Digilux 2

Three-shot series helped

Spider swing fun, originally uploaded by Jonne Naarala.

This is an example of an action shot you are able to shoot with a slow camera like Leica Digilux 2. That camera has a fantastic feature to shoot three consecutive shots in about 1.5 seconds. I am now using it all the time with my Digilux 2.

In this swing shot I got the decisive moment to capture the scene perfectly and in the way I thought beforehand. Of course using the three-shot series feature means lots of work in post-processing to go through all the shots and to select the best one from the three (I’ll usually delete the other two). But I think I’ll get so much more keepers using this feauture that it is worth all the time used in the selecting process.

The only problem using three-shot series with Leica Digilux 2 is that it can only use SD cards up to 2 Gb. Even if the JPEGs are quite small in size you have to have many SD cards with you if you want to use this feauture e.g. in a holiday where you do not have an access to your computer.

So, my Digilux 2 saga continues. It seems that I am going to enjoy it more and more day after day.

Shooting monochrome with Leica Digilux 2

I have been now regularly testing my Leica Digilux 2 and I have not been very convinced with its color output (yet). Of course there are some shots in each shooting session which please me but unfortunately most shots are quite mediocre. For color work I prefer this camera to shoot close-ups (see my earlier post on this) and this area it handles just wonderfully.

I have been after a camera which I could use solely as a monochrome camera (something like a poor-mans Leica Monochrom). I have tested my Fuji X-Pro1 and Ricoh GR for this purpose. Both of those cameras produce fantastic in-camera B&Ws but I prefer to use these modern cameras more freely, i.e. for both color and monochrome. And I like to shoot RAW with those two and make B&W conversions in post-processing.

I tested today my Digilux 2 to shoot in-camera B&Ws. I just put camera’s white balance adjustment to B&W and went to shoot some pics. When I opened the shots in Lightroom I was surprised very positively. In-camera B&Ws were very pleasing with nice gradations and good dynamic range. They needed very little tweaking in LR. I think the WB adjustment of my Leica Digilux 2 will be fixed to B&W from now on. Monochrome shooting suits this classic so well and I think the results are spectacular (at least by my standards) for a 10 year old 5 MP camera used by a hobbyist shooter.

Here are just few examples of the results I got:

Close-ups with Leica Digilux 2

I have been testing my Digilux 2 and today I shot especially close-ups with it. It is certainly not any macro-capable camera but it delivers nice close-ups. If you want blurred background and some bokeh with this camera it is best to use 90mm focal length and the widest aperture (f/2.4). I'm quite pleased and actually surprised how nice background blur I got (remember that this camera has a 2/3″ sensor).

All shots below are not cropped at all and present about the maximum close-up magnification you can get from it. I've noticed that it is better to put camera's sharpness adjustment to “low” to prevent over-sharpening (I've kept contrast and saturation adjustments in “standard”). The key is to use mild selective sharpening in post-processing (I used adjustment brush in LR). Another important and handy feature is camera's ability to shoot three-shot series (3 shots in about 1.5 seconds). This is very useful especially if you shoot handheld as I've done here. Shooting series minimizes the motion blur in handheld shots and usually at least one of the three will be reasonably sharp. Series shooting is very nice feature also for shooting indoor portraits without a flash. Blur is minimized and there is also an additional bonus – you'll get different facial expressions to choose from during that 1.5 second period. I used mainly “AF-Macro” but tested also manual focusing which was actually nice and I will test it more later on.

All in all I can say that Leica Digilux 2 surprised me very positively by its close-up properties.


The Beauty arrived

This beauty arrived this morning

The absolutely gorgeous Leica Digilux 2 arrived to me this morning. It really has a substantial feeling when you hold it. Its lens is quite massive and everything works so smoothly. It is a ten years old camera but the shutter count was only 864 (according to camera’s service menu) when I received it. I have to say I am thrilled about it and will write here more later on about my feelings on it and how it will cope in real photographic situations. Below is one of the first shots I took with this digital classic.

RGB train
JPEG, 82mm, f/4.0, 1/640, ISO 100