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Your first Leica? Tell your story...


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Wonderful images and I really enjoyed the video - what an adventure and project, thank you so much for sharing.

 

Thanks Phil! I was just very lucky to be on those projects and other similar ones in that era. I've never for a moment regretted becoming a Surveyor!

 

At that stage in history Aden was world famous as a free port so my IIIg and it's lens cost me the sterling equivalent of £48 then which was a pretty good deal. And it's still so useable.

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hhmrogers

I bought my Leica IIIg, fitted with a collapsible 5cm Summicron, in Aden from the Miramar Bazaar Camera shop in Steamer Point Aden, on 17th October 1959, my way to an Army posting in Oman. I still have and use the camera and just recently had it serviced by Leica in Germany. The original receipt, for 960 East African Shillings, lies before me as I write.   Some of the pictures I took in Aden are at: oman Photo Gallery by Henry Rogers at pbase.com   Not so long ago I put together a coupl

Steve Caddy

A couple of friends of mine with professional backgrounds had built up the Leica legend in my mind while I was working as a designer and book layer-outerer at Lonely Planet. As my interest in photography grew and I became more acquainted with the masters of humanitarian documentary, the name came up again and again, which compounded the mystique. When I finally started thinking seriously about replacing my aging crop-frame Canon 350D, in 2009 there was a screaming hype online about the idea of a

fabianoliver

Well. in 1984, one night i was at my girlfriends house, looking for a Dire straight cassette, and when i opened one door in the living room, i saw a Camera, and one lens... I looked closely, and it was a Leica M2 with a summicron 50/2, and a summaron 35/3.5, clean, clean, clean! wow, what a feeling!! I asked " and this camera?", "from my grand pa, now belongs to my brother" Well, i finish paying to him 400 uss . It was my first leica, i was shooting at this times ( my fi

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I bought my first Leica in 1977 which was a Leica 111a with a 50mm Summar lens but quickly replaced the lens with a Summitar lens. I purchased the camera in a Middlesbrough camera shop. I got the Summitar lens mail order. I was working as a commercial photography assistant at the time and used the Leica to document old Middlesbrough which I have recently had an exhibition I later added a second body a Leica 111 and a 5cm viewfinder

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The story of my first Leica has three parts.

 

My very first Leica was a C-Lux 2 back in around 2005, and down the slippery slope I went.

 

My first M was a Leica M6 and 35 Summicron Asph. I later sold it only after having acquired three Leica MPs. Three MPs & five lenses is enough.

 

My first R was a Leicaflex SL2, and almost before I knew it I'd acquired several lenses, followed by an R8 with motor and then an R3 MOT.

 

I'm delighted to have shot plenty of Kodachrome with my Leicas before its demise at the end of 2010.

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Nee

In some posts or self introductions of new members „my first Leica“ is mentioned - without further appreciation.

 

My idea: In this thread tell in a nutshell about your first Leica:

 

What was your first Leica?

 

  • Family heirloom?
  • Afforded from your first pay check

 

And please add some images - beauty shots of the camera (aka „Leica Porn“) or a documentation of your first tentative steps...

 

I'm looking forward to your stories!

 

Andreas

 

My father returned from a trip to Europe and gave me a new M3 in a leather case, which contained the camera with 50 mm f/1.4 Summarit 90mm Elmar, 135mm Hektor, Short Mount for the Visoflex with 45 degree finder and double cable release as well as assorted filters. I was in my sophomore year in prep school and was very active in school photo activities so the outfit was a very welcome addition!

 

Since then, I went through the entire M Series to now the M82. Additionally I have the entire [now discontinued] R series with optics from 19 to 400mm.

 

I shoot fine art photography and am extremely active with Photoshop. I also shoot digital with a Canon as I have found an adapter, which allows me to use some, but not all of my R lenses; the 60mm Macro and 280mm APO, neither requiring auto-focus, but producing as expected outstanding results. They have whatI call the Rice Krispie Factor: Snap, Crackle & Pop!

 

I have done a hard-cover book on Classic Automobiles using a technique invented by myself. I have been published on both the national and international scenes; presented to the Leica Historical Society of America at they annual meeting in San Antonio...and remain a long-time friend of Roger Horn, President of Leica USA.

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Mine was an M2 (976333) which my mother bought me in January 1976, when I was a 21 year old art student. I'd previously contacted an local advertiser in the small ads of Amateur Photographer. He came across the Mersey, over to our house in Liverpool, from Greasby, (I remember my mum said that was very posh!) on the Wirral. He was ushered into our front room and he produced the M2. It was a bit over my budget, but the seller said no problem and he changed the baseplate over to a more marked one. Budget matched ! My mum came in and wrote a cheque for £110 and 976333 was mine, I was beside myself. That's it in my avatar.

 

Following morning we went in Liverpool and into a camera shop on Bold St (can't remember the name but on the right hand side going down) and the manager produced a 3.5 50mm Elmar, with a M2 instruction book and a plastic keeper, £35! Outfit complete. I bought two more lenses in the years that followed a 35mm Summilux and a 90mm Tele-Elmarit-M.

 

I had this outfit for another 10 years, but I regretably had to sell the lot for £750 in 1977 to pay for a 45Mb hard disc for my newly acquired Macintosh Plus. The Mac gear eventually ended up on a skip, the Leica outfit ? I never forgot my Leica and I always wanted another. 1995 I got a Minizoom all I could afford at the time, but the first step back into the world of Leica

 

The image was taken in Aviemore in Scotland in September 1976

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I came to Leica a bit later - my first M camera was the 2003 MP in black paint with a 50mm Summilux in black paint.

 

There is just something about rangefinder cameras and rangefinder photography. It is a different plane of reality from SLR, 120/220 and large format photography. Rangefinder photography grew on me and slowly but with a feather's touch of subtlety drew me away from SLR and 120 photography.

 

Today, all I own is 35mm rangefinder cameras, both film and digital. I don't miss SLR photography at all; however, I must confess to still harboring a soft spot for the Nikon F3hp.

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7 years before 2014 I held a Leica M8 for the first time ever. It was new, just announced back in 2008 and for the first time I held an all metal camera in my hands.

 

At the time I owned a Pentax KS-5 a film camera with a very nice LCD display. Digital cameras were around but I never liked how the Canon 20D felt or how big and clunky SLR cameras were.

 

So I started saving. I ended up getting an Olympus SLR, a Four Thirds E-510 - the first SLR with Live view. Then when Olympus 4/3 cameras went under I bought a Canon 7D in 2011. All this time, still saving, slowly. The M9 was announced, then came the M9P... all the while, going to University, studying, working part time, studying to be a teacher, growing my hobby into a small business.

 

When the M9P came out, I was still thousands of dollars too short - I owed a University Debt, and got my first job as a teacher. But I made money doing weddings, and was able to pay for a 70-200 f/4 Canon lens, a 24-70 2.8 mark 1, and a set of studio lights... but I still kept saving, $10 one week, $50 another week...

 

Then in 2014, after 6 months of an almost nightmare order with Foto Riesel (where I almost never got my money back at all!) I ordered the new Leica M and it arrived in January 20, 2014, thanks to The Camera Store in Lismore. By then, I had already bought the strap, the Billingham bag, the 50mm Summicron Chrome lens, the cards, the accessories, the Olympus EVF a year ago back in 2013, knowing I only needed one more year to get the M. So when it arrived, I literally sorted out all the accessories, and put in my closet and waited for Australia day (26th) and planned my day with my new camera.

 

I read the instructions, I customised the camera, I checked every inch of the chrome body and menus. I dared not take a picture.

 

Since being a teacher, I was asked to help shoot the Australia Day celebrations. It was the first time I was shooting my very own Leica and I wanted to see how much 15 years of shooting film and digital taught me about photography. Apparently, with this new camera, first time using manual focus... I had learnt nothing. The camera gave me no reward. It punished my efforts and I quickly learnt that I was a Teacher, a Business man, but not a photographer... Until THIS shot. It isn't great, but of the day it was the only one I was proud of. It spoke to me and I knew that I learnt something, something no other kind of camera taught me.

 

 

What I learned was that it isn't about how amazing the image is, it is about the story that evokes. This is, to me, the first time I ever shot an image that was not just a pretty photo - it was a story... It wasn't a snapshot, it reminded me of the event, why I took it and how it came to be.

 

It was also the first time someone wanted a copy of it.

 

You see, before people paid for Weddings, but no one really asked me for copies other than the client. No one really cared. This is the first ever picture someone asked me and nearly begged me to keep the print I made. There was something about the experience of shooting a Leica gave me - it allowed me to begin looking at my work as art, and not as images to sell... Now, parents come up to me during Sport, Swimming, Athletics and Cross country carnivals at the school, desperate to get copies of their kids photos... but they always add "because they always look so different." No one ever said that to me before... Now I shoot my Canon, Leica, Olympus and my film the way I shoot my Leica; like art, like a story... and every time I do, I get the comment "because they always look so different."

 

Leica — Poet Productions

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I live in a Spanish town near the French border. Before (when I bought my first Leica), all photo gear was bought in France.

 

One day I entered a photo store of Hendaye (the little town on the French side of the border) and the shop assistant told me that the prices of the Leica brand would rise on 1st April and that in Paris the prices of Leica gear were low.

 

When I came back home I stopped at the train station in Hendaye and asked about the first train to Paris. At 2 a.m. I started the journey to Paris and at 8,15 a.m. I was already in Austerlitz station.

 

I bought an M6 with a 35/2 lens in a shop in Bvd. Beaumarchais. In La Maison du Leica I bought a 90/2,8 second hand. I stayed in Paris for a few days.

 

What I most remember about this trip is the organ concert I listened to in Notre Dame cathedral and a fabulous exhibition in the Pompidou museum: Matisse 1904-1917.

 

That day was 26th March, 1993, my dear mother's birthday.

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Bought my first Leica sometime in the early '90's when I was a student and in my early 20's. It was a '57 M3 with a '55 collapsable 5cm Summicron. I have had en M ever since. I had never seen or known anyone with a Leica before I bought it unseen. Liked it from the start.

 

This could be the first four frames taken with the M3 (or at least the first four frames from one of the earliest films). The last picture is me doing a strange pose:

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I purchased a new Miranda SLR in 1967 that had soon developed a sticky diaphragm. So, just before a vacation to the Canadian Rockies, my friend loaned me his IIIC/Summitar Leica. The Kodachrome slides were fabulous and I simply had to get one of those fabulous Leicas. I purchased my first Leica IIIC/Summitar in 1969 and found more usage with it than my SLR. I sold the Miranda and upgraded the SLR with the Canon FD system. I traded the IIIC for an M3DS in 1980, found a really nice M4-2 in 1983, and got my very first brand new Leica, an M6 in 1985. After my boss died in 1987, his wife gave me his Leica LTM system with a IIIFBD. When digital evolved and Canon abandoned the FD system, the logical decision was to purchase a new M9 and abandon Canon as I can use all of my M and LTM Leica lenses on this new Leica. A bonus with a new M240 is using some of my FD lenses such as the Tilt/Shift. I rarely use anything other than my Leicas. This is all because my first camera had a sticky diaphragm and my friend introduced me to Leica with his IIIC.

RJV

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Mine was a IIIA with a Summar in 1968, I think. I was an engineering student at the time and keen on photography. It took some time to save up for it even then (I think it was over £20). I saw it advertised in the back of AP and went down to London (Acton) to buy it. I ran it for two years and then upgraded to a IIIC with Summitar, and later added a f3.5/35 Summaron, plus a VIOOH from Hans Edwards in Stevenage, and an 85mm Steinheil Culminar, which I remember as softish but not unpleasant.

 

Later I ventured into M42 Pentaxes and let the IIIC go (sorry), but later came back to Leicas via an M3 and then an M1, plus a series of R cameras, of which I still have an R-E and two R7s. Now I have a couple of later Ms (and still have the M3), plus a IIIC and IIIFbd (recently CLAed though not often used). I frequently grab the V-Lux3 when I'm going out.

 

Steve

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  • 3 weeks later...

I saw a used M-4 with a used meter in the hotshoe at a local camera shop for 350 bucks in 1974.  No lens.  I agonized over it for weeks and eventually gave in.  That was a lot of money in those days!  I ended up getting a new 35mm Summilux, 50mm Summicron, and 90mm Tele-Elmarit, though I don't recall the order.  Kept and used it all for a little less than thirty years.  I sent it in to Leica every few years or so to get greased and cleaned.  Never had a problem.  Gradually started using it less and less because, ironically, it was getting more expensive and I was feeling self conscious when out and about.  Got an auto focus Canon SLR in the late 90's and started taking that on vacations, etc.  Eventually the Canon phased out my Leica as did the transformation to digital.  I sold the whole kit together.  I had to go (and call) about four or five stores around the country to find someone who would even give me a quote!  No kidding.  Finally, got a decent price from a small place only 5 miles from my house!

Recently, I started shopping for a rangefinder to have in my "arsenal" of camera gear.  Lots of good stuff out there and I looked at most of it.  But, in the end, I kept coming back to the Leica due to my comfort level -- familiarity and experience.  Got the Safari kit when it was released and JUST ordered a 50mm Summilux today to add to the kit.  Probably not going for any longer glass this time...maybe the next step will be a 20 something or, perhaps, the 18.

Glad to be back! 

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I got my first Leica today!  An M6 with 35 Summicron V4.  I've been lurking and lusting for a while now, can't wait to shoot my first roll of film tomorrow.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

When my daughter was born in 2006, I had a little Nikon compact with 2MP (or so) but it was not fast enough even for a non-moving baby. I got a Sony compact but even if it was 6MP, it was still not very good and the viewfinder was like looking through the wrong end of a binocular.

 

In April, while walking the baby in town, I went into the camera shop and tried the digital Nikons and Canons (I had my bonus in the bank). They all seemed "wrong" - how can you design a camera so badly that a person who had taken thousands of photos with various film cameras since the 1980's had to read the manual just to change shutter or aperture? Then the shop owner handed me the R9 (film). Sold. It felt comfortable in the hand, I could immediately use it, It sounded right. It came with the kit zoom. About a year later, I got the 19mm, 35mm and 90mm lenses with that years bonus and got rid of the zoom. He also handed me a M6 with 50 summicron and said "bring it back next week". I loaded XP2 and from that one roll I took that week, I had 3 wonderful shots of my little one which came a week later. Stupid me, as I went back to buy the lens and camera, they were already sold. I got an M7 instead and later a 35 summicron which just wasnt the same as the summicron. I really should buy that lens but have many many other 50s. I still have the R9 but with the DMR attached as well as the M8 and M .... and M3, M6, M7, Zeiss Ikon, R4 (2) and a complete collection of lenses that I will never need to buy another lens

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  • 4 weeks later...

My first Leica was a d/s M3, vintage 1955, bought in the 1970s from London Camera Exchange when they had a branch in the bowels of London's Waterloo station - according to the salesman it had originally belonged to an Antarctic scientist…I'd always known about Leica since as a small child looking at my father's collection of 1930s photo books. I'd had a Pentax S1a previously, bought secondhand off a pro-photographer friend; it was built like a tank, sounded like a bear-trap and was perfectly capable, but I never really bonded with it, probably because I was used to rangefinders, having had an old Super Ikonta at art school, followed by a pre-WW2 Contax II (a wonderfully pretty camera, of amazingly-engineered sophistication - sorry I ever got rid of it). The M3 I still have and use…it was followed a couple of years later by an M2 (one for colour, one for b&w, natch!).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I could never remember the name of that camera shop in the bowels of Waterloo Station, so that's it the London Camera Exchange. I held my first Leica in there. I was a penniless art student, it was April 1975, I walked in, the salesman asked if he could help, I said no, I was just looking at the Leicas and couldn't afford to buy one. He took one out of the case, it was a screw mount with a rangefinder thats all I can remember. He let me handle it, showed me how it worked and I gave it him back and said thank you very much. What a nice man i thought and I was hooked. 

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  • 1 month later...

I ran across my first Leica(M2) in 1982 at a camera shop downtown where I worked. I bought the DR with it and later the 35 f2 Summicron. Kept it about two years when I started doing studio work and weddings and decided I needed a medium format camera for the job and ended up trading it. Some time later, I regretted it.

 

Me023 by David Fincher, on Flickr

 

This was one of the street shots I did while I had it and would walk around town taking pictures during lunch. This one  was shot with the 50 f2.

 

Downtown014 by David Fincher, on Flickr

 

I posted this elsewhere but recently was able to snag a nice looking M2 that I don't intend to trade in like the first one.

 

M2 by David Fincher, on Flickr
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I had been a thorough going Nikon man, having used their cameras with my work in the news paper world. But but off and on, I would eye Leicas with some envy, for their panache. But when the M7 came out, I pulled the trigger and bought an "a la chart" chrome version with nappa racing green leather, without any engraving. It was and is beautiful! It is a delight to use. The camel's nose was in my tent!

I would post a picture, but I've loaned it to a young high school student, who is off in Russia. He loves film and I'm sure he is having fun with it. But I can hardly wait for him to bring it back to me.

Edited by Jeffry Abt
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  • 4 weeks later...

So I was about 32 years old in 1982 and a budding scientist still in training when I walked into the now long defunct "Pacific Camera" an old fashioned camera shop wedged into a long narrow retail space between a movie theater and a drug store in La Jolla, CA. Pacific Camera had been a Leica dealer years before and still took in used cameras from estates and on consignment, and they had several in stock, old screw mounts and hazy lenses, and a few M2 and M3 cameras in need of a CLA. One of these was an old M3, dual stroke with a rigid summicron that was marked $200.00. I bit, and took the old camera home. It was in very nice but neglected condition, so I did my research and found a respected service man who did the job of CLA on the camera and lens for about $250. I shot happily with that camera for 10 years before trading it in on an M6.

Edited by SanDiegoMike
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