Wednesday, September 18, 2019

MY PERSONAL LEICA EQUIPMENT





By Heinz Richter

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 for my 5th birthday.  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 by a Digilux 3.  But I still hung onto the M6 and its lenses.

My first digital Leica, a Digilux 2.
I replaced the original black cover of the camera with grey
leather.  The camera is still in frequent use by myself as wll
as my wife.

As soon as it became available, I added a Leica M8 to my system.  It served me well until I replaced it with my current Leica M240.  

People have asked me why I didn’t stay with the M8 or why I didn’t switch to a M9.  The main reason is live view.  In order to use lenses longer than 135mm live view is necessary.  The ease of use of longer lenses and close-up photography are also made a lot easier with the electronic Visoflex, the electronic viewfinder which cannot be had with either the M8 or the M9.  I also like the higher resolution of the M240, not that I make very big enlargements on a regular basis.  But the higher resolution enables me to crop when there was not enough time to switch to a longer lens or a lens that allows me to focus closer.

Full Frame

Cropped section of the same frame


Very small cropped section of the same frame


My current 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.  To facilitate easier changing of lenses I am planning to modify my cameras case with a removable insert offering three rigidly attached Leica rear caps.  With one lens installed on the camera, two of the rear caps will hold two additional lenses.  When changing lenses, the lens off the camera will be attached to the open rear cap in the camera case, freeing my hands to easily attach another lens.


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 often been asked why I bother with the 135mm.  I mainly use it for portrait and portrait related work.  In many cases, individuals that are not used to being in front of a camera, have a tendency to tense up when a camera is pointed at them.  The 135mm Elmarit allows for a greater shooting distance which in most cases will put the client more at ease.  The 135mm Elmarit has the additional advantage of utilizing the 90mm viewfinder frame which is magnified by the viewfinder magnifier built into the lens, the so called goggles, to the field of view of the 136mm.  This greatly increases the rangefinder accuracy.    

I have always been interested in long lenses for a variety of work, including 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 use 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 lenses in one compartment,
next to the 90mm and the 135mm, including the electronic Visoflex

Leica M240 with Novoflex 200mm f/3.8

Leica M240 with Novoflex 400mm f/5.6




For other articles on this blog please click on Blog Archive in the column to the right

_____________________________________________________________________


http://www.reddotcameras.co.uk/

                                   


      www.eddycam.com   

      


Buy vintage Leica cameras from 
America's premier Leica specialist 

                          
           http://www.tamarkinauctions.com/               http://www.tamarkin.com/leicagallery/upcoming-show




Click on image to enlarge






Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Click on image to enlarge
Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Click on image to enlarge
Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography



14 comments:

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

    ReplyDelete
  2. How is the voigtlander lens?

    ReplyDelete
    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.

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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, like the 800mm Telyt used to be.

      Delete
  4. Do you still use your Leica III?

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

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

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

      Delete
    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?

      Delete
    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.

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

    ReplyDelete
    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.

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

      Delete