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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Comments

"*I know, Henri Cartier-Bresson used only a 50mm. But you are not Henri Cartier-Bresson."

For the MILLIONTH time, Henri Cartier-Bresson did not just use a 50mm. He also used a 35mm and a 90mm...

Question:
what about the Cosina made Voigtländer Bessa? And is there the reincarnation of the Pentax ME Super or K1000? I, a digital tank that just takes pictures and allows you and your friends to exchange lenses?

Mike,
I got a personal tour of Magnum in New York from Erich Hartmann, who was a past President of Magnum, and who let me look at some of Cartier-Bresson's proof books (there are *lots*). Although H. C.-B. carried both a 35mm and a 90mm as well as the 50mm, Erich told me that you can look through proof book after proof book and not see more than a shot or two taken with the 90mm (I know of only one of his iconic images that was taken with that lens), and almost none taken with the 35mm. Erich and Henri were good friends for 40 years or more.

Like any photographer, H. C.-B. experimented with lenses from time to time. But he used the collapsible 50mm Summicron from the time it was introduced until he stopped photography, and he indeed used it for almost all of his shooting--at least 95%, and very likely well over 98%.

Mike

Still have it, still use it, still happy with it

Excellent choice !
But if I had to be a nitpicker, I might argue that "pur sang" in French would nowadays refer to horses, while the "sang bleu" (blue blood) would relate better to the "uppity" Leica red dot thing!
I sold my M6 and its three lenses years ago, and don't really regret it anymore in these digital years, keeping a good old battered FM2n just in case.
If a digital version (full frame) of the ZI did exist, I would surely try to get one!

Hear, hear. Personally use a Voigtlander 40/1.4 most of the time but that's a minor quibble. Around town and in informal situations nothing beats it: fast, freindly and inobtrusive.
About the worst a Leica-phile could level at it (at least to me) was that the ZI always requires a battery. As it's reckoned to last 10,000 rolls, I'm not getting worried any time soon.

And it's (much) less expensive.

That's true. Compared to Leica's $4400, it's not difficult. But what is there to cost $1400? I mean, really?

Bessa R3A costs less than $600 and takes the same lenses.

I tried one of these when I bought my second-hand Leica M6 a couple of years ago. Wonderful viewfinder, and light, but the overall smoothness and feel of the M6 won me over.

When you press the shutter the Zeiss goes "clack" whereas the Leica goes "tick". When you wind the film the Zeiss goes "zzzzat" whereas the Leica goes "zmmm".

However ... I use a number of those gorgeous Zeiss M-mount lenses with both of my Leicas (Leici?) and I have to say that they are superb, in addition to being significantly less expensive than their Leica counterparts. If you subscribe to the very sound theory that photography is mostly about the lens, then the ZI is a great platform for some of the finest made, methinks.

Damn ... that's three down and not a dog among 'em ...

C'mon Mike, make a controversial choice already!

After years of reading reviews and test reports in enthusiast magazines, I've always wanted to ask this question: Is it possible to review a German automobile or camera with out somewhere referring to its "Teutonic ____________"?

Iñaki,

They're all Cosina-made. The difference is the Ikon is made better. The viewfinder specs on paper are already better. While I haven't handled one, I'll bet it's better built too.

As for those who think the clunky bottom plate of a Leica is better, well, 1936 called and they want their cameras back.

The thing I like about cameras such as the Zeiss Ikon & Leica M (I have an M6 with 35mm welded to it) is their utter simplicity. It's such a relief to hold a camera that is not covered with buttons & dials that perform hundreds of superfluous tasks.

A good question, Mike is what you think of the Bessa. But the ZI looks perfect to me, and i can use it with my collapsible and DR summicrons and have a meter.
I always could guess exposures (my old Kodachrome 25s are mostly all done without a meter), but it would be great to use the Leitz lenses and have an in camera meter for a change. I think i am convinced.

I was next H-C.Bresson for 3 days in may 1975, in Bucharest. He used mostly the 40mm Summicron on a Minolta-CL and a 35 Summilux in dark interiors. He also had a camera marked Henri Cartier-Bresson, a special M4-2, with the rangefinder of the M3.
And I saw him only once changing lens and shooting an architectural detail, with a nice light, with the 90mm Elmarit. He also had the 50mm Summicron in a little bag, but I never saw him using it.

http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP=Mod_ViewBoxInsertion.ViewBoxInsertion_VPage&R=2S5RYDWFT0ZY&RP=Mod_ViewBox.ViewBoxThumb_VPage&CT=Story&SP=Story
In fact, he did at the Central Comitee Meeting.

So did his wife too, Martine Frank. She mostly used the 35 Summilux.
http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP=Mod_ViewBoxInsertion.ViewBoxInsertion_VPage&R=2S5RYDYUBDQR&RP=Mod_ViewBox.ViewBoxThumb_VPage&CT=Story&SP=Story

Oh crap.

I've been mulling over purchasing one of these and selling my G2 system (there's a great body+lens deal on right now).

I have it (the ZI), love it, and it has reinvigorated my photography after so much bland digital precision. I love Tri-X too! The 35mm Biogon is perfect and the 50mm Sonnar is a dream. Long live film!

1. I completely agree, re: the Ikon. My first M-mount camera was an M7. Sold it, and later bought another M7. Sold it, and now i'm happier with an Ikon. The Leica was prettier, but the Ikon is just a better camera.

2. HC-B with a Collapsible Summicron? It's odd to read that, as it seems to be so commonly 'reported' on the various forums that he primarily used a 50mm/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar.

Posted by: Mike Owen: "For the MILLIONTH time, Henri Cartier-Bresson did not just use a 50mm. He also used a 35mm and a 90mm..."

Mike's right, although HCB admitted using his 50 the most.

The Ikon seems like a fine contemporary film rangefinder. (See how many contradictions you spot in that sentence.) The Leica M7 was the last film camera I've bought, or will ever buy (aside from a vintage Rolleiflex). The pain-gain ratio of film has exceeded 2.0 for me and I doubt I'll shoot more than a roll or two a year again. 'Sover.

No wonder I am such a TOP fanboy. I have ALMOST bought all 3 of these cameras in the past 6 months.

If I wasn't saving for new speakers I'd buy that Zeiss.

I should get a job.

Only one film camera? Sigh. I was really hoping you'd find it in your heart to give Nikon's F6 at least an honorable mention.

I can't afford either, but Zeiss is just way too boxy looking. I miss the curvaceous sex appeal of Leica. As I get older and technology more advanced, I may just finally retreat to a film RF in the future- but it'll be with Bessa, the girl next door.

Great choice, Mike!

Even though I shoot 99.5% digital these days, I lust after a ZI. I know I'll probably never own a ZI, but one can dream.

Maybe I'll be lucky enough to borrow one some day, or even just rent one for a weekend.

This is the camera that could make me shoot film again, but alas, my budget will not allow it.

Mike Johnston: "I know, Henri Cartier-Bresson used only a 50mm."

Mike Owen: "For the MILLIONTH time, Henri Cartier-Bresson did not just use a 50mm. He also used a 35mm and a 90mm..."

Sorry, Mike, but I have to agree with Mike here.........

"only" implies 100%, not 95%, not 98%+, not even 99.99999999%

Somebody, please stop me from buying yet anoyther camera !? :).

As for alternatives, I got a fine recently CLA'd M2 off of ebay for $467, though that's on the low end. I was lucky that five M2 auctions were ending that day. I guess $600-$800 is more the norm.

And I use a CV light meter that slides onto the shoe. Works great and costs under $200. I use the CV 28mm 90% of the time and you don't need to spend the money or gain the awkwardness of an external viewfinder as the M2 viewfinder edge to edge is close enough -- the reason I went for an M2 over an M3.

Leicas aren't just for rich idiots. I know this is a series on new cameras but... maybe you can discuss the used market some other time in a Top Ten Used feature.

I enjoy your blog a lot. Thanks.

OK, I'll throw this out there just so Mike can get harrassed more if he's silly enough to answer: What are the other 3, 5, maybe 7 truly classical cameras?

That ZI looks like a beautiful, straight-forward camera. I wish some digital cameras were like that. I'd rather have it over a Leica just because if I owned a Leica I'd be scared of getting mugged or taking myself too seriously.

I would love to try a rangefinder camera and also see the legendary build quality and ergonomics of a Leica. But even an M6 is $1200 used and then a used 35mm lens is another $1200. Good thing I wasn't eating when I looked that up or I would have choked. Hopefully the Bronica RF used price will fall and I can try that one. No one here wants one; it's just a lowly Broncia. You got that? What you want is a Hasselblad.

I was lucky enough to buy a Spotmatic and Topcon RE Super at an estate sale for next to nothing. They need lots of work but those will be my classic B&W cameras when I'm done cleaning and fixing them. And for the price of a Leica body I can try out hundreds of different, unappreciated Exacta-mount and M42-mount lenses. I also got a great deal on a Rolleicord for medium format B&W. It seems there are tons of deals for classic B&W-use cameras and lenses except when it comes to rangefinders.

"what about the Cosina made Voigtländer Bessa?"

I have an R2 and an R3M. The R2 is/was a steal at that price as long as you could live with it's compromises. For my first foray into rangefinder shooting I have no regrets.

With the later R2M and R3M I think you lose a lot of the cost advantage that the earlier bodies gave you compared to the ZI, and you don't get that VF and the long EBL. However, the cosmetic improvements and the improvements in the solidity and "feel" of the body are immediately noticeable. If you're pinching pennies I guess there's still value there, but if I had to do it all over again I would've gotten a ZI for my 2nd body and picked up a ZM 50 or a CV 50 Nokton instead of going for the R3M + 50 Heliar combo.

One other potential advantage is that neither the R2 nor the R3M require any batteries to function at all, as long as you can guess exposure. This is not the case of with the ZI; as far as I know the shutter won't trip with a dead battery.

"C'mon Mike, make a controversial choice already!"

Oh, I will, don't worry.

Mike

You say the body is on par with Leica in terms of performance. Would you say the same about the glass? Leica glass is mighty pricey. Would be nice if shooting with a rangefinder were a little more accessible, especially since I figure most of the people who want to do it are serious about shooting and not as concerned about the status of the gear.

"Somebody, please stop me from buying yet another camera !?"

Lou,
Why? Think of all the things you could be spending money on: gambling, drugs, drink, loose women, cults, whacko political causes, exercise equipment you'll only try once and then give up, or some bankster's bonus. If you like cameras and cameras make you feel better, go nuts. It's not immoral, unethical, or destructive to your health, and you only live once.

Mike the CPE (camera purchase enabler)

Andrei,
Thank you very much; that's fascinating. I still stand by what I wrote, generally, but it's wonderful to know that the master actually shot with one of my all-time favorite lenses, that 40mm!

Mike

The other Mike said:

"Would be nice if shooting with a rangefinder were a little more accessible, especially since I figure most of the people who want to do it are serious about shooting and not as concerned about the status of the gear."

Try hanging out on the Leica forum some day, or the Rangefinder forum, and you may change your mind. Leica people actually joke (often in a guilty way) about Leicas being jewelry; you'll see more kids photos than art. My conclusion after years with Leicas is that there are a handful of really serious shooters -- 5%? -- and a very large number of posers, who also collect expensive watches, drive (or wish to drive) collectible sports cars, etc. But there is that handful of really serious people, which makes up for the poser b.s. I should add that there's also a strong contingent of engineering types, who may not shoot much, but are absolutely fascinated by the machine precision of Leica cameras; Leicas represent machine work pushed to the nth degree.

JC

Boy I nailed the film camera pick. Have never seen an Ikon but I'll take your word for it. If you don't want to spend the money and don't mind a louder snick pick up a nice Nikon FE (black)for $200 With the $1200 you save one can aquire 3,4 maybe five of Nikon's better primes in Ex+ cond. and still have a camera that's at least as well built as the Ikon. Not as cool maybe but more veratile.

This would definitely be at the top of my list if I were in the market for a new M-lens capable film body. But I doubt I ever will be. I have two M6 bodies, bought used in near-new condition back when they were going for under a grand. I expect they will continue to function well for the remainder of my life.

Used Leica M6 bodies can still be found in excellent condition for about the same price as the ZI. Taking that into consideration, I would probably go for a used M6 over the ZI.

Functionally, I much prefer using the Leicas to any other camera I've ever held in my hands. They just plain work for me. But digital cameras and the ability to shoot in RAW has made me lazy so I don't do much film anymore. When I do use film, it's always B&W and it's always in the Leicas.

Heck, buy a used ZI. Worst case, you can probably sell it for about the same money if you don't like it. Unlike last year's digital darling...

I justified buying a used Minolta CLE the same way. I was torn between it and a ZI, but don't have enough experience with rangefinders yet to know for sure what I want, and eventually the compactness and lighter weight of the CLE won the day.

I'd have one of these, if I didn't have my beloved (and orphaned) Konica Hexar RFs. And a Leica M3. Everybody should have an M3 (or an M2 if they prefer 35mm over 50mm; me, I probably prefer my 75 'lux).

...Mike F

One interesting thing about this is how often I read or hear of a yearning for simplicity in camera equipment - the very thing I prize most highly in my Leicas, and the reason I decided to buy the M8. Yet over on the Leica forum there's always someone clamoring for LiveView, and electronic viewfinders and HD-video - gearheads just like Canikon users.
I actually wonder how many people genuinely want and enjoy simplicity, and how many like to see themselves as the sort of person who wants it.


"If you don't want to spend the money and don't mind a louder snick pick up a nice Nikon FE (black)for $200"

EmmJay,
I'd suggest the FE2 as an alternative. Replacement FE shutters are getting very hard to find and are much more expensive to have serviced.

Mike

"Think of all the things you could be spending money on: gambling, drugs, drink, loose women, cults, whacko political causes, exercise equipment you'll only try once and then give up, or some bankster's bonus."

I'll take loose women then. That's classy. The ZI is just a wanna-be-Leica, very uncool.

Since the only "proper" cameras I have shot have been digital, I used to wonder why a canikon + normal lens on manual mode with f8 and manual focus set nicely wasn't a good enough (and cheap) substitute for a leica/other rangefinder. But looking at the Leica photos and reading about it still sparked my lust.

Then a friend of mine mentioned that their father (who lives outside the country) has several old film cameras lying unused in the closet and I was curious to check them out with the idea that nothing good would be there.

So: Pentex MEF, some Russian Zenit SLR and a Rollei 35 Classic (which may have some issues - although is apparently the smallest ever mechanical 35mm as well as being a rangefinder). Oh and a Leica M6 with 50 f2. I'm in love with the Leica - I don't yet have permission to borrow it though...

It should be pointed out though, that a Zeiss Ikon + 50 f2 lens costs more or less as much as, say a D700 + normal lens (at least where I am). On the other hand a D700 is like my current digital SLR, just better, whilst the rangefinders are different - and hugely seductive!

Until recently I was pretty obsessively shooting an M4 and a Canon P along with digital. But a few weeks ago I got my first really usable MF camera, a Fuji GA645. Now I have two of them. They seem like small miracles to me, producing results so far out of line with their cost it's almost funny. I wonder if there is really any point in shooting small-format film these days.

On the other hand, both are useless in low light...but so is Tri-X compared with even a cheap DSLR and fast lens. I have the new 35mm/1.8 on my D40 now; if they have this setup in the next world I'm sure HCB has one.

Still, I ought to buy a ZI or an M7 just to see how semi-modern levels of automation add to the classical RF experience. It's true that nothing feels better than these cameras, but ultimately I'm more interested in the output than the device.

I love my ZI, and the 50mm Planar, Mike's review is partially responsible for me getting one.

I got a Coolscan to go with it and still do digital in the middle. Now I don't get the same image quality as I get from my 5D. And really digital is far more practical. Film is very annoying - storing, scanning, etc.

But the thing is that I love using my ZI. It makes me happy and puts a smile on my face that I just don't get when using an SLR.

I needed to get through those first 10,000 frames digitally because I never could with film (in the old days). But now I'm shooting less frames with better results and recently I find I use the ZI more than the Canon, and boy is it fun. Ain't that something?

Ever hear people say "a camera is just a tool" like it was something profound? Well when you use a Canikon DSLR perhaps so, but it's a pretty sorry state of affairs when your camera is just a tool. The ZI is by no means just a tool. It makes you want to pick it up and take some pictures - it can actually induce the desire when none was there before. When did you ever hear someone say that about a DSLR?

DAMN!! DAMN!!! DAMN!!!!

I've admired this beauty since it was born, but, when is Zeiss going to make a DIGITAL version of this camera? Considering the total lack of digital RF interchangable lens cameras other than the M8 (Yeah! Yeah! there's the Epson - who cares) it would be a killer.

I guess the same question could be asked of Voigtlander.

Between my Olympus 35ED and Yashica GSN, I was happy! Now look what you have done: camera lust is raising its ugly head.

"After years of reading reviews and test reports in enthusiast magazines, I've always wanted to ask this question: Is it possible to review a German automobile or camera with out somewhere referring to its 'Teutonic ____________'?"

John,
You got me there, but then again, how many reviews do you read that use "gaga" as an adjective? [*chuckle*]

Mike

"I'll take loose women then. That's classy. The ZI is just a wanna-be-Leica, very uncool."

Depends on how far you go back. In the heyday of the German camera industry, Leica was always second fiddle to Zeiss. A Leica was what you bought if you couldn't afford a Zeiss. The M3 was a better camera than any rangefinder Zeiss ever made, but Zeiss definitely had the better name & reputation, even through the '50s and into the '60s.

Mike

I'd love to photograph with something like a Leica M, except that by now having film developed and scanned feels like mowing the law with a scissors.

There's not much difference in price between a used M6 and a used Z1. I think the main difference is aperture priority on the Z1. If you don't need that, the M6 is a better camera. It's slightly heavier, better ergonomics, and the bottom plate issue is a red herring. But the main difference is durability. M6s last forever. A Z1 may also be very durable but the jury's still out.

A fine camera for those of us who watch black & white TV, drive a 1953 Buick, and listen to 78 rpm vinyl recordings. Personally, at age 61, I'm glad that's all behind us.

Nice to see the warhorse of cameras the K1000 at least got a mention in comments. I shot with one for twenty years and it never spent a day in the shop nor let me down. Nothing automatic, no whistles or bells, just solid dependability. I've been shooting with a Nikon D80 for two years now and while I love it - I still think I did my best work with film, my old Pentax, and a couple of Vivitar lenses. I can't remember ever screwing up a shot - it was an extension of my body. The Nikon is a computer with a lens on it, complicated settings, so many choices it boggles the mind. And I'm pretty sure I won't still be in love with it in twenty years. Here's to good old solid SLRs.

Mike–
Yeah, that 40mm summicron is one of my favorites, too!

@JonA:
"OK, I'll throw this out there just so Mike can get harrassed more if he's silly enough to answer: What are the other 3, 5, maybe 7 truly classical cameras?"

speed graphic, rolleiflex, nikon f, hassy swc, sx-70... there's 5 others... i'm sure someone can come up with 2 more...!

My favorite camera right now is my Canon Canonet, but then again, if I had the money (which I probably never will, with the way I save money, or rather DON'T save money) I would get a Leica in a pinch.

I once saw a near mint double-stroke M3, with a Summicron 50mm/2, in a pawnshop - for $500. I held it, ran through the shutter speeds, fell in love with it right there - and didn't have the money for it. Of course, it was gone a week later. I still kick myself over that.

Maybe I should look into this Zeiss Ikon - it looks like a solid little camera. And probably a midge more reliable than my Canonet.

This is a beautiful camera, but could Zeiss please make a digital version of the same? I handled one at the camera store and it is exquisitely beautiful. The viewfinder is breathtaking. The rangefinder focusing is brilliant. But, seriously, it needs to be digital for me and for most photographers today. I am NOT going to scan film ever again if I can help it. Someone please tell Zeiss to make it digital, please. Now. Or soon. Very soon. :-)

"Would be nice if shooting with a rangefinder were a little more accessible"

A used R2 can be had for a fraction of the price of a new ZI or even a new R2/R3/R4. They aren't bad cameras, they just don't hold a lot of resale value on the used market. A brick of BW400CN or XP2 (assuming you want to go "retro" and shoot B&W, if not pick your color negative film according to taste) doesn't cost that much and processing at Costco plus scans (no prints) cost me less than $5.

As for the lenses, well again a used CV lens like a 35/2.5 or 50/2.5 isn't going to run you much and will probably give you a substantial fraction of the performance of a Leica lens for a small fraction of the cost.

If you just want to "try" RF shooting, I don't think the cost of entry is really holding you back.

"I used to wonder why a canikon + normal lens on manual mode with f8 and manual focus set nicely wasn't a good enough (and cheap) substitute for a leica/other rangefinder"

Having gotten back a roll of film fairly recently I have to say there is a difference.

There's something about shooting with an RF in dim light (around 1/15th at f/1.7 and ISO1600) that's easier and feels more sure. The view seems dimmer in a modern (d)SLR even with an f/2 prime attached. The VF in a rangefinder almost seems to suck in light and practically glow in comparison. And I'm not just talking about the RF patch or the frame lines.

In addition there's a certain confidence you have in the sureness of the focus when you see the two images in the RF patch line up, that you don't get with the AF in a typical "consumer" (d)SLR. In dim light using a pentamirror VF in a typical "consumer" (d)SLR everything "looks" like it's in focus, even with a "fast" prime--whereas with the RF I know that it is. Sure, I have no problem believing that with a D3/D3X or a Canon 1-series body you can trust the camera to AF accurately in the dark, but then you're also carrying about 3 or more times the weight that I am with my R2 + 35/1.7.

Handholding for me is easier as well. At 1/15th and 35mm FOV I think I lost more shots due to subject motion and DOF than I did to blur from camera shake, at least on that night.

To be clear, this is obviously all subjective so take it for what it's worth, but for me there's a difference.

I actually wonder how many people genuinely want and enjoy simplicity, and how many like to see themselves as the sort of person who wants it.

Posted by: Mani | Wednesday, 15 April 2009 at 03:36 PM

I once heard of a study involving coffee preference. Many people claim to like dark roast brewed strong, but in a blind taste test the majority prefer relatively weak light roast. Similar psychology at work, I'd say.

There is a new view finder which may be better

I have gone to the shop to compare this with a MP. The only thing it strikes me is that its simple frameline. I think I will have this in my priority queue and not a MP. But your review always bug me. It is not a Leica and a digital one, even the name has a bit of issues ... may have to think more serious about this.

Mani: "One interesting thing about this is how often I read or hear of a yearning for simplicity in camera equipment - the very thing I prize most highly in my Leicas, and the reason I decided to buy the M8. ... "

That's an excellent point, Mani. I had never touched a rangefinder until 2005 when I got an M7. My objective was to use "simpler", more primitive photo methods to distill the essence of technique and experience. These are, indeed, cameras that are nicely simple -- although purists would balk that the M7 and this Ikon feature aperture-priority auto-exposure and (gasp) automatic ISO detection!

But returning to a film medium actually negated much of the joy I derived from this "simplicity". Getting images from film means taking the rolls to a lab, waiting days to pick them up, scanning the frames, etc. All that effort and expense to get to the images I shot ... that's a powerful buzz-kill for me. As I noted earlier it drove the pain/gain ratio for film far above 2.

So, like Mani, my M8 gives me the best compromise of primitiveness and convenience.

One thing about the Zeiss Ikon RF that should be emphasized: Eye relief for glasses wearers. Most of us with glasses can't see the full 28mm frame in the standard .72x Leica M viewfinder, and some of us even have trouble with the 35mm frame. The ZI has that oversized viewfinder, which makes it much better for us. I've tried the ZI. I'm not in the market for a film RF, but if I were, I'd seriously consider it.

The Bessas are decent cameras, and the viewfinder is quite nice. But the RF base is short, and the build quality is not anywhere near a Leica M, and the shutter is noisy. The ZI's build quality is somewhere between the Leica and the Bessa. And the ZI has a long baseline RF that can focus fast lenses more easily and accurately.

Good call, Mike!

As a ZI-M owner all I can say is I love this camera. It is small and light enough to carry daily. The build/design quality makes it a joy to use. It has hardly any impact on others when I use it in public. I love its simplicity. One of the best things about this camera is it opens the door to the widely diverse universe of M and LTM mount lenses.

The ZI-M engineering and build quality is superior to the Bessa. A new ZI-M costs about as much as a 8-12 year old Leica M6.

When I sent my camera in for a rangefinder calibration I found US, Zeiss customer service to be excellent.

If you want to know more about the ZI-M's design and engineering, check out this link:

http://elekm.net/zeiss_ikon/pages/comments_other_bm.html

William


Mike an interesting choice, but is there a lower cost alternative you should have thought of that gives you access to the world of rangefinder cameras and 35mm film, with a retro feel.

I acquired a 1955 Zorki from Ebay with a collapsible 50mm lens, and its effective and low cost, plus very sharp. Meter by eye, preset the lens and off you go. Modern negative film is so forgiving and its simple and easy to use.

""Somebody, please stop me from buying yet another camera !?"

Lou,
Why? Think of all the things you could be spending money on: gambling, drugs, drink, loose women, cults, whacko political causes, exercise equipment you'll only try once and then give up, or some bankster's bonus. If you like cameras and cameras make you feel better, go nuts. It's not immoral, unethical, or destructive to your health, and you only live once.

Mike the CPE (camera purchase enabler)"

This is the best paragraph you have ever written. There are others very good one but I think this one will be in my head always now. Do you have a kind of best quote, hall of fame (like the cons of M8) etc. to put into your front page. If so, put this in. Strike to the heart of matter or simply the heart.

So here's the question: you have a choice, at exactly the same price, between an expertly CLAd M4-P and a ZI. Leaving aside the meter and battery, which do you choose?

This is not a mere academic exercise for me. Those two are what I feel are my choices. Unless someone can convince me a combo of R4 and R3 are a better choice. But neither of those has the same hand feel as the ZI or M4, do they?

I purchased an Ikon ZM over a used M6 for the lighter weight, eye relief for glasses-wearers, and the fact that it was new. So far I'm enjoying it. The experience of pressing the shutter is one I really enjoy--the experience has an almost romantic quality to it.

However, the killer in the M-system is the lenses. I have a 50mm Zeiss Sonnar that just drips character. And I'm lusting after a 35mm pre-Asph Summicron.

I've come to prefer rangefinders for most shooting. I also have a Mamiya7. My focus is just as good or better than with my D300. And, yes, less gizmos means less to get in the way of the shot.

I enjoy shooting film too. I like the image better. I scan with a Coolscan 9000 and have no complaints about image quality. I like processing B&W and controlling contrast with different film ratings. Good color films like Ektar give me colors that I have fiddle with endlessly in PS.

I like waiting a few days before I edit my images because it gives me the ability to be more critical. I still shoot my D300 with strobes and when I need the files asap.

I'm really happy that we have all these choices available to us--and that Zeiss introduced the Ikon when they did.

The ZI is a very nice camera. The Zeiss 35mm f2, for it, is sensational. I've owned Leica 35s, including the aspheric versions, but there is something very special about the Zeiss.

All you need to do to convince yourself about this camera is look through the viewfinder, big, bright, clear and simple! Any other 'limitations' or 'compromises' in this camera can be excused for this reason alone. The only trouble is once your eye has been exposed to this beauty everything else seems dim and cramped by comparison (and that includes the M's...)

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