The question is if a camera can make your thinking change. Can it make life simpler and your images better? This is what I ask myself after three months of using the Leica M 240. Not that I have the answers yet, but I did notice that I take more color photos, without actually wanting to admit that the colors are better. But then why do I use the colors..?
The Leica M Type 240 has three light metering methods. The ClassicCenter-weighted, intelligent metering called Multi-field and a Spot metering.
The Classic lightmeter measures an area of 1/3 of the sensor from three small eyes in the bottom of the bayonet.
It can be a bit confusing that the menu on the Leica M 240 has two settings for metering; Classic and Advanced. The reason is that Classic is the classic metering that has been in the Leica M cameras since forever; three small eyes inside the camera that measures the reflections off of the shutter curtain. It's a quiet and reliable method of light metering.
The advanced light metering method is a new method, due to the fact that the Leica M240 now has a CMOS sensor that enables the camera to 'turn on' the sensor for Live View. Once you switch on Advanced Metering, you basically use the sensor itself to measure the light, and not the classic method with the three eyes inside the camera.
Most prominent, the shutter curtain goes up when you activate the camera, which you can hear. It has to, because the sensor needs to be able to see the light to measure it. It's a much larger battery consumption than the classic meter, and is a choice if you want to use the new features such as the possibility to use "spot metering" where you measure just a small spot in the center of the frame, or use the "Multi-Field metering" which is an algorithm (a calculation designed by the factory) that calculate the likely correct exposure based on highlights and shadows in the frame. Say you are photographing a face with a sunset behind. The Multi-field light metering should be ingelligent to see that there are shadows in the center of the photo, and lots of light in the background; and thus, if the algorithms are programmed that way, recognize that you likely you want the camera to increse the exposure time so that the face in shadow is corerectly exposed and the background then becomes much brighter.
In MENU there is a choice in CAMERA settings between Classic and Advanced.
In SET there is a choice between ClassicCenter-weighted, Multi-field or Spot metering.
I recommend Classic light metering
What I recommend is to choose Classic and Center-weighted (see menu settings below to the right). This is the same metering method as the Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E and Leica M Monochrom. This is the method where three small eyes inside the camera measure the reflection from the two grey and one white line on the shutter curtain. The size it measures is always 1/3 of the sensor area.
The othermetering methods, the "Advanced" ones,, only work with Live View as they read from the actual live view image on the sensor:
The Spot metering measures only a small spot in the center of the frame and only works with Live View.
The Multi-field metering measures the brightness of the Live View image in 24 Fields in the image. The brightness distribution is used to predict what kind of scene it is (landscape, portrait, back light, etc.). More information is not available as to what the camera sees or how many intelligent metering settings it has stored.
The number of scenarios stored in the camera is intellectual property, as it is the case for all 'intelligent' light metering systems from different manufacturers. For us as users it means that we can use the Multi-field metering and see how it works. If it works well, it's good. If it doesn't always work and we can't figure out what makes it work and what doesn't (which is usually the case with 'intelligent' light metering systems), we can't control the metering.
As the whole idea with metering is to control the exposure, I as a photographer need to understand how the camera measures the light. Hence, for me, the Classic Center-weighted metering is the method I prefer.
ND-filters are Neutral Density filters for lenses. One could say they are sunglasses for lenses. When there is too much light, you add ND filters. As the name indicates, they are neutral, which means that they don't add contrast or color cast.
The Leica M Type 240 has a base ISO of 200 ISO which is what it should be set at when shooting in daylight. In theory 200 ISO should result in the best image quality from the sensor as it is the natural, unaltered ISO.
The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 second. This means that if you photograph in sunshine, the aperture must be f/2.8 - f/4.0 to make a correct exposure at 1/4000 second at ISO 200.
As you often shoot with Leica lenses with an aperture of f/0.95, f/1.4 or f/2.0 you will want to use them wide open. That is what they were designed for. To do that, you add a ND filter that reduces the light with 3 stops.
A f/0.95 lens is reduced to f/2.8 this way, by using an ND filter with 3 stops, but the aperture stays wide open at f/0.95 and you maintain the DOF (depth of field), bokeh (the look of the out-of-focus areas) and artistic look of the lens.
A f/2.0 lens is reduced to f/5.6, by using an ND filter with 3 stops, but maintains the DOF, bokeh and artistic look of the lens at f/2.0. For example a Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 lens for portrait where you keep the possibility to have the background completely creamy and out of focus - even in sunshine.
Some of my ND-filters for my Leica lenses.
You can also get variable ND-filters, for example a Heliopan that will go from 1/3 stop to 6 stops. B+W (Biermann and Weber, est. 1947, merged 1985 to be B+W filters from Schneider Optical Works in Germany) also made one, but took it back from the market as they couldn't produce it in the quality they aimed for. A 62mm variable Heliopan filter will fit the Leica f/0.95 Noctilux with a 60mm - 62mm step-up ring (and still fit inside the lens shade). As of August 2013 B+W Filters released their B+W 62mm XS-Pro Digital ND Vario MRC nano Filter as well. B+W also do a 58mm that will fit a f/1.0 Noctilux with 58mm filters straight on.
ND-filters can be hard to chase down as most camera stores don't stock them. When they do, they stock 6-stop because most ND-filters in traditional photography are used for motion-stop. But with a little work, you can find ND filters online or in some camera stores. For Leica lenses it is a matter of how to use the lens wide open at f/0.95, f/1.4, f/2.0 or what the widest aperture is. The most extreme intake of light is the goal.
You want the ND-filter to be dark enough to make it possible to shoot wide open in sunshine. On the other hand, you do not want the ND-filter to be so dark it can't be used when a cloud goes in front of the sun or you shortly walk inside a building to get a cup of coffee (where there naturally always is a great photo waiting). So 3-stop is the one you should usually get (also referred to as 8X filter).
3-stop will enable you to shoot wide open in sunshine at f/0.95 at 200 ISO. And when you shortly go inside, you can increase the ISO to 800 (2 stops) or 1600 ISO (3 stops) so as to keep shooting as if there were no ND-filter on.
Variable ND-filters are interesting when you use Leica M9 with a base ISO of 160, the Leica M240 with a base ISO of 200, or a Leica M Monochrom with a base ISO of 320. Different needs because the Leica M Monochrom is twice as lightstrong as the Leica M9. In other words, when you shoot a f/0.95 at 320 ISO with a 3-stop ND filter, you are in trouble in sunshine and will often need a 4-stop ND-filter.
Neutral Density filters are - as the name says - neutral, meaning that they don't do anything but reduce the light. No effects or colors are added. You want good quality ND-filters because you don't want to lose colors, tonality or sharpness. Leica should make quality ND-filters, but they don't. They made a 3-stop 67mm ND-filter for the Leica Digilux 2, but that was an one time event.
The names of ND filters
By Thorsten von Overgaard
ND filters tend to have names that doesn't make it that easy to figure out exactly how many stops they are. Here is a chart I made of what names are used for the different ND filters.
The many names for the same ND-filters:
Light reduced to:
1-6 stop variable
ND 0.3 - 1.8
ND 2X - 64X
ND0.3 - 1.8
1 - 6 BL
50% - 1.56%
3-BL is short for "3 blenden", which is German for 3 aperture or 3 stops.
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on the Leica M240
By Thorsten von Overgaard
The wheel on Leica M240 - Exposure compensation
It has always been possible to do exposure compensation with the Leica M9, and with the thumbs wheel on the Leica M240 it has become easier.
Though, it is not a way to use a Leica M in my opinion. Here is why I think so:
Exposure compensation is something invented for dSLR cameras that 'forgot' to place the basic ways to compensate the exposure outside on the camera as they used to be in the 70's and earlier. Up until the 70's, all cameras had exposure controls (aperture and shutter speed) on the outside of the camera (and nothing but film inside). Then somebody got the idea to hide those complicated things and let the camera figure it all out for you. But to make the camera look fancy, they put some other buttons on the outside.
A few years later people got unsatisfied with that their pictures looked too dark or too bright. Then somebody got the great idea to install a way to compensate for exposure in just one button ... the wheel. See my article, "Inventing the Wheel for Photography" on The Me.
Leica M Type 240 is one of the few cameras that actually puts the user in total control of all the ways to control exposure (by having an aperture ring on the lens and a shutter speed dial on top of the camera), so one should use them. That is how to maintain control and apply logics to ones photography; technically and aesthetically.
The main problem for dSLR users that gets a Leica M 240
Direct control is what makes photography simple again. It so happens to also be the main problem for new users going from dSLR to Leica M, because one has to get used to the simplicity of having to decide for yourself. And that you can actually do it.
If you never had to make a decision for yourself in your (photographic) life, you might think you were spared from difficulty. You were never asked to - or able to - understand how your camera worked. You might be under the impression that it is very advanced and needs a computer to figure it out. When new users coming from dSLR to Leica M 240 figure out how simple it is, that's when they start talking about life quality.
One thing is that the thumbs wheel and built-in thumbs rest on the Leica M240 gives a more stable grip on the camera. The wheel also very quickly becomes a fast way to set ISO and operate the menu. It is so natural that I have to think how and when I actually use it. I do remember it being a little confusing that the vertical wheel on the back of the Leica M9 now was a horizontal thumbs wheel on the Leica M 240. But that is one of the things that just works by it self after a few days.
It is also an extra backup that both the thumbs wheel and the arrow button below the wheel
can be used to scroll the menus. On the Leica M9, if the thumbs wheel got damaged, you couldn't use the camera. If you damage one of the two ways to use the menus on the Leica M 240, you still got the other.
Setting White Balance on the Leica M 240 and Leica M9
The Leica M9 was terrible in Auto White Balance when it was released in September 2009, but improved every time Leica Camera AG released a firmware update. In the beginning I always did Manual WB (White Balance) on the Leica M9 using a white balance card.
As it has improved over time with the firmware updates I mostly use the Leica M9 on Auto White Balance in daytime and set it to 3200 Kelvin (Tungsten light) when the daylight goes away and we turn to artificial light (which is mostly Tungsten light, the same as 3200 Kelvin).
When I photograph something where I want the colors to be correct, I always set Manual White Balance. It is so much better to get the white balance (and exposure) correct in the camera. You don't want to adjust exposure or white balance in Lightroom.
Manuel set white balance
Wrong white balance
Manual White Balancing with a grey card or white paper is the way to get the colors right. As can be seen in the above where the image to the left is Manual White Balance and all colors correct from the beginning. On the right the white balance is slightly off ... and everything is subject to correction. Too much work, too much uncertainty.
Leica M240 Auto White Balance
The rule should be to use the Leica M 240 on Auto White Balance for most, and then Manuel White Balance when the colors must be exact and perfect.
Some have criticised the early firmware version of the Leica M 240 for bad Auto White Balance. I don't find this to be the case. I find that it is surprisingly good in artificial light but can be improved, and I also took note that some of the examples critics posted were set wrong (not on Auto White Balance) and in mixed light sources where it is simply impossible to get a 'correct' white balance.
The way the camera figures out the white balance is by finding neutral grey or neutral white areas in a scenery and then measuring how this neutral area is off from clean daylight white. Based on that measurement, the camera corrects all colors in the image. But obviously, the camera can't know what is the main subject in an image, so in mixed light conditions it may pick a neutral area in the background whereas the face in the front is the one you wanted correct.
That is why you have to do manual WB by placing a neutral grey card or white piece of paper in front of that face to get the colors correct.
Photography Tutorial: "Setting the white balance manually on the Leica M240"
In many advertisements and camera manuals, the idea is promoted that you have the person hold the WB card and then shoot auto. And then adjust the WB in the computer afterwards. "Fix it in post," as we say.
There are many reasons why this is not optimum. First off, I can't get the Queen to hold the WhiBal, nor does it work to have people hold a WB card in the street doing street photography.
The main reason why shooting everything on Auto WB and then adjusting the WB based on the first image in the series where the WhiBal card is held by the model is a bad idea, is that you use computer power (and time) to do so. Every DNG image in Lightroom is a raw image with a "sidecar" of information. When you scroll through images in Lightroom, the program takes the DNG image and reads the "sidecar" to apply the changes you made. The image you look on is created on the fly each time; DNG and "side car", and that is a computer process that requires computer power. Now, multiply that by 200 "fixed in post" images and you see the waste of time and energy.
"Now multiply that by infinity, take that to the depths of forever, and you still barely have a glimpse of what I'm talking about," to quote Brad Pitt in the movie "Meet Joe Black".
The right way to photograph is to do it right in the first place. Get it right in the camera, and then use Lightroom for the actual necessary small adjustments.
From a display darkroom at the exhibition BEAT in Denmark, March 2013: Jimi Hendrix' concert on September 3, 1970, photographed by Jørgen Angels. Jørgen Angels was in the darkroom making these prints when he heard on the radio that Jimi Hendrix had died in London. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.
It is likely that the Leica M 240 with the firmware updates we undoubtedly will see over the next years will raise to be even better than the Leica M9 in Auto White Balance.
Of course the center of attention in the image is also the light you adjust for, no matter how many different light sources that may be around. If it is a face in the center, you adjust for that face and the background will turn out as it may. Just as with metering where the light metering must be done on the main subject.
Ignorance is Bliss
Black and white photography is also depending on color temperatures. However, it is not very obvious when looking at a black and white photograph how it would have looked if the colors had been corrected. It is what it is, and if it looks good, it doesn't really matter.
I usually adjust white balance in the Leica M9 and Leica M 240 as I want to be able to use both the color DNG and the black and white JPG. But I also know many photographers who never adjust for white balance when shooting black and white, and that works too.
When you photograph DNG (that is always color) and change that to black and white in Lightroom, you can both adjust WB in the image before you change it to black and white, and/or you can use the B&W rulers to adjust how each color is turned into a tone in the black and white image.
When you shoot JPG Fine in the camera and set the Film Mode to Black-and-white (in Leica M 240), the camera converts the image to black and white based on what the white balance is set to beforehand. The JPG Fine does not offer any possible correction of color temperature or color tones afterwards.
The Leica M Monochrom shoots black and white based on a fixed daylight temperature and does not offer any adjustment of white balance (see the Page 21 for more on how the Leica M Monochrom sees colors).
The need for simplicity
Perhaps inspired partly by the possible perfection of the Leica M 240 and the complications of the new menu and the possible add-ons, I felt an urge to simplify things again: When I was using mainly Leica R9 with the DMR digital back I would travel with a kit of many lenses so as to cover many things. A trolley.
One of the improvements of life quality the Leica M9 brought about for me was that I discovered that I could do everything with just one small Leica M9 camera body and a 50mm Summicron f/2.0 lens. I could walk through airports without any trouble, but also people would not consider me a professional photographer because I didn't have a large camera over the shoulder.
"The charmer". This shot was on the way out a minibus to visit the most conservative Muslim neighbourhood in Istanbul. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
With the Leica M 240 I found myself traveling with a camera bag with two Leica M9 cameras, a Leica M Monochrom and a Leica M 240. And on top of that, two 50mm lenses, two 35mm lenses, two 90mm lenses and a 21mm lens. Not to mention the R-to-M adaptor and one or two R lenses to go with it, the OUFRO macro adapter, microphone and EVF. Plus ND-filters to fit all the lenses.
My thinking was, "How do I get back to what is me photographically, and how do I ensure it is fun and I use the most advanced tools to get optimum results?"
My resulting action was to focus on the fun and sexy lenses that I would actually use. I used to have the 50mm as my main lens and a 21mm and a 90mm as backup. But if I had to, I would leave home for two weeks with just a 50mm.
The 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH is very good and in family with the 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 with FLoating Elements (FLE) in terms of seeing shadow details, sharpness and all. But in my view a boring perfect lens, the type of lens that thankfully does not fill up a lot of space and only sees the light of day when you actually need a 90 degree angle.
But I also have great affinity for the 21mm angle, so I decided to change that one to the 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. This is a sexy lens that is designed optimum for shooting against the light and with possibilities of composing not only two-dimensional, but three-dimensional using the DOF (Depth Of Field). In the 21mm Summilux I see a lens that I would actually have fun shooting, even when I don't need the wide angle. It also was part of my consideration that the designer, Peter Karbe, had told me I should try to shoot portraits with a 21mm Summilux because it had no distortion. When I finally made up my mind, Camera Electronics in Perth had one they shipped so it arrived few hours later, express directly to the counter of the coffee bar in Sydney where I went every morning to get my fix.
The Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 has amazingly more precise than real life colors and a unique 3D feel to every macro detail and overall image. Even though I don't find it a very sexy lens, it is extraordinarily perfect. You don't get any better 90mm. So that was the one I kept.
The 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5 I sent off. It has served me well and is easy and light to travel with. But in comparison with the 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 the latter is worth the extra weight, price and all.
Also my 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE I got rid of. I never used them. Even though I recognize the 35mm FLE as a real workhorse I could probably use as my only lens. And the 35mm Summicron ASPH f/2.0 I only bought to show how great it is. I wanted to shoot a lot with it, but in reality I never got around to do it.
I don't have issues with weight of the lenses. Almost all the lenses I use are the most heavy in their focal length. But for me they are still within reasonable weight that I can carry them all day without any discomfort.
I prefer to travel simple, and preferable with as little weight as possible. I can still hand-carry my computer and camera bag in airports. But when out and about I don't want to feel the weight of extra equipment. One way of making sure that does not happen is to cut away everything you don't need. If you decide on a 50mm for the day, you put that 50mm on the camera and there is no reason to bring other lenses.
I use either no bag or a small bag for walking about. If I have a small bag it is for filters, batteries, cigarettes, phone, a scarf and a Marc Jacobs cashmere jumper. Some times I will drop a reflector, lightmeter and one extra lens in my own or somebody elses bag if I will be needing that. But I actually will consider hard if I really will be needing it.
My Goyard "Sac Grand Bleu" bag that is light and is a small bag, which means that you basically don't feel it (different size bags will feel differently even though the weight of the content is the same). When it has to, it fits reflector, lightmeter, filters, batteries, cigarettes, telephone, notebook, scarf, jumper/jacket and even an extra lens or two. The Goyard is very similar to Louis Vuitton in origin of the brand, materials and handmade quality, only Goyard bags and suitcases are sold in stores only in Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York and San Francisco.
Buy more to solve problems
It is an interesting observation that what makes the Leica M talked about as "life quality" is that it is so right. It feels right, it is simple, it is beautiful and logical. Industrial design at its best.
Shooting digital photography is not necessarily simple. It requires computers, software and an understanding for how those things work. And if one wants to share ones photo, one might have to have a printer with the right settings and the right paper. Or make a website, with what that implies of complications.
It is very normal that when something becomes a complicated problem, the way to solve it is to buy more. Especially if you have the buying power to do so. To get the editing done right you buy more screens. To ensure the files are properly handled you make a complicated setup of hard drives and clouds so every time you download images from your SD-card, they are backed up on several devices and in the cloud so you never lose anything. And just to be sure you do it correct, you have bought so many SD-cards that you don't have to delete any of them till 14 days later.
Every time you get something it involves researching which to get, learning how to use it and taking care of it.
Buying more stuff does not make life simpler, hence it seldom solves problems. The problem you are trying to handle is that you already have some stuff that doesn't work.
When I had two batteries for one Leica M9 I always knew which battery was full, and I always had enough power for a whole days shooting. When I got three batteries I couldn't find out which was what and wrongly thought I had so much battery power I didn't had to charge. I now have eight batteries for three M9/MM bodies, and I never had that many batteries to travel with and yet so little battery power (despite the fact that I have four chargers). I some times have to resist the urge to buy more batteries.
A year ago I lost all my pictures from San Francisco: I had so many copies of them on four different backups so when I cleaned up, I accidentally deleted them all. Now, my rule is that I have only one original and only one backup. Better take the chance that those two copies break down than all the time it takes to maintain and then delete four copies!
Buying more stuff and hiring more people to get things done is so normal that it takes an extra and almost un-human effort to cut things away. Simplicity might be a natural state of things, but in today's society the universal solvent has become to buy stuff. Only in crisis do we have to cut away and that is not pleasant. Real luxury is to be able to cut things down and make life simple when you can actually afford much more.
French actor Ylane Duparc in Paris. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Be a pirate
Be reckless and travel with just one camera and one lens. Don't protect the camera inside a soft camera bag but wear it in the open and use it to take photos. Then, if you are so wreck less that you drop the camera or your recklessness caused the camera to get soaked in the rain while chasing interesting reflections of light ... then solve it by buying another one or get the camera repaired. Don't start buying backup cameras that you have to protect together with the other well-protected camera. Why take on the responsibility of two expensive cameras if the first one is not ever in danger? Not to mention that in three years you will have to invest in two new ones.
We laugh, but we know it is true. That's how it works, but you have to fight it. Be smart and make things simpler and more fun. That's what you felt when you first held the Leica and knew you had to have it. Simplicity.
Having said this, it is actually good to have two of each thing in the same way it is good to have a fire exit. But be realistic. What would happen if one camera died. Could you get a backup or shoot with another camera for a while? "What would be easier?" is what we should ask our self, "To have two of the same and only use one, or to have just one and solve the problem if it arises?"
In other cases, your life is simpler if you know there is a backup, just in case ... even though you also know you will likely never use it.
The point is, be wreck less, be a pirate. Use your equipment.
The review display on the Leica M Type 240
The display on the Leica M 240 is larger than the one on the Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E and Leica M Monochrom.
I never had any complaints about the display quality or size of the Leica M9 as I use it in black & white to see the exposure, and to set the menus. The display on the Leica M9 worked fine for that purpose.
The new display on the Leica M Type 240 however may live up to some peoples request for a larger display with finer definition and better colors.
The Leica M Type 240 display is larger, has more definition and better colors than the Leica M9. Here it is shown with the 10X focusing.
The display of the Leica M 240 tends to show the images too sharp and in too high contrast compared to what the result will be when the image has been imported in Lightroom.
It is not really a problem in that a camera display should always just be used as a guideline as to how the contrast and focus may look, compared to how it usually looks like on that same display. But it is not a final picture. You adjust exposure based on the information the camera display seems to give you. But the sharpness, actual tonality, colors, cropping and such you will see and evaluate on the large screen of a computer.
The problem with the image in the display is that you seldom view the display under the working conditions you should look at a display screen. There is too much or too little light and the angle is not necessarily correct. Further, the preview you see on the display is a JPG generated by the camera for you to see. When you import the image to Lightroom, it is a careful calibrated camera profile that 'translates' the image data to the large screen. Thus colors, contrast and sharpness will be different.
It is also when you view the image on a large screen that you see the true potential of an image. Details that you never saw on the camera display now make the photo great ... or ruin the composition. It is a bit like seeing thumbnails on the internet. When you click to see the larger picture it looks different. All this means is that you should photograph, and then consult the display to check the main exposure and for adjusting the menu. The actual viewing of the photos ... do that when you get home to the big screen.
The larger display could be seen as a departure from the nice industrial design of the Leica M9. But then again, the display on the leica M9 could be seen as a departure from the nice industrial design of the Leica M film cameras. We just got used to having a display on the back of the camera.
1:2/50 the description says.
But what does it mean?
1: = Basically means 1 divided with. On the lens to the right, it means that the diameter of the hole throught he lens is 25mm.
We would normall call it
a 50mm f/2.0 lens. The writing of 1:2/50 is a tradition from the 1800's of specifying a lens, which reveals quite a bit about the construction: Focal length 50mm simply means that the distance from center of focus inside the lens to the focusing plane (the sensor or film) is 50mm, and the aperture of f/2 or 1:2 means that the diameter of the hole the light comes throught is 25mm (50mm divided with 2 = 25mm).
In traditional lens design, one could usually tell from looking at the length of a lens if it was a 400mm, 100mm or 35mm. Newer designs with mirrors (in tele lenses) and more corrections (in wide lenses) can make the size of the lenses shorter or longer, but the distance from center of focus to sensor in a modern 50mm lens will still be 50mm for a 50mm and 400mm for a 400mm, and so on.
See Focal length and Aperture further down for more.
a) 35mm lens is a lens that has a viewing angle of view is 63°vertically, 54° horizontally and 38° vertically within a 35mm film frame or "full-frame" 24x36mm digital format. See Focal length further down.
b) 35mm focal length: the distance from center of focus inside the lens to the focusing plane (the sensor or film) is 35mm.
35mm film format (also known as full-frame)
c) 35mm film format (also known as full-frame in digital sensors) was a standard film format that came about in 1892 where the width of the film roll was 35mm, and it's been the most used format ever since. Only a format of 24 x 36mm is used for the photo on the film roll.
35mm film format was first used in 1892 by William Dickson and Thomas Edison for moving pictures with frames of 24 x 18mm, using film supplied by George Eastman (Kodak), and this became the international standard for motion picture negative film in 1909. Later other motion picture formats came about, such as Academy Ratio (22 x 16 mm), Widescreen (21.95 x 18.6 mm), Super 35 (24.89 x 18.66 mm) and Techiscope (22 x 9.47 mm).
The inventor of the Leica camera, Oskar Barnack, built his prototype Ur-Leica in 1913 as a device to test film stock and\ motion picture lenses and had it patented. Putting 35mm film format into a small camera gave him the idea "small negative, large print" and he decided to increase the size of each frame on the 35mm film to 24x36mm (for more detail and sharpness), and then invented an enlarger to make large prints from the small negative. The length of a film, 36 pictures, is said to have become the standard because that was how far Oskar Barnack could stretch his arms (when cutting film from larger rolls to put them into film rolls for the Leica camera).
d) 35mm equivalent is often given as a standard when talking about lenses in small compact-cameras or large format cameras with other sensor/film format than the 24 x 36mm frame. Example: A camera with a 12 x 18 mm sensor has a 14mm lens on it, and even the lens is actually a 14mm, it is specified as a 28mm lens because the viewing angle that ends up on the sensor is equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm of full-frame camera.
The Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M
ASPH f/2.0 lens
a) 50mm lens is a lens that has a viewing angle of view is 47° vertically, 40° horizontally and 27° vertically within a 35mm film frame.
b) 50mm means there is 50mm from the center of focus inside the lens to the focal plane (sensor or film).
c) 50mm lens is often compared to the human eye. Not because of viewing angle (how wide it sees) but because of size ratio (how it sees). The 50mm lens is the lens that comes closest to the size that the human eye see things. Whereas the human eye has a much wider angle of view [120-200°] than the 50mm lens [47°].
AF = Auto Focus. The idea is that the camera does the focusing itself (the word auto comes from Greek "self").
Aperture = The same function as the iris and pupil has in the eye. The pupil in the eye is the dark circular opening in the center of the iris of the eye, varying in size to regulate the amount of light reaching the retina (the sensor area inside the eye).
Aperture on a camera is the f/ stop on the camera that regulates how much light passes through the lens by increasing or decreasing the hole through the lens. On a f/2.0 lens the lens is fully open" at f/2.0. At f/2.8 the aperture inside the lens make the hole through the lens smaller so only half the amount of light at f/2.0 passes through. For each f/-stop (4.0 - 5.6 - 8.0 - 11 - 16) you halve the light. The aperture of the lens is basically the focal length divided with the f/-stop = size of the hole (50mm divided with f/2.0 = the hole is 25 mm in diameter).
Besides regulating the amount of light (so as to match the correct exposure), the aperture also affects the dept of field: , which is how deep the sharpness is. To get the sough-after photos with narrow depth of field where the background is blurry, the lens has to be wide open at f/2.0 or so. Stopping the lens down to f/8 or f/16 will result on more depth of field, meaning the background will start becoming in focus. To maintain narrow depth of field, one can use the ISO sensitivity and/or the shutter speed to match the correct exposure (as aperture is only one of three ways to control the exposure; the correct amount of light). ORIGIN: Late Middle English : from Latin apertura, from apert- ‘opened,’ from aperire ‘to open’.
Aperture Priority Mode = When the shutter speed dial on top of a Leica M camera is set to A, it is short for “Aperture Priority” and allows the user to set a specific aperture value (f-number) while the camera selects a shutter speed to match it that will result in proper exposure based on the lighting conditions as measured by the camera's light meter. In other words, you set the aperture as priority (f/1.4 for example), and the camera calculates a shutter speed (1/250 of a second) that matches that. If you change the aperture to f/2.0 by changing the aperture ring on the lens, the camera will re-calculate the speed to 1/125 so as to get the same amount of light to hit the sensor (f/2.0 is half the light through the lens as f/1.4 and 1/125 if twice the amount of light on the sensor as 1/250).
APO corrected basically means that the red, green and blue has been corrected to meet more precisely in the same spot. Clarity of colors and definition of details would be the result.
APO = in lens terminology stands for "apochromatically corrected". In most lenses, optical design concentrates the focus of blue light and green light into a single plane, but red light falls slightly into another plane of focus. In APO lenses, the design and expense has been put in to making red light focus on the same plane as blue and green. Under a microscope you would see that all light subject is now in focus, creating a sharper image overall. Many manufacturers offer APO designs, but in most of these only the very center of the lens is APO corrected. Leica prides itself on making most of the frame APO corrected.
APo-correction has traditionally been used for long tele lenses (and periscopes), but in recent years APO-correction has been applied to 50mm and wide angle lenses as well. One will notice that the colors are really bright and alive, almost more real than to the eye, in lenses like the Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Apochromat; ORIGIN early 20th century, made of the two words; apo (Greek origin, away from) and chromatic (Latin origin, meaing relating to color).
ASPH = (Aspherical lens) stands for "aspheric design".
Most lenses have a spherical design - that is, the radius
of curvature is constant. These are easy to manufacture by
grinding while "spinning" the glass. This design
however restricts the number of optical corrections that can
be made to the design to render the most realistic image possible.
ASPH lenses (a-spherical, meaning non-spherical), however, involve usually 1 element that does
*not* have a constant radius of curvature. These elements
can be made by 1) expensive manual grinding, 2) molded plastic,
or 3) Leica's patented "press" process, where the element
is pressed into an aspherical ("non-spherical")
shape. This design allows Leica to introduce corrections
into compact lens designs that weren't possible before. Practically,
the lens performs "better" (up to interpretation)
due to increased correction of the image, in a package not
significantly bigger than the spherical version.
There is another Aspherical lens manufacture technique: an uneven coating layer is applied to a spherical lens. The coating is thicker on the edges (or on the center, depending). Canon "Lens Work II" calls these "simulated" aspherical lenses. Simulated and Glass-Molded (GMo) asphericals show up in non-L Canon lenses, while the L lenses have actual ground aspheric elements.
A- means non, or without.From Latin, ex. Sphere: ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French espere, from late Latin sphera, earlier sphaera, from Greek sphaira "ball".
Normal spheric lens (grinded)
ASPH (note the shape of the glass as result of pressing rather than grinding)
Auto- means “self”. The idea is that when a camera has auto-(something), it does that (something) by itself.
Banding = Noise in digital images. Horizontal lines in a horizontal picture (if the camera is in portrait mode/vertical, the lines will obviously be vertical). It's simply noise; the result of uncontrolled algorithms working overtime with an image the sensor really can't see because it's very dark. (If your image has vertical lines in it, it is more likely that the sensor needs remapping).
This image at 6400 ISO, underexposed and then brought up to correct exposure in Lightroom, displays banding: Horizontal lines in the image. Leica M-D 262 with Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Base ISO = The ISO the digital sensor was born with. Even a digital sensor goes from say 50 ISO to 25,000 ISO, it only has one base ISO. Any other setting is an algorithm that figures out how the image whould look if there was 64 times more light, or half the light, etc.
When you go down from Base ISO (for example 200 to 100 ISO), you can expect a
decrease in quality. When you go up, the decrease is much less. For some sensors, you loose 2-3 stops by going down 1 step in ISO, but can go 8 steps up and only loose 1 stop in dynamic range. Basically, your ISO range should be from Base ISO and as far up as you can, before you see visible decrease in quality (mostly 3200 ISO - 6400 ISO).
Base ISO for Leica M9 is 160 ISO, for Leica M240 it is 200 ISO. For Leica M10 it is around 160 ISO. For Leica M Monochrom it is 320 ISO. For Leica Q and Leica Q2 it is around 100 ISO. For Panasonic Lumix S it is 200 ISO. For most Canon cameras the base ISO is around 100, for most Nikon cameras it is around 200 ISO.
Bokeh = The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens: It's a matter of taste and usually photographers discuss a 'nice' or 'pleasant' bokeh (the out-of-focus area is always unsharp, which is why the quality discussed is if one likes the way it renders or not by a particular lens). The closer you get to something, the 'more' bokeh' you get (in that the focus becomes less for the background and foreground at close distances than at long distances). ORIGIN from Japanese 'bo-ke' which mean 'fuzzines' or 'blur.'.
C = Continuous shooting. When the ring by the Shutter Release on top of the camera (or in the menu of digital cameras that doesn't have such a feature on the outide of the camera) is moved from OFF to C, the camera takes series of images as long as the shutter release is pressed down. In some cameras the speed of continious shooting can be adjusted.
Camera comes from Chambre, mostly in relation to Spanish soldiers’ rooms. Obscura means 'dark', so a dark room is basically the derivation for the word camera.
Camera -is today’s short name for Camera Obscura (meaning “a dark room”). CamerameansChambre and was used only as a Latin or alien word, actually only for Spanish soldiers’ rooms, until popularized in connection with photography in 1727: “Camera Obscura”. In 1793 the slang term “camera” was used by Sterne Tr. Shandy: “Will make drawings of you in the camera” and by Foster (1878), “The eye is a camera”. Camera Obscura was described by Iraqi scientist Ibn-al-Haytham in his book, “Book of Optics” (1021) and by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500; popularized and made widely known in 1589 by Baptista Porta when he mentioned the principle in his book “Natural Magic”. Johannes Kepler mentions Camera Obscura in 1604.
Camera = chambre (room), Obscura = dark (or cover).
Why is it called a "camera"..?
The word Camera is today's short name for Camera Obscura (which originally means “a dark room”).
Origin of the word Obscura means "dark" or "covered", and the word Camera meansChambre and was used originally only as a Latin or alien word, actually only for Spanish soldiers' rooms, until popularized in connection with photography in 1727: “Camera Obscura”.
In 1793 the slang term “camera” was used by Sterne Tr. Shandy: “Will make drawings of you in the camera” and by Foster (1878), “The eye is a camera”.
Ibn-al-Haytham mentioned Camera Obscura in his "Book of Optics" in 1021.
The concept of Camera Obscura was described by Iraqi scientist Ibn-al-Haytham in his book, “Book of Optics” (1021) and by Leonardo da Vinci in 1500; popularized and made widely known in 1589 by Baptista Porta when he mentioned the principle in his book “Natural Magic”. Johannes Kepler mentions Camera Obscura in 1604.
Camera = chambre (room), Obscura = dark (or cover).
CCD sensor (as used in Leica M8, M9, Leica S)= (Charged Coupling Devices) - The first digital cameras used CCD to turn images from analog light signals into digital pixels. They're made through a special manufacturing process that allows the conversion to take place in the chip without distortion. This creates high quality sensors that produce excellent images. But, because they require special manufacturing, they are more expensive than their newer CMOS counter parts.
An acronym for "(C)lean, (L)ubricate & (A)djust", whereby the item is merely re-lubricated, fine-adjusted and calibrated rather than repaired. "I just got my equipment back from CLA at Leica"
CMOS sensor (as used in Leica CL, Leica T/TL/TL2, Leica M10, Leica M 240, Leica M Monochrom Typ 246, Leica S Typ 007, Leica SL, Leica Q, Leica Q2, Leica M10, Leica X, Leica D-Lux, etc.) = (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) chips use transistors at each pixel to move the charge through traditional wires. This offers flexibility because each pixel is treated individually. Traditional manufacturing processes are used to make CMOS. It's the same as creating microchips. Because they're easier to produce, CMOS sensors are cheaper than CCD sensors. CMOS allow Live View and use less energy than CCD.
Collapsible - Usually refers to a collapsible lens such as the Leica 50mm Elmarit-M f/2.8 Collapsible, or Leica 90mm Macro Elmar-M f4.0 Collapsible, etc. A collapsible lens is one that can collaps into a compact lens when not in use.
Lens distortion looks like this. The lines are not straight. Our eye uses distortion correction. Lens designers can design lenses so they have very little distortion, or they can make less complicated lens designs and "fix" the distortion in software.
Distortion = In photo optics/lenses: When straight lines in a scene don't remain straight because of optical aberration.
Lens designers can correct for distortion to a degree so the whole image field is perfect corrected and all lines remain straight. In modern lens design many designs rely on Software Distortion Correction (SDC).
The eye adjusts for distortion so we always see vertical and horizontal lines straight when we look at things. Even when you get new prescription glasses (if you use such), you will often experience distortion in your new glasses. After a few days they eyes have adjusted for the glasses and the distortion you saw to begin with is now gone. Software Distortion Correction (SDC) is far behind what the human eye can perform of adjustments. (Also see my definition on Perspective for more on the eye and optics)
DNG = Digital Negative, an open standard developed by Adobe. It is a single file that contains the raw image data from the sensor of the camera as well as date, time, GPS, focal length, settings, etc.
The alternative is a RAW file + XMP file where the RAW file contains the image information and the XMP contains the rest of information about where, how and when the picture was taken, as well as editing data when the photo is edited in Lightroom or Capture One.
A Camera Raw profile (that is specific for that camera) in the computer helps the software program, for example Adobe Lightroom, to translate the RAW data into the image. Camera producers provide a Camera profile with their camera, and Adobe makes their own 'refined' Adobe Raw camera profile for all new cameras.
A raw file (or DNG) is simply the full recording of digital data (1's and 0's) from the sensor. In the computer, the sensor data is translated into the exact colors, via a camera profile.
The lines on this 28mm lens indicates the DOF. Here the focus is on infinity, and if the lens is stopped down to f/1.6, objects from 1.8 meter to ininity will be 'acceptable sharp'.
DOF = Depth of Field (or Depth of Focus), an expression for how deep the focus is, or (more often use to express) how narrow the area of focus is. This is how much of the image, measured in depth or ditance, will be in focus or "acceptable sharp".
The appearance of the DOF is determined by:
1) aperture (the smaller the aperture hole is, the deeper is the depth of field, and opposite, the wider open a lens you se, the more narrow will the DOF be) and
2) distance to the subject (the farther away, the larger area is sharp; the closer the subject in focus is, the more narrow the DOF gets)..
The DOF scale measurement on top of the Leica lenses shows lines for each f-stop that indicates from which distance to which distance the image will be sharp. Shallow DOF is a generally used term in photography that refer to lenses with very narrow focus tolerance, like f/1.4 and f/0.95 lenses, which can be used to do selective focus; making irrelevant subjects in the foreground and background blurry so only the subjects of essence are in focus and catches the viewers eye).
in modern cameras like the Leica SL2, the camera has a DOF scale inside the viewfinder. As DOF is the same for all lens brands and designs, only depending on focal length, distance and aperture f-stop, the camera can calculate it and show a 'digital DOF scale" in the viewfinder.
Depth Of Field scale from Fujifilm, same lens with different aperture settings from f/2.0 to f/8.0.
Dynamic range. The grade of ‘contrast range’ (or number of tones) a film or sensor, or simply a photograph, possess between bright and dark tones. The human eye is said to have a dynamic range of 10-14 ‘stops’ (but because we scan area by area and compile a concept of the overall scene, they eye is often thought to have a much higher dynamic range), Film used to have 7-13 ‘stops’ and some modern sensors have up to 15-17 ‘stops’.
E - Diameter in Leica filters and screw diameter, as in E46 which means that the filter diameter is 49mm for this lens. In general language, one would see Ø46 used, as Ø is the general symbol for diameter.
Elmar = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f3.5 . Historically derived from the original 1925 50mm f3.5 Elmax lens, which was an acronym of (E)rnst (L)ieca and Professor (Max) Berek, designer of the original lenses. Later that year the 50mm f3.5 Elmar superceded the Elmax, which was discontinued due to its complexity and high cost of manufacture.
Elmarit = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f2.8 . The name is obviously derived from the earlier (and slower) "Elmar" designation. Not every f/2.8 lens is called an "Elmarit" though, the most obvious current exception being the 50mm f2.8 Elmar-M collapsible lens which for nostalgia and marketing reasons has kept the original 1930's Elmar name (the 50mm f3.5 collapsible Elmar, manufactured 1930-59, was one of Leica's most famous and popular lenses). Vario-Elmarit (and Vario-Summicron, etc) is Leica Camera AG's name for zoom lenses.
Elmax lens named after = Ernst Leitz + Max Berak. Ernst Leitz was the founder of Ernst Leitz Optical Industry which later became Leica. Professor Dr.Max Berak was employed at Leica in 1912 and was the architech of the first Leica lens which Ernst Leitz asked him to design for the "Barnack's camera" (the 1913-prototype named after Oscar Barnack who invented it). The lens was a f/3.5 50mm and was known as the Leitz Anstigmat and later the Elmax.
The Leitz Elmax 50mm f/3,5 (1925-1961) on the Leica A camera (1925) camera. Photo by Marco Cavina.
EVF = Electronic ViewFinder. A viewfinder where you look at a small screen through optics/prisms. The advantage is that you see what the sensor sees.
EXIF =Exchangeable Image File, a file generated in camera and enclosed in the image file that contains recording information on the image such as shutter speed, exposure compensation, what metering system was used, aperture setting, ISO setting, date and time the image was taken, whitebalance, which lens was used, camera model and serial number. Some images may even store GPS information so you can see where the image were taken. The data from the EXIF file continues to follow any later editions of the image and can be read in photo editing software such as Capture One and Lightroom, as well as Photoshop (go to the menu File > File Info). There is also software available that can read EXIF data from any file, like Exifdata.com.
The EXIF data is all the information about shutter speed, metering method, ISO, etc. - and then some more that you don't see on the screen (such as camera model, serial number, lens used, etc).
Exposure Bracketing = The possibility to set the camera to automatically record a series of images where the exposure is above and below what the camera measures. The idea is that at least one of the images will be correctly exposed.
f/ (f-stop, also known as aperture).
f- (focal length). Often given in mm, for example 90mm. In the past they were often given in cm or inch, for example 9.5 cm or 3.2 inch.
f-stop = the ratio of the focal length (for example 50mm) of a camera lens to the diameter of the aperture being used for a particular shot. (E.g., f/8, indicating that the focal length is eight times the diameter of the aperture hole: 50mm/8 = 6,25 mm); or the other way around, the hole is the focal length divided with 8).
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: from f (denoting the focal length) and number.
One f-stop is a doubling or halving of the light going through the lens to the film, by adjusting the aperture riing. Adjusting the f-setting from f 1.4 to f.2.0 is halving the light that goes through the lens. Most Leica lenses has half f-stops to enable the photographer to adjust the light more precicely.
Filters = Glass filters you put in front of the lens. A much used filter is the claer UV filter that is supposed to protects the front of the lens. Other filters are color filters that add effects to black and white photography by changing the color balance. Other filters are ND (Neutral Density) filters that reduce the amount of light coming through (used for for example video recordings as video is usuallu filmed at 1/50th second shutter speed and thus most lenses are too bright wide open. Or they are used for long exposure photography in order to record for example stars movements over the sky. Other filters are filters that create star effects, or blur the view, and almost any effect you can think of.
A traditional Yellow filter in 49mm diameter to screw onto the front of the lens. The yellow filter is used for black and white photography where it slightly darkens skies, helps to cut through haze, and improves overall contrast. Yellows and reds within the scene are also lightened.
Flare = Burst of light. Internal reflections between (and within) lens elements inside a lens. Mostly, flare has a characteristic "space travel" look to it, making it cool. Particularly in older lenses with less or no coating of the glass surfaces to suppress this, it can be a really cool effect. In newer lens designs, the coatings and overall design try to suppress flare and any reflections to a degree, so that there is seldom any flare to be picked up (moving the lens to pick up a strong sunbeam), but instead a "milking out" (or "ghosting") of a circular area of the frame; meaning simply overexposed without any flare-looking flares.
Sunlight creating (fairly supressed) flare in the bottom right quadrant of the image of a modern lens.
Lens Flare in Star Trek (2013). JJ Abrams famously said, "I know there's too much lens flare ... I just love it so much. But I think admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery (ha ha)"
FLE = See "Floating Elements"
Flickering in the EVF is very normal and will apear often without the vertical lines you see in the EVF will be in the picture.
Floating elements (a group of lenses or can also be s aingle lens element). .
Floating Elements (FLE) = Near focus correction in a lens by having a single lens or a group of lenses floating independently of the other lenses. Most lenses are born with poor performance at their closest focusing distance. Center sharpness may be good, but aberrations and corner softness increase when you’re shooting closeups. Floating elements are lens elements outside of the primary focus group that change position when the lens is focused on a close object, correcting aberrations and improving close up performance. Floating Elements originally was coined by Canon in the 1960's and quickly became the general term for this feature. Other brands came up with new names for the same thing, Minolta called it Floating Focusing, Nikon used the term Close-Range Correction (CRC), Leica call it FLE/Floating Elements.
Floating elements are for close-focus improvement of image quality and not for reducing "focus shift". Floating elements by themselves cannot reduce focus shift, but by reducing the impact of focus distance on performance, they give the designers more freedom in other areas - which could include minimising focus shift.
(As a side-note, when a lens "rattler when moved, it is not the floating elements "floating around" but can be the IS (Image Stabilization) elements for elense that has that, AF elements for auto focus lenses, or the aperture cage that rattles (as in the case of the Leica 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4 FLE - if you stop down the Summilux to f/16, the sound is usually not there).
A 28 mm lens has a 74° viewing angle
Focal length = Originally focal length referred to the distance from the sensor (or film in older days) to the center of focus inside the lens (28mm, 50mm, 400mm, etc). Today one call it effective focal length (EFL) as a 400mm lens is not nessesarily 400mm long due to optical constructions that can make it shorter. The 35-420mm zoom on the Leica V-Lux 1 is for example only ca. 135 mm long. Nobody uses that measurement, except those who construct lenses! For users of lenses, focal length refers to how wide the lens sees. The viewing angle, which is often given in for example 90° viewing angle for a 21mm lens, 74° viewing angle for a 28mm lens, 6° viewing angle for a 400mm lens, etc.
Each human eye individually has anywhere from a 120° to 200° angle of view, but focus only in the center.
Focus, in - Sharp and clear in appearance. Focus - “The burning point (of a lens or mirror)”. In Latin the word focus meant fireplace or hearth. The word was probably first employed outside of its Latin literal use as “the burning point of a lens or mirror” in optics, and then came to mean any central point. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler first recorded the word in this sense in 1604.
Focus shift = That the focus of a lens shifts as the aperture changes. For example, if one focus a 50mm lens at f/2.0 and then stop the aperture down to f/8, the focus may change, especially noticeable in close focusing. Modern lenses with floating elements (FLE) where the floating elements adjust for image quality in close-focusing may also help avoid focus shift.
Four Thirds - Also known as "4/3" - The Four Thirds System is a standard created by Olympus and Kodak for digital SLR camera design and development.
The system provides a standard which, with digital cameras and lenses available from multiple manufacturers, allows for the interchange of lenses and bodies from different manufacturers. Companies developing 4:3 cameras and/or lenses are Fuji, Kodak, Leica, Olympus, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sigma. See www.4-3system.com
A further development in this was Micro Four Thirds Systems.
Frame lines = the lines inside a viwfinder that indicates the edger of the frame. In a Leica M, the viewfinder always is as wide view as 24-28mm. A mechanical contach on the lens (triggers the camreas frame selector) so the viewfinder shows the frame line of that lens. In the Leica M, the frame lines comes in sets, so there are alwaus twop sets of frame lines shown at any time (see illustration below).
(This is different than in most cameras where you only see what the lens captures: SLR cameras was the evolution in 1940's where the image from the lens was displayed directly onto a matte screen inside the camera via a mirror.
Later mirrorless cameras, the viewfinder shows the exact picture that the sensor sees through the lens).
Frame lines of the Leica M, here showing the set of 35mm and 90mm framelines.
Full Frame is "king of photography"
Full Frame (FF) = The size of the sensor is 24 x 36mm which is the format Oskar Barnack and Leica Camera AG invented with the first Leica that was introduced in 1925. Many other formats invented since, such as APS, APS-C and all usually refer to Full Frame ratio, by which it means what size they have compared to Full Frame. The "full frame" technically deifinition thouhg is a sensor that camtures the full frame in one go (as the early sensors as in Leica S1 scanned the image/senor over a period of time). The 24 x 36mm Full Frame format is so "king of photography" that it has continued to be the ideal for all cameras. Besides this, there exists Large Format cameras such as 4x5" (100 x 125 mm) and Medium Format 6x6 (60 x 60mm amongst other sizes in that area).
Ghosting = Secondary light or image from internal reflections between (and within) lens elements inside a lens. The reflected light may not always be in focus, so overall it looks like a "milked out" image. A subject in focus has brightened patches in front of it that come from reflections inside the lens. the most elementary look of ghosting is when you look in a rear-view mirror in a car at night and you see doubles of the headlights behind you (a strong one and a weaker one), because the headlights are reflected in a layer of clear glass on top of the mirror glass.
Degrees of ghosting from strong sunlight entering from outside the frame. To the right the outside light has been shielded with a shade.
ISO = Light sensitivity of the camera sensor is given in ISO (International Organization for Standardization). It's a standard that was used in film and is now used in all digital cameras also. The base ISO for the Leica TL2 sensor is around 100-150 which means that this is what the sensor "sees". All other levels are computer algorithms calculating the effect as if the sensor could "see" more (hence noise at higher ISO levels).
ISO goes in steps of doubling: When the ISO is raised from 100 ISO to 200 ISO, the camera only need half the amount of light to make the same picture. For each step in ISO to 400, 800, 1600, 3200, etc. the light sensitivity is doubled for the sensor (and the camera sensor only need half the light of the previous ISO to record the same image).
JPEG = A standard for picture format made in the 1990's by Joint Photographic Experts Group). Mostly referred to as JPG as in L1003455.JPG which would be the name for a JPG file from the camera.
Leica L-mount bayonet.
L-mount = Lens bayonet mount introduced by Leica for the Leica T in 2014 and used for Leica TL, Leica CL and Leica SL. Since 2019 the L-mount has also been shared with Panasonic, Sigma and others who produce cameras and lenses that are compatible with Leica L cameras and lenses lenses, and vice versa.
The L-mount has a diameter of 51.6 millimeter which is big enough for any design we could wish to design, and at the same time compact enough for the L-mount to be used on compact cameras such as Leica TL and Leica CL with APS-C sensor sizes. Leica chief lens designer Peter Karbe spent years calculating this ideal size, large enouhg for any design, yet as compact as possible. Read my article "Small Camera, Large Print" (2019) with interview with lens designer Peter Karbe for more.
After Leica introduced this new bayonet mount in 2014, Nikon (Z-mount 55mm), Fuji (G-mount 65mm) and Canon (RF-mount 54mm) followed with similar new bayonet mounts, but with bigger diameter, making them less able to produce compact lenses.
A screen on a camera is often referred to as "LCD Screen" for no particular reason (illustration is the back of the Leica Q2 special limited "James Bond/Daniel Craig & Greg Williams" version (2021).
LCD = Screen. LCD itself means liquid crystal display, which is slightly irrelevant (what it is made of) as the expression is mostly used to simply mean "screen".
Leica = A compound word derived from " (Lei)tz" and "(ca)mera". Apparently they were originally going to use "LECA", but another camera company already used a similar name in France, so they inserted the 'i' to prevent any confusion.
The word lens derives from lentil, because of the similar shape.
Lens - A piece of glass or similarly transparent material (like water or plastic) that has a shape so that it can direct light rays. The word “Lens” is used both for single piece of glass as well as a camera lens with several lenses that works together. From ‘lentil’ because similar in shape.
A camera lens consists of several shaped lens elements of glass. The lenses can also be made of simple cheap plastic as in "kit lenses" (sold with a camera as a kit to make a workable cheap package), but it is mostly very exotic glass (that can be heavy or light in weight, very hard or very soft in surface (esay to scratch or very resistant) with each optical glass recipe made to develop very specific qualities in how the glass and final lens treats light. As a general rule, high quality glass is soft, which is why some lenses has as their front and back element, a non-optical lens element that is there to protect the actual optical glass from scratches. As a side noite, Leica made their own glass laboraty, The Leitz Glass Laboratory, from 1949-1989, which deveopled 35 new glass types and took out more than 2,000 patents of glass recipes from more than 50,000 experimental melts of glass. These designs, or recipes, are still used today by the lens designers to obtain very specific optical results. Other lens manufacturers in the world of course have had their glass laboratories, and today one will find an interchange of glass patents amongst production facilities that service Leica, Nikon,, Fuji and so on with optical lens elements.
Lens hood = (also called a Lens shade or Ventilated Shade). A tube or ring attached to the front of a camera lens to prevent unwanted light from reaching the lens and sensor. In the past where lenses were not coated to prevent internal reflections inside the lens, the lens hood was often essential. These days where lenses are coated, the shade serves just as much as decoration and protection (bumper) as well. ORIGIN Old English hod; related to Dutch hoed, German Hut 'hat,' also to hat.
Lens hood or Lens shade or ventilated shade. In the picture is a ventilated shade with clip-on mount to a 50mm f/2.0 lens. Ventilated means it has openings that allow for view from the viewfinder.
Lens names of Leica distinguish which widest aperture the lens has:
f/0.95 - f/1.25
f/ 1.2 (Leica-designed Panasonic lens)
f/ 1.4 - f/1.7
f/2.4 - 2.5
f/1.9 - f/6.3 (used 1930-1960 for screw mount lenses only)
f/2.8 - f/4.5
f/3.5 (only used 1921-1925 for the 50mm Elmax f/3.5)
f/2.8 - f/6.8 (used for tele lenses)
Light = Tiny particles called photons that behaves like both waves and particles. Light makes objects visible by reflecting off of them, and in photography that reflecting off of subjects is what creates textures, shapes, colors and luminance. Light in its natural form (emanating from the sun) also gives life to plants and living things, and makes (most) people happier. So far, nobody has been able to determine exactly what light is. The word photography means “writing with light” (photo = light, -graphy = writing). Read more about light in my book Finding the Magic of Light.
Live View = This is the ability to see the image the sensor see, live, via the screen on the back of the camera, or via an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
LMT - Leica Thread-Mount: Also known as M39, is the screw mounted lenses for Leica cameras. It’s a simple as that; you screw on the lens, and back in 1932, the possibility to change the lens was the big news hwen introduced by Leica on the Leica III. The M39 system was updated with the M Bayonet from 1954 for the Leica M3. The M bayonet is a quick way to change lenses and is the current mount for Leica M digital rangefinders.
M (as in "M3", "M6", "M7" etc.)
A) The M originally stands for "Messsucher", which is German "Meßsucher" for "Rangefinder". The "3" in M3 was chosen because of the three bright line finders for the 50, 90 and 135 mm lenses. Later the numbers of the M cameras were more or less chosen to follow each other.
M-body evolution in chronologic order:
M3 - MP - M2 - M1 - MD - MDA - M4 - M5 - CL - MD-2 - M4-2 - M4-P - M6 - M6 TTL - M7 - MP - M8 - M8.2 - M9 - M9-P - MM (black and white sensor) - ME (Type 220) - Leica M (Type 240) - Leica M-P 240 - Leica M 246 Monochrom - Leica M-A (type 127, film camera) - Leica M 262 - Leica M-D 262 (without a screen) - Leica M10 - Leica M10-P, Leica M10 Monochrom, Leica M10-R.
B) M also refer to M-mount as the M bayonet that couple the Leica M lenses to the Leica M camera. Before the M bayonet the coupling between the camera and lens was screwmount.
M nowadays refer to the Leica M line of cameras rather than the "Messsucher".
The Leica M bayonet on the Leica M10.
M-mount: The Leica M-mount is a bayonet that was introduced with the Leica M3 camera in 1954 and has been used on all subsequent Leica M cameras, as well as on the Epson R-D1, Konica Hexar RF, Minolta CLE, Ricoh GXR, Rollei 35RF, Voigtländer Bessa, and Zeiss Ikon cameras (2019).
Compared to the previous screw mount (M39), the M
mount requires a quick turn of the lens, and ithe lens is mounted. The patent for the M-bayonet ("Bajonettvorrichtung für die lösbare Verbindung zweier Kamerateile") was registered by Ernst Leitz GmbH 10 February 1950 (patent number DE853384). Hugo Wehrenfennig was credited with the invention.
Leica M9 is a model name for the Leica M9 that was introduced on September 9, 2009 (as the first full-frame digital Leica M). It was the latest model designation using the M and a number. From their next model, Leica Camera AG introduced a new model system so each camera would simply be a Leica M but then with a model designation like Typ 240, Typ 246, Typ M-D 262 and so on. The idea was inspired from Apple who name their computers for example MacBook Pro and then it has a sub- model number designation which model it is (and which would define speed of processor, etc).
MACRO = Macro lens. The Leica 60mm APO-Elmarit-Macro-R ASPH f/2.8 is a 60mm lens for portraits, landscapes, etc. as well as a near focus macro lens. The Leica Q lens can be turned to Macro which enables you to go close so as to enlarge smaller subjects. The Leica M cameras becomes Macro when you add a Macro ring "Oufro" or "Leica Macro M Adapter" that increases the lens' distance to the sensor. The word macro comes from Greek makros ‘long, large.’
Mandler, Dr. Walter (1922 - 2005)
Legendary Leica lens designer and CEO of Ernst Leitz Canada (ELCAN) 1952-1985. Read more inLeica History.
Dr. Walter Mandler (center) at the Ernst Leitz Camera factory.
Megapixel (or MP) - Millions of pixels. See pixel further down. How many units of RGB is recorded by a given sensor by taking height x widt. A Leica M10 delivers a 5952 x 3968 pixel file = 23,617,536 piexls. On a screen the resolution you choose determines the size of the image. Say you have a 5000 pixel wide file and your screen is set for 8000 pixels wide. Then the image will fill only the 5000 pixels fo the 8000 and the rest will be empty, If you then change the screen resolution to 5000 wide, the image would be able to fill out the whole screen.
Meßsucher = (rangefinder or distance finder) = Mess = range, sucher = finder. It is always correctly written with the "ß". There are technically not three "s", rather the "ß" and one "s" because it is a word constructed by the combining of two precise words.
MF (Manual Focus) for lenses that are focused by hands, as opposed to Auto Focus.
mm = millimeter(s), as in a 50mm lens. (Earlier in lens history lenses focal length was given in cm = centimeters; as in a 5 cm lens). For anyone used to centimeters and millimeters, it’s no wonder. But if you grew up with inches, feet and yards, you may have had a hard time grasping what a 50mm lens was. But as lenses were designed first in Europe, the metric system with centimeters and millimeters was used to describe lenses.
(Leica and others made lenses for a while with either meter scale or feet scale; but then eventually started including meter and feet on all the lenses (two scales, usually distinguished with different colors). However, the lens' focal length remained always 50mm, 75mm and so on).
The reason a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens is that there is 50mm from the focus plane (the film or sensor surface) to the center of focus inside the lens. When photography was a young subject, it was engineers who made it all, and the users were expected to understand. The engineers were so into the making of the lenses, that it apparently never dawned upon them that today’s users would think of a 21mm lens as a wide angle lens rather than a lens where there is 21mm from the sensor to the center of focus inside the optics.
a) Stands for Mechanical Perfection, as in the Leica M-P.
b) Megapixels (millions of pixels).
c) Megaphotosites (millions of photosites).
Neutral Density filters are grey filters function as 'sunglasses' for lenses. They simply block the light so that a lens can work at for example f/0.95 or f/2.0 in sunshine.
If a camera is set to 200 ISO and the maximum shutter speed is 1/4.000, this will usually result that the lens has to be at f/2.8 or smaller aperture in sunshine. Else the image will over-exposed. So in order til stay within the maximum shutter speed of 1/4.000 and still use a lightstrong lens wide open, one mount a ND-filter that reduce the light with 3 stops (8X) or 6 stops (64x).
For video ND-filters are used quite a lot (as the shutter speed for video is 1/60), and ND-filters are also used to reduce the light for really long multi-exposures at night (stop-motion video and stills).
ND-filters also exist as variable ND-filters so one can adjust the amount of light going through from for example 1 stop (2X) to 6 stops (64X).
ND-filters also exist as graduated ND-filters where the top of the filter is dark and then gradually tone over in no filter (so as to reduce the skylight in a landscape for example).
The ND filters are called Neutral because it is a neutral filter. It doesn't change colors, only the amount of light.
ND-filters / gray-filters.
Noctilux = Also known as "King of the Night" because "Nocti" means Night and "Lux" means Light. The f/1.0 lenes from Leica are named "Noctilux". The first Leica Noctilux lens was the 50mm Noctilux f/1.2 which shortly after it's introduction was improved to the 50mm Noctilux f/1.0. In the current model the f-stop has been improved further to f/0.95.
"Noctilux" refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f1.0 . "Nocti" for nocturnal (occurring or happening at night; ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from late Latin nocturnalis, from Latin nocturnus ‘of the night,’ from nox, noct- ‘night.), "lux" for light. The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 is famous for enabling the photographer to take photos even there is only candleligts to lit the scene. See the article "Leica Noctilux - King of the Night"
The Noctilux "King of the Night" lens. From left the f/0.95 in silver (same on the camera, in black), the f/1.0 in the back and the rare and expensive first model, the f/1.2 in the front.
Number, on this site Leica catalog numbers or order numbers. Some the numbers changed depending on the number of cams in the lens: The Elmarit-R f2.8/135mm started life as No. 11 111, however when fitted with 2 cams for the SL became No. 11 211, yet another No. for the 3 cams lens and a fourth number for 3 cam only at the end of its life. Number changes also applied to M lenses depending on whether they were screw-thread, bayonet or for M3 with “spectacles”. Thus the No. in the Thorsten Overgaard Leica Lens Compendium list is a guideline but not a comlete list of existing catalog numbers.
Optic = Eye or vision. From French optique or medieval Latin opticus, from Greek optikos, from optos ‘seen.’
Oufro (model 16469Y)
An original Leitz Extension Ring (produced 1959-1983 as part no. 16469). Used with Oubio for all the longer (125mm+) Visoflex lenses and without OUBIO for 35/50mm. OUFRO can be stacked for greater magnification and will work on the Leica M Type 240 as macro for all lenses (including the Noctilux, 90mm APO-Summicron and even 21mm lenses).
The OUFTO on Leica M Type 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.
Perspective = The way objects appear to the eye; their relative position and distance. Also, selective focus (foreground and background out of focus) can change the perception of perspective (also see Three-dimensional). A wide angle "widens" the perspective and makes objects further away appear smaller than they are to the eye; and objects closer, relatively larger than they are to the eye. A tele lens will "flatten" the perspective and often objects further away will appear relatively larger than close objects than they are in real life. A 50mm lens is the one closest to the perspective and enlargement ratio of the human eye.
The word Perspective comes from the latin word for optics (perspicere, per- ‘through’ + specere ‘to look’), and so-called Renaissance painting is simply painting done within the framework of optics and the linear perspective it presents.
Vanishing points are the points where lines meet. This is how you make perspective in paintings and drawings (and some times make movie sets or theatre stages appear more three-dimensional than they are)
Painters works with vanishing points, which is where the lines meet, so as to create an illusion of perspective and three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional painting or drawing.
The human eye corrects for perspective to an extreme degree. We always see vertical lines vertical and horisontal lines horisontal: The eye has a angle of view equivalent to an 8mm wide angle lens, a size ratio equivalent to a 50mm lens and we focus on relatively small area of the viewing field - one at the time. Three things happens that are worth paying attention to:
1) We compile areas of our view that we focus on, to one conceptual image that "we see". Ansel Adams, the great American landscape photographer pointed out that a large camera used for landscape photography capture every detail in focus and sharp so you can view it in detail after; but the eye does not see everything in focus when you try to compose the landscape photography, the eye scans only one part at a time and stitch the idea together. This makes composing or prevision of a landscape photography challenging.
2) We compile areas of our view that we individually adjust the exposure of. A camera adjust the exposure of the whole image frame to one exposure. That's why what looks like a nice picture to the eye of houses in sunshine with a blue sky above, becomes a photograph of darker buildings with a bright white sky: The camera simply can't take one picture that compare to what we "compiled" with our eyes, adjusting for each type of light.
3) Objects (on a table, for example) in the bottom of our viewing field will appear 100% perspective corrected - to a degree that it is impossible to correct in optics, with or without software correction. A wide angle lens, even with little distortion, will exaggerate the proportions of the closet part so it - to the eye - looks wrong.
Perspective correction - In software like Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro there is often a feature to correct perspective (and distortion) like seen below. You can change perspective this way, or at least make believe: If you correct a tall building on teh vertical lines, you will notice that the height of the windows doesn't match the perspective. If the building is with straight lines, the windows should all be of the same size. But a tall building seen from below and corrected with software will have taller windows (closer to camera) in the bottom than in the top (further away from the camera originally).
A graphic illustration of the typical Bayer Color Filter Array on an RGB sensor. It's called a Bayer filter because Bryce Bayer of Eastman Kodak invented the technology of filtering incoming light into RGB and distribute it into the the photosites that each read just one color (R/G/G/B).
Photosite - The unit in a digital camera sensor that records intensity of either red, green or blue. Unlike the output of a sensor, measured in pixels (and where each pixel contains RGB), the photosite records only one color each, and it's intensity (how bright it is). A photosite can not distinguish colors, which is why there is a Color Filter Array (basically a prism) above them to filter the colors and send information to the photosite if 's a R, G og B color. See illustration below. In a monochrome sensor (as in the Leica M Monochrom and the Phase One Achromatic), all photosites are recording intensity of light only as there is no concern which color it is, and there is no color filter.
The ratio of photosites to pixels is not a given. Each block of 4 contiguous photosites contains one photosite sensitive to low wavelengths (blue), one photosite sensitive to high wavelengths (red), and two identical photosites sensitive to medium wavelengths (green). So four photosites would be the minimum to create one 'full-color' pixel. Apart from that, depends on the sensor specifications, which is different from brand to brand. Sometimes four photosites (two Green, one Red and one Blue) makes up one pixel, at other times it's more photosites to one pixel; and there is also pixels sampled from photosites across (sort of overlapping patterns).
Pixel - Made up word from Pix (picture) and el (element). A pixel is the smallest full-color (RGB) element in a digital imaging device. The physical size of a pixel depends on how you've set the resolution for the display screen. The color and tonal intensity of a pixel are variable, meaning that each pixel contains RGB. This is different from a camera sensor's small eyes (photosite) that are an intensity of either red, green or blue. You could say that the digital sensor's photosite (where each unit collects just one color; red, green or blue) is the input technology, whereas the pixels on a screen (where each pixel contains red, green and blue) is the output device. So while sensors are measured in megapixels (mega = million), it's their output unit of pixels, and not the input unit of photosites that is measured and stated. See illustration below.
R = Resolution, in the name Leica M10-R camera model (2020).
Rigid - Refers usually to the Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "Rigid" of 1956.
It is called "Rigid" because, unlike the 50mm Collapsible, this one is not able to be changed.
Rigid means stiff, uable to be forced out of shape. Not able to be changed. From Latin rigere, "be stiff".
The name is a little confusion nowadays as all or most lenses are rigid today, but back in 1925-1956, many lenses were collapsible so the camera was compact when not in use. Just like compact cameras today often has a lens that extrudes when the camera is turned on, and collaps into the camera body when the camera is turned off.
(R)ange (F)inder - the mechano-optical mechanism which allows M Leicas to focus.
Alternative meaning - RF is also shorthand for Hexar RF , Konica's motorised "M-lens-compatible" rangefinder camera released in 2000.
S = Single image. When the ring by the shutter release on top of the camera (or in the menu of a digital camera in case it does not have this ring on the ourside) is moved from OFF to S, the camera takes only one photo at the time (Single). The other possibility is Continuous where the camera takes pictures continiously as long as the shutter release button is helt down. (see above).
Saturation: How colorful, intense or pure the color is. Less saturation would be less colorful, more saturation would be more colorful. In today’s photography, de-saturating a photo on the computer will gradually make it less and less colorful; and full de-saturation would make it into a black and white photo.
Sensor = A device that detects a physical property (like light) and records it. A camera sensor is a plane plate with thousands of small “eyes” with (photosites) a lens in front of each (CFA, Color Filter Array), which each individually records the amount of red, green and blue light rays that comes through the lens. Together, Red, Green and Blue form all colors of the spectrum, which becomes a pixel. Sensor comes from Latin sens- ‘perceived’.
Sharpness - See “Focus”
Shutter speed dial - The dial on top of the Leica M where you can set the shutter speed manually. It can also be set to A which stands for Aperture Priority (where the camera suggests a shutter speed; or when you move the dial away from A, the camera will show arrows in the viewfinder, suggesting which direction to change the Aperture to, to get the correct exposure).
Six-bit code (6-bit code) - An engraving on the flange of M-lenses that makes it possible for digital M-cameras to recognize the lens that has been mounted. The camera can include information on the attached lens and its focal length in EXIF data and make digital corrections for lens-specific flaws, such as color-cast or vignetting. Six-bit coding was introduced for all M-lenses sold since 2006, but many older lenses can be retrofitted with the code at Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar.
SL = Abbreviation for Single-Lens as in the Leica SL that is a camera without reflex (mirror).
SLR = Abbreviation for Single-Lens Reflex; the lens that forms the image on the film/sensor also provides the image in the viewfinder via a mirror. Newer camera models has aen EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) that displays in the viewfinder what the sensor sees in real-time.
Leitz Wetzlar Mikro-Summar 42mm f/4.5 lens anno 1910 might be the first lens carrying the name Summar.
Summar - (or a story of name development) The 1933 lens 50mm f2.0 Summar: It started out as Summar(f2.0), then the Summitar (f2.0 in 1939), then the Summarex(f1.5 in 1948), then the Summaron(35mm f.2.8 in 1948, then later f2.0, f3.5 and f5.6 lenses), then the Summarit (f1.5 in 1949 and used again for the 40mm f2.4 on the Leica Minilux in 1995, then again for the 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm Summarit f2.5 in 2007) then the Summicron(f2.0 in 1953 for the collabsible 50mm) and finally the Summilux(50mm f1.4 in 1959).
ORIGIN of Summar is unknown.
The great thing about being a lens designer is that you get to name the lens. Dr. Max Berek who worked for Leitz from 1912 till his death in 1949 named lenses after his two favorite dogs. One was Sumamrex named after his dog Rex, the other Hektor named after his dog Hektor.
Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/1.5.
Summicron = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/2.0 . There are many guesses how this name came about, a popular one being that the "summi" came from "summit" (summit means the highest point of a hill or mountain; the highest attainable level of achievement) while the "cron" came from "chroma" (ie. for colour). Not so: The name (Summi)cron was used because the lens used Crown glass for the first time, which Leitz bought from Chance Brothers in England. The first batch of lenses were named Summikron (Crown = Krone in Deutsch). The Summi(cron) is a development from the orignal Summar (the 50mm f2.0 lens anno 1933). Vario-Summicron, Vario-Elmarit is Leica Camera AG's name for zoom lenses, for example the Vario-Summicron f/2.0 as the one that is on the Leica Digilux 2.
Summilux = Refers to the maximum lens aperture - here f/1.4 , "-lux" added for "light" (ie. the enhanced light gathering abilities). In Leica terminology a Summilux is always a f/1.4 lens and a Summicron is a f/2.0 lens.
Lens nomenclature - short-hand for " telephoto " (tele- is a combining form, meaning to or at a distance) and used in names of instruments for operating over long distances : telemeter. The name has been used for a number of tele lenses from Leica.
ORIGIN: from Greek t?le- ‘far off.’
Three-dimensional = Having the three dimensions of height, width and depth. In photography and lens design, three-dimensional effect is also the perception of even small micro-details; the texture of skin can appear flat and dead or three-dimensional and alive. Also, selective focus (foreground and background out of focus) can change the perception of depth. Also see Perspective.
Leica T is the compact camera developed by Leica Camera in 2014 as a touch-screen operated camera that can take the Leica L mount lenses made for this camera and the Leica SL and Leica CL. This camera series was names Leica TL later. See my article Compact Leica Cameras for more.
(T)hrough (T)he (L)ens light metering, usually WRT the flash metering capabilities built into the R6.2, R8, R9, M7 & M6TTL cameras.
V-Lux is a series of compact SLR-like digital cameras by Leica Camera AG developed with Panasonic since 2006, starting with the Leica V-Lux 1 (2006), V-Lux 2 (2010), V-Lux 3 (2011), V-Lux 4 (2012), V-Lux Typ 114 (2014), V-Lux 5 (2018). See my article "Compact Digital Leica Cameras".
To add confusion, Leica also made a Leica V-Lux 20 in 2010, V-Lux 30 in 2011 and a Leica V-Lux 40 in 2012 that was a temporarily renaming of the Leica C-Lux series.
Vario- is the Leica Camera AG name for zoom lenses. Vario-Elmarit, Vario-Elmar and Vario-Summicron and so on.
Ventilated shade on a 35mm of Elliott Erwitt's Leica MP camera.
Ventilated Shade - A shade is a hood in front of a lens that provides shade from light going straight onto the lens from outside what you are photographing, which could cause internal reflections like flare, which would make the picture less contrasty.
The ventilated shade has holes so it doesn't obstructs the view from the viewfinder. In many of today’s mirrorless cameras where there is no viewfinder looking ver the lens, so there is no actual need for a ventilated shade; but they are considered classic or vintage looking and are still in high demand. It makes no difference for the purpose of the shade (to create shadow) if it is ventilated or not.
Ventilated Shade for the Leica Q. I make ventilated shades for most lenses and sell them from here.
Viewfinder a device on a camera showing the field of view of the lens. Also known as the German word "Messucher" (or Meßsucher).
1) A built-in viewfinder in a camera that simply show the frame you get when you look through the viewfinder.
2) A rangefinder viewfinder which is also used to focus the lens. In Leica M cameras two pictures has to meet and lay 'on top of each other' for the picture to be in focus.
3) An external viewfinder, usually on top of the camera in the flash shoe, so as to show the field of view of lenses vider than what the built-in viewfinder can show (15mm, 21mm, 24mm, 28mm etc viewfinders exist)
4) Very simple "aiming-devices" on top of a camera that is simply a metal frame without any optics. Just a frame, as for example very old cameras (the original Leica), or when using cameras in diving where you can't look through the camera.
5) A Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) that shows what the sensor sees "live".
WLAN = German short for WiFi. In camera menus, Leica may refer to WLAN, which is simply German for WiFi, (and for some reason they refuse to believe that the rest of the world doesn't call it for WLAN like they do). WLAN stands for wirelesslocal area network.
X1 - The Leica X1 was released in September 2009, the Leica X2 in 2012, and Leica X Typ 113 was released in September 2014, all with a fixed 23mm f/1.7 lens. Leica X Vario Typ 107 and Leica X-E Typ 102 was released later. A Leica X-U underwater edition was released in 2026. See my article Compact Leica Cameras for more.
XML = Stands for extensible markup language, which is a way enclose information to a document about how to format it, and more.
XMP = Stands for extensible markup platform (also known as XMP sidecar) and is a standard developed by Adobe and standardized by the International Organization for Standardization ISO. XMP is a 'sidecar' to an image that contains the EXIF data (camera settings) as well as other data about the image recording and editing that would norally be in proprietary formats (only readable by certain software). XMP in short is a container enclosed with the image as a 'sidecar' that contains all available information (EXIF data about settings, IPTC data (who took the photo, copyright info, image captions, etc), but most noteable, the XMP allow you to include information about the editing that was performed to the raw or DNG file, so that when you open the image file in another editing software, the raw data, as well as information about the crop, exposure compensation and other editing you did to the photo, is included). In Adobe Lightroom Classic, one should make sure to select that editing information is written to the XMP file of each image (go to Lightroom > Catalog Settings > Metadata and then click "Automatically write changes into XMP").
Zone System -A system of 11 greytones. Ansel Adams worked out the Zone System in the 1940's with Fred Archer. It may look as simply a grey scale (and it is) but it's the use that has troubled many. If you use a normal external light meter, it will give you the exact amount of light and you can expose your photograph based on that and it will be correct.
What Ansel Adams basically did was that he studied (by measuring with a spot meter), what the exact grey tones were of the sky, the clouds, the sand, the water, the skin and so on at different times of the day.
You could say that he built up a conceptual understanding of how different materials of different colors and reflective surface would look in black and white at different times of day (or different light conditions). He also realized that a tone changes for the human eye depending on it's size and in which context of other tones it is seen.
In short, you could say that the Zone System is know how something would look in black and white when looking at a scenery. Some who have struggled with the Zone System have done so because they think it is a rule. It is not.
How Ansel Adams made New Mexico look:
How most people see New Mexico:
The artistic use of the Zone System.
Ansel Adams developed the Zone System to understand light for himself, but also as a fundament for teaching the light, exposure and making the final photograph. How will it look if you do the usual, and what will it look like if you manipulate it. But most interstingly; how do you work with light, cameras and photographic materials to achieve the look you envision.
The Zone System is meant as a basis on which to create your own aesthetic style and communication. Photography is painting with light. The greyscale is our palette. Ideally we should have a conceptual understanding of the tones and be able to use them intuitive. That was his vision for us all.
Ø - Diameter. As in Ø49 for example which means that the filter diameter is 49mm for this lens (or if a filter is Ø49, it is 49mm in diameter and fits that Ø49 lens). Leica uses E to express their filters sizes, as in E49 for a 49mm filter size.
– Thorsten Overgaard
Index of Thorsten Overgaard's user review pages on Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M9 Monochrom, Leica M10, Leica M10-P, Leica M10-D, Leica M10-R, Leica M10 Monohcrom, Leica M11, Leica M 240, Leica M-D 262, Leica M Monochrom 246, Leica SL, Leica SL2, Leica SL2-S, as well as Leica TL2, Leica CL, Leica Q, Leica Q2 and Leica Q2 Monochrom:
Leica Digital Camera Reviews by Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish born multiple award-winning AP photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.
I am in constant orbit teaching
Leica and photography workshops.
Most people prefer to explore a
new place when doing my workshop.
30% of my students are women.
35% of my students dotwo or more workshops.
95% are Leica users.
Age range is from 15 to 87 years
with the majority in the 30-55 range.
Skill level ranges from two weeks
to a lifetime of experience.
97% use a digital camera.
100% of my workshop graduates photograph more after a workshop.