Reviews

I have big clumsy hands. My fingers are large with similar dexterity to uncooked sausages on a fork. Try as I may to be careful, completing a delicate task without some kind of calamity is an alien concept to me. If I am completing a DIY task, I need lots of space and big tools. If I am working on a gardening project, I am suited to driving holes into the ground with a jackhammer rather than mincing around with secateurs. Strange then, that I have spent a lifetime using many of photography’s smaller tools, eschewing  Manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon and their behemoth product lines.

It was always my plan to build a small collection of SL primes, based around the focal lengths thatI consider most useful to me. In recent years I have preferred to keep my lens choice small, unlike around 20-30 years ago when I had a dozen or so for one system. Back then the number of lenses in my collection had grown out of trial and error as I experimented with different focal lengths and speeds. In retrospect I found it useful (if not a bit costly) to establish which angles of view I tended to operate with, as my personal taste has not really changed much since then. My core system comprised of 35, 50 and 100mm lenses, the latter occasionally being replaced with a 135, or even more occasionally a 180. It was these which saw most active use over many years, while others were used simply when I felt like a change (and to justify their existence).

My interest in 35mm lenses has remained unfettered since I first got into ‘serious’ photography more than four decades ago. I have written elsewhere of my fondness for this focal length and it’s ability to capture slightly wider angles with little in the way of distortion. It was a long time before I purchased my first 35mm, as before this I have used zooms and often composed images on or around this angle. Seeking a lighter alternative, I soon latched onto the fact that I could have a fast prime - much faster than a zoom - minus the heft. When I first discovered Leica Camera’s it was via the X1, as it had a 35mm equivalent lens built in, albeit not particularly fast. Not many years after this I was lured into purchasing the X Typ 113, thanks to its much faster 35mm prime. I still use that camera today and the results I can get from it are sublime.

At the penultimate Photography Show in Birmingham, held before the pandemic changed the way we live our lives, I had been attracted to the Tenba stand by their DNA range of shoulder bags. At the time I was looking for something very small that I could use to house my X113 (or TL with 1 additional lens), charger and spare battery as well as travel documents for city breaks. Its purpose was nothing more than this, and meant I could keep weight to a minimum as there was no room for ‘accessory creep’. The DNA 8 was my choice but I loved the style and quality of Tenba’s other products.

I stumbled upon Eddycam just a couple of months ago, driven by a web browsing session, the cause of which was some surplus cash burning a hole in my pocket. Since the purchase of my blue skinned CL I had looked on and off for a similar coloured strap, but without success. Quite why Leica didn’t produce matching straps for their awesome range of different coloured leathers beats me.

These words come very late to the party as far as the Leica CL’s lifespan is concerned. After all, it was released in November 2017, almost four years ago at the time of writing. There is certainly not much I can add to the many reviews and tests that are available on the web, so it would be very easy to let this slide into obscurity. But I am of the opinion that if you take information from the internet, you should contribute something back, however small.

ONA are a brand I have been aware of for years and often admired the luxurious finish of their products. But for some reason (probably cost related) I had never considered adding one to my ever expanding collection of camera bags for every occasion. Things changed recently when I received a Leica CL with custom deep blue leather finish, for a birthday present. This is a seriously beautiful camera that begged to be showcased in something equally individual. The original plan was to get a ubiquitous semi-hard case, something I tend to purchase with every new camera. But the CL was too nicely finished to be covered by something as functional as this. It was at this point I considered a small bag that was also suitable to be used as a permanent camera case.