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Saturday, 27 June 2009


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This is a very generous offer. A good deal for a good M6 and lens on it's own, and the offer of the free Canon to an up-and -coming photographer is especially nice.
Good for you Nick and Mike!

Hello Mike - what a really fine offer. Unfortunately, I just don't shoot film anymore. I hope this goes fast. I particularly like the Canon deal for an up and coming photographer.

Best wishes to you and Nick.

BTW, Nick's photo of you and your son is terrific.


Mike A
Vancouver, BC

It really is a very generous offer & yet it points out why, for some of us, it can't "have to be a Leica" as even with generosity such as this, it's not justifiable. Nearly $1500 is one half of this year's property taxes for example. Or couple of replacement windows that will help lower our winter heating bill. Or ... or... or...

This is nothing against a M6 - I used to own a CL with a collapsible Summicron & only sold it because I couldn't afford to fix the meter. If I could afford it, I'm sure I'd be making an offer rather than creebing about it here and I do hope that someone who will really enjoy the combo. I'm one of the rare ones who really does like using a rangefinder, so I'll be rooting for the buyer for that reason as well.

Instead, I can quite happily "make do" with a borrowed Bessa R2C, a Kiev 4a and pre-war CZJ Contax glass - and I'll argue that my 1936 50/2 Sonnar can still, even after 73 years, hold it's own against the Summicron. And that 1937 50/2.8 Tessar is even better... ;)

I'm interested.


That's a great offer!
I should start by saying that I live in the UK, but if Nick Hartmann is willing to post the camera across the Atlantic I would definitely be interested in buying it.
I'll be going to Afghanistan in September (I'm in the British Army), so the camera will be put to good use recording some interesting experiences. One Leica, one lens, six months in Afghanistan...

Nick - I would like to accept your offer. Nothing was said about any type of metering system, so I will assume there is none. In that case you may need to advise me on the best way to meter with this camera. I am too new to photography to be able to guess the exposure. I like the idea of a camera that has a "history" and would love to let this particular Leica and lens teach me how to be a better photographer.

Thanks for making this offer available.

Regarding the cost of this (or any film Leica): Let's not ignore an important point Mike made earlier, which is that the cost is the interest on the loan, since an older film Leica is on a flat depreciation curve. In the case of this particular Leica, Mike is even offering to advertise it.

In other words: Old Leicas that you want to keep still cost lots of money, but Leicas you only want to have for a year are nearly free.


Something that shuld be emphasized: the $1475 is a deposit. The person who buys the camera can "return" it, and probably get the full amount back.

Hi Mike - I've seriously considered your experiment as I'm moving to a new city in August, and combining that with a new photography style sounds refreshing.

If you wouldn't mind passing my e-mail along, I would love to get in touch with Nick.


mwgrice at gmail dot com

There are hundreds of cheap rangefinders and SLR cameras out there, with cheap but good lenses available. If you need to go Leica, that's great, but there's a reason intro photography classes say "go buy an SLR, any SLR." I bought an Olympus OMG with a 50 for $30 and two more primes for a grand total of about $95, all off Ebay, and it's quite the little camera. If you want a rangefinder, some of the old soviet Leica knockoffs aren't too bad, and cheap too.

What a generous deal! I hope whoever ends up with it appreciates the history.

If the camera is still available, I have been quite interested in taking this challenge.

I've got a few rolls of film waiting in the freezer, and I was going to use my old OM-2, but this would be even better.

Why limit the experiment to one year? I've been shooting one camera one lens for roughly the past 6 years and shot over 2000 rolls. I think the use of such limited tools build an unconscious intimacy with the camera that is difficult to achieve with a zoom. It doesn't have to be a Leica, but the camera needs to become an inseparable appendage.

Mike, I understand the entire Leica ethos, the fact that the camera only does what you want or tell it to. it all makes perfect sense.

However, for those that really want to do the exercise but can't come up with the scratch, I highly recommend a Hexar AF. Brilliant camera, absolutely silent.

Give it a try.

I like your experiment, but I can't get past the film aspect. It's like going back to washing your clothes in the river with rocks. How about doing it with an Olympus E-P1 with the prime kit lens instead?

One might even photograph in BW, though I am not sure how that helps.

Stop taunting me!

I can't decide if I really want to do this or if I’m just being romanced by the idea of playing with a Leica.

I did spend a couple of weeks only using a manual 24mm on my dslr and found it very rewarding but I still know the sensible route if i were to go ahead would be to just use the manual film slr I already have.

But then why should sense come in to it? You've got me lusting after that Zeiss 35mm Distagon too as a "compromise" to use on the dslr as a standard lens. Grr :)

This is an excellent offer for this body and lens. Someone better jump at it.

I enjoyed Nick's Gallery; some wonderful B&W stuff. But does the sale of his M6 mean that he has abandoned film?

It's interesting. The one comment that stood out in this blog is the following:
"Probably the worst thing appearance-wise is that Nick blacked out the engraved camera name and the "red dot" with a sharpie, and, when that didn't quite work, covered them with black electrician's tape. He's removed the tape, but the engraving and the red dot don't look so hot"
Interesting because the first thing I do when I buy a new camera is to black out the mfgr name and model in the same way described here, i.e. with a Sharpie. If that coverage doesn't last, I use flat black paint to expunge all evidence of the mfgr info. I despise free advertisement, thus the attempt at erasure. It works, too, since I'm always asked "what kind of camera is that?". To which I always reply, "digital", or "what difference does it make?"
After all, it's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the photographer. Whether it's a D700, an M6, or an FA and film doesn't matter, it's the final product that is important.

@ adam - not trying to start a war here, just genuine curiosity. Perchance, do you tape over the name on your sports shoes, remove the little logo from your polo shirts and prise off your car's badges? Let's not even think about cutting out all the titles on magazine pages...

If it's no to any or all of the above, why the exclusivity with regards cameras?


Got a better idea...
I send the money in US dollars (we've done this before people)to Mike Johnston.

He then ensures the Leica is well-used; by either himself or Zander who I believe will be 16? this year?

As to the Canon camera, what a magnificent doorstop!

I know Bryce is kidding, but just so there's no misunderstanding, please do NOT send any money to me....

Mike J.

"After all, it's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the photographer. Whether it's a D700, an M6, or an FA and film doesn't matter, it's the final product that is important."

Hi Adam, so how do you go about buying a camera? Do you walk into the shop & say 'Give me any camera, it doesn't matter'?


This is fantastic. I'd have made an offer (far too late to get it, obviously) except that I've already gotten my Leica setup. It's an M3 with the Zeiss ZM 50mm f2. Wish me luck.


Eolake, interesting, if, I might argue, a somewhat inaccurate analogy there. I would more likely say that using digital is like sending your clothes to a laundry, film is like having a washing machine at home, you get to make more decisions.

Sell it to Ben so he can take it to Afghanistan please! Help out a soldier and get some really interesting pics in the process - win win. I don't know him BTW. Great idea Nick.

'de-accession'? Look, if we effete, foppish Englishmen are good enough to lend you our language rent-free until you invent one of your own, it's only polite not to bugger around with it too much in the meantime.

Hi all,

I was tempted by the original Leica experiment and here again of course. As a complete newbie to rangefinders, the one thing that has kept me from jumping to it (Apart from my wife) is that I can't figure out how anyone can focus with a fully analog camera. As I understand it there is no TTL. Could some please solve this mystery of mine?

That's what the rangefinder is for. In the middle of the field of view is a small rectangle or "patch" that shows a double image. You just turn the focusing ring on the lens until the two images come together on what you want to focus on. Good to go.

You do have to learn to focus and recompose, because the image is sharp everywhere else in the finder. But that's not as awkward as it sounds. You get used to it after a while, as you start to learn to "eyeball" distances and set the focus by feel as much as by using the rangefinder. It does take some practice to do this, but it doesn't take any practice to use the rangefinder...just takes a little while for it to feel natural.


"@ adam - not trying to start a war here, just genuine curiosity. Perchance, do you tape over the name on your sports shoes, remove the little logo from your polo shirts and prise off your car's badges?"

Can't speak for Adam, but I try not to buy stuff with logos on it, and otherwise I often remove or obscure them. You want me to carry your logo around in public? Then *you* pay *me,* buster.

What's a "sharpie"?

"What's a 'sharpie'?"

A ubiquitous (in the U.S. at least) black permanent marker, originally for marking dry cleaning but now used as an all-purpose permanent "magic marker." They're made by a company called Sanford.


That's an incredibly kind deal to not only part with his camera for a reasonable price, but to donate a DSLR as a learning camera too.

Makes me wonder why the big manufacturers don't have a trade-up / buy-back program to then re-sell refurbished cameras back onto the market. Most golf companies do this as the technology is so mature, the cycle of change can benefit people who just want decent equipment; but don't want to pay for this season's gear.

But then, I used to remember that trading in my gear with my *local* camera shop was how I used to keep changing camera gear. Pity this is an option that will disappear once we all start buying cameras from large chains, say Best Buy or Fnac...


Thanks for clarifying the sharpie thing - I had visions of someone trying to prize off the Leica badge with the tip of a Leatherman style knife, which seemed a weird thing to do...

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