5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Leica Mini – By David Felix

February 14, 2018

It’s no surprise that people who have used a Leica would want more of it. The Germans really put a lot of effort into the camera and seeing a lot of them alive and well (and relevant) several years later is a testament to its quality. But can the same be said about those Leicas made in Japan? This was a question I asked myself…

Several months after purchasing and falling in love with a Leitz-Minolta CL, the Leica Mini piqued my interest. During this time, I found myself leaving my M3 and digital camera behind and using a disposable camera as a backup to my CL. I wanted another compact and being enamored by the German brand, I wanted one from them. I considered the Minilux but it was way out of the budget plus I was afraid of the infamous E02 error. I then stumbled upon the Japanese-made Leica Mini at auctions but would always lose the bid at the last minute. I finally won and received a Leica Mini right before my trip to Taiwan so I wasn’t able to run a test roll through it but I took the risk and brought the camera with me anyway.

The Leica Mini felt very plasticky and cheap but it was light, pocketable and a joy to use. It doesn’t look as classy as the Minilux or any of the other premium compacts but I guess it grows on you. (In hindsight, it was really that red dot that got me.) Needless to say, I’m quite happy with the results and look forward to more trips with it. Question is, will it last like my M3? Probably not but I’m here to enjoy it while I can.

Website: http://davidfelix.format.com
Blog: http://davidfelix.blog

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  • Reply
    Randle P. McMurphy
    February 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    After decares of owning some different Leica´s I finally turn my back to this brand.
    It was not about the gear itself I think it was the attitude of some owners of this overpriced “tools”.
    All photos I take now are possible with less. Less money. Less “magic”. Less “glow”. Just focus on the picture itself.
    If I would need a snapshot 35mm camera now I would go for the incredible Yashica T5 with it´s outstandig Carl Zeiss 3,5/35 Tessar.

    • Reply
      David Felix
      February 20, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Hey, Randle! I understand why you would turn your back on this brand. It is pretty pricey this is why I waited until I could get a copy that was cheaper. Haha! Even then, I could not compare the Leica Mini to the other cameras that Leica has under its belt.

      I am aware of the attitude of which you speak of and it is very discouraging sometimes. I’m glad that you chose to take more with less now. I would love to see some of your work!

      Cheers and God bless!

  • Reply
    Karl Valentin
    February 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Zeiss lenses are good, but with regards to comparison of Zeiss v Leitz, everybody knows that Leitz lenses are made from elements only obtainable from the centre of the earth. These elements are then hand crafted in platinum crucibles by Peruvian virgins under water and then hand ground by a recluse order of Carthusian monks over many years. When finished if put on a table with a Zeiss lens, the Zeiss lens will try to roll off in an attempt to commit suicide. Thus is the superior quality of the Leitz lens.

    • Reply
      David Felix
      February 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Haha, with the crazy price tags of Leitz lenses, who knows how true this is?

  • Reply
    Michael Kay
    February 18, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    A chance to show off this camera and what it can achieve, and you fail stunningly. They are the most boring pictures I’ve seen in quite a while.

    • Reply
      David Felix
      February 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks for the input, Michael. Sorry I was not able to live up to your expectations on the camera and its output. This was part of my test roll for my copy so I really didn’t know what to expect from it. But I guess that even if I did know what to expect, it probably wouldn’t satisfy you anyway since you have already made up your mind. So for that, I apologize. However, for the benefit of other people who would like to improve in the craft, I think it would be very much appreciated if you actually pointed out some things to improve on rather than post comments like “you fail stunningly” or “the most boring pictures I’ve seen in quite a while”.

      I would love to see what you could produce with it if you were to have one on you.

      Cheers and God bless!

      • Reply
        Peter Boorman
        March 14, 2018 at 9:59 pm

        I like your pictures, especially the second one, and they work well as a set. As for whether you “failed” to show off the abilities of the camera, you chose subjects that show off the sharpness of the lens very well, and particularly its low chromatic aberration and rather nicely judged contrast. For an all-auto camera, I think the Mini gets the exposure right in tricky situations remarkably often, and your pictures show that too.

        I used one of these a lot in the late ’80s / early ’90s as the camera I had with me when I didn’t have anything more serious – it lived in my briefcase when I worked in The City – and that I didn’t mind lending to people now and then. It still works, and gave me some pictures I’m still very happy with.

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