As Paul has humorously pointed out, lots of us get bitten by camera boredom from time to time and think that another camera would do something magical for our photography. After the honeymoon period wears off, though, you look at your negs and think "meh, so what's different?" and the new darling gets traded in for yet another brand/format which will do something magical for our photography.
After many decades of this I've finally determined that it's better to use what I have and simply do the discipline a bit differently. Just use a 50mm lens for a year, only shoot below knee level on the street for three months, shoot one lampost and whoever comes near it for 24 hours straight... I find that kind of thing usually renews my enthusiasm for photography in general and eases the pain of gear boredom.
You can buy a decade's-worth of film for the price of a Leica. Which would give you more satisfaction only you can decide.
I've never been a fan of rangefinders, and I'm not convinced that a Leica is worth the price. Sure, you've got lenses that can whip the piss out of a good deal of other lenses, but that only means anything of you have the technical dicipline (and I'm sure you do) to get the most out of them. Still, you're dealing with a 35mm negative; unless you know that you really need the compactness and silence of a rangefinder, you might be better off buying more (or better if you dont have Nikon's highest-quality) lenses and more film. You could even get a pretty good MF setup for the price of a Leica, and the bigger negative is another plus :D
But that's just my opinion. And to put my opinion in to perspective, I shoot Pentax K-1000's and have no reason to get anything "better".
I learned on SLR's, so I like how they work. After learning on an SLR, I cant get my mind in to rangefinder mode. Other people have less trouble switching than I do. I think that's worth noting.
There's so much that has been said about Leicas, but at their height and with consistent use, they will become just an extension of your arm and vision. Even with non-metering models, just the entire aspect of walking around, pre-setting shutter speeds and f-stops, and then focus, click, wind.
You can do the same thing with any decent SLR, but there's something so unobtrusive about a Leica that it isn't the same as raising an SLR to the eye and shooting - the latter commonly has that feeling of "picture being taken by camera now."
Consider too the often underrated aspect of Leicas, and rangefinders in general - the effect that the camera has on the subject. An unobtrusive rangefinder can be both unobtrusive to the photographer and to the subject and it at times in has benefits on the photographs themselves.
Aside from that, they're small, can be reliably shot at slow speeds, and are very quiet.
I have an FM2, I bought a Leica M4 a few years back. I still have the FM2. This is what I wrote about my M4 experience a while ago:
Originally Posted by rakeshmravi
I will also say in retrospect that I didn't like the arcane film loading, I hated the cost of the lenses, external viewfinders for ultra-wides is a huge hassle and the body was the same size and weight as my FM2. The small lenses are great - the cost not so. There was nothing that I found the Leica could do that the Nikon couldn't (except bleed my bank account dry), however, the Nikon has depth of field preview, fisheye lenses, easy film loading and can focus close.
Originally Posted by perkeleellinen
This is the most important thing to consider. The way you photograph and look at things will change with a rangefinder. The biggest difference, for me at least, is the ability to see what's outside of the frame and I absolutely love it. That and the fact that everything in the viewfinder is always in focus makes rangefinders a very different shooting experience, you should be able to understand why street shooters will find these two facts beneficial. I started my rangefinder journey with an Olympus 35 SP and fell in love with it. Since then I have gotten several other fixed lens RFs and just this week I received a Canon P which is a camera I've been lusting after for a while after trying out rangefinders. I still shoot with my manual focus Nikon gear, but for most "general purpose" photography (as well as stuff like street) I prefer the rangefinders. They just feel right and are more fun to shoot with.
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau
If I didn't have the M6 I'd have a Bessa R2A instead. I bought a second hand Leica after owning two different Bessa models, mainly because I thought I should have one before I died. I use CV lenses because they're affordable and for all practical purposes they're as good as the Leica glass. If I needed some cash I'd sell the Leica before the Bessa. The Leica has a nice feel to it but that's probably more to do with the weight or "heft" and does nothing different for my images. The Leica weighs in about the same as my old Nikkormats.
The Bessa is not a Leica but it's build is adequate for all normal photographic use, it's much lighter than a Leica but about the same physical size, it's easy to load with a fully opening back and it has a couple of neat features which the M6 doesn't. It has a shutter lock so you don't inadvertently end up with blank frames. It has a little window that lets you see what film you have loaded. It has AE which the M7 has but not the M6, and you can run it in manual mode rather than AE if you want. People will try to make a big deal about the shutter needing a battery to operate. Ignore them. If it worries you, carry a spare battery or buy the Bessa R2M. Change the battery every Christmas. I've never had one fail on me yet. If you think about the logic of their argument then they shouldn't wear a battery powered watch - the battery might fail. Sure! So do they go out and buy a spring wound analogue Rolex or something? I bet they don't.
I hope someone who is at the point of thinking whether a semi battery-dependant Leica M7 or 'pure' MP is the best for him, already knows that the world of real meachanical watches start where that of Rolex ends. ;)
Originally Posted by Leigh Youdale
Yes, the Leica is a great camera, there is no doubt about it. However, it's a luxury item and as it was pointed out you can get a great MF system for the price of a Leica body + lens, or have a compact SLR + many great lenses for it. The other side of the argument says it really helps our vision to develop by working with a single camera and lens (and film and developer) and certainly the price of S/H and new Leica lenses help keeping the lens inventory small. Even Voigtländer lenses are not as cheap as decent S/H Zuiko or manual focus Nikkor glass.
If you already have a great Nikon system that you like, I don't see that much reason to change. I think it matters more WRT speed how familiar you're with your gear than what you actually use, and a smaller, lighter body might be what you really want. If you like the viewfinder of an SLR, there is really no point to change, on the other hand, if you always feel there is something not quite right with it, than a rangefinder can be your ticket.
On a final note, you can always get a lot of nice paper and film from what is left after selling the F6 and getting a smaller manual focus body.
Yes, an M series Leica is the ultimate, that is it is the ultimate in costume jewelery
Less tongue in cheek, they are superb, but a Leica is a totally different camera to a Nikon and you must decide what you want to do with 35mm photography and decide on the basis of that
If you want to use 35mm focal length only then go for the Leica plus 35mm 4th series Summicron
I have never bought a camera since 2007. So it is for street and only from a practical point. Just on the street. Leica cannot do anything else better (Tele and Macro work), at least for me.
Originally Posted by Paul Goutiere
Now way. I am not giving my F6 to anyone. :)
Originally Posted by Aron
Thanks for the opinions guys, I think I will stick with my F6 for few more months, do some testing with a rented piece and see how it goes.
I have been back and forth over this line several times in the last 50 years: cheap RF>Nikon>Leica>Olympus>Leica>NikonDSLR>Nikon film. Along the way I have always kept at least one Leica, just in case. I used to believe that one "saw" differently with different cameras, but now I'm trending towards thinking habit is a greater force. In all of those years, the only line I couldn't easily jump was BW/Color. How I see there depends on what film is in the camera, no way around that (for me).
In the last round I considered buying another Leica, and took a look at prices. As someone mentioned, something has happened, and I can't justify it, so I'm satisfying that urge with cheap Nikons. Just bought a N90 on Ebay for $20. :-) It's first auto-focus film fun camera (the DSLR is for business) , and I think I'm in love with auto-focus! Since I have a full Nikon digital kit based mostly on AF-D primes, it was an easy jump.
For you, I'd say the best advice in previous posts is to get a cheap RF camera and try it for a while. I still carry an Olympus XA when going light.