A person’s fascination with or enjoyment of a product is unique. Their opinion of or about something may not jive with yours. It may even be irrational. Anyone is free to hold an opinion; conversely, anyone is free to disagree with another’s opinion.
By the rules of logic, no one is free to attack another over differences of opinion. Neither are they free to pretend to read minds. After making a personal attack, one should apologise. Barring that, they should shut up.
What they shouldn’t do is write a douchey treatise about how they were right, that they know what another person is, or must be thinking- that someone is a liar; and the proof of that is a difference of opinion.
There was no cause for **award-winning, inventive, unusual, process-perfecting photographer, Irakly Shanidze, to call someone who ‘tells you about a "great rangefinder experience" is a liar’. Because they are talking about their experience, objective measures don’t matter. If they believe that shooting a rangefinder camera is a great experience, that’s it. End of story.
Because that person made nothing but personal judgements, that another thinks they’re wrong is neither here nor there. Had they started by saying: ‘rangefinder cameras are superior to SLRs or EVF cameras’, there would be basis for discussion. Even so, there is no space for ad hominem. The person may be wrong; he or she may even be lying. But that doesn’t make them a liar.
Condescending to amateurs does not make you a professional. Invalidating someone’s opinion of something based on personal anecdote does not make you right.
Interspersed with my commentary is Irakly’s treatise on why he is right and why him calling people liars is cool. Interspersed with his holier than thous are my comments:
A couple of weeks ago I almost inadvertently became involved in an online conversation where I jokingly called people who claim to “like the rangefinder experience” liars. The reaction was swift and vigorously aggressive. It really got me thinking. This defensive reaction indicated that either I was wrong, or they were in deep denial. So, for those who are contemplating switching to Leica M, and for those who already did, but cannot really explain rationally why, I decided to write about my very own impression based upon a bit more than twenty-five years of experience with rangefinder cameras and seven years of using Leica M exclusively for my work in commercial photography.
It doesn’t matter that you’ve been a professional M shooter, or shot M's for generations; you can't possibly know what a person truly thinks or feels about the camera they use. Calling a person a liar is the issue.
In my opinion, Leica M is an example of a classic controversy, and using it is much like, as one of my friends said, “watching your mother in law falling off a cliff in your favorite Bugatti”.
Start an essay lambasting people’s opinions with ‘in my opinion’ is a dumb idea. Anyway, what has this to do with you calling people liars?
There is a widespread opinion among “uninitiated” that Leica it is more about the lenses than cameras. Well, not quite, but let’s weigh pro and contra.
Let’s see some data on that widespread opinion. Anyway, what has this to do with you calling people liars?
Any Leica aficionado will explain to you in a great detail that things like an always bright viewfinder, regardless of the lens speed, small, light and super cute lenses, uncluttered interface and unbelievable German precision are distinct Leica M features that make it so pleasant to treat it as a family member to say the least.
Any is too strong a word to use, but generalisations do make more persuasive essays. Besides, I’ve not heard a single Leica aficionado use the word ‘cute’ to describe their lenses. Anyway, what has this to do with you calling people liars?
Someone who actually shoots Leica M in a meaningful fashion, will tell you about its amazing low-light capabilities with no guessing whether the image is in focus or not, freedom of shooting at 1/15 of a second with a 50mm lens with no tripod and still getting reasonably sharp images, its unassuming looks, which helps one become a “fly on a wall”…
Is this an early-stage apology? Or are you digging in your heels, still keen on calling people liars?
Yes, both leicaphiles and Leica users are right, this is all true. I support their claims wholeheartedly, as there are unquestionable advantages to the rangefinder, however user friendliness is not one of them. How do I mean? Read on and tell me, what’s not to love?
What does any of this have to do with you calling people liars?
- An itsy-bitsy tinny frame for 90mm lens – a portrait photographer’s delight. Did you know that the longest lens for the M system is whooping 135mm? BTW, nobody buys it, as it is nearly impossible to use.
- Up to 1/3 of a viewfinder obstructed by the lens – certainly makes shooting more exciting, as you never know what’s in there until you see the picture. This is the case with all lenses that made Leica famous: Noctilux and all Summiluxes, except the 50.
- The worst LCD screen in the industry – a dream for a purist who never chimps (well, it was true about M8 and M9. Screens on newer models are not that bad, actually.
- Are you a lefty, by any chance? Ever tried looking in the Leica peep-hole with your left eye? Try it, it’s a lot of fun, especially it your nose is like mine, or larger (does not happen often, though).
- Now, how about that built-in diopter adjustment? Haven’t found one? Of course, because there is not any. You can buy one from Leica for the price of a Canon 1.8/50 EF USM prime 🙂
- And the last… ever tried to use a polarizer? It’s a cakewalk!
Irakly, as noted above, because you are talking about another’s personal experience, objective measures don’t matter. Besides, what has any of this to do with you calling people liars?
Taking all this into account, we all learned how to ignore all this for many reasons. Some of us did because shooting Leica is cool, some others because this is nothing compared to that famous and elusive “Leica look”, some because it is better to put up with all of the above than haul twenty pounds of glass and a tripod, some because of all mentioned reasons plus because it does give you a competitive advantage if you know what you are doing.
What has any of this to do with you calling people liars?
What most Leica shooters will not tell you, however, is Leica M actually makes you a better photographer. Well, maybe it is not such a good idea to generalize, but it definitely worked for me. Leica’s spartan viewfinder is always the same, regardless of what the lens you use. Since there is no lens effect to enjoy, the only thing to look for is substance. That’s why pictures taken with a rangefinder camera are more meaningful, even when there is the lens effect present.
Did you seriously just say: ‘it is not such a good idea to generalise’? You, who call people liars that think the rangefinder experience is great?
Due to its brilliantly simple interface, Leica does not take all those unnecessary accessories that other camera systems are famous for. Leica M makes one concentrate on photography, not on toys (although admittedly some people actually manage to turn their Leicas into toys and even fetishes). It’s like a racing sailboat, which requires from all its crew full competence, unreal concentration and utter indifference to pain and suffering to round all marks in the shortest amount of time.
This is not an apology.
So… as much as I love Leica M system, I would be extremely hard pressed to state that rangefinder experience is a joy. No, it is not a joy, it’s a challenge. It is Leica M’s limitations not letting me get too comfy, much like ballerina’s point shoes, that keep pushing me into getting better yet.
And that is your right. Shooting an M is not a joy to you. But no matter how much you think they should, not everyone thinks/experiences the world the same as you. And they had damn well better not.
Irakly: softening your original ad hominem attack in 844 words without directly apologising is a self-serving, condescending act. Everyone whom you maligned deserves an apology.
Barring that, and for every person that finds the rangefinder experience great, I call you a douche: an act for which I will follow your example and double down on the finer points of what make you one. If you take umbrage, I've got a defence: it's a joke! How could you think otherwise, you simpleton!