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Nevik

It's just not comfy

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Hi, I'm having a problem with Leica M. I bought a M4P to get into the system and see how it all works for me. I'm not a stranger to RF or manual focusing or film.

My problem is I just find the M awkward to hold and a bit fiddly to use. It gets worse if I add a neck strap. So consequence is I don't use it much. If shooting Street I prefer my little Rollei SE, half the size of a M and a meter too. Landscape a Rolleiflex beats it in so many ways or something bigger like a my Linhof. I'm not having the love affair with the M I thought I would have. It's not the take it anywhere camera ready for that quick shot I thought it would be, especially compared to the Rollei 35 SE. I so much want to like this system but its leaving me a bit cold.

Am I the only one that finds it not comfy to use?  it digs into pressure points on my hand and fingers, I have to keep adjusting how I hold it to relieve those points if using it for anything other than a quick shot.

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I don’t have a Rollei (would like one though ... ), but one of the things I like most about Leica M is how it feels in the hand.  

I have MP,  M2 and M4, and I enjoy holding them as much as shooting with them.  It’s even a little therapeutic to carry in my hands while out walking. 

If a Leica M doesn’t fit you in the same way, there’s not much you can do to change it.  Don’t give up just yet, though.  It might just be a matter of time!

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It sounds like you have a vice-like grip on it, take a deep breath and.......... relax.

 

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Holding a Leica M does not require much effort at all. Little finger of right hand under the baseplate, index finger over the shutter button, and thumb on the tensioned and extended film advance lever, and the other fingers fall into place on the front of the camera. The little finger takes the weight and the others just balance the camera in the hand. The camera came be held one handed with almost zero pressure and high security and because you already have your thumb on the advance lever it is quick to use. Add the left hand in for focusing and further stabilising and I can't actually see where 'pressure points' occur.

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With normally functioning hands, I would have thought holding a film or digital Leica M is intuitive, with or without an accessory grip.

My Leica MP  and Nikon FE are the only two of my cameras I use with straps, I carry them cross-body because I will not have a camera hanging on a neck strap.  I hold one in a very similar way to the other when I using it:

Elbows in.  Right Thumb against the camera back with the op of my thumb braced against the wind- on lever in the stand-off position, index finger on the shutter release, fingers around the front of the camera. I steady the camera in my left palm and use my left thumb and index finger to adjust focus and aperture.

I’ve never been aware of any uncomfortable pressure points when using my cameras like this. 

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As suggested, a grip can help. The Ms can be a little slippery. I use a grip on occasion on my M2. 

Or, try a Barnack model. Smaller, lighter, and for me, easier to hold. 

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I put a small circular tab of griptac, although I've also used small soft plastic furniture tabs, on the rear of the camera body below the film advance lever to steady my right hand when gripping the camera.

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Nevik, I can sympathize. Not every camera suits every hand.

For me, it was the Contax (Japan) ST - which some called "the most beautiful SLR ever made." But it had a short, deep, angular (but not sharp) grip that just dug into the "meat" of my right hand below the little finger. I'd come home with a sore palm and stiff fingers, especially if I had been using a longer lens (135/180/300 Sonnars) that put more torque on the body and took more pressure to balance. When the RX came out, with an additional cm of depth, it was much more comfortable.

And, actually, I get the same problem with a Leica M with a grip mounted - so I don't use the grips. The bare Leica body, on the other hand ( ;) ) I find to be a dream to hold.

As to "take anywhere" - well, once I've bought a Leica, there is no money left to buy anything else. So, perforce, it has to be my "everything" camera. And my "take everywhere" lens would be a 21mm, which rules out the Rollei in any case.

I let my wife take the "family snapshots" with her Fuji X20.

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Having used Leicas for about 50 years they feel so natural to me I'm always surprised by complaints, but cameras have changed so much I guess people expect to use them one-handed. I learned that the left palm is the main steady support, with the thumb and first finger operating the lens. The right hand does offer steadiness, but mainly trips the shutter and advances film. I used the same grip with all the SLRs I've had. The dSLRs with built in grip never felt right to me.

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I pretty much agree with TomB_tx, but consider allowances for growing older than your Leica. :)

Today I find an optional hand grip enhanced with a no-slip patch a requisite.

 

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I can sympathise: switching from a Rollei SE to a Leica M of any variety as a 'take anywhere' camera will be a shock - "heavy, bulky......why does it have to be this way?". My wife never took to the M for this reason, preferring her Rollei B35.

But if you want the benefits the M brings over the 35SE - mainly more and better lenses - then all I can suggest is force yourself to persist until it becomes the new normal.

FWIW, I never use a neckstrap. I use a small camera bag and, to carry the camera at the ready, I use a wrist strap. But these are just personal things, and what you get used to.

Edited by LocalHero1953

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I have a neckstrap on my Ms but do not ever use them as neckstraps. I always have the strap wrapped around my right wrist and either hold the camera or just let it hang. When taking a photograph, the lug and strap end are firmly seated between my first finger and middle finger of my right hand, with my thumb on the back of the camera, index on the shutter release and remaining fingers on the front (usually with one on top of the RF window 🙄).

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4 hours ago, ckuwajima said:

Nevik,

You may try using a grip like this:

Those hideous grips are the most uncomfortable way to hold a Leica ever devised. The only way they work is if you have the considerable extra weight of a motor drive and an especially heavy lens on the camera, otherwise they are as un-ergonomic as you can get.

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8 hours ago, spydrxx said:

I put a small circular tab of griptac, although I've also used small soft plastic furniture tabs, on the rear of the camera body below the film advance lever to steady my right hand when gripping the camera.

Use the film advance lever, it is bigger and better and made for the job.

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27 minutes ago, 250swb said:

Use the film advance lever, it is bigger and better and made for the job.

My issue with using advance lever for grip is that every time I put pressure on it, it advances film little by little. Note that I don't keep shutter cranked since it has no shutter lock.

Just now I experimented with holding it again with thumb under the lever. After some time (repeated lifting and setting it down) film was advanced to a point where there is extra resistance and it didn't advance further. Now I can see the purpose of extra resistance at the end of the advance stroke. If I use this technique then I hope that half cranked shutter doesn't create any issues.  

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2 hours ago, 250swb said:

Use the film advance lever, it is bigger and better and made for the job.

It was made to advance the film and cock the shutter. It will work in that manner, but I don't know if the internal construction was made for the job, especially considering the mechanical advantage being added by the advance lever's leveraging effect upon whatever it engages inside. I am a little surprised at how small the 'grip dot' is and how far to the right it is placed. When I got my first Leica, an M3, I fashioned such an addition but made it more rectangular and much longer. After some amount of time it became an annoyance, such that when I took it off the camera was easy to hold; my brain had learned. But yes, that chrome can be slippery and the rounded end can slide under your thumb before you know it, and it's good-bye then. Neckstrap for me. Always. (Yeah, yeah, that Bresson guy did it another way. Big deal.)

Edited by semi-ambivalent

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8 hours ago, jmahto said:

My issue with using advance lever for grip is that every time I put pressure on it, it advances film little by little. Note that I don't keep shutter cranked since it has no shutter lock.

Just now I experimented with holding it again with thumb under the lever. After some time (repeated lifting and setting it down) film was advanced to a point where there is extra resistance and it didn't advance further. Now I can see the purpose of extra resistance at the end of the advance stroke. If I use this technique then I hope that half cranked shutter doesn't create any issues.  

I did say that the shutter should be cocked to hold and steady the camera with the advance lever. I disagree with the idea of raising the camera to the eye and not having the shutter cocked, but that is a whole other debate, suffice to say that if you aren't ready to take a photograph it hardly matters how you hold the camera...

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