Question about Leica Cameras...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Jim Moore, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    I have decided to purchase a rangefinder and I'm almost certain that it will be a Leica, but I'm not sure about what model to get.

    III G, M2, M3, M6,Etc.

    I could use some opinions on the pros/cons of the different models.

    Thanks!

    Jim
     
  2. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    Check out the new Leica MP.
     
  3. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    If the money is there, go M. MP is classic, M7 is decent too. M6's are a current good deal, cost-wise.
     
  4. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Thanks guys...

    Looking at some M6's on ebay I see that there are different "viewfinder's".
    0.58 0.72 0.85

    What's the difference?

    Thanks again,

    Jim
     
  5. Julian Hart

    Julian Hart Member

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    Hi Jim

    You really need to tell us...,

    a) Do you wear glasses?
    b) What lenses are you intending to get?
    c) Do you want a built in lightmeter?
    d) Your budget?

    You appear to have decided you want a Leica R/F camera; which one/s have you handled and what do you like about them/it?

    Julian
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Could you tell us more about your preferences, what is important to you?

    Do you want TTL metering? AE operation? How likely are you to be using the 75 Summilux, 90 Summicron or 50 Noctilux? How likely are you to want to use the wider lenses?

    Some random-ish thoughts:

    Screw mount lenses can be used on bayonet bodies, but not the other way round.

    The later M6s, the M6TTL, the M7 and the MP are available with choices of viewfinder magnification.

    All but the earliest M7s and all MPs have slightly better viewfinders than the M6s, but upgrades are possible.

    The sensitivity of the meter improved during the lifetime of the M6 classic, and improved further with the M6TTL. The M7 and MP continued at that level of sensitivity.

    The M5, CL, M6, M7 and MP all have TTL metering for continuous light. The M6TTL and M7 also have TTL flash metering. The M7 also has auto exposure. The CLE only has metering in auto exposure, it can be operated in manual, but without metering.

    The M7 and CLE are battery dependent because of electronic shutter timing/operation, but the M7 has two mechanical speeds. In auto exposure the M7 shutter is continuously variable.

    The M3 viewfinder is probably the best of the bunch for use with a 50 mm lens.

    There's a new limited edition M2 coming out with an authentic 1950s bakelite and snakeskin body with chrome trim. Or maybe not.

    'Canadian lenses have mouse droppings in them.' OR 'They are every bit as good as German-made lenses.' Pick your own opinion.

    The list goes on...

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Julian,

    a) Yes... Contacts
    b) Wide to Normal
    c) Not Necessary
    d) Around $2,000

    I have not had the pleasure to handle/play around with any (yet). I have decided that I would like to add a R/F to my "camera bag" and chose Leica because of its reputation.

    Thanks!

    Jim
     
  8. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Helen,

    TTL Metering or AE is not necessary. I'm thinking wide to normal for lenses, but it would be nice to be able to use a 90mm.

    Thanks!

    Jim
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    a) Yes... Contacts
    b) Wide to Normal
    c) Not Necessary
    d) Around $2,000



    The M2 then?
     
  10. Julian Hart

    Julian Hart Member

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    Jim

    Ok, in your situation I would go for an M4P or M6 "classic" which have the 0.72x viewfinder. Generally, the 0.85x viewfinder is intended for fast or longer lenses, the 0.58x for wide angle users.

    This M4P is identical to the M6 "classic" except without the lightmeter.

    With contacts you will easily be able to see the 28mm frame in this viewfinder, and will provide good (though not absolutely ideal) magnification for focussing a slower 90mm lens.

    Some (non glasses wearing) users use the outside edge of the 0.72x viewfinder to provide a frame for the 24mm lens but this will give you no parallax correction and is not too accurate.

    Helen has already given you a great outline of the features of each of the models, so I shall not repeat.

    I recommend you go and play with the camera before you buy. I for one find that the R/F camera does not suit me for most of my work, although I have owned an M6 "classic" in the past and still own an M3!

    Julian
     
  11. Julian Hart

    Julian Hart Member

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    or as Helen says the M2, silly me I forgot that one!

    Julian
     
  12. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Re-reading, I've got to agree -- TRY THEM OUT. You might be happy with a classic Hexar or an Olympus RC! For that kind of money you may also like the Hexar RF + lenses or a Contax G + lenses or a Bessa + Lenses or a CL + lenses or... an M7 and wait to buy a 50mm :smile:
     
  13. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    ... and I forgot the M4 series.

    Ms Ditzy
     
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  15. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    My suggestion is go for an M6 and buy Voigtlander lenses.

    The M6 is a more recent model and less likely to need an immediate CLA. The "classic" M6 has a standard .72 finder that handles all available focal length lenses relatively well. The current Voigtlander lenses are outstanding and are every bit as good as the Leitz lenses from a few years ago but cost less new than equivalent used Leitz lenses (generally). I have the 35/2.5 and the 21/4 Voigtlander lenses and they are impressive, especially for the price.
     
  16. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Just a small nitpicking point: there are classic M6s with the 0.85 viewfinder as well as the 0.72. Used M6s seem to have come down in price quite a bit recently - or at least that's the impression I've got.

    The advice to try them out is good.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  17. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I'll stop by the local camera shops (all 2 of them) and see if they have any used M's in stock.

    Jim
     
  18. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Drive up to Minneapolis and visit National Camera...
     
  19. mikepry

    mikepry Subscriber

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  20. tbm

    tbm Member

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    M cameras and eyesight

    I wear daily disposable contact lenses and they are a joy with my M6 and M3. I wouldn't want to wear glasses with either, although it would work.
     
  21. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    M2 or M4 if you're using 35 & 50's, M2 has manual reset frame counter, 35/50/90 frames. M4 has easier loading, auto reset counter, 35/50/90/135 frames. Newer M's have IMHO cluttered finders. Might consider M4-2. Canadian made M4 w/hot shoe, no self timer, not much more $ than M2 great value for a user camera less interest from collectors so $tend to stay lower.
     
  22. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    If TTL is not an issue, (would be for me!), the M4 is the last all mechanical Leica. I don't believe it has a frameline for 28mm, 35mm would be the widest lens you could use with it. For the next model, (technically the M5, but that had a lot of transitory technology and is larger than a classic M) the M4-P, production moved from Germany to Canada, viewfinder modified to frame as wide as 28mm, but rangefinder patch can flare and make it hard to focus, sometimes in side lighting. M6 had TTL metering and is worth consideration, drawback is that the older ones are getting long in the tooth and may need an expensive replacement of the metering circuitry before long. BTW if you have a serial number for camera or lens you can check the Leica website to determine the year of manufacture.
    The M6 TTL (named for inclusion of TTL flash) is the first model I'd consider. It's sure to be new enough that the electronics are good for a while. I'd recommend the .72 finder magnification for all frames from 28mm to 135mm. It a good compromise. All of these models are subject to rangefinder flare.
    The current production models are the M7 (has electonically controlled shutter and shutter priority auto exposure capability) and the MP a kind of retro look and is high priced relative to features. It's all mechanical except for the meter.

    I own an M6TTL and really love it. If I were buying used this one would be at the top of my list in terms of bang for the buck. You can expect to pay about $1200 for a good one. the M4 has some appeal, too, as the last of the mechanical (no meter) German M's.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  23. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'All of these models are subject to rangefinder flare.'

    Whether or not that's a real problem is one of those things that varies from individual to individual. Some people manage to shift their eye so that the flare goes away - I've never come across an occurrence of it that couldn't be eliminated by moving the camera relative to my eye, but it does distract you for a split-second. The early M7s did not have the current M7 viewfinder when they came out of the factory.

    Leica, and independent Leica repair people, can install the new viewfinders in old cameras. All sorts of magical transformations are possible. Leica USA charge USD 262.50 for the viewfinder replacement, others charge less.

    Tom, I'm at a loss to know why a camera made in Germany has more appeal than a camera made in Canada. How about the ones, like your M6TTL, that were made in Portugal? Does the country of manufacture affect the quality of the photographs? Of course it doesn't (and I know that you aren't suggesting that it does). Please, can we leave that country-of-origin stuff for the camera collectors?

    Best,
    Helen
    BTW of all the Ms I've ever used, the M7 is my personal favourite - and I've been using Ms, and their kid sisters, since '73. I have three at the moment - two to carry and one spare.
     
  24. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Helen,
    If you're going to spend that kind of money on Leica, make sure it's made by little elves in the Black Forest. :smile:

    Seriously, Jim is spending a considerable amount of money and I thought he ought to know some of the factors that affect pricing. He may pay more for certain models, but he'll also recoup this if he decides to sell.

    Leica prices and collector interest are intrinsically linked. This is a fact of life whether or not you want to buy one "just" to take pictures.

    By the way, I share your long term enthusiam for Leicas. I first used one (the school's camera) in 1966 as a sophomore in high school. Can you imagine school with a full Leica system, including Visoflex, for its yearbook staff? It gave me a chance to compare prints from the Leica's 50mm dual range Summicron vs. my Minolta's 58mm f1.4. Those who say you can't tell the difference between pictures taken with a Leica lens and something else have never done a real comparison. (probably the same people who say you can print a 35mm neg to 16x20 without a problem, but never mind).

    My own first Leica was a Leicaflex SL, which I bought in 1969. Great camera, but not a quiet rangerfinder. I bought 2 M4s in 1974, briefly had an M6 and bought my current M6TTL in 1999. I would'nt trade it for the world.
    take care,
    Tom
     
  25. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    One of the neat things about using a Leica is that you become part of an "elite and opinionated crowd". That comes with the anachronism of using a camera that hasn't changed much since the first M-series was made in the 1950's. :smile:

    My opinion: the viewfinder ain't no problem. I've had the over-40 eyesight condition since I was 34 and I wear progressive lenses. I can use the framelines fine in the .72 viewfinder. At one time, I used a 28mm with an M4-P, and didn't have any difficulties with the 28mm framelines. I couldn't always see the entire frame in the viewfinder but I knew where it was and what I would get on the film. The viewfinder flare condition has happened a total of one time to me.

    I consider the Leica a superb camera for quick shooting of candid subjects. Because of this, precise framing is not a priority and zone focusing is quicker than using the rangefinder. An SLR is more precise.

    When you get one, we'll teach you the secret handshake. :wink:
     
  26. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    I stopped by one of the local camera shops today to see if they had any used Leica's.

    He said that they very rarely get them in. But the did have a new MP in stock along with a 90 1:2 APO-Summicron M Lens.

    I am in love........ :tongue:

    The MP is $2350 and the 90 APO is $1998

    Hmmmmm...... Time to go through my stuff and sell some things I'm not using. :D

    Jim

    P.S. Thanks again to every for all the advice.