Paralysis analysis

Digging around the internet for ideas on limiting the gear you have and own, I came across this definition that appears to suit my current thinking to a tee. 

Paralysis analysis is defined as where overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become paralysed, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon within a natural time frame.

This is an interesting phrase which resonates strongly with me and the photography gear I have around me. 

As I noted in a previous post, I have FOMO. The fear of missing out, driven by outside influence and my own insecurities towards the camera gear I own and most likely in the results of my photography – basically I’m never satisfied ( as my Wife likes to remind me). 

Paralysis analysis drives this through over thinking through each trip out with a camera meaning I’m never sure which camera to take and almost always regretting the choice I’ve made. 

For me this is serious shit!  I need to get a handle on it and move away from this as I feel it hampers my photography and often leads me to being unhappy with a) what I have and b) the results I get from it. 

My recent acquisitions of the Nikon ZFC & Fujifilm X100v are perfect examples of this. I don’t need them, but I wanted them based on thinking I needed them and being sucked in by the overwhelming influence from social media.

And yet each time I use them I’m almost immediately left thinking I wish I’d taken my Leica with me. Each time I shoot with just the Leica, I am happy with the experience, happy with the quality of the images I get from the hardware.

My only question with shooting with the Leica M10-P is if an M10 Monochrom would be a better option, given almost all photos I take are converted to black and white at import to Lightroom.

Moving forward I think the time is slowly coming around to the point whereby selling all of the camera gear I have with the exception of the M10 would make most sense, for sure it would help in the decision making process of having a single camera to choose from, enable me to embrace a confirmed decision and concentrate and master the gear I keep. 

It may also just give me the foothold I need to look more seriously at an M10 Monochrom!

My vanity…

My vanity…knows no boundaries.

…knows no boundaries.

A short while ago I bought a Fujifilm X100v, I think I got influenced from looking at too many social media channels and people singing it’s praises as if it was the only camera any photographer would ever need.

And whilst I concur with the fact it is a very nice camera I’m not warming to it the way I used to warm to other Fujifilm cameras I’ve owned before.

A little while before that I picked up a Nikon ZFC. Another camera that seduced me with its good looks and the promise of making great photographs.

And indeed it is a very nice camera, I actually like the images it produces more than the Fuji X100v and my personal impression is it’s a better camera than the X100v, controversial I know.

And each time I’ve been seduced by these cameras and I’m out with them, all I think is that I wish I had my Leica M10-P with me. I’ve even revisited places I’ve been with the Nikon and the Fuji to reshoot them with the M10-P.

Now I think I understand the reasons behind why I’ve bought each of these cameras but suffered buyers remorse fairly soon after.

The Leica is a beautiful camera, it’s design is nigh on perfect and it feels like the quality you would expect. But in use it’s strengths are its weaknesses.

As a camera it is however quite rudimentary. The focussing is all manual & offers a challenge one has to overcome and conquer albeit over time it can be mastered.

The metering is archaic in comparison to todays offering in almost all cameras. It’s a pretty loose centre weighted meter which blows highlights super easily.

Trying to shoot long exposures is also a real weakness for an M Leica.

And the feature set of the M makes me need to slow down and consider my process… and at times I don’t want to slow down and consider, I only want to point & shoot. The Fuji & the ZFC are more feature rich, and allow me to point and shoot and maintain a level of quality in the photographs I’m comfortable with.

However, the re-occurring theme whenever I’m pointing and shooting with other cameras is – I wish I had the Leica in my hand.

Conclusion

Well, at the end of the day an itch needs scratching and I’ve scratched both the Fujifilm & Nikon itch, however neither has offered the solution I thought they would.

Maybe it’s time to retire from social media, forums and photo websites.

Maybe I need to be more disciplined in my approach toward camera gear.

Maybe I need to perform root and ranch on all my camera gear and move on everything superfluous to my needs.

Maybe it’s at its most simple the need to concentrate on what I want to do and that’s enjoy the passion of photography for myself with the gear I always seem to come back to and accept the limitations that presents to me.

PS. Anyone want to buy an X100V

Loving life with a 90mm

For all the other gear I have that’s probably more suited to woodland and landscape photography I love to get out into the woods with my Leica M10-P and a couple of lenses. It feels a much more cathartic experience shooting with a Leica M over the Nikon Z6 I have.

It’s a slower process, manually focussing – peering through the EVF that’s atop the body almost feels like days of old looking down, being careful with the rudimentary metering options the M10-P has over the Nikon system.

However, I’ve always felt like a longer focal length that the 50mm Summicron I normally use, would allow me a little more composition options. It’s taken me a while to finally come to the decision, but I’ve finally topped out my Leica M10-P gear with a 90mm focal length lens. 

I’ve been intrigued to try a longer lens for a while now. I feel that in woodland and forest areas, it’s a good focal length for picking out details or getting closer to the subject and being able to isolate them from unwanted skies in the background.

A mate of mine lent me his Voigtlander 75mm 1.8 a little while ago but it didn’t quite work as I wanted it to on the M10-P.  What it did do was show me 75mm wasn’t different enough for me to the 50mm I have.  I’ve had it in mind since then that a 90mm focal length would be an ideal fit for me.

Enter the 90mm
Having searched around for a while, I came across a Minolta Rokkor 90mm f4. A lens from the past that first saw its introduction on the Minolta CL, a Leica lens mount film camera made by Minolta. 

A bit of research showed me it was a good fit for the M, so I bit the bullet and bought it. In fairness it was a really well priced option, so I wasn’t spending a huge amount on a lens that a) may not be the quality I wanted or b) not work that well on the digital Leica M10-P

Initial Impressions
Having owned it for a little while now I’ve used it quite extensively. Now in the interests of clarity, I shoot mainly on a tripod with a Typ020 Electronic Viewfinder on top of the M10 which gives me focus peaking for focussing. This does help to really nail the focus on the Leica M and although some people think it’s sacrilege, I quite like the process. 

First impressions are positive, I’m very happy with the lens.  The focal length is almost perfect for what I want. Wide open at f4 is good enough to isolate and blur the background slightly if required and the small size of the lens makes it easy for carrying around when not in use.

Now I’m not expecting perfection from a lens that cost c.<£300 but I have been quite surprised at how good the 90mm Rokkor is. It may not be quite tack sharp or have the micro contrast the Summicron 50mm I have, that’s used quite a bit in woodland, but as you can see it’s good enough for my needs.

I actually feel that I now have the right mix of lenses I want for my Leica M10-P. A 28mm, 35mm, 50mm & 90mm offer a really rounded out mix and are easy enough to carry around due to their diminutive size. Maybe in time I’ll swap the 28mm out for something a little wider, but I’m really pleased with the collection I have managed to pull together.

Here’s a few woodland images shot on the Leica M10-P & Minolta Rokkor 90mm f4.

Craving Simplicity

Sometimes it all gets a bit too much and at the moment my seemingly endless quest to find the right camera gear has been giving me a rather painful bout of sensory overload.

I’ll be honest, it’s even starting to piss me off.

I have two very different systems I use for the majority of what I shoot. A Leica M10-P & a Nikon Z6 with 2 zoom lenses – the 14-30 & 24-70 f4 and I also have a couple of the cheap small (28mm & 40mm) prime lenses.

I wrote a blog post a little while ago about going all in on the Leica system I have – and this recent malaise I have is starting to reinforce the feelings I had when I wrote that post.

The Leica M10-P is a fantastic camera but quite rudimentary in use with few of the features the Nikon has, and I’ve always thought my Nikon Z6 kit is more suited to the woodland and landscape photography I enjoy.

However I find myself using the Leica quite a bit more for this as I simply find the whole process just a little more enjoyable.

For clarity I will admit to using the optional EVF with the Leica as it offers more precise focussing than simply using the rangefinder, more metering options and it’s useful to envisage what the final image will look like through the EVF.

I’m OK with that in the conditions I normally use it… ie in a wood, camera on a tripod, shooting low ISO’s and low shutter speeds.

I now have a ‘perfect lens’ set up for my Leica M needs – a 28mm, 35mm, 50mm & 90mm lens and there are few occasions where I feel I’d need much more…

Going forward, I’m going to be really testing out the M10-P in the conditions I use it and see if I can really live without the requirements the Z6 system offers me at times.

All in on Leica?

A little while ago I wrote a blog post about the compromises I make shooting with the Leica M10-P. At the time I have to say I was struggling to justify quite a bit about it for my needs. 

The quality of the images I could make with it were never in doubt, but it felt I was always trying in my own mind to justify the cost of ownership, justify and work with the compromises of using it for what I shoot and thinking perhaps the time was right to move it on and embrace the Nikon Z6 I’ve owned for a little while now.

There are compelling reasons to use the Nikon Z6 for the kind of photography I do. However for me, it’s not all sweetness and light with the Z, there are foibles I’ve found in use with perhaps the most damning of all being it has all the personality of a domestic appliance, I find it a really boring, soulless camera to use!

I’m left feeling at the moment that if I am going to compromise, I would far sooner compromise with a camera and system that makes me want to go out and shoot. I can live with a compromise like that if at the end of the day what I’m using inspires me…. something the Nikon doesn’t do well.

Always What I’m Reaching For!

Since my original blog post about the M10-P, I’ve made a determined effort to use the Leica more and more for my woodland photography and you know what, I have come to appreciate the limitations and nature of the M series cameras more so now than ever before.

In fact so much so, I’m actually considering moving the Nikon kit on to pastures new and re-investing the funds in more glass for the Leica. I’m starting to think with a 24/28, 35, 50 and 90mm lens choice for the M10-P I’d be set far for a good few years ahead.

Gentle Colour

A couple of weeks back, we had a little bit of mist in my part of the world along with some pretty cold conditions.

I wandered a small woodland area for a couple of hours or so along with a common I’d been eyeing up, which proved to be rather beautiful with the sun and haze just adding in a little atmosphere to go with the cold, icy ground.

Here’s a few photos from the morning, which inspite of me wanting to convert into monochrome, seemed to look better in colour with a gentle edit.

All photos shot on Leica M10-P & Summicron 35mm ASPH v2.

Happy Anniversary ‘Cron

It’s exactly a year since I pushed the button and was lucky enough to buy myself a Leica Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH.

When I bought my Leica M10-P a couple of years ago or so, I promised myself I would one day own a Leica Summicron 35mm ASPH.

It’s one of those lenses that through time has reached almost legendary status and it was on my wish list from the beginning.

Between buying the camera and buying the lenses, I tried a couple of 35mm focal length lenses.

I originally bought the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4, but was never happy with it. As sharp as it was the vignetting even close to wide open was really noticeable and proved quite a challenge to remove in post processing.

I also tried two different 7 artisans 35mm f2 lenses, which looked the part but the out of focus areas were almost psychedelic to me, and both suffered from terrible chromatic aberration along with really needing to be fine tuned on the M10-P.

I then picked up a Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar which was a really nice small lens, with good quality and optics, but the call of the Summicron lay there and it was an itch that needed scratching!

Finally I had the chance to pick up the Summicron 35mm ASPH and exactly a year later, I am still more than happy with the lens and have no intention of moving it on anytime soon.  

OK, so they’re expensive, but for me it was an expense I was prepared to meet.

The feel and quality of the lens is just perfect. The aperture clicks are positive but not over powering, the focus tab and pull are really so smooth, it’s quite easy to find focus due to this.

For me it is the ideal/perfect 35mm focal length lens with image quality that oozes sharpness, micro contrast and great colour rendition. I know some people think 35mm focal length is boring, but for me it’s a jack of all trades and one that lives almost exclusively on my M10-P.

I don’t think I could be any happier with any other lens in this focal length and and I’m looking forward to spending many more years with this little powerhouse of a lens.

So, happy anniversary little 35mm ‘cron.  

Sunday Strolling

Hanging the Leica M10-P over the shoulder along with the small but excellent Leica Summicron C 40mm f2 makes for a very compact, easy to use set up.

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday morning than wandering along the local canal towpaths looking for compositions with a flat white coffee as mid walk refreshment.

Starting to Feel The Black and White Pull

I’ve been shooting and editing to black and white almost exclusively since before Christmas and since the beginning of the New Year I’ve been shooting with a monochrome view through the live view of my camera.

I convert those images to a black and white preset when importing the files in to Lightroom, in order that I don’t get distracted by the colour RAW image at any point of taking a photograph.

It starting to feel like I’m starting to get somewhere slowly with how I want my woodland images to look and feel and this has come about from trial and error, either through the viewfinder or once imported into LR.

It’s a strange thing, but when I’m out with the camera now, I’m looking for those tones and trying to envisage how I will process the image, before pressing the shutter button.

I definitely prefer the darker, moodier look of black and white and that’s how I want to portray what I’m seeing when I’m out and about.

I’m trying to shoot more under exposed to be able to work with the shadows and highlights as I want, to give me the look I’m after.

So far, so good. For the first time in a while I’ve started to feel as if I’m shooting and editing how I want my photographs to look… and that can’t be a bad thing can it?!

Leica Summicron 40mm f2

Leica Summicron 40mm f2 – perfect when you love 50mm and adore 35mm and can’t decide if you are a 50 or 35mm man!

Since buying both the M10 digital & M6 film bodies, I’ve had a bit of GAS with regards to a Summicron lens.

Continue reading “Leica Summicron 40mm f2”

Monte-Carlo Historique – Banbury

Monte-Carlo Historique in Banbury – a fun thing to do on a Thursday morning!

Banbury hosts the Rally Monte-Carlo Historique entrants with a sideshow of classic and vintage cars around the market square.

Continue reading “Monte-Carlo Historique – Banbury”