High Contrast Shooting

The weather last week here in the UK has been hot and with bright sun little cloud cover and high contrast, with more forecast to come.  Not something we are usually used to here in the UK, at least for more then a few days.

Modern lens are designed for high sharpness and high contrast.

But when shooting some subjects, either into the light, or at high noon, modern lens and high contrast scenes just do not mix.

Here in this woodland scene, the strong light was defused somewhat by the mist and its all been well handled by the Leica 50mm Summilux lens despite shooting into the sun.

Here close to noon in late May the bright sunlight was nearly too much. I wanted a black and white look but the contrast was difficult to handle, so I used the brushes in Lightroom to tone down some areas of the shot and brighten others.  Even so its far to contrasty and sharp to  be mistaken for a vintage image.

Here with its mix of modern architecture and bright colours, the high contrast seems to work.

Another image I have given the black and white treatment too. Again taken near noon during a walk with Timmy the Greyhound along the Fossdyke Canal. The high contrast of the scene has not really worked.

The last two images actual suite the high contrast. In particular inside of the church. In Adobe Lightroom and the original RAW file there was enough detail to remove the lost detail in the shadow but I decided to leave it with the high contrast and let the dark become lost.

Leica M10 underexposed

Where of the big two go from here

I am not up to date with the state of current Canon cameras, but Nikon currently have a problem thats only going to get worse.

Sony are currently ruling the roost with their 35mm full frame mirrorless.  Fuji have built up a loyal following with their DX crop mirrorless cameras and Panasonic and Olympus have their MicroFourThirds.

Ashleigh in LR4

Neither Canon or Nikon have muchs to show in the mirrorless range and certainly for Nikon, they have nothing.  Currently the only thing selling for them is the high end D850 which is arguably the best full frame 35mm camera available today and the end D3400 which is almost always on sale.

Nikon S3 Compact – Whitby Lady in Black & White

I expect that both need a foothold soon in cropped mirrorless and full frame mirrorless.

Loving the Leica Look

Leica M10 50mm Summilux

I have been spending the last year shooting pretty much only with the 50mm.  As a walk around street shooting lens its a little long or too short.  I have recently switched to the 35mm for my carry around lens and its certainly a better field of view for generally walking around.  I miss the Summilux as my 35mm is only a Summicron.  Its a great little lens but its got the old style lens hood so I may look out for another version.

Leica M10 Zagato limited edition

I have the standard M10 in Chrome.  We have been all waiting for the latest full frame camera camera to be announced but we did get an announcement of a limited edition M10.  It looks nice but at $21600, its more then a little steep.

I like the tweaks to the body shape, and often some of the features in these special editions have appeared in later models.

Leica New Head Office Opens plus new releases

The new Leica park is now open, with the official opening this weekend.  Leica can now bring most of the manufacturing together in one spot for there German operations.  On site there is a hotel and even a museum so you can stay there, drop your Leica off for a service then have a tour of the factory and a look around the museum.

We had the watch announcement and the rumours were of two cameras also to be announced.  One was announced, the Leica C Lux, a rather well specified compact.  Its based on the Panasonic but with a Leica manufactured lens and Leica firmware.

The other rumour was of a full frame mirrorless, a camera to partner the Leica SL.  This has not yet emerged but I am hopeful it will be announced soon.

Shooting RAW & Jpeg

A tip I picked up first from a model who also was a photographer and also used by Thorsten Overgaard, was instead of just shooting RAW, shoot RAW+Jpeg.

With Lightroom set to treat the jpg’s as separate files you end up with two versions of each file, colour RAW and a Black & White jpeg.  You can then quickly see which one you prefer.  Sometimes you prefer the colour and go on to edit the RAW file, sometimes the Black & White.  When the Black & White looks fine as it is, no editing is required you can just use the jpeg, but if it needs a little or a lot of editing then you convert the RAW to Black & White and edit it.  Editing jpegs is not generally a good idea.

Life Style Brands

Rolex used to produce tough hard as nails diver watches that were the favourite of the military.  Now the Rolex Submariner is more of a fashion watch.  While used by some divers a Seiko SKX009 will do just as fine a job for less then £300 rather then £10k.

My Omas fountain pen now retails at many times what I originally paid, and Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 is now close to £700.  A simple quality pen but now a ‘Life Style’ Brand.

Leica with their limited editions are also now more of a life style brand then a camera company with their many limited editions.  The S medium format camera and the SL are what many people would still consider ‘real’ cameras but the rest over priced, though I would disagree about the M10 which I also consider a real camera.

Today Leica announced a couple of watches.  I suppose this makes Leica’s transition to a life style company complete in many eyes, but Leica is a small company and it does what it needs to bring in money to fund the cameras it really wants to build.


Leica Flash and building out a system

The SF60 Flash and SF C1 remote unit is now available.

A modern high power unit, the remote has microSD for easy firmware updates and it works across all the current Leica cameras.

I expect my blog to be very Leica heavy this next few weeks, with at least two new camera.  One will be a rebadged Panasonic with a Leica lens and Leica firmware, but the other will be an L mount.

A new Leica and rumours about the L mount

As I mentioned yesterday we are getting rumours of a new Leica camera to be released soon.

It looks like along side the official opening of Leica Park there will be an announcement of possibly two new cameras, one of which will be a new L mount camera this month. The common rumours are a smaller camera based on the SL with a full frame Leica 35mm sensor but a few people are making claims that the reason the L mount is so large is that it’s designed for medium format. A single mount for all of Leica’s cameras and that we should expect a mirrorless cropped medium format camera to replace the current S range. If that is true then the bank account is about to get a lot lighter.

A new Leica Mirrorless?

Leica M8 with Summilux-M 50mm

A lot of my general photography and test shots in the studio are taken with Leica equipment so when rumours start to appear of new Leica cameras I aways pay close attention.

It seems we are now going to get a lower end full frame camera based on the Leica SL.  I really hope its true.

While I have no complaints over the Leica M10 and my Nikon D800 produces excellent, it would be nice for a cheaper Leica SL variant.