Posts Tagged ‘Leica’

Leica S2 Samples on Dpreview.com

November 15, 2009

Leica S SystemI love the look of the sample pictures that Dpreview.com published recently for the Leica S2 medium format camera. They warn that they are not from a production camera, but I don’t think Leica would have let them publish pictures unless they felt they are representative.

See http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/leicas2_samples/

I like the understated British way Dpreview describes them as “snapshots”. If Dpreview was an American site the description would be littered with superlatives and exclamation marks!

I particularly liked the two black and white pictures at the end taken by Dpreview’s founder Phil Askey. He does not seem to write camera reviews any more but I am glad he is out and about photographing.

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Leica X1 Preview Samples Gallery on Dpreview.com

November 5, 2009

Dpreview.com just published some sample pictures from the “entry-level” Leica X1 camera here.

When I first wrote about the X1 almost a month ago here I noted that although they had a “hands on” experience with the camera Dpreview did not publish any sample pictures. Now they have – including one of Tower Bridge, London.

As expected the pictures are very high quality, especially at the edges. I am not an expert but I feel they are measurably superior to others I have seen from expensive cameras. But do their have the Leica “look”?

Maybe it is not possible to judge a camera of this quality from even full-size images on a PC’s display. Maybe I should print them on a high quality printer and compare them with the output from other cameras to get a fair impression.

What do you think?

Entry Level Leica – The X1

October 8, 2009

Leica X1

Leica X1 Hands on Preview: Digital Photography Review.

We are getting some early information about the new Leica X1. Dpreview.com have a “hands on preview” (“hands on” being a very British phrase: you never see it in American publications).

Leica must have made Dpreview promise not to publish test pictures as the camera is not production ready yet.

Like many photographers I have always wanted a Leica but they have remained out of reach of my budget. The X1 is predicted to sell for US$2,000 including the lens (naturally, since it is not changeable.)

I thought whether I would get this camera. My initial thought is “no” – I should wait until I can afford the M9 with its interchangeable lenses. Part of the attraction of the Leica is the selection of high quality lenses.

Doubtless the 35mm (equivalent) Elmarit lens is the highest quality but you are still losing a lot of flexibility.

The other issue is the lack of a viewfinder. The photographer must compose her pictures on the display screen. Part of the Leica mystique is the rangefinder design.

I wonder what Chris Weeks would say about it?

Perhaps I’ll change my opinion when the camera is released and Dpreview publish sample images (including London’s Tower Bridge naturally).

There isn’t much on Leica at Picapp. Here’s one picture:

[picapp src=”5/e/1/d/59th_Venice_Film_8690.jpg?adImageId=4735875&imageId=4674672″ width=”397″ height=”594″ /]

VENICE, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 4, 2002: Director and photographer Raymond Depardon poses with a Leica camera at a photo call during the 59th Venice Film Festival September 4, 2002 in Venice, Italy. Depardon is in Venice to present his film ‘Un Homme Sans L’occident.’ (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Content © 2009 Getty Images All rights reserved.

Picapp has some period pictures taken with a Leica like this

[picapp src=”7/d/a/7/Thirsty_Sailor_c241.jpg?adImageId=4736433&imageId=2358752″ width=”391″ height=”594″ /]

You can look at more by clicking on the photo.

Leica M9 : Digital Photography Review

September 10, 2009

Leice M9 (Black)

Leica M9 and hands-on preview: Digital Photography Review.

So that’s what all the fuss was about – a full frame sensor Leica rangefinder. It looks like a beautiful piece of engineering in all ways: optical, electronic, mechanical, design.

It is great to see that the skills required to produce the M9 still exist. That’s despite all the worrying about declining standards of science education. There are still great engineers working for Leica. I wonder if they have trouble hiring?

Interesting that Kodak make the full frame sensor. Their engineering must be first-rate too. It’s a pity they have not been more successful making digital cameras. I don’t think serious amateurs or professionals think of Kodak at all.

Dpreview’s factory tour reads like an informercial for Leica and a justification for their high prices. It’s a triumph for the Leica marketing department. I would have liked to have seen some balance – something to indicate their tour coverage isn’t and extended advertisement. Usually the British are better than the Americans at keeping neutral and a tad skeptical. Possibly they were so blown away by what they saw and they didn’t have much to compare it with.

It is a great endorsement of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that it is the software of choice for processing the RAW images from the M9. Registered owners can get a copy free. Wow! I have spent US$6,995 for a M9 body (£4,850 inc VAT) and Leica are kind enough to comp me a copy of Lightroom.

I’ve said before that if Leica are confident enough in DNG to standardize on it for their RAW format, why can’t Canon, Nikon et al?

I think access to “scoops” like the factory tour and early access to the camera itself is the reason why Dpreview respects manufacturers’ publicity embargoes. I wonder if they were the only web-based publication to be included in the Leica tour?

I have never handled a Leica. Some day I would like to use an old analogue Leica with one lens and black and white film for the experience and learning it offers. I don’t think I am the type of photographer who would profit from the M8 or M9 but my mind is open – if I win the lottery.

Leica S system specifications: Digital Photography Review

August 17, 2009

Leica S system specifications: Digital Photography Review.

Leica S2

I am definitely not in the market for a Leica S System (US$30,000 and up) but one thing caught my eye: it uses Adobe DNG as its RAW format.

Approximately 75MB per image!“.

Using Adobe DNG for raw imaging data gives photographers the ultimate flexibility because this open-source data format is supported by almost all major graphic-editing and workflow solutions. Leica supplies the universal Adobe Lightroom workflow solution as part of the camera’s equipment.

If Leica can do it at the very top of the digital camera market, why can’t makers like Canon and Nikon? Surely they’d like to get out of the software business and concentrate on their strength: camera hardware, lenses and accessories?

The DNG format is open so I’d like to dispense with proprietary RAW files and use DNG all the time. I don’t want to be dependent on any single manufacturer in the long term.

Carp: I dislike Leica’s weasel words “… almost all major …”. Who defines “major”? Presumably the writer of this copy. They could remove the “almost” if they re-define “major”. Then it would read better.

Adobe lists four cameras that support DNG as their native RAW format here. It includes one other Leica (so they have experience with it) and a Hasselblad.

The page also lists many of the software packages that support DNG. Curiously they do not include ACDSee.