Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/02

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Subject: [Leica] My Leica in Italy - great trip and wonderful people
From: Andrew Morang <>
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000 21:44:36 -0500

Saved by the Leica

Dear LUG readers,

I recently visited Calabria, in southern Italy, with two coworkers to 
conduct a coastal field trip.  We examined breakwaters, harbors, sediments, 
and beach conditions.  We took a video camera, a digital camera, and an old 
Olympus OM2S with two lenses.  Well, the Olympus was not working, and it 
looked like the previous user splashed it with seawater.  Fortunately, at 
the last minute, I had packed my own Leica M3 with a 50 mm Summicron and a 
20 mm Russar lens, so I ended up using the M3 for most of my traditional 
(non-digital) photography.  I exposed many rolls of Kodachrome 25, and the 
results were fabulous.  The 20 mm lens proved to be very useful for 
recording the big picture at some of the sites.  My coworkers are amused 
that I take  mechanical, 40-year-old cameras with me, but, as this trip 
demonstrated, the Leicas always work.

The province of Cosenza rented a helicopter for us, and I'd like to share a 
useful technique I learned (old-timers, please be patient if you already 
know this).  The windows were somewhat scratched and cloudy.  The pilot 
sprayed them liberally with spray furniture polish, similar to our Lemon 
Pledge.  Then, with some clean towels, I buffed them thoroughly, and the 
results were fantastic.  The scratches were completely gone and the 
plexiglas was as clear as real glass.  The wax must fill the hairline 
scratches and have an index of refraction similar to that of the plastic 
material (analogous to the old photographer's trick of using nose or 
forehead oil on scratched negatives).  Well, from now on, whenever I 
anticipate renting a Cessna or other small aircraft, I'll bring along a can 
of spray wax.

The M3 works for aerial photography, but changing film is a bit cumbersome, 
especially if you drop the bottom into the carpet or seats.  I had my type 
4 Summicron with me, but I wish I had my older rigid model with the 
infinity lock.  Anyway, a spot of masking tape achieved the same result. 
 By this time, I fixed the Olympus body by cleaning the contacts and 
installing new batteries.  The remaining lens that had not been 
salt-damaged was the 35 mm f/2.8 shift lens.  It is not intended for aerial 
work, but its optical performance is superb.  If any of you LUG readers are 
Olympus users, I recommend this 35 f/2.8 shift lens highly.  I'd say it's 
performance is almost up to 35 Summicron standards.  If you can find a used 
one, it would be worth having an old OM body just to be able to use this 

Our Italian hosts were wonderfully gracious and friendly.  The food was 
great, the scenery delightful, the ladies pretty.  What more could one want 
in life? (except to stay longer).