Are M's still low profile?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by sanford, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. When you are walking around with an M9, do you still see it as a low profile, inconspicuous, unnoticed camera no one gives a second look to?
  2. It has to be at least as "low profile, inconspicuous, [and] unnoticed" as a Rolex watch or Louis Vuitton purse. :)
    Which means that probably only those who "know" will notice. Unfortunately, that category includes more than other owners/enthusiasts.
  3. If you mean "low profile" from a social context, no. If you mean it from a physical context, I expect so. I did my last vacation with my M9 and it went mostly unnoticed/unacknowledged. People who did comment on it thought it was an old film camera -- no surprise there.
  4. Sanford,
    You just cover it up with a lot of gaffer tape so the #$@*&% grey paint won't all rub off in a month, and grow older than 60, and you are both invisible. Yes they think it is a film camera, and no, they are not interested :)
  5. I haven't got an M9, but when I've carried other M's, people just thought it was an old and old fashioned camera. If they asked about it, they asked if it was an antique.
  6. I don't have a M9 but do own a a black MP. Nobody ever looks at the camera or makes any comments about it, unless it's by another Leica owner (rare).
  7. If ten people see my film M, six ignore it (and me), three sneer, and the one who understands begins to sing and dance.
  8. SCL


    If it has shiny gee-haws attached to it, somebody might notice, otherwise, in most people's eyes, it is just another of those silly old fashioned cameras, not bulging with the muscles and humongous zoom lenses most current DSLRs have on display.
  9. It's no big deal. I have a black M8.2 with the brass showing through. Everybody, including other photographers, think it's an old film camera as is said above. Young people think it's 'cool'. I have had people comment in San Francisco and Paris and that's about it. Large metro area have a lot more people so chances are somebody will know what it is. Back in 90's I was photographing around Jim Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I had a black M6 with a 21. One person called me out. I kind of freaked a bit. Then I saw that she had a Leica, too. We laughed about it. I've never had anybody say anything about it in New York City. Most people see me and think "funny old camera and funny old man". If I'm in a tourist area (Dealey Plaza, Dallas, a couple of weeks ago) I just go for it and put the camera around my neck and play tourist. Others are taking pictures so no one pays any attention.
  10. An M9 is not "low profile." Leicaphiles may fancy themselves more knowledgeable and refined than the unwashed masses, but there will be plenty of people who recognize the camera and understand how expensive it is. This is especially true if you are in a big city.
  11. I carry my Leica everywhere, all the time. Nobody ever says anything. At some point my M8.2 needed a repair. I carried a Canon 7D with a 24mm f1.4 lens. When I went to the grocery three people commented on the camera. It was worn on my shoulder, lens facing IN. Having been in that same grocery I could only conclude the Canon DSLR was conspicuous but that the M8.2 was less so. A black M with a black lens worn on the shoulder is not conspicuous, SMC. In a big city if you're on the street and worried wrap the neckstrap 2-3 times around your wrist and carry the camera in your hand. People can't tell what you're carrying and actually avoid you because they don't know what it is. Good luck with your photography.
  12. Most people think the M is an old camera. Some will ask what kind of digital camera my M2 is. The people who are into photography will
    stop and talk about their Leica M. My wife is always amazed at the "Leica fraternity" that we encounter while traveling. Absolute strangers
    coming up and talking about the Leica M.
  13. Exactly: Not low profile to those who know. In street photography the least low profile camera is the cell phone, notorious
    for up skirt sneak shots. Like a Rollex watch a Leica M9 commands a certain respect. For candid street photography a
    film Leica gives the lowest profile. You come of as some old fut who does not own a computer and thinks the Web is
    made by spiders.
  14. Wrap that bad-boy up in a dozen or two Hello Kitty stickers and you'll be good to go...
  15. No one has ever asked me about my Fuji XPro-1 when I walk around. Guess the XPro-1 is lower profile than my M!

  16. If I am in a busy tourist area I might be spotted by one or two people out of a thousand. I am typically approached by these people and quick but knowing conversations ensue. Few are fellow owners but are people that either pine for a Leica, or remember their father/grandfather loving his M, or just want to talk film. A lot of these folks are young art school grads.

    My M6 is far less conspicuous than my IIIc which draws all kinds of attention that, ironically, I can spin towards getting a portrait because it is quaint and old. People *want* to be photographed by it.

    My Mamiya7ii got me into a fracas at a fast-food restaurant for, it was assumed, I was taking photos of two virtually half naked teen girls. I was so humiliated. I had been testing the spot meter for Sunny Sixteen, deliberately pointing the lens AWAY from people so as to not make anyone uncomfortable. It's hot as hell in Texas at midday in midsummer so I found a safe, air conditioned spot looking out onto a bright parking lot. I metered off a trashcan outside, the bough of a tree, the mortar near the roof line, but never near people. The lens cap was on and there was no film in the camera. I pointed out to the manager that had I been photographing the teen accusers then they most certainly would have seen the lens cap! I also opened the camera to show that I couldn't possibly have photographed them because the camera was empty. Not to mention, who takes creep pictures with a camera the size of a Volkswagen Beetle??? I was so humiliated and bullied by the accusations that I just left.

    I do have thicker skin but this unexpectedly hit a sore spot: I had been deliberately considerate, minding my business and enjoying my lunch, only to be accused of being some kind of creep because I was holding a camera.
  17. That's dreadful, Jim. You sound a bit hunted.
    I hope it doesn't put you off taking the kind of pics that you want to take.
    I have been discouraged in the past by members of my own family who decided I was out to denigrate them with a photograph, when the intention was the opposite.
  18. I live in south Puget Sound, Washington, and in the last three or four years I've only seen one person with an M9, mounting a .95 Noct. A gentelman in his forties in an outlet mall of all places. Lots of people milling about but no one noticed him or the camera. It was slung over his shoulder. He looked like I felt, bored to tears waiting for the wife to finish shopping.
    I did nudge the missus and pointed him out. "That's 16 grand hanging on his shoulder" I wispered to her, the implication being of course, 'aren't you glad my whole M4-2 outfit was only 1/10 that price'. She looked at me and just rolled her eyes. (In fact, we bought a one year old Camery LE for the same price of the M9+lens hanging off his shoulder.)
  19. Two cameras that got my attention today.
  20. The most attention (good attebtion) I ever got with camera was a 4X5 plywood and cardboard contraption. On a 90 minute walk I had six or seven people engage me in conversation. Go figure.
  21. Thank you, James. It hasn't stopped me one bit. I got cursed out by some homeowner weekly for taking a photo of the '56 Chevy in their driveway while I was standing on a public sidewalk. I just smiled, waved back to their finger, and got on with life. I don't hold onto those things but do feel bad for people with so much anger. The situation with the teens was an exception, really the only exception.
    I am sorry to hear that about you family. My wife recently complained that I never take photos of her. Yeah, after years of being told not to take her photo, ha!
  22. I have an excellent wife who more or less trusts me, or at least my motives.
    My mother and my sister; that's another story. My son took an exquisite B&W photo of mother on 5x4, where she looked vaguely like the dowager empress of China C1900, well, vaguely regal, anyway.
    She wouldn't sign the release for him to put it into an important portrait prize. He put a big enlargement of it into his final college exhibition. When I saw it I said, "by the way, Granny's here, over there somewhere" and he turned grey.
    Schadenfreude at the expense of one's children? Runs in the family......
  23. Leicas are still low profile for most "normal" (non-photo) people, not so much for photo/art nerds. It is not unusual for random dudes (99% of the time it's a man of a certain age) to literally hit on my camera, i.e., come up to me & ask "Is that a Leica?" or say "Nice Leica!" while staring at the camera. Not an everyday occurrence but often enough (especially at photo & art events) that I joke about getting a t-shirt made up that shows a Leica (or other RF) on my chest, w/the caption "Eyes Up Here, Bro!" & an arrow point up.
    The only other camera that comes close is a TLR, which apparently was owned by everyone's grandpa.

    How do I see it? A Leica is still lower profile than a dSLR, but not as low profile as a cellphone.
    When you are walking around with an M9, do you still see it as a low profile, inconspicuous, unnoticed camera no one gives a second look to?​
  24. The M may or may not be low profile, but the Tilley hat and Billingham bag give the Leica shooter away.
  25. Some photographers are low profile. Cameras just "are".
  26. I once identified, and made compliment of an M-9 with a 50mm Noctilux around the neck of a man on the street. We camera geeks spot good camera's, but in this case it was an offensive gesture in that the guy needed the piece of mind thinking it was all incognito, he was not happy with me. I'll think twice next time. Hey, I was just being neighborly.
  27. Don,
    My thoughts are this: Don't think twice next time. You did nothing wrong. Why change your behavior? If the guy wanted to be incognito, he can stay in his house and parade around wearing his cameras where no one can see him. Or hide his camera from view in public only sneaking it out when he wants to grab a shot. He has good taste in cameras and so do you. It's only natural that we enthusiasts recognize and acknowledge each other -- and sometimes that happens publicly.
  28. My Olympus OM-D EM-5 seems to go unnoticed even if I am taking pictures. It does not make much noise and I just touch the screen so it's not stuck on my eye all the time. Anyway I have not had anyone give it a second glance. The Leica probably goes mostly unnoticed but I imagine the Leica guy has to talk to the photo buffs all the time as they will be curious about it.

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