Leica MD-2 — Throwback Thursday

Leica MD-2 — Throwback Thursday

Post by Paul Brodek our Used Equipment buyer

Leica MD-2 camera front view

We’ve talked about all the benefits of classic M-series Leica rangefinder cameras, with direct, real-time viewing, no finder blackout and very accurate focusing being the most important. So why are we profiling the Leica MD-2, an M-series Leica with no viewfinder/rangefinder whatsoever? Well, one reason if we’ve just recently profiled the M5, which is the only other M-series film body in the showcase at the moment. But another reason is the MD-2 can be a very useful tool for street shooting with ultrawide lenses.

Leica MD-2 Back view


First, some background. The MD-2 is the third in a series of finderless M-series bodies, with the MD-2 based on the M4-2 chassis. It has the angled wind lever, angled rewind crank (instead of the M3 rewind knob), rectangular rewind lever, hinged back to aid film loading, film reminder scale on the back, etc. The MD series was originally designed primarily for scientific/copy work, with earlier versions available with a slotted baseplate to allow insertion of date/subject data to be recorded on the film, alongside the subject. These cameras are also easily adaptable to macro and long tele use with the Visoflex external reflex finder. 

Leica MD-2 Top view and Photo Gnome


So it made sense to have a “rangefinder” body with no viewfinder/rangefinder for these specialized uses, where external viewfinders eliminate the need for an in-body finder. But it’s also fairly easy to make the argument that SLRs are far superior tools for all these uses, since through-the-lens reflex viewing eliminates the need for external finders. Other than it be a cool, collectible object, why bother with one today.
How ’bout street shooting, where you might want to use a 12mm, 15mm, 18mm or 21mm ultra-wide lens, and shoot from the hip? You’re using hyperfocal focus settings and the ultrawide’s deep depth of field, so you’re not needing to focus. And you have a pretty good idea in your brain what the lens is taking in. You could also attach your ultrawide finder to the top of the camera to briefly check coverage and composition before snicking that very, very quiet shutter. No mirror flopping up and down, so fancy camera-looking device attracting attention. 
You could put a modern shoe-mount meter in the shoe if you don’t trust your sunny-16 chops, or even a vintage MR/MR-4 meter if you want to stay vintage.

Leica MD-2 camera, lens, lens hood and viewfinder


Our MD-2 body just came back from service, is in Exc+ condition, and is available for the low-low price of $599.99. We’re showing it with the outstanding Leica 16-18-21mm Wide-Angle Tri-Elmar, also known as the Leica WATE, and it’s multifocal finder, also known as the Frankenfinder. Available as a set for $3,499.99, the WATE is a phenomenal multifocal ultrawide that is not a zoom, no in-between settings usable. In addition to being incredibly sharp and contrasty on film, it excels with digital imaging, including/especially with those thick sensor stack, high pixel-count cameras that usually do very poorly with film-era ultrawides.

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Leica M Monochrom “Drifter” by Kravitz Design Just announced and in stock! #1/125!

Leica Camera is proud to announce the latest special edition camera and second collaboration with world renowned musician, designer and photographer Lenny Kravitz – the Leica M Monochrom “Drifter” by Kravitz Design. This incredibly unique special edition set consists of an ornate Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) camera finished in sepia-brown paint and wrapped in a vegan python leatherette, two matching sepia brown paint lenses, two vintage-style brown lens cases, a woven carrying strap adorned with vegan python accents, all-purpose travel accessory pouches and a beautiful yet discreet weekender bag dubbed “The Drifter Traveler”.

This special M Monochrom camera is accompanied by a Summicron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH. and APO Summicron-M 75 mm f/2 ASPH., all finished in the unique sepia-brown paint. The front rim of each lens – along with the camera’s thumb wheel, flash shoe, shutter button and soft release – are made of untreated brass. As a departure from the standard production model, the Summicron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH. features a built-in telescoping lens hood, matching the design of its 75 mm counterpart. The unique lens cases included in the set are rigid vintage-inspired quivers that perfectly fit each lens and protect them while in transit. Fitting with the nomadic “Drifter” lifestyle of always being on the road, the set is completed by two all-purpose accessory pouches that can be used for photo equipment or travel essentials, and a lovely “The Drifter Traveler” weekender-style bag to carry it all in. The Leica M Monochrom “Drifter” is limited to 125 sets worldwide, and will be sold exclusively through Leica Stores and Boutiques. Please note that the set will ship as a “soft bundle” – one box containing the body and two lenses and one box containing the bag, lens cases, and accessory pouches.

Introducing the Leica Q2!


Leica Camera has announced the Leica Q2, the highly anticipated successor to the popular Leica Q (Typ 116). The new model keeps the same compact form factor and exceptional 28mm f/1.7 Summilux ASPH lens, but offers notable and quite significant improvements over its predecessor.  The headlining changes include the brand new 47 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with updated Maestro II image processor, a stunning 3.68 MP OLED EVF, revised camera controls, and a larger battery from the SL, not to mention full weather and dust sealing. As good as the original Q was, and still is, the Leica Q2 is a giant leap forward

The Leica Q2 is a newly developed 47.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, offering almost double the resolution of the Q (Typ 116). The additional pixels now make using the built-in crop modes a much more realistic option. At the 35mm setting, you’ll now get 30MP and at 50mm expect 15MP. There’s also a new mode, 75mm, which will result in a 7MP final image. If you do use the crop modes, the on-screen review will show the cropped images, but rest assured that the DNG recorded to the SD card still contains the uncropped, full image off the sensor.


The maximum ISO remains unchanged at 50,000, but we’re expecting a slight improvement in performance. Even if noise remains the exact same as the previous 24MP sensor in the Q, the result should still be better. Keep in mind that magnification at viewing size, be it online or in print, will be much less due to the increased pixel count. This means that any noise will be smaller and less noticeable. We’ll reserve judgement until we can fully evaluate for ourselves, but our initial impression after some quick test shots show about a one stop improvement.

Leica Q-P in Stealth Matte Black Released!

 

Leica has released the Q-P, a new model variant of the ever popular Q Typ 116. Taking the design cues from other “P” models of the past, the Leica Q-P features a “Stealth” matte black finish, no red Leica dot logo on the front, classic white engraved Leicascript on top, and red lens markings instead of the standard orange.

 

Besides the cosmetic changes, the shutter release button and on/off switch have been redesigned more in the line with the M and CL, resulting in more tactile feedback for improved feel and handling. Rounding out the package, the thin, stock black strap gets swapped out for wider, adjustable-length, brown leeather one, and Leica has included an extra battery in as well.

 

The Leica Q-P is shipping immediately with a price of $4,995.