f/2.8 and Click

I have never owned a lens before that was as good at aperture f/2.8 as the one in the Leica X2.  That is the only thing common in all three of the above pictures.  I have had fun seeing what I can achieve with the camera, mostly photographing at an aperture of f/2.8 in bright and not so bright light, and with near and far focus.  So far it hasn’t failed me in any pictures that I attempted with the lens wide open since it seems to be equally sharp from corner to corner with no optical problems.  My biggest concern was the depth of field with the larger landscape pictures, but so far it seems to do quite well with this 24 mm (effective 36 mm) lens.  Not only is the camera nice and small and easy to use, it also has the best optics of any lens I have ever owned.

For those who are wondering why I would want to take pictures so often at f/2.8 with an effective 36 mm focal length lens, it is for four reasons.  First, it provides me with nice bloke, or blurring of the background, when I wish to focus on something close.  Doing that places the primary emphasis on the close details of what I am shooting when the background isn’t interesting.  The second reason is that it keeps the ISO and noise levels lower when I am shooting in low light.  The third reason is that it also helps keep the shutter speed faster to minimize both camera and subject motion.  The fourth reason is for simplicity in photography.  I don’t need to think about what aperture will work best and then vary it accordingly.  It reduces the number of variables so that I can concentrate on the composition, exposure, and focus point.

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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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My Current Camera Favorites


I have sold all of my micro 4/3 gear as well as the Canon SL1.  Why keep only the above two cameras?  The short answer, it’s all I need:  one for projects and long focal lengths, and one for minimalism and the joy of carrying and using it.

I bought the Leica X2 for its size, simplicity, and effective 36 mm lens.  I have drifted toward using just the Canon 70D and the Leica X2 because of their differences in size, weight, versatility, discreetness and simplicity, as well as image quality.

The Canon with the 24 mm lens weights 905 g, focuses and shoots fast but with significant shutter/mirror noise and greater bulk, thus it is less discreet for photography around people.  Its strengths are for landscape, wildlife, and my project photography for Homewood residents when a diversity of longer focal lengths and the articulated LCD are required.   The Leica weighs only 350 g and is a quality, well designed, discreet, minimalist tool.

The Canon’s versatility also comes with a multitude of menu settings and variables which are often begging for change; but I like simplicity with a minimal number of variables to be dealt with.  I get simplicity with the Leica X2.  I also get a very quiet camera for use up close to people without disturbing them.  If I want to not disturb people when using the Canon I need to use a heavy long focal length zoom lens and stand way back.

You can see the differences in size and bulk in the above picture.   In addition, the Leica has far, far fewer menu options, and great external dial controls on top.  The X2 is a photographer’s camera that is easy on the hands.  I am also positioning myself to photograph only with a small fixed lens camera if I desire or if it becomes necessary to give up the heavy Canon and lenses.  I still have the Ricoh GR but I might eventually sell it along with the Canon 24 mm lens if I find that I’m not using them much.

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Posted by on April 26, 2015 in Photography


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Red & Yellow Tulips

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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography



Two Maples


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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography



So Cold & Wet

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I needed to take a picture but it was cold and wet out, so I didn’t venture far or stay long.  It was the middle of the afternoon and even the tulips had their arms wrapped tightly trying to stay warm.

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography



Long Dreams

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I vacillate between using only one normal prime lens, or using a long zoom lens.  When I took the above pictures I had gone for a walk with the Canon 70D and the 55 – 250 mm lens.  As is usually the case when I’m using that lens, I shoot mostly at the 250 mm end of the zoom, and then crop a lot when I get it up on my monitor.  While looking at the cropped images I always start dreaming about a longer lens.  This only lasts until I think about the cost and the weight.  A long lens is hardly worth it just to get a few more pictures for my blog, and I don’t need it for my internal photography; but, maybe one of these days I’ll change my mind.

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Leica X2 and the Hubcaps

In another of my rounds of exercising the camera, I took it to the Eichelberger Performing Arts Center when the Hubcaps were playing.   I think they have performed for 41 years so they are getting a little old.  The X2 is not necessarily the best camera for taking such pictures since it has an effective fixed focal length of 36 mm, but I was close enough to take the following with only a little cropping.

The camera is ideal in “social” settings since it is small and discreet when being carried with a neck strap under a sport coat; but not so discreet when being used to take pictures.  I didn’t have a viewfinder so I had to use the LCD to compose my images.  Even though I tried to hold it down low, it was still a distraction to those sitting on either side of me, and I suppose some in the row behind me.  I never recommend holding up a camera, tablet, or smartphone to take pictures since it is annoying to those behind and around you, and is the primary reason for more and more venues ruling out their use; i.e. no pictures allowed.  If I were planning to use this camera like this in the future, I would need to obtain a viewfinder and turn the monitor off.

Another thing I recommend if you are using your camera in a similar lighting situation is to use a spot focus point as well as the spot exposure setting on the camera.  Those settings minimized the degree of any exposure adjustments needed in LR and kept the ISO levels lower.  These are not solutions for all uneven lighting and changing spotlights but they help.

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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Photography


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