Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/02/27

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Subject: [Leica] Apropos of nothing...but photography ;-)
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 16:46:48 -0500

Spotted the following in Bill Pierce's column in the latest Digital

The title of the column, btw, is "Do You Use A Hammer or A Saw?"

Blah...blah...blah...blah...(and many of you may be interested in the
blah...blah..blah... My favorite cameras are the tiny ones, range finder and
point-and-push cameras. I have said before that people still know when you
are photographing them with a Leica; it's just that they aren't constantly
reminded. And, I must say, I enjoy working with small cameras that neither
weigh me down nor bog me down. It gives me more pleasure to deal with the
subject rather than my camera.

There are obviously other advantages and some disadvantages. The
disadvantages first: you can't use long lenses and you can't work at very
close distances. Nor do you get that photo-like preview that you get in the
viewfinder of a SLR. The advantages: you get a bright, clear viewfinder
image in dim, low contrast available-light situations. You get accurate
focus of high-speed, wide-angle lenses in dim light. The viewfinder image
certainly does not preview the picture; everything is sharp even though your
using a F/1.4 lens; you can see outside of the frame that will be the final
photograph. And when it comes to news, it's often better to see what is
happening and be able to predict what will happen than to use composition,
framing and selective focus to make an interesting picture. In that sense,
the range finder takes pictures and the SLR makes pictures.

Of course, you give up some of the advantages of the range finder camera
when you move to the point-and-push. Exposure automation is rarely as
advanced as it is in many larger cameras; autofocus is fooled more often.
Lenses aren't fast or interchangeable. And the a viewfinder image can be
horrible compared to that of "pro" cameras. I don't care; I just point and
push. I rarely look through the finder. When I do, the assumption is I am
just a silly tourist that no one should pay attention to. I can shoot a half
dozen frames of someone who is three feet away and never be looked at. I
feel like Erich Salomon whose Ermanox was no larger than some of today's
35-mm SLRs. Because he wasn't using a big camera, a tripod and flash powder
(and because he was duplicitous and sneaky) he was able to photograph where
photographers are not welcome.

Bill Pierce
Contributing Writer

The entire column is at

And check out the entire issue...great feature on Sam Abell, and the new
book, Sam Abell: The Photographic Life.

B. D.

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