5 Frames of a Classic Cobra with a Leicaflex and Kodak Ultramax

I have always liked “nice” things. I would rather have less quantity but with a greater quality. My favorite fly rods are made by Orvis. My camera of choice has always been Nikon. They are solid quality with a touch of class. I like nice things but some things are so nice as to seem unattainable. I’m ok with that. I’m content to admire them from a distance; like Leica’s. I began a long-distance respect for Leica when I began to shoot film again back in 2020. How could I not? Every YouTuber I followed or watched seemed to shoot a Leica. They were surprisingly ubiquitous considering their status and their price tag. Interestingly, I slowly became irritated by the sight of them. How about some cameras for the common folk?! Obviously, I exaggerate but at times I felt that way!

Me and Leica

So how did I end up having a Leica to enjoy and write about? Well, they are sneaky little devils. A local seller had a battle-scarred and well-worn Elmar-R 100mm f4 macro lens to sell for about the price of a tank of gas and voila, I was a Leica owner. The story does not conclude there, though. I bought it with the simple intention of adapting it to my Sony a6300 but ended up looking to see what it would cost to find a Leica SLR to pair with the orphan lens. Shockingly, the original Leicaflex bodies were quite affordable, especially ones with non-working light meters (which does not really affect me). Thus, I found myself in possession of a beautiful, first generation Leicaflex which so happened to be born the same year I was (1965). We were meant to be together!

The Honeymoon Roll

The original Leicaflex is an underrated piece of Leica workmanship and quality. I love my mechanical Nikon’s. The Olympus OM-1’s are truly sublime. The Leicaflex, though, is just oh so silky smooth and I fell in love with the view finder almost immediately. The shooting experience was an absolute joy. Normally, I would shoot a roll of Portra (my favorite) but wanted something with punchier colors to verify what the lens could do. Ultimately, I chose to shoot a roll of Kodak Ultramax in it for my first roll. I was going to Arizona and wanted to test the lens on the Arizona springtime colors. Sadly, it was a colder than normal spring and there were no flowers to be found. I struggled to think of what to shoot first with it when my mother’s neighbor backed his classic Cobra out of the garage. There was my subject!

A Cobra, up-close and personal

All of my shots are “partials”. Since I was shooting such a long focal length (and a macro, at that) I decided to simply shoot detail shots and am very happy with the results! I do believe this was the start of a long and prosperous relationship. Thank you for reading about my experience with an unheralded yet beautiful camera (and lens, I might add!) and looking at my photos. Sharp Prints processed and scanned my images.

You can see more of my work on Flickr (here) and IG (@in_the_image_photog and @pastorsmooster50). I also share my thoughts on life and theology at A Float on the River. God bless!

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9 thoughts on “5 Frames of a Classic Cobra with a Leicaflex and Kodak Ultramax”

  1. Nice shots! Beautiful car
    I’ve never handled a Leica before. Years back I was shooting with a Rolleiflex SL35 and someone said a Leicaflex is a better quality option – since then I have on occasions been looking at getting one but seeing the prices of the lenses rise and rise over the years is disheartening and has so far meant no Leica for me 🥲

    1. So true! The Leica bodies are fairly affordable but its the lenses that usually put them out of reach. I have read that it wasn’t too long ago that the R mount glass could be had for a great bargain but the mirrorless shooters and cinematographers discovered them and the prices went through the roof. I was fortunate.


    Congrats on having a back in good condition. I think the Leica R8 may match the Leicaflex in weight!
    100mm macro’s are good when physical distance is required or you don’t want an irate classic car owner freaking out that you just might get to close to their ‘baby.’
    The pics are nice. You highlight the curvaceous shape and detail of this iconic roadster.
    I was brought up with the same outlook “buy the best you can afford” even if it means having less. We were strapped for cash growing up, so an item of quality (even used) was a better investment than something new, but of lesser quality. It lasted longer.
    Even now, at the young age of 71, I still follow my parent’s advice.

  3. Isn’t life grand when a long awaited camera finally arrives and all falls into place? I mean, beautiful results (such as posted here) are somehow desired, nay, mandatory, for the long wait to show it was well worth it.

    Thank you for sharing, beautiful camera, beautiful pics!

    1. I have found a Leica repair guy and he can do it for about $140. That isn’t currently in the budget but I’d love to have it done. He will do a full CLA including the meter repair for $385.

      1. If you really bond with this camera, go for it. You will need a replacement for the mercury cell. But I can see how body, body CLA, lenses, and lenses CLAs could amount to quite an investment. But compare with what the D crowd spend on their latest and greatest camera bodies and kits…..

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