Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/12/20

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Subject: [Leica] Coming to grips w/ the grips (Leica 101)...
From: richard torsleff <>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 12:08:22 +0100


After just getting my first M6, I notice I may have to modify some 25 year
old shooting habits, which doesn't come easy. I may just as well ask you
experienced long-time users, before adopting some bad techniques!

One basic (but very important) concern is the need to modify my camera hand
grip, actually both ways. Don't laugh, but this is a bit different than a
SLR at first. With my Nikon FE I have always held the camera cradle-like,
with the body resting on the palm of my hand and with 3 fingers doing the
focusing from the underside while providing stability to the lens. This has
proven very fast and stable, with the mirror disengaged in lowlight
conditions (w/ slight selftimer) I usually get 1/4 or sometimes longer with
proper breathing. My only gripe throughout the years have been the
momentary finder black-out (while selftiming) of this technique, i.e. never
really capturing the moment. Finally I figured that a Leica would be the
solution: great low-light optics, a shutter curtain with very little
vibration and a finder that allows exact focusing while never blackening
out. To fully take benifit of my new camera however, I need to learn how to
properly hold it for maximum stability/fast focusing action. I still
experiment, so I am open to suggestions before I settle on my handheld

a) horisontal:

With my smallish Leica 35/2 Summicron lens on, there is little room for 3
fingers gripping the lens. Instead I find myself holding the focusing tab
just between my thumb and the index finger, but that means stability seems
a little less provided, actually more wobbly than with my nikon. Any other
suggestion? What to do with the tab...?

b) vertical:

I have always used a "bottom" grip, ie with my right hand pressing the
shutter at the bottom and my elbows tucked into my ribs for maximum
stability/compactness. With the M6, I sometimes find that my "leftover"
fingers, when not fitting around the lens tend to obscure the rangefinder
in this position, giving me focusing problems. Anyone experienced this? Do
I have to relearn the "top" stance? It would considerably slow me down for
a while.

Perhaps a larger non-tabbed lens would be easier, or if I chopped off a
finger or two?

Richard (and yes: large hands)

Ellips Arkitekter AB
Stadsgarden 17
T: +46-8-702 9919
F: +46-8-702 2233

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