Friday, November 15, 2013

Tokyo-X-Vario: Street Photography at 70mm

Leica X-VARIO. 1/1000th sec  f/6.4 @ ISO 1600. Shot at 70mm equiv
The X-Vario is a very powerful tool for street photography. Leica has chosen a reasonable focal range of 28 to 70 equiv, with 35mm and 50mm also labelled for convenience. I would say most Leica shooters are in the 35 to 50 range, but 70mm at F/6.4? Many like using telephoto lenses to create a shallow depth of field to isolate their subject, but there's more to a telephoto lens. I decided to give it a try and found it really useful for compressing images that have a background that progressively gets further away, such as buildings. Notice how the lens compresses the buildings, but at the same time, due to the small aperture, everything from the foreground to the background is in focus?

I think this is a great tool for street photographers, and something I haven't been able to experiment with lately since I've been shooting single focal length cameras lately. However, I would caution not using the zoom lens as an easy way to frame and crop an image, since each focal length affects the background and foreground differently. Shooting a close-up at 28mm and the same framing at 70mm by taking a few steps back will result in very different looking images. But for a street photographer, 70mm equiv is an unusual focal length and is seldom utilized. The X-VARIO taught me to see my world a little differently and I'm grateful for this.

I think the X-VARIO's 4 marked focal lengths of 28, 35, 50 and 70mm equiv are great tools for street photographers who love shooting with Leica glass, but don't want to carry around 4 lenses just to change perspective. True, for ultimate optical performance and speed, a zoom lens will never replace prime lenses. However, the X-Vario's zoom lens is a great tool for the Leica photographer who is weight and space conscious, but still wants to shoot with true Leica designed and built glass.

Ok, time to start shooting again. Keep checking back for more images on this series and more. Happy shooting.


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