The day provided a rare chance to try out the various Leica cameras in a real-life setting. Using the iconic Liverpool architecture as a backdrop, Leica Ambassador and fashion photographer Arteh Odjidja took us on a location fashion shoot, to put the equipment to the test and learn how to shoot fashion, portrait, architecture and the power of monochrome.
Of the vast array of Leica cameras available I chose the ‘M’ a full frame rangefinder camera and a f/1.4 35mm lens. Err, that’ll be £4800 and £3500 respectively. Gulp! Yes I will have a neck strap after all!
After an overview of Leica’s history, philosophy and model ranges and Arteh sharing his fantastic work we had a little time to get familiar with our new toys. RAW, B&W full size JPEG….. err, that’s about it! All good, but manual focus using the rangefinder was gonna be fun!
Heather, our model for the day arrived and we set off for St Georges Hall in the center of Liverpool. The 15min walk gave plenty of opportunities to shoot ‘street’ on the way and no-one batted an eyelid at over £100k’s worth of top-end camera gear going by! An hour or so there and down to the Mersey waterfront area.
The verdict? The rangefinder focusing system is hard to learn. The indicator is in the middle of the frame so its like a fixed focus point and you have to focus and re-compose which slows everything down and not as quick as an SLR. On the plus side there is no mirror to obscure the view as the shot is taken so it is somewhat easier to see and track movement. I tried zone focusing and that seemed to work but at f1.4? Not a hope!
The in camera processing of black and white is superb, the camera sensor amazing rich detail and a fantastic sharp and minimal distortion 35mm lens.
What a fantastic day!
- Leica camera – check!
- Summilux lens – check!
- Fab model – check!
- Glorious day – check!
- Liverpool vibe – check!
Anyone know of a bank I could rob?!