WHAT A WEEK!
Wow, what a week! Just got back home yesterday after almost a week in Costa Careyes Mexico which was absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I was there for a wedding party and the sun was out every day, the beaches were beautiful, and of course we had loads of fun.
I brought along my Leica MP as well as the Olympus E-PL1 with the Panny 7-14 and 45 Macro lenses. B&H photo sent them to me to test out and they arrived just before I left, so that was very cool. I have to say that the 7-14 is a gorgeous lens. The 45 Macro seems a bit slow for my tastes but it is a macro and macro lenses are slow by nature. It’s slow to focus but damn, it renders in a gorgeous way!
I will have my review up of those lenses THIS WEEK but here are a couple of quick samples…
First three from the 7-14. This lens is WIDE!
My wife. To the right you will see Steffen Keil from Leica. Such a great guy! He was shooting his M9 and 50 Lux ASPH.
Self portraits are no problem with the 7-14!
and one from the 45 macro..
While at this party I met two great guys. It just so happened that Stefan Daniel and Steffen Keil from Leica were also guests so I was able to chat with them at length about Leica, the M series, as well as what may be coming soon! What did I find out? Well, I can’t tell just yet (I promised) but let me say that Stefan was shooting with a new lens and I also was able to try it out on my MP. He also brought along another interesting item as well and hinted at something new coming for the M line SOON. I did not get the feeling that it was a new camera but maybe more of an add on or “enhancement” for the M9 but he did not spill the beans to me about it. He did give my buddy three guesses but he missed all three 🙂 Also, possibility of an update on a classic lens as a special edition in the near future. Can’t talk details but I have to say Leica is on the ball right now and riding a wave of success with the M9 and X1 AND their gorgeous lenses.
What Stefan did tell me was that I could SQUASH any rumor of a Leica mirrorless m4/3 camera. He pointed to the M9 and said “We already have a mirrorless camera”. He also told me that M4/3 is NOT in the future for Leica as the quality is just not there. I am having a feeling an R lens solution may be on the way but don’t quote me on that. Just a gut feeling. No inside info. Really.
But yes, Photokina will bring some new things from Leica, mark my words!!! Oh, and the new lens…gorgeous! I can not share the shot I snapped with it due to the party I was at being a high profile event but it will be a winner no doubt. I am trying to get a hold of one to review it soon. Also, there will be some Leica X1 news coming from Photokina as well. X1 news? Hmmmm. I think the Leica success steam train will be continuing to roll down the tracks in the near future.
More? Sure! I also asked Stefan about the 50 Lux ASPH and tried to find out why it is such short supply. He explained to me that the glass they use is very rare and exotic and hard to get a hold of in quantity. They recently made a few hundred of them but they sold them as fast as they could make them. It’s a hot lens no doubt, and they are well aware of the demand. I was also told they are now backordered on film cameras and the MP is selling pretty well (for a film camera) these days. Hmmm, very very cool!
I asked about M9 sales and he said they are going strong and they can produce about 100 per day with every one they make being shipped and sold instantly. He also reminded me how small Leica as a company really is and how each camera is carefully assembled by hand. Leica is no Nikon or Canon, and IMO that is a good thing. While I had my questions blurting out full force I asked why no Sapphire glass on the M9 and he said it was just “Too Expensive”. BTW, I asked if an M9.2 was on the way and he laughed and said “NO!” More updates as I get them but can only share what I know when I am allowed to share it.
I shot 8 rolls of print film and one roll of Velvia while in Mexico. I already have some scans of my print film but will get my Velvia back in a couple of weeks. I shot a variety of film from Kodack Portra 160 NC, Fuji Reala, Fuji PRO 400H, and XP2. I have to say I LOVE XP2 as well as Fuji Reala. Reala may be my fave film right now BUT FREAKING FUJI DISCONTINUED IT. NOoooooOOooOOo! I only have a few rolls left so I will keep them for when I want gorgeous rich color, like the shot below.
Mina with Fuji Reala film. NO PP, just a straight quick scan – all with 35 Cron.
Top and Bottom – Fuji PRO 400H
Shooting FUJI PRO 400H makes me wonder why people bitch and moan about the ISO of the M9?!? With film you get MUCH more grain. ISO 400 on the M9 is clean and smooth but ISO 400 film has plenty of grain. Still, I love film grain as it’s a bit more pleasing to the eye.
Anyway, look for updates this week and the M4/3 lens reviews. I think I am coming down with some sort of Flu so hopefully I will be able to get it all done. Also, if you e-mail me last week I will try to get back to your e-mail in the next 48 hours. I came home to almost 900 emails!
Until next time…
You know we did mention video to Stefan and he smiled and said “of course, of course”. Now, I have no idea WHAT camera he was referring to or even if he was referring to something coming soon but he is aware Leica needs video on a higher end camera to compete.
Hope the new camera will have video mode 1080p ff sensor so i can use all my great leica lenses in videos. I’ve been having fun with my canon 5DM2 video. Its a steap learning curve getting it to video but very rewarding.
Great shots as usual Steve. Sounds like a great little holiday hobnobbing with the pretty people. Pretty neat that Seal and Heidi did a remarry, not your typical celebrity action after marrying, good for them!
Steve, like I said, I think you’ll find Superia quite like Reala. It’s basically the same, as far as I know. The difference is probably like Sensia and Astia, in that amateur film is manifactured for extended shelf-life.
Very impressive pics.
Looks like the sapphire LCD cover will be finally ours, kudos to Leica!
Thanks for the comments guys!
@Dan – Thanks!
@Jonathan – I know, I can not believe it was discontinued. Kodak is good but its just not the same as Fuji colors. Sure there is Fuji slide film but for print film it seems that all we have left from Fuji is Superia, which I have yet to try.
@Elaine – I guess you can try Superia or Kodak Portra VC which is more saturated than NC. Still, not sure what it is but to me, Fuji film is the best I have shot with so far. Can’t wait to get my Velvia slides back!
@Malcom, Stefan did lots of smiling. He was a very cool guy and after I thought about it and pieced it all together I predict a new camera with an EVF (the EVIL rumor) that will accept R and M glass (adapter). I could be 100% wrong and on this one I have no inside info. Just a gut feeling. One thing is 100%…no M4/3 for Leica.
@Efix – I agree! M8 and M9 noise is blown way out of proportion, mainly from those who worry more about gear than taking photos. One thing this web site has taught me is that after reviewing so much gear, in the end, its all about enjoying photography. When you worry about a flaw or something like some ISO noise it takes away the enjoyment. Just shoot and be happy 🙂
@Calvin – After talking with Stefan for a few hours I can say that they are trying their hardest to meet demand. I also think they have learned a bit about launching a product before they have enough stock to meet demand. We shall see!
@Konstantin – Well, I will be back to shooting the M9 soon but I have to say, the MP is so beautiful it is hard to NOT want to shoot it over a digital. But, I love the M9 as well.
@Ashwin – Thanks 🙂
@Armanius – Thanks man!
@JH – You know, I said that to myself at one point during this trip. It was great.
@Alexander – I brought the Oly because I have two lenses to review that were sent to me just before I left and i Only have so much time with them. Thx..
@David S – Thanks. You know, its just a regular old image but when I saw the low res scan I was like “Wow, this would not look as rich with digital”. You are correct!
@BR – Thanks man, it was a truly wonderful time. You are so right on the Friends, Family, memories statement. So right.
@Franz – Thanks!
@Max – If someone would have told me one year ago that I would be shooting so much film again I would have said they were nuts but I have to say that it has really grabbed me. It’s like if I am shooting film I KNOW my results will be good and I do not have to sit there and chimp and reshoot 4-5 times. One shot, done. In the bag. The shots above are just snapshots really but the look of film, at least to me, is night and day over digital. Is one better? Well, it’s really all personal pref.
I must say that my photoshop time has went from many hours to minutes 🙂 Thanks.
Looks like a wonderful time, Steve, and Seal seems like a true gentleman. Memories you’ll always carry (and thank goodness you had some film 🙂
That shot of Mina on Reala is absolutely stunning. Some may find it a little rich but that nice saturation with the black dress and hat is just right. Welcome back!
… what a marvellous setting for a wedding ! I´m going green with envy 🙂 Hope to see more images soon …
Beautiful images Steve. It was a real pleasure having you and your family sharing with us, you really made it a time to remember. Let’s do it again soon.
Friends, family and memories…everything else is transient.
The picture of your wife in the restaurant is great. No digital image has that kind of physical presence.
Leica Summilux 1:1.4/35mm coming in July
Can they make an M9-P or MP9 with a bigger buffer (15 – 24 shots) and weather sealing?
Offer an extended battery pack in the form of a Leicavit?
How about offering an upgrade for lenses that adds a rubber gasket to the mount?
A CL-D (APS-C) for the great unwashed? (photojournalists, students, the homeless etc)
Sapphire glass is way, way at the bottom of the list of many people…
Yes steve, like this article.
Where is you M9?
I recognized you are in a “olympus”phase;)
Like this pics
Must be heaven: Family and friends, sun and a beach, and guys from Leica talking about new gear…
Obviously, I’m just jealous… 🙂
Welcome back Steve! My favorite shot is the last one in the hotel room. Love the “look” of that last photo, and the grain doesn’t bother me at all. Given that most of my noob photography experience has been limited to using 4/3 and m4/3 cameras, a little bit (or a lot) of noise/grain is nothing new to me!
Great stuff. Looks like the rumor blogs have erupted with news from the wedding. So the rumors go! Regardless, seems like exciting times for Leica….sounds like you had a great time. Lovely pics of a lovely setting, with lovely company!
I am surprised though that ou didn’t get your M9 with you as well 😉 The film Leicas seems to be absorbing all your attention 😉
Leica “riding the wave of success”. I’d say that they really need to look at meeting demand. It’s fine having great products, but when no-one can buy them, then people start getting frustrated.
I’m waiting patiently (for now) for my 50 lux.
Amazing picts Steve !!! Welcome back !!!
**** What comes closest to Fuji Reala ???!!!!!
@David S. : Ektar, Portra, Provia just don’t have Reala colors. FYI …
Steve, I just received my M8 – so I might add to the topic of grain that I don’t really see what all the fuss about the M8’s high ISO is/was about. I find 1250 in color perfectly usable when processing with Neat Image. So – there’ll always be those who want smooth and clean but detailed and sharp output with ISO 1.000.000. Maybe those guys should shoot some high speed film and then think about ranting again …
Very cool, I’m thinking maybe a digital viewfinder for the M9 for TTL composing and focusing 😀
About Reala: isn’t Superia almost exactly the same? Or is that being discontinued as well?
Well, for those who wanted to see my M6 shots with my test roll, I have FINALLY run a roll through it. I used Fuji Reala film that i shot in 5 minutes to wait for the roll to be developed in one hour while I waited for my dog to be groomed. LOL! If you want to see the results of shooting a roll of film with a M6 Leica film camera, a 50mm Summicron lens and a roll of Fuji Reala, (the film that is now supposedly discontinued), click on the link.
So, without Reala, what is everyone going to shoot for print film?
I like the new web design….
Thanks for your efforts – it is appreciated. As a LONG time Leica user I am very anxiously awaiting the ‘R’ solution which brings me to my comment.
The rumors seem to be pointing to that, but, is this, or does it really appear to be incoming at Photokina? Stefan really didn’t smile or wink or anything????
Either way, thanks, again.
Well, that explains a lot. BH Photo and Adorama had none. I thought that was odd. I bought some Reala from Unique Photo. They sent it to me without the boxes. I don’t know the date of the film. I’m pissed. But that explains a lot. They seemed to have a supply of it. It’s probably old stock. I emailed them about it. No answer yet. Anyone else order from Unique Photo? I loved that Reala film. How stupid of Fuji to discontinue it. What are these companies thinking? Koda k discontinues a great slide film, ad Fuji is discontinuing Reala? Is this the beginning of the end? WTF! I hope there is a good replacement for that Fuji film. Anyone know of one?
steve, I had heard Fuji was discontinuing Reala, so I bought like 50 rolls, however, I have since heard that they are only stopping imports into some countries. Now, I see that Adorama is out of stock and B and H says it is discontinued. Very sad, because like you, Reala is the only film I have used that comes close to slides in terms of color and grain.
just out of curiousity: how did you get invited to Heidi’s & Seal’s re-wedding party?
same here….i am kind of bed ridden for 3 weeks and all i can do is to PP and shoot the same 4 bedroom walls with my d lux 4, v lux 1, digilux 4.3, casio 5700, and fx 37. I kind of worn them out and i need new juice to wake up my brains.
Lovely pic of Mina btw
Great to have you back Steve. We felt lonesome a bit this past few days :).