Leica M9 camera_Chatuchak Park_Bangkok

Leica M9 camera and Leica 75mm Summicron-M f2 ASPH lens_1/60 second @ f16 ISO 160I used my second visit to Chatuchak Park in Bangkok as both an alternative to walking the city streets and as a way to further come to grips with my new Leica M9 camera.

The first pics required the use of my Leica 75mm APO Summicron_M f2 ASPH lens. The Leica M9 is a wonderfully engineered camera. The build quality of both body and lenses is exceptional. But it's not easy to use, particularly with lens focal lengths of 50mm or above. The viewfinder is quite bright, which aids manual focusing achieved via a rangefinder which renders an out of focus area as double. Inside the viewfinder two rectangular frames present themselves. The size of these frames vary depending on the lens mounted. One frame covers the viewing area of the lens, while the other provides an alternative view provided by another focal length. Depending on the lens attached to your camera the frames are paired as follows:

- 35mm and 135mm
- 28mm and 90mm
- 50mm and 70mm

Leica M9 camera and Leica 75mm Summicron-M f2 ASPH lens_1/500 second @ f5.7 ISO 400As the focal length increases above 28mm the frame into which you need to compose your image inside the camera's viewfinder shrinks.The size of the viewfinder is fixed, but the box into which you need to compose is reduced. This fact makes serious image design very tricky indeed. The ability to judge when your subjects eye's are open and illuminated can also be impaired, particularly with the 135mm, the most powerful lens in the range.

The 75mm was the strongest lens I felt I'd be able to successfully work with. But it's not easy. I purchased a x1.4 magnifier to increase the size of the bright line frame within the viewfinder. It helps but, due to a kind tunnelling effect, the bright line frame becomes difficult to see when paired with an accessory eyecup I'd also purchased to help rest the camera comfortably against my head and, as a consequence, help reduce camera shake at the low Shutter Speeds at which I'm constantly working. It will take some time before I arrive at the best combination of accessories to make working with this lens as enjoyable and successful as possible.

Leica M9 camera and Leica 75mm Summicron-M f2 ASPH lens_1/250 second @ f6.7 ISO 400The screen on the back of the camera provides, by modern camera standards, pretty low resolution. The automatically generated JPEG preview image is slow to load and looks unsharp. Hitting the PLAY button renders a much sharper, albeit a little pixelated preview. For the money the camera costs it's a less than ideal situation. Nevertheless, as I'm much more interested in the histogram (a graphical representation of the data within the image), as a guide to exposure, than the camera-generated JPEG preview on the LCD screen I don't see this as too much of an inconvenience.

Leica M9 camera and Leica 75mm Summicron-M f2 ASPH lens_1/250 second @ f8 ISO 400One thing I've found to be true is a comment by my good friend, Joseph who assured me that, once on the desktop, the quality of the Leica files would be evident. He was absolutely right. I'm really enjoying the out-of-camera appearance, particularly in relation to image crispness and color rendering, of the Leica M9 files. The marrying of Leica lenses, Kodak color science (sensor) and the lack of an anti-alaising filter in front of the sensor seems to have paid off for Leica and, my extension, all Leica M9 users.

Leica M9 camera and Leica 75mm Summicron-M ASPH lens_1/25 second @ f9.5 ISO 400

Leica M9 camera and Leica 24mm Summilux-M ASPH lens_1/15 second @ f4.8 ISO 400The final image from today's post was made lying down on the ground and shooting up into the canopy. All images in this post are as much studies in design as they are photographs of things. People often mistakenly use the word Composition to refer to the way individual element within the frame are arranged. A more apt word is Design. Look for the use of line, shape, texture and color within these images to understand why I chose to photograph certain subject matter. And, of course, none of those design elements would have appealed to me if the quality of light was not suitable. And that's the reason the photographs were made with the aid of late afternoon light.

Check out tomorrow's post when I'II conclude my visit to Chatuchak Park with a series of images illuminated by twilight and artificial light.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru