leica M7 Alternatives

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by dxphoto, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. dxphoto

    dxphoto Member

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    Hi,

    Hexar RF? Or Bessa R2A? Bessa seems to be cheap built and low on base frame length. anyone actually used them both?

    I like the manual focus and option of having the aperture priority.

    Thanks.

    D
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    zeiss ikon...
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Used Leica M6 TTL.
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you want to stick to something that will take M-mount glass, another vote for the Zeiss Ikon here. If you aren't wedded to the M-mount lenses, also consider a Contax G2. While the manual focus on it is not as direct a system as on the Leicas, it can be focused manually, or auto if you want. It also gives you aperture, shutter, and program AE as well as manual, and it also has auto parallax correction in the viewfinder. Plus, the lenses for it are some of the best ever made, and cost a fraction of what Leica M glass costs.
     
  5. grahamallsop

    grahamallsop Member

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    Aperture Priority... a luxury! I've got a couple of Bessa T's, the little exposure indicator works pretty well, doesn't add too much to the shot time (like all things, you get used to it). I do have a Bessa R3A, but it's off on holiday to Japan to get the frame counter fixed. It's a lovely camera, nothing fancy, and a joy to use. Stick one of their 40mm f/1.4s on it and you have a great wander-around set-up.

    I think my motto is fast becoming "it's just a shutter". I get perplexed by the folks who spend $$$ on a Leica body and then put Voigtlaender lenses on them. Buy two Bessas, some Leica glass, and you've got one colour body and one black and white body at the ready with the best glass... but then again, I've banned myself from looking at Leica bodies in case the pixies get me too ;-)

    Graham
     
  6. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Cosina Voigtlander Bessa series -- Good cameras that seem to be holding up well but often seem to need rangefinder readjustments.

    Konica Hexar RF -- Very good camera with a high degree of automation: Auto wind, auto rewind, auto exposure. Also has a full range of manual speeds. Battery dependent.

    Zeiss Ikon -- An excellent camera. Battery dependent. Auto exposure with a full range of manual speeds. Excellent viewfinder. Rewind crank is on the bottom of the camera. Light in weight but very solidly built.
     
  7. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Konica Hexar=The camera Leica should have built.
     
  8. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

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    The Hexar is a great camera and worth your condiseration. I would caution you that they are out of production and repair parts can be difficult to impossible to find. Additionally, there are only a few repair people who work on them.

    I personally have had no problems with mine but have read posts by others who have. If you have not done so already check out
    http://www.cameraquest.com/ and http://www.rangefinderforum.com/ for additional info.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  9. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    I assume you have personal experience with each of these? I'm at the point of decision between the Bessa and the Ikon. This would be my first rangefinder, so the issue is the risk of the price. Both seem relatively easy to re-sell if I found RFs untenable for some reason.

    But the Ikon's rep seems more solid.
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have 2 M3 Leicas
    (a two stroke and a single stroke). I also have a Zeiss Ikon ZM, I love all 3 of these cameras.

    I like the build quality of the Zeiss, the performance and high quality of the Zeiss lenses, the Ikon's long base rangefinder and its meter coupled Copal shutter.

    I recently read a scathing report by a photojournalist about his experience with multiple field failures, poor build quality and poor reliability of his M-7 Leica and his similar very negative experiences with a M8 Leica.
     
  11. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Zeiss seems to have positioned itself in a sensible part of the market between the entry-level (but reliable by my experience) Voigtlander Bessas, and the prestige price point of a new Leica. I'll admit I want a Zeiss Ikon, but my R2A gets the job done fine. I haven't had any issues, but I have a 2 year Australian warranty if anything comes up, so I'm not really worried.
    I wouldn't turn down my nose up at the lens offerings from any of them.
     
  12. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    I don't know enough about the various Leicas to feel certain that any purchase I make in that arena would be the right one. I am very seriously close to springing for a Zeiss, though.

    What do you find to be the main differences between your Leicas and the Zeiss?
     
  13. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    A used M6 gets my vote. 11 years of stirling service from mine. No complaints at all....
     
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  15. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    As I said before, I love my Leica M3s they both have worked fine for many years (with periodic CLAs).

    My Zeiss Ikon is still my personal choice for a TTL metering M mount Rangefinder camera.

    I also own and use a Minolta CLE, a Leica CL and several Cosina Voigtlander M mount rangefinder cameras.
     
  16. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Another vote for the G2, I have my gripes but on the whole a fun camera, excellent lenses. I do have concerns about the future of serviceability, but it's cheap enough that you can get a few bodies if you really love it.
     
  17. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Rich,

    How much is "cheap enough"? I've been monitoring auctions of G2 bodies, and it seems that the going rate is usually over $500 for used bodies. And it seems like prices are rising recently!
     
  18. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    Tom could it be that the M7 has a electric shutter and the M8 isn't even a M series camera it is a point and shoot as far as I'm concerned. I have read reports on pre M7's having been completely drenched in water and let to dry out and fuctioned perfectly for the next 7 years. His Nikon didn't weather as well.

    Michael Andersen
     
  19. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I am happy M3 user but if AE is a big thing for you, the Voightlander R2a if you are after cheap and cheerful and the Zeiss Ikon M if you want to spend more money. That's pretty much it out there.
     
  20. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Why would you say that?
     
  21. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Yes, I've used all three, as well as a Leica LTM and an M6 (sold the M6 quite some time ago and still have a IIIf) and a number of other cameras.

    If you're simply testing the waters, I'd probably go the Cosina Voigtlander Bessa route. It's less outlay of cash, and they're reasonably easy to resell.

    But it's probably the camera that will hold its value the least, unless you buy used. If you buy used, you won't lose much on the resale of a Cosina Voigtlander Bessa.
     
  22. elekm

    elekm Member

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    And I'll add that the Bessa is a very nice camera. You don't read about too many breakdowns of the Bessa aside from rangefinder misalignment.

    Certainly, there are camera failures among each brand. But the Bessa series now have about 11 or 12 years of production among the various models, and there seems to be a lot of them still in use.

    I still have one Bessa-style body -- the Rollei 35 RF, which is a slightly reworked Bessa-R2. Great camera. Slight misalignment of the rangefinder, of course. If only Cosina would spend some R&D and fix this issue once and for all.

    I sold my Bessa-R to a friend of mine a couple of years ago. He's still using it.

    I used the camera often from 2000 to about 2002. By that time, I was delving into the so-called classic cameras, which led me down a different path.

    I have no qualms recommending a Bessa. They're a great way to get into the world of rangefinder photography. Terrific viewfinders. Simple film loading. Excellent line of lenses. Accurate and predictable metering.

    I have an extensive review of the Bessa-R (and the Zeiss Ikon) on my site. I had to end commenting because of spammers.
     
  23. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    well most point and shoots are rangefinders with the newest ones not even having viewfinders, I do own a Leica D-Lux 2 for family vacation pictures and to use at parties.
    But if you really are going to use a Digi camera for work you are fooling yourself to think digi range finder. you can get a nikon which will hold two 4 gig cards and shoot in raw faster than anyother camera till the next camera out does them. so Leica has been the name in film range finders forever, but I guess if you are rich and want a yuppie digi range finder I guess that is the way to go. I didn't even get a M7 even as good as they are because I wanted less electric on my camera so i got the M6. Just like my 2 1/4 I had a Rollie 2003 all electric and fully auto if I wanted but I traded it for a hassey 500 C/M and lesses. Love the fact there is no battery to charge or replace. Same with the M6 less battery for only the meter and still can use the camera without it and a hand meter. Just my thoughts and most time they are warped so please don't get mad. I just have a differnet outlook on some things. Most people don't see it.
    regards
    Michael Andersen:D:D:D:D
     
  24. peter_n

    peter_n Member

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    What are your favorite lenses (focal length, not brand/model)?
     
  25. kennethcooke

    kennethcooke Member

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    Firstly, your header says Leica M7 Alternatives- Then you quote Voigtlander. Voigtlander, is a camera system made at a price in Japan and would be a little like saying Mercedes S Class alternatives- Toyota. But seriously, if like many of us you are working to a tight budget, an M6 Classic 0.72+ 50mm Summicrom will give you all you need and more. Also you will soon find you don't need aperture priority, the M6 meter is so good such features will pale into insignificance when you see the results of the Summicron
     
  26. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    If by M7 alternative, you mean A-priority AE, then Zeiss Ikon. But the Bessas are very nice cameras as well - just be aware that they have slightly shortish effective baselengths and louder shutter and no 28mm frames (the R4 does, but it's a specialized wideangle camera).

    If however, the AE isn't a big deal - the other used Ms come into play. M6 if you need metering, M4-P if you can live without. M4-2 or earlier if you don't need wider than 35 and so forth - the differences between the models are slim.

    All of the reasons you give doesn't make it a point and shoot. It is a digital rangefinder, like the Epson R-D1 - perhaps a very expensive one and not worth the price, but that is a different issue.

    -A