Help deciding - G7/Leica/ or other for a photographer

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by pictureEVERYTHING, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. pictureEVERYTHING

    pictureEVERYTHING TPF Noob!

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    Hey all... I want to partake of your combined knowlege if I may.

    First let me give you some background. I've been shooting for the last 10 years and have hopes to soon start getting paid for my passion. While I have loved photography for a long time I've been using ALOT of the same equipment with little being upgraded. Anywho... I'm switching everything over to digital. The latest SLR I have owned is a Nikon N65, I'm also pretty accustomed to shooting on a Nikon F3 that I used to borrow from a friend.
    So basically I'm looking for something to replace my N65 in the digital realm.
    I plan to buy a pro-level slr here in the next year or so when finances permit... so I'm NOT asking for something that I can use to shoot proffesionaly. I'm looking for something to be my personal camera. Something I will carry with me all the time and go on short day trips taking pictures and such.
    I'm pretty big on landscapes right now especially wide angle and panoramics. I also have a serious soft spot for portraits and macro shots. Black and white is always one of my favorites and I seriously wish they made digital cams that had not only a B/W mode but also a silver gelatin mode!!!


    So!!! My question to you is... what do you reccomend? I'm caught right now between a Canon Powershot G7 and a Leica D-lux 3. I am DEFINATELY looking for something with an attatched lens that is decently flexible... like I said, the SLR will come later. And I want at least one camera that I don't have to worry about sensor dust with.
    Originally the G7 looked very attractive... and even though this shouldn't be much of a factor, I really like the size and styling of the body. It reminds me of the rangefinders and slrs of old, and that makes me smile. '
    Since then though, I've been reading on the Leica d-lux 3 and that has caught my eye to. The one thing that stood out was that the image sensor has been tweeked by the brains at Leica just for photographers!

    So, has anyone shot with either of these cameras and can offer opinions for me? Has anyone shot with BOTH of them??? Or any other suggestions you guys can make. I really don't want to spend more than $700 on this deal so try to keep that in mind.

    Any help??? Also - if anyone could post some example pics or links to pics from either camera that would be really cool too!
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm both a Canon and Leica fan. In this case I would have to recommend the G7 hands-down.... There are tons of very advanced features in the G7 as well as a good processor that makes it the winner in my book. Pair the G7 with a compatible "real" flash (Canon EX line) and you have an unbeatable compact at your disposal.

    Canon has the lead on Leica in regards to experience with Digital. Leica is a relatively newcomer to digital.
     
  3. pictureEVERYTHING

    pictureEVERYTHING TPF Noob!

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    Ya... after I first posted this I started looking at the tech specs for both cameras. Even though I REALLY dig the idea of having a Leica camera, it seems like that particular model is geared more towards a consumer level. The 16:9 ratio is cool, but when you switch back to 4:3 you loose about 3 megapixels... making it a pretty expensive 7 megapixel camera! The only thing it really has over the G7 is size, brand name, and the ability to adjust contrast/saturation in camera AND the ever important RAW capture. Why oh why did they make the G7 without raw support?!
    Now on the other hand - I'm assuming that the G7's positive film feature is pretty cool - over saturated color.

    All things considered, I'm probably going to opt for the G7... I like the size and the fact it has most controls on the body itself. It will be a month or so before I buy so I still have time to mull it over though.
    In your experience, how is the noise ration on higher ISO's? I noticed it has a 3200 mode, how does that look?

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The lack of RAW and a swing out LCD which was available on all G-series cameras of the past really angered G loyalists.... its still a successful camera and many claim that the image processor improvements outweighed the lack of RAW. I guess Canon wants those that shoot RAW to move on up to the Rebel DSLRs in order to move sales on lenses.

    I've shot (borrowed) the G7 and I did like it... but not enough to make the jump. The G-series has always and will always be a knock around camera in my stable (I own several different cameras). As such I always wait a couple generations and purchase used. I had a G1 for a long while and recently moved up to the G5. Will make the jump to the G7 whenever it hits below closer to $150 used. I'm very happy with both of their performance.
     
  5. I have the D-Lux 3 and love it. I wish the controls were a little more old-school, but it is fundamentally a rebadged (and tweaked!) Panasonic Lumix camera. Here's some kind of comparison.

    I don't have a G7, but another small-sensor camera I have as a comparison is the SD 550 from Canon. We have 3 of those in various iterations.

    I shoot RAW, it is an integral part of my work-flow, so I couldn't go without it. If you're going to shoot JPG, you need to make sure you can control the in-camera settings. Typically consumer cameras are over-saturated and set to a certain softness so that skin doesn't look dead and wrinkly. Like I said, I prefer to control all these aspects later.

    The Leica shoots both RAW and JPG at the same time. On the plus side that means if you're happy with your JPG results you can just discard the RAW files, but I wish I could turn off JPG all together to have more room on my memory card. I bought a 2 Gig card, which still leaves me with around 110 exposures. I discard my PJGs when I get home, and process the RAW files myself.

    I like to think of its 16:9 ratio as having my own little digital Hasselblad X-Pan.

    I don't have a noise comparison between the G7 and the Leica, but I can tell you that I found noise to be a problem with all small-sensor cameras so far. The ISO 3200 is a marketing thing, now that the megapixel race is played out. The Leica gives fantastic results at 100, 200 and 400, and at 800 you need to make sure you nail the exposure, but again - RAW helps compensate for a lot of mistakes.

    Biggest Plus: The Leica has a breathtaking Image Stabilization that can be turned on. I don't have the time to post right now, but I've hand-held shots at 1/6th of a second that are razor-sharp - and that was at the end of a long night :) I don't need to shoot over ISO 400 because of it.

    I wish it had a viewfinder, I don't like using a screen to compose, but I've gotten used to it.

    Bottom line is that I recommend the Leica. It's a product from a company that does nothing but cameras, and you will get great customer support. It also comes bundled with good software, and a great warranty.
     
  6. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    The Canon "G" series was/is awsome. When my old G5 bit the dust I looked at the G7 as a replacement and was blown away with the results.. The G5 suffered from "4 second rule" 4 seconds to switch on. 4 seconds to focus on anything etc etc.. I was really impressed by the G7 as it didn't have these problems. BUT the swing out screen meant that I could take many more creative shots, above heads, below knees, round corners etc etc. This is now gone... (Silly canon it should be incorporated into DSLRs not ditched...). And the same with respect to RAW shooting. Although if you save the Max JPEG file straight out of the camera, and manipulate on this every time, the difference is only detectable once you print above 350dpi at A3. Not really something that I do that often, and you have to be aware of it and looking for it to see it. In all practical applications not noticeable.
    All in all a real belter of a camera ...

    So it looks as though you have picked out two REALLY good cameras. Go to the shop and play with both. go with the one which "FEELS" right. whichever you choose I very much doubt that you'll regret it.
     
  7. pictureEVERYTHING

    pictureEVERYTHING TPF Noob!

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    Wow... I really appreciate everybody leaving their feedback here! Thanks.

    As far as the cameras go, I'm definately leaning toward the G7. Raw support aside... this is not the camera I will be working with. It's meant to replace my 35mm SLR in my daily routine of amuzing myself with photography.
    While the Leica is a little more compact and definately a nicely designed camera... it bugs me that all the controls are hidden in menus! Whereas the G7 might take some time to memorize everything, but it seems they have a really nice functionality to all the buttons and dials.
    Leica also loses a little bit of points in my book for being so darned close to the Lumix camera. Let's not kid... it's the EXACT SAME CAMERA. It just has a different outer jacket and maybe the processors behave just a bit differently... but it's the same! I know that's picky and I know businesses do it all the time but it urks me. If I want a Leica I want one because it's unique and will have it's own little place in the photography world. It seems that if that's what I want, then the M8 would be the way to go as far as Leica is concerned and right now, I don't have $5000 to spend on a pocket camera.
    The lack of raw bugs me but the G7 just seems to have other little nice-ities that will help out in that department. And as far as the whole wide ratio thing goes... you've got stitch assist in the G7 and there are plenty of panoramic stitch programs that work pretty good. And besides... I've really fallen in love with the look and feel of the G7. It looks like a camera to me, not a digital toy.

    Anywho... feel free to argue points with me, anything you can think of to help me make the best decision possible. And thanks again for everyone taking the time to help me out here.
     

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