Ah, the “Leica bug”.
Leica Bug [n] An advanced form of G.A.S. that narrowly focuses on Leica products ([usually]specifically that of the M line) that accompanies a deep sense of disappointment when shooting (most) other camera systems following contracting this irreversible affliction. See also: “poverty”
Nah, that’s not Webster’s definition- that’s mine. I remember my first experience with the Leica bug. I had heard the word “Leica” and seen that little red dot with that oh-so aesthetically appealing cursive typeface within it more and more the deeper I engrossed myself into photography a few years back. I ended up on google one night (probably past 12am, per my usual self) and found the M3. Within a few weeks, I purchased my first with a beat up 5cm f2 summar, and within a few weeks after that, I completely liquidated my full Canon set up for an M9 and M8 with a few M mount lenses. After this, a CONSTANT back and forth between systems trying to pry myself away.
“I need the buffer for this wedding I have coming up”
“x is so much more budget friendly than Leica” (very true)
“I can’t afford this right now” (I think this will always ring true)
“AF is so good on this”
And yet, here I am, years later, with my D4 and 5 nikon AF mount lenses up for sale, with an M-P typ 240 on it’s way from Leica Store Miami. (it’s 5k USD for everything if anyone reading this is interested)
So, why do I keep coming back? I don’t know. Well, I do. But I don’t. I think the Leica bug is something you catch IMMEDIATELY- a “love at first sight”, kind of thing. If you appreciate attention to detail, minimalism, and quality craftsmanship and timelessly good looking things, this is something that will hit you hard. HARD.
The first time I grabbed my M3 out of the box, I knew I had it. I knew it. I knew what was going to happen next, I knew that Leicas would become a part of my photography that would never leave. I knew it would completely change my creativity, the way I shot, what I shot, what I enjoyed shooting (to an extent), and how satisfied I was with my own shots. It would change my workflow, my composition, my tastes- really, everything.
So allow me to correct myself- the Leica bug isn’t just a form of G.A.S., but also a creative epiphany of sorts, or mid-life crisis equivalent. Less automatic convertible corvettes and more black paint M-P’s and brassing though. (an automatic convertible corvette is never the way to go, fwiw)
So do yourself a favor- do me a favor. Go hold a Leica. Go shoot a Leica- even briefly. Learn how to use a rangefinder if you haven’t ever used one, and go play with one. Go look at the small details of it, see how it feels in your hands. Hold a Leica made lens- feel the brass and glass and uniformity. Don’t hate me for what happens after that though.