Leica Akademie: New boys at school
One of the little-known benefits of buying a Leica camera is the free one-to-one introductory course at the Leika Akademie. Buyers of the more expensive M cameras get an even better incentive: The chance to participate in a three-hour class led by an experienced professional photographer. Provided you buy a new camera from an authorised Leica dealer this really useful course is free.
Shortly after buying my Monochrom I enrolled for the first available course which took place today. The only other participant, quite by coincidence, was my friend George James who is a superb photographer with many years of experience. I pale by comparison but I was delighted to have the opportunity to soak up all the knowledge that resident pro, Robin Sinha, could pass on in three hours.
So what did I learn? I came away with much greater confidence in pre-setting exposure and a greater awareness of the correct use of ISO. In both cases, Robin explained the importance of gaining confidence in using manual settings instead of relying on automatic exposure and ISO. These are areas I was aware of but, I must admit, I have tended to sideline in favour of relying often on auto exposure time and sensitivity. Now I feel happier to experiment, to pre-set exposure to avoid extremes of light and to use ISO intelligently rather than letting the camera make all the choices.
We had the opportunity to go walkabout and gain some useful street experience under Robin's watchful eye. Afterwards we returned to the Leica Akademie for post processing in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro, both of which come bundled with your new Leica Monochrom. If you are buying a new Leica camera I would certainly recommend getting yourself on the list for a course at Leica's UK headquarters in London's Mayfair.