When speaking about Leica, this post can be puzzling, because the Leica M cameras are (historically) about the worst suited camera for photographing weddings. But in this article we give you 5 such reasons where you can and should invest in a Leica M series. The latest entry in the company’s legendary M-series is a luxurious camera for a different world. Moreover, if you enjoy photography different than conventional ones, this camera is for you!
One of our staff photographers said, “I have been vested in the Leica Camera ecosystem for ~12 years. Prior to Leica, I had experience with Fuji (6900/S602), Canon (10D, 1D Mark II, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark III) and Nikon (D800). I also have the first Fuji X100 and a Panasonic GFC-1 pocket camera. I used to have a Fuji X100F. Ever since my Fuji cameras, I had been dreaming about “what next” since they didn’t quite deliver what I was looking for.”
“I bought, and eventually outgrew that Canon 10D, moved to a Canon 1D Mark II and then a full-frame Canon 1Ds, and when I got the Canon 1Ds Mark III in 2008 I thought I was in heaven. Eventually, at the urging of a dear friend, I bought my first Leica M9 in late 2009. I continued using the Canons and the others, but usage dropped dramatically. Why did that happen?”
Based on our photographer’s usage and review here are 5 reasons why we think you should invest in a Leica M series rather than a Canon D range.
Leica vs Canon: Size does not matter
Leica M rangefinders are much smaller in comparison to digital SLRs. Their lenses are compact. It is no secret that Leica IQ is not dependent upon lens size, weight, or camera bulk. Some of my favorite images have come out of a Leica Summaron-M 1:5.6/28mm lens, which, for all intents and purposes, has a business end as tall as three or four quarters stacked on top of each other. Granted, it has a minimum f/5.6 aperture, but you can easily set it hyperfocally to f/8 and walk around happy as a clam. The resulting images are superb.
Once I transitioned to Leica, it was initially hard for me to convince myself that “less is more” because I routinely lugged a shoulder bag filled with my Canon 1Ds Mark III, a 17–40L, 35/1.4L, 50/1.2L, 70–200/2.8L, 85/1.2L, 100/2 and 100/2.8— a heavy load specially on vacation. After I got the Leica M9, I remember spending a couple of weeks in France in spring 2011. I roamed around the streets of Paris for several days without a camera bag.
I had a Leica M9 around my neck coupled to a Leica Noctilux-M 1:0.95/50mm, a second Leica M9 in my back pocket, with a Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4/35mm in one coat pocket and Leica Summicron-M 1:2/90mm in the other. I carried a few spare batteries and cards with me. Find me another camera system with that level of compactness which delivers extremely high-quality images! I bet you will not be able to! Period.
Leica M9 mit Leica Noctilux-M 1:0.95/50mm ASPH.
Leica’s Attention to detail
Leica products are hand-assembled with an immense amount of attention to detail. The effort that goes into crafting Leica cameras and lenses is astounding, as shown here and here. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate working with something crafted with care and precision. Little things get an inordinate amount of attention, and that matters. Case in point — my Leica M9 still has its leather covering firmly stuck to its metal body, over a decade later.
In the last twelve years of my association with Leica, I have had three electronics problems (one on a camera, and two with lenses). Leica has always reacted promptly, and, to their credit, done the right thing. They outright replaced my Leica M9 and fixed my Leica 1:2/75mm Summicron-SL and Q2; they also gave me loaners while working on getting things fixed. I really appreciate that. Thank you, Leica!
BLM Protests. Lafayette Square/BLM Plaza, Washington D.C. Leica M10 mit Leica Summaron-M 1:5.6/28mm.
Backward compatibility of Leica M better than Canon
Leica introduced the M mount back in 1954. Since then, they have made enhancements to it (e.g., six-bit encoding on the lens mount flange to recognize the lens type in digital bodies, sometime in 2006 or thereabouts), but the mount has not changed its physical characteristics. As a result, Leica M bodies can accept very old lenses as well as newer ones, as long as they have the M mount. If your legacy lens lacks the six-bit encoding, you can choose the lens manually in the camera menu. I have a Leica Elmar-M 1:4/90mm Collapsible from 1955. Dreamy character, as can be expected from a lens nearly seventy years old, and it works fantastic.
Leica M9 mit Leica Noctilux-M 1:0.95/50mm ASPH.
Robust build of Leica M
Leica M cameras and lenses are built like tanks. The cameras are hewn from solid blocks of metal (brass, magnesium, or an alloy), with very few buttons, ports, and rubber flaps to hide dongles, which, in turn, results in solid cameras that stand up to the abuse (inadvertent or otherwise) of time. Recall the M camera that got struck by a bullet and saved the journalist’s life! Less buttons, ports etc. result in less entry points for water, dust, and other things bad for precision electronics. All in all, these design decisions allow a Leica to last for a very long time.
Leica M10-R — a stunning camera.
Experience of Photographers
I don’t know about you, but, for me, life is too short for bad experiences. I shy away from them, and usually abandon something or someone who causes me to have a bad experience and doesn’t do anything to fix it. As a regular Leica user for nearly 12 years, I can honestly say that the experience is magnificent. Leica cameras feel good in one’s hand. They are supremely easy to use. No matter how good Canon cameras are, the user friendliness can sometimes be challenging.
Peta Pixel, DPreview and Medium