Minilux Zoom comments until June 2003

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Guest

I was using the Minilux zoom for a while and was happy with the optical quality of the zoom. But I did not like the viewfinder and the only full automatic mode.

So I switched to Contax TVS III and my father is using the Minilux zoom now. He is totally happy with it (except size of viewfinder).

dirk
 
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Guest

Dirk,
I also owned the Zoom for awhile, but I felt I gave up too much in control for the lens flexibility. I prefer the Minilux and Contax T3 by far.

Chuck
 
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Guest

How would you compare the Minilux Zoom to the TWVIII in terms of lens quality, handling, etc?
 
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Guest

Dirk, let me correct my other thread. Of course I meant to say TVSII vs the Minilux Zoom.
 
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Guest

I just got a new minilux zoom as a gift and the camera appears to be a beautiful peice of equipment. I out a roll of Provia 400 in it and when ski touring to shoot some film. At lisde #26 the camera jamed and refused to wond the film or re-wind it. Is this typical? I ended up going into a closet and opening the back a couple fo times and finally it rewound the film. Any one have experience with this?
 
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Guest

Does any know if the Minilux zoom hot shoe will accept other flash units like Metz or some other third party manufacturer?
 
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Guest

Yes, the Minilux zoom will accept other flash units, as long as the are fitted with the matching SCA-connector. This means that you can use a generic (e.g Metz) flash with a much higher guide number, giving you the use of a much more powerful flash with a longer range. Leica's webpages on the Minilux Zoom (tech specs) will tell you more in detail.
 
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Guest

Jeff,

"How would you compare the Minilux Zoom to the Contax TVS III in terms of lens quality, handling, etc?"

I wrote some comments about the TVS III in the Contax Forum (
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My experience with both cameras are the following:

Handling is better with the Contax TVS III. The viewfinder is by far easier to see through for composing the image and you get real information in the viewfinder, not only a red and a green light.

The TVS III is also smaller then the Minilux. lighter and looks IMO better. But this is a personal taste. The design of the Minilux and Minilux Zoom is as sexy as my toaster. It is just a shoe box.

From the handling perspective, the most important point is the inflexibility of the Minilux Zoom to change aperture etc. This is downgrading the Minilux Zoom to a simple "have fun" camera with a very good lens. But for this it is too expensive. For serious shooting you need the option to change settings. And a better viewfinder for composing.

Lenses of the TVS III and Minilux Zoom are very similar. The Leica is 0.5 steps underexposing by default. This is by purpose for slides. If you do the same correction with the TVS III, it is very hard to see any differences.

The Leica goes from 35-70, which is easier to design and has therefore less vignetting at 35mm then the TVS III. The Contax goes from 30-60 in a smaller body, which makes it more difficult to design. Therefore at 30mm strong Vignetting. But if there is no more space to step back, a 30mm with vignetting is better then no picture at all.

Vignetting also depends on the film you are using. With Fuji Velvia you will see more Vignetting then with Sensia 100 or 400.

TVS III has less lens flare then the Minilux Zoom.

I personally prefer the TVS III, because I can decide about manual corrections and the better viewfinder. Outfit is also a point, but this is not objective.

Wait a few months, I am pretty sure thet Leica will come out with some new models soon. They have to respond to the Contax T3 to avoid falling sales numbers.

My dream would be a mixture of T3 and Minilux with an excellent standard lens of 45 or 50/2.0, manually to use/aperture priority, flash adapter like the T3, costum functions like the T3, filter adapters like the T3, size maximum like the TVS III, viewfinder like the T3 or TVS III. etc.

Dirk
 
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Guest

True, the Minilux viewfinder is small, perhaps too small for the occasional user. I expect Leica to correct this in a possible Minilux 'Mark II'.
As far as comparing the lens quality of the Minilux with the Contax: I have only used the TVS II, which has a slightly different lens (28-56 mm) and was not impressed. The Minilux was better by far. Clearer, sharper and "fresh" looking prints. The Contax prints and slides were all a bit grey and muddy, missing sparkle and contrast. Also, I found the manual zoom feature surprisingly awkward to use, and prefer the usual motor zoom (as has the TVSIII). In the shop, the manual zoom seemed to be a great feature, in day to day use, it proved to be difficult for me (and others) to use effectively. I have not used the TVSIII motor zoom, but the buttons look awfully small to me... The viewfinder of the TVSII is much better than the TVSI (which is so dark that you won't see much, especially in bright daylight) and I expect the TVSIII finder to be equal. It's not so much the brightness that sets it apart from the Minilux finder, but the image size. However, after using the Contax TVSII for a month, I found to my surprise, the Minilux Zoom much more likable. True, its bigger and not as sexy looking (but check out the charcoal grey version which is stunningly beautiful), but after a short while and some practice, it is a very likable camera. And the pictures and slides are consistently excellent, both in exposure and in image quality. Adding an additional flash is sometimes, not always, a handy axtra. I used a Minilux Zoom with both the small Leica flash and a Metz flash at a wedding and was very happy with all the results. The only upgrade I could think of is a Contax G2 with several lenses.. The fact that you can't change the Minilux Zoom aperture is a less of a problem than it might seem. The shutter speed / aperture program is programmed in such a way that you are able to isolate a subject at close range and have maximum depth of field whan shooting at greater distances. Of course it has its limitations, considering that the maximum speed is 1/250, but my Konica Hexar has that same problem. So I use a low speed film when shooting in bright sunlight or on holidays. Choose your film carefully and don't buy the usual 200/400 speed film for sunny conditions like everyone else does. After all, when I use a Minilux (non-zoom) or Rollei AFM 35 (also non-zoom), the camera is on the program mode most of the time, since the 35 and 40 mm lenses have great depth of field. The only time I manually set the aperture is when shooting close ups and I want to blurr the backgrond. When shooting landscapes it is really not much of a useful feature, just look at the d.o.f. charts. The autofocus system is fast enough to quickly grab snapshots, I hardly ever have to lock both focus and aperture to be able to make the quick snapshots. PS: the Leica active focus operates faster than the Rollei passive focus system, although passive autofocus seems te be more accurate and is not affected by windows or reflections.
 
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Guest

I have been using my Leica Minilux Zoom for the past two years. Every roll of slide came with wonderful pictures. I have drop my G2 a year back. Because to change lens is troublesome for me. I would rather carry my Minolta with a G Zoom lens instead. That's why the 40mm 2.8 is always on my G2. Minilux Zoom view finder is indeed small, but it's small enough for a compact camera & very sharp. Any bigger will end up a bigger body. Most user are very concern of low shutter speed (1/250). That's already more then enough speed. Leica design this with people who really enjoy great pictures. And these people have the understanding of using the very best film for this wonderful equipment. Load a lower ASA film for daylight to get the maximum from it's wonderful lens. Higher ASA film for night scene. And shoot more. Shooting more also ensure getting the best picture of "that" time. Compact equipment enable me to bring more kinds of film for any situation to shoot more. I also don't like leaving film inside the camera for the next session. Everytime I try to finish a roll that's will the same lighting condition. I have also learn how to trust it's metering & AF focusing. It's very accurate. Never miss a shot. I do get 1 or two at some time, but that 100% my fault & have been able to retake the at shot. I have only compensate for back lighting. Flash photography is very good if flash is been bounced. Minilux works with many kinds of flash. I have been using it with Nikon SB-22 & Minolta 5400HS with great result. What I dislike is close focusing. Many times it's just too far away. There are tricks to those defocus background of portrait photos. Just triple (& more) the distant from background to lens of lens to subject. Use only the short end of the zoom range & keep it very close to the lens. Meaning if subject to lens is 1m, subject to background must be 3m or more. This method works for many other camera & lens.
 
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Guest

I think it is important to separate different aspects here. Jeff was asking for a comparison between the Minilux Zoom (MZ) and the TVS III.

The TVS II and TVS I have the exact same lens, which was designed in 1990. It is clearly inferior to the new designed lens of the TVS III. A comparison between the MZ and the TVS II is leading therefore on a different road. I could add some comments also on the TVS II and I viewfinder, but this is a subject for the Contax Forum, not the Leica Forum.

Coming back to the comparison TVS III vs. MZ, it is obvious that every user has different preferences. If you want to shoot in P-mode anyway and accept the viewfinder for this price then I do not see a problem with the MZ.

But if you expect more then this for this price range, then the choice is (for me at least) a "no-brainer". Lenses are both excellent, but you simply have more possibilities to do what you want to do with the TVS III. If you actually use all these possibilities at the end of the day is up to you - but at least you have the choice with the TVS III.

The argument, that with the MZ the software is programmed in a smart way is not really an argument. I am the photographer and the camera shall do what I want it to do - not what an engineer thinks is good for me.

A shutterspeed of 1/250 is for me unacceptable, since it has to much restrictions on my creativity as a photographer. Remember we are not talking about a cheap, simple P&S, we are talking about a Leica for around 900 Euro/USD.

The body of the MZ is almost the size of the old M6. I think there is enough space for a bigger viewfinder. Look at Minolta TC-1, TVS III, T3 etc. - you name it, there are tons of ex&les with better viewfinder in smaller bodies. And with REAL information additionally.

If you have a zoom with aperture up to 6.x at 70mm (fully open) the use of a 200 or 400 fim/slide might make sense in many situations. If you use Iso 100 or even 50, you have to use a tripod every second time, which makes the MZ not anymore a "pocket camera".

Please do not misunderstand me. The MZ delivers execellent pictures - so does the TVS III. It is for me just the question what do I get for my money and will it be suitable for the way I take my pictures.

My subjective conclusion was "no". But also the TVS III has drawbacks as stated earlier in my other comment. There is no perfect thing. Everybody has to decide for himself in which criteria he is willing to make a compromise.

Dirk
 
Minilux zoom- error messages- leica usa will not repair

I have enjoyed my minilux zoom for five years. Last month I began receiving error messages: first the zoom stopped working, then the entire camera stopped.

Leica USA says they have no parts to repair it. I can't simpy throw it in the trash. I am afraid to buy another on the used market since no one can tell me what parts failed.

Advice gratefully received.

Rosalind
 
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