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View Full Version : If Henri Cartier-Bresson was still alive...


Ricoh
13th December 2015, 02:19 PM
...would he still be using a Range Finder or would he have been lured over to the Auto Focus, Auto Everything type of camera. Answers in the form of an essay using no more than two sides of foolscap (equivalent). As a starting point, let's assume HCB has been photographing with his Leica for some time, and is now 40 years of age. For consideration, would he stick with his manual everything RF, or possibly upgrade to a digital RF (the M246 possibly), or move to Mirrorless or even a DSLR.

This crossed my mind having learnt that John's daughter has been asked to do street photography in the style of the great HCB.

Zuiko
13th December 2015, 04:04 PM
I'm sure that if HCB was in his prime today he would use an E-M5II. :D

David M
13th December 2015, 04:08 PM
He'd use whatever tool suited his working methods the best.

Beagletorque
13th December 2015, 04:10 PM
If he was alive today and read this he would be spinning in his grave.

Ricoh
13th December 2015, 04:37 PM
You've all been very economical with the two sides of foolscap limit :)

Beagletorque
13th December 2015, 04:44 PM
I used a Sharpie...

JonSchick
13th December 2015, 05:12 PM
Fuji X100 or another discrete fixed focal length camera with a large sensor

Internaut
13th December 2015, 05:17 PM
Cartier-Bresson famously had no interest whatsoever in the dark room. His relationship with the camera would therefore be different to that of many modern, digital professionals. For HCB, the camera might also be the developer, though we can't discount the possibility he might employ an assistant to do the Photoshopping. The quality of the OOC JPEG would therefore probably matter more to him. I think Leica cameras produce sub-par JPEGs. I think HCB would be shooting Olympus or Fuji.

Naughty Nigel
13th December 2015, 07:56 PM
I'm sure that if HCB was in his prime today he would use an E-M5II. :D

..... No doubt with the 12 ~ 40 f2.8 zoom fitted. :)

Ricoh
13th December 2015, 08:25 PM
Personally I doubt someone in the mould of HC-B, or indeed the man himself would use a zoom on the street. Fixed focal length all the way. No one Ive met who does 'street' uses a zoom, there's too much indecision knowing what fl to use. The serious street photographer uses a fixed fl, either 35 or 50 (in ff terms) sticks to one lens and learns to see as the chosen lens does. You have to be able to see the shot before lifting the camera.

My belief is HC-B would want manual controls for aperture and shutter speed, and the ability to zone without the need of lifting the camera.

IanB
13th December 2015, 09:32 PM
he would be like me; take up the modern stuff like an em1 and then be cursing how complicated the damn thing can be. LOL I had look up how to put the silly flash on the em1 last friday night :o. [1st time I have used it]

He liked the Leica because it was unlike the Oly and most digital cameras with far too many options. Even a mobile/cell phone have too many options now

Ricoh
13th December 2015, 09:52 PM
I'm like you IanB, I fail to see why something as simple as exposure in terms of three variables can be made to be so damn confusing. Menus should be seen in restaurants only, certainly not on cameras. As regards to focusing, well the designers and marketing people think they're so clever that they've removed the ability to zone focus effectively.

Cameras should be simple to operate and use, that leads me to conclude that HCB would bypass all the modern computer-cameras stuff and reach for an MP or an MA, the latter being the most dependable camera ever made; no need to replace batteries, no need to send away for repairs, just a simple mechanical masterpiece.

Zuiko
14th December 2015, 12:15 AM
If he was alive today and read this he would be spinning in his grave.

I see what you did there! :D

Zuiko
14th December 2015, 12:40 AM
Personally I doubt someone in the mould of HC-B, or indeed the man himself would use a zoom on the street. Fixed focal length all the way. No one Ive met who does 'street' uses a zoom, there's too much indecision knowing what fl to use. The serious street photographer uses a fixed fl, either 35 or 50 (in ff terms) sticks to one lens and learns to see as the chosen lens does. You have to be able to see the shot before lifting the camera.

My belief is HC-B would want manual controls for aperture and shutter speed, and the ability to zone without the need of lifting the camera.

That's why Leicas are still made, there is a demand. Mind you, it's difficult to say with any certainty what HCB would have thought of modern mirrorless digital cameras; whilst it is true that he used simple equipment it is also true that only simple equipment was available.

Kiwi Paul
14th December 2015, 07:58 AM
That's why Leicas are still made, there is a demand. Mind you, it's difficult to say with any certainty what HCB would have thought of modern mirrorless digital cameras; whilst it is true that he used simple equipment it is also true that only simple equipment was available.

The modern cameras or certainly the EM-5 Mk1 and ii cameras are as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. You can turn all the info off in the EVF or have it all on or somewhere in between, can use A mode, S mode or Manual, auto focus or manual focus, fixed ISO or auto ISO etc, the basic controls are still there if you ignore the switches, aperture and shutter adjustment by the 2 dials, shutter works as it always has on any camera so if you prefer a nice simple camera after initial setup you have one.

Paul

Ricoh
14th December 2015, 08:36 AM
That's why Leicas are still made, there is a demand. Mind you, it's difficult to say with any certainty what HCB would have thought of modern mirrorless digital cameras; whilst it is true that he used simple equipment it is also true that only simple equipment was available.

Very true!

Ricoh
14th December 2015, 09:02 AM
The modern cameras or certainly the EM-5 Mk1 and ii cameras are as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. You can turn all the info off in the EVF or have it all on or somewhere in between, can use A mode, S mode or Manual, auto focus or manual focus, fixed ISO or auto ISO etc, the basic controls are still there if you ignore the switches, aperture and shutter adjustment by the 2 dials, shutter works as it always has on any camera so if you prefer a nice simple camera after initial setup you have one.

Paul

Agree with you, but the downside for me is the over reliance on auto focus. I know it has been said, and it's probably true to a certain extent, that AF is better at focusing than the human 'eye'. And I'm aware that Olympus have tried to hand back some control in the shape of the 12mm, 17mm and the 12-40mm, all having the focus-by-wire 'snapshot' mode. But for ultimate speed there's no better than having a lens with hard stops at both end of the focusing range, as opposed to a focusing ring that can rotate endlessly in either direction, plus reliable DoF scale: aperture/distance. I'm using such a system and I can focus by feel. I know in relation to the hour hand of a clock where I'm focused. I can look at a scene, turn the focus ring by feel without looking down at the camera, and having previously set the exposure it's set for the shot, just raise the camera to compose and 'shoot'. It's really quick. However in hind sight I probably made the mistake of choosing an 'electronic' RF; a film camera is always on by comparison and always ready (as long as there's film remaining and you've remembered to wind on to the next new sensor).
This is not to say that mirrorless doesn't have its place. I use both systems and interchange as the shooting opportunity arises. The benefit of U43 for me is image stabilisation (Olympus being one of the best with 5-axis) and having the tilting lcd screen, allowing many different PoV for shooting. HCB would have loved this for his puddle jumping shots!

astonandy
15th December 2015, 09:58 AM
In this modern world of sponsorship and arts funding it would seem almost impossible to imagine HC-B using anything other than Leica film and digital equipment. So wedded to the brand are his iconic images that Leica would have him as a paid ambassador with other arts and business funds paying for his unique vision on individual projects. HC-B would want the simplicity and quality of the Leica rangefinders I think (and maybe even the SL) but most importantly he would be woven into the fabric of Leica marketing and, even if only to keep him from rivals, they would do whatever it took to keep him happy - even down to unique products (which they and other manufacturers produce for their top ambassadors).

Salgado is probably one of the closest living artists and his personal projects, books and exhibitions are funded through camera endorsement and commercial sponsorship.

Ricoh
15th December 2015, 10:10 AM
Astonandy, I'm sure you're right, Leica would bend over backwards if he was alive today, as per the 'what if' of the post.
I'll 'Google' Salgado, it sounds an interesting lead - I often look at the work of the 'greats' for insipation.