Here are some of the photos taken this morning with my Leica M9 camera. I wanted to showcase to couples who are looking to have an engagement shoot or book a wedding photographer what is possible for you. I aim to provide wedding couples with a mix of relaxed reportage style candid photos throughout the day plus some posed high fashion wedding portraits as seen here. This is my style of Leica wedding photography.
This morning Harriett and Ashley modelled for me and Donna kindly came along as my lighting assistant. I used the same lighting and equipment that I use on a wedding day and going forward I plan to take an assistant with me for every shoot (feel free to get in touch if you would like to get involved) to help hold my light so I can achieve the look I desire.
Photos were taken with the following lenses, roughly in order, Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5, Leica Summicron 90mm f2, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4
Lighting was fully portable using speedlights.
Photos shot as Leica M9 black and white JPEGs in camera and finished in Lightroom 3.
I felt my Leica M9 needed a wingman for the Leica wedding photography. By this I mean a fellow Leica M body to make use of my various Leica M mount lenses.
I looked at a the newest Leica M, the Leica “Typ 240” but they are too expensive for me and would depreciate faster than my car! I then toyed with the idea of a second Leica M9 body for Leica weddings but it seems a waste to have both cameras devaluing with age when I can only use one at a time. I then accidently stumbled across the older Leica M8 (released in 2006) on eBay when looking for used M9 bodies. I started my Leica M8 research and got more and more impressed with every article I read. To cut a long story short a purchase came soon after! A special thanks to Julie who sold me her beloved Leica camera via eBay.
..I never thought I would buy another crop sensor camera after going full frame with the Leica M9 and Nikon D800. The M9 is 18MP and the Nikon D800 is 36MP. The M8 has a 1.33x crop sensor and only 10.3 MP but I feel I can still get just as good results from it for my needs.
Here is a quick summary on why the Leica M8 excites me so much (in no order):
1) Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 (Same as D800. M9 is 1/4000)
2) Maximum flash sync speed – 1/250 (Fastest shutter speed at which I can use a strobe/ speedlight / studio light with the camera). A fast shutter can reduce the amount of ambient light hitting the sensor and is great for Leica strobist work on a bright day. (M9 is 1/180).
3) Kodak CCD sensor (The same filmic look as achieved from the Leica M9 CCD just smaller).
4) No infrared filter – This makes the Leica M8 fantastic for B&W photography. (For colour photography it is recommended that an IR UV filter is used to reduce green ghosting and colour cast). I shoot mostly black and white so this will be perfect for my taste. Some even call it the ‘original’ Leica Monochrome camera.
5) Crop sensor – Most people would see this as a negative however it means the M8 will use the sharpest centre part of my various lenses but more so it gives all my lenses a new lease of life. With a 1.33x crop applied to all my focal lengths it means my Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii would be equivalent to almost 50mm (35×1.33=46.55mm) and my Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 becomes a 66.5mm. This will give me more reach for my wedding photography from my existing lenses.
6) Price! I think the biggest plus is the price of a used Leica M8 camera body and the excellent value for money. Costing 3x less than a used Leica M9 it really is a steal. That is the same price as a used Canon 5D Mk II yet you are getting a Leica!
Any drawbacks of the Leica M8?
1) The coating is said to be not as good as the M9 (or M8.2).
2) The shutter is less refined and more noisy than the M9 (corrected in the Leica M8.2)
3) Minimum ISO is 160 rather than ISO 80 on the Leica M9. I find a low ISO useful to control light levels.
..I am sure there are more but those were the main ones that stood out to me and /or have already been covered above.
To celebrate my now two Leica M camera family I will setup a specific Leica wedding photography website to exhibit my Leica wedding photography work and to separate it from my current model photography that often dominates my pages.