Categories
2000's

Leica C3

Leica C3

The late 1990s and early 2000s were an experimental period for Leica. It’s during this period that Leica started producing its affordable compact point and shoot cameras. One of these cameras was the Leica C3.

Produced between 2002 – 2005, it is a premium 35mm point and shoot camera. Being the last camera in the LEICA Cx series, the C3 came with some incredible features making it one of the best point and shoot film cameras you can own.

Here’s a breakdown of some of these features.

Features of the Camera

Anyone who has used the Leica C3 can attest to the high-quality photos the camera takes.

Thanks to the 28mm-80mm Vario Elmar Leica zoom lens, all the photos you take with this camera will be very sharp, contrast and will have incredible color saturation.

And that’s not all!

Since the C3 lens can achieve a focal length of 28mm, this camera can take better wide-angle photographs than its old siblings. 

Like its siblings, the C3 comes with an automatic focusing system, making your work as a photographer easier. Together with the automatic exposure mode, taking photos with this camera is extremely easy and straight forward.

No need to think about the technical details. Just point and shoot.

The camera also comes with a multi-mode flash system. For low light situations, you can always set the camera to have the flash on. For well-lit scenes, you can choose to switch the flash off.

You can use the auto flash setting, which automatically turns the flash on in low light scenarios.

And unlike previous Leica point and shoot cameras, the C3 saves your chosen flash mode. You don’t have to reset flash every time you switch off the camera.

This camera also comes with a red-eye reduction and flash synch mode.

As if that’s not enough!

It also comes with an exposure compensation mode with a value of +2EV. Thanks to this feature, you can take photos in very bright scenes, without them being over-exposed.

When it comes to shooting, the Leica C3 is a quiet camera, making it an ideal street camera.

This camera also comes with a zoom viewfinder with an adjustable diopter. If you wear glasses, you’ll love this feature.

Depending on your chosen focal length, the Leica C3 viewfinder has either a magnification of 0.33X when using the 28mm focal length and a 0.83X magnification when using the 80mm focal length.

Design and Physical Build

The Leica C3 is an elegantly designed camera.

The silver and black exterior gives the camera a lovely contrasty aesthetic. Thanks to the aluminum casing, this C3 is a sturdy camera that inspires confidence when shooting.

The use of the aluminum casing also helps to make this camera extremely light. At only 260g, you can carry the C3 in your hand all day without getting tired.

And that’s not all!

The C3 also comes with a rubberized pad at the top and bottom to help make it more comfortable to hold. The camera also has a rubberized finger grip on the front to help improve handling. (If you’ve used the C2, then you know how slippery the aluminum finish can be)

Shortcomings of the Camera

The Leica C3 main weakness is its focusing system.

The AF system is not very good at close range focusing and is also not the most accurate in low light conditions.

The shutter is also a relatively slow (max speed is 1/350 sec.), making taking photos in fast-paced scenes in bright light impossible.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that the Leica C3 is a premium point and shoot camera.

It’s elegant, lightweight, has an incredible AF and AE system, and comes with a great lens capable of taking high-quality photos.

It’s also relatively affordable for a Leica, making it a worthy addition to your vintage classic camera collection.

Categories
2000's Leica

Leica C2

Leica C2

Although Leica is often associated with expensive collector cameras, the company also produced some relatively inexpensive cameras. One of these cameras is the Leica C2.

It’s every photographer’s dream to own a Leica camera. 

However, what happens when you can’t afford the highly prized Leica rangefinders. Do you give up on your dream?

No!

Although Leica is often associated with expensive collector cameras, the company also produced some relatively inexpensive cameras. One of these cameras is the Leica C2.

First produced in 2002, the Leica C2 was a 35mm compact point and shoot automatic camera. As the second born of the Leica Cx series, the camera came with most of the features of the C1, with a few added improvements.

Here’s a breakdown of these features.

Features of the Camera

The first thought that’ll come to mind when you first hold the Leica C2 is how light and compact the camera feels.

If you have small hands, you’ll love this camera the moment you hold it. It’s lightweight nature also makes it the perfect camera for when you don’t want a bulky load wearing you down.

And that’s just a start.

It comes with a Leica Vario Elmar 35-70 mm f/4.6 /8.6 lens.  Thanks to this 2X zoom lens, the C2 can take stunning and sharp images. 

In addition to the incredible lens, the Leica C2 also comes with an automatic multi-zone focus system that’s never wrong. With a range of 2ft- infinity, all images you take with this camera are bound to be sharp.

And that’s not all!

The camera also comes with an electronic flash, which turns on automatically in low light conditions. You can also choose to either switch the flash on or off. It all depends on your scene and preferred exposure.

It is also a very quiet camera. If you’re a covert shooter, the C2 is perfect for you. With this camera, you’re less likely to attract your subjects’ attention, making it great for street shots.

And as if that’s not enough!

The Leica C2 also comes with a date stamp feature, which gives your photos a vintage feel.

Design and Physical Build

Although not built by Leica, the Leica C2 was a well built and attractive camera.

The white aluminum casing and minimalist design approach make this camera a joy to look at. The aluminum casing also makes this camera relatively light, especially when compared to Leica rangefinders made from brass.

All controls are ergonomically placed and are easy to use.

Shortcomings of the Camera

Compared to Leica rangefinders, the C2 is not a lifetime camera. The fact that it’s fully electronic means that the camera can fail at any time.

The lack of control over exposure, focus, and shutter may also be a shortcoming. If you’re someone who loves to play around with exposure, aperture, and focus, the Leica C2 is not ideal for you.

Final Thoughts

Although not as impressive as Leica rangefinders, the C2 is an incredible camera

It’s lightweight, compact, aesthetically pleasing to look at, and easy to use. Perfect for both beginners and more experienced photographers who enjoy the flexibility and freedom that a point and shoot camera gives.

If you’re such an individual, then you’ll love the Leica C2.

Categories
2000's Leica

Leica R9

Leica R9

After 45 years of manufacturing 35mm reflex cameras, Leica finally decided to stop production. This was after seven years after launching their last SLR flagship project, the Leica R9.

Launched in 2002, the R9 was the last 35mm reflex camera from Leica.

And for their last camera, the R9 was an incredible camera. Not only did it come with most of the R8 features, but it also featured improvements on some of the R8 shortcomings.

What were these improvements? Keep reading to learn more.

Features of the Camera

One of the first features you’re likely to notice with the R9 is its relatively lighter weight. If you’ve held the R8, you know it’s a heavy camera. That’s not the case with the R9.

At a weight of 790 g, the R9 was 11% lighter than its immediate predecessor.

Thanks to the reduced weight, the R9 was more portable than the R8.

Another improvement to the R9 was the improvement to the TTL flash control. With the appropriate flash units, the R9 was able to achieve higher flash sync speeds — speed higher than the X-sync speed (1/250 sec).

To prove their innovativeness, Leica decided to make the R9 a hybrid camera that could transform from a 35mm SLR to a 10-megapixel digital camera.

Thanks to the Digital Modul R (a clip-on that could be placed at the back of the camera), you get to enjoy both worlds, film, and digital.

Another incredible feature of the R9 was the bright viewfinder with a 0.75X magnification and 93% coverage.

Like the R8, the R9 came with a non-interchangeable viewfinder. However, the camera came with a choice of six interchangeable viewscreens. These were:

  • The standard viewscreen that had a course-central micro prism area with a central split-image focusing aid.
  • The Plain ground glass screen for long focal length cameras and extreme close-ups
  • Micro prism screen
  • The Full-field ground glass screen for architecture photography.
  • The bright glass focusing screen for astrophotography and other scientific photography.
  • Special viewscreen for the Digital Modul R.

Shooting with the R9 was made easier, thanks to the inclusion of three metering modes. With the R9 you had the choice of:

  • Spot metering for high contrast situations and portrait photography
  • Center-weighted metering for landscape photography.
  • Matrix metering for evenly lit scenes.

In addition to the different metering modes, the R9 also came with five exposure modes, namely:

  • Program mode
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Manual exposure
  • Flash ready mode.

As if that’s not enough!

Like previous Leica SLRs, the R9 came with an R-bayonet mount. With this camera, you had the choice of all R-bayonet lenses except for 1-cam and 2-cam lenses (These lenses could destroy your camera’s electronic components).

What about the shutter?

The R9 came with a Copal focal plane, electronic, metallic curtain shutter that could achieve a maximum speed of 1/8000 sec.

Design and Physical Build

The R9 came with a body similar to that of the Leica R8.

The camera had a rounded body with sloping shoulders. However, unlike the R8, the R9 didn’t have a Zinc alloy top plate and a steel bottom plate. Instead, Leica replaced the top plate with magnesium and the base plate with aluminum.

This subtle change was the reason behind the reduced weight.

The R9 also came with an added LCD frame counter on the top plate.

Thanks to the minimalistic design, using the Leica R9 isn’t complicated. All controls are ergonomically placed and are easy to locate.

No need to read through the manual.

Shortcomings of the Camera

The R9 was a pretty incredible camera with very few shortcomings. Although it was lighter than the R8, it was still a pretty heavy camera.

The digital modul-R was also quite expensive. At a current price of $4200, not everyone can afford it.

Final Thoughts

As the last camera in the Leica R series, the R9 was an incredible camera.

It was well built, featured an improved flash sync control, came with faster shutter speeds, had improved optics, and is an incredible shooter. With this camera, you also get to enjoy both digital and film photography.

What more could one ask for from a 35mm SLR?

Categories
2000's Leica

Leica M7

Leica M7

Now here’s a camera that features the best of three decades. The Leica M7 is a fusion of 1950’s mechanics, 1970’s electronics, and 21st-century optics.

First introduced in 2002, the M7 was in production for 16 years, until Leica discontinued production in 2018. 

And the exciting bit!

Despite being a classic rangefinder in the DSLR age, the M7 is still a camera that many photographers still regarded so highly.

Features of the Camera

One of the best features of the Leica M7, and perhaps the main reason why many people still regard it so highly, is its simplicity in design and use.

The M7 was built on the principle of “less is more.” Unlike many modern cameras that come with a myriad of controls and menus, the M7 came with only a few knobs for only the essential controls.

With this camera, you can focus entirely on the photograph, rather than fiddling with settings.

Another impeccable feature of the M7 was its classic metering system. In an age when the color matrix was slowly taking over, the Leica M7 came with a center-weighted metering system that performed impeccably well even in low light.

With the M7, you’ll enjoy taking night photographs—something that’s hard to do with SLRs

However, you still need to know what you’re doing. Otherwise, every photo you take with the M7 will disappoint you.

Like it’s predecessors, the M7 came with a big bright viewfinder that could achieve a magnification of 0.72X. The M7’s finder came with three pairs of framelines optimized for six different lenses. These were the:

  •  28mm and 90mm lenses,
  • 35mm and 135mm lenses
  • 50mm and 75mm lenses

However, compared to previous Leica M versions, the M7 framelines tend to be incomplete and inaccurate. 

Speaking of lenses, what type of lenses does the M7 use?

The M7 comes with the small, lightweight, but superb Leica lenses. Since the M7 features the Leica M bayonet, it’s compatible with any M lens. 

What about the shutter?

The M7 came with an electronic shutter—the first in the Leica M series. The use of an electronic shutter resulted in a more accurate shutter speed. However, the downside with this was the fact that you couldn’t operate the shutter without batteries.

But there’s an exception. In manual mode, you can use the 1/60 and 1/125 shutter speeds without batteries.

Like it’s predecessors, the M7 had a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. A true classic of the modern age.

Design and Physical Build

Like other Leica cameras, the M7 was an exceptional build.  Other than a few parts, the camera was fully metal.

The only plastic parts were the battery cover, the end of the film advance, the film speed dial, and exposure compensation dial. 

Every button is ergonomically positioned. Unlike the M6, which required you to use two fingers to change shutter speed, the M7 shutter speed is large enough. You can change shutter speed with your index finger while holding the camera to your eye.

The M7 is also relatively lightweight compared to modern-day DSLRs. At only 610g, the M7 is a small camera that fits perfectly in the palm.

Shortcomings of the Camera

One shortcoming that comes with rangefinder cameras is the reduced accuracy of the viewfinder. Unlike SLRs, which have very precise viewfinders, rangefinders aren’t that precise.

So, if you’re a perfectionist who demands precision, the M7 is not the camera for you.

The other shortcoming of the M7 was the unreliable mechanical DX film-speed sensor.

Final Thoughts

There you have it.

All you need to know about the Leica M7. A rangefinder that has survived in the age of DSLRs.

If you’re looking for a Leica camera that’s still new and that your friends will envy, you’ll love the M7.

Categories
2000's Nikon

Nikon F6

Nikon F6

The year is 2004. Digital SLRs have taken over the professional photography scene. Camera manufacturers are no longer concentrating on 35mm SLRs. Then comes the Nikon F6. The last attempt by a camera manufacturer to make a case for 35mm SLRs.

And this time, Nikon had a different target market.

Since many professional photographers had already switched to digital SLRs, Nikon built this camera for wealthy armature photographers who wanted nothing but the best.

And the Nikon F6 was nothing but the best. Every part and feature was designed to perfection.

Read on to find out why the F6 is considered the best SLR to use.

Features of the Camera

One of the most notable features of the Nikon F6 is its foolproof color matrix metering system.  With this system, a photographer was able to achieve vivid and perfect exposure despite the lighting situation.

And unlike the F5, the F6 color matrix system also works impeccably with the manual lenses.

The F6 also came with spot and center-weighted metering systems, alongside the color matrix.

The second feature that makes the F6 such an excellent camera is its large and bright viewfinder that can achieve 100% coverage.

However, unlike previous Nikon professional SLRs, the viewfinder isn’t interchangeable. This is mainly because the camera wasn’t intended for the professional photographers’ market.

You can still change the focusing screen. With the Nikon F6, you get a choice of four focusing screens.

The Nikon F6 also featured a full EXIF data logging system—a first for 35mm SLR cameras.

This system records and stores all your exposure data to a CF card. If you’re like me (I manually log every exposure on paper), this camera will save you time and energy while making technical shooting easier. 

There’s more!

Like the F5, the F6 is compatible with all Nikon lenses made from 1977. This includes more modern VR and G lenses. If you own lenses made between 1959-1976, you can either convert them to AI or pay Nikon $114 to retrofit your camera and make it compatible with all Nikon lenses.

What about the shutter?

Like the F5, the F6 came with a self-checking and self-correcting shutter able to achieve speeds of 30 sec to 1/8000sec.

And that’s not all:

The F6 is also a relatively fast shooter with speeds of up to 5.5 frames per second. With a motor drive, this speed goes up to eight frames per second.

The F6 also features four shooting modes: the shutter priority, automatic, manual, and program mode.

It also came with the quickest and most silent AF system.

Design and Physical Description

At first glance, you’d think the F6 is a DSLR. Its body resembles that of the D2 but without a vertical grip.

On the hand, the F6 feels like a brick covered in rubber. An ergonomically shaped block to be precise. It fits perfectly on the palm and feels comfortable to hold.

The lack of a dedicated vertical grip gives this camera a more portable look and feel.

The controls are also ergonomically placed with every button, dial, and control being located under the fingers.

The mode selector, AF and AE lock, exposure compensation dial, shutter speed, and aperture controls are all located around the horizontal hand grip. When shooting with this camera, there’s no need to stop shooting to change functions.

And that’s not all:

Thanks to the weatherproof magnesium alloy body, you can use the F6 in any weather.

Shortcomings of this Camera

One of the most notable shortcomings with this camera is its price. The F6 was built for a more affluent audience. A new one retails at approximately $2699 with a used one going for $900, making it out of reach for many hobbyist photographers.

The F6 is also not the lightest camera. It’s a bit heavy and weighs 1,006.3 g.

Final Thoughts

The Nikon F6 is a genuinely incredible camera. 

All its features are designed to perfection, and unlike other 35mm SLRs, it’s still in production—if you hate buying used cameras, this is the SLR for you.

If your bank account allows, the F6 is a worthy addition to your vintage classic camera collection.