Test Drive

Rain dawns on the “Leica World” in Wetzlar.

As soon as they open, I scamper through the precipitation from the hotel to the Leica Store. A dash of 30 meters. The salesperson offers to loan me a Leica M10-D for a few hours to test this unique digital rangefinder camera. Of course, I accept.

A bit of red.

A bit of red.

Walking down the hill towards Wetzlar’s center, I find it difficult to see colour in this drizzle.

Green bush.

Green bush.

But there IS colour, only, I’ve been seeing in black & white too long.

I pass villas with stucco facades.

I pass villas with stucco facades.

Good resolution and macro-contrast on this camera. But I see nothing of it while I photograph. Leica’s M10-D has no rear screen. Not out of neglect or as a fad, but intentional. No chimping, you stay in the flow.
I follow the flow of the rainwater downhill and come to the city wall. Timber-framed buildings dominate the picture.


I take a view of the Eisenmarkt. In 1925, Oskar Barnack did the same with his Ur-Leica. He’d be right at home with this retro-futuristic M10-D.


There are dark passages, street art, official art, antlers and cozy pubs. I get it all, as if on film.


When I go back up the hill by bus, I’m already planning the financial intricacies necessary to purchase this camera. I’ll have to sell the wedding‘s first and second spare cameras and their individual accessories, then I could just afford it. And so I do. Lots of good gear on Ebay next week, but it is worth it.

Leica M10-D with my old Summicron f/2.0 50 mm and a soft release. Gotta have a red dot!

Leica M10-D with my old Summicron f/2.0 50 mm and a soft release. Gotta have a red dot!

Oh, about that scandalising film advance lever. It doesn’t do anything and Leica meant it as a place to hook your thumb behind. And as a design quotation reaching back to the M3. I didn’t use it much on this test drive and it didn’t irk me. Maybe I’ll fold it out later …

You’ll be reading more about this queer camera on this blog, I guarantee it!

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