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Any other Leica people here?

Discussion in 'Other Cameras' started by Retroman1969, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. Retroman1969

    Retroman1969 Active Member

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    I lusted after the “legend” and sexiness of Leica cameras 25 years ago as an impressionable student. On an impulse I finally bought a used M9 earlier this year and stuck a Voigtlander 15mm lens on it.
    It’s fun to shoot, and it takes amazing pics, but I find I barely ever use it. There is definitely an art and a trick to using it after the ease and perfection of the modern cameras.
    I sometimes contemplate selling it as an impractical device.
    Anyone else have Leica cameras or stories? Do you ever use them much, or do you just like owning them? Or do you think they’re overhyped?
    I’m curious about other opinions on them! ;)
    D1316933-7C84-45F4-9A2D-C75C5609486E.jpeg
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  2. kevistopheles

    kevistopheles Analog

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    For years I wanted a Leica CL (or Minolta CLE) with a 40/2. I have a shrinking collection of old fixed lens RF cameras and the CL seemed like the ultimate version of those. A while ago I had the chance to play with an M8.2 and CV 40 and it was nice. That experience however cured me of wanting a Leica. The biggest obstacle was the price followed by how primitive the M8 felt. I'm sure the new M bodies are wonderful but waaaay out of my budget. I'd love to be able to drop seven or eight grand on a kit but my father grew up during the depression and left me with a genetic disposition toward frugality and practicality. The cost of an M body and lens will buy me quite a lot of travel.

    Also, I really like to get really close to stuff sometimes and RF lenses don't exactly lend themselves to that without a few additions. Right now an APS-C body like my NEX 7 with my Nikkor 35/2 or my soon to arrive X-E2 with an XF 35/1.4 on it is more than enough to keep me happy.

    I think I'd still like to try a Summicron or Minolta 40/2 at some point but that Nikkor 35 is pretty terrific...so maybe not.
     
  3. Aphotographer

    Aphotographer Premium Member

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    I had one, sold it and then later looked at some of the pictures I'd taken and was impressed with the clarity and detail in those shots. It requires you to slow down a bit and think more. I bought another one and considered selling it to help finance a GFX, but I won't. There's a crispness to the files that a CMOS sensor doesn't seem to offer.
     
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  4. Retroman1969

    Retroman1969 Active Member

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    I know what you mean, kevistopheles.
    Supposedly the M10 is a huge improvement, making it more modern and useful, but even used is out of my range.
    The M9 is a bit clunky to use, and in camera metering for both white balance and exposure is always a bit off and hard to master.
    It’s a beautiful machine, and can get some amazing results (with some PP work) but like you, a bit of the polish has dulled away. ;)
     
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  5. Retroman1969

    Retroman1969 Active Member

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    I totally understand! It’s a different animal for sure.
    Whenever I look at the more successful pics I had done with it I always delay selling it. The pics are almost magical with a crispness, yes, and a moody depth of color and shadow transition that is almost 3-D, like really high quality old fashioned film transparencies.
    So I keep see-sawing about whether to keep it or not. :D

    PS: which model do you have if you don’t mind my asking?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  6. kevistopheles

    kevistopheles Analog

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    Wouldn't the lenses be more a factor in the look of the images?
     
  7. kevistopheles

    kevistopheles Analog

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    I'll always look at Leicas kinda wistfully but I know myself well enough to realize that I'm not a good candidate for owning an M-anything. It just doesn't fit the kind of thing I want out of a camera. At least not at the present time.
     
  8. Retroman1969

    Retroman1969 Active Member

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    That certainly makes perfect sense. ;)
     
  9. Retroman1969

    Retroman1969 Active Member

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    It's not a practical camera like I've said, but there does seem to be a clarity and realism to the images that even my Nikon D750 can't quite match. It may well be the lens, but these days the processor and sensor design must have at least a little to do with it. Kind of like how each film stock in the old days had its own color and character, lending as much to the image as the lens.
    A couple of quick snaps:
    2.jpg L1.jpg
     
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  10. ReeRay

    ReeRay Premium Member

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    I currently use a Leica film M3, film M6 TTL and a digital M240. Alongside these cameras I use a Fuji XT-1.

    You refer to "ease and perfection" and seemingly not finding this attribute in your Leica but in fact, this is the very draw to the RF system IMHO. Despite the attraction of WYSIWYG in the Fuji EVF, I much prefer the "clean" view of an optical VF and seeing the space around the frame. The simplicity of using the film cameras is mirrored in the digital version. Select the ISO, set exposure manually, frame, focus and shoot. It really couldn't be easier. Modern cameras present us with so many menu variations it's inevitable that some settings work against the user. Rangefinder focusing is very quick and accurate once you get used to it, and far more predictable than AF. As for IQ all I can say is it's unchallenged. Shot discipline is so radically different. Neither is better, just different. And that too is the appeal of both systems

    I love my Fuji and the files it produces but if it's a "got to get" shoot, with predictable outcome, the Leica gets the nod.

    BTW, I've owned the above M3 since it was passed to me by my grandfather in 1959. One CLA 25 years ago and still perfect. They last well!
     
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  11. ReeRay

    ReeRay Premium Member

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    A few Images from an M240

    Please login or register to view links by Please login or register to view links, on Flickr

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  12. davids

    davids Member

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    I love my Leica cameras...old film (Leica IIIc) and M6; and digi 2x M8, M-P (typ240), on which i use Canon ltm lenses, as well as Voigtlander and some old (read low cost) Leica lenses. But it's all about the rangefinder experience, and seeing the real world...if that's what you want.

    You will be disappointed if you haven't tried one previously, or misunderstand rangefinder focusing...so don't waste your time. All prime lenses, by the way...no zooms.

    Noone notices if you use Leica so it's only a status symbol in your own head.

    If you don't get trapped into buying their modern expensive lenses, they are really fun cameras...the files are lovely to work (Lightroom). They need not be too expensive...but you have to know what you want; whatever don't get trapped by the hype.

    All modern cameras do a great job...even phone cameras...if youre OK with that sort of thing. Oh, one reads of pixel peepers, and poster printers, but they are in a dream world...not the average keen amateur photographer as most of us are.

    Make no mistake, my other system is Fuji XE--1...i have two, i like them so much. And the bonus with Fuji, get autofocus and close focusing...generally not in Leica. I use the two kit zooms, and the Fuji 18mm f2...great lens in a small package.
    I use my Fuji on basic setting as i don't like faffing with menus. Usually just take the jpg, as the raf files are not very "plastic". And another lovely image from Fuji.

    I buy mirrorless cameras so can explore older lenses, with cheap adapters, which are often more than adequate. Modern lenses can be too clinical-pop art...to me.

    Having said all this (sorry 'bout the rave)...I use my Leicas, film and digital, about 90% time...they are cameras which say..."use me"...lovely in hand and a photographic experience.


    Hope i can help here.


    ...
     
  13. Spock66

    Spock66 Premium Member

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    I was a confirmed M6 user and I was at a fork in the road of going either Digital M (M9 at the time) or Fuji X-Pro 1.

    If I went the Leica route I just had to buy the body in Fuji I had to invest in a full system (but knowing subsequent upgrades would be cheaper).

    I went the Fuji route and have not regretted the move.
     
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  14. rayvonn

    rayvonn Premium Member

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    What a timely thread, I pick up a used M9 tomorrow. No doubt an almost 10 year old MF camera is going to cause extreme frustration to this never-used-a-rangefinder individual but I've set myself a year to not get frustrated. I have an X-T1 and and X-3. May as well sell the X-E3 and keep the X-T1, it's not like I'll need a rangefinder type body anymore.

    The price is almost disgusting. But then when I went through the list of gear I'm going to sell only to find I would realise more than what the M9 is costing me, I was even more disgusted!
     
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  15. Retroman1969

    Retroman1969 Active Member

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    Wow, I didn't expect this many Leica users honestly. :)
    Thank you for sharing your views and experiences, and amazing photo samples by the way... I'm jealous!
    I also appreciate the encouragement to consider pushing myself to try to master the camera.
    Actually I do have previous experience with (film) rangefinders and love how they work. Also with 3 camera bodies and 8 lenses, only 2 lenses are auto focus zooms. The rest are all-manual primes. ;)
    Of course it's great to slow down and think about the shots and get more intimate with the camera but it's not often feasible on a run and gun work schedule.
    I guess overall this is one of those things that would be a great addition to a collection and be rewarding to use when one masters it and has the time to use it properly.
    I should probably spend more time with it when I can.

    Meanwhile my Fuji and Nikon with their features still kill for day to day hectic schedules of work. :)
     
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  16. ErikPloeg

    ErikPloeg Premium Member

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    I also own a Fuji (X-H1) and Leica (M240); they serve very different purposes for me. The Fuji is fast, accurate and in most situations I have it on full auto. The downside: it is almost too easy to keep shooting and end up with way to many pics. Obviously, a lot of these pics are binned as although they may be sharp and well exposed, they are not exactly what I had in mind when shooting.

    The Leica makes me think much more about exposure, composition, framing, etc. which takes time and therefore is mostly used for things like landscapes, street, etc. I find it still a challenge to get the most out of the M240, but when you do get it right... the pics seem to have something 'extra' and the feedback from others is mostly very positive. I don't think you will ever get the max out of a Leica if you only use it occasionally; they simply need some time to get used to.
    I don't know why, but I also found some new love for B&W since I bought the M240.

    I'm now trying to apply some of the learnings from the Leica back to the Fuji to see if I can up the score; I still am very much in love with my X-H1, especially when used in combination with the 16-55.

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  17. ruby.monkey

    ruby.monkey Premium Member

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    Up until last year my M3, usually wearing a contemporary 50mm f/2 rigid Summicron, was my almost constant companion; and only my lack of desire to bugger about any more with small-format film, has led to it taking an extended break. I also have a beater button-rewind M2 that I bought with the intention (probably never to happen now) of sending it to CRR Luton for a full service and repaint, an MDa (for my Voigtlander 25mm f/4 Snapsht-Skopar), MD2 (to mount my Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 UWH), and a CL (mostly for my Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton). I have in the past owned an M4 and a iiif; but they were only brief flings.

    I doubt I'll bother with a digital M - I bought a Sony A7ii as a digital mount for my rangefinder lenses, and the results are good enough for me - but I may well start shooting and developing film again. In the meantime I'll hang on to my Leicas while I enjoy what Fuji has to offer.
     
  18. Bud James

    Bud James Premium Member

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    I scratched a 45 year itch (since high school) and purchased my first Leica, the M10, in Dec of 2017 along with a Summilux 50 and Summicron 35 lenses. It took a while to retrain myself to manual and zone focus. However, I love the look of the Leica DNG files processed in Capture One Pro. The image quality, micro contrast, sharpness corner to corner and colors are all great.

    Since then, I purchased a second M10 body and a few more Leica lenses. My M10 and Summicron 35 lens is now my tool of choice for street photography and general photography. I love it so much, that I sold my Fuji X100F as it wasn't getting used anymore. The X100F is a great camera too.

    I since sold off a few of my rarely used Fuji XF lenses to invest in Leica lenses. I also own the Fuji XT2 and XH1 bodies in black and a number of Fuji XF primes and zooms. It's a great system too.

    This fall my wife and I will be meeting our son in New Zealand when he finishes his fall semester abroad program. We will send 4 weeks traveling around NZ and Australia. This will be my first travel vacation taking my 2 M10 bodies and four Leica lenses: Summilux 50, Summicron 35 and 75 and Super Elmar 18 all of which fits nicely in my well-used Billingham Hadley Pro bag.

    Here is are a few recent photos shot with my Leica.

    Regards,
    Bud James

    Please check out my fine art and travel photography at Please login or register to view links or on Instagram at Please login or register to view links.

    M10B0242.jpg

    M10B0070.jpg

    Longwood_Gardens_20180128-120.jpg
     
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  19. streetsntravel

    streetsntravel Premium Member

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    I had a Leica M3 that I wore out. It was used when I got it and the SN was < 1,000,000. That was a SN range where a part called the shutter brake was subject to wear. On my final repair, a Leica master in New Jersey, made the final adjustment and informed me that it was the last time she would be able to get it back into operational range. No one was making that part. I replaced the M3 with a M6. My single original lens, a very flary 50mm f/1.5 Summaron eventually morphed into a very vintage 50mm Summilux and a 35mm Summicron ASPH, by way of a bug-eye 35mm Summicron.

    For me, I loved the mechanical bodies and I learned how to manage them well. The lenses were the main feature of the final product. Some photos of our children taken with that equipment are still around the house - they were taken 40 years ago. The photos (and kids) are still among our favorites.

    I'm no longer shooting Leica. I replaced that "lust" with OVF Fuji partly because of the bonding experience I had with the rangefinder form factor. After about six years with Fuji, I finally discovered the 35mm f/1.4 XF lens. I've been on a 30 year quest to replicate (in various systems but Leica) the performance of the "historic" 50mm Summilux. I find the 35mm f/1.4 XF to be very close to what I remember in it's wide open performance.

    The M10 is really tugging at my heart strings, but I have to face the reality that AF is just a better tool for me at this point.

    I now have a fair number of XF lenses and I find them all to be superb, but the one that I've really bonded with is that 35mm f/1.4 XF. I love the 35mm f/2 for street, but for family/friends/events I just reach for the f/1.4 - It's my new Leica. :). Now if there was just a Bayer version of the X-T3.
     
  20. rayvonn

    rayvonn Premium Member

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    Not the first time I've seen that said.
     

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