It’s been almost ten years since I started spending crazy amount of money in photography gear, starting with my first DSLR until I recently discovered the magic of film cameras and medium format lenses. While I managed to stay away (more or less) from the crazy megapixel race, I found myself totally hooked by the beauty of Hasselblad systems, Carl Zeiss lenses and high quality build construction. So far the only brand I managed to avoid was Leica…simply because I knew that for the crazy price of a simple body+lens combination I could have a medium format equivalent (more or less). It was with lot of self control that I then booked a Leica M try out at the Leica shop in Mayfair, London where I managed to play for a couple of hours with a M typ 240 and a 35mm f/2 Summicron aspherical…outdoor on top of that!
It would be unfair to judge its quality by this simple experience…getting used to a rangefinder camera is not easy and for the time being I cannot really say that I was faster with it than, let’s say, with my bulky Nikon D700 or Pentax 67. One thing that I can say for sure is that the build quality is really great (no surprise here), the camera is not light by any means but not excessively heavy. The pictures I took are quite ok, I though the difference would be way more evident compared to Nikkor lenses but honestly I was not blown away. It is true though that using the camera puts you automatically in stealth mode…people don’t really realise you are taking their pictures, and this is quite nice.
I don’t know if one day I will go crazy and make the switch…I am so much in love with medium format look&feel to leave it….but it was definitely nice to have such a gem in terms of digital quality without thinking about several dozens of buttons and features of modern DSLRs.
Technical info: Leica M typ 240 > Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH