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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some Things Never Change

I don't mean to be a spoil-sport (really), but I had to laugh when I saw the picture at left over at DPReview. In all the excitement over the run-up to the Leica M8 announcement, the thought did cross my mind that well, at least we're finally done with that silly film loading. But noooo. No more Leitz family, no more Wetzlar, Mandler's dead (R.I.P.) and the shutter is finally electronic, never mind the digital sensor. But that darn removeable bottom plate is still with us. Leica lovers love it, apparently, and what Leica lovers love lives on...and on....

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON

Featured Comment by Anonymous: I love the bottom plate.

One time I was shooting at a demonstration.

Things got a little out of hand and the Police was pushing the crowd back. In the middle of this mess I had to reload my M2.

I popped the back plate off and stuck it between my teeth, while I fiddled with the take up spool and tried to not get knocked over.

Suddenly I heard this voice yelling at me: "Turn it over, kid! You're going to fill it with drool!"

I looked over and a few feet way spotted a grey haired PJ with a big Nikon motioning me to flip the plate over so that the inside faced down and it didn't act as a saucer, collecting my saliva.

You learn something new every day.

20 Comments:

Blogger Mike Sisk said...

This doesn't really bother me much. With the film M it was a slight annoyance, but you don't typically blast through film like you can with a motor-drive SLR, either.

And, if the M8 supports charging the battery through the USB connector (which is probably doesn't -- that ability seems reserved for those high-tech $50 cell phones) I'd care even less since I'd probably never take the thing off.

Maybe they plan on offering a "motor drive" optional grip with room for an extra/different battery.

5:24 PM  
Blogger richard said...

Hee hee, I thought that's one of the neatest features of the M8. I guess I am a Leica lover :-)

5:59 PM  
Blogger carpeicthus said...

It does make the thing look damned sleek, and I'm sure most users can afford the 4GB SD cards to keep it on a long time. Wait until Nikon's digital F, where you'll have to take the back off the see the LCD. ;-)

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Vitreous Humor said...

Well, at least it gives a bit of protection to the vulnerable Flash and battery slots. Though it really doesn't matter much, the camera doesn't appear to be sealed up top, making rough weather shooting somewhat less convenient than with the older leicas.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sleek? Tell me it is sleek when you have the camera on a tripod and need to switch memory cards.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a market for different colored bottom plates being offered to match the shoe colors of well-heeled folks.

Venture Capitalists, please call me at 1-800-M8-IDEA.

8:39 PM  
Blogger cb said...

I just had the great opportunity to play with this camera at my local Orange County camera shop as the Leica rep was in town. And I have to say it was a great camera! Absolutely perfect! And I pulled the base plate off and I thought to myself that it was actually really cool that they kept that! But I'm a bit of a purist too I think!

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha.. I just love the feel of closing up the bottom panel of my Leica M3.. there just something about how it slides on and latches. Like a perfectly fitted glove. I'm glad it stayed.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Tell me it is sleek when you have the camera on a tripod and need to switch memory cards."

It's not hard. You take the3 camera off the base, switch the card, and put it back on.

And besides, Leicas aren't meant for tripods.

--Mike

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the bottom plate.

One time I was shooting at a demonstration.

Things got a little out of hand and the Police was pushing the crowd back. In the middle of this mess I had to reload my M2.

I popped the back plate off and stuck it between my teeth, while I fiddled with the take up spool and tried to not get knocked over.

Suddenly I heard this voice yelling at me: "Turn it over, kid! You're going to fill it with drool!"

I looked over and a few feet way spotted a grey haired PJ with a big Nikon motioning me to flip the plate over so that the inside faced down and it didn't act as a saucer, collecting my saliva.

You learn something new every day.

3:51 AM  
Blogger david vatovec said...

Never seen a Leica on a tripod in my life.

The feature is cool to me, one word: legacy!

I think the guys at Leica have a strange sense of humour =).

6:04 AM  
Blogger Just Plain Hugh said...

"Never seen a Leica on a tripod in my life"

In the other hand the Leica tabletop tripod and ball head is one of my fave pieces of equipment. Never used it with my Leicas though.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Sergei Antonov said...

Before I thought that only Apple Mac zealots are a bit crazy. Now I start thinking Leica fans are champions: "I reviewed the shot on the large LCD on the back and was immediately in love with the image quality. While you can't totally guage image quality from a 2.5 inch LCD, I had every reason to believe that Leica had done everything right." -- This is passage from the guy who touched M8 in the store.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sleek? Tell me it is sleek when you have the camera on a tripod and need to switch memory cards."

Huh?

Who uses a Leica RF with a tripod?

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Sroka said...

Anonymous said: Suddenly I heard this voice yelling at me: "Turn it over, kid! You're going to fill it with drool!"


That's it. From now on I insist that every camera I use come with a drool cup. :-D

2:41 PM  
Blogger StephaneB said...

Well, I beg to differ regarding the use of an M on a tripod. For me, a tripod is the only way to really exploit what these lenses can do. Put an M on a tripod and you get a surprisingly adept landscape camera.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Put an M on a tripod and you get a surprisingly adept landscape camera."

Lewis Baltz thought so.

--Mike

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is my gold-plated tripod compatible with bottom plate?

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The nice thing about a rangefinder on a tripod for night shots is that you get a pretty bright viewfinder when you need every bit of light you can get just to compose the shot.

Mechanical rangefinders also won't eat through your batteries for 5-10 minute exposures, which will quickly drain a modern SLR's batteries. The decreased vibration and lesser camera/lens weight also means you don't need as robust a tripod as you would for a SLR in the same situation.

8:23 PM  
Blogger LostBryan said...

A thought that will disturb some of you.
I once measured the time to load film with the pop-off bottom plate, AND a neckstrap,
VERSUS
the time to load film on a manual load SLR.
The Leica is faster. Lots.
A motorized EOS of course whips everybody hands down, but short of that, the pop-off bottom plate is actually a win.
You do, however, have to perfect its use, and use a neck strap.

1:04 PM  

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