The Leica MP.
I should of posted this two weeks ago but with so much going on at home I completely forgot about it …my excuse, I got tied up building a new computer.
So the Leica MP, some say that MP stands for Mechanical perfection and Leica promotes this camera as the “the ultimate tool” …I just say it’s great knowing that there’s nothing like the feeling of a brand new Leica camera in your hands.
The MP which has been in Leica’s stable for nineteen years now, yes I couldn’t believe it that this rangefinder was released in 2003 and retail sales are still strong for this camera. Mine is a 2021 example from the holy city of Wetzlar and I opted for the Chrome version over the black paint. This was not only because everyone seems to have a black MP but reading reviews the black paint finish is designed to look brassed over time with use. I decided I didn’t want another Leica looking the way as my M240 M-P has already started to brass, in some areas quite badly, in other places the black paint has gone dull which to me doesn’t look great some how with a modern Leica body.
Think part of this might be to do with using alcoholic hand gel during the pandemic, before as a demonstrator at the Leica store London and since I’ve used the camera. Note the minor brassing on the Summilux focusing ring as well. I found after using the gel, my hands look black after handling the camera.
One thing I have noticed using this camera is how much heavier it is compared to the M4-2 and the M6. The brass top place and bottom do make a difference in weight over the M4 and 6 zinc body parts but not quite as much as the M3 body. I always liked the M3 wind on lever, not so much the M4-2 and M6 plastic levers. In your hands the MP lever feels right some how. My only complaint is as many have remarked, I wished they made the ISO dial on the back out of metal and not plastic. Changing the film speed I have found a little tricky to change, being small with large fingers the dial is very stiff to turn. Whether or not it’s because it’s new only time will tell.
I found the camera is like the M3 but with a light meter plus extra framelines and the film loading speed of the M4-2. I’m not fazed by the rewind knob having used my late father’s M3 although I will say it does take longer to rewind 36 exposures. The MP’s meter is very accurate and unlike other centre weighted meters it is virtually a spot meter. As Leica describe it the meter has a diameter of 12 mm that corresponds to 13% of the full film format or approx. 2/3 of the short side of the applicable bright line frame in the viewfinder. There no excuse for getting exposure wrong here and the meter coped well with the shots below. I found I stopped using my Weston Euro Master meter after a while with this camera which is great for those days you only want to take out just a small camera and a roll of film.
All in all if your fortunate enough to own one I don’t think you’ll regret the purchase and with any luck should out last me!
All images taken with the Leica MP, Summicron 35mm ASPH on Kodak Tri-X film rated at 800 ISO.
Of to French France next week with the M240 for street and the Nikon F60 for some landscape photography.