Tag: Camera Gears

9 months with Leica M10

Leica-digital-rangefinder-review-feeling-impression-use-M10-summicron-28mm-f2-asph-nice-looking-black-chrome-wide-angle-reason-why-sold-it

After six months of waiting, it is arrived with a huge label on the box printed with “LEICA M10 BLACK CHROME” I couldn’t describe my happiness with words. Because it has been a long mental debate of repurchasing M9 or M240 or just wait for this new camera. This has been the camera I want most after I sold my Leica M9-P and decided to wait for this new Leica digital camera.

Leica-M10-size-comparison-M2-film-leica-thickness-better-than-m9-m240-rangefinder-camera-impression-thin
Leica-M10-brand-new-in-box-arrive-from-europe-factory-unbox-unpack-review-hand-on-impression-first-use-wait-9-months-M9P-M9-rangefinder-digital
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Honestly, I love Leica in black paint way more than black chrome. It was something that initially put me on Leica’s spot. Not about the red logo, its about the creamy bokeh and the glossy black paint nicely brassed with use. The black chrome finish from M10 was so good but to a perfectionist, that isn’t something good enough.




With the brand new M10, I took some street snaps in Hong Kong. I was happy that Leica finally has a proper digital rangefinder camera. However, at the same time I was disappointed again because I thought the camera can deliver more than this.

first-try-with-leica-m10-colour-color-tone-impression-in-central-hong-kong-house-of-vans-event-sharpness-rendering-nice-summilux-50mm-1.4-v2


The huge viewfinder is the thing that I love most but I prefer the frameline display in there even when the camera is switched off which it took me some time to adapt. And there is some weird LED red light showing while I was trying to half press the shutter button.

Leica-digital-rangefinder-review-feeling-impression-use-M10-summicron-28mm-f2-asph-nice-looking-black-chrome-wide-angle-reason-why-sold-it
Banner-traditional-hong-kong-tang-family-iphone-shot-iphone8plus-iphonecamera-chinese-style





Leica M10 failed to deliver the character of the old lenses. To a person that love nearly all of the vintage Leica lenses, the picture doesn’t have the mood. It performs really well with ASPH lenses with razor sharpness and natural colour. Leica M8, M9 and M240 they all gave us great image quality even when you are using some vintage glasses. But it just missed out something. I brought it to Cuba to test it out. It is absolutely amazing under low light environment and the white balance is accurate. Images were great but I demand more than that.

me-shooting-barber-shop-in-havana-cuba-with-leica-m10-digital-rangefinder-camera-impression-feel-use-sold-it-love-hate-dislike-hands-on-review
shot-with-kids-children-adults-sitting-together-in-barber-shop-salon-cuba-cienfuegos-travel-leica-m10-summicron-35mm-iv-v4-f2
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Is it my problem to have expectations set too high for this US$7,300 camera? I still remember how happy I was with M8 and M9, like a kidult. How colour and dynamic range impressed me. Except the ISO performance, huge VF and yes, it has rangefinder coupling, it didn’t amaze me. I guess most of the people agree that Leica camera gave you unique “mood shot”, it gives you atmosphere that you will never find in DSLR or Mirroless world but I doubt it now.

stripes-pattern-with-people-crossing-road-in-havana-cuba-leica-m10-summicron-35mm-f2-iv-v4-pre-asph-review-blog

After all, maybe this is the end of story about my fantasy on Leica digital camera. It is more about the mood shots from Leica. I am going to save my money and focus with Fujifilm X-Pro2.

2 Months later, I sold my Leica M10 and changed it to Fujifilm X-Pro2.

Leica-digital-rangefinder-review-feeling-impression-use-M10-strap-leather-hong-kong-harbour-front-hunghom-elmarit-28mm-f2.8-v2-wide-angle-reason-why-sold-it
camera-shot-gears-leica-m10-glittering-background-50mm-1.4-asph-summilux-latest-version-internal-hood-black-chrome-lenses-leica-glass

Switching from Leica M10 to Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm-Xpro2-fuji-hk-fujilove-review-leica-m10-change-gears-digital-camera-apsc-rangefinder-new-purchase-bought-sold-lenses-23mm-f2

If you have read about my Photography Journey for the past 8 years. You would have known that I have been shooting extensively with Leica film and digital camera (M8, M9). But recently I made a move. Sold my Leica M10 for a second hand Fujifilm X-Pro2.

“WHY?” this is exactly the response from most of my photography friends. And yes, I sold 4 out of 8 of my leica glass too. Because by judging the outlook and ISO performance of Leica M10 outbeat the X-Pro2. But what are the key factors for such a big move?




public-housing-estates-retired-life-playing-chess-old-man-friendship-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-23mm-f2-XF-autofocus-APSC-Fujilove-leica-m10
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The concept is really simple as I want camera to be my “tool”. What I meant is that I don’t need to worry about getting the most correct exposure with a light meter. Some people might think doing manual focus is really cool, but in fact when I wasn’t doing hyperfocus I can easily miss quite a number of shots. But now with X-Pro2, it re-ordered my photography workflow for me. I would love to try everything now mainly because of its fast autofocus. Frame with the OVF. If I want my pictures with precise framing, I will quickly switch to EVF with the handle on the right hand side of the camera, right beneath my middle finger. These seriously helped with my photo creation process. But the truth is, it increased my successful rate of getting pictures that I want.

Night-in-central-waiting-for-taxi-loneliness-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-23mm-1.4-XF-autofocus-APSC-Fujilove-leica-m10

I am having the Fujifilm X-Pro2 in my bag every day since then. I started to try out more with different focal length, 18mm and 56mm XF lenses (28mm and 85mm in 135 equivalent) which I never would have thought about getting one. To Kwa Wan was the first testing site with this camera set up and I fell in love with this camera.

Nothing is perfect, there is something I don’t like about the camera start time. Leica M10 gave me instant start up with only 1 second from “off” to “on”. Also, if you keep the X-Pro2 with the battery on, after a while the sleep mode with really put the camera in bed. But these flaws doesn’t stop me from being a little Fuji fan.

kid-standing-in-podium-watch-game-to-kwa-wan-TKW-tokwawan-playground-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-23mm-f2-XF-autofocus-APSC-Fujilove-leica-m10
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boy-cycling-kowloon-city-split-screen-framing-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-23mm-f2-XF-autofocus-APSC
Lacrosse-HK-open-cleaning-holding-stick-pretend-player-running-men's-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-18mm-f2-XF-autofocus-APSC-Fujilove-leica-m10




Can’t wait to use it in this coming weekend. I will explain more about my experience with the X-Pro2. Hopefully to continue my little project on “Framing in the city – Hong Kong”

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ageing-aging-population-retired-life-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-23mm-f2-XF-autofocus-APSC-Fujilove-leica-m10between-the-gaps-with-weird-expression-woman-HongKong-Hong-Kong-HK-street-snap-fuji-fujifilm-xpro2-xpro-camera-rangefinder-digital-trying-18mm-f2-XF-autofocus-APSC-Fujilove-leica-m10

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkW2XsrlVkm/?taken-by=tahusa

 

31 Film Cameras, 73 lenses in 8 Years – My Film Cameras and Gears Journey

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Endless Gears Upgrade
The shallow depth of field or the lack of “bokeh” was one of the main reasons for the change.

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Creamy Bokeh from Noctilux 50mm f1.0, Japan 2016



From Canon 50mm f1.2 LTM to Noctilux 50mm f1.0, my later photography years were a period of endless gears upgrade as I focused heavily on the character of the different lenses. Trying the “King of Bokeh” Summicron 35/2 version 4 was not enough, I upgraded to Summicron 35mm f2 V1, “8 elements”, and this beast has a special power in bringing black and white images to the next level.

You know that feeling when your instinct tells you something isn’t right? I definitely get that with cameras. I’ve listed the gears I tried below. For some, I almost knew immediately that they won’t be the ones I keep, but for others, I might have owned them a couple of times. I strongly believe that the gears you own represent your photography mindset at the point in time; people’s taste and perspective change at different stages, there should be no shame in wanting to try something new out of your usual gears, it’s the variety that would lead you to another stage.

collection-of-cameras-M10-leica-M240-Nikon-F2-film-cameras-rangefinder-MP-black-paint-gears-lenses-28mm-summicron-elmarit-leica-M2-LeicavitCamera and lenses line up (Leica M240, M10, MP, M2 and Nikon F2)
Camera-gears-brought-for-trip-in-japan-2014-sekonic-lightmeter-leica-m2-summicron-35mm-v1-film-photography-voigtlander-vciiLeica-M9P-on-table-with-summilux-11663-FLE-Steel-rim-35mm-1.4-noctilux-50mm-f1-e58-v1-goggle-MS-optica-35mm-f3.5-50mm-1.4-v2-kanto-repaintedMaster-yu-repairing-my-leica-lens-repairman-in-hong-kong-specialistvintage-leica-lenses-on-table-with-summilux-11663-FLE-Steel-rim-35mm-1.4-noctilux-50mm-f1-e58-v1-goggle-MS-optica-35mm-f3.5-50mm-1.4-v2-kanto-repainted-summicron-35mm-f2-v1

In 2014, I had my first backpacking trip in Germany, that’s when I forced myself to pack one camera and two lenses only. Surprisingly, it was a very pleasant experience. Given that I had so few equipments to play around with, I had a lot of time to fully understand the characteristics and performance of the different lenses and films at a short time. By the end of it, it even got me started on colour negative films.

Surfers-surfing-in-English-Garden-Germany-Hasselblad-Hassel-Xpan-45mm-f4-pano-panrama-panoramic-scenic-view-Kodak-Ektar-100-iso-100-low-speed-film-film-photography-film-shooter-Leica-lens-travelHasselblad Xpan is one of my favourite travel buddy

After so many years, my philosophy is this: to only have one lense at each focal length. Just pick up a lense that you like most, at its best focal length, and start compositing. I am more of a rangefinder person than film SLR because I find rangefinder coupling easier to use. I tried many SLR cameras including Nikon F2, F100, Canon F1, point and shoot cameras Yashica T5, Rollei 35 (and the list goes on), but none of them gave me the full control. After all, I would still choose my Leica M2 over others.



Exploring the Medium Format Cameras
My dark age came in 2013 when I sold all of my beloved Leica cameras. It took me almost a year to start looking at cameras again and that is when I ‘met’ Hasselblad 500CM. I have never tried medium format before and I thought, why not give it a go and see if it can help me pick up my photography passion again.

Hasselblad-500cm-80mm-2.8-Planar-Carl-Zeiss-Medium-format-camera-6x6-120format-hong-kongHasselblad 500CM and Portrait taken with Fujifilm Pro400H
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I quickly moved from 500CM to GW690II simply because I found the focusing screen hard to use and hard to handle. The Texas Leica is very reliable but it was never my first preferred camera, so I found him a new home in 2018. I have tried Pentax 67 twice in 2017, the images impressed me so much, the creamy bokeh from the 105mm f2.4 was superb it was slightly heavy to be carried around. I brought the “Tank” with me on a trip before but I sold it right after, that was when I knew I am not a medium format person.

Tank-medium-format-camera-grip-Pentax-67-6x7-camera-120format-SLR-105mm-f2.4-lensPentax 67 with 105mm f2.4
Japan-Travel-trip-with-family-Gary-in-forest-pentax-67-6x7-medium-format-120-120format-RDPIII-RDP-Provia-Fuji-Fujifilm-Japan-Gunma-Snap-55mm-f4-asahiFujifilm RDPIII with Pentax 67, Japan 2017
Medium-format-camera-Fuji-fujifilm-GW690II-6x9-rangefinder-filmrangefinder-EBC-super-120format-film-texas-leica-gearFujifilm GW690II(aka Texas Leica)
Fuji-fujifilm-acros-100-iso-black-and-white-film-hong-kong-tung-chung-GW690II-texas-leica-shot-samplesMacau-ferry-terminal-Hong-Kong-HK-geometry-JCH-japan-camera-hunter-street-pan-400-iso-black-and-white-bw-film-review-analog-GW690II-fujifilm-medium-format-120Film pictures from GW690II

I am sure everyone has their own habit and preference in capturing images with different cameras. For me, I try to really understand the camera by using it, but if I can’t comfortably enjoy its companion, I will get rid of it. I tried not to have too many items in my dry cabinet. I landed with a Rolleiflex 2.8F in 2017, hoping this creamy lens will do the magic for me. But indeed, this 120 format didn’t work out. I think the reason was because I couldn’t break my personal style and shape it to fit this camera. But if you are a portrait person, you should definitely try the medium format.

portrait-of-me-using-rolleiflex-kodak-tri-x-black-and-white-2.8E-6x6-medium-format-camera-TLRSelf Portrait with Rolleiflex 2.8E
Sister-portait-using-ilford-HP5-hong-kong-bokeh-Rolleiflex-2.8E-TLR-6x6-night
Camera-gears-Mamiya-C330-TLR-6x6-medium-format-120-tripod-cheaper-option-to-start-withMamiya C330 in black and white film
Fishermen-swim-catching-seafood-hong-kong-lei-yu-mun-Mamiya-C330-TLR-medium-format-120-6x6-square-format-Ektar-100-Kodak-seaFisherman in Lei Yu Mun, Hong Kong (Ektar 100)

Out of Curiosity: Large Format Photography
Now that you are halfway through my article, the logical guess for my next step would obviously be large format. To backtrack slightly, I actually tried Large Format Cameras at a much earlier stage when I was picked up photography because I felt the best way to understand the subject is to start with the traditional equipments. I spent quite some time with the Chinese made Shenhao 4×5 camera sitting on the tripod, a Petzval classic brass lens and a Schneider 210mm f5.6 lens, shot mainly with black and white sheet film and Fujifilm Instant Pack Films.

My-large-format-photography-set-up-shenhao-4x5-sheet-film-gitzo-tripod-schneider-210mm-5.6-LFI was shocked and impressed with the image results from large formats, and this 4×5 (10cm x 12.5cm in actual measurements) gives you rich textures and sharpness as the size of the film is so large. I like how large format photos gives you high quality and you can possess a basic weekend photoshoot set-up at a relatively cheap price. I believe there is always a trade off between size and quality, but I am happy that I experienced the whole process of shooting portraits with large format cameras and enjoyed the time with friends walking around with this wooden box. Its emphasizes is on the communications between the subject and the photographer. You are moving from an “Observer” position to an actual “Involver” place. You stimulate the photographing process because the portraits and movement require extra care. Each shot requires the subject to stay still until the shutter is pressed and usually this process might take up to 2 minutes – focus, check the reading, set the lens aperture, change the aperture back to normal mode and shutter speed, make sure the subject is still holding the position then insert the film black, remove the plate, take the shot.

This form of communication and trust furthered developed myself to be an “involver” in different photography environments, to quickly blend in with the shooting subject and environment.

Portrait-of-bryan-taken-with-4x5-sheet-film-2011-large-format-photography-shenhao-4x5-schneider-210mm-5.6-portraitBlack and White Portrait with 4×5 sheet film (left) Fujifilm Pack film (right)
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From Black and White to Color – Golden Age
I first started shooting mostly with black and white films in 2010. Probably similar to many beginners, I was inspired by Magnum photographers. The form and texture of black and white are so strong that they capture the soul and mood of that moment, and at the same time, you can play around with the light and show easily. For my backpacking trips in 2014 and 2015, I shot only with black and white films, and used some color slide film when in Europe. But I still felt that something was missing. There should be warmth in a photo. I went to Cambodia in 2015 and started using color negative films to capture the vibrant colors in South East Asian countries (Cities Snap). I have seen so much work from photographers using color reversal films in these countries, with other popular countries including India, Cuba and Mexico. Before that, my Black and white to color films ratio was 9:1. Between 2016 to 2018, the ratio increased to 7:3, the 70% is color! In 2016, I bought a few rolls of Kodak Super Gold 400 (Jp Ver.), it is cheap with high quality and I especially like the warmth that Kodak films give me.

Bringing-40-rolls-of-film-to-develop-in-colorluxe-after-cuba-trip-in-december-cannister-analog-negative-C41Developing 40 rolls of film after Cuba trip
Nikon-f100-hanging-tree-35mm-f2D-SLR-filmSLR-film-photography-analog

My favourite black and white film is Kodak Double-X 5222 black and white film. But today, I try to use only 2 different films in Black and White and 2 different films for color. Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X, Agfa Vista 400 and Kodak Portra 400. Occasionally I shoot some Cinestill 800T at night too.

Black and white, BW, B&W, film, analog, snap, snapshot, night tone, smooth, self develop, HC-110, ilford HP5, HP5, iso400, pushed 2 stops, 1600, iso 1600, 黑白, 黑白攝影, 菲林黑白, 新手, beginner guide, ilford DDX, Kodak, Eastman, 5222, motion picture, cinefilm, cine, double-x, doublex, XX, double x, what black and white film to shoot with, other brand, try film, test filmKodak Double-X, Berlin Germany 2014
children-chasing-around-in-waterfront-documentary-in-sri-lanka-colombo-galle-face-green-local-life-kodak-supergold-400-iso400-Leica-summilux-35mm-f1.4-FLE-ASPHthrowing-stuff-documentary-in-sri-lanka-colombo-galle-face-green-local-life-kodak-supergold-400-iso400-Leica-summilux-35mm-f1.4-FLE-ASPHKodak Super Gold 400, Colombo Sri Lanka, 2017

Seasonal changes of a photography journey
It changes depending on the your mood state at the point in time. Have you ever wondered why human has to try so many things, go through trial and error, before knowing what we truly like? Sometimes, I find myself quite stupid, wasting so much time to go round a big circle before finally landing at where I am now. But on the other hand, I know I need that experience. Each small incident from these great memories made me clearer and clearer of what I really want to shoot, and my preference of color palette in the digital world. Another big benefit is, once you have tried everything, you will grow this sense of content with your inner self, and that made me less prone to making impulsive purchase significantly.

Taking-pictures-of-children-kids-with-leica-in-trinidad-cuba-travelling-in-central-america-filson-backpackTaking pictures of local people in Trinidad and Havana Cuba 2017
Me-taking-pictures-of-skateboarders-in-cuba-havana-iphone-behind-the-scene-travelling-in-central-americaBehind-the-scene-i-was-capturing-pictures-of-local-in-Trinidad-barber-shop-travelling-in-central-america-filson-backpack-magnum

What Camera am I using now
So 8 years in, what is my current photography goal? The hardest thing to achieve is not about mastering a camera so that you take a good picture, but how to use a camera to create your own series of images that tell great stories. My ultimate goal is to be able to establish a colour tone and composition style that is unique to my character. I am satisfied with my Leica M2 who has been a great traveling companion; my other favourites also include Hasselblad Xpan II for panoramic shots and the pocket size Rollei 35 T. Go take a look at this short interview clip “Film is alive” if you are interested, it captures some great views on film photography and I had the honor to be featured.

My-girlfriend-holding-my-hasselblad-xpan-xpanii-panorama-pano-panoramic-camera-film-photography-long-format-135-dream-cameraSummicron-competition-comparing-comparison-V1-vs-IV-pre-asph-35mm-f2-line-up-gears-leica-famous-popular-lenses
My-Leica-MP-with-Elmarit-28mm-viewfinder-f2.8-in-Hong-Kong-Cameras-gears-film-photography-lover-journeyMy-leica-mp-with-summicron-50mm-f2-rigid-repaint-black-kanto-leicavit-camera-film-gears

I love film photography because it not only let me capture the scenes I like but freezes the mood with it.

Share your own story
If you want to understand my first half of the journey, you may refer to the post “My Film Photography Journey Part 1”. I am sure you have a very unique and interesting story to tell, and I would love to hear it. Please share your story with me by leaving a comment below or email to me at tahusa.co@gmail.com.

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