Leica C-Lux First Impressions

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll probably know I’m a sucker for compact cameras. Many of you probably found me because of a compact camera of some sort. In fact, for my general street photography I have always preferred compact cameras. I haven’t used many lately, but the above generally holds true.

Iksan, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

So let me get the disclaimers out of the way before I continue:

  1. I work for the Leica Akademie here in Korea as organizer and head teacher.
  2. I am well aware there is a cheaper Panasonic version of this camera. In my humble opinion (work bias aside) I think the extra warranty, resale value (the Leica versions hold their value much better whether you think this is justified or not) and subjectively better looks are well worth the price difference.

Okay, now that that is out of the way let us continue with my Leica C-Lux 2019 first impressions.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think it is cute the handsome camera. I very much like the blue tones and leatherette grip. I also generally love a silver lens on a black body. Of course, the lens isn’t silver but the multifunction ring is. I quite dig it.

The camera itself has a bit of a weird lens for my normal tastes. It’s a 24-360 that is only f3.3 at the widest. I find the former a positive. First, as this will be a travel / video camera for me I appreciate the range more than I might on a dedicated street camera. Second, the f3.3 doesn’t make much of a difference to me as I wouldn’t buy a compact camera for “bokeh.” That said, bokeh can be had because of the zoom range if you don’t mind using your feet a bit.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

As a street camera, it performs great. Even with the crazy zoom range there is little to no distortion or what happens to be there is well controlled with the software. I love the fact that Panasonic and Leica always include the ability to zoom their lenses in steps. I find 24 a little wide these days so I have the camera set to turn on at 28mm. It is very fast to turn on and shoot.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

There are some convenience features I quite like as well. The camera uses a low powered bluetooth mode to send photos to my smartphone as I walk around shooting. This it makes quite easy to sit down and edit in a coffee shop when I need a break. All the photos here were edited in Snapseed. They might be a bit much for you, I just try to keep all my photos looking somewhat similar these days. This is as close as I can get to my film photos.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.
Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I included the normal version of the photo above for your reference. I like this photo. I asked the woman to look more into the light and then we got talking. She grew up very close to where I live now.

Another feature I love about the C-Lux is its ability to charge via USB. I can charge it on the go with my laptop or a battery bank. I really, really wish it were USB-C but I guess we are a ways off of that on cameras yet. Maybe next year.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I didn’t find myself using the zoom very much during the first day of shooting. I did take a portrait of my wife with it later at night that I am saving for the full review. Much like the need for a viewfinder I find the need for a prime lens when shooting street photography to be a bunch of hipster nonsense. The only actual reason I see for this is size. With a camera like this it matters very little.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

One thing I won’t really talk about a lot until the main review is the flash. It is a bounce type flash that is similar to that on the RX100 series. Because of the zoom range the flash on the C-Lux is quite strong for its size. This is important if you want that Daido Moriyama high constrast blow out the highlights kinda look. I didn’t do much testing of this yet aside from a couple of shots around my house. Expect more in the review.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think the reason I like compact cameras so much is they so perfectly match the “moment” of capture to me. The photos I take with a compact camera almost always seem to be closer to my mind’s eye. I don’t think this is exclusive to any particular compact camera just those cameras in general.

So, surely I am not saying you go and buy this camera. I will say it ticks all the boxes I want in a modern compact camera. It has a 1 inch sensor, viewfinder, strong flash, nice looks, touch screen(also in the menus) self contained lens cap, bluetooth, and usb charging. The video is a big bonus since I have started to do a lot more of that.

Anyway, that is all for my first impression of the Leica C-Lux. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

Upcoming reviews include the C-lux, the Leica MP (film), the Wotancraft Trooper, and the Pixel 3.

Much love from Korea,

Josh.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

First Roll of 2019

Frame 1: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

This was the first frame I took this year. My cat sits on the air purifier while I sit at my desk. I guess she likes the fan. We should have called her Marilyn. The light from the window to her left was particularly strong. I’m happy I got a full frame from this considering it was first. My wife said “how can you make the cutest kitten in the world look so scary?..”

Frame 7: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

So my plan for this post was simply to go through most of the photos from my first roll of the year. I had a bit of a contemplation during the end of last year. One thing that continually came to me was how much I needed to shoot film. I don’t know what it is honestly. It isn’t some hipster nonsense “look” or anything of the sort. It just works for my brain. I was sitting down last night scanning these mediocre photos and I felt near-on giddy.


Frame 3: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

These photos aren’t in any particular order. I’ll probably share 20 or so. The way I shoot film is I shoot 4 to 5 frames of most scenes. Even mundane stuff like my lunch (the Soju bottle actually houses sesame oil ;)). I got in the habit of doing this because I shoot without a meter. I guess you can call it self bracketing.

Frame 5: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Would I benefit from a camera with a meter? Maybe. I never end up using them after the battery dies. I never agree with the meters either. Maybe I’m weird. I end up second guessing myself with a meter. I prefer to just trust that I’m right.

Frame 18: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 19: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

My way of developing is quite strange too. I develop a roll based on my brain’s version of what it thinks the roll was shot like. For example, if I feel I slightly over exposed the more memorable photos in the roll I will develop the roll slightly less than I might normally do.

Frame 9: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

People hate watching me develop because I don’t use a thermometer, don’t clean my negatives, and only use a wall clock for timing things.

Frame 10: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

As I developed this roll a friend from Seoul was watching me. He was cringing the whole time constantly saying I’m crazy. I changed the developing time midway because I remembered something from the roll. He wanted to bet with me that they wouldn’t turn out.

Frame 24: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 25: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I don’t want this to come off as I’m some kind of mad genius. In fact, I’m quite lazy, hate maths, and lost my thermometer years ago. The fact of the matter is, black and white film is so forgiving that it is a joke to care so much. At least for me.

Frame 27: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

One thing I’d say is clean your negatives before you develop. I never do aside from a slight dip in my magic sauce (classified information and no dirty ideas it is safe for work ;)). This is basically the reason for the cloudy look of my negatives.

Frame 14: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Well, that is what has been hypothesized by those whom have watched me develop. Who knows. I just keep doing the same thing. I hate being introduced to new developers or fixers. I’m too lazy to learn something new.

Frame 15: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Ah, I guess then I should tell you what I do use. I use T-max developer and Ilford fixer. I love Tmax with Tmax film but these days it has just become too expensive. It is also okay with HP5 like this roll was.

Frame 21: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I didn’t shoot much street on this roll. It was the first roll with a camera I wasn’t used to. Wish I would have shot more “normally” though considering every frame (exposure / focus wise) came out great.

Frame 22: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Forgot to mention some big news! Yesterday I started shooting the introduction for my YouTube channel. I know I’ve promised this many times. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever taken it seriously.

Frame 23: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I even hired someone to take care of the filming outside. Yesterday was supposedly the “practice” session but there was lots of useable footage from the day.

And yes, I know you video guys are going to tell my the Olympus camera I have sucks for video. I’m sure it does. Basically it is what I have and it works. The footage looked fine to me. Maybe later I’ll get something “better.”

Frame 30: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

That’s about it for today.

What’s up next?

Well, I’m waiting on my 40mm Summicron to come back from service to shoot another roll of film. In the meantime, I’ve got two reviews coming up. One of the Leica C-Lux and another of the Google Pixel 3.

You can expect the Pixel review by the end of the week. Small spoiler, the camera is really, really good. Really good. Like, really. The Pixel has never been available in Korea so I’d never even held one until recently. I don’t know how I can go back to anything else.

Friends in Japan wanna be on call to send me one when needed 😉 ?

Anyway, kitten picture to end the day.

Manbo. Google Pixel 3, Portrait Mode.

Peace kids.

-Jt

2018: Top 10 Photos (1-5)

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

5

This is a photo of my mom. My mom came to Korea for the first time in 2018. I cherished that time with her. We didn’t have a great relationship when I was young. She’s a bit like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Tons of heart but extremely strict and can be borderline scary. She was a high school teacher and the type that you’d imagine still might have a belt lying around. That said, she has softened much in her old age. I took this after my wedding reception. She was hungover. My mom literally never drinks. Well, Junku bro and friends had her drinking at my reception and she was feeling the effects. She stayed like this for a whole day. She’s coming back this may. I can’t wait.

Iksan, South Korea. July 2018.

4

I shared this in my last post as well. I absolutely love this photo. When my wife cleans the floors she dances like a ballerina. It is one of the most beautiful and graceful things I’ve ever seen. She clears the floors of obstructions, plays a classical piano arrangement and floats through the rooms with a cloth and some water. I’d never been able to get a very good photo during the routine. She’s embarrassed by it. I haven’t a clue why.

Iksan, South Korea. February 2018.

3

This was also taken during the unusual snow storms that plagued Iksan for a couple of days in 2018. I was on my way to class when I saw this loan man just kind of standing there contemplating his plight. I took this without much care to be honest. I was cold and had no gloves so I wasn’t much in the mood to be taking photos. I’m glad I did. Prints of this now hang in many countries throughout the world. It was my most requested photo from this year. Generally I don’t agree with those numbers but in this case, I love this photo.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

2

So the last two photos were taken one right after the other with the above having been taken second.

I took this photo of my wife on our wedding day. I didn’t take many photos during the day, perhaps 10. Every time I see this photo I am filled with happiness. She was talking to a friend or something but I couldn’t see anything but her.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

1

This is my favourite photo of 2018. It isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken technically. It is a photo that I would describe as an amalgamation of compromises. I took the photo in our then unfinished living room. The lighting was a simple placeholder light that struggled to light the entire room. I had 400 speed Ilford film loaded in my camera and no flash. I’d shot the previous 15 photos on the roll at 400 because I’d dreamed of my wedding photos being “clean.” Realizing this wasn’t going to work I just said f%$k it and decided to shoot this at what I’d thought to be 3200 (no meter on my camera). I think continued to take 6 photos of her during the next 3-5 minutes (number 2 on this list being also taken during that time) at what I judged to be 3200. I developed the film as such and just threw out the rest of the negatives. I only wanted these photos. They are grainy, and show the lack of dynamic range in the film at 3200. I don’t care. I wanted to get those photos. Do I wish they were digital? Not at all. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to look through my book of negatives and see these photos. Those pieces of film were there with me at that moment. Cheesy? Maybe.

I could give a f%$k.

Hope you enjoyed this year’s top 10. I didn’t take many photos this year. Around 500 in total. That’s okay. I love the photos I did get. Nowadays I’m more than happy to get 2-3 photos a year I consider to be good.

Much love.

Josh

2018: Top 10 Photos (6-10)

Busan, South Korea.

10

So, here goes. My top ten photos of 2018. Well, in fact this post will just go through 6-10 in reverse order.

Above is number 10. Admittedly this year was slim pickings for street photography. I quite literally didn’t do much of it. In February I participated in the 24 hour project in Busan. That was probably the only time I really concentrated on taking street photos in any seriousness. I took the above in Busan, but not during that event. My wife and I went back later for a housing convention. These people were having their eyes massaged. Honestly, this type of photo I’ve seen hundreds of times. I don’t really want to like it but I kind of do. Their blank expressions perfectly mimicked my own boredom at that moment. Picking tiles, not my thing.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

9

This is a photo of one of my bros and mentors, Junku Nishimura, and my wife Seonju. They have become quite close. He treats me like a little brother so I guess they spend lots of their time discussing my ineptness at being a real man, ha. He is easily my favourite photographer. I think it is easy to see the influence. He came to Korea in May for our wedding even though it was the busiest time of his year. I think their pose was great. Like some noir movie. Also in one of my favourite places in Iksan, a place we just call Palm Tree because of the outside neon palm tree shaped light. It’s gone now.

8

I’m not sure many people will agree with this one. It is just a photo of a tree. I remember that day well. It had snowed all night and was a proper snow storm in the afternoon as well. I took photos of this tree often as I left my house as a kind of warm up (guess I’m still an athlete at heart). I moved from this place shortly after this. I am happy I have this photo. It is an important memory.

Iksan, South Korea. August, 2018.

7

Well, you’ll start to see a theme from here on out. This is my wife. I make no excuses for this. I love taking photos of my wife. You may be surprised it is a colour photo. This is one of those moments I was so happy I had a digital camera instead of a film one. The sunset behind her was so great. The light from an oncoming car light her face. One of those moments I could never recreate.

Iksan, South Korea.

6

Ironically this is from the same roll as the mushroom cloud tree above. Three photos from that roll were among my favourite ten of the year. This photo is a good example of why I think I need to shoot film the majority of the time. The was the sixth photo of six I took of the same scene. The first five were rubbish. This one, ended up being one of my favourites of the year. Interesting that. If I’d been shooting digital I’d have just left after the first looked trash. With film, I had the hope that any one of them would be good. It is kind of the opposite of what most people would think. I guess that is just the strange way my brain works. One thing I’ve come to realize however is that considering all the cameras I change one thing always stays similar. Of my best photos the best digital photos are usually from small cameras. Exactly the opposite with film. Go figure.

That was 6-10 of my favourite photos this year. You can probably guess some of the rest if you’ve followed me long enough. Have a go in the comments 😉

Also, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming support with me picking the blog back up again.

Much love.

Josh

New Beginnings

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, South Korea. February 2019.

Well, it has been nearly four months since I posted something here. Every time I post I promise I will get better and posting and every time I promise that I end up getting worse. I’d like to say that it is solely because I am busy. I am busy, yet, it is mostly out of laziness. When I have free time to do something like this I generally spend it with my family or relaxing. I didn’t even do a “Fuck you, 2018” post. It had become a kind of tradition.

Leica M6. Ilford, HP5.
Iksan, 2018.

The fact of the matter is this:

2018 was one of the best years of my life. It was a whirlwind of positivity. I basically rebuilt a house in the winter and spring. I got married in May. I started a new job with Leica in the summer. We added some new members to our family. 2018 wasn’t the kind of year I wanted to end.

Ilford HP5.
Iksan, May, 2018.

That said, there are lots of things I want to do in 2019. Things I want to accomplish.

New beginnings of a different sort.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

As I walked around a little today with my camera I thought about these things. Thought about what I’d like to do in 2019. One thing I want to do is do a project based on my now home city, Iksan. Many people tie me to Seoul (my fault I guess considering the blog title) but the fact of the matter is I actually live in Iksan. Iksan is a small city about 2 hours south of Seoul.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

I live here in a house with my wife and our two cats. Yes, a proper house. Not very common in Korea for people to live in houses. Our neighborhood is full of seniors. That’s okay, we like having a small yard and our own space. It is especially special considering how much work we put into the house.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

Our kittens seem to like it. I was never a cat person. In fact, I was one of those dog people that said cats were emotionless and selfish. A friend then said this to me:

“If you don’t like cats it is probably because you haven’t met the right cat.”

I completely agree with this now. Our cats are almost like dogs. They play fetch. Play dead. Always greet me at the door when I come home and spend most of their time following me around. Weirdest of all they cry to be picked up. Our vet said it is quite unique. Well, our little sisters have certainly brightened up our home. They even have their own Instagram 😉

Leica M10-P.

Iksan, January 2018.

So, aside from the yet untitled Iksan project and photos of my kittens, I also plan on becoming more active on Social Media this year. I have re-made my schedule in such a way where I will have lots of “cafe” time to get on the ball. I say “cafe” time because I find they are the only place where I am able to get any of this stuff done.

So, here is where it is my turn to ask for some advice. What type of things would you like to see on my blog? Long form posts about life in general? Reviews? Daily thoughts? Let me know in the comments. I am happy and willing to hear your thoughts.

Leica M10-P
Iksan, January 2018.

RE: YouTube Channel

Okay, I have promised this forever and always failed. Basically I am not particularly good at editing video. Well, actually that is kind of a lie. It is more like I am too lazy for the tedious process of doing so. Lately though, I was introduced to an app called Lumafusion for the iPad that has changed my thought process about this. There are still some problems, however. My iPad is 128GB model and I think that will make it difficult to shoot as much as I’d need to for a proper full length video. That said, my “video” camera is a now aged Olympus EM-1 (don’t ask why it just happens to be the only thing I have that does a decent job of it) and it only does 1080p so perhaps it will be fine.

Anyone in Korea wanna be a camera person ? I pay great (booze and coffee). My wife has been trying to do so but I think she wants to retire her position. She hates the cold.

Well, Aside from that I don’t have a whole lot to talk about. I hope to have more in the days to come.

More than anything I want to thank everyone for sticking with me. I know I am quite bi-polar as someone to follow. I make no apologies, but I do feel grateful.

January 2019.

Iksan, South Korea.

September 15th Artist Talk – Leica Store Gangnam

L1000351-Edit
Korea, 2017.

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while. Some new stuff to announce!

As of this week I started as the Leica Akademie Ambassador in Korea. What does this mean? It means workshops, lectures, exhibitions and more! I’m really excited by what is to come.

First! This Saturday, September 15th at 1:00 at the Leica Store Gangnam I will be having an artist talk introducing myself and my work. It costs just 10,000 won and drinks will be served! So if you’re in an around Seoul please stop by and say hi!

There are limited spots available, so please sign up at the website below. If you have any questions please let me know!

http://leica-store.co.kr/main/akademie/akademie_view.php?idx=79

Scan-171028-0024-Edit
Korea, 2018. 

Who wouldn’t want to come out and see this face?

haha.

See you soon 😉

 

Birthday

L9995170-01
Iksan, August, 2018

It was my birthday yesterday. I tend to forget. They kind of just happen.

I’d asked people on my Instagram in the morning what I should have for dinner. It seemed a fine enough idea. The choices were raw beef or sushi.

I’d put on shorts and paint stained t-shirt to go out. Since renovating our house it seems like everything I own is paint stained.

L9995160-01
Iksan, August, 2018

My wife, on the other hand looked as beautiful as always. Her sense of style is one of the things I love about her. I can’t quite place it, but I love it nevertheless.

20180812_195324-01
Iksan, August, 2018.

Sushi won the Instagram vote. Only one vote matters.

We had raw beef. It was amazing. It is served with pear and raw egg. It’s probably my favourite food in Korea. I also requested it for our wedding meal.

Wasn’t a popular choice, ha.

L9995181-01
Iksan, August, 2018. 

She was happier than she looks here. She was trying to look “noir” as she put it.

I like that she plays along with the photographer thing. She lets me have my hobby.

On my birthday, at least.

August, 2018.

Iksan, South Korea.

 

Workshop: Jtinseoul in Seoul

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset
Seoul, South Korea. 

Hello everyone! I’m happy to announce a workshop I will be hosting in Seoul at the end of July.

Here is all the info:

Workshop: Jtinseoul in Seoul

07.29.2018

Overview

This workshop is meant to be an informal, fun, and informative. During the workshop, students will spend time with myself, JT, in the streets of Seoul. We will take photos, edit photos, discuss projects, and most importantly, have fun!

Goals

  1. Students will experience be given a small and fun tasks to complete on the street. These will be fun and easy but informative. Students will take photos together with the instructor and receive instruction as necessary during this time.
  2. Students will join the teacher to discuss their photos, their goals, and concerns they currently have.
  3. Workshop will not focus much on the technical aspects of photography. It is meant more to help the students feel more comfortable taking photos on both the street and in their personal life. Of course, any technical questions will be answered by myself if needed.

Schedule (Tentative)

– We will start with a short meeting in the morning (10:00AM) to discuss the goals for the day.

– Everyone will share a small sample of their work with the group as well as give a short introduction of themselves.

– We will shoot for 3-4 hours and then sit down in an informal atmosphere to talk about, process, and talk about the day’s photos.

– I will give a short presentation on the processing and editing I do to my photos and share some tips and tricks that relate to the day’s shooting. We will wrap up around 17:00.

– Students are welcome to join myself for dinner afterwards.

Equipment needed

Digital Camera

Students will be asked to use a digital camera during the day’s shooting. I know some of us enjoy shooting film, however, shooting with a digital camera during the day means we can discuss the photos taking during the day during the second part of the workshop.

Note: Any digital camera is fine for this situation. You can use anything from a Leica to a DSLR to a smartphone. All of the things discussed in the workshop will apply to any type of camera.
A Computer, Tablet, or Smartphone

Students will be asked to bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to use during the “processing” part of the workshop. These will basically be used to edit and share your work with the other participants of the workshop.

 

Price

In order to find out pricing information please email me at the email address below. This price includes one signed print of any photo of the students choice (225mm x 160mm approx.).

 

Attendance and Payment

To confirm attendance please reply to this email. Payment options will be sent following confirmation of attendance. The workshop will be capped at 6-8 students to be determined by a first come, first serve basis.

 

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email  me jtinseoul@gmail.com.

The workshop will be held on July 29th, Sunday. The workshop will be capped at 6-8 students. If demand permits a second workshop will be scheduled for July 28th, Saturday.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,

JT