Today on #camerathursdays we feature the return of Dan Milnor (a.k.a. @smogranch, Blurb’s photographer at large). But this isn’t a rerun. Last time we featured Dan and his Leica M6. Today we introduce his Leica M4 (observant readers will notice a Leica m9 slung around his neck too). The Black Leica M4 is one of the most sought after cameras for photographers. Dan’s camera was meticulously restored by Leica. And he’s shot his first roll with it. Read his rapturous first impressions and see his first shots.
Camera: Leica M6
Photographer: Dan Milnor
Job: Photographer at Large
The first thing I noticed is that the M4 has some heft to it. It’s not heavy it’s solid. It feels great. The second thing I noticed is the camera is smooth, REALLY smooth. When you crank the wind lever it is like eating a stick of butter. I knew within about ten frames that this is the best film camera I’ve ever had.
The M4 is all brass and all mechanical. There is no meter. Another photographer said to me, “Oh that sucks, no meter, what a pain in the ass.” For a split second I was kinda thinking the same thing, then I quit huffing paint for two minutes and realized my Hasselblad has no meter and I love that thing. So when I did this M4 test I put my trusty light meter in my back pocket, but instead of pulling it out and metering the scene I just viewed the scene, analyzed it, and then set my exposure.
This is now my everyday camera, my number one, my big cheese, my big Kahuna. I’ve been carrying it now for about a week, and I have to say, everywhere I take it people flock to it like bees to honey. I’m not sure why this other than the fact that old cameras are cool, but there really seems to be something more to it. The only thing I can come up with is that in an age of something new every six months, people have a great appreciation for things that last. This M4 is over forty years old and it is just as good today as it was when it was first released.
You can see more from his first roll, plus his complete narrative, over on his website. Until our next dispatch from our corner of camera-nerd heaven, we wish you happy shooting with whatever camera you call your own.