The Silver Queens

The Silver Queens

Is it just me or has the camera market rediscovered the chrome camera body?

As a young photographer I lusted after a blue camera. After saving up for 4 months I sent away for one…

It was imminently successful, and if I could still find 127 Kodacolor and blue flash bulbs all this digital nonsense would be out the door…But then I lusted after a chrome Pentax Sv, and a chrome Leica M2, and so on. There was something about that metal finish that shouted sturdiness – even if it wasn’t. Here’s an M2 to prove it:

Wind on to the digital era and the black plastic camera. I had ’em and eventually changed over to black metal cameras, and do very well with them. But I still lusted after the chrome. Thank goodness the Fujifilm company saw fit to pander to me with a number of models. I ‘ve seen silver X-E2’s, X-T1’s and 2’s and a gorgeous X-100F on both the Stirling and Murray Street shelves. And I indulged in a silver 27mm lens for my travel camera:

Does the silver colour make me look like a tourist. Possibly, but the fact that I am dressed in wrinkled travelling clothes, poking around souvenir shops, and gawking at the locals sort of gives it away before they look at the camera. The fact that it’s silver-coloured makes me less threatening than a professional armed with a DSLR and a big zoom lens. My secret is that I can be just as intrusive and dangerous with the little silver beast as the person with the big rig.

All this is a preamble to the discovery today of a new silver queen in the Leica boutique cabinet at Murray Street. The basic body is the faithful Leica D-Lux – in this case a D-Lux 7 with the latest internal features and performance. All good specs and I’m not concerned in the least with them – if I carry a Leica, I know it works well. All I need to choose is what looks good and what feels comfortable.

The only caveat with this model of Leica  – or its Panasonic cousin – is the fact that they have put the frame format switch on the outside of the lens – that little slider section on the top. I do shift between formats occasionally – like for coverage of shop stock when I photograph it in the stores. And I do output some pictures in 16:9 or even 16:7 when I shoot big dance troupes. But I rarely go into 4:5 or 4:3 …and if I do it’s later in the post processing.

If you are careless or unknowing, you can shoot an entire holiday in 1:1 or 16;9 and then be faced with odd format images ever after – if you are a jpeg shooter, you’re stuck. So beware and check your lens every time you set out.

Only one thing difficult with this Leica – and with the Fujifilm. It’s tough to get a good flash shot with the one-flash rig. Too many surfaces flashing back.


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