Editorial Leica

The Timeless Beauty of Leica: Why You Should Stop Adding Stuff to Your Leica Camera

Leica cameras are beautifully designed and crafted. So, why do some see the need to add to that beauty?

LEICA. The brand is as iconic today as it was a century ago. There is probably no camera that is more beautifully designed than a Leica camera. Its design, proportions and shape instantly identify it as an expensive and well-constructed piece of photographic equipment. It stands out from other cameras. The presence of the red dot (or even the absence of it) and the signature on the top plate tell anyone at a glance that this object is a work of art. It’s an object of desire. Plus, it takes great photographs.

Then, I see someone who has added a third-party handgrip to their Leica camera. Or, a flat-top button has been screwed onto the shutter release on top. I see shoulder straps and hand straps and other thingamajigs attached to that beautiful work of art, and I cringe.

When you dish out tens of thousands of dollars for a Leica camera, hopefully you realize you are purposefully overpaying for a camera. There are other cameras out there that are comparable — no, even better — than a Leica as far as a photographic equipment is concerned. Hopefully, you are not under the mistaken impression that you are overpaying by thousands of dollars because you are getting the best camera there is. You are not. You are, however, getting an unmistakable work of art. But then you add a handgrip, shutter release add-on, or shoulder strap to mar that beauty.

Do you know why the Leica designer did not add a handgrip to a particular model? It does not need one. For years, photographers, from amateurs to pros, have been shooting cameras with no handgrip, and they have never felt the need to have one, thank you very much.

Do you add a flat-top shutter release button because it’s more comfortable to press the shutter release button that way? I doubt it. Admit it: It’s because you think it makes your Leica stand out from the other Leica cameras. You just wanted other Leica owners to rush to you and ohs and ahs and ask where you obtained such a cute button. Do you really believe that a flat-top shutter release add-on will make a camera so carefully and perfectly designed in proportions to stand out more? Never! It’s like adding lipstick to the Mona Lisa painting.

I know, you are going to tell me that even Leica itself is now selling a “Soft Release Button” that “improves comfort when taking photographs.” But they don’t quite believe that reason themselves because they quickly add, “Additionally, these buttons can be worn as pins on jackets or as a cuff link turning it into a fashion accessory both for your camera and clothing.” Get it? Leica is subtly and politely asking you to please take that cute button off its camera and instead pin it to your jacket. You have to read between the lines here.

If I were Leica, I would not sell such add-ons to the cameras. I would also make every purchaser of a Leica camera sign a form that they will not add anything to the camera to besmirch the timeless beauty of the design.

A Leica camera is beautiful. Let the world enjoy that beauty as is.

Editor’s note: As most of you would have already guessed, this is a tongue-in-cheek article. Some of you have a genuine need for a hand grip or a soft release, so, by all means, use one. I did not mean for you to take the article seriously. Or, did I?