Technique, strategy, and luck account for most photography results, but camera gear and tech are fantastic. Sensors that capture light are constantly getting more advanced. Auto-focus technology and algorithms are more sophisticated and quick. Lens design allows better optics in smaller sizes. Camera companies focus on professional and prosumer markets as most folks are adequately served by their cell phones.
As we enter 2023, the following is an account of the camera gear I use and the strategy for when I use it.
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The M System
The Leica M10-R is my favorite camera. I plan to write more about the allure of using a rangefinder, but the tactile experience and build quality of Leica rangefinders are second to none. I’d love to upgrade to an M11, but I will wait for the M11 Monochrom for a new experience.
Most of my photography operates around a 35mm focal length. It’s my favorite focal length for a variety of subjects.
My favorite lenses for the M system are the 35mm Summilux and the 50mm Summilux. These two lenses, even though they are close in focal length, provide versatility and excellent image quality in a small form factor.
I also enjoy using Voigtlander lenses. Three Voigtlander APO lenses provide exceptional image quality: the 35mm, the 50mm, and the 90mm. The 35mm Ultron F/2.0 and 35mm Color-Skopar provide different shooting experiences and have a much smaller form factor.
The Leica Q was my original introduction to the Leica ecosystem, and I upgraded to the Leica Q2 because I love the experience of having a simple camera that produces excellent photos.
I use the Q2 for long hikes where the extra weight savings help! I also use it as a travel camera when my primary purpose for the trip is not photography.
While my Leica setup fulfills my desire for a tactile and manual experience, my Sony setup focuses on how technology can help capture images.
One of my favorite Sony lenses is the 70–200mm GM II. It’s compact for its focal range and aperture, and I don’t mind taking it on moderate hikes. The image quality is great, and it’s always nice to stop down to F2.8. Another favorite lens is the 35mm GM. I love the 35mm focal length, and this lens produces impressive results.
My development computer is a 14″ M1 Max Macbook Pro. I use an LG Ultrafine 5K as a monitor. I use Adobe Lightroom for editing. I’ve primarily used Lightroom Classic, but I’ve recently migrated to Lightroom because 1.) it’s generally up to parity these days and 2.) I can install Lightroom through Mac’s App store and don’t have to deal with the obnoxious Adobe Creative Cloud Software.
Changes I want to make in 2023
I’ll likely switch to one if Apple releases an update to the XDR display.
I will buy one when Sony releases a 16–35 GM II. I’ve been thrilled with the GM II versions of the 24–70 and 70–200. Sony is hitting it out of the part by 1.) decreasing size, 2.) Increasing image quality, and 3.) Improving the tactile experience with aperture rings.
I’d be interested in an M11 Monochrom, but that might be a 2024 purchase.