Leica M Monochrom Street Photography

Leica M Monochrom Street Photography

I’d been dreaming of owning a Leica M Monochrom camera since playing with one briefly last June, (see my post). My heart kept telling me to go out and buy one, my head and finances shouted a loud NO. Not always being a person who listens to her head, I bit the bullet and bought one just before the Easter holidays.

I am a great lover of black and white photography, and much of my personal work is shot on black and white film, or digital and converted into black and white. I will use the Monochrom much for Street Photography, along with black and white Portrait Photography for clients and my own documentary portrait projects, such as my on going Holocaust Survivors work.

This blog is not a review of the camera as such, but I will be doing regular post about using the camera. The Moncochrom (I wonder why they dropped the e?) is a beautiful camera to hold and feel, the quality of build to me seems better then other Leica M’s but that may just be the black matt finish giving that feel. On Good Friday, I took my dog for a walk, along with the camera over to the fun fair on Hampstead Heath. One of the great things about shooting with a Leica M, being so small and discreet you are hardly noticed taking photographs. I was shooting using the camera with my Summicron 35mm lens, (28 years old) which is my main lens for Street Photography.

What was immediately noticeable were the previews on the LCD, (same as the M9, and one of a few negatives about the camera) the images were flat – which when shooting raw is ideal to get detail out of the file in processing. I found when photographing a scene with a high dynamic range it was best to under expose slightly, as highlights blow out and were not easy to recover in Lightroom.

The featured image was imported into Lightroom 4 and then processed using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Both Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2 come with the camera. I have used Lightroom since it first came out, and know it well, but I am new to Silver Efex, however I have found that using the presets it does tend to over process making images look unreal, and worse still creates noise and artefacts. It seems best to reduce the preset settings if or when using them.

More on shooting with the Leica M Monochrom, and more photographs, when I get the camera back from Germany. The Monochrom is being calibrated along with my Summicron 75mm APO lens to adjust the focus. The lens was badly front focusing when used with the camera – perfect with my M9 as I am sure it will be on the Monochrom when I get it back.

Thank you for reading this blog, and until next time ‘happy shooting’.