Probably can't afford a Leica. Probably can afford a Canon 7. Should I buy?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Sully75, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Sully75

    Sully75 Member

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    So I'm in the market for a rangefinder camera. My main interest is doing documentary work, currently of musicians.

    Main priorities:
    Fast lens
    Easy/smooth to use
    good performance in super low light

    Basically I'm getting this kind of picture with a Canon 5d:
    http://paulmcevoy.viewbook.com/irish_music?p=1&s=UA-5309626-1#27

    but I'd like to be doing that with film instead. For one thing, I don't like the mirror blocking my view on a long exposure. And I'm trying to imitate the look of pushed film, but I'd rather just push film, or at least try.

    So. There's a very slim chance that I might be able to get a good price on a Leica, but probably not. There's also a Canon 7 in good condition available to me for $200. Money is a huge issue right now as I'm in school and living off loans.

    I'm attracted to the Canon 7 but do feel like if I somehow got my hands on a Leica, the journey would be over and I'd have my camera. However it's a pretty far reach, I'm having trouble just paying my bills right now.

    Any advice? I've only ever had my hands on a Leica once, the Canon never, so I don't really know. I just want to be able to have a camera I can trust and rely on.
     
  2. Sully75

    Sully75 Member

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    PS My other alternative is to sell some Canon digital stuff I have to make up the money for a beat up Leica, maybe with a CLA. I can sell a 100mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 and 24 2.8 lens and probably clear $850 or so, leaving me with my beat up 5d, 35mm f2 (the only lens I really use anyway) and 85mm 1.8 (which I haven't used in a year or so, but kind of want to hold on to one long lens).

    The only issue is that this is the camera that I used to use to make money. I'm currently not doing that, and the camera is kind of long in the tooth anyway, but I wouldn't turn away work if it appeared on my door.
     
  3. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Advice? Since you're having trouble paying your bills right now, make do with what you have. Or sell what you do have to buy something else. Or buy a Canon GIII for $50-60 (40mm f1.7 lens, focuses down to about 3 ft.). There are other fixed lens RFs from that era with f1.7 to 1.9 lenses.

    If you're not really having trouble paying your bills right now, or that's not really the kind of advice you want, then buy the Canon and sell it when you can afford a Leica.

    Or consider the FED2 on the classifieds here.
     
  4. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    I agree with MGB. The thing with Leica is that you can buy a decent body for 500$ but to replace the lenses you listed there you're going to spend an absolute mint. When it comes right down to it you're eye and lenses are what really makes the difference with the photos you take. I bought a leica about six months ago and, although I love shooting with it, it didn't revolutionize my photography the way the Leica-Hype would have you to believe. I'm as guilty as the next guy about getting the camera buying itch but if money is tight shoot what you have and make the most of it.
     
  5. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I got my Leica M4-P by trading in some Nikon equipment. I then sold 30 rolls of slide film and bought a CV 35mm lens.

    If you're only using your 35/2 lens, then consider using the other lenses as trade items. Check 2nd hand places for 'user' condition Leicas. Investigate Voigtlander lenses to see how much fast versions cost 2nd hand. With luck, you could get a body and CV lens through a trade plus a little cash. Be patient, deals do come by.
     
  6. Sully75

    Sully75 Member

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    Thanks for the advice so far. I don't want to make too much of a thing about money. I could totally afford the $200 Canon 7 for instance.

    I actually have a Fed 2 and have taken some really amazing pictures with it in the past. However, for what I'm trying to do now, it's not really functional (wonky timing adjustment, viewfinder scratches the hell out of my glasses, viewfinder is teensy weensy). But I'll probably get back to using that.

    The Canonet 17 would be good but seems like the lowest shutter speed is 1/4. 1 sec would be pretty useful.

    perkeleellinen, when you say "2nd hand places" what do you mean? Keh maybe and what else?

    I'm realizing that the M mount lenses $ would be the stumbling block. Would I be happy with a screw mount lens in an adaptor?

    Also, the KEH "bgn" category of roughed up but useable cameras, have people had good luck with them?
     
  7. Sully75

    Sully75 Member

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    and still really interested in any practical comparisons between a ex cond Canon 7 and a beater Leica.
     
  8. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I bought a KEH "bgn" N90s about a month or two ago for $29. Was amazed at the condition. If I were to guess, I would say it was a camera shop demo.

    I'm sure not all are like that. I'm assuming they might have had an over-abundance of N90s on hand and wanted to unload a few. But just because it says bgn, doesn't mean 'beat up".
     
  9. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Unfortunately, I'm in the UK, so my places to look are of little use to you.
     
  10. mablo

    mablo Member

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    Canon 7 is a bit larger than a M-series Leica. This is quite irrelevant really.
    Canon 7 does have a light meter but it's probably dead or at least inaccurate, old Leicas don't have light meters either.
    Canon 7 is LTM (Leica thread mount) and cannot use M-bayonet lenses whereas any Leica can use LTM-lenses with an adapter. Again a relative nonissue while there are a lot of LTM lenses around and they are cheaper than M-lenses in general.
    Canon 7 doesn't have a flash shoe. This is probably the only relevant negative thing.
    Canon has hinged back door while loading a Leica is PITA (I have both so I'm entitled to say this)

    For more information see: http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/index-frameset.html?Canon7.html~mainFrame
     
  11. maderik

    maderik Member

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    Do you need multiple lenses? If not the Yashica Lynx 14 & 14e have well regarded 45mm f/1.4 lenses that focus down to 2.6' and decent viewfinders with parallax correction. They also have shutter speeds from 1/500 to 1s.
     
  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Another camera to consider is the Voigtlander/Cosina rangefinder. If you are looking for a 35mm f2.0 or faster lens the Voigtlander lenses are reasonably priced (as compared to Leica) and will fit any LTM/M body.
     
  13. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Spend as much as you can afford on as little as you need.

    A good, recent, CV rfdr with a 50 will be affordable, and reliable, and good.

    If you buy and old camera, be it Leica or Canon, it will need a CLA.
    If you get anywhere with this project, you can always pick up a good M Leica.

    The important thing is to begin. If it were me, I'd buy a good Cosina Voigtlander, and a 35/2, and get going.

    And fast film. You need 3200 most of the time, less for speed and more to manage the contrast). Get closer, get closer, get closer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2010
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  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The CV rangefinder cameras are good and the lenses for them are very good. They are not as refined as a Leica, but they seem sturdy enough and a used one won't set you back an arm and a leg.
     
  17. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    Second vote for the Yashica 14e IC f/1.4. Extraordinary for night pics.
     
  18. Alex1994

    Alex1994 Member

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    You could grab a Konica Hexar, great camera as well and uses Leica M mount.
     
  19. Sully75

    Sully75 Member

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    Thanks for the help all. Turns out a Leica may be made available to me in a couple of months. Not sure what kind or what. Long story.

    I may buy the Canon to tide me over. The only thing I hate about those cameras is that ugly light meter.

    I owned a Yashica rangefinder once, and from what I remember, it was Aperture priority with no exposure compensation? That really limits its use for me. Am I wrong? This was quite a while ago.

    And DF_Cardwell, thanks. That's a favorite pic, a different style of music from what I'm working on now, it was much easier to photograph!
     
  20. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Sully;

    You have referred to the Canon 7 as a cheaper substitute for a Leica. Well, in addition to asking; "Which Leica?" we can also ask; "Which Canon 7?" There are several Leicas that can be bought for less than the legendary Canon 7 with the 50mm f/0.95 lens.

    Others have suggested other more simple rangefinder cameras, such as the Yashica Lynx 1.4 with the 45mm f/1.4 lens. I can certainly agree with that choice. It was the one I wanted back in the very early 1960's, but I had to settle for the Yashica Lynx 1000 with the f/1.8 lens instead. Eventually that was replaced with my first Minolta SR-1b. Another one that I can suggest is the Minolta Hi-Matic 9 with its full range of shutter speeds and the ability to operate Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority, and, if you set both to their Automatic setting, you have an early form of what we now call a "Program Mode." All of these cameras are much less than the Canon 7, including a CLA if required. All of them have in-the-lens leaf shutters that are very discreet when the shutter release is pressed.

    You did say that you have a FSU rangefinder also, but you are not happy with the viewfinder size. They do have auxiliary viewfinders that can go onto a Fed, Kiev, or Zorki. I have a Zorki 4K purchased here through the APUG For Sale Listings.

    Anyway, there are several paths open to you. The main point also made by others is to use whatever you have and take photographs with it.
     
  21. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    Forget it if the Leica is too expensive or you will be stuck with Russian lenses, or Canon if you can push yourself to afford it.

    The lenses are where the money goes (and the photos come from)
     
  22. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Later FSU cameras have much nicer viewfinders.
    I especially like the various Zorky 3 & 4 models. My main gripe with mine is screw mount lenses (I change lenses often), viewfinder for the 50mm only and no lightmeter. Mind that I'm comparing them to a Leica M6! :wink:

    As always, the usual caveats about getting hold of a good FSU camera....
     
  23. haris

    haris Guest

    I bought Voigtlaender Bessa R2A vith Voigtlaender lenses (35mm and 75mm) and stopped think how to save for Leica.
     
  24. maderik

    maderik Member

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    That was probably one of the Electro series. The Lynx 14 is an earlier camera with a mechanical shutter and match needle metering. It's also much better built. See here:
    http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/index-frameset.html?YashicaLynx14.html
     
  25. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I have to second this advice. Use the gear you have.
     
  26. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I've used Canon P, Canon 7, and several Leicas over many many years. The Canons are retired, and perhaps neither are working now. The Leica M4 is about 40 years old and going strong. With Tri-X, shooting basketball in small and poorly lit gyms required the Canon 50mm f/1.4 wide open. Ouch! Then came T-Max 3200. Shooting it with a 50mm Summicron wide open, exposed at EI 1600, and developed as recommended for EI 3200 there was a magnitude of improvement. However, if the equipment you have does well enough, that gives you time to research an upgrade and look for bargains.