History Lesson - Shooting with the Leica M4 / by Michael Rennie

Boat builder within the ribs of a vessel under construction at Anstruther. G.Little 1970

In a huge display of goodwill, my friend and neighbour Simon, has entrusted me with his late father's camera; a beautiful Leica M4 rangefinder!

Simon's dad, George, started out as a banker but after 30 years in the bank, he quit, to follow his interest in photography (there is hope for me yet!). His work appeared in the 'Fife Herald', 'Scottish Field' and 'Scotland's Magazine' throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s and he travelled far and wide shooting on assignment.

A number of George's images were donated to St Andrews University and have been archived by St Andrews University Library, you can view and search through them here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/imu/imu.php?request=browse&irn=1697

I'm sure Simon would be the first to admit, this camera has definitely seen some action: it has the patina and sticky focusing action to prove it but how many cameras from today do you think will still be working even 20 years from now? Leica's from this period were built to last and this M4 has seen over have a century of use and can still turn out beautiful images,

Boatbuilders at work. G.Little 1970

As well as the camera I scored a worn leather box full of 'treasure': a couple of lenses, a Visoflex SLR converter, extension tubes, filters and a prism viewfinder. I'll write more about using these in another post.

I'm thrilled at having the chance to shoot with it for a few months; in my first few weeks with the camera I shot 3 rolls of films and you can see the results below, I would say there is life in the old girl yet!

Branches bending in the wind - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Zone focus and one handed as I drive! - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Zone focus on Lana swinging happily - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Raindrops and magic stones - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Spinning - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Molly on the rocks at sunset - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Treasure hunter - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Treasure hunter - Leica M4 50mm f/2 SUMMICRON.

Thanks again to Simon for his generous loan of the camera and keep a look out for my next blog post on the experience of shooting with a Leica M4.