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Leica M: Advanced Photo School (Lark Photography Book (Hardcover)) [Hardcover]

Gunter Osterloh
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2005 Lark Photography Book
The ultimate Leica guide--from Leica's top technical expert--now completely revised and updated.
Leicas inspire more passion than any other camera, and the Leica M is the company's crowning achievement. That's why second-hand copies of the first edition of this popular cult camera book cost a fortune. Long-awaited, the new version is thoroughly updated by the man who wrote the original: Leica's former top technical expert, Gunter Osterloh. This reader-friendly course contains a goldmine of technical information, as well as a treasure trove of insider knowledge about the equipment. Leica's famed lenses alone receive almost 100 pages of coverage, and there are schematic diagrams, a discussion of optical principles, plenty of advice on how to shoot memorable pictures, and much more. Of course, every Leica M model from the M1 through today's Leica M7 camera is included, with explanations of metering, focusing, film advance, and flash systems, plus technical guidance on everything from existing-light photography to working in extreme climates. Professional and serious amateur photographers will snap up this unmatched guide, as will retailers, bookstores, collectors, and anyone else interested in fine cameras.
As a result of his long-time association with the company, Gunter Osterloh has witnessed every milestone in the development of Leica cameras. He served as Leica's leading technical expert for decades, and now is the technical editor of Leica Photography International and Leica World magazines, as well as an instructor at the Leica Academy.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lark Books,U.S.; 2nd Revised edition edition (6 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579906370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579906375
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 18.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,110,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Leica M book... 1 Sep 2005
By Lu
I am actually very pleased with this book, full of useful info on Leica M cameras, lenses, accessories, and even shooting techniques.
Much much better than many other books on the subject, which I have bought in the past and always sold after one reading...
I have already read this one twice...
Good value for money, and I would definetevely recommend it if you are looking for an actual good book on the M system.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide to M System 23 July 2006
This is a book full of information aimed at the M system user. Having bought the book I would not be without it as I am constantly referring to it for information on one subject or another. a valuable useful book for leica M users.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leica M: Advanced Photo School 17 Jun 2008
By M. Hunt
Very helpful book explaining the principles and practicalities of rangefinder photography and accompanying M lenses. Beautifully illustrated. Although it all relates to film cameras I have found most of it applicable to the M8, but it would be great if the author could write a new edition including the M8. I have gone back to it as a reference book over and over again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative book on Leica M, but certainly also very interesting to non Leica owners. 7 Aug 2005
By GPK - Published on
I do not own, nor have I owned any Leica M camera. Nor am I planning to buy one. So probably I am not in the 'target group' for this book. I bought this book out of interest in photography in general, and in particular to learn more about technical aspects of (rangefinder) photography. For this purpose, it is a good book.

The book has about 350 pages, roughly divided as follows:
- 50 pages on photography techniques in general, not related to Leica.
- 200 pages on Leica M camera bodies
- 100 pages on Leica M lenses

Although the majority of the book is clearly dedicated to Leica equipment, also these Leica specific chapters are interesting for non-Leica owners, since the entire book is filled with discussions on how one can best photograph certain situations, what the effect is of chosing a certain lens/aperture/shutter speed etc. Also, throughout the entire book many photographs (both color and B/W) are shown that illustrate the text and these photographs not only show what the author means, they are also proof of the quality of Leica equipment: the photo's are in general of very high quality, both technically, but also artistically (i.e. with carefully chosen cropping, lighting, perspective, etc.). It makes you very appreciative of the quality of so-called 'old' equipment!

For me, the added value of the book is that it helps you building up a thorough understanding of photographic techniques, and to understand the technical aspects in depth. This is not a book for the casual snap shot photographer, who does not want to know how things work. It is for the seriously interested amature and for people with an interest in science/engineering of optical equipment. And of course for the real 'Leica fetishist'.

Other things I can mention about this book:
- the table of contents spans 6 pages and is not so clear and concise; the index however is ok.
- there is also quite some text dedicated to history of the very old Leica bodies; I find this personally not so interesting.
- not a single word is mentioned about digital.
- the physical quality of the book (binding, paper quality, layout) is very good.

Bottom line:
The book is clearly written by a knowledgeable author, and everything is well presented so reading the book is a joy. I think I will read parts of this book over and over again. Many of the techniques described are timeless: in 20 years from now they will still apply, no matter how 'automatic' and 'digital' cameras will become. Although I have read quite some books on the topic, and have a technical background myself, I learned many new things by reading this book. It is worth its price. I can recommend it very much.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missd the first Osterloh book? Get this edition! 20 May 2005
By Albert G. Smith Jr. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Four and a half stars... sorry but there is no way to click on the half star.

Given the fairly narrow scope of the Leica camera system when compared to say Nikon or Canon, I am guessing that if you are reading this, you know what you are looking for in an instructional book on the M series camera and lenses. You might also know about the previous Osterloh book on this very topic, which long out of print has developed a cult status among Leica users on the web. Those of us that have the first book love it, but it is known to have a deadly flaw in the binding, which allows the pages detach readily. My copy has very few pages that are still connected to the cover making reading (as a book) very hard to do. Reading it now means a large spread of loose pages covering the kitchen table.

When this new edition was announced, I pre-ordered it hoping that it was at least half as good as the first book. I need not have worried. It is a fine replication (often word-for-word) for those that never were able to find the first book, as well as a good replacement for those of us that wish to have more robust binding on what would surely be a very frequently referenced book.

In short, this is THE book for the Leica M shooter, and a book that is second to none where technique is concerned. Osterloh is not a company "yes man"; but a person that has actually used the Leica M, knowing it strengths as well as its weaknesses. Unlike some books, this one tells you if a certain lens requires stopping down to get good, or when it might be better go to an SLR. One technique taught (and carried over from the first book to this one) for shooting with a 35mm lens without viewing, and still being able to visualize what will be caught on film, was worth the price of my first book since it has rewarded me with hundreds of fine Leica-style candids since I read it in the 1980s. This is a book for Leica users, not collectors. This book will make you more effective as a photographer with the M camera.

There is one weakness that cost my review that half of a star. I would say that Osterloh should have reprinted the reviews and information from the first book on the lenses that have been superseded since that edition. He had a comprehensive list of the then current lenses in his first book, and the same for the second book. Those lenses that have been replaced with more modern designs (21mm Elmarit, 28mm Elmarit, 35mm Summicron, 90mm Tele-Elmarit, 135mm Tele-Elmarit) have been dropped from the lens chapter in the new book. Since the bodies section goes back to the 1950s M3, keeping some 1980s lenses in the book would have been more inclusive. It would have been easy to do since that text already existed in the first book. Leica users are famous for using old gear, so the addition of these older lenses in the new edition would have made this fine book even more complete.

The bottom line, after spending thousands of Dollars on the hardware of a Leica M system, this book at under 30 Dollars (discounted) will make that gear investment even more productive for those that really want to be photographers rather than snobbish "camera-as-jewelry" wearing posers.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you're only thinking about buying a Leica..... 16 May 2005
By Ricardo - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Osterloh really knows his Leicas and it shows in this book. Not only does he know them, he also knows how to use them.

Unlike some others "how to" books, this one contains good, up-to-date photos that illustrate the points the author is trying to make.

In addition to covering the technical aspects of the Leica M system, the author goes into the practical aspects of using it.

Although a former Leica employee, Osterloh is not a shill for the company. He's not afraid to give honest opinions and, when an M isn't the best camera for a given situation, he'll say so.

I only bought into the M system a little over a year ago so I'm far from an authority. However, even with 30 years photographic experience under my belt, I learned a few things from this book.

Highly recommended for anyone owning a Leica M, thinking about buying one or just plain interested in good photography.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars New Edition coming out June 2011 18 Dec 2010
By D. Louie - Published on
Do not buy this for $200 and more when the new edition is coming out June 2011 @$39 hardbound by the original publisher Lark Publications after 6 years of update wait.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait 7 Jun 2007
By G. G. PAPPAS - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had to wait for some time before this book came. It was backordered and Amazon asked me if I still wanted it after a long period of time. I am extremely happy with the book.

I have some formal training in photography and still this book taught me a great deal. I still open it up after having it for a while. The format of the book makes sense, cameras, lenses, and so on, though the author only reviews the current model lenses and they're pretty much praise across the board. I bought a Leica M6 after I had this book for a month or so and have come to realize that most of what he writes is true. Leica systems are fantastic.

Outside of the standard equipment, body, lens, filters & gadgets, Osterloh also dedicated chapters to photography techiniques, use of light and so on. There are photo examples of differences which I found very helpful. One comment though, being from the USA, is that the film designations are different than what can be found in Germany. I switched from digital to film for this camera and while trying to compare different forms of film I wasn't able to use much of what was in this book. Nonetheless, it's definitely worth the money. Buy it. You won't be disappointed.
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