Leica T (Typ 701) - Multi image panoramic stitches

All images - Leica T (Typ 701) Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Lens. Created using Photomerge in Photoshop CS6 from a series of files warped and blended together in the software. 

Every time I write a post about the Leica, I get some lunkhead writing something along the lines of 'I should point out that you can get 15 Sony aXXXX cameras, a new car, a row of terraced houses in the north of England AND a season ticket at Manchester United for the price of a Leica. Oh and by the way the image quality is S**T.' You may be unsurprised that I don't publish them.

I guess I should be used to it by now, but the scale of peoples hostility towards Leica and the scale of their blinkered see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil attitude to their own favoured brand often defies rational thought. The concept that I might be able to enjoy using a camera and create images I like with it while accepting that it isn't the greatest camera ever made seems to be beyond the reality check abilities of many. Just exactly why the camera / lens that they have bought has to not only be their choice but has virtues above and beyond what might be reasonably expected is an attitude that I have difficulty understanding and yet again and again people insist on posting stuff like this. 

And yes I know it isn't going away anytime soon and yes it's probably an indication of some kind of insecurity about choices and abilities, but it is profoundly depressing that after taking the time to carefully put together a post with due consideration to my use of words, I get some email knee jerk post telling me how I'm wrong about a camera and that it IS in fact the best picture taking machine ever created and any other product isn't even worthy to be be mentioned in the same sentence. So lets get a few things straight.

The Leica T is my favourite camera of all time.

BUT

  • It doesn't have the best image quality of my current cameras
  • It doesn't have the best high ISO noise performance of any of my current cameras
  • Yes it's expensive
  • No it isn't that fast in terms of AF
  • The video is decent enough but nothing special
  • Yes it's expensive
  • There are only two lenses available for it
  • There are two more zoom lenses arriving early next year and yes they are somewhat slow.
  • And yes they are expensive.
  • Anyone who buys a Leica is paying a premium for the brand name, that is undeniable.
  • Leica price their products to take account of the premium nature and reputation of that brand.
  • And yes that makes them expensive.

Leaving all that aside (for the time being as I'm sure it will return) and getting back to the pictures, I seem to be shooting a lot of multi image 'panoramic' stitches again. A few years ago I shot a lot of these. Partly as a way to get larger file sizes from cameras with low MP counts and partly because I like creating 'impossible' images. And that last part is important, because even though the images look 'plausible' in fact the representations of reality that they seem to show are in fact no such thing. There's all sorts of distortions of scale and perspective going on, but for me that's part of the appeal of these 'created' images. Some of the above is actually impossible to see in one take and would require turning round to get all of the view in. 

It's the difference between simply recording what's in front of me and creating something unique from that. But I've always liked the idea that these multi-image stitches that are created, for the most part, don't look like they were created that way. I rarely go for a very wide letter-box type look and usually create these images from 3 or 4 separate images, often with a lot of overlap. It's an approach that has proved successful, in terms of sales, over the years. It also helps that images like this, that I've often created from cameras with pixel counts of around 4MP, can end up with a very large reproduction size, which belies the gear they were created with. These days it's a great way of creating high-res images from low MP phone cameras. With care and the right software you can get some amazingly good images from those basic cameras.

But the Leica T is far from basic an I end up with some very well defined, nicely saturated images with good shadow detail and serious 'pop'. And yes I know I could have got the same result with a cheaper camera and had lots of cash left over to buy a time share in Acapulco, but I didn't and I don't care. Using the 'T' gives me a lot of pleasure and while I never criticise people for the camera they use, it seems I don't get the same courtesy. But then this is the photographic internet, so why would I expect anything different?

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There is an interesting article on the BBC website HERE, which deals with many of the issues above.

Many Thanks

David Taylor-Hughes