Saturday, August 4, 2012


In the article “ODE TO LEICA NO. 1048416” I wrote: 

The following is a birthday wish written for the 20th birthday of Leica # 1048416 in January 1982.  It would be interesting to know how the 50th turned out to be.  

Just this morning I received an email from Bob Nandell with an update on Leica M2 1048416.  He writes:

Hi:  I stumbled across your site and I noticed you had reproduced a photo I took in 1982 of
Leica M2 number 1048416 at the time of its 20th year of service. Your cut-line wondered how it would be doing on its 50th birthday.

Well, attached are some scans to answer your question.

Leica M2 number 104816 continues to be most instrumental in my black and white fine art
photography. I am now retired from a 45 year career in the newspaper photography business.
Number 1048416 was the prime weapon in the production of my current (4th) book of Iowa themed poems and photographs titled 'Maple Street Stories'(PBL Publishing LTD., Ottumwa, Iowa). 

It is always loaded with Ilford HP5.  Its viewfinder has dimmed a bit with age, but mechanically the camera is still perfect although its exterior has literally been worn shiny by my hands over 50 years of use. It is wearing its fourth neck-strap. The little 50mm f/2.8 Elmar continues to be shrieking sharp. (note: it has never been 'collapsed', always left extended.  I prefer it because much of what I do is shot at f/11 or f/16 out-doors. I want depth, not speed.

Special note, I am NOT a Leica collector. I simply have used (and abused) them.
Over the decades I used a number of Leica M and SLR bodies for film work, but through it all this M2 has been the prime battle-ax. The little 50 simply stays put on the front of it. It's just the way I see things for composition purposes. It's that simple. It's how I see photos, through those little 50mm frame-lines in the view finder.

Quite often when I am picture hunting Number 1048416 is the only camera I am carrying. Nobody cares about or notices an old guy walking down a small town street with an old worn-out-looking camera in his hand. Yes, I own a couple digital whiz-bangs to chase grand-kids with and make routine snaps. But my serious black and white film and print photography is still done with the Leica. It has been my friend for 50 years now.

Robert Nandell

I am sure I speak for more than just myself in wishing number 1048416 a belated Happy Fiftieth.  May it go for another fifty.

The 20th birthday wish can be found here:

ODE TO LEICA NO. 1048416


  1. I think it is really interesting to see reports and pictures of this camera over the course of 50 years. Thanks for posting.

  2. Nice photos there! I love it.