12 Aug 2015

It's all about the lens

I've posted this story because a very kind reader of the blog from the US has emailed me to say that he loves the blog-thank you,Jim- but he is new to photography and he just cannot understand why I am so enthusiastic about the Leica X1 as it seems to him to have a very basic specification and lacks the features he would expect on a camera costing a quarter of the price.
Jim,forget all the bells and whistles-they are just frills-all you need are some basic controls and a superb lens.It's all about the lens and the proof of the pudding is in the eating as the old saying goes.
Take a look at the photo below -on a fullsize monitor not on a tablet or worse still a phone.It was a handheld shot taken with the Leica X1 from the top of the Arc De Triomph in Paris last year.This is from a DNG (RAW) file which I have not sharpened There is some slight distortion because the camera was pointing down.The resolution is so good that on the original file on my Mac monitor I can easily read the names on the cafe awnings on the sidewalk well down the Champs Elysees.I can also see the bags people are carrying far in the distance and read a sign on a building right on the side of the frame.The resolution of the lens is excellent right upto the corners but it's a "gentle" sharpness not the harsh "edgy" sharpness you get with so many cameras nowadays.And look at the colour.It really looks like the colours and tones of Paris on a very dull July day.

The technical details are Leica X1-24mm -ISO 100 -1/320th at F5.6.The photo is the full frame-originally just 12 MP.

And as they say in the ads ..wait there's more,Jim.Below are a few more photos from my X1 file.These are all jpegs -the X1 can turn out beautiful jpegs.Hopefully these shots are the clinchers and now you do understand why I am enthusiastic about the little X1.And the final good news Jim is that nowadays you can pick up a good X1 second hand for a modest sum.

One of the first pictures I ever took with my X1

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