Saturday, June 27, 2015

I Dropped My Leica M3, Besides That It Was a Great Day

Today was quite an eventful day. I was looking forward to picking up my Leica from the factory service center all week! I dropped it off to get a full service and cleaning, so that my vintage camera would shoot just like the day it came off the factory floor sometime back in 1956. I have heard that Leica's last a lifetime because they are so well-built, they are heavy duty and rugged and it's a good thing that they are built so well because about 3 minutes after I plunked down my $240,000 KRW (approx. $213 USD) the Leica somehow slipped off the hook on my shoulder camera strap and plummeted about 3 feet to the tile floor. The back plate flipped open from the force of the crash, thereby exposing the roll of Portra 400 I had just loaded in it.

Myself and 4 Leica employees let out with a collective ghasp. For the next few moments there was a suspense in the air rivaling the best edge-of-your-seat Hollywood blockbuster. Everyone was wondering if the Leica had any significant damage. One of the employees picked it up and put the back plate back on, he gave it a once over and handed it off to another employee who tested out the lens, aperture ring, focus ring, shutter, all the dials etc. The camera appeared to have come out of this heart-stopping event unscathed.

As for myself, my pulse was racing and I was battling a vicious anxiety over what had just happened. The employees were empathetic, after all, Leica cameras are royalty and I was in the Seoul castle of the Leica kingdom. They asked me to sit down and brought me a Vita 500 energy drink, quite popular here in Korea. We looked over the camera one more time and verified that it was ok.

Now, I won't really know for sure if it truly survived the fall unscathed until I get the roll of film back from the lab and have a look. Maybe the fall messed up the rangefinder, throwing off the focus, or perhaps the shutter speed are off? Who knows? My gut instinct tells me everything is just fine and dandy but stay tuned to see the photos from my first roll.

With that out of the way, I headed over (still feeling the anxiety) to Saeki (a popular camera store here in Chungmuro) to meet up with John Steele, an extremely talented local photographer and university professor who I envy for his adorable Boston Terrier, Holly. John just purchased his first Leica as well, also an M3. I've been meaning to meet up with him for a while and today seemed like as good a day as any. I shot him a Facebook message and invited him to meet me for lunch in Chungmuro, to which he agreed.

John did some shopping today too, picking up a pristine Pentax lens for his Pentax 67. After lunch John suggestion we shoot some photos, which I hadn't really planned on but what the heck? Might as well get through a roll of film on my Leica and drop it off same day. Heck, I just wanted to see if I could get through a roll without something catastrophic happening. Ugh.

Anyway, John took me over to the Namsangol Traditional Korean Hanok Village which is directly across the street from Chungmuro. For all the times I've been to Chungmuro, I can't believe I never knew this place existed. The Namsangol Village is a park at the base of Namsan Mountain/Seoul Tower, it features a walking path, ponds and the Seoul Millenium Time Capsule, as well as the traditional village itself. I definitely intend on going back.

I finished out my first roll of film on the Leica with no further incidents or fumblings, no inept repairmen exposing my film for no good reason, no Felix butterfingers dropping a 1300 dollar camera, just good times, great weather and a fun buddy shoot with John. Check out his web site and keep an eye out for his awesome dog Holly.

Two new friends, Felix' Leica M3 (left) and John's Leica M3 (right)

Oh yeah! Leica baby!

We weren't the only photographers out there today.

This girl was doing some product photography.

Here is my Leica M3 with Summicron 50mm f/2 Dual Range lens. The near focus goggles are attached. I ordered those separately. The near range goggles will allow you to focus accurately as close as 31 inches from your subject. Without the goggles the closest you can get is 3 and a half feet.

View of my Leica M3 from above, with near range goggles. She's showing her age on the outside, but on the inside she purrs like a kitten.

Leica M3 without the near range goggles mounted.

Leica M3 with Summicron 50mm f/2 DR lens

The mark of distinction... Leica

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