Leica M6 with 50mm Summicron Rigid

According to the serial numbers, my Leica M6 was made in 1987 and lens in 1957.

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The lens has its distance scale in feet only. It’s a bit annoying for me as I think in metres. Oh well. This teaches me to check before buying. But there’s a broad depth of field to work with when zone focusing at f16 so that’s fine.

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The lens and camera were a good combined bargain way back in 2011. I remember walking into a shop in Singapore. It’s either at Peninsula Plaza or Peninsula Shopping Centre – my favorite place for vintage cameras and electric guitars. I asked for the lowest-priced Leica M6 and 50mm lens. Didn’t like the first option and so I went with the second. They came with a 6-month shop warranty.

The prices for both the camera and lens had increased over the years. Could you say the same for digital cameras? A digital camera is like a smartphone these days – there’s built-in obsolescence at work.

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There’s no such thing as a purely analog process anymore, especially if one is scanning the negatives and displaying the images on the Internet. I can’t help but tweak a little bit for contrast.

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Film photography is about slowing down and understanding the light. The Leica M6 has a meter I can check to ascertain the range I can work with.

Zone focus, decide between f8, f11 or f16 depending on whether the scene is in the sun or shade and snap. It’s pure poetry – camera and lens and the mind are one.

We all need to find a sense of calm in a time of Covid-19. (My second-hand Washburn HB35, a semi-hollow guitar, is also getting a regular workout: “Mama take this badge off of me … I can’t use it anymore … it’s getting dark, too dark to see…” )

Zone focusing is actually faster than auto focusing with my digital camera. I missed a few shots with the Canon M50 as the lens hesitates once in a while and takes a little too long to decide.

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Neat display.

IMG_20200721_0036 15In the midst of things.

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I aimed at the wall and waited for someone to walk past.

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Selfie on glass display. This was outside my go-to place for film development, lenses and cameras, where I got the film (Ilford XP2 400) processed right after this shot. It’s sunrisephotohk. You could find it on FB.

There’s a Leica M3 in there for a nice price. The ground rule is you put down the cash and go for a spin with the camera and develop the film right there to check for issues. If you don’t like what you see, you get your cash back.

There’re other pricier places in Hong Kong you could go to in Mongkok and Tsimshatsui and they generally give you a 6-month or 1-year shop warranty. But a Leica M is a simple mechanical thing, relatively speaking, and generally serviceable. They are built to last.

I could pair the current lens with the Leica M3, and the M6 will be a permanent home for my Voigtlander 35mm Nokton Classic. Hmm…