Love for Leica

All of this recent hype about the FujiFilm X100 has really forwarded my attention towards Leica and some of their compact cameras. Namely the M8 and M9. Sure they may be expensive but it’s definitely on my “to own” list.

If you’ve used one of these or better yet own a Leica then I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Images via Ffffound

41 Comments Leave A Comment


Jarson says:

September 28, 2010 at 3:30 am

I fujsdfiing love Leicas! I have a little point and shoot Leica, but its nothing special. I want the real deal baby!


Cornelius says:

September 28, 2010 at 4:18 am

R3 owner here. Love the thing, it’s built like a tank and with the 50mm Summicron lens, the DOF is just so cinematic. Picked it all up for £450 which for original Leica stuff is not too bad at all.

Would love to try an M8 to see how much of a difference there is, but my prints from the R3 keep me very happy indeed. : )



September 28, 2010 at 5:38 am

I have a Leica D-Lux 4 which for me is Great for well lit items and close up shots. I love it and glad I bought it especially because it is very small and can still fit in my pocket if needed unlike larger cameras.


clug says:

September 28, 2010 at 6:01 am

Love the leica, but cost wise it’s way out of my league. I bought a russian copy instead, although fidgety and a little tricky to work out, the fed3 will have to suffice for now.


Angel says:

September 28, 2010 at 6:05 am

If you love photography (I mean, LOVE, and PHOTOGRAPHY), these ones would be your best friends… Money is just money.

Love ur work, ;-)


ss says:

September 28, 2010 at 7:13 am

I love my leica so much I had to have another one when I lost the first one. (if anyone found it in the parking lot of Epcot Orlando please, let me know – those were some great shots!)Love my little leica. Great product.


adam says:

September 28, 2010 at 7:22 am

Always wanted a Leica camera but a little too expensive for what it’s worth compared to other cameras out there. But definitely the most stylish.


josh goleman says:

September 28, 2010 at 7:24 am

I carry a Leica M6 with a 35/f2 everywhere I go. It’s my snapshot, street photography camera that’s always loaded with Tri-X. I tried many other cameras, but nothing works so well on so many levels as my Leica : Quiet, small, not intimidating to subjects, solid, handsome. Here’s some street stuff :


Kyle says:

September 28, 2010 at 7:50 am

Fortunately I lucked out a couple years back while going through my late Grandfather’s photography equipment. I found a large leather photography bag with all of this inside it:

M3 w/ accessories and Lenses. Insane. I immediately started using it. Works perfectly and is in beautiful shape. I eventually bought my own Leica, the Dlux 3. I really like it but have sort of put it aside for now since I got a Nikon D90. However, I plan on bringing the M3 with me to San Fransisco, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. I’m so excited to do film again.


Shelby says:

September 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

@Josh, you’ve certainly captured some moments in that album. The guy was using a lint roller as a mic? And the lady was pole dancing on a bike-cart.

@Clug Can you a link to photos of your russian copy?

@Kyle That bag of gear is worth some coin. Definitely hold on to that.

Ideally I think I’d want just one lens to accompany the body. My intention for getting a Leica would be so I could maintain “pocketable” status with the camera.


Tom says:

September 28, 2010 at 11:04 am


I think the Russian copies must be the Fed2 and Fed3. The Shutters are always like a sieve (nice little stars on the pictures) but this can be fixed.


David Timmerman says:

September 28, 2010 at 11:59 am

Ok, I don’t have one, but to me the Leicas (real Leicas, not Lumix-derived PS cameras) the ultimate evolution camera in an industry of revolution. They are the Morgans of the camera world, the Gibson. In that they fine-tune, revise, but try not to change the basic underlying identity of the camera.

If we look at the photography world, every decade since the 1950s has led to revolution. First, there is the pentaprism, then electronic metering and settings. Everything got smaller in the 1970s with compact SLRs, and in the 1980s it was AF. The 1990s were about features like shooting settings, as well as returning to consumer branding. THe last decade was digital.

Since those series of revolutions, most companies chose to take the leap into that revolution (some failing). Leica decided that they would fine-tune what they had, make the rangefinder better.

Because of that, they didn’t adapt their manual focus lenses for an AF world, but tweaked the quality and ability of the lens. They improved the camera, which still is at its base a rangefinder.

Rarely do you see the leader remain like this – usually they lead the way or perish. There have been companies that didn’t take the next leap, but they are usually the ones who cannot afford to make a jump (like the MF lens makers).


Keith says:

September 28, 2010 at 2:15 pm

like Matthew, I have a D-Lux 4 and absolutely love it…takes terrific photos by any standard, let alone for a point and shoot…the B+W shots I have are the best I’ve ever taken with a digital camera…great features, pretty easy to use, great at macro shots, and has a nice wide angle lens to it…gotten a lot of envious stares from my friends lugging around their DSLRs…I too wish to upgrade to an M9 one day, but the D-Lux 4 is a terrific compromise for the time being…


Joshua Walker says:

September 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I agree with all that Leica envy. I’ve heard about the Feds, but I’ve never tried them. My Leica clones of choice are the Olympus 35s (RC) and the Canon Canonets (G-III 17).


kyle agee says:

September 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I have been shooting Nikon primarily for the last fifteen years or so, until last week.

Nikon released their NEW! IMPROVED! SPECIAL! D7000 with all the bells and whistles and new this and better that to fix all the crap that was wrong with the previous version.

The sad part was I was feeling it. Hard. I found myself so excited about all these technical updates that would better allow me to make what my eye sees a reality. Then it hit me, when was the last time that I went out and just shot photos? Ignored all the spot vs evaluative metering, and +/- exposure to compensate for the lack of precision inherent to the camera?

My answer was “the last time I shot film” The last time I loaded my FM and just went click. I ordered a used M8 that day, called a lens rental place and put in for some basic glass to point me in the right direction and waited. I opened the box, snapped on the lens, loaded an sd card and went “click”.

For the first time in years, I looked down at the histogram and saw a perfectly exposed frame. The focus was spot on, the color was spot on! The camera felt right! Solid, reliable, well made. No cheap plastic covering a soft metal frame, instead a solid, well sealed camera that just did what it was supposed to do.

I am about 1000-1500 frames in this week, and I am listing all my Nikon gear up for sale. Check out for some great information if you are interested further. I picked up the Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 and 15mm 4.5. Both seemed to be reviewed quite highly, and was able to get both used for under 700 bucks!

I have zero regrets! I’d do it in a heartbeat again. If anyone has any questions further, feel free to email me and ask.


stefan hartwig says:

September 28, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I did a trial run of an M8 through Rich at Photo Village in NYC. The deposit was steep (but returned), and the camera was amazing. I really like Leica glass. It’s a digital camera, but doesn’t feel cold and calculated. It’s a machine instead of a computer.

My one issue is the resolution of the screen on the back. It’s quite pixelated. I haven’t compared it to a M9 yet though. Perhaps that changed.

The photos are fantastic for sure, but in the end, I ended up with a Canon 5D in order to utilize my wife’s extensive lens collection. I wish I had the Leica though. It’s a beauty that makes beauty.


Mr-Tim-ho. says:

September 29, 2010 at 5:20 am

Cheaper alternative to Lecia m’s are the Bessa r’s. my bessa r3a was 1/4 of the price of the m7 body. Glass thats another story lol.


clug says:

September 29, 2010 at 7:03 am

These two shot on the fed 3.

I have only shot two rolls on it so far. The first was disastrous due to my own ignorance. Part of the fun of a new camera for me is trying to figure out how it ticks. The fed 3 has a little quirk where if you change the shutter speed without cocking the shutter first, bad things happen. Apparently if you do this to many times it will destroy the shutter mechanism completely.

Ive heard the bressas are a great alternative to the leica.


Trevor Triano says:

September 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm

The m8 is probably the only non analog camera that makes me a little giddy, i think its because it functions exactly like the original leica but with a sensor.
its so expensive thought, im going to wait till its cheaper in a couple years.


Devan says:

September 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm

PSHHH!!! I’d sell my body for the M8… I take that back. But still a brilliant design I wish I could play with one!

Good Post Shelby! BTW how did you all begin to be apart of ISO 50 and write for ISO any ways?

Oh and last but not least… way jealous of the new way you list comments, If I had no morals I’d steal it and run away into eternity.


Travis Bower says:

September 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I was at a Leica demo the other day and for some reason was one the few there. This was a plus though because i got to play around with a m9 and a huge assortment of glass + the attention of one of the main Leica reps for the U.S.
In conclusion: Leica’s are worth every penny. seriously ounce you’ve dived into one and been explained the mechanics… it just makes sense of the price. Unlike the top end DSLR’s that you’ll have to replace every couple of years(probably) The M9 will last and last, image quality is amazing, which is due to the glass. We all know about the robust factor that Leica cameras bring forth. There seriously built. so much so that the rep took the M9 plus a 35 1.4($$$$$), put it on the ground and stood on it. im sold.


Ross Wilson says:

October 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I bought my dream set up a week ago. M9 with 75mm f2, 35mm f2 all new all 6 bit. I had an m6 for years and still do, couldn’t go digital unless it was Leica. Bought the M8 and it was like shooting medium format in terms of look and quality. Really there’s so much data In the files and the Leica look is there too. Like the M6 changed me the M8 made digital for me a game changer. I had to sell up when I moved house though, barely took a shot after that, tried gf1, nikon 5DmkIi etc nothing would do. My circumstances changed recently and it allowed me to buy the M9 with theafore mentioned lenses. The results are something like shooting 6×7 medium format film iso 50 E6.. But sharper and available instantly obviously.. The files have more information in shadow and highlights than I ever got from Neg film in all my years of printing. It really is a dream camera. But as everyone knows you can take amazing pictures on any camera. The M9 just sky rockets your efforts when you nail em. Like all pro equipment, think twice about spending your money unless you are already doing well with what you have. Love your blog and your music sometimes feels like I’m listening to my soul talking. Big fan right here.


Rory Challands says:

October 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm

My heart was broken just a few months ago when I left my Leica M3 and 3 lenses in the back of a London cab. Boo. Hoo. Hoooooooo! So I nailed by colours to the mast as someone who should have their credit cards confiscated… and bought another one. Luckily insurance cash helped out. TOTALLY worth a decade or so of poverty.


matthias says:

October 28, 2010 at 5:43 am

it is not the body, that will make you love her. the body just gives you the opportunity to control her magic, the soul of your leica.

The soul is in the lense.

The lens is shere magic. It catches light and conserves it forever. And if you ever get to own one, you should try the noctilux 50/1:0,95. This lens takes pictures of ghosts. It is more sensitive to light than the human eye.

we both fell in love with the same soul.


Gerben says:

November 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm

The first time a touched a leica, I knew.
It’s realy magical, not like seeing an Apple product, but a deeper rooted feeling than that!

Instead I bought this realy cool sticker @ that at least makes my iPhone looks like one! It’s a print of the leica M9, realy cool job. I know there’s a lot more of those stickers around but a free screenprotector and
free shipping for 10 bucks. Now save up for an M8 or M9, not quite there yet:)


Anonymous says:

November 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I own the m8. It is a good camera with the drawbacks of any rangefinder. But that works for me.
The only problem I have with leica is the SAV. Much to slow for cameras in that price range ! Each time one needs to readjust the RF, one has to part from the camera for 5 weeks…
Basically, you need a second camera 5 weeks per year.
But it is still worth it for me :-)


Scott says:

November 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

I’ve decided that when I have my midlife crisis I’m going to buy an M9 instead of a sports car, can’t wait for my 40s!


Also Leica says:

December 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I picked up a Leica Digilux 3 last year and for the first time ever since using digital, my photos are back to what I remember them to be in film.

I think this is a far overlooked camera, interchangeable lenses and a beautiful sensor create film-like photos. I have Leica R-lenses, LeicaD-lenses and Olympus Pro lenses on it and this camera is amazing, amazing, amazing. And you can pick one up with a Vario Elmar for under $2k easily.


John says:

December 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Luckily, I own the M8 with some great Leica glass; I also own the X1 which has unbelievable IQ.

There is nothing quite like the images the Leica produces. To be honest the X1 is far too expensive for a compact camera, and I may even sell mine soon.


Orbazel says:

January 5, 2011 at 8:27 am

My father owned an M6 and an R6. Unfortunately he past away a few years ago and I’ve either sold some stuff or past it down to relatives that will use them. (mountaineering equipment, cross country ski’s etc) but of course keeping the sentimental stuff. At the top of that list is his M6, there’s no way I’ll ever get rid of that!! Never understood his passion for Leica until I got into photography myself. He used to keep the camera in a separate metal case as not to rub away the pristine red felt inside the Leica presentation box.
Would love a new M9 though!


Helge says:

January 31, 2011 at 11:49 am

I like my Pan LX5, my Nikon D700 as well. But I love my M8 because of the look of the pictures you can take with it. It’s not to heavy, great for slow photography … Don’t know if there’s a camera that for I would sell my Leica …


Drew says:

February 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Leica’s are the epitome of what I would like to own. I still have never gone digital. Their compactness with variability of being an SLR is unparalleled I feel.

Meh, I’m still shooting with a Minolta Maxxum 7000, which I absolutely love. My mother gave it to me. Once I grow up I’m sure a Leica will fall into my hands.


Checko says:

February 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Leica’s are pricey but beautiful. If you want to get in cheap, pick up the LEICA SLR R3MOT. What is most important here is the glass. Get a nice fixed lens and enjoy. That’s how I got hooked. Remember the glass is what counts. You can also get adapters to shoot Leica glass on Canon and Nikon. Enjoy!