Dear rangefinder enthusiasts and classic photographers,
Thank you for allowing us to share some news and random thoughts with you.
On January 18, 2017, the photographic world was summoned to Wetzlar for a celebration of the importance of contemporary photography, specifically the contributions made by American street photographer Joel Meyerowitz, and the introduction of the much-anticipated Leica M10. But the event was more than fêting the accomplishments of one person and launching a new camera, it was an homage to history, achievement and positive vision.
Joel Meyerowitz was inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame, joining René Burri, Ara Güler, Thomas Hoepker, Barbara Klemm, Steve McCurry and Nick Út.
There is always order in Joel Meyerowitz’ photographs. He has the capacity to pull together seemingly disparate elements and present them in strong geometric patterns, all the while maintaining a connection with his main subject. Whether a photograph is meticulously composed on the ground glass of an 8x10 view camera employed in his 1979 classic book Cape Light, or grabbed in a split second on a congested Manhattan sidewalk, this remains a signature of his photography.
It was a highlight of my visit to eavesdrop on the conversation between Joel Meyerowitz and British photographer Matt Stuart. Their unfiltered enthusiasm for, and love of, street photography was nothing short of inspirational. To hear Joel describe the pure joy of being out there with his Leica M6 loaded with Tri-X or Kodachrome, well… here’s how he put it: “When I hold the camera in my hands, I often think it’s a kind of divining rod. It guides me. I always feel that if you carry a camera, you have a licence to see”.
Matt Stuart is a warm and knowledgeable guy who willingly shares his knowledge and experience with others. His street photographs of London are legendary and funny as all get-out. I am happy to let the cat out of the bag and announce that plans are well underway for Matt to host our next M-Vision Atelier in the autumn.
The Family Home
I have been to Wetzlar many times, and walked in the footsteps of Oskar Barnack and many members of the Leitz family along the cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses. This trip, I had the good fortune to be invited to tour the family’s villa perched on a hill above the old city straddling the banks of the Lahn River. Until a few years ago, it was home to four generations of the Leitz family. I became emotional reading some of the writings, looking at family photos, and realizing how much this small family contributed to the beauty and spirit of humanity.
I also had the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with Dr. Andreas Kaufmann and his wife who, through their dedication to Leica and its legacy, helped breathe new life and energy into the venerable company, ushering it into the digital age and solidifying its leadership in the world of photography. When Dr. Kaufmann talks about the legacy of Leica, he refers to it as “a huge gift for us, an honour. If we can continue to innovate according to the brand’s DNA, the heritage is only advantageous.” The engineers who were given the mandate to recognize and enhance the strengths of the M system, i.e., focus on simplicity and not forget its essential purpose, built what we were shown as the next step in the M’s evolution.
The specs were there for all to see on the big screen in the hall, and the raison d’être and how-tos were described in great detail by Dr. Kaufmann. Finally, the time had come to get my hands on the M10. It felt exactly like an M7. (No surprise here, it is the same thickness.) Looking through the viewfinder, I went…Wow! At 0.73x, the magnification is similar to the M7. The field of view is actually wider thanks to the bigger window. On the M10, Leica’s engineers gave me more of what I like most about M cameras: a better, direct view of the world.
Louis Sullivan’s axiom, “form follows function,” was taken to heart on the M10. Gone are all extraneous add-ons, leaving only three buttons and a one-page menu. Amazing! The location of the ISO dial mimics the rewind knob of the M3 and MP. Getting to know and master this camera will take no more than a few minutes.
The M9 had a CCD that gave deep, beautiful, film-like tonality; CMOS, live view and high ISO capabilities were introduced aboard the M240; so what does the M10 sensor bring to the table? The best of both worlds, with improved dynamic range and DNG files that appear to be nearly perfect right out of the gate. The new, custom-designed sensor – I couldn’t find out who makes it – is mated perfectly to an upgraded processor that permits faster shooting than any previous M camera. Judging by the interest we are getting at the boutique, I’m guessing that the M10 will not only appeal to diehard M users, but will attract a strong, new clientele looking to simplify the process and augment their enjoyment of photography.
When can you get your hands on the M10? The 350 people working in Wetzlar manufacturing Leica cameras and lenses can turn out a very limited number of cameras. That said, they are starting to trickle in and we are taking orders with the promise of delivery faster than anyone else in Canada.
Show us your Montreal!
Camtec Photo and Fujifilm Canada are thrilled and proud to announce the “Montreal, My Town” photo contest and event.
Montreal is anything but monotonous. It is multicultural, multilingual, even its weather is marked by diversity. Whether enjoying one of our world-famous festivals on a sweltering summer evening, standing atop Mont-Royal drinking in the autumn colours or sliding along streets buried under drifting snow, we’re constantly surrounded by a joie de vivre that translates into great photographs.
For its 375th anniversary, Fujifilm and Camtec Photo invite you to capture the character, spirit and soul that make our city so unique.
“My Town” Photo Contest Rules and Regulations
Entries are now open until March 11, 2017
Results will be announced during our Fuji X Event and Photo Walk to be held on Saturday, March 18, at 9:00 AM
Three prizes will be awarded:
First prize: $750 gift certificate towards Fuji products
Second prize: $250 gift certificate towards Fuji products
Third prize: $150 gift certificate towards Fuji products
Go out, take pictures, then send us your best!
In Memoriam: Tom Abrahamsson
In early January, the rangefinder community lost one of our leading lights. Respected photographer, industrial designer and rangefinder guru, Tom created a series of must-have rangefinder accessories including the iconic Softie shutter release. But his greatest contributions were the generous gift of his time and kind spirit. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife and great friend, Tuulikki.
Always looking forward to your comments.