Haven’t said anything much in a while, anybody miss my rambling on anything photographic that nobody cares about? Probably not and I don’t blame you. But just in case you do…
A couple weeks ago I had the privilege to borrow a Leica M2 with the Summicron 50 f2 Dual Range. The instructions were simple, “Play with it until you are bored with it.” That’s easy, I can totally do that. Leica range finders are widely considered to be the holy grail of cameras, so, obviously, I always wanted to get my hands on one to see what the fuss is about. Fact is, the last two blog posts contain photos from the Leica, I just didn’t announce it. What did you think? Did they look any more special than when I did’t tell you it’s a Leica?
One or two people did catch that I got this new toy from the last posts. Now is the time to answer your question: “How is it?”, “Is it what you expected?”
First, I will answer “is it what I expected?”. Yes. I expected it to be a well made machine, where everything is tight-fit to the teeth. I have confidence that it will produce decent photos, however, it will not turn rainy days into sunshine and lollipops like some people claim.
Now, how is it? It’s a nice camera, solid, heavy, feels good in your hands. The shutter sounds amazing unless it’s 1/30 or 1/15, very very very quiet. Shutter speed and aperture select are in the right spot. Film rewind is like any knob rewind. Loading film is definitely not the fastest thing in the world, however, I understand it has a superb pressure plate.
The range finder patch is one of the brightest I’ve seen, but then they are never bright enough with all the zombie hang-outs I like to be in. The lens is quite capable, it delivers sharp images with nice bokeh. (however I can not tell you it’s the sharpest lens I’ve ever used). But remember, sharpness is overrated. More importantly, let’s just say the lens is capable of delivering a very nice aesthetic on the whole. The coating on the lens indeed delivers lower contrast images. (Some say lower contrast equals to higher resolution.) In certain lighting conditions you will have to get used to it, it looks rather different.
Anything wrong with the camera? Most certainly. First, it’s a Leica, secondly it’s not mine. Meaning you can’t get it dirty, can’t get it wet, always afraid you will scratch it and lose hundreds of dollars, can’t leave it in the car, can’t touch it unless you washed your hands etc etc. In a way, it’s an uneasy feeling while photographing.
This is photographing with a Leica casually. I’ll let you decide: has a Leica made me a better photographer? Or does a Leica turn everything into sunshine and lollipops?
Leica M2 – Summicron 50 DR – Tri X – XTOL 1+2 – Without Meter.
When I go out with my Yashica(s), random people will ask me “Hey, is that a Leica?”, and I’d have to reply, “No, it’s a Yashica” while they scratch their head over what a Yashica is. Now that I have a Leica around my neck, all I got is, “Hey is that a Yashica?”…..
Now, Anyone wanna loan me a 35 Summilux?!
7 thoughts on “Leica M2 + Tri X”
seriously? “is that a yashica?”???
No…. its a leishika
Oh, my. I would go for a Leica if my finances weren’t that bad, but then again I am not so sure I could leave the comfort of the SLR viewfinder. And a good lense of course. Very nice photos, but that is not the camera, it is the photographer.
Nah, Exaktas are better, they are cooler 😉 But the leica M2 shutter does sound awesome, but then it doesn’t have a mirror to make it all noisy. If it’s mine I’ll let you borrow it, but I am already borrowing from someone else. Besides you’re doing just as good as what you’re using right now! 😉
Hi Derek. I’ve been ‘away’ a bit too (stupidly busy) so I didn’t miss you, but it was good to see you when I got back. To me your Leica shots do look a bit different but je ne sais quoi. Like you I’d like to ‘have a go’ with a Leica but I don’t really want to own one – for some of the reasons you mention. I would appreciate the fine mechanics and optics. Forgetting the SLRs, it can’t be that much better than my Voigtlander Bessas, which are pretty damn quiet, have a faster shutter speed and would take the L39 or M Leica lenses if I could afford them. As for quiet, I bet the Leica’s nothing like as quiet as the Kodon shutter on my 620 Kodak Junior de luxe. I have been known to double expose frames as I was sure the shutter hadn’t fired because I didn’t hear it.
Being busy can be a good thing, least you’re making it as it sound at least! Haha my leica shots might look different due to my poor eye ball metering :). No doubt your 630 Kodak JR is probably quieter. But for real, you can compare the leica shutter sound to a leaf shutter believe it or not. I had to have it infront of me to believe it. I think it’s because it has so much metal wrapped around it for sound proofing 😀
About those Voigtlanders, I am sure it’;s a lot more cost effective than a Leica , but I am not a big fan of the sound of a vertically travel shutter. I am weird. But of coz, I need one in my hand to make the judgement I supposed.