You don't begin with a Leica you hope someday to use one.
No. I bought a Leica brand new when I got out of high school (long before the Internet, all I knew about photography I had learned from, well, photographers.) I delivered newspapers, worked at a carwash, carried lumber, pitched hay. Black M4, 50 Summicron.
Paid for college, paid for 34 years of mortal existence. Finally, I couldn't take it out to shoot because collectors would harass me to buy it. I bought Treasuries with what I got for sending my baby to Tokyo to live under a bell jar.
No. Buy the Leica, use it, keep it for ever. Don't fart around.
I heartily recommend getting yourself a beater, the Leica equivalent of a 1968 rusted out pickup truck painted solid green with brush applied exterior house paint. One that has the vulcanite covering chipping off and some idiot's driver's license clumsily engraved right through the plating. I have an M2 like that; got the body for a MERE $400, it is great mechanically and NOBODY, but NOBODY ever tries to pry it off my body. I use it pretty much constantly, much more than anything else. I have a piece of rather nondescript brown salmon leather I'm going to cover it with, and believe me, it will never be polished! In fact, I just might dehance it with a grafitum.
Originally Posted by df cardwell
One reason Leica is so prevalent on this forum is that it tends to keep running longer than many other rf cameras. Because they are so costly, people tend not to part with them until they get hungry. I mean, just how many Yashica Minister users ARE there? How many Ansco Super Memars are still running? I probably have a dozen or so funky rf cameras I need to get rid of, but I'm going to hang on to my Leicas.
To better satisfy the Original Question, I also have a graflex XL. I use it. Actually, I have four of them but one of them doesn't have a rangefinder - the superwide - and I don't use one of the rf bodies because I can see that one of the plastic cam followers (the system's Achilles Heel) is showing signs of giving up.
This is pretty much my experience. I bought a new Leica in 1972, in my case an M2R because it was cheaper than the newfangled M4 that had the amazing innovation of a rewind crank instead of a knob, and have been using it ever since. I worked summers and while I was in school to buy it and don't regret a minute. I had it CLA'd a couple times and the thing just keeps working perfectly after I don't know how many rolls of film. I think it's finally broken in and feels like butter to use. I'll never part with it.
Originally Posted by df cardwell
Wonderful. There are a lot of really good old ones out there. As far as I'm concerned, the "SLR" which most people in the world (APUG is not in the world) seem to think means simply "good camera" (and also that there are no good cameras that aren't SLR's) ... let me start over. Sentence got out of hand. The "SLR" was a special purpose camera design that, through extremely aggressive and very clever strategic marketing became almost exclusively used by just about everyone. For its original purpose, which was for taking pictures of flowers and dead bugs, it still can't be beat! Well, I guess I have misused a few of those, too.
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
You sort of have a point, just!
I just checked the RF forum first page. Out of 17 threads, 10 are for Leica stuff.
However, as I walk around the traps in various parts or Australia and Germany, I do see the odd person or two using Leica rangefinder cameras, rarely do I see other RF cameras being used.
I see plenty of Mamiya TLR cameras which I find interesting, must get one one day.
I have an Olympus XA.
Nikon L35AF which I bought new in 1985.
Minoltina-P, beautiful little thing, sharp as a tack.
An underwater 35mm plastic thingy, brand new from Aldi for about $9.95 complete with it's own little underwater housing, works too!
Then there is my Razzle, which is a 4x5 sheet film rangefinder, made from a converted Polaroid camera.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
My current rangefinders (who knows, maybe a Leica someday?) are: Minolta Hi-matic 7s, Ricoh 300, and a Yashica Electro 35G (inherited from my father-in-law), Voigtlander Vitomatic IIa, and a Voigtlander Vitessa L. I almost bought a FED in good working order (including meter), but didn't know enough about them at the time and got "cold feet". I wish now that I had taken it.
The Minolta, the Vitomatic IIa, and the Yashica all have built in metering, the Ricoh and the Vitessa both require a hand-held meter. For hand-held metering I have a Minolta F Spotmeter and a Soligor Spotmeter. (I also have several other light-meters including a Weston-Master II and a Weston-Master V)
I tend to take only one reading (most important highlight or shadow), adjust the exposure to place the tonality vis a vis "middle gray" and shoot, letting the other tonalities fall as they may: it seems to work almost every time, for me. I have read a fair bit "on exposure"; currently, in a 1980 Kodak publication for the amateur photographer, and it is amazing how even "the experts" screw up on exposure (like advising people to take an incident meter reading and then to adjust the exposure up or down to allow for background!! Or, again, to meter TTL and then to adjust for the filter factor!?)
The battery for the Yashica is available though hard to find. The Vitomatic IIa has a Selenium cell (which is spot-on) and needs no battery. The meter on the Vitomatic will also read in incidental metering mode.
They all work well and are in very good aesthetic condition.
The Vitomatic IIa (which is rather quirky and endearing) is close to being my most favourite camera of all (I have probably more than a dozen in all in 35mm film, various kinds and ages) and I love the rendition of its "Color Skopar" lens.
Last edited by Galah; 02-10-2009 at 07:58 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I had a Vitessa-L with the 50/2 Ultron for a while. Fantastic lens.
Just got a Leica III, a Rollei S35, Olympus XA2 and a german Regula and even an Edixa 16 MB that uses 16mm film.
For the Leica I need a better lens, but the rest is in working order.
Like others, I have a number of rangefinders but only one Leica (IIIf). I used to have an M6, but it wasn't for me, so I sold it to a fellow who I'm sure put it to good use.
Most of my 35mm rangefinder gear is in Zeiss Ikon Contax followed by other Zeiss Ikon cameras (Contessa, Tenax II, Nettax, etc.), several Voigtlanders, a French Foca II Sport, a number of Retinas, a couple of Baldas, a Rollei XF35, an Olympus 35 RC and XA and others that don't come to mind.
If you think Leica gets discussed a lot here, try browsing rangefinderforum.com, where there is a steady diet of Leica discussions, often about useless topics.
I like Mamiya Press Universal for its rangefinder viewing and lens-shutter mechanism. Although it's a monster-sized camera, because of these characteristics, it is capable of handheld shooting, which is pretty nice sometimes...