My Visit to Cape Town, South Africa – NEX-5 and Leica M9

Here I am in my hotel winding down my two days in Cape Town South Africa. THIS has been the absolute best stop of the Seal tour over the past month, for me at least. HANDS DOWN! I mean, I could live here and be happy. The weather is gorgeous, the people are friendly and happy, the food is delicious, and the beach…WOW. The beach is incredible. Food and clothes also cost about HALF of what it would cost me back home in the USA. Yes my friends, Cape Town is a place to visit for a week or two, chill out and just unwind.

We only have 2 1/2 days here total so I am making the best of it while I can.

Seal and the guys doing sound check at the private show last night

Seal played a private show here last night so it was a very small group, and a small club style venue and stage. Even though it was a much different vibe it was still a blast! Not only did I meet yet another reader of this blog, who happened to be the paid photographer for the person throwing the party, I also met another awesome photographer who was shooting the whole event. I had a lovely time. After the show me and a couple of the guys went for a late night snack and beer, and the streets were hopping, even at 2AM.

But let me rewind a bit. Earlier in the day, after the guys did their soundcheck, we took a quick walk to the beach and I brought along the Leica M9 (In stock at DALE photo now) and Noctilux f/0.95 ASPH, as well as the Sony NEX-5 and Leica adapter.

The M9 and Noctilux on the Beach

Next 5 shots, the M9 and Nocti/35 Cron combo on the beach in Cape Town – click images for larger and better versions

The next two shots are from the M9 and 35 Summicron

and back to the Nocti…

THE NEX-5 with Leica Glass…

We all know how good the Leica M9 and Nocti combo is, but how about the little NEX-5? I did not shoot it too much last night but did manage a few shots. I prefer shooting my M as that is what I am so used to, but the NEX-5, at $699, did a decent job. It will not..and I repeat, WILL NOT beat or even challenge an M9 file (I tried really hard) for sharpness, detail and snap but at 1/10th the cost of an M9, and being able to use Leica lenses on it, the NEX-5 is actually a tiny little masterpiece of a camera. The color can be gorgeous…

The next three images were all with the NEX-5 and Noctilux ASPH

SHOWTIME with the NEX and the M9

The show last night was intimate, personal and was also a private show for a great guy who has been a HUGE Seal fan since day one. The crowd was small but everyone had a great time. I mostly shot the M9 and Nocti as this gig was low lights. No huge stage or elaborate lighting setup so I had to go with what worked, and the Nocti just works!

I did take a few with the NEX-5 and Leica 50 Summicron and I really like the results. One thing to note…I shot the M9 and Nocti combo at ISO 2500 in B&W JPEG mode. What you see here are all OOC JPEGS that I tinted with a Sepia tone. ISO 2500, low light…where is the noise?

My goal for the night was to capture the energy, emotion, excitement, sweat, grit, and passion of the show. As I already mentioned, there were two other photographers there and I am excited to see some of their images as I always love seeing how others “see” through the lens.

Hope you enjoy the shots.

First, the M9 images from the show…

The M9 and Nocti ASPH wide open…

I always love the way the Noctilux renders every little detail.

Even though this was a small private show, the guys took this on with full energy

Sid tearing up the drums…

Probably my fave shot of the night. I went behind the drums to get this one.

Gus on guitar…

Always love taking shots of the crowd. This is a direct OOC, JPEG. Again, as with ALL of the others, ISO 2500.

This one was underexposed and I brought it out which is why there is noise in this one. With the M9, even in  VERY low light, if you expose properly you will get a semi clean file even at max ISO. Underexpose though, and you are in trouble. Even so, I LOVE this shot!

One thing I learned from shooting Leica at live performances. You do NOT always have to be up close to get a nice performance shot! If I had a SLR and Zoom I would have been trying to zoom in here. Nope, just me and a 50 is all I need to cover a full show. Bringing the audience and surroundings in to the image gives the viewer a better sense of what it was like to be there.

Audience Participation is always fun…

Mark Summerlin was rocking last night…

The friendliest, most cheerful guy I know…Steve (Sid) always has a blast when he he hams it up for me while playing.

A happy fan snaps a shot of Seal…

After the show Seal always meets with the fans.

Some NEX-5 Shots with the Leica Summicron 50, all at f2

Ok, so some of you asked for me to shoot the NEX, with Leica glass at a Seal show. I admit, I BARELY used it and of the 20-30 shots I took, I really only liked 2-3. Here they are…

The NEX does great at high ISO as well though the files are not nearly as “Robust” as the M9 files. Also, these did not look nearly as good in B&W as the ones from the M9. Why is that?

The rich color from the NEX-5 even at ISO 1600

Focus was hit or miss with the all manual Leica lens. Using the LCD magnification would have solved that but man, it’s a slow process during a live performance that would lead to many missed shots. I can focus 5X as fast (and with 98% accuracy) with the M9 as I can manually with the NEX/Leica combo. Also, with the NEX sensor, there seems to be less “WOW” than with the M9 sensor…

Thoughts on the NEX-5 and Leica combo

The NEX and Leica combo can give better color and image quality over the two Kit lenses that Sony offer BUT spending the big bucks on Leica glass for your NEX will not get you into Leica territory when it comes to flat out IQ. It’s slower to focus than an M, has less sharp and dynamic files than an M, and in all honesty, the M9 does just as good as ISO 2500 as the NEX does in the same range. Still, for $600 the NEX is a little powerhouse that is one of the coolest buys at the moment (still) for those not wanting the bulk of a DSLR and for those who do not want to spend the big bucks on Leica.

Still, I can’t see myself going out with the NEX and Leica glass when I own an M9. If I did not own an M9, I do not think I would spend $2-$3000 on a Leica lens to use with my NEX camera. I’d probably go for a Zeiss 50 Sonnar in the $1000 range instead.

I’ve written several times about this little NEX but I still enjoy it. Also, don’t forget J-Tec! They offer some unique accessories for your NEX and they are a site sponsor!

Where to next?

We are leaving Cape Town in a few hours and heading to Switzerland for 3-4 days before heading home. I will try to shoot the NEX more with the Noctilux in the next few days. Also, the Matterhorn mountain is calling my name..should be fun. Stay tuned!



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  1. Sure would have been nice to have met you while you were on your Cape Town tour. I imagine that with only 2 days you didn’t have a minute free.

  2. I think thé NEX/M comparison is futile. Owned an M 8.2 for 2 years, very happy with it, amazing pics, bought a NEX out of shear craziness and sold thé M8 as it still had décent resale value, waiting for the NeXT best thing from Solms. The M gives a much more artistic look, than the NEX and no I would not buy leica glass for a NEX. But if you own any type being, pentax, nikon, canon, contax, leica, with an Aperture ring, then it CAN be used on it. The M is a piece of art, the Nex is a great reliable Toy, that CAN be brought on a trip and Will give great results. I see an M9 or later model in my future but for now, the NEX does a great job, and gives me the chance to use my filters and shoot like I used to like it.

  3. Hey guys! I have been CRAZY busy on the go for the past month! Sorry for delays in emails and replying to comments here so THANKS TO all for the comments!

  4. Hey Steve! Cool shots! I am impressed with your ability to work in virtually any lighting conditions and produce very good results. I am inspired by your work. I want to shoot more concerts now.

    Regarding high ISO shots, I think the noise is in three things: bad exposure, bad optics, bad RAW conversion. Since those three don’t apply to your images, we don’t see any noise in them!

    I’ve noticed that Leica’s in-camera RAW converter is way superior to that of Adobe’s (which most people use). I mean, the B&W conversion; the colour one I don’t really like and prefer to process myself in CaptureOne or ACR. But the B&W OOC images are just superb! So much so, that I find myself shooting in B&W jpeg more and more. Those files practically don’t need any touch up, provided the exposure is correct initially. I love it! Much less time at the computer and much more time for shooting!

    Take care! And good luck in Switzerland! I look forward to seeing some new pictures.


  5. Steve, as a positive South African reader, it’s awesome to see you had such a great time in the Cape. There are some negative comments here, but I hope you’ll continue to spread the great South African love. You won’t get shot in Cape Town ‘just for being white’. Bizarre the negativity people enjoy spreading. SA is one of the world’s most wonderful countries. Like many places, it’s not without it’s problems. People need to know they can safely visit this incredible place… Looking after themselves and their belongings, just as they would in London or Paris. Love the pics, and the series with Seal. Thanks

    • 🙂
      Those from a steady hand shows sharpnes and sparkling IQ that other compacts must strugle to compete with!(and can’t I think) The X1 has something extraordinary twist in IQ! And even those moving ones has that edge…
      looking forward to matterhorn-M9’s (so unprocessed as possible..:)

  6. Wow. You are priviliged both with your M9 and Leica glass, and the talent to show Seal and the concerts in such a remarkable way. Some day there will be a Seal concert book and you will be the star of that book. I love seeing the technology and the human talent come together this way. Congrats to you.

  7. ps can see you are performing in zermatt on wednesday…then you must go up there tomorrow in the step tunnel-train, the lake is somewhere near up on the little top, with Matterhorn on the other side of the valley(best view I guess), say cheers to the cows with their neck-bells…remember walking down(!)

  8. Great work Steve. I remain jealous of the access. This last shoot in particular, it looks like you were free to move all around the venue.

    I’m shooting Kings of Leon and Band of Horses tomorrow but will not enjoy this level of intimacy.

    You are living the dream!

    • I’m living the dream to Chad, Steve’s an amazing photographer and I’m lucky to have him on our tour.

      Good luck at the gig tomorrow.


  9. Great Stuff Steve. I really notice how your photography has just got better and better as the tour progressed. If you go Pro and decide to spend your life travelling the world to exotic locations don’t give up this site whatever you do!! Enough keepers to put together a great portfolio of Seal’s tour.
    I do notice that the shot of the sunset at the beach has the dreaded digital halo effect. Aaaaaargh!!!
    I hate the way digital does that and is a good reason why film is still superior for nature and landscapes.
    You can always trust a good sun shot to scream out loud..This photo was taken with a digital camera!
    Not the fault of the M9 per se but with digital sensors.

      • hi Seal
        Some GXR’s from your hand? (or leica-commitment collide? (I would fully understand), but would be nice)

        • Hey Thork Brother,

          I didn’t bring the GXR on this trip. I brought the M9 and the X1 with new firmware. I must say that I’m very happy with the latter. The new firmware is great and although there isn’t a huge amount of change in the AF department, the new MF view is a big help in my personal use thus far. There is however a notable change in the AF but not huge (it’s better in low light as advertised).

          I’m not missing the GXR at all even though it’s an amazing camera. Interestingly though I bought and brought a charming little camera that I’m just finding impossible to dislike or even find fault with, the Oly XZ-1. What a great and well designed camera…I love it and it’s well deserving of any credit it gets. Here’s a link to some images from it on our way to Zermatt in the Helli.


          • Hi Seal
            Starting backwards: Zermatt, one spot of all spots on earth, with that magnificent Matterhorn, as the perhaps THE most beautiful mountain on earth, I’ve been there only once, when the 3 kids were small, and it was that happy time before the world and everything went wrong (read=when film was film, and digital wasn’t a word that existed in our mind), and I was happy using my Hasselblad SWC, I made that little picture while my son was jumping out on a rock in a little lake with Matterhorn rising in the background. Ever since I’ve been longing for that peaceful spot on earth.
            Nice shots by the way.
            But glad you got the X1 back in hand (what an IQ). I must say that one thing I don’t think is functioning on the gxr is the auto-focus, so I just tend to guess the distance, setting aperture at 5.6, relying of the DOF and setting the distance manual, its okay.
            But…I must confess, I’m just longing after the easy presetting way of the M6, and therefore the M9 will still be the target. I will never get friends with any autofocus system on earth I guess. They will all be an irritating compromise. Even my D3, ok it’s fast, reliable, and spot focus is spot on, but…no…the M way (and for in-hurry-pictures that wonderful easy presetting, fast easy, mechanically perfect), I must confess, is the only way I feel friendly connected with (amen….)
            I guess you did take that little tunnel-railway up from Zermatt and walked down?, what a magnificent walk, with glance on Matterhorn all the time…
            best from some miles further up north..enjoy!

          • Hi `6!

            I had the chance to test the Oly XZ-1 as it came out a few months ago and compared it with my LX5…and came to the conclusion that it can’t “beat” the Panasonic. Although the f1.8 lens of the Oly is very good the camera software/firmware showed some limitations – like not going over iso 200 in Auto-Iso even if shutter-speed is already as low as 1/5s and so on. Don’t know if the changed that in a firmware update. Besides that I had the impression that either the LX5 as the Canon S95 had better high-iso performance then the Oly XZ-1.

          • Hi Michael,

            Don’t like Panasonics and not really interested in the spec sheet either. The XZ-1….I just like the camera 🙂


          • Thanks Thorkil,

            We are enjoying Zermatt immensely. Went riding today (snowboarding) so I haven’t had a chance to see the tunnel but the Matterhorn is a wonder. I hear what you’re saying about the ease of operation in the M system, I think most of us here feel the same which is why we’re all connected by Steve’s site I guess.

            I’m loving the X1 again, I was one of the neigh-sayers of this camera because of it’s AF issues but honestly, they’re not really that big of a deal and I love the new MF features in the update.


          • Seal, I concur on your X1 comment. I was (and still am) disappointed with its AF speed but each time I take a picture with it I am very happy with the result. Being used to all manual shooting, I guess, I am trained in being patient with the camera I use. I value only one thing in photo equipment: the output, the actual image. Nothing else matters, really. When I see an image I was trying to achieve, both in terms of quality and artistic expression — I am happy and I don’t care what it took me to get that image. I think, patience is very important in photography and I am glad my Leicas are giving me good training in that. And with time, I am also learning how to be pretty quick with it, too. I think I can manually focus with my M9 faster than I used to with my D700 in AF mode. I think so… I may be wrong.


          • ‘6
            (will write to Steve in the new tread and persuade him to persuade you to put on yours M9’s too..)

  10. Wonderful photos, and thanks for your enthusiasm about Cape Town. You are correct about feeling like you could live there forever, I stayed in South Africa for 20yrs and loved the climate, the people, and the culture. Very inspirational for photography. Hope you will return sometime to explore it further, and thanks as always for the great photos and tech info.

  11. Hey Steve and Seal

    A big Welcome Hug to you both to this most beautiful country. And thank you for all the posts and wonderful shots. Most of all thank you for having such a positive first impression of the place that has been my adopted home for almost 40 years… yes CT is a beautiful city … and the people are amazing. The place is no more dangerous than any other city in the world… in fact I feel more safe in the townships of Cape Town than in downtown Milan or Madrid. Welcome to Africa! I do hope you both get to see the real Cape Town in the form of a guided tour in those townships… thre the people are amazing.. there is the real Africa and the spirit of Ubunthu ( Respect, compassion and brotherhood) … Welcome to Africa!… from a Spaniard in Africa.

  12. Hi Steve!

    Good to see that you are enjoying your stay in Cape Town – but don*t forget that it IS a quite “dangerous” area – sad to say so but it is still happening there that you get shot just because of your skin color – so, pay attention and don’t go everywhere.

    • Michael, the only relief at risk for being held-up in Cape because of camera, is that the muggers don´t know the10k M9 from 1/10K holga, so you might con them into beliving that your M9 is a piece of worthless shit but then to get in trouble for a piece of plastic . Anyway, here`s perfect one for shooting people in dangerous places. Pity that it uses the film not bullets and alas it`s price is said to be closer to 20 grand then 10.

  13. Great pictures which show part of this beautiful country I visited 2 years ago. But unfortunately, there is also another big reality to SA. If time allows join one of the guided tours to a shanty town, it will leave a lasting impression.

  14. Stunning work. The fact that you are meeting photogs out there who know your work and site speaks to the global reach that you have achieved. The images here seem more intimate to me, maybe due to the setting of being closer to the action or due to the smaller collection of people/fans on hand. I love the joy and excitement in the faces that you have caught, including the lucky guy for whom the party was thrown…

    On a separate note, I am quite enjoying what I see from the NEX-5 and Noctilux…it makes me curious how Ricoh will adapt it’s M lens solution and whether the sensor (probably quite similar to the one in the NEX) will be able to perform any different on that camera….fingers crossed on that one…

  15. that’s my country man! fabulous images. just beware though, as beautiful as SA is, crime is a major issue. and like nowhere else in the world Steve. trust me I’ve lived all over and my home country is the one place where my alert levels go up. especially with that Noctilux.

    but again, amazing frames man! keep em coming!

  16. Nice shots, Steve. Looks like a great time!

    I would contend that, outside of absolute detail, any major advantage that you’re seeing with the M9 sensor over the NEX-5 is down to processing differences, raw converters, shooting technique, etc. The sensors in these two cameras are very much competitive, and the NEX-5’s DR is actually quite a bit better throughout the range, despite the sensor size differences. Sure, the AA-filterless, higher pixel, larger sensored M9 is going to have more detail, but at what size of print? 13×19? 24×30?

    I know this site is more about experience, rather than absolute testing, which is why so many of us like it, but it’s going to take side by side, tripod based raws with both cameras and the same lens for me to see that the color, high ISO or DR of the M9 is in any way vastly superior to the NEX-5. SInce you have both cameras, you’re in a good position to provide RAWs for us to compare.

    I do like the rangefinder experience, but the folding TLR-style EVF replacement that I’ve made for the NEX-5 works very well, so my focusing is getting pretty fast. So, I’d really like to see if spending the money on an M9 is justified for me, or if we’re talking 10x the money for >10% gain in IQ at very large print sizes.

    • Doug, having owned both cameras, I can assure you that the NEX’s dynamic range does not match that of the M9. The NEX doesn’t have bad DR, far from it, but the M9 raw files are really incredible in the amount of shadow detail that can be pulled from them. I’ve honestly never had a camera that had the shadow recovery ability of the M9 raw files (though I don’t own a Pentax K5, which I hear is also amazing in that regard)

      As for the 10x the money for 10% improvement comment, well…. for some people perhaps thats totally worth spending 10x the money. Who’s to really say what “worth it” means. Obviously there are diminishing returns past a certain point with everything in photography, but its a subjective call, same as it is if we are talking about a racing bicycle thats 2oz’s lighter costing $1500 more. To some its worth the money.

      That said, I personally think it would be foolish to purchase a M9 simply for an improvement in image quality. The M9 takes great photos, but there are lots of systems that can take great photos as well, many costing much less than $7000, and for that type of money there are also lots of options in MF backs that actually far exceed the M9’s performance.

      Rather what a M9, or any Leica is about, is the rangefinder shooting experience. If you don’t like rangefinders, your going to hate shooting with a M9, and in that case, its meaningless how good of files it can produce.

    • On the M9, the lack of AA filter, the micro-lens structure (which the NEX-5 lacks) and, perhaps most important, the fact that the M9 uses a CCD rather than a CMOS will make a big difference in image quality at low ISOs. And its not just a difference that is apparent in large print sizes. I’ve used at least 30 digital cameras and none of them really come close to the M8/9 at low ISOs.

      The NEX-5 is a remarkable value and does catch up at higher ISOs. I am very excited to see what Sony does with the NEX but I think its an exaggeration to claim that the difference is 10% or visible only at large print sizes. That’s just not true.

      • There isn’t anything magical about a CCD compared to a CMOS. I’ve owned both CCD DSLRs and a CCD Leaf back, and it wasn’t the underlying silicon creating any magic over my CMOS cameras. In fact, being essentially a seven year old design, I would contend that the CCD of the M9 is its weakest element. Throw offset microlenses, a great CFA, a base ISO of 50 or 100, and remove the AA filter on a modern 135 sized CMOS, and you’d have killer performance, comparatively. It isn’t because I believe that CMOS is superior to CCD. It is because more money has been spent on improving CMOS at a much faster rate when compared to CCD.

        I think there’s a little bit of a belief in M9 fairy dust that doesn’t exactly exist.

        • Yes of course, the brilliant optics engineers at Leica knowingly put a sensor in the ‘M’ that as it turns out “is it’s weakest link”. Nice 🙂


    • Hi Douglas,

      I hear you on the convenience aspects of the NEX. I have an NEX and for the most part I think it’s a great little camera let down by it’s pitiful offerings in the glass dept.
      I recently bought a very good adaptor (can’t remember the actual make but it’s apparently a great one) and then proceeded to try out some of my Leica and Zeiss glass on it. It’s very nice and a good alternative for someone who isn’t quite ready to take the plunge on a digital M. However I must say that bar putting something like the 40mm Summicron which is a halfway decent, affordable lens, I really cannot see any reason why someone would put the good glass whether it be Leica or Zeiss on this camera. Meaning that if someone is willing to splurge out on this level of glass, why they wouldn’t at least go for an M8 which is relatively affordable these days and can be found easily.

      The reason I say this is, forget about anything that we’ve read on technical sites, I can only go by what my eyes tell me and let me be very clear and direct about what they see;

      There is no way on earth, regardless of what you may have heard or read, that the NEX sensor and corresponding inards is even in the same league of what any digital M has rendered to date….period! It isn’t even close and I find Steve’s experience with it to be bang on the money. I have no axe to grind because I would in fact like it to be the contrary but it isn’t.

      So if it’s an M substitute you’re looking for in the NEX, this ain’t it. It does do what it does very well and the lesser quality will not take away from your photographs being great. But to think that one will be getting a ‘Leica-like’ image, comparable to an M with a $600 camera in the NEX, I wouldn’t want anyone to mislead themselves.


      • Hi Seal!

        I am considering Sony NEX as a companion to my M9. There are certain things that I want to do which are not possible win an M9. Like using soft-focus lenses or tilt-shift adaptors. I would gladly use those with my Visoflex but they won’t work with it, either. So, I am thinking of a compact-size camera that would allow that functionality. So far, I think, Sony NEX is the only option (I don’t consider M4/3 for its smaller sensor).

        As for using my Zeiss glass on Sony — I see no point there, except for those cases when I need to use two cameras at once and don’t have time to change lenses, or as a backup camera in case something goes wrong with my M9 or its battery dies in a critical situation. Otherwise, why using the same optics on an inferior camera when you have the M9?

        I was thinking about getting the GXR (after reading your comments on its performance and seeing your sample pictures) but then I thought that it would not suit my needs. I need another camera mostly for things that I can’t do with Leica. And those cases are quite rare, so I don’t want to invest in a DSLR (besides, I hate carrying bulky stuff around).


        • Hi Greg, I’m not sure what ‘soft-focus’ lenses are. I used to have a Nikon 135mm f/2 with something called ‘D-Focus’ which allowed one to control the bokeh in front of and behind the focus point, is this what you mean?

          It’s a hard one with the NEX, I just wrote Steve a minute ago ironically, telling him that I’d totally lost interest in the NEX. Not because it’s a bad camera, on the contrary, but more because I just cannot love it when there are in my opinion better options. I feel that the NEX is great in so many other ways, even the much maligned menu system doesn’t bother me but I cannot get over the IQ. It’s difficult to put into words because for most people it does a fine job but for me it’s over-saturated, muddy, uninteresting and I cannot get into it’s colour gamut which I find to be uninspiring.

          I tried a bunch of Leica and Zeiss lenses on it just to really see what the CAMERA was capable of, seeing as I know those lenses pretty well… I was unimpressed to say the least.

          All I can say is that if you already have an M9 you will also see what I mean if you decided to delve into getting an NEX. My advice to you would be to sit tight with your M and be patient. There are some very exciting things to come from our friends in Sölms which are going to shut a lot of the neigh-sayers up once and for all. I cannot divulge more than that but lets just say that Leica are more way ahead and progressively minded than most people are giving them credit for recently. The future holds great promise.


          • Seal, I can give you an example of both soft-focus and tilt-shift for Nikon F mount.

            The Nikkor D-Focus lenses are for bokeh control but soft-focus ones are usually DIY solutions allowing softening the image and introducing a special ‘glow’ on the bright edges, thus creating a dreamy look. Here’s an example:


            Tilt-shift is also cool for portraits and landscapes. I’m not talking about a view-camera type tilt-shift but rather a Lensbaby type:


            I like soft portraits and dreamy landscapes. So far, I’ve been able to achieve some results with my M9 and Sonnar 50/1.5 plus a B+W soft-focus filter but the soft and glow effect is not as dramatic as with a dedicated soft-focus optic. Here’s an example:


            The Lensbaby tilt-shift effect is impossible to achieve with a rangefinder camera since you have to focus through the lens. I wish they worked with Visoflex but they don’t.

            All those specialty lenses are of inferior optical quality (and that’s the whole point!) so they don’t require great IQ from the camera. That’s why I thought about Sony NEX, which is acceptable in quality and inexpensive. I wouldn’t be interested in it as a stand-alone camera since I have a way better camera already. For me it would be rather a specialty device for certain special type of photography only.

            But again, it is not such a burning issue for me and I can wait and see what else comes up on the market. I’ll follow your advice and wait. I am very excited to see what Leica has in store.

            Actually, it’s very strange to think of Leica as a company lagging behind in modern technology. They’ve created the M9 which is an absolute marvel of technology and an S2 which is not my cup of tea but a great modern, innovative camera system, indeed. Those complaints seem ridiculous to me.


          • Seal,
            I have both an m8 and the NEX. I believe they are complimentary. Sometimes, you need an SLR style system and I don’t want to carry around additional lenses. Using the NEX, I can increase the minimal focal length to any depth I want. I can also use the nex in VERY low light situations as it has a usable ISO 6400.

            Also, my favorite “M” lens on the NEX is the Voigtlander 21 f/4. It is very compact, gives a very usable 35mm equivelent, has almost no distortion and just gives a very good complement to the 35 cron on my m8.

            In summary, I agree with you, the m8 files are leaps and bounds ahead of the NEX at base ISO, but many of the limitations of a rangefinder can be overcome with this simple small camera and allow a plethera of creative opportunities.

            Shot with the Nex and my 50 cron

          • Great! I’m very happy the NEX works for you Jonathan. Mine is currently residing in the ‘Was pile’ and listed on eBay.


  17. I love the way you have captured the intimate nature of this performance with the sepia toned B&W shots Steve. What little noise there is gives these images a film like quality that is really cool, almost like a set form a 60’s night club. Have to say I’m impressed by the second performance shot from the Nex5 great colour and pretty good clarity given the circumstances. Hope you enjoy Switzerland.

  18. I think a NEX5 is a no brainer for any Leica owner. Its one of the smallest/lightest little bodies I’ve ever owned and at about 7 ounces you won’t even know you’ve got it in the bag. Its a perfect backup solution should something go wrong with your M body while on a trip (I think not too many of use can afford to carry a spare M9 around) that will still give you the ability to take some nice images.

    Additionally it can offer some unique features your not going to find on a RF such as the 7 frames per minute shooting rate, and the ability to record video footage. Now obviously those things may not be that important to a RF shooter most of the time, but I’m sure there are a few occasions on a trip where one might like to record a little movie footage. NEX also gives the articulating LCD display which can be great to compose some interesting overhead or low level shots that would be tough to otherwise frame, and some other modes that while perhaps a little gimmicky, like sweep pano, in camera HDR etc, can still be fun. I know I actually find myself using them a bit and many times actually being quite happy with the results.

    All in all you just can’t beat a NEX as a Leica accessory.

  19. That first shot at the top of the page with the type dropped in the “bubble”? Is that just natural lens flare from the Nocti wide open because of a point-source of light coming in the doorway??????…
    That is so surreal looking.
    And you perceived it as an asset not a fault!!! Nice.

  20. superb Steve. superb. You’re so right about the noise being almost completely absent! incredible. And that at 2500 iso!! incredible images. I found some super stokers from the evening too, but alas..i may not upload any 🙁 I first have to get the thumbs up from Andy before any can be put on my blog/site 🙁
    Your cape town shots are wonderful, looks like you really managed to capture the mood of cape town in only a short space of time. x

    • Wonderfull shots from down under! (but the Ricoh gxr must feel lonely at home, could have been fun to compare)
      best wishes to all of you

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