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Parallax, December 2015

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Dear rangefinder enthusiasts and classic photographers, 

Thank you for allowing us to share some news and random thoughts with you.

M-Vision Atelier Redux: Thoughts on a November Weekend in Montreal

From November 6 thru 8, fifteen passionate amateur and dedicated professional photographers brought their creative energy, open minds, abundance of talent and collective work ethic to our vibrant Mile End and Little Italy neighbourhoods. The result was three intense days of photography, camaraderie and everything that makes taking pictures fun and exciting.  

 

The remarkable sweep of styles, approaches and ideas culminated in a comprehensive collection of thoughtful, meaningful, respectful and oh-so-beautiful images. From cityscapes that make life here so intoxicating, to the idiosyncratic beats of extraordinary neighbourhoods, the Family of Man: Édition Montréal was captured gloriously through the camera’s eye of our participants. Using in-depth reportage, clever observations and timing that earns the Decisive Moment designation, in a mere seventy-two hours, we revealed some of Montreal’s best kept secrets. 

 

No amount of thanks is enough to truly express our gratitude to Danny Wilcox Frazier and Hubert Hayaud, and Leica rep and Akademie manager extraordinaire, Tom Smith, for all that they brought to the atelier.

 

From the intimacy of people’s homes, to people casting long shadows while circulating about crowded Jean Talon Market; from casually browsing for books, to artists pondering life’s purpose; from both sides of the counter in our café culture, to the rich ethnic mélange we take for granted; we invite you to peruse a small collection of the work in the Gallery. Your comments are certainly welcome!

 

Please click here to see the full gallery!

 

Michel Phaneuf: Photographs that Resonate with the Soul

Seems like every day some pundit questions the point and purpose of photography. It is only appropriate that the ultimate rebuttal to the argument is not words, but a simple photo essay that reassures us that the practice of capturing timeless beauty is a worthy goal and magnificent achievement.

 

Michel Phaneuf has been a passionate photographer for most of his life. This fall, he packed his M240 and Monochrom on a journey to and around Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine. His collection of bewitching and dramatic images touches the soul.

 

A Q+A about the Q

There’s no questioning the capability of Leica’s new, full-frame autofocus compact, but when it comes to availability, well…Qs are as scarce as the tile Q in a game of Scrabble. 

 

Outfitted with the close-focusing Summilux 28mm/f1.7 ASPH, the 24 MP camera answers the demands of many photographers with nonpareil files that are filled with Leica goodness. Rich in features including an exceptional electronic viewfinder, 10 fps shooting speed and optical stabilization, it’s the discreet sound of the shutter release that makes me reach or, at least, want to reach for the Q  to capture spontaneous moments. 

 

You have probably grown accustomed to the Leica new-camera drill: a winning, highly desirable product is launched, followed by a dearth of cameras/lenses, followed by a series of revised promises of delivery. I remain hopeful that orders will be filled to satisfy our Christmas shoppers, but the promise of true, revved up production in November, not surprisingly, appears to have been a hollow one. 

 

When the camera is actually delivered, the Q belies its compact size with some very impressive photographic heavy lifting. (See below to judge for yourself.)

 

Miles Whittingham: Into the Night With the Q

Fine-art photographer Miles Whittingham knows a thing or two about quality. His unerring photographic eye finds order in chaos, producing photographs that are faultlessly framed to deliver maximum impact. His go-to camera, not surprisingly, is the Leica S.

 

Recently, Miles put the compact Q through its paces. Using Manhattan at night as his muse, he created a dazzling visual narrative in a collection of photographs that not only chronicle scenes with unerring fidelity, but showcase New York with artistic flair and visual tension. 

 

The Leica SL Will Change the Landscape, But Some Things Never Change!

The Internet denizens have been in a tizzy about Leica’s rumoured entry into the increasingly crowded mirrorless world. (Do they not realize that ever since 1932’s rangefinder Leica II, Wetzlar has been the capital of the ultimate mirrorless camera?) The latest mirrorless entry, the Leica SL, will eventually anchor an exciting new line of full-frame autofocus lenses. My assessment will follow, but permit me this brief rant:  

 

It’s perplexing and overbearing that before a single camera was shipped and used by a genuine photographer be he/she amateur or professional, the usual cast of self-appointed Web gurus were clambering to dish their opinions. Their dubious methodology included pinning the SL with pre-production 24-90mm zoom lens, against the Q with its noninterchangeable 28mm prime lens. Another so-called savant compared the SL with 24-90 to a Sony outfitted with a Zeiss 55mm prime. The level of conceit inherent in these so-called reviews is only challenged by the class-leading ignorance of the reviewers.

 

Now for my assessment:

 

Having held and tried the SL, I found the size, ergonomics and functionality make using the camera extremely gratifying. It is comfortable in the hand and, when raised to eye level, fast and fluid to use. This evaluation applies to when M lenses are mounted. The viewfinder is as good as you can ever imagine and focusing is fast and precise, even without magnification. Precise focus peaking is icing on the cake, coming on to confirm that your focus is correct!

 

We all know that history is destined to repeat itself, and when it comes to making a history of dubious introductions, Leica management is in a class unto itself. (Revisit the Leica S introduction for confirmation of this.) The SL should have been introduced to complement the M; a way for M and R users to take advantage of superior Leica lenses on an electronic viewfinder camera. Only when Leica delivers a family of new autofocus lenses the same calibre as S lenses, should they boast that a new era of autofocus, full-frame I photography has arrived! Unfortunately, the SL was introduced with the promise of a professional system camera while, in reality, the only lens presently available is a too-slow 24-90mm. 

 

Finally, I will repeat what I said to Leica brass during our meeting at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York. The camera is simply too expensive!!! There is no reason for the SL to be more than the M. (Historically, M cameras have always commanded a higher price than the their R brethren.) If it had been priced at U$5000 - $6000 I am confident that a good percentage of M users would give great consideration to purchasing the SL as a second body to complement their rangefinder system. 

 

Leica M Typ 262: No Lightweight, Just Lighter

Leica’s surprising announcement of the M Typ 262 is great news! Minus video, minus Live View, the plus side to this camera includes lower base price, lighter weight, quieter shutter, a simplified menu and the same, tried and true, 24 MP sensor as the full-featured M Typ 240. In short, this M makes Leica rangefinder photography more accessible to more photographers. 

 

The camera starts shipping on November 25.

 

George Zimbel: Uno Momento Por Favor

A dear friend and great source of inspiration both as a person and as a photographer, George Zimbel is finally being fêted by the art community which he has given so much to over many, many years. His show, George S. Zimbel, A Humanist Photographer continues at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until January 3, 2016.  

 

The companion book to the exhibition, Momento, simply and beautifully presented and spanning 60 years of George’s photography, is a must-have for anyone interested in photography. I am honoured that George has accepted to sign a limited number of books available for Christmas at the Boutique. 

 

Please click here to order.

 

***

It’s December and as any Montrealer worth his or her (road) salt knows, the time is here to get out the lined boots, the down jacket, heavy sweater, scarf and warm gloves. This winter, insulate yourself from the elements, but don’t insulate yourself from photography. Dress warmly, get outside and just freeze the action.

 

To all clients and friends of Camtec Photo, our sincere thanks for your kind support. Best wishes to you and your families for the Holiday Season and 2016!   

 

Always looking forward to your comments.

 

Photographically yours,

 

Jean Bardaji and Daniel Wiener

 

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