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.
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.
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.
When it comes to making important decisions in life, it’s always better to forgo analysis and just go with your gut feeling.
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…
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.
I still shoot film so that I can learn to shoot and process digital properly.
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.
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.
↑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.
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.
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.
Last week’s experience with new gear made me appreciate something all over again: the joy of shooting with a rangefinder.
I’ve written about this previously, but it doesn’t hurt to be taught old lessons again.
Many people view the Leica rangefinder and its mechanical coincident focusing mechanism as antiquated. Yet, I’ve chosen this type of camera (starting with the M8) for almost 100% of my photography for the last 7 years. For me, and many others, there is no better example of an unobtrusive and high quality image-capable camera.
Recently, another camera company has been celebrated for manufacturing smaller-than-DSLR “full frame” bodies, yet it is noteworthy that Leica accomplished this back 2009 with the M9. Moreover, to this day, Leica is the only company that (mostly) understands the ergonomics of a proper camera and the importance of an optical viewfinder.
The modern Leica M camera carries forward design principles that have been retained, honed, and perfected over many decades. Quite literally, there is no competition in the current camera landscape.
On a final note…
Although I have been famously critical of a sensor decision Leica made with the M240 (though I’m learning to live with it), I have no problem giving credit where credit is due, so: