Peter Flower

In Newsletter 95 I commented on the extensive readership of the Newsletters and the fact that it obviously extended well beyond the membership of the society. Purely by accident I came across one of the possible reasons for this. In view of the fact that I was intending to write about discussions that I had with Don Morley at the last Saturday Natter I 'Googled' Don's name on the web. There were a number of sites in which he featured, not surprising in the light of his long-term career in photojournalism. With many people there can be found an item entitled 'Images' in the listed web sites. These feature both images of the individual as well as those which have been taken by them. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the following image of Don, which I immediately recognised. This was one that I had taken and which appeared in my report of a Saturday Natter in Newsletter 89.

This showed Don having a look at a Panasonic camera that Carol hicks had recently purchased. The photograph was taken with a Canon FD f/1.4 50mm lens (at least 50 years old) fitted with an adapter to my Panasonic GX8 camera. As I commented 'At widest aperture and with manual focusing it required very careful adjustment to get crisp images. My image of Don Morley was spot on.'

A part of the web page, showing this image among many others, is shown below together with the accompanying caption that includes my quote!

Source Images of Don Morley from the web

The important factor is that as you hover over the bottom of the individual small 'thumbnail' image the source will be revealed. Further, if you click on the image to enlarge it there will be a 'Visit Page' button which will take you to the original source – in this case the Newsletter. If it is of interest you can explore this at the following link -


Having found this first image I then browsed further, and found images from earlier Newsletters. These included ones that featured news of his Leica Fellowship Awards (Newsletter 65), his talk on Street Photography – 21 March 2016 (No. 79), another photo of him taken by me (No. 91) and images from an item 'Don Morley – Images from the past' from Newsletter 92.

I know that other speaker's listings will also have provided links to our site via this method. Having said that, by whatever means additional readers have been drawn to our Newsletter we welcome them.

Summer Sessions – organised by Stephen Hewes

Report by Peter Flower

Monday 31 July 2017 – Earlswood Lakes

This was the final meeting in the series organised by Stephen. A fine, sunny evening was enjoyed by the members and potential members who gathered at the car park near the cafe. After taking numerous pictures of the swans and ducks who were being fed by other people most of us set off to walk around the two lakes. I took advantage of the feeding frenzy to concentrate on a lone small gull that stayed on the periphery of activity, then made quick darting flights into the centre in an attempt to grab any food. It was quite difficult to follow its flight, keeping the bird in the viewfinder, but by anticipating its take-off I did get some success. I was quite pleased to get these shots with the compact Sony HX90V camera.

© Peter Flower

Later, I did try some panning shots on a hairy dog which was chasing a ball. However, these were far from successful. The problem is that head, body, legs, tail and fur are not all heading in the same direction ! The lowering evening sun did provide some very attractive lighting conditions, as shown in the following images.

© Peter Flower

The following collage shows some of the members in action plus another couple of images.

© Jill Flower & Peter Flower

To end the evening 12 of us returned to the Eighty Ate burger cafe.

© Peter Flower

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 5 August 2017

Report by Peter Flower

There was a large gathering of members for this event, to the extent that we assembled around no less than three tables in the restaurant. This made it difficult to become involved in any form of general discussion so my report is limited to ones which were local to me. As it happened I was sitting opposite to Don Morley and we spent an interesting time discussing a variety of photographic topics. These were quite wide-ranging, spanning the era of film photography and on to some of the problems of the modern digital age.

Anyone who knows Don well, or has attended any of his talks to the society, will be aware of his past experience as a professional photographer and his enthusiasm for Leica cameras. This shot shows him with one of the Leicas together with a recently acquired Fujifilm X-Pro 2.

© Peter Flower

Although Don is a long-term owner of a variety of Leica cameras, both film and digital models, he is not uncritical of some of their failings. He values the quality engineering, robust build and, above all, the excellent optical quality of Leica lenses. Unfortunately the transition from film to digital technologies has not always been smooth. The company is a relatively small one and so has had to place reliance on outside componemt manufacturers. In addition it is limited in its ability to conduct extended development like larger manuafacturers and to thoroughly test firmware. An instance of this was reported in the previous Newsletter with potential damage if the Leica Visoflex viewfinder was attached to the new TL2 camera. (This matter has now been resolved, but it was an unfortunate incident at the launch of a new model) Another problem which we reported upon in Newsletter 52, involving the M8 model, resulted in Don making a strong protest. The details are repeated in the separate item which follows. I also report on Don's latest Leica X-Vario camera and the X-Pro 2 in separate reports that follow.

At this point we were joined briefly by John Fisher who was canvassing opinions about prospective subjects for the Round Table evening. He asked our opinion about having one table for advice on camera operation. Even for experienced members this can be a problem if they acquire a different make of camera. I jokingly suggested that RTBM was the answer. (Read The Bl@@dy Manual !) However, we agreed that this was not necessarily the solution. Don pointed out that firmware upgrades often made the previously available manual (normally computer-based, rather than printed) unreliable. In any case, most manuals made it notoriously difficult to pinpoint the necessary instructions. On the wider subject of upgrading of firmware we agreed that Fuji were far superior to most manufacturers. Not only did they do this on current models, but in many cases applied the improvements to bring older models up to much the same level of functionality.

Returning to our discussions, I mentioned the Ensign Ful-Vue film camera that Jill had experimented with. I commented on the simplicity of this model and reminisced about the fact that even the most sophisticated cameras of that era lacked features that we would expect these days. As an example, the fixed shutter speed and aperture could be aided by availability of flash for use in dim conditions. I suspect that most of our readers will never have known anything other than electronic flash. Prior to this we had flash-bulbs, which were one-time use, hot when ejected from the flash gun and needed disposal. Even further back the 'open' flash technique was used. The camera shutter was opened, the flash set off, and then the shutter closed. Flash powder or tape was ignited in a tray. The following image shows this in action.

As a young boy I remember helping a school chum to take a group photograph of the cast at the end of a variety show in a village hall in Somerset. I was holding the flash tray and duly let it off when my friend opened his camera shutter. Unfortunately he had put too much powder in the tray. Only some of it ignited. The remainder was blown upwards and rained down on me and the nearby spectators! Don told of a similar experiences and a technique used by press photographers. A group of them would be waiting for some dignitary to emerge from a building. One photographer would set off the open flash after warning his fellow colleagues to open their shutters!

Don recalled the time when he took photographs with a VN plate camera, similar to the one illustrated below.

Image from an internet source

This is also the subject of a more detailed item below.

VN (Van Neck) plate camera

Don Morley

© Don Morley – VN camera with case and plate holders, showing the Tessar lens

My VN is exactly as your picture and interestingly it was a War Department issue camera to the British Army BUT has a German Zeiss Tessar lens. This would either have been acquired via Spain, or taken from some other Pre-War camera. Come 1961 or 62 I was issued with the later and final VN version which was a baseboard model a bit like the American Speed Graphic, but even more sophisticated, though it was a 'B' awful camera. Van Neck was a Dutchman living in London who later teemed up with the Pro dealers Pelling and Cross in Baker street who I used to deal with, and the VN camera making then became Pelling VN, and the factory was just behind Kings Cross station in Mornington Crescent.

I used to have to go to the factory almost every other week with the baseboard camera as it forever went out of adjustment, whereas the earlier versions as pictured were wonderful.

Leica X-Vario camera

The Leica I had with me was my X-Vario. This was the first compact camera with an APS-C sensor and fixed zoom lens. The Vario Elmar 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH lens offers a 28-70mm equivalent range, and has a 16.1Megapixel CMOS sensor. Viewing is via a 920k dot 3" LCD, or the same optional plug-in EVF as used by the M Typ 240 and X2. The camera has control dials on the top plate for shutter speed and aperture, and zoom and focus rings around the lens barrel.

Fujifilm X-Pro 2

My Fuji outfit was acquired a bit at a time secondhand on ebay. It is a current X-Pro2, and I have the superb 10-24mm f/4 zoom, the standard 18-56 f/2.8-4 Zoom, and the 50-200 zoom which is the 35mm or full frame equivalent of 86-300mm f/3.5 – f4.5. This has the advantage of a 24 megapixel X-Trans sensor, compared with the 16 of the X-Pro 1. It continues with the unusual combined optical and electronic viewfinder.

PR Problems for Leica

This report was originally published in Newsletter 52

According to the publicity 'A Leica is for life'. This wasn't the experience of David Watts from Cornwall. He bought a Leica M8 in December 2010, which came with a two-year guarantee. Since then he had made only 1900 shutter actuations. After just two years and five months the screen stopped showing information, so he returned it to Leica for repair. He expected to pay for the repair but was dismayed to get an email from Leica saying that the camera was not repairable because the firm did not have spare parts. Instead they offered a new camera at a cost of £2700.

A letter to this effect was published in Amateur Photographer, with a response from a Leica spokeswoman. This included phrases such as “Leica Camera appreciates the inconvenience”, “remains fully committed to ensuring the highest level of customer satisfaction”, “We are sorry . . . and sought the best solution available” and similar platitudes.

At this point our very own Don Morley took up the cudgels. Readers will know that Don is a very long-term and enthusiastic owner of Leica products, which currently includes two M9s. Don was rightly incensed by what he regarded as this unacceptable response from Leica. His letter was published two weeks later in AP under the title 'Loyalty Sorely Tested'. The letter is too long to reprint here but the gist of it was that Don regarded the Leica spokeswoman's response as uncaring. Surely David Watts and indeed other digital 'M' enthusiasts deserved far better and longer ongoing service than this? After all, he had paid somewhere around £3000 for a camera that was billed by Leica itself as being for life, yet which was in truth scrap after a mere 1900 shutter applications and only five months out of warranty. Don urged Leica to protect their reputation by sending a replacement camera with their compliments, even if it meant sending him the latest 'M'. Don concluded by expressing his regret that, having been a loyal customer over 58 years during which time he had spent many thousands of pounds, he would not continue unless he was 100% certain that he could place his trust in Leica's equipment quality and longevity.

Grahame Singleton's Reigate – 12 August 2017

Peter Flower

The 'Yard at Reigate Station' is a new community space recently set up in Holmesdale Road by AYBN (All Your Business Needs). It is a small space, backing onto Reigate station, that might appeal to a wide range of groups, including hobby and craft clubs, art exhibitors, street theatre and acoustic music sessions. AYBN has set the ball rolling by arranging a series of flea markets on Sundays together with music sessions by local groups or individual musicians.

We were advised by Grahame that he would be exhibiting a small selection of prints on this day, prior to a full exhibition in the near future. Jill and I went to the venue at about noon, to be greeted by Collette Barber of AYBN and the offer of a gratis glass of Cava bubbly. We were shortly joined by Grahame and his wife who were otherwise busy with entertaining family children in the town. The following photographs show the Yard's banner and Grahame with his small preview display.

© Peter Flower

Other members then joined us, including Ian Hunt, Garry Pocklington and Les and Linda Dyson. We spent a very pleasant time viewing Grahame's prints, chatting amongst ourselves as well as with Collette who explained plans for this venue over another glass of Cava. Collette is a Jack (or should I say Jill !)-of-all-trades who then turned her attention to fabricating another table to be added to the existing self-made benches and tables that already furnish the space.

No doubt Grahame will advise members when the full exhibition will be mounted. Depending upon the success of this the society, or individual members, might consider this venue for future exhibits.

Another Steam Engine

An Ian Hunt image returns to our Newsletter. After a long absence from the pages of the Surrey Mirror this one was spotted in a recent edition. (I promise not to mention the fact that this is for the benefit of our avid lady trainspotters!)

© Ian Hunt

And finally . . . . . . . .

The ultimate Swiss Army knife !

Image from internet source



Camera equipment for sale

We do not have a formal section to advertise equipment for sale, but as a favour to Dave Lyon the following list is appended to this Newsletter.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Full Frame SLR Camera Body (Boxed plus 2 batteries, charger, cables manual etc. shutter count 25176) £1250.00

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS MARK II USM (Boxed + carry case) £1300.00

Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8 EF IS L USM MK I (Carry case) £780.00

Canon EF 24-70mm F/2.8 L USM MK I (Boxed + soft bag) £600.00

Canon EF 17-40mm F/4.0 L USM (Boxed + soft bag) £300.00

Canon EF 1.4x MK II Extender (Boxed + soft bag) £160.00

Canon Extender EF 2X MK II (Soft bag) £170.00

Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro CANON Fit (Boxed + soft bag) £150.00

LowePro Vertex 200 AW (all weather) camera rucksack/bag £55.00

All items undamaged and in excellent condition

Sale due to migrating to Micro 4/3rds system. The link below should let you view the items


If interested, I can be contacted on 01737 766379 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.