Leica Motor M: Add a little automatic frippery to your M6, MP or M7
Do I need a motor drive for my film Leicas? Answer: No. Is it fun to have a motor drive? Answer: Yes. Would I pay £740, including VAT, for Leica’s Motor Drive M? Definitely not. But at the knock-down price of £190 this drive is worth picking up. I found mine at Aperture, a cult-store for Leica fans in Rathbone Place, London. This little shop, nestling between the one-time tech Mecca of Tottenham Court Road and the bustle of Oxford Street, is a haven of peace and a happy hunting ground for Leica fans. They even do film processing on the premises. What's more, next door you can get a wicked flat white.
Introduced in 2000, the latest Motor M drive is reputed to be much better than previous models and it works well with both my MP and M7. While it does add height to the camera, it includes a well-designed handgrip that actually improves handling of any film Leica.
I am by no means a film fanatic, although the number of fans of analogue cameras appear to be growing every month.
For most of my photographic life I was shooting film and I certainly do not look back to the old days through rose-tinted glass. I much prefer today’s instant gratification of digital, not least because I can perform post processing much more easily and efficiently than in the old days of darkroom lurking.
In fact, I cannot now justify self processing and I always have the week or so’s wait between finishing a roll and seeing the results. Some film aficionados, including Eric Kim (who recently sent in 164 rolls for processing, believe it is a cathartic experience to review your photogrpahy after a decent interval. I remain unconvinced.
So by no stretch of the imagination do I need a motor drive for either of my modern film Leicas. But it’s fun. For someone now used to digital (and all digital cameras have a built in “motor drive”) it can come as a shock to have to cock the shutter after every shot. Admittedly, it again soon becomes second nature and it is definitely no penance. But the motor drive does it for you and it’s a nice thing to own.
The £190 I paid for my mind-condition drive is about par for the course. Aperture had two, the one I chose and an identical item at £250. I couldn’t see any difference in condition so the cheaper one was definitely the best choice.
Something new to play with.
Used Leica Motor M drive supplied by Aperture
Used Leica MP (2004) and new 50mm Summilux-M (2014) supplied by Red Dot Cameras