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Friday, 18 February 2022


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Mike, I hope you've registered with the appropriate authorities so that if there's ever a drought in your area, they know to send you a new camera to test.

"...if you want to learn to zone-focus by feel, without looking through the viewfinder..."

My Leica life changed when I read an article on using the position of the focus tab to approximate the distance by feel rather than looking down at the scale or at the actual rangefinder. By standing in a large room, at first look at an object, then focus via the rangefinder and then feel the focus tab's angle. Repeat multiple times until you move the tab to the right angle before focusing and then burn that into your brain. Next, pick a new target and repeat. Soon, you'll find that the lens is magically in nearly perfect focus before actually focusing, your left index finger moves the tab based on the distance by muscle memory. This isn't zone focusing, its actual focusing but using the rangefinder to confirm what your finger already did.

This is the thing that I miss most with new focus-by-wire lenses.

If you want a small pickup to save on fuel costs get an older VW diesel pickup. Will haul an honest load and get 40-50+ mpg.
Easy to work on and they keep running and running and running.

If it's any consolation, I'm reluctant take a secondhand GF7 out the house into weather.

(so it seems we're talkin' Leicas here too…dang it, kirk!)

I understand your caution, given that it’s on loan. But as an owner of other digital M gear, I don’t hesitate to use any in inclement weather, with just some common sense; no drenching. These are robust tools, even without formal weather sealing IP ratings. The SL and S systems, though, are better in this regard. Personal insurance alleviates worry, regardless; mine covers even my own stupidity.

… well, not all of my stupidity, but at least gear damage due to same!

I have an interesting "relationship" with Leica. I've never owned one. My only experience shooting one was a borrowed Monochrome last year.

I absolutely love the ethos of the brand. I am drawn to the craftsmanship and the importance and gravitas that they infuse into the image-making process. The brand seems intensely proud of their image-making machines. I am drawn to their pride. I love the simplicity and the primary focus on stills at the expense of video features that I do not use.

The Leica Store and Gallery in Boston is a regular stop for me on drives through Boston. I just like to BE there. Check out some books, the new gallery show and kick the tires on some gear.

I WANT to love a Leica camera enough to own one. My recent return to shooting some film has me appreciating the benefits of many of the drawbacks of the Leica bodies I pick up. A dozen times I've been in the store and so enamored with the ambiance of quality that I ask to get a camera and lens out. I excitedly put the camera to my eye and the viewfinder looks magical. And then I start to take some pictures and quickly get deflated.

Relative to my Sony A9ii's, the Leica systems are painfully slow in almost every measurable way. But I find myself pining for something to force me to slow down. Eye-autofocus, high frame-rates, large cards and cheap storage have us running down a path of such an excess of shooting that it is a real problem.

How much will one pay for a machine that forces you to SLOW DOWN?

I'm getting to a place where I can see myself shooting Sony for work and then a Nikon F3, Mamiya 7 or a Leica (film or digital) for my personal work.

I’m sort of behind in my response to the Leica. I’d like to see you walk out the door with it, go up the road, and take a few shots. Then I’m thinking this is a film camera, right! And, tell you the truth, I kinda hoped you have something to say about the OM System release. DPReview was not exactly bowled over by it, and I was curious to hear what you thought. But I know you have a lot to deal with.

Since getting a M6 TTL a couple of years ago, I appreciate why the M3/4 were considered good cameras. Not only do I largely use scale focusing (making the rangefinder more a back up), but I find myself pre-setting the exposure (after all neither the shutter speed nor aperture can seen in the view finder). This is in direct contrast to not only my old Pentax MX, but other manual film cameras with “full” information viewfinders. The results are certainly no worse. Sometimes less is more…

Leica M cameras are meant to be used, and I and others I know do just that. Some of my favorite pics are in cold and snow, and in (not drenching) rain. Never a problem, using common sense (e.g., wiping off, using clear lens filter, etc). Resale and trade values for my M digital gear have been far higher than other gear I've used over decades (10 other brands, and many more models). And my personal insurance covers virtually all circumstances outside warranty. No worries. But for those who insist on full weather sealing, Leica also has SL and S systems.

Leica SL2 = IP54 rating for water and dust. Not a hidden spec. It's on a label on the base of the camera. I've used mine in nasty weather with the 24-90mm lens. No damage to the camera or lens but I was soaked and freezing.

What's so good about a car? And why should cameras have to be justified in terms of one?

The comparison is flawed.

It has to be, because there is no bottom limit to the price of a used car. Even a good used car.

This comparison has and will prevent you from ever again owning a modern great camera, simply because the price of all new great cameras has moved up in the last decade.

And you will not get to find the camera that can, better than any other, help you release whatever pent-up creativity and energy that is currently tied up inside you.

You were reluctant to even try a Fuji GFX 50R for this reason.

Used cars and cameras are entirely different things, involving different value systems and different utility.

Many people living in cities barely use a car, and increasingly so given the costs.

The value of cars always ends up at zero. The exceptions to this general rule are so rare that they can be ignored. Not so cameras.

In digital architecture these days, $14,000 is the price of a single new lens. Check the price of a Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 32mm wide lens. Or the Rodenstock HR Digaron-SW 90mm. Architectural photographers generally need three or four lenses, especially at the wide end of focal lengths.

Then price the current Phase One IQ4-150 digital back. It delivered BSI technology. That point alone justified it.

My point? Use the damn camera.

There's something perverse about pampering a Leica M. I'm not singling out anyone, and in fact I assume that this is the predominant approach these days, and I'm sure I would be just as cautious with a $14K kit. It's the whole situation that feels wrong to me, price included. I know that's not at all a unique reaction or observation. I wish Leica would sell an ugly beater model along with the bling. It would be more likely to cannibalize the used market than the luxury niche the company has moved to.

At least this one isn't pre-distressed like the Kravitz model.

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