Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.
Find out more
Factory And Gallery #2 By Mark Reeves FRPS
CREDIT: Mark Reeves FRPS

Are Leica Cameras any good?  by Mark Reeves FRPS

Are Leica Cameras any good?

by Mark Reeves FRPS

This is NOT a gear review! Mark Reeves tells the tale of his recent visit to Leica Global HQ.

I don’t have a Leica and prior to my visit to Leica, I had no plans to buy one. Since 2014 I have been a very happy Fujifilm user and didn’t expect to see this changing in the near future.  So why would I go to visit Leica HQ?

The answer lies in the fact that my partner Gaynor and I recently spent several weeks Interrailing around Europe, mainly visiting towns and cities with interesting modern architecture and/or modern art galleries.  Having a Leica herself, Leica HQ was on Gaynor’s radar.

Leica HQ is located in Wetzlar in central Germany, in its own small campus called Leitz-Park (after Leica’s founder Ernst Leitz). Leitz-Park features not only the HQ offices but also the factory where all Leicas are made, a very beautiful (yet inexpensive) hotel, a restaurant, a café, a museum tracing the history of Leica cameras, two galleries featuring images by notable Leica users and, inevitably, a shop selling all current Leica models (and a considerable selection of second-hand equipment).  

All of these establishments are housed in a number of modern buildings, striking on the outsides and stylish on the insides, designed by Frankfurt architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg. As Wetzlar was not far from our route, it seemed like a place not to miss.  

Factory and gallery building © Mark Reeves FRPS

Factory and gallery building © Gaynor Davies ARPS

And what an interesting visit it was.  The hotel was a joy to stay in and right on the doorstep were plenty of photographic opportunities.  The exhibitions mainly focused on fashion and documentary – not really my thing – but the gallery interiors were stunning. 

Gallery interior © Gaynor Davies ARPS

Gallery interior © Gaynor Davies ARPS

Display of early models © Mark Reeves FRPS

The on-site shop made an interesting visit; airy, spacious, beautifully designed (of course) and staffed by friendly, helpful people.  I couldn’t help but ask the question as to why I should buy a Leica and what it would offer me that my Fuji X-T4 doesn’t.  Rather than try to persuade me of the virtues of their product, the staff member simply suggested that I could borrow one for a couple of hours to decide for myself.  

And so it was; I fetched my own SD card, handed over my passport as security and, in return, was offered any camera and lens in the shop to try out for a couple of hours. Knowing that I wanted to photograph the Leitz-Park buildings, I opted for an M11 camera with a 16-18-21mm f4 lens, together retailing for around £13,000 and off I went, out to play.  

Museum and shop © Mark Reeves FRPS

Cine lens building © Gaynor Davies ARPS

Factory and gallery building © Mark Reeves FRPS

It has to be said that Leicas are a quirky bunch of cameras.  Despite the fact that the price of a camera body and a few lenses would buy you a small flat in some parts of Britain, features that most of us expect to be found routinely on modern mirrorless cameras (such as autofocus or digital viewfinders) aren’t found on most of the models - or they can be added by means of an expensive accessory.  They trade, of course, on their reputation for excellent image quality.

So will I be buying one myself?  All I will say is that when I made a direct comparison of the same images taken with the Leica and with my Fuji, I couldn’t find a reason to change brand, even without the massive price differential!

All that said, if you are passing anywhere near Wetzlar (about 70km north of Frankfurt), I can highly recommend Leitz-Park as an excellent visit.

For more information about visiting, see 

Mark Reeves & Gaynor Davies

All images © as per their titles



Landscape Group website: Home | What we do | Events  | Join us | Competitions | Group News & Articles | Projects | Our Committee