I'm no stranger to Leica and rangefinder focusing but I admit, I have never traveled with a rangefinder as my sole camera. So it was a little bit of a jump off a cliff, taking the Leica M262 to Japan as my only camera for two weeks. The Leica M262 has the advantage of being a bit lighter than it's sibling the Leica M240, but lacks the ability to use live view, among other things. But that's what I was looking for; getting back to the basics of photography, trying to regenerate the feeling I had when I was a kid shooting my old Canon AE1. One could ask, why not just shoot the AE1 then, of course, but the answer is that I've spent enough time with film and all of it's wickedness. I am very thankful to have shot film for many years because I now am extremely grateful for living in the age of digital cameras. I wanted something of a nostalgic experience with a more manual, less feature heavy camera, but still with the advantages of a digital camera. I knew if I had live view or an EVF, I would fall back into using it as a crutch very quickly. The M262 seemed to split the difference.
The experience overall was good. It was fun. It was also a pain in the neck, literally and figuratively. The equipment is heavy, or relatively so after using smaller mirrorless bodies for many years. Focusing was slow at first but you quickly build up speed. Many shots lost due to me forgetting that the exposure meter is center-weighted only. It slowly became habit to focus and meter at the same time, then quickly recompose the shot. After some practice, things started to fall into place. Yes, you have to take the metal plate off the bottom of the camera to change the battery because it is reminiscent of...well actually there is no good reason for this but Leica is stubborn about it for some reason. In the end it's just something you get used to. Battery life is fantastic, going well into 1-2 days before I'd need to change batteries. Over and over again, I'd forget to go into the menu to change the lens data setting when I would change lenses. Terribly annoying.
The images that come out of the camera however are nothing less than amazing. The colors are brilliant and there is very little processing needed. Black and white conversions have such rich midtones that is typical of Leica images. Blacks are inky and whites are white. There is something different about the files that jumps off the screen. I hesitate to be more descriptive as to not be accused of hyperbole, but the images are just very particular and this is represented all the way to printed images. They stand out.
In the end, it was a little bit of a frustrating experience, but the results were worth the work.