måndag 29 mars 2010

Back to the Leica M2


Leica M2 (1958), originally uploaded by :Antonio.

Towards the end of the 1990s came digital imaging and, in 2005, Flickr. This encouraged me to start digitising my accumulation of forty years of negatives. I noticed a strange thing. That all my best material had been taken with the Leica M2 I had bought in 1970. Why? First, it was relatively compact and I tended to carry it with me, whereas the SLRs stayed at home. Second, the viewfinder shows not only what is in the view, but also what is outside the view. On this realisation, I promptly obtained another M2 which enabled me to carry on where I had left off.

Of course at the same time digital cameras had been maturing. I am not tempted to buy a digital SLR since the reasonable ones have become even bigger and clumsier than their film counterparts. My first digital camera was a Canon Ixus, of which the less said the better and I was not sorry when it died of salt spray after 18 months. In the meantime I obtained a more up-to-date Leica, an MP, very similar to the 50-year old M2 but with built-in light metering, though I also run films through the M2 from time to time. The M2 still seems smoother, more sensitive and responsive than the new MP.

Another recent purchase is a Ricoh G600, a rugged camera from which, with care, quite good pictures can be coaxed, but more importantly, will survive horrible conditions where one would not take a normal camera. But the picture quality can be disappointing, due to the small size of the sensor and the poor dynamic range that goes with it.

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