Saturday, September 25, 2010

1.4 Magnifier

I just received my new Leica Viewfinder Magnifier M 1.4 and thought I would share a few thoughts on the performance and value of this accessory. I'm using it with my Leica Elmarit 90mm 2.8 on a Leica M-9 body. My first impression was this costs a lot I hope it makes focusing easier with a telephoto lens.
When I received it I was impressed that the quality of this accessory is in keeping with other high end Leica products, first class.
The viewfinder comes with a leather case that attaches to the camera strap with a leash that attaches to the magnifier. The magnifier screws into the M-9s eyepiece and it does a great job of magnifying the focusing circle. The framing lines are also magnified and appear brighter.
How does it perform in use ? For me just great, I have only shot with it for two days but my picture hit rate for sharp focus is improved. How much improved ? I would say about twenty to thirty percent which makes this purchase worth the investment for me. Others have had different results and results may vary with different lens combination. Here are a few photo examples:
 Old farm equipment taken through a barb wire fence sharp focus on the disks.
 Fall colors highlight this leaf, note the sharpness on the stem of the leaf.
Old oak tree converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Elmarit Examples

I'm sharing a few pictures taken with the Leica M-9 fitted with the Leica Elmarit 90mm 2.8 lens. 
Plenty of people will tell you that long lenses are very hard to focus and to get sharp images. This maybe true depending on your eyesight and your expectations.
I will be the first to admit that it is much easier to get very sharp images with my Nikon D300 and I will and do use that camera when my intent is to focus on sharpness and speed. The advantage of the Leica and 90mm lens is the feel of the photograph. It maybe in the rendering of the color or the smoothness of the bokeh. Sometimes I have a hard time explaining to others what it is that gives these images the qualities I appreciate. I just think of it as a artistic rendition this lens and camera produces. Here are some examples.
This first image was converted from color by using Silver Efex Pro and highlights what I think of as a artistic rendition. Setting where F 2.8, ISO 160 at 1/180 sec.
This image was taken at the opposite extreme of photo number 1. The photo was taken indoors with challenging lighting conditions and was taken at ISO 1250 at 1/45 sec. The color tone highlights the old age of this statue.
Sharpness I'm including this shot to show that you can shoot wide open at F 2.8 1/1500, ISO 160 and still get a very sharp image while rendering the background in a smooth bokeh.
Close up of this fuchsia was taken at a minimal distance from subject at F 5.7, ISO 400 and speed of 1/60. Which highlights the bokeh with a little of graininess.
Stain-glass close-up taken at F 2.8 ISO 160 at 1/350 sec. Again the sharpness of this image is more than adequate for this type of photograph.
If you are looking for a 90 mm lens for your Leica don't be put off by perceived difficulty in focusing this lens. The Elmarit 2.8 90mm in my opinion is a excellent choice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some Examples

A few new examples taken with the Leica M-9
 A close-up of a old fire hydrant rendered in black and white using Silver Efex Pro.
A small cat peeking over the fence at my dogs, processed in Adobe Lightroom 3.2.
Now some pictures taken with the Leica D-Lux 4.
A close-up of that demonstrates the clarity you can obtain with this little camera.
A old abandoned shed that has seen better days, processed in Silver Efex Pro and then Color Efex Pro to add a custom vignetting.
I saw this maple tree which is changing color to red while losing its leaves. The contrast with the green in the rest of the garden is highlighted using Color Efex Pros brilliance and glamor glow filters.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Leica D-Lux 4 pics taken this week. I'm always looking for interesting things that occur naturally to photograph. Sometimes it is people, places or inanimate objects. Here are some miscellaneous subjects taken during my daily excursions.  9/04/2010 Had to add a few more pics from Saturday morning taken on a leafy back road.  
This leaf is naturally framed by light filtering through the trees.
Even though it is still summer this leaf is already sporting its autumn colors.
Straight over the top, looking straight down on the leaf highlighted by the stem casting its shadow across the leaf. Subtle color change is a surefire indicator of fall being just around the corner.
Stuck - a leaf blown in the wind gets caught in the bark of a redwood tree. Nice contrast in color and texture and no this photo was not staged.
Looking up - A old stone gate post with what is left of a light post as the light is filtered through the trees. Converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro.
Spokes - What is left of this old wooden wagon wheel now posing as a garden ornament.
Rest - Ten year old German Shepherd takes a rest and waits patiently while I take a few more pictures.
Contrast - strong contrast of light, dark and structure in this close up of a stone bridge. Converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro.