In honor of
Jane Evelyn Atwood and Cristina García Rodero
I had written a very short review of the M240 a few months ago on DP Review, but they refused to publish it. The controlling bastard that runs DP banned me after about 2 days. They must only want ass kissing ‘yes men’ and ‘fan boys’ at DP. I didn’t keep a copy of the review, but let me give you an expanded version with plenty of photos here.
Being banned is nothing new for me. From my earliest beginnings in photography to current times I’ve been censored. Here is a partial list of sites that have banned me, blocked my posts or told me to stop posting.
Luminous Landscape Forum
Digital Photography Review
Fuji Forum (original)
Fuji Forum (new)
Eric Kim Blog
Photography on the Net Forum
Photo Camel Forum
Large Format Forum
B & H Blog
Real Photographer Forum
Amateur Photographer Forum
One thing the camera fondlers have to understand is that photography forums are not run for love of photography…they are run for love of $.
I am not going to feed you a lot of bullshit. I’ve got nothing to sell you, no agenda to push. I’m not trying to get you to buy my book or come to my seminar that I don’t really know much about anyway. I’m not pretending to be a ‘rumor mill’ that is secretly funded by the camera companies. You don’t have to PayPal me $5 to support my family.
I’m not one for talking photography…I produce photography. As such, my photos will give you the rundown, not my mouth. But I still have a few peripheral topics related to the M240 to cover in my review. If you don’t want to bother to read the entire review, then skip to the end and read the summation.
First, let me give you some background on myself…
I’ve been a photographer for 47 years. My work is in 103 museums and curated collections around the world.
I’ve used Leica’s from the early 1970’s starting with the M3 and moving up to the M4, M6 along with Nikon F, Hasselblad and 4 x 5 view cameras. I had 5 current model digital Leica’s, but have since scaled back to 4. (2 M240’s, 2 MM’s)
Here are a few of my film shots from the 1970’s…
I loved shooting the Leica, Nikon F and Hasselblad because of their simplified manual controls and outstanding lenses. Especially the Leica with its small footprint and rangefinder. Leica IS the epitome of perfection of simplicity when it comes to manual controls.
Back in the day, the photogs for Life Magazine would routinely maintain a large number of Leica, Nikon or Canon rangefinders in their stable. They would carry 3 on their person, keep 3 at the hotel for back-ups and have 3 back home getting CLA’d. Who can afford to do that nowadays with Leica?
OK, with zoom lenses we can get by with less cameras. But you still need a handful of cameras if your a pro. You can’t risk traveling on assignment with one cam. The problem with Leica nowadays is it is too expensive to be a reporters camera any longer, it is made for camera fondlers.
Do you want to know what a camera fondler is? Let me give you the lowdown on the cameras fondlers.
That guy spends more time changing buttons than pressing them.
Now, I got a dozen shutter buttons myself. But I Loctite them in the cams.
The camera fondlers are on an endless search for the perfect cam that somehow is just beyond their reach and is the ONLY reason why they can’t produce anything worthwhile.
All the while the fondlers load their cameras up with fancy push buttons, thumbs up, custom skins, hand made straps, leather half cases, fat grips, screen protectors and ever other GD thing they can think of to put on a cam to bloat their ego and make their cam more useless.
If you read the camera fondler’s threads on the photo forums they are always about ‘What did you buy?’ and ‘What are you planning to buy?‘ Why don’t they write about, ‘What did you shoot?’ and ‘What are you planning to shoot?’
Only good thing about the fondlers is they keep the cam companies in biz with their continual spending. More than a few guys on the Leica forum wanted to spend $20,000 for a Leica with no screen. They felt the screen was the root of their problems… SAD.
But lets get back to the Leica review…I don’t want to be accused of being a half-pint reincarnation of Sontag.
The Leica is a very overpriced cam if you value it by what it produces. You would figure with all the $$ Leica charges they would use top end sensors. Sadly, Leica uses second rate sensors in their cams. (At least the color cams. The MM has a very sharp sensor, although it tends to burn out the highlights.)
With all the money they charge, Leica’s sensors should be the standard of the industry that the other camera producers are always trying to catch up to. Instead, Leica sensors are always a generation or two behind the other guys. My cheap $400 Fuji X will outshoot my $7000 Leica M240, especially in low light conditions.
Why do I shoot the $7000 Leica if my $400 Fuji produces fine?
I like the Leica controls, I like the rangefinder. I don’t like the controls on the Fuji. It is just sad that one has to pay such a premium for manual simplicity, but that is how it is. The camera fondling engineers have ruined the controls on the rest of the cams.
Now, if your into fondling your camera and like superb fit and finish, no one does it better than Leica or the old film Hasselblad’s. Leica is the Rolex of cameras. But, not being a camera fondler myself, fit and finish is on the back burner for me. I am after the photograph and not the fondling.
What needs to be done in photo land is for the Japanese to make an affordable Leica knockoff rangefinder. There are many times I can’t risk using the Leica and have to settle for the Fuji. With certain projects I know reasonably well my camera will get destroyed and can’t afford losing one or two $7000 cams.
Above series shot with a Fuji X-E1.
The M240 does not do single image HDR as well as the Fuji. Leica should have hired Fuji to make its sensors. The Fuji has a superb sensor, but it lacks the perfected manual controls of the Leica. Shooting the Fuji is a love-hate relationship. The only way I get the Fuji to produce is to shoot it like a Leica.
Full review of the Fuji X-E1 here: https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/the-fuji-x-at-large/
The series of photos below were all shot with a M240 Leica. All are handheld, NO TRIPODS…I don’t want to end up like this guy.
(Don’t hold me to it, but I think it is Ken Rockwell off to test his latest lens.)
For the night shot of the Red Light District at the end, I rested my hand on the rail of the canal. For the night shot of the Washington Monument I did hold my breath. As a documentary photographer I pride myself in working fast and bringing home the goods in all types of shooting conditions.
Let’s get to it…
Above is a sample of ISO 3200 with the M240
Order Women Like Pizza copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
This was shot a foot or less away with the M240…candid. The camera fondlers over at the Leica forum swear up and down how the ‘red dot’ stops them from doing good street work. The red dot does not matter one bit. The camera could have polka dots on it and I’d still get my shot. The camera fondler could have an invisible camera and they would still fudge up.
Yes…I even shoot a rectangle pix once in a while with the Leica…
Candid photo taken with Leica on Staten Island Ferry
from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book.
Well, to sum things up…
On a good day the M240 produces nice work, no one can argue against that. If the lighting is flat the Leica M240 seems to underperform and produces subpar images compared to my Fuji X E1 and Nikon D610. But, even under ideal conditions the photos the Leica M240 produces are not worth $7000 in IQ. There has to be something more to the mix to make the overpriced Leica worth the money.
Leica has perfected what is needed in a documentary camera eons ago. Impeccable manual controls, small footprint and simplicity are what does it for me. For others that have the $ and like fine things, there is nothing that can compare to the Leica for fit and finish.
But, if you think that the only thing that is standing in the way of you producing museum quality photography is throwing $7000 at a camera and $3000 to $10,000 for a lens…you will be sadly disappointed.
The 2 photos below were shot with a $99 Pentax K1000 in the early 1980’s.
Camera fondlers…what is the credo??
It is not the camera…it is the photographer.
Oh…I almost forgot…here is a little something for you DP…courtesy of Fuji!