April 1, 2021, tomorrow, Leica raises the prices on most of its digital cameras, including mine. This post offers earnest appreciation for making what I own more valuable. I don’t plan on selling anything, but […]
I never expected to part with Leica M10 six months after acquiring it. But such was the circumstance on Oct. 5, 2018. So shocking the suddenness, I waited three months to explain. The camera was my dream shooter—a magnificent manual rangefinder that fit my personality. Problem: Too often I couldn’t focus fast enough, or with appropriate precision. Perhaps another six months of use and practice would have made perfect.
But my wife and I were looking at possibly moving from San Diego to Julian, Calif. So serious our intention that we had put down an offer on a house, where we went for formal inspection that fine Fall Friday. Thinking about living in the mountains in nature, I couldn’t imagine using the M10. For the wild woods, autofocus and telephoto lens would be better. So I had posted the camera for sale, with intention of replacing it with a Fujifilm mirrorless.
This afternoon, a film student from Los Angeles bought my first digital rangefinder, acquired in early March 2018 as part of the Oberwerth Set. He graduates from the M6 film camera, which he plans to continue using.
His interest in the Leica M (Typ 262) matches the manufacturer’s purpose: Provide an experience with digital benefits that is barebones close to using a Leica film shooter. The M262 is super streamlined, with mostly manual controls, two main menu pages, and no frills. That means no video, no Live View, and no connectivity (Bluetooth or WiFi). The shutter sound is smoothly soft, making the rangefinder more discreet on the street.
Yesterday, before 10 a.m. PST, UPS delivered a package from Leica Store Miami containing the M (Typ 262) digital camera, Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens, limited-edition Oberwerth bag, and two SD card holders—one black, the other cognac. My main interest is the rangefinder and 50mm glass. The Oberwerth Set, if you can still find it, is entry into the M system for essentially the lens free with cost of the camera. The Miami shop sent the last kit available, at least presently.
With no immediate plans to part with my beloved Leica Q, I will expand my photographic horizons by reducing technology. While the M262 is full frame, the camera also is in many respects no frills. There is no autofocus, live view, wired ports, or wireless connectivity. I’ll be screwing off the bottom plate to remove the storage card to transfer photos to my MacBook Pro. The menu system is two main pages plus one. The M262 is all about manual settings from dials, except ISO, which I typically leave on auto anyway.
I am, on a good day, an adequate amateur photographer. My technique isn’t professional, nor do I have an artisan’s astute eye for composition. I am okay in every measurable, meaningful way. But what I lack in skill, I compensate with enthusiasm.
Photography is fun for me—and I am an original digital shooter, going back 20 years. Anyone remember the crappy Sony Mavica that saved photos to floppy disks? I owned one, in the late 1990s. My first camera of consequence was the Canon PowerShot S20, the first commercially available digital compact to top 3 megapixels; I used it to document Steve Jobs introducing Apple Store, in May 2001.
Since late February, I looked to buy the Leica X1, but the camera is unavailable most everywhere. Steve Huff’s review turned me onto the X1, which, aside for price, is exactly what I have been searching for: A compact digicam with high IQ (image quality). In early March, I got on the Pro Shop for Photographers Leica X1 waiting list and waited and waited. The call came in late June when I was too cash poor; I had to pass on buying one of the two cameras the Leica dealer received that month.