Street images with Leica M8 and Sony NEX 5N

Events that gather thousands of people are a good chance to make some street images. During my visit to a nearby city, I stumbled upon a festival, and I just happened to have with me the two most appropriate cameras for the job, the Leica M8 and the Sony NEX 5N.

When I visit a city (which means long walks) I try to have with me a light camera bag. The D800E is out of the question and even the Plaubel can add too much weight as a second camera. The M8/5N combo with three lenses is very light and it covers a whole day (the NEX usually is employed when the light goes away since its a much better ISO performer than M8).

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(Leica M8, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1)

The three lenses I had with me was the Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1, and the Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm f/2.8. Exactly what I needed for street shots.

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(Sony NEX 5N, Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1)

I have to admit that although the NEX with the EVF and the focus peaking system was easier to focus, the feeling of the M8 for this kind of images was much better. The rangefinder here was in its natural element, street and documentary photography. And the NEX seemed to gather much more attention with its EVF mounted than the M8 (actually no one bothered to asked me about the M8 which is a good thing when doing street images !!)

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(Leica M8, Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5)

Now, although I have the 1.4x magnifier diopter for the M8, which is a really great help with the 50mm and 90mm lenses, during the past months I find it more difficult to accurately focus when using wide open apertures with these lenses. I wear glasses, and I probably start to develop presbyopia (which is natural at my age). Maybe that contributes to the quite large unfocused images I get lately, or maybe my rangefinder needs some calibration, or maybe both.

My best shots of the day were shot with the M8, but I also lost a couple of great photos due to my bad focus. At some point I was really frustrated and picked up the NEX from my bag. Not a good thing for a hardcore rangefinder user !!

With f/5.6 or f/8, zone focus works great, but I like to use wide apertures in street shots and that is what caused this problem. I am definatelly not upgrading to the new M240 (too much money) but I am waiting for the full frame NEX which I think should appear somewhere in 2014 (or earlier). If its up to my expectations, then I would probably trade a couple of my film cameras for the FF NEX. It should be a great camera (and surely at a more normal price than a Leica).

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(Leica M8, Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm f/2.8)

This is my favorite image of the day. The 90mm Tele-Elmarit is also a favorite lens, very small and light for this focal length, exactly as a Leica lens should be.

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(Leica M8, Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm f/2.8)

One more shot with the Tele-Elmarit, shot wide open can really separate your subject even from a distance.

Conversions to b&w was done with Silver Efex Pro and I think the b&w look of the M8 is much natural than the NEX. At least this is what I see on my prints (the look probably shows different on a monitor).

So, these are my images from the weekend. The M8/NEX combo proved to be exactly what I needed, a very good companion for walks in the city.

(c)2013 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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