This post comes inspired by the release of the Leica M10-D. The M10-D is essentially a M10-P (the one with a very quiet shutter) minus the rear LCD. Leica call it “digital body – analogue soul”. And, to make this even more obvious, the M10-D sports a very analogue-like lever for make-believe film transport. To be fair to Leica, it also incorporates a good bit of connectivity for remote camera control and image transfer, though how that makes the camera analogue-like escapes me.
Thus Leica’s position is that chimping via the rear LCD somehow detracts from an “analogue shooting experience”. Take the LCD away and we are all HCB resurrected. Voilà!
I am not going to argue that or debate the merits of a camera I haven’t used, but I will go Leica one better. Don’t just take away the LCD. Also take away focusing, speed and aperture control. If you take away focusing, it means that all is always sharp, right? Right! So that means smartphone shooting, with minute sensors and humongous depth-of-field, but (sorry Pascal!) a limited shooting envelope? Wrong!
Take a camera with interchangeable lenses, stick it in auto mode, and mount onto it a lens designed for larger sensors. What do you have? For example, a 24mm FF lens works out like a 36mm on APS/C, or 48mm on M4/3. In all respects but one: depth of field, where 24mm remains 24mm.
Which means you get quite a bit more depth-of-field with, say a 28mm Leica R Elmarit vII mounted on a APS/C camera (Sony NEX 7) than you would with a native 42mm for a full-frame camera, even though you get the same field-of-view. Many of us here are already well acquainted with that fact.
So where am I going with this? Well, the Leica lens has a “true infinity” focus stop. Pre-set focus there, which one can do without any risk of failure. Pre-set aperture to f:5.6, a median aperture where the lens is sharpest. And you have a setup where your picture will be in focus from roughly 7m to infinity. That is the theoretical value, because the actual one is, from experience, from 4m to infinity.
So I can leave the camera with these settings, and, when I see something of interest, just point, compose, and shoot. Not only is this very analogue, it is the old Kodak Brownie, or Instamatic reinvented. Voilà! Instant trip down memory lane, and no need to buy a pricey Leica!
More seriously, shooting in this manner is yet another form of shooting-under-constraint, like slow photography, for example. For some, it is a nuisance, an oxymoron in times when one wants cameras to do more of everything and give more control on every aspect of photography. For others, it re-connects one to photography because it removes thinking about the camera and the settings from the equation and lets the ‘tog be one with his/her scene and image. in this mode, I don’t need to use magnification in the viewfinder, or to chimp for sharpness. technical keeper rate is essentially 100%, as long as available light keeps my shutter speed high enough.
There are side benefits to this approach of using a lens designed for a larger sensor than the one in your camera: the image only represents the centre of the image circle, meaning you don’t use the sides and corners, which are where a lens’ performance in weakest. No soft corners this way!
So, in essence this method lets you either mindlessly “spray-and-pray” in the hope Micawber-like hope that “something of value will turn up”. Or you can discipline yourself to, when given lemons, not make lemonade. Make mojito! Meaning making the most of what you have. Meaning that the self-imposed limits of your gear become liberating, like one-hand clapping and shooting archery with a blindfold…
And I very probably haven’t cost you a bloody penny with this post, either…
#981. Friday Post (20 March 2020) – The Write of Spring
#958. Monday Post (27 Jan 2020) – Galleries, projets, pics of the month, challenges and a few thoughts following comments
#947. Monday Post (30 Dec 2019) – Last post! (for the year)
#936. Monday Post (02 Dec 2019) – Of Workshops, Resources and Online Galleries on DearSusan
#921. Monday Post (28 Oct 2019 – Workshop update: the Layer Cake effect
#909. Monday Post (30 Sept 2019) – Memory lanes and October Challenge