Former press secretary in the Kennedy administration Pierre Salinger told a story that shows the late president’s wit when the press secretary came to the Oval Office with a problem. “Mr. President. We’re getting into trouble with women’s groups over the fact that the First Lady is always seen walking three steps behind you.” (paraphrasing there.) The president thought for a moment, then said… well, I guess you can figure it out from here. 😉
The issues shooting the Leica M9/M-E sensor at higher ISOs are well documented. But it should also be well documented that, when shooting black and white, you can forget those noise concerns almost entirely. I very often will shoot JPEG FINE mode on the b&w setting when I make that decision to shoot b&w. I like the way they look and I always have since my first M9. I’ll tell the story of how I came to love shooting b&w JPEGs straight out of the camera some other time. But I love them. And at 18 megapixels in b&w, how much image data do you need? That was my attitude three years ago and it’s still my attitude today. Much more on that sometime soon.
At any moment, it will always still be the 1920s in Hollywood. The light will never change. There’s nothing like the light in California. Throw on the right costume on the right bodice and hit the DNG with the right vintage black and white filter and anyone can be Mary Pickford. If only for a moment. The girl with the tattoo? That’s another story entirely.
I shot an M7 with tons of drug store film for two years, scanned the negatives with a Plustek scanner. I think that impacts or influences my choices in post processing. Images like this look a lot like some of my film scans in similar light. Colors are maybe a little punchier. They don’t, at all, look like or remotely even remind me of the color results I got from my M9.
You’d have to ask the manufacturer of the camera as to why that might be. 😉
There seems to be so much mystery surrounding this subject in terms of clear and exact information from Leica. But that’s okay. I don’t care. For the most part, I remain very happy with the color results I get from my M-E. Every once in a while I seem to run up against a dead end where I can’t seem to shake the weird color casts, but that’s actually rather a rare occurrence. Happy times!
Here is a link to the great website American Suburb X and a group of street photos by newly discovered street photography master Helen Levitt. The difference between these pictures and the vast majority of her other previously shown work is that these images are in amazing color.
Seeing those images this morning inspired me to share some of my recent shots. You know, I’ve always thought of myself as a black and white street photographer. But I rarely shoot black and white street photography. I really have done very little in B&W over the last ten years. I think I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m a street photographer who works primarily in color.
Color is the only way to capture the parts of Los Angeles I continue to want to shoot most. Hope these images from my Leica M-E capture both the timeless grit and the gripping palate of colors of life in LA in 2013.
All from a moving car, by the way. Not really worrying about ISO numbers or noise. I have to say, I shot with the 50mm 1.5 Sonnar for over a year on my M7. I’m probably more comfortable using it than any other M-mount lens. It’s very instinctive shooting for me. Love the color, sharpness, everything. Hope everyone enjoys the shots.
Some of the images in this post were made with a Leica M7 and Fujifilm 400 and some were made with a Leica M-E. This isn’t a test or a game. They’re just so wonderfully close and that result is so typical of the M-E that I thought I’d sweeten this news with a graphic demonstration of why I’m so happy with the Leica M-E and the news that follows.
Incredibly excited beyond any words today to hear this. Please click on the link at the bottom to the great Leica News & Rumors blog for more info.
But I have to say, one reason I’m so happy to hear this is that I can now really open up about how happy I am with the Leica M-E. And the selfish reason I didn’t do that to the extent that I wanted to is because my understanding is that Leica was discontinuing production of the M-E and that the CCD based Leica would be no more. Thus stock would dwindle and I might not ever get my hands on a new replacement let alone the half dozen I dream of having in rotation when I get back in the game of making money with a camera. I love this camera. I’m incredibly excited to hear that it will live on. As should be every single photographer on this planet.
Because this is a camera. Plain and simple. (Reminds me of the line from Julius Caesar spoken by Marc Antony over the slain leader’s dead body. Something like, “Here lies a Caesar. When comes such another?”) That’s how good of a picture taking image making machine is this Leica CCD camera and now we know when comes such another. Simple. Incredible. Film-like results. Film like ISO performance which, given the glass you can place on the thing, is and always has been plenty adequate. Anyway, as we used to say back in the 80s here in LA, I’m fucking stoked!
If this rumor is correct, this would be a clever move from Leica since many people prefer the specific look of the photos taken with the 18MP CCD sensor.
Despite the name of this blog, my favorite camera lens is Leica’s legendary 50mm 2.0 Summicron. I think both the 50 and the 35 Crons are the bomb. The reason I own and shoot the 50’Lux is because of the additional capability of the f1.4 and the beautiful ‘special’ effects of shootings the lens wide-open or even at f1.7.
I highlight the word ‘special’ because the ability to shoot a lens at 1.4 and take for granted great sharpness and color and contrast AND beautiful lush bokeh is to give your photography almost a special effect capability.
But as you can see from the image above, the 50 ‘Cron, despite the gripes sometimes heard about a busy bokeh, is no slouch in producing almost the same special effect of a razor sharp subject and a wonderfully bokeh-licious background. And don’t even ask about color and contrast at f2. My reading of LFI magazine down through the years tells me that Leica considers their Summicron lenses to be without compromise; perfect in every way. I agree.
My 50 ‘Cron is one of the Canadian jobs. Probably 18 or so years old. I picked it up at BelAir camera for the laughable price of $475. Grab one if you can find it.
Oh, yes, this is a reblog of sorts. Done today in recognition of the NBA All Star Game…. which I won’t be watching and wouldn’t watch if you paid me. But still… 😉
It was bound to happen to me sooner or later. A dark haired beauty in her black uniform. And a crow. Oh sure. Just keep shooting, fellow street photogs. Your Elliott Erwitt moment will come someday, too. Whether you’re looking for it to or not. 😉
Focus, you say? That would have been too much to ask I suppose.