At the store they let me play with the Leica M240 and the T cameras. Someone offered me a great deal on an M240 the other day, but found today that I don’t like it’s mechanics at all. There are too many options, too many buttons, and too much temptation to do things other than take pictures. The Leica T is a gorgeous camera, it feels as if it were designed by Jony Ive, but it’s not a photographic tool like the previous M cameras — it’s a phenomenal point and shoot.
When I bought my Leica ME I was physically nauseous for hours. It costs as much as a super high end Mac desktop, does a lot less, and the money could have been used to travel in Asia for six months. I’m still glad I made the purchase. For a trip like this having a insanely small and fantastic camera has given me something to be very passionate about. It’s led to major advancements in my photography. Unlike any other camera it melts away and I barely think about it while using it.
I told the salesman that I didn’t like the Leica M240 or the Leica T and he just shrugged and said “Yes. The Leica ME is the best for photographers.” I’m glad that Leica’s marketing message about the ME being for the basics of photography seems to be true. No one was trying to upgrade me to the next camera in the line today.
Later he showed me this very limited edition “matcha tea” Kyoto Leica MP film camera shown below. Apparently it is only sold in this one store. Yours for $15,000 (minus 8% tax as a foreigner — fairly substantial here — bring your passport).
Other than the insanely expensive cameras the internal architecture of the Kyoto Leica store is fascinating. Just you might imagine an Apple store could be if it had lower volume. The upstairs is literally a gallery showing photography made with Leica cameras.
If you’re ever in Kyoto check out the story if only to visit the incredible Hanamikoji Dori street. It’s one of my favorite streets in the world.
Hanamikoji Dori at night. Kyoto, Japan.