Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

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Posts Tagged ‘Voightlander

A day in Boston last month

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We spent several days in Boston a few weeks ago and found it to be one of the most picturesque cities I’ve visited.  Although it doesn’t have the New York skyline or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge,  the beauty of its downtown area  from the harbor to the Boston Commons and beyond is without peer.  I only wish the weather was better when we were there.  Although it was early April, winter weather hadn’t broken yet.  A bit on the chilly side.

It was the first day of the baseball season but due to the rainy weather, the opening game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay was cancelled.  Bad luck for me.

Photos taken with Leica M8 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 or Voightlander Ulton 28mm f/2 or Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.






Written by leolaksi

April 30, 2009 at 7:05 am

Boston’s Quincy Market at Faneiul Hall

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Quincy Market

Quincy Market

Although this is not my first trip to Boston, it is the first trip I’ve taken here that was not work-related.  I’ve had a few days here, mainly in the downtown area and am more impressed than ever with Boston as a holiday destination.  Although the weather is not the best, there’s plenty to see.  Once the weather warms up (soon), I’ve think it’s hard to beat the sights.  The locale is breathtaking,  from its waterfront to its colonial era buildings.  Not only that, this town is tourist oriented with activities suitable for all ages.  Also, from the New England Aquarium to Boston Commons and beyond, Boston is a walking city although there is alternate tourist transportation.

Today, I spent a few hours in the Faneiul Hall area.  Faneiul Hall was originally built in 1742.  Gradually over the next century, Quincy Market (1826), the North Market and the South Market were built.  This area comprises the Faneiul Hall Marketplace.

The area is home to numerous restaurants of every price range.  I enjoyed the Quincy Market which houses dozens of eateries of different cuisines.  Although the on-premises seating is limited, I had no difficult finding a place to eat.  In better weather you can go outside to eat (and people watch).

There are also lots of shops ranging from global brands like Coach to other shops focused on Boston area goods and souvenirs.  This link lists the shops and restaurants located at the marketplace.

The photos were taken with a Leica M8 and two lenses,  a Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 and a Voightlander Super Heliar 15mm f/4.5.

Faneiul Hall

Faneiul Hall

Seating at Quincy Market

Seating at Quincy Market

Lots of eateries

Lots of eateries

Glass blower

Glass blower

Vendor area from dining area at Quincy Market

Vendor area from dining area at Quincy Market

Written by leolaksi

April 8, 2009 at 8:25 am

Bangkok’s Suan Lum Night Bazaar

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suanlumtower The Suan Lum Night Bazaar is centrally located at the intersection of Rama IV and Witthayu Roads.  If you’re taking the Bangkok Subway, it is located at the Suan Lum station.

It’s a potpourri of small vendors selling everything from clothing to home furnishings.  It is also home to numerous restaurants, a food court and a concert hall.  But there’s more.

The wonderful Joe Louis Puppet Theatre, considered to be one of the finest in the world,  is also based there.  Although the thought of a puppet show may not sound interesting, this one is known for its enactment of the Ramayana (Ramakien in Thai) and the ability of the puppeteers to convey a sense of emotion and life in their puppets.

The night bizarre is a great venue to do some shopping, take in dinner and see the puppet show.

Getting back to the bazaar, the best values appear to be clothing with most of the women’s clothing ranging from $3-$10 USD.  There are also plenty of souvenirs of all types from pewterware to knickknacks guaranteed to clutter your home.

All photos were taken with a Leica M8 and a Voightlander Super Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens.






Written by leolaksi

March 23, 2009 at 6:49 am

Roaming Bangkok – “Leica Gallery” at Camera & Lens

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Taken with Leica M8 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens

Taken with Leica M8 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens

Camera & Lens is part of the Fotofile family of camera stores in Bangkok.  The shop is located in the Central Plaza Rama III shopping center and is home to the “Leica Gallery” which is an extensive collection of Leica cameras and accessories.  It’s an interesting exhibit and one can spend a couple of hours looking at the equipment.

Camera & Lens stocks an inventory of Leica M accessories including Leica, Carl Zeiss and Voightlander lens.  Although the shop doesn’t stock every Leica-branded accessory, it’s close.  It has probably the most extensive selection of UV/IR cut filters for the M8 this side of Japan.  For example, they have both the 58mm and 60mm filters in stock, both of which are in short supply worldwide.  And the prices are good.  I purchased the 60mm in Japan last fall and Singapore last week and Camera & Lens sells this filter for between 40-60 USD less.  (And don’t forgot that you will receive 7% VAT refund at the airport upon departure.)

They also offer a selection of used lens.  Not quite the selection I’ve seen at shops in Japan, but not bad.  Prices are competitive with other countries.  For example, I looked at two used Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens.  One was priced at 1700 USD and the other at 2200 USD.  The more expensive one was a complete kit and in superb condition.  (And again 7% VAT refund.)

Of course the key to a good deal is to do research before you buy.  And remember, most camera shops in Thailand will give you a discount.

They also carry Canon and Nikon cameras and lens, both new and used, as well as, most other accessories you would expect from a pro-level camera shop.

If you’re traveling in Thailand and need to buy Leica accessories, this is the place to come.

Taken with Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens

Taken with Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens

Written by leolaksi

March 22, 2009 at 6:35 am

Panasonic Lumix G1 with Voightlander Ultron 28mm f/2 lens

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I’ve tried several Leica M-mount lenses using the Rayqual adaptor on the Panasonic Lumix G1.  So far, I used the Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5, the Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8, the Leica Summicron 35mm f/2, Leica Summicron 90mm f/2  and the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 lenses.  This particular lens is the least satisfying lens I’ve tried on the G1.  Resolution off center is poor and I could not pre-focus the lens and expect a sharp image.  On the M8 and M6, I prefocus all the time with no problems whatsoever.

I set the lens on f/8 which should bring into focus everything between 2 meters and infinity.  As you can see from some of the photos, this was not the case.

By the way, I tried to use my Contax Carl Zeiss Biogon 28mm f/2.8 lens on the G1.   It would not seat as the back end of the lens clashed with the sensor mount.  Therefore, I could not try it out on this camera.




Written by leolaksi

March 14, 2009 at 6:42 am

Part Two – Panasonic Lumix G1 with Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens

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Here are more photos taken from Jatujak Market, the weekend market in Bangkok.  Again, I preset the Voightlander at f/4.5 so that everything from around .7 meters to infinity is in focus.  The lens is not razor sharp at this aperture, but it’s quick to use when you don’t have to think about focusing the lens.  Makes it easy to take a quick snapshot without having to mess around with the focus. However, remember that the G1 with its 2x crop factor makes this lens a 28mm, just right for that typical wide shot.  There is some barrel distortion but it’s minimal.






Written by leolaksi

March 5, 2009 at 6:40 am

Panasonic Lumix G1 with Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens

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Last month while I was in Osaka I was able to buy the Rayqual Leica M to Micro4/3 adaptor.  This adaptor allows one to mount Leica M-mount lens on the Panasonic Lumix G1.  Today I spent some time with this camera and two lenses, the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens and the Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens.

Today I will report on my impressions of the Voightlander on the G1.  First of call, the 15mm is one of my favorite lenses as it’s wide depth of field allows me to cover all distances with having to adjust the focus.  For example, when I set the aperture are f/4.5, all objects from less than a meter to infinity are in focus.  Granted not a razor sharp focus but in focus.  With the Leica M8, the combination works.


The question you have to ask yourself is:  Does it also work with the G1?  My answer is a qualified “yes”.  First of all, with the sensor’s 2x crop factor the effective focal length of the lens is 30mm.  Fair enough as the lens is still wide enough to suit my purposes.

When using this lens on my M8, I set the aperture at f/4.5 o5 f/5.6 and forget about it.  No need to focus, nothing.  Set the camera to Aperture Priority and just point and shoot.  It works on almost all occasions (although sometimes there is minimal barrel distortion).   And the image is quite good.  Almost the entire frame is in focus.


With the G1, I did exactly the same thing.  I set the aperture at f/4.5 and fired away.  Every photo in this posting was taken in this manner.  My premise was that the G1 should be just as easy as the M8 when using the Voightlander lens.  First of all, the G1 was a pleasure to use in this manner.  Small, unobtrusive, quick to eye level, and with the ability to shot from waist high when using the live-view LCD.  Quite a nice package.  The only criticism I have of the controls  is the placement of the exposure compensation wheel at the top of the smallish grip.  It was too easy to turn the wheel and change the setting.


Once I got home, I used Capture One to download the images and Aperture 2 to process them.  One thing I immediately noticed is that the resolution is not as good as the M8 away from the center of the image.  The center of the image is quite good, however on the edges, the image has broken down.  I believe that this is obvious in all the photos.  This result is a far cry from the decent overall image quality when coupling the G1 with the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens.

There has been some discussions on the web that the G1 image is better with longer focal length M-mount lens but does suffer poor resolution on the edges when using a wide angle lens.  That opinion is supported by Sean Reid’s review of the G1 coupled with a Leica Summicron 28mm f/2 lens.   He also noted that the G1 with this lens also matches the M8’s resolution on center.


Bottom line is that the image’s resolution in the center of the photo is good although the resolution does fall off away from the center.  I don’t find this characteristic objectionable although this quality does narrow your ability to “create’ the photo as you want.

Tomorrow I will post about my coupling of the G1 with the Noctilux lens.

Written by leolaksi

March 2, 2009 at 6:44 am