M5, M6, M7 or MP

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Wouter from Brazil, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Wouter from Brazil

    Wouter from Brazil Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    João Pessoa,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I´m trying to decide which would be the best Leica for my purposes (travel and street photography). I find it difficult to choose between the M5, M6, M7 and MP. Maybe the experienced Leica users amongst you all could shine some light on this dillema ? Thanks in advance.
    Wouter
     
  2. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The M7 if you want aperture priority auto exposure. MP if you want a more traditional manual Leica. Both of them are expensive, being the newest models. The M5 is the least traditional of all Leicas. It's bigger and doesn't follow the traditional Leica body design. Its meter system is kind of odd compared to later models. I like the M6. It's a traditional Leica with a meter. It's more readily available on the used market and the price is considerably lower than the M7 and MP.

    Beginning with the M4-2, Leica started using more economical methods of manufacturing. The M3, M2 and M4 are felt by Leica enthusiasts to have more hand fitting and to be better cameras. Personally, I just like using Leicas because they're small and quiet. I've owned an M4-P and I currently have two M6's. Except for the meter being dead on one of the M6's, I've had no complaints with any of them.
     
  3. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    Location:
    Århus, Denma
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have never owned a Leica, but I dream about getting one. And M5 would be the least wanted. I like the M7 for the handling and the features, and MP for traditional back-to-basics. I would go with the M7 if you can afford it. Otherwise try out M6.

    Morten
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just a technical note; IIRC, the M5 has continuously variable shutter speeds, not just the set detents.

    Lee
     
  5. ooze

    ooze Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Location:
    Istanbul, Tu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've had an M6TTL for 2.5 years now. Rarely have I used my SLR's since then. It's a fantastic tool.
    However, although Leica's are said to be very tough, my experience is that there are things that can go wrong. Right out of the box, the 1/1000 shutter speed of my new M6 was creating funny patterns on film. About 1 year later there was another problem with the ISO dial. All these problems were fixed under the 2 year warranty.
    Just because of these experiences, I would buy a new M7 or MP because they come with a 5 year warranty. I know, the price is outrageous.
    On the other hand, if I knew a good repairman who could fix Leica's for a reasonable price then I would be very happy to get a used Leica M.
     
  6. tbm

    tbm Member

    Messages:
    365
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I bought a new M6 TTL five years ago and love it. I initially bought and still have a classic M6, but later bought the former because of its computerized interaction with Metz flashes. Some purists say "phooey" about using a flash unit with the M6 TTL, but I find it to be wonderful when there is insufficient light indoors. I'd rather use a flash unit with, say, Delta 100, indoors than switch to a very high-speed, grainy film. And I find the maximum sync speed of 1/50th of a second to not be a bother since Metz's flashes throw out enough wonderful light in spite of that. I use both the Metz 44 MZ-2 and 54 MZ-3 flash units with my M6 TTL. My inspiration for using flash indoors with my M6 TTL was my deceased father, who used a Vivitar 283 flash unit and a Metz potato masher unit with his M3 and M2-R bodies for decades and successfully got gorgeous indoor shots on both color and black and white film. So, if you have children, say, and expect to photograph birthday parties and other celebrations, buy the M6 TTL for its flash capability. It's cheaper than the M7, too.
     
  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you don't need the quasi exposure automation of the M7, I, too, would recommend the M6 TTL. The flexibility of being able to use TTL-automated flash on the odd occasion is handy. Plus, the M6 TTL's meter is one stop more sensitive than the M6 at low levels. The MP, IMHO, is mostly for masochistic nostalgia buffs.
     
  8. fingel

    fingel Member

    Messages:
    298
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an M4 which I love, but if I was going to do it again, I would have probably gone for the Minlota CLE. :smile: Basically the same features as an M7, but smaller and less expensive.
     
  9. Barney

    Barney Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Lewistown, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have used the Leica M4-P for several years now. I believe of all of the M's they are now and for some time have been the best buy. They have steel gears and are made for the motor winder which I do not have. There are 6 framelines in the M4-P. They are: 28, 35, 50, 75, 90, and 135. They are very fast to load like many of the modern M's and they are somewhat available. I have done a fair amout of street Photography and I always used the Leica. Set on Hyperfocal they are very fast and accurate. As a suggestion try Jimmy Koh, a very reputable dealer in Bellmore, New York. Koh's Camera for his website. Ritz camera also had some a while back, and may still.
    Barney
     
  10. Barney

    Barney Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Lewistown, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    One more thing on the Leica M's, whichever model you choose. A very very good bag for them for the street and travel is the Billingham L2. They were called the "Alice" when I bought mine. They are very compact. I can carry a body, a compact 50mm Elmar, a 35mm, a 90mm elmarit, a 135mm all in cases, an MR meter, universal view finder, which I like to use instead of the camera viewfinder, and several rolls of film. the bags are waterproof, extremly well made, and you can work out of them easily for many hours on the street. They cost about 170 bucks or so now.
    Good Luck and I hope this info helps: Barney
     
  11. Mike Richards

    Mike Richards Member

    Messages:
    101
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    Preveza, Gre
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Wouter,
    The M5 was a sales dud when it came out, but recent demand for used ones indicates that it's become a collector's item and probably not a good bargain. The M6 has two versions -- the original M6 and the M6TTL. Both have through the lens metering, but the latter has extra contacts for controlling flash -- not a really significant improvement. Either one is reasonably plentiful on the used market. The M6 and MP have small classic shutter dials. The M6TTL and M7 have larger shutter dials that turn the opposite direction, which makes it more intuitive with the LED meter display. The MP has the original rewind knob, which is sturdier and less likely to break than the fold out crank on the others. The crank system is easier but really quite sturdy, so the MP advantage is not much unless you really shoot a lot or subject the camera to rough use. If you handle the MP beside the others, you will notice that the operation seems smoother and the controls have a bit more "finesse." Again, this is in comparison with the other fine handling models. Also, the MP is just a bit shorter. The M7 has an electronic shutter, and if your batteries run down, you have only 1/60 and 1/125 shutter speeds. The others have mechanical shutters and if you lose the battery, you lose only the metering.
    I believe you're talking about quick focus and shutter adjustment for street shooting, so I would count the M7's auto exposure as a definite advantage. You probably don't need extra wide apertures, either, since you will be into fast but approximate focusing -- sometimes using zone or hyperfocal settings for speed. This implies that you can get by with f2.8 lenses since you will probably do most of your shooting in the f4-f8 range. Where I'm going with this is the lens choice. My favorite for street shooting is my f2.8 35mm Summaron. It's a compact and nice handling lens that produces excellent images. And 35mm is a very natural focal length for Leica photography. You might want to start with it and add others as you expand your system.
     
  12. Wouter from Brazil

    Wouter from Brazil Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    João Pessoa,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thank you all very much for this rich information ! It has brought me closer to a decision. I have always liked the M4 and M3, but somehow feel I cannot do without a good TTL metering system. I liked the M5 because it´s a bit different and has spot metering, but have no info on its finder in comparison to the other models. Let me pose another question here: is it really an advantage to invest in the fast lenses (i.e. 35/1.4 and 75/1.4 in my case) ? How do they perform at this wide aperture ? Thanks again ! Wouter
     
  13. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,842
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    Rotterdam, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  14. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    http://www.cameraquest.com/m5.htm

    Has other information on the M5. It spot meters TTL, but the shutter operates without batteries, so you only lose the meter if your batteries go. It sold poorly when new, so is somewhat rare, especially in chrome. The references to 2-lug/3-lug are about strap lugs. The 3-lug version can hang vertically, which may not seem like a big deal, but is very nice. It lets the camera hang off to the side in the crook of your elbow, almost hidden, and better protected, and it doesn't swing forward when you bend over. I love this in my Leica CL and Bessa rangefinders. You might be competing with collectors to get an M5, which drives the prices up unreasonably relative to other models. It appears to me that pressure from new Leica mount rangefinders from other manufacturers has recently driven used prices down a bit.

    You can also get a nice sturdy aftermarket rewind crank for the MP, which makes it faster than the knob, and less different from the other models in that regard.

    I have read that some versions of the M6-TTL eat batteries quickly, which might vary with how you handle them (putting them away switched on). So if you get an M6-TTL, carry extra batteries.

    Lee
     
  15. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If the nature of your work requires the wider aperture - either for low-light situations or for subject isolation via shallow DOF - the 'Lux versions of the lenses are worth the extra cost. (The lens naming scheme assigns Summilux to the f/1.4s, Summicron to the f/2.0s, and Elmarit to the 2.8s.) Some of the newer 'Luxes also have aspheric elements, which adds to sharpness, designated as "ASPH". The 75mm 'Lux is somewhat of a special case, as it's an older design with a distinctive "signature". All of the f/1.4s perform well wide open, but do increase in sharpness even more when stopped down a bit.

    If size and weight are more important to you, the Summicrons or Elmarits may be better choices, however. Weight specs are available on the Leica site.
     
  16. Wouter from Brazil

    Wouter from Brazil Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Location:
    João Pessoa,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thank you all for this info. The issue has changed a bit, or maybe returned to its pre-apug condition: should I keep it cheap and buy a Bessa r3a ? No advice needed on this one, plenty of info already. I´ll start breaking my children´s savings porkies now ..
     
  17. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    M5

    During the 1970's I owned (2) black M5 cameras with 21 f4, 35mm f2, 50mm f1, 50mm f2, 65mm black 3.5, 90mm f2.8, 135mm f4, 180mm f2.8...very rare, 280mm f4.8 in foc rapid, Visoflex III and bellow II with compendium and a v35 enlarger with 40mm focatar and 50mm focotar II The economy finally forced me to part with the equipment. The equipment was totally satisfactory. I have no experience with any of the other models listed.
     
  18. lensworker

    lensworker Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IMHO, get a black MP and a black 50/1.4ASPH!! Not cheap to be sure, but not equalled by anything else!
     
  19. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    Thank goodness poverty has mercifully interceded and spared me such a difficult decision :smile: