Leica

Smoky

I have to say that I love the photo below. Not only because there is my lovely son but also because how my Leica Digilux 2 renders the smoke. I know that Tiitus is not focused properly but the smoke is like magical to me. I used Digilux 2’s flash in its first position where it works as a bounced flash. For color photos you really can not use this camera over ISO 100 but that ingenious flash saves the situation.

Smoke
f/2.4, 1/60, ISO 100, 90mm, bounced flash

Advertisements

Four latest shots with four different cameras

I have four cameras at the moment. It seems to be too much as I do not have time to use each of them as much as I would like. And it is fall time again. We are turning into the dark side.

Darth Pirate

This “Darth Pirate” shot was taken with my Leica Digilux 2. It is like a dinosaur of the cameras. Like a huge slow sauropod. I have quite mixed feelings about it. Some day I love it some other day I hate it. Today I will say that it is an interesting relic.

A lamp

An IKEA lamp. Oh my, I really am out of ideas. Shot with my Ricoh GR. This is in-camera JPEG with bleach bypass effect. It actually turned out quite nice. GR is a very capable camera limited only with its 28mm field of view. So small and easy to take with you but I am every time wondering if it will fulfill my photographic needs. You should read this that if I am able to utilize the 28mm properly. I’m never sure.

Speed

Fast AF. And that’s about it. V1. I am irritated already at ISO 400. Too much noise. I actually like the freedom the 10-30mm zoom offers but you have to go into the menu to change many basic things. That’s why Nikon 1 V1 really feels like ver. 1.0.

I'm number one!

What a fantastic IQ. And that’s about it. The AF still hunts and hunts and hunts. It was pure luck that I nailed the above expression. Usually it is frustration what I will get. But sometimes I am rewarded lavishly by the IQ. That’s the Fuji X-Pro1.

What a peculiar camera collection I have.

Fall fun

Fall colors are appearing everywhere. I decided to go at our yard and shoot some autumn leaves. And guess what? I took my oldest digital camera with me. Leica Digilux 2. I did so even if the weather was cloudy and it was raining lightly. But this camera shoots so nice close-ups. Well, they are nice if you’ll get the focus right and it is not so easy with this camera. Autofocus is very slow and it does not have focus peaking assisting manual focusing. After all I managed to get some decent shots. Fall colors are so beautiful even if I am longing for the summer quite much. Soon we will have snow…

An autumnal leaf Not yet fallen

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

Red Dot

Yes, you guessed right – a Leica is going to move to our house. Not a new one but a classic one. It is just what I wanted and in that respect it will be perfect.

Leica Digilux 2.

I was looking for a zoom lens camera for our coming trip to Canary Islands. I did not want anything ordinary. I got a good deal from eBay and got a near-mint Digilux 2 with all original box contents (plus the box included).

Why D2? Well, I have been after a Leica for a some time now. This was a reasonable option for me and my budget. Another reason is its fantastic lens. Leica DC Vario-Summicron ASPH 28-90mm f/2.0-2.4. Perfect focal range for a travel zoom. And that lens is praised almost everywhere. Manual controls in the camera and lens. Nice. The bounce flash option. This is superb because flash will be needed in indoor shots because of quite poor ISO performance (actually ISO 400 is the highest value).

I guess Digilux 2 is kind of X Vario to me. I know, the sensor is a small one, ISO is bad, only 5 MPix etc, etc. But I don’t care.

I suggest to read C. Garrard’s blog post and Thorsten Overgaard’s writings on Leica Digilux 2.