Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/02/03

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Subject: [Leica] Leica-M philosophy? (long)
From: "Hans Pahlen" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 20:47:54 +0100

I just translated a Swedish text that I plan to use on my web page. As it is Leica-related, I thought I might as well share it on the LUG. I am not the author, but I like it, as I think it describes the M-camera quite well:

The Direct Look on the motive

When you look in the Leica finder, you will look straight through the camera. The M3 with a finder enlargement of almost 1x is the king in this respect. It is possible  to see the motives even with both eyes open. You will see a finder frame that  in a way "hangs in the air" around the motive. But the M3 has no frames for shorter lenses than 50 mm. The other M-models have less finder enlargement in order to make room for the 35 and 28 mm finder frames. This type of finder gives almost as good view as the M3. With some training, you can look with both eyes at least some times, to be in control of what is happening beside you. Most people will look through the finder with their right eye, and this has also 
 another advantage: -You will not be hiding your face behind a Leica.
It is no coincidence, that people often relax in front of a small and quiet Leica, that shows the photographer as another human being, compared to when they are photographed by a black AF-monster with whining motors and flash, and 
 a photographer with no face.

The Fast Reaction

The Leica has no mirror. The shutter will travel instantly, as you press the shutter. It is easier to photograph a movement in the exact moment with a Leica M, compared to using a SLR with a folding mirror.

The Silence

An ornithologist would maybe describe the shutter sound as a silent "pleck" for the short times, a gradually longer "pli-kleck" for times between 1/60 and 1/8 second and a low pitched "pli-buzz-kleck" for the longest shutter times. This is all you can hear, except for the photographer saying "Got it" and a low sound from the winding of film. The Leica is quiet. 
 The Leica does not beep.

The Finder Image

The finder in the Leica is very bright and has finder frames for different lenses. The finder has two special advantages:
1) It also shows the subjects beside the finder frame, so that you can see what is entering into you picture.
2) When you use flash, you will see in the finder how the light from the flash falls on your subject.

The Rangefinder
The rangefinder is exceptionally accurate. If the focus is set on a object at the distance of 1 meter, and then, you lean maybe one cm back or forward, the rangefinder will show your movement. No SLR camera will manage this with 
 a 50 mm or shorter lens.

How to Use the Leica
You will use your Leica as a combined photographic tool and something to enjoy.  In many situations (lots of movement, photographing people, low light, places where you must be quiet) the Leica is outstanding. The silence of the mechanism and that unique "I got that picture-feel" is great reward. And most important: -Leica pictures will often be very good!

The Price
The price for Leica equipment is often debated. Well, I say, if you feel that a M6 with a Summicron 35 or 50 would make your life richer, let it do it! You will always be able to give up something else. If you take care of your Leica, it will be just as nice 10 or 20 years later. And you have taken a lot of nice pictures during the time.