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Leica M Digital Rangefinder Camera - Leica M Type 240 (Leica M10)
 
Monsieur Frederik at Cafe Englen in Aarhus, Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

   
 
   

Leica M Type 240 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 43

Index of Thorsten Overgaard's user review pages on Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M9 Monochrom, Leica M10, Leica M10-P, Leica M10-D, Leica M10-R, Leica M10 Monohcrom, Leica M11, Leica M 240, Leica M-D 262, Leica M Monochrom 246, Leica SL, Leica SL2, Leica SL2-S, as well as Leica TL2, Leica CL, Leica Q, Leica Q2 and Leica Q2 Monochrom:
Leica Digital Camera Reviews by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20   M9-P
M9 Mono 20 21 22 23 24 25      

                     
M 246 Mono 26 27 28 29
30
31      

                     
Leica M 240
P 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44            
Leica M-D 262 1 2                                        
Leica M10
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Leica M11 1 2 3   5                                
Leica SL / SL2 1   3   5 6 7                              
Leica Q 1                                          
Leica Q2 / Q2M 1                                          
Leica Q3 1                                          
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The Decisive Moment - Focusing the Leica M - Part 2/5

By: Thorsten Overgaard. July 20, 2016. Updated August 15, 2023.

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Focusing with a Rangefinder / Meßsucher

When the rangefinder was invented about 100 years ago, it opened up for a completely new precision in camera focusing.

 


Leica M 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Simple focusing: Holga lens with portrait, family, group and mountain (far right) as the focus options.

  Simple focusing: Holga lens with portrait, family, group and mountain (far right) as the focus options.
 

Before the rangefinder camera was invented 100 years ago, a camera simply had a measurement on the lens and then the photographer had to figure out the distance to the subject by looking, rotating the focusing ring on the lens with engraved distance numbers to the distance that seemed most correct. Some times the focusing was made simple, with just a few settings, illustrated with a face, a house and a mountain.

Sometimes the camera had a viewfinder eye to "see" the frame, other times just a frame-finder.

This worked well, but it wasn't as precise. It definitely didn't allow one to use shallow depth of field.

So the rangefinder, or optical distance finder, using two eyes on the front of the camera to make two images that had to match, was a genius invention for precision. 

  

Frame-finders, viewfinders and rangefinders

Leitz frame-finders (1940) for Leica cameras to attach on top of the camera to get an idea of the frame of the picture with different lenses. Also known as sports-finders.   Voigtlander Bessa (1937) with frame-finder on top.

Leitz frame-finders (1940) for Leica cameras to attach on top of the camera to get an idea of the frame of the picture with different lenses. Also known as sports-finders.

 

  Voigtlander Bessa (1937) with frame-finder on top.
Leica M3 (1954) with a super-wide optical viewfinder on top of the camera so as to see what the frame will be. Built-in to the camera itself is the optical viewfinder (right) with a distance-finder image provided from the small eye to the left.
Leica M3 (1954) with a super-wide optical viewfinder on top of the camera so as to see what the frame will be. Built-in to the camera itself is the optical viewfinder (right) with a distance-finder image provided from the small eye to the left.
  Rollei 35 (1966) with optical viewfinder that will give you a preview of the framing of the photograph. Focusing you had to guess and adjust on the focus ring on the lens.
Rollei 35 (1966) with optical viewfinder that will give you a preview of the framing of the photograph. Focusing you had to guess and adjust on the focus ring on the lens.

 

 

         
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Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 

         
 

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The Cult of Rangefinder

  The first distance finder (or rangefinder) Oskar Barnack made was this model FOFER. It had one eye on top and one in the bottom of the stick. Next to it is the optical viewfinder. The distance finder wasn't connected to the lens but was merely a device to measure the distance to the subject precisely. Later the distance-finder was integrated in the camera, and connected directly to the lens' focusing ring.
  The first distance finder (or rangefinder) Oskar Barnack made was this model FOFER. It had one eye on top and one in the bottom of the stick. Next to it is the optical viewfinder. The distance finder wasn't connected to the lens but was merely a device to measure the distance to the subject precisely. Later the distance-finder was integrated in the camera, and connected directly to the lens' focusing ring.
   

The German word for rangefinder is Meßsucher. The word means measurement finder, or distance finder. It was what made the Leica M unique, and in many ways it still does.

Rangefinder was so much the new black when Oskar Barnack patented the first Leitz models in 1931-1932 that nobody seem to have bothered to update the name "rangefinder" since.

The original range-finder from 1926 was a two-eyed instrument on top of the camera to measure the distance. You still had to adjust then lens' focusing ring separately to match the distance you found using the range-finder. Next to it, the first Leica cameras had an optical viewfinder to preview the frame.

A few years later, from 1932, it was again refined: the distance-finder was integrated in the Leica II camera and coupled with the lens' focusing ring.

Since the Leica M3 model from 1954 it was all integrated into one view: The viewfinder that allowed one to see an area in front of the camera, with an overlapping frame in the center; and when that overlapping frame is on top of the other, the image is in focus.

Some times there will be flame wars on camera forums, discussing if a camera is a "true rangefinder" or not. I personally don't understand why it is so important if it is a real 100 year old technology, or if it has been refined.

 

Kids playing footbal lin Kayabacho, Tokyo. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Kids playing footbal lin Kayabacho, Tokyo. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


A History of the Leica Rangefinder



Leica I (1927) had no rangefinder. It had an optical viewfinder on top of the camera to give an idea of the image framing. To set the focusing scale (the scale on the camera, around the lens), you had to guess the distance.

 

1932 - The first built-in Meßsucher:


Leica II (1932) was the first Leica with a built-in rangefinder (the two small round windows on the front) and a viewfinder next to it (the square eye above the lens).

 

1954 - The first viewfinder-integrated meßsucher:

From 1954, in the model Leica M3 the rangefinder and viewfinder was integrated in the same view. A prod moment for Leica Camera AG, I'm sure. Here's a model of the camera being carried into Photoking in 1954.From 1954, in the model Leica M3 the rangefinder and viewfinder was integrated in the same view. A proud moment for Leica Camera AG, I'm sure. Here's a model of the camera being carried into Photokina in 1954.

 

2006 - The first electronic viewfinder:

To the right is the Leica M4 film rangefinder from 1966 with the "real" rangefinder mechanism. To the left is the Leica Digilux 2 "digital rangefinder" from 2006 that has no direct view through a viewfinder. Where the viewfinder traditionally sits, there is an electronic "eye" for the auto focus, and from the other side the user looks through a small (electronic) viewfinder and sees a digital preview of what the camera's sensor sees.
To the right is the Leica M4 film rangefinder from 1966 with the "real" rangefinder mechanism. To the left is the Leica Digilux 2 "digital rangefinder" from 2006 that has no direct view through a viewfinder. (On top it has a 21mm viewfinder for show; in case you use a super-wide 21mm lens). Where the viewfinder traditionally sits, there is an electronic "eye" for the auto focus, and from the other side the user looks through a small (electronic) viewfinder and sees a digital preview of what the camera's sensor sees.

 

2013 - Meßsucher and Electronic Viewfinders:

To the left is the Leica M 240 digital rangefinder camera (2013) with rangefinder built-in and the EVF-2 (Electronic ViewFinder) on top. In the middle is the Leica M-D 262 digital rangefinder (2016) from 2016 with the "real" rangefinder mechanism. To the right is the Leica Q "digital rangefinder" (2015) that has no direct view through a viewfinder: The user looks into an electronic viewfinder and sees a digital preview of what the camera's sensor sees.
To the left is the Leica M 240 digital rangefinder camera (2013) with rangefinder built-in and the EVF-2 (Electronic ViewFinder) on top. In the middle is the Leica M-D 262 digital rangefinder (2016) from 2016 with the "real" rangefinder mechanism. To the right is the Leica Q "digital rangefinder" (2015) that has no direct view through a viewfinder: The user looks into an electronic viewfinder and sees a digital preview of what the camera's sensor sees.

 

 

Bird show at Glendale ZOO, Los Angeles. Leica M 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Bird show at Glendale ZOO, Los Angeles. Leica M 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Leica M11 review by Thorsten Overgaard: Leica M11 Mechanical vs Electronic Shutter"

 

 

The "real rangefinder"

Technically speaking, the "real rangefinder" is one that works with this mechanism of using an extra eye placed at a distance from the viewfinder. The human eye works the same way, sort of. We have two eyes, and the difference between what they see from their slightly different viewpoints makes us able to figure out the distance.

 

The user has a straight VIEW through viewfinder optics to the subject. Another prism mirrors into the user’s view the DISTANCE view - which is illuminated with LIGHT by the help of the center window on the camera. This middle window is also what lights up the frame lines to give the user an idea of how large an area of the view will be in the final photograph. In the Leica M 240 the middle window has been omitted and replaced with electronically lit up frame lines that adjusts for the outdoor light so the frame lines are extra strong in sunlight and less strong in the dark.   
The user has a straight VIEW through viewfinder optics to the subject. Another prism mirrors into the user’s view the DISTANCE view - which is illuminated with LIGHT by the help of the center window on the camera. This middle window is also what lights up the frame lines to give the user an idea of how large an area of the view will be in the final photograph. In the Leica M 240 the middle window has been omitted and replaced with electronically lit up frame lines that adjusts for the outdoor light so the frame lines are extra strong in sunlight and less strong in the dark.   

 

The word "rangefinder camera" is also often used about cameras that view the image through a separate viewfinder (and not through the lens). I think it is fair to categorize a camera as a "rangefinder camera" if it has a viewfinder and looks like a rangefinder camera from the outside. I don't believe it is something we should fear will ignite a 3rd world war.

I just mention it in case you should wonder what the heated discussions are about.

 

Raul Velvarde in Hollywood. Leica M 240 with Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Raul Velvarde in Hollywood. Leica M 240 with Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

 

A look through the viewfinder where you see the frame lines (lit up corners) and the focus mechanism in the middle.
A look through the viewfinder where you see the frame lines (lit up corners) and the focus mechanism in the middle.

This old illustration gives a very simple and easy to understand idea of how the viewfinder works. The second view via a mirror and a mirror-glass places the frame lines in the viewfinder. In the Leica M 240, this function has been replaced by an LED-lit frame.

 

This old illustration gives a very simple and easy to understand idea of how the viewfinder works. The second view via a mirror and a mirror-glass places the frame lines in the viewfinder.
In the Leica M 240, this function has been replaced by an LED-lit frame.

 

 

Focusing with a rangefinder

You move the camera so the center of the frame is pointed towards the thing you want to focus on. In the picture to the right you see that the palm tree is not matched: When the palm is in focus, the two images will be on top of each other.

Often the thing you want in focus is not naturally in the center of the frame, so you move the camera and use it as a rangefinder. You turn the focus ring on the lens till the two images are overlapping exactly.

Then recompose the frame to include what you want in the frame and exclude what you don't want in the frame.

Then you press the shutter release.

If everything worked out, what you aimed to be in focus will be so. That's how it was designed to be.

There is a chance that when you move the lens to recompose, the focus changes slightly. That's just part of it, and the more you think about it, the worse it gets. There's not much you can do about it.

I remember rangefinder cameras from when I was a teenager where the whole frame was two overlapping images. It was nice, but it was not as precise as the Leica.

In the Leica it's just a small square in the center. So you have to move the focus center to the subject you want to focus on, then recompose.

 

 

Here's a good view of a Leica M film rangefinder camera's viewfinder with the two sets of framelines and the focusing field in the middle. © Leica Camera AG.
Here's a good view of a Leica M film rangefinder camera's viewfinder with the two sets of framelines and the focusing field in the middle. © Leica Camera AG.

 

The idea of a rangefinder basically adopts the idea of using two eyes to judge the distance; just like your use your own two eyes. Unlike the eyes, you have to turn the focusing ring to make the two images match into one. In this illustration, the tree in front of the camera (upper right corner) is "double" and then, as you turn the focus ring on the lens, the two images overlap: that is the exact focus distance. 
The idea of a rangefinder basically adopts the idea of using two eyes to judge the distance; just like your use your own two eyes. Unlike the eyes, you have to turn the focusing ring to make the two images match into one. In this illustration, the tree in front of the camera (upper right corner) is "double" and then, as you turn the focus ring on the lens, the two images overlap: that is the exact focus distance. 
  

 

For you as the user, you are matching two overlapping images by turning the focusing ring on the lens, and when they are on top of each other, the image is in focus. More on that, later.

 

The object is "mirrored" by the optics and placed at the distance you turn the lens' focusing ring to. When the object is placed at the same distance as the object actually is, you see the image in the viewfinder and the overlapping "mirrored" image snap into one.
The object is "mirrored" by the optics and placed at the distance you turn the lens' focusing ring to. When the object is placed at the same distance as the object actually is, you see the image in the viewfinder and the overlapping "mirrored" image snap into one.

 

Manual focusing with the Leica M Rangefinder

Manual focusing is quick and intuitive as soon as you have gotten the hang of it. It triggers your imagination and creative freedom - it is you who makes the picture. It gives you total control of the focus of the image. But even if you have used it for 30 years you will sometimes go completely wrong because the only indicator of focus is what you perceive in the center split field.

When you master it, it is extremely precise.        

 

Out of focus with the two unmatched overlays in the center of the image.   Focused with the overlay in place in the center of the image.
Out of focus with the two unmatched overlays in the center of the image.   Focused with the overlay in place in the center of the image.

 

Pros:
- You decide where the focus is.
- The focus range stays where you set it; which useful and fast for a series of photos.
- You can make an image out of focus.
- Very fast and intuitive when you get the hang of it.
- You see outside the actual frame, not just what is in the image.
- Bright and very clear view of colors and details.
- You don't preview the photo. The creation is in your mind, but the image you see is normal and all sharp.
- No battery needed.
- Incredible superior engineering and optics.
- The Leica M 240 focusing mechanism has been improved in the rebuild of the Leica M camera and is much more stable than those of the M9 and MM (once adjusted the M 240 stays adjusted, much longer so than the M9 and MM used to).



 

 

Cons:
- Takes getting used to.
- Sometimes you misjudge and it's all a blur.
- You don't preview the photo. Everything is sharp.
- The camera's focus mechanism can go out of adjustment and needs re-calibrating.
- Can be hard to see the focus center in dark.
- The longer tele, the smaller the part of the image you get; The image size you see is always 24-28mm and the frame lines tell which part of the image you capture (hence the tolerance of sharpness increases even the focus area is much larger relatively to the image).
- For wider lenses than 28mm you need an additional viewfinder to see the full frame.

 


Personalizing a thrunk. Leica M 240 with Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Getting back into manual focusing

The problems involved in focusing a Leica M are consistently brought up by people. With the traditional rangefinder of the Leica M9, Leica MM, Leica ME, Leica M 262 and Leica M240 (and all previous Leica M film models) the focusing depends on the user.

I've met people so fascinated by the Leica that they bought one right on the spot and came home with the new wonder before they realized that focusing a Leica M is very different than other cameras. Auto focus is so common that they thought all cameras had it.  

The manual focusing of a camera is something most camera manufacturers haven't offered for 30 years or so, and which many professional photographers haven't done for just as long.

If you haven't done manual focusing for 30 years, you could easily think it's your eyes and fingers that have become so old they don't know how to. That is seldom the reason: A modern Nikon or Canon may be many nice things, but a bright and clear viewfinder isn't one of them. And even if you can see the matte screen in there, you can't trust that it was precision-placed to do manual focus. No expensive and excellent calibrated prism is needed when all the photographer is expected to see, is the framing and the AF takes care of the rest.

 

New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsetn Overgaard.
New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The Leica M camera is still built with a bright viewfinder and a very precise mechanism to focus on a single hair.

What this means is that a lot of other things are not needed. Going from a modern digital wonder to a classic Leica M is like taking off Google glasses from your eyes (that have filled your viewing field with all sorts of information in real-time) and simply viewing the world with your own eyes.

It may still not answer the question: “Why is this so great and so difficult at the same time?”  My reason for this article is in part to solve all the problems that people keep complaining about , concerning the use of this precise device.

In most cases there is nothing wrong with you, just a lack of basic understanding of how simple and precise it really is.        

 

Getting a haircut in Madison Square Park, New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsetn Overgaard.
Getting a haircut in Madison Square Park, New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Focusing the Leica M with the rangefinder mechanism

When you buy a Leica M-P 240 or Leica M 240 (or Leica M8, Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E or Leica M-D 262), my estimate is that $1,500 - $2,500 of the retail price is paid for the precious rangefinder mechanism itself. That's how precious a piece of optics engineering the rangefinder is.

You should be able to appreciate this rangefinder and get good results with it. Spend some time learning to understand it and use it with speed and certainty.

The rangefinder mechanism is clear and bright, and everything is sharp. Unlike an SLR camera with a matte screen, you see everything clearly. Everything is in focus, so to say, so you have to imagine how it will look in the final picture where parts of the foreground and background will be out of focus.

 

The rangefinder focus. Everything is sharp in the viewfinder. The focus center in the middle has to match the subject for it to be in focus. You can see here how the palm tree is "double". The overlying brighter area has to "lay on top" of the palm tree for it to be in focus. The corners you see are the 90mm frame lines.
The rangefinder focus. Everything is sharp in the viewfinder. The focus center in the middle has to match the subject for it to be in focus. You can see here how the palm tree is "double". The overlying brighter area has to "lay on top" of the palm tree for it to be in focus. The corners you see are the 90mm frame lines.

 

The only two features the rangefinder offers is an indication of the approximate frame and then the focusing. You focus by matching the small bright frame in the center so it lies exactly on top of what you want to be sharp.

Inside the rangefinder window is also information about the exposure compensation you have to do with the aperture, or when the camera is set to Auto, the shutter speed of the camera.

 

Hemingway Short Stories in the diner. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Hemingway Short Stories in the diner. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The focus stays where you put it

One of the big advantages of the rangefinder and manual focusing should become obvious now: You decide exactly where the focus is, and if you want to frame a scene and wait for a certain moment of expression, nothing happens to the focus.

It stays where you set it. With a rangefinder and manual focus everything stays in place and is the same until you change it.

It also means that should you decide to not have something in focus, that choice is yours too.

 

Newborn baby. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 and Macro adapter. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Newborn baby. How did I get the focus? I set it and then moved back and forth to adjust it fast enough. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 and Macro adapter. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The decisive moment

It may not seem like anything major, but it has a lot to do with the decisive moment: the exact moment when you want to take the photo.

This is different from an auto focus camera where you have to redirect the frame again and again to get focus between each shot. Or where you need to rely on the auto focus to be able to figure out what part of the photo you want in focus.

 

D-Nice (Derrick Jones) in Hollywood. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
D-Nice (Derrick Jones) in Hollywood. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

In other words, on an AF camera, you can't really prepare focus and the frame as easily, and you can't maintain it. Further, the AF-camera may misunderstand what you wanted to be in focus and decide that a face or something else (like the frames of glasses instead of the eyeball) is more important to be in focus.

Automatic is such a tempting word but basically translates to mediocre. If you want mediocre results, depend on automatic.

Very often I set frame and focus, and then wait for the subject to enter the frame, or the subject sitting by for example a table to make the gesture I'm waiting for.

 

Boston snowstorm. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Boston snowstorm. I was waiting for somebody or something to make the picture intersting. It was very wet, and very cold, but it worked out after some minutes of waiting. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Drunken focus

I have heard stories about how war photographers in the 1960's would spend time in their hotel rooms, competing who could get the focus most precise by using their eyes to judge the distance to a wall and then set the focusing ring accordingly.

The one who had the most in focus on a film roll obviously was the winner.

 

Burbank war hero with Purple Hearth. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL F/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsetn Overgaard.
Burbank war hero with Purple Hearth. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


I'm sure they had fun with this and a bottle of Whiskey, and it may be useful too if you have to take pictures so fast that you don't have time to focus through the rangefinder.

It is also happens to be the way you had to do it before the rangefinder was invented. Back then you had to guess the distance and set the focusing ring on the lens. Most lenses were f/4 or f/8 or something, you didn't fight with narrow focus, so often there would simply be a symbol for portrait, house and mountain on the focusing ring.

The precise rangefinder allowed for low light lenses with narrow focus, as well as tele lenses with narrow focus to be used with high precision.

 

 

Robin Isabella at the David Bowie expo at the Taschen Gallery. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M SPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Robin Isabella at the David Bowie expo at the Taschen Gallery. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Expanded view outside the frame

It's one of the things people keep saying is unique (in an awesome way) about the rangefinder cameras, the fact that you see what is going on outside the frame.

In a SLR camera you only see exactly what will be captured and will be unaware of what is going on outside the frame.

 

he Warner/Friends'n'Family Pre-Grammys Party at Quixote Studios. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
The Warner/Friends'n'Family Pre-Grammys Party at Quixote Studios
. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Frankly, I have used rangefinder so much I can't recall if I find it an advantage. I never speculated that I was missing some expanded view when I used SLR.

I think it’s something some marketing department indoctrinated us with long ago. Most likely in the 1970's when the rangefinder market was under heavy pressure from SLR cameras.

In practical use, I actually doubt anyone appreciates it that much, or would miss it if it weren’t there. After all, it's not that you cannot lift your eye and see what is in front of you.

 

Hollywood diner late night, Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Hollywood diner late night. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The irony is that the Leica Q camera that came out in 2015 is a compact Leica with a fixed Leica 28mm f/1.7 Summilux lens on it.

To answer the obvious objections, "Why isn't it a 35mm?" or "I would prefer a 50mm lens." Leica Camera AG did something brilliant: They made electronic frame lines so you can add frame lines for 35mm or 50mm. You have a complete 28mm view in the electronic viewfinder, but with a simple press of a button you can get a 50mm or 35mm lens.

In reality, you see and capture the 28mm frame, but when you open the image in Lightroom you see only the 50mm frame. The 28mm frame is still there, so you can actually change the crop to include more or move the 50mm frame around within the captured 28mm frame.

 

Hairdressers. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Hairdressers. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The lens designer at Leica Camera AG, Peter Karbe, even made the Leica Q lens sharper so that the cropped frame would still have the same sharpness as the Leica M lenses.

Now, two things happened with this brilliant invention, and they both show we are hypocrites: 

1) Most people feel they are being cheated for their inventory by cropping a 24 MP sensor. They want the full sensor to be engaged, not just part of it. That the reduced MP is plenty doesn't matter, it's the MP that is not in the picture that seems to get all the attention. 

2) Nobody has marveled that the 35mm or 50mm frame lines in the Leica Q allow you to see what is outside the frame. Nobody! 

From this I personally conclude that the expanded view doesn't matter in reality. I seldom notice, and I never marvel nor think "Wow, it is so nice to see what is outside the frame."

I find that I move the camera around to see and select the framing, just as I am used to moving my eye around to see the whole frame inside the viewfinder.

 

Reviewing the iPhone photos of the Flat Iron Building. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsetn Overgaard.
Reviewing the iPhone photos of the Flat Iron Building. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Always the same view

When you look through the viewfinder of a Leica M, you always see the same 28mm view (0.72 viewfinder). Only the frame lines change as you put on a different lens.

You have to get used to "knowing" which frame is for the lens you use. I find that when I put on my 75mm lens, I often forget that it's the inner frame I am working with. But after a while I get it.

You used to be able to order a Leica M camera with different viewfinders, 0.58, 0.72 and 0.85. You still can for the film cameras, but for the digital there is no choice.

In the 0.58X viewfinder you would see a very wide view, somewhat a 24mm lens. That is the good news. The bad news is that if you mount a 90mm lens, the part of the viewfinder that is captured by the 90mm is relatively small.

The 0.72 viewfinder is what Leica Camera AG settled for on the digital cameras. That allows you to see somewhat a 28mm frame.

The 0.85 viewfinder would bring you a close view on a 135mm or 90mm frame when you put on such a lens. The bad news is that it would limit the view inside the viewfinder to a 35mm frame.

 

Inside the Grammys. Every year all guests attending the Grammys have to pick up their tickets at this office at The Staples Centre, and almost without exception they ask for extra things like drive-on access, red carpet access and all the other very limited treats. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL F/1.4 AA. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Inside the Grammys. Every year all guests attending the Grammys have to pick up their tickets at this office at The Staples Centre, and almost without exception they ask for extra things like drive-on access, red carpet access and all the other very limited treats. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL F/1.4 AA. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Frame lines explained

 
   

When you look through the viewfinder of the Leica M, you see two sets of frame lines.

The viewfinder itself basically shows you what a 28mm lens would capture, so to show you what will be captured with the lens attached, there is frame lines.

Since back in old times, the frame lines are triggered by the bayonet of the lens when it is attached to the camera.

Everything was done mechanically, so to make it work relatively simple, the designers made three set of frame lines, each showing two frames.

One set of frame lines are 50mm and 75mm.

One set of frame lines are 35 and 135 mm.

One set of frame lines are 28mm and 90mm.

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Mike Amos at DreamWorks Studio where they make all the cool cartoons. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL F/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Visiting Mike Amos at DreamWorks Studio where they make all the cool cartoons. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL F/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

         
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Bright frame lines

The frame lines in the Leica M 240 are lit up with LED light. You will see they become brighter or more muted as you move the camera.

The very little round eye in front of the Leica M measures the light, so if there is a lot of light, the frame lines inside the viewfinder becomes very bright, and if it is dark, they mute so as to not disturb the view.

 

Rome Will Burn - Alyssa Suede performing. Leica M 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Alyssa Suede performing. Leica M 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

In previous versions of the Leica M cameras, the frame lines were illuminated by the window you see next to the viewfinder. Obviously, the more light that hits that window, the brighter the frame lines become.

The invention of the LED lit frame lines came from the Leica M9 titanium where the Audi designer Walter de'Silva got to play with the somewhat old-school ideas on how a rangefinder camera should work. I think he liked the cleaner front of the camera, as well as the precision LED frame lines added to the Leica. Oh yes, and then he made the frame lines red instead of white.

In the Leica M 240 and Leica M-P 240 that has been developed to a choice you can make between red or white frame lines.

 

The Leica M-P 240, Leica M 240 and Leica M-D 262 (above) has no center window to light up the frame lines. Instead they are lit up electronically by LED light.
The Leica M-P 240, Leica M 240 and Leica M-D 262 (above) has no center window to light up the frame lines. Instead they are lit up electronically by LED light.

 

Intuitive

The great thing about the Leica M is how intuitive it works once you get used to handling the focus.

Ideally, it's like there is no camera. It's that freedom and simplicity you seek and want.

 

Age is just a number: I met Viola who is 105 and have been visiting the Renaissance Restaurant (in our hotel) for 25 years. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL AA f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten von Overgaard.
Age is just a number: I met Viola who is 105 and have been visiting the Renaissance Restaurant (in our hotel) for the last 25 years. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL AA f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten von Overgaard.

 

Prescription glass and the viewfinder

And this brings us to the questions about prescription glasses. Of course, if you wear glasses (like I do), your eye is not as close to the rangefinder as without.

For me (and others who wears glasses) this means that you can't see the whole 35mm frame. Leica states in their brochures that you can, but I know I can't. Without glasses you can basically see the full 28mm frame, but with glasses it's reduced to somewhat 40mm or something. Some will claim the viewfinder shows somewhat a 24mm view, and it might; the widest framelines are 28mm and you will be able to see wider than that.

 

Bali. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.
Bali. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

This is something you get used to very quickly. Just as you move your head to orient yourself inside a car where mirrors and window frames reduce your view, you quickly adopt to move your eye slightly from side to side when looking through the viewfinder so as to get oriented where the edge of your picture will be.

If you use a 50mm with prescription glasses, you won't be missing a thing, it's only when you use 35mm, 28mm or 24mm lenses that you’ll notice this.

 

 

Ben Quorn in Overgaard Workshop in London, October 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Ben Quorn in Overgaard Workshop in London.
Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

To wear prescription glasses or not using a rangefinder

The answer to this question is very simple: Yes, you should use your prescription glasses also when you use a Leica M.

When you look through the viewfinder of a Leica M, you are seeing the world at the actual distance, just as if you look straight at it.

That is one of the reasons your eyes doesn't get tired of using a rangefinder. With a SLR camera, you are looking through prisms at a screen a few centimeters in front of your eyes.

 


My other Leica M 240 with the Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4 lens on it. Strap is the Rock'n'Roll leather strap from rocknrollstraps.com.

 

 

Some get the great idea to leave the prescription glasses at home and put on a diopter on the Leica M. That's a small correction lens that is supposed to compensate for eyesight.

The solution with a diopter sounds and looks great on paper but usually has a life-span of two weeks. Then the user discovers that the diopter doesn't really work that well for their eyesight (because no camera store or eye doctor knows which one to suggest).

But mainly you realize that now that you left your prescription glasses at home, you can't see a thing. Mainly the screen on a digital Leica M is essential to set the camera.

Now you’ve got a diopter for the camera, and now you need reading glasses to change the ISO or any other item on the menu! This is the sure route to start viewing yourself as too old and weak to use a rangefinder.

You are not, but you managed to make something very simple into something very complicated.

Prescription glasses (like those you would wear when driving) are the ones you would use for a rangefinder. You can see things sharp at a distance as well as close by. And likely you have a reading field in the bottom of the prescription field which helps you read books and your iPhone – as well as camera screens!

 


LA Fashion Week. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

What's wrong with your eyesight, is you!

The majority of people don't have such bad eyesight as to warrant all the problems and excuses that they come up with.

The solution is very simple. It is to focus the best you can and take pictures.

It's amazing how often that cures focusing problems in a few hours!

 

 

Megan Matsumoto working by the drawing tabe in Walt Disney's original office in Disneyworld
Ms. Megan Matsumoto working by the drawing tabe in Walt Disney's original office in Disneyworld, California.
Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4. AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

Thorsten Overgaard guide for Leica M users:

How to focus a Leica M 240 rangefinder

It goes without saying that it's seldom the center of the frame, which you want in focus. But it's the center of the frame that the two overlaying pictures are, which you use use to focus.

You point it at the subject in the composition which you want to be in focus, adjust the distance so the two images lay on top of each other. Then (very important for the composition) you now reframe to the desired frame.

This is very easily said, and even easier done – when you have become used to it.     

 

Muscle Beach in Los Angeles. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. 3200 ISO, 1/15 second. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Muscle Beach in Los Angeles. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. 3200 ISO, 1/15 second. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

There is only the square in the middle of the viewfinder you can use to focus with. You have to move that middle part to the part of the subject you want to measure the distance to - or should I say focus.

If I take it in slow motion, I see a few reasons why this would cause most people a problem coming from auto focus.

 


Outside the costume department for Scandal television show Sunset Gower Studio in Hollywood. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Outside the costume department of Scandal television show at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, California. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard

 

Some will complicate matters and want that you can move the focusing field so you can focus without moving the viewfinder. Well, I can tell from experience this wouldn't be such a good idea. The strength and freedom of the Leica M is the intuitive and uncomplicated use. In the new Leica SL with electronic viewfinder you have exactly that; a joystick that you can move to tell the AF where to focus. This is anything but intuitive and simple. It's a lot of work to get the camera to do something you could easily do yourself.

It seems to be human nature to request features that will do more for you. One of the real freedoms of the Leica M is that it's kept so simple.

First off, you have to realize that it is you and not the camera (auto focus) who is doing the work. You have to decide what part you want in focus and then turn the focus area to that. For some reason, making a decision about focus is difficult without a camera telling you it is right.


Singer Jesse Stevenson. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Singer Jesse Stevenson. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Secondly, many people have developed the bad habit to point a camera like it is an aiming device. What I am talking about is to point the camera so the center of the viewfinder is pointing at the area that has to be in focus and then take a photo.

Most cameras have a cross or a circle in the middle of the viewfinder that intuitively makes you place the center ... at the center of interest.

What is omitted is composition. The word composition comes from Latin "put things together". That is why the word composition is used in both photography, painting and music. It is putting stuff together within a frame so it tells a story and creates a desired emotion. As well as omitting from the frame what would reduce the clarity of the message.

 

 


Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Focus and (re-)composition

I see focusing and composition as two steps. Not only with a Leica M rangefinder, but with a dSLR or an iPhone. Most people focus and shoot, which is a bit like tuning a guitar and starting to play randomly.  

When you have the instrument tuned and in focus, that's when the storytelling starts.

This, by the way, is also the reason that photography is best taught using a point and shoot camera or simply a piece of thick paper with a frame cut-out in the middle: Because it takes away the focusing and the only step you have to do is composition. Unfortunately it is so un-sexy that even kids won't work with such a simple camera or piece of thick paper. They want a real camera.

Oh well ...

 

 

         
 

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Composing with the Leica M 240 rangefinder

Let's concentrate on the first step - focusing - which can be difficult enough in itself. The composition part is a whole book (which I will cover in my upcoming book, "Composition in Photography - The Photographer as Storyteller").

There are a few tricks that will help you.

You move the focusing square to the object that should be in focus, make the images lay on top of each other, then recompose so you have in the frame what you want in the frame.

You also need to find something that is recognizable, something with a pattern and a contrast you can tell when is exactly on top of each other.

 


Some of the cool neon signs in Hollywood has been remade. This is the one on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, for Hollywood & Vine Diner. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL F/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Without a contrasting edge or line of some sort, you can't easily focus. It's not a miracle machine this one. It is a rangefinder and you need to be able to see what you are doing.

When people often complain that their eyes are not good enough, it is usually because they try to focus something where not even a teenager's perfectly fresh eyes would be able to see it.    

 

Find the contrast

Find a contrasting edge. Always!

 

New York skyscrapers. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
New York skyscrapers. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

An error that is not occurring very often, thought I too often find myself doing it, is trying to match two overlaying images where there are several of the same thing. It's a stupid error, and mostly I don't discover it till I get confused focusing and see that it the wrong tree laying over the right tree, the left side of the door lying over the right and so on.

When you know what the problem is, it's easy to solve. When I realize I have similar patterns, I tilt the camera a little, or I choose another thing to focus at, or I turn the camera from horizontal to vertical to focus fast and easy. If you think you are supposed to be able to focus in the dark or with repeated patterns, you're wrong. You may have been given the idea that other people can.

Well, I'm telling you: They can't do it either.

So don't try to be an expert on something nobody can do. Choose the easy way. Pick a contrasting edge and avoid the repeating patterns. And if it is actually too dark to see; do your best.

 

 

Some times it's a background of repeating patterns. You will easily make the mistake that it looks like the pattern is overlaying, but it's not.
Some times it's a background of repeating patterns. You will easily make the mistake that it looks like the pattern is overlaying, but it's not.

 

So you have to refocus to find some edge of contrast to use for focusing. For example tilt the camera so you can focus easily:

 

Choose an easy edge with high contrast   ... so you can easily see when you have focus.
Choose an easy edge with high contrast   ... so you can easily see when you have focus.
     

 

Vertical focusing

Some people say they can't focus with the camera vertical. I vaguely remember somebody saying there is an optical explanation. If there is, or it was somebody inventing a reason, I don't know.

For me there is no difference. 

I think, try it and see if it isn't just training your brain to see when it is in focus. 

In focusing, I think, there is too much time spent on talking about it, time which could be put into more productive things such as taking pictures. Take one, focus again and take one more. Then focus again and take one more.   

 


David Hartcorn in the Overgaard Workshop. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
David Hartcorn in the Overgaard Workshop. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4 AA. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Focusing on the eyes

When you shoot people or portraits, you want the eyes to be in focus. It's much easier to tilt the camera very quickly, focus on the edge of the eye, then recompose to the frame you want and shoot.

 

The edge is easier to see than they actual eyeball   .. so you get that and it's going to be all right
The edge is easier to see than they actual eyeball   ... so you get that and it's going to be all right.
     

 

This is probably the hardest part of the transition from SLR and AF to a rangefinder: That nobody and nothing tell you when you have achieved focus. We are used to the fact that devices beep and blink when it's good.

With the Leica M and manual focusing, you have to make the judgment and press the shutter release. It also gives you the unusual freedom that you can choose where to focus, as well as remain focused on that spot till you change it. Unlike an AF camera where you have to "help the AF" by trying to lead the electronics to where you would want the focus.

If the camera is out of adjustment it will be difficult to focus. Hence the most likely explanation for out of focus is "my camera might be out of adjustment".

Two sisters. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Two sisters in macro. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 with macro adapter. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

How I cure focusing trouble

I had a workshop student in London some time back who was sure his Leica M with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 was out of adjustment, because "none of my photos are in focus".

I've heard that one a few times before.

So we took the camera outside and pointed towards the BT Tower which was far enough away to be at infinity on the focusing scale of the lens: The rule is that if you can focus beyond an object at infinity (such as a building, mountain or tower), or can't reach infinity (the object is double and just can't be caught with the focusing), the focus mechanism of the camera is off. When the lens is all the way at infinity focusing, things far away should be in focus.

When the focus mechanism is off, it's usually the camera. It's seldom the lens that needs adjustment, except for some versions of the Leica 75mm Summilux where the cam needs adjustment. The cam is the metal on the bottom of the lens you can see moving when you turn the focusing ring on the lens (and you hold the lens up in front of you without camera attached).

As a side note, the cam is very fine-tuned for every lens. It's not just rotating by a screw thread. It's adjusted even more than just that. And the rangefinder mechanism in a Leica M, by the way, was built and optimized for 50mm lenses all the way.

But back to London and the BT Tower: We checked and his camera was ok. The BT Tower was in focus at infinity, it wasn't in front or behind the infinity focus.

So I told him to simply focus and stop worrying. Even with a camera out of adjustment I would actually say the same. What else can you do? I once shot with a f/1.0 Noctilux for three months while my focus was out of adjustment. Actually, the prism needed to get glued, so it was really out of adjustment. I didn't have any other choice than to focus and shoot, and it actually worked. So that's why I say, just shoot. No matter what.

 

Weekend shadow in Brooklyn, New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Weekend shadow in Brooklyn, New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

To focus a rangefinder you turn the focusing barrel usually from close focus towards infinity till you get the focus. In the moment it is in focus, you take the picture. If you then go back and forth to see where the best focus might be, you can be sure your hit rate of correct focusing will drop dramatically.

What you do is that you trust your instinct. Your muscle memory, along with your brain, will know in advance that when you have turned that barrel for a few more millimeters, for this long, and with so much movement, it will reach focus. It's predictable. Your mind will know this happens in 3/10 of a second with the current speed of your fingers and the movement of the focusing field inside the rangefinder.

 

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It's like walking towards the stairs. You know how long it will take and somehow your mind figures out when to lift one foot up so it reaches the first step. If you start thinking too much about how your feet will reach the first and the next step, and how you can be sure your feet will actually hit the step, you will fumble and eventually fall!

Focusing works the same way. I know it take a while to get used to it, but the beauty of a Leica rangefinder is that once it sits in your fingers, it sits there.

There are a lot of things I do that I don't know how I do. It's only because I have workshop students that ask me that I have to rewind and play it in slow motion to figure out how I do it, or how I learned it.

So you turn the focusing barrel, and then you shoot. Don't think about it. Then you turn the barrel slightly back before it was in focus, then turn it into focus again. And you take another photo. And once again.

You shoot when it's in focus. And you shoot several times where you re-focus each time. Don't fumble, just do it as if you knew how to do it. Truth after all is that there is no electronics, no small motors or anything else to get it done than you.

 

 

Focusing with your feet

You may also move your body and camera slightly back and forward to get the focus, without turning the focusing barrel. You will "re-focus" this way as you can see in the viewfinder when it falls in focus.

I use that a lot for portraits. I had the focus just before and now the person moved slightly. So I move back a bit, then forward till I see the focus "clicks" on the eyes.

 

Doing portraits at the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in London.
Doing portraits at the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in London. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

While you wait for 100% perfection, read this

You will realize that you will never have 100% of your images in focus. You may not believe this, and if that is the case, I invite you to read this again in 30 years.

You will have enough that are in focus. And this goes for anyone who has used a Leica rangefinder for 10 minutes or 30 years.

The important thing is to take photos, and then more photos. Some will be exactly in focus, others will - for reasons nobody can really explain – be slightly out of focus. Some will be really out of focus.

 

Denmark. Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Denmark. Leica M 246 Monochrom with Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Don't just try

An error in focusing, and in photography in general, is to take a photo and then move on. Walk slowly with a sharp eye, and when you feel there is something, stop and take a photo.

But here's what's going to happen next: you are not going to walk on. No, you are going to stay there and take more than one photo. Focus again and take one more. Maybe reconsider the composition and try something different.

You may even look at your screen to check the exposure is right. Then take more.
 
Some people behave like it's a test and they are not able or supposed to make it work. The thing is that there will be absolutely no change in the next 30 years. What you miss today you will still be able to miss (or unable to make go right) in 30 years if you don't take it seriously.

With seriously, I mean that when you feel you see a photo, you must trust that you saw something. That's why you are not going to try to take it. No, you are going to make it, and often it takes a few photographs. Some times 20 minutes and a lot of photos.

 

Berlin, September 2014. I saw these kids coming and had fairly good time to kneel down, set the focus and prepare the frame I wanted. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Berlin, September 2014. I saw these kids coming and had fairly good time to kneel down, set the focus and prepare the frame I wanted. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.s

 

Focusing moving objects with a manual focus rangefinder

I wasn't always able to get moving objects in focus. I started trying to manual focus models walking on a catwalk for some years. The first thing I learned was that if the shutter speed is slower than 1/250, you will get motion blur. Models on catwalks walk very fast. For a normal walking person on the street you can freeze the person at 1/125. And a car is also 1/250 from the side and faster shutter speed when it is moving towards you.

A trick, if there is not enough light, is to photograph the models when they stop in front of the cameras, just before they turn around and walk back.

That was the first thing I learned: 1/250 second.

 

Fashion Week. One way of doing it is to photograph the model when she stops in front of the cameras, just before the model turns around and walk out again. Leica R9 with DMR digital back, Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPHf/2.8. 200 ISO, 1/250 sec. © Thorsten Overgaard 2011-2016.
Fashion Week. One way of doing it is to photograph the model when she stops in front of the cameras, just before the model turns around and walk out again. Leica R9 with DMR digital back, Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPHf/2.8. 200 ISO, 1/250 sec. © Thorsten Overgaard 2011-2016.

 

The next thing I tried to do was to follow-focus as the model walked towards me. I was very good at it, except that most of the pictures was out of focus. The model had moved a feet or two closer to me in the instant between I pressed the shutter and the shutter of the camera got activated.

At other times I had the focus wrong. Either behind the model, or in front (in which case they would actually be sharp!).

 

 

Leica S2 with Leica 70mm Summarit-S f/2.5. 640 ISO, 1/250 second. © 2010-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
The Blonds fashion show at New York Fashion Week 2015. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. 200 ISO, 1/1500 second. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

In-between this I learned that when you do a fashion show, you have about 60 looks. There may be 10 or 20 models, and they walk back and change and then come out again in a new look. What I realized was that it was very difficult to make a set of 60 looks where the model had the same size in the frame when I photographed them far away and others close. The solution was to focus on one spot on the catwalk and then take 2-3 photos each time a model approached that spot.

 

Leica S2 with Leica 70mm Summarit-S f/2.5. 640 ISO, 1/250 second. © 2010-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica S2 with Leica 70mm Summarit-S f/2.5. 640 ISO, 1/250 second. © 2010-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

This way all 60 photos looked similar and I could crop them very quickly the same way and get on. Also the light would be the same in that spot.

This was the second thing I learned. Let the subject come to your focus point instead of trying to chase them.

 

Fashion Week. Leica R9 with DMR digital back, Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPHf/2.8. 200 ISO, 1/250 sec. © Thorsten Overgaard 2011-2016.
Fashion Week. Leica R9 with DMR digital back, Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPHf/2.8. 200 ISO, 1/250 sec. © Thorsten Overgaard 2011-2016.

 

A side effect of this is that it's very easy work with a predictable rhythm. You see the model walk into focus and you take the photo. Then you have a great deal of time before the model comes up to you, turns around and goes back. Then there comes the next one. Snap, and you can actually enjoy the show in-between.

The stress of trying to focus all the time was over and it was easy.

There is also the fact that the catwalk photos will be seen by an audience who want to see the designs. They don't expect creative, exiting looking photos with all sorts of movements and angels. So good light and sharpness that make the viewer able to examine the designs. That's what it is about.

The creative photos I could do backstage and in-between shows. And while there aren't a lot of memorable catwalk-photos, there's a lot of the creative backstage and atmosphere photos in my archive.

 

 

Kenzo Fashion Show. Leica S2 with Leica 70mm Summarit-S f/2.5. 640 ISO, 1/1000 second. © 2012-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Kenzo Fashion Show. Leica S2 with Leica 70mm Summarit-S f/2.5. 640 ISO, 1/1000 second. © 2010-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

"I need auto focus to capture my children"

With children the first dSLR often enters the household for those who are serious about their photography and want to combine their passion for photography with the ideal of capturing the children growing up.

The first lessen learned is that it's a lot of work to raise children. And a lot of things to carry. If you add a big dSLR to it, it becomes incredibly complicated and hard.

What seemed like a good idea at first turns out to be a disappointment and the backpack with the dSLR gear sits as a dark cloud of regret in the closet. It may surprise the marketing department at Leica Camera AG, but children is one of the major reasons many Leica M users give as the reason to look for a small quality camera.

 

Zoe with her hat and horse. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Zoe with her hat and horse. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Photographing children (and other fast-moving objects)

People ask me often, "How do get the focus right on children?" or more often they simply state, "I can't focus fast enough to photograph my kids."

The truth is that nobody can.

 



Photographing my daughter Robin Isabella in a cafe in Istanbul while she is busy with a typewriter.


What I do is that I don't expect to get the focus right (at all) on children. But when I do photograph children, I usually have set aside 20 minutes for the shoot. Mostly I do it in their own home. I pick the spots with good light, which are often the kitchen/living room where they are used to be, as well as the children's own room.

It's the light that is the most important, and that there is freedom with barriers. That's why I never set up a studio session or pick some location that "looks good". Those locations would be awkward for the kid and would be too much of a restraint on their movement. Sometimes I will arrange that we meet in a cafe or restaurant, or a large park (with lots of space and no cars) so there is space to move, but with natural boundaries.

With spaces like that I can work with the kids and keep the parents out of the frame. Any dangerous location with cars or Chinese vases, or a very restrained location in a studio on one certain spot, that's asking for a heart attack.

 


Brothers and sisters helping out on photoraping the whole family. Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Brothers and sisters helping out on photograping the whole family. Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

What happens with children when you photograph them is that they don't want to be photographed, but then they want it, and then they don't want it.

I picke a space where they can move around in, then I notice what they do and where they go. From there it's much like street photography, actually: I notice a good opportunity with good light, and before I get the photo, they are off to another spot.

So I wait till they get back. Maybe I will ask them to show me their race car or something in that spot, and that gives me the chance. Else I just wait because I know three things: 1) They don't want the photo, but they want it; so they will arrange for themself to be captured, 2) They return sooner or later, and 3) When I get them in that spot, it's going to be an awesome picture.

 

I saw this picture coming and just had to wait for the moment where she looked. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
I saw this picture coming and just had to wait for the moment where she looked. I knew she would. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I will see good photo opportunities, and I hurry to photograph them. Sometimes it is too late, sometimes the focus is off, but sometimes it works.

The learning experience in all this is that while you sweat and make 400 photos in 20 minutes, when you get to the computer and edit them, there will be two awesome photographs and 15 that work.

You don't need auto focus to get 400 photos in focus. You just need a few amazing photographs in focus of the kind that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Those who had a dad or someone other in their childhood snapping away photographs with a Leica know what I am talking about.

Amongst the thousands of snapshots of a child growing up, eating burders and watching movies on iPads, taken with iPhone's, small cameras with flash and all, the few really great Leica photographs with great light and a thoughtful expression are the real treasures.

 

This fellow knew me from two years earlier when I photoraphed him. Now I was back to photograph him and his newborn sister. He would make sure not being interested, but happen to be in front of the camera. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
This fellow knew me from two years earlier when I photoraphed him. Now I was back to photograph him and his newborn sister. He would make sure not being interested, but happen to be in front of the camera. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Those are the ones showing the real personality. It's the ones that when a 50 year old family father shows them to you, you recognize their personality in them. Often a good photograph of a child is as seeing them as grown up. At least it's easy to imagine them as 30 years older when you see that photo. It's the same expression, the same level of concentration on the subject they are dealing with, the features of the face is very much the same as it will be.

A photo of a child with ice cream all over the face can be cute, but that isn't their personaity. That's just a phase.

When you photograph children, the composition and storytelling is the important thing. The focus is just one of several technical elements.

 


Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Focusing moving subjects in the street

I use the same method in the street when I see someone approach me. I find a spot on the ground, or a tree or fire hydrant on the side that I can use for focus. Then I wait.

 

Hong Kong. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Hong Kong. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The moment the person walks into focus, I hold the shutter release down for 2-3 photos.

Some times I like the "stage" so much that I stay longer and snap 2-3 photos every time someone walks into focus. Then later, when I get back to the computer I can decide which one worked the best.

You never know what walks into your focus.

 

 

New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Some times I have chosen a point in front of me that is empty, which I expect people will walk into from the left side and out the right side, or the other way. I set my focus on a precious person or a spot on the ground, and then recompose and hold my focus on an empty space in front of me. When I hear somebody approach - or see them out the corner of my eye - I snap 2-3 photos.

 


Istanbul, Turkey. Leica M 240 with Leica 50 Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Istanbul, Turkey. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Obviously, I can know very little about who or what walks into the frame. Some times I get three blurry photos, some times they are in the corner of the frame and never in the center where I wanted them.

But I decided for the frame and cross my fingers they walk in the line of focus. I don't change my plan or frame because that would change the whole scenery: The background would change in focus (how blurred out it is), and then I "lost the focus line" for the next persons.

 

Istanbul, Turkey. Leica M 240 with Leica 50 Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Istanbul, Turkey. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

In Oslo I did this. I had one exact point on a line that was in focus. And I had the exposure set manually because (I almost always do for this sort of thing and because) the sun was behind the subject.

Half the skaters would travel on this line, so there was 50% chance they would be in my line of focus. So I just stayed with that exact point and that frame and could hear when they approached.

One of them I was lucky with. He jumped in my exact focusing point, with a tramp passing behind.

It wasn't that I was great at focusing. I was just patient. I sat there for 6 minutes with a few different compositions and did a total of 99 photographs.

 

 

Skating in front of the Oslo City Hall in Norway. Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Skating in front of the Oslo City Hall in Norway. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Thorsetn Overgaard Contact Sheet 6 minutes of waiting and and 99 photographs. Here's some of them
6 minutes of waiting and 99 photographs. Here are some of them. 
    

 

For this shoot of fashion designer Justin Etienne in New York I had him run back and forth a few times to capture this. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. ISO 200, 1/250 second. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
For this shoot of fashion designer Justin Etienne in New York I had him run back and forth a few times to capture this. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. ISO 200, 1/250 second. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 



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Toronto, Canada. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Toronto, Canada. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Prediction

A lot of what we do in photography is predicting the photograph.

Sometimes we plan a location to go to, which is one way of predicting the outcome.  

Sometimes we seek to envision the possible photos based on a description somebody gives us of a place and what's going to happen there. 

 

Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Istanbul
Overgaard Workshop in Istanbul

 

But often you see something on the street and you know (or hope) something is going to happen. It's the moment of intuition where you see the yellow colors all over the street corner and somehow get the idea that if a yellow raincoat and a red umbrella met in the crossing ... bam!

It often happens then, and sometimes even better things happen.  

 

In this photo from Paris I focused on the Vespa scooter and waited for the person to approach the focus. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
In this photo from Paris I focused on the Vespa scooter and waited for the person to approach the focus. Leica Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

But exactly that is the proof that you make better photographs with your mind and your imagination than any camera can. That is why you have to have your hands and eyes free and not be obstructed by a camera that beeps and blinks and demands your attention to operate.  

The freedom to simply see, imagine, create and capture.

 

Rolls Royce in New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Rolls Royce in New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

  Work your Leica M by Joeri van der Kloet
  Work your Leica M by Joeri van der Kloet
   

Learning focusing
with Joeri van der Kloet

Joeri van der Kloet has written the short eBook Work your Leica M that helps train your focusing skills. It's basically the only book that deals with Leica M focusing and sets up drills that will improve your accuracy and speed of focusing over a week or two.

You can buy it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danish recording artist Lukas Graham performing at the Warner/Chappell Grammys afterparty at Milk Studios in Hollywood. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.
Danish recording artist Lukas Graham performing at the Warner/Chappell Grammys afterparty at Milk Studios in Hollywood. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.
On this occasion my camera had actually gone out of adjustment and it wasn't till two day later I wondered how come I had so many out-of focus photos. I tested the camera, and yes. It needed adjustment.

 

 

 

The secret trick to focus a Noctilux

I had been using the Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 for a whole workshop. That lens has a razor-thin focus and everything behind it is one artistic blur.

As we sat and edited our photos in the apartment, one of the guys in the workshop stands behind me, and he sighs, "Wow, you must tell us your secret to how you always nail the focus with the Noctilux!"

My answer was prompt, "I don't. The secret is that you don't see the ones that are out of focus".

Which is the simple truth and the only secret in getting sharp Noctilux photos.

 

I saw this young fellow walk into the store in Istanbul to buy milk for his mother. So I sat my focus and waited for him to come out again, and then took 3-4 photos as he came out. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
I saw this young fellow walk into the store in Istanbul to buy milk for his mother. So I sat my focus and waited for him to come out again, and then took 3-4 photos as he came out. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

             
     
             

 

 

Where did we come from?

Now back in London, my friend with the Leica M and the Noctilux reported after three hours walking about and photographing that day in London that now he could focus. He was cured!

He didn't have all his photos in focus, but he was now sure his camera was ok and he could get really sharp images.

He didn't use any diopter or 1.25X enlarger on the rangefinder to see better. It is really not about seeing better, it is about believing you can.

And thus you can.

 


Photographing bicycles and prople on the street in Jakarta. We simply just wait for them to drive into the focus and the intended frame. © 2014-2016 Abiprayadi Riyanto.

 

Focusing without actually seeing

Actually, most people with prescription glasses can focus without glasses. You just have to match two images, so as soon as the double vision stops the highlights and shadows in the focusing field lay on top, you shoot!

I have screen glasses I used for screen work. Some times I had to take a photo and happened to only have them. Despite things looked blurry, I could see when the two images were on top of each other.

I can also do it without glasses, which is even blurrier.

As a side note, I stopped using reading glasses and screen glasses. I felt my eyes adjusted to the screen glasses well, but then took a while to adjust back to normal glasses later. It hurt my eyes, too.

So I decided to just use one pair of glasses for everything. I find that not changing between different glasses for different things is easier and I can walk, drive, read and work by a computer screen with just the same glasses.

I love glasses, and my optician loves to sell me a lot of them. But I think we both agree this is a better way for me.

 



New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

I can see my lens

With a rangefinder you can often see the front of the lens "overshadowing" the lower right corner of the viewfinder. With larger lenses as for example the 50mm Noctilux the lens may takes up 20% of the viewing field.

You get used to it.

Some lens shades have a hole in them so you can "see through" them. Ventilated lens shades are made "ventilated" for that reason.

I don't find that it's an obstruction that I can see the lens shade or the lens. But I do love the look of ventilated lens shades. I think that's the right look for a rangefinder camera and use them more for protection of the lens front than anything else.

 

My Leica M with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE and the ventilated lens shade and Tie Her Up Rock'n'Roll strap. The ventilated lens shade goes on the outside screw of the lens, leaving the filter screw for filters. You can buy the lens shade in Black Paint ($129) and soon also in Silver ($149) on this page.
My Leica M with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE and the ventilated lens shade and Tie Her Up Rock'n'Roll strap. The ventilated lens shade goes on the outside screw of the lens, leaving the filter screw for filters. You can buy the lens shade in Black Paint ($129) and soon also in Silver ($149) on this page.

 

 

The elementary part: Dirt on the focusing

Having clean optics on the camera is rather important. I always have a microfiber cloth in my pocket to clean the viewfinder, the lens and the camera body.

 

When the focusing window (left) and the viewfinder are dirty, the contrast is reduced. It just makes focusing and composition more of a guess.
When the focusing window (left) and the viewfinder are dirty, the contrast is reduced. It just makes focusing and composition more of a guess.

 

That's how it should look. Nice and clean!
That's how it should look. Nice and clean!

 

It helps a great deal for the vision if the rangefinder is bright and clean. The more dirty the focusing window on the front of the camera is, the less contrasty you will be able to see in the "overlying image".

That's one reason I avoid hand cream, oil and other sticky stuff. As soon as a camera starts to get greased, it's just all over the place. Some times you borrow out a camera to someone and they put their fingers all over it.

When it's crisp and clear, it's easy to focus. It will be visible. I use fiber cloths all the time. Very simple.     

 

Gramercy Park in New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Gramercy Park in New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

When the rangefinder is out of focus

It is rather annoying when the rangefinder is out of focus, which is not an uncommon problem with a rangefinder. It is a mechanical tool that can go off due to humidity, temperature or simply because the camera got a hit.

There are two things to it that can make the whole matter even more confusing. One is that the rangefinder mechanism will go in and out of adjustment for no obvious reason from time to time. The Leica M 240 rangefinder is much more stable than the Leica M8 and Leica M9 rangefinder because Leica Camera AG improve the whole design from the Leica M 240 and onward (including the Leica M-D 262 and Leica M 246 Monochrom).

 

         
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I often travel with two or more Leica's and have had one camera going out of adjustment while the other went back into adjustment. When one is out and the other is fine, two weeks later it is opposite. Which means that if a camera is slightly out, it is not the end of the world. It might go back into adjustment.

The other thing that makes it very confusing is that it might or might not be your own fault! You focus and take a picture, and then the focus is wrong. But you are sure you got it! I have tried that many times, and it removes all your fundamental self confidence when you see a photo that is out of focus when you know you got it.

But I must admit it happens, and that it is has turned out more often to be me than the camera that is the source of the trouble.

The reason I know this for a certain fact is that when I started using the EVF-2 with the Leica M 240, I had similar images. I knew I had the focus right, yet there was back focus in the final image. As the EVF sees what the sensor sees, there is no possibility that the final image suddenly changed focus. The sensor doesn't move and there are no other mechanical parts that move during a photo.

 

Morris who is 95 years old. I did some photos with him and listened to his story. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Morris who is 95 years old. I did some photos with him and listened to his story. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

So the photographer actually moved, or the subject did. It is astonishing how many times that actually happens.

So it is not you it's wrong with. The Earth travels around the Sun with 108,000 km an hour so things might move a bit.

The sure solution to remedy this is to take lots of photographs so at least a percentage of them will be perfectly focused and the few out of focus will not matter. The other possibility is to test the camera, which is actually rather easy:

 

Guide: The way to test the rangefinder for focus adjustment

The tempered and logical way to test if the rangefinder is in or out of focus is to go outside and point the camera towards a point at infinity and focus on that: If the lens can go beyond infinity or can't focus all the way to infinity, the mechanism is out. And it is mostly (as in 98% of the cases) the camera and not the lens.

 

The Birdman of New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 (II). © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
The Birdman of New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Let me explain. You focus on a mountain chain far away, or a tower far away. If you can't get the rangefinder mechanism to focus on it and it feels like the lens just can't stretch the focus that far, you will have front focus. If you can focus beyond the mountain or the tower, your camera in fact has back focus and all focus is pushed behind the actual subject. For some reason it is more often back focus than front focus.

If the camera focuses correctly, the mountain chain or tower far away is perfectly matched in the viewfinder. The actual photo is not of interest, actually. Just if the rangefinder mechanism works.

 


Thorsten Overgaard checking focus on Lynn's Leica M rangefinder. Photo by Adam Singer.

 

The way not to test the rangefinder for focus adjustment

The whole matter can be so frustrating that you never really know if the camera works or not, or if it is you. This can lead to a very unproductive way of photographing where you look at the preview after each photo and zoom in to see if it is in focus.

This of course can be very interesting, but what will the conclusion be?

Well, it will be that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work. But why? What are you going to conclude from that? You can conclude that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and most likely you or the subject moved in some of the cases, or maybe the camera is out of focus. Or maybe your eyes are getting old.

This leaves the interesting question about the ones that really are in focus: How did that happen?

So you see that will not lead anywhere, except that you spend time doing quality control on each photo.

The way to do it is to photograph as if the rangefinder mechanism worked perfectly and use the pictures that are good. If the number of pictures out of focus is so alarming that you suspect something is wrong, do the above mechanical test of the rangefinder on a point far away.

During the Grammys 2016 I actually had a camera out of focus, and Ididn't know till two days later. The camera was perfectly fine till I borrowed it out to a video crew for just a couple of hours. When I got it back, I didn't suspect anything. It wasn't til I looked at the pictures some days later, I noticed how clumpsy I was. At least, so I thought, till I found out I could blame it on the camera.

It made me decice to check cameras before important events. And when I was photographing a very famous actor some time after, I used EVF on one of the cameras to make sure I could see the right focus at all times.

 

Setting cameras up in th workshop. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Joy Villa.
Setting cameras up in th workshop. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. © 2014-2016 Joy Villa.

 

Cause over photography

Simply stated, perhaps the strongest argument for manual focus is that it makes you cause over the photograph and the camera operations, as opposed to being effect of it.

If we bring pre-visualization into it – seeing before the fact; basically the emotional impact of the photograph with a pre-visualization of all the underlying technical and composition decisions one needs to make to get there – then manual focus is an important part of the whole! 

It's a good question if a preview on a screen wouldn't be of help in this.

 

Brooklyn, New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Brooklyn, New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The viewfinder in the Leica M rangefinder camera tells you nothing about the final result, other than what you imagine in your head.

That's a burden taken off your shoulders in some ways, and even when the result is different than envisioned that too is often a way to learn new things, some times a way to learn to push the boundaries. Which in so many ways is the artistic aspect of photography.  

The electronic viewfinder, on the other hand, is today's Polaroid.  A prevision of the image in all details that reveal sharpness, depth of field, exact framing, exposure, tonality and all: a way for the photographer to check if his vision sticks.  

Up next, that is my article on manual focus with a rangefinder, using the electronic viewfinder. That will be on Page 44.

 

Fashion designer Justin Etienne. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Fashion designer Justin Etienne. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

A final encouraging note on being perfect

Ansel Adams was a perfectionist and obtained a high degree of perfection in all his photography. His interest in photography started when his parents gave him a Kodak No. 1 Brownie camera at age 14 when the family was on holiday in Yosemite (This was Anssel Adams first visit to Yosemite and he returned every year for the rest of his life).

When he was 15 years old, he traveled to his beloved Yosemite in the summer with both a 4x5 view camera and a Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic Special. He was on fire and read all photographic magazines he could get his hands on.

Two year later, when he was 16 years, he didn't only bring cameras to Yosemite but also his own chemistry and darkroom equipment, as he wasn't satisfied with what the local labs could produce.

And so on went Ansel Adams with perfecting his photographic skills and technique for another 66 years till he left us at age 82.

Despite all he did, knew and passed on in his books, Ansel Adams never made the perfect negative. He always had to crop away a little in the side, darken a tree or a mountainside to get it all as he wanted it.

There was always something.

 

Msgr. Robert Ritchie lecturing guest inside the Saint Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue in New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 (II). © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Msgr. Robert Ritchie lecturing guest inside the Saint Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue in New York. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II. © 2015-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Thank you!

With that final note, I leave you for today. As always, feel free to mail me at thorsten@overgaard.dk for advice, suggestions or ideas. If you have any issues with the Leica M focusing, mail me and I will try to help with it.

 

 

     
  Continues on page 44
"Focusing the Leica M using the
EVF Electronic ViewFinder"
-->
 
     

 

 

Enjoy the latest articles on the Leica M 240:

This is a continious user-report by Thorsten Overgaard. See more articles here and make sure to join the mailing list to stay in the know.

     
Page 42 in the article series on the Leica M
Color photograhy and the Leica M
  Page 42 in the article series on the Leica M
Focusing the Leica M - Five pages about that...
     

 

     
 

Also read the first page in the series about
focusing on the previous Page 42:
"The Minority Report"
<--

 
     

 

 
 

 

   
   

 

 

 

       
 

Leica M240 Definitions

   
  By Thorsten von Overgaard  
       
  More resources:    
  Leica and Photography Definitions    
  Leica Camera Compendium article by Thorsten Overgaard    
  Leica Lens Compendium article by Thorsten Overgaard    
       

 

  1:2/50 the description says.
But what does it mean?
  1:2/50 the description says.
But what does it mean?
   

1: = Basically means 1 divided with. On the lens to the right, it means that the diameter of the hole throught he lens is 25mm.
We would normall call it a 50mm f/2.0 lens. The writing of 1:2/50 is a tradition from the 1800's of specifying a lens, which reveals quite a bit about the construction:
Focal length 50mm simply means that the distance from center of focus inside the lens to the focusing plane (the sensor or film) is 50mm, and the aperture of f/2 or 1:2 means that the diameter of the hole the light comes throught is 25mm (50mm divided with 2 = 25mm).
In traditional lens design, one could usually tell from looking at the length of a lens if it was a 400mm, 100mm or 35mm. Newer designs with mirrors (in tele lenses) and more corrections (in wide lenses) can make the size of the lenses shorter or longer, but the distance from center of focus to sensor in a modern 50mm lens will still be 50mm for a 50mm and 400mm for a 400mm, and so on.
See Focal length and Aperture further down for more.

 

35mm

a) 35mm lens is a lens that has a viewing angle of view is 63°vertically, 54° horizontally and 38° vertically within a 35mm film frame or "full-frame" 24x36mm digital format. See Focal length further down.
b) 35mm focal length: the distance from center of focus inside the lens to the focusing plane (the sensor or film) is 35mm.

  35mm film format (also known as full-frame) © Thorsten Overgaard
  35mm film format (also known as full-frame)
   

c) 35mm film format (also known as full-frame in digital sensors) was a standard film format that came about in 1892 where the width of the film roll was 35mm, and it's been the most used format ever since. Only a format of 24 x 36mm is used for the photo on the film roll.
35mm film format was first used in 1892 by William Dickson and Thomas Edison for moving pictures with frames of 24 x 18mm, using film supplied by George Eastman (Kodak), and this became the international standard for motion picture negative film in 1909. Later other motion picture formats came about, such as Academy Ratio (22 x 16 mm), Widescreen (21.95 x 18.6 mm), Super 35 (24.89 x 18.66 mm) and Techiscope (22 x 9.47 mm).
The inventor of the Leica camera, Oskar Barnack, built his prototype Ur-Leica in 1913 as a device to test film stock and\ motion picture lenses and had it patented. Putting 35mm film format into a small camera gave him the idea "small negative, large print" and he decided to increase the size of each frame on the 35mm film to 24x36mm (for more detail and sharpness), and then invented an enlarger to make large prints from the small negative. The length of a film, 36 pictures, is said to have become the standard because that was how far Oskar Barnack could stretch his arms (when cutting film from larger rolls to put them into film rolls for the Leica camera).
d) 35mm equivalent is often given as a standard when talking about lenses in small compact-cameras or large format cameras with other sensor/film format than the 24 x 36mm frame. Example: A camera with a 12 x 18 mm sensor has a 14mm lens on it, and even the lens is actually a 14mm, it is specified as a 28mm lens because the viewing angle that ends up on the sensor is equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm of full-frame camera.

 

  The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M 
ASPH f/2.0 lens
  The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M
ASPH f/2.0 lens
   

50mm

a) 50mm lens is a lens that has a viewing angle of view is 47° vertically, 40° horizontally and 27° vertically within a 35mm film frame.
b) 50mm means there is 50mm from the center of focus inside the lens to the focal plane (sensor or film).
c) 50mm lens is often compared to the human eye. Not because of viewing angle (how wide it sees) but because of size ratio (how it sees). The 50mm lens is the lens that comes closest to the size that the human eye see things. Whereas the human eye has a much wider angle of view [120-200°] than the 50mm lens [47°].

 

 

 

 

AF = Auto Focus. The idea is that the camera does the focusing itself (the word auto comes from Greek "self").

Aperture = The same function as the iris and pupil has in the eye. The pupil in the eye is the dark circular opening in the center of the iris of the eye, varying in size to regulate the amount of light reaching the retina (the sensor area inside the eye).
Aperture on a camera is the f/ stop on the camera that regulates how much light passes through the lens by increasing or decreasing the hole through the lens. On a f/2.0 lens the lens is fully open" at f/2.0. At f/2.8 the aperture inside the lens make the hole through the lens smaller so only half the amount of light at f/2.0 passes through. For each f/-stop (4.0 - 5.6 - 8.0 - 11 - 16) you halve the light. The aperture of the lens is basically the focal length divided with the f/-stop = size of the hole (50mm divided with f/2.0 = the hole is 25 mm in diameter).
Besides regulating the amount of light (so as to match the correct exposure), the aperture also affects the dept of field: , which is how deep the sharpness is. To get the sough-after photos with narrow depth of field where the background is blurry, the lens has to be wide open at f/2.0 or so. Stopping the lens down to f/8 or f/16 will result on more depth of field, meaning the background will start becoming in focus. To maintain narrow depth of field, one can use the ISO sensitivity and/or the shutter speed to match the correct exposure (as aperture is only one of three ways to control the exposure; the correct amount of light).
ORIGIN: Late Middle English : from Latin apertura, from apert- ‘opened,’ from aperire ‘to open’.

The aperture blades inside the consist of a number of blades that - as the aperture ring on the lens is rotated - narrow into a smaller and smaller hole. © Thorsten Overgaard.
The aperture blades inside the consist of a number of blades that - as the aperture ring on the lens is rotated - narrow into a smaller and smaller hole.
© Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 
  The camera in Aperture Priority Mode
   

Aperture Priority Mode = When the shutter speed dial on top of a Leica M camera is set to A, it is short for “Aperture Priority” and allows the user to set a specific aperture value (f-number) while the camera selects a shutter speed to match it that will result in proper exposure based on the lighting conditions as measured by the camera's light meter. In other words, you set the aperture as priority (f/1.4 for example), and the camera calculates a shutter speed (1/250 of a second) that matches that. If you change the aperture to f/2.0 by changing the aperture ring on the lens, the camera will re-calculate the speed to 1/125 so as to get the same amount of light to hit the sensor (f/2.0 is half the light through the lens as f/1.4 and 1/125 if twice the amount of light on the sensor as 1/250).

 

APO corrected basically means that the red, green and blue has been corrected to meet more precisely in the same spot. Clarity of colors and definition of details would be the result.
APO corrected basically means that the red, green and blue has been corrected to meet more precisely in the same spot. Clarity of colors and definition of details would be the result.

APO = in lens terminology stands for "apochromatically corrected". In most lenses, optical design concentrates the focus of blue light and green light into a single plane, but red light falls slightly into another plane of focus. In APO lenses, the design and expense has been put in to making red light focus on the same plane as blue and green. Under a microscope you would see that all light subject is now in focus, creating a sharper image overall. Many manufacturers offer APO designs, but in most of these only the very center of the lens is APO corrected. Leica prides itself on making most of the frame APO corrected.
APo-correction has traditionally been used for long tele lenses (and periscopes), but in recent years APO-correction has been applied to 50mm and wide angle lenses as well. One will notice that the colors are really bright and alive, almost more real than to the eye, in lenses like the Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Apochromat; ORIGIN early 20th century, made of the two words; apo (Greek origin, away from) and chromatic (Latin origin, meaing relating to color).

  spherical (ball)
spherical (ball)
  a-spherical (non-ball)
a-spherical (non-ball)
   

ASPH = (Aspherical lens) stands for "aspheric design". Most lenses have a spherical design - that is, the radius of curvature is constant. These are easy to manufacture by grinding while "spinning" the glass. This design however restricts the number of optical corrections that can be made to the design to render the most realistic image possible. ASPH lenses (a-spherical, meaning non-spherical), however, involve usually 1 element that does *not* have a constant radius of curvature. These elements can be made by 1) expensive manual grinding, 2) molded plastic, or 3) Leica's patented "press" process, where the element is pressed into an aspherical ("non-spherical") shape. This design allows Leica to introduce corrections into compact lens designs that weren't possible before. Practically, the lens performs "better" (up to interpretation) due to increased correction of the image, in a package not significantly bigger than the spherical version.

There is another Aspherical lens manufacture technique: an uneven coating layer is applied to a spherical lens. The coating is thicker on the edges (or on the center, depending). Canon "Lens Work II" calls these "simulated" aspherical lenses. Simulated and Glass-Molded (GMo) asphericals show up in non-L Canon lenses, while the L lenses have actual ground aspheric elements.

A- means non, or without. From Latin, ex.
Sphere: ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French espere, from late Latin sphera, earlier sphaera, from Greek sphaira "ball".

     
Normal spheric lens (grinded)   ASPH (note the shape of the glass as result of pressing rather than grinding)

 

Auto- means “self”. The idea is that when a camera has auto-(something), it does that (something) by itself.

Banding = Noise in digital images. Horizontal lines in a horizontal picture (if the camera is in portrait mode/vertical, the lines will obviously be vertical). It's simply noise; the result of uncontrolled algorithms working overtime with an image the sensor really can't see because it's very dark. (If your image has vertical lines in it, it is more likely that the sensor needs remapping).


This image at 6400 ISO, underexposed and then brought up to correct exposure in Lightroom, displays banding: Horizontal lines in the image. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
This image at 6400 ISO, underexposed and then brought up to correct exposure in Lightroom, displays banding: Horizontal lines in the image. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

Base ISO = The ISO the digital sensor was born with. Even a digital sensor goes from say 50 ISO to 25,000 ISO, it only has one base ISO. Any other setting is an algorithm that figures out how the image whould look if there was 64 times more light, or half the light, etc.
When you go down from Base ISO (for example 200 to 100 ISO), you can expect a decrease in quality. When you go up, the decrease is much less. For some sensors, you loose 2-3 stops by going down 1 step in ISO, but can go 8 steps up and only loose 1 stop in dynamic range. Basically, your ISO range should be from Base ISO and as far up as you can, before you see visible decrease in quality (mostly 3200 ISO - 6400 ISO).
Base ISO for Leica M9 is 160 ISO, for Leica M240 it is 200 ISO. For Leica M10 it is around 160 ISO. For Leica M Monochrom it is 320 ISO. For Leica Q and Leica Q2 it is around 100 ISO. For Panasonic Lumix S it is 200 ISO. For most Canon cameras the base ISO is around 100, for most Nikon cameras it is around 200 ISO.

 

  Barrie Gledden
  Bokeh of a Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. British composer and producer Barrie Gledden.
© 2013 Thorsten Overgaard.

Bokeh = The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens: It's a matter of taste and usually photographers discuss a 'nice' or 'pleasant' bokeh (the out-of-focus area is always unsharp, which is why the quality discussed is if one likes the way it renders or not by a particular lens). The closer you get to something, the 'more' bokeh' you get (in that the focus becomes less for the background and foreground at close distances than at long distances). ORIGIN from Japanese 'bo-ke' which mean 'fuzzines' or 'blur.'.

 

Bokeh: The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image. Photo at Bar del Fico in Rome. Leica TL2 with Leica 35mm Summilux-TL ASPH f/1.4. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.Bokeh: The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image. Photo at Bar del Fico in Rome. Leica TL2 with Leica 35mm Summilux-TL ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

C = Continuous shooting. When the ring by the Shutter Release on top of the camera (or in the menu of digital cameras that doesn't have such a feature on the outide of the camera) is moved from OFF to C, the camera takes series of images as long as the shutter release is pressed down. In some cameras the speed of continious shooting can be adjusted.

 

Camera comes from Chambre, mostly in relation to Spanish soldiers’ rooms. Obscura means 'dark', so a dark room is basically the derivation for the word camera.
Camera comes from Chambre, mostly in relation to Spanish soldiers’ rooms. Obscura means 'dark', so a dark room is basically the derivation for the word camera.

Camera - is today’s short name for Camera Obscura (meaning “a dark room”). Camera means Chambre and was used only as a Latin or alien word, actually only for Spanish soldiers’ rooms, until popularized in connection with photography in 1727: “Camera Obscura”. In 1793 the slang term “camera” was used by Sterne Tr. Shandy: “Will make drawings of you in the camera” and by Foster (1878), “The eye is a camera”. Camera Obscura was described by Iraqi scientist Ibn-al-Haytham in his book, “Book of Optics” (1021) and by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500; popularized and made widely known in 1589 by Baptista Porta when he mentioned the principle in his book “Natural Magic”. Johannes Kepler mentions Camera Obscura in 1604.
Camera = chambre (room), Obscura = dark (or cover).

 

     
 

Why is it called a "camera"..?

The word Camera is today's short name for Camera Obscura (which originally means “a dark room”).

Origin of the word Obscura means "dark" or "covered", and the word Camera means Chambre and was used originally only as a Latin or alien word, actually only for Spanish soldiers' rooms, until popularized in connection with photography in 1727: “Camera Obscura”.

In 1793 the slang term “camera” was used by Sterne Tr. Shandy: “Will make drawings of you in the camera” and by Foster (1878), “The eye is a camera”.

Ibn-al-Haytham mentioned Camera Obscura in his "Book of Optics" in 1021.
Ibn-al-Haytham mentioned Camera Obscura in his "Book of Optics" in 1021.

The concept of Camera Obscura was described by Iraqi scientist Ibn-al-Haytham in his book, “Book of Optics” (1021) and by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500; popularized and made widely known in 1589 by Baptista Porta when he mentioned the principle in his book “Natural Magic”. Johannes Kepler mentions Camera Obscura in 1604.

Camera = chambre (room), Obscura = dark (or cover).

 
     

 

CCD sensor (as used in Leica M8, M9, Leica S) = (Charged Coupling Devices) - The first digital cameras used CCD to turn images from analog light signals into digital pixels. They're made through a special manufacturing process that allows the conversion to take place in the chip without distortion. This creates high quality sensors that produce excellent images. But, because they require special manufacturing, they are more expensive than their newer CMOS counter parts.

CLA
An acronym for "(C)lean, (L)ubricate & (A)djust", whereby the item is merely re-lubricated, fine-adjusted and calibrated rather than repaired. "I just got my equipment back from CLA at Leica"

CMOS sensor (as used in Leica CL, Leica T/TL/TL2, Leica M10, Leica M 240, Leica M Monochrom Typ 246, Leica S Typ 007, Leica SL, Leica Q, Leica Q2, Leica M10, Leica X, Leica D-Lux, etc.) = (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) chips use transistors at each pixel to move the charge through traditional wires. This offers flexibility because each pixel is treated individually. Traditional manufacturing processes are used to make CMOS. It's the same as creating microchips. Because they're easier to produce, CMOS sensors are cheaper than CCD sensors. CMOS allow Live View and use less energy than CCD.

Collapsible - Usually refers to a collapsible lens such as the Leica 50mm Elmarit-M f/2.8 Collapsible, or Leica 90mm Macro Elmar-M f4.0 Collapsible, etc. A collapsible lens is one that can collaps into a compact lens when not in use.

The Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 Collapsible on a Leica M10-P Safari. Here extruded for use; it can collapse into the camera so as to be more compact when not in use. © Thorsten Overgaard.
The Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 Collapsible on a Leica M10-P Safari. Here extruded for use; it can collapse into the camera so as to be more compact when not in use. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Contrast - The degree of difference between tones in a picture. Latin contra- ‘against’ + stare ‘stand.’

 
Normal to low contrast   High contrast
     

 

D-Lux (Digital Lux) = A series of compact digital cameras by Leica Camera AG developed with Panasonic since 2003. See my article "Compact Digital Leica Cameras" and my Leica D-Lux 7 review. Lux comes from Latin and means Light.

 

 
  Lens distortion looks like this. The lines are not straight. Our eye uses distortion correction. Lens designers can design lenses so they have very little distortion, or they can make less complicated lens designs and "fix" the distortion in software.
   

Distortion = In photo optics/lenses: When straight lines in a scene don't remain straight because of optical aberration.

Lens designers can correct for distortion to a degree so the whole image field is perfect corrected and all lines remain straight. In modern lens design many designs rely on Software Distortion Correction (SDC).

The eye adjusts for distortion so we always see vertical and horizontal lines straight when we look at things. Even when you get new prescription glasses (if you use such), you will often experience distortion in your new glasses. After a few days they eyes have adjusted for the glasses and the distortion you saw to begin with is now gone. Software Distortion Correction (SDC) is far behind what the human eye can perform of adjustments. (Also see my definition on Perspective for more on the eye and optics)

 

DNG = Digital Negative, an open standard developed by Adobe. It is a single file that contains the raw image data from the sensor of the camera as well as date, time, GPS, focal length, settings, etc.
The alternative is a RAW file + XMP file where the RAW file contains the image information and the XMP contains the rest of information about where, how and when the picture was taken, as well as editing data when the photo is edited in Lightroom or Capture One.
A Camera Raw profile (that is specific for that camera) in the computer helps the software program, for example Adobe Lightroom, to translate the RAW data into the image. Camera producers provide a Camera profile with their camera, and Adobe makes their own 'refined' Adobe Raw camera profile for all new cameras.

A raw file (or DNG) is simply the full recording of digital data (1's and 0's) from the sensor. In the computer, the sensor data is translated into the exact colors, via a camera profile.
A raw file (or DNG) is simply the full recording of digital data (1's and 0's) from the sensor. In the computer, the sensor data is translated into the exact colors, via a camera profile.

 

Narrow Dept Of Field in use: The face is in focus, the hand in front is slightly out of focus, the background is much out of focus and blurry. Leica 50mm Noctilux f/1.0 at f/1.0 and 2.5 meters distance to subject in focus. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Narrow Dept Of Field in use: The face is in focus, the hand in front is slightly out of focus, the background is much out of focus and blurry, reduced to an atmosphere. Leica 50mm Noctilux f/1.0 at f/1.0 and 2.5 meters distance to subject in focus. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 
50mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4.   50mm f/1.4 lens at f/5.6
     

 

  The lines on this 28mm lens indicates the DOF. Here the focus is on infinity, and if the lens is stopped down to f/1.6, objects from 1.8 meter to ininity will be 'acceptable sharp'.
  The lines on this 28mm lens indicates the DOF. Here the focus is on infinity, and if the lens is stopped down to f/1.6, objects from 1.8 meter to ininity will be 'acceptable sharp'.
   

DOF = Depth of Field (or Depth of Focus), an expression for how deep the focus is, or (more often use to express) how narrow the area of focus is. This is how much of the image, measured in depth or ditance, will be in focus or "acceptable sharp".

The appearance of the DOF is determined by:
1) aperture (the smaller the aperture hole is, the deeper is the depth of field, and opposite, the wider open a lens you se, the more narrow will the DOF be) and
2) distance to the subject (the farther away, the larger area is sharp; the closer the subject in focus is, the more narrow the DOF gets)..
The DOF scale measurement on top of the Leica lenses shows lines for each f-stop that indicates from which distance to which distance the image will be sharp. Shallow DOF is a generally used term in photography that refer to lenses with very narrow focus tolerance, like f/1.4 and f/0.95 lenses, which can be used to do selective focus; making irrelevant subjects in the foreground and background blurry so only the subjects of essence are in focus and catches the viewers eye).
in modern cameras like the Leica SL2, the camera has a DOF scale inside the viewfinder. As DOF is the same for all lens brands and designs, only depending on focal length, distance and aperture f-stop, the camera can calculate it and show a 'digital DOF scale" in the viewfinder.

Depth Of Field scale from Fujifilm, same lens with different aperture settings from f/2.0 to f/8.0.
Depth Of Field scale from Fujifilm, same lens with different aperture settings from f/2.0 to f/8.0.


Depth of Field: Focus is on the flowers and the photograph on the desk and the foreground and background is blurred as the depth of field is narrow. If one stop down the aperture of the lens from f/1.4 to f/5.6, more will be in focus. If one stop down the lens to f/16 even more (if not all) will be in forcus. Another rule: The closer you go to a subject (the less focusing range), the more narrow the Depth of Field will be. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.
Depth of Field: Focus is on the flowers and the photograph on the desk and the foreground and background is blurred as the depth of field is narrow. If one stop down the aperture of the lens from f/1.4 to f/5.6, more will be in focus. If one stop down the lens to f/16 even more (if not all) will be in forcus. Another rule: The closer you go to a subject (the less focusing range), the more narrow the Depth of Field will be. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Dynamic range. The grade of ‘contrast range’ (or number of tones) a film or sensor, or simply a photograph, possess between bright and dark tones. The human eye is said to have a dynamic range of 10-14 ‘stops’ (but because we scan area by area and compile a concept of the overall scene, they eye is often thought to have a much higher dynamic range), Film used to have 7-13 ‘stops’ and some modern sensors have up to 15-17 ‘stops’.

E - Diameter in Leica filters and screw diameter, as in E46 which means that the filter diameter is 49mm for this lens. In general language, one would see Ø46 used, as Ø is the general symbol for diameter.

 

Elmar = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f3.5 . Historically derived from the original 1925 50mm f3.5 Elmax lens, which was an acronym of (E)rnst (L)ieca and Professor (Max) Berek, designer of the original lenses. Later that year the 50mm f3.5 Elmar superceded the Elmax, which was discontinued due to its complexity and high cost of manufacture.

 

Elmarit = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f2.8 . The name is obviously derived from the earlier (and slower) "Elmar" designation. Not every f/2.8 lens is called an "Elmarit" though, the most obvious current exception being the 50mm f2.8 Elmar-M collapsible lens which for nostalgia and marketing reasons has kept the original 1930's Elmar name (the 50mm f3.5 collapsible Elmar, manufactured 1930-59, was one of Leica's most famous and popular lenses). Vario-Elmarit (and Vario-Summicron, etc) is Leica Camera AG's name for zoom lenses.

 

Elmax
Elmax lens named after = Ernst Leitz + Max Berak. Ernst Leitz was the founder of Ernst Leitz Optical Industry which later became Leica. Professor Dr. Max Berak was employed at Leica in 1912 and was the architech of the first Leica lens which Ernst Leitz asked him to design for the "Barnack's camera" (the 1913-prototype named after Oscar Barnack who invented it). The lens was a f/3.5 50mm and was known as the Leitz Anstigmat and later the Elmax.

 

Elmax (Ernst Leitz Max Berek) by Marco Cavina 2010
The Leitz Elmax 50mm f/3,5 (1925-1961) on the Leica A camera (1925) camera. Photo by Marco Cavina.

EVF = Electronic ViewFinder. A viewfinder where you look at a small screen through optics/prisms. The advantage is that you see what the sensor sees.


The EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) on the Leica SL 601.
The EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) on the Leica SL 601.

 

EXIF =Exchangeable Image File, a file generated in camera and enclosed in the image file that contains recording information on the image such as shutter speed, exposure compensation, what metering system was used, aperture setting, ISO setting, date and time the image was taken, whitebalance, which lens was used, camera model and serial number. Some images may even store GPS information so you can see where the image were taken. The data from the EXIF file continues to follow any later editions of the image and can be read in photo editing software such as Capture One and Lightroom, as well as Photoshop (go to the menu File > File Info). There is also software available that can read EXIF data from any file, like Exifdata.com.


The EXIF data is all the information about shutter speed, metering method, ISO, etc. - and then some more that you don't see on the screen (such as camera model, serial number, lens used, etc).


Exposure Bracketing = The possibility to set the camera to automatically record a series of images where the exposure is above and below what the camera measures. The idea is that at least one of the images will be correctly exposed.

f/ (f-stop, also known as aperture).

f- (focal length). Often given in mm, for example 90mm. In the past they were often given in cm or inch, for example 9.5 cm or 3.2 inch.


f-stop = the ratio of the focal length (for example 50mm) of a camera lens to the diameter of the aperture being used for a particular shot. (E.g., f/8, indicating that the focal length is eight times the diameter of the aperture hole: 50mm/8 = 6,25 mm); or the other way around, the hole is the focal length divided with 8).
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from f (denoting the focal length) and number.
One f-stop is a doubling or halving of the light going through the lens to the film, by adjusting the aperture riing. Adjusting the f-setting from f 1.4 to f.2.0 is halving the light that goes through the lens. Most Leica lenses has half f-stops to enable the photographer to adjust the light more precicely.

 

 

Filters = Glass filters you put in front of the lens. A much used filter is the claer UV filter that is supposed to protects the front of the lens. Other filters are color filters that add effects to black and white photography by changing the color balance. Other filters are ND (Neutral Density) filters that reduce the amount of light coming through (used for for example video recordings as video is usuallu filmed at 1/50th second shutter speed and thus most lenses are too bright wide open. Or they are used for long exposure photography in order to record for example stars movements over the sky. Other filters are filters that create star effects, or blur the view, and almost any effect you can think of.

A traditional Yellow filter slightly darkens skies, helps to cut through haze, and improves overall contrast. Yellows and reds within the scene are also lightened.
A traditional Yellow filter in 49mm diameter to screw onto the front of the lens. The yellow filter is used for black and white photography where it slightly darkens skies, helps to cut through haze, and improves overall contrast. Yellows and reds within the scene are also lightened.

 

Flare = Burst of light. Internal reflections between (and within) lens elements inside a lens. Mostly, flare has a characteristic "space travel" look to it, making it cool. Particularly in older lenses with less or no coating of the glass surfaces to suppress this, it can be a really cool effect. In newer lens designs, the coatings and overall design try to suppress flare and any reflections to a degree, so that there is seldom any flare to be picked up (moving the lens to pick up a strong sunbeam), but instead a "milking out" (or "ghosting") of a circular area of the frame; meaning simply overexposed without any flare-looking flares.

 

Sunlight creating (fairly supressed) flare in the bottom right quadrant of the image of a modern lens.

  The camera moved slightly to avoid the flare.

Older lenses with less coating, or without coating, are known to create flare that can look like this (Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II Rigid model from the 1960's). © Thorsten Overgaard.
Older lenses with less coating, or without coating, are known to create flare that can look like this (Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 II Rigid model from the 1960's). © Thorsten Overgaard.

Lens flare in the movie, The Graduate (1967).
Lens flare in the movie, The Graduate (1967).

Lens flare in Mission Impossible Fallout (2019)
Lens flare in Mission Impossible Fallout (2019)

Lens Flare in Star Trek (2013). JJ Abrams famously said, "I know there's too much lens flare ... I just love it so much. But I think admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery (ha ha)" 
Lens Flare in Star Trek (2013). JJ Abrams famously said, "I know there's too much lens flare ... I just love it so much. But I think admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery (ha ha)" 

 

FLE = See "Floating Elements"

Flickering in the EVF is very normal and will apear often without the vertical lines you see in the EVF will be in the picture.

 
  Floating elements (a group of lenses or can also be s aingle lens element). .

Floating Elements (FLE) = Near focus correction in a lens by having a single lens or a group of lenses floating independently of the other lenses. Most lenses are born with poor performance at their closest focusing distance. Center sharpness may be good, but aberrations and corner softness increase when you’re shooting closeups. Floating elements are lens elements outside of the primary focus group that change position when the lens is focused on a close object, correcting aberrations and improving close up performance. 
Floating Elements originally was coined by Canon in the 1960's and quickly became the general term for this feature. Other brands came up with new names for the same thing, Minolta called it Floating Focusing, Nikon used the term Close-Range Correction (CRC), Leica call it FLE/Floating Elements.
Floating elements are for close-focus improvement of image quality and not for reducing "focus shift". Floating elements by themselves cannot reduce focus shift, but by reducing the impact of focus distance on performance, they give the designers more freedom in other areas - which could include minimising focus shift.
(As a side-note, when a lens "rattler when moved, it is not the floating elements "floating around" but can be the IS (Image Stabilization) elements for elense that has that, AF elements for auto focus lenses, or the aperture cage that rattles (as in the case of the Leica 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4 FLE - if you stop down the Summilux to f/16, the sound is usually not there).

 
  A 28 mm lens has a 74° viewing angle
   

Focal length = Originally focal length referred to the distance from the sensor (or film in older days) to the center of focus inside the lens (28mm, 50mm, 400mm, etc). Today one call it effective focal length (EFL) as a 400mm lens is not nessesarily 400mm long due to optical constructions that can make it shorter. The 35-420mm zoom on the Leica V-Lux 1 is for example only ca. 135 mm long. Nobody uses that measurement, except those who construct lenses! For users of lenses, focal length refers to how wide the lens sees. The viewing angle, which is often given in for example 90° viewing angle for a 21mm lens, 74° viewing angle for a 28mm lens, 6° viewing angle for a 400mm lens, etc.
Each human eye individually has anywhere from a 120° to 200° angle of view, but focus only in the center.

 

Focus, in - Sharp and clear in appearance. Focus - “The burning point (of a lens or mirror)”. In Latin the word focus meant fireplace or hearth. The word was probably first employed outside of its Latin literal use as “the burning point of a lens or mirror” in optics, and then came to mean any central point. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler first recorded the word in this sense in 1604.

Focus shift = That the focus of a lens shifts as the aperture changes. For example, if one focus a 50mm lens at f/2.0 and then stop the aperture down to f/8, the focus may change, especially noticeable in close focusing. Modern lenses with floating elements (FLE) where the floating elements adjust for image quality in close-focusing may also help avoid focus shift.

Four Thirds - Also known as "4/3" - The Four Thirds System is a standard created by Olympus and Kodak for digital SLR camera design and development.
The system provides a standard which, with digital cameras and lenses available from multiple manufacturers, allows for the interchange of lenses and bodies from different manufacturers. Companies developing 4:3 cameras and/or lenses are Fuji, Kodak, Leica, Olympus, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sigma. See www.4-3system.com
A further development in this was Micro Four Thirds Systems.

 

Frame lines = the lines inside a viwfinder that indicates the edger of the frame. In a Leica M, the viewfinder always is as wide view as 24-28mm. A mechanical contach on the lens (triggers the camreas frame selector) so the viewfinder shows the frame line of that lens. In the Leica M, the frame lines comes in sets, so there are alwaus twop sets of frame lines shown at any time (see illustration below).
(This is different than in most cameras where you only see what the lens captures: SLR cameras was the evolution in 1940's where the image from the lens was displayed directly onto a matte screen inside the camera via a mirror. Later mirrorless cameras, the viewfinder shows the exact picture that the sensor sees through the lens).

Frame lines of the Leica M, here showing the set of 35mm and 90mm framelines.
Frame lines of the Leica M, here showing the set of 35mm and 90mm framelines.

 

 
  Full Frame is "king of photography"
   

Full Frame (FF) = The size of the sensor is 24 x 36mm which is the format Oskar Barnack and Leica Camera AG invented with the first Leica that was introduced in 1925. Many other formats invented since, such as APS, APS-C and all usually refer to Full Frame ratio, by which it means what size they have compared to Full Frame. The "full frame" technically deifinition thouhg is a sensor that camtures the full frame in one go (as the early sensors as in Leica S1 scanned the image/senor over a period of time).
The 24 x 36mm Full Frame format is so "king of photography" that it has continued to be the ideal for all cameras. Besides this, there exists Large Format cameras such as 4x5" (100 x 125 mm) and Medium Format 6x6 (60 x 60mm amongst other sizes in that area).

 

Ghosting = Secondary light or image from internal reflections between (and within) lens elements inside a lens. The reflected light may not always be in focus, so overall it looks like a "milked out" image. A subject in focus has brightened patches in front of it that come from reflections inside the lens. the most elementary look of ghosting is when you look in a rear-view mirror in a car at night and you see doubles of the headlights behind you (a strong one and a weaker one), because the headlights are reflected in a layer of clear glass on top of the mirror glass.

   
Degrees of ghosting from strong sunlight entering from outside the frame. To the right the outside light has been shielded with a shade.

 

ISO = Light sensitivity of the camera sensor is given in ISO (International Organization for Standardization). It's a standard that was used in film and is now used in all digital cameras also. The base ISO for the Leica TL2 sensor is around 100-150 which means that this is what the sensor "sees". All other levels are computer algorithms calculating the effect as if the sensor could "see" more (hence noise at higher ISO levels).
ISO goes in steps of doubling: When the ISO is raised from 100 ISO to 200 ISO, the camera only need half the amount of light to make the same picture. For each step in ISO to 400, 800, 1600, 3200, etc. the light sensitivity is doubled for the sensor (and the camera sensor only need half the light of the previous ISO to record the same image).


6400 ISO indoor photo. With modern cameras the ISO can go to 3200, 6400, 12,800 and even higher without loss of dynamic range and without digital noise. Leica M10 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.

JPEG = A standard for picture format made in the 1990's by Joint Photographic Experts Group). Mostly referred to as JPG as in L1003455.JPG which would be the name for a JPG file from the camera.

 

Leica L-mount bayonet.
Leica L-mount bayonet.

L-mount = Lens bayonet mount introduced by Leica for the Leica T in 2014 and used for Leica TL, Leica CL and Leica SL. Since 2019 the L-mount has also been shared with Panasonic, Sigma and others who produce cameras and lenses that are compatible with Leica L cameras and lenses lenses, and vice versa.
The L-mount has a diameter of 51.6 millimeter which is big enough for any design we could wish to design, and at the same time compact enough for the L-mount to be used on compact cameras such as Leica TL and Leica CL with APS-C sensor sizes. Leica chief lens designer Peter Karbe spent years calculating this ideal size, large enouhg for any design, yet as compact as possible. Read my article "Small Camera, Large Print" (2019) with interview with lens designer Peter Karbe for more.
After Leica introduced this new bayonet mount in 2014, Nikon (Z-mount 55mm), Fuji (G-mount 65mm) and Canon (RF-mount 54mm) followed with similar new bayonet mounts, but with bigger diameter, making them less able to produce compact lenses.

 

Lantern slideshow in 1897.
A screen on a camera is often referred to as "LCD Screen" for no particular reason (illustration is the back of the Leica Q2 special limited "James Bond/Daniel Craig & Greg Williams" version (2021).

LCD = Screen. LCD itself means liquid crystal display, which is slightly irrelevant (what it is made of) as the expression is mostly used to simply mean "screen".

Leica = A compound word derived from " (Lei)tz" and "(ca)mera". Apparently they were originally going to use "LECA", but another camera company already used a similar name in France, so they inserted the 'i' to prevent any confusion.

 

The word lens derives from lentil, because of the similar shape.
The word lens derives from lentil, because of the similar shape.

Lens - A piece of glass or similarly transparent material (like water or plastic) that has a shape so that it can direct light rays. The word “Lens” is used both for single piece of glass as well as a camera lens with several lenses that works together. From ‘lentil’ because similar in shape.

A camera lens consists of several shaped lens elements of glass. The lenses can also be made of simple cheap plastic as in "kit lenses" (sold with a camera as a kit to make a workable cheap package), but it is mostly very exotic glass (that can be heavy or light in weight, very hard or very soft in surface (esay to scratch or very resistant) with each optical glass recipe made to develop very specific qualities in how the glass and final lens treats light. As a general rule, high quality glass is soft, which is why some lenses has as their front and back element, a non-optical lens element that is there to protect the actual optical glass from scratches. As a side noite, Leica made their own glass laboraty, The Leitz Glass Laboratory, from 1949-1989, which deveopled 35 new glass types and took out more than 2,000 patents of glass recipes from more than 50,000 experimental melts of glass. These designs, or recipes, are still used today by the lens designers to obtain very specific optical results. Other lens manufacturers in the world of course have had their glass laboratories, and today one will find an interchange of glass patents amongst production facilities that service Leica, Nikon,, Fuji and so on with optical lens elements.
A camera lens consists of several shaped lens elements of glass. The lenses can also be made of simple cheap plastic as in "kit lenses" (sold with a camera as a kit to make a workable cheap package), but it is mostly very exotic glass (that can be heavy or light in weight, very hard or very soft in surface (esay to scratch or very resistant) with each optical glass recipe made to develop very specific qualities in how the glass and final lens treats light. As a general rule, high quality glass is soft, which is why some lenses has as their front and back element, a non-optical lens element that is there to protect the actual optical glass from scratches. As a side noite, Leica made their own glass laboraty, The Leitz Glass Laboratory, from 1949-1989, which deveopled 35 new glass types and took out more than 2,000 patents of glass recipes from more than 50,000 experimental melts of glass. These designs, or recipes, are still used today by the lens designers to obtain very specific optical results. Other lens manufacturers in the world of course have had their glass laboratories, and today one will find an interchange of glass patents amongst production facilities that service Leica, Nikon,, Fuji and so on with optical lens elements.

 

Lens hood = (also called a Lens shade or Ventilated Shade). A tube or ring attached to the front of a camera lens to prevent unwanted light from reaching the lens and sensor. In the past where lenses were not coated to prevent internal reflections inside the lens, the lens hood was often essential. These days where lenses are coated, the shade serves just as much as decoration and protection (bumper) as well.
ORIGIN Old English hod; related to Dutch hoed, German Hut 'hat,' also to hat.

Lens hood or Lens shade or ventilated shade. In the picture is a ventilated shade with clip-on mount to a 50mm f/2.0 lens. Ventilated means it has openings that allow for view from the viewfinder.
Lens hood or Lens shade or ventilated shade. In the picture is a ventilated shade with clip-on mount to a 50mm f/2.0 lens. Ventilated means it has openings that allow for view from the viewfinder.

 

Lens names of Leica distinguish which widest aperture the lens has:

Noctilux f/0.95 - f/1.25
Nocticron f/ 1.2 (Leica-designed Panasonic lens)
Summilux f/ 1.4 - f/1.7
Summicron f/2.0
Summarit f/2.4 - 2.5
Hektor f/1.9 - f/6.3 (used 1930-1960 for screw mount lenses only)
Elmarit f/2.8
Elmar f/2.8 - f/4.5
Elmax f/3.5 (only used 1921-1925 for the 50mm Elmax f/3.5)
Telyt f/2.8 - f/6.8 (used for tele lenses)

 

Light = Tiny particles called photons that behaves like both waves and particles. Light makes objects visible by reflecting off of them, and in photography that reflecting off of subjects is what creates textures, shapes, colors and luminance. Light in its natural form (emanating from the sun) also gives life to plants and living things, and makes (most) people happier. So far, nobody has been able to determine exactly what light is. The word photography means “writing with light” (photo = light, -graphy = writing). Read more about light in my book Finding the Magic of Light.

 

Live View = This is the ability to see the image the sensor see, live, via the screen on the back of the camera, or via an electronic viewfinder (EVF).

LMT - Leica Thread-Mount: Also known as M39, is the screw mounted lenses for Leica cameras. It’s a simple as that; you screw on the lens, and back in 1932, the possibility to change the lens was the big news hwen introduced by Leica on the Leica III. The M39 system was updated with the M Bayonet from 1954 for the Leica M3. The M bayonet is a quick way to change lenses and is the current mount for Leica M digital rangefinders.

M (as in "M3", "M6", "M7" etc.)
A) The M originally stands for "Messsucher", which is German "Meßsucher" for "Rangefinder". The "3" in M3 was chosen because of the three bright line finders for the 50, 90 and 135 mm lenses. Later the numbers of the M cameras were more or less chosen to follow each other.
M-body evolution in chronologic order:
M3 - MP - M2 - M1 - MD - MDA - M4 - M5 - CL - MD-2 - M4-2 - M4-P - M6 - M6 TTL - M7 - MP - M8 - M8.2 - M9 - M9-P - MM (black and white sensor) - ME (Type 220) - Leica M (Type 240) - Leica M-P 240 - Leica M 246 Monochrom - Leica M-A (type 127, film camera) - Leica M 262 - Leica M-D 262 (without a screen) - Leica M10 - Leica M10-P, Leica M10 Monochrom, Leica M10-R.
B) M also refer to M-mount as the M bayonet that couple the Leica M lenses to the Leica M camera. Before the M bayonet the coupling between the camera and lens was screwmount.
C) M nowadays refer to the Leica M line of cameras rather than the "Messsucher".

 

The Leica M bayonet on the Leica M10.
The Leica M bayonet on the Leica M10.

M-mount: The Leica M-mount is a bayonet that was introduced with the Leica M3 camera in 1954 and has been used on all subsequent Leica M cameras, as well as on the Epson R-D1, Konica Hexar RF, Minolta CLE, Ricoh GXR, Rollei 35RF, Voigtländer Bessa, and Zeiss Ikon cameras (2019).
Compared to the previous screw mount (M39), the M mount requires a quick turn of the lens, and ithe lens is mounted. The patent for the M-bayonet ("Bajonettvorrichtung für die lösbare Verbindung zweier Kamerateile") was registered by Ernst Leitz GmbH 10 February 1950 (patent number DE853384). Hugo Wehrenfennig was credited with the invention.

M9
Leica M9 is a model name for the Leica M9 that was introduced on September 9, 2009 (as the first full-frame digital Leica M). It was the latest model designation using the M and a number. From their next model, Leica Camera AG introduced a new model system so each camera would simply be a Leica M but then with a model designation like Typ 240, Typ 246, Typ M-D 262 and so on. The idea was inspired from Apple who name their computers for example MacBook Pro and then it has a sub- model number designation which model it is (and which would define speed of processor, etc).


Leica M9 digital rangefinder (2009). © Thorsten Overgaard.
Leica M9 digital rangefinder (2009). © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

MACRO = Macro lens. The Leica 60mm APO-Elmarit-Macro-R ASPH f/2.8 is a 60mm lens for portraits, landscapes, etc. as well as a near focus macro lens. The Leica Q lens can be turned to Macro which enables you to go close so as to enlarge smaller subjects. The Leica M cameras becomes Macro when you add a Macro ring "Oufro" or "Leica Macro M Adapter" that increases the lens' distance to the sensor. The word macro comes from Greek makros ‘long, large.’

 

The word macro comes from Greek makros ‘long, large.’ The Leica 60mm APO-Elmarit-Macro ASPH f/2.9 is both a 60mm lens for portraits, landscapes, etc as well as a near focus macro. © Thorsten Overgaard.
The word macro comes from Greek makros ‘long, large.’ The Leica 60mm APO-Elmarit-Macro ASPH f/2.8 is both a 60mm lens for portraits, landscapes, etc. as well as a near focus macro. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Mandler, Dr. Walter (1922 - 2005)
Legendary Leica lens designer and CEO of Ernst Leitz Canada (ELCAN) 1952-1985. Read more in Leica History.

Dr. Walter Mandler (center) at the Ernst Leitz Camera factory.
Dr. Walter Mandler (center) at the Ernst Leitz Camera factory.

 

Megapixel (or MP) - Millions of pixels. See pixel further down. How many units of RGB is recorded by a given sensor by taking height x widt. A Leica M10 delivers a 5952 x 3968 pixel file = 23,617,536 piexls. On a screen the resolution you choose determines the size of the image. Say you have a 5000 pixel wide file and your screen is set for 8000 pixels wide. Then the image will fill only the 5000 pixels fo the 8000 and the rest will be empty, If you then change the screen resolution to 5000 wide, the image would be able to fill out the whole screen.

Meßsucher = (rangefinder or distance finder) = Mess = range, sucher = finder. It is always correctly written with the "ß". There are technically not three "s", rather the "ß" and one "s" because it is a word constructed by the combining of two precise words.

MF (Manual Focus) for lenses that are focused by hands, as opposed to Auto Focus.

 

Focal length is determined by the distance from focus inside the lens to sensor surface to, and is given in milliemeters (mm). © Thorsten Overgaard.
Focal length is determined by the distance from focus inside the lens to sensor surface to, and is given in milliemeters (mm). © Thorsten Overgaard.

mm = millimeter(s), as in a 50mm lens. (Earlier in lens history lenses focal length was given in cm = centimeters; as in a 5 cm lens). For anyone used to centimeters and millimeters, it’s no wonder. But if you grew up with inches, feet and yards, you may have had a hard time grasping what a 50mm lens was. But as lenses were designed first in Europe, the metric system with centimeters and millimeters was used to describe lenses.
(Leica and others made lenses for a while with either meter scale or feet scale; but then eventually started including meter and feet on all the lenses (two scales, usually distinguished with different colors). However, the lens' focal length remained always 50mm, 75mm and so on).
The reason a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens is that there is 50mm from the focus plane (the film or sensor surface) to the center of focus inside the lens. When photography was a young subject, it was engineers who made it all, and the users were expected to understand. The engineers were so into the making of the lenses, that it apparently never dawned upon them that today’s users would think of a 21mm lens as a wide angle lens rather than a lens where there is 21mm from the sensor to the center of focus inside the optics.

MP
a) Stands for Mechanical Perfection, as in the Leica M-P.
b) Megapixels (millions of pixels).
c) Megaphotosites (millions of photosites).

ND
Neutral Density filters are grey filters function as 'sunglasses' for lenses. They simply block the light so that a lens can work at for example f/0.95 or f/2.0 in sunshine.
If a camera is set to 200 ISO and the maximum shutter speed is 1/4.000, this will usually result that the lens has to be at f/2.8 or smaller aperture in sunshine. Else the image will over-exposed. So in order til stay within the maximum shutter speed of 1/4.000 and still use a lightstrong lens wide open, one mount a ND-filter that reduce the light with 3 stops (8X) or 6 stops (64x).
For video ND-filters are used quite a lot (as the shutter speed for video is 1/60), and ND-filters are also used to reduce the light for really long multi-exposures at night (stop-motion video and stills).
ND-filters also exist as variable ND-filters so one can adjust the amount of light going through from for example 1 stop (2X) to 6 stops (64X).
ND-filters also exist as graduated ND-filters where the top of the filter is dark and then gradually tone over in no filter (so as to reduce the skylight in a landscape for example).
The ND filters are called Neutral because it is a neutral filter. It doesn't change colors, only the amount of light.

ND-Filrers. Neutral Density. Photo © Thorsten Overgaard
ND-filters / gray-filters.


Noctilux = Also known as "King of the Night" because "Nocti" means Night and "Lux" means Light. The f/1.0 lenes from Leica are named "Noctilux". The first Leica Noctilux lens was the 50mm Noctilux f/1.2 which shortly after it's introduction was improved to the 50mm Noctilux f/1.0. In the current model the f-stop has been improved further to f/0.95.
"Noctilux" refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f1.0 . "Nocti" for nocturnal (occurring or happening at night; ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from late Latin nocturnalis, from Latin nocturnus ‘of the night,’ from nox, noct- ‘night.), "lux" for light. The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 is famous for enabling the photographer to take photos even there is only candleligts to lit the scene. See the article "Leica Noctilux - King of the Night"

The Noctilux "King of the Night" lens. From left the 0.95 in silver (same on the camera, in black, the f/1.0 in the back and the rare and expensive first model, the f/1.2 in the front.
The Noctilux "King of the Night" lens. From left the f/0.95 in silver (same on the camera, in black), the f/1.0 in the back and the rare and expensive first model, the f/1.2 in the front.

 

No.
Number, on this site Leica catalog numbers or order numbers. Some the numbers changed depending on the number of cams in the lens: The Elmarit-R f2.8/135mm started life as No. 11 111, however when fitted with 2 cams for the SL became No. 11 211, yet another No. for the 3 cams lens and a fourth number for 3 cam only at the end of its life. Number changes also applied to M lenses depending on whether they were screw-thread, bayonet or for M3 with “spectacles”. Thus the No. in the Thorsten Overgaard Leica Lens Compendium list is a guideline but not a comlete list of existing catalog numbers.

 

Optic = Eye or vision. From French optique or medieval Latin opticus, from Greek optikos, from optos ‘seen.’

 

Leitz Oufro part no 16469

Oufro (model 16469Y)
An original Leitz Extension Ring (produced 1959-1983 as part no. 16469). Used with Oubio for all the longer (125mm+) Visoflex lenses and without OUBIO for 35/50mm. OUFRO can be stacked for greater magnification and will work on the Leica M Type 240 as macro for all lenses (including the Noctilux, 90mm APO-Summicron and even 21mm lenses).

The OUFTO on Leica M Type 240The OUFTO on Leica M Type 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 

Perspective = The way objects appear to the eye; their relative position and distance. Also, selective focus (foreground and background out of focus) can change the perception of perspective (also see Three-dimensional). A wide angle "widens" the perspective and makes objects further away appear smaller than they are to the eye; and objects closer, relatively larger than they are to the eye. A tele lens will "flatten" the perspective and often objects further away will appear relatively larger than close objects than they are in real life. A 50mm lens is the one closest to the perspective and enlargement ratio of the human eye.

The word Perspective comes from the latin word for optics (perspicereper- ‘through’ + specere ‘to look’), and so-called Renaissance painting is simply painting done within the framework of optics and the linear perspective it presents.

 

Perspective is relative position and distance. As here where the girl in front is more than two times taller than the people walking, and 8 times taller than the people in the far background. Also, the parts of the buildings closer to the viewer are "taller" than the parts of the same building further away. Late afternoon sun in Denmark. Leica TL2 with Leica 35mm Summilux-TL ASPH f/1.4. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.
Perspective is relative position and distance. As here where the girl in front is more than two times taller than the people walking, and 8 times taller than the people in the far background. Also, the parts of the buildings closer to the viewer are "taller" than the parts of the same building further away. Late afternoon sun in Denmark. Leica TL2 with Leica 35mm Summilux-TL ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 
  Vanishing points are the points where lines meet. This is how you make perspective in paintings and drawings (and some times make movie sets or theatre stages appear more three-dimensional than they are)
   

Painters works with vanishing points, which is where the lines meet, so as to create an illusion of perspective and three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional painting or drawing.

The human eye corrects for perspective to an extreme degree. We always see vertical lines vertical and horisontal lines horisontal: The eye has a angle of view equivalent to an 8mm wide angle lens, a size ratio equivalent to a 50mm lens and we focus on relatively small area of the viewing field - one at the time. Three things happens that are worth paying attention to:

1) We compile areas of our view that we focus on, to one conceptual image that "we see". Ansel Adams, the great American landscape photographer pointed out that a large camera used for landscape photography capture every detail in focus and sharp so you can view it in detail after; but the eye does not see everything in focus when you try to compose the landscape photography, the eye scans only one part at a time and stitch the idea together. This makes composing or prevision of a landscape photography challenging.

2) We compile areas of our view that we individually adjust the exposure of. A camera adjust the exposure of the whole image frame to one exposure. That's why what looks like a nice picture to the eye of houses in sunshine with a blue sky above, becomes a photograph of darker buildings with a bright white sky: The camera simply can't take one picture that compare to what we "compiled" with our eyes, adjusting for each type of light.

3) Objects (on a table, for example) in the bottom of our viewing field will appear 100% perspective corrected - to a degree that it is impossible to correct in optics, with or without software correction. A wide angle lens, even with little distortion, will exaggerate the proportions of the closet part so it - to the eye - looks wrong.

 

Perspective distortion: Comparing these two photographs you can see how the cup stretches in the 28mm wide angle photograph compared to the 50mm photograph. Both actually has a little stretch because both the cup is in the edge of the frame in both photographs. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.
Perspective distortion: Comparing these two photographs you can see how the cup stretches in the 28mm wide angle photograph compared to the 50mm photograph. Both actually has a little stretch because both the cup is in the edge of the frame in both photographs. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Perspective correction - In software like Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro there is often a feature to correct perspective (and distortion) like seen below. You can change perspective this way, or at least make believe: If you correct a tall building on teh vertical lines, you will notice that the height of the windows doesn't match the perspective. If the building is with straight lines, the windows should all be of the same size. But a tall building seen from below and corrected with software will have taller windows (closer to camera) in the bottom than in the top (further away from the camera originally).

Perspective correction in Adobe Lightroom. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.  Perspective correction - In software like Adobe Lightroom there is often a feature to correct perspective (and distortion) like seen below. You can change perspective this way, or at least make believe: If you correct a tall building on teh vertical lines, you will notice that the height of the windows doesn't match the perspective. If the building is with straight lines, the windows should all be of the same size. But a tall building seen from below and corrected with software will have taller windows (closer to camera) in the bottom than in the top (further away from the camera originally).
Perspective correction in Adobe Lightroom. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

  A graphic illustration of the typical Bayer Color Filter Array on an RGB sensor. It's called a Bayer filter because Bryce Bayer of Eastman Kodak invented the technology of filtering incoming light into RGB and distribute it into the the photosites that each read just one color (R/G/G/B).
  A graphic illustration of the typical Bayer Color Filter Array on an RGB sensor. It's called a Bayer filter because Bryce Bayer of Eastman Kodak invented the technology of filtering incoming light into RGB and distribute it into the the photosites that each read just one color (R/G/G/B).
   

Photosite - The unit in a digital camera sensor that records intensity of either red, green or blue. Unlike the output of a sensor, measured in pixels (and where each pixel contains RGB), the photosite records only one color each, and it's intensity (how bright it is). A photosite can not distinguish colors, which is why there is a Color Filter Array (basically a prism) above them to filter the colors and send information to the photosite if 's a R, G og B color. See illustration below. In a monochrome sensor (as in the Leica M Monochrom and the Phase One Achromatic), all photosites are recording intensity of light only as there is no concern which color it is, and there is no color filter.
The ratio of photosites to pixels is not a given. Each block of 4 contiguous photosites contains one photosite sensitive to low wavelengths (blue), one photosite sensitive to high wavelengths (red), and two identical photosites sensitive to medium wavelengths (green). So four photosites would be the minimum to create one 'full-color' pixel. Apart from that, depends on the sensor specifications, which is different from brand to brand. Sometimes four photosites (two Green, one Red and one Blue) makes up one pixel, at other times it's more photosites to one pixel; and there is also pixels sampled from photosites across (sort of overlapping patterns).

 

Pixel - Made up word from Pix (picture) and el (element). A pixel is the smallest full-color (RGB) element in a digital imaging device. The physical size of a pixel depends on how you've set the resolution for the display screen. The color and tonal intensity of a pixel are variable, meaning that each pixel contains RGB. This is different from a camera sensor's small eyes (photosite) that are an intensity of either red, green or blue. You could say that the digital sensor's photosite (where each unit collects just one color; red, green or blue) is the input technology, whereas the pixels on a screen (where each pixel contains red, green and blue) is the output device. So while sensors are measured in megapixels (mega = million), it's their output unit of pixels, and not the input unit of photosites that is measured and stated. See illustration below.

 

Here's an illustration of how light goes into photosites that each record either R, G or B and then - combined - makes up one pixel containing RGB. © Thorsten Overgaard.
Here's an illustration of how light goes through a color filter that enables the underlying photosites to each record if it';s an R, G or B color - combined - makes up one pixel containing RGB. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

R = Resolution, in the name Leica M10-R camera model (2020).

 

Rigid - Refers usually to the Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "Rigid" of 1956.
It is called "Rigid" because, unlike the 50mm Collapsible, this one is not able to be changed.
Rigid means stiff, uable to be forced out of shape. Not able to be changed. From Latin rigere, "be stiff".
The name is a little confusion nowadays as all or most lenses are rigid today, but back in 1925-1956, many lenses were collapsible so the camera was compact when not in use. Just like compact cameras today often has a lens that extrudes when the camera is turned on, and collaps into the camera body when the camera is turned off.

RF
(R)ange (F)inder - the mechano-optical mechanism which allows M Leicas to focus.
Alternative meaning - RF is also shorthand for Hexar RF , Konica's motorised "M-lens-compatible" rangefinder camera released in 2000.

S = Single image. When the ring by the shutter release on top of the camera (or in the menu of a digital camera in case it does not have this ring on the ourside) is moved from OFF to S, the camera takes only one photo at the time (Single). The other possibility is Continuous where the camera takes pictures continiously as long as the shutter release button is helt down. (see above).

 

Saturation: How colorful, intense or pure the color is. Less saturation would be less colorful, more saturation would be more colorful. In today’s photography, de-saturating a photo on the computer will gradually make it less and less colorful; and full de-saturation would make it into a black and white photo.

A photo from Verona, Italy de-saturated, normal saturated and over-saturated. © Thorsten Overgaard.
A photo from Verona, Italy de-saturated, normal saturated and over-saturated. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Sensor = A device that detects a physical property (like light) and records it. A camera sensor is a plane plate with thousands of small “eyes” with (photosites) a lens in front of each (CFA, Color Filter Array), which each individually records the amount of red, green and blue light rays that comes through the lens. Together, Red, Green and Blue form all colors of the spectrum, which becomes a pixel. Sensor comes from Latin sens- ‘perceived’.

Sharpness - See “Focus”

Shutter speed dial - The dial on top of the Leica M where you can set the shutter speed manually. It can also be set to A which stands for Aperture Priority (where the camera suggests a shutter speed; or when you move the dial away from A, the camera will show arrows in the viewfinder, suggesting which direction to change the Aperture to, to get the correct exposure).

SDC (Software Distortion Correction): In Lightroom the correction profile for the Fujinon 23mm is applied automatically and cannot be turned off. If you go into Develop mode in Lightroom and look under Lens Correction > Profile, you will see a message in the bottom with an exclamation mark. When you click on that, you get the message above.
Shutter speed dial set to 1/1000 of a second.

 

  The 6-bit code on the flange of the lens is read by the sensor on the Leica M bayonet of all digiral Leica M cameras since 2006. © Thorsten Overgaard.
  The 6-bit code on the flange of the lens is read by the sensor on the Leica M bayonet of all digital Leica M cameras since 2006. © Thorsten Overgaard.
   

Six-bit code (6-bit code) - An engraving on the flange of M-lenses that makes it possible for digital M-cameras to recognize the lens that has been mounted. The camera can include information on the attached lens and its focal length in EXIF data and make digital corrections for lens-specific flaws, such as color-cast or vignetting. Six-bit coding was introduced for all M-lenses sold since 2006, but many older lenses can be retrofitted with the code at Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar.

 

SL = Abbreviation for Single-Lens as in the Leica SL that is a camera without reflex (mirror).

 

SLR = Abbreviation for Single-Lens Reflex; the lens that forms the image on the film/sensor also provides the image in the viewfinder via a mirror. Newer camera models has aen EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) that displays in the viewfinder what the sensor sees in real-time.

 

  Leitz Wetzlar Mikro-Summar 42mm
  Leitz Wetzlar Mikro-Summar 42mm f/4.5 lens anno 1910 might be the first lens carrying the name Summar.

Summar - (or a story of name development)
The 1933 lens 50mm f2.0 Summar: It started out as Summar(f2.0), then the Summitar (f2.0 in 1939), then the Summarex(f1.5 in 1948), then the Summaron(35mm f.2.8 in 1948, then later f2.0, f3.5 and f5.6 lenses), then the Summarit (f1.5 in 1949 and used again for the 40mm f2.4 on the Leica Minilux in 1995, then again for the 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm Summarit f2.5 in 2007) then the Summicron(f2.0 in 1953 for the collabsible 50mm) and finally the Summilux(50mm f1.4 in 1959).
ORIGIN of Summar is unknown.

 

Summarex
The great thing about being a lens designer is that you get to name the lens. Dr. Max Berek who worked for Leitz from 1912 till his death in 1949 named lenses after his two favorite dogs. One was Sumamrex named after his dog Rex, the other Hektor named after his dog Hektor.

 

Summarit
Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/1.5.

 

Summicron = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/2.0 . There are many guesses how this name came about, a popular one being that the "summi" came from "summit" (summit means the highest point of a hill or mountain; the highest attainable level of achievement) while the "cron" came from "chroma" (ie. for colour). Not so: The name (Summi)cron was used because the lens used Crown glass for the first time, which Leitz bought from Chance Brothers in England. The first batch of lenses were named Summikron (Crown = Krone in Deutsch). The Summi(cron) is a development from the orignal Summar (the 50mm f2.0 lens anno 1933). Vario-Summicron, Vario-Elmarit is Leica Camera AG's name for zoom lenses, for example the Vario-Summicron f/2.0 as the one that is on the Leica Digilux 2.

 

Summilux = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/1.4 , "-lux" added for "light" (ie. the enhanced light gathering abilities). In Leica terminology a Summilux is always a f/1.4 lens and a Summicron is a f/2.0 lens.

 

Telyt
Lens nomenclature - short-hand for " telephoto " (tele- is a combining form, meaning to or at a distance) and used in names of instruments for operating over long distances : telemeter. The name has been used for a number of tele lenses from Leica.
ORIGIN: from Greek t?le- ‘far off.’

 

Three-dimensional = Having the three dimensions of height, width and depth. In photography and lens design, three-dimensional effect is also the perception of even small micro-details; the texture of skin can appear flat and dead or three-dimensional and alive. Also, selective focus (foreground and background out of focus) can change the perception of depth. Also see Perspective.

Three-dimensional = Having the three dimensions of height, width and depth. Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Leica TL2 with Leica 35mm Summilux-TL ASPH f/1.4. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.
Three-dimensional = Having the three dimensions of height, width and depth. Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Leica TL2 with Leica 35mm Summilux-TL ASPH f/1.4. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica T is the compact camera developed by Leica Camera in 2014 as a touch-screen operated camera that can take the Leica L mount lenses made for this camera and the Leica SL and Leica CL. This camera series was names Leica TL later. See my article Compact Leica Cameras for more.

 

The Leica TL2 (2017) with a 35mm Summilux-L f/1.4 lens, compared with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. © Thorsten Overgaard.
The Leica TL2 (2017) with a 35mm Summilux-L f/1.4 lens, compared with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

TTL
(T)hrough (T)he (L)ens light metering, usually WRT the flash metering capabilities built into the R6.2, R8, R9, M7 & M6TTL cameras.

 

V-Lux is a series of compact SLR-like digital cameras by Leica Camera AG developed with Panasonic since 2006, starting with the Leica V-Lux 1 (2006), V-Lux 2 (2010), V-Lux 3 (2011), V-Lux 4 (2012), V-Lux Typ 114 (2014), V-Lux 5 (2018). See my article "Compact Digital Leica Cameras".
To add confusion, Leica also made a Leica V-Lux 20 in 2010, V-Lux 30 in 2011 and a Leica V-Lux 40 in 2012 that was a temporarily renaming of the Leica C-Lux series.

 

Vario- is the Leica Camera AG name for zoom lenses. Vario-Elmarit, Vario-Elmar and Vario-Summicron and so on.


The Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8 ASPH (left) and the Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmar-R ASPH f/4.0 (right)

 

Ventilated shade on a 35mm of Elliott Erwitt's Leica MP camera.
Ventilated shade on a 35mm of Elliott Erwitt's Leica MP camera.

Ventilated Shade - A shade is a hood in front of a lens that provides shade from light going straight onto the lens from outside what you are photographing, which could cause internal reflections like flare, which would make the picture less contrasty.
The ventilated shade has holes so it doesn't obstructs the view from the viewfinder. In many of today’s mirrorless cameras where there is no viewfinder looking ver the lens, so there is no actual need for a ventilated shade; but they are considered classic or vintage looking and are still in high demand. It makes no difference for the purpose of the shade (to create shadow) if it is ventilated or not.


Ventilated Shade for the Leica Q. I make ventilated shades for most lenses and sell them from here.

Viewfinder a device on a camera showing the field of view of the lens. Also known as the German word "Messucher" (or Meßsucher).
1) A built-in viewfinder in a camera that simply show the frame you get when you look through the viewfinder.
2) A rangefinder viewfinder which is also used to focus the lens. In Leica M cameras two pictures has to meet and lay 'on top of each other' for the picture to be in focus.
3) An external viewfinder, usually on top of the camera in the flash shoe, so as to show the field of view of lenses vider than what the built-in viewfinder can show (15mm, 21mm, 24mm, 28mm etc viewfinders exist)
4) Very simple "aiming-devices" on top of a camera that is simply a metal frame without any optics. Just a frame, as for example very old cameras (the original Leica), or when using cameras in diving where you can't look through the camera.
5) A Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) that shows what the sensor sees "live".

WB = Short for White Balance:

White Balance = (often referred to as WB) in camera menus. See my aticle "Adjusting the White Balance in Photoraphy" for explanation, illustrations and examples.

WLAN = German short for WiFi. In camera menus, Leica may refer to WLAN, which is simply German for WiFi, (and for some reason they refuse to believe that the rest of the world doesn't call it for WLAN like they do). WLAN stands for wireless local area network.

X1 - The Leica X1 was released in September 2009, the Leica X2 in 2012, and Leica X Typ 113 was released in September 2014, all with a fixed 23mm f/1.7 lens. Leica X Vario Typ 107 and Leica X-E Typ 102 was released later. A Leica X-U underwater edition was released in 2026. See my article Compact Leica Cameras for more.

XML = Stands for extensible markup language, which is a way enclose information to a document about how to format it, and more.

XMP = Stands for extensible markup platform (also known as XMP sidecar) and is a standard developed by Adobe and standardized by the International Organization for Standardization ISO. XMP is a 'sidecar' to an image that contains the EXIF data (camera settings) as well as other data about the image recording and editing that would norally be in proprietary formats (only readable by certain software). XMP in short is a container enclosed with the image as a 'sidecar' that contains all available information (EXIF data about settings, IPTC data (who took the photo, copyright info, image captions, etc), but most noteable, the XMP allow you to include information about the editing that was performed to the raw or DNG file, so that when you open the image file in another editing software, the raw data, as well as information about the crop, exposure compensation and other editing you did to the photo, is included).
In Adobe Lightroom Classic, one should make sure to select that editing information is written to the XMP file of each image (go to Lightroom > Catalog Settings > Metadata and then click "Automatically write changes into XMP").

Zone System -A system of 11 greytones. Ansel Adams worked out the Zone System in the 1940's with Fred Archer. It may look as simply a grey scale (and it is) but it's the use that has troubled many. If you use a normal external light meter, it will give you the exact amount of light and you can expose your photograph based on that and it will be correct. The Zone System by Ansel Adams

What Ansel Adams basically did was that he studied (by measuring with a spot meter), what the exact grey tones were of the sky, the clouds, the sand, the water, the skin and so on at different times of the day.
You could say that he built up a conceptual understanding of how different materials of different colors and reflective surface would look in black and white at different times of day (or different light conditions). He also realized that a tone changes for the human eye depending on it's size and in which context of other tones it is seen. 

In short, you could say that the Zone System is know how something would look in black and white when looking at a scenery. Some who have struggled with the Zone System have done so because they think it is a rule. It is not.

How Ansel Adams made New Mexico look:   How most people see New Mexico:
 
The artistic use of the Zone System.

Ansel Adams developed the Zone System to understand light for himself, but also as a fundament for teaching the light, exposure and making the final photograph. How will it look if you do the usual, and what will it look like if you manipulate it. But most interstingly; how do you work with light, cameras and photographic materials to achieve the look you envision. 

The Zone System is meant as a basis on which to create your own aesthetic style and communication.  Photography is painting with light. The greyscale is our palette. Ideally we should have a conceptual understanding of the tones and be able to use them intuitive. That was his vision for us all.

Thorsten Overgaard in New York, explaining the Zone System in his "Street Photography Masterclass"
Thorsten Overgaard in New York, explaining the Zone System in his "Street Photography Masterclass".

 

Ø - Diameter. As in Ø49 for example which means that the filter diameter is 49mm for this lens (or if a filter is Ø49, it is 49mm in diameter and fits that Ø49 lens). Leica uses E to express their filters sizes, as in E49 for a 49mm filter size.

 

 

 

– Thorsten Overgaard
#1705-0716

   

 

Index of Thorsten Overgaard's user review pages on Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M9 Monochrom, Leica M10, Leica M10-P, Leica M10-D, Leica M10-R, Leica M10 Monohcrom, Leica M11, Leica M 240, Leica M-D 262, Leica M Monochrom 246, Leica SL, Leica SL2, Leica SL2-S, as well as Leica TL2, Leica CL, Leica Q, Leica Q2 and Leica Q2 Monochrom:
Leica Digital Camera Reviews by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20   M9-P
M9 Mono 20 21 22 23 24 25      

                     
M 246 Mono 26 27 28 29
30
31      

                     
Leica M 240
P 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44            
Leica M-D 262 1 2                                        
Leica M10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8                         Video
Leica M11 1 2 3   5                                
Leica SL / SL2 1   3   5 6 7                              
Leica Q 1                                          
Leica Q2 / Q2M 1                                          
Leica Q3 1                                          
Leica TL2 1 2                                        
Leica CL 1 2                                       Books


Thorsten von Overgaard
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M digital cameras:   Leica L digital cameras:
Leica M11   Leica SL
Leica M10   Leica SL2
Leica M10-P   Leica SL2-S
Leica M10-R   Panasonic Lumix S5 II X
Leica M10-D   Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica M10 Monochrom   Leica TL2
Leica M9 and Leica M-E   Leica CL
Leica M9-P   Leica L-Mount lenses
Leica M9 Monochrom   Leica R digital cameras:
Leica M240   Leica R8/R9/DMR
Leica M246 Monochrom   Small Leica mirrorless digital cameras:
Leica MD-262 and Leica M60   Leica D-Lux
    Leica C-Lux
Leica M film cameras:   Leica V-Lux
Leica M6   Leica Q2 / Leica Q2 Monochrom
Leica M4   Leica Q
    Leica Digilux 3
Leica M lenses:   Leica Digilux 2
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica Digilux 1
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica Digilux
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R film cameras:
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R8 / R9
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica R3 electronic
Leica 35mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL / SLmot
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 FLE   Leica compact film cameras:
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.2   Leica CM 35mm film camera
7artisans 50mm f/1.1   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 collapsible   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
7artisans 75mm f/1.25   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leica 90mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.5   Leica 250mm Telyt-R f/4.0
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica S digital medium format:
Leitz Cine lenses:   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica Cine lenses from Leitz Cine Wetzlar   Leica S2
    Leica S
History and overview:   Sony mirrorless digital cameras:
Leica History and Heritage   Sony A7
Famous Leica Usears   Fujifilm mirorrless digital cameras:
Leica Definitions   Fujifilm X-Pro 2
Leica Lens Compendium    
Leica Camera Compendium   "Magic of Light" 4K Television Channel
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   Thorsten von Overgaard YouTube Channel
Photography Knowledge    
Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Which Computer for Photographers?   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
What is Copyright? Advice for Photogarphers   Lightroom Survival Kit (Classic)
Synchronizing Large Photo Archive with iPhone   Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Quality of Light   Lightroom Brushes by Overgaard
Lightmeters   Capture One Software
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   Capture One Survival Kit
White Balance & WhiBal   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Film in Digital Age   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Dodge and Burn   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
All You Need is Love   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   "Composition in Photography" eBook
X-Rite   "A Little Book on Photography" eBook
The Origin of Photography   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
    The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
    "Why do I Photograph?"
Leica Photographers:    
Henri Cartier-Bresson   Riccis Valladares
Rodney Smith   Christoåpher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
John Botte   Jose Galhoz
 
Douglas Herr   Milan Swolf
Vivian Maier   Jan Grarup
Morten Albek    
Byron Prukston   Richard Avedon
     
The Story Behind That Picture:   Learn with Thorsten Overgaard:
More than 250 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Leica M9 Masterclass (video course)
Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Schedule   Leica M10 Masterclass (video course)
    Leica M240 Masterclass (video course)
Leica Forums and Blogs:   Leica Q Masterclass (video course)
Leica M11 / M240 / M10 User Forum on Facebook   Leica Q2 Masterclass (video course)
Jono Slack   Leica TL2 Quick Start (video course)
Sean Reid Review (reviews)   Street Photography Masterclass (video course)
Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog   Adobe Photoshop Editing Masterclass
    The Photoraphers Workflow Masterclass
    Adobe Lightroom Survival Kit 11
    Capture One Survival Kit 22
     
    Thorsten von Overgaard Academy Online
    Thorsten von Overgaard Free Online Masterclass
     
Connect with Thorsten Overgaard:   Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses
Thorsten Overgaard on Instagram   Overgaard One-on-One Training
Join the Thorsten Overgaard Mailing List   Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing
Thorsten Overgaard on Facebook   Commision Thorsten Overgaard
 
 
The Von Overgaard Gallery Store:   Von Overgaard Ventilated lens shades:
Ventilated Shades "Always Wear A Camera"   Ventilated Shade for Current 35mm Summilux FLE
Camera Straps "Always Wear A Camera"   Ventilated Shade E46 for old Leica 35mm/1.4 lens
The Von M Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
The Von L Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
The Von Mini Messenger Walkabout Camera Bag   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Desk Blotters 'Always Wear A Camera"   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Sterling Silver Necklace   Ventilated Shade E39 for 50mm Summicron lenses
Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Signed Thorsten Overgaard Gallery Prints   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarit-M
Computer Shade for MacBook Pro   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Video Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade E49 for 75mm Summicron
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Home School Photography Extension Courses   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
    Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
    Ventilated Shade E60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade for Leica Q and Leica Q2
 

 

Above: Monsieur Frederik at Cafe Englen in Aarhus, Denmark. Leica M 240 with Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Leica reviews by Thorsten Overgaard. LEICA = LEItz CAmera. Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany. Leica logo in photo by Thorsten Overgaard

LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

 

Feel free to join the
Leica M Type 240 User Group
on Facebook

 

Quick links:

How to install firmware update

Which memory card to get

Formatting memory cards

Latest Leica M Type 240 Firmware
update from Leica Camera AG

Camera Raw 7.4 Beta and later
(with support of Leica M 240)

 

Leica M9 & Leica ME firmware

 

 

Thorsten von Overgaard in Hong Kong by Vishal Soniji.
Thorsten von Overgaard
in Hong Kong by Vishal Soniji.

 

The photos on this page have been edited in Adobe Lightroom 3.6 and Lightroom 6.6, and few or none have been adjusted further in Photoshop. To read more about my workflow, visit the page of my "Lightroom Survival Kit".

 

 

Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Street Photography Masterclass Video
Adobe Photoshop Editing Masterclass
Adobe Lightroom Survival Kit 11
Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Lightroom Brushes by Overgaard
Capture One Software download
Capture One Survival Kit 22

Capture One Styles by Overgaard
Signed Original Prints by von Overgaard

Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
Leather Camera Straps
Camea Bags
Calfskin Camera Pouches
Leather Writing Pads
Sterling Silver Camera Necklace

Leica Definitions
Leica History
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0

Leica 40mm Summicron-C f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
7artisans 75mm f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summilux f/1.5
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses
Leica L lenses
Leica M11
Leica M10
Leica M10-P

Leica M10-R
Leica M10-D
Leica M10 Monochrom
Leica M9, M9-P and Leica ME
Leica M9 Monochrom
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 for video
Leica M 262
Leica M-D 262

Leica M 246 Monochrom

Leica SL
Leica SL2
Leica SL2-S

Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica R9 dSLR
Leica Q
Leica Q2
Leica Q2 Monochrom
Leica CL
Leica TL2
Leica Sofort
Leica S digital medium format
Leica X
Leica D-Lux

Leica C-Lux

Leica V-Lux

Leica Digilux

Leica Digilux 1

Leica Digilux 2
Leica Digilux Zoom

Leica Digilux 4.3

Leica Digilux 3

Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty
Color Meters

Screen Calibration
Which computer to get
Sync'ing photo archive to iPhone
The Story Behind That Picture
"On The Road With von Overgaard"

Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
M10 / M9 / M240 / Q / Q2 / TL2 /

 

 

 

 

Overgaard Photo Workshops


 

 

 

 

 

 

Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish-American multiple award-winning photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops to photographers. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via email.

You can follow Thorsten Overgaard at his television channel magicoflight.tv.

Feel free to email to thorsten@overgaard.dk for questions, advice and ideas.

 

 

 


 

 


     
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"A Little Book on Photography"   "A Little Book on Photography"
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"Finding the Magic of Light"   "Composition in Photography - The Photographer as Storyteller"
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How to Make People Beautifu
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Lightroom
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Workflow
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This is Street Photography

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Lightroom Dutch Painters Presets by Thorsten Overgaard   Leica Presets for Lightroom by Thorsten Overgaard
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"Hollywood Film Presets"
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Hemingway Presets for Lightroom by Thorsten Overgaard
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201 Lightroom Presets
+ 4 Export Presets
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Capture One Styles:
     
"Capture One Pro Survival Kit"
Capture One
Survival Kit 22
  Leica Styles for Capture One by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Styles for
Capture One
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17 Capture One Styles
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Join a Thorsten Overgaard
Photography Workshop

I am in constant orbit teaching
Leica and photography workshops.

Most people prefer to explore a
new place when doing my workshop.
30% of my students are women.
35% of my students dotwo or more workshops.
95% are Leica users.
Age range is from 15 to 87 years
with the majority in the 30-55 range.
Skill level ranges from two weeks
to a lifetime of experience.
97% use a digital camera.
100% of my workshop graduates photograph more after a workshop.

I would love to see you in one!
Click to see the calendar.

     
St. Louis   Chicago

Hong Kong

 

New York

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Frankfurt

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Berlin

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Münich

 

Barcelona

Salzburg

 

Amsterdam

Vienna

 

Paris

Cannes  

London

Reykjavik   Portugal
Roadtrip USA   Milano
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 






 

Thorsten Overgaard photo workshops and masterclasses for Leica photographers and digital photographers

 

Thorsten Overgaard photo workshops and masterclasses for Leica photographers and digital photographers

 

Thorsten Overgaard photo workshops and masterclasses for Leica photographers and digital photographers

 
           
  · Copyright 1996-2023 · Thorsten von Overgaard


 

© 1996 - 2023 Thorsten Overgaard. All rights reserved.

 

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