Thursday, September 13, 2018

MY PERSONAL LEICA EQUIPMENT






I am asked quite often what camera equipment I use.  The simple answer is: Leica.  As I have mentioned before, my first Leica was a Leica III with 50mm f/2 Summar that my father gave me when I was 5 years old.  I still have that camera.  It works as well as it did on day one.

My first Leica, a Leica III with 50mm f/2 Summar

Of course I have used other equipment in the past as well.  In the film days it was expected that one used more than just 35mm equipment, so I also had two Rolleiflex SL 66 cameras for medium format and a Plaubel Peco Universal for large format work.

But at no time was I ever without a Leica for 35mm work.  Via Leica IIIC , a IIIf and a Leica IIIG I graduated to two Leica M3 cameras with a compliment of lenses.  They were rather unique in as much that the one body was of the first serial number batch ever made.  The second body was the exact opposite; it was of one of the last serial number batches ever made of the M3.  Those two rangefinder cameras were accompanied by a Leica R3 and later R4 at one time or another. Unfortunately, those two M3 cameras as well as all the lenses were stolen.

I replaced them with the same lenses and a Leica M6 camera.  That system served me well until it was time to change over to digital.  My first digital Leica was a Digilux 2 which soon after was accompanied with a Digilux 3.  But I still hung onto the M6 and its lenses.

One might say that my first real digital Leica was a Leica M8.  It served me well until I replaced it with my current Leica M240.  My working system consists mainly of the camera, a 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit, a 50mm f/2 Summicron and a 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit.


I have always been a firm believer in being prepared for even unusual shooting situations.  For that reason I also have a 135mm f/2.8 Elmarit as the longest lens that can be used with the Leica rangefinder and a 15mm f/4.5 Voigtlnder Super Wide-Heliar.

I have always been interested in wildlife and nature photography.  For that type of photography I use a 200mm f/3.8 and a 400mm f/5.6 Novoflex Follow Focus lens.  With the electronic viewfinder on the Leica M240 they have proven to be very capable lenses, as are a 55mm f/3.5 and a 105mm f/4 Micro-Nikkor for close-up work.


In the future I am planning to replace one of the Micro-Nikkor lenses with a Leica-R macro lens and there is a Leica M10 lurking somewhere in the future.

But for the time being I am quite satisfied with what I have.  As it is always the case, it is not so much the equipment, rather than the photographer behind the camera.

 


I carry my basic system in an older Leitz camera bag.  It holds the camera with the 28mm or 50mm lens attached.  Rear to rear lens couplers allow me to carry two of the short lense in one compartment, next to the 90mm and the 135mm next to it, including the electronic Visoflex

Leica M240 with Novoflex 200mm f/3.8

Leica M240 with Novoflex 400mm f/5.6



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14 comments:

  1. Hmm, a Leica as a 5th Birthday present. All I ever got was a Kodak Brownie

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  2. How is the voigtlander lens?

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    Replies
    1. Actually it works surprisingly well, although it is not a Leica lens. I don't use such wide lenses very often at all and I couldn't quite justify the cost of a Leica equivalent.

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  3. I have heard that the Novoflex lenses are of a similar design as the Leica 400 and 560mm Telyt

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    1. That is correct. The 400mm f/5.6 Novoflex is a two-element lens just like the 400mm and 560mm Leitz Telyt. The 200mm Novoflex is a three element design, just like the 800mm Telyt used to be.

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  4. Do you still use your Leica III?

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    Replies
    1. No. The last time I used film was in 2006. But I do keep the camera in good working condition.

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    2. How do you keep the camera in good working condition if you don't use it?

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    3. As I do with all of my cameras, I set the shutter to 1 second and release the shutter on a regular basis. That keeps the lubricants fro hardening and keeps the shutter in good working order.

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    4. I have heard that a shutter should not be kept ready to be released in order to keep the main spring from losing tension. Is that correct?

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    5. That is incorrect. The main shutter spring in all mechanical shutters is always under tension. The slight amount of tension that is added when the shutter is cocked is negligible and has no influence on the long term working order of the shutter.

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  5. The medium format camera for many photographers was the Hasselblad. Why did you choose the Rolleiflex?

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    Replies
    1. It was a simple decision. Both cameras were equal in terms of overall quality and the lenses for both cameras were the same Zeiss and Schneider lenses. But for approximately the same cost, the Rollei had a lot more to offer. For closeup work, the Hasselblad required the extra expenditure of closeup equipment. The Rollei had a buit-in bellows. Not only that, a built in lens reverser allowed reproduction ratios of 1:1, all at no extra cost. In addition, the camera allowed the lens to be tilted which in turn enabled the application of the Scheimpflug principle which extends the depth of field substantially without the need to stop the lens down. I also used the tilting lens to correct for converging lines in architectural photography. Double exposures were quite cumbersome with the Hasselblad. It required the film back to be removed before cocking the shutter and then installing it again for the next exposure. The Rollei had a simple double exposure provision and the press of a button. The Hasselblad required separate film backs for 120 and 220 film. The film back of the Rollei could be switched between the two. Hasselblad claimed better film flatness, but the pressure plate of the Rollei moved when switching and thus compensated for the difference in film thickness between 120 ans 220 film. Finally, the Rollei had a built-in focal plane shutter which made its lenses somewhat less expensive because you didn't have to buy a leaf shutter every time you bought a lens. For continuous flash synchronization Rollei offered the 80mm and 150mm lenses also with a built-in leaf shutter.

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    2. Wow, those are some considerable differences in favor of the Rolleiflex

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