Tag Archives: leica

Leica CL – Hands On

Hands On Preview Of The New Leica CL

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Photographer Edmond Terakopian with the newly announced Leica CL. Leica CL Press Launch. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Robin Sinha

I used to really like my Leica X1; superb quality, large sensor compact camera, with a fixed Leica lens, capable of professional results in a small body. It was with me at all times and I used it on assignments as well as my personal work. Alas, it needed to have a proper electronic viewfinder and equally as importantly, interchangeable lenses. The radically conceptual and interesting Leica TL and TL2 addressed the interchangeable lens issue, but to my dismay didn’t have a built in viewfinder. Although I do sometimes shoot using the rear screen, I’m definitely a viewfinder user and a slide on viewfinder (be it optical or digital) whilst useful, isn’t the answer. They’re inelegant, get in the way, add bulk, come off and can easily be lost.

The rumour mills started showing leaked images of the Leica CL. An interchangeable lens, compact mirrorless camera with a built in viewfinder. Of course, one can never trust these rumours, but when I received an invitation by the lovely folks at Leica UK for a press launch, I realised this may just be for real. I’m delighted to say, it is a reality.

It’s a truly beautiful and elegant design, sharing a look very reminiscent of it’s great grandfather, the Leica III. Even without the red dot, it is instantly recognisable as a Leica and carries this heritage forward. The design, craftsmanship and build quality are really top notch. This is definitely a “real Leica”. It feels right in the hand.

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A portrait of Arteh Odjidja at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The mark of a well thought out design, one crafted by engineers who are passionate photographers and not just very clever folk, is that when you pick it up, you can just start to use it. Without looking at a manual or much fuss at all, I took to its beautifully designed and elegant switchgear; ergonomics which have been thought through just make the camera a very natural and comfortable extension of the photographer. The twin dials with push down control clicks and a small screen between them means that modes and settings can quickly be navigated not only without fuss, but very naturally. My only gripe here is that in manual mode, it would be nice to be able to change the dials’ functions so that shutter speed and aperture can be swapped around if needed. Hopefully a firmware upgrade can take care of that.

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A portrait of Robin Sinha at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

When other camera manufacturers look at the simplicity and elegance of design with a perfect layout of buttons, dials and screens, they’ll hopefully realise that shoving extraneous buttons all over their camera’s isn’t really necessary and is in fact counterproductive to photography. The same can be said of the menu system, which essentially includes a favourite’s page and is very elegantly done. No PhDs needed to operate this menu system!

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the specifications online, but the main points are:

24.2mp APS-C CMOS sensor with a 14 stop dynamic range

ISO range of 100 to 50000

10 frames a second on continuous drive (with three speed settings for continuous) with a 33 frame buffer (jpeg and raw DNG)

Flash sync speed of 1/180th

EVF has 2.3mp with an eye relief of 20 mm (superb for spectacle wearers)

The autofocus system is contrast based and has 49 points

The files lend themselves beautifully to the monochrome treatment; the lenses and sensor being matched nicely to get a smooth and wide tonal range also produce a phenomenal dynamic range. All the key ingredients for beautiful black and white photography are present.

I had the camera for around 20 minutes, so of course this post isn’t an exhaustive test. Some colleagues whose opinion I value have had more time with the camera, and I will post some links at the end of this article. However, one thing I can usually tell in the first few minutes of picking up a new camera is if it’s going to work for me. The Leica CL gave me the feeling that it definitely will. It’s right in the hand, focuses quickly and accurately, has a decent amount of AF points spread across the frame, has a fast drive when needed, intelligent menu system and of course, has Leica lenses. The main reason for me choosing Leica, by far, is the Leica lens. I made this decision back in early 90s when I bought my first Leica (an M4-2) after having tried an M3 for a few weeks back in 1989. Another wonderful thing about the CL is that with an adapter, Leica M lenses can be fitted and used (with a x1.5 crop factor).

I do wish it had a few things though. I would have really liked to see a joystick on the back for moving the AF point around quickly with he camera to the eye. I feel any serious camera needs to have a joystick. A built in stabiliser would have also been most welcome. Although the video specs are good, I didn’t even bother to shoot video as there are no microphone or headphone sockets, so perhaps having these would have been a nice touch, making the camera more usable, but I assume it would have added bulk.

As with any conversation involving Leica, the price always comes up. I’ve already had several conversations about pricing with friends and colleagues on my social media. Leica have always been more costly. No compromise lens design and low quantity manufacturing has always meant that price wise they will never be on par with the gigantic Japanese manufacturers. However, if the look and feel you get from your images is important to your work, then a Leica will help bring out that much more from that moment when you decide to press the shutter release.

The full frame bigger brother, the Leica SL, was of course Leica’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lensed, built in EVF camera. Some very impressive specs, beautiful image quality and absolutely stellar lenses, alas never convinced me to get one. Simply because the lenses were huge. Smaller lenses are rumoured to be on their way though, so perhaps I may reevaluate my stance in the future. Until that moment, for me, the CL is Leica doing mirrorless correctly. It ticks so many boxes and feels absolutely right in the hand and in use. Dear Santa……

 

My Leica CL Flickr Album

Some atmospheric photographs of the Leica CL from Leica Camera.

Further Reading about the Leica CL:

Sarah M Lee puts the new Leica CL through its paces; TENDER ARE THE NIGHTHAWKS

Testing The Leica CL, by Jono Slack

Leica CL Review by Andy Westlake

 

12TH BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS

Five Images Nominated By Judges


Happy to share that five of my images were nominated by the judges of the Black and White Spider Awards, in the professional section, across five different categories.

“Spider Awards 2017 proves once again to be a great challenge for the jury to select the best images of the year. Every year this photographic competition increases its quality of content, reputation and prestige” said juror Andrea de Polo, Cultural Heritage Consultant at Fratelli Alinari Photo Archive in Florence.

Curator and Arts Writer Paola Anselmi added “Congratulations to all the winners. A great deal of humanity and soul in this year’s selection, maybe it is a sign of the times and a promise for future awards and photography in general.”

“This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.”

Portrait Category
La finta giardiniera

Ida Ränzlöv, singing the part of Arminda, Anchise’s niece, waits backstage for her cue. Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. Dress rehearsal. Royal College of Music Opera School, Prince Consort Road, London.

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and Voigtlander 17.5mm Nokton f0.95 lens.

People Category
Aromi Ice Cream

A lady serves ice cream at Aromi cafe, Cambridge.

Shot on a Leica M Monochrom (M-246) and vintage 1959 Leitz 50mm Summilux.

Children Of The World Category
Westminster Cathedral Choir School

Chorister (L-R) Lukas Siemens, Connor Carnathan, Elliot Bowes and Freddie Sparke. Westminster Cathedral Choir School. The choir rehearsing in Westminster Cathedral, London.

Shot on a Fujifilm GFX-50S and Fujinon GF63mm lens.

Fine Art Category
Tower Hill 20161214-412-20161214-723-Edit

Corridors at the Citizen M hotel, Tower Hill, London.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F and M.Zuiko 25mm lens.

Advertising Category
Tower Hill 20161214-193-20161214-286

Hanson cement mixer lorry, Tower Hill, London.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F, using a Nikkor 24mm f2 and a tilt adapter.

The images were all shot in raw and processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.

2017 TZIPAC Zebra Awards

Four Images In The Finals

Martini Porsche 911

Happy to share that four of my images are finalists in the 5th Zebra Awards and a further five managed to reach the second stage of judging. Many thanks to all the judges and congratulations to all the winners and other finalists.

Finalists

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and a Voigtlander 17.5mm Nokton f0.95 lens.

Shot on a Leica M (Type 240) and a Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE lens.

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and an Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F with a tilt adapter and a Nikon 24mm f2.0 lens.

Second Stage Images

Shot on a Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) and a vintage Leica 50mm Summilux lens.

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and a Voigtlander 17.5mm Nokton f0.95 lens.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F and an Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens.

Shot on a Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) and a vintage Leica 50mm Summilux lens.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F and an Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens.

10th Annual International Color Awards

Two Images Nominated By Judges

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Delighted to share that two of my images were nominated in the 10th Annual International Color Awards. Alas no wins, but still nice to get a couple of images chosen out of the 6178 entries. In a slight departure from my normal work, one of the images was in the Abstract category and the other in Fine Art.

Nominee in Abstract | Backstage Light

Hänsel und Gretel

A backstage light at the end of the cross over tunnel. Hänsel und Gretel, Royal College of Music, London. June 29, 2016.

 

This was shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II using a Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 lens. The raw image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Alienskin Exposure X2.

Nominee in Fine Art | Light

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The cold blue of the early morning light is warmed by an artifical lightbulb in a stair way. London. May 23, 2016.

This was shot on a Leica M (Type 240) using a Leica 50mm Noctilux ASPH lens. The raw image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Alienskin Exposure X2.

Black & White Spider Awards 2016

Six Images Chosen By Judges



Thrilled to have two of my images given honourable mentions and four other images achieve nominee status in the 2016 Black & White Spider Awards.

Honourable Mention in Nature | Murmurations

Murmuration

A murmuration of starlings at dusk, just after the sunset at the beach in Blackpool, Lancashire, United Kingdom. March 10, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8PRO lens, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.

Honourable Mention in People | Backstage Reflection

Albert Herring; an Opera by Benjamin Britten

The final performance of Albert Herring at the Britten Theatre, RCM. Miss Wordsworth, played by Sofia Larsson, reflects on her performance backstage and awaits her cue for her next scene in the second act. Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten. Royal College of Music, Bitten Theatre, Prince Consort Road, London. July 08, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 lens, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.

Nominee in People | Backstage Tunnel

Albert Herring; an Opera by Benjamin Britten

Miss Wordsworth, played by Natasha Day, waits in the “cross over” tunnel backstage before going on to perform in the second act. Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten. Royal College of Music, Bitten Theatre, Prince Consort Road, London. July 06, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 lens, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.

Nominee in People | Street Dance

Dancers (L-R) Zunnur Zhafirah and Faye Stoeser. J’Agura (The Present Of Now), Means Of Engagement present a contemporary dance performance titled “Embellished Abundance”. Creation and composition by Muti Musafiri and Nella Turkki. The performers are young dancers from London, ranging in age from 20 to 28. Organised by the South Bank Youth Club. The dancers are along the Queen’s Walk, South Bank, London, United Kingdom. August 28, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using a Leica M Monochrom (M246) and Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH (FLE) lens, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.

Nominee in People | Street Dancers

Dancer Zunnur Zhafirah (foreground). J’Agura (The Present Of Now), Means Of Engagement present a contemporary dance performance titled “Embellished Abundance”. Creation and composition by Muti Musafiri and Nella Turkki. The performers are young dancers from London, ranging in age from 20 to 28. Organised by the South Bank Youth Club. The dancers are along the Queen’s Walk, South Bank, London, United Kingdom. August 28, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using a Leica M Monochrom (M246) and Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH (FLE) lens, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.

Nominee in People | Warming Up

Albert Herring; an opera by Benjamin Britten

Simon Grange warms up before going on stage for the student auditions for Britten’s Albert Herring. Royal College of Music, Bitten Theatre, Prince Consort Road, London. January 20, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 lens, processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro

As always, I’m most thankful for those who allow me to immerse myself into their lives and photograph a segment of their being. The exceptionally talented musicians from the Royal College of Music and the amazing dancers on the South Bank; thank you all.

A spokesperson for the awards notes “7,556 entries were received from 71 countries and your work received a high percentage of votes overall.”

The Jury represented the industry’s biggest names and tastemakers including
National Geographic, Washington DC; The Armory Show, New York; TBWA,
Paris; Victoria Film Festival, Canada; Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels;
Studio Hansa, London; Fratelli Alinari, Florence; Australian Centre for Photography;
Young & Rubicam, Lima; and Anthem Worldwide/Marque Branding, Sydney.

Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2016

I’ve received my customary annual rejection email from the judges of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. However, nice to see the prize is slowly warming up to my work:

“However, I did want to let you know that your photograph(s) did make it through to the second round of judging which included around 346 images. This year we had a total of 4,303 prints submitted into the competition from 1,842 photographers so the competition was very strong.”, Keeley Carter, Exhibitions Manager.

Roll on next year! As is customary, I’d like to share my entry images with you.

For the technically minded, the three backstage colour images were shot on Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II cameras with Olympus M.Zuiko lenses, apart from the backstage shot featuring balloons, which was with a Voigtlander Nokton f0.95 lens. The colour batman portrait was shot on an Olympus PEN E-P5.

The two black and white images were shot on a Leica Monochrom (M246) with Leica lenses.

All editing and processing was done on Adobe Lightroom. The colour images were finished in Alienskin Exposure X and the monochrome images were finished in Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.

Eight Images in TZIPAC Zebra Award Finals

Zebra Awards Logo

8 Pictures Judged As Finalists In Black & White Photo Competition

Astonished and overjoyed to share that that eight of my photographs reached the finals of the BW specialist competition, the 4th TZIPAC Zebra Awards.

 

Seven of the images were shot on Olympus OM-D cameras (E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II) and one of the images (the urban dance image) was shot on a Leica Monochrom.

Whilst non of the images went onto win, having eight photographs get into the finals is pretty special! Huge congratulations to the winners; there was some exceptional photography.