Friday, May 28, 2010

Leica D-Lux 4 Low Lighting

Ozzy Sleeping

Snuck a few shots of Ozzy sleeping on the couch. Shhh. Don't tell.

Testing the Leica D-Lux 4

I just received the Leica D-Lux 4 camera yesterday and tried it out quickly. I must say I'm impressed by the size of this camera. I was expecting it to be the size of my Canon G9, but it's smaller than that. It's almost as small as my Canon SD800. I love the shooting ratios. I can shoot square, regular, and wide at 16:9. The camera can shoot both RAW and JPEG files, which is very important to me. The deciding factor between this and the higher IQ Olympus EPL-1, EP-2 or Panasonic GF-1 4/3 camera was the size, the ability to zoom or macro, flash, and the different ratio settings. Too cool. So, I give up a bit of IQ for portability and variety of functions. I hear through the different groups that the Leica D-Lux 4 and its Twin, the Panasonic LX-3 have better IQ than the Canon G9, G10, G11 series. We shall see. I will eventually compare a few shots. I'm not a techno weenie, just someone who either loves a design or doesn't, so don't expect me to be too techie when I compare these cameras. I'm all about aesthetics or feng shui of the camera. If it has the best useable design features, I fall in love with the camera. If it's clunky, I don't. I adore the little Canon SD800. It was a blast to use. it didn't have the best IQ, but it was always fun to take pictures with that camera. The Canon G9 is a beautiful camera too, but it was much slower in its auto focusing that it drove me nuts.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leica M8.2 Outdoors


While I was walking Ozzy around the yard, I noticed the flowers had bloomed and the lighting was still useable, so I broke out the M8.2 for a few shots. I used the 35mm Summicron 2.0 ASPH lens. I know I should at some point try the 50mm Summicron lens on this camera, to see how it fares at 65mm due to the 1.3 crop factor. I wonder how close I can get with it in comparison to the 35mm cron? Some other time. Again, the first thing I noticed is that I can't get macro shots. Duh! I can't get quite close enough. The lens isn't made for that. I took scenic shots instead and the colors were close, but not accurate. It's my fault. I should have set the white balance, but forgot, and it was set to Auto. No worries. I fixed it in Photoshop. Next time, I will be aware of the white balance choices. Having a manual camera really keeps me on my toes. I love how the M8.2 produces lovely files. (Yes, even in low-light up to a point.) I haven't truly gotten to know this camera, and was going to bail on it when I bought the Leica M6. I figured due to cost & guilt, I couldn't keep both, but decided to wait a bit. I really didn't give the camera a fair play when I stumbled upon the M6 on Ebay. (Damn that Ebay!) This blog was originally started for the M8.2, to tell people what I thought about it.

At this point I have to say it's a "love and hate" relationship. I love the files this camera produces up to a certain ISO. I hate how everything is manual at times. Let's face it. I'm spoiled with automatic focus, and that's the hardest part to get used to is all of the missed shots due to my slow focus skills. Once I master that, or get the diopter finder to help out my eyes, the manual focus may not be such a big deal. I honestly love auto focus. I don't mind setting everything else on my camera, but AF is a luxury to me.

I almost set the M8.2 up for failure by trying to shoot action and low light, like this camera is a Nikon. LOL! My fault. I have to realize that each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses. There is no "one" perfect camera, just like there isn't "one" perfect camera bag. (That's a whole other story!)

365 Days Of Ozzy

Ozzy Waiting Patiently

Today I decided to try the Leica M8.2 as my camera of choice for photographing Ozzy for my "365 Days of Ozzy" project. Ozzy waited patiently while I fumbled with the camera. It's hard to do everything manually in the morning. I just woke up. I'm used to using my Nikon D80 manually, but the metering is something I'm very used to, and the camera has AF, though it's not the best Af system. The Leica M8.2 has to be focused manually. In the morning, that's a task. I haven't had my coffee yet. My eyes are not 20/20 anymore either. LOL! Anyway, Ozzy was very patient with me. He sat there and posed. (Granted, he started to fall asleep a bit, but I coaxed him to play with a stick.)

The 35mm Summicron is a 47mm on this camera. I can only get as close as I did, and thus the camera isn't the greatest for photographing smaller dogs with this focal length. If I still had the 90mm, it would have been much closer. I sold it as I really didn't use it much, though in retrospect, I didn't really give the lens a chance. I think the cost factor of all this equipment was bugging me a bit, and being in debt isn't something I'm used to anymore. So, I sold that lens a while ago. Now, if I had unlimited funds, I may have kept it. Honestly though, with the Leica, I'm more into 35mm and 50mm, and maybe a bit wider. For longer focal lengths, I like to use the Nikon camera. See the rest of the project at 365Project or Flickr.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Leica M8.2 Indoors

Dominic the Birthday Boy!

Ozzy Resting

Ozzy with spatula


Kirsten, Alex & Ozzy


Dominic Sr & Eleanor

Dominic Sr & Eleanor

Dominic Sr





Aleisha & Tim in deep conversation

It was Dominic's birthday party today, and I decided to use the M8.2 indoors It wasn't too bad for lighting as it was still daylight outside. I was able to shoot some photos at ISO 320, but bumped it up to ISO 640 pretty quick due to dark areas in the house.The trick was to get a balance from the low light indoors without blowing out the highlights from the light coming in through the window. It's kind of a pain, as digital is like slide film; very unforgiving. Or maybe it's the meter on this camera that's a pain? I find the metering on my Nikon D80 to be easier and more accurate. Or maybe I'm not used to the M8.2 meter. I don't know. Am I wrong here? I'm sure the M9 is much better in low light. (Well, it's good up to 1250 I hear.) I know what a Nikon D700 would render in low lighting situations. It's much better than the M8.2 or the M9. The M8.2 is really much better as an outdoor daylight camera. That's where it shines for me. (Looking at these again, they are pretty good for quality, but knowing what Nikon can do in low light these days, it kind of bums me out that Leica didn't produce a better low light camera. There, I said it! No, the M9 can't compare.) If Leica came out with a full frame M10 that could shoot in low light like the Nikon D700 or D3s, then I would be very impressed. C'mon, Leica! I double-dare you!

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Old Film for M6

Yes. I know the film looks grainy and old. The Ilford I shot was pushed two stops from ISO 400 to ISO 1600, and it's from 2006! I didn't care. I wanted to see what came out. These were taken on May 14th at a birthday party. I love the pictures of Dominic Sr. He just turned 89 years old. Happy Birthday! I tried to get his wife Eleanor in there, but she closed her eyes, so no picture. The house was so dark, I'm surprised anything registered on this old film anyhow. I find it funny that these pictures came out like this. They remind me of the 1960s or 1970s. Or maybe that's just me? At any rate, I'm glad I had these developed. I did notice a scratch along the negative. Not sure if it's from the Photo place or from my camera. I used the Leica M6 with a 50mm Summicron lens. Thankfully, this was the last (or next to last) roll of old film I have in my cabinet. I bought new film, some Reala, Portra 160C and Ilford XP2 400 film.

The best quality shot is this one of Devin

Dominic Sr turns 89 years old
(One of my favorite shots)

Doug and his son Danny

My favorite shot

Diane & Dominic

Diane and her father Dominic Sr

Devin and Diane


At the table

Tim & Devin


Devin & Diane

Diane & Kirsten

Diane, Alex & Kirsten

Dominic has a lovely smile

Diane and Dominic Sr

Devin & Aleisha

Deb & Doug

Danny & Diane

Alex & Kirsten


Aleisha & Debbie

So, the results are very grainy and cruddy. Guess what? I still like them. I hate to waste film, but I did throw out all of that old 2005 Kodak Gold 200 stock. There was no saving it. The one roll I ran through was so terrible, I knew there wasn't any chance the others would yield any better results. This Ilford was a year older, but I still got some keepers. Not many, but considering the age and the 2 stops push, I'm glad SOMETHING came out. I know that Leica fans don't use flash on their cameras, but I sure could have used one that day. Using film indoors can be a pain without a flash. If I had ISO 1600 or 3200 film, it wouldn't be an issue.