In 1839 photography enabled people to capture moments in time and the world has never been the same again since. Cameras have undergone great modifications from big wooden boxes in their first 70 years to the compact and digital single-lens reflex cameras of today. While advanced functions make contemporary cameras a great tool for wide usage, some photographers remain loyal to simple classic models. Avid vintage camera collector Douglas So, who founded the award-winning art photography gallery F22 Foto Museum in Wan Chai, says he’s not the only one. “A lot of photophiles use film cameras for their special image quality,” he says. “And young people love vintage cameras for they are timeless, yet period-defining innovations.”
F22 Foto Museum opened its new shop in The Peninsula Arcade this February, featuring a series of Leica cameras in the roaringly classy set-up of the 1920s. This Art Deco period saw the prevalence of Modernism in art and architecture. More symbolically, the twenties coincided with the opening of The Peninsula, Hong Kong and the creation of the first Leica camera. Invented in 1924, Leica cameras are known for the 35-mm handheld design that popularised 35mm film photography.
Even today, Leica still stands out with style and elegance in its innovative design. Here are five special vintage pieces that will add a touch of class and personality to your camera collection.
The Leica M Monochrome “Drifter”
Designed by musician and designer Lenny Kravitz in 2019, a black-and-white photographer himself, the Drifter is Leica's first camera produced to feature a python pattern. Each individual camera is uniquely painted in sepia-brown and wrapped in a vegan python leatherette sourced from Stella McCartney. There is a limited production of 125 sets around the world, and F22 Peninsula features #1 and #8. The Drifter reflects the present day and the spirit of Kravitz, an adventurer who captures his journeys in monochrome photographs. Paired with all-purpose accessory pouches, it is perfect for wanderlusts who wish to carry a stylish camera for artsy travel photos.