Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Jason’s Newsround: List mania, the professional brute and renewed interest in Thypoch

Jason’s Newsround: List mania, the professional brute and renewed interest in Thypoch

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Everyone loves camera gear reviews. They are the most popular articles in quarterly and annual reviews of Macfilos articles. And they are even harder to resist in the form of a listicle — such as ‘The top ten’ or ‘The wackiest ten’ in the genre. This week, you are not just getting your camera gear review fix, but news of two recent ‘Best Of’ lists. How’s that for playing to the gallery? While we are at it, we also squeeze in some news of Thypoch lenses, the new Leica brute in the room, and the possibility of a new analogue camera. Spoiler alert: it’s not a Leica.

I’ve got a little list…

Lists, don’t you just love ’em? The “ten best this” or “ten worst that” provide popular clickbait for blogs, and the photography world is certainly not immune from the trend. It’s a sneaky way of adding some drama to a camera gear review. While I know exactly what the publishers are up to, I can’t resist a good list and find myself clicking away without mercy.

I have just failed to resist looking at “the most significant cameras and lenses of the last 25 years”, over at DPReview. And I was agog to see what Sebastian Oakley at Digital Camera Word considers to be the best Leica cameras of 2024. There aren’t many of them, so the conclusions would be interesting, I thought.

But, would they make the Macfilos list?

So what are the most significant cameras and lenses of the past quarter-century and does the list include anything we at Macfilos are particularly interested in — M-Mount, L-Mount with the odd Ricoh or Fuji thrown in to add spice to the mix? The odd thing about this list, compiled by Richard Butler, is that the contenders are all suggested by the manufacturers.

I won’t spoil the story, but you won’t be too surprised to find that Fujifilm chose the X100. But Sony’s choice of the RX1 was rather difficult to understand because it was hardly a rip-roaring success, unlike its near rival, the Leica Q. Sigma proposed the 35mm f/1.4 Art and 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lenses, which is fair enough. And Panasonic homes in on the G1 of 2009: “Fifteen years ago, no professional photographer used mirrorless, but now almost all professional photographers use mirrorless”, said Panasonic’s Toshiyuki Tsumura.

But the answer to my original question remains: Leica wasn’t asked or, more than likely, didn’t respond. Pity, because I’d put my money on the original (M9-based) Leica Monochrom.

Which nicely brings us to the “best Leica cameras in 2024”. Now here’s a conundrum. Will it be the M, the Q or the SL? There’s nothing else to choose from. Fortunately, Sebastian Oakley dodges that one and, instead, offers us no fewer than eight “bests”, ranging from the best overall mirrorless to the best Q3 alternative (and you won’t guess the answer to that one). Purists get to look through their rangefinders, while there’s a handy verdict on the best monochrome Leica to go for. Again, I won’t spoil the excitement, but head over to Digital Camera World for the answer to all the questions buzzing around in your head.


Leica SL3, the professional workhorse

So say Mark Wilson and Rod Lawton of TechRadar who have compiled a comprehensive review of the latest SL: “Unlike the Leica M11 and Leica Q3, which are built around a compact, tactile shooting experience, the SL3 is a modern brute that wants to be your professional workhorse. It still has classic Leica hallmarks, like minimalist menus and a design that harks back to the Leica R3 SLR, but it combines all of that with modern all-rounder specs.”

This is a particularly comprehensive look at the SL3 and makes you want to go out and buy one. With its “incredible built quality”, “excellent interface,” and 60MP sensor, the camera garners an impressive 4.5 rating. They reviewers pronounce it “now fully evolved”. Head over to TechRadar to read the review in full. As a fan of camera gear reviews, I enjoyed it immensely, and I am sure you will.

Thypoch gets the reviews

Thypoch lenses are featuring in a lot of camera gear reviews currently. Moreover, it looks like these Chinese lenses with Greek names are becoming ever more popular among M rangefinder fans. This week, Phillip Reeve takes a detailed look at the Thypoch Simera 1 “Today” in Greek 28mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 from the Thypoch stable. He focuses primarily on the wider lens because fast 28mm are not as plentiful as f/1.4 35mm offerings.

This is a particularly comprehensive review that students of optics will love. He gives a high score for bokeh (which he reckons is the best of all fast 28mm M-Mount lenses), sharpness and build quality. He’s less impressed by the size, weight, and handling and distortion, although all remain average rather than poor. Philip concludes:

This review deserves to end on a positive note, though. For one of their first entries in the world of photography lenses, Thypoch did an amazingly good job here. I may not be happy with all their mechanical designs decisions, but the optics are great, as they lead to the best bokeh rendering of all the fast 28mm M-mount lenses. It even manages to compete with the much bigger and more complex non-M-mount lenses, as I have shown here. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is.

Phillip Reeve

Meanwhile, over at Three Blind Men and an Elephant, the highly respected Hugh Brownstone provides us with an excellent video review of the Thypoch Simera 35mm f/1.4: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or is there?”. The lens is a credible first outing, and Hugh believes that Thypoch is here to stay.

See previous Macfilos coverage on Thypoch


Leica Gallery Wetzlar will host a special exhibition, ‘Elegia Fantastica’, by celebrated photographer Emanuele Scorcelletti between May 23 and September 22, 2024.

The renowned photographer’s Elegia Fantastica takes the viewer on a fascinating journey, masterfully enticing and enchanting audiences with captivating black and white compositions. Scorcelletti sees the project as a poetic composition, a sophisticated elegy — capturing memories, reflections, and visions concerning relationships and places. The presentation at the Leica Gallery Wetzlar is made up of two groups of work: Memories and Visions.

The project expresses his memories in intense black and white photographs, he goes on a visual journey to places in the past and searches for meaningful spaces, transforming his personal experiences into moments of collective memory with a strong emotional impact.

He is capable of doing absolutely anything: large productions, finely observed moments or seemingly chance snapshots. Time and time again, the great photographer Emanuele Scorcelletti manages to tell a story that entices the viewer to linger. Even though he loves diversity, his style remains unmistakable.

Karin Rehn-Kaufmann

#filmisnotdead — but Pentax/Ricoh keeps us waiting

Do you recall the hype when the rumours about a new Leica film camera became more and more substantial? There was even discussion about an “affordable” new camera to draw in younger newcomers into the analogue market. Economically, such a step would be sensible for the industry, but not for a single camera manufacturer. Most of us will remember the times when we brought a film to our dealer for processing and bought a new one at the same time. Almost a perpetuum mobile which had virtually come to a halt with the re-writeable CF, SD, xD and other memory cards.

So, the new M6 was released at a substantial price. At £4,500, it was considerably less expensive than the digital models within the M range, but certainly not an offering for newcomers. Nevertheless, it became a darling of camera gear reviewers. The sales slowed down, which resulted in a discount of sorts, at least in Germany, and we hear that the M6 is in not such high demand at this moment. A cheaper new analogue camera would be most welcome, and that’s when we look at Pentax/Ricoh which has repeatedly announced that it has a new film loading camera in the works. Listen to the man called TKO who leads the project (but, sadly, shows no prototype in the video):

Have we reached peak analogue?

The project sees some progress, and it is to be hoped that it will not come too late. The zenith of the analogue renaissance might have been reached, but the market niche is still alive and kicking. The colleagues from DPReview had the chance to conduct an interview with the team behind the upcoming film camera, and it is worthwhile reading what they discovered: The camera will be half-frame (just like the immortal Olympus Pen from the 1960s), it will have a fixed prime lens — and it will ship in the summer.

Whether the half-frame idea is actually good remains to be seen. Modern negative films such as the Ektar 100 have excellent resolution, so prints and scans might be just good enough. And if you consider how expensive films and processing have become, it might be even clever to attract young customers with such a half-frame camera. On the other hand, while the whole camera industry is moving towards “full frame” sensors, wouldn’t it be difficult to market a “half frame” film camera?

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled

At any rate, we will watch out for the new Ricoh (Pentax branded) film camera here at Macfilos — and hope to be able to provide a good review in due time. We will not be the first to come out with it, but it will be grounded on real-life use of the camera. And that’s what’s it all about, right?


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Another new film camera seems to be in the offing too – a Rollei 35AF from MINT, see https://rollei35af.com/. I have enough film cameras in use already, but I do find that Rollei appealing. I wonder how much it will cost.

  2. A few quickies:
    The people consulted are largely Japanese working for Japanese companies and this indicates something which has been obvious for the past 60 years more, that Japan is the main centre for the world’s camera industry and most developments are driven from there. I bought a Lumix G1 in January 2009 at Heathrow on my way to the Middle East. I am sorry that I did not keep it as it is now an interesting camera from an historical perspective. I found it light and easy to use and while its output did not match the IQ of other digital cameras I was using around that time e.g. Nikon D700 and Leica M8, it did show the way forward. The large prisms and flappy mirrors of SLRs were obviously going to become superfluous to requirements in the foreseeable future. This camera is probably the most significant item on the list in this article as it has influenced most new cameras introduced since then, including some made by Leica. Leica was an outlier back then and still is today, not only because of the rangefinder aspect. Leica has moved itself into a niche which was once a survival strategy and is now a successful development strategy. The Monochrom was an interesting development but it too is niche and has not attracted many followers.

    On the last point about film cameras, there are millions of repairable or usable film cameras around the world. So the need for new film models is limited, apart from Leica’s niche situation with the M6. A significant development in this area is Camera Rescue in Finland which is doing film camera repair on an industrial scale. Others should take note.

    William

  3. The Pentax half frame camera Sounds interesting but the success of smart phone photography hasn’t come about because of a vertical format but because of ease of use, and that means autofocus and auto exposure. In this sense I’m not convinced that enough young people will want to think about and set zone focusing in this day and age. Also even with half frame the costs of processing and printing using film will be more than required for digital images. Having said that, I applaud Ricoh / Pentax for giving it a try and I hope they are successful. I mean, if a Chinese HiFi company like Fiio can produce and market a Sony walkman type cassette player ( the CP13 ) in 2024 there is hope for a half frame film camera. I wonder what they will do in terms of a viewfinder? I don’t think it will be difficult to market the camera. They just have to make it cute enough and the Japanese are proven masters when it comes to small and cute product design. Maybe I should get ahead of the trend and raid the used camera stores in Tokyo and buy up one or two Olympus Pen half frame cameras before Pentax creates demand and they become unavailable? The Pen F might even come back in modern form if Pentax is successful, who knows?

    • I also wish Pentax all the best but yes, it is definitely bit underwhelming, half frame with zone focusing… A compact point&shoot with relatively decent autofocus would be a goldmine in my opinion.

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