Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1992/08/17

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Subject: usage report: Leica mini
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 92 08:50:56 PDT

I'm on vacation in Maine right now, dialed in to my home computer. My
mother just bought a Leica Mini, which is their little autofocus
point-and-shoot camera. I've just finished pushing 4 rolls of Ektar
through it, and had them developed; I'm ready to comment.

Probably this camera has been reviewed to death, but I don't read any
of the magazines in which it might have been reviewed.

My prejudices: I normally use a Leica IIIf, a Leica CL with Minolta
lenses, or a Speed Graphic. I have used Canon and Nikon autofocus
cameras extensively, as my children and wife have various of them.

The image quality of the Leica Mini was incredible. It's every bit as
good as the Ektar lens for my IIIf; possibly even better. It's so much
better than even the top-of-the-line Canon and Nikon point-and-shoot
autofocus cameras that it took my breath away.

Why didn't I rush out and buy one?

* I found the handling very clumsy. I kept pushing the "self timer"
  button by accident. I never managed to learn and assimilate the delay
  between pushing the shutter release and having something happen.

* There is no lens cap, and no provision for one. This is the real reason
  I didn't buy one. Every other point-and-shoot I have ever used has some
  form of lens cover, either automatic or manual. The Leica Mini has that
  gorgeous lens just sitting there waiting to be ruined by something
  jostling against it.

* I couldn't get used to the 35mm focal length of the lens. As I said in
  a message I sent earlier today, I do most of my photography with a 
  90mm. For me, the primary reason to use a point-and-shoot is to take
  pictures of people; the 35mm lens is for landscapes and large groups.

* Its DX coding mechanism can't cope with Ektar 25. ASA 50 is as low as
  it goes, and when it gets a roll whose DX coding it doesn't
  understand, it sets to ASA 100.

But the optical quality is to die for. My mother now has the most
amazing pictures of me and my family on vacation...