLRs. My own gear is the Nikon D700 and D800e. I've had every flavor of lens but my last 10 years, I've mainly used the 35mm 1.4G and 85mm 1.4G. I also have a Zeiss 21/2 for wider needs, but rarely use it.

I've always relied on the autofocus of these cameras/lenses.

Lately, I've been shooting almost fully on my new Leica M11 and 50mm Summilux Black Chrome. It's my first rangefinder, first leica, and first system that requires manual focus. It's a total game changer and I love it. I'm way more accurate with focusing, and the process, while different, is a lot more fulfilling.

I've already gotten fast enough with manual focus that I haven't missed too many shots, but as soon as I'm faster with manual than selecting a focus point on my DSLR and framing it, then there really will not be any reason to stick with my Nikons I believe.

The weather sealing will be missed, but hopefully I can find a solution there.

I am guessing there's ways to connect the Leica M11's hotshoe so a trigger for studio lighting when/if I need it.

So yeah, I'm sitting here thinking of selling my Nikon gear and going full Leica M.

The types of work I do:
- Commercial and product
- Automotive
- Fashion
- Fitness
- Portraiture (studio/location)

I used to, and will occasionally still dabble in:
- Event
- Wedding
- Other types of portraits

Yeah, that covers almost everything, I know. I also travel quite a bit with gear, and shoot in all sorts of conditions. However, I am the type to always take very good care of everything, it's kind of my nature. My super old cameras are in amazing condition even today. I would probably be able to sell my lenses as near mint condition. Still have the boxes and everything. This is all despite being in at least six different countries, shooting many months out of the year.

I'm guessing they would fetch a decent price on the buy-sell.



Apr 28, 2023 at 03:43 PM
johnvanr
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


I would crosspost this to the pro forum. Iím not a pro, but I doubt the use case for the M is wide enough to cover your wide range of work. Pros with M cameras also seem to have another system for the things a rangefinder just isnít great for.


Apr 28, 2023 at 04:02 PM
kinetic
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


johnvanr wrote:
I would crosspost this to the pro forum. Iím not a pro, but I doubt the use case for the M is wide enough to cover your wide range of work. Pros with M cameras also seem to have another system for the things a rangefinder just isnít great for.


I might post there too, but wanted to see if there are any that came here to the Leica M system. I honestly am not sure what a DSLR would do that I couldn't do with the M.

I can shoot in bulb, us all sorts of lenses, the ISO range is wide, I'm guessing the hotshoe can trigger things, tethering should be fine too.

I guess the big dealbreaker would be weather sealing for me... but I'm willing to risk it from time to time with a ziplock bag.




Apr 28, 2023 at 05:11 PM
johnvanr
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


kinetic wrote:
I might post there too, but wanted to see if there are any that came here to the Leica M system. I honestly am not sure what a DSLR would do that I couldn't do with the M.

I can shoot in bulb, us all sorts of lenses, the ISO range is wide, I'm guessing the hotshoe can trigger things, tethering should be fine too.

I guess the big dealbreaker would be weather sealing for me... but I'm willing to risk it from time to time with a ziplock bag.



Again, Iím not a pro and my eyesight isnít what it used to be, but for me the main issue with the M is with lenses longer than 50mm. The longer they get, the more precise focusing becomes an issue. Thatís why I keep my Canon gear for portrait and model stuff.

You should probably check on flash compatibility. Godox has a Leica trigger, but Iím not sure the more pro brands have them. Of course, you can always use the old-fashioned manual setup, but to me the modern controls are just so much better and efficient.

Finally, Iím not comparing M with DSLRs, but with mirrorless. I couldnít live without eye AF on a fast-paced shoot anymore now that Iíve come to love it.



Apr 28, 2023 at 05:52 PM
cary.z
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


Beautiful work! I love the immediacy and quietude that your images convey.

As John mentioned above, shooting with fast long lenses on a rangefinder could be a challenge, as you'd have a thinner DOF while the image area through the viewfinder gets smaller. It's possible to work around this with a magnifier or EVF, but at that point perhaps the DSLR system would have a clear advantage. Portraits, events, and panning automotive shots come into mind here.

Depending on the lens, close focusing could also be a limitation on the rangefinder.

IMO keeping (at least some of) the Nikon gear might prove more valuable than liquidating all of it...



Apr 28, 2023 at 07:55 PM
Luke_Miller
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


I have recently gotten bolder in my use of my digital M, discovering that in my event work I can get as good, or better, focus results than with my autofocus bodies. With autofocus my most used lens is the 70-200, so my style has to evolve to one with primes that I can focus using the rangefinder. I recently shot my granddaughter's wedding as a guest with my M240 and 50 Summicron and had no difficulty maintaining focus as she came towards me down the aisle. I discovered my restricted use of my M cameras reflected a lack of confidence in my ability rather than any camera limitation.

Since your preferred focal lengths are M compatible, I say go for it.



Apr 29, 2023 at 08:11 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Possibly fully switching all my work to Leica M from Nikon DSLR


It may depend on how much you can, or want to, control the shoot environment. Portraiture with a 90/2 on an M, if you want to work at or near wide open, will generally mean fairly stationary subjects and/or some degree of focus bracketing. If you want to work wide open in more dynamic, fluid environments, it will be a lot more challenging. Yes, you can follow focus with the M, but your hit rate will not be as good as with AF, particularly with longer lenses. It will take some practice but as noted in the previous post, certainly doable with a 50 (I've done it with the 50 Lux at events with people walking towards me).

BTW, from my M experience, I felt it was more important to get the correct eyepiece diopter correction lens for my eyesight than to use a viewfinder magnifier. The big disadvantage of the magnifier is that if you change lenses often (once you get a few more), it's a hassle to attach and remove it repeatedly. It also sticks out from the body and kind of wants to poke your eyeball. TBH, I'd rather work with the EVF attachment instead of the magnifier. With the EVF you can be more certain of focus placement and it doesn't impede normal use of the OVF/rangefinder for when you prefer to use it.

For studio strobe where you're probably not relying on any kind of TTL flash control, M will work just fine. Flash for event type coverage though, you may be limited to whatever Leica offers if you want TTL. I haven't looked into this enough because I used flash a fair amount and therefore never gave up my Canon system for this kind of work. Instead I used the Leica to augment it.

If you're still using Nikon DSLRs, you should at least try a Nikon mirrorless body to determine how well subject/face/eye detection and tracking AF works. You may be surprised. For me on Canon, it's very liberating to leave that to the camera and be able to concentrate on subject expressions and composition. Not saying it's not doable (portraiture) with the M. As you've already noticed, with the M it will just mean a lot more hands-on from you.

You could probably switch completely to M and augment with DSLR/mirrorless rental for jobs where it might be beneficial, since it appears you already rent some equipment whenever necessary.



Apr 29, 2023 at 11:36 AM





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