posted on Aug 25, 2009 at 2:27PM
Head-2-Head Review: Leica M8.2 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mk II
Introduction: The MatchupBy Ted Dillard
Justifying this matchup as a true “head-to-head” will raise some eyebrows and ruffle some feathers. These two cameras have far more differences than similarities, but bear with us, there are a number of reasons to compare them.
First off, each is great in its own right. Both possess that intangible quality: just a great camera to shoot with. Appropriately, they both have huge and loyal followings. They also both represent a fairly sizable investment, the Leica a little more sizable than the Canon. Each camera represents a systems-based approach to photography. Each is designed to be versatile and customizable enough for any purpose. In Leica’s case, much of their following comes from the fact that so many photographers’ large and wonderful collections of Leica M series lenses are still usable on the M8.2 digital camera.
All this being said, their differences are indeed monumental. The most basic point is that Leica is a digital rangefinder with interchangeable lenses. Rangefinders focus through an open viewfinder, using much the same principals as our eyes in determining distance, and allowing a view that is independent of the “taking” lens. The Canon is a single lens reflex camera, with which, through a prism and mirrors, the photographer sees directly through the taking lens, and thus “sees what the camera sees.” This distinction makes for huge differences in how each camera functions, how each is designed, the size of each, and the overall experience of using each to create a photograph.
There is also a considerable difference in the features offered by the two systems. The Canon is a true pacesetter in the features race. It represents the common electronics product design philosophy of “everything and the kitchen sink” in terms of controls, functions, and setup for individual shooting styles. The Leica is more like, in the world of motorcycles, a Vincent Black Shadow, a beautiful piece of engineering and design that creates a wonderful riding experience and has a few quirks that, more than annoying the rider, endear the enthusiast.