Lens are a very personal thing. For street photography a focal length of 24mm to 50mm is the most useful, followed by a short telephoto.
If I had the Leica CL then I would have two lens, the 23mm f/2 Summicron which gives a field of view of 35mm, and the Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60mm giving a 90mm field of view.
So now for studio work.
The Hasselblad X series lens light up is still being expanded upon but there are two portrait lens that interest me, the 90mm f/3.2 giving a field of view of around 70mm equivalent for 35mm, which is a little short for head shots, and the 135mm f/2.8 which gives a field of view of 105mm for 35mm format.
With medium format and 50 MP giving a lot of cropping potential it would be tempting to go with the 90mm and cropping a little for headshots, but it depends on how much room you have in your studio and your budget. The longer lens is £1100 more a big step.
As I said before this is a very personal selection and one where money has not really be considered so more a flight of fancy with the more expensive choices.
A studio gives you controlled conditions, heavy cameras are not an issue but large maluble files useful for post production are essential.
High on the list must be the Sony A7RIV at 61 MP full frame 35mm sensor its a technical tour-de-force, up there must also be the Nikon D850 and Canon 5D. The new Leica SL2 must also be on the list.
As this is the studio then lets think big and consider medium format.
Lets first consider the big players; Hasselblad and PhaseOne.
Your talking big money, and even though this is a flight of fancy. While a bottom of the range Hasselblad H series starts around £14,000 and for 100 MP its over £30,000, lets me a little more reasonable and consider the Hasselblad X and the new Fuji range.
The new X series Hasselblad, the X1D II at a little over £5399 is quite a camera and the colour is unmatched, the flash sync up to 1/2000 and a degree of weather sealing should one want to take it out.
The Fujifilm GFX range has really set the world alight. A, for medium format affordable system. The S and R have the same sensor as the Hasselblad X, an older sensor without the outstanding colour of the Hasselblad but the price is hard to beat, but a more limited flash sync. The R at under £3,000 and the S at £4500 are tempting in the extreme, but the new GFX 100 with a newer sensor at £9500 is outstanding.
What would I pick, a tough choice, it would be between the Leica SL and the Hasselblad X. With my previous choice being a Leica, being able to have the same lens mount between the two would make life easy and its a very modern sensor compared to the Hasselblad, but the draw of a medium format lens and the advantages of the bigger sensor is tempting.
This is going to a highly personal selection and I expect most people to disagree with me.
If I was starting in photography budget not being a concern what would I buy. Well I am going to limit this initially to the two areas that most interest me, street photography and studio portraiture.
Street photography if fixed lens compact then you have a large choice. The little DX crop Ricoh, Fuji X100, full frame Sony RX1 and the full frame Leica Q would be the cameras I would look at.
If I was after a camera with a little more flexibility, then I would go for Olympus Pen or Leica CL, both very flexible interchangeable len cameras, both being smaller crop factors so giving greater depth of field making zone focus easier.
So what would it be? I think for the flexibility I would pick the Leica CL a little DX crop format camera.
So what about studio work? Well I’ll address that in a few days.
Would I get one, well a small autofocus camera would be useful to me as a general carry, but the aperture and viewfinder will be the key. Also on my shortlist is a second hand Olympus Pen F and a Leica CL.
I have had a soft spot for Fuji cameras. I have issues with the menu system, and the none Bayer filter array, but the camera is a strong performer and the leaf shutter for daylight flash is excellent.
Some would call the X100 and its counter part the X-Pro; a poor mans Leica, but that really is a but cruel.
Adobe have greatly improved their processing of Fuji raw files and the none Bayer filter array is now less of an issue. The menu system; well any camera you actually own you soon get to know it so that is not really an issue.
I hope the new camera is out by the time I get to the NEC this year for the 2020 Photography show.
I will be mainly looking at bags and the Wacom tablets but I would love to see this.
Sometimes while on my dog walks through the village and surround area there seems little inspiration for photography, but every now and again you see a hint of light that you think will make a photograph.
While walking through a lane surrounded by trees the low light started to come through making these images.
I try to get out into Lincoln at least a couple of times a week, and walk around with a camera in my hand.
Scenes like these have been documented by photographers since the medium was invented. Its important to document your local town and the changes that time brings.
This is one of the more timeless areas of Lincoln, this bridge has been here since the year 1160, and like most medieval bridges, has always until recently had a church and a shop on it. The chapel was removed in 1762, but these recent buildings in this side were built in around 1550. I doubt you could have gotten a latte back then.
The picture is nice but far from perfect as a photograph. Its a little out of focus and has motion blur. A fact of life with a old fashioned manual camera like the range finder M10, technically the photo would have been better with my SLR or even my camera phone, but the experience of creating the shot for me would have been lost. Even with its technical issues the photograph is pleasing to me and is a valid document of the area.
So the rumours are true and we have a new Leica Monochrom. A Leica M10P body with an all new 40 MP sensor, which records only black and white.
For 99% of the UK’s photographers a rangefinder is a pointless relic from the past. For those 1% who enjoy, appreciate and actually use a range finder, I expect that over 90% maybe even 99%, think a black and white only digital camera an anachronism.
But for those few who shoot range finders and black and white; these monochrom cameras are a revelation. Nikon was actually first and produced a limited edition pro digital SLR and some medium format sensor manufacturer produces have followed with digital backs so there is a demand for such a niche product and Leica here seem to have hit it out of the ball park.
Many people who first saw the images out of the first Monochrom complained that they were too flat and too grey. The mono sensor does have extreme dynamic range and gives the photographer many options in post production.