World’s most beautiful Leica M6 Part II {does it takes pictures?}

best leica m6 available

M6 Dragon Y2000 Black Paint

Read Part 1 here

We have to ask ourselves whenever we try to justify our purchases. Especially one that comes from the red-dot company (cough*). The left brain begets us to explain, to sanitise our conscience through logic. The big question is “Why did you buy this camera, will you even use it?”. There is a thin line between a gear head, a collector and an actual enthusiast user that appreciates using the tool.

 

leica zeiss ultimate m6 camera

Leica M6 dragon with 35mm f2 Biogon

When i bought the Dragon M6 limited edition, i was clearly stunned by its built and quality. I even blogged about this earlier . It has been weeks since i had the camera. All the early shouting and self afflicted propaganda to keep buyer’s remorse have subsided. I couldn’t allow myself to keep the camera in the box to just appreciate its aesthetic values, my views of collectors are pretty low in respect and using that same measurement on myself would make me a complete hypocrite.

A beautiful tool such as the Dragon M6 have to prove its worth and a camera is useless if it isn’t used to create images. So i took it out for a whole day shoot when my model friend and internet idol Stephy Yi Wen told me that she would be going to Korea for studies. I got myself some rolls of Fuji Superia 200 and Fuji Venus 800. I knew that i would be using the 35mm Zeiss Biogon wide open but in a room with only dimly available natural light coming in, the ISO 800 film would be handy.

 

best film camera 2017

The Dragon 2000

If you happened to be travelling to South East Asia and passing by Malaysia, do get your films replenish and develop in Bang Bang Geng in Publika. With the pathetic level of Malaysian currency today, you could get a Superia 200 for USD 4 and scanning with development for USD 4.5.

Now back to shooting session. I noticed that there are indeed some improvement that M7 does have over even this Dragon M6. One of them being the iso dials you see behind the body, the M7’s iso dial is clearly easier to use and felt more robust. The other is the shutter dials. The Dragon’s shutter dial are more polished and looks great but turning the knob at each stop felt better on the M7. The M7 is after all a much newer camera.

 

most expensive leica m6 2017

Immaculate finishing

The rewind knob is used slightly differently than how i imagined it would be. The Dragon’s knob needs to be lifted up while the 2 dots remains submerged to do the rewinding. I found myself winding for 5 minutes and getting nowhere initially before i realized that the knob needs to be lifted.

There are several aspect of the camera that made it a very inspiration tool for use. First, the body is slightly lighter than the M7, i would say almost nobody would buy an M7 or M6 without using it on a holster or case. The Dragon just felt perfect while the M7 felt a bit on the heavier side. This is of course a purely personal evaluation. The other advantage is that the Dragon only uses 1 battery as opposed to 2 on the M7, the mechanism of replacing the battery on the M6 is definitely built better than the M7s.  The 0.85 finder, delicious.

Enough about the camera, how did it do, i will leave some images here for you own evaluation.

recommended leica m6 for today

beautiful stephy. M6 dragon. venus 800

 

desire leica m6 dragon edition

Enlightenment. M6 Dragon, venus 800.

 

most desirable leica

Alluring. M6 Dragon, venus 800.

 

best film camera leica dragon m6

Stephy @ Sekeping Jugra. M6 Dragon. Superia 200

 

limited edition 2000 dragon leica

“There”. M6 Dragon. Superia 200.

Could i have gotten better or similar results from the Leica M7? Of course i could, don’t be silly :-). The Dragon M6 might be the most beautiful Leica M6 that warrants it as a collector item but it should by all means be used. The 0.85 works really well with the 35mm frame lines. What was you weekend shoot, did you try film? Do share some of your thoughts here.

■ amanda ■ Sands {portraiture | ccd sensor}

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This is Amanda CME (fb,insta: mak3upqueen). I met her 3 years ago and last sunday we decided to collaborate. I shot this album using both film and CCD digital. Unfortunately film is still processing and not out yet, so do enjoy my digital version. Shot on the “lousiest nikon camera – ken rockwell” D3000.

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As much as i am eager to see the output from the 6×7 film i shot, these CCD output from my Nikon camera are just awesome. Amanda have done so much makeup for her clients, doing model poses is like a walk in the park.
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Hope you enjoyed the photos. I am the best portrait photographer in Malaysia, not commercially, but in my thoughts, reach out and passion.  Do forgive me for the arrogance 😉

Rachel with gladiators {portraiture}

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caravan

I spent sometime reflecting upgrading my mental faculty to add poses to my workflow. Yup, poses. I think its working, i can now easily pose any outdoor model in decent poses regardless of the props available. Its not that hard once you have spent 30 minutes a day studying poses after your long day of work in a completely different field (app developement in startup). In this set of portraiture, i used a Voigthlander 40 1.4 that costs less than USD 500 with the Leica ME (ccd sensor).

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sexy

Sexy. I find myself often struggling with this theme. The asian traditional values of grace, beautiful poses and my inherent preference of not doing anything on nude/lingerie which downgrade any beautiful model into soft porn is often at odds against each other when i study western art. Truth be told, i find recent works of China’s chinese photographers posing nude ladies outdoor tasteless, gimmicky and downright a hit at women’s honor.
On the other hand, as a women, sexy and curves are advantages of her body design, it should be highlighted in poses if its done correctly, with decent clothing that invokes that primitive visual response of viewers at a basic level.

passenger

passenger

A prop is essentially any item, object that the model can use to add interest to the visual image. In this picture, highlighting Rachel’s gladiator using the rear passenger seat and door adds interest to an otherwise weak image.

dusk

dusk

Simple poses with good natural lighting can never go wrong.
Thanks for viewing my latest portrait session, i have a lot more beautiful photographs from this session and will be sharing them on my next blog.
I know i been churning out a lot of crap reasons and morality lectures that nobody wants to hear, but hey…its how i feel in all honesty.

distance

distance

* featured image, taken using F2.0 at 1/3000, 40mm 1.4 voigthlander, Leica ME.

Where beauty treads and pageants falls {portraiture | film}

u can't beat natural beauty | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160

u can’t beat natural beauty | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160

Film. Yeah, i been talking about the joy of shooting film and why the lesser road travelled might have more to offer than you could imagine.
These are simple images taken on Elaine Cheah. Elaine is a very simple girl, loves cats and have a strong devotion towards relationships. I have met many freelancer models in these last 4 years and seen various pageants and contests where some of these freelancer friends joined or win.
Elaine on the other hand, have no interest to join contests. Doesn’t apply much makeup at and looks like someone that jumps out of some korean drama into the world.

Now back to film, as incoherent as my thoughts are, the point is simply this. Just because its popular, doesn’t mean it represent the best. Digital been going around countless megapixels and features, the resemblance is almost to many pageants contestants, wipe off those makeups and it has nothing to offer. Layer after layer of makeup, hairdo and mascaras populates the face of the next contest winner.

genes vs makeups | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160

genes vs makeups | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160

Both the mobile and camera world has gone mad and offering gears after gears and lens after lens with no real contribution to your photography skills. In fact, do notice that mobile phones have nothing much to boast about nowadays and have focused primarily on its camera features.

In a short view of some of the top digital brands today.

Nikon D810
Nikon released a series of cameras in these last 3 years, d600, d610, d750, d4, d800, d4s, d800E, d810. Megapixels jumps all the way from 16mp to 24 to 36. Shooting buffers goes from 6fps to 10fps and beyond.

canon 5ds
Canon released the 6D, 7DmkII, 5ds, 5dsr with the latest megapixel news of 250 mp.

sony a7rii
Sony the leader of the FF mirrorless A7 line of cameras. 6 months and your existing gears are obsolete.

Its an endless chase. We all know where the best girls are, next door and rarely any of them made it to pageants as winners.
Those who win, gets dethroned the next year. I believe any of the digital FF entry level given by nikon, canon or sony is good enough to produce the best images for ANY passionate photographer. The rest of the features imho…caters for a very niche set of professional photographers.

5 things that can affect your images more than anything else {portraiture}

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Elaine Cheah, Diva Nikon D4, 24mm 1.4 ISO 500.

Some say a tool is just a tool.
Some say a high quality sensor, FF and a set of premium lens helps a long way in making any images stands out more.
Some opt for higher resolution while others harp on low light performance and high iso cleanliness.
Some say all you need is the mobile phone since its the camera that is with you all the time.
Some swear on nikon, some canon, some says Sony mirrorless is the dawn of the new age.

All true.
All useless points.

I would like to share the following on my personal opinion on gears and how it actually affects our output and choices. You may be surprised at the conclusion that i settled on.

1. INSPIRATION MATTERS
Like every other creative work be it writing or painting. Creativity starts from inspiration. Without inspiration, you are as good as dead. What makes a particular work creative or inspirational is an inspired person.
A bigger sensor or bigger lens won’t grant you inspiration anymore than buying 2 pens allows you to write a successful novel.

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Elaine Cheah, Diva Nikon D4. 85mm f 1.4.

2. GEARS THAT SPARKS INSPIRATION, WINS
There is a reason why the images shot on Elaine and those on Taylor differs greatly in style, tones, objective and appeal.
When i hold a D4, it feels like a professional, commercial tool. So despite that i usually talk to Elaine in a very casual way, when i am shooting with D4, you feel “inspired” to shoot something more of the higher-end genre of fashion.
When i hold the Konica Hexar, i feel i am holding a camera that have seen the ups and down of life. These inspiration comes from the very design and nature of the camera’s purpose and timeline. With the Hexar, you feel that life is to be appreciated in a simple way as though as your walking down memory lane.

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taylor yap. colors. Konica Hexar.

3. Limitations are like physics.

Every action there is an equally opposing reaction. I can’t recall the exact words uttered by my physics teacher but this holds true not just in physics but in everything else. A limitation imposed by a camera causes you to use it in a very different way than a camera that does not limit you.

There was a time i got the Leica Xvario. A beautifully crafted camera that will have its owner going through a love/hate relationship. That camera have a mediocre 28mm f3.5->70mm f6.4. Ouch. You can’t get any worse specs than this in any new APSC camera.
But because i paid a silly amount for it, I was adamant to use it to the best of my knowledge and i actually spent time creating images that caters for that camera’s strength, IQ and natural muted colors.

Leica Xvario. Lavi, Cameron 2014.

Leica Xvario. Lavi, Cameron 2014.

The Xvario didn’t have any bokeh that i could use to isolate the subject so i had to use its rather deep DOF and decent image quality. That was the only time i agreed to go on a local trip driving up all the way to the hills.
I shot the above using F3.5. While this may surprised some but it highlights the personal struggle i had with the Xvario. I am only interested to shoot wide open any of my lens regardless of its make and at f3.5 i easily hand held the shot.

Leica Xvario. Victoria, Singapore.

Leica Xvario. Victoria, Singapore.

4. Ergonomics will break you or raise you

Before i ever owned a Leica, the logical side of me says that Leica users are either dumb ass or arrogant fools. I am a known veteran in the developer’s community and security. I founded the Python user group Malaysia, wrote some crazy shit VPN and Firewall from scratch and part of my code are were once used by the US ministry of Defense in mid 90s.
But when i hold my M9 few years ago, i just felt like going out to shoot. It was pretty silly because i am shooting models most of the time, before i could take one shot, my friend next to me took 10. The M9 felt fantastic when held on to, the knobs and dials are just there with a function.

I eventually argued myself out of it and went for the Sony A7r, during a time in 2013 when i had a fallout with someone i cared for very much. The Sony was cold, computer like camera that i distracted myself mostly by using all kinds of vintage lens on it. Everything just felt cold. My images became technically “clean” and scientific.

If you are reading this and where it is going you probably think that i am promoting leica. No. No, you can find extremely inspirational tools in film cameras as well. I borrowed a friend of mine a Nikon FM3A and the next day itself he is already sold on getting one despite being a digital user all these while. The FM3a is just so beautiful and simple that you can’t help but to feel like creating art with it.

Leica just got it right by keeping to the designs and film cameras. There are loads of solid, inspired-imbued film cameras just waiting for you. Please, just stay clear of Lomo plastics. If Lomo were to produce solid film cameras i would line up in support, but as of now, its anything but a toy.

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Taylor Yap. Colors. Konica Hexar

5. Subject Matters
I am an advocate of portraiture because i believe the image of a person is priceless. The communication, friendship, joy and discovery that photography grants you could only be found in portraiture, not in scenery. While there are awesome sceneries that deserves to be in the hall of eternity, there is just no one else in eternity, like you.

5 best places to buy film cameras in Tokyo {2015|advice}

Today is my last day in Japan, in the last five days i been visiting most of the popular places where film cameras could be found. I did arrive to a surprising result of which i think is the best camera shop. For directions please download the offical subway app by the Japanese gov so you don’t need to ask anyone how to get from A->B.

Now without any order, here are some of the shops i visited and read the end for the best one and my reasons behind it. I did not take all the photos of each shop but i will mention each one here.

 

Lemon Camera

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This shop is located at the Church of united christ, Ginza. It has a good collection of Leica and Nikons. The prices are somewhat pricier than those you can find in Map Camera and Kitamura. No photography allowed inside. Google Map will show you exactly how to get there when you type “lemon camera”.

 

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Fujiya Camera
http://www.fujiya-camera.jp/shopbrand
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This is one of the best shop for price. Its located at Nakano just next to the Nakano Station. Its has a mix selection of film cameras and some Contax lens and good conditioned RTSs. On my visit i saw a beautiful set of Pentax 645NII with lens. This is definitely a must visit if price is the main criteria.

MapCamera
You can easily find this in google map.

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There are 2 floors that have vintage and film cameras. The nikons here are in very good shape. Overall selection is as big as Lemon’s Camera but it does have friendlier prices for some of the used items. There are 3-4 Leitz CLE around.

I would say that if price is so so and you want to try your luck this would be a good place.

Kitamura Camera
This is located just “in your face” shop facing MapCamera. Basically just facing MapCamera in Shinjuku.
Mix bag assortments of cameras and pricing. Its a very interesting place to find what you want.

Bic Camera and Yodobashi camera

These two are the giants for new cameras. I used them for fast processing + scanning of my negative film. Although i think the best overall lab is in my country Malaysia, Bang Bang Geng which does 5xxx x 3xxxx mps scan by default at half the cost of whatever i am paying in japan.

You can find some gems here in these stores. You see some of the old stocks could be here. I saw Bessa R4m, R3a, R3m at prices that are even cheaper than ebay. Each store however, could be listing the price differently :-).

So did i buy anything after visiting all over the place and which store?

I wanted a Zeiss Ikon because my current main lens is the f1 noctilux. Although my current Bessa r3m is just solid good, the EBL (effective base length). In short, focusing at F1, i will need more EBL and Zeiss Ikon is definitely at the top end. You can read more about EBL here

I couldn’t find the zeiss ikon. The M3 is out of question because it only support a shutter speed up till 1/1000. Lets face its, M3 is super dated and finding a good copy is hard. If you are using f1.4 or f1, 1/1000 is just asking for trouble.

Katsumido Camera

I saw this shop at Ginza and took a tour inside, i notice that the prices are slightly more expensive that the other shops mentioned above but they do offer direct tax free deduction. But i also notice something peculiar about this shop, the items doesn’t list the normal “condition A, B, C” but they look very pristine. In fact i thought they somehow selling brand new vintage cameras like m3, m5.

Then something caught my eye. A limited edition of Hexar RF. The condition is so beautiful that i begin to realize why the other items in the shop are selling at a slightly higher price. It whats you pay what you get here and this shop only carries the best conditioned ones. I had a chat with the owner Mr Yasuhiro Fujimoto and i realized he doesn’t really have the burden of rent because that place belongs to his grandfather who have been selling cameras since 1940.

I bought it and although it doesn’t have the box, they carefully wrapped the purchased with a customed micro fibre cloth.
You can see the condition here, unedited straight from my phone. I don’t sell products so i just gonna show you some casual shot of the Hexar.

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In short, if you really want a very good film camera and you don’t mind paying a little, you get the best conditioned cameras here and saved from buying new. The shop name is Katsumido Camera at 9-1,5-Chrome Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. I had to list this address here cause you won’t be able to easily find it in Google map or google, it shows up in japanese. This shop is facing some prominent Ginza road and just few minutes “straight” walk. They can be reached at (81)03-35710468.

I shot a roll of Velvia color film and its and hope to share the results soon.

Bokeh vs Bokehless, the lost art {Portraiture}

angela {bokehless}

angela {bokehless}

I been struggling to master the bokehless portraiture. This struggle has motivated me to force myself to use cameras with deep depth of field and hence inability to produce bokeh photos. One such ridiculous camera is the Casio TR. If you read my previous blog, i took this camera and went walking around Singapore as well as shot my model friends in Kuala Lumpur. Things took a change when i decided to ask Angela Lieche to do a shoot with me. Angela (x.x.angela instagram) have been creating beautiful bokehless images and her fame instagram is rising fast, thanks to her images.
Bokehless portraits, takes a very different set of eyes and mind to capture them. When i had the Casio TR, i tried my best and eventually i admit i could not take any satisfactory portraits with it. You can read about how the model herself could take a better picture here.

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

I am lucky to be the owner of a Noctilux f1. An ancient lens granted by Leica to possess magical qualities. I maybe exaggerating but the fact that you use a rare aperture, it can only create different bokeh and imagery. So in this shoot with Angela, i use the new skills of utilizing both bokeh and bokehless cameras. The bokehless camera is the Ricoh GR 28 mm f2.8 and the bokeh camera is my trusty Leica ME Noctilux F1 v3.

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

If i were to be downright honest here, i am one of the best outdoor portrait photographer anyone can find in Malaysia. Not the best, but definitely one of the best.
Well, let me correct that statement earlier, “best outdoor female portrait photographer”. LOL.
I pay my dues with constant learning, practicing and restrain in learning and enhancing my skills, do visit my other articles and photos to see the various themes that i have done and collaborated with. I learn from the best, be it Dragon Chow from HK, Ming Thein of Malaysia or a freelance model like Angela who is gifted, i take my lessons with no prejudice.
Is it profitable? No by a far margin, photography to me is like an art and a gift to me and people that i meet.

Please do enjoy the images below and drop me a comment if you enjoyed my images and lame jokes.

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokeh}

angela {bokehless}

angela {bokehless}

siew may  {bokehless}

siew may {bokehless}

siew may, {bokehless}

siew may, {bokehless}

4 Types of facebook friends

While facebook kinda promotes friendship in many ways, sometimes you have to filter out the kind of friends you want. When i first ventured into photography, i met a lot of new people that are different from business types of friends.

However as time goes by, it became obvious to me that some people do not deserves sincere friendship. While i am not looking for perfection in any relationships forged via facebook, i am often baffled by the kind of people that i met that could take things for granted so easily.

No matter what the medium is, real friends could be proven by time, where those who are looking only to promote themselves and nothing else would surface clearly. I do ask myself sometimes, is this a business or is this friendship. If its friendship, we should accept that person regardless of his/her flaws and limitations. In business, if there is no profit in the relationship, it ends. In friendship, we should love our friends and that includes being vocal about their situation if they are clearly on the wrong, morally.

Here i would just humorously categorize FB friends into 4 types:

A) The innocent

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They have a lovable outward expression and physicality. Often quiet and seems calm despite all situations. Their timeline rarely contains any rage nor self rants. Its easy to make friends but the old advice “never judge a book by the cover” stays true here. While they could be the ones providing a good ear for listening, they rarely go a mile extra for their friends. Perhaps all those self reflection and quiet times are just spent mostly on themselves and no one else. On the other hand, some are just non vocal until u know them better 🙂

B) The Two faced

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Its hard to know if these people are sincere in their friendships at all. Sometimes when things are needed, they will stick close, when things are no longer needed, they are as distance as ice. Often these people have their own plans and agenda that goes this way “Don’t waste my time unless you have something for me”.
On one hand they would appear to be joyous when you are successful on the other hand they are rarely true to this feeling. Enjoying instead on darker emotions like jealousy and believing the world runs on survival of the fittest.
These people often gets banned by their friends without them knowing why and they would themselves often ban others without giving a reason.

C) The Normals

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These are socially healthy people that balance their lives between success, work and friendships. They are usually happy and consistent with their aims and goals. If you needed help, some would go the extra mile just for the sake of friendship. Even if they won’t, its mostly for good reasons and not because too much trouble.

D) The Saints

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These friends often have an overview of the world. Loves looking at the deeper picture and talks a lot about plans. Some would participate in activities that involves helping animals, environment or some kind of personal crusade.
These people often are passionate in what they do and would be the kind of friends to look for. However, everyone is just humans so don’t expect a real saint.

Did i mention just 4 groups, the others are basically combination of these 4 types one way or the other.

Well, actually i am just taking the opportunity to share my cat photos here so i had to cook up an interesting article, so don’t take these types listed here too seriously! XD

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