Are you willing to give up AF for a Leica M10?

My answer to this question is enthusiastically “YES”. Of course, I like the automatic focus feature. However, with the Leica M10 manual focus, unique characteristics of RF camera gave me abundant insights for my work.

With this being said, yes I like to shoot with a manual focus system. However, oftentimes I came across people who annoy me by saying “Why do you want to stick to an uncomfortable system like Leica M while modern camera offers precious AF therefore, you wouldn’t miss a shot.” Or “You can’t focus on composition because you have to manually focus whereas with an AF camera you can just point and composite your frame, then shoot.”

I get it, enough said.  Of course, I do understand their point of view. But when you get used to the Leica M system, especially with my Leica M10, I rarely miss a moment due to the fact that I have to manually focus.

Leica M10, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 asph
Leica M10, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 asph

This monk suddenly stopped in front of me and started talking to a total stranger(I assume) however, I didn’t miss this shot because I HAD TO MANUALLY FOCUS! One might say, “If it’s zone focusing, of course, you can shoot without focusing within a certain range.” However, with low light conditions such as street at night, you should use a small aperture which means, zone focusing is not an option.

I don’t mean to brag my focusing skill nor recommend anyone to use the manual focus system to be better at photography but I simply want to say that there is no limit with a manual system as opposed to an AF system.

Leica M10, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 asph
Leica M10, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 asph

Just like the manual transmission car, your body remembers when you need to focus once you get used to it. In fact, I don’t need to rely on the AF feature anymore. This is a huge benefit where AF feature doesn’t work such as extremely low light conditions or complex subjects such as multilayered grass with lots of similar flowers in it.

However, this is not the reason I use Leica M10. When I know that the camera won’t do anything automatically, I start reading light and begin to develop better imagination. I start imagining the result of the photo I am going to take in print. This led me to take fewer shots with better results.

The King's Palace in South Korea. - Leica M10, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 asph
The King’s Palace in South Korea. – Leica M10, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 asph

What’s your favorite camera? If you didn’t find the right partner (gear) for you, don’t limit yourself to AF systems only. Whether it’s RF or SLR or AF or MF systems, if it provides you with good inspirations, stick to it!

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