M camera case alternatives
The Leica leather M-Case too expensive for you? Try the various Kameraleder alternatives:
(Despite reports of Kameraleder closing down in April of 2002, as of the date of this page they are still in business and filling orders!)
Italian company Umana also custom make leather half-cases:
… however buying one online can be a little tricky. Generally speaking you have to go to ebay.com and search their auction listings for "leica leather half cases".
Voigtländer Bessa cases
I think it could be of interest to mention also the cases for the Cosina series of Voigtländer Bessa cameras. Their cases for the Bessas are quite useful also for Leica M, and they are very cheap. M4 and M6 fit nicely in the case for Bessa L. It is a little tight but it works. I have not yet checked out the Bessa R case, perhaps it fits as well.
Neoprene foam cases
Still too expensive? Have a look at either the Zing padded neoprene camera case:
Or the Optech USA "Soft Pouch - Slr/Rangefinder Series" neoprene case:
Nemeng leather "M-Wrap"
Then again if you are handy with a pair of kitchen shears and artist's scalpel, then you can make an inexpensive single-peice leather wrap for your M which stays on all the time (except - for the pedants - when changing film).
For example, see the following covers I use:
Advantages - cheap; there is no more fumbling with a camera case as your camera is ready all the time; it helps keep greasy finger marks off the body; it helps protect the camera from scratches and light bumps; it muffles the shutter click and motordrive whirrr and finally, it is more pleasant to hold and smell(!) than a black-tape covered M.
"These things are stupid"
Whenever I mention my "wraps" on a photo forum, inevitably it's followed by an outbreak of armchair sneering. Ho-hum. I guess these guys don't get out much, or have never seen the Porta Brace "Rain Slicker" or heavier duty "Storm Coat" covers used by video crews to protect their cameras:
My "wraps" are made from 5mm leather hide, lined with 2mm felt. The Portabrace versions are made from thin, unlined Cordura. Guess which is nicer to hold and better protects your gear?…
Do I sell these cases?
No. I hand-make them for my own use. As they each take approximately eight-hours to make, I have no plans to manufacture them at the moment.
Will I send you a pattern so you can make your own?
Repairing old leather cases
See the following URL for a detailed page (with diagrams) by Bill Davis on how to re-stitch & repair a leather camera case: