My Thoughts on the Leica M 240
by Brett Price
Had a few articles on here before. I mentioned in those articles that I’ve been on a waiting list for the Leica M(240) for over 6 months and had not received it. Well… It finally came! I now own a Black Leica M type 240 and oh man… Its good. On a side note, I was on B&H’s waiting list for around 7 months with no luck. I took a trip into london and headed over to R.G. Lewis to check out their Leica Boutique store and after talking with them for a while I decided to drop my name from B&H and get on the list with R.G.Lewis… Had the camera in a month! They are excellent guys and the whole experience (buying internationally) which scares the hell out of me, was handled in an efficient and top-notch manner. I highly recommend them.
I’ve written two other reviews on here about Leica cameras and gear related to that. I had images from the M9 with the Zeiss Sonnar f1.5 (a lens that I found ultimately frustrating) as well as images shot on film the with Summilux 50mm ASPH on film with my M7. I don’t own the M9 anymore but I still own the Summilux and my trusty M7 and I can tell you right now that the pairing of the 240 and the Summilux is nothing short of amazing. I know you’ve written extensively on this combo before but I thought I would share a few of my own that I shot this last week at my home in Nashville, TN & on a recent trip to NYC. I don’t know why but it seems like my purchase of new Leica gear is always accompanied by a trip to NYC, not on purpose, but I’m not complaining….
I personally cannot stand DSLR’s and they almost ruin photography for me as an experience. I’ve owned a D800 for my digital setup for the last 8 or so months and I frankly hate the camera. Not because it isn’t a good camera, it’s truly a fantastic sensor and perfect suitable to take good photos but I hate it. I hate it because its easy. I hate it because its big and bulky. I hate the way people react to it when I point it in their face. I honestly cannot wait to sell and be rid of it. End rant. I consider myself a film shooter, it’s what I know and have always been able to get the best results out of. Up until recently Medium Format was my favorite format to shoot because the resolution and detail that you can get from it is fantastic and in my opinion, lenses today just don’t have the look and pop like a Hasselblad or Pentax 67. But the Leica Summilux has that look. It has that pop and glow and sharpness, I knew that even when I shot 35mm with it…
But on to the 240. Wow. So a camera with a sensor like the d800 with none of the things I hated about the M9 but everything I loved? Yes please, sign me up. I’m not a pixel peeper or worry to heavily about how each individual digital camera performs on paper. Thats why I love this site and the reviews on here because they don’t pull a “ken rockwell” and analyze with graphs and pie charts. It’s all about the images, nothing else matters, if it looks good, then it looks good. I have been nothing short of amazed about how much I like “digital” files now. I feel like it’s almost blasphemous for me to say but I finally think I’ve found a digital camera that I like as much or equally to film. Thats a big statement and I think the 240 deserves all the credit. It’s wonderful to use. Its quick, responsive, quiet, the battery lasts forever, the files look gorgeous and have so much detail and pop, and with a little tweaking they look spectacular.
I loved shooting with the camera so much I never felt the need to pull out the film camera I brought with me. I wanted to test myself to see if it gave me the same satisfaction and it definitely did. It’s a rangefinder, it’s not something most people can pick up and understand. It takes practice and effort in deliberation to get the photos you want. you can shoot off the hip like you can with an autofocus camera at some guy on the subway and hope he doesn’t notice, you’ve got to get in his face, knowingly point a camera at him and take his picture hoping he doesn’t promptly beat you up afterwards. I love that. I think effort and getting closer to things with always trump autofocus and a zoom lens any day. I enjoyed shooting with it so much that I’m going to sell a few of my film systems to afford a Summilux 35mm ASPH v1. A lens I played with at B&H and really loved. (I also tried the FLE and didn’t love it. Aside from price I felt like the v1 had the same look as my 50lux and the FLE looked much harsher, to each his own…)
To sum this write up…up? I’ll say that for those of you who liked the M9, you’d love this camera, all the kinks have been worked out. Trust me. My only annoyances with it at first were WB issues (fixed with latest firmware) and the dumb M button. Just let me program it to be some other button please. I don’t want to auto shoot video. Ever. Actually, it would be hugely awesome if it was a temporary spot meter button… just press and you meter the rangefinder patch only. Are you listening Leica???
And for those of you who I’m sure will ask. I’ll never stop shooting film… but I might shoot it less now…
Anyway, I hope you all like the images with follow this post.
For all the tech-heads out there here are some details:
-Leica M240 w/ Summilux 50mm ASPH
-Processed in Lightroom 5
-VSCO film presets. Usually Portra 800HC/400 or Tri-X 400++ or Ilford Delta 3200
I loved the photos you posted. A quick question if you don’t mind – on picture #9 of the ivy growing on the walls – was there some measure of post process to this image that gives it almost…a film or soft feel to the image (even though it’s super sharp)? Or maybe it’s just a slight tinge of yellow over top? I recently got myself a 240 myself (loving it!), and am wondering if this is the result of the VSCO filters you used, or if it was something else I need to learn in Lightroom!
I believe that was the Portra 800HC preset in VSCO film pack 01. Some tweaking was probably done after as well but its a good starting point.
I really like your style. They are far from being “mediocre” like someone said… I own a D800E and used to own an old M6 in my film days, and I can understand why you prefer the M240 for your type of photography. For most of us, it is just a hobby, so the pleasure of using one type of camera is part of the experience or pleasure of taking pictures.
I also like the Leica M, but I don’t understand why you have used a D800 if you hate it.
I also don’t see such a big difference of peoples reaction to a DSLR vs a Leica M (Plus you mention you normally shot a Pentax645 which is even bigger and that seemed fine to you).
Regarding your 35/1.4 decision – I have owned both version and I am much more happy with the FLE, because focus shift can become really a problem with the first version of the 35/1.4asph.
I would recommend to look at many images before you decide against the 35FLE. I find it to be one of the best lenses in the M system.
I have a d800 because they Leica M didn’t exist when I needed a digital camera and I didn’t want to get another M9 when I knew the new one was on the horizon. Medium Format is an entirely different beast than digital where the quality outweights the weight and the shooting style is much slower and more deliberate.
I tried both out at B&H and reviewed photos on my computer at home. The FLE, while sharp and a very good performer, felt harsh and overly sharp, I also didn’t like the OOF rendering nearly as much as the V1. The V1 had the same signature as my 50lux which I love. I tested the copy at B&H with live view and focus peaking and ran the lens through all apertures to see if I could notice a shift in the focus point in the lens. As far as I could tell, the lens displayed no noticeable shift that I could see.
Many people prefer the V1 despite its focus shift. Not saying the FLE is a bad lens but its far more expensive for in my opinion, not that much noticeable gain in performance.
Great photos Brett. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your analogy of the hand tools is right on. Many of us have left the DSLR world with no regrets. I started my love affair with an affordable M6 and a Canadian Leitz len and have not looked back.
Okay. No offense to all the other M-240 shooters out there… but NOW I want one. Seriously lovely color and images. Damn! DAMN!
Just buy the VSCO presents and apply them.
Oops I should have read Brett’s comment below…
Thank you for a detailed and insightful report. This web site and reports like yours keep the art of photography alive for the likes of me. With two Goldens in tow in the sunrise hours I join the light and catch it like a trout on the line. I am older and one of the Goldens is a puppy so hauling the heavy dlsr around just was not happening. Inspired, I purchased a used M9 and Leica glass. I feel alive again–like catching the biggest trout in the village. Photography is fun again. I will now follow up with VSCO software. Thank you so much. Your images are stunning.
MikeD800, you’re a douche bag incarnate. I’m sure that must be frustrating, and I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but I’m glad you’re happy with your D800. Feel free to comment!
Great images Brett , I have been using VSCO and the more I use it the more I love it.
I haven’t changed from the M9 to the M240 yet but concur with the 50 Lux being my favourite lens.
Keep up the good work and remember it’s how You enjoy it that counts.
@Brett: in reply to your last reply to my post #7:
Thanks for having a look at my Flickr site Miked700, and thanks for your comments. Unlike you think, the “alike” shots weren’t shot with one camera, the D800, but with quite a number of different cameras: D700, D800, RTSIII, RTS, Contax S2, Nikons F2, F3, FM2n, FE2 and FM3a. The portraits are usually done with an assortment of Nikon and Zeiss 50’s and 85’s, the film shots Tri-X and Hp5+.
The was no machinegun shooting; the film cameras, RTSIII excepted, are not motorized. In a prolonged portrait session I can take up to say 50 images, digital and film, and select later.
Now I’ve got all that off my chest, I’ll admit that I have been too generous in putting images on Flickr; I should really be more selective. I’ll get out my broom and start deleting…
haha, somebody has massive GAS problems or maybe a Gear head issue 🙂
Keep calm Mike 🙂
Nice photos Brett.
Sorry about the hubb-bub, but well, it is the internet!
I’ve recently received my M240 and I share your enthusiasm.
I’m also a D800E owner and I don’t share your feelings about that camera. I would have done, had you asked me a few months ago, but it has grown on me. HOWEVER, I know what you mean about shooting with a rangefinder camera. It becomes less of a spray and pray of thousands of images and looking for the pixel perfect sharpness and more of a concentration on the composition and the elements of a picture. It’s a bit like shooting film in other words!
That said, I wouldn’t take M240 to shoot sports, or kids, action, events etc etc. The D800E is much better for all of those purposes and I love it a bit more now having had fun using it with a 70-200 in a high pressure scenario. In fact, I actually wish it were bigger, for that use (I can see why pros carry a D4 etc). Where it gets interesting is comparing the D800E with some of the great Nikon WA lenses with a rangefinder with small primes fitted. In honesty there will be a huge difference in size and weight, but the Nikon with the 14-24 mounted might just win the image quality argument. Equally, the arrival of the Sigma 35mm on the scene means DSLR WA primes aren’t intrinsically inferior to rangefinder WA primes anymore (I would put the Nikon 28 F1.8G in the same bucket for quality).
I think the real difference is how you think and how you go about shooting using different cameras. I can provoke myself into the kind of contemplative photography I love with the M240, but only when I mount a great MF prime (think 50mm AI-S F1.2 or 28mm F2). However, I wouldn’t habitually use the D800E for that purpose. Life will get more interesting though if the Nikon DF is good.
Beautiful photographs. Been following you on Tumblr for awhile now and really enjoy your images in my dashboard. Thanks!
Sorry but the leica m240 has problems with the colors and everybody knows that . the leica bokeh looks like disordered.
VSCO film presets.? Too much .
elaborate? Very curious as I find the Summilux bokeh to be one of a kind and excellent. VSCO?
Apparently if one does the faded film look its automatically assumed its a preset. Amanda you do know that you can do this in Photoshop or lightroom with out using the preset. In fact thats how they created the preset. Btw great photo’s I rather enjoyed them. I believe MikeD800 is a bit hurt by your comment about his choice in camera, who cares really?
Just another question Brett : How do you feel about the difference between shooting with your film cameras and the M240. I ask specially about yr medium format work of the recent past? Just went through your tumblr work that you shot with MF film cameras and I must say, there is “something” more intriguing and deliberate in the content of the shots as well as the materiality or “look” that you were getting with film stock. Not a criticism, just an observation on my part. Would also love to know more details as to how it has affected your shooting style, editing/selections as well as your sitters’ attitudes/demeanor to the different cameras – specially when shooting portraits.
Thanks for the comment. I think film and digital are entirely different beasts, I think the reason the M240 appeals to me and why I like it is that its the closest thing I’ve found to a film camera in several areas such as use, feel, experience, result, ect. I find the M240, while not film, gets me as close as i’ll probably ever get to shooting like I like to. I think film has excellent qualities that one will probably never get with a digital camera mainly because they are inherently so different. I find that there are headaches to both systems. Film is more naturally beautiful, more organic, more unpredictable, and while that is good, it sometimes lacks consistency, sharpness, capability for certain situations. You have to shoot film around a stop overexposed for it to look good in my opinion which means for color you have a maximum speed of 400asa if shooting 800 speed film, not great for low light or dark situations.
I think I’m overly critical on my work in that I find it to be somewhat inconsistent in a fluid style or purpose at times. I think thats a good and a bad thing but the M240 allows me to shoot the way I like to, and be able to control my results a bit more.
I often wish everyone today started shooting on film because of the way it trains you to be as a photographer. I think the reason I’ve started to accept digital as what it is and the benefits it can give is because I have learned those tendencies from the past 5 or so years of shooting film and how they benefitted me carries over into my digital work.
I often treated the M240 on this trip as a film camera. I turned the auto preview off. I shot vary sparingly, only around 300-400 shots for this entire trip which was a week long (which equals probably around 10-12 rolls of 35mm film. On my last trip I shot over that with my M7). I find it a good lesson in shooting to be capable of shooting something but sometimes choose not to. I found myself capable of shooting far more than what I normally would but would have to think “why would I want to make a photo of that?” So I didn’t waste my time with it. I think just because it is digital doesn’t mean you still can’t be selective and deliberate in what you shoot.
I think thats why I like it. Because I can treat it like any of my other cameras in terms of approach but It is so much more capable in areas film can be difficult at.
Both good tools though. As long as they make film I’ll always shoot it.
Thank you for your honest and considered reply Brett. I concur with many of your sentiments, being also a film starter, myself. … and well done with your “crit” to the local photo-guru… very diplomatic. 🙂
Warm regards and happy shooting
I like your style of photographing (slow down, not a million bursts per second, etc.). Here’s a few thoughts as to why I like your style of photography – not discussing your images but your approach.
For truth in advertising, I have Nikon DSLR gear, Hasselblad analog and digital, and am ‘supposed’ to receive my new Leica M240 and Summilux 50 in a few weeks. I was also a wokshop assistant in the American West for 5 years.
Personal comments: My wife bought me a nice Hasselblad setup (501C – totally manual) years ago and I have to admit that slowing down to use a totally manual medium format camera really helped me to become a better photographer. How? Well I used a tripod most of the time; you really do have to understand light and exposure; that big viewfinder helped me to ‘look at the edges’; I found that because the gear was not so easy to setup/use (unlike my full-auto or aperture priority DSLR) that I concentrated significantly more on finding the best (in my opinion at the time) images to take, as well as understanding the exposure (I never liked the idea of pointing a camera at a subject and blasting away in auto-bracket hoping for a good exposure and composition :)) .
When I attended a workshop in New Mexico years ago I was the only manual camera (Hassy MF) user in our small group. While my (incredibly talented!) fellow workshop attendees were blasting away dozens or hundreds or thousands of images with their DSLRs (I also brought my Nikon but used the Hassy mostly) I might take 3 or 4 shots with the MF camera. At the reviews the following morning my few images were probably better than the other classmates 90% of the time. My view was that I was not a better photographer but that by slowing down I was really ‘working’ each image. And ‘slowing down’ doesn’t mean 1 shot an hour; I mean that rather than the ‘machine gun bursts’ that my counterparts were using to get a good shot I took a base shot and bracketed a stop or so over and under (remember I was using slide film). That methodology works well for me. I imagine that this experience is similar to my Leica film camera friends (perhaps without the tripod?).
Well now that I’m getting older I wanted to downsize from the Hassy gear and have a new Leica M240 coming in. I always wanted a Leica because of the quality of the glass and the tough as nails body but have been waiting for something like the current body (M240 with EVF, focus assist, 24 MP). My intent is to use it in a similar manner that I used the Hassy medium format gear: slowing down, concentrating on image content, watching the edges, wathing the exposure, on a tripod when appropriate, etc. I’ll be using the Leica as my ‘mini medium format’ setup when I want that level of image quality.
Bottom line is that I really appreciate your (Brett’s) approach to photography. I am a bit different in that I don’t “hate’ my DSLRs because they certainly have their place but not, generally, for what and how I photograph. So Brett, congrats on your images and your approach. I’m with you brother! 🙂
Nice work, Brett! Just added you on Tumblr. My feed could always use more Leica images.
CAMERA FIGHT!!!! Holy crap you guys are touchy. Nice pics Brett. Thanks for your thoughts on the Leica.
It appears that all these shots have varying degrees of vignette. Are you applying this afterwards or could it be that the Summilux with the M240 have this relationship?
I shoot it almost entirely wide open and have noticed some natural vignette. I do add some in post yes.
I really like #1, #3 and the one in the forest with the swirly boke; interesting colours.
Not so much a fan of “digital film” conversions, but I think it worked great with #1; it makes it look as if something is about to happen.
The last one needed, for me, a colourful thing somewhere to create a contrast. A blurred red flower maybe.
On the whole DSLR vs RF thingy. I think it’s a matter of taste, convenience and style.
A D800 or A99 (with a grip and flash) changes people’s faces in a way a Nex7 or a compact doesn’t, even if it’s a family picture. DSLRs are have tons of options that make them ideal for things an RF isn’t that great at (action, zooming). RFs have their own advantage of compactness and high quality. I myself don’t like shooting RF, I’d rather shoot a NEX.
I received mine two weeks ago after 10 (!) months of waiting. I understand and share your happiness 🙂
Only thing I dislike about the M is that Leica changed the way how auto iso is handled. With aperture and time chosen the auto iso no longer chooses the iso accordingly but switches to the highest iso set for auto iso. That’s fairly dumb and I don’t understand how anyone can come up with such an idea. Otherwise a wonderful tool.
I rarely read comments on any website but thought I’d have a look today. My God, what a mistake…
I like the image of the guy on the train BTW; it reminds me of a still from a 1960s movie.
Oddly enough, I like these centred images quite a lot in terms of composition. So thanks for sharing them: we can, if we want, always learn from someone else’s way of doiing things. I would most likely have off-centred them or done a square crop, and I would certainly have muted the colours in no.s 1,2,3 4 and 11 – but not the last two. Still I see what grabs you, Brett.
Thank you. I see what you mean. I was planning on having a few of the first 4 printed and I might tone it down a tad.
Let me just clear this up because obviously I’ve been misunderstood and the point of my article has been entirely misinterpreted. I didn’t write this post to talk down on the D800, I’ve owned the camera for 8 months and in many ways its the best digital camera i’ve ever used. But simply said. It is not for me. I find no challenge in using it and find that its weight and approach to photography is far different than what I’m used to with film cameras. That is my opinion. I don’t write bitter comments towards someone who says they HATE chocolate ice-cream instead of vanilla, which is what I like, what would be the point?
I wrote the article to praise the M240 and the Summilux. Could we please start discussing that rather than having a pissing contest about equipment? thanks.
The repeated use of the verb “hate” was decidedly ill-chosen, and slightly odd considering you bought the “monstrosity” (quoting someone else now) only 8 months. Another backfiring decision? I wonder what you’ll be saying about the M 240 (not exactly a camera without faults; read Diglloyd) in 6 months time… 😉
P.s.: I don’t “hate” cameras; they’re objects, things, tools. I do love my FM2n though, and I like my D800.
Hate was probably to harsh of a word. I guess why I sprung to use that work was the fact that I feel like most of my cameras are almost sentimental to me, they are very special in that they are the tools for me to be creative. Out of almost all the camera’s I’ve owned and sold, each time that happens there is great excitement or regret that comes with that. The D800 gave me neither of those feelings. It was something I had to purchase because I needed a digital that could keep up with my MF film work. Had the m240 been out then I would have gotten that instead.
;-). Glad you’re happy with what you’ve got now!
I hate DSLR, I hate D800…get a life…
If you happy with an 6500 euro M, fine just say that, but don’t piss on a DSLR because it’s easy…
Meaning that the M challenge the photographer more and demands craftsmanship….. bull shit
What ever camera used…it’s a tool no more
If you actually read what I wrote you’ll see I actually wasn’t shitting on your dslr I was expressing my opinion on how much I like the M and disliked using the D800. Please re-read. I picked my tool. Its what I prefer.
I read it…that’s why
The M population, don’t get me wrong i’ve have a M9 too, behave to much like People who prefer ‘Clasical music’ and look down on popular music.
M people justify a 6500 euro body with a 4000 euro 35/1.4 with frases like pop and bokek never seen.
Well not only D800 but my D700 of 2008 had that perfectly with Zeiss 100MM, 35MM etc and than for about 4000 euro all together. Than the ‘Street-tribe’ comes along with the argument that the M is less offensive to people…..come on I do shoot an M9, but also a D700 (if I want AF) and no problem. And Weight? A m with a 35 weight over 1kg, a D700 with my 24mm
I own a M3 of 1955 and shoot it regularly…why ? because it’s fun
Same for Hasselblad etc…. But believe me a D800 and 2 Zeisses, your under 6000 euro and you can do it all.
I get what you are saying but I cannot deny the satisfaction I get from shooting it vs my dslr. Its that simple. And its not a money or status thing for me in the slightest. its an observation. I feel like I’m shooting film, I care more about the images I take, I slow down, shoot less, and get better shots than the quick snap snap snap Af shot with the d800. I like a challenge and I simply don’t feel like I get it with a DSLR. As far as the pop goes. I definitely see it, and the 24mpx sensor in the M far out resolves the 36mpx sensor in the d800. why? because of the glass…
That’s what I say…If you are happy, or just feel better with a M, fine…spend the money and shoot. And in your type of shooting it’s sufficient.
But did you ever go on Safari? well if you plan that…leave your M at home, it’s a total mismatch.
You know Thom Hogan, he’s a Nikon blogger and now on Safari.
Look what is on his table…. I’ve been there with a 300mm and even that wasn’t enough
I like to bike…and no way that my M9 goes with me…too heavy… an X100 will do fine.
Ans 24mp vs 36 you’re wright Glass don’t deliver.
Leica Glass is at 100-130 lines p/mm just enough for 24Mp.
That’s the reason Canon doesn’t introduce a 30+mp camera, their glass is not enough to satisfy the sensor.
That’s why 12-18mp is more than enough for 99,99% of the photographers. A D700 with some Zeiss or the 105DC delivers excellent quality.
So the Question is ‘What chair you gonna build’ otherwise the wrong tool is selected even if it’s of world glass
I doubt any Leica user (or very few) would ever think of taking their M on a safari. That has nothing to do with owning an M. I own the M but have no interest in a safari. If I did, I would bring the right tools (and be miserable lugging them around). 🙂
Zero desire to ever own or use lenses of that size. Nor am I interested in the kind of photos one would take with a setup like that.
Well Brett and Steve …good for you both than, but you were talking about the analogy of tools.
There are all kind of people and all kind of interest and so all kind of tool…that you both are not interested, fine..
Me too I am not interested in all kinds of photography, but can appreciate the drive these people have
So Steve don’t worry carrying, or as you say miserable lugging, it around if you don’t want.
But I remembered you started some years ago also with at least one DSLR, which you like, than Leica came with the M8/M9 than you like that and now it’s Sony…
So your doubt isn’t real, I am a M user for over 35 years, but I sure will take from time to time my D700 around, just because the M can’t do that, and it’s not only Safaris
One has to wonder…if it makes you feel like you are shooting film why not just shoot film ( I hear it’s still available…) an ebay deal on a medium format rangefinder would leave you about $5000 to buy and process film and even scan it…
There are benefits to both. But I prefer the experience I get from my film cameras.
Also, to make an analogy. Is it more or less rewarding to build a piece of furniture with power tools or a simple hammer and saw? I would say the latter, some people probably wouldn’t even see the difference… ultimately you get the same chair or stool or bench, ect. It does make a difference though IMHO.
Honestly why doesn’t everyone just get over it all, I like the colour blue I’m not going to get offended when someone says that they don’t like blue but they like red. Everyone has their own opinion, Brett was just expressing his opinion after having OWNED ONE, it wasn’t for him. You shoot with what makes you happy and what makes you want to go out and shoot.
Some nice images here by the way Brett.
I have been using the M240 for a few months and not everything is better than my M9. The biggest annoyances I have is the start-up time. Roughly two seconds (feels like 4), which I find too long. I had a few shots that I missed just because the camera wasn’t ready and the scene was gone. You just stare at the blinking light to stop and it feels like an eternity when you have a great scene in front of you.
I forgot the magenta tint on the right side of many images. Even the 35mm Leica lens with lens correction on creates magenta tones on one side.
It is a bit sluggish. I typically haven’t been turning mine off. The battery does pretty good.
I believe the photographer must have an intimate emotional connection with his equipment in order to get the best from it, no matter how expensive or economical; he must enjoy owning it as much as making images with it. Without that connection, the camera becomes a brick as he plods through his exposures. You seem to have that special connection, Brett. Thank you for your images. If I may say, this set is thought-provoking in a quiet manner. Several make me imagine a story line behind the image, whether you intended that or not.
Good on you Brett. Great when someone loves the camera and the style of shooting they do. I think there is some really nice work here. Certainly like No 1 through 4, though 4 very nice standout. The colours and texture and composition are a intriguing combination.
Would I buy a Leica if I could? probably. I shoot with a X100 and a GX1, because that is what I can afford, while matching the feel of the camera that I respond to. I commend Brett, for his love of photography. If he can own a Leica good for him, no reason to put someone down for it. Yes on a screen any one of these images could be shot with a micro four thirds or other system. I am sure if these were seen in print it would be a different story. It is not always about that final output. Brett’s interaction with his camera, surroundings and his vision is what is important. If he chooses to do that with a M, good for him. Just keep taking important images that reflect your view on the world around you. Good work!
Unfortunately gear religions sometimes don’t cope very well 🙂
Some of the presented photos here a very nice though.
When Sony A7, A7R start delivery, you may not need to wait for the M240 any more.
Probably. Still many Leica shooter switching to Sony may miss the rangefinder. Personally I never liked the shooting experience with the Nex 7. While the A7 will finally not crop the lenses, the electronic viewfinder I never found really pleasing to see the fine details in someones facial expression. The clear view of the rangefinder is much nicer to see these nuances. But for composing and focusing of long lenses the EV has some big advantages. Image wise I expect them to be similar or with an advantage for the Sony. D!RK
Honestly thats the #1 thing that I feel like no camera manufacturer with ever incorporate into their cameras and its also the #1 I don’t feel like I can ever give up.
Why is it whenever someone takes the time to write and article and post pictures, there’s always some jackass who has to run their mouth and try to belittle it?
I own a M 240 an M7 and a Lux 50 too and concur that the Lux 50 is magical 🙂
Why is it that a lot of times when someone takes the time to write an article and post pictures (and they get admitted) and enthuses about the gear he uses, he also has to slag off some other gear? Totally unnecessary, but apparently some gear generates a lot of (negative) emotion.
Funny, particularly when, as usual, the images posted could have been made with any reasonable piece of equipment.
I totally get that you own a D800 and I basically said I hated that camera. While it’s a great sensor and capable camera I didn’t find it enjoyable to shoot in the slightest. I don’t believe you can get the same look with that camera though because honestly you can’t put the summilux on it.
And you miss the point of you think I was saying only this camera could take good images, the write up wasn’t about how I think everyone should drop their gear and get what I have, it was to show how much I prefer shooting with the M over another system and how much a different (and better) experience it was for me personally.
I apologize for offending you. That was not my intent. But if you don’t have something constructive to add here I ask that you stop acting like I kicked your dog and just move on to the next article.
Bret says: “A great deal of those photos appear to be shot at like 5-6 fps in a single burst, some being almost identical to the one next to it. I guess my thought on that would be you can’t do that with film”
*not sure you if you new Nikon F6 film camera can shoot up to 8fps (mostly sports -bird shooters loved it) I commented so readers know that film was not at stone age.
There are two main differences between film and digital: film: shoot for the shadows, digital: shoot for the highlights. Other than that, it’s mostly our post production that is changed. Photography/ light/composition/storytelling is still there. I have shot with anything from 4×5 to Leica S2, M240, M3, Hasselblad, Mamiya..One thing I learned, they did not make me a better photographer. I can make myself better photographer by learning, choosing the right tool for the right job. I would not compare a D800 to M camera as I would not compare a 4×5 with a Pentax 67. Thank you and have a good night all.
Would you be so kind as to provide a link to your images please? I think it may provide useful context.
As I mentioned above, Miked700 on Flickr. Feel free to comment.
Sorry Mike, but he slagging off HIS OWN GEAR …. not someone else’s. He OWNS the gear he does not like. Did you miss that?
I really, really like Brett’s shots, and I really do not think you could do street photography with “any piece of equipment”. My wife is good (I am actually crap), and she is currently using a DLUX5 at 24 mm, and it works a treat (not as well as the M or the Fuji X series of course) . If she used a DSLR, she could not do it, it is too obtrusive, people DO NOT LIKE being shot in the face with a gun the size of tanker (be the D800, or EOS 5D MKIII or any other camera). The fact that the M is very elegant, looks old fashioned, it is unobtrusive, has an exceptional sensor and great presets makes it usable for street photography.
Also, if you haven’t already guessed, the D800 is up for sale if anyone is interested. haha
I’ve got one already. The upcoming digital F might be tempting though.
As I wrote, it’s the slagging I dislike and find unpleasant.
What did you use for the lighting on the 3rd and 5th image?
No lighting. Just found some good placement and good natural light.
A rant indeed, with mediocre images, some of them severely oof. Nice to read enthusiasm about one’s gear though.
Yes it’s a rant. I acknowledged that. I wonder if you might elaborate on what makes them mediocre? Oh and only one of them is out of focus, I missed because I had to move quickly, but I still like the shot. A great deal of Henri Cartier Besson’s work was OOF or had motion blur and those shots are some of his best work. I quite like that the guys face isn’t totally sharp.
Of course Brett. A lot of the images you posted are like the ones I think of (in search of an interesting image/composition), the usually discard, sometimes before even making it, sometimes in pp. Not good enough, bin it. The same goes for “I wanted the guy’s face in focus but missed it but hey, let’s keep it.” I produce quite a lot of those as well, but tehre’s no shortcut to a good image. The delete button is there to use it.
And you may find me (overly) critical of your images (not in a too negative way I hope), but I never talk down (other people’s) gear, let alone to justify my whatever current choice of equipment. Never.
While I agree that many images can be discarded, I think thats a huge problem with digital photographers today. On this whole trip I didn’t shoot but a few hundred images, quite small considering what I could have take. I don’t strive for perfection and I don’t take 100 shots to get one. Thats how one improves.
As far as equipment, if you read the article, I didn’t talk down to your gear. In fact I praised it. But I personally hate it. I couldn’t stand that camera and will never own another DSLR. That is my opinion. I think you misinterpret my rant as overly negative towards your gear when it was actually a highly emotional way to express what I like.
To each his own I suppose.
I can’t see how the ability to delete pics is a “huge problem”. (that’s what they call ‘first world problem’ right?). Nobody is forcing you to delete pics. Or you mean, the problem is with other photographers?
Actually I think the fact that you CAN take hundreds of pics is the very reason that there are so many good photogs now. Improvement comes with practice imho, not simply by ‘striving for perfection’. Looking at your pics, a bit of delete button action is called for.
I think the way to improve is to take 100 shots and keep the 99 for your memories but only show the 1 that really works….self editing is a tough slog because of the emotional attachment….
There is also no recipe to a good image…
I know Brett, and I know how frustrating it can be.
I must say (I don’t want to sound patronizing) you did try, in some images, to create something interesting. In others, it’s more of the “subject dead center” routine. Glad to hear you enjoy your camera; I enjoy mine.
To each his own. I would be very interested to see your work and how it differs.
I might try to publish here again; did not get through the last time I tried.
I’m Miked700 on Flickr. Please feel free to comment Brett; I don’t bruise easily. 😉
I think your work is fine. I think my only criticism is that its not my style, which is not to say anything negative about it. I would say it seems as though you shoot a great deal, which might be intentional or just because the d800 allows you to do so. I’ve always preferred to be more intentional with when I fire the shutter, as I am conditioned to from shooting a lot of film. A great deal of those photos appear to be shot at like 5-6 fps in a single burst, some being almost identical to the one next to it. I guess my thought on that would be you can’t do that with film and is it all that necessary to shoot that much? I think my dislike of the d800 comes from It caused me to do that too. I would shoot hundreds of images only to have to sift through later and find the few that works, rather than being deliberate and choosing the right moment at the time of shooting. I quite like several of your B&W portraits, they have a very real and humanizing characteristic. The color ones do not strike me for some reason, they almost look out of camera? Were they processed in any way?
Anyway, I hope you know my intention was not to attack you or the way you do things, it was to merely express my excitement and love of my new camera, not because one is better than the other but because of the way it causes myself to shoot and view the world.
I hope that was an honest and somewhat gentle criticism to your work. Please don’t take it as anything other than that.
Brett, well handled you showed your class. Not only a good photographer, you seem like a nice chap too. Hope you enjoyed your time in England!
If you stopped identifying yourself with your photo gear you may not feel the need to be disrespectful. I prefer Brett’s images to yours by the way. Technical perfection and beauty are two different things. Centering subjects has been used by countless great photographers and can be a legitimate option depending on angle, background and light.
Bravo. Phantastic pics. Same opinion!
Nice work Brett !!! Love the images as well as the VASCO textures you are using – last two images are my favorites. I have only just downloaded VASCO and have still to play around with the presets. The M240 seems to now be giving good flesh tones after its latest FW update. I am holding out and very happy still with my M9’s … for a while longer… maybe the next model … maybe.
I will admit most of the time after using the VSCO presets, I use the orange skin fix + in the toolkit to sort of pull some saturation out because they look a little too orange for my taste.
-VSCO film presets. Usually Portra 800HC/400 or Tri-X 400++ or Ilford Delta 3200
that must be the reason: VSCO filters use grain simulation. Specially the ones he used.
The photos are interesting; i’m happy that after many months and some thousand dollars late you now have a good camera. BTW about the D800 being “easy”, try to put it on “M” shooting mode and disable autofocus and lightmeter. I assure you you’ll find the satisfaction of shooting a good photo back.
Cheers, and keep up wt the good work!
Most people who go buy a Leica post photos to show off how creamy the background looks. But one part is missing: a great story!
Sorry. If the image does not tell me anything other than showing someone looking up, it does not cut it.
Beautiful photos, amazing. But I cant help but to notice the noise in most of the photos, are they taken in low light conditions?
I’m quite sure that is because of the VSCO presets he used on the pictures to give them a ‘film like look’ it also contains the grain that particular film has.
This might explain it, as per Brett highlighted in red above the very first photo.
-VSCO film presets. Usually Portra 800HC/400 or Tri-X 400++ or Ilford Delta 3200
Yes. Exactly right. Actually this camera is super clean all the way up to 3200iso. The preset adds grain to the image to emulate film. It is something that you can remove while leaving the other changes though. I like it.
if are going to add filters, texture, 3200 ISO film grain in post production, I think even an M8 will do. Comparing an M camera with “any” DSLR is nothing but comparing an apple and an orange. Just my humble opinion.
Absolutely an M8 is comparable. M8 up to ISO640 is super-clean, and at ISO 160 will match just about anything out there when it comes to noise.