A street portrait

A street portrait I did yesterday while having a coffee. I had with me the Leica M8 with the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5


This was shot on black and white JPEG mode. For years I have been shooting strictly RAW with the Leica M8 since its JPEG engine is not that good. But lately, mostly due to a recommendation of a friend of mine, I started using JPEG. I find the results to be awesome, and above anything else I have seen from any other camera I have tried. Maybe its the CCD sensor that contributes to this, which even at base ISO 160 does not produce crystal clear images (the way a Canon or a Nikon produces). It resembles film (not fully of course, you can’t beat a good exposed b&w silver halide image). So, I have found myself shooting most of the time at JPEG b&w mode. This way, I can also use ISO 1250 and sometimes 2500, which if course I would never use with my M8 for a color image.

About the Nokton 50mm f/1.5, it has almost fully replaced my Nokton f/1.1 since I had it repaired. It’s sharper, smaller and it does not exhibit any focus shift. I only use the f/1.1 when I want to shoot it wide open due to the unique look you get from the narrow DoF especially on film. Both lenses have a quite harsh bokeh which can be distracting sometimes. I could trade both of them for a Zeiss Sonnar f/1.5 which has a unique dreamy soft look wide open or a Summilux 50mm f/1,4 pre-ASPH but since I want to keep the f/1.1 I will just stay as I am !!

Today’s cameras have fantastic high ISO performcance, and the M8 may look like a dinosaur with its maximum acceptable ISO being at 640, but I have not trouble shooting at low light with a fast lens. I can accept a certain amount of noise which I can also reduce it in post process with no significant loss of detail. After all the M8 files are razor sharp so I can get away easily with a small loss of detail.

From all the digital cameras I have tried, the good old M8 is the one which still gives me the most pleasure when I am going out to take photos (film cameras is another story and the still remain my favorite medium for taking photos !!)

(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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