four decades personal experience with Leica cameras
I went to college, E. Philip Levine's camera store was on Harvard
Square. Phil made cameras available at "buy now, pay whenever
you can" terms, so I moved up to an M1, then M2 and eventually
to an M5.
skipped the ill-fated and long-delayed Leicaflex series and went
to Hasselblad instead for reflex
viewing. For the old M-series range-finder Leicas I had a venerable
Visoflex. When, at age 20, I discovered the treasure of the Tomb
of the Jade Jaguar under a 9th century Maya pyramid at Tikal, I
got this Visoflex and a close-up lens to go with it.
few months ago I had an opportunity to return to Tikal and rephotograph
the same treasure I turned in to the Guatemalan government over
30 years ago. The local Guatemalan worker, who was about 17 years
old when he was working for me on the then University of Pennsylvania
expedition, is now the Director of the museum where all this treasure
is displayed. Under Guatemalan law all archaeological artifacts
belong to the national patrimony and must stay in Guatemala except
when loaned for exhibits around the world, in which case export
permits are granted for a few months. It is nice to see that the
treasure is still in Guatemala after all these years.
the R-series came out, I bought, sequentially, an R3 and R4. When
I needed a 35mm camera to handle my ever growing batch of Metz
flash heads, I moved up to the R5. I still have all three Leica
cameras. On an expedition to a foreign location it is essential
to have backups available in case the main camera goes on the fritz.
am content with these R-models and thus have not paid much attention
to the R6, R7, or R8, since in the meantime I got a Nikon F3 to
handle ultra-wide angle
needs. For day to day shooting of Maya artifacts in the museums
of Guatemala, however, I use the Leicas with two macro lenses.
the basis of over 30 years experience using Leica equipment, first
as a student, then as a semiprofessional, and for many years as
a professional photographer has encouraged me to give lessons in
Leica photography. We hope to announce some future tours shortly.