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A Leica by Any Other Name
Busy, busy week—I set up DIFFA Dining by Design table last Wednesday and Thursday; cocktail party for DIFFA Thursday night, featuring Laphroig single-malt scotch; recovered from cocktail party, which took all of Friday during which I managed to lose my camera and cell phone; client move on Monday and Tuesday combined with load-out for DIFFA; and I begin moving into my new space today.
Much of the week was a blur, but for the disconcerting loss of my trusty Canon G-9 digital camera, which had been by my side, literally, through two years of blogging. I considered buying another Canon, maybe the G-11, which supplanted the G-9, or even an Eos, for the interchangeable lenses. But there was another, less expensive solution. Tucked away in my closet, still in its original box, was a Leica D-Lux 3 digital camera, courtesy of my father’s estate.
The D-Lux 3, for those who don’t know, which included me, is actually made in Japan, and is essentially a tweaked version of a Panasonic camera. Still, the retro body, the lens, and the red dot all spell Leica. My father, a talented amateur photo enthusiast, had a succession of Leica cameras stretching back to my childhood. As his prized possessions, and primary artistic tools, they acquired an almost magical aura—look, don’t touch—burnished by the countless hours he spent reading manuals and practicing.
The D-Lux 3 is but the last in the lineage, and channels the regal awe of its ancestors. The box sat unopened, fraught with techno-fears and Oedipal perils. Could I master the arcane mechanics? Was I even worthy? What if I outdid my father? Pushing all this aside, I charged the battery and brought the camera to the AD Home Show at Pier 94. I was on my own—the manual, though in English, was largely incomprehensible. My hands trembled as I watched photo ops pass by. Then it came to me: Use the force. Taking a deep breath, I raised the camera, aimed, and pushed home the shutter. Voila! A digital photo.
Sure, the D-Lux 3 is meant to use in manual modes, and I have much to learn about the buttons and functions, but it is basically a point and shoot camera. Walking around the show, I pointed and shot. Shown here are some of the results. Not bad. Better than my vaunted and lamented Canon, with tighter focus and more natural color. Plus, the 16:9 aspect ratio is going to be fun to use. I can get used to this.
The king is dead. Long live the king.