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Taking black and white to the next level


Leica Camera proudly presents the new Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246), the first and only digital camera that captures a real black and white image, still or moving. Reduced to the essentials for true, authentic and direct black and white photography, the Leica M Monochrom offers unparalleled image performance, outstanding low light capabilities and rich details. The Leica M Monochrom is available in black chrome finish.

Outstanding imaging performance with low noise up to ISO 25,000
Live-View and focus peaking
Large buffer memory and Leica Maestro processor
High quality full-HD video function
Easy to use – reduced to the essentials
Body made of high-strength magnesium alloy and solid brass top and base plates finished in black chrome
Sapphire crystal glass cover plate and 3” monitor
Access to a wide range of M lenses from 16 – 135 mm
New filters solely for the Leica M Monochrom widening creative possibilities
Compatible with all accessories for the Leica M (Typ 240)
Access to R lenses with Leica M-Adapter-R for pictures and video
Adobe Lightroom available as a download
Made in Germany

The Leica M Monochrom has a 24-megapixel resolution on a monochrom CMOS sensor similar to the Leica M. As the M Monochrom has no need for color filters, it needs no interpolation for the calculation of luminance values. This results in brilliant images which have 100% more details and contrast than what is possible in color photography

Up to ISO 25,000
The new Leica M Monochrom opens up new dimensions for available-light photography with its combination of low noise up to ISO 25,000, a bright viewfinder, a low-vibration shutter release and fast lenses.

Full Visual Control with Live View
The high-resolution 3” monitor with 921,600 pixels ensures that photographers have complete control of composition, exposure, focusing and depth of field. The Live View also offers two additional focusing methods. The up to 10x magnification in Live View Zoom mode enables full control of the sharpness of details in the image on the monitor or the closest focusing distance. In Live View Focus Peaking mode, sharply focused edges in the image are highlighted by colored lines.

Full HD Video in Black and White
The new Leica M Monochrom captures high-quality, full-HD video in black and white. With the optional Leica microphone adapter set, one can be assured of perfect sound.

2 GB Buffer Memory
With it’s high-capacity 2GB buffer memory and Leica Maestro processor, the camera captures sequences 3 times faster than its predecessor. In addition, the new processor enables extremely fast display of the captured images in review mode.

Sapphire Crystal Glass
The LC display is made of scratch-resistant and almost unbreakable sapphire crystal which has been treated with an antireflective protective coating that ensures that photographers can check their images in any lighting situation.

2 GB Buffer Memory
With it’s high-capacity 2GB buffer memory and Leica Maestro processor, the camera captures sequences 3 times faster than its predecessor. In addition, the new processor enables extremely fast display of the captured images in review mode.

Three new filters in E39 and E46 will be available for use with the Leica M Monochrom from July 2015. By influencing the conversion of colors to greyscale values, yellow, green and orange lens filters offer new opportunities for exploring creative effects with light and contrast. The use of color filters is effective for creating unusual moods in landscapes, portraits and other genres of photography. At the same time, multilayer coating reduces reflections and ensures high transmission.

All current M accessories for the Leica M (Typ 240) can be used with the Leica M Monochrom. These accessories include finger loops, electronic view finder, ever-ready cases, flash and straps. In addition, R-lenses can be used on the Leica M Monochrom with the Leica M-Adapter-R.



Sensor: B/W – 24 MP – CMOS / B/W – 18 MP – CCD
Processor: Leica Maestro / DSP based computing platform
Display: 3” (921,600 pixel) / 2.5” (230, 000 pixel)
ISO: up to 25,000 / up to 10,0000
Video: yes, 1080p / no
Live-View: yes / no
EVF: yes – EVF 2 / no

10930 Leica M Monochrom Mid-May 2015 SP-$7,450.00
13061 Filter Orange, E39 July 2015 SP-$145
13062 Filter Yellow, E39 July 2015 SP-$145
13063 Filter Green, E39 July 2015 SP-$145
13064 Filter Orange, E46 July 2015 SP-$145
13065 Filter Yellow, E46 July 2015 SP-$145
13066 Filter Green, E46 July 2015 SP-$145

Leica 12% off for the month of May


Consumer Promotion: 12% Savings on all Leica Photographic Products* , Made in Germany, Savings in America !!

Consumer Promotion – May 1st through May 31st, 2015

Leica Camera is pleased to announce a consumer promotion to compensate for the current strength of the US Dollar against the Euro. This promotion runs from May 1st, 2015 through May 31st, 2015. With this promotion, consumers can purchase most Leica Photographic Products* at 12% off Leica’s listed Selling Price (SP) on Leica Camera Inc.’s current price list.

This promotion offers consumers the opportunity to purchase most Leica Photographic Products* at 12% off the selling price listed on Leica Camera Inc’s current price list.
The current exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Euro enables Leica Camera to offer this very unique promotion to all Leica consumers in North America.

* The following Leica Photographic Products are excluded: #10789 – Leica M-P ‘CORRESPONDENT’ by Lenny Kravitz for Kravitz Design, #10933 – Leica M-P (Typ 240) Set ‘Safari’, #11688 – Leica Summilux-M 50 mm/f1.4 ASPH, black chrome finish & #11689 – Leica Summicron-M 35 mm/f2 ASPH, black chrome finish. Leica S typ 007.


Leica Camera presents the Leica M-P Set ‘SAFARI’. This set comprises of the Leica M-P (Typ 240) Safari edition, Leica Summicron-M 35mm/f2 ASPH with round metal lens hood, a full grain cowhide carrying strap and matching SD & business card holder.


Leica’s safari/olive edition cameras date back to 1960 with the Leica M1 ‘Olive‘. Made initially for the military, the safari/olive cameras’ unique color stands out. Over the years, a handful of safari/olive editions were produced. Many of these limited edition cameras are highly prized collectibles

The Leica M-P Set ‘SAFARI’ has an olive lacquered top cover, leatherette and bottom plate. The shutter speed dial, the On/Off switch, the release button, the hot shoe and some other details have a silver finish. The engraving on the top cover is reminiscent of the first safari camera in 1960 and has the classic Leica logo inscribed on one line and the wording ‘WETZLAR GERMANY’ on the second line. The 35mm/f2 ASPH has a silver chrome finish with a matching classic round metal lens hood. This set comes in a new packaging including a presentation box.

The Leica M-P Set ‘SAFARI’ will be available at Leica Stores, Leica Boutiques and Leica Dealers. There are 1500 sets available worldwide. The technical data of the camera and lens are identical to the serial versions.


Coming soon…

Breaking news for all Leica M9 / M-E owners!



For some weeks the hottest topic of the Leica Forum were problems with the Leica M9 sensor (almost 3,000 posts!).Leica watched the discussion closely and has now published an accommodating offer for all affected M9 and M-E owners.

Leica Took action Please see the  Statement From Leica Camera AG:

December 10, 2014

Leica M9/ M9-P/M Monochrom/M-E

Important Information Concerning CCD Sensors

In some cases, particularly when using the camera models Leica M9, M9-P, M Monochrom or M-E with smaller apertures (5.6-22), effects caused by corrosion of the sensor glass may be encountered. Leica offers a free replacement service for the CCD sensors of cameras affected by this problem as a goodwill arrangement. This goodwill arrangement applies regardless of the age of the camera and also covers sensors that have already been replaced in the past. Customers who have already been charged for the replacement of a sensor affected by this problem will receive a refund.

The marks on images mentioned earlier are related to the properties of the CCD sensor. The sensors are equipped with a specially coated IR filter cover glass to ensure optimum imaging performance. Should this coating layer be damaged, corrosion effects that alter the filter surface may begin to appear after several years.

The effect described does not affect the CMOS sensor of the Leica M (Typ 240). Should you be considering an upgrade from your camera to a Leica M or M-P (Typ 240), Customer Care would be pleased to make you an attractive offer following a check of your camera and under consideration of the model and its age.

If the imaging quality of your camera gives cause for complaint in this respect, we recommend that you send it directly to Leica Customer Care or the authorized Customer Care department of your country’s Leica distributor. As longer waiting times may otherwise occur, the camera should only be sent to Customer Care after prior arrangement.

Contact information for Leica Camera Inc.

Telephone: 201-962-9930

Website: www.leicacamerausa.com

E-mail: repair@leicacamerausa.com

Shipping address: Leica Camera Inc.

Att: Customer Care

1 Pearl Court, Unit A

Allendale, NJ 07401

Contact information for Leica Camera AG

Telephone: +49-6441-2080-189.

Web site: http://de.leica-camera.com/Service-Support/Reparatur-Wartung.

E-mail: Customer.Care@leica-camera.com.

For us, it is important that we offer only technically faultless products. We are therefore particularly sorry if the imaging quality of your camera should be adversely affected in any way. We hope that the goodwill arrangement we have decided upon will allow us to remedy the problem as soon as possible and rebuild and maintain the trust you have always placed in our brand.

R.I.P Arnold Crane

My friend Arnold Crane passed away recently.

I will miss talking to him about anything and everything! Rest in peace my friend!


“Crane has worked as a photographer since his youth and documented incidents such as major crime scenes, earthquakes, fires and political events and was published in various U.S. magazines. After receiving his Doctor of Juris prudence, he temporarily stopped working as a photographer, but started again in 1983, inspired by a friendship with the photographer Man Ray. His monograph »On the Other Side of the Camera«, already out of print, offers a complete collection of all the artists’ portraits Crane has created over the years. The book won the renowned KODAK Photo Book Award in 1995, the year of its publication. For example one of Crane’s portraits of Walker Evans was used as the frontispiece for the book »Walker Evans – Decade by Decade«, published in 2010. He was selected as one of 100 New York Photographers in a book of the same name in 2009. His work has been shown in many exhibitions in international galleries and museums. They are part of collections of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Art Institute in Chicago. He regularly holds seminars and lectures about photography. The artist lives in Chicago and Paris. “

arnold_thumbArnold Crane has worn many hats. Starting out as a portrait photographer, a press photographer, a photojournalist/author, a curator of photography, and so forth…
Arnold Crane has been a photographer for the last 62 years, although he started out as a trial lawyer. Arnold’s passion for photography has taken him to all corners of the globe. He is a member of the White House Press Photographers Association, and he is well known for his black and white female nudes. Arnold’s most important contribution to photography, however, began after a chance meeting with Edward Steichen, curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in the late 1960’s. Steichen, after seeing some of Arnold’s candid shots of Man Ray, suggested that he photograph “all the photographers”. And so, a project thirty years in the making was born…

Sammy Shoshan

Vince Lupo Gallery

Vince Lupo

(410) 850-4181 tel

(410) 693-1946 cel



I was born February 24, 1966 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and have been involved in photography since 1978.  I am a commercial photographer based in Linthicum, MD, and have been running my business, Direction One, Inc. since 1997.


1996 – Master of Fine Arts Degree in Still Photography, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

1994 – Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree with Honours in Still Photography, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Awards (SCAD):

1996 – Outstanding Academic Achievement in Photography Award / Highest Overall Standing

1994-1996 – Presidential Scholarship

1994-1996 – National Dean’s List

1994-1996 – Who’s Who in American Colleges & Universities 

Awards (Ryerson):

1994 – David Shum Memorial Award for Highest Overall Standing as a Graduating Student

from the Still Photography Program

1993 – John DeBlois Memorial Award for Highest Overall Standing in Photographic Technology Studies

1993 – Canadian Scholars Press Award

1991 – Geoffrey Bullock Memorial Award for High Academic Standard and Photography Proficiency

1990-1994 – Dean’s List

Awards (Professional):

2005 – International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) Photojournalism

2001 – American Advertising Federation ADDY Covers Magazine

1999 – American Advertising Federation ADDY, Covers Magazine


2014 – Curriculum Vitae (excerpts), Aloft BWI Hotel, Linthicum, MD

1999 – Social Studies, Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD (two-person show)

1998 – Spaces and Solitudes, Goodyear Cottage, Jekyll Island, GA (solo show)

1996 – The Night Sea Journey, Bergen Hall, Savannah GA (solo show)

1995 – Group Exhibition, Prisma Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

1993 – Group Exhibition, Ryerson Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Numerous exhibits at small area retail galleries with other artists.

Artist Statement:

These photos are impressions of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and the feelings these encounters have evoked.  Call them my visual “curriculum vitae,” or at least a small sliver of it.

Through this work, I have documented the loneliness and solitude that is part of life and part of our collective emotional experience. They are a glimpse into what I’ve passed through and some of the moments I’ve witnessed.

Nothing is planned, staged or sought out. These are simply the scenes and activities that have presented themselves to me when I was ready for the unexpected.  And either by accident or design, these are the photos that I am compelled to make at this time in my life.

This is a record of my own personal road, with its unplanned twists and impulsive turns.  At times I’m certain of my direction; at others I’m stuck at a crossroads, unable to choose between divergent paths.

The creative road is neither orderly nor routine, and these images capture what I see as the surprise, fear and joy of living.  I never know what’s around the corner or where I’ll end up.

Photo Information:

There are currently 35 photos in this portfolio, and with the exception of three images from the 1990’s, all were created within the last three years.  They each measure approximately 11”x16”, and are matted/framed 20”x24”.  They are all archival pigment prints.

Additional photos from this series can be found online here:



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Massachusetts, Boston – Walk MS 2014: Eden Shoshan – National MS Society

Dear All,

It has been 10 years since my wife, Jill, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The road has been rocky at times but Jill is determined to lead a “normal” life, despite it all.

My daughter Eden has created a team for the MS walk this year in Boston, “Team Mama Shosh”, & a web page for donation and create awareness for MS.

I am reaching out to you to get on board with our team and to see if you would consider sponsoring Team Mama Shosh.

Please let me know if you would consider participating in and in what capacity.

We are also in the process of designing team shirts, that we would offer for sale and would be happy to add any sponsorship co. logo.
Please take the time to read & support the MS walk, my daughter, Eden Shoshan, and Team Mama Shosh in anyway you can, you can walk with us, you can make a donation, you can help us promote the event, you can help us create awareness and help the MS society find a cure and or better the life of MS patients.

Thank you in advance.
Kind regards
Sam Shoshan
Classic Connection fine camera

Eden Shoshan – Honoring a Life with MS

unnamedWhy I Participate:
Multiple sclerosis affects millions of people, including my mother and best friend, Jill Shoshan. This year marks ten years since her diagnosis, and I have watched throughout my childhood both her strength and subsequent toll the disease has posed on her mentally and physically. I registered for Walk MS this year in honor of her strength. Walk MS is a chance, with each step, to bring us closer to a world free of MS.

About MS:
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling, disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Millions of people are affected by MS and the challenged of living with its unpredictable symptoms, which range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS cannot be predicted, prevented, or cured, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. I am asking you to support me in making this dream a reality. I have seen first hand the toll it has taken on my mother and family, and I am determined to contribute to changing the future.

Please support me!
Your gift helps support cutting-edge research and programs and services for everyone impacted by MS. Ending MS means no one will ever receive an MS diagnosis again. Ending MS means no one’s family will ever live with the unpredictability of MS again.

Every step matters. Every dollar counts. Every person makes a difference.

Do it for Mama Shosh

For those of you who know my mom, you know that, besides being sassy and animated, she is the most selfless human being in the entire world. She is constantly doing for others, never asking for anything in return. Throughout these ten years and the confusion of handling MS and thecurveballs that come with it, my mom has never let this disease define her. Instead, her warmth, generosity, and strength do. I am fundraising and walking for her–and to give back to her. If there was ever anyone who deserved it, it would certainly be her especially in her condition.

This year, I will be walking in honor of her strength to not just live with MS but to have a life with MS.

James Lager- Combining The Leica M-type 240 New with the old…. !

The Leica M – Model 240

You waited a very long time for your new Leica to arrive. Finally it’s here! Of course you will attach modern APO Leica lenses to deliver the extraordinary quality you expect. If you have access to additional lenses and accessories usability of the new M is greatly expanded. Recently I fitted various “optical paraphenalia” to the new camera. Please refer to the following illustrations. Bellows units and long focal lengths are best employed with solid tripod support. The EV2 electronic viewfinder can be thought of as a “baby Visoflex”. Addition of the EV2 basically converts the Leica M into an SLR. Presently the new Leica R to M adapter is in preparation with delivery expected shortly.

The Leica M accepts rangefinder coupled lenses. With the EV2 and adapters Leica R and Visoflex are usable. Enjoy your new M and consider fitting equipment you already have. The possibilities appear endless. Consult your Leica Dealer for the adapter(s) you require.

28mm screw mount Nikkor via screw to bayonet adapter

90mm Elmar via adapter

50mm Summicron

21mm Super Angulon R via adapter 22228

55mm Auto Micro Nikkor via Nikon to M adapter

50mm Macro Takumar via adapter 22232

100 mm Macro Takumar via 22232. EV2 set for waist level.

85 mm Super Takumar via 22232.

Visoflex II as spacer (mirror up) , 65mm Elmar, 16464 mount . EV2 at 45 degrees.

Visoflex III as spacer (mirror up) , 135mm Hektor, 16464 mount, 16472 tube, EV2 at 45 degrees.

135mm Hektor in short mount, 16466 tube, with Nikon to Visoflex adapter and Nikon to M adapter.

135mm Hektor, 16472 tube, on Bellows II.

Visoflex I as spacer (mirror up), Bellows I with 135mm Hektor, EV2 at 45 degrees.

200mm Telyt with 16466 adapter.

280mm Telyt with 16466 adapter

400mm Telyt 1:6.8

400mm Canon 1:4.5

50mm Summicron lens head on BOOWU-M device at DIN A6 (fixed ratio 1:4 , coverage 4 1/8″ X 5 7/8″)

The 250-exposure Leica Camera, Model FF

Long Load Leicas

In the early 1930’s Ernst Leitz Wetzlar experimented with a Leica camera capable of making more than the usual 36 exposures. Experimentation resulted in the Leica Reporter ( also called the Leica 250). A maximum
of thirty three feet of film for 250 exposures filled the KBOOF feed cassette. Exposed film was transported into a second KBOOF. Approximately
one thousand Reporters were manufactured and utilized for industrial, business, scientific, research, medical, and military applications.
Earliest deliveries date as 1934 with a very few completed as late as 1953.
In July 1936 the top shutter speed was changed from 1/500 to 1/1000 second. Early cameras to 1/500 are officially known as the FF. Cameras to 1/1000 have been labeled GG although Leitz documents do not acknowledge this. Many Reporters were heavily used and subsequently returned to Leitz for rebuilding. During the 1950’s f series flash synchronization could be added.
The photographs illustrate Leica 250’s encountered during decades of research. Surviving cameras are highly prized by collectors. Capable of 250 exposures without reloading the Reporter is unique in Leica History.


  1. Prototype Reporter ( circa early 1930’s ) built on a Leica IT chassis.
  2. Leica II Reporter from Leica Handbuch , Fritz Vith, 1933. Did not reach production status.
  3. First production Reporter No. 130001 delivered to Leitz New York January 1934. Constructed on III chassis .
  4. Front cover of FF brochure June 1934.
  5. Factory packaging for Reporter.
  6. Reporter with Sum Xenon and KBOOF cassettes.( DiMarco photo ).
  7. ANZOO film trimming template engraved Leitz New York. Most were prepared by Leitz Wetzlar.
  8. Reporter with 20cm 1:4.5 Telyt, TZOON extension tube, and SFT00 viewfinder ( circa 1940).
  9. Chrome finish 250 No. 352463 with 5cm Xenon. Originally black.
  10. Reporter. Nr. 352400 rebuilt in the 1950’s. With f series synchronization.
  11. Leica 250 No. 349023 compared to modified/converted Leica lc 561238 for 750 exposures.
  12. Leica Reporter with MOOEV electric motor capable of 4 frames per second. Used by the Luftwaffe during World War II.





The 250-exposure Leica Camera, Model FF

Every photographer, whether amateur, profes¬sional or scientific, experiences at times the need of greater film capacity than the regular Leica is capable of offering. There is, for instance, the press photographer who may lose irretrievable opportunities if he is compelled to insert a new film chamber while interesting events are in progress, there is the amateur on his holiday tour, or the explorer further afield, both of whom have only rare opportunities of getting their exposures, or there is the scientific photographer who has to reproduce an old volume page by page, for which purpose it would be an unwelcome waste of time to have to put in a new film after every 36 pages, apart from the inconvenience of having to carry about a whole series of film chambers for the work.


Thus it comes about that for some long time past the desire has been expressed by various users of our camera for a Leica with a film chamber sufficient for a far larger number of exposures. To meet this demand we have brought out under the name “Leica FF” a Leica camera the film chamber of which is loaded with a film of 30 ft. length, thus permit¬ting more than 250 exposures to be made with a single loading.
The “Leica FF” is supplied with two film chambers, one serving as take-up chamber. This is necessary on account of the 30 ft. length of film, which would be exceedingly tedi¬ous to re-wind.
The “Leica FF” is usually equipped with the 50 mm. (2-inch) f 3.5 Standard Elmar lens but can be supplied to order with any other lens. If another lens is desired for the “Leica FE” the price is increased accordingly by the price of the lens required. In ordering a “Leica FF” with another lens the code- word for the latter is to be added to the codeword “Loomy”.

For particulars of the Leica, the interchangeable Leica lenses, and the numerous Leica accessories, see our special descriptive booklets.

Instructions for Use.

As fig. 1 shows, the “Leica FF” differs from the Model F Leica only by reason of the larger film chambers, room for which must be created in the body of the camera. Hence the handling of the camera also differs from that of the Model F only as regards the loading of the film into the film chamber, and of the film chambers into the camera. Thus, for example, the trimming guide for shaping the film is longer. Further it must be noted that, in inserting the film into the chamber, the end of the film must not be folded over and fixed. When placing the two film chambers in the camera, care must be taken that the knob on the underside of each film chamber is correctly snapped into position by gentle turning of the chamber. This is easily effected, because the screws which hold the spring closing


the chamber have especially high heads (fig. 2). This fact assures the insertion of the film chambers in the correct position. The base cover-plate of the “Leica FF”, which is doubly locked, cannot be closed unless the two film cham¬bers are properly placed. When the two locks are closed the two chambers open together. The film is not wound back after exposure. A portion of film which has been exposed can be removed from the camera, after being cut off within the camera by means of a cutting device.







James L. Lager received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Ohio State University. In 1971 he joined the Leica Technical Center of E. Leitz, Inc. Rockleigh, N.J. Since 1975 Jim has worked in the retail sector of the photo industry. The author’s previous books are; LEICA ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, (1975). LEICA ILLUSTRATED GUIDE II, (1978). LEICA ILLUS-TRATED GUIDE III, (1979), LEICA LITERATURE, (1980) and LEICA, AN ILLUSTRATED HIS¬TORY, VOLUME I – CAMERAS, (1993) and VOLUME II – LENSES, (1994). Jim is a past president of the Leica Historical Society of America (LHSA) and past editor of its official publication, VIEWFINDER, in which he wrote and illustrated over 100 articles. His photographs have been published in LEICA FOTOGRAFIE and LEICA PHOTOGRAPHY. Over 22 years of almost daily contact with the Leica camera on both pragmatic and esthetic levels, has given Jim Lager a unique perspective on this engaging subject.


Virtually all of the author’s photographs in this book were taken with a Leicaflex SL or SL2, with Bellows R/100 f4.0 Macro Elmar R combination. The 60mm f2.8 Macro Elmarit R or 65mm f3.5 Elmar were used for larger subjects. Panatomic X or Agfapan 25 film was generally used, and a light tent was employed for soft, even illumination.
John Mecray’s supplimentary photos were taken with a Leica R6 and a 100mm 1:2.8 Apo-Macro¬Elmarit-R.

Coming HoMe

A long-cherished dream has begun to come true for me … the Leica M.

The experience has been everything I’d hoped for, and much, much more. In unexpected ways, using the Leica M system has brought me back to my roots as a photographer. Both as to how I work with the camera, and how I am thinking about images, and image-making, again.


I hope to capture here some of the magic I’ve felt, beginning to relearn my craft  with the M system. I began including images from my first trip with the M system, three days at Yosemite in November, but have included a few other images, where they seemed to better reflect the discussion.

To Leica aficianados, perhaps these words will bring a smile of recognition, or remembrance of the start of their own journey. For anyone who is thinking about what this rangefinder system may offer, I hope these words intrigue and motivate you to take the plunge as soon as you can.


The first decision I faced, when it looked like the Leica M was finally in reach, was which camera to choose. Even though I’ve always been more of a film guy, even recently, I had decided on a digital Leica. It was August, with Photokina right around the corner, and everyone was expecting the announcement of the “M10”. The practical part of me, which had been so patient for so many years,

thought it surely best to wait for the new camera. But I also realized that even if a new camera were announced, it would likely be another 6 or more months before it was available. I did not want to extend my multi-decade wait any longer, so I jumped, without hesitation, for an M9P, which had just been discounted $1000!

I am still awed by the simple beauty of this camera. One might think that after so many years, I would have wanted my own red dot! But the lettering on the top plate reminds me of the only Leica I had ever used, my grandfather’s IIIc, and its spare black perfection brings pure joy every time I see it.

I do remember, though, being taken aback the day it arrived by how small it seemed, even with a lens mounted, having most recently been using a Nikon 3S, more often than not with a 24 – 70mm zoom lens, quite massive in comparison. I think there was even a part of me that wondered, in a small, doubting voice, what all the fuss was about (for these Leica cameras).

Without question, from the very beginning, though, there was also an immediate sense of how nicely the camera fit in my hands, how perfectly positioned and proportioned the aperture and focus rings seemed, and how naturally my right index finger found the shutter speed dial.


The Nikon was ably designed so one *can* hold onto it; the Leica was clearly built, from its inception, in a scale *for* the human hand.

I did feel awkward at first, though, even quite clumsy as I reached errantly for focus or aperture. But I realized how natural the operation of the camera could become. For days I just carried it around, helping my hands memorize its shape and feel, learning more naturally to find its functions. And as wonderful as the camera began to feel, it was, of course, the lenses that were the real revelation.


From the very first image I downloaded to my laptop, I was amazed by what seemed like an “atmosphere” to the lens’s image-making. I found myself taking pictures of the most ordinary objects, because of the way the Leica lens brought them to life in their own “thatness.” There was the exquisite resolution of fine detail, certainly, but even more, the field of focus, or more precisely, the actual plane of focus, seemed to have much greater force in the image. The character of the lens’s imaging seemed to actually call for the use of a narrower range of focus.

I began to realize that I had been in an unexamined quest for sharpness for most of my photographic life.

My early heroes of photography, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, had even named their Group f/64 as a conscious movement away from pictorialism, and to honor their own quest for perfect sharpness in the service of “straight photography.” Walker Evans, another of my early heroes, with whom I had actually had the opportunity to study, was also primarily known for his largeformat images, the crispness of his photography of place.


So while it is not surprising that my aesthetic had been so oriented to sharpness, it was all the more extraordinary how quickly Leica lenses opened up entirely different expressive opportunities.


At once I began to wonder if “sharpness” had become the enemy of expressive potential.

As I now think about it, there is a wonderful irony in the fact that this special expressive potential is actually grounded in the Leica’s ability to resolve detail with such fineness and delicacy. It is that kind of “sharpness” that gives special impact to the plane of focus, and makes for such pleasing transition away from focus.

Which leads to the other principal reason that this kind of expressive opportunity is at the very heart of what is uniquely Leica: the lenses perform with such spectacular finesse wide open. I just recently learned that at least one Leica master shoots as close to wide open as possible, all the time, as a basic premise of his Leica style. I can now appreciate how no other approach really uses all the creative potential that is so specially at hand with a Leica lens.

Even though I am not quite at that point, aperture and bokeh are already a much larger part of my photographic arsenal again, and are really changing how I approach visual opportunities and possibilities. I’ve even bought the first of what will likely be several 0.9 neutral density filters, to give me the option of keeping my lenses as wide open as possible during daylight hours.

Quite a departure from tilting the plane of focus, and closing down a lens as much as possible to bring everything into “sharpness!” Which is still so eminently, easily possible with the M:


It was hard at first, of course, coming back home to a more deliberate way of working. Focussing with great care, deliberating over exposure trade-offs, composing without the certainty of a through-the-lens view … all come into play with each Leica image … the way they used to when I worked with my first camera system, a Nikkormat and a small collection of prime lenses.

Even with years of large-format discipline, spot metering, precise camera positioning with bubble levels and movements, back-wrenching focussing with a loupe on a groundglass, my brief foray into automated digital photography had very quickly, and fundamentally, altered my approach.

Within a couple of years of using digital cameras, I was so used to relying on auto-focus, and quickly evaluating displays of complex metering patterns, that photography had become much more of an exercise in instantaneous, instinctual composition, than the more engaged, deliberate, pre-visualizing approach of earlier years and formats.


I value what this more instinctual approach has taught me, because I believe that photography, at its best, draws on much deeper aspects of ourselves than our conscious mind. But as as I’ve begun to work with the Leica M, I’ve really enjoyed the feeling of coming home to a more engaged, deliberate style that still embraces instinctual, emotional response.

And this really has felt like coming home.

My 1970 Nikkormat has a small, central, split-screen for focussing, much like the M’s central split-image. It has a needle indicating exposure, on the right side of the viewfinder. Honestly, I’m still not as used to the M’s LED exposure indicator, because I liked the analog movement of the needle in the Nikkormat, which gave me a smoother sense of the relative luminance of different areas in a scene.


As I learn to interpret its LED states, I expect I’ll feel the same confidence with the M9’s metering, but I am still a bit perplexed by it. The M9 seems to need 1 to 2 full stops more exposure than my experience with viewfinder metering leads me to believe. Immediately, though, I’ve really appreciated the logic of the LED’s arrows, which clearly and uniformly point out the correct direction for changes of either shutter speed or aperture. Very intuitive, very nice.

I was always confident in my ability to focus accurately, and this has proven to be true with the M, even in challenging situations, even indoors, and even in low light. It does take me some effort, though, which, again, compels a more engaged and deliberate approach.


I never could learn to focus with my right eye, which always seemed to be the “correct” way in instructions, and photos I have seen of people taking pictures. Perhaps I like the way the camera blocks my right eye, when focussing with my left. Or perhaps, as my wife suggested the other day, I’m working more with my right brain, when focussing with my left eye! It has always, though, felt like a very concentrated effort, but one which is definitely rewarded. I’ve discovered that I really like this about the rangefinder M. There is real gratification in actually focussing to the result I’m trying to achieve, rather than relying on automation, which so often, subtly, agonizingly disappoints by blindly locking onto *not quite* what is intended.

The clearest example that comes to mind is an opportunity I had to photograph a great Tibetan lama during one of his teachings. To catch what were often fleeting and very funny expressions, I relied on auto-focus that day, since I was using a large and heavy digital SLR, and by necessity, a long lens. So most of the images have the front edge of his chair’s handle perfectly sharp; but him, not so. Even if I had missed a lot of expressions by focussing manually, the ones I would have gotten, would have been spot on. And the Leica would have been so much quieter, lighter, and easier to hold!

And there is another, really fun way the M takes me back to my roots as a film photographer. A way that I have even seen criticized in reviews, when someone decries that such an expensive camera has such a low-res LCD monitor.


Apart from necessary histogram information, which still seems critical to dialing in exposure with the M9, the LCD monitor only hints at the image you may or may not have captured. To me, this feels like working with film, where you never know how your efforts came out until you get to the darkroom, or in this case, Lightroom. Results, especially since they’ve only been seen on the camera’s low-res monitor, are always exciting, always a revelation with the M9. The camera never seems to disappoint, and the small hints of reward you see in the LCD monitor are full of possibility, full of delight, as you tease the RAW image into what you hoped to capture.

And for me, this is what photography is really all about. Engaging one’s whole being, beginning with the tactile sensations of working with the camera, to find that combination of factors and settings that resonate with one’s deepest connection to the visual scene with which one is engaged. To feel intimately connected to the camera, so that engagement is fully realized, deep, spontaneous, intuitive, emotional, drawing on all resources, conscious and unconscious, to commit to the image we believe in.

The M fully supports that engagement, from the silky, solid feeling and sound of the camera, to its mechanical performance and superior optical quality. The camera’s abilities, the lens’s magic, push me to take the images I really, instinctually feel, as well as those which more analytically, compositionally intrigue me. And then, there is the further joy and surprise as I find them find them better endered than I had hoped, even, sometimes, imagined.


The essence of what Walker Evans taught my small seminar in 1971 was just that. Just take the picture you believe in. Yes, learn your craft, learn you instrument, but let that all just become the direct path to taking the picture you believe in. Let it all just fade away in the instants of your engagement. His camera of choice in those late days was a Polaroid SX-70.


I’ve found the M lets me do just that. It’s a camera which feels right in my hands, even with its more exotic lenses. It becomes transparent to use, the more I engage in a scene, and the lenses just flat out show what is there, as it is. Thatness, suchness, just keep coming to mind.

So what is left is to take the images in which one believes, and enjoy the whole experience of using perfectly wonderful tools. Throughout, there is a seriousness in Leica’s commitment to the task at hand that inspires confidence, and instills joy as the photographic process unfolds.


Which leads me back to the heart of what I’ve hoped to touch on, the pure joy of working with such beautiful precision tools as the Leica M, and its wonderful optics. It is joy at the most basic, primitive level, from holding and working with the camera, right up to the most sublime moments of discovery, when results unfold with unexpected fineness and subtlety.

My last sunset at Yosemite, found me high above Olmstead Point, where this venerable tree had drawn me. I caught myself more than once just purely enjoying the camera itself, enjoying the process of mounting lenses, the look, the heft of the camera. The bands of grey, white and black on the shutter. The confidence I had about what was transpiring.


I was getting tired from being drawn so deeply into the process of making images; sad, too, that my short stay at Yosemite was drawing to a close.

But I could not have imagined a more perfect introduction to the happiness of M photography, and look forward to each new opportunity, as I find myself coming hoMe.

A significant part of this journey has been the happy circumstance of meeting Sam Shohan, just over the phone so far. I am deeply indebted to him for helping me start my journey with the Leica M, and for his warm support and inspiration.

Thank you, Sam!