It was last summer, when I packed four of my ten R-lenses and my black Leica R8 into my photo-bag and headed out to my birthplace in Poland. On board 70 Kodak Portra 400 films, which got used up to the last roll in the last minute on the plane back to Norway. I enjoy working with my analogue Leica R8.
It is rather a journey, where you dive into an imaginary sea during the period of stay. All taken images burn into your memory and you live with them in your heart with the strong wish that some of them might become a photograph after the process of time. It is a different motivation to work analogue compared to digital, though I use my digital Leicas in the same way by only checking the histograms from time to time. Still you can’t review the analogue images on location before development and it demands a high level of discipline. The R-gear follows me on many of my personal projects, without any thought of nostalgia. It just feels natural, though I must admit it was a shock to see Kodak with a tiny stand on the last Photokina in Cologne. I hope at least negative film will stay available for a long, long time to come.
A new era will soon start for all the miraculous R-lenses since the new Leica M will soon be present, and the contact possible again. I am looking very forward to use them also in a digital context since I have some really remarkable R-lenses in my collection, including the new Elmarit-R 2.8/19mm, the Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 2.8/100mm, up to the Apo-Telyt-R 2.8/280mm. The normal 50 mm lens though has a special position in the range of lenses. I use it the most since it comes very close to the natural image of the eye. I own two Summicron-R 50 mm lenses from different constructing periods. The current Summicron-R is almost identical in optical construction with its counterpart in the M-system. It is one of the best standard lenses in the world.
After the visit in Poland and the reviewed result on the light table, the wish to own a splendid new Leica R9 became strong. I felt that I should put one aside for some years to come. Finally, two months ago, an opportunity came up and an almost new stonegrey Leica R9 became a member of my R-family. I mentioned my new acquirement when I visited Bresson, and it seemed like a ghost was calling for its appearance: «There is still a brand new Summicron-R 50 mm in our stocking. It has been laying here for years. It’s the last R-lens we have». My eyes glowed. It was clear that the almost forgotten lens got a new owner. A fantastic Christmas present for myself. It was still boxed and waiting for Christmas eve a few days ago.
By the way there is a fantastic opportunity to read about all Leica lenses on Leicas internet site. Just choose your lens if you need some historical or technical information:
I would like to wish all the blog readers a Merry Christmas and looking forward to see you following us with some new exciting bloging in 2013.