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Camera of the Year 2017

My D800 I rate as one of the most accomplished all round cameras of recent years.  I D810 was a minor update and I did not think it was worth upgrading.

At the recent Lincoln Photography Show, I got the chance to use the new Nikon D850, at it is a very different beast.  Its the best bits of the D800, together with the professional D5 and a new 45.7 MP sensor.

A number of magazines and photographic organisations are now starting to vote for camera of the year for 2017.  The top candidates are likely to be Sony, Olympus and Nikon.  I think Nikon will will, the D850 is hard to beat, high resolution rivalling medium format, as fast and responsive as the professional Nikon D5 but in a smaller and lighter body.

DxOMark results are in for the M10

Leica M8 sample – Fantasy Figure

A lot of people set great store by the DxOMark results but to be honest most camera sensors do a pretty good job now  a days and we are really spitting hairs.

The results also do not really provide a guide to image quality, and can give some odd results, like scoring medium format sensors quite low, giving sensors that use aggressive noise reduction that looses detail in images a better score then those that do not.

As expected the M10 scores well but is not up there with the best of the Canon, Nikon and Sony results, but we do have access to some of the best glass in the world that works better on a M then any other camera.

Shooting into the Light

When your learning about photography, you get the basic rules.

Rule of thirds, 80/20, shoot with the sun behind you, f/8 and be there. subjects should lead from left to right etc.

The quick snap above which I took on a walk with Timmy the Greyhound across the fields, breaks a few of these.  The most obvious one is that this is shot directly into the sun.

Adobe Lightroom Classic update

Adobe issued a slight update to Lightroom this week and one of the things they have tweaked is the auto button in the develop settings.

Once you have tried the old auto, you never use it again, it treated all photographs the same and was never worth using; but now Adobe have updated it to use their new AI routines and I have to admit it does and OK job and can make a useful starting point.

Mobile Work Flow and file name change

I took a few snaps in the coffee shop and decided to take a note of the file names.

As you can see above, the Leica iOS app can see the photographs on the camera and its seeing the correct file name. I downloaded the files to my phone and these were saved to the camera roll app.

I then launched Adobe Lightroom Mobile and imported the images, both jpeg and RAW as I shoot both.

As you can see while the meta data is correct but the file name has changed.  So its not the Adobe app changing the name but likely something forced on the Leica app by iOS when it saves out to the camera roll app.


Leica Strong Growth – Leica Jealousy

Leica M8  – Sea voyage

I find it interesting how some brands attract hatred and jealously.

Apple are certainly one in the computing field and Leica are such a company in the photography business.

This month Leica posted strong revenue growth, with the Leica M, SL and Q doing extremely well.  They managed to grow there market by 6% in a year where the average loss was 10%.

So a company doing well.

The forums were full of hatred, people saying the figures were cooked, that they have never seen a photographer use a Leica or that us Leica’s are all just rich dentists.

Well I helped Leica in there growth this year by purchasing my first new Leica product, the M10, up to now all my Leica gear has been second hand and I have had to save up for many years before I could afford my first new Leica.

Alternatives to Lightroom

If you have a big investment into Adobe Lightroom, its catalogue and backend database then moving is a difficult thing.

For image editing Lightroom and Capture One are now the big two, with a couple of others coming up quickly.  I generally discount software from the camera companies, its at its best terrible and at its worse a crashing virus on your computer.

I keep reading good things about Capture One and as a PhaseOne medium format back owner I have a license, but I still just use Lightroom.  Fuji users in particular are always singing the praises of Capture One as it took Adobe a long time to come to grips with the X-Trans Sensor that is in the X series DX crop bodies of Fuji cameras.

But I read an interesting article the other day on Photography Life and he points out that Capture One does not support none Phase medium format cameras; something I had not noticed.  It certainly puts me of the product.

I am thinking hard at the moment about my future in 35mm full frame and large format, the Hasselblad may go back to just film use and I may trade in my 35mm Nikon gear and Phase One back for a more modern medium format solution that supports my studio and landscape needs.  With Capture One only supporting PhaseOne on medium format, I will not be making it limit my camera choice, so Adobe have me for a while longer.

Consistant File Names

Lightroom reporting a different file name then the one on the memory card

If your like me or most professional photographers then you take a lot of pictures when shooting digital.

Being able to find photographs afterwards in your asset management system is important, and with modern meta data and database systems, the actual file name is becoming less important.

Sometimes though the file name is all you have to go on if your using more then one workflow.

With my desktop Lightroom catalogue, the new cloud based Lightroom CC on my laptop, iPhone and iPad, then keeping track of what I have imported and what I have not can get difficult.

At the weekend i’ll be shooting in the studio with several models and using several different cameras.  Afterwards my work flow will be fairly straight forward.

  1. Copy all the cards to the internal SSD of my Desktop Machine
    1. These then will get backed up by my automatic PC backup
  2. Import to Lightroom Classic
    1. This copies the files to my main external Thunderbolt Drive
    2. This also makes a backup copy to Dropbox
  3. Initial metadata and develop by preset
  4. Then sorting out selects and picks to do a final edit on

When I am shooting more informally then the work flow may be the above, but its more likely me just grabbing the card at the end of the day and then copying the files to Dropbox to sort another day.  Or using my iPad SD Card reader and pulling in the photographs to Lightroom Mobile, or even using the Leica Mobile iOS app to pull off the odd photography.

The problem with these other workflows is that sometimes the process, it the Leica App or the iOS operating system itself is changing the file names.  This then makes it difficult to keep track what photographs have been imported into my master library on the desktop machine and what are still to import.  If not careful you can either loose photographs or end up with duplicate shots in your library.

Noctilux-M 75mm

We have had quite a bit of news from Leica over the last few weeks.

On the camera front we have the new Leica CL (review here from Jonathan Slack), which is growing on me but I must keep saying no.  For how I would use that camera an Olympus Pen-F would do just as well and for the price I could get a few nice Olympus lens as well.  We also had a special edition Leica M240 in Red.

We had the second of Leica’s old classic lens released plus they have been releasing a few of the modern lens in the old classic look lens bodies.

We have been hearing rumours over the last couple of months of a new Noctilux and not a 50mm, but some have said it will be a wide angle others have been saying a short or long portrait lens either 75mm or 90mm.  Well this week we finally had the official announcement.

The new Noctilux is a 75mm f/1.25 ASPH.  In the sample photographs the images look absolutely stunning, the options available to you with depth of field and the stunning bokeh.  The look you can achieve is outrageous but then so is the price.