Posts from the ‘Equipment’ Category

Leica Q

Time for a little update on the Q review.

When you look at both the jpgs and raw files together you see that the jpgs are very different in their exposure, underexposed in fact also the EVF is way too bright, you can turn down the lcd screen but not the EVF which is a little annoying as the shot will seem to bright when in fact its quite dark.

I took this yesterday of my beloved Alfa GTAm at f/1.7 shows just how nice the Bokeh is stunningly sharp as you would expect too, this is the sort of picture that gives you that “Leica” look if you know Leica and you looked at this picture you would probably say it was taken with an M camera.

Now if Leica can make a Q with a 50mm f/1.4 or even f/2 plus a 75mm version with a f/1.7ish lens then I would have the perfect system! I would sell all my Canon gear tomorrow, oh and they need a software update to lose the jpgs/DNG confuse! plus have a turn down the EVF option too!

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Yes I know its been way too long since my last review, however I have a new toy in form of a Leica Q.
I have never been a fan of compact cameras period, the closest you would get me to use one would be an M series camera and I’ve had a few of those over the years, my last being an M9, I have happily used that all day to shoot weddings but its 2015 now and I have always hankered after a Leica that would do a little more for me but still give the unique Leica look to my pictures.
I’ve used the S2 which is amazing but not for weddings overkill springs to mind, quite heavy too, so I wanted to try the Q ever since it was announced, finally I managed to get my hands one, and I am glad I did!
Its smaller than an M9 and lighter but still manages to feel like a Leica being very robust and beautifully engineered as you would expect from a £3000 compact. My history in using compacts is not great as I said I don’t like compromise, but I have used the Fuji range of compacts which are ok very good lenses but not very inspiring and rather slow to use.
The Q is pretty simple really and I didn’t read the manual I just got on with it, not difficult to set it up the way you want within 20 mins we were good to go!
So I’ve shot two weddings with it now and all is good so far. The focusing is very fast, seems to lock on with ease although in low light it takes a little longer. The Q has a 10 fames per second fame rate on high speed which is useful, however despite the engine being Maestro II I found that after 10/12 fames the camera took 30 secs to clear its buffer which was a little longer than I wanted, needs to be faster down to a few seconds in my opinion.
The EVF is the best I have looked through, as good as a traditional viewfinder me thinks and the rear screen is also great! I’ve not yet tested the video as its not my thing really but I will give it a go at some point.
The lens! ok so a 1.7 Summilux Asph yummy! yes its good, very good! and 28mm suites me fine I would prefer this to 35mm now Leica if you can make me a 50mm version of the Q I would be indeed a happy man or even a 90mm version? The focus action is as you would expect from a Leica beautifully smooth and a joy to use should you take the camera out of AF which after one use you might just keep it in manual!
The weather for the wedding I shot was dull and grey so using the Q at 1.7 for most of the time was fine obviously little depth of field but with the Bokeh this good why not! Having the cleaver macro facility as well is a brilliant design option and works perfectly! You can also change the picture size by cropping to 35mm or 50mm with again is useful, with the picture quality being so good then the cropped image is still good to use although obviously not as good as the full 28mm uncropped.
The file saving is only Jpeg or DNG plus JPEG! hmm I find this rather annoying as I don’t use Jpegs and they take up card space for no good reason, why can’t we have just raw Leica!? I don’t know many professionals that use Jpeg, got to be raw with a camera like this so please update the firmware so as I can have DNG on its own.
The battery lasts for around 400/500 shots which is fine I have another two on the way to keep me going. As I am using the cameras higher iso settings I notice a lack of grain until you reach 3200 iso its almost non existent until then and even at 6400 its minimal so that is perfect for low light shooting add to the the 1.7 lens and you have a low light dream of a camera! Even the max at 50,000 is grainy but its nice grain!
I’ve tried out the IOS (image stabiliser) which you can hear a slight mechanical buzz, I’ve tried with and without it and to me the picture looks sharper without it! Strange as it sounds but on a camera like this you should be able to hand hold down to 60th sec without too much vibration.
I am not going to talk about the price, its a Leica its built in Germany and its a piece of camera art, its worth all of the £2900 asking price for the results it produces, its almost flawless! If Leica are reading this then increase the buffer rate to cope with 10 fames per second and lose the jpeg/DNG to just Jpeg or DNG and you have the PERFECT camera, simple!
I thought only using a 28mm would cause me a few problems during a wedding but looking at my usual 5D and 24-70L II set up I noticed that I use the wide end of the lens 70% of the time anyway so in practise it was not a problem, in fact the only problem was people thinking I was not a professional as I was using a compact camera! “what no zoom lens”
So if like me you love the idea of an autofocus M camera with a stunning lens and a simple point and shoot ethos then go and buy a Q or rather place an order as they are all on back order at the time of writing this. For street photography I doubt if there is a better camera out there right now, the picture quality is stunning I’ve already printed an A2 print on my 3800 Epson and its even better than my old M9 and 28mm 2.8 the look and smoothness is closer to the pictures I have using my S2 and 28mm lens which is praise indeed, its that good!
I am not going into all the specs of the camera you can check that out at many other places but there is very little to criticise with the Q and the end product in which I call an A2 print is stunning!
So is the Q a keeper for me? you can guess that’s a YES! If you get the chance to even use one do it but be prepared to buy one afterwards!
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Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II

_MG_7518I’ve had my 1DX now for a couple of weeks and I shot my first wedding with it last weekend, so how have I been getting on?

Well the 1DX allows you to shoot slightly differently to other cameras, because of its exceptional high ISO performance you can user set the auto ISO option on the camera. You set the upper and lower limits and the camera will move between the parameters when needed.

I set a lower limit of 100 ISO and an upper limit of 25000 ISO. The camera is pretty cleaver as only going to the high ISO’s when needed so most of the time is seems to use 800-1000 in low light and only going the extra when it really needs to.

I have now bought the new Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II. Quite a hefty outlay as the cost has gone up from the last model to £1750 (although I’m lucky that Canon have a rebate on at the moment of £235) Still its not a cheap lens, so how does it perform?

Well on opening the box I immediately found the lens to be lighter than the old 24-70 f/2.8L, this is because the body is made now of plastic not metal which I was rather disappointed about and the feel of the lens as it is not as solid as its predecessor.

So what is the performance like? Well I have to say that it is exceptionally good! The detail in the flower picture is actually a crop and you can see the detail and sharpness in the flower petals. The high ISO picture of the DJ setup was taken at 4000 ISO without any noise reduction, if I use Photoshop to reduce the slight noise then it will be invisible, pretty good for 4000 ISO!

Bokeh is very pleasing too and better than the old lens. Edge sharpness at 24mm is also better, although stopping down to f/5.6 improves edge sharpness even more.

Although this set up of 1DX and 24-70 f/2.8L II is heavy it is well balanced and actually not too bad. The increased depth of field for group shots (f/5.6) really brings out lens sharpness.

The new lens has another button, no its not image stabiliser unfortunately, but a lock switch so as the lens does not move in transit. I’m not sure I will be using this feature much.

The speed of focus is also a huge bonus with the the camera missing very few moving shots and its low light performance is great too. Shutter speeds have also been on the higher side as this is needed to combat the weight, 1/200 sec seems to be my minimum at the moment to avoid any camera shake and with the excellent high ISO’s available this has not been a problem to achieve.

So overall a cracking lens, perhaps I should not say cracking as its plastic and I would not want to drop it!

I have not purchased a flashgun yet for the camera as with its great performing ISO I have tried using a LED constant video light with good results so possibly a flashgun will not be needed.

I will be posting some more pictures in due course but so far I am very impressed with this set up.ImageImage