The new Leica M-D
Leica M9 shooter and TOP reader Benjamin Marks thinks about the new M-D
The short announcement at Engadget got me thinking. Hmmm. Would have to think hard about this. I see the logic of keeping it simple. But how do you do firmware updates with no way to interact with the camera? Maybe you have no firmware updates. Or maybe the interface is all on my computer?
I am thinking about how I actually use my M9. For all of its flexibility, I actually keep the thing on a set of settings and do most of my manipulation after the fact. For me:
- RAW only
- ISO 400, unless circumstances dictate otherwise
- Color space set to...I can't even remember. Adobe RGB?
- Image size: Set to max
- Motor drive: 3 fps
So, OK. As far as it goes, Leica has more or less standardized my choices as the only choices on this new machine.
This raises the question: So what do I actually use the screen for? Well, I do have some lenses that back-focus, or for which the DOF changes unevenly as they are stopped down. The 50mm ƒ/1.5 Sonnar comes to mind. Checking focus is easy and has eliminated the little note cards I used to keep with each problematic lens back in my film days.
Also, I use some lenses—like my 15mm and 21mm's without an auxiliary finder, and have been checking what is actually in the frame using the M9's screen. So I'd have to change that part of the workflow.
I also tend to share the best of a series with the subject in real time...sort of like: look how good you (or your child or your pet or whatever) look. Without the screen, the camera is less of a social device. It would be OK for street photography, maybe. Say goodbye to the whole "but you weren't even in the picture..." tension-diffuser with a mad member of the public, or a cop, or whatever. Also, the "is that a digital camera?" question/answer gets a little more nuanced. "Yeah, it is digital, but you'll have to trust me...."
Ironically—and maybe this is why I have devoted any thought to a camera I can't afford and won't consider purchasing until I am looking at a used one in seven years—this camera, in terms of workflow, is more or less what I imagined I would be using back in 2000. I thought—insanely incorrectly, as it turns out—that for our Manual M's we would have a drop in focal-plane sensor with the "cassette" space taken up with a small battery, storage, and associated electronics. Ironically, the battery and storage pieces of my cockamamie future-proof idea are "there" (have you seen the size of the storage chips most phones take? Sixteen MB on a chip the size of my little fingernail...and this is the "old" tech). I just never imagined how quickly film would go poof as the medium of choice. Shows what I know/knew.
I also imagine that by cutting out the screen and its battery requirements, all firmware except one preset set of settings, etc. that Leica may actually have a better profit margin on the M-D as a unit than their current M-of-the-year that has to have a team of engineers thinking about how all those pieces fit together, and how they will be upgraded, and supported etc. I will be listening for sales reports with a bemused sense of detachment.
©2016 by Benjamin Marks, all rights reserved
Originally published at rimfirecentral.com.
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