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A thought process in progress...
Old 04-06-2019   #1
Bill Pierce
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A thought process in progress...

In the last thread, Farlymac said, “You know, Bill, there is a awful lot of good camera gear out there that has just as good a reputation as Leica, so don’t feel bad about slumming around with a Voigtlander lens.”

This set me to thinking about the position that digital rangefinder cameras have today, at least for me. When I was a working stiff that traveled long distances with film Leicas, I had a lot of them - 3 around my neck, a couple of backups against theft or breakdown in the hotel safe and at least one out for a CLA (clean, lubricate, and adjust).

Today I have one that I use for family snaps and street photography. The relative simplicity of the controls (and the years I have been using them) let me concentrate on an active, changing subject, not the camera. Getting the focusing out of the way and watching for a somewhat decisive moment with a finder that lets me see what is happening outside the frame helps too.

But the small size, accurate focus with wide angle and normal focal lengths and outstanding image quality for the format size are now equalled by a number of equally mirrorless digitals which are more suited to the full range of lenses including long lenses and zooms, may have many more operating features and often have a lower price.

I am lucky. Selling old film Leicas raises money for a new digital Leica, And old lenses work on new bodies. But no question about it, I think the Leica is a specialty camera for pictures that are shot selectively, not in bursts, shot where focus is a set it and forget it operation, not something that you deal with constantly or continuously, shot with relatively normal lenses not extreme wide or long and most of all shot with a finder that does very little to preview the final image, but gives you a very clear and detailed look at what is in front of the camera. Fortunately for me, I love that kind of photography.

I have nine “professional” cameras that I use most often to take pictures for other people. Seven of them could easily do the same pictures for which I use a Leica. Technically the pictures would be just as good or even better. But the simplicity of the Leica and the lack of a huge range of menu and control options forces me to concentrate on the subject. I like that. Too bad simplicity costs so much more than complexity.

Your thoughts?
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