Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Leica X1 Redo

I sold the X1 about a year ago.

 That should have been that. I now have better cameras that took its place. The problem is, I shoot a lot of frames. A photographer friend (a real one) wonders at the digital camera's ability to produce high quantity output with ease. In his film days, he would load a roll of 24 or 36 exposures and very carefully take the photographs he needed to fulfill a job assignment. Once in a while he'd shoot for pleasure or for something that was important to him but still he was constrained by the physical need for more film to be loaded after each roll was used up and pay the cost/labor for that roll of film and its development. It was cheaper (once you made the equipment investment) to do your own developing but labor intensive. Those physical constraints tended to dictate how carefully he needed to conserve his input/output. When I sent him a link to several hundred shots I made of the civil war reenactment done locally a couple years ago, he commented that he was amazed at how many exposures I made that day and compared it to his old film days.

The reference here is germane in one major way. I shoot a lot of frames. I often will process the best of them and print or post them. It's my hobby/sanity machine. But I keep all of them. On a rainy or snowy or icy day, I'll open up a folder and review what I shot, hisotrically. I'll look for frames I didn't think worthy for a first go round. Each camera and lens combination tends to have it's own signature. When I review the X1's output, I'm intrigued. Here's an straight-out-of-camera jpg taken in Crested Butte from the X1 I'm referring to in this post:

The OOC jpg pretty much nails white balance, exposure, color balance and micro contrast. It does blow out the highlights but the sun was setting behind the restaurant and was almost unavoidable to allow enough light in to capture the shaded scene. It has a unique lens signature which appeals to me. It's a subjective thing, of course. What I like isn't necessarily what others admire. Here's another shot taken when the Dali Lama was in town, from the Tibetan side show circus:

 One more from that day:
 It was exposed for the crowd and blew out the sky. Finally here's one from the Prairie Grove annual clothesline fair:
Perhaps under exposed a bit but it captures the under the trees shade/ sunny background as a compromise of the matrix.

I really like how the X1 renders. It is unique to the camera. It needs little or nothing done to it. You can ramp it up for more pop and get some fairly amazing results but it really isn't necessary. I said when I parted with it, I might find another one after the prices approach salvage value. We're not there yet but we're real close. I got one with a small ding on the bottom at a bargain rate (I think 500 is salvage and I paid 6 ahead of schedule but time will tell) and it's in the mail from California. It's a great little camera. High build quality, very quiet shutter which also allows a daytime sharp wide open, f2.8 at 1/2000 and it's output is unique and Leica-like. Should be here Saturday and I hope to take it out and continue to be pleased and amazed at its output. Now I need to sell something to cover that cost. And so it goes.

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