I have been wanting to rent a digital Leica for some time now, just to see what all the hoopla was about. To see if it was any different than shooting with my M2, and to see if I could get results I was happy with. Before renting the M-D my favorite camera of all time was probably the RX1r.  The images, size, and focal length were all perfect for me.  But could I replicate that with a Leica M of some kind?  I wanted to find out.  My sister-in-law was getting married so I thought the weekend of the wedding would be a perfect trial run.  Here are some of the results and some rambling about the camera in general…

L1001703.jpg

L1001716.jpg

L1001730.jpg

L1001745.jpg

L1001774.jpg

L1001791.jpg

L1001782.jpg

L1001795.jpg

L1001797.jpg

L1001803.jpg

L1001834.jpg

L1001867.jpg

L1001908.jpg

L1001920.jpg

L1001919.jpg

L1001934.jpg

L1001937.jpg

L1001936.jpg

L1001948.jpg

L1001953.jpg

L1001962.jpg

L1001978.jpg

L1001994.jpg

jess.grandma.jpg

L1002075.jpg

L1002083.jpg
L1002088.jpg

SO…could this of been shot on film?  I mean thats the real question here – the Leica M-D is supposed to be a film camera shooters digital Leica, right? I would say that answer is yes…maybe…most likely…probably…with a couple of reservations 🙂

When I tend to shoot film I don’t shoot nearly as much, for what ever reason, I tend to be a little more careful about shooting.  Which I think in general is a good thing.  But I know I would of had a hard time getting through an entire roll before the reception started – I would of felt like I was shooting just to burn through film.  There were times I wanted black and white and other times I wanted color.  It was like having an unlimited supply of what ever film I wanted rated at whatever ISO I wanted loaded up and ready to go.

If shooting with Portra 400 or something similar it would of been more difficult as I was pushing the M-D up to ISO 3200 some (ok, a lot) of the time.  Maybe something like Cinestill 800T would of been OK indoors and out. Yes, yes I do know you can get away with under/over exposing film (especially something like Portra or Cinestill) and still get fantastic results.  But thats not my point.  I could make 3200 ISO on the M-D look like 400 ISO film – thats a pretty big advantage.  My only complaint about the M-D in general is that you get some serious banding at 6400.  If Leica would of put a cleaner, no banding, 6400 on the M-D I think it would be nearly perfect.  Heck, the RX1r could go up to 18,000 and the results were still great, especially in black and white. Put that sensor in the M-D and call it a day for me.  I’d never need a different camera.

The colors with film are just better in my opinion for people photos. That being said, I still really like the M-D sensor – color was good all the way up to 3200, 6400 on the other hand was pretty dodgy.  Either I’m an expert processor (highly, highly unlikely) or my eye just isn’t as good as others (more/most likely), but I don’t see anything wrong with the skin tones or colors it produces – and call me crazy, but I actually like working in Lightroom and processing images.  In a nutshell, I’d be happy with the files if this was the camera I owned.

I do think my M2 viewfinder had the edge on the new M-D though.  I had the M-D white out a few times, and all those frame lines of the M-D are no where near as pleasant as 35/50/90 of the M2.

In the end it had to go back to LensRentals. But this camera is fantastic, and it was a really fun weekend.  If you shoot a film Leica and wanted to go digital, then you would be right at home with the M-D.  End of story.   I didn’t have to open a manual, or go through menus, or worry about settings…attach a lens, turn it on, and go.  It acted just like a M7.  Would I trade my M2 for this?  Probably not – I still like the entire process of shooting film.  I truly believe that these all could of been shot with the M2.  What I think this showed me is that film is most definitely still viable, and a really, really good option.  Film is no better or worse in my opinion, its just different.  All these points are really just film vs digital arguments, not really M2 vs M-D arguments.

In that regard I think Leica has something special here – no other camera manufacturer has anything like this out there.  And for me, if in the market, would be the M I would choose.

Advertisements
4 Comments

Last Christmas I got a big box of this stuff – I think 40 rolls.  Here is my review…its good stuff!  Its affordable, it comes in bulk, and looks pretty dang good.  I have read iffy reviews of the 35mm format version, but this stuff looks good in the Rolleiflex.  Can’t wait to see what it looks like pushed a stop or two.

MJN20002.jpg

MJN20010.jpg

As a bonus review, the Rolleinar 1 for the 2.8f is also fun 🙂

4 Comments

Again, some more from the “Pre-Baby” days.  I have had this for a while, but just finding the time to post them.

MJN00007.jpg

MJN00005.jpg

What’s that we are Bar-B-Q’ing you ask?  The classic St. Louis staple…Pork Steaks. Pork steaks?  You think I mean pork chops right? No these are pork steaks. Think about where pulled pork comes from, the pork butt (which is actually the pork’s shoulder, but its called a “butt” for some reason). So, cut up the pork butt (or shoulder, keep up) into steaks and there you have it!  Pork Steaks!  Naked or slathered in sauce, everyone in St. Louis cooks them.

MJN00009.jpg

MJN00011.jpg

MJN00008.jpg

MJN00014.jpg

MJN00006.jpg

MJN00012.jpg

And Finally, Grandma and the whole Fam-Damily.

MJN00013.jpg

Leave a comment

So a while back I had an entire roll of film with one shot on it…not really sure what happened there (did I accidentally rewind the film, did I open the back, who knows really).  Regardless, the one shot was pretty good – so not all was lost.  The new stuff is from brunch and a walk with Mrs. J and Murphy, a Cardinals game, and some random fun around the house.  Just waiting for the new addition!

roll42.00009.jpg

View project

2 Comments