Using a Leica M in Iraq

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by Aoresteen, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. Anyone have any expierence using a Leica M in Iraq? I brought my M4-P with me
    but have not used it yet due to the dust storms and I haven't had the time yet.

    What precautions did you take to keep the dust out of your Leica M? I might
    be able to use it next week.

    Thanks!

    Tony
     
  2. - ziplock bags

    - Broad art brush (1-2 inches wide) to get the dust off. Wipe the camera down with a
    moist cloth every evening.

    - UV filter for lens. If you wipe the dust off of the front element it will act like microscopic
    sandpaper and scratch it. I never use filters unless I'm in the desert or near ocean spray.

    - Try not to switch lenses too often.

    - Obviously you should avoid changing film in the driving wind. If you have to, turn your
    back to the wind to shield the camera.

    - Don't laugh. Get an old leather ever-ready case, but replace the strap. They may look
    clumsy, but they offer a lot of protection from dust, moisture and impact.
     
  3. I'd keep it under my body armor, and my biggest trouble would be getting myself to stop shaking long enough to get off a frame. Seriously man, I hope the good lord's got your back. BTW are there lab's around there you can get your film developed, or are you going to do it in the hotel sink like they used to years ago before all the press shooters went digital?
     
  4. I trashed a Zeiss APO Makro in Egypt in a dust storm. (Contax AF 645). A plastic bag would help, but if it is blowing sand, leave it at camp. Even the lenses I left in a camera bag were covered in a super fine dust. If there is dust blowing, be careful. Be safe!
     
  5. You will have enough hassle just being in Iraq. I have 6 leicas but wouldn't expose them to that environment. My son, in the army, is just beginning his second tour, this one for 15 months. I gave him my Canon A80 for his first trip in January 2005. Take 4 AA batteries - use lithiums and they will last seems like forever. This shot is out the front window of a truck in a huge convoy in a moderate dust storm. I am a Vietnam vet and I will spare your my thoughts on this insanity. Think about how my wife and I are feeling about having a child exposed (again) to this environment.
    00Lxv6-37594084.jpg
     
  6. a leica M is not suitable for that environment. it will break down quickly due to infiltration by
    dust and micro-sand. you should use an electronic camera with as few moving parts as
    possible.
     
  7. Well, at least one guy is making it work (and an M8, no less!)

    http://thetravelphotographer.blogspot.com/2007/05/leica-m8-iraq-test.html
     
  8. Thanks! I have Ziplocks and will scroung up a brush. I will give it go once the dust subsides a bit. I tend to use a single lens when I shoot so I will stick with the 50 or 90.

    I'm shooting only HP5 in the Leica and I brought HC-110 with me. After I get 8 rolls shot I will process them on my FOB (hell, in the 80's I did E6 in the field using a waterbath in a c-rat box with a trash bag!).

    I did buy a digital camera just before I deployed (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX07 with a "Leica" lens) but my main love is B&W film. The Lumix goes in a pouch on my body armor.

    Sometimes I wish I had my Hasselblad kit with me but then I slap myself and realize that I made the right decision to leave it home.

    Tony

    Tony
     
  9. Haha. Come to think of it I don't remember ever seeing a picture of a war photog in fatigues with a couple of 500C's around his neck.
     
  10. Like shots by the sea, I woudn't use my Leica at all. They aren't made for
    dusty environmenmts unless you have a good budget and don't mind
    scrapping one every once in a while.

    In a country at war, the high shutter sound of the M8 is also not too advisable.
    Perhaps an old lens shutter point and shoot camera is best, with your HPS or
    Tri-X film. I use a well-used Rollei 35 in dusty or sea air environments and
    sqave my more expensive cameras for less extreme enviro conditions.
     
  11. "the high shutter sound of the M8 is also not too advisable."

    Sorry, but I would think there are many things in any normal urban environment, let alone a country @ war like Iraq, that emit louder & more disturbing noises than an M8. The sand would be my greatest concern, but feli's advice is good.

    Good luck, Anthony, in both your work & photography.
     
  12. Anthony, I wish you the best of luck, and I will pray for your safe return. Thank you for your service. I can think of a lot of people working in a comfortable white building on the east coast that I wish were taking your place.
     
  13. Arthur, it might be the question of priorities. If your camera is more important to you than your photography, then yes, leaving a first-class RF kit (used by PJs in numerous deserts and wars of past) home and going around with a scale-focus fixed gizmo might just make perfect sense.
     
  14. Best wishes, Anthony, for some great images with your Leica. You are
    fortunate to be able tro photograph other peoples and cultures. My comments
    about leaving the M in the suitcase applied only to the very dusty
    environment, where maybe a P and S would be more appropriate. I hate to
    have to leave the Leica in the suitcase, but there are definitely some
    conditions where I cannot afford to scap an expensive camera for a few shots.

    The plastic freezer bag is a good idea, as well as the UV filter, but fine sand
    will enter as easy as air into the focussing mount (sandpaper result) and other
    fine openings in the body. In sub zero weather here in the winter, a plastic
    bag ia always used to protect the mechanism from condensation in going
    from supremely cold to room temperature conditions, in which the residual
    humidity in the otherwise dry winter air inside will quickly deposit water in the
    camera. This is easier to control than sand dust, of course.

    Asher, your comments are very valid, although those professional PJs did not
    have to worry about maintaining for long periods a specific camera, or had the
    luxury of several bodies and earned profits to pay for a replacement. We
    amateurs have to put bread on the table via other means. It is always a
    balancing act, between the love of photography and making images and the
    foreseeable risk of damage to the instruments that allow us to continue
    making images.
     
  15. Best wishes and keep your head down.

    My younger brother spent a year as medic with 1st Expeditionary. He shot with PS.

    Thanks for your service.

    Paul
     
  16. "In a country at war, the high shutter sound of the M8 is also not too advisable."

    Why, does it make the suicide bombers nervous?
     
  17. >>> Anyone have any expierence using a Leica M in Iraq?

    So far, it looks like the answer is no...
     
  18. I took Leica (M3) stuff, but also took some Nikon. With the conditions I chose to use my Nikon FM2 with 24, 50, 105 lenses, as It's much less expensive to repair than Leica! Also in the UK, it takes an age to get it done. The M3 stayed in the camp area for domestic shooting, the Nikon went out on the road.
    Just a bit of housekeeping (brush off dust, wipe down etc) every day, and I'm sure the Leica will take it. I just couldn't afford to have it fixed if it did get gritty, or worse.

    Good luck anyway, and keep your head down!
     

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