What makes Leica MP so special?

Recently I got a new Leica MP. In fact, I already owned Leica M7, I decided to add Leica MP. Whatever it is you can do with Leica MP, you can also do it with Leica M7 yet a lot of people spoke so highly of Leica MP. So got so curious about it. The cure for this kind of curiosity is to use it firsthand.

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I ordered it in Dec 2018. But it took almost four months as I just got it last week. In the Leica MP box, the date was set as March 8th, 2019. I guess they didn’t really have them in stock after all.

To be honest with you, it’s very beautiful. I kind of like MP design the better. (Not that I don’t like Leica M7 design, it’s just MP is far better.)

Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film

Unlike Leica M7, you have to operate everything in fully manual mode. Set shutter speed and aperture by reading exposure meter, then focus before shooting. I wondered if I can take fast enough shots like Leica M7 which supports A(Aperture Priority) mode. After several shots, I got used to MP’s settings, so I was able to adjust exposure quickly by clicking the aperture ring as opposed to the shutter dial. This way, I was able to take photos quickly enough to take so-called decisive moments.

Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film

Leica MP experience is quite different from Leica M7 one. With Leica M7, I didn’t have to think about shutter speed or exposure compensating. So I focused on shooting my preferred subject. Now with Leica MP, I instantly calculate the appropriate aperture and shutter speed to make a proper exposure. When I see “o” sign which means, right exposure out of my brain metering, I am thrilled as if I nailed a perfect moment. This adds additional join of photo shooting.

Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film
Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film

One week of using Leica MP made me realize that there is nothing special about Leica MP. At the same time, everything about Leica MP is very special because it forces me to use my brain to come up with good photos as opposed to me relying on electronic calculations. Now I am more conscious about light in a relationship with shutter speed and aperture value.

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Leica MP, Summarit-M 1:2.5/75 | Kodak Portra 400 film