I am known as ''dee'' to my friends, and have, following a long absense, returned to the rangefinder fold.
Computers are relatively new to me, so I struggle with it all.
But maybe I am here under false pretences....I am not much of a ''photographer'', but have been told that I have a designer's ''eye'' for composition.
By chance, I found an article in Amateur Photographer about Zorki cameras, which sparked a sense of recognition...I had had a Z4 back in the 70s but Minolta SLRs tended to eclipse it !
I have a mild, but extremely disruptive autistic spectrum ''glitch'' which makes ''recognition of / connection to '' ANYTHING / ANYONE really difficult...It's all ever distant, out of phase, unreal... like being a kid in a confusing adult world.
I approached London Leica dealers with some apprehension, but was received with enthusiasm and understanding, both by Camera Centre at Croydon, and by R.G.Lewis in London , [ apparently the owner ,Len,recognised me from ''hiding'' behind the seat on the train in the mornings, and has looked out for me since, keeping old cases for me to restore. ] He introduced to both a Zorki 1 and several Leicas., some of which, cosmetically challenged cameras, I found were now within reach of '' kids'' like me...
This was a revelation to me....for the first time my eyes and hands seemed to create, together, a sense of the cameras, a familiarity, reality. It must sound ridiculous, but it's difficult to describe how this just does not happen for me.
Co-incidentally, I received a small legacy, and over three months , aquired, initially, three black, ''ex-zorki ''Leicas, with I 22 ''Elmars'', from the Ukraine, then two Leica IIIC bodies, then a IIIf., with Summar, and IIIc with Elmar.
Most recently, I then found two lovely black 1932/3 Leica II s with nickel Elmars.
My ''dee's-lexia'' has problems with Russian alphabets, so the Leica badged cameras are ''safer'', less disruptive, just as ''FED'' despite the distortion, is easier than ''Zorki/Industar'' . But initially, I really wanted a black Leica II, and never in my wildest dreams was this likely to happen...now they complement my II s.
I have difficulty with rare holidays, the unfamiliarity, and everything overwhelming me, but two Leicas, and especially my ZS carried me through, and I rediscoverd the joy of ''magic slide shows''.
I need to be grounded in a what to me is a chaotic ''grown up'' world, and even just surrounding me, or knowing my LII or ZS is near, calms me.
So, I have my new delicate/compact leicas, real, and , shall we say tribute ? , as therapy, rather than as a ''photographer'', but they capture the world as I ''remember it'' from those stereo viewers that I still love today, a softness, pictorial quality, that is missing in modern lenses.
Despite the 60% success rate of my first efforts learning a new way of taking pictures, and a Leca body in desperate need of servicing blacking out half of many frames, the Leicas seem to allow me to ''focus'' and '' separate'' elements of the confusion which i never found with my SLRs.
Even if the photos don't ''come out'', the snapshots are clear in my head...and now, I am beginning to see as if i had my Leica and 50 mm lense ''in my head''
It has also returned to me the memories of the exposure tables that I started with in the early 60s, though, I can easily recognise 100 asa, 200/400 are more difficult.
I love learning about the various Russsian derivatives of the original Leica copy, especially the Fed @ and 3.
In some respects, these cameras, reputedly for the home market, are more attractive and advanced than the exported Zorki models, though I would not give up my transformed chrome and black, ''Olympic'' ZS, courtesy of mika @ moscowphoto for any other Russian camera!
What is good for me, is that I can afford, now and then, to add another Russian camera or lense to complement my new ''friends'', and Prakticas may find themselves subjected to e-bay to further the Fed cause !
My other cameras are several of those Prakticas, + Chinon SLRs with Prinzflex versions,[ revisiting my 1st SLR ] and several Minoltas aquired over 30 very odd years, my favourites being the compact SRIs and SR7v with 45/f2....no TTL there !
So, rooted into SLRs - until the little cameras came along.
I would just like to keep in touch with all your discussions and learn a little from them, even maybe add a bit sometimes.
By the way, autistics seldom know when to stop...but I guess you have all realised that already!