Author and professional photographer Jeremy Walker has had a Damascene conversion. A Nikon user since his college days in the 1980s, he has been seduced at last by the allure of Leica, initially by a 60-year-old Leica M3: “I handled it and fell in love with it. A camera, it’s just a camera, but my god, what a camera.” Now he has sold his Nikon gear and moved entirely to Leica.
Writing in Digital Camera World, Jeremy explained how he had worked with Nikon and represented the marque as brand ambassador in 2016-2017, shooting the launch brochure for the Nikon Df.
The Nikon feel
When the Nikon Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras came along, however, he missed what he terms “the Nikon feel”: “The cameras could have come out of any old factory, and looked and felt like just about any other mirrorless camera on the market. I also disliked the electronic viewfinder.”
This was also a time when he had decided he no longer wanted to carry a ton of gear. He analysed his typical subjects — landscapes, panoramas, and architecture — and found he was using mainly 20mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, with only occasional use of anything longer.
The eureka moment came when a friend showed Jeremy his 1956 Leica M3. He handled it and fell in love. A couple of weeks later, he owned an M3 and one 50mm lens. Just of a bit of fun, he says. But the seeds had been sown.
Jeremy’s eyes soon turned to Leica’s modern digital rangefinders. It’s what we Leica enthusiasts often call the start of the slippery path. Once trodden, there’s no turning back.
Since acquiring the M3, he has owned the M10, which he bought to work in tandem with his Nikon kit. Then came the M10-R and now the M11, which he thinks is stunning.
An M11 and four lenses
Jeremy has now sold all his Nikon kit, apart from his original F2A, and is down to just the M11 and four lenses. He finds it difficult to explain why it is so much fun to use an old-fashioned rangefinder. But, as he says, it is inspiring, and oozes quality.
Following the switch to Leica, Jeremy carries the M11 with him wherever he goes. And it has opened new possibilities in photography, including architecture and urban scenes. All in all, he feels he has made the right choice for the next stage of his photography career.
The photographs in this article are reproduced with permission from Jeremy Walker.
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