Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 2) . . .

. . . continued from Part 1 . . .

It’s all well and good owning what many regard (or regarded) as the ultimate Street Photography camera (Leica M), but if you don’t use it for what it was intended, it becomes nothing more than an expensive piece of jewellery, or bling, or even an extravagance. More worryingly, outside of the relatively ‘clean’ environment of the street, the Leica M could be quickly ruined through dust and water contamination, or damaged from the slightest knock, etc.

What I needed in reality was a camera that would do everything. A camera I could ‘throw’ into the cavernous pocket of my motorcycle jacket and not have to worry about it getting cold or dusty. A camera I could clip to the ‘day pack’ on the front of my Kayak and not worry about it getting wet (or god forbid submerged if I capsized), or a camera I could simply stow in the glovebox of the car. All of this whilst still being able to turn it’s hand to the occassional bout of street photography.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Rugged Street Photography Camera

Hence I narrowed my choice down to the Ricoh WG-5 GPS, an all weather, rugged, waterproof (to 14m), dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof, 16 megapixel compact point and shoot camera, or as Ricoh prefer to simply describe it, ‘Adventure Proof’.

Continue reading “Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 2) . . .”

Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 1) . . .

. . . The Leica M-E has gone to a new home.

For that matter, the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Nokton and Voigtlander 28mm f/1.9 Ultron lenses and the Leica M2, now also find themselves spread far and wide and hopefully providing many more years of photographic excellence to their respective owners.

Am I mad ?

This was a recurring question that I kept asking myself over many a month. Would clearing out all of my ‘Leica kit’ really be such a bad thing?

Continue reading “Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 1) . . .”

Short Reviews, London in June and How Much Money I Make . . .

. . . Have you ever stopped for one moment to evaluate just what it is that you hope to get from your photography? Maybe you just do it for the enjoyment? Possibly like me, you also write a Blog? If the latter, why go through all the time, expense, effort and worry (yes really) of doing so – surely it can’t be for the money?

With regards that last point, I was struck by this particular question a short while ago – how much money have I earned in the last 20 years from my photography, or the 3 years of this blog, or for that matter, the many countless photographic ‘weekends’ away?

Well that’s easy and you may or may not find the answer surprising – Ten pounds.

Yes, Ten Quid, a Tenner, a Bill & Benner, a Cockle, an Ayrton Senna, a Cock & Hen – and I can easily recall how I came to be in possession of that beautiful (if slightly limp) ‘Brownie’.

Five years ago I had this crazy idea of selling photographic prints. As chance would have it, there was a local photography exhibition just a few weeks away and in a moment of utter madness, I chose twenty of my (then) favourite images and had them printed as 16×12″ black & white photographs. As a finishing touch, I lovingly mounted each one in a chunky ebony-coloured wooden frame. Three hundred pounds later and on a cold and dark morning, I headed off to the exhibition. At an asking price of just £25 each, I was sure to make my money back AND turn a tidy profit for my troubles?

Continue reading “Short Reviews, London in June and How Much Money I Make . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – The Street Photography Review . . .

(Please be sure to see the end of this review for an important update).

. . . During the previous installment of this review, I got to know the M Edition 60 a little better and gained a clearer understanding of what it can offer photography today. Now in this, the final chapter, I took the Leica M Edition 60 out and onto the streets of Chester and Manchester, where I could properly put the camera through its paces . . .

. . . The brief was simple. Evaluate whether a digital camera can function as an everyday ‘shooter’, without a screen – just myself and the Leica M60 enjoying a relaxing stroll through the sights, sounds, smells and inhabitants of two popular, sprawling and rugged cities in the North West of England.

Man Waves in Chester UK Leica M Edition 60

How in fact is it possible to spend an entire two days shooting street photographs and using only a camera that provides just the bare minimum of options necessary to capture a picture – those being shutter speed, aperture, focusing and ISO sensitivity?

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – The Street Photography Review . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – Past Future . . .

. . . Previously in the article Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept (and deliberately avoiding the term ‘Part One’ if only in the interest of originality), I looked at the M60 from the point of view of Leica and in particular their designers and marketers, what ‘it is’ and what it means to Leica themselves. Now I’ll examine the camera, what it’s like to use (with the resultant photographs) and what it can offer the photographer of today . . .

. . . Writing camera reviews (or any written work for that matter), is rather like designing a camera itself. Typically and when beginning such a creative endeavor, it’s common practice for the Design Team (or writer) to draw inspiration and ideas from areas seemingly unconnected to the task at hand. This is often achieved by the creation of a ‘Mood Room’ – an area whereby objects or photographs are collected together and that in some way instill a particular feeling, or an emotion, or place the individual ‘inside’ the mind of the prospective customer. For example, someone wishing to create a vehicle that evokes a sense of the 1950’s may watch a movie from that period, such as ‘Rebel Without A Cause’.

Another approach is to seek enlightenment from one’s own memories and experiences, and which is a technique I frequently use when piecing together the basic premise of an article, such as this one.

Front Top View Leica M Edition 60

In my case and through the course of the 3 or 4 days spent so far with the Leica M60, I was beginning to form a sense of what the camera ‘says’ to me as a photographer. During this period, two distinct and completely unrelated memories began to surface – my favourite old Television Set and Eric Clapton.

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – Past Future . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept . . .

. . . There is a saying in the world of product design and marketing that is as old as those professions themselves – “There’s no such thing as bad advertising”.

Take for example the case of Leica, for I believe that with the release several months ago of the M Edition 60 (simply called the M60 from now on), there must be at least one or two Designers and Marketers sat in front of their computers at Leica HQ, rubbing their hands with glee?

On the surface however and judging solely by the multitude of impassioned comments this camera has garnered on forums and social media, this would appear to be a peculiar assumption to make.

With words such as irrelevant, unnecessary, snobbish, pointless, expensive, elitist, bourgeois and outdated appearing with almost nauseating regularity, how could one deduce that this would in any way work favourably towards building a successful and sought after product?

Front View of the Leica M Edition 60

Well, from the wisdom of Oscar Wilde, “There’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about”.

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept . . .”

Leica X (Type 113) Review – Out Of My Comfort Zone . . .

. . . With this review I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try something completely different, both for the Street Photography Blog and (possibly) for camera reviews in general. So in documenting my experiences with the Leica X, I’ve split it into two distinct parts.

Leica X Front View Review Street Photography Blog UK

Part One consists of this review, which is a hands-on look at how the camera performed when recently taking it round the UK Photography Show.

Part Two is an accompanying (and FREE) eBook in PDF format. The eBook “Not Of The Street” features (as well as writing) the main ‘body’ of photographs taken during the time spent shooting with the Leica X and which are themselves a first for my photography, a series of 15 portraits. Enjoy . . .

Continue reading “Leica X (Type 113) Review – Out Of My Comfort Zone . . .”

The Photography Show 2015 N.E.C. Birmingham (Part Two) . . .

. . . The following is a summary of those exhibits I felt had a relevance to Street Photography . . .

. . . My eyes have been opened to a whole other world – that of the ‘jobbing’ photographer. In particular and if my feet are anything to go by, I have gained a newfound respect for those who make it their living.

I’d made a point of arriving at the show some 30 minutes before the doors were due to open, in anticipation of finding a good parking spot (near Hall 5) and in the hope of beating the ‘mad rush’. Sadly it appeared that everyone else had the same idea. Doubly sadly and not knowing the layout of the N.E.C, the carpark I was directed to was some 1/2 mile from the Photography Show. Oh well.

After what seemed like an eternal walk, I’d arrived at the entrance to the show and was greeted by an immense gathering, everyone congregated in anticipation of the large black curtain being removed – and there I stood at the back. “This is gonna take forever” I thought . . .

Crowds gather at the 2015 UK Photography Show NEC Street Photography Blog

Continue reading “The Photography Show 2015 N.E.C. Birmingham (Part Two) . . .”

Leica X (Type 113) First Impressions . . .

The Gods of Photography must be smiling down, as not only have I secured a Press Pass for the upcoming Photography Show at the N.E.C. Birmingham on 21st – 24th March, Leica have very kindly provided me with one of their latest cameras for review, a Leica X. Thank you Leica UK . . .

. . . I’m quickly discovering that in the world of camera reviewing, it’s easy to fall into a ‘standard’ frame of mind. Take one camera, compare it to similar models from other manufacturers, ‘peep’ at the images on a pixel level, examine the spec’s and from that, offer an opinion as to whether it’s better or worse than the others. Simple really?

There’s of course a problem with this much favored style of appraising a cameras’ strengths and weaknesses – it tells the reader nothing about what it’s actually like to use in the real world.

Therefore you won’t find any of that ‘stuff’ in my reviews. Yes I may make passing comparisons to another model or two, but this is always from a usability point of view – which leads me to this rather smart offering from Leica, the ‘X’.

Leica X Type 113 Front View Street Photography Blog

Continue reading “Leica X (Type 113) First Impressions . . .”

Leica M-E (M9) – A Street Photography Review . . .

. . . In this review I mention the Fuji X-E1, but all the images presented here are taken with the Leica M-E . . .

. . . Question: What do a Fuji X-E1 and XF35 1.4 lens, a Leica M6, an electric guitar and effects pedal, an iPad and a Cello all have in common?

Answer: That is what was sold in order to finance what is for me, the ultimate street photography camera – the Leica M-E, or to give it its full model designation, the “Leica M-E, Which Is Actually An M9 But Without The USB Port Or Frameline Preview Lever And In A Different Colour. Apart From That It’s Identical In Every Way To An M9.”

Of course that can be a bit of a mouthful at times, so for the purpose of this article I shall refer to it solely as the Leica M-E.

I also won’t bore you to death with the industry-standard approach when reviewing a Leica ‘M’ camera, that being a ‘mini-tutorial’ of how a rangefinder works in practice, endless comparisons to DSLR’s or Micro Four-Thirds and especially how manual focusing with a rangefinder is better or worse than auto-focus etc.

So without further ado, let’s start at the beginning with a good-old photograph of the ‘beast’ in question – albeit a beast costing a four-figure sum . . . Gulp !!!

leica m-e m9 street photography test review uk photographs

Naturally with ‘M’ camera bodies, the price didn’t include a lens, though luckily and considering my manic desire to ‘sell sell sell’, I had the presence of mind to keep hold of the wonderful Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 lens previously mounted to the M6 and M2 (the latter of which I still have – hey I’m not that mad 🙂 )

Continue reading “Leica M-E (M9) – A Street Photography Review . . .”

Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 LTM Review – A Tale of Two Classics . . .

. . . Ah, you see what I did with the title there, “Two Classics”? That’s because (aside from the Fuji X-E1), I also took along to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 a new film camera and lens – the Leica M6 ‘Classic’ and Voigtlander (CV) 50mm f/1.5 LTM ‘Classic’. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I LOVE LEICA M’s.”

leica m6 front view with voigtlander 50 1.5

Now it’s only a little over 2 months since I bought the Leica M2 (review here), which has proven revelatory when it comes to no frills 35mm Street Photography. However, the Leica M6 and CV 50mm f/1.5 have taken what was already a superb package and quashed the last remaining issue I had with the M2 – that being no built-in light metering.

Continue reading “Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 LTM Review – A Tale of Two Classics . . .”

Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Reader – A Street Photographers ‘Swiss Army Knife’ . . .

. . . This was supposed to be a fun to write and informative review (which I suppose it still is) of a fantastic little gadget, but it has been marred somewhat by an event which I will detail at the end of this article. You have been warned 😦 . . .

. . . Take a look at the specifications of any camera released over the past year or so, and it’s a fair bet that almost all of them will offer one genuinely useful feature – Wireless File Transfer.

Nowadays it’s possible to take a picture with your ‘real’ camera and within minutes, have it shared across the internet or (would be nice), spread across BBC News 24 or a national newspaper.

But where does that leave us owners of ‘older’ cameras, such as the Fuji X-E1, X-Pro1 or X100?

Fret no more and say goodbye to that bulky laptop. Say hello instead to the Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Media Reader, for this device is truly the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of photography gadgets.

kingston mobilelite g2 with swiss army knife street photography uk

Continue reading “Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Reader – A Street Photographers ‘Swiss Army Knife’ . . .”

A 35mm Film Hard Case Storage Box – So Simple, Yet So Useful . . .

. . . It’s often said that the simplest (and cheapest) things in life are the best and when it comes to my latest Street Photography related purchase, I couldn’t agree more.

Let’s be honest, how many times (and how much time) have us film photographers spent fumbling about in those dark and unexplored regions of our camera bags? Afterall, that fresh and unexposed roll of 35mm film is in there somewhere. However, when it’s rolling about amongst five or more identical cannisters, some exposed and some not, it quickly becomes a frustrating game of ‘lucky dip’. Often the only solution is to empty the whole lot onto whatever ‘unsuitable’ surface presents itself.

But swear and curse no more, for the solution is both ingenious, cheap and simple.

IMG_3321.JPG

Continue reading “A 35mm Film Hard Case Storage Box – So Simple, Yet So Useful . . .”

What’s In My Camera Bag . . ?

. . . A little over 3 years ago I did a short video for Youtube of what was in my camera bag at that time (video at the bottom of this post and somewhat embarrasingly shot in portrait and don’t get me started on the hairstyle. 😀 ).

Back then, my ‘weapon’ of choice was a silver-chromed Leica M8 with a 50mm f/1.8 Canon Serenar and a Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar. My bag of choice was the ‘M-Classics’ messenger style bag.

Today, the bag remains but the kit has changed beyond all recognition.

kevin shelley street photography kit bag leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5 fuji x-e1 xf 35 1.4 sekonic l308s light meter 35mm film m classics bag

Continue reading “What’s In My Camera Bag . . ?”

Leica M2 and 50mm Jupiter 8 Lens, Review and Street Photographs . . .

. . . Yes I have a soft spot for Leica cameras, especially film M’s.

Just a cursory glance through past articles here on the Street Photography Blog will reveal a recurrent theme. Two M8’s, three CL’s (yes they are real Leica’s) and an M5. Now despite selling these and giving up film around 11 months ago for a Fuji X-E1, the siren call of 35mm simply refused to go away. So now a new ‘M’ joins the fray, the Leica M2.

Leica M2 with Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.4 Classic Lens. Street Photography.

Continue reading “Leica M2 and 50mm Jupiter 8 Lens, Review and Street Photographs . . .”

Fuji XF35 f/1.4 and XF60 f/2.4 – A Street Photography Review . . .

. . . In my previous post I wrote that I’d purchased the XF35 & XF60 Fuji lenses as replacements for the XF18-55mm Zoom. I couldn’t wait to put them through their paces and discover if this was indeed the right choice . . .

. . . Living as I do in the UK’s equivalent of the Australian Outback (Cumbria), Street Photography would appear to be an odd choice of hobby. My predicament was recently made all the more unbearable with these two new lenses that desperately needed trying out. Fortunately, a 30 mile trip to Barrow-In-Furness appeared unexpectedly, so I jumped at the chance to spend a couple of hours taking photo’s with the new ‘tools of the trade’.

Continue reading “Fuji XF35 f/1.4 and XF60 f/2.4 – A Street Photography Review . . .”

Hey Folks, I’ve Gone And Done Something Rather Rash (Possibly) . . .

. . . You see, since giving up Film and especially Leica’s, I’ve missed the simplicity and speed of operation of Prime Lenses. Zooms are great (the XF18-55mm especially). Afterall, having a specific focal length on-call whenever you need it saves all that faff of swapping lenses, right? Further, as the image quality is above and beyond what you would expect of a simple ‘kit’ lens, it sounds like an optical nirvana.

However, with regards the 18-55, I had a few minor (and major) niggles that I just couldn’t ignore.

Continue reading “Hey Folks, I’ve Gone And Done Something Rather Rash (Possibly) . . .”

Why I Won’t Be Upgrading To The Fuji X-E2 Anytime Soon . . .

. . . Please note the title of this post is “Why I Won’t Be Upgrading” and not “Why You shouldn’t upgrade”.

To quote a much used though oh-so-relevant phrase, we do indeed `live in a throwaway society`. Whether it be a car, a TV, or a camera, there is an underlying (almost genetic) predisposition to commit oneself to a lifelong search for the holy grail of perfection. That indefinable something, that x-factor which (once found) will bring skills you never knew you had and an (as yet) undiscovered nirvana.

Continue reading “Why I Won’t Be Upgrading To The Fuji X-E2 Anytime Soon . . .”

Fuji X-E1, Initial Impressions as a Manual Street Photography Camera . . .

. . . The decision to return to digital was the result of several months of inner debating. My reasons for abandoning film were covered in a previous post I’m Moving Back To Digital

20130719-174230.jpg

Now as you’ve no doubt guessed from the title (and the photograph), the camera I have purchased to take over the role of my ONLY street camera is the Fuji X-E1 with the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8 – f/4 XF Mount Lens.

I hesitate to use the phrase ‘kit lens’, as traditionally such lenses included with a new camera are of questionable quality.

This lens is most definitely not one of those as will become apparent (I’m talking Leica image quality here).

Continue reading “Fuji X-E1, Initial Impressions as a Manual Street Photography Camera . . .”