Thursday, April 27, 2017

LEICA M-D or HOW TO TEST SOMETHING THAT CANNOT BE TESTED




It is not unusual that the introduction of a new Leica camera is met with immediate discussions of its merits.  This was especially the case with the  Leica M-D.  A digital camera without the customary viewing screen in the back seemed almost sacrilegious to many.  Yet there was a good reason to market the camera.  Especially among Leica users there is a large group that is holding on to film cameras for various reasons, a major one being that these cameras force the user to think, simply because there isn’t the instant feedback of the viewing screen.  This is the point of the following article…


By Marc Menningmann

How to test something that cannot be tested

or:

“My not-testing of the Leica M-D”


How to test something that can not be tested

Thanks to the Leica shop in Berlin I had some days with the newly released Leica M-D. If you have not heard about the rumors before release, this camera is a digital Leica rangefinder M-type camera, but without a display on the back. The lack of a display of course is the reason, why this camera comes with no menu for selecting from a set of options, with no review option after releasing the shutter, and with no film or live view capabilities. Instead of the display as it can be found on all other M cameras like the 240 or the Monochrom, the Leica M-D has a large ISO-dial similar to what can be found on analog Leica film cameras.

Leica M6 and Leica M-D front

As the sensor of the M-D is the same as you find in the Leica M 240 there is nothing to test here. As there are no menus, because there is no display, there is no software that can be tested. As this camera basically lets you only set ISO and exposure time, the only thing to tell is that the dials are working great. But well, do you really need to test this on a Leica? As all M cameras, this Leica M-D is with the same overall quality as any other “Made In Germany” M Leica. It is perfect. Period.

Leica M6 and Leica M-D top rear

So what do I do with this camera? Well…
How about taking it with me and take some photographs? You may have forgotten, but this is what cameras are usually made for. Go out and shoot. There is no Bible-thick manual to read through before being able to switch this thing on. If you know the basics of photography (exposure, aperture, ISO) this camera is a no brainer.

Leica M6 Leica M-D back

Although I am not chimping a lot (or better: I thought I don’t do it a lot) it was a little strange at the beginning. I know the feeling to not be able to see the picture you just took immediately from my analog M6, but when you take out a digital camera it seems like every photographer demands instant results. It takes a while. A few hours for me, but after that I completely forgot being out with a digital camera. I started to see the photo I want to take BEFORE pressing the shutter button and reviewing the result. I painted the pictures I want to take, before even having the camera in front of my eye. 

You invert the process of the work with a digital camera. You skip the trial and error part and go creative immediately. This camera is not a gimmick. It is a real tool that forces you to take pictures again. Not to “try to take a picture and try again if the first one was not so good”. You can not review. So you can not see if the picture you just took was good. You have to imagine the picture first, then take it, and after that hope that you got the three parameters to meet your basic idea of the picture.

Leica M6 and Leica  M-D - top

I took less pictures. When I tried to find the best composition with a series of several photos when I using other digital cameras, I now went through the options before even touching the M-D. And then I took one picture. To take more than one simply does not make sense. I would love to use this camera for my HANDS project, too, by the way.

And then you go home, load the files into your computer and find much more “keepers” than ever before. And that you didn’t test a camera, but only tested yourself. I found out that I do not think enough about the result before pressing the button, although I thought I do. I love this camera, and If I would be in need of a camera that takes color pictures, this would be my choice. But I had to learn that I only want to do black & white photos. So Leica, if you do a Leica Monochrom M-D please be sure to send one my way. Until then I try to avoid using the display too much…

And as I said above, the image quality – when pairing the Leica M-D with a decent Leica glass – is without any question. Here are some examples.





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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

PROBABLY THE MOST UNUSUAL LEICA DEALER IN THE US - KEN HANSEN






With the prices of Leica equipment what they are, it is important for many of us to select a Leica dealer that is no just out to make a profit.  Knowledge and service are two aspects that are extremely important.  Besides the many Leica stores, Leica dealers range from huge camera stores in the bigger cities, especially New York, to, what with any other venue might be called a mom and pop store.

Many people wish that the small stores, with trustworthy employees from days past, would make a comeback.  But big box stores have all but made an end of that era.  Add to that the ever growing business of mail order and today’s marketplace looks quite different.

The same is true with camera stores and, especially Leica dealers.  Sure, if you know what you need, mail order might save you a few bucks and you might walk away, happy with your purchase.  But what if you need some advice?  Making a mistake with the purchase of Leica equipment can be quite costly. 

This is where a dealer you can trust is invaluable.  One such dealer is Ken Hansen in New York City.  Not only does he have a stellar reputation of being totally trustworthy, he also has all the advantages of a mom and pop store of years gone by.  Ken Hansen is a tour de force one man operation in a town that has made mega stores, photographic megastores, a household word.


Ken Hansen is the largest Leica dealer in the US without a website or even a store.  He operates strictly with just an e-mail address.  As improbable as that might sound, it works.  It works because Ken Hansen has a huge fan base of Leica owners who consider him to be the friendliest and most easy going person in the world. 

According to one customer, “Ken Hansen is a legendary Leica dealer, and my go to guy for all things Leica. I have been dealing with Ken for years and never once have I encountered an issue, problem or ANYTHING similar to that.  His customer service is 2nd to none and he usually has everything in stock.”

Another customer stated, “One of the most popular purveyors is Ken Hansen. The man has a reputation for setting the standard.  You're virtually guaranteed to walk away happy.”

And finally, “Ken Hansen did introduce me to my first Leica and every Leica I have acquired since then. Ken said something like, “These are the best lenses in the world, choose your f/stop, set your shutter speed, start shooting, and throw away the owner’s manual. It’s that simple.” What got me excited was that it became about shooting images in their purest form. My mind became free of what I like to call the technical waste. Other cameras have that, and I do not want it.”

Ken Hansen was born in Kiel in the very Northern part of Germany.  1961 he boarded a ship to New York and got a job the same day he arrived. He worked in that camera store until 1973, when he decided to start his own business.  He borrowed $20,000 from his family and began to purchase used equipment from every camera store he could find. 

“I knew what would sell, so that was what I was buying."

He stated at a later time.  “I placed a $350 ad in the New York Times every weekend with 10 items for sale, and by Monday they were sold out.”

Twelve years after that beginning Ken Hansen opened a 600 square-foot office on the 10th floor, across from the Empire State Building on 34th Street.  Next year he expanded to 1,000 square feet on the 11th floor, then a little later, the whole floor of a building on 21st Street.

In an interview with Thorsten von Overgaard Ken said, "It was a large photography store with really competent staff. Everybody was well paid without commissions. The business of photography wasn't an honest one, but we were. That's what made me open my own store and what worked the best about it. We tried to be straight and honest. Everybody came in our store. All the great photographers and everybody else."


Photo: Thorsten von Overgaard

Even though Ken does not like to drop names, he did let it slip that the last lens he sold to Helmut Newton was a Leica 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4 lens.

Ken does not operate a large store any longer.  He told me that the rent alone was over 30 thousand dollars plus the salaries of his 18 employees.  Instead he is running his business as a home office.  He likes email because "the phone is ringing constantly."  But his expertise and service are just as invaluable today as they were in the past.  Anyone interested in the purchase of any Leica equipment, new or used, would do well to e-mail Ken and ask what he can do for you, tell him I sent you.




For other articles on this blog scroll down in the column to the right to BLOG ARCHIVE


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To comment or to read comments please scroll past the ads below.


All ads present items of interest to Leica owners.




                                  www.classicconnection.com                                     




      www.eddycam.com 

                       
      



Buy vintage Leica cameras from 
America's premier Leica specialist 

                          
 http://www.tamarkinauctions.com/            http://www.tamarkin.com/leicagallery/upcoming-shows






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Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

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Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

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Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography