Dear rangefinder enthusiasts and classic photographers,
Thank you for allowing us to share some news and random thoughts with you.
The New Little Camera That Could
Some Fantastic News!
There is always a small place in my heart for a fixed focal length camera. Over the years I’ve used a Fuji GS645, Contax T, Leica CM, Rollei 35S and more recetly Fuji X100. Today I look forward to getting my hands on the new, made in Germany Leica Q (Typ 116).
For those who covet superior quality in a small package, this camera is for us! Its EVF comprised of 3.68 million pixels, delivers a crystal-clear viewing image, and the fast, optically stabilized Summilux 28mm/f1.7 ASPH – a remarkably flexible lens that in macro mode focuses as close as 17 cm – is an ideal mate for the full frame, 24 MP sensor shared with the M240. A newly developed processor allows 10 fps continuous shooting at full resolution!
No matter the style of one’s photography, the diminutive Leica Q promises to be the perfect choice as a go-to or add-on camera.
How Do You Improve Upon Perfection?
The original Monochrom did not invent a new genre of photography, but it certainly ushered traditional black-and-white image making firmly into the digital age. It was, and continues to be, a superior camera that I love to use.
The new Monochrom 246 takes advantage of significant and appreciated improvements that came with the M240: buttery soft shutter release, much faster processor, a greatly improved LCD screen, and upgraded viewfinder and bright lines.
Resolution jumps from 18 to 24 megapixels, and the CMOS sensor supports Live View, Focus Peaking and zooming to confirm critical sharpness. Most importantly, the new camera hasn’t bulked up with features and functions, and remains true to form as the rangefinder dedicated to seeing the world in black and white.
Another Optical Tour de Force from the World’s Premier Lens Maker
The Summilux-M 28mm F/1.4 ASPH is undoubtedly the most anticipated new lens from Leica. Over 3 years in the making, it’s been worth the wait. With its unique draw and image rendition, and a size that is considerably smaller than its 21mm and 24mm brethren, it is destined to become a favourite among rangefinder photographers. While, in my opinion, the Summicron-M 28mm F/2 ASPH is probably the best wide angle in the M collection in term of sharpness and optical correction, this new Summilux will up the ante with richness in texture, tonality and character.
Also announced this spring is the offering (in very limited quantity) of a pair of lenses in special, black-chrome finish.
The legendary Summilux-M 50mm F/1.4 ASPH becomes available with the look and feel of the original 1959 Summilux. The brass build is finished in a unique, matte-black chrome. The separate lens hood and cap get the same treatment, adding up to a lens with a classic, unmistakeable appearance.
The Summicron-M 35mm F/2 ASPH – the cornerstone of Leica reportage photography – also is offered in a classic look with the same finish along with a ’60s-style round metal hood. Photographers will find that the extra weight from the brass build in this compact, high-performance lens, will add stability and enhance handling.
The 12% Incentive
For the first time in its history, Leica, reacting to the world economic situation and the devaluation of the Euro against the US dollar, decided to lower prices on all photographic products. From M cameras to T lenses, from M lenses to S cameras, from S lenses to X and Lux cameras, each and every item in the catalogue including accessories, has been reduced 12%. These lower prices are already reflected on our Web pages. There has never been a better time to add to your gear, or to start down your Leica photographic path.
Mary Ellen Mark
“Nearly everybody knows her pictures but they don’t necessarily know that they’re Mary Ellen Mark’s. Her pictures were more famous than she was, and yet she was larger than life: she was a really feisty character. She was intrepid.”
—Curator Zelda Cheatle, The Guardian, 31/05/2015
We lost a titan of photography. Mary Ellen Mark passed away in May, leaving behind a legacy of images which prove conclusively that photojournalism and fine art can go hand in hand. With her camera trained on accessible topics that dealt with everyday life, she imparts a lesson that all young and aspiring photojournalists should take to heart: photojournalism is not restricted to war, floods, catastrophes and acts of God.
The topics she tackled were uncomfortable and tough. In images full of life’s disparities, her subjects never lost their humanity. Whether in a locked ward for women in the Oregon State Hospital mental institution, the brothels of Mumbai’s Falkland Road, or a backyard wading pool in North Carolina, her camera’s eye shows the viewer a difficult issue presented in a kind, nonconfrontational manner. Perhaps it is because of this gentle approach, that we are beset with unease bordering on embarrassment.
A consummate photographer, her style was polymorphic: capable of taking various forms to serve the story she was working on. From Leica M rangefinders to a 20 x 24 Polaroid view camera, the content of her photo essays determined her choice of tool. Most importantly, content drove the direction of the images, because there is nothing that equals content when it comes to beauty and importance. There was a consistency in her images: they spoke volumes not because they were created by Mary Ellen Mark, but because they had something important to say.
Beneath a soft demeanor, Mary Ellen Mark was uncompromising and, as the saying goes, one tough cookie. We need more like her around today.
A Hot Topic
Ford or Chevy? Coke or Pepsi? Levi's or Wrangler? Canon or Nikon? Corporations spend mountains of cash on advertising to persuade us to choose their brand. Business experts, health and fitness gurus, and pundits of just about anything and everything have proven the power of branding themselves from head to toe.
Branding among photographers has been around for a long time. In the 1970s, Elliott Erwitt, David Alan Harvey, Jay Maisel and Pete Turner created large bodies of work that were graphically compelling and rich in either black-and-white tones or dazzling colour. Their fame grew beyond their commercial networks, attracting camera companies and legions of photo enthusiasts. To this day, their brands pay dividends through numerous workshops and endorsements.
A reaction to the digital tsunami that swept away conventional avenues of business, in 2015, branding has a new rulebook. Instagram is indispensable, blogging is imperative, and a video of a high-profile assignment certainly can’t hurt. But photographers must remember that none of these branding tools is reason enough to alter a photographic path. Any effort being spent on the above, should be tripled in creating images that matter. If we don’t take note of this truth, we risk the hard-earned reputations of Mary Ellen Mark, Trent Parke and Robert Frank being replaced by the likes of, with all due respect, Steve Huff, Ken Rockwell and Thorsten Overgaard.
26 Rue Notre-Dame Est: The Place To Be
While we consider ourselves to be forward looking, on occasion, it’s nice to pause and look back. In mid-May we hosted a reception for Carl Valiquet. Attendees were treated to a collection of recent work documenting trishaw operators in Indonesia, where he now resides. Prior to that, we were honoured to show a fascinating photo essay from Camtec alumni Edouard Plante-Frechette. His look at how Abitibians did not merely cope, but came together in the economic downturn gripping northern Quebec, was eye opening and heartwarming. With Peter Weyrauch’s exhibit of automotive prints, we’re rubbing shoulders with F1 cognizanti and motoring enthusiasts enjoying his rich black-and-white images guaranteed to make you yearn for the good ‘ol days.
I’m proud of our reputation as the go-to place for the finest photographic gear, and we are slowly building a reputation as a go-to place to appreciate the finest photographic art. Please stop by when you have a moment.
It’s a season that’s all too brief. If you are intent on capturing it, keep your camera at the ready and set a fast shutter speed! Fortunately, whatever the forecast brings, there are great pictures to be taken.
Always looking forward to your comments.
Jean Bardaji and Daniel Wiener