The first Leica M-camera was introduced in 1954 and the first models M3 and M2 soon became the primary tool for legendary photographers who also gave the camera it's nickname Das Werkzeug which is German for The Tool.
A Leica M is a tool that requires it's photographer. To put the camera in automatic mode and hope that the picture will be good is a little bit risky and will certainly give you photos that are unusable. To make good use a Leica M you first have to understand the relationship between aperture and shutter speed and know how to read the light.
There's a certain amount of mythos surrounding the Leica M. And that is not surprising since the hand-made German rangefinder camera has been the first hand choice of many legendary documentary photographers. Many famous photographies has been taken with a Leica. That's because a Leica is a excellent tool that can deliver photographs of the highest class in the hands of the right photographer. Even if a brand new Leica M is quite expensive tool today it still a tool for professionals since it demands expertise and knowledge of a keen photographer to master it.
Previously I have been working with big and bulky professional cameras from Canon and Nikon, they are also excellent tools for professional photographers. But no other camera says that I'm serious about photography like a Leica. But I didn't choose Leica because of it's mythos. I choosed it because I prefer to work with rangefinder cameras. And I also prefer cameras with a minimalistic feel that are not filled with buttons, levers and knobs that confuses me.
I have used my good old Leica M8 on many assignments, in desert conditions in Egypt, festivals with high humidity and at high risk demonstrations. I have used it as my every day camera in winter conditions and in summertime at the beach. The good old Leica always delivers good images and I know that I always can count on it. Even if there's never models around I prefer my M8 and I will make good use of it as long as it last.
Last but not least, remember that a camera is only a tool, it's your ability to see and catch the fast moving moments of times that matters. You can even use a cell-phone or a hefty Canikon for that purpose but according to me it's far more fun to catch the moments with a good old range-finder camera.