Thank you so much everyone for their inputs. I guess making little adjustments like making sure that I use low ISO film with my Leica can really work. I don't think I can invest much in a lot of new equipment so I'll stick to the low iso idea.
Thank you so much for the information. Apug rules!
Are you sure you really want to go into areas you describe with a valuable camera like Leica?? Sounds like you are going into crime ridden area. It can be stolen, or you could be mugged, right? You may be in a situation where someone wants your camera and your only choice is put it down and RUN. (or be hurt or killed protecting it)
You could pickup a cheap Nikon and lens and it'll cost you maybe $100?
By the way, Tmax400 is pretty darn smooth.... it's my standard film.
I am also doing a project (portraits) on film and decided to get a Pentax 6x7 with a 135 Macro. Bought both for about $300 and so far am very happy with results. Looks like with Tmax 400 and Epson V500 scanner can print up to A2, with a better scanner I'm sure I could easily go A1 with lots of detail. The P67 is much easier and quicker to shoot. Changing film is a bit quicker too.
What's your project?