A while ago we told you about a one-off Leica M Typ 240 desined by Apple’s Jony Ive and designer Marc Newson, the guy who styled the Pentax K-01 camera. We didn’t think that this unique Leica was considerably pretty back then. Well, now the camera has been sold at Sotheby’s, and guess what the final bid was … Oh right, we already gave it away in the title. So there you have it. An incredibly ugly Leica M that will be technically obsolete in a couple years was sold for almost two million dollars.
But consider this: it was a charity auction, with all proceedings going directly toThe Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. So whoever placed that final bid will be reminded of their good deed each time they pick up their new camera. That is, unless it’s going to be put in a safe so nobody can steal it. Which we think would be a really good idea, because you wouldn’t want to be seen with that ugly brick in your hand.
When we recently wrote about our first impressions with the Leica M Typ 240, we were pretty smitten with it. So much so in fact that we were almost certain we wouldn’t have much else to say in the final review besides what we said about it in our first impressions article. So what we’ll do is to give you some extra image samples from the camera and various lenses, go a bit more into detail about the overall image quality, as well as take a look at the camera’s video functionality, which makes it stand apart from all the M-mount rangefinder cameras that came before it.
Weeks ahead of Photokina 2012, the Leica world was abuzzz with rumors about the upcoming new M rangefinder, then believed to be called ‘M10′, analogous to the sequential numbering scheme of the models that came before it. But when the camera was actually announced, it made people scratch their heads: its name was simply ‘M’. In order to make it distinguishable from future M models, Leica added the suffix ‘Typ 240′. And just like they broke with the naming convention, Leica also broke with the essential M system philosophy, by introducing both live view and a video mode. These are our very first impressions with this entirely new kind of M rangefinder camera.
Leica M-mount rangefinder film cameras have always held a special place in photo history. For one, because it was Leica who started the 35mm film revolution. Then, because the M3, the first M-mount rangefinder camera that Leica made, started a series of incredibly popular photographic tools used by countless professionals and amateurs alike for decades. And finally, because Leica-made M-mount lenses can be considered to be some of, if not the best lenses there are for 35mm film cameras. In this article, we take a look at what we deem the five greatest M-mount film cameras that were ever made. Not necessarily all by Leica, though.
Photographers that still want to get into rangefinder film photography and want a brand new camera in M Mount may have to look towards Leica. Last year, Zeiss discontinued their Ikon series, and we just found a scoop that Voigtlander discontinued their Bessa A series rangefinders last month. This tip came from the FilmWasters forum–who further claims that Voigtlander makes this statement on their website. Upon checking out the website, the news indeed holds true.
While checking B&H Photo’s website, we see some conflicting information–but that could just mean that the retailer needs to update their page.
So what’s so great about these rangefinders? Well, they had bright viewfinders, were the most affordable way to use M Mount lenses, and were built like tanks in addition to be reliable. Don’t want a brand new one? Then spring for one on eBay.
We found an awesome hack on Lomography magazine for those of you who are really into rangefinder photography (and we’re talking about actual rangefinder coupled cameras.) Basically, if you look through the viewfinder at the middle area (which corresponds to focusing) you’ll see the two images that line up. If you place a little bit of gaffers tape right over that focusing area, the rest of the rangefinder screen will brighten.
The staff here was talking about this and we didn’t totally believe it until I tried it. With my Polaroid 185, Voigtlander Bessa R and Yashica Electro 35 GSN, it worked flawlessly. The key is to not put it over the rangefinder itself, but instead the key area in the viewfinder.