Gino’s Leica M System

Leica M10 – Throughout my photographic career, I’ve shot many camera systems. I can say with confidence, the Leica M10 is the best camera I’ve ever used.

Landscape photographers love the camera’s small footprint and the phenomenal lineup of lenses. The depth of field and three-dimensional look of any image captured with the Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH lens is magical.

The latest version of the Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH lens was optimized for the Leica M10. The edge to edge sharpness, 3D image quality and color accuracy sets it apart from the previous version. The bokeh is smooth wide open with minimal distortion. I would recommend this lens for cityscape and street photography.

When you package the Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 lens with the Leica M10 and Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, you have the perfect travel camera kit. As with the 28mm Summicron, the 50mm Summicron exhibits the same characteristics with edge to edge sharpness, 3D image quality, color accuracy, and smooth bokeh wide open. My main camera bag has the Leica M10 with 28mm and 50mm Summicron lenses ready to go and capture amazing images.

The Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 lens is an amazing lens built between 1990 - 2008. This lens is ultra-sharp and an excellent choice for landscape photography. Set the lens to f8 infinity on the Leica M10 and it becomes a point and shoot for long distant shots at Yosemite National Park or the Grand Canyon. I also love its built-in hood!

The Leica Tele-Elmar-M 135mm f/4 lens is also part of my lineup. I only use it occasionally because of its focal length. But, when it’s attached to the Leica M10, the lens produces fantastic image quality. This lens is ultra-sharp and has a build-in hood.

My latest lens purchase was the ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM lens. I wasn’t looking for another lens for my Leica M10, I stumbled upon the the ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM lens while online. The reviews claimed better performance compared to the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens. This piqued my interest so I purchased the lens. I’m impressed with the lens, specifically the sharpness, which is similar to the Leica 50mm DR Summicron. The bokeh is like butter and the lens beautifully isolates the subject matter with the lens is wide open. I’ll add more about the ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM lens in the coming months.

Leica Visoflex (Typ 020) Electronic Viewfinder

As someone who needs to see the histogram and exposure information when capturing images, the Visoflex Electronic Viewfinder allows for precise composition using lenses less than 28mm.

From the Leica website:

“Designed to slide easily into your M10’s camera's hot shoe, this EVF provides users with a sharp 2.4MP LCD with which to view the histogram for exposure accuracy and compose images. This finder can even tilt upwards 90° and swivel to permit use in a wide range of situations. Also, it has an integrated GPS that will write information directly to your images' Exif data. In addition, the brightness of the display and diopter can be adjusted for comfort.”

Leica Visoflex System

Several years ago, I purchased a Leitz Wetzlar Visoflex III Housing and Viewfinder, Bellows 2, M Mount Adapter, and the Leica Tele-Elmar-M 135mm f4 lens for close-up to macro photography. Combined with Leica FOTOS app on an iPad Pro, the Leitz Wetzlar Visoflex should prove to be rewarding system to use for creative photography. I will be evaluating the system in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Camera Bags

Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is my “go to” camera bag when hiking in the Desolation Wilderness. The bag accommodates my Leica M10, 28mm and 50mm Summicron lenses, ND Filters, iPhone, batteries, and ProMaster SD Card holder. The Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L is lightweight and provides easy, quick-access to camera equipment. I like the FlexFold dividers for internal bag customization and the zip system is weather proof. It’s comfortable and can be worn on your shoulder for long periods of time.

The Tenba - DNA 8 Messenger Bag  is my “go to” camera bag for touring a city on vacation. The bag accommodates my Leica M10, 28mm and 50mm Summicron lenses, ND Filters, iPhone, batteries, and SD Card holder. The quick access top zipper allows for the secure exchange of cameras and lenses. The bag’s zippers give added security and peace of mind when I’m in unfamiliar areas. I tested the camera bag in the rain on a recent trip to Seattle and all my gear remained dry with no water penetration.

Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L and Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L are my "go to" bags for landscape photography trip to the Southwest or Yosemite National Park.

Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist Strap

The Peak Design Cuff is the most elegant, unobtrusive way to protect your camera from accidental drops. The wrist loop magnetically locks in the open position or comfortably cinches on your wrist for added security.

Leica M10 Leather Protector (Black)

I have this leather protector on the camera when I’m on vacation and not using a tripod.

From the Leica website:

“The leather protector adds protection to your M10 camera and LCD screen. Made from a soft leather and custom designed to fit the M10, all camera controls and functions will remain accessible while in use. It also offers a molded grip for added support and comes with a removable leather LCD screen protector to keep the screen safe when not in use.”

Leica Correction Lens II (+0.5 Diopter)

The Leica Correction Lens II helps me clearly see the alignment of the viewfinder patch without the need for glasses.

ND Filters

Schneider-Kreuznach’s B+W XS-Pro Digital ND MRC-Nano Filters are my choice to mount on fast lenses like the ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZM. The coatings on the filters prevent distracting reflections and are dirt and water-repellent. The light absorption is even across the filter’s glass, producing perfect color-neutral images. I use the ND 0.9 version for shooting wide open during daylight conditions. I highly recommend the B+W filters!

Tripod

Gitzo Tripod, Really Right Stuff (RRS) Base Plate with L-Component Grip and Ballhead.

I mounted the Really Right Stuff Full-Size BH-30 Compact Ballhead with a Lever-Release Mechanism on my Gitzo GT1545T Tripod. Attached to the Leica M10 is the Really Right Stuff Base Plate with L-Component Grip. I prefer the RRS L-Component Grip over the Leica M10 Hand Grip because the RRS Grip has a contoured grip that ergonomically allows you to steady hold the camera.

Epson SureColor P800 Printer

I’ve been using Epson printers in my studio over the past 20 years. It’s the gold standard for professional photographers!

From the Epson website:

“Compact Design, Unmatched Print Quality, Superior Black and White Prints, and Production Capacity Ink Cartridges are some of the outstanding features of the Epson SureColor P800 Printer.”

External Hard Drives

LaCie 5TB Rugged Mobile Hard Drive (Thunderbolt & USB 3.0 Type-C)

This hard drive is built like a tank! It’s a cost-effective solution in lieu of purchasing a SSD external hard drive.

Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016), 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 Memory, Radeon Pro 455 2048 MB, and Intel HD Graphics 530 1536 MB.

December is a good time to purchase an Apple MacBook Pro. B&H Photo Video Digital Cameras, Photography, Camcorders always has great deals on Apple MacBook Pro. I recommend signing up for their newsletter!

iPad Pro

iPad Pro 12.9” with 512gb of storage – I love the latest version of the iPad Pro with the new Apple Pencil.

I use my iPad pro on the road to upload images to the device for proofing and storage. I don’t have to wait until I get home to start looking at my images. While on a plane coming home from a landscape photography trip, I’m able to select my images for further processing back in the studio.

SD Cards

I recommend using either SanDisk or Lexar 128GB Professional SD Cards.

BenQ SW271 Display

The BenQ monitor reminds me of the Apple Cinema Display I had in my studio back in the early 2000’s. The surface of the monitor has a matte finish to minimize reflections. From a color management perspecitve, I find the monitor to be very accurate when teamed up with my Epson SureColor P800 printer.

From the BenQ website:

Specifications: 27-inch 3840x2160 4K HDR Monitor. 99% Adobe RGB, 100% SRGB, 93% DCI-P3 Color coverage.

“Devoted to meet the latest professional color standard, BenQ has developed AQCOLOR technology to uphold the concept: “Accurate Reproduction". BenQ has invited a color expert to lead the team, and also actively participated in ICC (International Color Consortium) and ISO (International Standard Organization) to establish color-related standards and implementation.”

i1Studio from X-Rite

I’ve used Gretag Macbeth’s Eye-One Photo prior to X-Rite purchasing the company in 2006. Currently, I use X-Rite’s i1Studio system to calibrate my BenQ and Epson Printer at 5000k.

From the X-Rite website:

“The new i1Studio from X-Rite was created for photographers and designers who love to shoot, scan, edit and print, but don’t love to waste time and money on the process. The award-winning and patented technology built into the i1Studio delivers precise, intuitive color management across your entire color workflow. The end result: prints that match your images across all your devices.”

Capture One

The Best RAW Converter on the market!

I’ve tested all major RAW Software programs on the market today and I can say without a doubt, Capture One produces the best image quality from RAW files - period!

Summary

Many hours of thoughtful consideration and energy went into selecting my gear and assembling my Leica M10 camera system. To have a camera system that rivaled the best medium format landscape photography system, I spent hours testing a variety of lenses. I concluded that the images captured with the Leica M10 camera have a definite “medium format” look and 3D feel when they were paired with the outstanding lineup of Leica lenses and converting RAW files using Capture One.

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