..otherwise known as "My priceless little Red Dot".
Once in a while you can spoil yourself rotten. Today, I received a letter bearing a Milton Keynes postmark on it, and yes, for those 'in the know', its where the headquarters of Leica UK is located. You see, a few weeks back, I picked up my 50mm Summicron lens from inside my camera bag and ..eh..I did not recognise this piece of lens, it was like a familiar friend had suddenly become unfamiliar, and for the life me, I just cannot see what has changed but change there was.
I couldn't put my finger on it! Literally speaking! Got it!
The little raised plastic red dot on the lens barrel was missing! Shock horrors! Its a Summicron first and a Leica M lens second, or was it the other way round. How can this be. The Red Dot is a signature piece, just like the flying lady in front of Rolls Royces, or the Three Pointed Star in a Merc. Its the the little halved lime you squeeze into a bowl of Sarawkian Laksa. Its the icing on the cake..ok enough, you get what I mean. Without it would mean, utter shame and a let down. A Leica lens would merely be 'another' branded lens.
I searched every crevice and fold deep in my bags, tipped everything out, (found other things unmentionable though) and basically had a clear out but nada. No little red dot. I was depressed for days. My lens was naked like a turtle without its shell.
Then I read in some online forum that if I wrote nicely to Leica AG, they would gladly send me a little red dot replacement. I took the chance of shooting an email off from their website a two days ago, telling them how much I missed my dot. promptly forgetting the whole episode once the send button struck. How silly I told myself. Grow up. A lens is a lens with or without the red dot.
Now those of you that use M or R lenses would understand. Its just not the about the plastic raised dot. Its about execution and finesse. Ah..these German designers long ago were clever engineers. You see, there is a purpose to the little plastic hump on the barrel, as any one who has changed lenses in near darkness or in candle light would testify. Leica's Ms are known for their compact dimensions, solid build, quiet stealth shutters with no mirror slap, and its brilliant fast lenses. All Leica lenses are designed to be shot wide open, as wide as F1.0 with maximum resolution and little flare.
. (Before any Canon user would jump in now, yes, Canon EF lenses also have a tiny red dots on their lenses, but somehow, I never noticed it, maybe because its smaller, and the barrels are larger, and I have a zoom lens so I hardly change lenses. I can't vouch for Nikon and other makes, contributions please?)
Today, my red dot arrived and my lens is happy, and so am I.
On the Leica M, all it takes is a one handed, slight (1 cm perhaps, 1/16th ) turn to secure the lens, unlike most makes which make take a 1/4 turn). In fast changing low light situations, this can be a God send in camera handling. Most cameras would require a separate finger to depress the release button and another hand to twist off, and a third hand to hold the camera body steady. I don't have three hands. With my left hand holding the body, my right hand thumb can depress the release button whilst grabbing and twisting the lens off in one swift action. Its really quick.