Camera : Leica MDa
Lens : Zeiss ZM 25mm f 2.8 Biogon T*
Film : Fujifilm Superia Premium ISO 400
Developer: Tetenal Colortec C-41
A view-finderless camera and zone focusing initially sounded pretty daunting, but it turns out it’s really straightforward. And although I have the odd out of focus shot the vast majority of the images come out just fine.
I’ll do a dedicated Leica MDa post at some point, but for now here’s a brief history. The MDa was produced from 1966 onwards, and the model I have is from the first year of production. I believe they were used for used for monitoring telephone counters initially.
First things first, the image quality isn’t the best – but remember the camera is completely mechanical, stripped back to the absolute basics and is over 50 years old. The age and the sightly challenging nature of the camera add to the feeling you get when you look at the images you have taken with it.
Wang a 35mm, 28mm or 25mm lens on it and it’s hard not to get the focus right. It’s ace for street and stealthy photography as it’s light, pretty quiet and you aren’t holding it up to your face for the viewfinder.
I bought this model because I wanted a Leica but wasn’t prepared to spend an initial £1k for a 50 year old camera body that may or may not work. I picked up the MDa body for £380 from the Leica Store Manchester. Yes, maybe I could have picked it up cheaper on eBay, but that store pre-services the used Leicas it sells and gives a 12 month warranty, and I’m happy to pay a bit more for that peace of mind. Also they give great customer service. 👍
So anyhoo, back to the roll of film. Shot on a trip to Kew Gardens, it’s only the 2nd roll of film I’ve put through it and I’m pretty happy with the results. Accept you aren’t going to get 100% perfection every time – but you are going to have an experience and get some true basic snapshots of time, with a side helping of a genuine sense of history.
It’s so easy to put your thumb over the lens 🙈At least that’s what I’m telling myself….
(click on any image to launch as a gallery)