I’ve had a lot of negative feedback about my choice of a camera when compared to alternative brands and image capture devices. All these judgments are valid and have good arguments in regards to the available choices from DSLR, mirrorless, point and shoots or smartphones for that matter. But I thought I would explain my reasoning on why I use a Leica rangefinder.
First off I have tried a verity of cameras out there. I will list them below right now for what I can remember.
Canon AE-1, Canon IXUS, Leica M6, Hasselblad 500CM (medium format), Yashica T4 Super, Richo GR1, Polaroid 600 SE, iPhone 4s, Yashica 635 (medium format), Kodak Pocket, Polaroid 350, Polaroid 636, Toyo 45c (Large-format), Leica M8, Leica M typ240, Sony A7, Fujifilm X100, PLAUBEL MAKINA 67 (medium format), Canon 5D, Olympus MJU II, Leica M9, Canon 1D, Canon 6D, GoPro 5, Lumix DMC-TS5, iPhone 7, Olympus XA, Canon 1Dx, Canon TX and a iPhone 7.
These are all the camera’s I have owned with a few that I have extensively used that I can remember. Now before you say I missed the camera you think is amazing I will admit that I haven’t tried everything. And I never tried Nikon because everyone I know used Canon and these two brands is essentially the same. But after trying everything here on this list I stopped using anything else once I got a second hand Leica M8. That was it for me once I started using a digital Leica. Everything after that just didn’t feel right to use for me. I’ll try to explain it.
Have you ever picked up a camera and it felt funny or cumbersome. Or touched a texture then wanted to move your hand away immediately. Or hugged someone and you just felt uncomfortable. Or bitten something and just didn’t want to ingest it but did anyway. Well, that’s kinda how I feel when I use another camera after holding a Leica M. Everything else just feels… off. Now, this is completely personal preference and subjective. We live in a world where people love a large verity of different things and that is what makes our world so amazing and beautiful. If we all like the same things this world would be a boring place to exist in.
So why did I try so many cameras? Well because I wanted to find the one. That camera I didn’t want to put down. You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a prince. And that prince was a Leica for me. Sure it took a good part of my photography career to try all these cameras out. But in the long run, I felt it was worth it, to at least see if something was perfect for me.
So what is it, what is so special about holding a Leica M rangefinder. I’d have to say the ease of use when it comes to the tactile controls, everything is always the same, be it a Leica M4-P to the Leica M10. The only thing that seems to change is the location of the ISO, but that’s about it. You can throw me any Leica M model and I won’t have to use any cognitive functions to get the shot. Which leaves more time and energy for what is important, getting the shot, telling the story.
It’s funny that the best feature of the camera is that you don’t have to think about it. It’s almost like it becomes your eye. Now I bet any camera can achieve this depending on the individual. But for me, the Leica has been the only camera where I don’t think about the settings. And that is what a camera for me should be, it should just capture the photograph how I envisioned it. The Leica does just that.
Another reason I was pulled to the Leica was I wanted to take the photograph not the camera. What I mean is I want to be the one who choices where to focus and what shutter speed to set. I don’t want the onboard camera computer to choose the settings for me. Now sore this can save time depending on your needs. But for me, I want to be the one to blame when I miss a shot, not the gear. I want to stumble across serendipity through experimentation. The only thing that is missing on my camera is the fact it has a screen. I do wish I waited for the Leica MD but for my needs, I’m content with the Leica M typ240.
I think I will be a Leica user for life, I do warn you though if you pick up a Leica and you’re not concerned or put off by the price tag you will never want another camera. It’s an addiction that can’t be cured.
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