The Leica C goes to the Holy Land By Gary Perlmutter

The Leica C goes to the Holy Land

By Gary Perlmutter

leica c

Readers of Steve’s excellent website will know that I have used and written about a number of cameras including the Fuji X100 and The Nikon V1. These tend to be used mainly for my passion of street photography. At present I am using the Leica M8 which whilst almost an antique in the digital world is still capable of producing stunning results, with the right light and lenses that is. However following the often quoted line’ the best camera is the one you have with you’, there have been times when the M8 gets left at home and guess what I miss some shots. So I set about looking for a truly pocketable camera that could still produce results that wouldn’t leave me wishing I had taken the picture on the M8.

L1000097

L1000123

My short list included the Canon S120 and the amazing Sony RX100. However both lack a viewfinder, which being ‘old school’ I still prefer to hold a camera to my eye, at least as an option. It was at this time that Leica announced the C type 112, which yes I know is a rebranded Panasonic LF1. Although you pay a premium for the red dot, at least it includes a copy of Lightroom 5 and I believe a better warranty? I also prefer the Audi design which comes in two finishes, Champagne or Dark Red. I chose the Dark Red version as being the more subtle for my street photography.

L1000157

L1000285

So why the Leica C? Well its unique I believe for a compact in including a built-in EVF, ok the quality of which is pretty rubbish by todays standards and the view minisucle. However when the sun is too bright for the rear screen at least one has an option. It also boasts built-in Wi-Fi which when used with the free app, Leica Shuttle, available for both Apple and Android devices, allows one not only to transfer your images wirelessly to your phone or iPad (and then share to Facebook etc.) but also operate the camera remotely!

leicactop

Other features that I liked include the zoom range which extends from 28mm to 200mm, which beats both the Sony and Canon alternatives hands down. Perfect for travel photography which also happened to be perfect timing for me as I was just about to go on holiday to Israel. At the 28mm end of the zoom range the aperture is a fast f2.0 although this reduces to f5.6 at 200mm.

L1000295

L1000298

I have found noise control to be acceptable to as high as 1600 iso providing one shoots in RAW (or DNG to be precise as this is the native Leica method) and edit subsequently in Lightroom. The autofocus I have found to be really fast and never misses, far better than the Fuji X100 and not far off the NIKON V1.Usually like Steve I use the single focus point method, but I have been trying out the focus tracking which has been superb. It’s by far the easiest I have used and great for tracking people walking towards you . Once locked on where the focus point changes from red to yellow, it works a treat. As for other features, it also sports a lens mounted control ring, like its rivals, but better I find than the Sony in that is has click stops. This ring can be assigned to almost any function that suits you. I tend to use it as an exposure compensation dial. Choice of shutter priority, aperture or full manual as well as the usual auto and program modes.

L1000303

L1020016

So any downsides so far? Well yes I wish it had the larger 1″ sensor that some rivals have for better dynamic range and noise control and that the EVF could have been better. However apart from this, I feel I have now found a camera that truly is always with me when I leave home. No more excuses from me for missing that once in a lifetime photo!

Links: http://stephenbartelsgalleryprints.com/index.php?photographer=89

flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gp_photography/

twitter: @gazonthestreet

You can buy the Leica C from Ken Hansen (khpny19@aol.com), The Pro Shop, PopFlash.com, Leica Store Miami, Amazon or B&H Photo!

57 Comments

  1. Wow! Great IQ and photography skills there! I like them all very much! Great eye. Did you compose thru the VF a lot while using this camera? Have you made prints and how does they hold up IQ-wise if so?

    • Hi Vic, thanks for your kind comments. I bought the camera mainly because of the EVF but in use found out I used the LCD screen more, probably because it’s such a small camera and seemed easier to use that way. Must admit not made any large prints yet.

  2. I know the Leica C offers a copy of LightRoom 5 with the purchase and a two year warranty, but I wonder whether the Leica C clone of the LF1 is just cosmetic or whether the quality control and/or glass are any different. Anyone?

  3. Gary, I admire your eye, and I appreciate your write-up. I’m curious if you’ve used the D-Lux 6 (Panny LX-7) and can compare convenience and image quality with the C. Thanks.

  4. Very nice, Gary.
    Some great candid shots.
    I like particularly the 2 Orthodox soldiers. Great capture.
    They didn’t hassle you about taking their picture, did they?
    JB

  5. Wonderful series Gary, the great thing for me was that i was immersed in the images and had no inclination wanting to know what camera was used…well done.

  6. Processing on the rain slabbed streets with man in white shawl is super.

    (The Holy Land is as we know our innermost selves).

    • Marvellous London : cultures faiths feel free to be themselves in their own areas (districts).

      Golders Green is wonderful for the freedom Jewish community feel.
      Edgeware Road for Arabs.
      Brixton for West Indians
      Peckham for Nigerians.
      Elephant and castle for South American.
      Chinatown in the heart of West End theatre.
      Aldgate for Bangladesh.
      Southhall for Sikh.
      Shephers Bush for Ethiopeans, Sudanese, Polish.
      Wembley for Indian.

  7. I think a lot of folks are missing just how small the Panasonic LF1/Leica C actually is. It can fit in my pants pocket with my wallet. It is much thinner than a RX100.
    As a replacement for my LX5 this was perfect. The 1/1.7″ sensor is decent and the 28mm – 200mm equivalent reach is phenomenal for something this size. Having the viewfinder, however poor it is, is still very handy on bright days.

    • On Camera Size dot com
      Panasonic LF1 (Leica C) is 7mm taller and 4mm longer than Panasonic GM1 m43 interchangeable.
      Whilst GM1 is 2.5mm deeper.

      However if a 28-200 lens is added the GM1 becomes huge in comparison.

      Really LF1 / Leica C is a modern engineering marvel.
      I have a Canon A650 1/1.7″ 35-210mm which is huge in coimparison : twice as deep at 56mm.

  8. I find your images of the Holy Land quite enjoyable. I found myself looking at the details. I love to see snippets of life from what I consider to be exotic places. Thank you.

  9. I recently sold my lx7 which had the same sensor as this camera. I liked the camera, but the noise was always there starting at ISO 400. ISO 1600 was only usable with a lot of post processing. It made a good beach camera though and was nice and small. I do think that if it only had a larger say 1″ sensor with that nice f1.4 to f2.3 lens I would have kept it.

  10. your probably going to shoot me here with my comment and suggestion, but did you ever think about the excellent FUJI X 20 I think I made the best decision ever to buy this little gem, loving it.

    • X20 28-112mm is fabulous. I seriously considered it until
      Olympus Stylus1 28-300mm f2.8.

      X20 is 0.3mm deeper, 0.8mm longer.
      Sylus1 due to 1.4million dot evf 17.4mm taller
      & has tilt lcd which i find very handy.

    • The X100 is like a new camera now, Fuji should be applauded for always improving their existing cameras. However I was looking for a camera that could literally be slipped into a pocket and forgotten about until you needed it.

      • How does this camera do in low light situations…i.e., indoor birthday parties, dark restaurants, etc. I currently have a Lumix LX5 which is pretty good in low light, but things like facial colors seem to be a bit off.
        Thanks for your thoughts.

  11. Did you get permission from the woman in the first photograph or did you just take a picture of her behind while she wasn’t looking? The latter would be impolite at best and illegal at worst. Aside from that I find your photographs to lack compelling points of interest in their composition. The quality of the image is fine but unfortunately the quality of the photograph leaves something to be desired, in my opinion.

      • Looks like a fantastic photo shot for Nestle’s, and remember, it makes you happy, or it should Joseph!

    • Sorry, Joseph, but what country do you live in? North Korea?
      Illegal shot of a woman from behind?
      Good grief.

      Being a street photographer myself, I find Gary’s photographs good.
      And actually really compelling.

    • Joseph, perhaps you are very young (hormones) and you are seeing the first photograph in an erotic way and for that you see it wrong (in that case the wrong is in your mind). Perhaps you think that the photographer take a picture of a “sexy girl” and not a photograph. Do you burn your newspapers just because in the photographs are thousands of people taken without their permission even in the beach when summers?

      I see a well composed photograph with a woman that nobody could identify resting in a posture that plays with the almost pastel colors of the landscape that is soft and relaxing at the same time (a mirror more and I could think in the venus of Goya). I don’t know your country, but here in Peru that shot isn’t illegal, and I think it’s good taste, I think the problem is in your mind that see sinful things in something so natural as the human body. I think I’ve in photographs of others (yep, even in the beach) but I don’t care because I am not doing nothing wrong and they are in public spaces.

    • Joseph, interesting that in a quite expansive beach-scape you have finely honed in on an unidentifiable woman and her butt in particular. Do you have a vast dossier of butts against which you may be able to identify the owner? Perhaps you have a “butt release form” you use on the (likely many) occasions you wander the beaches.
      I’m thinking N.Korea too or maybe Yemen. Going out today, Joseph? Better get permission from Big Brother, you don’t who you may catch sight of in the streets. After all, you want to cover all bases…

        • Actually I apologize. I completle misread and misunderstood. I thought it was written by Joseph to Gary. My apologies again.

          • I doubt that Joseph has a law degree, so why should anyone pay attention to his statements. They are certainly wrong in the US.

          • Completely understandable from a rednecks point of view. Foreign interests are ignored or bashed to your willing. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to figure out why there are such differences in understanding privacy. But this might be the wrong place to ask such question since you certainly won’t suffer from doubts and you will never be confronted with different cultures than yours while the rest of the world knows with what kind of means you spread your interests all over.

    • In fact the personal rights and in particular the rights to the personal picture are more protective in Europe than eg. in the US, but these laws exist everywhere. So some of the posts insulting Joseph could show as wrong and violating as such. Street photography and even more when published via the internet is delicate. E.g. the woman at the beach could be identified from the picture and the information provided in the text, and one has to take into account that even if she can be identified by the locals only, this could concern her personality. To judge about how she is concerned from the view of a distant website-visitor is therefore irrelevant. The freedom of a photographer struggles with the freedom of the person in the picture. The laws that give priority to one or the other are the results of cultural concerns and should be respected. Maybe this israeli woman enjoys her personal freedom in a protected area where fundamental muslims would chase her for doing so. In this case publishing her picture via the internet would certainly violate her personal rights, whatever art we see behind this picture.

    • The two ladies in pic1&2 coud be wife, girlfriend, daughter, friend, especially the second which looks as a pose.
      If the first lady is a stranger then it does veer unto voyeur.

      • I was skeptical about the motives behind the first photo as well. However, to me it looks as if the woman in the second photo is the same as in the first; this photo clearly being staged, I guess this could be his wife.

    • Sigh, street photography, or graffiti would not exist if everyone’s sensibilities were taken account of. To moan on the behalf of a faceless woman who did not see her picture being taken is the equivalent of worrying about a loan you never took. No, it’s actually worse as you are moralizing about other people’s actions and consequences. Aside from that I find your views to lack compelling points of interest in their content.

Comments are closed.