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.

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.

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?!

All Good in the Wood

The best part of wanting to shoot more ‘outdoor’ photography is that where I live we have plenty of woodland around us and it’s the perfect way to get out and about – and to lose yourself for an hour or two.

I’m a newbie landscape and outdoor photographer.

I have no real past experience of shooting landscapes and it’s something I’ve come to quite late in my photography life. The best part of wanting to shoot more ‘outdoor’ photography is that where I live we have plenty of woodland around us and it’s the perfect way to get out and about – and to lose yourself for an hour or two.

Continue reading “All Good in the Wood”

Summertime with the Fujifilm X100F

We’re pretty fortunate living where we do as we have plenty of woodland areas nearby offering some real nice scenery.

We’re pretty fortunate living where we do as we have plenty of woodland areas nearby offering some real nice scenery. Getting out and about nice and early means there are very few people ever around other than the odd dog walker or cyclist traversing the paths that lead around these beautiful green spaces.

Continue reading “Summertime with the Fujifilm X100F”