Category Archives: Teaching point

The Nikon Df sensor.

After about a week of photographing with the Nikon Df, I am pleased to say that its CMOS sensor appears to come the closest to behaving like the CCD sensor I’ve long respected in the Leica M9.

I can actually pull more shadow detail out of the files (which came as a complete surprise) and the highlight recovery is also superior (not a surprise).

Of course, the Df is not a rangefinder (so if you’re like me, and like to manually focus, that makes things more difficult… also, I miss seeing the scene “outside of the frame” that a rangefinder offers) and the stable of lenses for the Nikon F-mount are larger and generally not as well corrected as the Leica equivalents (having said that, the Voigtländer 40mm f/2 SL-II I’m using is very competent and compact).

For micro-contrast and tonality, CCD wins every time.

On the other hand, the Df has rock-solid reliable electronic guts (with robust processing power), does not feel like a beta product, and has an external ISO dial (I love this).

More photos to follow…

—Peter.

 

 

 

Blowing a kiss.

Blowing a kiss

M240 gone. Again.

I have always shared my gear choices/changes freely, assuming it may help some of you considering camera A vs. camera B, or lens A vs lens B, etc. So, along that vein, and at the risk of inviting harsh commentary, I will disclose this:

I have parted, again, with the Leica M240.

Before the M240 was released, I made some predictions about its image quality.  Specifically, I was concerned about base ISO performance vs. its predecessor, the M9.  My concerns were borne out when I viewed the initial JPG images, and then again when I examined sample RAW files.

I posted both my predictions and subsequent analysis on this site.

Of course, some photographers shared my view, and some didn’t.  Those who didn’t were critical of the fact that I hadn’t owned the camera and yet I was judging it.  My rebuttal was that you don’t have to own a camera to judge its image quality.

Well, now I’ve owned it.  Twice.

My honest opinion:  I should have listened to myself.

I tried —I really tried — to make it work (those of you who follow this blog on a regular basis know this), because I really enjoyed the ergonomic improvements.

But I just couldn’t coax the look I wanted out of it.

—Peter.

 

 

Bayer filter cameras are increasingly of little appeal to me.

No Bayer Sensor

One of the things that photographing mostly with film lately has done to me is given me a distaste for the Bayer Filter Mosaic upon which almost all digital camera sensors are based.

Something about the images created with the de-mosaicing (interpolative) processes inherent in Bayer-based cameras just doesn’t look right to my eye any more.  They’re simply not good enough.

In the digital world, there are three notable exceptions to the Bayer trend:

(1) Sigma with its Fovean sensor-based DP models.  As a previous owner of the original Sigma DP1 model, I wait with great anticipation for the upcoming Quattro.  However, given Sigma‘s history of building sluggish cameras with a “beta” feel about them, I’m not holding my breath.

(2) Leica with the Monochrom (which sports a modified Kodak CCD sensor lacking a colour filter array).  Of course, the Monochrom is limited to B&W output (not a bad thing, unless you occasionally want/need colour!).

(3) Fuji with its X-Trans technology, where blue, green, and red sensors are “randomly” arrayed.  I’m not convinced about the results, though I do applaud Fuji for pushing the proverbial envelop.

 

Currently, I don’t own any of the above…  I’m in a wait-and-see mode.

—Peter.

 

Lateral Concerns.

Test Shot #3 from the first roll of film run through the Mamiya 7II.

For those interested, I’ve included a central crop below.

—Peter.

Lateral Concerns

-

Here is the 100% crop (scanner output set to 16 x 20 inches at 300 DPI):

Lateral Concerns - Mamiya 7II 100% crop

 

I’ve learned…

When it comes to making important decisions in life, it’s always better to forgo analysis and just go with your gut feeling.

—Peter.

Honey 2011, Mamiya 2014.

Test Shot #2 from the first roll of film run through the Mamiya 7II.

This was photographed with the 80 mm lens near its close-focus limit of 1 m.

—Peter.

Honey 2011, Mamiya 7II 2014

M240 Colour Images + More Mamiya!

This weekend has been a good one, photographically speaking.  The weather has finally cooperated in Toronto and I’ve also had ample opportunity to photograph.

The upshot:  over the next few days, I’ll be posting several colour images I’ve taken with the M240.

To put this thing to rest, I’ll state upfront that I’m now reasonably pleased with the colours I’m getting.  Are they M9-like?  No, of course not.  The Kodak CCD sensors in the M9/M-E (and M8) are special (for many reasons), so if you’re interested in seeing an updated CCD sensor placed in a future M camera, you may want to consider signing my…

Open Letter to Leica

 

Prosophos Open Letter to Leica

 

 

And for those interested in film photography, I’ll be posting more images from that first test roll of Kodak Tri-X I shot with my recently acquired Mamiya 7II.

—Peter.

 

Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day!

As an aside, this image represents Test Shot #1 (literally, the first shot from the first roll of film) from my Mamiya 7II.

—Peter.

Mother's Day

Reason #2 I still shoot film.

I still shoot film so that I can learn to shoot and process digital properly.

—Peter.

Windswept.

Windswept

Window Studies, Part 2.

A double-meaning with this title: her studies, of course, and my ongoing study of the M240 colour signature.

—Peter.

Window Studies, Part 2

The life savour.

There’s an ethereal quality in the image towards the right edge of the frame — caused by a bit of lens flare… but it appears as if the film grain is commingling with the very light that it’s trying to contain.

Don’t you just love film?

—Peter.

The Life Savour

Film shots coming… let there be light.

I’ve been busy developing Tri-X, shot with my Mamiya RZ67 and Leica M3, using my process for developing B&W film.

The moments captured reflect what I cherish the most:  Life’s Little Moments.

Unfortunately, we’ve been thrust into darkness again, as winter doesn’t seem to want to go.  If I was photographing with a digital camera, my output over the last few days would have been zero.  But somehow, with a shutter speed of 1/15 (or less!) and a few rolls of Kodak, I’ve produced a few images worth keeping.

I’ll be posting some of them, starting tomorrow.

In the meantime… I wait for good light.

—Peter.

Mamiya RZ67 + 110/2.8 + Kodak Tri-X 400 = Art.

I shot a roll of 120 film today, using the equipment in the title above.

10 shots for the roll, 6 of them were keepers… I wish my yield with digital approached that ratio.

I’ll be posting some of the images later this week.

What I love about this set-up is that the output makes everyday life look like art.  Or, maybe I should say that it reveals the art of everyday life.

—Peter.

 

Leica T.

Leica T - Photographs by Peter

↑Photo courtesy Leica.


 

No, I wasn’t given the newly-released Leica T Type 701 to review.  And no, I haven’t tried it.

But I’m getting emails asking me about it, so I’ll make a few comments.

The sensor is excellent (they’re using a tried-and-tested sensor), and the new lenses (only two have been announced so far) will perform in the typical Leica fashion — wonderfully.  And, of course, they released an M adapter for M lenses.  Nice.

I’m too biased towards optical viewfinders and larger sensors to be tempted by it.

However, I’m quite impressed with Leica‘s execution on this release.  They got the marketing right, and the design (minimalistic — read: excellent).  They even got the right reviewers on board, and were careful to educate them on the product beforehand.

Most impressively, they out-Appled Apple with the interface.

I like what they’ve done.

—Peter.

 

Eyes – Test Shot Portrait (Mamiya Tilt/Shift).

My first portrait using the Mamiya 180mm f/4.5 Short Barrel lens with the Mamiya Tilt/Shift Adapter.

I really should be supporting this heavy and unwieldy gear with a tripod, but I’ve avoided tripods all my life (ahhh the undisciplined life of a candid photographer).

Not bad though.  I see great potential with this set-up.

—Peter.

Eyes - Mamiya Tilt:Shift Adapter Test Shot

Springtime in Toronto, Part 2.

You have to love this city and its weather ;) .

This image was taken using the Mamiya 110/2.8 at its near focus limit; even at f/4 (the aperture used for this shot), the depth of field is quite thin — perhaps too thin for this portrait, since only the near eye is in focus.

Still, I like it.

The look of the Tri-X film and the bigger 6 x 7 “sensor” of medium format is quite remarkable.  Notice the true-to-life rendering of his face, texture of his hat, etc.  Currently, high-end 35mm digital cameras may be able to out-resolve this antiquated gear (at least using the scanner I’m using), but they cannot duplicate the look of this image.

—Peter.

Springtime in Toronto, Part 2

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