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Thread: Which Leica M?

  1. #41

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    I have an M3 and love the finder, but carrying and using the 35mm with the goggles kind of sucks. Mine make it marginally darker and harder to see (although the framelines are more visible while wearing glasses than the M2 without goggles, I'll give it that...)

    Thus, I'd prefer to own an M2 (and a non-goggle lens), since the 35mm and 50mm are mostly what I use, and the 90mm finder will do for my rare occasions I want the longer lens.

    Rewind crank vs. knob isn't an issue to me, like I thought it would be, and frankly all Leicas are a pain in the ass to reload when you're in a hurry; the rewind is the least cumbersome step regardless. (when rewinding, I tend to hold the knob and rotate the camera around it--works much more quickly for me than holding the camera and spinning the tiny knob...)

    Since I use an external meter, the M2 or M3 are great for me. If I used a wider range of lenses, I'd consider the M4-2, and if I needed a meter, I'd go for an M6...if I used flash a lot, the M6 TTL.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentX View Post
    Rewind crank vs. knob isn't an issue to me, like I thought it would be, and frankly all Leicas are a pain in the ass to reload when you're in a hurry; the rewind is the least cumbersome step regardless.
    Not true. I can unload and reload my M6 and M4-2 very quickly, at least as fast as any 35mm slr. I've never timed myself, but it's a matter of seconds. Definitely less than a minute.
    The M3 with the old style takeup spool does take more time, yes. But it's still not that bad.
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  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddym View Post
    Not true. I can unload and reload my M6 and M4-2 very quickly, at least as fast as any 35mm slr. I've never timed myself, but it's a matter of seconds. Definitely less than a minute.
    The M3 with the old style takeup spool does take more time, yes. But it's still not that bad.
    I'm sure that you can load a Leica very quickly. But it's demonstrable that loading a Leica takes more individual movements than any standard modern (and virtually all classic) SLR, and that some of these movements are extremely fine-motor skill actions, moreso than with an SLR.

    Therefore, if you practiced with an SLR as much as you've obviously practiced with your Lecia, and could perform the fewer actions at around the same speed (yes, each action takes a differing amount of time, but the actions on an SLR are generally simpler...) you'd absolutely have to be faster than you are with a Leica.

    So though you personally may be able to load a Leica faster than you load an SLR, because you've practiced more, or load your Leica faster than I can load my SLR, the Leica is still slower with all other things being equal.

    This is not to mention the fact that handling the Leica requires juggling several detached pieces during the loading process, and that fumbling one (under stress, especially, as a photojournalist might face while working) can then require finding and cleaning the piece, or suffering the total loss of the working camera until a replacement is procured. (Or being forced to carry spare baseplates and takeup reels, which still lose time for you while fishing them out...not to mention the cost and inability to procure more backups while working in the field...)

    It's roughly equivalent to reloading a revolver vs. an automatic pistol, which is something I'm professionally intimate with. Some people insist that just because a particular pistol-gaming shooter can reload a revolver in 2.1 seconds, a revolver is "just as fast or faster" than an automatic. Simply not the case, and certainly not in the stress of a firefight...again, requires more numerous, more precise fine-motor movements. And loss of fine-motor control is the first thing to happen to the body under stress or excitement.


    Edit to add: In any case, the worst I've had to deal with reloading a Leica was shooting for pleasure atop Kilimanjaro in the cold and thin air, and I did just fine, albiet pretty slowly...I really don't think we're adding anything to the OP's question...I'd still recommend an M2 or M3 depending on his lens preferences...

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentX View Post
    ..........This is not to mention the fact that handling the Leica requires juggling several detached pieces during the loading process, and that fumbling one (under stress, especially, as a photojournalist might face while working) can then require finding and cleaning the piece, or suffering the total loss of the working camera until a replacement is procured. (Or being forced to carry spare baseplates and takeup reels, which still lose time for you while fishing them out...not to mention the cost and inability to procure more backups while working in the field...)............
    Your kidding, right? I always heard that the Leica was pretty popular with journalist. Maybe I am wrong but I think you kind of overstated the problem. JMHO
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  5. #45
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    I'm not familiar with Leicas; can someone explain to me how you reload them, and why it's different than Japanese SLRs? I'm trying to imagine any other loading scheme and having a hard time understanding how it could be that different.
    f/22 and be there.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I'm not familiar with Leicas; can someone explain to me how you reload them, and why it's different than Japanese SLRs? I'm trying to imagine any other loading scheme and having a hard time understanding how it could be that different.
    You load a Leica by entirely removing the bottom plate (via a turning a tab that folds out from the base), removing/stowing the rewound cannister, partially inserting a new cannister and pulling out some film tongue, pulling the takeup reel out of the camera from the bottom, attaching the film tongue, opening a back viewing door to expose the film track, sticking the cannister and takeup spool (now connected) back into the camera, moving the wind lever to take up slack and ensure the feed sprockets are engaged, then closing the back and re-attaching the bottom.

    Thus in all, you're juggling the camera, bottom plate, takeup reel, spent cannister, and fresh cannister. Not that someone familiar with the process doesn't have a system down for dealing with this...just pointing out the parts involved to deal with, and how it's much more cumbersome than your average SLR.


    Fotch, photojournalists dedicated to the Leica worked around the awkward reload quite well. That doesn't mean it's not awkward; it just means they were dedicated and practiced a lot, along with carrying spare baseplates and takeup reels. (and, I'm guessing for most, keeping multiple cameras loaded at all times, like photojournalists with many different makes and models did.)

    Edit: I've also never reloaded a more modern Leica than the M3. Frankly wasn't aware they had different takeup spools. But they still load through the bottom.

    However, the OP wants a Leica--let's get back to recommending him one. My intent was not to disturb the faithful.

  7. #47

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    dear OP,

    I would recommend a Leica M6 classic. There's a lot of them going around(B&H, KEH, craigslist). For the M6, you may want to take into consideration the different viewfinder sizes (.58, .72, and .85). .72 seems to be the most common. You might need to spend extra for a CLA if the camera is not in good condition.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentX View Post
    Edit: I've also never reloaded a more modern Leica than the M3. Frankly wasn't aware they had different takeup spools. But they still load through the bottom.
    It's significant enough that your statement doesn't really apply to anyone using a modern M for journalist purposes. Any M past, and including, the M4 will load fast with only a temporary spot, like a pocket, needed for the bottom plate.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

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  9. #49

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    Well, again, this thread is about what Leica to recommend--someone took a passing comment about Leicas in general being a pain in the ass to load (which they are, compared to SLRs) and it spiralled from there.

    My only point in making the comment was that the rewind style of any particular Leica model isn't too big of a deal, so the OP shouldn't be hung up on getting one with a rewind crank instead of a knob, or vice-versa. There are things that matter far more for most of us...I doubt many of us as amateurs will be using the cameras in situations where either loading or rewinding is critically important, or where we lose a baseplate as we try to reload the camera under mortar fire.

    The viewfinder, I think, is issue #1, and the decision of which Leica model to go with should be made based on the lenses one plans to use. In general, I'd recommend the simpler M2 or M3 finder (fewer extraneous framelines) if the shooter only plans on using the moderate, classic focal lengths, or has a love of accessory viewfinders. If not, there are many more variables to consider.

  10. #50
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    It is a PITA to reload, but reloading an M is a piece of cake next to reloading my IIIa or IIIf, and even then I have managed to reload them fairly quickly. I can reload my M2 in less than a minute, it probably takes about two minutes or so to reload the LTM Leicas.
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