Why on earth?
The New Yorker online currently has an excellent article about the phenomenon of Leica cameras. No idea how long that link will be there, so grab it while it’s hot.
This article, along with countless reviews singing its praises, is why I ordered a Leica MP, which should be with me in early November.
I know that in many respects, Leica is a lot like Mercedes: you pay a certain premium for the name and the tradition associated with it, and I am aware that having a Leica doesn’t make me a better photographer.
However, the simple fact is that nobody else has such iron-hard roots in mechanical cameras. Virtually everyone else has succumbed to the tether of the rechargeable (or not, for shame) battery. While the MP has a light meter and therefore a battery, removing it renders the camera just as operable as before, with the sole change being that the photographer must either eyeball the exposure (a mark of prowess-ful studliness — or at least a mark of blessed serendipity) or use an external meter (a mark of pragmatism or cowardice, depending on how you look at things).
No other manufacturer will sell me a fully mechanical 35mm camera at this level of quality. It’s just like Moleskine notebooks. In many respect, Moleskines are hipster cult items as well, but since nobody else makes an unpretentious, unadorned notebook, then I’ll just buy a Moleskine. Costs a little more? So be it.
I ordered the Leica before I even thought of my manifesto, but I suppose the knowledge of an impending MP guided its formulation.
Since it’s not with me yet, I can’t comment on what it is to photograph with a Leica, but I expect it will be a pleasure. Expect reports.