Leica Rangefinder or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Leica M8
By ricky m
19 Dec 2007
It started with an attraction, and at that moment, it had nothing to do with her inner quality. It was superficial and shallow. When I first saw the Leica M8, I was already in a existing relationship with the D-Lux 2. We had been together for over a year, since March of 2006. We traveled for 6 months throughout Europe together and it was wonderful.
Then I saw her, it was in a magazine. She was beautiful and amazing. The Leica M8 was out and making her rounds on the circuit. Like any celebrity, she had her share of controversy. She wasn't perfect at first but that didn't deter her from being famous. People were in awe of the M8, and everyone wanted one.
I continued my relationship with the D-Lux 2, who was there for every wonderful moment and event that has shaped my life during that year together. In the back of my mind, I secretly wanted the M8. I know it was impossible, yet it didn't stop me from the thoughts that poured into my head. I would run away with the M8 and travel the globe to exotic places. My dream of becoming a traveling photographer would include her, and we'd be happy.
Then by chance, fate's door opened and hit me in the face, and I crawled on all fours through it.
It began in a camera store while I was killing time. I noticed the silver Leica product boxes proudly displayed on the shelves. I stepped up to the counter to have a closer look around. And there she was. The M8. A wave of excitement fell over me as I just stared. Minutes passed as if hours. I finally asked the clerk if I could see her. He obliged and made the introduction.
I studied her closely but not too closely. I tried not to make a scene or act as if I wasn't worthy to be in her presence. She was much heavier than I had imagined and a little bigger than her photos. I lifted her up to my eye, focused, and pressed the button. She clicked. I quickly put her down. What was I doing? We had just met. An image quickly appeared on her LCD. It wasn't great. This I took as a sign. I handed her back to the clerk and walked out. That night, all I could think about was her. I didn't tell the D-Lux 2 where I had been, nor what I had done.
Over the next few weeks, I started to research more. I tried to find as much info on the M8 as I could. It became obsessive. I had read she had gotten better since she first hit celebrity status, but she still had problems. Yet no one seemed to care. They had tried to make her better with a mix of firmware upgrades and press releases and it seemed to be helping. It just wasn't helping me. I had to have her. I frequented the same camera shop which became routine. Each time I went in, I had newer knowledge and took more and more photos with her. We started to form a bond. Our situation was perfect as I had someone at home, and she was still yet to be purchased. It was our secret.
Then one day she was gone. I didn't even have to ask the clerk, I just knew. Her box was gone, the only one on the shelf, it had confirmed my worst thoughts. I came home later that day and got online. She wasn't to be found anywhere else. No one had her and no one would for awhile. The press releases and firmware upgrades had made her more popular. More people like me were wanting her. It made me mad. I tried to rekindle the relationship I had neglected with my D-Lux 2, and it was forced. She didn't seem to mind but partly because she had no idea, it just wasn't the same anymore.
It didn't take long before we broke up. I can't say it was a huge event, and I was fairly emotionless. I remained single for a few weeks. How I & the M8 got together was just as eventful really. I won't bore you with details. It's what happened over the next month. Our time together permanently was different than our time at the store. We were out in public, and she was so much different. All I wanted to do was take photos. Everywhere I went, I was using her to get what I want. And she wasn't giving me what I needed. Blurry shots. Too bright. Too dark. Crap, I didn't take off the lens cap. What had happened?
I couldn't afford the nice lenses she was used to back in the store. My pre-APSH, none 6-bit encoded lenses weren't good enough. She repaid me by spewing out images whose black color were reddish or magenta in tint. "Here sweetie, I got you an IR filter." That only solved our problems partially. My worry grew to frustration and I began to stop loving the M8.
I looked to the internet for help. I looked to Flickr for help. Then I met Glen. Glen was what you'd call a photo-polygamist. He had endured many M's in his life. His current household consisted of the M6, 7 & 8. He had it all, from young to old. I told him about my dilemma to which he replied: "You know, I've come to learn that a bad picture is a result of the photographer, not his camera." I stood silent. Was it that simple? Was it all me? "Is that her?" Glenn said next, looking down in my opened Jack Spade bag. Before I could answer he reached down and picked her up. Lifted her to his eye, turned the other way out towards the street and pressed the shutter. He handed her back to me. The image that appeared blew me away.
From that moment forward, I realized many things. Ultimately, it was indeed my fault. I started to take my time with her. I no longer ignored her meter and I trusted. I was paying more attention to her and it was working. The results were almost immediate. I won't go into sappy details, for that you have to see our pictures together. We are more happier now than before. She doesn't mind the pre-ASPH 90mm lens. And we are happy with our new Voightlander 35mm ASPH lens. It's a prefect compliment to our marriage. I no longer worry.