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.
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