Brian JC Osborne: Blog en-us (C) Brian JC Osborne (Brian JC Osborne) Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:54:00 GMT Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:54:00 GMT Brian JC Osborne: Blog 120 80 My First Leica - The Leica X1 The Leica X1

I took delivery of this small camera in January 2014. The idea was, this would be my small "pocket" camera that would  join may bag full of Nikon's.

So, in the "pocket" it went, i jumped on an aeroplane and travelled to sunny South Africa, i was super keen to return with an SD card full of delightful photographs. I returned, popped SD into my Mac..... opened the photographs, and my jaw proceeded to drop. I picked up my jaw and i immediately put all my Nikons up for sale.

Why you might be asking? Simple, the "Leica Look". I finally could see what all Leica Photographers were banging on about. Is is difficult to explain the "Leica Look", However i think i have a good interpretation of it:

Leica Look - It is like watching a Hollywood Movie, pressing pause of any given scene. Step back and you will see a cinemtatic look, 3D pop, accurate colours. Almost a Medium Format film (120 film) look. This is the photographs Leica Cameras produce.

So, i was sold. Flogged all my digital gear and film cameras

Leica X1 Specs

I am not a specs guy, i understand all the facts and figures, however i prefer spending my time shooting. However, lets remind ourselves of the Leica X1 specs:

Leica X1 is a compact fixed-lens, large-sensor digital camera by Leica. The pre-production model was released in September 2009.

Leica X1 uses an APS-C (23.6 mm × 15.8 mm) format CMOS sensor with 12.2 megapixels (4272 × 2856 pixels, 3:2 aspect ratio). Fixed 24 mm/2.8 prime lens, equivalent to 36 mm focal length for a 35 mm camera, contains 8 elements in 6 groups. The lens extends to working position on power-up and retracts on power-down.

The camera is retro-styled, mimicking Leica rangefinder cameras of the past and the digital Leica M9, in a substantially smaller package sized 60 mm × 124 mm × 32 mm and weighing approximately 315 grams (11.1 oz) with battery. It is equipped with a flash hot shoe and a manually operated built-in flash, although the latter has guide number of only 5, considerably smaller than that of built-in flashes of entry-level DSLRs.

ok....... enough words.....

Conclusion & Photographs

The X1 is slow and not very easy to use (by 2017 standards). There are certainly much better cameras (on paper) compared to the X1, even from other camera companies. 

But ! Wow, just look at these photographs!


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Thanks! Enjoy your day.





(Brian JC Osborne) Brian JC Osborne Karoo South Africa Leica Look Leica X1 Review What is the Leica Look Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:49:08 GMT
A Year With The Leica M246 Why The M246?

The journey from the M240 to the M246 has been an interesting one. I was more than happy hitting the streets with my M240, paying attention mainly to interesting streets scenes, checking the light and shadows and that was about it ! Sounds simple, does it not? Well it was, however something was missing...what about Black & White photography?

Well, common sense was telling me, go home, and convert the photos to B&W in Lightroom and voilà, there you go! However, all of you reading this blog, know the truth, we often convert images that don't quite look right in colour to B&W, hoping this will save the day and present us with the winning shot we have spent years looking for, so enough was enough, time for a B&W only camera, i took the plunge and picked up the Leica M246 from my local Leica Dealer.

Leica M246 - 50mm SummicronShot in the streets of Austria

The Thought Process

The first thing you realise when roaming the city streets with this camera, is that the beautiful colours are not helping you anymore. The bright red dress of the lady crossing the streets, with her French Bulldog in tow, normally i would up my pace and try capture this scene. Well, i was not "seeing" the array and contrast of colours exciting anymore. I needed shadows, tones, dark clouds, textured walls..... i needed to think differently, i need to think in B&W. Sounds simple, think again, arduous is more like it. 

I reside on the sunny island of Cyprus, often shooting f8, enjoying the sunshine and clear skies, this allowed me to build interesting layers. The M246 was now restricting me to late afternoon, twilight zone performance. As Thorsten Overgaard has pointed out, once the highlights are clipped with the M246, they are gone, not coming back. So it is recommended to underexpose by a stop or two or three.

A year on, and i must be frank, i have almost mastered the skill to shoot the M246 in bright light, basically stopping down to f11 or f16 and allowing for the sensor to capture all the underexposed detail. Once home, download into your "darkroom", proceed to make a cup of coffee, and get ready for the long night ahead.

Post Processing

My first upload was nightmare, i downloaded into lightroom, took a sip of my coffee and look at the photos, to my shock, all images were flat, dead, basically rubbish ! Compared to the first Leica Monochrome (from what i have read) those photos possessed some contrast, blacks and tonal separation, well not with the M246. 

After much playing around (about a month), i managed to work out a workflow, and it goes like this:

Lightroom - Drop blacks 

Silver Efex Pro - Move photo here, mess around with Brightness and Structure

Tonality Pro - Back to Lightroom, and then drop photo into Tonality Pro, play with Shadows, Structure and Micro-Stucture until happy

Lightroom - finally, Exposure and Whites adjustment (don't forget the Whites!) then done!

Quite a laborious process, but once mastered the results are so pleasing. 



I would say it has been a hard year with the M246, mainly because i am not a huge fan of Post Processing, or as i call it, dragging photos through the modern day "Dark Room". However, once you have a workflow in place, bouncing between Lightroom, Silver Efex and Tonality Pro, the net result, (which should be the photographs hanging on your wall) will have you smiling from ear to ear...

The Leica M246, a poignant brute, however once tamed, it could be your best camera ever.

A mixture of photos taken with the M246, please enjoy.

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Brian JC Osborne

Lady in the windowM246 - 50mm Summicron

Young BoyM246 - 35mm Summilux FLE A Cat and a ManM246 - 50mm Summicron PhotoshootM246 - 28mm Elmarit

The StareM246 - 35mm Summilux FLE WarsawM246 - 35mm Summilux FLE AndreasM246 - 50mm Summilux SandM246 - 35mm Summilux FLE WarsawM246 - 35mm Summilux FLE

Thank you !

(Brian JC Osborne) Leica M246 Leica M246 Review Leica Monochrome Review Mon, 20 Feb 2017 21:28:47 GMT