The Leica rumour mill is running at full speed with the imminent launch of the M9 full-frame rangefinder camera.
This has led to some of my work colleagues discussing the joy of holding such a beautiful optical instrument as the Leica camera in all its forms. For many photographers it is a dream to own a Leica, however, during four years with an M5 alongside my Nikon F100, I rarely picked up the German gem preferring the rugged reliability and ease of use of the Nikon SLR.
Loading a film in the Leica is a pain, while it may have been a good system at the camera's birth, 50 years later it was anything but simple compared to dropping a roll in the Nikon and pressing the button for autowind.
Yes the rangefinder focusing system is dead accurate but so is an SLR combined with its own electronic rangefinder for manual focus. The lenses are wonderful but so are most Japanese optics whose build is based on German optical secrets exchanged during the Second World War.