My new Leica X1 and our budding relationship

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Having spent perhaps way too much time in the past 7 months reading about all sorts of digital cameras, I've found myself thinking about camera love. Just earlier today I was reading threads here and there about someone trying to decide which camera would be right for them. Suddenly, I felt I heard strains of Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias singing "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" and I started to laugh out loud thinking of this memorable rendition should you care to watch it via YouTube: Julio Iglesias & "Willie Nelson" AKA Johnny Carson Sing.

Honestly, as a woman, that song was never one of my favorites, but it obviously stuck in my head. So what has all this got to do with my deciding to buy the Leica X1 and why should you care? Well, you might care if you're interested in the camera, so I thought I'd add in my thoughts here on SC by starting separate thread from Kathy's thoughtful "Why I Like My X1".

Let's start with a quick background story to set the scene. I attended Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio and graduated with a BFA in Photography in 1978 and specialized in color printing. My camera for most of my time there was an Olympus OM-1, which I still have.:love: I also still have my senior year's portfolio in two "archival" grey boxes with requisite metal corners, straps and buckles (true!) and although I haven't looked at them in some time, they still mean a great deal to me. I think any of us knows what it is like to fall in love with one's own photographs and how just looking at them can bring back a flood of memories. I was never into street photography, but tended to use my OM-1 carefully, composing each shot as though I were (in my mind) using a view camera. Unlike many, I didn't shoot rolls and rolls and rolls of film. I spent hours in my darkroom (converted a bathroom once and a room in a friend's basement another time), and would emerge after being in there for hours and feel great. The good old days.

Next stop, the rest of my life with all of its busyness and the onset of presbyopia and other vision issues - manual focus isn't cutting it for me anymore. I'll spare you the interim details. Just this past spring I started hearing about the Olympus PEN cameras...found my way to mu-43.com where I met some very kind and helpful people such as Amin Sabet, Streetshooter and Brian Mosely among many others who eased my way back into photography by explaining digital to me. Bought myself the E-P2, sold its body, bought the E-PL1 and have two lenses (20mm and the 9-18mm) and the EVF. Great camera - love it!

But then my eye started to wander when I read about the Leica X1. I knew about Leica - how could I not? I have friends that have had Leica film cameras forever. I never really bothered to think about an M8 or M9 but then I caught sight of the X1 and started reading about it. Thanks to soundimageplus's great thread here where he thoughtfully offered us some X1 RAW files, I was able to see what the X1 could do. I guess you could say that soundimageplus AKA David, introduced me to the X1.

After this RAW introduction, I began to want to learn more and pretty much peppered kathyh, christilou, burro39 and David with questions - ad nauseum, I'm sure. You know how it is with infatuation.

On July 27th, I clicked the "order" button on the B&H Photo site and received the camera within a few days determined to take advantage of their excellent returns policy. I took quite a few photographs - not of anything particularly remarkable but to try the camera out because this X1 is so different from my PEN E-PL1. Did I really like the camera, would I be happy with this camera, could I see with this camera...and so on.

That first evening when I downloaded my few shots to Aperture, I have to say it felt like magic. I have not seen anything like the RAW image quality before. What can I say, I don't have vast years of experience with digital, I'm not a technophile but I think I've fallen in love. Only time will tell, of course, it's very early yet and I do still feel that I need and want my PEN and its two beautiful lenses. I am not sure what the photographic future holds for me and these two cameras... I've always been monogamous before so it feels a little strange.

So that's my story, thus far. We're still in the very early stages of this romance but it feels pretty good so far. I have a lot to learn about this small jewel and I hope I can do its IQ justice.

I'll post a few photographs, but remember it's early days yet so please don't burst my cloud nine bubble.:wink:


X1 f/11 @1/160th ISO 100


X1 f/8 @ 1/30th ISO 125
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
124
I really enjoyed this post, BB. Congrats!! You're off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to seeing more!
 
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JanCdeRidder

Rookie
Aug 3, 2010
13
My 5th image taken with the X1..... actually the first serious one, the first four were well you know these test shots just to see how it operates.

Love the camera, still think OOC Jpegs are better than RAW, but then I'm still trying to conquer Lightroom 3.0, I never read a manual in my life, but with LR3.0 I bought the Book .... :)

By now my favorite setting are:

- Jpeg Superfine
- Iso setting accordingly to the time of day/subject etc.
- Metering mode: Center weighed, mostly
- Film Preset: Natural
- Sharpening: Standard, or medium low
- Saturation: Medium Low and Low
- Contrast Medium Low and Low
- Focus: Spot focus

This is for colour Jpeg obviously. Still trying to get the optimal setting for B/W .... With film I love the Tri-X and Rodinal combination.

I will try to keep you all informed the further I get ...


Ahhh... One complaint with respect to the X1, and one only, the tripod fitting is not situated under the lens but in the center of the camera... I need to get used to that.
 

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BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Hi Jan and welcome! That is a beauty of a reflection and the simplicity of the scene is lovely. If that's what jpegs do for you, who needs RAW? I think quite a few people use the jpegs on this camera. I, too, am in the learning stages so I plan on trying both out as I go along. Back to your photograph - it's such a tranquil scene...very calming, fantastic reflection and there's something about those two squares of color - that bright blue and red, that really brings it all together for me. Well done!

Antonio (ajramirez), you caught me! I think you must be attuned to the Leica scent. This one was expensive, but not the cost of a small compact car.:wink:

Thanks Amin, we'll keep our fingers crossed!
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
103
Congratulations, the images are beautiful.

This is a fine camera, you will enjoy it.
 
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burro39

Regular
Jul 20, 2010
8
Santa Fe, NM
Paul
Oh you are off to a great beginning BB. From the look of those images I would say that your leap of faith is going to move you into many more wonderful areas. Thanks for sharing and do enjoy that camera!
Paul
 
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christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
My 5th image taken with the X1..... actually the first serious one, the first four were well you know these test shots just to see how it operates.

Love the camera, still think OOC Jpegs are better than RAW, but then I'm still trying to conquer Lightroom 3.0, I never read a manual in my life, but with LR3.0 I bought the

By now my favorite setting are:

- Jpeg Superfine
- Iso setting accordingly to the time of day/subject etc.
- Metering mode: Center weighed, mostly
- Film Preset: Natural
- Sharpening: Standard, or medium low
- Saturation: Medium Low and Low
- Contrast Medium Low and Low
- Focus: Spot focus





Thanks for posting your settings for jpegs. I've spent the last couple of days trying to optimize my X1 so that I won't have to do much in LR :wink: I too have just ordered a LR3 book from Amazon. I've been trying to get a more natural look for my pics and found that using the sunny wb setting gave my pictures a much better look than the Auto that everyone said was best ! I'm using:

Preset film Standard
Sharpening Medium Low
Saturation Medium Low
Contrast Medium High

Evaluative metering
iso 100 (Auto)


I think I'll give yours a go tomorrow!
 
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christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
Hi BB, your photos look terrific :biggrin: Are you using RAW in Aperture or the Jpegs? Did you find it easy to get these colours? (That blue sky is very, very nice BTW)
 
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BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Thanks for you all for your best wishes on my new dreamboat, and thank you Andrew for that signature reminder.:wink:

Christilou, I did use RAW in Aperture 3. Yes, very easy. These two were pretty much as you see them though in some other instances due to my exposing for the highlights, I needed to "bring up" the shadows a bit. I just went back and looked at the original RAW images and both ended up just a little bit more livened up...with Aperture one method I use is called "vibrancy" which is different from "saturation". I just needed a few tweaks from my point of view on these two.

With a number of photos that I thought I might like, or was interested in testing is probably more accurate, was keep the original RAW, make a duplicate and then apply the changes I wanted to try out...that way I could compare and see the amazing amount of "space"...not sure what to call it that I could bring out from the shadows, if I felt it looked better.

I'm still finding my way with the camera between using the screen to focus and then trying to look through the viewfinder. It's pretty funny to watch me, I'm sure. I hope to get a better handle on focusing and using both the screen and the viewfinder. I need to go out and walk around someplace other than my backyard and take some more photos. Maybe I'll start a gallery for myself showing my first days and add to it as I improve - knock on wood!
 

JanCdeRidder

Rookie
Aug 3, 2010
13
A quick shot of my mother in law sipping (gulping) her G&T down ... High contrast B&W straight out of the camera ... no PP'ing what so ever .... (one can even see her beard growth ... hehehe) it's nothing more than pick up the camera, turn it on, and shoot .. thats all...

All puns appart, the X1 is a great camera in all situations.... I haven't used my rather extensive camera collection since I got the X1...
 

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JanCdeRidder

Rookie
Aug 3, 2010
13
Now if you want to see some really astonishing images shot with the X1 visit peterlueck.com the site is in German, but the images are rather magnificent ..... Actually being the reason why I purchased my X1...
 
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BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Jan thank you, though I'm not sure your mother-in-law would thank you if she were reading, though if it is as hot where you are as it is here in just outside of NYC, I'd be guzzling too! I will say that is one heck of a crystal clear, detailed shot and the in camera black and white handled the seen really well.

Thanks so much to Peter Lueck's website. May I ask how you know him? I found his link to his Flickr site through his blog and intend to spend more time looking around at his photographs, for sure.
 

JanCdeRidder

Rookie
Aug 3, 2010
13
Today I took shots of my little kid with his girlfriend sitting on the couch watching "Madagascar" (I like to move it, move it.. you know!) anyway from a distance I managed to get the greatest shot and being able to crop them down to well ... almost portrait size and still looking fantastic, good enough for a 18x13 print. The lens is very good as is the capturing rendition (if thats what you call it) of the X1 ....

I would love to post some examples but choose not to publish my son, or his friends pics on the web for obvious reason (for me anyway) But I will most certainly apply this to other subjects and be able to show you all the perfect rendition of the X1, for it is a magnificent piece of craftsmanship.
 
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