Home Features Hmm… Now which of these slippery customers is worth £30,000?

Hmm… Now which of these slippery customers is worth £30,000?

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Macfilos Weekender by Richard Scott

Visiting Tokyo a few years ago, I made a point of seeing the tuna auction at Tsukiji fish market. This takes place at 6am, so I needed to really want to see it. The tuna command huge prices, up to £30,000 per fish.  

I was told that on the first day of the new year, the prices can go over £100,000, but that seems to be an exercise in achieving bragging rights rather than the actual value of the fish.  

Still even at the regular price, a lot of money is involved and the buyers acting for fishmongers and restaurants need to be sure they get what they are paying for. This fellow was deep in thought as he pondered the fish and it didn’t take much imagination to see why.

This photograph was taken with a Leica M8 and an early 1960s brass-and-chrome Summicron 50mm.  

I found the M8 to be the best B&W digital camera I ever owned.  I suppose the Monochroms were better, but I never had the funds to afford one.  If someone wanted to get into digital B&W without spending much money I’d recommend an M8 without hesitation.  Perhaps the added infrared sensitivity made the pictures look like some of the B&W films I used to use so much, mostly Tri-X and Pan-X.

Incidentally, I am one of those people who is going back to Leica from Fuji.  I find the Fujis too complicated and it’s too easy to accidentally press on the many buttons that seem to cover every surface of the camera and then end up ruining the shot.  That said, they do create excellent photos when I can make them work.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Great image, Richard – and an interesting back story. With my Leica M8, I find that I’m missing too many street shots. It’s a mixture of imperfect focusing skills and not getting exactly what I see in the viewfinder. I’ve been pondering a switch to the Fuji X Pro 2 (or perhaps a Panasonic) when I’m next in the UK. Your short post gives food for thought.

    • Hi Richard,
      Looking at the photos on your site, I can’t imagine that you have any issue getting great shots. Any photographer should be proud to capture images like yours. I started with photography in 1967 with a Canon P, a rangefinder that was an order of magnitude more primitive than the Leicas that were available at that time. I learned to zone focus very early on (the rangefinder on the Canon was always going out of alignment) and I still use that technique for my photography today. I suppose that makes me a dinosaur, but I still prefer that technique and it doesn’t work well with the Fuji, especially when I accidentally push every button on the back of the camera.

  2. I use both the X-Pro 2 and the Leica M10 for different shooting situations and I am very pleased with the shots I get from both cameras. The X-Pro 2 has wonderful handling, probably better than the M10, but the M10 gives better image quality; the difference being marginal in both cases. As for the Fuji cameras and complexity, I don’t know what you are referring too. If used sensibly, the X-Pro 2 is easier to use than any Leica camera. As I said before, menus are for restaurants. My recommendation for any new camera owner is not to read the manual unless you really have to. Reading manuals and menus can be bad for your photography.

    William

    • My inordinate ability to press every button on a modern digital camera without intending to is my personal and unique recipe for disaster. I’m much better off with something that has as few controls and options as possible. For all the younger ones out there who were brought up on smart phones, etc. they are best advised to ignore my advice. I do like your advice about not reading the manual. That fits very nicely with my way of working!

    • William, those long winters are not good for you. You need to get out into the sun.
      What bad advice re reading the instruction manual. Always read the manual. It may well save you a lot of grief. Indeed I can tell the story of a contributor to this esteemed blog-not me-who did not read the manual for his new camera but who went hunting on the Leica forum for advice re a problem he had with the camera. It only took him 5 minutes to be convinced that there was something very wrong with his camera’s sensor.There wasn’t.
      Always read the manual and don’t ever consult a Leica forum.
      If reading the manual leaves you confused you have bought the wrong camera. And yes William I once owned a Fuji x camera -I won it in a photo contest a few years ago. I opened the box and read the manual and decided that the camera was going to be way too complicated for me. So I closed the box without touching the camera and sold it on Gumtree. As you would say William -horses for courses.

      • Thanks John. I have been out shooting on 3 days this week. On two with the M10 and on one with the Fuji X-Pro 2. Using the X-Pro 2 is very easy and intuitive for experienced photographers like myself. You gave up after reading a manual? I am afraid you are just making my case about not reading a manual. Most modern cameras, and that also includes Leicas, have way more features than you actually need. With the X-Pro 2 you can take photos with it by just using the basics of exposure along with autofocus. I did not read the manual of my M10 either when I first got it. If something arises I will look into the manual , but that is rare enough. I did look at online manuals for the Kodak VPK and Rolleiflex when I first used them, but they are also relatively simple once you get the basics. None of the manuals left me confused. The digital ones have way more information than you actually need to take photographs which, of course, is the whole point about cameras. I stand by my view about manuals. What I want is a camera that allows me to use the basics of photography and both the Fuji and Leica models allow me to do that.

        William

  3. Hi Richard,
    Looking at the photos on your site, I can’t imagine that you have any issue getting great shots. Any photographer should be proud to capture images like yours. I started with photography in 1967 with a Canon P, a rangefinder that was an order of magnitude more primitive than the Leicas that were available at that time. I learned to zone focus very early on (the rangefinder on the Canon was always going out of alignment) and I still use that technique for my photography today. I suppose that makes me a dinosaur, but I still prefer that technique and it doesn’t work well with the Fuji, especially when I accidentally push every button on the back of the camera.

    • You’re very kind, Richard – but as you’ll appreciate, the photos on my site were taken over a period of more than ten years. My ‘hit rate’ can sometimes be disappointingly low. Like you, I find the Leica M8 to be great for digital black and white, but I wish it had a clearer viewfinder – along the lines of the M3, which I won’t be selling.

      • I’ve tried the M3 and I agree the viewfinder is superb. I hear the M10 viewfinder gets very close to the M3, at least as far as clarity is concerned. If I can ever scrape the funds together, the M10 will be my next camera. It quite likely will be the last camera I’ll ever need.

  4. Excellent Image, and interesting article. I hadn’t realised these amazing looking fish trade for such huge sums. Shows you how ignorant we can be.

    • Hi Paul,
      Good catch. I sent two photos to Mike and wrote one set of text covering both photos. I then separated the text for each photo and clearly didn’t do a very good job of it. I’ll be more careful with my next submission.

  5. I love this shot it tells a great story showing the concentration of the guy choosing his fish. I too have just moved onto Leica with an M9 from using Fuji X-Pro1s for 5 years. I got lazy with the Fujis and started missing focus because of not concentrating, that isn’t an issue with the M9 because I have to concentrate to focus manually. I wouldn’t say the Fujis are too complicated though but the auto focus will get it wrong from time to time and because of the ease of "snapshooting" as I said I got lazy, my fault not the camera’s but I don’t regret moving to the M9.

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