November 21, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Camera Considerations covid-19: day 244 | US: GA | info | exit

I’ve been considering selling my Leica M. While it has probably been the best camera I have ever owned, I think I’m ready for a system with a bit more updated tech, like autofocus and an EVF with peaking for manual focusing. I like the simplicity of the M, but I would like a couple more modern features—especially to help me focus. My old eyes are beginning to have issues with the rangefinder.

One consideration is a used Leica SL. The body would be bigger, but I’d get all the things I’m looking for—plus the ability to use any lens I could find. I still have a vintage Trioplan sitting in the closet. I could also adapt my M glass easily.

Another would be slightly more trouble, but a Leica Q2 would be a great option. Again, all the current tech, a huge full-frame sensor, a built-in Summilux (at 28mm a bit wider than the 35 Summicron I always have on my M anyway), and the Leica minimal design I love. I’d have to sell my additional lenses, but I wouldn’t need them anymore.

A third option is a bit more radical: a digital medium-format, like the Fujifilm GFX50R. I came across Steve Huff’s review of the new Hasselblad 907X. I don’t think that camera would be for me, though I would love to try it, but seeing an M lens adapted to a medium-format camera really impressed me: see this post’s first photo of the cat. OMG, is that gorgeous: the three-dimensionality is stunning. So my Summicrons would be more like f/1.x on a medium-format. This could be awesome. I know there would be vignetting, but with the 51 megapixel sensor, I could crop the hell out of it.

The GFX, while it appears to be a brick of a camera, has a bunch of current tech—probably too much, like all Japanese cameras. That said, many of the settings I would likely never even use, and I could adapt all sorts of medium-format lenses to the body. This option is probably the least practical, but might open up a new dimension to my photography. GFXes run about $3K used on eBay. That’s probably about what I could get from my M.

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