Nowadays I rotate the use of my cameras and lenses and enjoy rediscovering their characteristics. My 1960s 50mm Summicron yields quite different results to my much newer Summicron, even on a modern digital body. I thought I would sell it, but it continues to give me pleasure for its Mandler-style signature. Much depends on your expectations on holiday. What is the most you will demand from your candidates' performance?Read More
Do you still buy magazines? I have completely stopped buying any type of magazine, whether on photography or other subjects. Not only is it a potentially expensive business, forking out for magazines brings you a lot of news that you read in its original on the internet a month or six weeks before.Read More
Leica UK has today announced a new part-exchange programme for M owners. For the first time owners of previous M cameras will be able to get an instant quotation top swap for the latest M, type 240.Read More
David Taylor's new (June 2014) treatise on the M is different. While it is undoubtedly suitable for newcomers, particularly newcomers to rangefinder cameras, the guide has a great deal to offer the experienced Leica user. It is well illustrated with working examples of the M's capabilities and the whole book is a good read--something that cannot always be said.Read More
What sets the X-T1 apart is its ability to deliver impressively clean, detailed images up through ISO 6400, a class-leading EVF, and a clever, very effective manual focus mode. You get access to a lineup of fantastic XF prime and zoom lenses. On top of all this is Fuji’s track record of improving camera features and functionality via ongoing firmware updates. So there’s a very good chance that your X-T1 will be an even more capable camera over your time of ownership.
This extract comes from a great article at Wirecutter.com on the subject of the world's best mirrorless camera. Adamdou Diallo has two contenders, the Fuji XT-1 and the Olympus OM-D EM-1―a duo I would also rate as the ones to choose from. As a complete system camera, the both have their good points but Diallo comes down firmly in favour of the Fuji. Unless, that is, you already own a bagful of Micro Four Thirds lenses when the Olympus might tip the balance.
Recently the Leica M9 started to tickle my interest. I’ve been interested in shooting a rangefinder for a while now, and knowing other photographers that love their Leica systems they shoot with, I thought it was time. I rented an M9 from Lumoid.com along with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 lens for a wedding and fell in love. A couple weeks later, I rented it again.
Over at SLR Lounge, columnist J.Cassario has had a conversion from bulky DSLR to handy Leica M9. Nice narrative and some excellent photographs. Read more here.
For someone like me who never truly shot film with a manual camera, it’s a real eye opener. Consider that, first, I need to manually focus the lens. The exposure metering is center weighted and fairly primitive. Auto ISO did not work as expected. Exposure compensation is ergonomically hard to use. For a person who cut their teeth on digital and auto-everything, the Leica M can be befuddling and frustrating.
I have been following Andy's insightful blogs on photography on atmtxphoto.com. He is often out and about with his cameras in his home town of Austin, Texas, and produces some stunning stuff. Recently he has managed to get his hands on a Leica M and his comments are refreshing. In this article he takes the M out at night on Austin's 6th Street and the pictures are well worth a look. Also check out Andy's first encounter with the M last month to see some more great photographs. For a guy who hasn't had much, if any, experience with manual cameras, he learns very quickly.
When travelling it is always difficult to decide what photographic gear to pack. The more cameras you own, the worse the decision making process. There is a strong tendency to take everything, just in case, but this is seldom feasible.
I am now about to leave London for the annual summer break in Greece: Lots of sun, lots of dust and the inevitable winds of the Cyclades. As always, I agonise over what cameras and lenses to pack. Many of my friends face the same dilemma whenever travel beckons; there is a fear of leaving something behind that might just be needed.
Only George James, among my photographer friends, has an enviable clarity of thought and a dedicated focus on Leica. For him it is a choice between his M9 and the Monochrome. But even that can be difficult, not to mention the dilemma over which lens or lenses to add to the mix. Nevertheless, I admire his sense of purpose and relative immunity from Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
Back to the packing list in hand. As a good all-purpose carry-round street camera it has to be the Leica X Vario. The 28-70mm Vario-Elmar is a great lens, equal to primes at all focal lengths, and the camera will give me the versatility I need in addition to the discipline of the one-camera-one-lens M. If I owned a Leica T it would have been an even better choice because it would have given me the opportunity to add a T prime or use the odd M prime. For this reason I needed something more than the XV.
For full-frame goodness and low-light performance I was torn between the Leica M and the Sony A7r. Both are capable of amazing results with the right lenses. I toyed with taking the Sony and a stable of Leica M optics, possibly adding the only EF-mount lens I possess, the 35mm f/2.8. I even considered packing the 28-70mm Vario-Elmar-R to add a bit of flexibility to the package. But it was all looking a bit weighty and would perhaps present too many choices on a day-to-day basis. I am influenced by the weight because all this gear has to go into hand luggage alongside a rather hefty 15-in MacBook Pro Retina.
In the end I settled on a really pure solution: The Leica M and just one lens. George will be proud of me. This single optic has to be the 50mm Summilux for its all-round capabilities, including love of low-light evening work. The advantage of this purity is that I will not be tempted to change lenses in dusty conditions and I will be able to focus on getting the best out of just one focal length, always A Good Thing. Last summer, I remember, I took just the Leica Monochrome and a couple of lenses, including the 75mm Apo Summicron which proved its worth as a general street lens, contrary to received wisdom. Since I had no choice once I got to my destination I was content and I got some good shots.
Finally, in the interests of research, I decided to throw in the new kid on the block, the little Canon EOS M. From what I have already experienced of the 22mm (35mm equivalent) f/2 prime, the Canon can give the Fuji X100S a run for its money in the streettog stakes. And the 29-88mm-equivalent zoom is an adequate if not stellar performer for general work. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the known excellence of the X Vario’s lens. The Canon will be something to stick in the pocket when I don't want to carry a bag.
So, against all odds, it seems I have made a decision, despite opting for two more cameras than I really need.It's not quite one-camera-one-lens, but it give me something to do. I had better get all the gear packed away before I change my mind. All rights to change reserved, of course.
Torrential rain, sudden calm, roiling skies: The tail end of Hurricane Bertha swept across London this afternoon and the West London lifeboat station was on full alert for any eventuality. These fast boats of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution patrol a large sector of the Thames, from Battersea to Richmond, and have been instrumental in saving many lives over the past fifteen years. With river levels rising and high winds threatening, this is the sort of weather than often brings emergency calls.
However, what passes for a hurricane in London would be be dismissed as a minor flurry in areas with more extreme climates. Indeed, I actually went out to enjoy the unusual activity and took my faithful Leica Monochrom, wearing a 75mm Apo Summicron. As soon as I saw those impressive storm clouds I knew they would be a good subject for a couple of shots. I have to say that he Monochrom never fails to impress. Of all the cameras I own it is by far my favourite, not least because I love black and white. No camera in the world can do B&W like the Monochrom.
Hot on the heels of my bargain £199 Canon EOS M kit comes the 22mm f/2 prime lens which I bagged on eBay for £75. So I now have a two-lens kit for under £275. The 22mm came in plain packaging, which indicates it probably started life as part of a twin-lens kit, but it is new and in perfect condition. With a shop price of £187, I am not complaining.
Today I took the little combo out for a first run and called at the increasingly popular Bloodswept Lands and Seas of Red poppy display at the Tower of London. This planting of ceramic poppies will continue from August 5, the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, until November 11, the 96th anniversary of the end of the conflict. So far it is proving to be a people magnet and hundreds of cameras and smartphones were recording the scene. Over 100,000 people have already paid £25 to buy one of the poppies to be sent to them after November 11.
My initial impressions of this Canon prime are very positive. In the set above and the one below you can see a view between the full frame and a cropped image taken from the same shot. The lens is sharp and very impressive.
Moving on to Covent Garden, I grabbed this street shot and, again, check out the crop of the back of the van.
And here are some straightforward landscape shots from this 35mm-equivalent prime.
Way back in 1960 when I was just 14 my high school biology teacher started a school camera club. At the inaugural meeting he handed around his Leica―I believe it was a Leica II―and prints from his 1930s travels in India and Burma. From that first moment when I handled the jewel of a camera and saw the pictures it produced I was hooked. I just had to have a Leica.Read More
I bought the Canon EOS M because it was cheap. £199 for an APS-C compact with an 28-88mm (equivalent) zoom has got to be worth considering. As I explained a couple of days ago, this camera started off as a much more expensive beast but seems to have been unloved. Perhaps there are better competitors out there at the original £700-plus price. But at £199 it takes some beating.Read More
So often in life we see what we want to see. I was aiming my new £199 Canon EOS M across a busy London road when, out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed what looked like a vintage camera, a Leica no less, on a bus advertisement. I punched the rear screen of the Canon right in the middle of poster as the bus passed. My eye registered the words Hector and Happiness at the same time.Read More
Adam Lee is a man of many parts. Not content with his upcoming PhD in biology, he is a very talented musician and a self-made expert on photography. At the age of 25, this accomplished young man is making a big name for himself through his music and his undoubted photographic skills.Read More
I suspect the EOS M is on its way out and the price could fall even further before stocks eventually evaporate. But at this price you are getting a lot of competence for your money and, as I said in June, it is perhaps time to put your toe in the water before the little Canon is sold into oblivion.Read More
The Weston meter was once an essential resident in any photographer's bag. Even when built-in light meters became popular, serious photographers and most professionals preferred the accuracy of a pro hand-held meter such as the Weston. I remember the pro photographers I worked with when I was a journalist in the sixties and the Weston meter was always on hand.Read More
I have been trying out two of the most attractive Yin Yang colour schemes, red/black and blue/grey. The former is perfect for the latest M, the type-240. Barton's red leather perfectly complements the Leica logo and the discreet raised red dot on all modern Leica lenses.Read More
Propped up in bed with my iPad this morning, I was impressed by Eric Kim's very plausible case for taking a photograph every day. He is surely right that the routine of always having a camera in the bag and remembering to take one photograph every day is the key to improvement. Strangely, after being inspired before breakfast, I went out for the day and managed NOT to take a photograph today.Read More