10 reasons why you should buy a film Leica M
I never thought I'd go back to shooting film again. Ever since I've bought my first digital camera or took the first photographs with my smartphone I was intrigued by the fact that I could see instant results. It's awesome not having to wait for days until you can see your picture. But then again... I remembered the fun, the excitement, the pleasant anticipation... enter the Leica M6.
I don't remember exactly what made me look for a Leica M in the first place. But there I was, searching eBay night after night. had until I found the camera of my dreams: It had only been used five times according to the seller (Leica enthusiasts know of course that a camera that hasn't been used for close to 30y isn't always in good working conditions, but luckily mine was). It came with a 35mm 2:0 Summicron. And while unboxing it I was thinking if I had made a very big mistake. Would I really want to shoot film again? How do you focus with this thing? Should I set up my own darkroom? And then I started shooting...
Well, almost. Putting a roll of film into a Leica M6 isn't that easy after all. But thanks to YouTube I quickly found a tutorial explaining the task. And ready I was to become Berlin's new Cartier-Bresson. It's funny at first, not having a LCD to check your images, only using the aperture ring, the focus tab on the lens and not having to worry about anything else but the shutter speed. But as you might have guessed by the title of this post I loved the Leica M experience almost instantly. Here's why: My ten reasons why you should buy a film Leica M...
1. It's fun Taking pictures with a Leica M is ... I don't know, it's just an awesome experience. The way the camera feels in your hand, the weight, the craftsmanship, the ease of use. It's the perfect tool.
2. It's a good investment A digital Leica ... that's another story. But an analog Leica M Rangefinder isn't that expensive after all. I won't get into the details and differences between the various models, from the good old M3 to the M7 (I personally prefer the - non TTL - M6), but whatever body you choose: You'll be able to sell again it in an instant, and unlike almost all digital cameras it won't loose most of its value after a few years. The lens: Please go for a Leica. I know, Voigtländer prices look tempting and don't get me wrong: Their lenses are quite capable. But there's nothing like shooting with a real Leica lens. And yet again: It's expensive, but hast great resale value.
3. You'll learn a lot Incredibly true: Not having a rear LCD to check your picture every time makes a hell of a difference. And since you're limited to about 36 pictures per roll of film you will choose wisely which shots to take – and thus concentrate a lot more, choose your subjects with caution and think twice about your shutter speed and aperture... And quickly learn to anticipate the correct exposure.
4. It feels good to own an icon Yes it does. Arguably a Leica M is one of the most iconic if not the most iconic camera ever made. And think about who has used these cameras over the past decades... Bresson, Fred Herzog, Elliot Erwitt, Jeff Mermelstein or Bruce Gilden to name just a few. Buying a Leica M won't make you and me one of them. But shooting with it makes you feel like the next iconic shot could just wait around the corner.
5. You'll make new friends Trust me on that one. If you meet another Leica shooter anywhere in the world, you'll almost instantly have a new friend and lots of topics to talk about. Its like a worldwide club of nice people sharing the same passion. Yeah, sure, there some rich guys who just bought an expensive peace of gear. But you'll know the difference right away.
6. Your hipster level goes up Buy a leather strap, wear your Leica M around the neck and walk the streets of Kreuzberg or Williamsburg or any other street credible neighborhood – you'll fade right in.
7. Film is beautiful I really love VSCO, especially on my smartphone, and their film emulating technology. But nothing beats the original. I was mesmerized when I looked at the first photographs from my new Leica M. And you will feel the same way. Kodak Portra and Ektar are among my favorites.
8. It's quiet Street Photography can be scary at first, walking up to strangers, talking their picture - hoping they won't notice. Your new old Leica M will help you tremendously in overcoming your fear. It's so quiet, small and discreet, not many people will even notice you let alone the incredible silent shutter sound.
9. It takes great pictures Leica's lenses are among the best in the world. Paired with a Leica: a combination that's hard to beat.
10. You'll never need another camera (maybe a lens) Digital cameras, girlfriends, boyfriends, pets and apartments, they'll all fade and go away at some point. But you're Leica will stay, forever if you want it to. And as long as they keep making film, which they will, you're good. Unless you need money, bit then again: see reason 2.