My Bag

 

The Goods: My Digital Leica Bag

Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder

Leica M9

Some love it, some hate it, others lust for it.  After using the M9 for almost a year I think its a spectacular camera.  Sure it has its quirks, but for the size, image quality and compatible Leica glass it is brilliant.

Leica 50mm Summicron f 2.0

Leica 50mm Summicron f 2.0

There are more exotic lenses in the Leica line up, but this was my first lens.  Even though Leica pairs the 50mm Summicron with its “Starter Kits” this is probably the most versatile lens Leica has ever made.

Leica 28mm Elmarit f 2.8

Leica 28mm Elmarit f 2.8

The Elmarit was designed to travel.  Its pancake shape and light weight barrel make it an ideal field lens.

Voigtlander 15mm Heliar f 4.5 ( Super Wide )

Voigtlander 15mm Heliar f 4.5 ( Super Wide )

This is the smallest lens I own.  Since the rear element sits too close to the M9 sensor I only use this lens for film, but when you need to go wide its a great trick to have in the bag.  Since I bought mine a few years back Voigtlander updated the lens.  Now it is rangefinder coupled (so you don’t have to estimate the focus), its has threads for a 52mm filter, and it has a larger, more protective hood.

Leica Table Top Tripod and Legs

Leica Table Top Tripod

This is a great little tripod.  It comes apart and will fit in the smallest camera bag.  I use it for long exposures in the early morning or evening.  The one is use is a vintage Leitz one, which you might be able to find on eBay, but if not the new ones are just as good.

Filters

B+W Circular Polarizer Multi Resistant Coating (MRC)

B+W Polarizing Filter: When you travel anywhere near the equator the daylight is often blinding.  Using a polarizing filter will help recover some of the details that would be lost in the highlights.  I prefer B+W filters because they have brass threads, instead of aluminum.  Brass always releases smoothly and will not lock on to the lens.  If you are using a camera with an internal meter, you will want to buy a circular polarizer for accurate metering and I prefer the multi coated lenses to block against any flare.  I often use this filter in super bright conditions, so any additional coating is a help.

B+W UV Filter, Multi Resistant Coating (MRC) 39mm

B+W UV Filter: When you shoot near ocean spray or in the desert you lens will need to be cleaned every day.  Instead of accumulating the wear and tear on the lens, use a UV filter to catch the sea spray and dust.  It is much easier to clean than your lens and if it gets scratched you will not have a nervous breakdown.

Cokin Filter System: The Cokin System filters are great for landscape work.  They come in a few sizes, but for most Leica Lenses (anything up to 62mm) you will use the Series A filter holder, the thread ring for your lenses (mine is a 39mm to match the 50mm and 28mm) and the filters.  The acrylic filters slide in an out so you don’t have to take the filter holder off to change filters.

Cokin Series "A" Filter Holder.

Split Neutral Density: Instead of trying to save over exposed skies in Photoshop or Lightroom use a Split Neutral Density Filter instead.  They come in different intensities from 1/2 a stop to 3 full stops.  This will give you Ansel Adam’s style skies and colorful sunsets.

Cokin Graduated Filter Kit.

Lens First Aid

Keeping your lenses clean is super important, but you don’t want to scrub them down every day.  Sometimes all they need is a little air and a dusting.  I keep a microfiber cloth and a blower in my carry on for quick cleanings on the road.  The microfiber cloth is also great for getting finger prints off of the viewfinder of a Leica M camera.

Giottos Rocket Air Blower

Giottos Rocket Blower

The rocket blower is small, but is a much better alternative to blowing in your lens.  If you accidentally spit on your lens while attempting to blow off some dust,  you will have an even bigger problem on your hands.  I use the Giottos Rocket blower for dusting my lenses, in between the dials, and my film negatives while scanning.  They are great and the rocket fins allow the blower to stand upright on your desk or hotel table.

Leica Micro Fiber Lens Cloth

Leica Micro Fiber Cloth

Lenses are dust magnets.  No matter where you go or how careful you are, dust will find its way on to your lens. A small microfiber cloth is one of the easiest ways to manage this issue and keep your images clean.

Next on tap, my Leica film bag…

 Posted by at 9:16 pm

  20 Responses to “My Bag”

  1. What film do you use for B&W? Color?

    Thanks for the tip on the little tripod

    Best regards,

    Paul

  2. Hey Paul,
    I use Ilford Delta 100 mostly for BW. With BW I play around more often so sometimes I shoot Kodak Tri-X or the Delta 3200 depending on the situation.

    For color I almost exclusively shoot Fuji Provia 100. It has the right balance of color vibrance and grain. Fuji Velvia is great for landscape work, but it makes people look funny.

    And glad you liked the tripod. It seems like such a silly idea, but in practice it comes in handy.

    Best-Adam

  3. Hi Adam,
    Do you have any suggestions for a bag for all that great Leica gear?
    Many thanks!

    kl

    • Hey KL,

      For camera bags I rotate between two, depending on my mood. I use an Artisan & Artist “Evans Walker” http://www.artisanandartist.com/bags/acam1100.htm

      I take the foam padding out of the Evans Walker and put it inside of Filson Field Bag. http://www.filson.com/products/oil-finish-field-bag-medium.70112.html?fromCat=true&fvalsProduct=luggage/tin-cloth&fmetaProduct=1014

      The Filson is bigger and comes with me when I leave the country. It doubles as my carry on. The A&A bag is far superior, but abroad I dont like to carry a black bag. It stands out too much. The Filson has a more neutral color and does not look like a camera bag. There is also room to stuff extra items I find on the street.

      One word of warning about the Filson. The stitching on the bag’s shoulder strap is sub-par. I took it to my tailor and had him add some tougher stitching. I wish A&A would make another color than black because otherwise their bags a perfect. Recently I have been using the A&A more.

      Another alternative, though I dont use one is the Domke F5-XB or the Domke F5-XB Rugged Wear (its waxed cotton). I saw it at the Photo Expo and they are looked good. I find most other bags to be terrible. Either over designed and techy or too precious to actually use. Let me know what you find.

      Oh wait and one more thing. A friend of mine who lives in Shanghai, found this awesome chinese Domke knock off. The bag was off white and looked super cool all beat up. You might be able to find one of these easier than I can here in NYC.

      Best-Adam

      • Check out the Think Tank “Incognito” bag…..I carried my Leica M9, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm lenses, water, glasses, extra battery, card, & slim wallet throughout Ladakh (NW Himalayas) in this…….and my M9 stayed dry while I was stranded for 2 hours in a monsoon downpour in Delhi….. it doesn’t look like a camera bag and is comfortable to carry……highly recommend.

        • Hey Penny,

          Thanks for the feedback on the Think Tank. I have heard good things about that bag, but a field test is most reliable. Overall it sounds like a good experience. Monsoon rains are no joke. Glad everything held up well. All of the little internal pockets are great for organization. Does it have velcro when you open the main flap? I cant remember, but a lot of people have complained about the sound of velcro on the Domke bags, wondered if Think Tank by passed that detail.

          Best-Adam

  4. Thx for the tips Adam!
    Love the filson bag’s look – i have something of a similar look http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-billingham-307-khaki-chocolate-camera-bag/p1030840

    but it’s bloody heavy!

    I went to see the A&A today, wow, it’s tiny but i can see the appeal. Very well made bag.
    Thanks again!

    cheers

    kl

  5. How do you use a polarizing filter on a rangefinder camera?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Enrique,

      Its pretty simple. A polarizer usually works in only two directions, say north and south as an example. That is where it gives the greatest effect. Then in east and west, it is kind of dead. I look though the filter without it on the camera and figure out which way it wants to sit on the lens. The filter i use is B+W, so there is writing on the top and bottom. I keep a mental register of what part of the logo sits at 12 o’clock. Then I attach it to the lens and you are good to go.

      Just remember to spin it 90 degrees if you go from shooting landscape to portrait.

      That should square you away.

      Best-Adam

      • Try this. After putting on the polariser, activate the exposure by half depressing the shutter release, then turn the filter and check the exposure as you turn for the slowest shutter speed indicated on Aperture priority for max light cut off.

        regards.

  6. What strap do you use for your Leica?

  7. Thank Adam, happy travels!

  8. Hi Adam,
    How do you use grad filters on Leica M? :-)

    • Hi Fredrik,

      I put them in with a holder and adjust as necessary after reviewing the image. Usually you are covering about 1/2 or 1/3 of the sky, so it gets pretty easy to estimate.

      Best-Adam

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