[Guest Post]: Aaron C Greenman (1 image).

2017, Guest Post, Inspiration, Leica M9(P)/M-E (CCD Lives!), Q&A, Teaching point

Today, Aaron shares his thoughts (as well as a fine image) after his recent extensive use of the Hasselblad X1D.

You can find more of Mr. Greenman‘s work at:  acuitycolorgrain

Thank you Aaron for your contribution!


– – – – – –

ACG writes:

“After a dip in the non-Leica waters for a few months (Hasselblad X1D and 45mm to be exact) and a penultimate, frustrating experience continually trying to get my “decisive moment” (and failing) with that set-up, I’m back to the M9P and MM exclusively, with my trusty 35mm Summilux ASPH (pre-FLE).

We all go through phases, but this last one has taught me definitively: megapixels and dynamic range no longer matter, it’s all about the shooting experience, the “view”, and the rendering of the lens. Long live Leica M……”

↑Image © Aaron C Greenman.

7 thoughts on “[Guest Post]: Aaron C Greenman (1 image).

  1. Great website! I’ve been debating on a Hasselblad X1D since it came out. I’ve seriously considered selling my Leica M10 and lens to purchase it. I would love to hear your reasoning of why you didn’t like it? I’ve read that the newer firmware has fixed some of it’s problems.

    Also, I’m very familiar with medium format, Peter know’s I shoot a lot with my Phase One IQ3-100 and I love the quality and the work needed to capture the moment. What I don’t like is how heavy everything is. I really like the Medium format look.


  2. Gage,

    It really depends what you like to shoot. If you are mostly a street shooter, forget it – you just don’t get any benefit from the extra pixels and the image quality. And the shutter lag and the EVF will drive you crazy. If you do portraits and landscapes, fine, but I would add that despite two earnest tries with the X1D, I just had no joy shooting with it. It’s a beautiful piece of physical hardware, and the image quality is certainly a step above in terms of specifications, but if you’re looking for a camera that will reliable take a photo of what you want, when you want, and without delays (either startup, or EVF, or autofocus, or menus) then the X1D is not it.

    I’ve shot with the H5D and it’s a wonderful camera with a beautiful viewfinder. Too large for me of course, but I found the experience much more satisfying.

    Who wants to look through a TV to see a scene? You will end up with static, un-energetic compositions whose sharpness perhaps justify the cost of the kit, but little else.

    I personally find my ability to make meaningful images with the M better than with anything else, but to each his own.

    If someone made a digital Mamiya 7 with a real rangefinder (I suspect Fuji will make an amp’ed up X100F eventually in medium format though that’s not quite what I’m referring to), then I’d take another look perhaps.

    Best Regards,


  3. Can’t say I’m surprised Aaron. But thank you for your thoughts and feedback in using this camera. The design and concept has potential…just the execution which is lacking. I get the impression the later part of this camera/products stage of life was rushed. Marketing and perception won the day. Hope it doesn’t back fire for them!

    Fuji don’t have the most attractive camera in the GFX yet they seem to have executed the product so much more effectively.

    A very good point you make with regard to specs over comfort!

  4. I really think the X1D is the best modern designed camera on the market. I’ve held it a few times and just amazed why nobody else has designed anything similar.

    My concerns from the get go was the low resolution EVF. By the time it hit the market, Leica had the SL out which has an amazing EVF.

    I’ve also been concerned with the high aperture of f3.5. Shooting outside this is fine but shooting inside can be troublesome especially when I prefer to set my shutter to 1/250 (I have a fast moving child).

    I would love to see a rangefinder designed medium format with EVF. I know some don’t like the EVF but I believe it is the future. The Sony a9 I believe will be the standard that all others should strive for.

    My dream camera would be a camera with the Hasselblad x1d design, Sony a9 EVF and Sony a9 electronic shutter, both autofocus and manual focus lenses, and the larger medium format sensor found in cameras such as the Phase One IQ3-100. I suppose I will just keep dreaming though!


    1. I agree with you that for the majority of “shooters” the EVF is the future, but for the majority of “makers”, the OVF and/or rangefinder will continue to be critical to the experience.

      My firm realisation was simply that we’ve reached a point where “better” in terms of specifications (megapixels, dynamic range, “what I see in the viewfinder is what I get in the viewfinder, etc.”) is not necessarily better for meaningful and impactful composition. And conceptually, when you step back a bit from the marketing speak of “live view”, it sounds like asinine marketing speak – what’s more “live view” than, in fact, looking at a direct view of reality? I was never aware that TV was more real and live than what my eyes see.

      In many ways, philosophically, and given the amazing latitude that modern sensors give and that allowed in post-processing, I don’t understand the photographer’s focus on wanting to pre-determine all output variables before the shot. I understand focus (easiest with manual focus and distance scales even at 1.4, without an obsession for tack sharpness), but why on exposure, color processing, “effects”, image ratio, etc? All of this simply adds to the complexity up front, when the photographer’s focus should be on subject and composition.

      I truly believe that for all the advances in technology, now that the pace and goals of camera development have been largely driven by electronics companies (Sony) as opposed to photography companies (Nikon, Canon, Olympus), images may be technically “better” (or more impressively outpacing what the average naked eye can see), but with no more artistic merit than before, and perhaps, on average, less.

      A couple years ago on Peter’s site, I posted a comment about the increasing divide in digital photography between human perception of the scene and digital perception of the scene, and it’s impact on creating images that have humanity in them (and not just “impressiveness”). I’m still thinking through those issues, and I’m sure there’s a longer article somewhere in there waiting to be written.

      In the industry’s relentless march to continually make more “capable” tools with higher ISO abilities, it has created a larger gap between how the eye and mind perceives a scene in terms of light and how the tool is capable of seeing the scene.

      I’ve always believed that a lot of the CCD vs CMOS debate was actually an acknowledgement of the dissonance of the camera not seeing like the eye sees. The M9 with a 35mm Summilux basically tolerated light like the human eye – during the magic hour, the photographer’s ability to see the scene and the camera’s ability to see the scene were synchronised; most all CCDs when paired with a fast lens were tuned in a way to more or less match the film range, which more or less matched the capability of human vision.

      As ISOs go through the roof, suddenly the camera sees more than the eye, or to take it to an extreme, the camera viewfinder can create all the aesthetic parameters of the work of art that the photographer wants before the photographer even takes the photo. But is this what we really want and need to develop our “eye” and create a visual memory of our lives in our minds and not just on the screen/paper?

      It’s the same story with “creative” points of view allowable with tilt screens, phone remote apps, and, of course, drones. All “impressive” capabilities that allow “new” images from points of view that people haven’t necessarily seen before, but how many of these images have any real merit as compositions with a valuable message or story once the freshness wilts? And does the birds eye view really allow us to develop a better understanding of how to have successful human interaction, which frankly our planet could use more of to get us out of the current mess that we’re in?

      OK maybe I’m reaching a little there – but the issues are fundamental. It’s why to me despite the Leica S not “keeping up” with the technology cycle, I still am incredibly tempted by the S006, because of its absolutely brilliant split prism viewfinder screen, no live view, no video, and a wonderful sensor and processing engine. It’s an M9 for the SLR set. Too big for my type of photography, ans call me old school, but I’m constantly wowed by that viewfinder.

      I don’t want to be as coy or as blatantly European as saying it’s all about Das W, but Leica in their own way has a real point, once you cut through the marketing babble.

      As I’ve said before, to each his own. The M9 has been the only camera in my 30 year career that I can truly say has made me a better photographer, and that I enjoy picking up like no other. The images aren’t as sharp, and the highlights not as smooth, and the composition not as perfect, but every time I’m at least damn sure that it’s identical to what my eyes saw and what my mind remembers, which is invaluable.

      Best Regards,


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