Do I know anything? Can I explain anything? If, then not with words. I am usually good at grammar (at least in my mother tongue German) and know more words than some people but I cannot express myself in conversations so well. Ever since I have been an eye-person. Eye see, eye draw, eye paint, eye take photographs. At the age of 15 I got my own b/w-darkroom and spent a lot of my childhood in darkness.
My first camera was the AT-1 (half-manual AE-1) from Canon until it died in Bali because it shared a backpack with a bottle of water, which threw up. The next one was a Nikon FM2n (Titanium shutter), still in use. For motorbike travels I had the Minox GT-E (Minox GT with a UV-Filter). Now R.I.P. (R.I. my cupboard)
Most of the time I shot slide film, because I loved to see the pictures BIG. Then, with the birth of our first daughter, I switched to digital because it was more instant – Fujifilm suits my way of shooting digital best. These days my love for analog photography has come back. Nothing can give you the satisfaction of pressing a shutter and winding to the next frame.
Another camera purchase was an automatic companion to the FM2n: a cheap FE. Unfortunately my eldest daughter moved out of the house and the FE and the 50mm E-series lens with her. But, since she makes good use of it, that’s alright!
Having owned an M8 for more than a year, which was the next best thing to shooting film, I lusted after a Leica again. I still had the 28mm M-Rokkor, so I only had to buy the body. The only affordable thing was an M4 from 1969 (around 400 €), 6 years younger than I am. Although the salesman said the light meter wasn’t working, I found it to be functional. Now I use it with hearing aid batteries put into the washer from a Wein Cell. In order to not drain the battery too fast, I only open one of the 4 holes of the Zinc-Air-cells. That way the batteries hold up their power for more than 2 month.
Some say the finder has a flare issue – I also find it annoying. If the sun is facing the camera, the rangefinder patch becomes invisible. I found out that if I cover the illumination window with a paper tape (the one you use to attach posters to a wall) the issue became acceptable. Maybe you get a better outcome if you change the finder to a newer one, but I am fine with the result. On the plus side it costs nothing.
I bought a 50mm F2 Zeiss Planar and a 35mm F2 Biogon to go with the 28 Rokkor and am quite happy with the combination.
I really like how you load the M4. It is a bit fiddly at first, but after you did it a few times it is very reliable. The shutter sounds great. Tsh-kk. The winding mechanism is super-smooth. I wish I had one of those cameras only to click and wind. So soothing. Am I crazy raving about gear?
Now here are 5 pictures from the first rolls of TriX400. We are living in Beijing – that’s why the pictures are from China.
I hope you like the pictures. To see more of my work feel free to click the links below.
More reading about the Leica M4 in Hamish’s review here