How to use a Leica M Camera with Craig Semetko (Video)

How to use a Leica M Camera


Check out this video from the wonderful Craig Semetko on using a Leica M Rangefinder Camera. He makes some great points and shares WHY it is a special thing, shooting with a rangefinder camera. I love my Sony A7II and S but the M is a totally different way of shooting. The video is less than 4 minutes and is well worth the watch, especially if you are not so sure how an RF works.

Craig Semetko: How to use a Leica M Camera from Leica Camera on Vimeo.


  1. At first I thought this was a gag like Brad Husik with the big red dot. Then, to my horror, I realized it was serious. The comments about street photography apply equally well to many compact, unobtrusive, quality cameras out there like the RX-1, the XPro-1, X-100T and even the Canon G16. The video intro “is well worth the watch especially if you don’t know how a range finder works”. Really? You get insights like “you can see outside the rangefinder frame line” or you focus by putting “the focusing patch on the subject and turning the focus ring”. Wow! Who would have thought it? Maybe that’s why they call it a focusing patch. All this to show some one who spent 5 grand how to use his expensive toy. Come on guys – less Leica fluff and more great pictures by folks who spend a lot less money on gear and have a great eye.

  2. He made good quality view through the viewfinder. I wonder how does the 90mm apo-summicron look like, the process of getting good focus?

  3. Call me an old fogey but I don’t think I would shell out 6 grand for a camera and then have to take a short course to learn how to operate it. Give me a break. I learned how to operate my Mamiya Sekor 1000 TL in about a week nearly 50 years ago. A pro photographer friend of my Dad let me play with a 2 stroke M3 for a weekend and I put 3-4 rolls of slide film through it. Believe it or not, I had a lot of keepers even without a built in light meter via the f 16 rule. If anyone really needs help operating a camera try reading the instruction book!

    • Ahh, the Sekor 1000 TL, a camera I was very interested in (and in a Kowa, does anyone remember that slr?) a long time ago, when I had a Zenit. I got a Yashica TL Electro. M42 thread you know. But you’re right. Once you’ve learned the basics (in this digital age, many don’t) don’t make it more complicated.

  4. Go to Semetko’s web site and you will REALLY see how to use the camera. His photos are very good, unusual, and often funny. Results speak.

  5. I didn’t find this video to be very entertaining, or useful, to be honest. Its message seems a bit disjointed. To me, it’s more akin to a three minute ad than anything else.

  6. I love my Leica M. Great for stills. But also great for video. You can some examples on my sites:

  7. This video only presents only a somewhat limited perspective of shooting with a rangefinder (I’ve been using Leica rangefinders for 25 years). The benefit of being able to see outside the frame lines only applies to 50 and 75mm lenses. 90mm and longer presents you with a postage stamp size view of the world. 35mm is a stretch, being too wide to see outside the frame, if you wear glasses. And 28mm and wider is impossible for all. In fact, wider than 24mm and you need to use an external finder which means swapping back and forth between the rangefinder and viewfinder to focus/compose. You could use the LCD (assuming you’re using an M240) but the lag makes it impossible to capture the “decisive moment”. Also, a rangefinder is not the only way to shoot stopped down, seeing all that is in focus. You can achieve the same with a mirrorless camera, using Leica glass, if you like. SLR’s are not the only alternative to a rangefinder.

  8. Hey Steve: did I understand that you are putting the finishing touches on a 16-35FE review. Waiting for your take before I jump in. Muchos Gracias! 🙂

  9. And learn to keep both eyes open so that you already know what is going to come into view….

  10. Nice video — but everything he says is true of ANY rangefinder camera, not just a Leica M.

    Of course, if you want to shoot digitally, you unfortunately no longer have any other choices (unless you want to track down an Epson R-D1 and live with people razzing you about their phones having more megapixels than your camera.) But film shooters have a lot of other options.

  11. Great analysis Craig … I have enjoyed my M8 and now M9 for the past 4 – 5 years immensely … changed my view of photography ….

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