Mechanische camera's

Kijk op het fotografisch universum door Erwin Puts

ten years M8

In 2016 the M8 celebrates its tenth anniversary. It will be a modest ceremony and Leica will not pay any attention to this. Since the M8 in 2006 we have seen a steady stream of newer and (if we have to believe the many comments) every time better models. If you had followed the advice to buy every time the new model M9, M240, including the Monochrom and the several P-models, you would have invested more than $40000 over a decade. Perhaps you had part-exchanged the previous models and collected (at an average second hand price of 40 - 50% of the new price) some $15000 - $20000. Still a net investment of more than $20000 in ten years time (a mere $2000 per year one may argue).
When you had bought a M3 in 1955 it would be still on the market, essentially unchanged and worth the same as when you bought it.
That is progress! It is also possible to look at the developments from a technical and artistic perspective. Technologically there is no doubt that the digitalization of the photographic progress has benefitted the technically inclined person. It is a matter of quantum efficiency: the silver halide molecules have a QE of less than 10% and the solid-state transistors have a QE of around 40%. Artistically however there is a complete standstill. And this is a pity because one of the main arguments to buy digital cameras and the associated technology is precisely this advantage in the artistic possibilities. I do not refer to the many manipulations done with Photoshop and its clones: these are fads and fancies. When one flies over the many notices that dedicate themselves to promoting the newest Leica product as the best ever, one sees a remarkable phenomenon: the images that are inserted as examples for the technological and artistic capabilities of the product not only look surprisingly indistinctive but show no progress at all in the main theme: expanded artistic expression. That most pictures are indistinguishable from the previous generations may be taken for granted.
My advice for 2016 (the celebration year if ten years digital M) is a simple one: stop reading about new Leica products by the evangelists, stop buying new Leica products (or if you really need one buy the M-A and the M262) and devote the full year to improve your artistic capabilities. This at least is my intention for 2016: January: finish the book about Leica optics, and then take some time to explore new artistic avenues with the MM2 and the M-A or even the M3.