My Leica Story: Michael Kalb

Mar 28, 2019  By Richard Rejino

Hi everyone, while I am a new member of LHSA. I have owned a Leica M9 for use as a photo enthusiast for quite some time now. By way of background, my first 35mm camera was a Minolta X-700 that I got as a teenager. I learned all about photography with that camera as a kid – from composition all the way to development (even had my own make shift darkroom in my parents laundry room at home). 

With the advent of the digital age, my photography transitioned along with the gear. And while I transitioned from Minolta to Sony (when Sony purchased Minolta IP), I always wanted to make the leap to Leica – which I did as my career progressed allowing me to purchase the M9 shortly after it was introduced (and, yes, I have had the sensor replaced). While I still use other gear based on my needs, I love my M9, I love how it gets my creative juices going, I love the color and character of the photos.

But with all of that, I have been longing for something in my photos for some time now. And I realized that I had started to miss shooting with 35mm film. I looked through old film based photos that I had taken and recalled how much more effort went into shooting them, and how much more character they have compared to my digital photos. So, I began looking into the different Leica options at hand – the M7 (to make an easy transition given its auto exposure mode), the MA (to really go all in and get right back to the basics) or the MP (which seems to be a nice middle ground given its light meter while maintaining true mechanical design).

So, I chose the middle ground and ordered a new MP – I am eagerly awaiting its delivery in the coming days. While I am eager, I am also anxious! I have not touched a 35mm film camera in ages. From deciding what type of film to use, being more focused on lighting conditions (digital lets you cheat when it comes to lighting and composition), to figuring out the best way to get film developed efficiently, and even thinking about the idea of rebuilding another darkroom set up.

I have found comfort reading others experiences with their MPs (as well as other Leica 35mm equipment), and I am looking forward to taking the MP out of the box, attaching one of my existing M lens’ to it, opening up the box of a new roll of film (I actually miss the smell of film, if that’s not too strange) and inserting into the camera. In a strange way, the first photo I take with it will be quite emotional for me and take me back to the days as a teenager when I was running around with my X700 hanging from my neck shooting any and everything.  

All that said, I just hope upon its arrival I can immediately unpack the equipment, open the back of the camera, insert a new roll of film, and start taking beautiful photos. Based on what I have read, I seem to need to lower my expectations; understanding that I might need to readjust back to using 35mm gear. With such apprehension, its great to read all the fantastic sentiment towards the MP and I hope as I use mine I am able to find the same passion!

Michael Kalb

Richard Rejino
Richard is the Executive Director of LHSA - The International Leica Society and a part-time professional photographer. He is also a classically trained pianist, writer and published author. His book, "What Music Means to Me" is available from Hal Leonard Corporation.

1 Comment

I a new member of the LHSA. I scratched a lifelong itch to own a Leica M when I purchased my first Leica, the M10 in Nov. 2017. Since then, I purchased a 2nd M10 body and a number of Leica lenses. Since then, I have used my Leicas almost exclusively even though I own the excellent Fuji XT3 and XH1 bodies and a number of Fuji primes and zooms.

I’d like to see more posts like the one above as I find it fascinating to read about other Leica enthusiasts and how they came to the brand.

Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at or on Instagram at

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