© 2010 . All rights reserved. Leica workshop Mayfair, London. 2010

Camera Workshop

For both of us, traveling will enable us to continue with our photography, exploring places old, new & exciting. This will form the basis of a body of work that we hope to share with you on this blog & on flickr, updating as we go & using a laptop to edit, backup, skype, email & to book our next room for the night!

With differing styles & approaches to photography we hope to capture a wider range of imagery, as well as two pairs of eyes to keep a look out for interesting moments, inspiration and people.

I have been a Canon user in the past, whereas Helen has taken the Nikon route. They both have their positives & negatives, but have equally provided us with the tools necessary to get the jobs done. Now… here is the issue. Weight! We are both concerned about the weight of our equipment and the size of the bag we will need for our journey. It would be great to take 2.5 – 3kg each in camera equipment (not including a tripod, it’s head and a laptop!) but this would be insane for the length of time we are traveling. We want the cameras but don’t want to become a slave to them every second of every day.

Also these cameras look very conspicuous. They are large, bulky & make you look like a traveling paparazzi. They tire you out very quickly & by the end of the day you really don’t want to be shooting anymore, when the best light of the day could be during early evening hours. Insurance also becomes complicated with these cameras as specialised camera bags are required along with the need for specific padlocks on lockers etc.

Well… a big headache for us both. We don’t want to go all that way & leave our photographic capabilities here in the UK. You don’t need the most expensive cameras to make the best shots, the photographer makes the photograph, not the camera, but at the same time we want to have the best chance of capturing interesting & documentary style photos. Hence, research into cameras that would fit our needs. Film or digital? Medium format, 35mm or 4/3rds? Pinhole?

I very quickly came across the only full frame, non SLR camera out there. The Leica M9. A rangefinder! A small(ish) camera that could produce the images we want but at the same time weigh only 0.8kg including a lens. However they do not come cheap. We would need to sell both sets of our current gear to cover the cost of this camera. Ouch! After doing research & looking at the Leica website I spotted that they do workshops called Leica Akademie which offers a brief introduction & the chance to explore the full potential of what these cameras can offer. We got in touch & booked ourselves into the M9 introduction course.

Below are a few shots that we took during our little exploration of the backstreets of Mayfair: (Leica M9, Summarit-M 50mm f2.5, processed in Lightroom)

In a nutshell we both loved the camera, a different style of photography to what we are used to. We each got to play with an M9 in the street outside the shop in Mayfair. Brett who ran the workshop was great & we would highly recommend the four hour session to anyone interested in these cameras. There were only four of us in the session & we all got to keep the 1Gb memory card from our cameras.

So lots to think about & consider. Also we need a secondary camera that is a good travel companion. More research needed, but looking into the Olympus Pen as a possibility. Time to get the thinking caps on!

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