Authors note: because I feel like it, you get a Gear Wednesday today. Rational conformist thought is a sign of a weak mind. Also, I am not mentioning the holiday. I never do. It’s a day of performative patriotism, Lee Greenwood, unnecessary explosions and bad potato salad. If you truly love your country, work to better it every day you wake up, and keep working until the day you don’t.
I went through a hysterically minimalist period of my life that ended when I had so few possessions everything fit in the back of a Honda. It freed me from the weight of my past that had held me in one place like a boat anchor. It lead me to a better place and a better life. It was the sort of disruption I needed. But it left me with a lingering reluctance to grow too fond of things, and some things were made to be too fond of.
More often than not, I reach for my Leica when I leave the house. Sometimes I just have it as ballast while I walk. Sometimes it is the reason I walk. It is always a comforting presence.
It is the only camera I will go back in to the house after if it is on fire.
I’ve enjoyed every click of the shutter, the smoothness of every frame wound on. But beyond that, it is a physical reminder that out of the billions of people on this Earth, I have one who really, truly loves me and wants me to be happy. That knowledge is more than most will ever have. I feel sorry for them and know how lucky and privileged I really am.
I guess my minimalist background made the M2 attractive to me. No electronics, as simple as it can be. Not even a rewind crank. Very robust and easier to use than I had thought.
I get some unsolicited opinions about my lens choices. I have a pair of TTArtisans lenses I use. A 35mm f1.4 and a 50mm f1.4.
I prefer a 35mm focal length, so that one is on my M2 more than the other. The same could be said about every other camera I own. Bang for buck wise, I don’t think much can beat this lens. About the only thing that would make it better would be if it was lighter. Well, maybe if the hood cap was engraved instead of the huge white logo it would look a little classier but it wouldn’t work any better. The Summicron is a better lens? Yes. But it should be if they are charging ten times more for it.
I’ve seen the 50mm f1.4 TTArtisan lens compared to a Summilux, but that’s not really accurate. The design is more like the Voigtlander lenses for the M mount. I like the results it gives, It’s not perfect, but you are talking about a lens that’s half the price of the Voigtlander 50, and 1/10th the price of the Leica.
These lenses both produce an image with character, the 50 having the look of a much older lens in particular. I like them, and would probably use them even if it wasn’t almost impossible for me to drop $4k or more on a lens.
I was pointed to an article about how TTArtisan made inferior lenses, and how people who thought they were solidly made didn’t know what they were talking about. I didn’t really get past that point. If you start sounding elitist, I’m going to just stop listening to you. I did hear the author went on to post an article to claim he was not a racist. That’s never a good sign.
Honestly, though, what makes a lens a good lens?
Some folks wax poetic about the glow of older Leica lenses. That is actually a defect. It’s spherical aberration or veiling glare, but it has a huge following. Sometimes imperfections are perfect.
That is why I use these lenses. If you are happy with the result, who cares about their pedigree or strict adherence to convention.
Just use what makes you happy.