Posts Tagged ‘Leica M9’

I recent trip took me out to Salt Lake City. It’s freaking cold. Well at least cold for me considering I’m from sunny California. Anyways, during this time of the year, I was expecting lots of snow. To my dismay, the only snow I saw was during the first day I was there. Due to busy schedule, I only had 25 minutes to walk around Temple Square on way back to the airport. Of course the weather was beautiful. Clear blue skies!!

Well, I do wish I had more time to visit more of the buildings and interiors. I’m sure I’ll get another chance.

Title: reflection
reflection

Title: sip
sip

Title: glow
glow

Title: enlightment
enlightment

Title: Almighty
almighty

Title: blessed
blessed

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Here is some sweets the lovely wife baked for Valentine’s Day. I know it’s a few days late, but I figure it’s still good to show. I’m always amazed by how well the Leica M9 works as a product shoot camera.

Everything was shot with a Leica M9 with a Leica 50mm Summilux-M. Lit with 2 CFL soft box.

Here is the link to her blog posts for more pictures

http://dreamcakesbymaggie.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/the-art-of-love/

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

It’s been a while since I last updated the post. I been posting pictures mainly on Flickr. I have an entire set of Lake Tahoe South Shore pictures I took over the xmas break. Work have been keeping me pretty busy to allow me to update this blog. Anyways, I’ll just post a few pictures from the set here. You can see the complete set of 22 pictures on my flickr page.

Flickr Set: Lake Tahoe 2011

Title: Rise
Rise

Title: Trek
Trek

Title: Flipped
flipped

Title: Charcoal
Charcoal

Title: Drift
Drift

Title: Shapes
Shapes

Title: Up Skirt
Up Skirt

As part of last minute planning, I was able to finally get away from the kids and enjoy a New Year Countdown with the wifey. I must say, with all the people at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, it was the most peaceful experience I had alone with the wifey in a long time. Of course, I had my trusty M9 and 35mm Summilux with me so shoot in lower light weren’t much of an issue. Knowing potentially large crowd, I wanted a wider lens and I also didn’t want to risk my Noctilux getting bumped while surfing through the crowd. Well, here are some snap shots I took.

The count down wouldn’t be a count down with out a cont down. No better count down then have the cross walk signs count it down for you.

Title: Count Down
Count Down

Likewise, it wouldn’t be any event in San Francisco without police presence. The next three photos show the full force!! Sucks to be the guy that pulled over right in front of the Ferry Building.

Title: Presence
Presence

Title: Sucks to be you
Sucks to be you

Title: 2
2

It wouldn’t be street photography if I didn’t capture any count downers on the street. Look for the duality of the scene!!

Title: Puff Puff
Puff Puff

Title: Pair
Pair

Last 2 shots should be viewed side by side as a set. I call it a mirror image of the bay bridge.

Title: Look
Look

Title: Paint
Paint

And of course!! Happy New Year to everyone!! Hope everyone has a wonderful 2012 and continue to shoot lots and lots of photographs!!

I had some time over the Thanksgiving break to play with something new or rather old!!

I’m sure there is a lot of you that have non 6 Bit Leica Lenses you would like to use it with the Digital M body (M8, M8.2, M9, and M9-p). There is a handful of solution from DIY to 6 bit coding kits that you can buy. I know for the die hard Leica Fanatics, only shipping it to Leica would work for you. I done some research on the prices and I seen anywhere from $100 ~ $300 to get it professionally coded either by Leica or renown CLA shops. For that price, I could live without the 6 Bit (Since it’s selectable in my M9).
Then I saw a post in one of the forum with someone talking about these code-able ebay rear flange. I have yet to see anyone do a write up or tutorial. I thought I share my experience.

This is where I got mine. Yes it’s shipped from China and it does take a few weeks to get it to the states.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/140597071401?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

The first impression I got the flange was fairly well made. Further inspection with comparison to my original flange show why the German made was superior to the Chinese version. The biggest gripe I had was the edges were very sharp. It felt like the flange just came out of the CNC machine without any finishing. Minor sanding on the edges does smooth it out. Regardless, this was under $13 shipped per mount.

Here is a comparison picture of the eBay flange on the left coded with the original 24mm flange on the right.

6 Bit Flange

6 Bit Flange


The next test was to see if the coding cutouts were matched as well as how well the bracket sits on the camera. Things I look for was of course, is there any lens play.

Quick Google search brought me to this excellent site with all the Leica M Lens codes and sample pictures. This provides a great reference on which lens you want to code.
Leica M Lens Codes

The lens I was going to code was my Leica 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH. I enlisted my wife’s help on painting the 6 bit code. Her dexterity is much better than mine, not to mention she’s use to paint small things on her nail with nail polish. She started coding the 28/90 frame line bracket with the code 011001 (1 being black and 0 being white). It didn’t work. Since the M9 does not have a frameline of 24mm, I figure 28mm would be the closes. I thought it was a problem with the nail polish. So we wipe it clean and started over again with acrylic paint instead. We ran into the same issue. The camera could not read the code. After couple of days of trial and error, I found out that the 6 bit code is link to the frames.

TIP #1: Make sure you use the correct frame line for the bracket. Both the Leica M8 and M9 does take into account the Frame line as well as the code. i.e. Using a 28/90 frame line bracket with the 24mm will not work. Instead, you will need the 35/135 frame line with the 24mm. The above website does list the Frames required.

After switching over to the 35/135 and painted the correct code, it worked flawlessly on my M9. I also tried it with my friends M8.2. It even picked up the 24mm frame line that the M8.2 has!! Best of all, no lens play. It fit just as snug as the original flange.

So quick summary and tutorial for those that knows how to use a screw driver and remove 6 screws.

Disclaimer: I will not be hold responsible if you damage your lens or camera in the process of using this tutorial. This tutorial is provided as a guide. Remember if you still have warranty on your lens, this might void it. Though, I assume most of you that’s doing this to lenses that’s already out of warranty. Regardless, proceed at your own risk!!

Tools needed:
-Small Eye glasses Screw Driver
-Nail Polish or acrylic paint
-Fine paint brush
-Tooth pick
-Q-tip
-Nail Polish remover or Thinner

Tools

Tools

1. Go to this site to see what frame line flange you need.

2. Order the flange (ebay link)

3. Paint the codes per the site listed above. Do the black first. The white is purely cosmetic.

TIP #2: Here is a tip from my wife on how she clean around the edges. She uses this to do her nails. Pull off a tiny chunk of cotton from the end of the Q-tip and wrap it around the blunt end of a tooth pick. Dip that end with nail polish remover. The hard surface of the wood tooth pick with the nail polish remover cotton will give you more control to clean the edges of the coding groove.

4. Let it dry for a few hours.

5. Remove the 6 screws from your lens. Make sure you don’t move the focusing ring after you remove the 6 screws. I actually counted how many turns it took to take the screw out so you can put it back the same way.

6. Take the original bracket off.

7. Match up the holes with the new bracket. (The ones I got matches up perfectly)

8. Put all the screws back in but don’t thread it tight yet.

9. With the screw mostly in, I now turn the focusing ring one full turn both ways. This will help with the alignment as well as provide equal pressure on the rings so that focus will stay smooth.

10. Now tighten the screws in a star shape (similar to tightening the lug nut on the wheel of the car.) I started with 2 screws across from each other then rotate the focusing ring to make sure it’s still smooth. Then tighten 2 more screws. Rotate the focusing ring again. Tighten the last 2 screws. Rotate the focusing ring. Give it a final tightening on all the screws in a star shape. **Make sure you do not over tighten the screws and stripe the thread.!!** Finger tight is good enough.

11. Check the focusing ring to make sure it’s still operating smoothly.

12. Put the lens on the camera and enjoy your new 6 Bit coded lens!!

24mm Elmarit Coded

24mm Elmarit Coded


M9 6 Bitted!!

M9 6 Bitted!!

Hopefully this tutorial was useful and takes away a lot of fears about operating on your Leica lens. It’s fairly simple and straight forward. Just use a little common sense and you will now have a 6 bit coded lens!

Here ares some more Noctilux goodness. These were taken on Sunday in San Francisco ChinaTown. ChinaTow anywhere is always a great place for street photography. Plenty of interesting things and people to shoot. Not to mention the one in San Francisco is always filled with tourist with cameras. With proliferation of DSLR, it seems like almost everyone has one around their neck. This makes using a Leica a lot easier since it just doesn’t stick out! Well, maybe not in this case. A silver M9 with a Noctilux isn’t exactly small nor light. But it was the perfect lens for that day. It was overcast which allowed me to shoot mostly wide open at f/0.95. The only draw back was the rain. It was drizzling so most of the time, I had the camera tucked in my jacket until the decisive moment to whip it out, focus, and click. I also made the mistake of carrying a full size umbrella with me. This made moving around quite difficult. I found a way to secure the umbrella on my belt, but everytime I bend down to get a lower perspective, the damn thing gets caught on the street and falls over. Thus not too many shots were taken.

First on deck. This is call dedication or propaganda depending which “camp” you’re from. This was taken at that park right across from the Hilton. These are Falangong activist doing chi gong. What I found interesting was the rain gears!! and of course… Cue the Music!

Title: YMCA
YMCA

This is probably my favorite of the set. This truly shows the amazing quality of the Noctilux. It’s ability to bring a 2 dimensional photography and gives it a surrealistic 3D look. It just pop! The composition key I used in this photo was contrast as well as using the white sign post and the white crosswalk stripes to frame the 2 main subject.

Title: 3D
3D

With the recent Occupied Everywhere protest, there’s bound to be over abundant of trash everywhere.

Title: Occupied
Occupied

Here is a shot of Henry standing in front of a red door with red brick wall. The red colors always shows great contrast in black and white photography. I snap this shot mianly for the directional sign juxtaposing Henry’s walking path.

Title: Confused
Confused

Here is another common theme that you will always see in ChinaTown. It’s not the news paper reading store owner or the abundance of Chinese herbal medicine. I thought Chinese herbal medicine has a cure or preventive for almost every ailments? I guess he must have skip a few bitter drinks?

Title: Rogaine
Rogaine

Last week was an exciting week.
On Wednesday, I started to see rumors circulating about the new Leica price increase. This was something I had heard a few month back, but nothing substantiating. Then I saw a tweet from Leica Rumor about a fairly confirmed price list increase that will start on January 1st.
Click here for the Leica Rumor post about the new price list

Knowing that I still have one more lens on my wish list that I wanted to add to my permanent collection, the rush is on to source that lens before the $500 price hike. Ok, maybe $500 hike isn’t that significant considering that the lens cost $10,495, but a hike is still a hike. Not to mention, buying a new copy of the lens is still as illusive as capturing the unicorn.

I already place a pre-orders a few month back at all the common places like Adorama as well as numerous others. All I ever get is a monthly backorder email. I knew to hunt the lens down will require more drastic measure. I decided to hit up Unique Photo in New Jersey. They’re the only online shop I found that lists Leica lenses ship in 1 – 3 weeks. Not to mention I lucked out with them last time when I ordered my silver 50mm Summilux. They were able to find and ship me one the next day!! So I placed the order knowing that they have a policy of charging the full amount first and you wait. With January 1st just a little over a month away, I figure this might lock me in to a lens in case they do get one.

Next morning. I got woken up by a phone call from the East coast. Last time with the 50mm Summilux, Unique Photo called me to confirm that I indeed placed an order for the 50mm Summilux because it was a high ticketed item. So I thought it might have been them again. I was still half awake. Instead, it was a call from ePhotoCraft. At first, I was quickly racking my brain on wtf is ePhotoCraft. Is this another one of those telemarketers? Instead, Eldar from ePhotoCraft said they got 2 Noctilux in, one is already sold, and see if I wanted the other one. Without any hesitation I said yes! As I jumped out of bed, my mind was racing. Trying to figure out WTH ePhotoCraft was. I quickly jumped on my computer and looked up ePhotoCraft. Everything was coming back. I remember googling Noctilux looking for the obscure photography store that I might be able to place a pre-order. This store came up in the 3rd or 4th page of search. The place seems like a legit brick and mortar Photography store in DC. They still listed the Noctilux for $9995!! And there was a specific link for pre-order!! So So I filled out their online form and seal my name on yet another waiting list. Not expecting that my number will ever be called.

So this morning call indeed turn out to be legit! As I discussed with Eldar on the phone on shipping method, I decided to fork over the dough for overnight. Two thoughts crossed my mind. If I had it overnight, it wouldn’t spend that much time bouncing around in the truck across the country and If the deal was indeed legit, I would find out the next day. With payment sent right away, the rest of the day was most restless. Waiting for the tracking number.
The tracking number finally show up in the system near the end of the day as I was leaving work. Looks like my lens should arrive any time the next day. Now it becomes a waiting game for the big brown truck!

Friday was painful. We had a special offsite at work that didn’t require me to get in until noon so I sat around all morning waiting for that truck. Knowing how irresponsible my local UPS delivery person is, I wanted to make sure I don’t miss this delivery. They UPS guy been known to leave package in random places around the driveway or not even walking up the stairs to ring the door bell. It doesn’t help that it was raining as well. Last thing I wanted to see is my crown jewel being soaked by the rain. As the clock tick on, no truck. By 11am, I had to leave for work. I forced my wife to stay home and stare out on the driveway to make sure big brown don’t miss us. I think I probably called and message my wife almost every hour while I was at work to see if it showed up. “Nothing” was the word of the day…
I knew my wife would have to go pick up the kid in the afternoon so as soon as I was able to leave the work offsite, I headed straight home to make sure someone was home. I continuously check the front door to make sure Mr. Brown didn’t do his usual thing. “Nothing”.

Shortly around 6pm, the wife called while on the way back from picking up the kid. There was a Big Brown truck next street over making a delivery. I asked her to follow it and don’t loose sight of him. With more common sense, she decline my idiotic request.

About 15 minutes later, I saw the big brown truck pulled up near my driveway. I literally ran out to greet him. YES~!! It’s here!!

This is not the first time I handled the Noctilux. I played with a few of them from the last f/1 to a couple f/0.95. But this time was different. This is MINE!!

Here is just couple shot of the unboxing.

Noctilux-Close

Noctilux-Close


Noctilux-Open

Noctilux-Open

Here are a few shots around the house. Since I got the lens right around dinner time, might as well make dinner my subject.

Title: Green Guts
Green Guts

Title: Fly Fish
Fly Fish

Title: 2 Dollars
2 Dollars

The next day, I had a chance to hit up a good Belgium eatery in the city for a late night snack. Frjtz.. If you’re a big fan of fries and crepe, this place is great!! Price is reasonable and food was excellent. Make sure you order the Mussels!! the ambiance was dark. Perfect to test out the Noct’s capability!!

Title: Good Eats
Good Eats

Title: Morning Fix
Morning Fix

Title: Cut Off
Cut Off

On Sunday, I was able to take the beast out for some walk around shots. It was raining so I want to make sure I didn’t want to get it wet. The good thing was it was cloudy so shooting wide open wasn’t an issue!!

I gather a couple friends to go shooting with me. We ended up in San Francisco China Town. Here is a Tryptych of Arvin shooting the shooter with his Leica M8.2 and Voitlander 50mm f/1.2

Title: Leica Tryptych
Leica Triptych

Since this post is getting long, I will do a separate post in a few days with the China Town pics!!

Stay Tune!

OK, I got a lot of great feedback on the last Movie Look post. One challenge I got on GetDpi was to see if I change the colors around, would it give it a different feel to the pictures? Like I mention in the original post, I knew the color treatment that I wanted to do to depict the scene. Therefore, it was kinda challenging for me to change the complete feel of the pictures. Instead, I decided to pick the greenish Matrix hue again and apply it to all 4 pictures. This time, going for the darkish feeling that Matrix reloaded gives. I made the pictures a little bit more edgy to stress the high contrast movie look. I’m still not sure if I like this set better, but it does give quite the contrast to the original set.

Title: Matrix Reloaded
Matrix Reloaded

Title: NekoJin Reloaded
NekoJin Reloaded

Title: Cold Stone Killer Reloaded
Cold Stone Killer Reloaded

Title: Scream Reloaded
Scream Reloaded

So here is the last set I had of the fun day at the park. This is more of interesting thing my camera told me to take. The Central Park in San Mateo had a nice Japanese Garden. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back soon to do a full set like I did with Kelley Park in San Jose.

I’ll start the set with something HARD. This tree was just begging to get taken out of context. Childish, perhaps but definitely no ED over here.

Erect

Here is a sign that’s very low to the ground. I think it was a sign to tell the kids not to feed the fish. Yes, I know. This would probably be an award winning picture if there was actually a kid in the picture. I didn’t have a kid handy at the time, but I love the geometric shape and the wood texture with the burnt carving enough to get on the ground to snap the shot.

Starving Koi

This was a little sitting area in the Japanese garden. Once again, the juxtaposing of the circular paper screen with the vertical wood planks and the branch breaking the harmony of the scene.

Log

Rocks! I love the rock formations in Japanese Garden. It always gives me a sense of serenity when I look at it. Especially how the collective tiny pebbles contrast with the large stone steps.

Stoned

That’s it for this set.

I actually got a challenge from GetDPI.com on my post about Movie Look. I will be writing about that shortly. Stay tune!!

So here are couple abstract shots I took during Fleet Week. I know I’m jumping chronologically on my post but I didn’t want to start posting these abstract shots in comparison to my people shots.

Anyways, this first one is of a vendor stand. It was a hot day and I thought this would be a great opportunity to put some of my product shots experience into this to make it look like a soda ad. I will be doing more write up and pictures of some of my product shots in later blog posts.

Chilling

This 2nd shot is part of my attraction to doors. If you been following my flickr or blog, you probably seen me shoot a bunch of doors. For some reason, I feel that different types of doors just create different type of opportunities and it’s always a mystery on what’s behind the door. It is hard to tell a story just by looking at the door, but a worn out door tells a story as well as a brand new door in vibrant colors. Hopefully I will collect enough doors to make it a set on my flickr one of these days. In the mean time, check out this door.

DUOr

My next set of pictures will be abstract as well as landscapes. Stay tune!