For the first time ever, the Leica Historical Association of America held its annual meeting outside the USA - and what more appropriate place than Wetzlar, where Leica cameras were made for so many years.
The Leica Camera factory has now moved down the road to Solms and is now under new ownership (again). Leica were very gracious hosts. Full marks to them, particularly as they were also in the middle of the most important launch since the M3 - the debut of the new digital M8 at Photokina in Cologne.
Photokina was one of the highpoints for us too, and we were glad to see the M8 stand besieged. Even better, a select group of us each had our 'own' personal M8 for a morning in October, courtesy of the Leicaschule and Ralph Hagenauer. It is a wonderfully intuitive camera and really does handle very like any other M. The sophistication's all inside to keep things simple outside.
In homage to Oskar Barnack and Max Berek, the two giants of the early days of Leica, I took along mostly screw-mount cameras. First, my 70 year-old factory-converted I to III with a slightly younger and recently coated 50/3.5 Elmar.
Accompanying that were a IIIf with my 85/1.5 Summarex on board, and a III with the 50/1.5 Summarit. In the M department I used my beater M2 with 21/3.4 Super Angulon, and took along the Noctilux 50/1 to try out on the M8.
In the pages that follow I'll try to show you how these old soldiers performed, as well as including some shots taken with the digital M8/Nocti combo.