Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Monochrom Arrived!

(sorry, but this is all I have to show this morning--shot with the Monochrom)

The Leica M Monochrom arrived.  I decided to check the tracking site for it one more time and saw that it had been shipped from Manhattan and had arrived at my hometown facility at 3:30 a.m.  It was going out for delivery.  I knew I wouldn't be home when the postman came, so I drove around the neighborhood and found the deliveryman.  He checked my i.d. and gave me the package.  I drove back home and opened the box with trepidation.  I was afraid the camera would be beaten all to hell.  It wasn't.  It was beautiful and fit my hand perfectly.  I thought never to put it down. 

I took the Summicron 35mm lens off the M7 and put it on the Monochrom.  I turned it on.  I didn't have a card in the camera, so I took one from the Sony A7. 

Things went wrong. 

I pulled the Summicron 50 mm lens out to see how it looked on the camera, but when I tried to focus, I couldn't.  The focusing knob was gone.  I searched around in the bag and found it.  The knob had three plastic rods that went into three holes in the bottom of the lens.  They were broken.  Apparently at some point, I had dropped the camera case which is just a canvas bag without padding.

I felt sick. 

I put the 35 mm back on and tried to take a picture.  Nothing worked.  I couldn't format the SD card, and after taking one picture, the camera wouldn't take another.  But it was time for the factory, so I put the camera in the case and took it to work with me. 

At work, I downloaded the camera manual and put the battery in the charger.  I read through the operating instructions and thought I'd figured everything out.  I put the battery back in the camera.  Still, I couldn't format the card.  All the same problems I had before were with me.  Still when I went to lunch, I took the camera with me.  And for awhile, it seemed to be working.  The battery was charged and the card was holding the images. 

Within fifteen minutes, I got a message that the battery was low.  I couldn't do anything with the camera. 

After lunch, I charged the battery again.  I read through the manual from start to finish (obviously I was doing little work), and early in the afternoon decided to leave so that I could get a card and a new battery for the camera.  Out at three-thirty, however, I thought about how crowded the gym would be later, so I decided I would work out first.  I would still have plenty of time to get to the camera store. 

The gym was half empty.  I was pleased.  I would be finished in an hour.  Still, I felt sick.  Had I been ripped off on this deal?  I am a paranoid, and so. . . .

After the gym, I decided I needed to shower, so I went home and got ready.  A glass of wine looked good at this point, too.  I recharged the battery.  When I put it in the camera, it read 100%.  Hmm.  I walked around the yard and took pictures for a bit, wandered up and down my street feeling how good the camera felt in my hands.  I loved it, truly.  If this one was broken, I was bound to get another.  Its lines were so good, the heft seemingly perfect, the functions and menus simple and clear cut and elegant.  You have to hold it to know.  They talk about the Leica Mystique.  You just have to hold it to know.  I've had a whole lot of cameras.  Nothing feels like this. 

After taking pictures for half an hour, the camera still said the battery was charged at 90%.  I decided to go downtown where the camera store was and take some more pictures.  It was after six now, and even if the battery problem was solved, I needed to buy some things.  At the camera store, now feeling fairly happy, I walked around to take pictures.  I got a message.  The battery was low.  I couldn't get the camera to function. 

I was sick when I walked in, really, but perhaps a new battery would fix everything up.  Leica is very, very proud.  The battery was $140.  I bought new SD cards, too, and what we found from experimenting in the store was that the camera won't take cards that store too much information.  Interesting, I thought, as I hadn't read about this anywhere.  But now, perhaps. . . .

I took the new battery home and charged it.  For hours.  Late before bed, I put it in the camera.  That is when I found that the camera battery and battery charger that was shipped with the camera were not Leica gear but an off brand from China.  Fuck me!  Fuck!

Before bed, I slipped the new genuine Leica battery in the camera.  I shot with it in the low lamp light.  I shot and looked at the images and shot some more.  The camera battery read 100%.  Perhaps I could go to sleep with some hope. 

This morning when I got up, the battery still read 100%.  I was feeling better.  Now. . . the tricky part.  I put the SD card in the reader and opened Lightroom.  I have been studying this software for a week now, and it seemed I might know what to do.  Fingers crossed.  Import.  It worked!  I switched over to the Development mode and jimmied up the images that come out so terribly gray and flat.  Boy oh boy--they popped.  I mean, man, they looked great! 

In my excitement, I bumped my coffee cup which was sitting next to the camera which had the bottom off so that I could get the SD card.  I couldn't believe it.  Of course.  I quickly grabbed a napkin and began dabbing the coffee from the camera.  Fuck me oh fuck me. 

I am waiting for it to dry.  Perhaps I should try it now. 

I did.  Everything seems to be fine (except for the coffee smell). 

And so I go forward today with great hopes.  I love the camera.  I really do.  I am not unhappy with what I have seen from it at all.  It is a specialty camera for certain.  It is a street camera for carrying all day.  It is spectacular to look at and does more than a film camera with Tri-X in it will do.  It is like that, though, like shooting with a film camera loaded with black and white film.  That is all it is.  That is what it will do. 

It is fantastic.

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