ERIC KIM Leica M240 Selfie with Cindy. Prague, 2017
ERIC KIM Leica M240 Selfie with Cindy. Prague, 2017


LEICA MANUAL

LEICA MANUAL by ERIC KIM
LEICA MANUAL by ERIC KIM

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How to Zone Focus with a Leica M Rangefinder


Personal thoughts on the Leica M240

ERIC KIM Leica M240 Selfie. Prague, 2017
ERIC KIM Leica M240 Selfie. Prague, 2017

I just borrowed my friend Martin’s Leica M240 for the last few days, and here are my candid thoughts (pictures shot in JPEG ‘smooth film’ preset, some pictures processed with ‘color matte’ preset in new Lightroom CC:

Portrait of Martin. Leica M240 + Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux shot at f/1.4. Prague, 2017
Portrait of Martin. Leica M240 + Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux shot at f/1.4. Prague, 2017

First of all, I prefer the Leica M9 over the Leica M240. The Leica M9 was simpler, and had more of a charm to it. The Leica M240 feels more…computer-like and precise. Or perhaps I’m waxing poetic about the excitement I first had when I first got the Leica M9 in 2011, but the Leica M240 was an advancement in some ways, but a step backwards in some ways.

  • Leica M240 improved high ISO performance. Leica M240 in color looks pretty good up to ISO 3200. Leica M9 couldn’t really go past ISO 800 for color.
  • Leica M240 added additional things like the video button (not necessary), and seems a bit thicker (not good). Aesthetically, having the microphone dots in the top-left of the plate looks distracting.
  • Leica M240 Live View is actually quite useful — found myself shooting with it a lot when using the Leica M240 with 50mm f/1.4 Summilux (shooting wide-open at f/1.4). I think Live View is great for those with poor eyesight, or shooting wide-open. Also, Live-View is good for more accurate framing (you can accurately see the edges of the frame), and also you can see what the photo is going to look like before you shoot. Live View is a bit slow, but fast enough when you’re shooting portraits with cooperative subjects, or just photographing still lives or landscape pictures.
  • Leica M240 color JPEG film simulations look quite good. I used the ‘smooth color film’ preset on the Leica M240, and liked the look of the colors.
  • Leica M240 buffer is WAY FASTER than the Leica M9. No more lag or delay between taking pictures. A very good improvement.

Leica M240 vs Leica M10

I see the Leica M10 as the best digital rangefinder Leica has made so far. The Leica M10 is thinner, and simpler than the Leica M240. Therefore if you have the money, buy the Leica M10 for sure.


Buying a used digital Leica M

Dark skies over Tokyo, 2011
Dark Skies Over Tokyo. Shot on Leica M9, 2011

However, if you’re in the market for a used digital Leica M — I recommend getting a used Leica M9 (serviced, because there was an issue with the Leica M9 “sensor rot”).

Why I prefer Leica M9 over Leica M240

eric kim street photography - the city of angels - black and white-4-street-portrait-hearts-tattoo-downtown-la
Hearts. Leica M9, flash. Downtown LA, 2011
  • For color photography, I prefer the Leica M9 because the CCD sensor (to me) makes more appealing color pictures (more saturated, and punchy) than the Leica M240 CMOS sensor (CMOS sensor is the typical Canon-Nikon DSLR look).
  • For black and white photography, I loved the Leica M9 shot at ISO 2500 (in RAW) processed with Silver Efex Pro 2 with the Neopan 1600 or TMAX 3200 preset. To me, the CCD sensor of the Leica M9 made more “film-like” looking pictures, in terms of the grain and grit.
  • I prefer the circular buttons on the back of the camera on the Leica M9 compared to the rectangular buttons of the Leica M240.
  • I prefer the simpler, more streamlined design of the Leica M9 (with fewer buttons, and less thickness).

#RICOHMAFIA FOR LIFE.

After shooting with the Leica M240, man — I’m so grateful for my RICOH GR II. At this point, I prefer using Program mode on the RICOH GR II, center-point autofocus, and I love having the integrated flash for street photography. I also prefer the smaller size, the MUCH LIGHTER weight of the RICOH GR II, compared to the bulk and weight of the digital Leica M.

I still think the digital Leica M is a great camera– but it is funny — at this point I genuinely prefer my Ricoh GR II. I think ultimately with cameras, smaller and lighter is better for cameras for street photography, and even though I can afford to buy a digital Leica M — I would prefer to save my money and use it for experiences, travel, expensive single-origin espressos at hipster coffee shops, books not gear, and pay for the travel expenses of my family.

In a sense, I guess I have conquered my GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). I’ve just realized (probably like the guys from TOP GEAR) that all the cameras out there — from expensive digital medium-format cameras, to point-and-shoot cameras, to phone cameras, all cameras are more similar than dissimilar. And if your goal as a photographer is to make more photos, your best choice is going with the smallest, lightest, and most compact camera. The more you shoot, the happier you will be.


Visualization: What is the best camera for street photography?

What is the best camera for street photography? NEWEST VISUALIZATION by ANNETTE KIM
What is the best camera for street photography? NEWEST VISUALIZATION by ANNETTE KIM

Just listen to yourself.

Silhouette of Cindy. Prague, 2017
Silhouette of Cindy. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

I don’t want to sermonize anyone that they shouldn’t buy expensive camera gear or equipment. I think ultimately for yourself– just use the gear you’re most comfortable with, and the gear that you can afford (I recommend following the ‘2 camera rule‘ — you should be able to pay two of the cameras you desire in cash). I don’t think you should ever go into debt for your photography gear.

Cindy at work in bed. Leica M240. Prague, 2017

Also, I want to let you know — don’t let anyone on the internet tell you that you need to buy a new digital camera or whatever lens or equipment to become a better photographer, or to ‘fully realize’ your skills as a photographer. Buying a new camera will only inspire you for a week or two, and then it will collect dust on the shelf of your cabinet like all the other cameras you already have (it happened with me, when I had a Canon 5D, then bought a [used] Leica M9).

Kiss and Matcha Latte. Prague, 2017
Kiss and Matcha Latte. Prague, 2017

The camera industry is designed to keep you perpetually dissatisfied with your gear — why? Of course, to sell you more cameras and equipment. It makes sense from a company perspective — your company wouldn’t make any profits if your customer just bought one camera and lens for the rest of their lives.

Cindy and hand. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject
Cindy and hand. Prague, 2017 #cindyproject

So friend, my ultimate suggestions for you is this:

  1. If you are prone to “GAS” (gear acquisition syndrome) — buying gear for the sake of it, just try to stick with 1 camera and 1 lens for a year. Let this be your ‘creative constraint‘.
  2. If you want a small and compact camera, just buy a RICOH GR II and ERIC KIM STRAP, and download my free ERIC KIM LIGHTROOM PRESETS.
  3. Just shoot more pictures with the camera you already own– and save the money you would buy on new camera equipment on experiences, not stuff.
Man with hand on face. Prague, 2017. Shot on Leica M240
Man with hand on face. Prague, 2017. Shot on Leica M240

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LEICA MANUAL

LEICA MANUAL by ERIC KIM
LEICA MANUAL by ERIC KIM

LEARN HOW TO SHOOT LEICA M RANGEFINDER WITH LEICA MANUAL >


HOW TO CONQUER G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

GAS: (Gear Acquisition Syndrome): wanting to buy new cameras, because you feel like your photos aren’t good enough, because your camera isn’t good enough:

START HERE.