Camera with character - One Hour with the Leica M262

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 200

Last week the Leica Team from Munich was so kind to give me the new Leica M262 with a 35mm Summicron to test. Some of my friends asked me for my opinion about the latest M, that is why I want to share my thoughts about it.

I was curious if the Imagequality of M262 is different to the M240. Shooting with a Rangefinder is such an experience. I love the worklflow and I dont feel the need to use the liveview or video with a rangefinder, that is why I was happy to see that Leica put out a „cheaper version“ of the Leica M.

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 200

Shooting with the Leica M262 is not different to any other M. Everything feels right. I had the M262 for an hour. I took some random shots in the streets of Munich - to test the ISO and compare it to my files of my Leica Q and the Leica M.

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 800

The M262 produce slightly more noise than the Leica M240. But the noise looks more like film grain, which gives the M262, in my opinion, character. For me it seems that there they used a different sensor - but the Leica team told me it is the same sensor of the M240. They use a different software version, which I like a bit more than in the M240. The files of the M262 produce a but more noise, but in my opinion it looks more „natural“. 

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 3200 

I also compared the M262 files to my Leica Q files. I have to admit, that the Q files are much  crispier, produce less noise and show more details… This might have something to do that the sensor and the lens of the Leica Q is the perfect match up. 

Leica M262. 35 mm Summicron, ISO 1600

Would I recommend to buy the M262?
Yes. If you are looking for an experience to shoot with a rangefinder and don't feel the need for a liveview or video - go for it. But be sure that you are not a pixelpeeper and want clean files at ISO 3200 - you won't get this with the M262 or M240. There are other camera brands which do a much better job in handling noise. Of course you can fix this later in the computer.

The best camera is always the one who helps you to transform your vision. If you are looking for a camera with character I can highly recommend the M262. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Shooting with a Rangefinder | Craig Semetko: How to use a Leica M Camera

I love shooting with a rangefinder - for me, the Rangefinder system is the perfect match for my kind of photography. Rangefinders are compact, discreet, intuitive to control and an extension to my eye.

Fabulous photographer Craig Semetko shares in this video how to use a Leica Mincluding techniques on focusing, and tips for expanding your photographic approach. For all those who might be interesting in shooting a Rangefinder get in contact with a Leica Dealer nearby. Leica is always kind and let you try their cameras.

Shooting Sport with the Leica M240

Last August I was testing the Leica M240 for a week. As a Leica M user I felt "home" after a few shots... The M is actually not meant to be for sport photography - but I was curious what I can get out of the camera shooting the Eisbach Surfer in Munich.

The M shoots 3 frames a second - not much compared with other cameras. But my goal wasn't to get as many shots out of the camera  - my goal was to find out if I could shoot action and freeze a certain moment. Would the camera respond quickly and would it be able to get the shot I want.

As I mentioned in my earlier review - the M240 is a joy to use! Everything feels just right, at the right position and it is easy to control the camera. There are just 3 simple ways to control light, ISO, aperture and time. The M is not having an autofocus, a menu for sport shooting, face detection or anything else. The M is simple and focusing on the essential. 

With manual focusing I am in total control of the shot. It takes some practice to get used to it. For most of my shots I pre-focus the scenery using the zone-focusing method. I highly recommend Thorsten Overgaards blog post where he writes about using the Leica M with giving lots of information and tips how to focus right.

For my shooting I had the M240 with a 35mm Summarit 2.5.  The weather was good and I was shooting all day long with ISO 200. I used aperture mode (f8) , pre-focued and was just focused on the action. The M240 was very responsive and so I could freeze great moments.

I wished I would have had more time to test the M240 - to experiment more in different settings, like how does the M240 behave while setting the camera to f8, 1/1000 and bump up the ISO or shoot wide open with 1/800 sec. and an auto ISO - and how could I freeze moments with a faster lens... I am sure I would have get much better results - but for the short time and was pretty happy with the result I got.

What showed me that day was, that the M240 is a great partner on your side for almost any situations. For me the Leica Rangefinder is my most favorite tool to use. It feels just right as an extension to my eye which I can use and trust blindly.  

Nominated for the "People & Spaces" Public Photo Award

I am so thrilled to announce that my project "ABSTRACT REALITY" just got nominated for the public award of the Photography Award "People & Spaces" of the German Bundesstiftung Baukultur! It would be fantastic if you could vote for me! Just make a cross at no. 36 if you like to support me! THANK YOU!

http://www.bundesstiftung-baukultur.de/aktionen/fotografiepreis/publikumspreis.html

Portrait Shooting of Luciano Bonacini - Italian Portrait Photographer

Luciano Bonacini in front of his gallery in Malcesine, Italy

Luciano Bonacini in front of his gallery in Malcesine, Italy

I am an observer! I love to observe the daily life and shoot pictures being invisible. My goal is getting always the most intimate moment of the people I take photos of, to get powerful images which tell a great story. But how can I have this outcome when shooting a portrait?

A few weeks ago I was in Italy stopping by my photographer friend Luciano Bonacini. I know Luciano for a couple of years now and I am a huge admirer of his photography. He is running his little gallery in Malcesine at Lago di Garda. Lucianos work is presented in diverse international museums and 1993 and 1994 he won the First Prize of best italian Portrait Artist. 

Lucianos work is 100% analog, mine 100% digital. We always have a great chat about analog vs. digital.  It's always nice seeing him and exchange our ideas & visions on photography.

I mostly end up shooting some portrait shots for him. Same this time! I had my Leica M8 with me with an old 40mm Summicron, which is like a 50mm on the M8. 50mm is not my preferred focal lengths and so it was a bit of work to get everything into the frame the way I wanted.

Shooting a portrait of Luciano made me think about portrait shooting more in detail. As a street photographer or photojournalist I shoot out of the situation. There is no preparing, no set up of the scenery - just a milli second to decide. This is what I love most of my work, that you never know what's gonna happen! Shooting a portrait is totally different. The object (person) knows exactly that there is a camera pointed at themselves - people mostly feel uncomfortable, insecure and put a mask on their face. If this happens - I don't get the shot I want. My goal is ALWAYS  to get the person behind their mask!

Working with Luciano is always fun - he is a great teacher, gives lots of advice and has me try to find the right direction of the picture. He is very easy to shoot, knows exactly how to pose, how to look to get the perfect expression out if him. 

Here are a few tips he gave me that I would like to share with you:

1. Make the person feel as much comfortable as you can and relax.

2. Trust your guts... Do some research of the person you shoot the portrait of before you start
    shooting - but sometimes it also better to trust your guts.

3. Have an idea or vision before you start shooting the person. Some ideas might come while
    you are shooting - but sometimes the person is busy and doesn't have enough time and so it
    is always good to have an idea what the picture should look like.

4. Communicate with the model and give directions.

 ... and finally have a good sense of humor.  A good laugh always helps! 

Here are the shots I took of Luciano.

If you are interested in Lucianos work visit his Website or his Facebook Page. Here are a few his pictures.

Test Drive #YouAndLeicaM - Final Thoughts

Here are my final thoughts about the Leica M240 after testing the camera for nearly a week. First of all I wanna thank the Leica Store in Munich for letting me test the M240 for a whole week.

I am a Leica user for a couple of years now  and always liked Leica for their craft-ship and tradition, the love for design & simplicity. It is always a joy to work with Leica cameras and so it was with the M240.

Handling.

The M240 brings it to the point. Leica has improved a lot the M which helps to make your workflow easier and faster. Everything feels right - at the right position - the new discreet shutter sound is fantastic. I loved the new manual shutter speed dial for the exposure settings. The new Live View modus felt a bit weird in the beginning with manual focusing. But it was helpful in certain situations and with a little bit of practice I was able to focus very well with it. 

The image quality.

The image quality is superb! The images are clear, sharp and detailed. For me personally they looked a tiny bit too clear, too perfect. Someone on the web compared the DNG files of the M240 and the M9 - it seems that the M240 lost a bit of sharpness compared to the M9.

The ISO - fantastic! The B&W conversation and filters - excellent! The color files are coming out a bit different with the M240 - but they are still looking good.

The images of the M240 feel just right - there is not much editing needed. This camera is a blast! 

Video.

...mmh, this is the only thing I didn't like. The results were to shaky. I guess for good results the usage of a tripod is necessary. Video is always nice to have - but honestly the quality on the M240 isn't good. My iphone will get a better result - but hey, this camera is for shooting pictures and not for filming the new Scorsese movie.

Final thoughts.

The M240 feels just right! The camera was overall a joy to use. A workhorse and nearly perfect for every situation. 

Would I buy a M240?

Paying 6.200 € for a camera body is not peanuts. You have to feel right to make such a big investment. I for myself can tell - I am looking for a camera which helps me to transform my vision. I want to express something with my images and the camera is the tool which helps me to bring my vision alive. I absolutely would buy the M240. This camera is versatile!  Fantastic for clean files for commissioned or personal work and awesome for artistic and experimental work.

The test drive of the M240 is still going till 31. October 2014. I highly recommend to get in touch with the M experience.

Here are a few shots I took last week with the M240.

You and Leica M

This week is a special one. A view weeks ago I got the newsletter from Leica with an invitation to take part on Leicas M Test Drive. For those who haven't heard of it, have a look on Leicas website, download your invitation and make an appointment at your Leica dealer.

I just came back home from my Leica dealer in Munich with the M and a 35mm Summarit.  The guys from the Munich team were so generous that I can test the M for a whole week! Thanks again for that oppertunity.

This week will be a testing week! I am very excited and made the plan to play tourist in my hometown Munich. This will be a huge challenge for me - as much I love Munich - as much I dislike it for street photography. Everything is beautiful & clean and sometimes it feels tough to find interesting sceneries and contrasts. But I will give my best!

A year ago I already had the chance to test the M for 30 minutes. It was just a quick get to know each other. I took a few frames and compared it with the files of the Fuji x-Pro1  and wrote a blog post "Back to old habits... Or looking forward..? Leica or Fuji?" This time I am having more time and I try to find an answer if I like the new CMOS sensor - or prefer the CCD sensor of the M8 / M9, have a detailed look on the B&W images and the colored ones - and try to compare the Fuji x-files with the M-files and figure out if the money is worth to invest.

From the first hours with the M I have to say the camera feels great in the hand. As a M user I already feel home.  There are a few new functions like Liveview, Video etc.. which I am looking forward to explore. 

I already took a few frames on my way back home. I used the camera with the settings I got, auto white balance and auto ISO set till max. 800. When I got back home I immediatly loaded the files into Lightroom and phew, what can I say HOLY Sh... this files are already blown me away. I didn't do much with the files or colors - just some straightening... The Image quality is superb. I am curious to compare the CMOS and CCD Image Quality. I think the M8/M9 produce a "natural kind of grain" in their files - which gives them a kind of soul. I know that the M files are much "cleaner" and I am curious if I can find also "a soul" in the M. I am very much looking forward to this week and can't wait to share my results with you. Please let me know if you have any questions about the testing or any wish what I should test.