Photo of the Month – September

Farming ToolsLeica M8
Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M
24mm, 1/125 Sec at f/4.8, ISO160
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.6
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.9.4

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Photo of the Month – August

MermaidNikon D200
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
31mm, 1/45 Sec at f/3.5, ISO320
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.6
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.9.4

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Leica X 113

Leica X 113

The original X1 was one of the first large sensor’ed compact cameras, Sigma were the first  and this came just afterwards.  For many this was the preferred option, traditional digital cmos sensor and simple direct controls.  It had issues, the first being slow autofocus, poor manual focus implementation and no viewfinder but the quality lens and sensor produced great images.

The X2 was a disappointment, a minor improvement but by then a number of companies had released similar cameras and now Fuji had there fantastic X100, also with direct controls and a fast f/2 lens and a real viewfinder.  Yes it also had focus issues but it also had come great features.

Fuji X100s

At Photokina the other week, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, Leica released the third version of the fixed lens X, this time badged just Leica X type 113.

It seems they have learnt from their previous mediocre upgrade and really gone to town with this one.

Leica x in brown

It still does not have a viewfinder but Leica do an optical viewfinder for it, plus you can use the external EVF from the Leica T series, this particular EVF has the neat trick of having a GPS receiver built into it.

The camera features a lot of ergonomic features of the X Vario and includes the neat auto-manual focus design, so you can finally focus manually with the excellent well damped lens.  The lens is also the fastest in its class at f/1.7.

I have read some of the beta tester reports and the image quality looks good so look forward to when Steve Huff gives a real world test.

It has neat looks and I find myself really wanting to try this together with the D Lux they released.  I feel a bit GAS coming on.


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Adobe Lightroom & Using Multiple Computers

Tethered Shooting in LightroomI have my photographs all in a single master Lightroom catalog not counting my yearly backup catalogues, and for me that works well.

My main computer is also my laptop and it’s getting on a bit now so I have started to think about either replacing it or supplementing it with a new desktop.

I’ll need to keep the laptop and would also like to use Lightroom on it too.

This brings up the issue of operating with two Lightroom catalogues and keeping work in sync.

After the Collingham show I decided to give a two catalogue two computer workflow ago.

I borrowed Caroline’s MacBookPro, logged in and created a blank Lightroom catalog, I then dragged and dropped my Lightroom settings folder into the Catalog folder from Dropbox where a script I have keeps it all in sync.

This then quickly and easily gave me a working environment just like my machine.

Now for the easy part, import the Collingham pictures and get editing.  I used my presets for an initial edit and gave them a quick rank, then selected my picks with the flag option.

Now to get them onto my main computer.

I exported all the photographs as a fresh catalog so as to preserve the original to the desktop folder on the laptop included raw files.

If I do adopt a two machine strategy I’ll create a shared area on the main desktop computer to put the files onto but for this test I just used AirDrop and dragged and dropped the exported folder to my main machine.

Now time to start work on my main machine.

First job was to launch Lightroom and import the catalogue and files, I now had everything up to date and in the master catalogue.  I then did a little editing on a couple of the picks.

Later that evening I picked up Caroline’s laptop and launched my Lightroom with the small catalogue just containing the Collingham pictures and reviewed them again.  I found a couple more picks and did a quick edit on them.

Now this was the interesting bit.  I had two Lightroom catalogues on two different computers, both with different edits.  Could Lightroom cope.

Once again I exported the Lightroom catalogue but this time only exported the database not any files, they were already on my main machine and if any metadata updates in the case of jpegs or dng’s had taken place the overwrite could loose me data (Note I sometimes shoot RAW + JPG but never just JPG).

Again I transferred the database over using airdrop, a very useful and fast way of transferring documents on a adhoc nature if your on the same local network.

Now for the import on my master catalogue, first job, backup my master catalogue, just in case it went horribly wrong.  Then for the import, how would it handle duplicate entries?

Dealing with duplicate files on importing another Catalogue

Dealing with duplicate files on importing another Catalogue

Well it turns out very well, as you can see above there is a tick box to preserve the duplicated files as a virtual copy.  Also my fear of overwriting the files and not exporting the actual files is not an issue as the database can also be imported at this point with the option to bring in Metadata and develop settings only and not the original files if you so wish.

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Vera’s farewell

Tuesday saw the Canadian Lancaster leave the United Kingdom and head back home to its base in Canada.

After takeoff accompanied by a full escort from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight she did one last flyover some of the local airbases and the City of Lincoln.

They came low out of the sun and misty sky from Waddington and came over the city, I popped out from my Lincoln office to quickly to grab a quick shot as I had just happened to bring along a Nikon D200 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens ;)


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County and Village Shows

There is often something going on in Lincolnshire, whether its the Lincolnshire Sausage Festival, the Steam Punk Festival, or any of the Village or County Shows, its always worth a visit with your camera and for the food!

These last few weeks its been quite hectic with events in Lincoln such as Morris Dancers, the largest Steam Punk Festival in Europe and two local village shows.

There is always lots of colour and interest.sheep


At the Collingham show last weekend I gave myself the challenge of shooting just with the Leica M8 and with the Leica Elmar 24mm f/3.8 lens.  This is not sexy lens but gives excellent results, but is a little wide for general use.


I also shot a little action, I chose the longest lens I own for the Leica M, a 50mm Summilux.  Shooting moving subjects without a fast SLR some would say is impossible but with careful thought, planning and preparation one can get a good image with any camera.

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My View on Photokina – from a Leica point of view

Every two years Photokina hold their photography show, many years ago it was huge, with companies like Kodak, Fuji and Agfa booking entire halls.  Nikon and Canon with revolutionary new SLR’s, the Large format and Medium format manufacturers who had a virtual monopoly over the fashion and studio photography world.  My dream was to one day own a Hasselblad V system camera (and now I do)!

Today the show is a shadow of its former self, Kodak only has a very small presence and only Leica booked a whole hall to themselves.

So what did people think and what did I think, well you can check out a few other thoughts below:  Chris’s blog first and of course Luminous Landscape.

Back in 2010 was the last time I was really excited by a Photokina, and that was the prototype Fuji X100, unlike Kodak, Fuji have really risen to the challenges of the digital age, and importantly they have continued to listen to their customers and continued to develop and improve old models whilst releasing new models.

The Fuji X100 range and the Fuji X Pro both with there hybrid optical viewfinders I find the most exciting small camera’s available at the moment.  Both have improved over the years and with this years Photokina we now see the Fuji X100T, for users wanting a Leica type rangefinder, whilst these camera’s are not rangefinders they bring that kind of experience to the photographer at a relatively cheap price point.

A lot of people ask what is the point of the rangefinder and why do many like it so much; well its less the ranger finder part but more the optical viewfinder and its positioning on the camera.  The viewfinder being in the top corner means the camera obscures less of ones face meaning that people relate to you differently and you often get a better and more relaxed pose from your subject.  The other factor is the viewfinder of most SLR’s is about 97% unless its a pro model which gives 100%.  A rangefinder gives you anywhere between 110% and 180% coverage compared to your lens, thus you see things about to enter your picture and can frame and anticipate better.  Now the only other cameras that I am aware of that can also do this are the Fuji X100 range and the X Pro1, thus the interest.

I am tempted but the X-trans sensor with its potential issues to large areas of green that can sometimes show up puts me off.  I would love them to come out with a X100 without the X-trans sensor, the original X100 had the standard sensor but missed focus too much.

Now lets talk about Leica; they had a huge show, several hundred square feet were dedicated to gallery space where they showed the work of many of today’s great photographers.

The major announcements that I found interesting were the Leica M 60 a rather strange and very brave special edition, the new X camera and the two new Dlux and Vlux cameras.

Leica M 60

I am not sure if the Leica M 60 is brave or foolish.  There is something about it that makes me want one but as its a special edition of only 600 units costing £12000 that is not going to happen, its basically a M 240 with no rear screen so viewing your images is not possible until you download them to a computer, its just like working with film, you have to know what you are doing and get it right in camera.  I love it!

Another new M we had was the film M-A this is a replacement I think to the M-P but has no meter so very back to your roots.  Before you think its a camera impossible to use then just remember I use my 1960′s Leica M4 well and have rarely had a badly exposed picture and that also has no meter in it.

We have two joint development cameras from the Leica Panasonic agreement the Panasonic LX100 / Leica DLux and the Panasonic FZ1000 / Leica VLux.  Expect to see another five years of co-operation as both companies signed another agreement to share electronic and lens technology which has given us some well thought out little cameras since 2001.

Lastly we had a new S medium format camera, this time with a CMOS sensor and 4K video.  Up to now video has not been that good on Leica camera’s but the big sensor and some of the best lens in the business has got a number of videographers very excited.





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iOS 8 and iPad2 and iCloud Drive



I jumped in with both feet and upgraded both my iPhone 5 and my iPad2.  The phone worked great, actually seems slightly faster and there are some great improvements.  The iPad2 was a little sluggish but did have a major issue.  I could not get iCloud Drive to work which meant I could not update any of my cloud based spreadsheets.

Reboots, turning iCloud off then back on again; login out of iCloud, I tried it all but nothing seemed to work, so tonight I backed up the iPad and did a full system reset, setting it up as a new device, it was much quicker and iCloud drive worked.

I then reset it again and restored from the backup I had took, this time iCloud worked as it should and the sluggishness had gone.  Not done much other testing yet as I have been checking out the Photokina announcements.

I’ll try and post a few thoughts from the show on Monday but Fuji and Leica really seem to be a roll and know where there going, I get the feeling Canon and Nikon are just treading water not wanting to upset their SLR sales, unfortunately for them SLR sales are looking like the only way is down.

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iOS 8

iPhone 6Today saw the release of iOS8.  Less of a visual change then iOS7, more polish and tweaks, but lots of under the hood changes and more api’s for developers to better integrate with the system.

I think many are disappointed that its not a radical change but that is rarely Apple’s way.  A bombshell onto the market with the initial product then polishing it enough to keep it ahead of the competition.

With the tighter integration with the new Mac OS coming we hope next month plus iCloud improvements and the Apple Watch next year, then for Apple users it makes it a powerful combination of products.  If your not fully into the Mac ecosphere then the updates will make much less of an impression to you.

Apple Watch

I updated my iPhone5 and it seems a little quicker, I updated the iPad 2 and switching between apps is much more sluggish, i’ll update Caroline’s iPhone4 latter in the week.  I have made sure I have an image of iOS7 for the iPad2 and the iPhone4 so if I need to roll back I can, always a good move for such old hardware.

I possibly made the mistake of upgrading my iCloud documents to iCloud Drive, for now may Cloud documents are only available via a web browser and my iPhone5, I cannot seem to get them on the iPad, and the Mac will not get that function until next month.  I may just have to download them all and work on them locally for now.


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Leica Announce new Camera’s

Today we had the Leica announcements and it was a pretty impressive list.

A new medium format S camera, new film M, a limited addition digital M that was incredibly brave, a digital camera with no LCD.  You don’t know what you have until you download the images to your computer.

A new Leica X camera to replace the X2 and two rebadged Panasonic’s ;)

The new D-Lux is based on the Panasonic I blogged about yesterday and it looks to be a stunning compact camera.  Normally it is a difficult choice to decide if the Leica is worth the extra.  The glass tends to be different and the firmware but apart from that they are the same camera with slightly different body shells.

Normally if you are in the USA, the Leica model makes more sense as it comes with two year warrantee and a copy of Adobe Lightroom.  Here in Europe we get two year warrantees by EU law so it makes the Leica model harder to justify, but I was shocked to see the UK prices.  The Leica is £825 while the Panasonic is £799 and Leica have increased the warrantee to three years.

There was some tricks as well that we have seen before, the old S and been re-released as S-E, the old X2 as the X-E, there were also a lot of new lens released for both the M and the T.

Altogether a very powerful set of updates.  At the next Photokina I expect the big thing to be a new M, but until then this will keep a lot Leica users very happy.

Leica M-A rangefinder camera (body only, black)
Leica M-A rangefinder camera (body only, silver)
Leica S medium format camera (typ 007)
Leica S-E medium format camera (typ 006)
Leica D-Lux (typ 109) digital camera
Leica handgrip for Leica D-Lux (typ 109)
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH lens (silver)
Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.4 lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.4 lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.4 lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.4 lens (silver)
Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH lens
Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH lens
Leica V-LUX (typ 114) digital camera
Leica X Digital Compact Camera With Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens (Black)
Leica X digital compact camera with Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH lens (silver)

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Camera Announcements coming thick and fast

Panasonic LC1The Photokina announcements are now coming think and fast, the Canon 7D Mark II looks interesting for Canon users, certainly there is nothing like that for Nikon users.  Come on Nikon where is the D300s replacement?

The most interesting announcements was the new Panasonic LX100, this is a direct descendent from the joint Panasonic venture that brought us the Panasonic LC1 (see above and the Leica badged Digilux 2 (see below).

Leica Digilux 2

Leica are planning there press conference tomorrow morning but I bet there is a Leica version of this LX100.

Instead of a small compact sensor its got a MicroFourThirds sensor, slightly cropped depending which picture ratio you choose.

There are a surprising number of pros that still have the Panasonic or Leica version of this older version of this camera at the bottom of their bags, its still well liked and how many good handling compacts with a viewfinder have there been until recently?

Panasonic lx100

It reminds me of a fixed lens GX-7, I look forward to trying it out, I think this, the Fuji X100T, Panasonic GX-7 and the Leica T have just gone to the top of my compact camera wish list.

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