Leica X

My Camera: The Leica X (Typ 113)

The Leica X (Typ 113) is a new camera which got marketed as a point and shoot. Thereby it got ragingly bad reviews, because it truly isn’t a point and shoot. It’s a Leica. Yes, it has AF, and auto settings for both aperture and shutter speed, however, it isn’t great when using these. After all, it doesn’t have to be; it’s a Leica. The great image depth doesn’t only exist with the Leica M; the Leica X has it. It also feels just as beautiful and humbling as an M, but it doesn’t cost 6995€ it costs a mere (it’s all relative) 1850€.

Am I saying that it’s the same quality as a Leica M? No, obviously not. I wouldn’t dare to, but it still truly does have astounding image quality. The only large criticism, the only one which does sometimes get annoying is the ISO; above 800 it really can’t be used without large negatives.

The general stats are as followed:

·       16.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor

·       Leica Summilux 23mm f/1.7 (35mm Equivalent)

·       3.0” 920k-Dot TFT LCD, Manual Focus Ring

·       Full HD Video at 30 fps, ISO 12500

·       Up to 5 fps Shooting, DNG File Recording

·       Magnesium & Aluminium Body with Leather Trim

·       Handmade in Germany

16.2MP isn’t incredible but many cameras have this amount, without any large losses. It is plenty large enough for any standardized print. Yet the nice numbers and statistics aren’t what a Leica is about. Leicas are handmade pieces of art, created to take the rawest of photography. The rawest form of photography doesn’t however include AF or any other technological features. It’s about the basics, and the basics are where this camera excels. It isn’t a camera with many gadgets, nor any fancy features however the photo as such it does with a brilliance that I haven’t seen in any other cameras that I have used.

There is however one feature which I continuously use, just because of its jaw dropping beauty. Film Mode: Black and White High Contrast. When this mode is selected, the camera saves a JPG and a DNG file, the DNG is in the standard color setting, while the JPG is in the high contrast black and white. Not only does this setting change the JPG but also the screen, i.e when looking for the shot you see the world in B/W rather than the standardised colour.

When using my Nikon D4s, I never managed to blend in, nor did I manage to not draw attention to myself. This is truly the area that every Leica excels in. At first glance it’s a small unprofessional looking camera, with a small body. Yet the power it holds within is what truly makes it incredible. For street and documentary photography even the Leica X is something so small yet so powerful.

The only thing which hinders me, in my pursuit of unedited and non-staged photography is the missing viewfinder. This is however an add-on which can be purchased, however for a staggering Leicaesque price of 425€ yet I am of the opinion that I will be buying it as soon as possible to make this camera as great as I had ever wanted.

 

This camera isn’t a Leica M, nor does it pretend to be. No, it doesn’t have every gadget under the sun like my Nikon D4s, but it is this Leica X camera which gives me the opportunity to try and hopefully achieve my goals. I love this camera and I am ever so proud of it.

48 Hours on New York City's Streets

My best friend is Veronica Davies (#shoutout @veronicahope03). She lives in Boston and as a Christmas tradition I visit her over the festive season. She mentioned that she had a surprise in store for me, however I wasn’t quite aware of to what extent of a surprise this would actually be. New York City. 48 hours in New York City. The city that I had always dreamed of as a boy, the place where I always wanted to live. I got to go.

Driving into the city I was directly amazed by the height and size of everything. I have spent my entire life in Europe. In Europe we don’t get ridiculously sized 100 storey buildings. Whereas in NYC one is surrounded by them, 100 storey buildings, 100 feet billboards, 100 million LEDs which light the city up like daylight and 100 inspirations shooting through my head.

It was street photography cocaine to me. Well I presume something like that, maybe more like Speed or MDMA (I’m not quite sure). I starting genuinely running around Times Square, chasing after interesting personalities, getting every possible chance to capture them. Poor Veronica was chasing after me, like I was chasing after them.

We spent a total of 4 hours at Times Square, going on lap after lap of one of the biggest tourist attractions worldwide. It had lost it’s initial impact, the exhilaration and amazement which I felt the first time when staring up at continuous walls of billboard. Yet, I couldn’t stop, people were taking selfies, smiling, laughing, shouting, getting annoyed in this hotspot of emotion, bewonderment and cultural clash; and I wanted to be there as long as possible to capture every moment of it.

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Once I had come back down from street photography heaven we headed to our Airbnb. Located centrally in Chinatown, it boasted my exact aesthetic liking with minimalist black and white interior; a tree and small details. The location was great, truly interesting with 2 Starbucks within 1 mile fuelling my caffeine addiction beautifully.

 

 

Park Av by Columbus Circle, an elderly woman; clearly wealthy in a wheelchair was being pushed by another woman. They start heading to a food truck, and I see the owner’s eyes sparkle as he comes running out of the truck. They hug each other, smile and the woman frantically gets bombarded with questions. “When were you released? Are you OK? Why were you in there?” The elderly woman simply said, “You’ll still have me around for a while, don’t you worry.”

It was a scene of true, genuine affection for one another. A relationship probably built over years; surpassing prejudice, wealth or status and reduced to genuine liking of each other.

I am writing this at 23:30 sitting in the bus, driving back to Boston, editing photos, writing up a blog post in which I attempt to explain and understand my thoughts about this place; while simultaneously brainstorming places to intern or assist at to get my very own shot at New York City.