Morris

Margate, England. 2022

This is Maurice Morris, 88, he’s a local legend around Margate, England. Morris has lived his entire life in the town and is a familiar figure to many. From the 1950s to 1990s Maurice worked in various roles at Dreamland theme park, including as an usher at the local cinema. I didn’t know any of this before I took his portrait sitting enjoying the day at a sea front cafe.

Please do click to enlarge the image, it was taken with a Voigtländer lens.

Voigtländer

Last year a friend of mine tried his hand at some street photography and he purchased a Leica M9 and a Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM. Now he’s decided to buy a used Summilux-M 35mm ASPH and is selling his Nokton 35mm f/1.4 for £400. More and more I’m finding myself using a 35mm focal length, so with this in mind I thought I’d give this lens a try. I see no end of people using this lens, raving reviews about it’s performance and at a £600 compared new purchase price to a new Summilux-M 35mm £4400 it’s not surprising to me that photographers are using them.

I’m quite impressed with this little lens from Cosina. Well made, sharp mostly across the board although I will say the focusing is a tad stiff compared to my Leica lenses. It has a softer look to me and with digital I don’t think that’s a bad thing. With my Summicron-M 35mm and Summilux-M 50mm I think some of my pictures looked to sharp, clinical even, there’s just no life to them.

With the Voigtländer Nokton 35mm I kept an open mind and to be honest wasn’t expecting such good results. Does question why pay for Leica glass! This image above was straight out of camera, only little cropping and straighten was done here in Gimp 2.10

Even wide open at f/1.4 I’m pretty impressed with this lens performance and yes there is a bit of vignetting at f/1.4 but I don’t mind that in my images.

Think this Voigtländer Nokton is a keeper and I’ll use the Leica glass for film.

All images taken with Leica M-P (Typ240) and the Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II VM lens.


Edit. Side note, Leica 6 bit coding test.

Mechanical perfection.

The Leica MP.

I should of posted this two weeks ago but with so much going on at home I completely forgot about it …my excuse, I got tied up building a new computer.

So the Leica MP, some say that MP stands for Mechanical perfection and Leica promotes this camera as the “the ultimate tool” …I just say it’s great knowing that there’s nothing like the feeling of a brand new Leica camera in your hands.

Leica MP chrome & Summicron 35mm ASPH

The MP which has been in Leica’s stable for nineteen years now, yes I couldn’t believe it that this rangefinder was released in 2003 and retail sales are still strong for this camera. Mine is a 2021 example from the holy city of Wetzlar and I opted for the Chrome version over the black paint. This was not only because everyone seems to have a black MP but reading reviews the black paint finish is designed to look brassed over time with use. I decided I didn’t want another Leica looking the way as my M240 M-P has already started to brass, in some areas quite badly, in other places the black paint has gone dull which to me doesn’t look great some how with a modern Leica body.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) brassing.

Think part of this might be to do with using alcoholic hand gel during the pandemic, before as a demonstrator at the Leica store London and since I’ve used the camera. Note the minor brassing on the Summilux focusing ring as well. I found after using the gel, my hands look black after handling the camera.

One thing I have noticed using this camera is how much heavier it is compared to the M4-2 and the M6. The brass top place and bottom do make a difference in weight over the M4 and 6 zinc body parts but not quite as much as the M3 body. I always liked the M3 wind on lever, not so much the M4-2 and M6 plastic levers. In your hands the MP lever feels right some how. My only complaint is as many have remarked, I wished they made the ISO dial on the back out of metal and not plastic. Changing the film speed I have found a little tricky to change, being small with large fingers the dial is very stiff to turn. Whether or not it’s because it’s new only time will tell.

ISO dial.

I found the camera is like the M3 but with a light meter plus extra framelines and the film loading speed of the M4-2. I’m not fazed by the rewind knob having used my late father’s M3 although I will say it does take longer to rewind 36 exposures. The MP’s meter is very accurate and unlike other centre weighted meters it is virtually a spot meter. As Leica describe it the meter has a diameter of 12 mm that corresponds to 13% of the full film format or approx. 2/3 of the short side of the applicable bright line frame in the viewfinder. There no excuse for getting exposure wrong here and the meter coped well with the shots below. I found I stopped using my Weston Euro Master meter after a while with this camera which is great for those days you only want to take out just a small camera and a roll of film.

All in all if your fortunate enough to own one I don’t think you’ll regret the purchase and with any luck should out last me!

Fresh out the box.

All images taken with the Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH on Kodak Tri-X film rated at 800 ISO.


Of to French France next week with the M240 for street and the Nikon F60 for some landscape photography.

Weekend Races

Isle of Sheppey, England 2022

Leica M6, Summicron 35mm ASPH and taken on Kodak Pro Image 100 film.

Out & about with the M6

First roll with my new/old Leica M6 circa 1986 model.

Also new to me, I used Rodinal film developer for the first time processing these negatives. I’ve only ever used D76 or the equivalent ID11 developer.

For these pictures I solely used the Summicron 35mm ASPH lens and I shot two rolls of Fomapan Classic 100 film and rated it an ISO 800. The jury still out on the focusing tab, I’m 50-50 about using it and I mostly zone focused the lens on this photo walk. But by the end of the day I forgot the lens even had a tab and I have to admit with the smaller E39 size lenses the focusing tab used for precise focus does work well. Maybe I was a little too quick to dismiss it first time round and will get use to the tab in time. Glad I purchased the black chrome 1959 design of the Summilux which doesn’t have a tab unlike it’s modern sibling and really I think is totally unnecessary for a lens of that size.

‘Close up’
Tenterden High Street.

Do you think he forgot his reading glasses?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised how responsive the meter is on the M6 and it matched my Weston Euromaster lightmeter readings everytime. Despite the poor light, the LED’s in the viewfinder are clear, easy to use and very bright, if anything I found it easier than the Leica M-P (Typ 240) display, not bad for a 35 year old camera!

So this is Tenterden in Kent, England on cold, overcast December day, very soft light.


While walking along his gentlemen suddenly leaned in front of me talking on his mobile phone looking down the service road to the supermarket. Oh well, might as well take his picture now! Other side of the street, girl on the right was staring into space for ages, while the woman on her left, I think she was writing her memoirs.

Stop!

Gentleman in the middle of the image amused me, thought I was some sort of local litter enforcement, I was wearing flat cap, navy blue top, trousers, black body warmer along with my Domke F-5 bag and camera, hmm?! …think he might of dropped something he shouldn’t have.


Few pictures from the Sheerness, England.

I was amused by the local butcher was wearing a rubber turkey on his head for Christmas, taking a shot through the display window, relying the cameras meter for the exposure. On the right, a mother enjoying some phone time with her young son. I took the shot through the Cafe window, where we were having lunch at the time and guessed the exposure on this occasion by an extra stop.

Cyclist Dismount

Cyclists, you’ve got to love them!


All in all I’m very pleased with the results, what else did I expect with a Leica Meßsucher.

Well at £2400 British pounds or $3200 for just camera body you could say it’s an expensive tool or toy. Really with this camera other than different frame lines and a built in meter, is no different to my old Leica M4-2. While the Leica M3 was a lovely old camera with a fantastic built qualities, I personally found the viewfinder on the M3 much darker than my old M4-2 0.72x and the new M-P 0.68x viewfinders which both give a great view outside their frame lines too.

With prices of used Leica film cameras still climbing, I think I have made a good investment overall.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Winter Weather

Finally the cold weather has arrived in the UK. For some ice and snow, for me biting cold winds and rain …not great holding a brass camera with bare hands!

Brisk

Following morning, calm but very cold on the island. One lonely brave soul walking along the top of the shingle bank in the icy weather to work.

Chilly Commute

This has to be my favorite image. The storm is brewing over the other side of the Thames Estuary, heading south towards me. The sea is getting rougher, clouds darkening, beginning of hard rain and sleet, Storm Arwen is coming.

Click to enlarge above image

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens.

Autumn View

I thought I had missed this picture when looked at the screen after taking it.

The sunlight was just breaking through the mist over the fields highlighting the dew across the grass and some people we know with their dogs walked into the frame, perfect I thought. Reviewing the image over a cup of tea at the local cafe, all I could see was just a two tone black rectangle and I felt sure I’d got the exposure wrong after which of course the scene had long since gone. Thankfully on the computer back home with a light adjustment in Gimp, I was able to bring the image out and found there was a lot more detail than I first thought. Reminded me of the occasions you get a film negative which on first sight seemed very dark and overexposed until you scan the frame.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, at Barton’s Point Coastal Park, Isle of Sheppey, England. October 2021

Folkestone

I had not been to Folkestone, England in some twenty five years and it has somewhat changed. Last time I been there it was a very run down seaside town, with little or no investment or jobs after the demise of the ferry service to France was closed down in 2000 and the Channel tunnel which had opened six years before. Today it’s a very different place to town I knew.

Although very harsh light all day, I made this work in my favour and managed to get some great street shots and this was after I’d realised I had left my Weston lightmeter at home, so leaving me with no choice but to use the Leica’s own built in meter. Think I’m starting to get the hang of the of the M-P now.

I even got some abuse from a young woman who told me I was breaking the law taking pictures of people in the street. I do love these individuals who like quoting laws that don’t exist in the UK!

Walking along this shore path made out of old railway sleepers located on Folkestone seafront I was looking at the light was shining off them. Just waiting for the right moment, this girl walked pasted me and managed to catch her in the 1.4 depth of field.

Coffee Folkes

Along the old harbour railway station this coffee vendor was parked between a gap under the old railway station canopy with sun lighting up his auto rickshaw. Little tricky getting the metering right but I got there in the end.

Art

Out of tune

Since last being in Folkestone, there’s a lot of art work around the town now. This one is by Norwegian artist A K Dolven called ‘Out of tune’

Quote from the Creative Folkestone website

“It features a 16th-century tenor bell from Scraptoft Church in Leicestershire, which had been removed for not being in tune with the others. It is suspended from a steel cable strung between two 20m high steel beams, placed 30m apart”

…must make a terrible noise on a stormy night!

Reading the news

There was two men on this bench but this larger gentleman appeared in the frame, sat down virtually pushing the other guy off the seat. Then started reading the other man’s newspaper.

Dots & spots

The above image is a crop from a landscape picture, annoyingly other people kept walking into the frame …hard life being a street photographer! This been a film negative I don’t think I would have got away with such a crop without losing detail.

The 50mm Summilux and digital imaging shines through again. If you can get your hands on an example if only for a day, I highly recommend you give it a try. It’s sharpness even wide open is unbelievable. The harbour shot below was taken wide open as was the other images in this post.

House boat

Folkestone harbour …don’t ask!


If your ever visiting the seaside town of Folkestone, I can highly recommend ‘Marleys’ café for a great cuppa at only £2.00!

Marleys

Also back down the same street there’s Nik & Trick Photo Services store. Well worth a visit, cameras, film and darkroom supplies. Link below.


All images taken with my Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter.

Final image at ‘Marleys’ taken with my Samsung A12 phone.

Nik & Trick Services Photographiques

The revealing tide

I took this picture of a father and sons collecting their crab pots from the receding tide. This was two days ago on a cloudy, very dull looking the morning giving a almost winter feel to this image but later on Sundays weather would turn out fine and bright day. Shot wide open at f/1.4 with the Summilux 50mm lens once the picture is enlarged, the detail in the middle of this image I’m really impressed with.

Click to enlarge picture

Cropped top and bottom, it almost to me gives the image a look of being taken with a wide angle lens but without the distortion. Here’s the original image below before post processing.

Minster on Sea, England. September 2021

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter and digital yellow filter.