Contax T3 vs Leica CM

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
I don't know if this is the right thread. I couldn't find one which fitted exactly so I hope this is OK.
What I wondered is how people feel the new Leica CM compares to the T3. The CM looks pretty attractive to me. I have a T2 which I think I prefer to the T3 and I have felt no inclination to change but the CM could tempt me.
Any thoughts?
John
 

dirk

CI-Founder
So here are my first thoughts. I have had the chance to look at a CM and I used a T3 for over a year.

1. I prefer in general for a "always with you" camera the focal lenght of 40mm vs. the 35 of the T3. The difference is very small, but if I would like to change somthing on my T3, it is to have less wide angle on it.

2. The Leica CM is a significant improvement over the old Leica Minilux. They have the same lens, but the coating of the CM is a lot better (that is what they told me at least). The viewfinder is bigger, with more information in it. That was my major complaint about the Minilux in the past.

3. I have not taken pictures yet with the CM, so I can not judge in this area.

4. The Leica CM is, same as the Minilux, not really a compact P&S. Compared to the T3 it is huge. It is more like a shrinked M6


5. Leica changed also some technical data (shutterspeed etc.) of the CM vs. the Minilux, but I do not have the details here.
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Thanks Dirk, that's very helpful. One of the things which causes the T2 to retain my loyalty is the 38mm lens as opposed to the 35mm on the T3. Again a small difference but the 38mm just gets you in that little bit closer and I have a 35mm for my G2. I noticed that the CM had a 40mm lens and that appealed. Another tiny difference I know but it ads up. There is some vignetting on the T2 but it isn't really a problem and can even enhance a picture. Maybe the CM is better on that? Cheers,
John
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
I have attached a couple of pictures of St.David's Cathedral in South Wales to illustrate what I take to be vignetting on the T2.
This is the first time I have attempted this and I have made the files much smaller to fit in with the rules. They look very fuzzy on my screen so I hope that they "come out" OK on the site.
John
 
J

jeanclaude

CM main characteristics :
40 mm instead of 35 mm on T3
F2.4 instead of F2.8
Easier and more reliable manual focusing with devoted dial wheel plus focusing assistance
Viewfinder with more information (indication of speed and aperture)
More powerful flash (NG 14 instead of 8 on T3) plus external flash shoe
I hope true 1/1000 instead of 1/1200 working only with f16 aperture on T3
Plus a built in data back for those who likes it

T3 still retain the advantage of
Size
Very clear viewfinder
Separate focus lock

For more info
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D

davidfung

When I first saw this camera some time ago, I was thinking to myself, I know what I will buy next! However, it turns out I since bought a Hasselblad, and two Contax bodies... Anyway. As much as I enjoy SLR and RF, compact type P&S has always intrigued me. I own a Ricoh GR1s and a Contax T3. The quality of the T3 is impressive. Though the feel is more 'boutique' then the GR1s, which is more 'practical' so to speak. I am considering adding the CM to my P&S outfit, to make 28, 35, and 40. Hopefully, I can also add the GR21... Anyway, I wonder if someone who owns both the CM and T3 could provide us some practical pointers. Apart from the size and bulk and lens (focal length) difference, how do they compare? Reliability? Optics? Workmanship? Build? Are there MTF graphs for CM? I know that they publish them for the M and R lenses, what about the CM? I heard some rumours that the lens design is quite old, and that it isn't using the latest Leica optics (looks like a double gauss lens design) and technology. Not sure about the truth to that. But any opinions, info? How fast is the shutter lag? Auto focus?
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the link Jean-Claude. It does look an attractive camera although as Dirk pointed out too, perhaps a little large for general carrying around.

I think that David's general "challenge" could produce some interesting answers if anyone has tried both cameras. The comment about the lens maybe not being the latest technology is a little off putting. Perhaps we ough to ask Leitz about that.

Incidentally, does the T3 suffer from vignetting?
John
 
D

davidfung

To further clarify, my statement about the lens design being old is based on purely rumours. Maybe I heard it from someone or I read it somewhere. But, it is unsubstantiated. Further to the point, I believe that there isn't anything wrong with old designs. Take a look at the Tessar? Many of the C/Y MM lenses date back to the seventies, the 28/2.8 being from 1978. And the 28/2.8 is still a highly regarded lens. From my understanding, the standard lenses (in the 50 range) has reached a stage where there doesn't seem to much more improvement that can be found, especially for symmetrical designs for use without a mirror camera. As pointed out before, they seemed to have improved the coating. I will ask a Leica trained technician about the CM when I get around to it.
 

niki

Member
The CM is Leica's answer to the Contax T3. The changes made obviously show that Leica used the T3 as the benchmark... faster shutter speeds, better software, larger and brighter viewfinder, new "multi-coating", electronic release cable, hot shoe, and hopefully "real" titanium body instead of titanium "finish". But it appears that they forgot about the filters! Leica seems to make a big point that the CM is "Made in Germany" and the "preliminary" price clarifies it proudly: $995. The M-look is very clever and will make Leica aficionados all "warm and fuzzy". :)

As for the lens, Summarit has been around for quite a while and it was used in the Minilux. Here's Erwin Puts' report:
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In fact, most lenses we see today are improvements on older formulas. The biggest improvement is "coating" or "multi-coating", which I believe, was pioneered by Zeiss.



David Fung wrote:

To further clarify, my statement about the lens design being old is based on purely rumours. Maybe I heard it from someone or I read it somewhere. But, it is unsubstantiated. Further to the point, I believe that there isn't anything wrong with old designs. Take a look at the Tessar? Many of the C/Y MM lenses date back to the seventies, the 28/2.8 being from 1978. And the 28/2.8 is still a highly regarded lens. From my understanding, the standard lenses (in the 50 range) has reached a stage where there doesn't seem to much more improvement that can be found, especially for symmetrical designs for use without a mirror camera. As pointed out before, they seemed to have improved the coating. I will ask a Leica trained technician about the CM when I get around to it.
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
I agree about there being nothing intrinsically wrong with older designs. Sometimes they can be better than newer designs which can be change for changes sake but I do think that the latest technology can be applied to existing designs as appears to be in the case here i.e the latest coatings although everything has always to be made to a price. Maybe newly discovered glass types can be used too.
Erwin Puts' report is encouraging too, thanks for that, but I think I will stay with my T2 after all as I don't think that the advantages of changing would outweigh the not inconsiderable cost which would be involved.
John
 

dhr001

Member
My initial thought was "Oh Damn!" maybe I should have got a CM instead of a T3! BUT the reasons for not getting a CM are the same as not getting a minilux: No macro (0.7m min focal distance on the CM) I like getting as close as 0.35m with my T3. Also from the pictures of the CM it doesn't appear to have an integrated lens cover - looks like you need a cap or something. Anyhow the macro swings it for me. And the T3 is smaller!
Cheers
David
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
My T2 seem similar in size and weight to the CM. In fact mine seems only to be 5 grams lighter than the CM and is a couple of mm wider and 1mm higher but 3mm shallower or less deep. Also I've realized that my T2 doesn't have the macro facility of the T3 as the minimum focusing range on the T2 is the same as the new CM at 0.7m.
Also the flash on the CM is more powerful.
The T3 is smaller as you say and more convenient than my T2 and the CM and it has the closer focusing.
Oh dear, I thought I had put aside thoughts of changing but now I'm thinking about it again. But I'm also thinking of going digital so I ought to put aside other thoughts. There is a limit to what you can do!.
Cheers,
John
 

robgo2

Active Member
John,

One big advantage of the T2 over the T3 is ergonomics. The T2, with its single function dials, is about as simple to operate as any camera can be, as opposed to multifunction buttons on the T3 and most other P&Ss. That alone is reason to hold onto it.
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Thanks Robert. I do find the T2 easy to use. It is always the camera which goes with me when I want to travel light or cannot be bothered to take more gear.
John
 
J

jeanclaude

I just got the LEICA CM. It is a bit early for me to make a complete review, but I think that ergonomics are also an advantage of the LEICA CM with single function dials (distance, aperture, program shift) or single function buttons (flash, exposure correction, timer, date).
 
J

jeanclaude

I have got a LEICA CM quite recently, and I do not think it accepts filters (no mention of filters in the manual, and a negative answer from the retailer).
 

niki

Member
Review of the CM on photo.net

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by roger michel:

"i got a chance to see a CM very briefly (five minutes at a trade show) several weeks ago and posted favorable initial impressions. i thought it might be a worthy competitor for the excellent t3, especially with its faster lens and apparent better manual controls. after spending a much longer time actually shooting pics with a CM yesterday, i have now come to believe that it has very serious design defects, and cannot touch the t3 as a leica-style compact street shooter.

let me first say that i did not have a manual, but rather received detailed instructions from a company rep. i am assuming he gave me correct information. if i have misstated anything, please correct me ASAP. let me also say that IMO the standard set by the t3 is very high indeed. the lens wide open shows greater measured center sharpness than the 35 cron at 2.8. the custom controls allow you to control virtually every important parameter. the one button persistent AF/AE lock is genius. the build quality is very high, there is a great hard half-case, and the camera is virtually silent. a tough act to follow!!


as for the CM, the obvious shortcomings are these: (1) no filters OR shades. i honestly can't see how this feature could have been omitted. filters are essential to good b&w photography. the ricoh and contax offerings have this facility -- why not leica?? (2) the camera is larger than the t3 or gr1 by a fair margin which makes it less stealthy and pocketable. (3) no hard half case oor any other facility for normal 2 lug strap hanging. again, ricoh and contax offer this useful feature. (4) THE BIG ONE!! neither the focus nor the exposure can be preset for quick firing!!!! in manual focus and manual aperture setting, you must still depress the shutter halfway and wait for the camera to focus to the preset distance and calculate exposure before it will fire!! this creates a HUGE lag -- as long a lag as if you used AF/AE!!! with the contax and ricoh, when you set manual focus and lock exposure the camera immediately locks the lens at the prefocused distance and dials in the exposure. then, when you press the button, the camera fires IMMEDIATELY -- no lag. the leica CM system is a joke. why bother to have the manual settings if they create as much lag as the auto settings. (5) the AF was markedly slower than either the ricoh or t3 that i brought for comparison. (6) the plastic surround on the rear LCD is uncomfortable againt the face. (7) very limited range of custom settings as compared to the t3.


this post is already too long, so i won't go into any more detail. but, IMO, if the rep is right and there is no way to get the camera to actually prefocus and stay prefocused in the manual mode, creating a huge focus lag before every shot, i just don't see how the CM can be called a "decisive moment "camera (as leica does). this is an unbelievable omission. why they didn't just copy the wonderful "one-touch" AF/AE lock of the t3 is a baffling mystery.


hopefully somebody will tell me that the rep got it wrong and there is a custom setting somewhere to overcome this otherwise fatal defect. contax was rumored to have obtained input from more than 100 photogs shooting beta s&les befored it finalized the features on the t3. did leica do anything beyond talking to the design boys (it is a beautiful camera)??"
 

dhr001

Member
Re: "Review of the CM on photo.net " by Niki. You missed one, the T3 has will focus to 0.35m on macro, the CM won't focus closer than 0.7m. Cheers David
 
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