With proper care and attention almost any camera can generate good pictures if the operator composes something of interest and is careful of how they use it. I have circled back to wondering why I need another camera and what am I going to photograph. Another camera or lens is of value to me only if it contributes significantly to finding and photographing something different that I can’t do now.
I ordered a used Leica X-Vario camera since it has a unique fixed zoom lens that goes from an effective 28mm to 70mm that doesn’t extend much. Its shortest extension is at 50mm and with just a little extension it goes to 70mm and that is its macro position. I hoped to then put a macro conversion lens on it to gain closer focusing and a better macro capability in a small package. I tried the conversion lens and it worked fine although it is limited to f/6.4 in that macro position. I decided to try this approach for macro photography based on an article that I read in which Leslie Gleim made some excellent pictures with this setup. Check out her article.
Next, I put the same macro conversion lens on my Fujifilm 50mm F2 lens and made some comparison images. I could see no significant differences between the Leica and the Fujifilm setups (in good light) except for the Leica having less depth of field at that focal length. With the Fujifilm lens I could go all the way up to f/2 if I desired less depth of field.
I gained no advantages with the Leica X-Vario over the 50mm F2 lens on my Fujifilm cameras, but I do gain additional depth of field capability, more megapixels, a better LCD and EVF, and better focusing with the Fujifilm cameras. Because of these findings I am not keeping the Leica X-Vario for macro images. The Leica makes good images but since I already have other capability at a lot less cost, I will probably use the macro conversion lens on the Fujifilm 50mm F2 lens.
The first image is from the in-camera Leica color standard jpeg. The second image is from the DNG file as processed in LR as the Adobe color. You can see that the Leica jpegs are a little more muted than Adobe thinks most want. The previous Adobe standard use to be closer to how Leica thinks they should look. Adobe, believing that people now like a little more punch in their images, changed their profile when they did the last major upgrade to their profiles.
I am still trying to decide what jpeg style I will use in the X-Vario. The X-Vario will not let you record only raw DNG files. You can record only jpeg files, but if you want raw files you have to pick what jpeg style and size you want along with the DNG file. This requires more space on the memory card as well as in your computer if you keep both the DNG and a jpeg file.
So far, I am mostly recording high quality jpeg files along with raw files, but some users recommend only recording small jpegs to keep the size down and then only keep and use the DNG files. I haven’t decided between saving high quality color or B&W jpegs. I like both, and prefer, the Leica color and B&W jpegs, but I haven’t decided which to keep in jpeg format.
If I were only recording what I prefer, it would probably be B&W jpegs, but my decision will be based on what works best for macro flower pictures. What I choose will depend on whether I decide to make flower pictures from the DNG or a jpeg and which way it is easier; i.e. color or B&W from DNG or jpeg file.
But I haven’t decided to keep the Leica yet. That decision will come down to ease and preference for using it vs. one of my Fujifilm cameras and another lens to make macro flower pictures.
The above was made from a standard B&W jpeg from the Leica X-Vario. I have been, and will continue, looking at comparisons between the X-Vario and the Fujifilm images.
On the right is another way of processing the same image when working with the DNG file and up-sizing a crop.
Below is another trial outside in bright light. I had to use an Olympus VF-2 EV in order to see what I was photographing. The B&W is from the in-camera high contrast B&W jpeg. The color is from the DNG file.
It will be next week before I can try macro images with a conversion lens. So far, I like the in-camera B&W jpegs best, but the colors are also great. The biggest problems in strong light are being able to see what I’m photographing well enough to use the manual focusing. For the two sets above that I made this morning I had to use the auto focusing.
I’m trying another used camera as I search for a camera for my personal photography. I have my Fujifilm cameras for my Homewood photography, which I like, and they are excellent, but there are a few things I want to do that I might prefer getting another camera or lens or both to do. While searching for a solution, I decided to try a used Leica X-Vario camera which has some unique shortfalls and capabilities.
I’m fairly certain the camera will do close-ups like I want but I haven’t tried it yet since I need to buy a step-up ring. In the meantime, I’m checking to see if I can use it for other more general photography. All of the above images are tests, mostly of using it in difficult lighting conditions. That is one of the cameras major shortfalls. For most of the above images I used manual focusing, which is quite easy with this camera. Some of the images made through my front window this morning were made with the lens manually set to infinity.
Yes, it also makes excellent color images. The above were made from the DNG file and converted to B&W in LR. I’m still trying various jpeg settings. I need to take the camera outside in better conditions to continue some tests and decide whether and how I will use the camera. Based on its small size and weight and simplicity and what I see so far, I like the camera and I’m hoping to adjust my photography to fit the camera. The purpose of this post is to just let you know I’m trying it. In addition, I have some other things to photograph for Homewood, etc. so I might miss a few days of posting.