If you are going to start messing around with screw mount rangefinders, just get a Canon 7 which is one of the best rangefinder cameras ever made. Screw mount Leicas are cute, but not really great to use.
If you want something closer to your Nikons, try a Konica Hexar RF. I have a M3, which is a great camera of course, and a Hexar. I use the Hexar far more. Also, I wouldn't get a M3 as my only Leica unless I was only going to be using 50 and 90 lenses. A M2 or M4 would be the way to go otherwise. Don't forget the Zeiss Ikon either. It has the best viewfinder ever put in a rangefinder camera.
Or a Canon P and a Cosina Voightlander for multi coating or a 60s LTM Canon lens for single coating.
Total cost 1/3 or less than M3 or M2.
Note a M2R is has a native fast load kit like a M4, and is uber $ cause of rarity, the retro fit fast load kit is cheaper and fitted by user easily, but the original slow load spool is uber reliable to load compared to the other 'fast loaders'.
And I use M2 and Ps for street. The Leicas are male Jewelery.
I used a Canon P and 7S on and off for years, but prefer the build quality and reliability of Leica. A Canon P or 7 in good condition is certainly a viable and less expensive alternate to a Leica.
You'll either like a rangefinder or you won't. Several potential problems. It's difficult to do closeups of natural subject due to parallax issues. And
as you've already surmised, you cannot directly view the effects of filters over the lens. You also forego the use of long (telephoto) lenses.
But whatever you choose, you want to be comfortable and experienced, so you can shoot spontaneously in conditions where lighting and
weather can potentially change quickly. I see a few med format rangefinders in use for landscape, rarely 35mm ones. I mostly shoot view cameras myself.
+1, I use my FM3A with a couple of small primes or my Xpan over my M3 for landscape work if I am not serious about the work I am doing. The reason I say serious is that I hike, climb and and shoot for a living and the way it works is I either use one of my two DSLR's along with a 6x6 Agfa Super Isolette folder or just flat out go Hasselblad or my Chamonix 4x5. On Monday I took my 6x6 folder and a Fuji X100S to the summit of a 13,000 foot peak, no issues.
Originally Posted by NDKodak
Don't get me wrong, the M3 is one of my all time favorite daily carries, but an FM2N with a 50mm 1.8 AIS will actually be better to use and lighter to boot for landscapes.
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For hiking, the M3 could be a good choice for you; it's certainly capable of great photos and is solidly built. One advantage of the M3 is the small size and light weight. I've carried one in a small pouch on my belt.
Coming from an F5 and F6, you might find using a rangefinder camera is not to your liking - or you may fall in love with it. A previous poster's suggestion of trying an inexpensive Canon rangefinder first is a good idea. Also, since you have Nikon lenses, an FM, FM2, or FM3a would make sense as a smaller camera for hiking.
With the M3, along with being 100% mechanical with no meter, you'll also have to get used to the bottom-loading of film, so that's a bit slower and less convenient than other rangefinders or SLR's.
However, they are a joy to use. One of my best photos ever was taken with an M3 and a 50/2 lens on a hiking trail.
Nikon: F, F2 x3, F2S x2, F3/T x2, F4S x2, FM, FM3a, D700
Canon: EF, AE-1P, RebelG x3, Elan 7NE, QL17GIII, Canonet 28
Leica: M3 x2, M6 x2
Exakta: VX x3, VXIIa
Hasselblad: 500C/M, 501C, SWC, 553ELX
Mamiya: RB67 Pro S x2
Fuji: GW690III, X-Pro1
Polaroid: SX-70, SLR 690, Image 1200
Minolta: Maxxum 7, DiMAGE X1
Minox: III, IIIs, B
Graflex: Pacemaker 4x5
Olympus: XA, XA2
Other: Pentax SP500, Ricoh GR1, Voigtländer Bessamatic
Lenses: way too many to list
Lot of great opinions here, all have merit and make a lot of sense. I realize that a Leica RF is not the best for landscapes, my Nikon D3, F5 and F6 are all better suited to it, but I just want one LOL. It seems that a decent DS body runs about $600-$1000? That is quite steep considering the M3 is a 50+ year old camera that uses film. I was thinking that a 50mm screw mount lens with an M adapter would be a good start as well. Before I can do this, I need to sell a Canon EOS 1V, Nikon F5, and a Canon 70-200mm f/4 L USM. KEH didn't offer much for the items, so I'll have to sell them on ebay I guess. I hate to sell my stuff, but I haven't used any of those items in years.
Nikon F6, Nikon F5, AF Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5, Nikkor 50-135mm f/3.5 AI-s, 50mm f/1.4 AI-s, MC-20 remote release.
It seems like you just want to do some trading for a leica after all...
If I were to suggest a nikon for someone that really wanted to lighten their load, it would be a nikon FG with an e series prime or two. Its a very light weight camera with a couple of minor disadvantages. The worst being no ae-lock. However, I think a M3 is short that one too.
I would still try a RF of some sort on the cheap first as previously suggested.
Last edited by trythis; 07-11-2014 at 09:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"If its not broken, I can't afford it."
The leica is a fine camera for what you want to do. I use to say that you can spend less money by getting an Canon screwmount camera or a 70's Japanese rangefinder, but I can tell you that I spent money that direction and never got it back. I have a Leica M2 that has gained value while I've had it and is insanely pleasant to use. For what you are describing, an M2 would be a great option perhaps with a 50mm Summicron (rigid or DR without the goggles.....great bargain that way!) and a Voightlander 35mm f2.5 lens. If you get it from KEH or similar place, you get a guarantee.
It isn't fancy, but I love my leicaflex SL. I usually shoot med format, but that 50mm f/2 summicron is quite lovely.