Is There Life After Leica?
Old 05-16-2015   #1
Pioneer
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Is There Life After Leica?

I asked this question on APUG earlier but it is as much digital as it is analogue.

Ninety percent of my recent photography has been shared between my very nice Leica M-A and my Rollei Automat. I don't see myself ever selling my Leica cameras, but there seem to be such polarizing attitudes toward Leica cameras that I became curious as to whether there are those who have sold their Leica equipment and how they felt about it.

How many of you have moved away from Leica? What caused your move and are you happy with your choice?
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Old 05-16-2015   #2
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Old 05-16-2015   #3
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Well I tried, twice actually... each time I ended up either buying my camera back or getting another one elsewhere. Leica is essential for my shooting now... there won't be no life after leica...
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Old 05-16-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
I asked this question on APUG earlier but it is as much digital as it is analogue.

Ninety percent of my recent photography has been shared between my very nice Leica M-A and my Rollei Automat. I don't see myself ever selling my Leica cameras, but there seem to be such polarizing attitudes toward Leica cameras that I became curious as to whether there are those who have sold their Leica equipment and how they felt about it.

How many of you have moved away from Leica? What caused your move and are you happy with your choice?
Verily I tell you that there is life after Leica. It is called Leica.
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Old 05-16-2015   #5
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I've had (photographic) life before Leica (Olympus OM gear; Oly P&S cameras then Canon SLR and DSLR gear); life with and without Leica (Konica Hexar RF with both Konica and Leica lenses: I bought an M3 and kept the Hexars as well - and my Canon SLRs); and now life with and without Leica - my main cameras now are an M type 240, a Canon 5D and a Fujifilm X Pro-1, along with various variations of film cameras (but mostly my M3 or Hexar RFs).

I could live without Leica, or even without Leica-derived cameras, but I most certainly wouldn't want to. As it happens, my two most used camera/lens combinations are an M240 with Konica UC Hex 35 and a 7DmkII with 100-400MkII - you couldn't get further apart in photographic sensibility, but 25% of it is still Leica and I'd vote the UC Hex adds at least 20% but more 25% (though no doubt self-appointed purists won't agree that's so).

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Old 05-16-2015   #6
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I tried once. Sold my very first M2 because I couldn't quite get used to using an M. I accidentally won a barnack on ebay and I fell in love with it. I have an M3 which i use ocassionally but my barnacks are my mainstay
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Old 05-16-2015   #7
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One day I finally realized my keeper rate per roll is constantly higher with a SLR than with a RF. Those days I felt like I had too much gear anyway so to save the higher keeper rate I sold my Leica and other RF gear. Afterwards my Flickr view rates and number of Explores increased substantially. I think I made a good decision. Even some of my shooting buddies told me my photos became better. I'm not saying I took systematically worse photos with RF cameras but I'm sure using different types of cameras distracts my concentration. Would I like to buy another Leica some day? The gear hoarder in me says definitely yes but the photographer in me says no.
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Old 05-16-2015   #8
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Over the last 50 years I've used a lot of different cameras, in different formats. I've also owned Barracks, M2's, M3's, the M4, M5 and M6. I liked rangefinders; but, I could never get comfortable with Leicas. The M's are beautiful, well built cameras. But, they are heavy and were never comfortable to hold without adding a grip of some kind. The Barnacks are the right size; but, hate the squinty finders. So when the Bessa R came out, I bought one of them, and really liked the camera. Ended up shooting a lot with the R, and the Bessa R2A. Both are lighter than Leica M's and more comfortable for me to hold.

I don't shoot much film anymore, so I shoot Panasonic mirrorless cameras when I want something small; EOS FF cameras for video. So, yeah, there is life after Leica. Not because they aren't great cameras, but only because the ergonomics just didn't work for me.
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Old 05-17-2015   #9
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There will be significant technical improvements that will support my current photographics needs and make the M mount rangefinder obsolete for me from a technical point of view. In the meantime, I still consider the Leica M8 the best camera I have tried and would like to get the new Monochrom.
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Old 05-17-2015   #10
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After Two m6's, an m8 and an m2 I bought a bessa r3a and it did just as well. Saved my money and bought glass. Now I'm shooting an a7 with M glass and I'm happy. I'll pick up another bessa soon enough.
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Old 05-17-2015   #11
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If you're a zombie, probably...

For me, the answer is "dunno". I've not been without a Leica since I was 19 (still have it) or an M since I was about 24.

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Old 05-17-2015   #12
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M2 since I was 17. Leica II since I was 53... I wouldn't like to arrive in a post Leica era, but I am sure I'd cope. Got the Automat just in case.
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Old 05-17-2015   #13
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I recently considered selling my M6. I sold my M2 a few years ago. I decided to keep the M6 for the meantime, because it's small and easy to carry. However, I prefer the ergonomics of the Mamiya 7 (I find it easier to use, with a nicer finder), and in general I like precise framing, especially on 35mm and so prefer SLRs.

Leicas are great cameras, but after having owned this one for about 8 years the original wow-factor has worn off. It's a great tool for particular uses, but other cameras are better for different things.
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Old 05-17-2015   #14
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Leica? The thrill is gone. And so is all the gear.

I moved away from small format for quality reasons. Just couldn't get my images to look how I wanted and it must have been me, since others were doing perfectly fine. All I kept was my Hexar, which was a gift from a stranger and selling it would be bad luck!

A year and a half ago I started working as a photographer, writer, videographer. the proceeds of my sales were invested in digital Nikon, since digital Leica would have been too expensive and too risky for a business. Corroding sensors etc, I needed something more reliable.

For my uncommissioned work I went the Medium Format way and am enjoying that a lot.

Recently I picked up a Leica III syn because it was really cheap, but sold it for a profit after 5 weeks.

The thrill is gone forgood I suppose and I'm okay with that.
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Old 05-17-2015   #15
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I sold my much loved M2 about 6 month ago - things were just a little tight at the time, and it was a quick/easy sell. Am using Pentax SLRs now, and slowly readjusting to the 'SLR way' of seeing things after using RFs almost exclusively for about 5 years. I know a lot of photographers who interchange so easily between their SLRs and RFs, but for me it's like a new medium. I miss my M2 very much to be totally honest.

There's no Leica 'myth' I aspire to. After using Voigtlander, Contax G and Zeiss rangefinders, I just arrived at Leica because of its reliability and serviceability (the fact that I could make minor repairs and adjustments meant a lot). Sure, I won't deny there's a bit of the enigmatic stuff I 'feel' too, but essentially Leica is just the obvious long-term choice for rangefinders.

Will I keep Leica in business? Probably not. Sure, I'd but a Monochrome in a heartbeat should the funds be available but in my future, there lies another M2 and that's probably it. IMO - it's a RF - SLR thing. Two very different tools.
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Old 05-17-2015   #16
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I moved away, and regretted it almost immediately.

After switching from my first camera, a Canon dSLR (400D), I use an M6 for a year and a half before selling it, as I was just starting my full time job and didn't have the time for development and scanning. I replaced it with a Fuji x100.

As much as I tried, I failed to get on with it. I knew I couldn't afford the time for film again, so plotted my way to getting the Monochrom soon after it came out. It took me a while to get used to the sensor, and not over exposing. But now that I am there, I feel the confidence I did while shooting the M6 again.
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Old 05-17-2015   #17
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Certainly! Though I will probably always have something from Leica, I have been quietly selling them all off. I am now down to one body and two lenses, specifically an M7, 35/2v4, and 50/2v5 kit. That is all I (ever) really needed anyway. To reduce further ($), I might make one more move and swap for a black/nickel IId, 35/3.5, and 50/3.5 kit. I ventured into the digital M world, but left. Though close to returning a few times, that itch seems to have been scratched.
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Old 05-17-2015   #18
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I had a life before Leica and quite a few years with Leica. I've owned and used 3 film M's and 2 digital M's. A few Barnacks here and there. All except my trusty M4 which I took to Iraq have I sold and think nothing of the sale.
Why?
I needed to get a system that was more reliable for paid work and the M8/M9 combo I had just wasn't cutting it.
Now, in 35mm, I'm back to Nikon, like I was before getting into Leica and I'm very happy with my cameras as well as the results.
In addition to there being life after Leica, there is a lot less GAS here too.

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Old 05-17-2015   #19
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I have a couple of bodies and half a dozen lenses.
I wouldn`t want to sell any of them .
For most of my day to day photography (sports) the Rf is limiting and ,once again, I`m looking towards buying a DSLR.

So ..yes there is life after Leica but I intend to hold on to them and use them as and when I can.
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Old 05-17-2015   #20
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For the most part I shoot film for my personal photography and I also shoot a lot of landscape.

While I do own several Leica cameras and often shoot them just for fun while hiking, nothing "serious" I ever shoot is with them.

Quite simply, the Leica and 35mm in general is just a poor medium for specifically landscape photography. The genre that most people gravitate towards it seems for shooting a Leica is street, which I don't do much because I live in a small town that simply has no opportunities for shooting those kinds of images.

Lately I made some really great work though in more of a photojournalism style - but then I used an F2 and Pentax 67.

Either way if I were to decide on just ONE 35mm camera/system, it would be my Nikon SP rangefinder anyway. My first Leica was actually an M9 which I got as an additional digital camera for commercial work. Then the M6 showed up as a way to shoot a "metered" film rangefinder. The only actual Leica lens I own is an old 50mm Elmar.
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Old 05-17-2015   #21
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Leica is like a Detroit Street Gang, once you get in, the only way out is in a pine box.

Ive used other cameras, sure.
Ive loved other cameras, fine.

But Leica, I never get bored with, always something new to find, or rare piece to hunt for.
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Old 05-17-2015   #22
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For me, yes. I came into a Leica late, at 60, and bought it as a retirement present to myself. Part of the reason was the mythology surrounding the classic Leica M. I thought I would really enjoy having a precision, interchangeable lens RF. But a funny thing happened on the way to the party....

I found I'm just not an RF guy!

I was really happy with my reflex cameras. I really like TTL viewing and focusing. I also sat the M4-2 and OM-1 down on the table back to back and size wise, there is not much difference. So......

I recently sold 2 of the 3 lenses I had for the M and now have just the body and a CV 35 f2.5 I cannot sell the body and lens because the 'm' flashbulb sync socket is missing due to a cracked plastic mounting. Although this does not impact function (unless you use flashbulbs, does anyone use flashbulbs with his Leica M?), it lowers the value of the camera too much to sell, so I guess I'll just keep it and use it occasionally. That CV lens is a contrasty little beast, good resolution too.
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Old 05-17-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
I asked this question on APUG earlier but it is as much digital as it is analogue.

Ninety percent of my recent photography has been shared between my very nice Leica M-A and my Rollei Automat. I don't see myself every selling my Leica cameras, but there seem to be such polarizing attitudes toward Leica cameras that I became curious as to whether there are those who have sold their Leica equipment and how they felt about it.

How many of you have moved away from Leica? What caused your move and are you happy with your choice?
In 2002, I knew I had to move up-format and sideways into digital capture work, and at that time it was as yet unknown whether a digital Leica M could ever be feasible. So I traded my stock of Leica M gear for a Hasselblad 903SWC and a Canon 10D kit. Did not regret it, although of course both of those cameras were only with me a few years given the tumultuous changes and rapid advance of digital equipment.

Nine years later, the M8 and M9 had come into being. I'd also run my photo business and decided I could make a better living in other ways, so the pressure to be on top of the digital equipment had dropped away. I didn't know whether I wanted to get back in, but the Ricoh GXR "Camera Mount" unit had been announced and I figured I'd put my toe back in the water. I bought a set of Voigtländer M-mount lenses. Doing that returned me—I bought an M4-2 body a little later, a CL after that, and an M9 in 2012. I've been slowly adding to my Leica gear since and reducing my other gear—and now Leica the basis of my main kit again, with M-P typ 240, X, a nice small kit of lenses, and an MM246 on the way.

I even re-acquired a Hasselblad SWC in 2013 as well. ;-)

G
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Old 05-17-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
How many of you have moved away from Leica? What caused your move and are you happy with your choice?
I've moved away from the M and now user mirrorless / DSLRs. These fit my photography better (better tool for me), but the M will always have the best emotional appeal in my opinion. Once in awhile I think of buying one again, but I know I won't use it enough to warrant it.
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Old 05-17-2015   #25
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Have owned Leicas and various SLR's (mostly Nikon) since 1974. I have sold the M's numerous times but I keep coming back to them. I still have not decided if I prefer digital or film but I now have two 1959 M2's (one is mint and just purchased from Sherry).

I actually now find that the rangefinder viewing on the M's is my preferred world view. Have a Nikon F and R6.2 for when I need SLR capability.

So, I could see myself selling everything but one M2 with a 35 and perhaps a 90 and an incident meter.
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Old 05-17-2015   #26
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The reason I still use Leicas is because I never used them exclusively. Always had other kinds of cameras as well. I've got hammers, pliers, screwdrivers and wrenches in my toolkit. Never seemed sensible to have only one tool in my camera kit either.
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Old 05-17-2015   #27
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I had to decide whether or not to get further into Leica by moving to an M camera -- and have decided against it.

I bought a IIIf and that camera is still a romance--I love it; I will never sell it; but it is limited and I wanted to try a M. When I finally got my hands on a M6, I was impressed by the quality, but there was no love: it felt big and heavy in my hands. The costs of the cameras and the lenses are also uncomfortable: I am not serious enough to warrant that kind of outlay.

I changed course and just recently got a Voigtlander Bessa-R for $200 teamed with a pair of Voigtlander 35mm lenses. I also have a Bessa-T as well as the IIIf. I have six screw mount lenses (only one is a Leica).

I am not going further into 35mm film. And so I guess I will never have a 'proper' Leica. I could see moving into medium frame, however - at some point.
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Old 05-17-2015   #28
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Sold all my stuff a few years ago and used an X100 for a while, mostly because I was spending more time making music and needed some recording equipment. But I bought an M6 last week. I missed Leica a lot. Ms are fun and feel better to use than other cameras, for me anyway. Would like to get back into Leica digital too, if some money comes my way. But for now, film.
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Is there life after Leica?
Old 05-17-2015   #29
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Is there life after Leica?

Existence, yes. Life, no ;-)

Do miss my M2 a lot. Will get one again, eventually. At the same time I realize and appreciate that my Oly OM-1 is "better" in some instances than the rangefinder. Still, miss the M2.

Greetings, Ljós
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Old 05-17-2015   #30
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Old 05-17-2015   #31
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Sure.

I had an M4 and a few M/ltm lenses a few years ago. I didn't really bond with the RF focusing and its size/handling. Despite wanting to like it a lot, it just wasn't for me. I liked looking at it but couldn't stand >$1500 invested in gear that I didn't prefer using. I then acquired an OM2n with a 50 & 28 and it's been great so far. Love it's handling and the giant VF. Best of all, it cost me <$200 and I don't think I have seen any deterioration in the quality of my photographs. It's built is very solid and I haven't had any issues in 4+ years of using it. Sold the M4 and lenses and I am enjoying it.
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Old 05-17-2015   #32
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Sold my M7 because I found I really didn't like composing and focusing through a rangefinder. Shortly thereafter, bought another, because the call to use those great lenses was so strong. So that M7, for the same reasons. Frustration over seeing 'extraneous stuff' I. The vf, and not being able to focus on moving stuff or off-center.

Bought an Ikon thereafter. Still - those lenses and the legacies of rf photogs in history brought me back. But, again, that was not a long experiment. Sold the ikon about six years ago, and I've been happy to not rely on rangefinders ever since.

It helped that Leica switched to being a digital company and my interest in Leica/35mm rangefinders was always about a 'classic' FILM rendering. I have no interest in paying 8 grand for a digital body that isn't 'medium format.'

I like SLRs.

And still, whenever i see a picture of an M4 or an MP, either pristine or beautifully worn, I get the pangs again. But I'm more interested in the beauty of the camera design than in actually looking through one.
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Old 05-17-2015   #33
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Yeah, but it wasn't the digital thing that did it in for me. I loved my Ms for many year but then I held a a Nikon S2. It's not that I don't love the M series, it's that I REALLY love the way a nikon blends into my hands.

It's still a thrill holding an M, but it's a MUCH BIGGER THRILL to hold a Nikon RF.

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Old 05-17-2015   #34
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Quote:
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Sure.

I had an M4 and a few M/ltm lenses a few years ago. I didn't really bond with the RF focusing and its size/handling. Despite wanting to like it a lot, it just wasn't for me. I liked looking at it but couldn't stand >$1500 invested in gear that I didn't prefer using. I then acquired an OM2n with a 50 & 28 and it's been great so far. Love it's handling and the giant VF. Best of all, it cost me <$200 and I don't think I have seen any deterioration in the quality of my photographs. It's built is very solid and I haven't had any issues in 4+ years of using it. Sold the M4 and lenses and I am enjoying it.
Can relate to that. In my case it was a Pentax MX kit that did the last little Leica III-syn in: even smaller than an Olympus, 3 lenses and under EUR 100.
Recently I even sold the MX kit to fund an old Telle Rolleiflex.
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Old 05-17-2015   #35
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Sold all my Leica stuff and moved on. Quite a lot of gear.
Believe it or not, I prefer the Minolta SRT system (my first good SLR).
I've used just about everything at one point or another, I'm comfortable.
The glass is fantastic. No wonder they hooked up with Leitz.
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Old 05-17-2015   #36
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Did anyone have a life before Leica?
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Old 05-17-2015   #37
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Why would I ever sell my Leica?

The thing is cheap, doesn't eat much, and needs just a little exercise so upkeep is no big deal. I reckon I will keep it.

I guess I can't answer the question.
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Old 05-17-2015   #38
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I sold my Leica gear a few years ago. Bought a Nikon d800, which produced fantastic images, but no fun in shooting it. I'd consider one again if I was relying on a camera for a livelihood. As that wasn't the case, I sold it for an X-E1, which I haven't bonded with. It has the potential to be a great camera, but the images I get from it require too much post for me to love it.

I recently bought an M6 which is just gorgeous, and I'll be starting with a 35mm Biogon, then adding the 50mm Summicron, to get back to where I was before I sold things off. As I don't have as much time as I used to, I'll pay to get the images scanned and try to make each image count.
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Old 05-17-2015   #39
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Early in life, I used an Argus C3 rangefinder and a Leica M1 on a microscope. I never used a Leica rangefinder (the M1 was not a rangefinder). I still use Argus C3 rangefinders and I also use Canon, Minolta, and Fuji rangefinders.

For some time, I wanted a Leica MP (the 1956 or 2003 version) with a fast 35mm and a fast 90mm; however, I was never able to justify the expense. Instead, I met my need with a Nikon F2, a Nikon 35mm f/1.4, and a Nikon 85mm f/1.8.

I had hoped that Leica would produce a dependable digital rangefinder for a reasonable price but was disappointed with the offerings. Instead, I purchased a Fuji X-Pro1 with fast 23mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses.

https://flic.kr/p/8XWPLh
https://flic.kr/p/r24W1V
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Argus C3 50 sml.jpg (51.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg X-Pro1 g sml.jpg (29.0 KB, 9 views)
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Old 05-17-2015   #40
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Age: 65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
Did anyone have a life before Leica?
Somebody will have to try that one next Bob.
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You gotta love a fast lens;

It is almost as good as a fast horse!
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