The Leica O is a modern reissue of Leica’s second prototype camera. It is a precisely machined instrument and you’d expect nothing less from Leica. It’s a nice little hunk of nostalgic metal and optics that take you back to a bygone era.
This is absolutely one camera you cannot operate unless you read the user manual. There’s a trick to everything, from loading the film to taking the picture. Setting the shutter speed and aperture should not be attempted by the weak hearted. The forgetful will soon discover all their pictures ruined because they failed to put the stopper in the lens before advancing the film.
Fun? This camera dishes it out in barrelfuls. After you’ve flubbed a few pictures, you start to get into the spirit of the instrument and the time and while you’re at it, you realize you can take a beautiful photograph without all the fancy auto focus and whirligigs now so de rigueur.
If you’ve known only the realm of the digital camera, you will be hopelessly lost with this instrument, and more so if you suck at estimating distance. But if you know the relationship between f-stops and shutter speed and you can guesstimate the length of a meter, then you hold in your hands an instrument capable of remarkable imagery. The only thing missing is a suitable subject upon which to focus its lens.
Most remarkable of all is the realization that the distant cousin to this camera sparked a photographic revolution. You hold history in the palm of your hand.