My Gear Minimalism Effort Continues

A few months ago I wrote a short post about, among other things, my realization that I owned way too many cameras – Leica film cameras in particular. Like all obsessions, while caught up in the mania, you don’t recognize the extent of your obsession. Then, one day, for whatever reason, you wake to the reality – you’ve got way too many of the things you supposedly value, the very excess of which serves to devalue the enjoyment you get from any given item.

Nietzsche said that “the mother of excess is not joy but joylessness” [Yes, I just quoted Nietzsche in a Leica blog]. Human nature is a funny thing; the more we grasp at happiness through external things, the more it eludes us, because ultimately happiness is internal, found in your relationship to things to the extent it involves ‘things’ at all. Whatever it is, it isn’t found in things. All of which is a peculiar line of thought for a blog dedicated to the admiration, use and enjoyment of mechanical Leica film cameras, but it needs to be said as a necessary corrective to the easy enough mistake of seeking happiness quantitatively.

I’ve recently published short pieces by a number of readers who’ve written to share their experiences migrating back to film use after a certain disillusionment with their digital experience. A common thread running through all of their stories is the satisfaction they’ve taken in a simple Leica outfit – one beat up user body and a lens. I’m especially struck with Tadeas Plachy’s story of the joy he’s given by his M2 and a few cheap Russian lenses. He’s discovered something we enthusiasts often forget. There’s an immense pleasure, a liberation from the constant cycle of upgrades and add-ons, in stripping down the photographic experience to its essentials, something a mechanical film Leica does to perfection. Ironically then, you can argue that what makes a film Leica an object of enduring appeal – its essential simplicity – militates against the wishfulness of idiots like me, who’ve mistakenly thought that the pleasure given the photographic act by a simple Leica mechanical camera could be multiplied by having more of them.

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All of which is a long-winded way of saying I’m selling more cameras. And I’ve decided to do it here on ‘my’ blog – because, well, I can – so bear with me. I will note to you that you won’t find advertising here – now or never – even though, given the amount of hits it currently gets (over 2 million views a year) I could probably make a few bucks off it. But I’m not interested in monetizing a labour of love, the result being that you’re just going to have to deal with me hawking a few cameras every now and then.

That all being said, the items I’m selling all are as described and will make their new owners very happy, insofar as one may be made happy by a thing.

You may contact me at Leicaphilia@gmail.com for further info on any of the items below.

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Leicaflex SL #1283379 Black Chrome, Good User Condition $225 shipped SOLD

Everything works just fine, including meter. Viewfinder bright with no issues. Shutter sounds very strong with speeds accurate down to 1 second. Cosmetically, not beat up at all; no dents or wonkiness. Just normal usage marks.

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5cm Nikkor-S 1.4 #405084 with Amedeo Adaptor for use on Leica M Mount $525 shipped SOLD

An excellent condition Nikkor-S rangefinder lens, circa 63-64?, black barrel with chrome bezel, its 40xxxx serial number puts it among the last regular black barrel 1.4’s produced for the S3 and S4 models. This particular lens is in great condition.  Glass is free from scratches, fungus or haze. Blades are free of oil. No dents or major paint loss in the lens body. Aperture adjustment is snappy.

Accompanying it is an Amedeo Adaptor that allows you to mount and use this on an M body. These adaptors are works of art; beautifully machined and finished, they feel appropriately over-engineered for use with a mechanical Leica M. New, they sell for $270, and once you use one you’ll agree they’re worth it, allowing you to use the entire range of 50mm Nikkor 1.4 S Mount rangefinder lenses on your M with rangefinder coupling.

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Nikon F Plain Prism #6759251 with Nikkor SC 50mm 1.4, Very Good User Condition $350 shipped SOLD

A plain prism Nikon F is the closest thing you’ll find to a 60’s era Leica M, both in its functionality and its aesthetic beauty. To my mind, were I to have one camera to take to a desert isle, it would be a plain prism F with a 50mm Nikkor. Simply bulletproof. One of the 3 or 4 truly iconic 35mm cameras of the 20th century.

This particular F works perfectly and is an excellent example of the model. (I’m only selling it because I’ve committed myself to having only one F body, and  will never sell my collector’s quality Black Paint F with 50mm F2, both of which are new, never used, perfect). Shutter is strong and accurate down to 1 second. Prism is bright; no fungus, haze or separation. Shutter curtain in unwrinkled and unmarked. Interior is clean and looks sparingly used. Exterior body shows light wear, mainly being bright marks on the top-plate and prism. There are no dings, dents, or heavy scratches on the body.

The Nikkor S.C. 50mm f1.4 is also in excellent condition. Glass is clean. No scratching, haze or fungus, no separation. No noticable internal dust. Focus smooth, apertures click nicely. All in all, a really good example of a 60’s Nikon F era fast Nikon standard lens.

9 thoughts on “My Gear Minimalism Effort Continues

  1. Tadeas Plachy

    Knowing my article would cause such gear sale I would have kept few bucks to get that 50/1.4 Nikkor for Leica 😀

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Take it from me, Tadeas. You’re never going to be happier with your photography gear than you are right now with a beat up M2 and a few beat up East Bloc lenses. You are “living the life” as we say in English.

      1. Andrew

        Excellent advice.

        My happiest was at age 14 with a Minolta SRT200 and 45mm f/2 MD Rokkor that I saved for and bought new.

      2. Tadeas Plachy

        Leicaphilia: Im no longer such a pure soul 😀 I have a Zeiss(Cosina) Biogon 35/2.8 for over a year plus recently bought Canon 50/1.4, which mostly sits in a bag as 35 is my focal lenght of choice… But still I used one body and one lens for 99% of my photographs for past 14 months. Yes, probably I still live the life… 🙂

  2. Rob Campbell

    Having had both an F and an F2 on a desert island at the same time, I’d settle for the F2 for two reason: no baseplate that has to be removed; the sharp side-edges are gone, becoming slightly more rounded and much better (less painful) to hold for long periods. Both were fantastically reliable machines.

    A tip for those desert islands: use a screen with a grid: getting sea horizons level is not so easy; for some odd reason I found it much more difficult to do for verticals… Perhaps the eye needs a wider baseline to do a reasonable job of finding a good level, possibly something related to the problem that rangefinders with too short a base also have.

    And having voiced a preference for the F2, I still admit that no camera ever gave me the buzz that did that F – unitl my first 500 ‘blad came along, but that was not about cameras, but about a sense of personal ladder-climbing workwise. All I have for film today is an almost new F3 that is as useless as a digital one if you run out of batteries; you get a single, daft, slow, emergency mechanical shutter speed – and that’s it, baby. The rot set in quite a while before digital, I’m afraid.

    Regarding the F’s prism: isn’t it a solid pentaprism so no chance of mould inside it? I remember it as a relatively heavy a piece of kit.

    Rob

  3. Hector

    I was happiest with the Leica MP and a 35 and 75 Summilux lenses. My foray into the M8 and M9P somehow killed my photographic enthusiasm. Now I am back to the MP and with just one lens (either a 35 or a 50) and I’m content and happy as can be. Several gears, many choices tend to irritate and confuse me and I tend to lose my way. I tend to ‘see’ better and produce work that I like when I have limited choices. I feel more creative.

  4. Wayne

    There are problems with excess gear; but, in my case, they revolve mostly around keeping track of it. It can be fun grabbing one of various 80 year old folders- instead of an 80 year old Leica- and shooting the same things I shot with the Leica. For me, all of this old stuff, each and every piece of it, is enchanting in a different way……brings something new to walking around with a camera. It is the shooting, and the fun of various results, good and not so good, that makes me happy. My unhappiness related to gear- when such unhappiness springs up- is usually related to some delusion that a piece of gear is going to make me a better photographer. If the thing does somehow produce a superior photograph, I know it had nothing to do with me……

  5. Rob Campbell

    Hector,

    “My foray into the M8 and M9P somehow killed my photographic enthusiasm.”

    I can understand the problems associated with the M8, but wasn’t the M9P a resolved situation? It would be interesting to understand why you felt a lack of enthusiasm with the latter.

    Maybe it was just a ‘block’ that we all get from time to time, one that coincided with ownership of those cameras? My current one (block) is that I feel I am sort of making the same picture over and over again, and looking at the work of some of my favourite photographers, it seems all of them fall into that routine. I run a tiny list: Sarah Moon, Saul Leiter, Hans Feurer, Peter Lindbergh, David Bailey… Don’t misread me: I love the stuff these people do, and admire all of them greatly. Maybe it’s just that such strong individualism creates its own inescapable handwriting.

    Rob

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