The new Leica Q2 - is it worth an upgrade?

© Leica Camera AG

© Leica Camera AG

Im am shooting with the Leica Q since it was released in 2015. In the beginning it was more like a love and hate relationship. Coming from the Leica M I had some problems with the AF of the Q. With time and patience I mastered my issues and learned to shoot in nearly any situation with the Q. The amazing 28 mm Summilux lens with the fantastic sensor made it the perfect match for me and since then it is my main camera.

The Q is perfect for street/reportage, architecture and landscape photography. There are a few quirks on the Q and so I was very curious about the upcoming Q2.

Leica Munich, was so kind to loan me the Q2. I just had 30 minutes for testing the Q, but it was enough time for me to figure out if it is worth for an upgrade.

These topics I wanted to test:

- EVF

- Contrast in Focus Peaking

- AF

- Speed

- File Size

- Extended digital zoom

- Image Quality

When I read the specs of the new Leica Q2 I was a bit disappointed. Like many - I have wished for a Leica Q with 50 mm. The 28mm and 50mm would have been the perfect set up for many photographers.

Reading about the 47MP sensor didn't make me too curious. 47MP on a full frame sensor?? Would the image quality be the same? What about the speed of the camera and would I need a new computer to edit the huge files?

Leica Q2_ f5,6, 1/50, ISO 100
All images below are shot with a Leica Q2 and processed in Capture One 12. All pictures are NOT color corrected, some have minimal corrections in shadows, highlights and exposure. Click on the images to enlarge.

Here are my first impressions of the Leica Q2.

EVF

The newly developed, high-resolution OLED viewfinder with improved image depth and higher contrast makes it a lot easier to see through the viewfinder, especially in sunny/bright light. For me this is a huge plus. It is now such a joy to compose images through the EVF.

Don't get me wrong - the EVF on the Q is already amazing. It might be just a matter of age, that my eye sight gets worse. Especially for photographers who have general eye sight issues the new EVF is a big plus. I also love the new redesigned push-button diopter setting dial on the back of the camera.

Manual Focusing

Even so that the Q has AF I do a lot of manual focusing. Leica has improved the contrast of the focus peaking which makes manual focusing much easier and especially quicker.

AF

The AF of the Q2 is much quicker and very precise. Over all I have the impression that the Q2 is a much more snappier camera. Overall the speed of the Q2 with 47MP surprised me. I thought the camera could have some issues dealing with such an amount of data. But there is nothing to worry about. No lag, quick and snappy and a joy to photograph...

File Size

47MP is a lot. The DNG files are double the size of the Q - around 88 MP. I shot around 240 pictures with the Q2 - and it made shrink my HD 16 GB! Uploading the files from my SD card to the computer didn't make any issues - it just took double the time to upload the files.

One issue, that some might have is, that photographers might need to upgrade their computer system. I compared the upload time to my MacBook with an SSD HD and the latest iMac with Fusion Drive. Even so, that my iMac has a better processor and is the better computer, it took nearly 6 minutes to upload the files from the SD Card to the iMac. With the MacBook with less power it took around 3 minutes! My suggestion would be to have at least a computer with a SSD HD and minimum of 16GB RAM. I didn't have any issues with the speed editing the files on both computers.

Extended digital zoom

The new high sensor resolution of 47MP expands the flexibility for subject composition. The newly digital zoom enables you to choose subject framing corresponding to focal lengths of 28, 35, 50, and 75 mm. This makes it interesting, cause with such an amount of size you easily could crop the image without loosing image quality. The file size would be still enough to get excellent detailed prints in 28, 35 and 50mm. For me the 75 mm is nice to have, and 7MP is still enough to get good small prints, but most important for me was, that I now could shoot excellent 50mm portraits and have enough resolution for proper prints. Don't get me wrong, there will always a difference to shoot with a 50mm lens and a cropped sensor.

Image Quality

This was one of the main questions I wanted to get answered. The image quality of the Leica Q was already amazing. Could the Q2 top the Q?

Both cameras have a full frame sensor and putting 47 MP on the same size of sensor could squeeze the amount pixels. I wasn't so sure if this would improve the quality. But Leica did a great job. I compared the images of the Q and Q2 - both cameras have incredible image quality and I couldn't find any main improvements - images from both cameras are crisp and detailed. I just noticed, that the Q2 renders the images a bit less saturated and gets a bit of a colder look - which I prefer. I also had the impressions that the Q2 renders a bit better the shadows and highlights - but I also could be wrong. Overall, both cameras have a superbe image quality and complaining would be just on the pixel peeping site ;).

The big question Q or Q2!

Should I upgrade of not - that will be a huge questions for most of Leica Q photographers.

The Q2 has many improvements which makes it a bit more fun to shoot with. The big BUT is - is it worth the money to upgrade? I would suggest yes, if you like to print large images and if you would like to shoot 50mm besides 28mm and still have a proper file size for your prints. One issue you should have in mind is, that you will need lots of HD space and you might need to upgrade your computer system - which would mean an investment on top of buying the Q2.

Leica Q - 100 % crop All images below are shot with a Leica Q and processed in Capture One 12. All pictures are NOT color corrected, some have minimal corrections in shadows, highlights and exposure. Click on the images to enlarge.

Leica Q - 100 % crop
All images below are shot with a Leica Q and processed in Capture One 12. All pictures are NOT color corrected, some have minimal corrections in shadows, highlights and exposure. Click on the images to enlarge.

Is the Q still a great camera?

Hell, YES! The Q is still and will be a wonderful camera with an amazing image quality. The 24MP is still enough to get wonderful large prints in A3. Consider that also the printing technology develops and that u already get wonderful prints from an iPhone which has less MP!!!

Overall, I guess that NOW it is the time to buy a used Q in good condition for a great price! You can get a Q in good condition for around 3000 € - which still is a loooooot of money. But around 1800 € less than the Q2. For example with that money you can pay a vacation with your new Leica Q!

Will I upgrade?

My inner voice and I are in constant dialogue :). My current feeling is yes. The reason why is, that I like a lot the improvements of the EVF and manual focusing. It improves my workflow a lot - also the larger sensor size mean that I could crop into 50mm with a decent file size for large prints. But I also consider the investment I have to make to upgrade my computer system.

Also, the Q2 could give me a complete new workflow from the artistic site. The files are now big enough and a bit more forgiving when you didn't compose very well. With this files like that you always have the freedom to correct the composition on the computer.

Final thoughts!

I didn't get into details with more improvements of the Q2, like 4K video and that the Leica Q2 features protective sealing against dust and water spray. There are many more small improvements of the Q2, but for me this was a bit of a site job.

Both, the Q and Q2, are amazing cameras and I would suggest anyone, who is interested in buying one - if you can afford it. If you never experienced shooting with the Q - go and test it. For those who consider buying a Q and have enough money - go and get the Q2. For those, who always wanted to buy a Q, but don’t want to pay so much money for a fixed lens camera - now it is time to get a great price for a used one!

But finally I would like to say, that with any camera u could take amazing pictures. The brand doesn't matter! You don't need a Leica to become a great photographer. Don't forget the camera doesn't make the picture, it's the one behind the lens :).

I hope I could help u with my personal impressions of the new Q2. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to answer. I would be happy to help! Cheers, Nicole

Finally! Finding the right workflow in Capture One!

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I have Capture One for a few years now, but I never made the full transition from Lightroom. The reason for it was that Capture One is very complex and has a different workflow. Lightroom is more intuitive, well structured and easier to learn. But with Capture One you’ll get the best outcome of your pictures. The Raw Converter is amazing - I have no idea what Capture One is doing with the files. The pictures look outstanding compared to the LR files - they don’t look flat and you’ll see more details and more sharpness.

I tried the full transition to Capture One a few times, but always ended up with using LR - 'cause it was easier… This year, I set myself a goal. I was travelling to Lisbon and started to use just Capture One. I worked hard to find the right workflow and set up. I changed the shortcuts and finally, I am overwhelmed… There are still bits and pieces what Capture One could improve, but till now I am very happy with the results and my workflow. 

I’ve written a few blog posts about Capture One and I know that some of you are looking for more details. So here is my current workflow and set up in Capture One.

Bildschirmfoto-2017-10-18-um-18.52.27.jpg

Catalog size
The last time I had problems with my catalogue. The catalogue size with 50.000 shots was 38GB.  I redirected my files from an external HD to Capture One and after the import, the catalogue crashed and I had to restart the whole process. As you can imagine I wasn’t happy about it - and so I ended up with LR again. It took me some research to figure out a solution.

I changed my preview file size to 1920 px on my 27’inch iMac. My catalogue size with nearly 54000 pictures is now 1.68 GB. Capture One runs smoothly. This time I imported my LR Catalog to Capture One and I didn’t have any problem.

Workspace
In Capture One you can set up your workspace for your prefered workflow. There are so many possibilities, that it can be pretty confusing in the beginning. To adjust the setting, I wrote down my workflow and adjusted then the workspace. This is my workflow of most of my pictures:

  1. Import the files (Redirecting files to an external HD & extra Back Up Copy) + Copyright
  2. Go through the image, select the keepers & delete the bad pictures
  3. Analysing the shots:
    - Keystone correction
    - Simple adjustments:
      Aperture, Contrast, Light, Shadows
    - Tone Correction
    - Curve
  4. Sharpness / Clarity / Vignette
  5. Presets? (Sometimes I use some User Presets of Capture One to try different looks)
  6. Detailed corrections with the brush
  7. Export
Bildschirmfoto 2017-10-18 um 18.58.46.png

Therefore I adjusted my Toolbar for my workflow. I deleted tools for tethered shooting ('cause I don’t use it), B&W, Details and a few more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selection:
When I uploaded my pictures to Capture One I start with the selection - same like flag & unflag the pictures in LR. Capture One is not having a special shortcut for selecting the pictures. I decided to use stars - if I select an image, it gets 3 stars - if I unflag an image it goes right into the trash, by pressing x. After selecting the pictures I go into the 3 stars selection and have a proper look at the files and start with my editing process. The Shortcuts help me to run quickly through my pictures.

Editing Process:
My editing process is the one I described in the adjustments for my workspace. Everyone has a different workflow. I don’t do lots of portraits and colour correction, that is why the colour correction tool doesn't play a big role in my editing process - but it is very powerful. Overall I try to edit as less I could… 

Sometimes I convert my colour files into black & white or use some of Capture Ones presets, just to compare different looks. To do this I added a new Shortcut for „Copy Variant“ by pressing alt+command+C. 

Exporting images:
Exporting images is such a joy in Capture One. You can have several „recipes“ and run all of them at the same time.

I use 2 recipes for my archive:

  • High Res for prints
  • 1600px for Web

In Capture One you can adjust the recipes with different ICC Profiles, naming the files, sharping the image for Displays, Metadata, Watermarks etc. There are so many options. The great thing about the exporting tool is, that you can export many images and recipes at the same time. This is such a time safer!

Shortcuts:
In Capture One, you can adjust the Shortcuts to your needs. One thing which drove me really nuts in the beginning was that I wanted to confirm my adjustment by pressing the return/enter key.  It took a while to get used by pressing the V key (selection tool) to confirm edits. Here are the Shortcuts I most use:

V : Confirm / Selection Tool

H : Handtool, double-click to get to a 100% view

C : Crop Tool

K : Keystone Tool (You'll get better results when you use the markers, not in the middle of the image)

# :  Grid on /off

+ : Assign color tag: red

X : deselected images, which go straight to the trash

Cmd + : Zoom in

Cmd -  : Zoom out

Cmd 0 : Zoom to fit

Cmd + Z : Undo

1-5 : Star Rating

Arrow key right: next image

Arrow key left: last image

alt+Cmd+C : Copy Variant

Final Thoughts:
Learning Capture One takes a while. I am still in the process to learn more tricks to make my life easier. There are still a few things I miss in Capture One, but I am sure the team of Capture One is working constantly to improve the software. For me, the most important thing is, that I do have the best outcome for my images. After using Capture One for a while now, I don’t look back to Lightroom. 

I hope I could help a bit for those who are also thinking about making a full transfer from LR to Capture One. If you have further questions don't hesitate to contact me.

Shooting Architecture - using the Leica Q as an artistic tool

I love to shoot architecture. For me a building is much more than a space where people live or work - a building with its form, light and space can be like poetry to my eyes.

A few weeks ago I have been in Rome and had the opportunity to take some pictures at the Maxxi Museum. Zaha Hadid is the architect and I always wanted to present her work seen through my eyes.

For that I used the Leica Q with the 28mm 1.7 Summilux lens. I had the Leica Q for a few weeks and was mostly shooting street photography with it. I was curious how I could use the Q, not just to shoot architecture - I also wanted to see if I could use the Q as an artistic tool.

The advantage of the Q is that it is a small and light camera. The 28mm lens is superb and so it was easy to take shots at the museum without being noticed too much. I experimented with perspectives, ISO and the aperture. Used the AF and MF. I did not have a tripod with me and took most of my interior shots at ISO 800. 

Being back home  I went through my shots and tried to analyze the files of the Leica Q. With any new camera there is a learning curve to use the camera, but also a process to read and edit the files.

I couldn't see any distortion, which makes is perfectly for shooting architecture. But I have to admit, that I didn't like the noise handling at ISO 800. In my opinion it was a bit too much digital noise and I had the feeling to loose some details. There is no problem to fix this in LR - but I don't like to spent too much time editing. At ISO 3200 the noise of the Leica Q looks great, mainly natural, and it is great to use it as an artistic tool. 

It is fun to use the Leica Q as an artistic tool. The size of the camera and the live view makes everything easy. I like to use the thumb wheel for the exposure compensation. Everything works easy and smooth.


I am using the Leica Q for a couple of weeks now... Honestly there were days where I was thinking to sell the Q again. I had trouble to get used to the AF and sometimes I think the files are a bit too clean. But then there are days where the Leica Q surprises me. I finally found a great way  to use the Q in manual focus to shoot fast enough on the street and liked using the Q as an artistic tool. I think I am gonna stick with it for while and give it time to get to know each other better.

Leica Q: Black & White Settings

80% of my work is in B&W. Usually I do process my DNGs into B&W. The Leica Q just can shoot DNG & jpeg site by site. While I was in Rome I started to experiment a bit with the Monochrome settings of the Q. I was looking for a contrasty B&W look and found that the following settings work the best for me:

WB: Auto
Contrast: Medium High
Sharpness: Medium High

ISO: 100/200 (sunny weather)
       800 (indoor)
       3200 (night) 

With these settings I get a punchy black and white look. The jpeg outcome is very good and most of the time I don’t need any editing at all. From time to time I change a bit the shadows and increase the Black & Whites to give the image a bit more punch - but that depends on the picture. 

ISO 3200

After all I am very surprised with the outcome of the jpegs at ISO 3200! The images get a grainy look which gives the picture some character. Shooting at night with the Q is very much fun!

100% crop @ ISO 3200

I hope I could help you a bit with the Leica Q Black & White settings & editing. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me... 

THE NEW EXTENDED FILM STYLE PRESETS for Capture One!

Last August I wrote a review about the new Film Styles for Capture One.  Now, some months later, the Capture One Film Styles Extended Set is released. Alexander Svet, a Phase One Certified Professional and editor of http://1styles.pro asked me to write a new review about the set.

The new extended set contains 100 new film styles and 25 grain emulation styles. The new set includes new film styles like Kodak Gold and Royal Gold, Kodak Ektar, Agfa Vista, Rollei Retro, Kodak Max and UltraMax and new variants of existing film styles from the first set. 

The Film Styles Extended Set is compatible only with Capture One Pro 8 and not seen as an upgrade or replacement to the first set. 

CAPTURE ONE.

The latest version of Capture One 8 was released in September 2014. As I mentioned in my Capture One Review in March 2013, C1 was and still is the best RAW Converter on the market - especially when it comes to render the Fujifilm x-files. 

With Capture One you will get a huge software package, with many options to personalize the GUI for you're editing and workflow needs. For me personally - it is still a bit to overloaded and sometimes to complex to use. That is why I still don't use it as my main film editing software. I use Lightroom and Capture One side by side! I guess I would swop to Capture One only if they would simplify a bit their GUI. But maybe I need to invest some more time and build my own set up for my personal workflow needs! 

THE NEW EXTENDED FILM STYLE PRESETS.

The set up of the Style presets in Capture One was easy. The different styles are organized in B&W, Color and a new film grain presets folder which keeps everything simple and organized. 

The extended set is coming with new film presets including styles like Kodak Gold and Royal Gold, Kodak Ektar, Agfa Vista, Rollei Retro, Kodak Max and UltraMax. All styles come in different variants and this time the set includes Grain presets - which I like a lot. The 25 universal film grain styles are arranged by different ISO and film development specifics.  

What I absolutely like about the new preset set is, that you can combine the film styles and grain styles together and even stack different film styles from the Original and Extended Set or the preset set which comes with Capture One. 

MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE EXTENDED SET FOR CAPTURE ONE.

Well, first of all I have to say that it is nearly impossible to show the same result of a digital image to a film image. Film still has a unique texture and character - and it always will have. But the film styles presets from http://1styles.pro or VSCO do a really good job.

For me, presets are always a starting point of my own vision - they help to get a first impression and support to get deeper in the editing process. But at the end of the day the photographer needs to feel that his images has the right look and feel.

WOULD I BUY THE EXTENDED SET?

I would  buy the extended set if I would like the film look of Kodak Gold and Royal Gold, Kodak Ektar, Agfa Vista, Rollei Retro, Kodak Max and UltraMax. I am much more a B&W person and prefer the classic color film look of Portra 160 and 400 or Polaroid simulations - the first version of the Capture One presets included this set of presets. But I really liked the B&W presets of the new extended set.

I loved as well the possibility to stack different styles and grain options. Thisgives you an endless possibility to find your own version which shows your personal vision or to experiment with crazy version of your image.

I think the team of http://1styles.pro presets did an excellent job! The price of 69,95 $ is good and I highly recommend downloading a free trial of 5 film presets and 2 grain styles of the extended set and play a bit around! 

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.  

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.


Film Styles for Capture One

A week ago Alexander Svet, a Phase One Certified Professional, asked me to review their new Film Styles presets for Capture One. They contacted me through an older post of my blog, where I compared the x-file rendering in Aperture, Lightroom & Capture One. 

The film style presets is a set of 100 styles that can be applied to automatically processed images in Capture One photo editor. The set includes 58 color and 42 black and white styles and is available for download for 49,95$.

Each style is designed to make the most of Capture One's capabilities and to replicate the popular film effects including Kodak Portra, Ilford Delta, Kodak T-MAX, Agfa Scala, Polaroid and many more. 

Capture One.

In an earlier blog post I wrote that Capture One is in my opinion the best RAW converter on the market. They get most out of the images - highlights and details are not comparable with Lightroom or Aperture. It is an awesome software - but I have to admit - I use it just from time to time... Why? Well, I don't like the workflow - the GUI is too complex with all different editing areas & tools, the library system is a bit confusing etc and at the end it doesn't fit into my workflow. I like everything more minimal, easy and clearly structured. That is why 85% of the time I use Lightroom - for more detailed work I use Capture One and use the pro's of it. 

What about the film presets?

The installation and set up was easy.  I love that you can put the different styles in a B&W and color folder - that keeps everything simple and organized. 

What about the different styles?

I wanted to compare the C1 presets with the VSCO presets which I am using for a while now. But after installing and starting to compare both presets I have to admit, that I can't do a detailed comparison. Both softwares are too different in the look and usage. I attached some RAW images from my Fuji x-Pro1 with the same film preset styles of C1 and VSCO. I did no editing - I just removed the grain effect from the VSCO presets in Lightroom (Film Style presets for C1 can't show any grain rendering).

Capture One / Film styles

Lightroom / VSCO

My final thoughts on the Film styles for Capture One.

Well, first of all I have to say that it is nearly impossible to show the same result of a digital image to a film image. Film still has a unique texture and character - and it always will be. But, VSCO and Film Styles for Capture One did a really good job - both have their own character. 

For me a preset is always a starting point of my own vision. Presets help to start and go deeper into the editing process. But at the end of the day the photographer needs to feel that his images have the right look and feel.

Pros
+ clearly arranged
+ better details, highlights & shadows (...of Capture One)
+ fantastic B&W presets with more contrast than VSCO
+ good prize 

ConS 
- no grain simulation - which should always be in film simulation
- no extra toolkit for Auto WB, Fade, Grain, Contrast etc..

Would I buy the Film Styles?

Yes! There are still a few things missing but the price is fantastic and for Capture One users it's a fantastic opportunity to save some time on the workflow. VSCO & NIK Software is still not available for Capture One - so the Film Styles are an alternative for C1 users.

I really hope that the upcoming version of Capture One will be more improved. After the death of Aperture, Capture One has a huge possibility to get more customers if they improve their GUI & library by just making it more simple. C1 is the best RAW converter and helps to get out most of the pictures but if it is still too complicated and pricy - people wouldn't jump on the Capture One train. Then it will just be the Pro-Photographer tool, like it is now. 

I hope I could help a bit with my review - but the best is always to try things out. There is a free Capture One Test Version and 5 free Film Styles for C1. Enjoy your own test! 

Shooting Black & White with the Fuji x100s

I got so much feedback after my Barcelona Posting where people asked me how I process my B&W pictures. 

I have been in Dubai last week and used this trip to shoot some B&W images. It was my first trip to the Middle East and I loved it. I honestly have to admit that I didn't do lots of people street photography cause I wanted to respect the culture. Of course I could have asked - but I do prefer getting the most out of my picture - the real private moment. 

The x100s is a beautiful camera - especially for Black & White photography. Most of the time I shoot RAW & jpeg. The jpegs are great out of the x100s but the RAWs have more information and if I am having a "gold keeper" I want to get the best quality out of my picture. 

Here are my settings for the Black & White pictures with the x100s: 

ISO: 200 (sunny weather) - or ISO Auto 3200
WB: Auto
Filter: Black&White Yellow
H-Tone: +1
S-Tone:+1
Sharpness: 0

This setting work for me as the best to get the Black & White result I want to have. I love the punchy black and the great contrast of the Yellow filter. The Black & White jpeg outcome is awesome and so most of the time I don't need to do any editing. Sometimes I change a bit the curves or the exposure, it depends of the picture - but that's it.

Dubai was a great place - also for color shooting. For that I did use the Fn Button for the Filmsimulation. That made it easy and quick to change the settings for a color picture. Therefore I mostly used the Velvia Filter which made the pictures very punchy - which was perfect for the colourful Dubai.

I hope I could help you a bit with the x100s Black & White settings & editing. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me...