Category Archives: Teaching point

The Leica Q: Why didn’t Sony make it first?

Leica Q - Prosophos

Why didn’t Sony take the RX1/R and turn it into the Leica Q before Leica did?  Sony was so close the first time…

Sony is a behemoth with deep resources and Leica is a tiny company with relatively limited resources, yet Leica out-Sony-ied Sony.

I keep wondering: Why?

(Nikon and Canon haven’t shown an interest in this class of camera — yet.  So forget them, as they seem to be sleeping.)

Either way, I’m glad Leica pulled this off first because Sony would have messed up the haptics.

On a related note, every decade people are willing to write Leica off, but Leica manages to re-invent itself.  As I stated in point #20 of My Photography Truths:

Never bet against Leica.


Restraint, people.

It’s our May holiday weekend here in Canada and I’ve had some time to relax.

I’ve spent part of the day looking at various fora, blogs, photo-sharing sites, etc. and have seen some genuinely nice images.

To my dismay however, I’ve also seen a lot of something else:  the over-processed-HDR look.

Apparently, tone-mapping is alive and well.

At this point, I feel compelled to link back to an article I wrote several years ago:

Over-processed, not.

Please read it, or pass it along to a friend who may need help.  Consider it an act of kindness.  Or tough love.

In the meantime, if you want to remind yourself of what a proper photograph should look like, have a look at some film images.

Here are a couple of sites I often visit because the photographers there are still shooting film (in addition to digital):

If Time Stood Still

Bijan Sabet

You won’t find anything flashy there, but you will find some very fine photographs.


The M240 hurt Leica.

The news today that Leica has reduced its lens prices by 12% should come as no surprise.  Leica has been quietly discounting new lenses and cameras and selling them as “demos” for many months, and those same lenses and cameras have been languishing on dealers’ shelves for at least as long.

Why has Leica, who had trouble meeting demand for its products several years ago, experienced this reversal of fortune? 

Simply put, the M240 did not ignite the passion of photographers (or at least camera purchasers) and it didn’t become the blockbuster Leica had hoped.  And since camera sales drive lens sales, the lenses are now – figuratively and literally – collecting dust.

People who follow this blog know of my passion for the M9 and of my distaste for the M240 (see my Open Letter to Leica).  The reasons for this have been well documented, so I won’t rehash them here.

Even if you put my personal bias aside, the M240 was made obsolete by other CMOS-based cameras (I’m thinking specifically about Sony’s cameras) the moment it hit the streets.  The M9 at least offered something different, while remaining true to the Leica ethos.

Whatever Leica does with the next M, I would humbly suggest that they focus on the following:

  1. superior image quality
  2. reliability
  3. a less-is-more interface
  4. rangefinder accuracy and precision
  5. weight and size reduction.

Until then, I’m holding on to my M9P and M9 Monochrom*.


*Incidentally, my good friend Alex here in Toronto (who sells more Leica gear than anyone else in Canada) tells me that he has trouble selling new or used M240s, while used M9s fly off his shelves, despite the very well known sensor corrosion issue.

Boy of Summer (First Hit Ever).

This was photographed tonight.

It’s his first game…

2nd time at bat, and…

very first hit…



Boy of Summer (First Hit Ever)

Technical:  Shot through a chain-link fence @ f/1.4 with focus on his near eye.  ISO 640.  1/3000.


Test Image: Leica 35mm Summicron, Version 1 (8 Element).

Another window light portrait, in front of my “famous” window.


Test Image Leica 35mm Summicron 8 element

…this time I offer a twist on an old theme:  this image was taken with a recently acquired (and adjusted, in Japan) Leica 35mm Summicron (8 element) lens, otherwise known as Version 1 of the legendary 35mm Summicron.  My lens was made in Germany in the early 60s.  It’s an example of the relatively less common screw mount (LTM) version, but mine was subsequently converted to M mount by Leica.

The lens arrived today.  I mounted it on my Leica M9P and fired off the above “test” shot, wide open at f/2.

Here’s what the lens looks like:

Prosophos 8 Elements

It’s tiny, light, and another jewel in the Leica crown.


Can’t see the forest for the trees.

Definition:  An expression used of someone who is too concerned about the details to see the “big picture”.

Recent pixel-peeping-type comments pertaining to my film images (by a minority of individuals), and a text from a friend who asserted that the output from his M Monochrom is superior to the output out of a Rolleiflex, prompted me to remind people of the above expression.

And I leave you with one question:  Why would you pixel-peep a film photograph?

(we don’t do that for a painting, even though an iPhone can “out-resolve” it)


Love, Spilling.

Technical:  f/4.5, 1/30 sec.


Love, Spilling

Dinner Theatre (in 3 Acts).

These were shot in a very dark restaurant.

(f/1.4, 1/30 sec)


Act 1:

Dinner Theatre - Act 1

Act 2:

Dinner Theatre - Act 2

Act 3:

Dinner Theatre - Act 3


People often ask me why I always go back to the Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4.

This is why.



The Angel and the Devil.

The eternal struggle.

My daughter:  “I think you’re more on the devil side.

My other daughter:  “This is probably my favourite post.


Peter Prosophos - Angel and Devil

Prosophos Home-Made Pizza Dough.

My promise to you — as part of your free membership to this site — is that I’ll continue to work hard to stretch your zero dollars.

So from now on, I will not only be doing my best to answer your questions, but I’ll also be sharing my famous home-made pizza dough with you, the viewer, via iPhone images.

That’s right, images of my very own home-made pizza dough shared with you — online.

While other Canadian photo-bloggers claim to provide you with value for your hard-earned zero dollars, I’m the only Canadian photo-blogger sharing authentic home-made pizza dough with you.

And what is better than home made pizza (dough)?

“Pizza dough for zero dough.”

That’s my promise.


Prosophos Pizza



I say the silliest things to her…

On another note, the artificial and mixed back-lighting, and the reflections off the red walls, in this scene are very challenging.  Yet, with the proper pre-processing (a term I believe I coined) and post-processing, the technical issues are mostly overcome.

I know that there will be a few individuals who will insist that I should have used flash, but I vehemently disagree:  the spontaneity and ambiance would have been lost.

I’d feel differently if I was trying to produce a formal portrait — but I wasn’t.



The Neptune Duo smart watch.

Neptune Duo

Warning:  This has nothing to do with photography, but I love good ideas.

The nascent smart watch industry has just been turned upside down by a 20 year old from Montreal.  In Simon Tian‘s world, the watch is the central hub, and the “pocket screen” is just a blank interface.

I don’t know how well his smart watch will work, but I believe he has conceptually bested the likes of Google and Apple.

Check out the Neptune Duo.


The slow death of photography in public spaces.

At least in Toronto: see here.

(apparently it’s been in the books since 2001)


The iGeneration (re-worked filmic look).

Thinking out-loud/on-line, and sharing one of my edits.

Generally speaking, I dislike making digital look like film.  If that was my goal, I’d just shoot film.

However, in light of the comment(s) that followed the first version of this image, I’m curious to know how this version is received.  In addition to not-so-subtly adding grain, I subtly played with the contrast (both local and global).  The end result is less perfect, but possibly more aesthetically pleasing.

You tell me.


The iGeneration (re-worked filmic look)

Hello Leica! …500 calling you for CCD.

500 Signatures for CCD Open Letter to Leica

Hello Leica,

500 passionate photographers, enthusiasts, and artists are calling you for an updated CCD sensor in a future Leica M camera.  

We hope you are listening!

(If you haven’t already done so, please read and sign My Open Letter to Leica.)



Just your typical Sunday afternoon in Toronto (in February).

This shot required the removal of my gloves… and I paid for it (I was not made for Canadian winters).

But it was worth it.



So a funny thing happened to me…

… when I started a thread about  My Open Letter to Leica in the Leica User Forum.

And yes, I violated Rule #8 of My Photography Truths again.

On a related note, let’s re-visit this previous post (just for fun).



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