Why do you love Leica?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ben_goren, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. Ahem.

    As somebody who's been lurking (with a *very* occasional post in a W/NW thread) for a
    few months now, please permit me to jump in here--and interrupt the current brou-ha-
    ha--with a question I've been meaning to ask for some time:

    Why do you love Leica?

    I don't own a Leica, and I ceratinly can't afford to buy one any time soon, so you can think
    of this as somebody on the outside looking in.

    I've seen enough great pictures taken with a Leica to know that it is a most capable tool.
    I've read descriptions of the simplicity of its ``user interface'' that makes it seem both
    simple and elegant. But, I've never actually had my hands on one--thus the curiousity.

    Please, don't respond unless you actually (have) own(ed) a Leica and actually love (or, at
    least, really like) it. I'm not interested in how the company is going to $#3! in a
    handbasket, or how digital is superior, or how it's only for too-rich fondlers, or whatever.
    Just give me the good, not the bad nor ugly.


  2. Ben,

    I like small, quiet, precision mechanical devices, I really enjoy the optics (especially in low light and in situations where flare would be bad), and, of course, chicks dig 'em.

  3. Simple, well made, feels good in my hands, lotsa glass and metal - to me weight = quality (remember when you where a kid at your birthday party, those heavy presents were cool toys, the light ones were socks!), can use a bazillion different lenses on it, history/heritage, conversation piece. <p> And I’ll admin what others wont --> snob appeal/exclusive. I don’t have a mistress, or a (reliable) sports car, so this is my one indulgence.
  4. For me it's the no-nonsense user interface, the tactile feedback, the viewfinder of the Leicaflex SL, and the first-rate optics.
  5. I'm not as deeply into Leica as some folks here, just enough to be hooked. I like well-made things that work well. BTW, you can get into Leica for a lot less that you might suppose. Look at the Leicaflex SL and the 2-cam 50,35, 90 and 135 lenses that were sold in the 70's with them. The SL costs no more than a comparable Canon F-1.
  6. Because it reminds me of my grandfather, and of an era when thing were expected to last at least 40-50 years-plus.

    For me it’s more about the function, performance & industrial design, than of cost & fashion…

    Small, Perfect, Smooth, Heavy, Well Built, Often with Great Results…A True Classic!
  7. Simplicity.
  8. m_.


    quietness and sharp optics.
  9. For the same reasons I wear a Rolex.

    They are both totally mechanical (at least my old M2 and 111f are) but
    very accurate and a joy to use.

    The lenses are pin sharp and it is unobtrusive.

    I do also use electronic AF cameras but somehow the little M2 brings a
    smile to my face whanever I use it and the picture quality is at least as
    good as my canons.

    It's simple really there just nice to use.
  10. I use Leicaflex, not M cameras, and have owned this equipment since 1971. I love the exquisite, simple mechanics, and superb optics. I have used other equipment and it simply does not come close.

    You do not own any? My goodness, man, what are you waiting for?
  11. It's simple: Compact, well-made, killer optics. Other cameras might be more compact, made as well and (in rare cases) have equally good optics, but no other camera I'm aware of puts it all into one package the way the M does.
  12. Like Sheldon says, without a mistress Leica is my "little, red sports car". That's how my wife understands it.

    However, I like it because it's a relatively simple, reliable and usable system, that feels strong, secure and good in your hands. I'm not holding a piece of serial-made machinery, but a precision instrument.

    Besides, the camera is very discreet, its lenses are superb, and the results are pleasing to me.
  13. Well, I guess it could loosely be called a ‘love affair’ but that implies infatuation with no real foundation. I prefer to call it ‘dedication’ to a system that was not only unique to start, but has continued to grow in usefulness over the major part of a century. Couple that with the fact that the Leitz family were not only visionaries, but totally dedicated to excellence in addition to sound business practices. That they outlasted the rest of the German camera industry can only be attributed to that combination. The only other camera I can think of as deserving that kind of dedication is the Rolleiflex TLR.
  14. I think a mistress is much more fun than a camera, guys. Costs less, too.
  15. "I think a mistress is much more fun than a camera, guys. Costs less, too."

    I agree with the fun part, but the cost part I can't. Do you happen to know anybody who has gotten divorced because of a mistress, costs them an arm and a leg, and their house, car, dog, dishes, clothes, kids, tv, ect... ;-)
  16. I don't understand people who "love" gear. It's useful, it's high quality, its interface works
    well -- fine. But love seems more suited to those who enjoy fondle-friendly jewelry.
  17. A mistress is a much more expensive proposition than a Leica. Both have their good points.
  18. Douglas - I agree with the first part of your comment, but not the second - particularly if one happens to marry them. ;-)

    Ben - I don't "love" my Leica Ms, but, like others have commented, I certainly appreciate the size, precision and optical qualities they provide. I'm too old to benefit from the "chick-magnet" aspect of the cameras, so I have to settle for the fact that they contribute to good photographs.
  19. You guys either use cheap Leicas or you have very expensive mistresses. Still, I'd rather fondle the latter than the former.
  20. "I don't understand people who "love" gear."
    And I don't understand people who 'love' the dictionary to the exclusion of common sense, but there you go. Besides, Love Leica is a dandy alliteration.
  21. Does what I want it to, the imaging quality, design and build quality, fast lenses.
  22. I hope having owned a Minilux qualifies me to answer.

    Sheldon, I think I'm going to start wrapping up bricks for my son's birthday. What you say about socks is so true, and getting a few bricks might prevent expensive tastes forming. (No I mean real bricks, not Miniluxes.)

    Ben you may as well just buy your Leica. I know I've wasted more money on camera gear that didn't make me happy than if I'd just bought the Leica to start with. I love my Canon EOS gear but it does a different thing - I'm talking about Olympus XA, manual Nikons, Yashica rangefinders etc.
  23. Ben Goren, you already seem to know why most of us "love" our Leicas, but you say you've never handled (fondled?) one. The answer to your quest can be found at the nearest Leica shop. Go there, don a pair of clean white cotton gloves and ask the nice salesman to permit you to (gently) handle a Leica of your choice. My guess is that you'll want to take it home to bed with you! At least that was my reaction to my new MP. There are ways to get around the cost, you can always sell all your furniture and/or automobile! You'll find a way. Best wishes, Bill
  24. I love my wife and kids...I really like my Leica. to those who've stated that it's harmless to state you 'love' your gear I disagree. Ask your wife, or your children if they feel your camera (or watch or whatever) is on the same plane they consider themselves to be in your life. It really does kind of dilute the term when you turn around and tell your spouse 'you love them'. My father is dying of cancer right now...I sure wouldn't want him to feel my camera was on equal footing with him as far as my feelings go. My two cents anyway.
  25. Everything you need is right under your fingers and does exactly what you want- no menus, LCD's or other confusion. The main advantage, then, over a manual SLR is the rangefinder focusing system. To me it is a relief to use compared to an SLR. Its size, mechanical quality and classic styling are great, and of course the lenses are high quality. Beyond that, my reason is "just because". For the highest quality gear of its kind I don't think the system is that expensive,especially used- what'd I pay for that 4 year old computer sitting in the basement...?
  26. I don't love my Leica but I'm very fond of it :)

    I like the look of it, for starters. My M3 has plenty of dents yet still looks like the precission instrument it is. I can stand in the middle of a busy street taking pictures of people with it and they just ignore me because it's a 'funny old camera' and I must be harmless. If I try the same thing with an Eos I get hostile glares.

    It can take very sharp images if I get things right.

    It's actually cheap to own because, so far as I can see, I could get back most of what I paid for it without much difficulty if I ever did want to sell it.

    What's not to like?
  27. Love..sort of a strong word for a piece of gear.

    Okay, i'll play.

    It's the history, the romance, the legends who have used it,quality of build, the quality lenses,simple total control, all mechanical, reliability,the myth. And i payed a lot of money for it( almost as much as my digi, which will be out of date soon, like my computer) There, a few thought.
  28. "Come on...he's a fun character." I like the minds on this forum.

    Agreed, we need more like him, leica usage or not. A lawyer shouldn't be easily insulted. Afterall, they use semantics all the time, no?

    I PREFER (not love, how could one love a Snap-On wrench, don't ask) Leicas because I travel (need compact gear, hell, I don't even use/bring hoods), and I DEMAND precision, perfomance, and good work from everything I use and everyone I work with, and I work in a dangerous business. You have 30 psi of AIR in your tires; I work with 3000 psi (about 200 Bar for the rest of you) of hydrocarbons in some processes. I'm the best pre-start-up, test run inspector/engineer. I expect my tools to be the best.

    No one has died on my watch. We had two fires: one on my watch when someone decided to put out the fire with water on a hot (600C) flange (no injuries), and another when they refused my recommendations (one person badly burned). I choose my tools pragmatically. Nothing more, nothing less. This is why I choose Leica, and used it on the job for inspection reports because the ones I had (battery free no longer) were allowed in hazardous areas. I use a SWC now for that duty.

    Chill and enjoy the diversity.

  29. Me, I do love my Leica. This morning, when we woke up, it was holding its head (Summicron, as I recall) in hand. I knew something was wrong. I made us some coffee, then asked, What's bothering you? Turns out it was feeling a little guilt about not being married and all that. (Late serial number. I wasn't looking for a young camera, it just happened that way.) Now I don't know what to do.
    I can't really marry it. Not even in San Francisco. It's a camera. Says it feels used. I admit I use it every chance I get. Can't resist. But that's because I love it, not because I don't. I'd like to keep things going just the way they are with us, but I'm afraid that's not to be. It wants resolution. And now, to top it off, it's starting to imagine that I'm looking at digital on every street corner. Maybe sometimes, but looking isn't the same as touching, is it?
    As to why I love it - its a form and function thing, I think. I confess I entertain notions of having little Minoxes with it. Wish I knew where this would end.
  30. I love my Leica. But I love photography more. And my family most.

    btw, the messages between 5:40 and 8:29 got snipped so much it's hard to follow the thread... why?
  31. Unfortunately, the last time I made a great Leica picture was in 1951. But after 50+ years, I'd miss having one to fondle.
  32. Yeah, I 'love' it. There are different grades to the word 'love'. We all know it but at least the Greeks have (four) different words for different kinds of 'love'.

    I had a dream holding an M6 and I was crying due to its beauty. So sue me.
  33. jbq


    Because it doesn't make me feel as bad for spending what I spent on Canon gear? (!!!).

    Seriously, because a Leica is small, light, quiet, yet superiorly usable, and has those amazingly good lenses... Now if only I could afford an MP with a Summicron 50/2.
  34. Talking about the M bodies here- just the right size (pocketable- used to smuggle body & lens into Royal Albert Hall concerts in different pockets); timeless design (sorry not the M5); highly ergonomic; reliable; backwards/ forwards compatibility with lenses; discreet; optics with character; "Leica" engraving on top plates!
  35. Engraving = love. Yawn.
  36. What's to love about a Leica (specifically the MP)?

    1. The craftsmanship - quality that is unequalled;

    2. The design - functional brilliance;

    3. The viewfinder - without peer;

    4. The build - built to last a lifetime;

    5. The feel of the camera - feels good in the hand;

    6. The cloth shutter - nearly silent operation;

    7. The cloth shutter - nearly instantaneous operation (no "lag time");

    8. The lenses - blow away all other 35mm lenses and most med. format;

    9. The size - a true "coat pocket camera" that is highly portable;

    10. The weight - allows you to travel lightly with 2, 3 or 4 lenses;

    11. The results - produces mind blowing negs/chromes;

    12. Ease of operation - easy to learn to use, no menus to navigate;

    13. Low profile - doesn't look expensive, easily concealed;

    14. Encourages an introspective approach to making photographs;

    15. Value - as "new" prices go up, your gear holds its value;

    16. The regret factor - you will never regret "going Leica" -and-

    17. The fun factor - LEICAS ARE AN ABSOLUTE JOY TO USE.
  37. I own an M8.2 with Summicron 1:2/35. And, I can say, that this camera is outstanding. Reason? The images have a look that can only be associated with a Leica. The pictures are crisp and the color/saturation is exemplary. All I can really say, is that if you can get one, try it. You won't look back i promise. I've user canons and Nikon, P&S's and everything in between. RF will grab you and you'll be hooked for life.

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