I’ve had a lot of people over the years say things like, “You take some great images! You must have a good camera!” In my last post I wanted to disrupt this belief that skill is directly linked to equipment, so I set out with a disposable camera and although it was a limiting experience I was impressed with how well some of the images turned out. You can see them here.
Photographer David duChemin is known for saying “Gear is good, vision is better” and I think this statement really readjusts perspective. I’m tired of people disqualifying themselves, or devaluing others because of what they do or don’t shoot with. At the end of the day, your camera is simply the tool you use to create.
For those who are interested though, I wanted to share about the tool I use to create my work: the Leica Monochrome. Of the 15+ cameras I’ve owned, nothing comes close to my Leica, and as anyone who owns a Leica knows, it’s a love affair. I’ve also included the accessories I’ve added to my kit because they’re amazing products that either increase the functionality and experience, or are just plain beautiful.
Leica M Monochrom // camera.
- 18 Mega Pixel sensor
- ISO 320-10,000
- 1/4000 max shutter speed
When Leica announced this camera in 2012, many balked at it. To release a camera that could only capture images in black and white seemed like a bit of a joke when you could convert images into black and white after the fact with editing or even in camera. Many thought the idea would never take off, but the camera was so successful that 3 years later they released an updated version of the camera.
The benefit of shooting exclusively in black and white is that you perceive each situation differently when taking an image. Without the option of colour, your focus on on lighting and you filter out unnecessary calculations when composing, such as, "How will these colours look next to each other." There are also additional added benefits such as an increase in resolution due to the lack of the colour layer to the sensor which is said to result in 100% shaper images.
Many argue that Fujifilms X line of cameras does a comparable/better job for a similar product, and although they have done an amazing job lately improving a lot of the functionality it's still not a Leica. I've owned several X series cameras, and every time I felt like I was settling. There's something about the experience of shooting with a Leica, the feel in your hands, the weight, the focusing mechanisms. Because the experience of shooting is so much a part of the process, I just can't settle with anything else.
Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VRII Nikon 50mm 1.4 D Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR
24-70mm was my go to, but with the huge weight that the body and lenses added I actually ended up wearing a wrist brace because I would get pain from shooting too long.
I wanted something lightweight that didn't compromise quality. I also wanted something small and discreet which would allow me to take photos without making people feel uncomfortable which is what I found happened when I shot with my Nikon.
So when I discovered Leica and their beautiful set of prime lenses, I was hooked. These are the lenses I settled on.
Leica 35mm f/2 ASPH (SUMMICRON)
If I could only keep one lens, it would be my 35. With the most versatility it stays on my lens most of the time. Not much more to say about it other than anyone with a Leica should own this lens.
Leica 50mm f/2 (SUMMICRON)
This lens sat on my shelf for the longest time. I usually like to get close to my subjects, typically within a conversational distance so I mainly stick to wider lenses. Only recently has it been getting it's money's worth, and I'm falling more and more in love with it each time I use it. Bought it originally out of necessity, as it was the only used Leica lens available in the area, but after putting it to use in different environments, I decided it was a keeper.
Leica 28mm f/2.8 ASPH (ELMARIT)
This was the last lens I added to my kit. The thing I appreciate about Leica is how simplified the gear is. When I shot with my Nikon D700 you have almost too many options. Menus within menus, a button on what seems to be every square inch of the camera and lens choices that would make your head spin. A Leica shooter could get away with 2 lenses, maybe 1 if you're not needing much versatility. I had two and this was the "do I really need it" lens. But like I mentioned, I love to get close to my subjects, and the 28 is a great lens for the photojournalist style that I tend to shoot with.
Tap & Dye // camera strap.
ThumbsUp // thumb grip.
Taab // focusing tab.
Ona // camera bag.
I was amazing to realize how many of my favourite products have been discovered through Instagram. Not even just accessories, but I’m also finding my new favourite artists, businesses, musicians, etc. there. It’s by far my favourite platform.
If you’re not already, feel free to follow my account linked below.
What’s your favourite camera accessory / gear essentials?
Any questions or comments on the products I’m using?
Or maybe your name is Tyson and you just wanted to tell me how if I learned how to shoot colour I could be a “real photographer”.
Whatever the case leave a comment below.