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Mike, I'm 37 years old. A serires of events has left me with a lot of free time so I started getting back into photography after delving in it in high school. I bought a DSLR is December and have been pretty immersed in photography. The more I shot, the more I read the more I realized that using a manual settings would make me a better photographer. You're post came at a time when I was considering using an old slr more than my dslr. When I read your post that it had to be a Leica, I rolled my eyes and thought, "not again". I nevered shot with a Leica though so I went out and rented a M6 this weekend. After one day of shooting, I completely undestand why it MUST be a Leica. I've read about working toward visualizing a picture without the camera in hand but completely discarded notion that it would be something that I could do. With the Leica, I realize it's possible. With my DSLR, I got to the point that I started thinking through metering and thinking through how I wanted to expose a shot. With the Leica, I'm forced to do that but the controls are so intuitive that it's not painful. So far the experience has taught me how lame I am but it pushes me to become better.
Toggle Commented May 31, 2009 on Variations on a Theme at The Online Photographer