Your probably right. The professional camera of choice, is a 5d1/2/3 or a nikon dee something.
You can't spit the first syllable out the name without someone saying yea . . . rich dentists, or lately. . . rich Chinese looking for dash a ornament for their Bentley.
Now I know most people are going to take exception to this, but to me no camera company defines photography as Leica.
I'm not a carry a camera 24 hours a day type of guy.
I've tried with those little olympus em-1 and em-5 and I love em to death, but whatever I throw one on my shoulder when we go out, I shoot something and I just don't ever do anything but clear the card, though once again, I'm not really a street photographer.
I do sometimes carry my m8 and It always inspires me. Maybe not as a single photo, usually something I see that I can use as the genesis to build a composite, but regardless, I use it take pictures and actually use them.
Compared to modern cameras everything with an m series is old and wrong. No autofocus, a pretty good meter but not great, lenses past 75mm are almost impossible to frame and focus but I rarely use anything but the 24mm anyway.
Using an overpriced, outdated Leica is like the first time you have a meal prepared by a Sicilian chef rather than Olive Garden. You understand why a salad really is worth $27.
Regardless, there is three positives about these old style limitations.
They're actual cameras, not camera shaped smart phones, no matter how much electronic c__p they hide in them.
Picking up a fuji pro something is like going to the apple store and looking a speakers. Those huge things that look like real speakers until you lift them and you realize they are made from recycled evian bottles.
Secondly, you'll probably never sell the Leica. I mean, there is very little reason to because m8 to m 240 or 360 or wherever they take it, it will look, work and do the same stuff. Even the S2 to S is pretty much the same, whether they stick with ccd or go to cmosoes.
The last and most important thing is Leicas make you use the most important tool you own . . . your brain.
When you compose you think about it, when you focus you line up some little squares and and . . . you think about it.
The thing about real leicas including the S2 is they aren't perfect. The ccd versions shoot cool, like film and everybody can say cmos makes them wet . . . don't care, because ccd makes me work like film which means we actually work to make a photo.
Working at making something interesting is good.
I completely get what you're trying to say here.
But let me ask you this, Russell: Could you / would you realistically jettison every other piece of gear you own and use your Leica(s) exclusively for all of your professional work?
I think we both know the answer to that, and I think when you strip everything else away, it drives to the core of the matter.
There's no question that a particular instrument or the right tool can emotionally motivate someone to push their creativity further; to work harder; to connect to their art more completely by its very nature. So we're sort of "right brain"-ing ourselves at this point, but I'll accept that as a valid argument. This is artistic expression, after all, and whatever inspires you artistically is legitimate.
However, can said instrument give a photographer who lacks "vision" eyes with which to see the world around him/her?
I don't think so.
Moreover, all of today's higher end cameras are generally capable of producing images better than what the photographer is capable of creating.
So, it's the photographer, then. To borrow from a familiar phrase (in the US at least): Cameras don't take pictures, people take pictures.
Consider this: If you remove emotion from the argument, what you see with Leica, historically, is a company that innovated consistently right up until the M3. Remember, at the time the M was introduced, nobody used terms like "traditional", or "old school", or a "slower more methodical way of shooting"; the M3 was simply state-of-the-art for its time. In fact, it was "faster" and more responsive than anything else. Sound familiar?
They haven't done anything like that since. Every subsequent M has been an iterative evolution of that same basic design (today that's being marketed as "traditional"). Engineering innovation from Leica after the M3 slowed…markedly. This was likely due to the Japanese entering the camera market en masse around the same time.
And by the 1970s Leica missed entirely the importance of the SLR. The Leicaflex SL — solidly built though it may have been — couldn't compete on any real-world level with the Nikon F2 or Canon F1, to say nothing of the ELs, EFs, FEs, FAs, A1s, etc that followed, all of which embraced the electronics revolution that was occurring. So, who did Leica turn to for help? Minolta; hence the XE-7 became the R3.
(Notice I'm not questioning Leica's optics here; we all know they're magnificent.)
What I'm arguing is that it would be nice for Leica to innovate again, rather than just market what is effectively a half-century old design to rich collectors. I'm not saying stop the M cameras; their longevity has clearly become entrenched in our collective photographic DNA. But show us something NEW that demonstrates Leica is capable of innovating once again. (I don't think fully entering the 21st century with a new product has to subtract anything from the M, or Leica's tradition.)
Leica does industrial design and menus, etc. very elegantly. It's the electronic guts where they continually come up behind. Don't just give us a mirrorless camera made of unobtanium or vibranium, or some other rare Earth material, and then stick 3-year-old electronics or a 2-year-old sensor design into it and call it a day. Don't handicap it with slow autofocus or poor high ISO performance.
Maybe I'll be wrong and they'll surprise us with something amazing. I hope so.
Let me just add: the photographic world needs Leica. Leica is a part of modern photographic history and tradition. Today more than ever. Their very existence gives photography a certain cachet, particularly in this world of smartphone proliferation. But I think if they want to continue commanding exorbitant prices from serious photographers, they need to offer products that are as competitive functionally as they are well-crafted physically.