Which Leica gear to keep?
After a year of buying really nice cameras and lenses, I’ve gotten to a point where I’m feeling the weight of having so much money tied up on photography gear. Some of it has to go. This post is me thinking it through.
I hate selling gear. Dealing with buyers and potential buyers isn’t fun. Shipping is a pain. There’s always a risk of damage, loss, or dissatisfaction. But mostly, the problem with selling is that I no longer have the things I’ve sold. Regret sucks.
Something I’ve learned over the years is “never sell a Leica”. Unfortunately, I’ve amassed too much Leica gear and I love it all, but it’s stressing me out.
The three systems in question are the film M bodies, the SL2-S, and the Q2 Monochrom.
I’d actually sold the Q2M to fund the MP but the buyer returned it. Instead of immediately re-listing it for sale, I started wondering if I’d regret it.
For a minute I thought I’d unload the entire SL2-S system instead. I have two Leica APO-Summicron-SL lenses, which were ungodly expensive. They’re way beyond my abilities. The SL system is the most significant (cost-wise) and probably “sparks the least joy” of all of them. But it’s so versatile and that 35mm APO Summicron is so absolutely outstanding that I am certain I’d regret not having it. The 75mm on the other hand is an odd focal length and by far the least used lens I own. Hmmm.
The MP is wildly unnecessary but is perfect and beautiful and sparks all sorts of joy every time I even think about it, so that’s not going anywhere. 90% of a new film Leica’s depreciation happens the minute I open the box, so there’s no benefit in selling it sooner.
So here’s what I’m thinking. I’ll sell the Q2M and the APO-Summicron-SL 75mm lens. That’s a significant amount of cash tied up in the least useful/versatile kit. And it means I still have the 35mm Summicron. For longer focal lengths (portraits, mostly), I have an Elmarit-M 90mm that focuses much more easily on the SL than the M bodies. I also have the SL Sigma 24-78 f/2.8 which is a fine lens and versatile for when someone asks me to shoot an event. (It happens occasionally, and I hate to say no).
What about the film Ms? I have the new MP, but I also have an M3, M4, and M6. I have an emotional attachment to the M3 and M4. The M6 is special because it’s one of the last 10 “classic” M6s made. It’s also had the viewfinder upgraded and unnecessary framelines masked out. It’s a damn fine copy and would fetch a crazy price right now, but I don’t think I can let it go. I’m definitely keeping the M3 because it’s, well, an M3. But also because of the .92x mag viewfinder, which is the only way I’m able to accurately focus the 90mm on an M.
That leaves the M4. I love it because it has the M2/M3-style film advance lever and frameline selector. It currently has a broken shutter, but I’m sending it to DAG for repair and a CLA. When it returns, I’ll list it for sale.
I’m hoping that selling the Q2M, M4, and 75mm APO-Summicron frees up enough cash to alleviate the guilt of having spent so much on “unnecessary” gear. I’m happy to also allow myself to keep the SL and 35mm. I won’t regret having them.
So if anyone is interested in any of those items, give me a holler.