For years I have been on the road with mainly DSLRs. They are unequivocally magnificent tools, but not only because DSLRs are relatively compact and not very heavy, making them extremely handy and the ideal travel companion. But I decided to shop around. The array of suitable cameras is vast and the numerous reviews don’t tend to help further a decision, especially if you don’t know what you want, or even better, what you need. After intensely deliberating and appraising, I finally arrived at the following “Wish List”:
- Full Control: I began photography when there were scarcely any digital cameras. Even today I love analog photography, which is why I am a bit old fashioned. I want to determine lens opening, shutter speed and film speed myself, as well as where I lay my focus. My camera must have an operating concept which allows these four options to be quick and easy.
- Portability: The best camera doesn’t get used if it stays at home. Therefore it must not weigh more than 1kg, including equipment, and at the same time be comfortable to wear/carry.
- Picture Quality: The picture quality should at least be 1600 ISO. Because I’m not very fond of using the flash, I predominantly work with natural light. Above all I prefer to shoot at night – so that’s a must. With an appropriate lens provided, the sensor size should enable the fixture with the focus depth, whereon I put much more value in the elimination of a lowpass filter.
- OVF: For six long years I only had an electronic viewfinder (EVF), which sometimes really pissed me off. An optical viewfinder is therefore high up on my wish list.
- Feel: It may just be a quirk of mine, but I expect technical gadgets to be decently built. What the specifics are, I can’t really describe. It’s more of a subjective feeling one formulates (or not) when considering equipment, holding it in their own hands. Hard plastic, for example, seldom complies with this requirement. The device must be solidly built and sit well in the hands.
Initially my choice fell with a Leica M9. I’ve dreamt of this camera for years, but the price always made me quickly stop and think. I wanted to give the Leica a chance, so I borrowed an M9. I was excited by the Leica, in fact a lot for me. So of course there was a 9,000 Euro start up cost, with only a 35mm lens. After intense consultations with my conscience and lots of sorrow on my brow, I came next to the M9 and engaged with the mirrorless system cameras. There were a good amount of cameras on my shortlist, which is rather unusual for me to have so many, and one of them was the Fuji X-Pro1. One of the chosen models had a decided advantage: it can use a Leica lens via an adapter. That opened up the possibility to just change the camera case after five more years, which actually brought Leica gradually to the forefront of the line.
After ages of deliberation, I finally chose the Fuji X-Pro 1, a “Leica for the Poor”, if you will. This should sound anything but derogatory, as I am only referring here to the manifold humbler price of this in comparison to the M9. So I am also now such an owner of an X-Pro 1. For my needs it’s sufficient enough for a lens to come out completely, and it’s here I turn to the Fujinon 35(52)mm f l.4. Now I have a case with my lens for a total price, which I never once received for the Leica 35mmfl.4 ASPH.