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It was 1961, I was in high school, and the guy who got me interested in photography used Leicas and Rolleiflexes. He told me that I should "buy the best". He was right. I regularly shoot with some M3 and M2 bodies that were made in the 1950's!
I had been using a Nikon F for 10 years and spent many of those years trying to find the "right" lens for my wildlife photographs. When the FTn meter resistor ring died (again) I felt that I could look beyond that system for my "perfect" lens.
In college the security guard at the engineering building loaned me his IIIg for a few months and I was soon impressed with the quality of the camera and the exceptional versatility of that seemingly simple camera. A few years later when I bought binoculars (Trinovid 10x40) I was struck with the tactile similarity to the IIIg.
Merging these two thoughts, I recalled some field reports of the 400mm f/6.8 Telyt, and took the plunge with this lens and a Leicaflex SL. Photography has never been the same for me, a big change for the better.
In the latter half of the 50's, during the summer and weekends, I ran the B&W Pako film machine and made enlargements at the business that had been started 30+ years previously by my Grandfather and continued by my Father and two Uncles.
135s were always run last in each batch, mainly because it was necessary to make certain they were chamoised before the ran past the electric drying elements so as to insure they didn't spot. That required use of a droplight to backlight each roll to check for spots.
Noticed there, and also in my enlarging duties, that some negatives were really contrasty and possessed of much more "snap" than others. Mentioned it to Dad and he indicated "they were probably shot with a Leica".
As we had been Leitz dealers since the mid 30's on the retail end of the business, I tried some of the equipment and found he was right.
After that I "shopwore" a lot bodies and lenses till I could afford my first second hand body and lenses. Haven't stopped since then.
I'll try to keep it short, too. And no, I don't work for Leica! I started M photography two years ago. I like it because I'm the boss of the camera, not the other way around. That other way around seems to be the growing case with practically everything at least from Canon and Nikon these days. I hate that! Ms also have a mechanical and timeless perfection. I love that!
With the age of 20 in the Year 1979, i bought my first Camera, a Minolta XG-2. With the time i get used with all the lenses available, macro, wideangle ,telephoto, fast lenses, later zoom lenses, other Minolta Models like XG-9 or XD-5. At that time it was nice Equipment and in the backview the lenses was very good. But i was always bothered about Automatic. Instead of thinking about the basics (shutterspeed,aperture) you think about what a automatic will do and how to push it to do what you want. In addition i got slowly the opinion, that heavy equipment will not automatically result in good pictures.
In 1981 i sold it all. Minolta is starting with autofocus, big black plastic batterypacks with lenses, i don`t like for shure. I noticed the Leica M4 at the local Dealers, but it was expensive, had the limitations of a rangefinder and no internal Meter.
I bought an Olympus OM-1 instead. I used this camera with 3 lenses for a long time, only interrupted by an OM-2SP for 2 Years. At that time i also bought a Trinovid 10x40, and until now i love to use it, very good optic and no signs of wear. Then the age of Internet started: I bought several Oly-lenses-cameras at Ebay.
Again i do make the mistake of heavy equipment.
When taking the Trinovid i remember the M4, now substituted by the M6 with Meter and more expensive.
I start to search for a M6 in Ebay and realise the possibility to fulfill my old dream. I sold most parts of my Olympus Stuff and bought a M6 with a 2/35. It was a big challenge after all the Years with a SLR, but now i get used and will never give it away.
The feel. Period.
Beautifully made body and lenses.
Taking a picture in a church in Heidelberg, Germany and hearing a muted click instead of my Nikon F4S quasi-turbine getting spooled up.
They take no better pictures than my pro-grade Nikon bodies and lenses, but they sure feel better doing it and don't wear out my neck.
superior below 1/30th to anything else (when handholding off course) superior below f2.8 to anything else less noise then anything of that quality (build and optical) smaller then anything of that quality
Till, Such is the nature of candid work. The split second expressions take precedence over other considerations. I shot a series of three which also included a higher angle, but you couldn't see the little
girls' face as well. Had I moved to the right the Bride's face would've covered the girls. Besides, the veil helps seperate the background a bit. Had the trees been growing directly out of her head, I probably would not have printed this image.
I wasn't sure where to put this post, but figured this would be the best. I don't have a Leica yet. I have been studying and saving to buy an M6 (TTL or Classic) Black. My father got me interested in photography years ago, but we always had Nikons. He has two Nikormat FT2s that he's used forever. When I started in about Leicas he said he didn't know anything about them. Then last night, after several months of this, he pulled out a stack of 1948-1958 Leica Photographie. I was amazed. I had been considering a subscription, and after looking through them all night long I think I will. The information is great. I wonder how much the magazine has changed in the past fifty years. They were very well written. Some of the ads are rather funny as well. Some have $0.25 on the covers. In one it has a subscription notice for $5.00 a year. The photography is impressive. Everything is very consistant. The strange thing is reading the article on the "brand new" M3 and the ad for the "new" IIIg is making me want an M3 and IIIg.
I can't define why I stick with my M2.
I started in about 1977 with a Zenith TTL; rapidly ditched it when the Olympus OM10 came out. Liked the Zuiko prime lenses and went into OM1s and 2s - and a friend suggested I bought an "old" Leica. I bought a beautiful IIIc with 50mm 3.5 Elmar. Loved it. Ditched the OMs. Bought a Nikon F2A to shoot long lenses with alongside the shorter Leica lenses. Had a couple of IIIfs and a variety of screw lenses. By 1982 I had an M3, M2, M4-P and a collection of Leitz lenses.
Got married in 1986, ditched the M3 and the M4-P and a couple of the lenses for economic reasons ( and bought a new kitchen, a washing machine and a tandem with the proceeds).
Now I run the original M2 and four lenses (one of them Voigtlander and the other Canon); a motordriven Nikon FA for long lens work; a black and brass Pentax MX if I'm travelling light(er) and want a 135 alongside the Leica; and a Ricoh GR1s if I just want a pocket camera. What percentage of the time do I use the Leica? 85%.
It's almost as if looking through any other viewfinder after the Leica is a let down. And hearing any other shutter is a shock. And trying to focus the FA (good screen though it is) or the MX in the gloom is a chore. But not the Leica.
[Justin, I wonder what will be the advantage of M2 comparing with M6 (classic 0.72). I suppose M6 has a meter in it while M2 does not. BTW, what are the most 2 or 3 useful lenses in your system? Thanks]