Leica for wedding photography
Good equipment won't determine if a photo is good or not, but the enjoyment of using it is important to me.
My favorite cameras of the last decade have been the Nikon D700 and D3s and I have then used many other DSLRs. Three years ago, I was tempted to switch to the mirrorless world by adopting the Sony A7iii system.
Fast, efficient, and performant, I never managed to find a connection with these devices. I always felt like I was holding a Playstation controller instead of a camera.
I was pleased with my work using the Sony system, but I knew I needed a change. Even if my work wouldn't change much in the end, I wanted a different feeling while doing it.
Alongside the cameras I used for work, I had Leicas, including an M6 and an M262. I mostly used them for my personal projects or travels. Occasionally, I would use them for a few professional projects when I felt comfortable with the rangefinder, for example:
Leica has released the SL2.
From the moment I picked up this camera, I knew I was holding something special. The build quality is unparalleled, far surpassing what other brands have to offer. Even the sound of the buttons clicking seemed to have been carefully crafted to provide an exceptional user experience.
Holding this camera gives you confidence. All the buttons and interface seem to be perfectly positioned for efficient and enjoyable use. There's nothing excessive, only the essentials to allow you to create images. The viewfinder is remarkable, almost as if you're looking through a mirror with such precise definition. Everything is streamlined and designed to balance efficiency and user pleasure.
No other brand can match this experience.
Thanks to GraphicArt in Bern, I had the chance to try the SL2-S (a version of the SL2 that better meets my feature needs) with a APO-Summicron 75mm lens.
I was able to take photos in various conditions to evaluate its advantages and disadvantages. After this experience, I became increasingly convinced that it was the tool I wanted to use for my future projects.
I was in a slow period and with little work in the pipeline for the coming months, I decided to sell all my Sony gear to finance my new equipment. This aging equipment had been heavily used and was therefore largely written off, so it was perhaps the ideal time to make this move.
I bought a Leica SL2-S body, but I realized that having only one camera body would be limiting for my wedding work because in my usual workflow, I always work with two cameras during a wedding day.
I first hesitated to use my Leica Q2 or an SL first-generation model as a backup or for secondary lenses, but I finally decided to "go all in." So, I bought two similar bodies.
Now, on my trusty HoldFast harness, I carry on my right a SL2-S with a APO-Summicron 35mm lens, and on my left, another SL2-S with a APO-Summicron 75mm lens. At weddings, I take about 90% of the photos with these two focal lengths.
I also invested in an adapter ring for M lenses, which allows me to use a wide variety of modern, classic, or old lenses. My Summilux 50mm is often used with this ring.
For wide angles, I chose the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8, even though I use it less.
I also work with two Leica SF 60 flashes and a Leica CF1 transmitter, which are compact, fast, and powerful.
And of course, I continue to take photos at weddings with my Leica Q2 and its incredible Summilux 28mm lens, which I already owned.
• The feeling of using this system, which can be sometimes subjective and hard to describe.
• The quality and rendering of images, which are very easy to edit.
• The quality of the optics, which I had never experienced before.
• The user interface, with no frills, and all buttons customizable.
• The definition and accuracy of the viewfinder and screen, which sometimes make me almost forget it is a digital device.
Not really, but to be objective, there are a few points to mention:
• Sometimes I miss the tilting screen.
• The cameras and lenses are made with premium and durable materials, which also means they are heavier.
• Although very accurate and sufficiently performant for my photographic domains, I imagine that autofocus could show its limitations in certain situations.
The price point is undoubtedly a frequent topic of discussion when it comes to Leica.
Yes, Leica products are generally more expensive than the average. If you're searching for a camera with top specifications and the best value for your money, it might not be the best choice for you.
However, if you're looking for a camera that surpasses the standards in terms of design and emotional connection, Leica stands out as a brand. This perspective is highly subjective and personal, and I understand that not everyone will have the same experience.
Of course, I will continue to trust Leica in the years to come. This year, I have decided to sell my M262 and Q2 to purchase the new Leica M11 which will be my camera for personal projects, paired with my trusty Leica M6. The idea is to use it as much as possible for weddings, especially when I feel comfortable with the rangefinder.
The difference between the M262 and M11 is significant in my opinion, and I can easily envision capturing an entire wedding with the latter. Perhaps in the future, but not for the moment, as I currently enjoy my SL2-S too much.
Some may wonder why I chose to part with the Q2, which is still an excellent camera. The answer is relatively simple: the temptation of the M11 was too strong, and selling the Q2 allowed me to finance this acquisition.
Sneak Peek of one of my early weddings photographed exclusively with Leica
Other photography work I have carried out during this first year apart from weddings.
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