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  1. #1

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    Leica IIIf relevant if one has an M3

    OK so in 35mm I have a Leica M3 and DR Summicron. I also have a Retina IIIc. I have some cameras/lenses but those are less relevant to discuss.

    The Leica is ready to shoot, great in ergonomics, but so-so in portability.
    The Retina is not as ready to shoot, slow in ergonomics, but great in portability.

    The Rollei 35 is great in all these regards but is scale-focus only hence I rarely use it because I want focusing at close distances and at wide apertures.

    I'm looking for that perfect camera for daily use. Well there are times when I like to use the Leica and there are times when I like to use the Retina. However, most of the time, I think I would like to use something almost as ergonomic as the M and almost as portable as the Retina but I would still like to retain rangefinder focusing, so I'm thinking of a Leica IIIf/IIIc with collapsible or maybe just getting a collapsible in M-mount.

    For the Retina, the squinty finder doesn't bother me, it is changing the aperture/shutter speed and unfolding the camera that bothers me. I know that Leica bottom loader VF/RF are divorced and that the camera is more difficult to load but I feel that slower operating cameras (that do not get in the way) make better pictures; similarly, loading will just take time to get used to. I also change the settings frequently than I do take pictures because I like to keep the camera ready. I also do not like autofocus (so no point and shoots).

    I'm sure many of you guys had searched for a daily user but for those that have or had tried both M's and IIIc/IIIf's do you think that the IIIc/IIIf is a "better" daily user? Does it actually feel more ligher/portable/compact? I know that the difference looks smaller from the numbers but sometimes feeling it in your hand is different. Whenever I think about getting a IIIc/IIIf, I think, 'how archaic?' and that the size/weight savings is trivial.

  2. #2
    jmcd's Avatar
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    I do not regard the M3 as bulky, but the iii series is definitely smaller, carries very easily, and fits nicely in the hand with the bottom of the camera nestling into the middle of the palm.

  3. #3
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    Minolta 16... full manual shutter and aperture range, and chewing gum compact. I quipped it and a Hasselblad 500 with 80mm would be my carry around Havana kit. BTW I like M3's too. If I had a one camera Havana kit it might be it. The Minolta 16 can go anywhere and the camera you have is the best camera when a scene or event happens.

  4. #4

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    You could look at the early Canon LTM cameras. Similar to the IIIc but with a unified finder (one window for composition and focus). It is even more squinty than the IIIc though.

    Another option would be the Olympus 35rc. It's about as small as rangefinders are going to get without collapsing like the Contax T.

  5. #5
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    Have you considered the Leica CL, or the Minolta CL/CLE cameras with the 40mm summicron? I like using one of these, as they are light weight, have a very bright viewfinder and rangefinder. They also have TTL metering, although you have to use a Wein cell or adjust the asa setting to compensate for using an alkaline cell that has more output. It works fine for me and is quick to focus, has nicely laid out controls, and the lens is really sharp. You can use a 50mm as well as a 90mm lens too. If you use a collapsable 50mm be careful not to collapse the lens, or it could crush the pop up meter cell.
    Maybe worth checking out, as they're usually cheaper than other M series cameras.

  6. #6
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    There are brunettes, yes , but none of their eyes are perfect as leica.

  7. #7
    AgX
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    puketronic,

    You have no problems with a collapsible lens, nor with bottom loading, but are bothered by unfolding a camera.
    I am puzzled.

  8. #8

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    It is not only the unfolding but changing the aperture/shutter speed. I know it sounds trivial. I'm not sure about your experiences with cameras and how you use them but sometimes the trivial things just get in the way. I'm 35mm, I value compactness and speed the most. I love the ergonomics of my Rollei 35...but it is not a rangefinder.

    What I dislike about the Retina is how the shutter speed and aperture are linked and adjusting one without the other isn't fast. I like to adjust the settings often and indepently. And this can only be done when the camera is unfolded. So when I see something interesting I have to unfold the camera, mess with the settings, focus and shoot.

    With the Leica LTM I you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture independently and I would think that this can be done while the lens is collapsed. So when I see something interesting I just uncollapse the lens, focus and shoot.

    The Leica LTM just sounds faster to operate.

    The bottom loading is no problem at all because I do not change films that often. I have never been bothered by bottom loading my M3 and I figured that an LTM would be more or less the same...maybe more frustrating at first but I don't find it a major deterrent.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by agnosticnikon View Post
    Have you considered the Leica CL, or the Minolta CL/CLE cameras with the 40mm summicron? I like using one of these, as they are light weight, have a very bright viewfinder and rangefinder. They also have TTL metering, although you have to use a Wein cell or adjust the asa setting to compensate for using an alkaline cell that has more output. It works fine for me and is quick to focus, has nicely laid out controls, and the lens is really sharp. You can use a 50mm as well as a 90mm lens too. If you use a collapsable 50mm be careful not to collapse the lens, or it could crush the pop up meter cell.
    Maybe worth checking out, as they're usually cheaper than other M series cameras.
    That is one that I would possibly consider. Thanks.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by puketronic View Post

    The bottom loading is no problem at all because I do not change films that often. I have never been bothered by bottom loading my M3 and I figured that an LTM would be more or less the same...maybe more frustrating at first but I don't find it a major deterrent.
    The bottom loading of a IIIF is a whole other thing and not to be compared with an M3. It is still slow even if you do all the things that make is faster. Even then doing it slowly is the only way to ensure the film is engaged over the sprocket teeth because the camera will fool you at some time or other into thinking everything is OK. Even Cartier Bresson has images reproduced with the sprocket holes in evidence at the edge of the frame.

    But a IIIF is much smaller than an M3, and with a collapsible lens is truly a pocket camera (coat pocket). But the finder is squinty, an accessory finder is better (for whatever focal length, even 50mm), but then the size of the overall package starts to increase and you are back to an M3..... I think if you work with a IIIF, and forget about comparing it to an M3 you may find it the perfect camera, but I think it is one of those rare camera's that I think you need to try for yourself. The ergonomic's will either have you banging your head against the wall, or loving it beyond all other things.

    Steve
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_barnett/

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