The Marks of a Leica That Has Not Been Used as a Fashion Accessory

People who collect Leica M rangefinders or use them as luxury fashion accessories take great care to keep their cameras in pristine condition. Photographer Blake Andrews is not one of those people. He has been doing film photography since 1993, and his trusty M6 has plenty of battle scars from seeing heavy use over the years.

If you want to see what a Leica can look like when it’s used as a camera rather than an accessory, Andrews has published a series of interesting graphics in which he treats his M6 as an artifact, pointing out various features that you definitely wouldn’t see on a babied camera body.

Do you own a camera that shows similar signs of dedicated use? Feel free to share a picture of it with us in the comments!

  • Samcornwell

    I have a friend with three year old 5Dm2 which has seen more wear and tear than this (shame on the owner.) I’ll see if he can post some pictures for you. He still uses and relies on it every single day.

  • Tommy Sar

    *Gasps and drops monocle into champagne glass.*

    I… never…! To see such a fine craftsmanship be… USED like a common beast of burden… The sight churns the stomach!!


  • Mike Panic

    “Rangefinder coupling lever needs adjustments every 20,000 exposures or so” I think the term you’re looking for is “…needs adjustments every 556 rolls of film or so” because film photographers don’t count clicks the way digital shooters do – and that’s assuming they are 36exp rolls.

  • jake

    hey michael zhang; i have a used camera too. but this time its a canon or an old two-format. i also have some negatives not digital. can u believe that?? and if thats not good enough i can photograph my workstation or show u some croping-skills on photoshop

    btw: your potpourri of themes suck big time.

  • mmmarc

    Just because someone takes care of his/her equipment doesn’t mean they treat or use it solely as an accessory–it means they care about the camera and want it to last as long as possible. You’re presumptive and it’s annoying.

  • Michael Zhang
  • Bob
  • Michael Zhang

    Hi mmmarc,

    You’re right, and that’s why I wrote “People who collect Leica M rangefinders or use them as luxury fashion accessories take great care to keep their cameras in pristine condition” and not “People who take great care to keep their cameras in pristine condition are ones who collect Leica M rangefinders and use them as luxury fashion accessories ”

    I’m definitely in the “want gear to last as long as possible” camp with you :)

  • mmmarc

    “If you want to see what a Leica can look like when it’s used as a camera rather than an accessory […]”

    That was the phrase that frames it as an either/or situation.

    But yeah, I think we should all take better care of our stuff so it lasts forever. I think most of the readers here are in the same camp. Otherwise, they’d probably be on luxury blogs looking at gold-plated cell phones and blinged-out Leica M9s.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Pshaw. We’ve seen newer cameras with worse wear and tear after a single episode of DigitalRev TV.

  • Joe

    Plus some to roll those burnt frames when starting a new one.

  • Mansgame

    As a Leica user hater, I can respect that. I bet Seal’s camera is spotless.

  • J

    Here’s my Leica M3, a bit nasty, but still useable.

  • monteraz

    Looks like a D600 inside

  • Darron

    I’m now regretting, my Leica having bottox pumped under its leather skins, two spring transplants and a lens enlargement being done. I so hate being stereotyped like this.

  • jake

    thx for pointing that out; its topics of course; my english is as bad as some topics here. i was a huge pp-fan since years; but nowadays its more quantity than quality. a lot good stories are littered in junk. i mean, who hasnt seen a worn of camera, or who needs an umbrella on a tripod? thats not even worthy an amateur-photography-forum. and i expect a lot more from pp.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks for the feedback :) We do value the “potpourri” style of the content we share though, and I’m guessing many readers do as well. From the beginning we’ve focused on sharing a wide range of topics rather than focusing on one particular thing (gear, inspiration, etc…).

    This fact means that it’ll be impossible for us to satisfy all people at all times. Hopefully you notice that the “junk” you refer to are simply stories you do not find interesting/worthwhile, rather than spam and “advertorials.”

    Anyhow, thanks for caring enough to share your thoughts!

  • John

    Maybe Pimp my Ride can now make a show called Pimp my Leica…

  • 3ark

    Yeah hating people over their choice of tool makes lots of sense. The worst are Oral-B tooth brush users, I hate them the most.

  • Mike Avina

    The pictures Andrews takes are far more interesting than this close look at whether or not his camera has the gritty brassing and wear that amounts to coins in the currency of street cred.

  • gibutac

    who cares?

  • 405 light slinger

    My Sweet Miranda

  • Jason Scott

    The dust belies my switch to digital though

  • Rochelle

    This reminds me of my Argus C3 camera. :) I love how it still works, even though it is quite beat up. I was letting a friend’s daughter play with it and watched as she dropped it onto tiled flooring. The camera ended up denting the flooring. Here are a couple of photos I have of it.

  • randolph45

    At least it hasn’t been painted pink

  • 7enderbender

    Alright then. Maybe the Leitz/Leica marketing team can pick up on this now and sell the cameras now as “relics” just like the vintage hype in the guitar world triggered brand new Fenders and Gibsons being sold with dings, scratches and cigarette burns. For an extra charge of course.
    I’ve been through similar discussions in that arena. My stuff’s been played a lot and been around the globe with me and still looks pretty good. And I don’t care for the original 1957 specs if there is something better available that makes my life easier while sounding the same or better.

  • jma

    he’s just trying to look cool by making people think he doesn’t care about his m6. i care about by m6.

  • David Grimshaw

    What sort of “use” would cause the red logo to “wear” away? Hmmmm I wonder….

    Normal use does not wear a camera body in that way. This is the kind of wear you get from throwing a camera in a backpack and letting it rub around on loose crap, not what you get from actually using the camera. I had a Praktica I treated the same way that ended up looking like that, but I have lots of older cameras that were used tons and look fine aside from some minor dings and brassing.

  • Nameless, Fameless

    The vibe in the comments section here is somewhat disturbing – “As a Leica user hater” especially. Then again, I say this as a young guy (19) who saved every penny for his M2, M6, 35 summicron, I-61 and 21 voigtlander and who’s cameras see near daily use, both in personal and professional work (Usually the former, Nikon gear takes the brunt of my wedding work). I don’t baby my gear either, both of my Leicas are currently broken internally and in servicing at the moment.

    Cue downratings and baseless assertions

  • Daniel Goodale-Porter

    “Kills Fascists?” Come on…that thing would only piss the fascists off. You will need a good medium format camera to even hope to kill your fascist boogeymen. Large format cameras are considered weapons of mass destruction and are banned by international agencies.

  • you are dumb

    So taking care of gear doesn’t get you points even if you use the hell out of it? You’re basically saying beat Leicas are cooler than well taken care of Leicas thus putting used Leicas in an accessorized category. Dumb article.

  • Denis Wettmann

    My 25mm Nokton f/0.95 & Panasonic GF2 show similar wear and tear. Its great to see the camera being used for what it was made for ;)

  • Roy

    Someone who willingly chose to click on the article, read it and then comment on it… Oh wait… that would be you.

  • Blake Andrews

    Interesting comments. I’m glad there are so many interpretations of this post, which can happen when something is sent into the internet with no explanatory text. For the record I neither baby my camera, nor am I especially rough on it. But like a pair of shoes worn every day, it’s a tool which inevitably shows wear and tear over time. I thought the various marks and scars told an interesting story, so I shared some photos. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed them, and thanks in particular to Mike Avina for his insightful comment.

  • G

    That’s just abuse, not wear from years of use as a tool ;)

  • Mansgame

    Except people who use the toothbrush care about their teeth where Leica owners are obsessed with telling people they shoot Leica and how much it cost.

  • Mansgame

    If it’s so great, then why don’t you use the Leica for weddings and see how it turns out? Sounds like you need to trade in your Leica for Nikon gear.

  • Dan Bachmann

    I must be lucky – none of the Leica shooters I know are like that; however, they get asked how much it costs and how it is different from a compact or SLR many too many times.

  • 3ark

    Yeah, I’ve never seen a Canon or Nikon guy who is more interested in his gear than actual photography… oh wait. Why do you care about what other people use? Life is too short for jealousy.

  • georanson

    Excuse me but thats just ignorant. Every camera has its place and works better for different tasks. There are many reasons to not use a film camera period at a wedding these days other than an after weeding shoot. Most couples want their photos as soon as possible after not wait for the film to be developed and then scanned in for them to see. Along with the fact that film cost more and eats into the profit. And have you ever tried reloading film quickly (especially on a Leica)? Its hard man. Its plain and simple film is hard to use in a wedding setting. Now for studio work, film is a dream. There is nothing like it, digital will never compare to not only the feel of film but the enjoyment of shooting film. I shoot film all day long for many things and sometimes it lets me down I get in situations that suck like jams and reloading at the wrong times but, thats half the fun and part of the art. If you can’t appreciate that then I feel sorry for you.

  • Geo Corazon

    No, this machine Kills Fascists

  • Nameless, Fameless

    I have to use the Nikons for the fast turnaround time, and if you actually read my post you’d see that the Nikons take the brunt of the wedding work, not all of it – I have used and will continue to use my M system in my wedding work. The Leica gear fits perfectly in the work flow. If I could afford a full frame M mount camera, I would get it since my film adds another day to the turnaround time. I’m not even going to bother replying to any follow up comments because that’s time I could be out shooting my personal work (Documentary, diary shooting and street – how cliche!) on my film cameras, Leica or otherwise.

    >Caring about what other people shoot with

  • studio 17b

    Just 3 years and it’s already gone to pieces? That’s Canon for you. *snark* At least this Leica took 19 years.

  • Rolf Schmolling

    Nikon F2 Photomic with Non-AI all metal lens!

  • Samcornwell

    Heh! The Canon still works. Even after the torrent of abuse it’s received. We’re talking dropped many times, left outside, used in pouring rain etc etc.

  • kyoken74

    Collectors also buy Leicas, that are used as cameras rather than accessories, as accessories.

  • richard

    leica m4 easier than a nikon to load.

  • richard

    could have to do w/the acidity in sweat. even winogrand’s m4 not this worn.

  • georanson

    which nikon because I have an m4 and a nikon F3 and N90s and by far the Leica is the biggest pain to load, I love the thing to death but loading is not fun.

  • Sam Wong

    lol you can use a tool and take care of it as well … just like how you can drive a vintage car while keeping it in pristine condition. I am going to take care of my up and coming Leica while using it to tell stories through my eyes and lens.