Any Digital Photographers comtemplating a Leica M (Film) Body Purchase?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by brad_herman|1, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. All;

    I am a digital photographer D300, 24-70mm F/2.8 AF-S Nikkor, 70-200mm F/2.8G AF-S, 14-24mm F/2.8 G AF-S
    etc. Pro Glass.

    I also own a Nikon P5000 10MP compact digital. This camera is ok. In perfect lighting, not too big of an enlargement

    I've owned Leicas in the past and really enjoyed them. I don't have any Leica glass anymore, but (perhaps I'm nuts),
    I'm thinking about a Leica M6 or M7 (used). The only 35mm that I own now is a Rollei 35 (German) with the Tessar

    Sometimes I just want to "go back to basics", if you know what I mean. I usew the Rollei when I want to travel light
    and get good results, but it's no Leica. Also. it's becoming more difficult to get 35mm film developed by a decent lab.

    Should I just save my money $$? Is there any merit to this? I'm not interested in an M8


  2. That's a question only you can answer. Here are some others to consider: Can you afford the entry fee? If yes, would you use it enough to justify the expense? Just how hard is it to get 35mm developed well where you are? Why did you switch to digital in the first place? Would you be happier putting your $$$ towards the new D700, which would let you use those lenses as Michio Kariya

    I've occasionally regretted selling my Bessa R and all of its little Russian friends, and have thus pondered the same thing you are, only at a different price point (Fed 2s are pretty...) I just keep coming back to what I actually take pictures with vs. what I might like to take pictures with, and that comes back to my Canon 20d every time. But that's just me.
  3. If Leica moves you, it can be very inspiring. I love my M6. Shoot the C-41 black and white films or color print or slide and scan at home. I recommend the Coolscan V. Oh, and get a good printer and monitor calibrator. I use the R2400 Epson and an X-rite I1 Display 2 calibrator. Enjoy!
  4. I shoot with a GR Digital and a Leica II / Summicron 50. After purchasing the GRD last year, I hardly touched the Leica,
    not because the results were better (they are good, just different from film) but because it was so much easier to use. On
    a recent trip however I did shoot a few rolls with the Leica. Some amazing photos came back - not a technical issue, it
    was more that I managed to capture moments and feelings with the Leica that in a year with digital I wasn't able to. I put it
    down to being forced to slow down and contemplate each shot before taking it and using a 50mm external viewfinder, being
    able to take a shot with both eyes wide open and having no blackout is unparalleled. If cost is a concern, shoot bulk and
    develop/scan yourself. I buy Tri-X in 100ft rolls, roll my own, develop in HC-110 and scan with a Coolscan V.
  5. if you are interested in developing your own film i would jump to another m body. an m6 and 35mm 'cron asph is all i shot on for many
    years. it was such a pleasure i now plod about with the m8 and zm 25mm. that's it that's all... no "which bag" debate, no "which zoom?"
    debate. one camera and one lens. my "zoom" is a black pair of converse all-stars.
    the m6 bodies are fairly well priced and to be honest i am not sure if aperture priority is worth another grand.
  6. I agree with Jon. There are very few objects so well designed for the hand as the Leica M film cameras. Or lenses so well tuned to film. To me it is all about a rhythm of work, and rhythm in photography is about a relationship between me, the camera and the light. For that, I just want to be simple. The Leica fosters simplicity. I gave up color, mostly, and now it's just BW-- an Mp, 35 cron, agfa apx400, develop it and scan it; I still have the negs if I want to print silver or I can be sending those digitized pics in emails to friends or post them on a little website, or even print them on inkjet. ALl this is no savings of time or money-- it's not apples and oranges. It's about that pleasure Jon said above, hard to explain, but if there is appeal in it, why not rent a rig for a fewdays? Samy's in LA, for example, rents you a body and an asph 35 cron for $100, pick up FRiday return monday. See if you like before you commit.
  7. I am a digital photographer D300, 24-70mm F/2.8 AF-S Nikkor, 70-200mm F/2.8G AF-S, 14-24mm F/2.8 G AF-S etc.
    Either you are a photographer or not. There is no "digital photographer".
    There is nothing a film camera can deliver that your current outfit can not.
  8. A few alternatives, from someone that owns a an M6 and D80:)

    Another path is an FM2 or FM3, and a few of Zeiss F mount primes. They could still be used on your D300, and you'd get the back to
    basics without a completely new system.
  9. I stand corrected. I am not a "Digital Photographer". I'm a photographer who utilizes "digital" as my photographic medium of choice.
  10. "There are very few objects so well designed for the hand as the Leica M film cameras". So Leica should really discontinue manufacturing their M-grips?

  11. There is merit in going back to basics. An M6 is a good bet. Money is for spending and wasting. Have fun.
  12. I'm off to Austria tomorrow. I'll be taking my two Leicas with three lenses. It'll take me longer to make each shot and a lot longer untill I see them but I think that's a good thing, when I'm on holiday. As ever, your mileage may well vary. :)))
  13. I agree with the first guy, Greg. Do you really want to start a whole new format? are you that unsatisfied with your digital
    nikon? would you prefer playing with your glass for what they where intended to be used for (full frame i.e. d700). What
    about a nice little nikon F6? there you go. use all your nice glass with film and if you still are not satisfied, get a leica. I
    love my leica(s) even though they do burn a hole through my pocket like no other. i suggest renting one maybe. If its the
    film you really want i suggest to get a cheap $200 f100 and see how you like the film feel.

    Good luck and happy hunting.
  14. Yeah I have a D3, Pro glass etc. Recently bought an M7 as a carry around camera and for streetshots. Beautiful
    bit of kit, very smooth, very quiet, although viewfinder is not as good as the Bessa R2A I had before. I like it but it
    doesn't get hauled everywhere as it's too heavy and expensive (I worry incessantly about it getting stolen). Sadly I
    would probably not take it or use it anywhere where it would be at risk which is most foreign places, interesting
    urban areas, night locations, tube in the evening...all the places where you are most likely to get an interesting shot!

    Maybe I should sell it and buy a Coolpix...
  15. was more that I managed to capture moments and feelings with the Leica that in a year with digital I wasn't able to....
    This is either your frame of mind or that you are more used to the Leica. Both reasons are legitimate, but it's not an issue inherent to the equipment.
  16. It's amazing how much feeling and emotion is transfered to a metal and glass object. I love my Leica M's. But Leica AG
    has no magic pixie dust that makes a Leica capture moments and feelings better than a Coolpix. If you just want a new
    camera system and have the money to play, get the Leica. But, the magic is in the photographer, not in the Leica.
  17. Recently I purchased a Leica M body with three lenses (21, 35 and 90) and for some things it's just the best tool for me. For close-ups and a lot of messing around, my preference is for a DSLR. I hope to do some stage photography eventually and I'll use the Leica for that probably. So FWIW the Leica is a better choice for certain things, but not for most things.
  18. Wanna have Leica fun? Get a IIIF RD & collapsible 50 Summicron & a Leica 50mm Briteline finder. Great shots; great camera;
    great tradition.
  19. If you really want to go back to basics, get an M2. It will be cheaper and you can use the clip on Voigtlander meter. You can use the latest lenses if you can afford them. The 50/2 modern summicron is a bargain by Leica lens standards. KEH probably has some decent prices on older M2s. It will give you the 35-50-90 frame lines which I like better than the M3 system. The M6 has more frame lines you you may like it better or not as well but the M2 is nicely uncluttered.

    Second the Coolscan V as a scanner.
  20. Sure I think there is merit in wanting a Leica, everyone that owns one thinks there is.

    So why not get a user beater? How about an M3 missing vulcanite? I like the IIIF suggestion but skip the meter, Sunny 16 works, Wally*World processing without prints is about $4.40, not expensive at all for fondling with film in the camera. (Fondling being the joy of using the camera.)

    Or a 0.58 finder and a CV wide?

    You already like Leicas, have experience with them, I wouldn't think to much about it, we're dead a long time.
  21. The IIIf (which I have) has it's charm, but the M's are much better 'user' cameras due to the better viewfinder.
  22. "...the M's are much better 'user' cameras due to the better viewfinder."

    It can depend on the intended use. Last month I bought my first Leica, a IIIF w/ collapsible instead of a used M.
    I needed an interchangeable lens camera I could carry in a pocket, including jeans. As the go everywhere
    camera, I tend to use hyper-focus (and Sunny 16), so the finders are not much of an issue for me. But I do see
    an M in my future, too.
  23. Get a 'real M7' - the Mamiya 7. The extra real estate makes a tremendous difference in tonality.
  24. I just bought an M6 TTL titanium panda. In my mind, nothing digital is like it. Consider a Voigtlander with their excellent glass, or with a nice used 50 summicron for $400-$500. You can find a good Bessa R2 for a few hundred.
  25. I use only rangefinders now (after years of film and digital slr's). I recently purchased a used Epson R-d1 digital rangefinder for a fraction of the M8. Boy this is a lot of fun, but I know the fun will wear off and I will return to my film bodies. BTW my Costco makes really great scan for me for $2 a roll.
  26. cant beat that TRX feeling man.
  27. Going against the grain, if you want to return to film and would like to use an RF, then consider a medium format rangefinder. With a maximum of 16 shots on 120 film, you'll learn to value every one over 36 35mm frames. I find developing b/w MF film easier than developing 35mm, and the larger format is ideal for enlarging/printing in a darkroom. There's still a wide selection of 120 and 220 films available, including Kodak's colour Portra series, Tri-X, T-MAX and a range of Ilfords, including the Pan-F 50. Fuji does a number of reversable films in this format as well as its own b/w Neopan. And the cameras (usually with lenses) can be had for prices well below those of used Leica bodies.
    However, if you're absolutely stuck on a Leica, then go for the M6.
  28. Not anymore. My M3 arrived on Monday. It will join my venerable Nikon FTn as an occassional shooter. Like you I had previously owned a Leica. In my experience, rangefinder cameras encourage a different style of shooting than SLRs. I regretting selling my modest Bessa R kit when I switched to digital a few years back and recently picked up a used Epson R-D1. This led to the purchase of some used Leica glass, and coming full circle to an M3 similar to the one I owned in the mid 70's. I think the M series Leicas are among the most beautifully designed cameras ever made. There's probably more emotion than logic in that purchase but It pleases me. My wife doesn't understand but hopes this will help speed the disappearence of the last of the outdated Provia from the shelf in the freezer door.
  29. Definitely get a Leica. Prints from film look way better than any case, the Leica is a vastly superior instrument to
    any Nikon, Dwhatever included. There is simply no comparison.

    Get an M3, if you can. It is the best of the lot. You won't regret it. All this crap about AF, digital, etc, is all just marketing
    malarky, in my mind. They are bigger, noisier, and heavier, and the crucial moment of firing the shutter is done in darkness
    with an SLR. With a leica you can keep your eye on the action, and it is small and inoffensive. There is no comparison for
  30. To me it is amazing that in 60 years or so, Canon/Nikon etc, have never once matched the M3.

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