I have been using various Leica cameras to shoot weddings, for the past 4 years. Leica cameras and lenses are expensive, so buying them and keeping them in a shelf is not something I can afford. I can neither afford using them to just shoot personal projects. I have to use them as my tools to shoot weddings to recover the cost.
In the past I have used the M9, Leica Q, Leica M 240, Monochrom CCD and the M10 along with the Sony line up but in 2018 I decided to go the whole hog. I went all Leica. My main cameras are the M10, the SL and the Q.
A question might arise as to why Leica for weddings when there are CaNikons and loads of mirrorless options.
- I love the size and solidity of Leica. The M series and the Q very solid but still not intimidating in my small hands
- Quality of lenses: There is nothing that renders like a Leica Noctilux, a 75 Summilux or pretty much any other Leica lens. They are sharp, contrasty, render great colors and create magical bokeh when needed. Being a portrait photographer I really love the way Leica lenses give life to a portrait.
- The size and unconventional look of these cameras let me mingle and be part of the crowd without making anyone conscious that I am covering the wedding. People are not intimidated and are most natural, which is of great help to a candid photographer.
- The Noctilux (f0.95) lets me shoot in virtual darkness and coupled with the excellent high ISO performance of the M10, I don’t have to worry about shooting in low light.
- Leica cameras and lenses are great tools for reportage. They were conceived as tools to document reality while on the move, let the photographer be part of the scene and get close to subjects without making them conscious. A wedding is a great use case for this philosophy.
Here is my standard set up:
M10: Most of the time I have the 50mm Noctilux or the 75mm Summilux on this. I feel that the M10 has the best sensor among all Leicas and combined with these two lenses the result is nothing short of magic. Both these lenses render dreamy portraits, amazing bokeh and render backgrounds as abstract paintings.
SL: I use the SL with M lenses, a 21mm or 15mm most of the time. Being a mirrorless camera, having a brilliant EVF and focus peaking really helps with wide angles as the M10 Rangefinder does not cover anything wider than 28mm. Focus peaking also helps if I occasionally mount the Noctilux on this camera, especially when I have the 75mm on the M10 but still need to use a 50mm.
Leica Q: This is a gem. Its 28mm fixed lens, fast focusing, 10 fps and brilliant EVF are apt for documentary style pictures and freeze some great moments.
Shooting with a Rangefinder and manual focus is not as difficult as it feels like. It is just a matter of getting used to the process:
- Anticipate moments and pre-focus.
- Shoot using zone focusing/hyperfocal distance focusing with wide angles at narrower apertures.
- One of the things I was uncomfortable with when using DSLRs was changing focus points or focusing and recomposing. With manual focusing, especially with the SL and Q, one can compose and then focus, thus enabling you to get the right moments.
- Manual Focus lenses without zoom are much smaller and lighter. This is a great boon if you are shooting with primes and carry multiple lenses and change often.
- Sharpness and critical focus are often overrated. If you see pictures from the masters it is all about the right light, composition and moments more than perfect focus.
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