Saturday, 9 August 2008

Way to go Ricoh!


Here's proof that you don't need a high end Leica before you get the urge to start pimping. Steve Lewis gave his 1960 Ricoh 500 the Cameraleather treatment and the result speaks for itself.

With its original covering in place, the Ricoh is a fairly nondescript little camera but the addition of some imitation crocodile skin transforms it into a wee stunner - the Kylie Minogue of cameras.

Steve has since off-loaded the camera on Ebay but obviously liked it enough to keep a pic handy which he kindly sent to me.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Thumbs Up for Luigi's cases!


I was out today looking to replace my aged Mazda MX5 (Miata) with something that has a roof. The MX5 is OK but I always felt it was let down by the quality of the leather seats which look as if the tanned surface has just been painted onto the underlying leather. Pretty cheap. In a local car dealership I spotted an old Alfa Romeo GTV that had an absolutely beautiful red leather interior. It was in a different league to the Mazda's. What is it about Italians and leather?

There's a point to this apparently meandering post, though, and it's the quality of the leather products produced by Luigi Crescenzi in his Roman workshop. If you've never seen Luigi's website, you can find it here. So much of the stuff that fills our lives seems to have been made by robot that it's great to find such products being hand-produced for what must be a very limited niche market. A quick disclaimer is necessary here: I've never handled any of Luigi's cases or straps but they certainly look fantastic.

Tim Isaac thought so as well and that's why he teamed a beautiful Luigi half case with his Leica M8. This is my kind of pimping! The back of the case hinges open for a quick bit of chimping, a nice touch that also helps to discourage LOCD (LCD obsessive compulsive disorder). Note the further bit of customising - a Thumbs Up attachment. Leicaphiles, for some of whom the wonderfully engineered throw of the rangefinder wind on lever is a replacement for sex - at least of the autoerotic variety, occasionally find that they've nowhere to put their right thumb on the M8. The Thumbs Up slots securely into the hot shoe mount and can be used on several other Leica models as well. It provides photographers with a comforting resting place for their opposable digit- the same kind of role a dummy or pacifier fulfils for babies.

Tim says, "The Luigi case is a fabulous and useful addition to my M8. The Thumbs Up provides a perfect balance for composing and handling the M8." Kinda like Jeffery in my first post, Tim's pseudo-pimped his M8 with the addition of a Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide Heliar lens and 21mm viewfinder (which closely matches the M8's cropped view with the 15mm). It's all good, clean fun!

Friday, 1 August 2008

What a hand job!


I spotted this nice OM1 on Ebay and thought someone had given it the treatment. It turns out, however, that the seller, Ishmael, cut his own leather by hand as a replacement - and a very nice job he made of it.

Ishmael said he he used leather off-cuts and the result, whilst "not perfect", was much better than the shrinking leatherette that was on the camera. Ishmael said, "It was just luck that I had leather of the correct shade that fits the case and the amber coating on the lens.

"I find it satisfying to bring something back to a high quality with my own hands. I'd be happy to share any tips I've learned if you get any requests for how to do this. I've learned some things having done several now."

The new covering is certainly a good match for the case and the result is a classically pimped Olympus. Just before you go, take a look at the OM1. Has there ever been a better SLR camera design? I'm going to return to this subject at some point as I think 35mm SLRs reached their zenith - and I'm not talking about "features" here - with the OM1. With just one or two exceptions, it was downhill all the way after that!