5 frames with...

5 Frames With a Leica M7 – by Adam Laws

February 7, 2018

The five images herewith are from my last shoots with the Leica M7, before I sold it. Leica, and rangefinders in general are typically associated with reportage and street photography. So to some it may have appeared an odd choice of tool for portrait work. Rangefinders do have many practical advantages being smaller, quieter and less inconspicuous/intimidating. They allow you to see beyond the frame lines assisting with compositing drawing you into the scene. More importantly than all of aforementioned however – I enjoy shooting with a rangefinder. Hopefully this came across to my subjects putting them at ease, that and feeding them vast quantities of cake – who doesn’t like cake after all?

If you’re thinking about purchasing an M7 don’t let those who insist a mechanical Leica is the only option sway you. The M7 was a delight for the few years I owned it. Like all analogue Leica’s it can be shot in full manual yet with the added advantage of AE for when the mood takes you. My only one criticism of the camera is the plastic ISO dial situation on the back, which quite frankly feels a little bit rubbish even if it did do the job. Did I ever run out of battery? Not once. Although I admit I always did carry spares.

Will I miss the M7? Well I guess that will depend on how I fair with its replacement. All images here were shot with a 50mm Summilux Aspherical on Portra 400 film.


You can find my latest work and credits to the models, agencies, and MUAs on my Instagram – here

Or alternatively on my website – here

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  • Reply
    Alex Hakimi
    February 7, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    You’ve shown that the Summilux / Portra combo produces fantastic contrast and color rendition. I wish the B&W output of the Summilux appealed to me as well, however, it’s just too modern and contrasty. Fortunately, there are the older Summicrons to handle that task.

    Great shots! Particularly nos. 1, 2, and 4.

    • Reply
      Adam Laws
      February 7, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks Alex. I totally concur with your assessment – the Summilux though technically glorious it is a rather clinical tool. What’s your variant preference on the Summicron?

  • Reply
    Alex Hakimi
    February 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Adam, my personal preference for B&W through a 50mm lens is the Summicron Ver. 1 (collapsible). It’s difficult to describe the character, however, words like “delicate” and “classical” come to mind. I stumbled upon a late LTM version with perfect glass (a rather rare thing I’ve been told) and foresee it remaining in my position for a long, long time.

    As long as we’re discussing Leitz/Leica glass, here are my top 5 lenses:
    1. 50 Summicron V1 (collapsible) (for BW)
    2. 35 Summicron V2 (pre-asph) (for Color or BW)
    3. 35 Summilux V2 (pre-asph) (for BW)
    4. 50 Summilux V2 (pre-asph) (for Color)
    5. 35 Summaron V2 (f/3.5) (for BW)

    I think you’ll find yourself coming back to the M system. There are so many unique and wonderful things about shooting it.

    • Reply
      Adam Laws
      February 7, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Thanks for your recommendations Alex, much appreciated. I stumbled upon a year old MP and couldn’t resist its allure. I will be looking at some new less clinical glass over the next few months so any input is always appreciated.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    I’ve had both an M7 and MP in the past and currently have another MP – all bought secondhand. I sold the M7 to finance an M8 which I still have. Many years later I’m seriously thinking about selling the MP and M8 and buying an M7 – why? Because I like film and I like AE. I get a little tired of chasing the red arrows and dot in the MP viewfinder and the easy way you could manually adjust the M7 exposure was effective at achieving the same results. I’m only hesitating as I also currently have an R4a which I think may meet my RF AE needs and avoid the expense of another M7,

    • Reply
      Adam Laws
      February 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      That’s very interesting to read David. As I’ve just procured the MP it’s not something I’ve noticed just yet (I’m on my second roll). It will be interesting to see how ownership compares long term. Like your good self I also appreciate AE with the ability to also shoot manual.

  • Reply
    jeremy north
    February 9, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Some lovely portraits Adam, I’ll have to check out your website.

    Just a comment on your opening paragraph, I think you meant to say less conspicuous not what you wrote.
    I like the picture at the head of this post, those Kodak film cans are lovely, I must look for some. Also the Contax special edition, you must put up a post about it.

    • Reply
      Adam Laws
      February 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Morning Jeremy, thanks for your kind works and spotting the typo. You’re indeed correct. This is what happens when writing late into the evening.

      The film cans are glorious. I try to pick them up whenever I can see them the prices have sadly got a little farcical over the last year or so.

      I’ve wrote a feature on the Contax for 35MMC, which you can read here – https://www.35mmc.com/18/11/2017/contax-t2-just-device/

  • Reply
    Karl Valentin
    February 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Not really impressed by the pictures or the reason anyone should buy a Leica
    but the Black & White male character portraits on your homepage are just outstanding !

    • Reply
      Adam Laws
      February 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Afternoon Karl, thanks for your comment. Is there anything in specific you don’t like about the images? I always appreciate constructive criticism. Nice to hear you like my B&W however – sadly I don’t shoot that many males.

  • Reply
    theo vervloet
    April 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Very good portraits. With very good camera and lens and a good photographer
    . Would like to could have the same results. Congratulations.

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