The Online Darkroom Store

Monday, May 18

Pimp my Leica

Speaking through emails to TOD contributor David M. we chuckled a little about the propensity of some Leica owners to treat their cameras as the hobby rather than photography itself. David had earlier pointed me in the direction of the PetaPixel website where there was a post about a new Leica TAAB.

If you're a Brit of a certain age you might be excused for thinking this must be a new brand of cigarettes straight from a production line at Solms in Germany. But no, it's a piece of fancy rubber that slips round your lens and is supposed to make focusing easier (this is manual focusing we're talking about here).

The TAAB focusing ring

I suppose it could be seen as some sort of homage to the well-known and genuinely useful focusing tabs found on some Leica lenses which many users say make focusing somewhat simpler for lenses that can, after all, be quite small.

The "tab" is a small protruding piece of brass or aluminium that is shaped in such a way that it makes a comfy resting place for a forefinger. The lens is then capable of being focused by the aforementioned single digit. Once you get used to it, it's also possible to work out with a fair degree of accuracy just what distance you've focused on by remembering the 12 o'clock, 6 o'clock, etc positions.

Anyway, on to the TAAB on PetaPixel. I'm the last one to knock private enterprise but I had to wonder about the efficacy of this neoprene band idea. Then I looked at the comments and found that there were a lot of people thinking just like me.

The real deal on a 35mm Summaron f2.8

The Leica lenses with tabs focus from their nearest distance to infinity with a short throw of the focusing ring so the tab doesn't move too much. On some other lenses such as Zeiss, the rotation from near to far is considerably longer and you'd then find that single digit having to perform some contortions as it pushes the TAAB around, up, over and down the other side of the lens barrel. As one PetaPixel commentator said, "Nice, pointless device."

I had to have a look on the PetaPixel site to see if there was anything else for the Leica pimps. There seemed to be quite a few products that might well appeal to certain owners. How about a nice Lomo lens for your Leica? You remember the crappy lenses that are found in the just as crappy Lomo cameras, the kind we'd give to our kids back in the film days because we didn't want them breaking something valuable? Well, you can get one of those custom made to fit your Leica. That'll by $349, sir. It looks like this:

Lomo lens. Cool? Possibly, but still crap.

Leica pimping is quite a wee cottage industry with everything from soft buttons for the shutter release to very expensive Italian leather cases which, in some instances, can cost more to buy than the old screw mount Leicas they're supposed to be protecting. Still, it's all good, clean fun.

Whilst browsing the PetaPixel site, I also stumbled across a post that made me glad I no longer bother with digital - assuming, of course, that I'd won the lottery and was in the market. It seems Leica has discovered a bug that can affect owners of the new £5750 Monochrom Typ 246 that is due to go on sale this month. The camera's DNG raw files seem to have an incompatibility issue with Apple's new Photos app. According to PetaPixel, it's not just that the files can't be opened. They said, "...the files could corrupt your library and cause you to lose your entire photo collection."

And that includes all other photos taken with cameras other than the Leica. Can you imagine the mixed feelings if your new pride and joy, costing just shy of £6000, wiped out 25 years work? Unlikely, maybe, but it's a possibility. Bloody hell, that would be like your house burning down and all your negatives going up in smoke!


slackercruster said...

Not just Leica's. If a cam can be pimped the camera fondler will try. Fuji forum kicked me out, but they were some top cam pimps.

My previous decision of this topic...


Gregory Heath said...

Very cool little gadget..

J. Dennis Thomas said...

You'd have to be pretty dense to store 25 years worth of digital photos on ONE hard drive. Besides, who stores all of their photos in the Apple "Pictures" folder? And finally, the M Typ 246 ships with a free LR6 code. Who spends $7500 on a camera and edits images with Apple Photo?

Steve Ford said...

Leica themselves have always ben the arch-pimpers though. "Convert your rangefinder into an SLR? Easy. Need several sorts of accessory viewfinder? No problem. Need a fast wind for your iii? Available! etc etc. I know people who spend more on completing sets with the (still very expensive, even on fleabay) Leitz accessories with their quaint names like MOOLY and SUCKA than have spent on the actual cameras and lenses.

And don't get me started on the Lenny Kravitz Correspondent Edition.

Herman Sheephouse said...

I had the same problem with a small monkey, who I met one day. He had a proper old style photographer's tifter with a ticket sticking out of it.
"Help you with your pictures mate?" he said.
Well why not, I thought, the little imp, he looked like something new and exciting and he was wearing a tiny red Leica badge too.
So I took him home, made him comfortable and let him help me. Two weeks later he walked off with all my negatives and my cameras - little git! So much for taking chances on new things - should have known better.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Oh and Steve - if you compare prices, gram for gram, I think certain rarer Leica accessories may well be more valuable than gold or platinum!

morris1800 said...

I checked out my gadgets I have in my camera collection .It was no surprise to me the most gadgets I possess were for using on my Rolleicord V.They don't make me take better pictures but increase my enjoyment of using that camera. They are the following....
1) Panorama head for tripod allowing me to take accurate full frame shots for stitching into pans.
2)Stereo tripod attachment allowing to create traditional stereo cards or Gifs for 3d veiws.
3)Rolleikin outfit to use 35mm film in the Rolleicord.
4)Plate back including ground glass screen for precise focusing with plates film or paper negatives.
5)Bayonet 1 to 46mm filter adapter giving easy access to suitable ND,infrared and polarizing filters for using on the Rolleicord.
I use all of the above and they make a great contribution to the pleasure I get from film photography with my Rolleicord and that,s all that matters to me.