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Let the AP team answer your photographic queries

Q l am the very proud, possibly misguided owner of a couple of Leica cameras — an M6 and an MS. Is there any snag in using Leica R lenses? Compared to M lenses, there seem to be far more available second-hand and they are generally much cheaper. Adapters are easy enough to source as well. Dave Hasted

A

Whenever you start talking about using lenses from one system on a camera from another system, you’re talking about compromise: the fact is that ‘lens A’ was designed to be used with ‘camera system A. In this case, Leica R to Leica M adapters offer little more than a means of physically attaching an R lens to an M camera. While they will still achieve infinity focus on an M-series camera, the biggest problem is the lack of focus coupling.

With the latest M camera (the Leica M) this isn’t necessarily a huge problem, as you can use live view to focus an R lens. However, with any other M-series camera you’re going to be left guessing the focus distance, with only the distance scale on the R lens to guide you. This can work well enough for distant subjects and/or if you’re working with small apertures, but it may be that depth of field is helping you out in these situations, rather than accurate focusing, so you won’t be getting the best from the lens. With a subject that is close, or when you want to shoot with a wider aperture, focusing accurately becomes more critical, and without any way of confirming that it’s ‘right’, it can be almost impossible to get a sharp shot.

Personally, I’d just steer clear of R lenses in this instance. Chris Gatcum

DISC EXPLANATION

A

Regarding Ivor Matanle’s answer to Norm Firman in AP 22 June, I suspect that the ‘disc with fi Im speeds’ actually refers to the small disc on the bottom of the Nikon FTn, This disc is used simply as a reminder of the ASA speed of the currently loaded film. The small black arrow is used as the marker for black & white film and the red arrow as the marker for colour film. Danny Portnoy

XQD-CARD COMPATIBILITY

Q

Can you confirm whether Sony and Lexar XQD memory cards are compatible with the Nikon D700O and Nikon D800/800E? Clavero Tamina

A

At present, the professional-level Nikon D4 is the only camera that is compatible with XQD-format memory cards. Chris Gatcum

POLARIZER PROBLEMS

Q

In my days as a film-based photographer I used polarising filters extensively, but I only recently bought my first polarizers for my digital cameras, hoping to get a better sky-darkening effect than by using Photoshop Holding them to my eye and rotating them while observing a clear blue sky at 90° to the sun, is it my imagination that they seem to produce much less darkening than I remember from the old days? Moreover, examining photographs taken with and without the polarising filter in place, it appears that the blue sky is somewhat darkened, but it also appears degraded — no longer a pure blue but with an unpleasant brownish tint. Any ideas why? Graeme Dawes

A

First, the only way to achieve a polarising effect is in-camera using a polarising filter. Although software can darken a sky, no amount of digital post-processing can actually polarise the light in an image once it’s been captured — only a filter in front of the film or sensor can do that.

It’s also worth appreciating that not all polarising filters are equal. Although some polarising filters can ‘dirty’ images in the way you describe, not all of them do, and as a general rule, sticking to a recognised brand and spending a bit more on a top-of-the-range filter is likely to give you the best results. Alternatively, most images can be improved using editing software — it might not be able to recreate the effect of a polarizer, but it can certainly improve It at times. Chris Gatcum

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