Leica Flash on the Leica? (M8.2)

Just exactly how does the flash work on the Leica? I have read the manual, and I have perused various websites and forums to find a simple explanation of how the flash works on the Leica but I am still unable to understand it.

This is what I think I understand, when the flash is on the Leica, the Leica must be on at least A or S mode, and the shutter speed cannot be faster that 1/125.... is that right..?? Because when I try to set a faster shutter, the flash refuses to go off. So that means I then have to reduce the aperture to compensate for the very very bright flash which is really strange. Incidentally the flash I bought was a cheap one that doesn't allow for different power settings.

I understand a vast majority of Leica photographers are available light photographers but surely there are some who use flash too, how do they control it when they're limited to a shutter speed of 1/125?


I've never used flash very much, I've always been an available light photographer, even at extreme levels of low light, and I'm quite positive I will remain that way for a long time. I think when I was going through my formative photography period, I saw a lot of flash photography that just looked horrible. That's not to say I can't appreciate a good flash photo when I see it.

But I have been appreciating a certain 'look' and the last set of photographs I saw that made me decide to try flash was James D Kelly's NYE party photos. I don't really know how to describe what it is, I know I've seen this 'look' from other photographers before. There is something about the 60s that I seem to feel from the look, for whatever it's worth. Here they are:

James D. Kelly » Life in Black & White – NYE

The photos on the link above are fine but other photos on his website are NSFW due to tasteful artistic/fashion/studio nude photos. So by all means click on the link to see the NYE party photos but be aware of the content of the other links on his site.


Real Name
when the shutter speed is higher than the sync speed of the camera a Leica simply turns the hot shoe off, so the flash then won't fire. on my M9 it's 1/180 and there's a little lightning bolt. check the shutter speed dial on your M.

the shots above look like they were taken using a short off camera cord with the camera held in one hand and the flash in another.

Why is the sync speed of the Leica so slow...? I've never looked at this before and I'm quite surprised by it.

The off-camera flash, either with a cord or wireless, is the sort of thing I was thinking of too! I have seen some street photographers like Eric Kim and Charlie Kirk use this technique.

I have to say that their approach to street photography especially with the flash-in-the-face thing that they do is really not me, so I'm not going to be doing that kind of thing on unsuspecting strangers on the street. Good for them if it works for them, but it's not for me.
Gordon, thanks for bringing the phrase "sync speed' to my attention, I've gone on a search in Google and printed off a few articles to read later, it looks like this is the information I have been looking for.

I may have gone off looking at the wrong search terms previously which led me to sites that didn't really explain what I was looking for. Sometimes if I don't know enough about a topic, I don't even know where to begin so I end up spending a lot of time looking up the wrong bits of information. Sometimes it takes just a couple of nudges in the right direction to put me on the right path.


New york
Real Name
Scott Johnson
I am having a strange problem with my leica. It heats up very soon after a half hour session of clicking photos. I don't know why that is happening. I am afraid its out of warranty and i can't find and authorized leica service center currently.

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