Monday, February 16, 2009

Who Else Uses Leicas?

Who else uses Leicas? How about a Leica M4-2?

I'd like to know...

Mostly, because this blog got started right when I got my own, first Leica M4-2. 

To some, it may seem a weird decision...  Why bother getting a meterless camera body, when there are so many advanced camera systems out there? 

At some point, the control-freak inside a photographer shows up.  And starts longing for a camera that gives you a lot of control (that is to say, forces you to make decisions) over your the way you photograph.  

Besides, one starts needing a number of lenses that are not only reliable, but also fast, small and unobtrusive.  Hence, the longing for a camera like the Leica.

Now, by the time I got my first Leicas (which should have been subject for a separate blog... and I may do it one day), I was already relatively bored with SLR bodies.  Granted, they are versatile, flexible and easy to use, but people see you coming a mile away and, more often than not, they assume you know something or other about photography.  I've been taken for a professional more times with my Nikon gear than with any other cameras.  

So, my Leica decision was, rather, a move towards the new.  I could have gone with medium format, or even digital, but I'd have the same conspicuousness problem.  So, rangefinders were there.  I went for the metered bodies because my short experience with an unmetered medium format body didn't really satisfy me.  Probably, I wasn't ready to learn the little traps about taking a reading with a meter instead of using a camera.  

Why a rangefinder camera?  What was the draw to a metered or unmetered body?  What did you do it?  Was it the B-and-W look?  Was it the brilliance of the color?  

Let me know!

(FWIW, Street carolers in Hinsdale, IL, M6TTL, Summilux 35mm on Agfa ISO 400 at ISO 1600, Nov 2007; Brazilian musicians at the Bembo Haus, Nuremberg, same rig, but with Provia ISO 400 pushed three stops, 2008.) 


Alex said...

I'm happy to see a blog dedicated to my favourite camera! Keep writing!

I bought an M4-2 after years of using automatic SLRs because I wanted to actually understand how a camera works and how to read the light without using a meter. I didn't want priority modes, I didn't want autofocus, and I certainly didn't want a camera's exposure recommendation. The M4-2 is a fantastic camera and it has exceeded my expectations in every way! The lenses are fantastic, it is solidly built, and it's TINY!

Francisco Solares-Larrave said...

Thanks for leaving a note! As you see, I've been at this since August 08, when I got my own M4-2.

Feel free to return, leave comments and participate. Of course, any further information on maintenance, care and handling of these cameras is more than welcome.

WeeDram said...

I just recently looked at your blog (linked from RFF), and am looking forward to more posts.

I am currently Leica-less, but hope to remedy that this year. And I will likely end up with an M4-P or M4-2 ... I will have to compare the viewfinders.

In the 80s I owned an M3 with 21/3.4 SA, 50 DR and 90 Summicron. I got that kit primarily for the glass. But there were a couple other reasons.

First, I wanted to supplement my OM SLR kit. At the time, some pros and potential clients didn't regard the Olympus system as a true "professional" system for 35mm; only Nikon (and MAYBE Canon) were acceptable for SLR gear.

I knew better, of course, but wasn't about to ditch the amazing OM gear I had accumulated. So, I decided to buy a small Leica kit, used from Helix in Chicago. At the time used Leica gear didn't command the high prices it does today.

My entrance into the Leica world did its job, giving me the status I desired. But even more importantly it introduced me to the RF way of seeing and shooting, a most valuable tool in my arsenal.

When I left pro photography, I sold my Leica and MF gear, keeping only the OM and 4x5 kits. Now I "only" have fixed-lens RFs. They have served me well, taught me valuable lessons, not the least of which is discipline. Not being able to change lenses can be seen as a limitation, but in reality it can be a good teacher.

taffer said...

Well Francisco, in my case i think you know very well. It was a few days before the infamous March 11th 2004, we met at the hall of the Tryp Apollo Hotel and after presentations you handed me your titanium M6. I will never forget Frances' words 'Oh no! He has just THAT look...!
The rest, well, after a CL, a M2 and a M4-P, you can imagine ;)

Francisco Solares-Larrave said...

Wow, Oscar... I wish I had a titanium M6TTL body, but it's just a plain and simple silver chrome camera. And I believe you've made a far better use of a Leica than yours truly!

WeeDream, thanks for your note. I hope you eventually return to the Leica club. It's most rewarding... when it all works well.

Thanks to all who have posted comments!

Mario said...

Francisco, I am glad you like your M4-2!! I love mine and its my favorite to take on those days when you want to do some slow relaxing photo, very nice blog.