Coming to a Mind Near You

Two hours with a point and shoot: Leica’s X1

So for those who have been following the blog, you’ve been seeing Nasser’s work with his new camera, Leica’s new digital point and shoot the X1. This camera packs the biggest sensor in size to be inserted into a point and shoot, it has a great lens and looks sexy. So on one of our trips to downtown Amman, i took the camera from Nasser and decided to test it out and see what all the hype is about. I’m not someone who reviews cameras but i have to say that this camera is special in many ways, the quality of the files that it outputs is beautiful, the colors, the sharpness and even how you have traditional aperture and shutter speed dials on the top.  Photographing in the streets is usually dependent on being quick and stealthy, striving to capture a moment  of interaction or significance, finding the beautiful in the ordinary. For that a small and quiet camera is important. The X1 is just that.

I hit the streets towards the evening and thus I got to work with the camera in low light conditions, for a point shoot that is usually one of the downsides, but as you will see i was able to capture these shots normally. Even on high ISO the camera performs well and with not much digital noise.

Hashem restaurant is always a good place to have a camera with you. The first issue i noticed with the camera was some blooming when you shot directly into bright light sources.

A make shift elevator inside the restaurant, wonder what you’d find upstairs.

The kid was really happy to have a pair of binoculars, he was looking everywhere. I found out that i was trying to get a lot of hip shots while shooting with the X1, maybe i’m just too used to shooting through a viewfinder.

Three bag man.

Spotted on a rail downtown ” Meet death and don’t meet Abu Ghazi” someone must be really scary.

The autofocus picked up on the sparks right away. Although I have to say, the autofocus function on the X1 is a bit slow for my liking and i missed a number of good shots due to that. I’m not used to shooting with autofocus anyways.

You got to love photography studios in the Arab world, these types of promos are all over the place. Photoshop and bad backgrounds galore. Love story….

Digging for movies, music and computer programs.

The fact that the camera i’m using is really small it allows me to get real close to my subjects without them noticing.

If you wondered where you can find some Filipino food in Amman, downtown is one place, the Second Circle is another.

As I made my way into the vegetable and meat market, i spotted these guys selling fish, so i took a couple of shots, then the guy in the back noticed me and started screaming. He approached me and got into my face asking why i was taking pictures. So i just played the role of the accidental tourist and in English said ” Oh sorry I  was just taking a picture” he changed his attitude in an instant and said ” ah ajnabi” meaning “oh a foreigner.” It always amazes me how you can get out of such situations easily.

The entrance to the vegetable and meat market.

No comment. I just love how shooting wide open gives me shallow depth.

The vegetable market is loud at all times of the day, i enjoy passing through it whenever i shoot downtown.

Reading in between the greens.

One of the best juice shops downtown.Spotted a number of Asian brothers downtown that night.

I think this is one of my favorite images from this series. The blind man selling tormous.

While working with the files from the X1 i noticed that they hold quite a good amount of latitude and information. I was able to bring out the shots with just a bit of minor edits.

The entrance to the Husseini Mosque.

I think he needed that clock fixed. Again the colors that the X1 captures in different lighting situations is really beautiful and real.

Time to jump on the bus. It gets pretty crowded.

I saw him coming from far away and noticed his hair and beard, made sure i got a shot of him, don’t think he noticed.

He did.

Barbershops in Amman have always been interesting to me. May end up doing a book on that one day.

The electricity control unit for Cinema Bassman.

The ticket man thought i was shooting the posters outside. Waited until he turned away and made this shot.

Late night newspaper reading.

Capturing people in motion is always fun, gives a sense of direction, urgency maybe. This is my favorite image of the series.

So what do i think of Leica’s X1 point and shoot? To be totally honest i’m surprised that such files came out from a small point and shoot, i enjoyed shooting with it, it’s a bit slow but part of it is because i’m used to working much quicker in the streets. With a little of practice and getting used to its controls and working mechanisms i think one could get some great results. Many people who review cameras end up shooting walls and charts that do me no good as a photographer. What i want to know in the end is if i will be able to make images that are true to what i saw in my head. I care about how a camera feels when i’m shooting with it, and if the end result is something I could publish, print and sometimes sell. This camera gives me just that.


6 responses

  1. I really liked this pictorial. Besides of the fact I know Amman and know how beautiful and impressive is the life there, your pictures are really beautiful and really focused on the people, which I totally dig. While being there, I thought their faces are so strong, so full of light. And you really capture that light on this pictures.


    March 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

  2. sweet stuff my man!

    March 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm

  3. Pingback: Two hours with a point and shoot: Leica's X1 « Immortal …

  4. i take it shes become ur first and most favourite wife after seeing the beauty in these pics hahaha.. i accept:)

    March 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm

  5. Very nice. I love the one of the elevator and the guy sifting through the DVD’s. And nice catch on the Abu Ghazi quote.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:00 am

  6. OB

    Some nice shots, and you’ve managed to capture the vibe of downtown Amman quite well. It’s not easy shooting with a fixed 24mm lens because it means having to frame every shot with your feet and having to put up with linear distortions in a lot of the shots.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

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