Awakening . . .

Out with the R5 and 85mm f/1.2 this morning, details in a shot of a familar scene showed the RF lens at f/1.2 to be clearly sharper with fine details than the same shot taken with the 90mm APO-Summicron-M at f/2. It made me wonder: what is it about Leica that makes us cling to the notion that it’s still the best in the face of evidence that it’s now no better than the pack and not as good in an increasing number of instances?

It’s probably because Leica used to be universally acknowledged as the best. This can be demonstrated by a quick look in one of the local secondhand camera shops. A time-worn M6 TTL, a quarter-century old film camera, sells for substantially more than a new-looking secondhand M240. It’s not unusual to see one in really good condition outpricing an M10. And the M10 and M240 will likely sit on the shelf for much longer than the M6 TTL.

Maybe I’d already be thinking about ditching my CL/TL gear but for one thing: it has so little resale value that I’m better off to use it until it falls apart. In fact, the price gap between the film CL and the digital one has been closing quickly during the past year.

Oh, the Leicaphile says, Leica lenses are designed and made to be well-corrected for aberrations, distortion, etc. Well, once the light passes through the glass, it’s all processed/manipulated by electronics anyway, so what’s wrong software corrections? Even Leica underdesigned the X-Vario lens and SL 24-90mm fisheye Vario, among others, so that they rely on software correction.

So what’s the advantage? I used to say image processing has elevated them in modern times. But seeing how stuff from other cameras looks lately, I’d say it’s a level playing field.

No, I’m not going from fanboy one week to detractor the next. Just trying to understand my own choices . . .

R5/RF 85mm f1.2
R5/RF 100-400mm