How to use and not use a Leica (video)

This video seems to be making the rounds online and gave me a little laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ This guy is out and about using his Leica M6 and Noctilux but he forgot ONE THING and he can not seem to figure out why the camera is not metering correctly. Can you see what he is doing wrong?


Lesson on how NOT to use a Leica:

Here is a video I found that shows you the POV through a Leica viewfinder while street shooting…not my style but VERY interesting…

It’s funny because I recently picked up a GOPRO HD cam to mount to my M9 for the upcoming workshop in Seattle (This weekend!). I will record as I am out and about shooting with everyone so you can see how I shoot on the street. Hope you enjoyed these!


  1. I’m finding some of these posts pretty intolerant and judgemental: “he just doesn’t deserve to use it”, “should have their Leica’s confiscated”. I hope they were flippant remarks, made in haste.
    These guys are free to do what they want, even if that means being a prat on the street. You going to take his camera away for not using it like you think it should? Hey Leica brownshirts, it’s a free country.
    @ Harry Lew. You’d call HCB a street photographer? Interesting… to me, street is about people, not necessarily light and geometry..although add those to make a killer shot! ๐Ÿ™‚
    @ both (and others). Eric is intrusive, yes. Seems a bit rude, maybe, but that’s by my standards. Weegee sticks his camera in faces at murder scenes and gets acclaimed for it. If you’ve got the b*lls to do that, fine. It doesn’t sit comfortably with me, but thats his thing, so let it be.
    @ Paris. The guy is not clueless. Insensitive, maybe, but I bet he came out with a handful of keepers from that, which is not bad. How about the flying kid at 00:58, the baseball hat at 1:10, the skater at 04:22, the shadows at 07:44. His website shows he’s not clueless.
    I don’t think you could take that kind of approach to street anywhere else except parts of the USA. But, I wish everywhere was as free and relaxed as Santa Monica on a sunny day. Stay cool.

    • I agree. There is no wrong or right way of shooting, as long as you follow ethics and use common sense. Artsy snobs, bleh.

      And Eric Kim does produce good pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I found the video fascinating and I really wish I had the guts to be able to do this, sadly if I tried that in the UK where I live especially with the children I’d be locked up or beaten up in the street, probably both. People are really touchy about that kind of thing here and there is so much scaremongering about it it’s just not worth the hassle.

    This guy is obviously shooting a lot here trying to find things of interest and probably does a lot of sifting through later. You can get away with that with digital, I guess with film you’d have to be a little more discerning as you don’t have a massive memory card to play with.

    Bruce Gilden shoves both a camera AND a flash in people’s faces and lives to tell the tale.

    • no, taking a photo of someone by sticking a camera right in front of their face is RUDE- like the guy you see in the video above. Get it?

      you do that with your DLSR and see what reactions you get. i say DSLR because his set-up is practically no more stealthier than a DSLR- which is not at all.

  3. One very good reason why NOT to use lens caps, especially on RF’s.

    Anybody who uses a Leica M and say’s they’ve “never” done that is a bare faced liar too. LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. If I was to approach street photography like the guy in the second video where I’m from, I would end up swapping my gear for a few bruises after maybe two or three encounters. oh, and we don’t get tourists.

  5. Re: the second video. I admire Kim’s chutzpah, but his style strikes me as random snapshooting on the street. No search for interesting juxtapositions, no concern over light, no thought about geometry. It’s like the goal is to collect a bunch of images — the more the better — trather than take one great image that demonstrates artistry. HCB would be rolling in his grave if he saw this video. But if it makes him happy, I can think of worse ways to spend our free time.

    • Naaah,

      Since the invention of the digital camera there is so much bad and even worse street shooting around that everybody shares with everybody on Flickr and Facebook, that HCB probably gave up on roling around. Street shooting is a “artform” that wil dye out soon I hope and not only in Arizona allthough I must give my kudos to the Arizonians for not tolerating that kind of behaviour. If you must shoot street be open and kind, shoot analog and manual focus at least, and don’t walk with a camera glued to your face. HCB was always in clear view, and was pleasant about his stuf and liked to “waste”a negative or so if needed. But since street photography has been made trivial by digital camera’s anyway I wonder if HCB would have bothers these days.

      Greetings, Ed

  6. I almost like the 1st video better to be honest, the guy is discreet and QUIET

    the 2nd guy seems a little too hyped up , I understand his enthusiasm , but if someone did that to me and my kids I would ask him to delete the photos , Id say thank you afterwards of course because that appears to be his modus operandi too ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. the second video… interessenting… i really dont like how he shoots. If he would come to my daughter ( if i would have one though ๐Ÿ˜› ) with an iphone taped to his camera and says “i like your outfit!” i probably would smack him… kinda weird guy.

    • the guy shooting “street” in the second video is out of touch. indiscriminately taking photos then randomly complementing people is disingenuous–both to street photography and people. this article needs to be retitled “how NOT to use a leica”. very akward approach to street…

  8. “fugue” seems like the appropriate word to describe this guy’s issues! haha!

    on a serious note: i think you meant “figure”. good stuff!


  9. That first video is awesome.
    I watched the 2nd one a few days ago. I agree it’s not my style to just run up on people and run off like that, but I love seeing how people shoot like that.

    Are you going to post your POV videos on here Steve? I’d love to see those

  10. Hey Steve. The guy from that POV video (Eric Kim) also has a GoPro on his camera. You should take a look at his latest video on his youtube channel. Great stuff!

  11. 2 mins into the second video… show two minutes of why people object to street shooters. He manages to be passably polite to about 2 people.. it’s a shame. I would wonder wtf he was doing.. it does seem to improve. though.

      • I’ll have a look. It’s easy to see the people shot were chosen due to lack of likeliness to punch him in the face. The only men he approached were with children or easily non threatening.

        I can say with how weird people get overall in Arizona (not too many people walking) that approach doesn’t fly here. Downtown when there’s an event or maybe even just downtown, perhaps.. but outside of the heart of the city center, imo, you’d be asking for trouble in AZ with that approach.

        Unsolicited photographs of kids, no permit for conceal carry, castle doctrine = worrysome.

        Steve, what has been your street experience here?

        • Street in AZ is non existent unless, like you mentioned, there is some event or fair. Had some success with First Friday and the Light Rail but overall, non existent. Must be the heat, lol.

          • Well, at least it’s not me. Comicon and the Japanese festival in early spring are both worth a look downtown. I tried to shoot at farmer’s markets here and there but a) there’s not much happening of interest b) people looked at me like I was there to steal their children, even when I tried to engage.

  12. Ha ha ha! This guy is really serious about the use of shades! Maybe his sunglasses didn’t let him to see what he was doin’ :-p

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