Using the Olympus OM-D and the Leica M-E by Andre Ritchie

Using the Olympus OM-D and the Leica M-E by Andre Ritchie

My name is André Ritchie and I’m writing from Macau SAR, China. I’m a regular follower of your site, I like to check what’s new and I really enjoy reading your Real Life Reviews and Daily Inspirations!

I’m writing to share my experience using two cameras: the Olympus OMD and the Leica M-E.

My passion for photography started 20 years ago with my father’s Canon AE-1. Eventually I started buying my own stuff and during the film years I embraced the Canon EOS system. So when digital photography arrived it was a natural decision to buy Canon DSLRs and keep using the same lenses. My last DSLR purchase was a 5D Mk I.

But then something happened in 2010 that completely changed my approach to camera gear: my son was born and dragging around his stuff together with a heavy DSLR + lenses became impractical.

Mirrorless was the way forward and I adopted the M4/3 system because it seemed right: decent IQ and nice body and lens proportions. Large lenses on tiny cameras feel strange to me… I went for Olympus and after a foray into the Pen series, I ended up with the OMD. Picture #1 was shot using the Olympus 75mm/f1.8 at f8. It was shot at the Macau Tower at 300+ meters height. (The Macau Tower is, among others, home to the world’s highest bungee jump…). The picture was converted to B&W using Aperture and enhanced by adding contrast. No cropping was made.

I love my OMD as is such a small and light camera, but it’s solidly built with a professional feel. IQ is very good indeed. My everyday lens is the Panasonic 20mm/f1.7. I have the additional grip attached at all times, but only half of it – never felt the need to use the vertical grip. I think Olympus got it right by creating this modular system. Handling is perfect with the grip.

My other camera is a recently purchased Leica M-E. Initially I used it with two Voigtlander M-mount lenses I previously bought for M4/3 (35mm/f1.4 and 50mm/f1.1), but soon after I bought the clinical Leica 35mm/f2 Summicron. What a perfect lens. I mean, I was happy with the results of the Voigtlanders and I think they have soul: pictures #2 and #3 were shot using the 35mm and 50mm, both wide open at f1.4 and f1.1.

But the Summicron introduced me to a different world. The remaining pictures I’m submitting were shot using the Leica M-E with the 35mm Summicron. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Many people criticize Leica – and Leica users – because of the price and lack of features. Not that I agree with their pricing strategy, but I think people who had never owned or shot with a Leica should not criticize because – when the conditions are right – the image quality is outstanding and absolutely jaw dropping.

Pictures coming out of my M-E have this unique look and special ambiance that make them extraordinary. So yes, there really is this thing called the Leica look and I think it’s worth the money.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your photography!

André Ritchie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2

3

4

5

6

79 Comments

  1. The first and last images are beautifully composed. Great use of geometry. When one refers to someone as “having a good eye”, those two I feel are repersentative of that comment.

    As for the images having a “signature”, the two that get me are #2 & 3, both shot with the Voigtlander lenses, if I read it right. Both have a dreamy look and thus emotional feel to them. Which pull them out of the ordinary family snaps.

    As one of the other commenters wrote, when new equipment can inspire you to go out and shoot, then that is a good thing. Well done Andre and congratualtions on your new acqusitions.

  2. Hi Andre,

    Congrats for the M-E! i can’t afford that, but i do own the E-M5+75mm. I could tell right away that #2 and #3 are not from E-M5 because of the the thin layer of sharpness and the rendering.

    But overall, i prefer #1 and #6 :), for the composition.

    Y

  3. Really interesting to share your experience. Thanks. I know it’s a matter of taste, but I’d like to see more light in your B&W.

  4. Thanks for article and fotos. I have been a Leica user for about 40 years, for the most part the traditional way, nowadays digital. The reason always has been and still is lenses and simplicity. One has to love this way of taking fotos or one has to leave it. However, my question to the author: Is there any strong reason for acquiring a Olympus OMD in addition to a Leica M9??? I am pondering about that, meaning, I would do it the other way around than you did. Thanks for profound recommendation. Thanks, Rolf

    • Rolf: I think a lot depends on your type of photography, or is there anything you feel you are unable to do with your M9? If we are talking about the commodity of AF, or just a the need of a flexible all around camera that is light and portable then I think the omd it’s a good choice. M4/3 is a mature system now and you can get excellent prime lenses at affordable prices. The whole package will be light and easy to carry around, shoot and have fun. However bare in mind the IQ is not as good as the M9 (and by saying this I will be criticized again).

  5. Hi Andre,
    Love your pics. Your pics demonstrate that all these three sets of equipment are capable of great images. I am not a Leica M owner, but love the images created by my old Panasonic LC1 that was co-developed with Leica. It is a dog of a camera, but when it gets a good picture, it almost always turns out to be a great picture. The sharpness and presence is amazing.

    I am now experimenting with a Fuji X-E1 with a Zeiss Biogon 35/2 lens. This combo seems to evolve in the same vein. Fuji killed the X-E1 for manual lenses by not setting a ‘minimum shutter speed’ setting. It almost always defaults to 1/30 sec in aperture priority. This single oversight has made the camera a dog to use. I am really hating this camera due to this single flaw. I hope Fuji would rectify it soon.

    I guess your M experience is like that. Many photogs seem to forgive the difficulty of using a rangefinder system (not fast enough for fast action unless you zone focus or you have a lens with short focus throw and be generally in the ball park focus area) and the occasional misaligned rangefinder and front-focus issues simply because when it works, it creates art. Ultimately, it is the end result that matters.

    Rangefinder experience is not new to me. I shoot the Fuji GW690. The quality is out of the world. The experience of carrying the camera and shooting images is not.

    I personally like the first pic. It is abstract enough to make me question what it is. It makes me spend some time looking at the various elements and analyze it. I think it is a success as an image. It holds something more than what is captured. Your family pics are nice and hold value to you due to the emotional connection. But for the stranger they are merely sweet portraits, nothing more. Your last two pics are attempts at something. I am hoping that one day you will capture that amazing image with your Leica.

    Cheers,
    Mo

    • Hi Mo,
      I also use an xpro 1 with M lenses in aperture priority mode. You can override the 1/30th default shutter speed by turning off the auto ISO feature. I hope that helps.

      Cheers,

      Kwesi

  6. Regarding the whole Leica look and “Nothing comes close to what I get from my Leica glass in regards to character, bokeh, color, sharpness, micro contrast, etc. It is what it is.” etc claims I hope that most of people here know of Jim Radcliffe and his amazing site boxed light, here is what he said in his Canon 5dmkii review:

    “Funny Thing
    While I kept the new camera a secret for a month or so I was amazed at the number of people who thought it was another Leica based on the photos I had posted here. So much for “The Leica Look”.”

    interesting that people whose work speak for themselves are constantly saying similar things like above quote from Jim Radcliffe (look at David Duchemin and Mitchel Kanashkevich) though I’m sure that armchair or backyard photo enthusiasts will disagree

  7. There’s a “Leica look,” a “Fujifilm X-Trans CMOS look,” a “CaNikon look,” a “Sony RX1 with Zeiss f/2.0 look” and I am sure many others. Shoot whatever sensor, lens, gear combo that makes your kids or whatever you shoot look good!!! If you have courage like the OP, then share your work in a public forum only to have some hack ridicule you for your choice of equipment. Dude, chill the f#ck out and shoot what you enjoy (and can afford) and let others do the same … no point in coming onto a public forum to make a statement about how you loathe Leica’s marketing/pricing policies … makes the OP happy and he gets results that he enjoys so let him enjoy his process of making HIS pictures.

  8. Print big. Look at prints.
    Use a Leica lens on a leica body.
    Then you’ll know what Andre means.

  9. @George Etter: “kenne ich mein Verhaltnis zu mir selbst und zur Auszenwelt, so heisze ich’s Wahrheit. Und so kann jeder seine eigene Wahrheit haben, und ist es doch immer diesselbige.”

    It’s not rocket science. It all goes pearshaped though when one’s personal truth acquires superiority by being impressed on someone else’s truth.

    They’re opinions, personal or shared, and valuable as such. If the merits of a lens (or a camera, or an image) could be fully measured and described in numbers exclusively, it would be a boring world.

    As for your particular prejudice against lawyers (tongue in cheek possibly), their job is to represent their client’s interest, which involves presenting reality as the client sees it. There is no absolute truth.

  10. For me that magic dust started when I was 7yrs old in the form of my father’s M3. He bought it to record my childhood a week before my birth. From my earliest memories I was fascinated by this M3 with its dials and beautiful chrome finish. It was at 7yrs old that I first took my first deliberate picture with it – it was a slightly blurry picture of my mother at her dressing table. She mock “poses” for me in loving way. It is one of my favorite pictures ever. Yes, it has a sort of “glow”. When I graduated this same M3 was given to me as a present from my father. This same M3 and its Summicron collapsible lens is still shooting away 57 years later and is still giving that glow to my own family images. This same M3 stills inspires me to go out and shoot on a daily basis for both work and pleasure. I now have 4 digital versions of the M, many lenses of varying vintages, as well as a barrage of other makes and format cameras that I choose for specific commissioned work as the need and intention arises. But the camera that continues to inspire me to go out and shoot is that M3. It sits at my desk and even if not used as much as in the old days, it still holds a certain fascination and a certain “magic” by just holding the camera in my hands, just as I did as a child way back. If a camera inspires one to go out and shoot and record the magic moments of our personal lives as beautifully illustrated by Andre with his beautiful images, then who can argue with the magic that a Leica or whatever make of camera gives us the thrill and passion of recording these personal and glowing moments.
    Andre I love the mix you have submitted here with the emotional family images as well as the well observed and powerfully composed (these unusual compositions really held my attention) city shots. I think your choice of the ME and the OMD is perfect for the work you doing – specially when your beautiful boy grows older and his energy levels exceed your reactions- that OMD and its super fast AF will come in very handy 🙂 Enjoy your family and cameras – may the glow continue to shine on you and yours.

    Sincerely
    Jorge

  11. I agree that anyone posting here is worthy of a little respect.

    I love Leica quite simply because after decades of film shooting with M bodies I still find the the rangefinder focussing of the Leica bodies to suit me. Please note I didn’t say better, just that I like it. There are no other digital RFs, so no choice! The price of Leicas is higher than most because European wages are higher than Asian (for the most part) and the volume of production is a fraction of the other big names. Accept that and all can be peaceful.

    The lenses? Well, they are good. However, I tested my 35 Summ FLE against my Voigt 35 2.5 and they were indistinguishable at 100% crop. $4k for just over 1 stop extra and a lot of weight? Voigtlanders and Zeiss are astounding value and darned good. I truly doubt anyone can spot the difference on a screen.

    • “The price of Leicas is higher than most because of European wages…….”.
      Unit labor cost in Germany are lower than in Japan (i.e labor cost per unit output) based on publicly available statistics. Blue collar wages in Portugal are low and in Germany no longer among the highest worldwide. And high productivity of German workers more than compensates for relatively high labor costs. Another prove why the fairytale of cost driven prices of Leica products no longer flies are the Leica labeled Olympus EVF, the rebadged Panasonic EVF for the PanaLeica point and shoot as well as the PanaLeica camera. They are priced about twice a high as the ones sold under the original brand, whithout ever having seen European manufacturing.
      Facts are facts and Leica product positioning and pricing strategies are not a fuction of cost or European wages. A significant junk of the money paid to Leica are for their product positioning and marketing, quite a skillfull function in the company and recently more innovative than the product development guys.

  12. Rather use the Olympus OMD to take my kids picture and keep the money for their education. 15000$ on a leica with a 50mm lens to take kids picture? Comme on…
    When (if ever) I’m given assignment to go around the world like Salgado to make photo report then I’ll invest on such a camera. I’ll buy two of them.

  13. I carry the same gear for nearly the same reasons. My OMD with my 25mm Lux and my Leica ME with a 50mm Lux and 35mmCron. I love the portability and iq of the OMD and the simplicity of the Leica . I love shooting with both; the OMD because of the weather proofing, feature set and amazing line of fast primes available and the Leica ME for the second to none quality of both the camera and images but also that it slows me down and reminds me of when I used to shoot film manually. For me the combination is nearly perfect and the two cameras really do produce.
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thank you so much for taking the time sharing these very personal and private photos. Love the feeling your pictures have. I have shared also on this site, and of course, the negatives come with the positives.

    I own the OMD, and never even touched a Leica…but I do notice a distinct difference, and the Leica shots are miles ahead of any other files. There is a life to the photos that can’t be beat…and I guess I have to stamp that with “in my opinion” to justify it, when in actual truth, it is very clear to see. Funny because those who are negative on here seem to think they are owed something from the person who shares their pictures. Not all photography needs to impress the masses, and the negative comments are baffling and uncalled for.

    Keep at it Andre, and all the best to you.

  15. #1 is jaw dropping. So Kertesz.
    I’d frame it and put it on an important wall in my house.

  16. Caro André, acho que as sua fotografias são óptimas, leica ou om-d tanto dá. Também já tive uma panasonic gf1 com a 20mm 1.7 e sempre achei que era a minha lente favorita.

    Cumps

    • Obrigado pela mensagem! Sim, a 20mm da Panasonic é de facto muito boa. É a minha lente preferida na omd. Só é pena a focagem automática não ser tão rápida como a das outras lentes Olympus que tenho (a 45mm e a 75mm). Tirando isso, é perfeita!
      Cumprimentos

  17. Just mention leica and the “sandcastle smashers” come out with their garble. I have looked at some of their work and they really should go “bully themselves” instead.

    • No Jan, that cranckyness might be related to the realization that most of them have to find a way to fork over 6200 euro to Wetzlar in order to get the latest in image quality as Steve demonstrated yesterday :-).

      Greets, Ed.

  18. Yes but the Olympus om-d is not so good because OVERSHARPENED ALL THE PICTURES READ THE REVIEW FROM DPREVIEW

      • No Steve,

        an OM-D is not a fantastic camera…..it’s a good camera, it ticks 95% of all the boxes in my book in portability, versatility, and usability…..therefore I own one (and I don’t own a Fuji x100s :-)). I use it with zooms because I need zooms for my framing (my mistake I know). I use a bit of optical quality that I restore with DxO quite nicely.

        When would it be fantastic…..if I had sharpness enough to be able to enlarge prints 8′ x 5′ instaid of 20” x 30” or even 13” by 20”. If it had a 7.5 mm to 200 mm FF equivalent zoom, with the optical creamyness of the 2.0 Leica 50 of the other day.

        But that’s indeed fantastic in the literal sence of the word. A thing of fantasy. I sold two camera’s to buy it. A Fuji GSW690 that could outfox an OM-D in raw image quality due to 6×9 Velvia positives coupled to a 5.6 65 that is just gorgious in contrast and definition. But it was inferiour to the OM-D since it only had that 65…..(28 in FF terms). Not that I didn’t make great shots with it, no way…..but I always felt limited, and that didn’t feel good. And on the other end a GF1. My eyes are getting older (as does the rest) and I had trouble oogling the little display (it frankly gave me headaches of the splitting variety) and carrying the bolt on EVF was also stupid since it puts a bulge on the camera. So it was GH3 or OM-D, the first being way more versatile then the second, but the second being lighter and smaller. A no brainer…..so in went the compromise OM-D, not a fantastic camera, just a well build tool that gets the job done. More I don’t need and more I don’t want. Maybe a 60 mm macro….but maybe.

        Greets, Ed.

  19. Nice photos. I love the third and fourth photos.

    The leica look/glow and the zeiss pop are real but for me it’s the lenses that produce them. If anyone wants to experience it on the cheap I would recommend getting leica r mount lenses and contax g zeiss lenses which give the same performance but at a much lower cost.

    I would recommend both the leica r summicron f2 50mm and the contax g zeiss 45mm planar. Both of these are out of this world good and can be bought (relatively) cheaply on eBay. The r mount leicas can be adapted to dslrs and mirrorless and the contax g lenses to mirrorless only. I use the summicrons on my 5d mark ii and the contax lenses with micro four third cameras. The summicron s are great to use with the 5d mark ii where as the contax g lenses are a bit diddly with micro four thirds

    • I agree with Daniel’s suggestion. I bought some Leica R lenses last year to learn manual focusing with Sony Nex 5N. They can produce very nice results. Recently I bought Metabones Speed Booster Adapter. With these combinations the results are very satisfaction.

  20. I hate to be a troll, but I can’t take this nonsense anymore. Sorry for the tone of this comment, but maybe this puts things a little in perspective to some.

    I am wondering about that Leica look. I can’t spot anything like that in any of the pictures. There is nothing special about the way the images taken by the Summicron shown in this post are rendered. Nothing. No magic fairy dust, no magic Leica look.

    I won’t judge anybody overspending on a digital Leica camera body and I certainly agree that Leica makes excellent lenses, but my personal opinion is that a digital M camera body is simply not worth its money (seriously, ~4800EUR for a M-E which features image equal image quality to your OM-D which is one fifth of the price?), also the Leica lenses are about three to four times as expensive as a competitive lens in the same mount with almost the same sharpness across the same apertures to an extend where only massive enlargements or pixel peeping will show marginal differences. If someone wants to spend four times as much for less than 1% measurable improvement in image quality, that’s their choice, I won’t criticise people for their deep pockets. But I fail to see this special Leica quality of pictures, most often and particularly when people showcase pictures speaking of how Leica lenses sprinkle magic fairy dust on images taken through them. Sorry, it’s just not there.

    A picture is a 2-D representation of a 3-D object, governed by the law of physics, most of which can be formulated and put in criteria which are measurable when comparing lenses. The “Leica look” seems to be none of these real world criteria and in my view falls more into the category placebo perception by people who need to justify overspending on an expensive camera gear item. I can argue on sharpness, distortion, diffraction, optimum aperture and so on, but this “Leica look” evades me.

    I own a set of Zeiss lenses for my Contax G2. They are as perfect as any of the lenses Leica makes featuring the same focal length and speed. They are sharp to the corners at every aperture, the bokeh they render is beautiful, they have almost no perceivable distortion. Nobody in their right mind would claim these lenses have a special and unique Zeiss look.

    So please, when showing pictures taken with your special Leica look, make sure they have the Leica look because I fail to see anything special in comparison to the other pictures which can’t be explained with simple physics based criteria that applies to lenses of all brands.

    If anyone can point me to an image with that Leica look, I’d appreciate it. I’d like to be surprised.

    • Tobias, to me the Leica look is more of a state of mind, a kind of a “stain” on a Leica owner living memory that is there to justify the uniqueness in spending that much. Doing so (speinding) must result in “something” that sets you 3 steps further than the crowd. It’s the endorphines that keeps the magic of spending going. That bad.

    • I didn’t see anything special (or stunning, awesome, or whatever hyperbole) about these images. They’re nice, well executed family pictures (most of them), obviously taken with good cameras, that have a special siginificance to Andre, and that’s good enough.

      • agree Michael….but Tobia and Bogdan …i don’t own a Leica…but there is a “look” but not in these examples.

          • No lens for 35mm on the planet will render like a Leica Noctilux 0.95 (except the old and no longer available in the USA SLR Magic Hyperprime T 0.95). No 50mm DSLR lens will do what the 50 lux can do at 1.4 in regards to detail, micro contrast and bokeh qualities. No 50mm lens in DSLR world can even come close to matching what comes from the 50 APO Cron and Leica M or MM. These lenses do indeed have their own unique look and signature. The 35 Summilux is another. If you can not see it then that does not mean it doesnt exist, just means you choose not to see it. Ive spotted images shot with Leica lenses MANY times over other cameras and DSLR’s. Just like Canon DSLR’s have their own look, and Nikon theirs, Leica cameras and lenses have their own from lens qualities to color signature. You will not see it in every shot taken by every Leica shooter but it is indeed there. I have worked with tons of gear. Nothing comes close to what I get from my Leica glass in regards to character, bokeh, color, sharpness, micro contrast, etc. It is what it is.

          • Lawyers deal with “absolute truths” all the time, but they just choose to ignore them…it’s just the profession I guess.

          • I hear the new 34mm 1,4 and 85mm Sigmas on the Nikon 800 to be absolutely phantastic, to be as good or even better than the best Leica ever produced.

          • I think each & every lens as it’s own “look.” But I think it’s a slippery slope when we start to employ the adjective “better.” Indeed, there are some lenses Leica makes that have no IQ equal from any other manufacturer on the planet. And they’re rightfully famous for that very reason.

            But the same can be said for some of Nikon and Canon’s optics. I can think of a few lenses right off the top that best anything equivalent from Leica…and in some cases Leica doesn’t even make similar glass.

            Again, this isn’t about know-how, it’s about price point. There is nothing that Leica knows about making glass that the Japanese didn’t learn decades ago. In fact, if anything, the Japanese titans have far more access to advanced R&D than Leica has ever had, simply do to their size, cash assets, technology teams, and electronics (aka computer) expertise.

            But, they choose to manufacturer products for the average consumer as well; economies of scale are where large corporations are born.

            Naturally, doing so thereby lowers the overall “quality” of their lens lines, taken as a whole.

            I’d be willing to bet that if Nikon or Canon chose to make a $5000+ 50mm lens, it would be hands down optically and mechanically superior to Leica.

            But if you want to look at the electronics side of the equation, the Japanese are decades ahead. To this day, no manufacturer aside from Nikon makes an RGB metering sensor; not even Canon. Nikon introduced this back on the F5 in the mid-90s. And their CLS also similarly beats every other manufacturer on the planet. I know, I’ve tried several of them.

            All of this matters little, of course. Shoot what works well for you — your “eye” will determine the quality of your images far more than your camera — as will your understanding of subject, composition…and perhaps most importantly, light. At a certain point, lines of resolution and sharpness tests are meaningless. Most quality cameras today are capable of better image quality than their owners.

          • My observation is to do with the M9 CCD sensor and lens combo. I think the new M is a great camera but is different from the look I refer to.

            I honestly think non Leica people love disputing this as much as Leica people love their photography experience. Its amusing to watch as a non leica user.

            And Tobias if you can’t see it….you can’t see it….its no big deal….but it is there imo.

          • All the different companies that produce lenses have a relatively consistent look that is unique to them, certainly across their professional lenses. This is so that when producing work professionally the photographer gets a consistent look to the photographs. THere is a leica look, there is a zeiss look, there is a canon look, there is a nikon look, there is an Olympus look, there is a Panasonic look, etc.

            No one needs to provide evidence to you,there are enough people claiming there is a leica look that have used a number of different systems that the onus is on you to disprove it conclusively before making any further statements.

            On a positive note, the zeiss lenses with the contax system you’ve got are amazing and the 45mm is a true legend. those lenses have though clearly got a look that is unique to zeiss lenses.

            To test it for yourself, if you use different manufacturer’s lenses via adapters on a single sensor (eg. nex, m43) you can see clearly that the different lens manufacturers have got their own unique look especially when shooting in colour.

            Checked out your photos from your link, really nice.

          • “No one needs to provide evidence to you,there are enough people claiming there is a leica look that have used a number of different systems that the onus is on you to disprove it conclusively before making any further statements.” I bet you’re proud of this cunning nonsense, huh? Same reasoning that tried to justify religion? :))

        • Funny how I don’t see posters mentioning a Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony etc. “look” when posting pics taken with these lenses, but pretty much always when using Leica glass. I won’t dispute that there possibly or probably is a Leica “look”. Point is, I honestly don’t see the respective looks and more importantly can’t honestly say which “look” is better than the other.

          • There is no “better”. There is only “different”, “personal preference” and the need, felt by some, to present the gear they own as “awesome”, “stunning” and better than the stuff other shooters have.

            Great images have been made by any type of equipment, and so have mediocre ones. Have a look at any Nikon, Canon or other gear oriented site, you’ll see what I mean. For me it’s interesting image first, gear used second.

    • Tobias Weisserth:

      ‘I won’t judge anybody overspending on a digital Leica camera body’

      Your comment about ‘overspending’ is indeed judgement.

      I don’t own a Leica, neither do I want one. I enjoyed Andre’s photos as they document important moments of his life. Andre, I’m sure you have many great moments and photos to come. I wish you and your Family all the best for the future.

      If you care that much about what you or someone else owns, you are probably missing out on what is happening right now.

      Take a step back….

      Looking forward the next post Steve. 🙂

      Jim

    • Well said. And something pros have known for a long time.

      The “placebo effect” is a good analogy.

    • I come to speak in peace, brothers. This is my story. My wife is not as crazy about shooting pictures as I do. She would just browse casually with my proud street scene pictures but intensely on our nine years old daughter’s pictures. I think all mothers are like that. I bought her a X100 and compliment her artistic talent, extolling the fun and virtue of photography with the real intention of her going easy on my Leica lens acquisition. I also told her that our daughter skin tone are so beautiful on those Leica photos and of course I told her that our daughter beautiful skin is a matter of genetic inheritance from her. One time I show her a bunch of pictures and ask her to guess which are taken by Leica lenses. She got them all correct. Is there a Leica look? Yes! But then there is also such a thing as Nikon look too. She only likes the Nikon 85 f1.4 pictures and not the rest. But she likes all the Leica lenses, particularly the older designs. So this is my story.

      • Love your story, EH.

        I have too finally got the gist of “woman logic” with my wife and acquired a few more vintage Leica lenses that flatter and pander to the feminine ego. Her favorite lens is my 75mm Summilux It is a lens guaranteed to please even the most hardened Leica-skeptic wife – it does wonders for female portraits … and of course gives her that illusive “glow” that gives me further excuse to keep my Leica lens passion fed. I have over the years learned to never ever test her with the crons (specially the 75mm cron apo asph) or the Elmarits or anything that is super sharp again… no point in upsetting the “trouble and strife” and getting her to hate that red dot… enough haters around. Oh, another lens she loves (lens that loves her) is the Canon 85mm F1.2 🙂

        Peaceful Easter Weekend to All

        Jorge

  21. The picture of your son in the window is pretty stunning, I love the rendering of sweet leica glass.

    • Only that this is image #3 and it was taken with a Voigtländer lens, not a Leica lens. See my comment below, there is no special, recognisable Leica look that is distinct from other lenses that have the same image quality, your comment proves how people fall to this optical marketing myth that is attached to the Leica brand. Ridiculous.

  22. I own an OMD and I am one of those that yearns to own a Leica ME, MM or M one day. Well written thoughts, I enjoyed it a lot. I must agree with a poster above about the picture of your son by the window. All photos are good, but that one is one of those we call “priceless”…I even dare say it is special!

    Best regards!

  23. Hey Bogdan,

    Chill mate. All he is saying is that we shouldn’t judge something until we have tried it. Think that’s a pretty fair statement no?

    I don’t know if a bugatti is really 10-20 times better than a KIA. Both get us from point a to b. And until I’ve tried it, I can’t say. Different strokes for different folks that’s all.

    Peace

    • Ditto.. It reminded me why I stopped reading the comments here.. Someone has the balls and makes the effort to submit a post, and the loud mouths come poring out.. Glad I don’t hate life that much.

      • Well,

        Having driven (not owned) a so called supercar……whilest my own car was a real supercar which had 45 (or 61) hp and drove 33 km for every liter of diesel (and held no fewer the 5 world records for consumer car at the time it was build), both at the track and on the road (in rush hour), I can safely state, that the most expensive is not always the most practical :-).

        By the way if you wonder what my car was…..an Audi A2 1.2 TDI…..and the supercar was a Lambo Murci….

        Maybe that is what a Leica is to. It’s expensive, classic, optically stunning, but not always the most practical choice. A Nikon D4 or Canon 1Dx is nearly as expensive and expensive Nikon and Canon glass can also be found. But 99% of the world’s professional photographers go for these two brands. Are they all nust. Off course not. They need the comfort of fast reliable autofocus, they need the extended ISO range of their FF sensors and they need the speed of their “motordrives”. No Leica can match that, full stop.

        Optically no camera matches a Leica. Also full stop.

        But having said that I say again what is more important then the camera, any camera, is the skill and dedication of the photographer. HCB could have made most of his pictures with a Nikon or a Canon but he chose the Leica, because when he started Nikon and Canon werent around or at least no serious contenders. Maybe the optical quality wouldn’t have been that great but it’s not optical quality that defines HCB shots.

        Now ironically Steve shows it best. No matter what camera he’s using (or what subject he’s shooting) all his photo’s have the Steve look about them. I don’t now how he does it and frankly I don’t care (my photo’s have my look and I like that to). But I do know that Leica is only part of that look, since he would be able to get that look with a iPhone if he wanted to and that is what photography is all about.

        So if you can afford it, shoot Leica all you like (if I could maybe I would), but never in a fleeting moment let the camera (or any camera) fool you into thinking you can buy photographic skills in a camera store, those are only created by shooting. Long, hard and painfull shooting.

        Greets, Ed.

        • Right HCB’s favorite lens was a 50mm Zeiss Sonnar, and the greatness of his shots have absolutely nothing to do with optical quality. Any modern 50mm 1.8 beats the uncoated stuff Cartier-Bresson and the other masters of the era optically speaking. Geometry, composition and hum “decisiveness” made HCB great. He chose Leica because of the discreet form factor. Shall I quote the man himself “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept”

  24. “Many people criticize Leica – and Leica users – because of the price and lack of features. Not that I agree with their pricing strategy, but I think people who had never owned or shot with a Leica should not criticize because – when the conditions are right – the image quality is outstanding and absolutely jaw dropping.”
    André what kind of an illogical logic are you trying to promote here? Not owning something (I call here Leica) just because of its outrageous pricing for the “lack of features” you mentioned does not allow people to criticise the price of something simply not worth? Basically what you are saying can be rephrased as: pay that goddamn money for THE something, live with the subpar performance and only then are you entitled to moan about it. Brrr…
    “because – when the conditions are right – the image quality is outstanding…” I think you could make a good promoter for Leica since this fabulous reasoning for buying one expensive “something” has never been forwarded to the-anxiously-looking-forward-to-buy-one-crowd! Really, really, really??? So basically Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Olympus, etc have only been selling cameras for “when the conditions are wrong” and they simply work where Leica fails miserably? Reason to sue them? Dunno, yet smth is fishy with this strategy, don’t you think? I pity whoever falls for this kind of misleading leading advertisement articles. 🙁

    • I think “the conditions” he meant the weight of camera gears. Everyone knows you can buy 1DX or D4 at lower price and may produce great images, but don’t forgot comparing the weight of gears you need to carry. Leica gives you the same great images with lighter weight of gears. It gets tired easily when you have kids running around. If you need a professional camera, I’d suggest DSLR, but if you need everyday camera, I’d suggest a Leica M series. Just because I hold them both.

      • Hello Jobc,
        You’ absolutely right. I own tons of canon’s pro gears, but I can’t take with me all the time. For me, It is seem for the studios work only. Sure, u can take canon gear from time to time but not for long trip or everyday use. You know what is in my bag all the time, Leica MP and film case from JCH, even I do not need batteries for metering (feel right and good in hand, IMO). Simplicity of RF camera is leica. There are many more other RF system bands that also do the job well, but leica has it own way.

        For those who can’t afford Leica digital, buy m2 or m3 with Leica Lens, then you will know what “leica look really is”. Be positive! all gears are use for their specific job…..canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, ect……, are just a tools.:) I can’t afford to buy Roll Royce, but i can buy one of the top brand camera.

        Andres, I enjoy reading your article. Thanks Steve for sharing this. All pictures are great. 🙂

        P
        Apology for my English.

    • that’s a bit harsh but I agree. just because someone is sensible and not buys a super expensive leica, doesn’t mean he cannot criticise.

      I too would love to own it but the price, ,heftiness of the camera puts me off. Also it comes with only one year official warranty. I’ll be devastated if I spend that much and it stops working or gets stolen…

      my view anyway

    • I personally don’t want to rely on a camera that only delivers outstanding results when the “conditions are right.”

      Or, to quote a 1992 magazine ad for the Nikon F4s: “Have a shot in hell.”

      Absolutely love your first, fifth and sixth images, though, Andre! Just remember, the camera is an extension of your eye (aka vision), not the other way ’round.

  25. André,

    I really love the calm and smooth atmosphere that reflect in your photographs. Great picture of your son (# 3)!

    Ernesto

  26. Nice write up and I really like the image of your son in the window, that’s priceless indeed.

    Thanks for sharing

    Jeffrey

Comments are closed.