Nikon 58mm f/0.95 Noct: A Wedding Photographer’s First Impressions

Indian wedding photographer Ankita Asthana recently traveled to Rome for a shoot and brought along the $8,000 Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens to test out. She shares her thoughts and a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot in this 7-minute video.

Priced at $8,000, the Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is the fastest NIKKOR lens ever.

“My first impression is that I am truly impressed by this lens,” Asthana tells PetaPixel. “Impressed by its optical image quality.

“The thing that makes this lens stand out is that it gives no chromatic aberration, no fringing that I could observe. Another thing is that it is almost absolutely distortion-free. You can capture really clean straight lines.”

“This lens also has a very close focusing distance,” Asthana says. “That helps in going close and capturing just the eye! At f/0.95, it gives a gorgeous bokeh and, if you nail the focus, a beautiful image.”

“It is completely manual focus, but I like that because it gives me a challenge when I shoot, and by not relying on autofocus, you can choose exactly where you want the focus to be,” Asthana continues. “They have given a digital display to help with the focusing, and you can set the focus at a distance that you want.

“It gives sharp edge-to-edge details, even around the corners of the image. The razor-thin depth of field is to die for!”

“I photographed a lot of my subjects at night after the sun went down and was surprised at what I could achieve with this lens in low ambient light,” the photographer says. “It is really true to its name — Noct, Nocturnal!”

“The downside is the weight of the lens, which is a lot, and it is not made for long hours of shooting handheld,” Asthana says. “If you use it right for a few specialty shots, though, it is quite manageable.

“The result more than makes up for its weight. After I shot for a few days on this lens, I almost didn’t feel like picking up any other!”

“Possible uses in weddings are in low light conditions and tight spaces,” Asthana concludes. “Also for engagement sessions and couple shoots.

“I can’t wait to try it at real weddings. I love the magnification of 58mm — not too tight, not too wide, it is the perfect lens for portraiture. It could also be put to good use while capturing nightscapes and astrophotography as well.”

You can find more of Asthana’s work on her website, wedding Instagram, and personal Instagram. If you’re interested in dropping 8 grand on this lens yourself, you can do so here.

Fuji X-Pro3, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

I was fortunate sufficient to participate in the local launch occasion of the Fujifilm X-Pro3. After spending half a day with the camera, I was stunned to see myself enjoying it a lot after being somewhat essential

of the idea. Having actually spent about a month with a pre-production model, I’ve located myself in a circumstance where I really wished to possess one yet I simply couldn’t make the final phone call as well as choose one up for myself. So, right here is an evaluation of just how my thoughts towards the cam have progressed during this month of real-world use.

Full disclosure: The cam has actually been supplied to me by Fujifilm Turkey. No, I really did not get to maintain it. Yes, I would significantly like to keep it but remarkably, no, I’m not going to purchase one in the near future.

If you’re reading this, you possibly have actually currently listened to regarding X-Pro3 … which means you have most likely currently listened to of what makes it so unique that it’s called among the most controversial video cameras.

Just in instance you still haven’t observed what’s so various concerning it: X-Pro3 has a covert back screen that you can not turn around to utilize like a regular camera. Turning it down jobs and it’s great to utilize at the waistline level in this manner(unless you’re firing in portrait orientation, where your hand will obstruct the LCD up until you get made use of to the handling) as well as you can turn it down totally as well as utilize it a lot more like a standard electronic cam, or like a smart device.

It’s just that when you close the joint back up, it’ll remain hidden.

Enough has been claimed concerning the back LCD by practically every person on the net in testimonials, write-ups, as well as remarks( or perhaps obviously not since I’m concerning to sign up with on the bandwagon). And it will transform nothing. The X-Pro3 is here. It has a surprise back LCD.

And as practically everybody has actually found out

, it’s not a cam for every person

. Easy to say, isn’t it? It’s not for you if you don’t get it. Well, the X-Pro family members was never made to please every person and also

that is mainly because of how one-of-a-kind the whole principle was from the start. I’m talking about the optical/electronic hybrid viewfinder introduced with the X100 back in 2011 if you’ve been living under a rock for the previous 10 years or so. Despite all the insects as well as peculiarities of the X-Pro1, this line of cameras acquired a considerable fanbase from the first day and individuals have been utilizing them to make fantastic photos ever since. You can even state it’s gained a cult complying with, much like some specific film cams. And also currently Fuji is making an also stronger callback to those designs utilizing the iconic titanium-colored surface.

Durasilver finish to the appropriate looks precisely like a

Contax G series or Fujifilm TX-1, Fuji’s version of Hasselblad Xpan And also if you’re thinking that I’m regarding to contrast just how much the X-Pro3 seems like a movie camera, you’re right. The technique I’m going to take here will certainly be different than the common great-tactile-feel-and-physical-dials copy-pasta.

Everyone just loves having those physical dials The X-Pro3 reminds me of a film cam because it provides me the possibility to choose an electronic camera body with various functional designs that is much better fit for a particular shooting style while being able to make use of any kind of lens from their schedule as well as obtain the same photo top quality as their workhorse video camera (X-T3)or

its less costly sibling (X-T30). Allow me place this one more means.

Similar to back in the movie era when the photo high quality was affected only by the lens as well as the movie, the choice of your cam body from the exact same generation of Fujifilm video cameras just matters to the means you fire. Regardless, you are getting the very same great images from the very same wonderful sensing unit, utilizing their great lenses.

I can not think of any kind of various other suppliers with the ability of pulling this off right now. Nikon tried it. Remember the Df? Very few people desire to. Sony has been doing the specific contrary with practically all their cams sharing the exact same functional designs as well as body style yet with different internals. Canon shares the majority of their internals in between their mirrorless and also DSLR lineup, however to me, it seems like both those body designs intend to accomplish the very same point at comparable price points.

Time to enter into the specifics. I wish to speak concerning how it felt to utilize as well as why I wound up yearning one, and I’ll merely avoid the specification sheet. As I’ve stated, the terrific sensor and also more notably, excellent lenses with each other develop a rather qualified system.

Unless you have extremely particular requirements, all Fujifilm video cameras of this generation can managing virtually any kind of situation you throw at them. The primary selling factor of the X-Pro3, the OVF, has gotten a really significant … upgrade? Can we call it that? The viewfinder is optically clearer than ever as well as most individuals — mention X-Pro2 to feel like using smudged glasses in comparison but

in return, you shed the ability to optically focus and out to adjust various focal sizes. That’s why I’ve been struggling to call this a straight-up upgrade — this is more of a style modification.

I was a bit distressed to learn more about this since I rather like the Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, which supplies among my favorite focal lengths.

Haven’t had the chance to try the new 16mm f/2.8, which would certainly feel a bit much more well balanced on a portable body such as this. Not that 16/1.4 feels anywhere as poor as it looks. The silver cellular lining is that you can still utilize 16mm lenses by evaluating the complete sight area of the optical finder, much like how you use a 28mm lens with a Leica M2 or M4. I discovered this method rather pleasing to make use of as well as this was the very first step I took in the direction of really liking this camera.
Not poor for ISO 5000. Photo by Gözde Biçer
Gözde Biçer in ISO 3200 The second action was when I understood just how good the EVF is in low light. At any time you can just pull the bar in the front to involve as well as disengage the EVF, and also in the Natural Live View mode as well as reduced light, it’s somewhat magical. You can still review how optical finders are far better than digital ones in

reduced light yet Fuji has actually gotten to some new territory I haven’t seen before.

Where were we? Oh right, the rangefinder. Other than we weren’t, since this is not an actual rangefinder. It can arrange of act like one. You can stand out the small corner screen up inside the optical finder, a feature introduced with the X-Pro2. This screen has actually received a noteworthy resolution upgrade and also as an outcome, you can rely on it to inspect the essential focus by magnifying the emphasis area. This serves in both autofocus and handbook focus settings and also especially if you transform the split focusing help on, substantially shortens the time you invest transforming the focus ring back as well as forth.

Invest a long time with the right settings to remove all the digital details shows jumbling the optical viewfinder mode and you’ll wind up with one of the cleanest as well as non-distracting viewfinders you can enter a video camera packed with so much technology.

So, does it all of a sudden change into a Leica M?

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aligncenter “> A comparison that’s being made considering that the launch of X100 Both these cams have edge located optical finders however utilizing them is a completely various experience. A few of the points I’m about to make specify to this Leica M2( my daily shooter for the previous six months )being a fully mechanical movie camera however even the most recent M10-P collection will not really feel anything like the X-Pro3. Fuji feels far more like among the late-90s or early-2000s movie cams than a totally mechanical rangefinder.

Which’s neither a disrespect nor a negative point in any way. It has a means advanced metering system, it has autofocusing lenses with hands-on override, it can fire video, it can switch over to EVF mode to unlock through the lens picture viewing, it can display the last picture you shot (either completely EVF mode or just in the corner without changing away from the optical sight ), as well as, presuming you have bothered to establish them up, the X-Pro3 has personalized modes that you can sign up as well as quickly recall for various shooting situations.

Yes, you obtain the same body style and viewfinder location as well as clean view (if you bother to establish your X-Pro3 up for it) yet the Fuji is qualified of a lot even more than any Leica M cam could ever dream of. Fuji is nowhere as fine-tuned and also focused as an M, as it has so a lot a lot more entering the background. Yet all these technical background tasks are mostly eliminated from your sight and a lot of the time, I felt like I was utilizing my Minolta Dynax 7 (or consider a Nikon F6, Canon EOS 1V or 3, you understood), a camera that you can quickly rely upon to deal with all the technological jobs as well as leave you alone until you ask to tip in for some challenging and particularly tricky lights scenarios.

Fuji’s X-T line( as well as the X-E line … still awaiting the X-E3 upgrade, Fuji!) Has all these points. Nevertheless, they share a common bloodline and also the majority of their internals. What the cam(and camera developers)should do is make those internals do their job and what you must do is find out to rely on the gear you take as well as have care of the creative variables while the electronic camera gets out of your means.

And this is where the X-Pro3 sets itself in addition to the majority of standard electronic cameras. By design, it’s not actually trying to make your work a lot easier. On the other hand, the majority of its functions practically appear to have an aim to make your life harder.

You will need to find out to cope with the parallax as well as forecast where the focus factor will be and just how the actual framing will certainly look. You will certainly find out to anticipate when the ideal moment will certainly be to take the shot as you see even outside the framework undisturbed with the finder. You will certainly either wish that the video camera will concentrate and meter properly or you will need to forecast when those features will stop working as well as when you require to take control of as well as push them in the appropriate direction.

Believe me, this thing actually isn’t foolproof and also you’ll need to discover to work your means around all these drawbacks.

And when you do, it’s such a satisfying experience. Not since the sensor has an amazing color feedback or 16 (or whatever)quits of vibrant array. Since you’ve just conquer some challenges as well as took the shot you planned to take. Undoubtedly you could’ve taken the very same shot with practically any kind of other video camera (and particularly with any various other Fuji), however with the X-Pro3 there’s not much room for idleness that you might’ve escaped while utilizing another cam.

You need to be rather included with the choice production and that pressures you to become a better photographer.

For some individuals, this absence of security webs makes the entire experience a lot more enjoyable as the pleasure of dominating an obstacle is a human sensation. For others, perhaps it’s not interesting in all or it’s simply meaningless to have those limitations in a cam layout in the first location. Why not just obtain the X-T3 or any kind of other electronic cam? Why not simply shoot film and also delight in a lot more “imperfections”?

Because the world is white and also not black and also neither is the X-Pro3( Insert joke about a monochrome X-Pro version here

). Somewhere in the gray areas between those extremes lives the X-Pro3. With three various selections of gray surfaces. So, why am I denying one in Durasilver today? Is it because it collects finger prints like no video camera ever made? Acquiring the common black one would certainly’ve resolved that (and conserve some cash also). Is it since I occasionally turn the video camera on, raise it up as well as check out the behind, awaiting the LCD to switch on only to understand it’s nowhere in view? No. This hasn’t happened in a while.

I additionally no longer neglect the LCD in a semi-open placement and also attempt to raise the camera to my face only to hit myself in the mouth with the LCD, yet those very first couple of days were funny. You should see the look on individuals’s faces on the street when they anticipate to obtain their photo taken yet the digital photographer all of a sudden determines to attack their electronic camera instead.

Is it because despite the fact that Fuji has an excellent Q-menu as well as a customized setup recall that allows you conserve also the instructions you desire the focus ring to turn, it won’t allow you conserve the ISO settings?

All the setups you can save and also remember through the Q menu This has actually been extremely aggravating as well as I’m hoping Fujifilm assesses their whole food selection system and also rectifies some aggravating but tiny issues like these. If also this is not the solution, what is it? Is it since the film-box design display screen in the back lacks a staying shot as well as battery life display screen and there’s no very easy way to figure those out while you’re using the electronic camera unless you locate a means to present that crucial information somewhere?

No. Because I can’t manage to at this factor, it’s simply. I require a new electronic camera and also it’s most likely going to be the X-T3 because I quickly need a brand-new workhorse. Most of my professional job nowadays requires me to make use of the cam on a tripod and also the X-Pro3 doesn’t truly like tripod utilize all that much. Not that I have not tried.

Kind of works, however it’s not really delightful. I knew that it wasn’t meant for me. I walked right into the launch occasion to just deal with the video camera for a few hours and had not been expecting to appreciate it

a lot. Especially in the very first days after the occasion, I was still envisioning myself transforming the model video camera back in and also not missing it. As it turns out, X-Pro3 really isn’t for me. However I believe I do obtain its point.

About the writer: Can Çevik is a professional product and architectural photographer based in Istanbul/Turkey. The opinions shared in this write-up are solely those of the writer. You can find even more of his road digital photography on Instagram.

The Leica M6 TTL .85 is the Best 35mm Film Camera Ever Conceived

I’m not going to wax poetic about the Leica M6 TTL .85. I don’t need to.

This camera is the best 35mm film camera ever conceived or constructed. Chances are, you’re reading this because you’re a photographer interested in buying the best Leica that you can. Or perhaps you already own a Leica and just enjoy articles that continue to justify your substantial and tasteful purchase.

In any case, there are enthusiastic blogs and articles about every Leica body out there. It would seem that every Leica M is very special. So I’m simply going to tell you, in a dispassionate, list format, why, compared to the M6 TTL .85, all the other Leica Ms out there are absolute trash.

I will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the M6 TTL .85 is perfect for the type of shooting that I do and the absolute apex of human optical engineering, metallurgy, and industrial design. It may not be perfect for collectors or for other styles of shooting. But only losers shoot like that. And collectors are dweebs.

So here’s why I bought and plan to always use, not shelve, my 1999 black chrome Leica M6 TTL .85, as if it’s not instinctively evident and obvious to any sentient being.

Light Meter

If you’re going to buy a $2,000+ 35mm camera, it may as well contain a good, built-in light meter. While I appreciate the craftsmanship of M3s and M2s, impoverished Leica photographers such as myself cannot justify the financial outlay on something that can’t be used comfortably for paid shoots to return the investment.

Voigtlander Bessas are a joke. Their light meters are more like warning lights of impending mechanical failure. And Leica M-A shooters, if you wanted to prove to everyone that you know Sunny 16, a Barnack says “Luddite” much more clearly and affordably.

Classic M6 bodies are more affordable than TTL models, but I’ve never liked the idea of a two LED meter display. Reminds me of the Yashica GSN Electro. I’m not buying a f***ing piece of s*** Yashica, I’m buying a Leica. Even Nikon has three LEDs. The problem is that Leica LEDs cost about $500 each and I want three of them. Over, Under, Correct.

I don’t want to guess about what my meter is telling me. I want to be one with my meter. I want fast, accurate, easy operation. I knew the exposure before I pressed the shutter release halfway anyway, I’m just looking for agreement. The newer Bessas contain nine LEDs. Are you playing a video game or are you taking a picture?

The M6 TTL meter is the earliest Leica M that you can buy that contains the world’s highest quality center-weighted averaging meter built into any camera. I’ve never used another body with such a fine meter. The LEDs brighten and dim as you adjust, not simply turn on or off like a dispassionate binary automaton.

It’s the difference between playing a keyboard with weighted keys and not. And all Leica shooters are accomplished pianists. Very fine, accurate readout from a mere 6 ISO to 6400 ISO, not the lowly and unprofessional 1600 top ISO of the CL or 3200 of the M5 and inferior Bessa line.

This is the same meter spec inside the current production, highly-regarded, highly-priced Leica MP. It’s the same type of meter that Leica removed from the MP to create the all mechanical M-A because it’s such a good meter that it has no business being mixed up inside a model which is intended to represent mechanical excellence alone.

There’s a certain, famous Leica repair technician who has been discouraging her clients from buying an M6 TTL citing that Leica no longer supports the metering electronics. Around the Internet, you might hear people mindlessly warn about the failure of “the metering board” in M6 TTLs. But this is all horses***.

While I don’t deny for a thousandth of a second that this certain famous Leica repair technician knows what she is talking about, I disagree with her reasoning and wonder if she simply doesn’t want to work on newer Leicas.

While it’s true that Leica no longer supports electronic repair/replacement on the M6 TTL, one has to consider that these cameras are now about two decades old and were only manufactured for a few years. Additionally, Leica has long discontinued support on M6 and M5 meters, but nobody’s discouraging anyone from buying those models, whose meters still work by and large. So why tell people not to buy M6 TTLs because of this?

Are the M6 TTL meters prone to failure? I only own one M6 TTL and it’s always worked beautifully for me. I’m looking to buy a second one and have yet to stumble across any with noted bad meters. For a more qualified answer to this rumor, I asked Don Goldberg, AKA DAG, for his opinion.

First of all, he clarified that there are two circuit boards associated with the light meter in the M6 TTL so it’s pure silliness when people say “the board” is prone to failure. And he went on to say:

I’ve had 2 Leica M6-TTL cameras in so far that needed new main circuit boards. That’s out of 489 M6-TTL cameras that I’ve had in for repair.” This was as of July 2019. And those two board replacements? “One of the circuit boards that was bad was due to someone removing the body shell without first removing parts that got in the way of the main board & damaged the board. The other one I think was defective & had to go to Leica, USA. All in all the M6-TTL is very reliable. I think the reason I’ve had 489 M6-TTL cameras in my shop is that they sold lots of them, people want complete overhauls eventually.

So yeah.

Shutter Speed Dial

While it doesn’t match any other 35mm Leica body besides the recently discontinued M7, the reverse shutter speed dial of the M6 TTL is undeniably superior. Kowtowing to the meter again, the shutter speed dial rotates in the direction logical with the movement of the meter display. This is a nice feature for those of us who are real photographers and who demand not only precision of their camera haptics, but logic!

Additionally, the M6 TTL SS dial is much larger than other Leica SS dials, making it easy to operate with one finger in front of, not two fingers above the camera. This allows for much faster, professional operation.

Only amateurs use two fingers. Pros get it done with one!

Leica spent decades improving all the controls of the ancient Barnack rangefinders; replacing knobs with cranks and levers but the shutter speed dial was neglected until the M6 TTL. M5? Ha. I don’t even want to talk about the M5! And the SS dial is precisely where you need to commit to the M6 TTL.

If you buy this camera, you will never want to use an M6, an M5, an M4, an M2, an M3 or even an MP to shoot alongside it. You will scoff at non-reputable Bessas and Canons. You will only want to buy another M6 TTL or M7. Or face certain muscle memory confusion and botch your photos. So you have to commit to the reverse shutter speed dial! COMMIT! Find an ordained minister and marry that son of a gun.


The M6 TTL was available in three different viewfinder magnifications. Late-model legacy M6s were too, and M7s, MPs, and MAs were also. But M6 TTL is the first Leica M body for choice in VF mag to be standard.

After deciding if you want a meter or not, I believe that viewfinder magnification should be the second consideration you make when choosing a Leica M. Many people do not value the importance of this or are completely unaware of it when purchasing pre-M6 bodies where magnification was not a factory choice. What lenses you intend to use has a massive impact on which magnification you want/need.

I use longer, faster lenses. My main kit is a 50mm f/1.5 and 90mm f/2. For a while, I even used a 135 f/3.5 and 75 f/2.5. 0.85 is perfect for my set up. And it’s perfect for everyone else too. With .85x mag, you get 35, 50, 75, 90 and 135mm framelines. You do not get 28. .72 gets 28 but its 135 lines are diminutive. .72 is nice if 35mm is your go-to length.

With .85, 35 lines are at the perimeter of the viewfinder. Many recommend that eyeglass wearers avoid the .85 for this reason. I wear eyeglasses and have no issue with the 35mm framelines in use but admittedly, they’re not ideal. I don’t think you should let eyeglasses stop you from a .85 if 35mm is not your go-to focal length.

What is nice about .85 is that the viewfinder is filled more, in other words, 135 doesn’t look like a tiny thumbnail and 50 is exactly how most shooters want it; with a room on the perimeter.


.85x is as close to the M3’s .91x finder that you’re going to get. The Leica M3 boasts a 62.33mm EBL. The M6 TTL .85 is very close at 59.1mm and its baselength is actually slightly longer. The M6 TTL .85 is almost as accurate as the M3 but squeezes in those 35 and 75mm framelines that the M3 lacks.

Some people prefer the reduced “clutter” of these two focal lengths but the M6 TTL shooter is about real-world use. And since Leica shooters are wealthy, they can simply pay to have the unwanted framelines masked out. Most Ms have a 68.5mm baselength so even MPs and M6s that have .85x magnification have shorter EBLs than the M6 TTL .85 because its baselength is 69.53mm.

The M6 TTL’s RF patch and framelines are also brighter than the M3 courtesy of the fresnel illumination window and immunity to de-lamination. The .85x is the most versatile, accurate finder on any M or any 35mm rangefinder, period. And I am right. Anyone who disagrees is woefully ignorant and uninformed. I’ll tell you where you can shove your Contax and Kiev.

Condenser Lens

All M6s lack a condenser lens that prevents rangefinder patch white-out and veiling flare in certain lighting conditions. As the story goes, this optical element in the RF assembly was removed to make room for the light meter. Fortunately, those clever Leica engineers found a way to cram the element back into the mix with the MP. So now you can have your M6 RF upgraded to MP optics.

For Legacy M6, this also means that the front RF window is replaced with a UV coated one, but the M6 TTL already has that. White-out and flare are of particular issue with the longer magnification finders and apparently not even noticeable with a .58. So if you are going with a .85 finder, you may also want to price in the MP upgrade. DAG did this for me within a few years of buying my M6 TTL and it has turned the best RF into the absolute BEST.

Casual shooters may not care. Casual shooters may not want the best. White-out and veiling flare are easily remedied by simply re-positioning when they occur. But I want my Leica to be fast and responsive. I wouldn’t stand for this brief moment of confusion and adjustment. The camera has to be perfect. And now, it is!

Zinc, Not Brass

All but special edition M6 TTLs feature cast zinc outer body shells, not stamped brass as is typical of the M series. People largely prefer brass because, as silver chrome or particularly black enamel wear down, the goldish brass that is revealed looks very attractive. The zinc plates of the M6 TTL are coated in a layer of silver/grey nickel and then silver or black chrome.

As my M6 TTL’s black chrome top plate wears down, the dull gunmetal grey nickel has slowly appeared. I’ve read that the bottom plate is made of conventional brass but as the black chrome has worn off, the underlying metal is a shinier silver/white color like steel. Maybe there is a nickel or steel coating before the black chrome? Apparently zinc bottom plates were too rigid to latch onto the camera body the way that all other brass Leica rangefinder bottom plates fit on.

One may be quick to assume that brass is a better metal because Leica returned to it for the MP and this is part of the reason for its significant price hike over the M6 TTL. But the thing about brass is that it bends fairly easily. Partly why it’s been used to cover classic camera frames for decades — it’s easy to stamp finely detailed shapes in brass.

Zinc is tougher than brass though. Under the same stress that would bend brass, zinc holds its shape and takes the beating. In fact, it will break, not bend. But I’ve read that in order for the zinc Leica top plate to break or crack, such force would have to be applied that the equivalent brass plate would have long crushed and destroyed the mechanism and electronics inside. Zinc is a good idea for a camera that is as small and heavy and precise as a Leica.

While vacationing in the Dominican Republic, my wife accidentally threw my M6 TTL .85 from its Domke bag, off of a table, across the ceramic floor of our suite. A few years later, while changing lenses without the neckstrap on, I dropped the M6 TTL from about three feet, square onto an unfinished concrete floor of an art studio. While exiting my Land Rover, the M6 TTL was dropped from the car door, onto a sidewalk where it bounced once before destroying the Voigtlander 50mm Nokton that was mounted.

None of these incidents affected the RF calibration, shutter accuracy, or meter functionality in the slightest from what I could tell. In each case, the camera went straight back to shooting like nothing happened. So maybe it’s time to get over our superficial love of ostentatious brass and choose the superior metal for our workhorses.

I don’t give a s*** if collectors pooh pooh my Leica’s silver/grey battle scars because my focus is tight and accurate for the thousands of shots I take while their brass beauties are shelf-bound. The M6 TTL is factually tougher and harder wearing than the more costly MP or even the arguably more finely crafted M3.

Bubbling in the chromed zinc finish has occurred in some cases. You see some cheap M6s listed on eBay that appear to have smallpox. And while this was a real concern in the 80s and 90s when these cameras were new, now you can just buy a copy with a good finish and not worry about it.

Storing the zinc bodies in their original fitted leather case was supposedly the cause. Some kind of unexpected reaction between the zinc and chemicals in the case material. That’s what you get for casing your camera for so long.

In the decade that I’ve kept and used my M6 TTL in the humid East Coast air, it has some scratches and wear but no trace of dents or smallpox. Its silhouette is perfectly intact.

The grey through matte black chrome has a very handsome industrial look to me and the camera retains its low profile appearance. It’s not screaming to be ogled like gloss black and bright brass sheen as they catch sunlight. Some special edition M6 TTLs actually have brass bodies. These M6 TTLs are traitors.


M6 TTLs and M7s are 2.5mm taller than previous Ms. I like to think of the M6 TTL as standing more proudly than other Ms. The height increase takes place between the lens mount and viewfinder system and was apparently done to accommodate the additional electronics and reverse shutter speed dial mechanism.

Because the view/rangefinder windows sit up higher from the lens, finder blockage by hoods is reduced. And this is good because faster/longer lenses which are physically larger and prone to causing blockage work well with this finder and its super long effective baselength.

Just don’t try mounting a Dual Range 50 Cron and its unsightly goggles. But then, why would you run such a slow lens on such a precise body?

Film Advance Lever

Many people whine about the articulate plastic-tipped advance lever of the M6 TTL and denounce it for not being a solid brass part. While I initially fell into this camp, I have become convinced that these people aren’t actually using their cameras.

Yes, solid metal is wonderful, but that pivoting plastic tip allows one to shoot in colder temperatures sans icy fingers (plastic) and maintain a good grip on the camera and lever (pivot).

It’s possible to have a solid metal lever fitted to an M6 TTL and in fact, some special editions have it as standard so if this is a sticking point for you, it’s possible to resolve. But if you can afford your Leica to have downtime for this kind of cosmetic upgrade, you’re not shooting enough, slacker!


So those were my pluses for the Leica M6 TTL .85. Do I have any minuses for the world’s most perfect camera? Believe it or not, I do. But only because I’m an uptight, persnickety prick.

Because the view/rangefinder windows are not framed on the front of the top plate like an M3, (I like to think of the M6 as “sans serif”) it’s very easy to smear ones sweaty fingers across the windows during fast-paced shoots. So I find myself wiping them clear with my shirttail or necktie from time to time.

It’s kind of a double-edged sword though; because they’re not recessed and smear easily, they also clean more easily. The M3 windows can get crud build-up around their perimeter due to being less easy to clean there.

I’ve got to be honest, the diminutive rewind knob is some sort of emasculation punchline. I don’t know why this minuscule knob has survived on Leica Ms as long as it has. Yes, the angled crank à la M4 is an angled derby hat of class. You might not realize it but the angle does actually help one get a firm grip on the body and wind away on the crank. However, that knob is just too small to get a good grip on.

I will never understand why the good people at Leica or their detail-obsessed followers wouldn’t have turned this over generations ago. Maybe nobody else rewinds as fast as I do? I don’t know.

Have a look at the Olympus OM series. The camera bodies themselves are very tiny and compact but with very large, easily handled controls. The wind knob on an OM SLR is a behemoth by comparison to the M6 TTL. I can windmill that thing fast enough to get a 36 exposure roll back in the canister faster than a motor drive.

The only practical solution for Leica’s little knob is to buy a second Leica so you aren’t in such a hurry to rewind.

A 1/2000th or even 1/4000th top shutter would be nice. By the late 70s/early 80s, it wasn’t uncommon for professional cameras to have 2000 or 4000 top shutter speeds. So why does even the current production MP stop at a sluggish 1000? It has something to do with physical limits on the ancient design of Leica’s deeply revered cloth focal-plane shutter mechanism, which hasn’t changed much from the Oskar Barnack period.

Some will tell you that Leicas aren’t even reliably calibrated for 1/1000th. But this is all just getting heretical now. As a 35mm Leica photographer, you will stop at 1000 and you will love 1000 and I won’t utter any more treason against it.

Closing Words

So as you can see, the Leica M6 TTL .85 is the pinnacle of anachronistic 35mm camera design and construction.

Collectors can turn their musty dusty noses up at the M6 TTL’s unapologetic implementation of modern manufacturing materials. Voigtlander and ZM adherents can argue about viewfinder brightness and EBL with their s****y Japanese magnesium alloy wannabes. Pentax hoarders can pull the empty insides of their pockets out and shrug their shoulders while standing in front of 200 unserviced Spotmatics and MXs and an equal number of 50mm f/1.4 lenses claiming that the divorce papers would be on the table before a cheap $2,000 Leica even arrived in the mail.

But I know, and all thinking persons know, in our hearts and in our souls and in our massive throbbing wrinkly brains, that the Leica M6 TTL .85 is better than all the other s*** out there.

Thanks for reading, happy shooting and just FYI, all images in this blog were taken with a Nikon 😉.

About the author: Johnny Martyr is a East Coast film photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. After an adventurous 20 year photographic journey, he now shoots exclusively on B&W 35mm film that he painstakingly hand-processes and digitizes. Choosing to work with only a select few clients per annum, Martyr’s uncommonly personalized process ensures unsurpassed quality as well as stylish, natural & timeless imagery that will endure for decades. You can find more of his work on his website, Flickr, and Facebook. This article was also published here.

Evaluating Peerspace, the Airbnb of Photo/Video Studio Spaces

If you’re shooting often, it can be pretty easy to fall into a rut. Maybe that’s just me, but when I feel like I have to shoot, which is often, it can be a challenge to force creativity. I don’t have access to a studio all of the time, and even when I do that space doesn’t necessarily get my creative juices flowing anymore. It’s too familiar; feels too safe.

When I learned about Peerspace recently (I know, I must have been living under a rock or something), it felt like an excellent solution to this problem. I’d never used the service before, so I decided to give it a shot and see if it could be a useful service for many photographers in the United States.

Full disclosure: Peerspace provided access to a studio of my choosing for two hours but did not otherwise compensate PetaPixel or me for this coverage. The impetus for this piece came as we were alerted to a new feature on Peerspace (which we will get into below), and instead of just covering that as a news item, we decided a full experience with the platform would be more valuable.

Using the Service

It’s likely that the reason Peerspace is both popular and growing is how easy it is to understand their value proposition: if you need a space to take photos or videos, you can find a ton of options in a number of cities around the country that can be rented for short or long periods of time, a la Airbnb.

On that Airbnb note, Peerspace informed us that they don’t currently believe they have any direct competitors, with Airbnb being the closest perceived competitor since both services offer access to spaces. Where Peerspace differentiates itself is in tailoring its services to photo, video and event locales instead of places where the main focus would be a place to stay for the night.

To see how well the online booking experience jived with the reality of those set expectations, I took a couple of hours recently to shoot at a location of my choice in Portland, Oregon. We chose this location, described as “Parisian Inspired Space with Impeccable Natural Light for Photography Shoots.” That seemed right up my alley for this quick photo session.

Photo by Jaron Schneider, captured at a Peerspace listing.

The first thing I liked about the service was how clear and concise pricing was. I also liked that I could choose to book for short bursts of time, like just two hours. Sometimes that’s all I need, and what I found in Portland was a large number of great spaces that were well priced and flexible with timing. Most spaces required a minimum number of hours in the space (two or three), which is understandable.

The entire process was fast and easy. I can’t say that I have a complaint about any of it, save for not being told initially where the best place to park was at the location since I was not really sure where the location actually was (more on that later). Even though I was eventually provided an address, it was a building with multiple tenants and the best way to enter/exit wasn’t super clear. One call to my contact cleared it all up, though.

Photo by Jaron Schneider, captured at a Peerspace listing.

I am extremely pleased to report that the images provided of the space on Peerspace were extremely accurate representations of reality. In fact, the space was perhaps even a little bit better than I was expecting, with super high ceilings and a vast amount of space to do with what I wanted for the time allotted.

The only rules were that I had to return everything to where I found it, and I had to be done within my two-hour time limit. After that, the host left us to our own devices and I was able to shoot uninterrupted for those two hours.

Ivy wall on casters located in the Peerspace Listing.

You may notice that these images were for my Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 evaluation, and for that purpose, it worked great. All in all, from the perspective of a photographer renting the space, it was extremely easy, engaging and for the most part pain-point free.

Being a Host

When I look at a service like Peerspace, it’s just as important for me to be happy with it as it is for those doing the renting of their spaces. To that end, I spoke to San Francisco-based headshot & portrait photographer Karaminder Ghuman who has a studio listed on Peerspace, and asked him how challenging it was to set up for and work with Peerspace.

“It wasn’t difficult to set up a listing,” he told me. “I did have to do a deep clean and organize of the studio (it needed it anyway) before taking pictures of my space. I do believe having great pictures will lead to rentals.”

I was curious if Peerspace offered any assistance of suggestions when he decided to list with them.

“At the beginning of the sign-up of my space, I was offered to book a call with a Peerspace City Launcher (that was his job title),” Karaminder told me. “Other than that, nothing personalized has come through other than an earnings report email every month.”

After speaking to me, Karaminder was reminded that he was offered a free consultation with Peerspace to make his listing more attractive, which he intends to take them up on.

Photo of Ghuman’s San Francisco Peerspace studio location.

“I’ve had photographers who came from out of town rent my space,” Karaminder said. “Fashion, lifestyle, and even Instagram influencers. Videographers too. They’re big on having a green screen set-up.”

All in all, Karaminder made it sound like it was a pretty easy, painless plug-and-play system that he could slip into. He’s mentioned that he goes the extra mile to clean up the studio when he is expecting a tenant and that he looks forward to the times the space gets rented out. That’s a lot of positives for the Peerspace service.

Notes on the Service

The actual names and addresses of the locations on Peerspace are hidden until you book. Just like with Airbnb, Peerspace told us the location and names of spaces are hidden in order to protect Peerspace host privacy until a formal agreement has been reached.

I asked Peerspace what their policy was on pricing since this does seem like it would prevent you from checking Peerspace pricing against pricing on a personal website. Peerspace told us that they “require hosts to list at the same price anywhere, including their website. So for the guest, it shouldn’t make any difference if hosts follow the rules.”

One of the provided images used to show the Peerspace listing I eventually visited.

Additionally, “Instead of calling a host, guests can always message through the platform. Hosts can submit a custom offer on Peerspace at the request of the guest if they come to an agreement that’s at a different price than listed. That way the guest is still fully protected by Peerspace’s cancellation policy, gets customer support, their payment is in escrow with Peerspace until the booking is successful, etc.”

Adding to this, Karaminder also let us know that Peerspace does not want any possible tenants to leave the Peerspace platform once they initiate a search with it.

“They threaten to kick you off the platform if you make rental deals outside of their platform that originated on the platform,” he said. “They make this warning prominent in their messaging UI.”

How would they know? We suspect they probably monitor all messaging between a host and a prospective tenant. A little bit big brother, but understandable in this case. So while a renter can list their space on a separate website, Peerspace wants to control everything through their platform if a tenant originates their search there. That makes sense, as it prevents folks from circumventing Peerspace’s cut. That cut, by the way, is 15% of the sale.

The Peerspace listing online of the space I ended up visiting.

That said, a perceived benefit of a platform like this is reduced friction and less time spent actually talking to someone. If a price doesn’t feel right upfront, there is a high likelihood that a Peerspace customer may just look for a different location rather than try and press the issue.

There are also those who will value low price above all else, and studios with a lot of vacant time on the calendar are more likely to bend the rules. After doing some research, I did find a studio where pricing varied on a personal business website versus what was shown on the Peerspace platform. So while Peerspace does want you to follow their rules, it is indeed possible to ignore them and get away with it.

I spoke with a friend of mine in the industry and asked him to take a look at the spaces available in his town on Peerspace and give me an idea of how well pricing stacked up against what he is used to paying for full-day shoots. In this case, the studios he was used to working with were not listed on Peerspace, but this would serve as a good idea of how Peerspace pricing stacked up against general studio costs in the area.

After browsing the options, he found that in his specific case, Peerspace rentals ended up being a few hundred dollars more than what he would pay by working directly with studios who existed away from the platform if he were to book a full 10 hour day.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The studios he works with are used to large productions and repeat clients that have booked for years. Looking at Peerspace, their platform feels more tailored to ad hoc clients who may want to only shoot for a few short hours rather than a full day, and the ease of finding a good location in an unfamiliar area more than makes up for any price differences that someone seasoned to the area would find.

In short, Peerspace is brilliant for those seeking varied locations with unique ambiance as well as those who just need a studio location in a city you might not be too familiar with. So if you live in San Francisco but would like new shooting locations, Peerspace is a fantastic option. Additionally, if you have to shoot in a new city that is unfamiliar to you like Atlanta or Dallas, Peerspace can help you find a spot that will work for you quickly and reliably.

The main downside to Peerspace is its perceived lack of served locations, as they currently only seem to offer 15 cities in the United States, and three in Europe. If you were new to the service and noticed this, you might not think your area is served and therefore leave the platform.

This is not necessarily the case.

That list does not include Portland, but there are a lot of Portland locations on Peerspace to rent. We even found some in Richmond, Virginia, where there isn’t a particularly large demand for photo shoots when compared to cities like LA or Miami, which are noted among the 18 “Peerspace Locations” on their website.

Peerspace explained to use that they technically support all US cities and that the ones they show as options are just their more popular locales. If you do end up needing a studio and Peerspace sounds like a great option for you, it’s best to just try and actually search on Peerspace before giving up. You never know what you might find.

The Takeaways

If you haven’t used Peerspace and you find yourself frequently needing new and exciting shooting locations, it’s really a great fit. I can’t say for certain if it’s the best idea for someone who regularly shoots at the same location every month for different clients, as it may be better to set up a personal relationship with a single studio that will give you a better price or experience. But for the casual shooter looking for a new space in a given town, it’s great. The protections and guarantees that Peerspace offers help you as a customer feel safe in renting spaces, and in my experience so far the descriptions and images of local spaces are accurately represented on the Peerspace website.

Quite recently, Peerspace added a new feature to their sites for those listing spaces: add-ons. Peerspace says the addition of this feature is to “empower hosts to attach unique services, equipment and more to their Peerspace listings.”

An example of an add-on would be furniture or equipment rentals, or studio lighting. I thought another good one for someone to consider would be partnering with a makeup artist or a grip assistant, so those who rent the space have a very quick and easy way to hire help the day of their shoot. I know that finding a reliable makeup artist in an unfamiliar town is a real challenge, and having the option to just add one at checkout would be a huge boon.

I believe add-ons are a solid addition to their platform and make them stand out more from their prime competitor, Airbnb, as a system dedicated to spaces for events, photography, and videography. It more cleanly carves their niche, and it’ll be interesting to see this feature applied to spaces.



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From the brilliant hosts behind “This space was designed from the ground up by filmmakers, with the creator in mind.” ⚡️⁣ ⁣ Listing in link in bio.

A post shared by Peerspace (@peerspace) on Dec 12, 2019 at 2:42pm PST

As far as branding goes and what Peerspace stands for, I dig it. Just looking at Peerspace’s Instagram gets me excited. The number of locations they have and how special many of them are makes me want to plan another shoot. I want to make something happen in these spaces. Peerspace gives me access to locations I may not have ever known existed, and shooting in them won’t break the bank in most cases.

I like the vibe the company gives off, I enjoy having a swath of good options in my home town, and I appreciate the value Peerspace offers. It’s a good service that will work for a lot of people, and I think that’s as much as you can ask for today.