Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

M8 with Luigi Crescenzi case

At GDC, Ian Bogost and I were geeking out about the Leica M8. He showed me his M8 and the amazing leather case he had for it. Later I asked him to refer me to his source. There is a guy named Luigi Crescenzi in Italy that makes them. You email Luigi via the somewhat crazy looking website. He took my order immediately and I got it a few days later. I've been sporting it for a few days now and I'm in otaku bliss. The case is really great and has that special handmade loving workmanship thing that really gets me going. It reminds me a bit of some scene from Pattern Recognition.

Following Ian's example, I've started reading and posting to the Leica forums, the mother-lode of Leica otaku madness.

I sort of knew this, but it's clear now. Leicaism isn't really about wanting a "better" camera. It's an excessive obsessive syndrome.


As far as obsessions go I'd rather see people get into this one instead of another MMORPG. At least photography is a bit healthier and you actually have something for your work at the end of the day!

This is the Luigi case I have, referenced above. It does indeed give the kit a special aura and feel. It also hides the LCD (there's a flip-down cover) which not only protects it but also gives the impression that the camera might be 50 years old.

I was at Ruby Falls this week with the family, and while we were waiting for our tour another fellow asked if we wanted him to take our picture. He asked how old the camera was, and sort of freaked out when I showed him the secret. I let him take the picture but the rangefinder concept was too much for him and it was basically a picture of half my family, lol.


There is something extraordinarily irrational about the way one feels about a Leica. I have all kinds of cameras, most of them old, and was a Leica sceptic until I bought a used M6 a few years ago. I just thought cameras were tools and camera fetishes were stupid. But now I love it and use it all the time even though I still can't really explain the appeal in a coherent way. It makes fabulous pictures and is just a joy to use.

The only think I don't like about it is that it's appeal extends to people who would happily grab it if I were to set it down for a moment in a public place! I'm used to traveling with old beaters that I would happily leave in a hotel room during a day of work. Obviously can't do that with one of these gems.

I gave up digital photography three years ago to return to the darkroom - it's just more "zen" for me. After a day's work on the computer, the "digital light room" just doesn't have the contemplative appeal of the darkroom. I guess I'll stick to the M6 for as long as I can keep buying Tri-x. :)

Oh Jason, how little you know about Leica otaku, they are far more obsessive than almost any other collectors. My old camera dealer in my hometown was a famous Leica collector, the owner retired and his collection was auctioned for millions of dollars. Now the son runs a Leica scientific instrument dealership. Ooh you ought to see some of their products, like the RC30 Aerial Camera system:

For years, I have lusted for a Leica stereogrammetry system like I used in the early 1980s back at the USGS. But alas, these fine instruments have been discontinued in favor of digital imaging. And I don't really have any use for a $10,000 stereoscopic imaging system. But I still want one.

Anyway, this is one of the reasons I gave up photography. Photographers tend to be the worst technology geeks. Many of them get so obsessed with photography equipment, they forget to take photographs.

Jason D: Taking screenshots doesn't count?

Joi: How long have you had your M8? Now that you have your tricked out case, are you taking it with you more? Any chance of you really geeking out, and posting a photo of your camera with the new case?

I posted a longer comment with a link to my version of the case, but it got stuck in moderation and I think Joi is on a plane. So, here's what the camera looks like in the case. I'll let Joi moderate my longer comment later.

Great obsession, congratulations.

Joi I have an M8 with a Luigi (half) case too and indeed it is wonderful....

"is really great and has that special handmade loving workmanship thing that really gets me going"


So Joi, what color case did you get? And did you get it with or without grip? And with the hanging or detachable back?

I'll try to upload a photo.

I got a black one with a hanging back.

@Jason D: To such ends, there are lovely hybrids! For example, in the online world of Second Life, I often take snapshots and post-process them as art. The user-created drive of the community means that it goes beyond just "screenshots".

Because of articles like this, tho, I wish we had more inworld options for photography: setting exposure times and even motion blur would be nice.

I have some nice "Lomo" filters for Photoshop and there's an array of lovely camera manipulators which can be brought about with Filter Forge. I muse at what Charles said above tho, because I'm finding you can collect so many filters that you don't know where to start using them. ;)

It's good now I know about Leica cameras too! They look like something fitting for an indie art film. I'm always up for a healthy "gladdiction".

Nice choice Joi. It looks great.

Of course, the photo kit dandy in me would have taken the picture with that 50/1.4 Summilux instead of the Cron. But the Cron looks dashing too :)

Ian: Ha. Unfortunately, I'm on the road and Only have my Summicron with me.

Well done Joi, you have recognized Leicaism for what it is. That's the first step towards recovery.

Joi, good thing you were away when the quake hit. Cenered 230 miles NW of Tokyo, they said.

I have leika made 1938 modelIIIb and one leika 1950 mode IIF