Home Cameras/Lenses Leica The best camera is in the pocket — but not always the...

The best camera is in the pocket — but not always the most appropriate lens

98
8
  From this vantage point in the City of London the figure 100 is upside down and slightly skewed, but look closely and you discover a remarkable coordinated performance by the pilots of the 22 Typhoons. No doubt the Queen got the correct perspective from her balcony over at Buckingham Palace
From this vantage point in the City of London the figure 100 is upside down and slightly skewed, but look closely and you discover a remarkable coordinated performance by the pilots of the 22 Typhoons. No doubt the Queen got the correct perspective from her balcony over at Buckingham Palace

Is it true that the best camera is the one in your pocket? Yesterday I found out to my cost when an unusual photo opportunity came up. I wasn’t thinking of photography but stuck the Leica CL with the 18mm Elmarit in a corner of my bag — “just in case”. 

Had I known that I would be attempting to photography the flypast over London to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force, I would certainly have taken a longer lens. The CL was fine, of course, it’s just that a 28mm-equivalent prime isn’t the natural choice for taking pictures of planes, and least, I should add flying planes. At an air museum it’s probably fine, but not in Central London when the RAF is flying over Buckingham Palace. 

  Hello, hello, must be something about to happen. Every street corner had crowds pointing their smartphones at the sky. Being quick on the uptake, I dragged out the CL with the wholly unsuitable 18mm lens and followed suit
Hello, hello, must be something about to happen. Every street corner had crowds pointing their smartphones at the sky. Being quick on the uptake, I dragged out the CL with the wholly unsuitable 18mm lens and followed suit

Anyway, I was caught unprepared and it was only when I saw crowds standing on the corner of Old Street and Goswell Road in the City of London, all with smartphones stretched out in anticipation, that I realised something was afoot. I was just in time to drag out the CL and point it at the planes as they came over. The results are not impressive, it has to be said. Massive digital cropping was necessary to get anywhere close enough. But the 24MP sensor coped quite well in the difficult circumstances. 

  ivor Cooper of Red Dot Cameras had more foresight. He took a really suitable camera — the little Leica V-Lux with its massive zoom and chose the more dramatic setting of St. Paul
ivor Cooper of Red Dot Cameras had more foresight. He took a really suitable camera — the little Leica V-Lux with its massive zoom and chose the more dramatic setting of St. Paul’s Cathedral instead of my humdrum street corner. (Above and below, image Ivor Cooper of Red Dot Cameras

From my vantage point, I didn’t immediately recognise the remarkable figure 100 laid out by 22 Typhoons — it was sideways on and upside down, but look closely and you can clearly see 100, including the thoughtful serif on the 1. You can get a better view in the video accompanying this BBC report of the day’s activities.

The title CL, on reflection, acquitted itself well. If only I’d thought to bring along the wonderful 55-135mm zoom…. 

  Macfilos contributor Kevin Armstrong, in another location, managed to grab this impressive red, white and blue vapour trail from the Red Arrows. Again, this is a big crop.(Image Kevin Armstrong)
Macfilos contributor Kevin Armstrong, in another location, managed to grab this impressive red, white and blue vapour trail from the Red Arrows. Again, this is a big crop.(Image Kevin Armstrong)

__________

 

8 COMMENTS

    • Yes, I was pretty pleased considering the severity of the crop. I did think of borrowing a lens but unfortunately didn’t have time — I only just managed to get the CL out of the bag as the first planes flew over.

  1. But, Michael, if you had the 55-135 on the CL then it would have been harder to fit it in your pocket, and more difficult to retrieve it quickly when needed.
    And you would have had people on the footpath asking “Is that a 55-135 you’re wearing, or are you just pleased to see me?”.

  2. Well, you managed to capture part of the scene you suddenly saw in London, well done for that. The superseded Leica C might have saved the day for you. Pocketable and a 200mm zoom lens. TV coverage was the most I could manage to see of the historic event.

    • I really agree – the superseded C is not superceded in my armoury. It continues to amaze me with its versatility (including aperture and "through window" feature) and crisp results, whether in a museum or open country or on the street. It’s the perfect "if you can only take one camera and it has to be small" device.

    • David, you could be right, although the new C-Lux would be an even better bet. Since the picture in question represented a massive from from the APS-C frame, I’d have to do some calculations to decide whether the C (with its much smaller sensor but longer lens) would be better.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.