Earlier this year, Joel Penland correctly guessed how many lenses were in a jar on Leica’s page on Facebook. A nature and underwater photographer from Easley, South Carolina, Joel won a trip to Berlin for the “LEICA – DAS WESENTLICHE” on May 10 (which also happened to be the first prize he ever won)! Already an X1 photographer, Joel was pleasantly surprised that he got to test out the new Leica X2 in Germany’s capital city. Now motivated to do more with his photography, Joel has pre-ordered the new Leica X2. Here is the video recap of the “LEICA – DAS WESENTLICHE” and Joel’s perspective on the event, the new Leica X2 and his appreciation for Leica craftsmanship.

Q: How did it feel to win the trip to Berlin?

A: It was a complete surprise! At first I thought it was a joke and then realized that it was real after a couple of days. I would have liked to won this trip with a level of skill. I can say like most people the cliché applies to me also “I have never won anything like this in my life.”

Q: You already own the Leica X1 – how do you like it?

A: I like the non-obtrusive quality of Leica X1 among other Leica models. It’s non-obtrusive to carry anywhere.  The camera is small in size and excellent for travel. I ride motorcycles a lot and the Leica is a great camera to accompany me when I ride. I purchased the Leica X1 in 2011 as a substitute for carrying large SLRs and lenses. One of the features that sold me on Leica was that the X1 is the smallest camera with the largest digital sensor.

Q: You mentioned that Leica is synonymous with fine art. Can you expand on this?

A: As a lover of art, I have always been a fan of Leica; the quality workmanship of the camera brand is in itself a work of art. I have always been impressed by the images of Leica photographic artists. The Leica camera has a certain feel about it. Also, a lot of the photography I do consists of aiming the camera from certain vantage points (e.g. close to ground) whereas I cannot look through the viewfinder but estimate the image composition. The Leica is great for this due to its small size.

Q: Now having shot with the X1 and X2, what are your impressions of the new Leica X2?

A: It ruined my X1 and I’ve already put in my order for the X2! I am interested in a simple, non-obtrusive camera that allows me to be creative and get professional results. I found this in the X2. It was a pleasure to use.

From a user interface standpoint, the X2 menu is the same in menu format as the X1 with upgraded features. The controls on the X2 are not loose like the X1 so there is no accidental movement. Having easy access to shutter/ F-stop controls, the X2 is extremely easy to use and allows the capability to be nostalgically creative. Just pick it up, turn it on, and start shooting. The simplicity propagates the creativity. The X2 is extremely compact and non-obtrusive (like the X1). Moreso, the X2 auto-focus is instantaneous and appears to be 2-3 times+ faster than my X1. ISO sensitivity to 12,500 ISO compared to the X1’s 3200 scale. I also found the X2 loves low light! The X2 is 16 megapixels and creates very sharp images. The X2 has a new designed pop-up flash that I found very innovative. I foresee being able to use this in conjunction with light diffusers for creative effects. There is no setting to set macro like the X1, just AF/ MF which focuses down to same macro as the X1 which is a great convenience. Like the X1, this camera has a histogram view.

Q: What did you think about the “LEICA – DAS WESENTLICHE”?

A: I had a fantastic time! It was an amazing opportunity being in the company of all the Leica artists at the event and experiencing the new products. It was very motivating for me to get out and do more of my own photography. I also really enjoyed all of the photographs that were featured. The portrait gallery was striking.

I used to see in color now I do think I am now beginning to see in black and white—it opened up a whole new world of perspective! Maybe in a few years when I get decent at black and white photography, I may have my mind on the Monchromatic.

Thank you all again!

Thank you Joel!

-Leica Internet Team

To see more of Joel’s photographs from Berlin visit this album and to see more of Joel’s photography, please visit http://jpenland.com/