Daily Inspiration #362 by Simon Goldsworthy

Hi Steve,

I’ve probably been following your blog for about 2 years and I always enjoy the reviews, updates and other posts. Like you I have developed a passion for smaller cameras and while I have far too many the ones that get a lot of use are the Leica M9, Fuji X-Pro1 and Olympus O-MD E-M5. I sold the last of my DSLR lenses (having previously sold my DSLR) recently to fund my move into M43s and Leica M. I acquired my M9 second-hand earlier this year as a consequence of experimenting with M mount lenses on Sony NEX cameras amongst others. I was struck by how much fun it is to use a rangefinder, how expensive (but small and good) the lenses were and the stunning quality that you could get from the output when you get it right. I’m lucky enough to have acquired a Summilux 35mm lens (together with some less expensive Zeiss wide angles) to go with my M9.

In August this year my partner Louisa and I (together with our young son Daniel) departed on holiday to North Norfolk, a windswept but beautiful corner of the UK. There is sand all over the roads and half the buildings and cars look like they are in various stages of decay (and the other half are gentrified holiday cottages). While it rained a great deal while we were there (hey, it’s traditional for August in the UKโ€ฆ) we did have a great time and I was lucky enough to catch a few special moments with my M9. All of the below are taken with my M9 and Leica Summilux 35mm ASPH FLE.

We kept driving past this car on the way too and from the cottage we rented in a little North Norfolk village called South Creake. It apparently hadn’t moved for many years but was still taxed.

My partner Louisa and my son Daniel waiting for the train at Holt. I thought this might work well but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I processed the photo.

“Wind in the Willows”, view of the village green in South Creake. We had popped out to feed the ducks on the village green and I was struck by the combination of a beautiful sky and the way the wind was blowing through the trees.

This is a view along the sea front “beach” huts at Sheringham. Despite the short shower that had just fallen, the sea and sky looked amazing.

38 Comments

  1. @Simon: nice shots, the one at South Creake is really great!
    @Keefe: beware, you had to have the right subject to use a camera/lens at its best, no gear can make good photo from a dull subject. I’ve found some times in wich my old Pentacon manual focus 28mm can make pictures more beautiful and interesting than my newer Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm…

  2. Great set of images, thanks for sharing! I spent my childhood holidays in Norfolk so also have a fondness for the county. I am also gravitating towards smaller cameras (not withstanding a trip to Lisbon with Mamiya 645 kit – Chiropractor on stand-by :-)) I’ve just bought the Fuji X10 as a carry anywhere camera…saving for a Leica M (film as I can’t stretch to an M9) and 35mm Summicron ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not an expert. But I don’t get that “Leica” feeling in the pictures. Somehow the sharpness is not there. The colours are not popping. Are my eyes playing a trick on me? Or is there no such a thing?

    • Have clicked on the image and seen the larger file?

      I have seen that “feel” in other photos and on photos I took when looking to buy an M9. I initially thought these may have been out of focus a bit, given simon had not had the Rangefinder for long.

      However once you open these up it becomes clearer to me around sharpness, and i think that then flows through to colours. The colours in the car and bricks to me is fairly distinctive……but it also compares what you are used to and preferences.

      Sounds a bit corny but it’s a subtle distinctive look imo…….and I don’t own a Leica and probably won’t! But if I could find a cheaper camera which produced that look I would on a personal level.

      • Personally I think there is such a thing. There’s so much a manufacturer can do to tweak the (even RAW) output of a camera, that I would be surprised if there would not be such a thing as a Leica look. This article might be of interest in this context.

        http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/10/raw-is-not-raw.html

        On the other hand I’d not be surprised if most of this look would struggle to get through after severe resizing and when viewed in who knows which browser and on who knows which monitor.

        • So Alexander does article mean that we could see some change in the look of the files from new M, given a change in sensor and how it calibrate to levels, tones, etc in RAW?

          • That’s not exactly what I got from the it. Rather the opposite I’d say.

            The article (and the comments below it) made me aware of a couple of possibilities for manufacturers to tweak a certain look, some of which I had been previously unaware of. It leads me to believe that Leica engineers can in principle pull any look off of a sensor, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t actually took full advantage of this aspect of digital camera making. After all it’s one of their key selling points.

            To me Leica comes across as a relatively conservative company, so my bet is that they’d do anything to end up with the same look as before with their new models.

            That said, I’m certainly not a Leica expert or prophet. I’d be most happy to stand corrected on this one.

          • Looking at a shot I took with the NEX-7 with a Summicron 50 mounted on it, it’s amazing how much the “look” is down to the rendering of the lenses rather than the sensor.

          • Yeah fair call. I’d have no idea it’s just the way I interpreted that article. I agree with you. Doubt they would change the formula!!!!

    • Fair enough, all of this is in the eye of the beholder. I and others liked these a lot (which is why I sent them to steve) but it isn’t compulsory to! Andy’s right though, it does become clearer with larger pictures and sometimes it’s about the camera and sometimes about the post.

      To your question, for me, there is definitely a “look” coming out of M9 files that blows me away.

      Thanks for looking.

  4. Nice work Simon. Love your photos on your blog as well.

    I was very close to buying a second hand M9 recently. Took a card in and go t some samples and results were certainly beyond my x100!!! The reason I didn’t buy it was due to Steve’s results of the RX1. Fixed lense and no EVF no concern to me personally.

    So I have a question for you. Of the Fuji, OMD, Panasonic and M9 what camera do you gravitate towards the most in the subconcious sense? Or put in another way what camera do you use the most? Given the low light capability of all bar the M9, the fast AF and creativity with tilt LCD of OMD or quality of the FF file from the M9 I am curious.

    • Andy, thank you for the comment. Your question is a difficult one. I’m fickle and I change my mind about cameras all the time. If weight were no issue, it would be the M9. The M9 is hardly as heavy as my old combo of an A900 + Sony Zeiss lenses, but it is still quite heavy. The M9 can’t really go beyond 135mm, go to very high ISO or use zooms – none of that is the end of the world but there are times when I pick it up and put it down again as a result. However, I still get the best results from the M9 and it can easily make my other cameras look like I had vaseline applied to the lens!

      The O-MD/E-M5 (a mouthful in anyones language) is a fantastic camera that screams versatility – I can take everything off it and sneak it into a jacket pocket with the 20mm or add the grip and some of the zooms for a beefier combo). The G5 is a cracking m43s camera as well, somehow I seem to have got some great results with it. However, after the FW upgrade, I really like the X-Pro1. Did not expect to be saying that (and almost sold it just before I heard about the FW upgrade) but I’m glad I held on. IQ is great (not as good at the M9 at low ISO but better at high ISO) and they seem to have a handle on improving the quirks.

      Undoubtedly, I think I use all my M43s cameras more because I can fit one of them and a couple of lenses in my work bag no problem whereas if I do that with my M9 my chiropractor will be unhappy with me! The X-Pro1 is probably a UWA away from getting a lot more use but I do love it as a halfway house. That’s no answer to your question but if I could answer it I would have to sell the rest of my cameras and I’m having fun as I am ; )

      • Thanks Simon. Yeah tough when you have so much choice. Good luck to you given it is your passion. Some people buy cars, others jet skis and motor bikes, etc…..

        For me though I’m just after the one camera and lense. I don’t even want to have to think about which lense after owning my SLR kit (which is now gone). Just pick it up and go.

        The priority for me is the quality of file so sensor and lense combo are key AND no shutter lag (no to Fuji apart from my x100!).

        Think it will either be the M9 (or maybe even bite the bullet on new M for ISO capability) or RX1 (different beasts, different experience I know).

        • Ask yourself if you need super high ISO and carry everywhere ability. Ask yourself if you need interchangeable lenses. Yes and no, RX1, no and yes M9/ME, and yes and yes the Leica M.

  5. Thanks for all the kind comments and thank you to Steve for publishing this!

    Norfolk is a really photogenic location which, as Andrew said, looks amazing whether its sunny, raining or overcast. I had a ball with my M9 and my E-M5.

    In any event, if anyone is interested, my blog (sgoldwoblog) is here: http://wp.me/2wMAg

    There is some more stuff from Norfolk there together with my daily ramblings through London…

    Cheers all,

    Simon

  6. Fantastic Daily inspiration. Concise and captivating. Lovely shots on an obviously memorable and enjoyable holiday. You’ve captured the atmopshere of the British Summertime perfectly lol

  7. Nice photos. I like particularly like the one of the beach huts.

    Norfolk is a great place to shoot. It doesn’t seem to matter if the weather is poor, which is just
    as well….

  8. These are fantastic, especially the last one photo (the fouth), it has both colour and geometry.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Steve, I’m a new subscriber to your blog. I’m a Canon shooter from way back and have been enjoying learning about different cameras in your reviews.

    Simon, your images are beautiful and inspiring. I especially like the one of Louisa and Daniel.

    Thanks!

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