2014 – My year with Leica By Jason Boucher

2014 – My year with Leica

By Jason Boucher

Long ago I read Mike Johnston’s post on The Online Photographer about a year with Leica and it would make you a better photographer. I wanted to jump in at the time, but at that time couldn’t imagine spending that much on an “old” camera and it would force me to buy a new lens. I ended up buying a used Bessa as well as a used Voigtlander lens. While the original article suggested to commit fully, I committed to at least 1 roll of film per month. In that year I relearned so much about photography. It slowed me down. It made me intentional in my shooting. It also was my 1st experience with a rangefinder and frankly, the focusing became second nature and something I preferred over the split prism I grew up with. I was happy with my Bessa and my m43 digital and DSLR autofocus kits. That year with film and my Bessa really did help me.

A couple of years ago, things changed for me. I took a new job where I was not providing social content and digital image assets to the company I work for. This freed me a bit from photography as work. I could do photography for me and for me only. Coincidentally at the same time, my friend at my local camera store, National Camera Exchange, called me one day and said they got a used M9 in mint condition. I went in and held it in my hands. Wow. It was love and lust at first sight. But…cash was still a problem and I left instead with a used M8. Figuring I could give it a try and not loose much money. I had 1 M -mount lens at the time, a Zeiss 35 f2.8, I attached it and shot it almost exclusively for a couple of months.

Here are a few shots from my summer vacation and family visit in North Dakota with the M8

JB_SteveHuff_M8_4

JB_SteveHuff_M8_3

JB_SteveHuff_M8_2

JB_SteveHuff_M8_1

It was a lovely set up and gave me a few images that I truly cherish. That old M8 has some quirky but special mojo. To be honest, it is still my favorite black and white, digital camera of all time and one day hope to own one alongside my newer Leica digital M camera. That missing IR filter does something amazing to skin and skin tones. But…I just could not handle the noise of shutter as well as the inability, at least with my single lens I owned, to shoot at higher ISO’s and in lower light, something I do a lot. So I put it away and shot it on special occasion.

About mid way through 2014, I took the M8 on a trip again and was reminded of both the experience and the glorious output. So…I sold everything else I owned including my new Fuji XT1 as well as the M8 and came home with a used M240. Over the course of the fall I slowly added some used M mount glass. I know much has been written about the M240 and how some folks prefer the M9 CCD sensor. I had some experience with the CCD with the M8 and in certain instances do prefer it, the overall shooting experience, capability as well as the higher ISO capabilities make the M240 an easy and preferred choice for me. It just works.

M 240 Images…

JB_SteveHuff_M240_10

JB_SteveHuff_M240_9

JB_SteveHuff_M240_8

JB_SteveHuff_M240_7

JB_SteveHuff_M240_6

JB_SteveHuff_M240_5

JB_SteveHuff_M240_4

JB_SteveHuff_M240_3

JB_SteveHuff_M240_2

JB_SteveHuff_M240_1

My Leica M240 has become an extension of my hand as well as the most amazing creative tool I have ever used. I am no professional and shoot only for myself, but I am pleased with and believe the camera has in fact been a driving factor in changing my personal style and satisfaction with photography. I know that for each of us that we all respond uniquely to gear and many feel that Leica’s are a bunch of hype. I thought that too, but in the end, I feel that it did help me develop, grow and output better images.

So….Even though I really only starting using Leica cameras halfway through 2014, I still consider it my year of Leica.  Hope you enjoy them and my wish to all of you in 2015 is that you find that muse, that tool, that thing that inspires you and helps you develop your craft and art.

Cheers

Jason
www.imaginegnat.com

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43 thoughts on “2014 – My year with Leica By Jason Boucher

  1. Great images. I think the difference between the M8 and M240 is obvious in the pictures but i also think they both have a lot to like. Not easily comparable but equally beautiful.

  2. Phenomenal, stunning images!
    I rarely comment as such because what is often posted, doesn’t merit comment.

    This is Gallery-worthy stuff.

  3. Great set of image. Thanks for sharing your journey to Leica. I do agree that the color and rendering of M8 stand out. I shoot with M9 and love the image quality of this sensor. Closest thing to MF digital back in 35mm side of the art. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Leica will keep the CCD in their future offering.

  4. In a previous post I said a great camera does not make a great photographer ! – looking at your work maybe I was wrong !! The Leica does seem to inspire people to find their visual mojo somehow?

    Stunning images- I love them because I am a cyclist myself -photos 8, 9 and 14 are worthy of being published in the best cycling journals -well done.

    Glad you mentioned the M8 as a super black and white camera -personally I have never seen anything as good in B +W ever from a digital camera. I remember somebody showed me a nice black and white print recently -photo was taken with an Olympus dslr which was a surprising close second.

    BTW I use my M8 as a black and white camera for street but normally leave the IR filters on -some recommend taking them off -it really does depend on the subject -you say off for skin tones -some say that skin can exhibit uncomplimentary vein pattern effects -does anybody out there use an M8 for portraiture ?

    Keep shooting and riding those bikes.

    Best Wishes

    1. Fergus, I too, would leave the IR filter on unless I was going for a specific glowing effect of the skin. It does something crazy awesome and unique to BW images. After writing this post I went looking again for a used M8….It really is something special! Thanks again for the kind words and the comment.

  5. Great images you certainly have a good eye for it that shows.
    I understand the Leica is inspiring to use and a good part of photography is the pleasure of taking the images .
    The first one is my favorite.

  6. An interesting comparison between the older M8 sensor (CCD?) compared to that in the M240. I much prefer the M8 on this showing. Somehow, to me, the M240 colour balance looks decidedly odd, that is if these are more or less OOTC with no PP.

    Jason, what I see here seems to reaffirm what I have read about these two sensors when put up against each other, with the winning vote going to the M8.

  7. Excellent pictures… many times better than many i have seen taken with the new M. It really shows that a good eye is more important than gear.

  8. Good eye Jason. All are very well composed. Number 4 does it for me. The b&w of the bike lying down in the middle of the dirt road. That one ROCKS!
    Nice set of images.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Fantastic images. I had a similar journey — went from Fuji to an M8 now to an M240, and absolutely loving it. Great work!

  10. Some of my family lives in North Dakota, so your images looked familiar and made me smile. Also all the images are excellent — especially liked image #5 of the 240 images — is it N.D., too? Liked your story, too. Thanks!

  11. The last picture is stunning, the “tunnel wheelie reflection” one. Symmetry, contrast, shadow, interesting color, great picture. A picture that really makes me look around, look at every detail. I really enjoy this photo, both as a cyclist and a photographer. Great work. Good luck in your next year.

  12. Absolutely beautiful images. You have a great sense of composition. btw, I recently switched over to a Leica (an M-E) as well (selling my Contax 645, the Sony a7 and the Fuji x100 to fund the purchase). I agree with everything you wrote!

    1. Graeme: Very interesting that you selected the M-E over the a7. Thats cool being I am renting a M9 this weekend and the a7 was the other alternative to the M9. The cost of a used m9 $3k not much more than the now A7…

  13. Good story, excellent images and a nice lesson learned. I’ve been living with a M6 & M5, 35/50mm crons and renting a M9 for this coming weekend…. so I understand your journey! D.

      1. Honestly? You will be one of a handful of Leica people who think so. :D) Most have thought that this was a Leitz aberration, but today it is viewed more as a collectable curiosity, one Leica didn’t make the mistake of making again. The M6/M7 are far superior.

        1. Personally, I prefer the overall shooting experience of the M5 to the later M6 or current MP. It was the first Leica rangefinder camera to feature through-the-lens (TTL) metering and the last to be made entirely in Wetzlar by hand using the traditional “adjust and fit” method. Most who feel negatively about the M5, never used it and just repeat what they have read. M5 is far advanced: spot meter nails it- Looking through the finder, you will see the shutter speed visible in the lower portion of the finder, and to the right of that a horizontal bar/matching needle system. Two meter needles intersect, one is controlled by the ASA dial and one is controlled by the light intensity. Adjust shutter speed or f/stop until the three bars intersect. It sounds more complicated in writing, than it is in practice. some technicians regard the M5 as the last of the best quality M bodies.-the M5 is the first M to allow the photographer to reliably make double exposures. Largest and most convenient M shutter speed dial, adjustable without taking the camera from your eye. use one- if you shoot film and you’ll love it- while i also have the M6. both are equally important tools. I look forward to testing the M9 this weekend.

  14. Stunning images. What m lenses did you end up getting? Sometimes it’s not just about the end result, but the taking of the image. Enjoy your camera and taking pictures that bring you happiness.

    1. Just got home from work and found that this was posted. Thank you Steve and Brandon! It’s an honor to share here. Thanks for the comments.

      Like many have noticed, there is a big difference between the CCD of the M8 and the CMOS of the M240. While in many cases I do prefer the old CCD sensor, the overall performance of the M240 works for me.

      Regarding the lenses. I begged, borrowed, rented, and traded and have tried a few. Right now I only have a Leica 28mm f2.8, 35mm f2 and a 50mm f1.4. Here is the info on the pictures.

      The M8 and the last shot under the bridge were my original Zeiss 35 f2.8 compact.

      Under the M240
      – 1, 4 & 7 are from a Leitz 35 f2.
      – 2, 3 are from a newer 6 bit 50 f1.4
      – 8 was a Zeiss 50mm f2
      – 5 & 6 were from an old Leica 90mm f2.8, 70 year edition.
      – 9 is the Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 from my film camera, a Minolta CLE
      – 10 as mentioned above was from a Zeiss 35C f2.8

      Thanks again.

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