I bashfully forgot I bought a Leica® Mini. I suppose when you buy and sell over fifty cameras a week its hard to meticulously keep track of what has come and gone. I coincidentally spotted the Leica™ box in the back of my camera cabinet as I was trying to figure out what shooter to pack for a little staycation that the gal and I were going to embark upon deep in Topanga Canyon later that morning.
I’ll admit, I was pretty excited to use this camera for the first time because I’ve read really great things about this particular ‘red-dot’ and the praise that it receives by its avid users. I had high anticipation but I suppose hype isn’t always justified because the first thing that caught my attention as I loaded a roll of Portra 400 was just how flimsy the plastic parts felt on the body. I’ve owned a handful of Leica’s in my day and all were built sturdy and felt tough but this one simply did not meet the standard of what I’ve experienced prior. After doing a bit of research I discovered that this particular model was manufactured by Kyocera™ in Japan and was set to appeal to a lower-tier market in the early 90’s. I’m a huge fan of the Kyocera™/Yashica™ brand and equate a high-end experience with the Leica™ insignia but this one was a miss for me. The shutter button felt unresponsive and the power button was about as hard to get to as a deep embedded wedgy. Perhaps I just have full-figured fingers, whatever the case, I wasn’t moved by the lackluster build.
I can already hear the camera snobs yelling “who cares about your fat fingers and the plastic chassis, it’s Leica® lens, bro!”. Well, I’m not one that’s too narcissistic to look past the veneer and fall in love with the personality if it can give me what I want, what I need, if it can give me something worth keeping. Unfortunately I’m not too sure that’s the case here. As you can see from the images above, a lot of the frames from the roll are a bit muddy and didn’t deliver the “wow factor” that I long for when I get my scans back. Perhaps I set my expectations too high, perhaps I should’ve used a lower film speed, perhaps my fingers should sign up for hot yoga. Whatever caused this first encounter to go awry, it brings me great anguish to confess that this camera just doesn’t do it for me.