Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some Indoor Pictures...

Took a few pictures inside the house. I'm not entirely pleased with them. I used Aperture priority, and thought I set it at F8. I noticed the highlights were blown out. Digital is a funky thing sometimes. (I'm sure it's my settings, and not so much the camera's fault). I'm still trying to get used to this whole rangefinder experience. Sometimes I just want to dump all of the digital cameras and get one film camera. If film wasn't so expensive and hard to have developed professionally, I would actually think about it. Not knowing the immediate results is a pain in the butt though, and having used digital for so long, how do you adapt back to film? It's hard enough dealing with all manual cameras. I'm used to it more than most, having started with that type of camera when I was younger, but I've gotten lazy. (That's the real reason, I think. I'm just friggin' lazy! I have no patience and I want to see it NOW). I'm sure you can relate.)

I use my Nikon on manual most times. But due to my eyesight not being what it used to be, I rely on AF focusing. Thankfully, the Leica has a bright viewfinder, not like this Nikon D80. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to focus this camera at all. Then this blog would be finished, because I would be selling the Leica and getting a Nikon D700 with awesome AF and low light capabilities. (Who knows? If I suck at this Leica stuff, I could very well sell this rig and get that Nikon. But that defeats the purpose of my quest for a digital camera with film-like qualities. I love the Nikon, but Leica has the edge with the film-like qualities, even if it is a simpler, albeit clunky design. THe bottom plate? I mean, why? Why? Why?)

One thing I definitely do not like about this camera is the way it meters. There is an arrow pointing left or right. I'm supposed to move the aperture ring in the direction of the arrow, or change the shutter speed til it turns into a red dot. Aggravating as hell. All us film people were taught that an arrow pointing to right means overexposure. I'm used to a meter needle going left or right. Now, that would have made sense. C'mon, Leica. Get on the ball!

Maybe because it's winter, but due to the fact that I'm stuck indoors and it's friggin' freezing outside, I am taking indoor pictures. It sucks. I'm getting cabin fever. I do notice that the all metal Leica body is cold to the touch. I can't imagine how cold it would get out in the elements. How did Henri Cartier Bresson handle this? I would wear gloves, but I need little grippy thingys on the gloves so I don't drop this expensive icon.

So, if you look at these photos, what do you think? Do they look digital? Can you even differentiate what camera it came from? Is it Canon, Nikon, Leica, or whatever. Seriously, is the Leica camera and lens able to produce a film-like quality; or even something different than the usual D-SLRs? Sometimes I think it does. Other times I think it's bullshit.

One thing I'm sure of, digital has a certain look, as does film. I really do prefer film's look over digital. But I hate wasting film and waiting for results. What to do? Everything looks so digitized these days. It's like all the digital cameras are too perfect and have the same results. No talent comes into it anymore. A monkey could shoot with these cameras. The only thing the Leica has going for it is the all manual settings. The rest is up to you, the photographer. I'm noticing that right now, I kind of suck as a photographer. It's disillusioning.

Is the Leica and digital honeymoon over? I hope not. I finally opened my Henri Cartier Bresson book; you know, the huge book with his photographs and paintings in it. By looking at it, he gave me hope. I think if I work hard enough, and think in film terms when taking and processing through the Leica camera, I might get a few gems. I intend to find out this year. The only thing that irritates me is that this Leica body isn't full frame. I want the exact size of a 35mm film camera in a file. What's making me less anxious, is the results I've seen coming out of this model camera from some wonderful photographers. I have hope.

(Make no mistake. These pictures that you see here have some Photoshop processing. I brought up the contrast and brightness a bit. That's it though, so the crispness is still there.) I have to say that I am intrigued by the Nikon and Leica picture comparison. (Shown a few entires below this one.) Just to give Leica a fair shake, I asked a friend and my sister to look at the pictures of my dog Ozzy. I opened them both up and made them the original size on screen. I asked both of them which looked less noisy, more crisp. They both pointed to the Leica image, yeah, the one I cropped! The cropped Leica photo actually beat out the Nikon un-cropped photo. The Nikon picture had noticeably more noise. Both shot at ISO 320. Both shot at F2. The Nikon had the 50MM 1.8 lens on it. The Leica had the 35mm Summicron on it, which translates to around 47mm or 48mm due to the 1.3 crop factor. There is a certain film or cinematography look to the files above and with some of the others. Sometimes. Not always, but I think it's more my fault for not knowing the ways of this camera yet. It kind of looks like slide film. Am I wrong? Anyway, I will continue on my Leica journey, and hopeful will come up with some nice shots to share with you Leica enthusiasts.

And with all my bitching and moaning, I'm just detoxing from auto everything, and in a bit of time, I will embrace the rangefinder style. I'm already feeling nostalgic about the simplicity. Even if I lose control over the zillion bells and whistles on my Nikon, I feel a bit like I'm meditating when I use the rangefinder. I can't explain it. So, while it's like a lover that pisses you off at times, I keep going back to it with a fondness.

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