Cigarettes are totally addictive and the best way to avoid addiction is to never pick up the habit in the first place.....and now the Leica story.
A few days ago I wrote a blog about the new Leica X vario. While I waffled a bit and admitted that the camera may have some appeal to a tiny demographic I was, for the most part, dismissive of the value proposition. The camera looked pretty cool but the slow lens wasn't sexy and the lack of a built in EVF gave me pause (as it always seems to do..). I could have spent the rest of my life never thinking about it again and the impact of the void would never even amounted to a blip on my gear lust radar.
But that was before I went searching for a ten dollar part with which to fix a six hundred dollar flash. I hadn't been in my favorite camera store in a while so I did a fearsome amount of looking around and self-directed tire kicking. I considered a new monopod and rejected it. I considered a really enormous and rock solid $1800 video tripod but in the end its lack of portability kept my credit card in cold storage. So after a hard target search of the entire inventory I headed toward a friendly and professional sales person to make my meager purchase. As I stood on one side of the glass case and, Ron, my sales guide and camera crack dealer stood on the other side and worked the controls on the cash register, my eyes wandered behind him and came to rest on the Leica display.
Now, the new Leica X Vario was just announced a little more than a week ago so I thought that accessible inventory would be months away, but there on the shelf was the latest toy in its dark, dark gray finish. I should have turned my head and looked at cheap video sliders instead but in the moment that I hesitated Ron could sense my weakness and he pounced like a mongoose on a dizzy cobra. Yes. He handed me the camera. And that was all it really took. Now I am in love.
I won't go into details. I haven't bought one yet. I haven't even committed to buying one, but on the way home I was looking for refundable soda bottles beside the road and when I got home I started looking behind the couch and chair cushions on the outside chance that someone's $2700 pocket change had fallen out of their pockets and come to rest, sub-cushion. The camera is that seductive.
It's much more beautiful than these photographs might indicate. The body style is right in line with the "M" tradition and the heft and balance of the body are remarkably seductive. I didn't want to let it go back on the shelf. I started snapping images and the shutter had the old Leica snicking authority combined with enough body mass to dampen any kinetic effect of shutter travel or acceleration/deceleration.
Do you remember the movie, "Wayne's World"? In it Wayne (played by a younger and more talented Mike Meyers) is smitten by a Stratocaster guitar at a local music shop. Each week he stops by to look it over and play it. His mantra is, "It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine." Substitute the Leica for the Stratocaster and I'm right there with Wayne Campbell. "It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine." It's so nice I'm not even sure I care if the files are great. Really good will be enough. The flesh is weak. My only question is whether or not the Olympus VF-4 will work in the EVF plug.....
Warning: If you love beautifully crafted cameras (way beyond the Fujis, Nikons and Canons) and you don't want to impoverish yourself, don't ever handle the camera. It must be coated with heroin, dusted with nicotine, and finished off with a bit of Xanax. Addictive and dangerous.