Buying M6 tonight.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by byron_fry|1, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. Hi guys, after much deliberation, I am buying a used m6 with a 35mm lens tonight
    for $2000. I got it off rff from a guy in toronto. Seems in really nice shape.
    Now, what do I need to get ready? Film wise I am going to buy some tri x 400,
    does anyone have any other reccomendations. I think I will get it processed
    first, can I do this just anywhere or do I need to get it done at a professional
    lab? Eventually I want to start developing it myself, and the possibly buy a
    nikon coolscan or another 35mm scanner. Anyone have any advice?
  2. does the VF have the upgraded fix for flare?

    as for film; i recommend ilford films...the delta 100/400/3200 are my favourites for BW. but if you prefer the new triX or Tmax film...go with it. film is about function and have to learn what looks good and works well for you:)

    as far as film processing goes, i think it depends on what you need the images for...most 1 hr places can scan to cd and give you good images to put on the net or for smaller prints...but is that what you need? processing your own BW film and scanning it is very rewarding and fun for me. perhaps you will find it likewise... I use a epson v700 scanner and find I get good results from it.
  3. btw which 35mm lens is it?...i see you didn't specify.
  4. tri-x is the way !

    get your first contact sheet processed and buy a used 5-reels and 2-reels film tank from paterson or other, it's easy much much cheaper. Do it 5 rolls at a time, use D76 and it's quick.
  5. try some Ilford B&W. Before it goes away give Kodachrome 64 and 200 a shot and send it to Dawynes.
  6. You can not typically get tri-x processed at drugstores or Walmart, but I don't recommend that anyway. Frankly, most of my processing is done at Ritz/Wolf for decent fast turn around of shots playing around, but the quality there also varies by location, but very few of those chain outfits process tri-x either. While tri-x is an often preferred film for rangefinder lovers, unless you have a good relationship with a lab and are prepared to pay for custom printing, or you are already set-up to process your own, then I don't think this is the way to go for your first day with the camera. I would say that the last thing you want to do is take a lot of time taking pictures or perhaps worse, plow through a role carelessly, and get them processed somewhere where you don't know what to expect and then wait at least a few days for prints and find that they are just not that great. That might just make you wonder why you took the plunge, and that would be a shame.

    I would get one of the 400 speed C-41 black and white films or Kodak 400 Ultra Color. Take a variety of types of pictures over a couple days: some quick candids to exploit the rangefinder handling attributes, but some controlled images also, maybe even a few with a tripod and then get it processed at the best 2 or 3 hour turnaround place you can find in your area, and get as high a resolution CD as they reasonably offer with your prints and negatives. One of my favorite applications for my M6 is low light slightly braced wide open images that exploit the camera's low vibration and the lens' great wide open performance, and done with some care, the benefits are visible even with high quality consumer processing.

    The main thing is not to judge the experience too quickly if you don't have rangefinder experience, and don't judge the results based on a couple rolls of film if you can not eliminate the processing variables. In fact, you might even consider shooting a roll of professional E-6 slide film like Kodak E200 if you have a place to process it overnight and if you have a slide projector. I still shoot a fair amount of Kodachrome, but I have to wait about two weeks for processing, and I wouldn't do that with the new camera.

    The M6 is an instrument so ideally devised for its task that it really can be inspiring. I find it to be very unusual in our world of machines. Enjoy.
  7. Byron,

    In Victoria, the trick is to identify a lab that processes black and white to begin with :) You want a lab that does it daily or every couple of days. There are unlikely to be more than one or two.

    There is a lot to be said for doing your own processing, at least at the beginning. You'll learn a great deal, very quickly, about how film works, and processing is so cheap that it encourages experimentation both in your shooting and your processing.

    Some people think that one should pick a single film and stick with it. I think that a little experimenting can be interesting. For example, if you shoot in low light, you might want to try a couple of films - an ISO 400 film pushed a couple of stops to 1600, and a fast film such as Ilford Delta 3200 processed normally.
  8. Byron

    congratulations at least you bought the right outfit a 35mm is a great focal length.

    You really should consider developing your own negs you can buy everything you need for less than $50.00 and load your film in a cupboard{I do} the reason I say this is control. Why spend $2,000 on the finest camera combination and then roll the dice on having the negs developed.
    My advice is make the effort and do it yourself you will feel much more part of the process if you do it yourself,and with scanning having a nice negative is a very important part of the process.

    good luck Steve
  9. the easiest thing to do, since you don't process your own black and white, is to shoot some c-41 process black and white film. my favorite is ilford xp-2. shoot twenty rolls or so to get the feel of the camera. don't be afraid to shoot color as well. regardless of what you might read on this forum, basically any color film will suffice. 400 is a good speed for the color (that is what the xp-2 is). don't blow your money on a professional lab until you are shooting something worthy of the big $$. your local drugstore lab can do a good job for about $10 for a 36 exposure roll with double prints.......
    the leica culture is ok as long as you don't let it go to your head...
    have fun.
  10. I agree as above- start with 10-20 rolls of C41 B&W, either XP2 or Kodak 400 CN. I prefer
    Plus-X and Tri-X only if I develop it myself. Another benefit of C41 is you can use digital ICE
    to get rid of spots and scratches when you scan.
  11. Not sure if you are buying online or not, but in case you didn't get a chance to hold and check the condition of the camera and lens, Gandy of fame has a pretty good checklist here that you can try on your M6 when it arrives.
    Sorry if this is old news to you and welcome to the wonderful world of M.
  12. I think I will try the ilford xp2 for my first two or three rolls. Then I swear, I will dive straight into developing my own. Don't forget, coming off digital, the patience needed and the surmounting excitement after waiting for film to develop will kill me.
  13. Tri-X 400 D-76 (1:1) . First minute continuous agitation, then one inversion per minute.
  14. Byron,

    Congratulations. For the cost of a leica uv filter, you'll be able to buy the kit to develop your films. Once you do it yourself, you will never ask anyone else to do it. Even my six year old helps me now.
    You need a developing tank, a daylight changing bag, scissors, can opener (or film opener), some measuring jugs, a thermometer, some chemistry and a watch. Buy a book like Michael Langford's Darkroom handbook and practise loading an old film onto a developing tank spiral. Use some easy chemistry - single shot developer in liquid format eg ilfosol, rodinal or something similar. Get some STOP and FIXER (any brand will do).
    It is REALLY easy to do. Hang your wet film up to dry from your shower rail with a couple of paper bulldog clips.
    Be brave - have a go!

    Best wishes,


    Email me if you need any more advice
  15. I send my B&W work to Ken Lieberman in NYC and I am very very pleased with results. I use Ilford 400.

  16. i agree with Charlie. i would only add some printfile sheets to keep your negatives safe.
  17. Ditto the Print File sheets. Now the tricky part: WHICH Print File sheets? I finally settled on the ones that hold 7 strips of 5 frames each AND have the pocket for the contact sheet AND accommodate the file hanger spine (CP35-7 HB). This means I have to shoot either 24 exp rolls or shoot only 35 frames per roll of 36 exp, but the contacts are 8x10. Getting the right filing system going from the beginning is really a blessing! Enjoy the Leica!
  18. i prefer the ones that hold 7strips of 6 frames each 6 frame and i always try to shoot exactly
    36 frames so i can always make contact sheets of the whole roll.
  19. Charlie Chan's advice mirrors mine. I personally would start off with Tri-X and its recommended developer, but whatever you do stick with it and avoid variables until you understand the process; then move on to your planned experiments. Consistency is the key!
  20. When I use a prof. lab I always have it done "high contrast" for black and white. I seems to look better to me. Also, the Leica cries out for high contrast and regular printing always seems flat. Another thing that I have done is have them print sepia tone. They did not use real sepia paper but printed it on color paper and it appears to be very similar. I did that with Civil War re-enactments. Great camera. Have they told you the story about the dealer who threw the Leica against the wall to demonstrate its ruggedness?
  21. Byron,

    You mentioned that you're impatient. If you develop your own film, you will have a much
    faster service than any shop. For B&W, you can have the film developed, washed and up to
    dry within the hour. It'll be dry say within 3 hours. I don't know of any labs who'll do B&W
    much quicker, and that's only in daylight hours!! The satisfaction of doing your own
    darkroom work is fantastic. The whole image is yours from conception to finished product
    - magic, that's what my six year old calls it!
  22. Hey guys,
    No I have not heard about the leica that was chucked against the wall. But I have seen a poster of a leica stuck underneath the tire of a ferrari,underneath was written something like "try doing this with you slr"
    So, a few more questions. Where should I buy the developing stuff, can I get some of it at a department store or should I get it all at a camera store like Lens and Shutter.
    And now if I buy this stuff, and develop my film and all goes well and I have a roll negatives in a case-this is a really stupid question, totally a newb here- what do I do with it to get my pictures?
    Can I take the negative and get it printed somewhere? Or scanned? I don't have anything more than just a shifty printer/scanner set up and I don't have the cash banked to buy a scanner now. So, anyone have any ideas?
  23. Byron,

    You need to connect with people in Victoria who are working with film and know the local scene. It will be a bigger community than you might think. You might start, as I suggested in your earlier thread, with speaking with people in the photography department at UVic. Or perhaps with people at your former school. It will save you a lot of time, and perhaps a lot of money, when it comes to questions about what stores/labs are available to you and who you should be speaking with about processing film and printing negatives.

    To respond to your concrete questions:

    If you are going to process your own film, you have to identify a store in Victoria or Vancouver that sells the necessary gear and chemicals. It isn't expensive, but it isn't stuff that you are going to find in a department store. Starting out, there is a lot to be said for buying developer in liquid form, such as Ilford DD-X.

    When you have your negatives developed, you have three choices about printing:

    (1) print a contact sheet yourself or have it done by a lab (there are probably one or two in Victoria that can do it);

    (2) have the lab print 4x6 prints;

    (3) scan the negatives, which you can do yourself or have done by just about any of the local photo stores (if you have a store do it, you want cheap Frontier scans).

    Whatever route you take, the underlying idea with film is that you will be pretty ruthless in editing, based on evaluating cheap prints or scans, and will then concentrate on what you think is really worth printing.

    But to get back to my basic point, the sooner you connect with other people in Victoria who are shooting film, the better.

  24. One other comment...

    If you intend to print digitally instead of in a traditional darkroom, and you aren't sufficiently wealthy to pay a lab a lot of money to do high quality scans for you, you have to buy a scanner. Earlier in this thread, someone mentioned the Epson V750. I have that scanner because I also scan medium and large format negatives. If you are scanning only 35mm, do yourself a favour and buy a Nikon film scanner.

  25. Thanks rory, you've been a big help. I have already contacted Uvic and sent my application in, I start there in January, but I can't get into photography until next september.
  26. Hi Byron,

    The key is to get to know people in Victoria who are using film.

    There is nothing to prevent you from calling up the photography department at UVic just to talk about what's happening and to make some connections.

    If it sounds a bit pushy to phone these people and ask to speak with one of the instructors, despite not being enrolled (at least not yet), don't sweat it.

    My bet is that they'll be happy to talk and help out.

    Best of luck.
  27. By the way Byron,

    As you may or may not be aware, one of your local photographers, Jeff Wall, is pretty important.

    A few months ago, I saw a show of his work at New York's Museum of Modern Art. I was pretty much blown away. Of course, he has his detractors :)

    If you haven't seen his work, check it out. The MOMA site is OK, but the UK's National Gallery site (have I got the right UK gallery?), where the show was last fall, is quite a bit better.

  28. Hey Byron,

    Too much advice makes it sound complicated but working in film is easy.

    Start off by shooting colour negative ASA 100/200/400. When you get the film developed and printed, ask them to scan the negs and make you a CD at the same time.

    Use the returned colour prints as contact proofs or pub hand rounds. Use the CD to get the shots onto your computer. Use the software there to convert any chosen shots to B+W. This will get you very good B+W results to be going on with.

    Alternatively, buy any C41 B+W film and have the same place develop and print it in B+W for you. With or without a CD. Depends if you want the images on your computer or not. Bear in mind that often these films end up producing magenta or sepia toned results when printed commercially and you just lost the option to use them in colour.

    Longer term : Take the advice above re learning to develop your own B+W negs. It is fun and not hard. Not worth doing though until you are ready to buy a neg scanner or get an enlarger/darkroom to make prints. Otherwise all you will end up with is a load of negatives.

    Clear enough?
  29. Getting started in B+W
  30. Byron,

    If you get over to vancouver at all, look up Tom Abrammsson and his fellows. They normally
    meet up every friday morning for coffee. Email him at his site ( I can't
    remember which cafe it is, I know his regular cafe is cafe Viva across the road from his
    apartment, but he'll let you know where they all meet on Fridays.

  31. congratz and I wish you many years of shooting together! :)

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