Taking a photo stroll in Tallinn Estonia with the Fuji X100 and Leica M9

A Photo Stroll in Tallinn Estonia with the X100 and M9

By Steve Huff

What a crazy last couple of days..

I am now in Tallinn Estonia! I survived 26 hours of airports and air travel and then woke up this morning at 4 AM to head out and shoot in this lovely town. I flew out here to Europe to document Seals Summer Β tour and between shows I plan on shooting some personal street stuff as well. The sights, the sounds, the buildings, and the people…wherever I go!

As we walked the streets at 4:30 AM it was quiet, peaceful and LIGHT. Odd because the night before I noticed it was still light out at 11PM at night when I woke up for a bit. Pretty crazy when you are so used to the sun going down by 6 or 7.

But Tallinn is a beautiful place full of photo opportunities and I am hoping to shoot a bit more here before we leave. I just wanted to post and share some shots I snapped with the Leica M9 and 35 Cron as well as the little Fuji X100, which did fantastic!

Enjoy! Click any image for larger and better version, and I will be posting more later. Thanks for looking!

This one was snapped with the X100 wide open.

Fuji X100 – f/4 – JPEG

Fuji X100 – f/4

Leica M9 and 35 Summicron at f/2.8

Leica M9 and 35 Summicron

M9 and 35 cron

Fuji X100

Leica M9 and 35 Summicron

Fuji X100

Fuji X100, F/2

Leica M9 and Noctilux at f/0.95

Leica M9 and Noctilux at f/0/95

Fuji X100

Fuji X100


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  1. Will get there in 235 days and 10 hours as a delegate of the European Youth Parliament. Looks to be an awesome place to take photos πŸ˜‰

    • Are you sure about that ? The new Noctilux is widely considered to have good bokeh, but no more than that (and certainly not as distinctive and awe-inspiring as the old Noctilux). Are you perhaps getting confused by believing “Bokeh” refers to how out of focus the backgrounds are, rather than the quality of those out of focus areas ?

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  3. Hi Steve,

    Did you ever shoot chris pearson while he was opening for seal some years ago? I used to work with Chris and was just curious as he had a pretty strong stage presence about him. Thanks for sharing your travels!

  4. I like having the friends reflection in the glass of the first photo, and, of course, I love both of the cake counter photos (the little boy is classic and the woman’s expression is priceless!).
    Thanks for blogging!

  5. But now the real question is whether you can update the M9 firmware update released today in the “field circumstances”! Especially for your European trip, they have even improved the Italian translations! πŸ˜‰


    “Improvements in the M9 Firmware Version 1.162 1. Camera Performance:
    – Improvement of the sensor homogeneity for wide-angle lenses There is an additional colour calibration for all wide-angle lenses, that minimizes chromatic deviations
    between image centre and image corner, especially in critical shooting situations.
    – Optimization of internal processes
    To assure the general system stability, internal software processes have been optimized.
    2. Bug fixes:
    – Improvements in Italian translations”

    • Been using this new firmware for over a month. I noticed nothing as I dont use really wide angle lenses but have been shooting a bit with the 24 lux while here, and all looks good. Thanks!

  6. Tip,

    Steve if you can manage and take pictures at the North Sea Jazz, Seal slot is between Chaka Kahn and Candy Dulfer…..nice. And grab Seal and take him to the Fotomuseum of Rotterdam, Great show on display there. A restaging of “New Topographics” with all the original pictures (as close to the 70th prints as they could get their hands on). And an added bonus. Great surroundings as well. The museum is situated in the most newly developed urban part of Rotterdam and remember Rem Koolhaas is Dutch and it shows…..nice scenery.

    Greetings, Ed

  7. Ah, Steve,

    That first shot, was that only the X100 wide open or your mouth wide open also and drewling a bit?

    Greetings, Ed

  8. Steve
    Question 2: do you use Auto DR? what is your view on these settings? how do you take advantage of each setting?
    Your experienced background can really help me. Looking forward to your reply soon.
    B. Regards

  9. Hey Steve,,,,,
    Enjoyed very much of your website and contents you put into it.
    Question: I really would like to know if you do post editing before you post your pictures on your website? any noise reduction? Contrast modification? or anything else?

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  11. Welcome in Europe. Enjoy your journey! I am sure we will see a lot of fantastic fotos like above.

  12. Very nice shots. I especially like the boy at the pastry counter and the rainy window. What a nice surprise as I scrolled down.

  13. Concerning the photo of Seal’s use of the M9….

    You may notice that the ladies came up to him in an alley way where there were no cars to rest the paper on…

    Thus without wishing to let his fans wait while he opened his bag to look for a hard surface, he did the most logical thing and that was to use his camera as a hard surface to write upon. Yes this is one of those things about being so famous, sometimes we the public lose our sense of perspective and say odd things…
    He is obvioulsly a man of immense talent and love, that he allows people to come up to him and ask him for an autograph and he gives such happiness to thousands of people who watch him in his concerts…
    It was by his initial worry about Steve that he inivted him upon his tour in Italy that gave Steve the opportunity to be able to forget his worries and take some wonderful pictures…
    Everyone who follows this site, has the opportunity to see some wonderful pictures of Estonia… and we should all thank both Seal and his band and Steve for all of this…

    Perhaps if a Papparazi photograper followed anyone around and remarked upon exactly how they used their M9 it might end in a bloody argument…
    so wouldn’t it be better to go back and look at the photos and write something a little more constructive than being tounge in cheek….

    being negative is so easy… even if it’s only done in humour….

  14. Hi, nice shots. I’m actually from Estonia (PΓ€rnu) myself. If possible, I would like you to try and do some street photography in PΓ€rnu, if you can πŸ™‚

    I think “RΓΌΓΌtli street” is the busiest street we have here. Or if it’s weekend, then there will be a lot of people near the beach.

  15. I like the woman near the pastry counter… that noctilux makes it look like in space…

    Also love the picture beneath it with the rain at the window…looks like a painting

  16. Hey, really freshening shots. Wow. The M9 is great, but a little critique, the group portrait with Seal and the nice young ladies shows some annoying noise in the area of the black shirts of the girls. May we know at which ISO setting this was captured?

    Have a good time. Thanks for sharing.


    • That was at ISO 160 but I horribly underexposed the shot by accident so I had to bring it back during the RAW conversion. That noise does not bother me in the slightest, not like its going to be printed on a billboard πŸ™‚ But the noise is only there due to the underexposure.


      • Fast explaining, thanks. And not to be misunderstood, I like this shot really although there’s no artistic spin in it. And to pick up your “billboard idea”..think it’s not so bad, cause pretty girls always win. πŸ™‚

  17. The picture just before the last – taken out of the window – is very special. It looks like a painting. Very nice.

    • Yes, that is a unique shot – a picture of great beauty. You got a good eye Steve!

  18. Interesting as well that the Fuji X100 shots stand up quite well next to the M9 shots…they ring true with character….if they can simplify the design, we’d have a big winner…

    • I agree, they really do. Obviously nothing is going to match the detail and clarity of a M9 file, especially viewed full screen, and there will be some obvious DOF differences in some images as well, but what I think speaks most highly for the X100 is that the overall look and composition of the shots matches Steve’s overall shooting style. In other words, one can approach shooting the X100 with the same “eye” they would use a true RF w/35mm.

      That what was really most important to me when I had to downgrade, so to speak, from my M9 to the X100 due to some financial reasons. I could accept giving up some overall IQ as I knew that was a given, but what I didn’t want to compromise on was the overall shooting experience that I had with my M.

      As a DSLR convert I really took the overall way of shooting, or perhaps “seeing” that the RF brought me. I felt a connection to the scene looking through the big bright viewfinder and seeing the world as it really was in front of me, not just a narrow selective focused slice of it as rendered by my 70-200 zoom lens. It was like the camera wasn’t there, rather than with my D3 and big lens really getting between myself and the subject.

      Make no mistake, the X100 technically has more in common with a P&S than a rangefinder, but when you get past the specs, firmware issues etc, and actually get down to the experience of heading out and shooting with the camera, 99% of that fades away and its a really enjoyable and unique experience, only matched by my time with the M9.


  19. Lovely photos, Steve….the city looks so calm, quite, and peaceful the way that you have shown it. At 4 am, it’s a perfect time to get those hidden city moments…enjoy many of those moments on tour and in between…

  20. Steve
    Great Job !!!
    I was on vacation in Budapest, Hungrey and there was Posters all over the city of Pest promoting Seals concert..Have a great time !
    Dave Berry

  21. Wonderful pictures Steve! Have fun on the tour!

    p.s. Remember to try a meal at Olde Hansa! It’s not just a gimmick when they say it’s medieval cuisine, takes a couple of months in training to fashion a modern woman into an old(as in language) Estonian speaking waitress! And the food’s really good too. Although sometimes you wonder what the mystery meat things could be. :p

  22. Stunning shots Steve! Tallinn looks like one beautiful town! Nice portraits too πŸ™‚

  23. Great pics! My wife and I are going in a couple months, can’t wait. I hope you enjoy your time in Europe. We’ve been here for a couple of years now and have really enjoyed ourselves.

  24. I like the little boy at the pastry counter, if I were there you know where I would be. LOL

  25. Great Photos Steve! indeed these northern parts of the world offer a lot of light during the day (I am living in Hannover, Germany and we have similar long days) – and that’s somethign I really love exactly because of the photo opportunities. On the other hand, if one wants to take a picture of a sunrise, one neesd to prepare with a lot of coffee πŸ˜‰ Enjoy Estonia and looking forward to more pictures of the streets and of the tour! Cheers, KM

  26. Great shots! Looking forward to more! Come to Norway and the Midnight Sun, and you won’t worry about high ISO performance! We have to use ND filters at night! πŸ™‚

  27. I love it how Seal uses the M9 as a … support for writing autographs.

    If you have some time, try some Viru beer and local food, it tastes pretty good.

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