Object Of Desire

You know I said in a previous post that there was no camera equipment that I really wanted? Sorry but I lied. Or rather let me clarify my previous position – there is no camera equipment that I want and can justify spending the money on.

As good as digital cameras have been in allowing me to experiment and develop my skills they have one major problem – they cost a lot of money and are soon worth next to nothing because they are continually getting replaced by supposedly better models. More megapixels? So what, nobody needs more than 10 million. HD video? Not interested. Flip-up screens and a thousand menu items? You can keep them. Better performance in low light? OK, I will give you that one.

I tell you what I want – a top quality camera that is superbly constructed so that it will last for years, that gives you amazing image quality, that is simple to use, that doesn’t have a load of bells and whistles that you are never going to use but you had to pay for anyway, and that isn’t the size of a car battery. The problem is that manufacturers don’t want to produce this type of camera. Why? Because you would buy it once and never need to buy another one. What use is that to Nikon or Canon? They want you to spend a load of cash with them every couple of years on a camera with even more stuff that you will never use.

There is however one manufacturer that I know of who does make exactly what I am looking for – Leica. So why aren’t I dashing down to the shops with my credit card? Because the Leica M9 digital camera costs £5000! That’s just for the body, you can drop another few grand on the lenses! Even if I did have that amount of money would I spend it on a digital camera even if it was a Leica? I don’t think so, you can bet that in a few years time even a Leica will have plummeted in value simply because it is digital. Being digital also means that there are loads of electronics which will inevitably fail at some point.

So now what? Well if my problem seems to be with digital what about film? I know it contradicts what I have said previously about digital allowing me to experiment and that it is so convenient but if I get to the point where my skills are good enough to know that most photos I take will come out as I hoped then film becomes an option again.

OK so, get on with it, what equipment would I want if I had a load of money? A Leica M3 with a Summilux 50mm lens. Why? It is arguably the best camera ever made, has no bells and whistles, has lasted since the 1950s and will continue to last till at least the 2050s. Cost? Less than £3000, maybe. Chances of me actually getting this okayed by my wife? Zero.

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