Originally Posted by Dali
I am one of those 20.
For me, I've found nothing better than Barnack Leicas (I'm not a big M fan.) I enjoy nothing more than to walk around with a 50mm lens on mine, and a few rolls of film. Almost every single one of my favorite photos has been taken with one.
I seem to be a rare breed - all of my friends and most dealers have commented that no one else they know of uses them exclusively.
Poor OP! He decided on a "Barnack Leica" and he get's a bunch of people raining on his decision.
I'd go with the newest one you can get. I just held a near mint IIIg that was delightful with a clear finder.
I already dismissed the Leica Barnack idea.
I'm not coming from an auto-everything SLR, but a Kodak Retina IIIc. Both are similar in that they are manual exposure (well, the way I use it atleast) and have squinty viewfinders, so those are things that I'm used to. I just wanted a RF that is ready-to-shoot and has decent focusing abilities without compromising build. A good LTM body might fit this bill and it might even be easier to focus because of the higher magnification, but the nicer Leica LTM lenses seem a bit expensive and overpriced. I think that I'd rather save up and go M instead or just deal with the Retina cameras.
Re-reading this thread makes me want to go Leica Barnack!
I'm going to try to get my hands on some Leica Barnack cameras in the future to see how I like the handling. I feel that going M might be overkill for my needs because the high price that they command.
The Retina IIIc was a decent performer, although Leica has an edge in performance and much more robust construction. The main advantages of the LTM were compactness and a good variety of older lenses. I used them for 15 years before switching to the M series. For anyone wanting a pocket size camera capable of quality photos, the Retina and LTM are still logical. The slightly better versatility of the M made it a logical choice for me. The durability of one M4 for 42 years is testimony to Leica's engineering and build quality
Remember, any LTM camera may be overdue for a CLA. The battered 1939 Leica I bought long ago for its Nikkor lens quit working maybe 10 years ago. Probably cleaning and lubing would put it right. An early postwar IIIc has bad shutter curtains. The shutter in the Canon P bought new is sluggish, which may be due to years of storage. A Canon 7 bought second hand for its f/1.4 lens in 1968 seems to be working. Older cameras are always a gamble. However, a camera with the build quality of Leica after an expert CLA should be cost effective over its remaining years.
If you are used to a Retina, then going to a Barnack camera will be easy. I like my Retina IIa a lot, but it is not very ergonomic. If the door was hinged on the other side, it would be a huge improvement.