Friday, 8 May 2009

The charm of Leica rangefinder cameras

I love digital photography for the convenience and "cleaniness" of the photos. The images are always clean and sharp, which makes it easy for digital manipulation. And because I do not have to pay for the film, processing and printing, I do not feel the pinch of every time I shoot (after I forget the price of the DSLR).

But like the LP lovers who find a place for vinyl in the world of CDs, I find myself turning back to film ever once in a while. Film is therapeutic for some of us, when we load in a cartridge and pull the glossy brown film leader across the film gate. I still get anxious over the results, and I still get a thrill when I open the envelope of photos at the lab counter. Film is glorious in its own way.

Given that film photography is a return to the nostelgic world for me, my choice of camera must match the mood and manner as well. Which is why I love the Leica film-based rangefinder cameras. These are extremely sturdy and well-built cameras of Teutonic designs, which you will feel immediately in your hands. The heft of well-sculpted metal that sits right in your palm, with buttery smooth operations and clear bright rangefinder that opens up a window to the world. The feeling of winding to the next frame on a Leica M camera is heavenly.

Part of the charm of a Leica M film camera lies in the fact that every camera is handmade by craftsmen, who manually assemble and fine-tune each camera, just like a fine mechanical watch like a Lange or Patek. Vorsprung durch technique is definitely not the philosophy of this German company, since the technology in today's Leica film cameras is probably only equal to Japanese cameras of the 70s or 80s. But the built quality of Leica film cameras is unmatched, and here's a behind-the-scene look at how each Leica camera is built:

I leave you with a funny quote I read about digital photography:

"Digital is like shaved legs on a man - very smooth and clean but there is something acutely disconcerting about it."

1 comment:

  1. Know your history first : Zeiss technicians designed the ZM camera standards...Most of the Zeiss lenses for dslr are not made by Zeiss, but by Cosina huu15