Closest digital equivalent to my 3 lens leica cl kit?
Despite how much I love using old cameras I am finally starting to get really tired of paying for film purchasing, developing, scanning, and printing. I think it's time I finally bought a digital camera. The problem is there doesn't seem to be a lot available for what I want. I'm certainly not a real pro photographer, but I do really enjoy photography, particularly when I travel. Here's what I typically shoot with now:.

Mostly a Leica CL with 3 lenses; 21mm, 40mm, and 90mm.

Sometimes an Olympus XA.

I usually shoot with tri-x 400, kodak portra UC 400, or fuji NPZ 800.

I really like having something small and portable that I can easily carry around in an unobtrusive messenger bag and that won't be noticed as much when I'm shooting people on the street. I like using older cameras because the tactile experience of turning knobs and using well made mechanical instruments makes me very happy. I like having full control over all the cameras settings and knowing what I'm doing as I do it. I also like shooting a lot without being too cautious about it, sometimes not even looking through the viewfinder. I tend to use wide angles a lot..

One of the things that is really attractive to me about digital photography is the hope that it will allow to shoot more, and hopefully then become a better photographer. But what worries me is that I will either end up with a camera that gives me full control but rarely leaves my home due to it's size (like most DSLRs), or one that I take with me everywhere but doesn't let me to make any real creative decisions (like most compacts). Other than spending $5000 on a leica M8 it doesn't seem like there are a ton of choices. Here are a few cameras I've been thinking about:.

Ricoh gx100 - on paper it's probably the closest thing to what I want but I'm worried it's limitations and IQ will cause me to be disappointed.

Ricoh GRD - seems to have better IQ than the gx100, but using the adapter lenses to get more focal lengths might be frustrating.

Epson R-D1 - probably the most similar experience to shooting with my CL but not so easy to get these days.

Some Panasonic compacts - seems like there's a few that have wide leica lenses, but they have minimal manual controls.

Olympus e410 - bigger than I wanted but still the smallest dslr around.

So, if anyone has suggestions about any of these cameras or any that I've overlooked I'd love to hear them. Mostly I just want whatever is going to get me out there shooting, and enjoying shooting, the most. If you'd like to get a better idea of what kind of things I shoot, you can check out my flickr page:.


Comments (10)

The Canon G9 might be worth looking at. Not quite perfect, but a very good compact with as good a lens as you'll get on a reasonably priced compact, RAW and good handling. Won't match a DSLR for noise, but only the M8 will..

Your Leica primes would be impossible to equate to in a compact..

The E-410 is quite good, but I think quite hard to match up and quite costly ( although compared to an M-8 it's a give away )..

It's worth baring in mind that, with careful exposure and noise reduction software ( e.g. NeatImage ) the Canon G-9 would probably cover a lot of your needs. I'd suggest you compare reviews with other compacts. If you shoot mostly in good light and/or more more than ISO 400 you will probably find it fine..

Panasonic and Ricoh compacts are, IMO, far too noisy even in good light. The Canon is way ahead of them..

About the lighest DSLR+primes would be the Pentax K100D with Pentax 'pancake' primes ( the "Limited edition" primes ). Still a significant weight by your standards I suspect..

Sorry if that;s not helpful, but some ideas anyway..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #1

Another to look at would be an Oly E330 (which can be had for a song) and the new Oly 12-60mm lens (35mm equiv of 24-120). The lens is optically stunning and nicely replaces the primes your used to. The camera has a small form factor although with the 12-60 mounted is not unobtrusive. However the E330 has the advantage of liveview and an articulating screen so can be shot from waist level and thus providing a certain amount of stealth for street shooting.A member of the rabble in good standing..

Comment #2

Thanks, StephenG..

Do you know if there are any wide angle adapters available for the G9? The lack of wide angle was my biggest concern with that camera when I was looking at it's specks..

I'll check out some reviews and photo sites though..

Thanks again...

Comment #3

Not sure if it's what you want but if you can (and want to) afford one how about an Epson R-D1? Then you could use your existing (and very nice) Leica lenses?..

Comment #4

There are a lot of both WA and TC supplementaries available. You have to get an adapter that fits on the G9's bayonette adapter mount. The Canon ones are decent, but the best are from Lensmate. I believe there is also a house brand available from Adorama that is a bit better than the Canon, and cheaper than the Lensmate (which is actually cheaper than the Canon) though not as nicely finished..

Go to Lensmate to see detailed tests of a wide range of lenses..

You mentioned shooting Tri-X at ISO 400. The G9 at ISO 400 is not as noiseless as a dslr. HOWEVER, the "grain" effect of the noise is no worse than the grain in Tri-x. And the noise at ISO 800 is better then the grain in Tri-x pushed to ISO 800. And in the G9 you can run noise removal software and get rid of it without any loss of detail that you could notice in an 11 x 14 print. (It's there alright, but you have to go down to the pixel level to see it.

(My perspective for this remark is from many years experience with film in a Minolta mc system.) The whinging about low light performance is by people comparing that performance to dslrs..

WillWill PrattBarrick Museum, UNLV..

Comment #5

If you find an Olympus you like you can use Leica lenses ... or conversely just stick with Leica digital...

Comment #6

That's kind of what I'm leaning towards. It would be nice if they were 8 mp or more, but dynamic range I've seen in it's photos is way more impressive than in any point and shoot (and many dslrs). Also, I like the fact that it works more like a manual rangefinder. Manual controls are great, but if you have to hunt through menus on an LCD screen to use them they're useless to me..

The only drawbacks I see with the RD1 are:.

1. getting one. I've been looking at ebay a lot, but there aren't many for sale..

2. I'm wondering if it might be smarter to start with something a little cheaper and then move on to the RD1..

If I came one for a good price, though, I might just take the plunge...

Comment #7

I use the Canon G7 for a similar purpose and I would second the advice given for a G9 here. The camera has a very good stabiliser too. Once familiar with the camera - it can do a lot - make your own comparisons with your scanned films. Do print the outcomes!.

A good site to look at is:

I had the G7 with me for those pictures e.g. Alfred

Comment #8

The Leica CL is the one camera still regret I sold.I suggest you take a look at the Panasonix LX2..

It has all the manual controls you want, optical IS, shoots RAW and is well built..

Leica has it's own version, with slightly different default settings for JPG shots but the logo steps up the price quite a bit..

The LX2 starts at 28 mm and gives a choice of 3 image size ratios. I like it very much...

Comment #9

The obvious price on this page - this guy seems to have several new ones!!!.


Comment #10

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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