Camera review – Leica M.

September 2, 2017

leica-mp-240-black-white-photograph-35mm-summilux
Leica cameras are for idiots.
There I said it.

Because most idiots are romantic.

We think the process is more important than the product.
And we’re willing to pay for that principle.
That’s it.
That’s all there is to Leica owners.
I don’t think there’s a special ‘Leica look’, or some super bokeh rendering, or some special coating or star dust on the cameras.

It’s a tool to remind us that photography used to be black and white.
It used to be about the decisive moments.
About old Paris. About thinking before pressing the shutter.
When we didn’t have 30 frames per second or dual card slot or 20 stops dynamic range so we had to rely on instinct, luck and real skills.

I blew most of my savings for a Leica M6 when I was ‘younger’.
When we were shooting film out of necessity.
It was so expensive, I could only afford one body and one lens.
And I shot that way for a very long time.
Because a 3 megapixel digital SLR then cost $5000.
Body only.
Oh the irony.

By the time I started to look for a digital camera, I chose the M9 as it was slightly cheaper than buying a new system for me.
Also, it was what I was used to.

It wasn’t until it suffered from memory card failure and water damage then I realized, ok, perhaps I need to inject some practicality into my business. Maybe I need something I can easily replace when shit happens.
Not only for myself; but for the clients.

Enter the DSLR.
The Canon 5D Mark 3 has since been my work horse.
But once in a while, for pre-wedding shoots, or when I just felt like it, I’ll rock the M out.

I’ve since received an M-E as an insurance replacement.
The M-E then had a corrosive sensor which Leica offered half price to upgrade to the M240.

Writing the last paragraph reminded me of an old man complaining about the upkeep of his mid-life crisis sports car and the appalling service.
You gave an arm to own it, and a leg to maintain it.

For pride. For nostalgia.
For a false sense of superiority.

And that doesn’t bind well with the internet.

See, everyone searching for (or giving) camera advice on the internet has two things in common:
1. They are highly involved in the purchase decision. They think the price of a camera should directly reflect its functions.
2. They have trouble accepting not everyone is like them.

So if you go online, all Leica owners are idiots.
We have no idea about photography. We only care about the red dot.
Just like film shooters, we’re simply a bunch of millennial hipsters (or baby boomers who caused the crash) who has too much bloody money to not care about the starving kids in Africa.
If we have X amount of money, we should have bought brand Y because Z camera has N more functions.

One is about ideal; the other, practicality.
As long as such conflict exists, Leica will always find its market.

Let me end this post with a question:

Have you ever spend your youth dreaming of someday owning a Fuji or Olympus?