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The Leica M2

Updated: Mar 25

A beautiful piece of engineering first made in the 1950s that makes you want to create images of beauty

Today I worked with the classic M2 Black Paint camera from 1961 with matching Summicron 50mm f/2 Black Paint lens. This partnership has authentic Black Paint and patina and bubbles that makes the camera even more attractive and special. Only 2,451 pieces in total were made of the Black Paint camera, and 82,000 of the silver finish.

The Leica has a legacy that requires no introduction, and the Leica m2 is a legendary 35mm film rangefinder camera that its excellent design is only surpassed by the enjoyment its simplistic design and function provoke.

Leica remains one of the most respected and iconic camera brands in the world

Here is my initial review after taking the camera out for a spin today.

I visited the very beautiful Hambleton Village in Rutland, a mere 25 minutes drive from where I live. The sunlight was rather lovely, despite me arriving during the middle of the day, but then that is the beauty of working in winter light.

Its feeling in my hands

The quality, craftsmanship, metal build, size and weight were immediately noticeable, so too was how quiet the M2 is. The Leica lenses are superior to any other make or model lens. The feel of the camera in my hands felt remarkably familiar, and I quickly adjusted to the new way of creating images. I was immersed, which is what I love about film photography. It makes you slow things down. I quickly got into the methodology of using a rangefinder camera. It made me slow down even more, and this was an incredible feeling. Everyone should be behind a Leica M series at some point, it will force them to immerse and feel fulfilled.

I love its lack of features

... means I completely influence how each capture is created

Since moving to film I have always focused on simplicity. My digital camera pre-analogue was the Canon 5D mkii. I never upgraded for many reasons, but mostly because I didn't want more focus points and more things going on in the viewfinder; I just wanted to see more of the world before me. So choosing the M2 was a natural move for me. I love that when I look through the rangefinder I see only the frame lines. The price point compared to all other models in this series is significantly less and therefore, for me, more justifiable.

The M2 does not have a light meter, which is not an issue for me, as I use an external light meter already, and without exposure indicators in the viewfinder of the M2 means I am able to immerse in what I see before me through the viewfinder. I absolutely LOVE that the M2 is fully mechanical, without the need of batteries. The film advance lever is a delight, and the shutter release is smooth and quiet.

An impressionable experience

From childhood I have been fascinated by cameras. How a camera feels in my hands, and ease of operation is fundamental to the whole experience of creating photos. Time with the M2 today, was an impressional experience, and I can't wait to familiarise myself with the M2. It has made the joy of slowing down and creating with iconic cameras from bygone days so thrilling.

A breakdown of the Leica's aspects:

A more enjoyable focusing experience: focusing with the Leica was the best experience over all other cameras, digital and analogue cameras. Aligning the two small opaque images in the viewfinder is a pleasant experience; in which you remain immersed in the overall image before you in the viewfinder. Whilst this is true for all manual focus lovers, for my other cameras, I tend to rely on auto-focus as my eyesight it not perfect. With the Leica I felt confident in the focusing function of the Leica.

Minimal gear: another fundamental difference to my Medium format and my 35mm SLR film cameras, which are just as beautiful for other reasons and purposes in my opinion, is that I can wear the M2 across my body, easily walk around and submerge in the environment. To take out a small, lightweight camera without the need of a host of kit is a revelation.

I love how it feels: I love how the Leica feels in my hands, and that it feels like it will last the test of time. This camera is already 67 years old, and after a complete recondition, it feels like new. When you enjoy how a camera feels, sounds and operates you want to use it more. It adds to the experience of creating photos. I connect with this camera, and love how it makes me feel.

Such cameras will not make you a better photographer, but they will challenge you to become a better photographer. To slow things down, shoot with consideration and purpose.

... to be continued


A snapshot of the history of the Leica M-series

The first commercially available 35mm Leica was the Leica 1(A). It was designed by Oscar Barnack, was announced in 1924 and sold to the public the following year. It was an immediate success and was responsible for popularising 35mm film photography.

With the Leica's simplicity and compactness, it paved the way for all modern photography that benefited from speed, silence and agility. From the very beginning, Leicas used the same 35mm-width film as the movies did.

The M2 was made after the M3. The M3 is renowned for being the greatest Leica M-series camera. The M2 was to ... to be continued

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