Brake mostly used Leica rangefinder cameras. They were the camera of choice for photojournalists in the 1940s and 50s – small, very rugged, precision-made, and built for quick shooting.
The Leica M3 is regarded as a classic. Brake bought his direct from the German factory in the same year it was first manufactured. It became his favourite camera for many years.
The M2 was a simplified version of the M3 and, despite its model number, was released four years after the M3. Brake bought a black version, but much of the paint rubbed off through his hard use, leaving the brass of the body exposed. As neither model had built-in light meters, photographers had to either guess exposure or use a separate meter.
With rangefinder cameras, the user looks through a window on the top of the camera. Many photojournalists considered this offered faster handling than the through-the-lens focusing of single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. However, the SLR offers more convenient use of telephoto and wide angle lenses. Brake bought such a camera in the form of a Leicaflex SL2 in 1974 for just this reason.