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Monday, 20 October 2014


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Stealth it will never be, but I would also say that with the 70mm 2.5, the Leica S setup is surprisingly comfortable to hold - all the other system lenses are all surprisingly longer and heavier, which makes it less so.


Bigness is in the eye of the beholder.

Mike, I'm enjoying the Morning Comment, but could you provide a link back to the original comment/thread?

Today's morning comment sounds like part of an interesting conversation but I'm not sure where to find it....

Probably a bit OT, but maybe not. We ARE talking cameras here, and I presume, their photographers.

My wife and I went to the Paul Strand members preview at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this past Friday. [ http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/805.html ]. We thought we'd spend maybe an hour or so, then go to a Stieglitz exhibition. No no no!

This show, I believe it will only be in Philly, is a broad retrospective of Paul Strand's work, and his methods. His early prints were platinum, and to me, they looked muddy, but maybe because they were a 100 years old. Maybe also because the camera he used, and especially the way he used it, did not yield the crisp sort of image I might have expected. I've seen some Henry Fox Talbot prints that looked "better." In some later work, the exhibition paired both platinum and gelatin silver, and in some cases, photogravure. Very instructive to see the differences in tonality.

It is a large show. The motion pictures are worth staying for. The exposition of some of Strand's printing methods is fascinating. His manipulation of negatives to get the effects he wanted suggests to me that he would have loved Photoshop.

So, big show, lots to see, and we definitely plan to go back. Meanwhile, there's a hefty show catalog to pore over.

Well, I don't know if this is really a fair comparison, 'cause you picked one of the largest and heaviest cameras on the market to compare it to, along with the Canon 1D-series bodies. These cameras have to be big and heavy 'cause they're built and work like a tank (sometimes literally). They also have to be robust enough to handle very large and heavy super telephotos, since the only place they are typically used now is for photojournalism, sports, etc.

Even a 5D/D600 size camera is big, as far as most of us who have migrated to mirrorless are concerned, which I think was the subtext in the original post.

What's most interesting to me is that, at least in North America and Europe/UK, it's primarily pros who are really the ones who want smaller, lighter cameras and lens systems, cause they have to shlep all that gear around ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Doing this *for years* creates a very different experience (as well as physical toll on the body) than the experience of enthusiast or amateur photographers that only use their gear occasionally or on weekends.

That comparison reminds me of the old Mamiya ad where they compared the size of a Mamiya 7 and an F5 and likewise compared the size of their respective negatives/postives. It was a powerful bit of advertising.

How about this for a definition: "A small camera is one that it does not hurt to carry all day." For me, that is an Olympus EP-2 or smaller. My Nikon D3? Not so much (although a 20 year-old might beg to differ. In one sense, small is relative (e.g. smaller than a breadbasket or a Deardorff 8x10). On the other hand, a word has to mean something in common parlance to be useful in a conversation. I am trying to keep a whiff of relativism but retain linguistic practicality. That is, I assume that Mike's question regarding "small" cameras meant something. If it includes a Deardorff because it smaller than 16x20 (or Mount Rushmore), then the word "small" really has no semantic function in a sentence.


Ben Marks

Ah, but look at them with normal lenses:



(In spite of that, though, you're completely right that "small" always hinges on a background question along the lines of "Small for what?", and for what the S allegedly is (I've never set eyes on one myself), you're being pretty reasonable calling it a small camera.)

Leica was very clever to invent their own sensor size and then build an entire S camera system around the sensor. In a way, that is exactly what Leica did with the invention of the 35mm camera. Leica invented that M film size by choosing how much of the movie film they would use for their original camera in 1925.
Ergonomically, the S is well designed and certainly compact for the sensor size. So it is small in relationship to the bloat that has occurred with other full format sensor DSLRs. I always admired the OM2 for SLR size. The S is probably 50% larger than an OM2. I prefer to think of the S as what Olympus would have done had they done digital medium format.

Small? Yeah the S is smaller than has Canon or Nikon done medium format DSLR. The lenses with an S are pretty large, as surely someone will comment. But they are not that much larger than Canon or Nikon pro lenses.
So I am pleased you call the S a small camera.

From camerasize.com , this is a link comparing a Sony a6000 to a Leica S:


I rather prefer to compare this Leica with the D800E. Then the size, weight, MP's and file size are about the same, I woldn't mention the budget size of course...

To be even more fair, compare it to the only other medium format camera I saw on there: the Pentax 645d. From the front, they look about equal. But that side view...

I'm fine with the "small" descriptor.

Re the Mamiya 7, I'd have to give the nod to the Mamiya 6 if we're talking about small easy to handle medium format cameras -- for a couple reasons. The Mamiya 6, unlike the 7, has a collapsible lens, which makes a big difference in stowing it in a small bag. The other reason is that the 7 requires an external viewfinder for use with the wide angle. The 6 is a dream to use.

What's this obsession with having some kind of tag for your posts? Sounds like a rod for your back. But maybe you need the discipline. Personally I don't think it improves your writing, especially after going back and looking at the archive. Write about what interests you in the photographic universe - you have enough history, acquaintances and imagination.

Ok, let's make this stupid smallish camera thread even more farcical by say... including price as an input to the size calculus.

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