After 10 months
[ REVERSED LEATHER ]
The Break In
Last October, I went to Rome to special order a Reversed Leather case from Luigi Crescenzi. A few of you have asked how the case is breaking in. I wanted to share two pictures to give you a sense of the leather after 10 months of continuous use. The leather is incredibly robust and even the reversed side, which will eventually wear smooth in certain areas is only showing minimal wear.
Why a Half Case
There are a lot of people who think that half cases are decoration for a camera which is already famous for being a piece of jewelry. Leica owners are guilty of liking their cameras, there is no question about that. But the decision to buy a half case was functional for me. I was setting up to shoot a winter construction project. The months of October to December we spent at the top of a twenty story building as lathers, iron workers, and carpenters were fitting out a building here in NYC. If at all possible, I prefer not to wear gloves. Inside of my jacket I keep hand warmers to keep my fingertips from going numb. If it gets really windy I will slip on a pair of “Red Dipped Gloves.” When I use to work as a Site Super, in construction, I would order these gloves by the box load. They are slightly elastic cotton gloves that last a week or so depending on the work load. They have a good natural dexterity and are dirty cheap. They “Blue Dipped Gloves” are slightly heavier, but for photography I prefer the lighter ones so I can feel the shutter dial and shutter.
Anyway, the Leica Time half cases give me an added grip. The M9 feels like an ice cube in the winter months, so the leather is a suitable insulator. It also lets me rest the camera on construction surfaces with a bit of protection. If there was ever an arena of dust, debris, and potential disaster it would be a construction site. Luigi’s case is a touch of added insurance against the elements.
There is a growing trend of Luigi Knock Off cases reaching the market. While I dont see any problem with healthy competition, I have not been impressed by the quality, creativity, or potential of the other cases. The posts I have read on l-Camera forum that people bought chinese cases for $50 on ebay which were just as good or superior is complete nonsense. Its completely normal for someone to take a product, refine it, enhance it and then release it on the market. BUT…the other half cases I see are usually competing on price alone. Even when the leather is of similar quality, all of the details are Luigi solutions. A little nod to the man who sorted out the designs would be appreciated.
Also, I put a tremendous value on hand made goods. Whether its watches from Swizerland, denim from Japan, or sweaters from France…its nice to know that manufacturing traditions still exist in some parts of the world. An enormous influence on the production of anything comes from the buying market. An uneducated market, who is just looking for a bargain, drives down quality and attention to detail. It is the consumer version of “planned obsolescence.”
A good example of healthy competition is Fuji’s stab at the rangefinder market. Personally I dont use a Fuji, but the added competition for Leica from Fuji and even Sony will have positive effects on the market. Economy versions of a Leica half case, do nothing of the sort. So before picking up the cheaper solution consider the value of investing in a piece that will last you a lifetime. Based on the wear and tear so far, my half case should be good for at least the balance of my lifetime.