Category Archives: Education

The Leica X Vario’s Little Brother- The X1

As I begin my review of the Leica X Vario camera I want to briefly talk about the two previous cameras offered in the “X Series,” the Leica X1 and X2. First up is the X1.

The Leica X1 was introduced on September 9, 2009 (9/9/09) and was the first Leica compact camera made in Germany. It is not a rebranded Panasonic camera. The X1 is the first Leica camera that I owned and I still do. I was using an Olympus OM-D m43rd’s camera at the time but was interested in trying a Leica. I had heard about the great images that Leica cameras produce and I wanted to find out for myself. I found a mint X1 on Craig’s List and after meeting the owner and briefly trying the camera, I purchased it with the original box and all accessories, including an extra battery, for $950. At the time of this writing that seems to be about where the X1 is running price wise- in mint condition.

When I tried it for the first time I loved the way it fit my hand. The controls are easy to navigate and operate and I have never had to look at the manual to figure out how to set it up or use it. This is completely different than my experience with the Olympus OM-D which is extremely confusing to set up and the menus are not easy to use at all.

The X1 is a fixed lens camera with an excellent Leica Elmarit 24mm 2.8 lens and an APS-C sensor . I find the controls to be very intuitive along with the menus. I was going to do an in-depth review of the X1 but there are many already on the internet. Anything I would write would be redundant at this point especially considering it is going to be four years old at the end of this year. If you are interested in an excellent, in-depth review check out the review on Photography Blog by Mark Goldstein.

I love the camera except and this is a big except- it is slow as can be. It is slow at everything including taking and writing a pic. It is slow at formatting. It is slow when auto focusing. It is slow. Then why would I or anyone else purchase this camera? Simply put, it reproduces great photographs. Really, isn’t that what photography is all about? I love my X1, I just had to learn ways around certain things like the slow auto focus. For my street photography I use zone focusing. This has solved the problem for the most part.

Next up I will write about the X1’s successor, the X2. After that the current X camera from Leica, the X Vario.

Stay tuned.

Leica X Series

As I begin to work on my review of the Leica X Vario I will be making some comparisons to the Leica X1 and X2. I own all three of the “X Series” and have purchased them in order of their release so I have experienced the changes Leica has made to each new camera.

This should be interesting!

Leica X Vario

One month ago I purchased the new Leica X Vario camera.  I have been putting it through its paces and will be writing a review that will be published here in the next week or so.  I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot any street pics with it yet but I will be soon.  I will be using some nature pics to show how good or bad it is.  I wanted to wait a month so I could really get a feel for the camera and put it through its paces. I have taken close to 1000 frames with it so I think I am ready to write about it.

The question for me is always the same- “If I had it stolen would I buy another one?”  Good question.  Stay tuned to find out!

The Truth About Photographs

What is “The Truth About Photographs- Developing a distinctive visual style?”   It is a weekend workshop centered around making a person a better photographer.  The teacher is Quinton Gordon and it is part of the Leica Akademie’s curriculum. I wanted to write about it now, while it is fresh in my mind, as I just completed one yesterday.

The workshop began at 4 p.m. on Friday.  When I arrived at the Leica Store in Washington D.C., I was greeted by the always friendly staff of the store along with my teacher for the next couple of days- Quinton Gordon and the manager of the Leica Akademie- Tom Smith.  Initial impressions are always important and mine were “this is going to be a great experience.”  I received my course materials and was impressed with the thought that goes into something like this.  Of course, if you have been to any Leica Store, the environment is well thought out, modern and classy.  The workshop ended up reflecting the same qualities.

There were nine other students who reflected a variety of ages and backgrounds but all shared a love for the Leica camera and a desire to learn and grow as photographers.  This course is designed to make a person think, be challenged and to do some things with a camera they may have never done before.

After an introduction to the class, a review of some of Quinton’s fine pictures and a delicious dinner we ventured outside.  Thankfully, it had just stopped raining. We were given an assignment and set out as a group to explore D.C.  We had a great time, all the while being challenged by the ever-changing light and scenes before us as we traveled on foot for a couple of hours.  It was a great introduction to what was to come and I must say personally I was excited about the next day.

Saturday was spent entirely in D.C. beginning at the Sculpture Garden and eventually other parts of the city.  Assignments were given along the way. Not only did we work on our assignments, we had fun getting to know one another and having our meals together.  All in all a great day, and a tiring one for me, as we walked for miles looking for places to take our photos to complete our assignments.

Sunday we were back at the Leica store to edit our photos and to receive advice from Quinton and Tom.  Being critiqued by someone who is experienced and who wants to see you grow as a photographer is a great experience.  Humbling but worthwhile at the same time.  Showing our top five photos to the rest of the class was a lot of fun too.

The course was a great experience.  Really it was more than I had hoped for.  I left feeling encouraged and that I had learned new principles to apply to my photography in the future so I can become a better photographer.

I enjoyed it so much I am signed up for two more Leica Akademie classes in the next few months.

Thank you Tom for doing such a great job planning and organizing all the classes and workshops for the Akademie which take place literally around the world.

Thank you Quinton for being such as great teacher and for being patient, honest and encouraging.

Last but not least, thank you Leica for making such a great camera and for opening the Leica Stores.  As of June 20th I believe there will be four of them in the United States: New York, Miami, D.C. and the newest one in Los Angeles, which opens on June 20th.  There will also be a special edition camera announced on that day too.

If you have never tried a Leica camera may I suggest that you do?  Of course you may like it so much you buy a couple more in the span of a couple of months, just like I did. Enjoy!