You’re So Vane

Late afternoon today, I took a purposeful walk around the neighborhood carrying Leica M10 with Macro-Elmar-M 1:4/90 attached. I had hoped to shoot the first portraits from the lens for my “Cats of University Heights” series. I met no felines, sadly, but some of their prey tickled my fancy around the property at Cleveland and Madison.

I captured the Featured Image  and its companion at 5:03 p.m. PDT. Vitals for the first: f/11, ISO 200, 1/180 sec, 90mm. The other is same except for 1/250 sec shutter speed. I cropped both, but only really edited the second—seeking to make the birds more lit than silhouette, so to speak. 

Early test shots with the lens match my feelings about the Summarit-M 1:2.4/50: Dissatisfaction. Sizing up more than five months shooting the M10: While contrast, color accuracy, and dynamic range consistently appeal, image quality does not. Perhaps my vision isn’t sharp enough to accurately manually focus. Maybe my camera’s calibration is off-spec. Could be that I am not amateur photographer enough for the Leica kit.

The coming days (weeks or months) will influence whether I continue with the M10 or move on to something else. My experience shooting Fuji was consistently better—granted benefiting from fast autofocus. While I prefer the overall “look” of the photos the M10 produces, the X00F and X-T1 delivered consistently greater IQ. Fuji, like Leica, presents tactile manual dials for adjusting major settings; Canon. Nikon, and Sony do not.

Today, X-T3 preorders officially started ahead of retail availability later in the month. Canon and Nikon also unveiled new mirrorless cameras this week, and they’re full-frame like the M10. But I’m not obsessed with a 35mm sensor. Fuji’s APS-C is good enough for me, if the overall IQ is there. Additionally, the manufacturer’s in-camera film-emulation filters, like lovely Acros, are delightful. Except for sharpness, the Leica consistently produces photos that are more what my eyes see—and that’s its own benefit, and there’s an authenticity to the quality that appeals to me.