Open letter to Leica

Its quite the fashion these days to write an open letter to Leica. Telling them what they should do with their next camera. They must be "flattered" by all the attention!
Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscape has done it:-
Thom Hogan ("one of the most respected technical writers in the industry, and the leading independant authority on Nikon cameras" - hang on I thought that was Ken Rockwell!) has done it as well.

Not wishing to be left out I decided to write my own. So here it is.


Firstly it seems to be the case that I should state my photojournalist credentials. In order to tell Leica what to do, you have to have used one for ever, traveling the world with your Leica film camera. Well I'm afraid I miss out there. I bought my first Leica (an M8) last June. I'm not a photojournalist and I haven't put a film though a camera since 2001.
It seems also that I have to do this in an open letter, rather than just writing to you in person. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I'm sure its got nothing to do with attracting people to your website, so that they can spend money on all the publications & guides that you sell. Oh and those little ads that you can click on. Isn't it nice that these people give us the opportunity to do that?

But to the point. I picked up one of your cameras for the first time last year. I had to cope with the lack of a proper grip (scandalous!) your antiquated frames system (how so not now!) and your rangefinder system for manual focus lens, of all things.(what were you thinking of!)
I searched in vain for the copious menus, letting me tell the camera to go and pick up my dry cleaning before taking some award winning street photography on the way home. Having used monster DSLR's for so long I'm lost without an incomprehensible set of menus and 100 custom functions that I forgot were there. And its so small! How on earth am I going to impress anybody with that? It looks like something I found in the attic.

As if the M8 wasn't bad enough, I then sold it and bought the M9. Surely I thought, this time you will include all the proper modern technology, that we all need so badly to take decent pictures, and hopefully an MP3 player. But no, you carried on with the same old nonsense that you've apparently been making for years.

I can now see why all of these renowned and respected gods of photographic journalism are telling you to clean up your act and quick!! You probably won't take any notice of me, I'm just a humble photographer, working every day and earning a living. I don't have the time to be writing books, running courses. I know I should be doing that, so that I can be taken seriously, but I'm just so busy. I promise in the future that I'll stop taking pictures and spend more time measuring the acutance level of various lenses, and photographing test charts. I will also try to take a few pictures of something artistic to back up my writing.

So you really do need to change everything. That ludicrous body shape, that dated and hopeless focusing system, in fact the whole way you make the camera. Its time to get with the 21st century. Just like the experts say.

I do have a problem however. I've tried so hard to get on board with the movers and shakers on this. But I must be doing something wrong. I find I can focus really quickly using your rangefinder system, I find your camera the most comfortable I've ever used, I love the simplicity of the layout and lack of confusion in the menus, I think the design is beautiful and I'm absolutely blown away by the quality of the images it produces. I realise that I'm obviously not on the same page as my peers and betters, but I will try harder to find fault with your camera, as its obvious that its me thats not up to speed here.

I just wish I could get rid of this little voice in my ear that keeps saying -

As ever this is a personal commentary and in this case IS intended to influence or criticise others personal preferences.

"This is a blog, not a novel"
- Philip Bloom