I have been photographing with Leica cameras for thirty years. My first Leica was a IIIf, screw-mount Leica with flash sync capability (I actually never used flash). I added another IIIf, then sold both, switching to M-mount Leicas in early 1990s. I now own three M-mount Leicas, including one digital, added four years ago.

I have used many Leica lenses as well, but now I only own two 50mm, one 35mm, and one 90mm Leica lenses. All of them were purchased in early 1990s, and still working great. I will keep shooting with them for the rest of my life, so to speak.

Under Brooklyn Bridge. Photoville 2019

I have been mostly shooting with digital Leica for past four years, partially due to lack of darkroom. I had no problem with it, until recent visit to Photoville 2019 in DUMBO, Brooklyn, where Leica Camera booth was hard to ignore.

In film era, Leica used to be legendary among professionals from 1930s through 1970s. Then, Japanese SLR system took over. Now, Leica is regaining their popularity by digital convenience and versatility. Little by little, I see more Leicas on the street and in professional’s hands. I also know Leica now try to become a fashion icon, with extraordinary price tags.

Leica Camera booth at Photoville 2019 was also focused solely on digital Leicas, introducing current cameras with accompanying image shots. They look so brilliant, but wait. There was  an era of film Leicas for over eighty years. I still own two bodies, and I can shoot as long as I find 35mm film. I pulled them out and operated. Pure mechanical operation feels absolutely great with silky smoothness. Now, I determined I shall resume film photography in some way, occasionally.

Before shooting with film Leica, I have to read the light (mostly using light meter) and set exposure, which I can omit when shooting with digital Leica. They are redundant, but may be an indispensable part of photographing, I now realize.  “Slow down,” I remember the word; I was told decades ago shooting with film. KT

1 thought on “Leica, now and before

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