domenica 26 giugno 2016

One take, one frame, one camera: Leica CL Hybrid Wide Tony Graffio

Is the Leica CL a real Leica? This is not a problem for me. I like Leica cameras, but I'm not a maniac of this brand, they are just a little bit too expensive for me, expecially in these days many people is looking for Leitz lens to mount them on the new digital Leicas. Years ago, I owned a very nice Leica M4 with a Summicron f 2, the results were stunning, but I was used to my Nikon F2 so, after a while, I sold the M4 thinking to break-up definitively my relationship with the german red dot. 
Not so much time ago, I would say 2 years, I bought an old Leicaflex SL, later another, and then an older Leicaflex, because the R series was not so wanted. Just in time, because since a few months also the Leicaflex and the R series lens began to be more appreciated and expensive...
Last march I went to the Castel San Giovanni second hand photographic market and when I found a Leica CL at 130 euros I decided to buy it also if the lightmeter was not working and there was not any lens on the camera body. 
Good move. The lightmeter problem was not so serious, the CL just needed to sobstitute an oxidized cable and very quickly became ready to take some pictures again. 
Then, the problem was: where to find a lens at a reasonable price? 
I was not in the mood to spend around 2'000 euros for a 21mm or any other original focal lenght so I understood I had not to watch on a Leitz product. I started to think at a few alternative options. I compared the Cosina/Voigtlander to the Zeiss and other lens with an M mount and I realized that Nikon wide angles could be not worse than those makes, and not even slower.
I started to look after lens adapter and I decided to find something that could allow me to mount a Nikon on my Leica/Minolta CL.

This Hybrid Camera is a Leica/Minolta rangefinder camera Leica M Mount with a Nikkor AIS mm 20 f 2,8, a Cambo Wide 650 Viewfinder and a no brand lens hood

I know it is a unusual choice, everybody would like to take advantage of the Leitz optical quality, but I wanted to put together a small light camera with what I already had. I had only to look for the right adapter, I already owned all the rest of the gear. Of course, I could mount every kind of Nikon lens on my solution, but not having the possibilty to focus precisely meant to be forced to mount a very wide lens on the CL. The good new is that the compact Leica/Minolta has an internal cell that enables the TTL metering system to work also with a lens adapter and a manual diaphragm lens, like the Nikon AIS.

 The Bovisa old gasometer photographed with my Hybrid solution. Fujifilm Fujicolor 200 E.I. 1/500 sec. f 11

The entrance in the AEM area where rise the old gasometers is forbidden to the public. So, I guess, I introduced myself illegally in this place to document what happened, what kind of works were made and what is the actual situation. 
I needed to have my hands free to cut the wild vegetation and to have a small and light camera with me, in the case I had to runaway quickly.
Camera was already mounted with the adapter and the 20mm in a small bag. In another pocket of the bag I kept the lens hood and the Cambo viewfinder. To take the pictures I had to take off the lens cap, mount the lens hood, mount the  cambo wide angle viewfinder, focus at a quite closed aperture, expose the scene with the internal meter, compose the image and shoot the picture.

Leicaist Nik-L/M lens adapter

I don't like anymore buiyng online on the web, so I searched a shop in Milan where to find any make of lens adapter.
Nobody had it, so I went by my trusted chinese bazaar to explain what I needed.

 Federica, more than a chinese seller, a property master

Federica already had been able to find for me an adapter in China for a Pentax Q to any D mount (8 mm cine cameras) lens, so I asked again to her to solve my problem. I've been lucky because she already had to make a journey to Shanghai and she looked for it directly in her hometown. 
A couple of weeks later she came back with my adapter, 100% Made in China. 
Thanks Federica and thanks to the industrious wise chinese people that build in their old and big country what we lazy italian people don't want to make anymore. I payed the Leicaist adapter 43 euros.

Tony Graffio's Leica CL Wide Hybrid, a Nippo-German-Dutch- Chinese camera.

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