Friday, 27 April 2012


I've been mucking about in LR tonight, trying out the various things I've read about over the last few weeks.
Heslington Church 4pm on a winter Sunday

Ruined quarry building Beddgelert

As above but with different LR treatment

Thursday, 26 April 2012


My recent purchase of a Leica M8 got me thinking about all the other cameras I have had over the years. The cameras in bold are the ones I currently have.
Here they are:
Practika MTL 5B + Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm
Rolliei B35
Olympus PEN EE
Contax 139 + Zeiss T* 50mm, Yashica 28mm
Yashicamat 124
Olympus OM1 + Zuiko 21mm,  Zuiko 50mm, Zuiko 135mm
Nikon F301 + Nikkor 35-70mm
Nikon F90 + 24-120mm
Nikon FE + Nikkor 50m, Tamron 90mm
Olympus 3040
Olympus E330 + Zuiko 14 - 42mm & 11 - 22mm
Olympus PEN EPL-1 + Zuiko14 - 42mm & 40 - 150mm
Canon EOS 5D II + Canon EF 24 - 70mm, 20mm f2.8 USM, 100mm f2.8 USM Macro, 85mm f1.8 USM, 50mm f1.4 USM, 70-200mm f4 L
Leica M8 + Elmarit 28mm version III & Voigtlander 15mm f4.5
Fuji X-Pro1 + Fujinon XF18-55mm, 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2
Canon Powershot G10

Leica M8 flash trigger voltages

I've been reading quite a lot on the internet recently about flash trigger voltages and how older flash units often had trigger voltages in excess of 200VDC. This, it was said, would fry the sensitive electronics in a modern digital camera. I've yet to read anything by anyone who has actually experienced this first hand, it all seems to be anecdotal.
So, curiosity tweaked I put new batteries in my collection of flash units and got out my voltmeter.
My old Vivitar 283 measured 110VDC, my little Hanimex CX215 measured 60VDC and a Leica CF came in at 6VDC. So there is truth in the fact that older flash units have higher trigger voltages.
I've read that Canon rate their max trigger voltage at 60VDC, and sure enough my 5D II is still working fine after using the Hanimex on it, likewise I've read that Leica say their cameras are safe upto 600VDC, and my M8 is stil OK after using the Hanimex.
I need to do a bit more research before I chance either the 5D or the M8 with the Vivitar though.

Incidentally, I compared the little Hanimex with the Leica CF, both have a similar GN and have manual or auto (non TTL) settings. Using the settings stated on the back of each unit I took some interior shots on the Leica M8 using both auto and manual settings. The Leica CF was OK on auto but two stops over-exposed on manual. whle the Hanimex was spot on each time, one to the little Hanimex!

Not satisfied with my findings I sent an email to Leica UK asking what are the safe flash trigger voltages for the Leica M8. As usual Leica UK responded quickly with the following:

"A trigger voltage of 24v (max) is considered 'safe' for Leica M digital cameras."

So, from those who should know, if the trigger voltage is greater than 24VDC don't use it on your Leica M digital.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Leica M8 Photos

These are a few of the photos I've taken on my M8.
I've been rather busy since I took delivery and the weather, apart from the glorious day in Aberystwyth, has been a bit poor but they demonstrate what it is capable of.
These were all shot RAW (Leica use DNG) and imported into Lightroom 3.6 for processing.

The colour photo has had no post-processing except conversion into JPEG in LR.

When these are viewed in LR the amount of detail really is quite staggering, considering that the M8 discontinued in 2008 and its pixel count would be considered mid-range by current standards.

Untouched output from Leica M8. Jpeg conversion in LR

Leica lens coding

I've found that if the lens is removed from the camera, its not always recognised when replaced. Also after a while the ink seems to fade and needs re-coating.
I've ordered one of the replacement M mounts sold on Ebay which has the code notches machined in ready to accept paint. I'll report back when its been fitted.
I've had another go at coding the lens using the "Sharpie" marker pen method.
I found that using an actual Sharpie pen wasn't successful, even waiting for it to dry and going over it again, it never dried solid enough.
So I tried a CD marker pen and it worked! My M8 now sees my lens as a 28mm so should provide all the corner correction etc and give me EXIF data as well.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Huey Pro

I've calibrated my monitors using a Huey Pro.
I bought the Pro version as it is able to calibrate dual monitor set ups.

It has made a definite improvement and whilst I never expected to be able to get my laptop screen and the second monitor to look exactly the same they are not that far apart.

I've not left the Huey installed to dynamically adjust the screen brightness as I don't have enough USB ports on my laptop.

Leica update - lens has arrived

I had some lovely weather in Aberystwyth on Sunday and took a few test images (with the 24mm) I'll process these soon and put them up.
I collected my 28mm from the sorting office this morning and it looks lovely, its in very good condition. I have identified it as an Elmarit 28mm f2.8 Version III produced between 1979 and 1993, Black, nose of lens is very large and straight.  Lens barrel does not rotate as lens is focused. 49 mm filter ring.  Reputed to be a big improvement over earlier versions.  8 elements.  Brass construction. Made in Canada in 1983.
I've updated the M8 firmware to the latest version as well.
Downloaded a DIY template and attempted to code the lens with a Sharpie pen. It didn't work, mainly as the mount has a screw just where this lens needs a black mark. Replacement mounts with 5 screws and milled to accept codes are available from a vendor on Ebay, according to the various forums these work OK.

Here is my M8 with the Elmarit 28mm Version III attached.

My Leica M8 with 28mm Elmarit f2.8 V3

Friday, 20 April 2012

I've bought a Leica

About two weeks ago I suddenly got the urge to own a Leica rangefinder. I've no idea where this came from.
Anyway, today I took delivery of a used Leica M8 in black. I found it on Ebay and it came complete with the box, cables, CD's, charger, dealer stamped bits etc and is in excellent condition.
Leica's are never sold with a lens as its these that really keep their value, but an Elmarit 28mm f2.8 was found in Ffordes at a very good price and should arrive soon.
The M8 uses an  sensor with a crop factor of 1.33 so 28mm is equivalent to a 37mm on a FF 35mm sensor, perfect for street photography.
In the mean time I'm testing the M8 with a loaned 24mm Elmarit. so far the results look promising, very sharp, neutral and considering the fairly simple centre weighted average metering really well exposed.
Given some decent weather this weekend I might get some images worth putting up online next week.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Photoshop CS5

I recently purchased PS CS5 extended.
I qualify for educational pricing and this must be one of the biggest bargains ever.
The educational price is 70% off the retail price and the version you receive is the full version, not crippled education edition.
If you qualify for this discount then go for it, you'd be mad not to!

I run it on my "photo" laptop, an AMD quad core Phenom with 8Gb ram and AMD Radeon graphic card.
This laptop easily runs PS and LR and together with a Wacom Bamboo pen and tablet makes using them a joy. A second monitor provides the final touch of luxury to my setup.

some of the money saved on the purchase of PS meant that I bought a couple of PS books by Martin Evening, I can recommend these as very informative indeed.

LRPS Panel

My LRPS panel is ready to send off.
In February I attended a RPS Advisory day, in the National Media museum in Bradford.
The idea of the day was to provide information to those intending to apply for a RPS distinction

The judging panel were there and performed some "judging" on some panels that had been submitted by RPS members for feedback.
It was very interesting to see what the panel look for in the LRPS and ARPS panels, and also how they want them submitted.
The image above is my Hanging panel, detailing how my 10 images are to be displayed. the panel comprises of 10 images printed 10x8 mounted in 12x16 white card.