Nocturnal Street Photography

Walking the dog next to a museum
1/160 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 12500 | 70mm

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test an amazing camera, the Leica SL2-S, bundled with the Leica Vario-Elmarit 1:2.8/24-70mm Asph. I was particularly interested in the low light capability of the 24mp full frame mirrorless camera. So I headed into town to do some nocturnal street photography…

Spiral Staircase in Nuremberg Neues Museum
1/4 sec | f/7.1 | ISO 1600 | 52mm

And, I must say, the camera more than lived up to my expectation. Shooting at night with up to ISO 12500 gave me shutter speeds short enough to freeze the action on the street, while getting totally usable files with very little noise. Supposedly, you can shoot at ISO 50.000 (the camera has a max ISO of 100.000) and still get useable files, but I didn’t need to go beyond the 12.500 for this nocturnal street photography session.

Amazing… camera also has a sound in-body image stabilization that gives the photographer 5 extra stops to work with. I had to try it out in this image from Nuremberg’s Neues Museum, our museum of Modern Art. Handholding 1/4 sec was no problem at all, resulting in a pin sharp image and a slow enough shutter speed to motion blur the visitors descending the spiral staircase behind the large glass facade. The tonal range of the sensor is also exceptionally, much better than anything I get from my usual micro four thirds mirrorless cameras.

Smoke Break
1/320 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 4000 | 70mm

The autofocus worked absolutely fine in the low light, nailed the focus in almost all the shots, also much better than what I’m used to from my Olympus cameras.

People walking in front of Way of Human Rights
1/320 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 8000 | 70mm

This photograph from the entrance to the Way of Human Rights shows the excellent tonal range of the full frame sensor of the SL2-S. One of the real highlights of the camera is the ‘EyeRes’ electronic viewfinder. Its magnification of 0.78x, the 5.76 million-dot resolution and120 fps refresh rate makes it feel pretty close to looking through an optical viewfinder.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little outing on a wet Nuremberg evening (the Leica as an IP52 rating and is fully weather sealed). The SL2-S is an amazing piece of technology, a joy to use with its simple design and menu interface. And its low light capability is truly amazing and would be so beneficial for future low light street photography.

Today the testing continued, as I did an impromptu portrait session with Big Girl, before having to return the camera tomorrow. Stay tuned for the results.

Have a great Sunday


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27 thoughts on “Nocturnal Street Photography

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  1. Beautiful images! I just got a Fuji x100 and I am loving the portability. Shooting at night can be very inspiring. I feel like we always get the greatest shots when least expected!

  2. Excellent shots as usual, Marcus. From the way these images turned out, I hope you get the SL2-S. Of course, it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. But Leica’s are such a joy to shoot with, they create their own inspiration.

  3. Well, if you can afford it, that would be a wonderful camera to work with. Great photos, Marcus! It must have been fun to try this camera and lens.

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