Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Posts Tagged ‘Noctilux

In a dark bar with a D700 and 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom. ISO 6400

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Single light source in the corner

Single light source in the corner

The other night I was roaming around looking for something to shoot.  No quite sure where to go or what I was going to do.  Suddenly I happened upon a wildly “edgy” bar I had been to once before.

On the earlier occasion, I took a series of photographs of the bartenders.  Luckily I had my Leica M8 and the Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens.  Although my Noctilux has a slight back focus issue, it performed well, given the very dark ambiance of the bar.   And remember, with the M8, we are talking manual focus.  In a very dim bar. The photo below was taken that first visit.

Leica M8 with Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens

Leica M8 with Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens

On the recent visit, I hadn’t prepared for a return visit.  As a result I ended up with the D700 and the 14-24mm f2.8 lens.  Because this lens is only capable of f/2.8, I dialed up the ISO to 6400, hoping that I could compensate for the lens’ relatively lack of wide aperture.  I half expected the auto focus to struggle and that I would have to go to manual focus.  Well, this didn’t happen.  After I turned off the AF assist light, I went strictly low impact.  I used the D700’s spotmeter with “aperture priority” and f-stop 2.8.

Post processing was minimal.  Noise reduction was turned off.  I took the liberty of processing some of the b&w in a high contrast style.

Bottom line, the D700’s performance, including its high ISO capabilities and the extremely fast and accurate auto-focus,  makes it a joy to use.  The only downside was the sheer size of the combination when compared with the M8.




Cropped from above

Cropped from above




Written by leolaksi

June 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Random scenes from San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf

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Night or day, with or without people, the area around Fisherman’s Wharf is photo rich.  It all depends on you and your camera.  The secret to satifying photography is taking photos.  Under all conditions.   And with a bit of experimentation thrown in for an interesting perspective.  The more you shoot, the better you will become (with a bit of hardwork, experience and luck).

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and a Noctilux 50mm f/1 or a Summilux 75mm f/1.4 or a Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.





Written by leolaksi

April 22, 2009 at 6:33 am

More photos with the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 while at Tokyo Disneyland

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As mentioned in my past posting about my photos with the Noctilux at Tokyo Disneyland, it can take some experience and luck to take good photos at night with a manual focus camera and a slow focusing lens while the subject is moving.   And handheld with no flash.  Sounds pretty tricky huh? It can be.  The key to your skill is to practice, practice, and more practice.  The more you use your equipment in less than ideal conditions, the more adept you will become.

These photos were taken with a Leica M8 with Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens.





Written by leolaksi

April 20, 2009 at 7:11 am

Using the Leica Noctilux during Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade

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Last week I visited Tokyo Disneyland and had the opportunity to view the nighttime Electrical Parade.  I decided to use my Leica M8 and Noctilux 50mm f/1 even though the M8 and Nocti are not within their comfort zone in the anticipated environment.  After all, the Noctilux has a “long throw” focusing ring so it is not quick focusing.  And the Electrical Parade is moving thus requiring constant refocusing.


While everyone around me used flash, I used the low light capability of the Noctilux to take these photos.  There I was with moving subjects as various distances from my location and focusing on the fly.  (Remember that the M8 is a manual focus camera.) With the Noctilux wide open at f/1 and its very narrow depth of field at that aperture, I didn’t expect the best results.


Yet it turned out ok.  In past years I had tried other kits at the same venue including the Canon 5D and the results were not stellar.  Ok photos but not closeups of the moving floats and dancers.  This time it was different.


The images have been cropped.  And of course, these photos are natural light.  A flash was not used.  Think about that.


Written by leolaksi

April 19, 2009 at 5:57 am

Erawan Shrine – black and white or color?

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One of the dilemmas photographers face is black and white or color?   In colorful locales such as the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, the vividness of the colors is hard to ignore.  There is a richness that is best conveyed in color.  However, black and white can work provided your composition,  imagery, and richness of detail are compelling.

Photos were taken with a Leica M8 and either a Summicron 90mm f/2 or a Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens.






Written by leolaksi

April 4, 2009 at 6:33 am

Amphawa Floating Market – Stalking with the Noctilux.

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Sometimes the difference between a successful street photographer and a not so successful photographer is a matter of finding a location from which you can observe other people and their activities.  If you’re constantly in motion, walking aimlessly, then it can be difficult to settle on one image or scene that you wish to capture with your camera.

Look for a location that affords you a good vantage point,  settle in, and take in the ebb and flow of the movement around you.  Blend into the environment.

If you sit or stand long enough, you will begin to visualize images that could lead to a very successful shoot.

Several months ago, I was at the floating market at Amphawa, Thailand.  Walking the boardwalk,  I found a bench from which I could observe the people walking by.  I sat for a few minutes, looked around and decided that the large pots in the foreground might be a good subject what with the late afternoon sunlight and strolling people.  I sat there for about five minutes, took a handful of photos and then I moved on to another location where I did the same thing.  And so on.

When I first sat down people noticed me taking photos including the vendor on the left side of some of the photos.  After a minute or so, she paid me no mind.  I had blended into the scene.

The above photo was taken with a Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.  The following photos were taken with a Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens.






Written by leolaksi

April 3, 2009 at 6:40 am

Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lenses, food and bokeh

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The Noctilux is known for its low light capabilities, very shallow depth of field and a creamy dream-like bokeh that is the realm of very few lenses.  My Noctilux is a third generation version and is capable of brilliant images although a slight issue with back focus can make it difficult to nail the perfect focus.

The Noctilux also holds its value so that if you buy one, you can use it for as long as you want and yet be able to sell it for what you paid for it.

Check out Edwin Puts’ thorough review of the f/1 version of the Noctilux on his “TAO of Leica” website.  His site is a real treat.

However, I also enjoy the Summilux 75mm f/1.4 which is known as a portrait lens.  It has razor sharp focus with good  bokeh and like the Noctilux, the ability to isolate the subject from the background.  And its much easier to focus.  It doesn’t have the extreme low light capabilities of the Noctilux but f/1.4 is nothing to laugh about. And this lens also retains its value.

The first two photos were taken with the Noctilux.  Note that the top photo was mainly lit by candlelight.  The bottom three with the Summilux. There is some distortion and “smearing” of the bokeh  in the Summilux photos caused by the curved shape and thickness of the glass counter.

All photos taken with a Leica M8 and Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens or Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens.





Written by leolaksi

April 2, 2009 at 7:00 am