Do I buy a Leica M or a Nikon?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by edmund_kean, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. I would describe myself as a photographer whom enjoys creating images using the
    tried and tested rules of composition (most boring to some), occasionally
    sneaking in the odd candid when amused to do so. I have never had any urge to
    use filters or any other gadjet/gizmo to alter the scene, I merely TRY to
    capture a compositionally good photograph of the moment for my own reflection.

    For many years I used an OM 1 with a couple of lenses - 28mm F2.8 & 50mm F1.8.
    However early in 2007 I thought, albeit wrongly, it maybe time to progress to an
    autofocus film SLR and so after a little research I bought an EOS 1V and 28-70mm
    F2.8 lens. Now, without a shadow of any doubt, I noticed a distinct improvement
    in sharpness over those old Zuiko lenses. Sadly, I soon found the sheer bulk of
    an autofocus SLR coupled with a biggish zoom a real problem. I suddenly became
    distinctly self conscious and moreover the confidence to shoot the odd candid
    rapidly ceased. Using the Canon made me realise I had a real relish for the
    mechanical/manual camera and after an eleven month period with the EOS 1V, I
    have sold it along with the lens.

    Presently I am cameraless, but I am clear in my own mind I do not wish to return
    to an Olympus system and so having provided you all a little background, my
    question is: Do I buy a Leica Rangefinder (I could afford an MP with one lens
    for the moment!) or a Nikon system with three modern AIS lenses maybe a 20mm
    35mm and 55mm micro?
  2. Unless you are a pefectionist and do your own work, the Nikon will be fine. The key would be to find a
    small model, not a F5.

    Most people have become very pleased with digital as you can do your own editing and send the files off to
    be printed, something you can not do with film. Nikon`s D80 is a small camera capable of good results. A
    replacement is coming soon and will be better.

    The D40 is and D40X are capable also and the same size as the old Olympus, perhaps smaller.

    I love my Leicas and have many, but to get the most from them you must stick to pro labs or do your own.
    Film scanning will get you into the digital world, but again it do it yourself.
  3. To satisfy the relish you have for a mechanical manual camera you could get a mint Nikon F3
    or a mint Leica M6 with a couple of lenses for less than an MP new.
    That is what I did after also owning the EOS 1v.

    good luck and keep us posted what you decide.

  4. A rangefinder camera is not for everyone. It is a relatively specialized tool for inconspicuous photography and photojournalism. A Leica can be accurately focused in light too dim to read the controls, and is nearly silent in operation (having a cloth shutter and no flipping mirror). The lenses are small and light, as is the camera. It is hard to imagine a better camera for "street photography".

    The limitations are many, but especially in the choice of focal lengths and the accuracy of framing. If you like to use lenses shorter than 24mm (maybe 28mm) or longer than 135 mm, or zoom lenses, then a Nikon (or some other SLR) is the correct choice. Likewise if you do closeups and macro photography, or to need to avoid parallax.

    Some (perhaps most) people choose a Leica for pride of ownership. There's nothing wrong with that. I own a Leica (M2) and several lenses with which I paid my dues. However as a working photographer, I use Nikon DSLRs exclusively, and occasionally an Hasselblad.
  5. Ronald

    Thanks for your reply, but I am absolutely sure I wish to stay with film. I suppose really what I am looking for is others' experiences with dealing with a similar sort of quandry and how they worked it out. I have been reasearching the pros and cons of different systems for the last month or so and am now completely exhausted by it. Having read so so much, I feel I need a nudge to make a decision by reading a selection of views, thoughts and reasoned arguments.
  6. I have my own personal threshold for what I will pay for a lens, for example, which is typically about $1000 at the most. For the type of photography you describe with an emphasis on extemely high quality normal focal lengths on compact manual mainly mechanical bodies, with most of the creative act occuring at the moment of exposure, IMO, a Leica M with used 50 and 35 crons is the perfect solution and this equipment is relatively affordable compared to high end digital. If that is all you need, its all you need, but I also rely heavily on an FM3a with a 20 2.8 (like you mention) and an 85 1.4, which purchased new at about $800 was almost cheap compared to anything similar from Leica. My point is that with a Leica M for my basic shooter and an FM3a for everything else, which is only about 25% of my shooting but includes options like macro, I use equipment that is personally satisfying in operation and fine in quality such that I can never pretend that the equipment is limiting my results.

    Each camera has its sweet spot for use, so its just a question of how many of your needs and interests you want to accommodate and how much you want to weigh absolute quality vs. versatility. If I had no equipment at all, I would first get an M, then a small Nikon, and finally some kind of dslr (which I have yet to buy.)Ironically, this is probably reverse order of versatility, but for me, a dslr with a zoom is very versatile, but doens't do well what I like best of all: quiet, small, low light, satisfying.
  7. As you are used to an OM system, adjusting to a Nikon equivalent will be easier than adjusting to the rather different M system.
  8. Nikon FM2 is a great camera, mechanical and will go on for years. An F3 or FE2 would give you apeture priority metering but of course they have electronics in them. I have camera mags from around the year 2000 and they still had new F3 bodies for sell so the last of the F3 bodies should still be quite good.
  9. I know exactly where you're coming from. You know what's worked out real well for me? Dusting off my Nikon FM2 and sticking a 28mm lens on the front. Don't spend a ton of money on a Leica.
  10. Since you're a former OM owner, consider the Nikon FM. Nikon developed the FM in response to the sucess that Olympus had with their original OM1 camera line.

    I've been shooting with Nikon FMs since 1980 and am now on my third one, a FM3a. The cameras are like tanks and built to last. My first FM lasted over 15 years with constant use and I haven't worn out my second FM2n with over 10 years use. I got the FM3a 2 years ago only because Nikon decided to discontinue the FM line and I wanted to make sure I had a good FM in reserve for the next 10-15 years of shooting.

    I find the FMs are reasonably compact and compare favorably (in my opinion) to the Leica Ms in terms of ease of use and simplicity. I am also a former M4 owner but went over to the "dark-side" of SLRs in the late '70's.
  11. There is some good advice here, but you'll just have to try out the different cameras to see
    what you like. I like rangefinders, but some people think they're hard to focus and/or
    compose with. I find RF more accurate than slr focusing, but that's just me.

    The MP is a beautiful instrument, definitely my favorite camera to use. Since you're looking
    for opinions, if I could only have one camera it would be an MP with a 35 summicron,
    without a doubt. But you need to try out an RF first to see if it's for you.

    If you decide on an slr, and really only you can make that decision, I'd check out the prices
    on used F3hp bodies, which are very low right now. And along with the excellent nikon
    prime lenses, you could also check out the zeiss f-mount lenses.

    Your other option, of course, is a leica r-system. You could get a used R6.2 and some
    used lenses for the price of that MP, and you'd have great glass and a wonderful little
    mechanical slr.
  12. Edmund,
    If you like B&W photography, then the answer is relatively easy - for well composed and
    focused shots, speed, ease of use, nothing beats a rangefinder for general purpose
    photography. However a SLR has its place for longer lens and/or close up shooting, It is
    also ideal, if you really want to control the dof and minute detail of your composition.
    The cameras I would wholeheartedly recommend as best in their categories are: Zeiss Ikon
    (possibly with Zeiss ZM lenses, which I repute better than current Leica lenses) and Nikon
    FM3A with Zeiss ZF lenses - in particular, I enjoy immensely the quality of the 50 and 100
    Makro Planars. You can take a look at my flickr - you will find camera, lens and film
    reference next to each shot:
    If you like colour, I feel digital is already in advantage over film, and here the only half
    baked rangefinder worth trying is Leica M8, but it is a first generation product full of
    compromises, so it might make sense to stick to a DSLR for now, and wait for a better DRF
  13. I started shooting Nikon F's and presently have an Fm and an FM3a but i also have Leica M3, M6 and M7 with two sets of lenses, The original RF lenses for the M3 and newer Aspherical lenses for the M6 & M7.
    The answer to your question lies within your self and what type of photography you want to accomplish. Closeup work or telephoto longer than 135mm puts you in the Nikon world. Present Leica cameras and lenses are simply very sharp and suitable for people photography. My M6 & M7 both have Motor M's which are really very quiet compared to the Motors for the Nikons. Its takes a certain amount of time to get used to rangefinder focusing and the only Auto priority is the M7 which is like the FM3a except it does not have both an AUTO and mechanical shutter. The FM3a has one glaring problem in that the control to see what shutter speed you are using are not lit in the finder, a problem for low light usage.
    Leica equipment is expensive and getting more expensive so you will get a lot more for your $$ with the Nikon system.
    I would suggest you at least get your hands on a modern Leica M7 and take some pictures first before making your decision.
    Good luck!-Dick
  14. "I suddenly became distinctly self conscious and moreover the confidence to shoot the odd candid rapidly ceased."

    So work on your issues. Clearly the size of a camera has no bearing on he ability of thousands of journalists and street photographers to get the shots they want....
  15. I own 7 Leicas (4 screwmounts and 3 M's) but I regard them as niche cameras and vastly overrated. The Konica auto S2 is more easy to use and gives comparable results (though it has a fixed lens). The Nikon FM3a is a very nice camera but is ridiculously overpriced (seriously, is it worth more than a F100?). Like other posters, I recommend the FE2 or the FM2. Also in their class, and maybe even better, are the Minolta XD11 and XE7. I wish Leica would farm out the M8 specs to Canon or Nikon, and ask them to come up with a good rangefinder that captured most of the good points and none of the unforgivable flaws and price it under US $750.
  16. I too find a rangefinder less conspicuous than the Nikon FM2n I also use. But any camera is conspicuous if people on the street look at you when you're focusing.

    Is there a camera store nearby from which you can rent a camera or two for a tryout? A friend did this when trying to decide on a camera system and was surprised at what he ended up liking the best!

    He took his time deciding and got great photos while he was at it.
  17. SCL


    I love my Leicas, and really like my Nikons and Canons. BUT each is a tool for a different job, as far as I am concerned. Your problem, as I read it, was that you had difficulty adjusting to a different system...and you would probably have similar if not greater difficulty adjusting to a rangefinder system. Do you think you would have avoided the problem if you had used prime lenses rather than a zoom on your EOS? Lots of people who grew up with SLRs have difficulty using rangefinder cameras...I guess it's like driving a car with an automatic transmission and then buying a manual think about things a little differently, but arrive at your destination just the same. Sorry, I can't recommend a fix for you, as I think you got rid of two very good systems already...just don't blow your money on something you're not really certain about. If you can try several options, thru friends or a local camera club, that might help you in dour decision.
  18. I suggest you go for a used Leica M, probably an M6 Classic or TTL, a 50mm, and a 35mm or 28mm. From what you have said, a rangefinder will suit your work well. You are also concerned about lens performance and I have found, having used a number of systems, that Leica's lens line provides consistent, top-quality performance regardless of focal length. We spend a lot of time on this forum splitting hairs about the quality of this Leica lens versus that one, but the truth is that with very rare exceptions these lenses are all so good that the differences are going to be hard to detect under normal hand-held shooting conditions.

    Let me put that another way. Every camera maker has a superstar lens that, in and of itself, could be seen as a reason to buy that system. Nikon has its 105mm f2.5 Gauss, Canon the 85mm f1.2 L, for example. But they all have their share of dogs and inconsistent performers as well. Here's a paraphrased description by a respected critic of one top-line non-leica manufacturer's 35mm f1.4: "Soft wide open, but astoundingly sharp between f4 and f5.6. It is truly amazing what this lens can resolve in the sweet spot. At f8 onwards it is just another lens." Uh, yeah, this is a top-rated non-leica lens. Now, if you buy a Leica 35mm Summilux Asph, you are going to get top quality performance from f1.4 all the way down, because Leica designs with the philosophy that people buy lenses to use them wide open. Leica also has the most superb set of 50mm lenses you are ever likely to encounter. They are so good that your own personal technique is going to be the limiting factor in image quality, not the lens.

    Unless you really enjoy searching through a manufacturer's lens line-up for the real jewels that "do it for you", buy a Leica and two lenses, and concentrate on taking pictures.
  19. The Nikon FM is a great simple and compact camera to use. FMs have served me well for several years before I got a Leica rangefinder (RF). A RF is more compact than the FM. Will you carry the camera around the neck or in the pocket?

    Do you manually focus or use DOF? The AIS lenses have DOF scales. The RF lenses have better DOF scales.

    Do you shoot a lot in low light or typical room light? Low light focusing or DOF focus is easier with a RF. SLRs have a tougher time focusing in low light situations. But it can be done.

    Will you ever need to shot with longer than a 90mm lens? Telephoto and marco work is easier with an SLR. A Nikon FM with a 35, 50, 85, or 105mm is a good kit to start with and you can always add macro and telephotos lenses latter.

    How often will you need a motor drive on the camera? A used MD-12 for the FM is still available used and costs a fraction of what a RF motor drive would cost. Yes there are rapid winders for the RF. But it really depends on how fast you need to advance the frame.

    Will you ever want to use a zoom lens? If yes, then consider the FM.

    If I worked only with the equivalent of 21, 35, and 50mm focal lengths, I would stay with a RF system. The MP is a nice camera. However, there are alternatives to the MP. I would get the lenses first and a good used or a compatible RF body. Do a google search on Zeiss and Voigtlander for M mount cameras. You might decide that you are better off with the Leica lenses and an alternative to the MP. Perhaps a used Leica M4-P. You might even find that you can get good enough non-Leica 21mm to get started with.

    Best of luck making a decision.
  20. Go with the Leica! If I was still doing wedding photography, no doubt, I would go with one of the Nikon digital cameras. However, I am gladly no longer photographing weddings and am very pleased only photographing for me!

    That said, I am still in film and hope to stay with film as long as it is made and can be processed. Currently I am only using a Leica M6 with only one lens a 35mm and a 1966 TLR Rolleiflex with Kodak 100 Ektachrome (which I am surprised to be of this opinion, is way better in grain structure than my beloved Kodachrome 64 ever was) In the Rollei I am using Kodak portrait film the neutral version. I still own the first camera my Dad gave me for Christmas in 1974, a Nikkormat f1.4 and used it up until I got the Leica in 2004. That Nikon got me through art school with a BFA in photography, graduating 1985. I so dislike the mirror slap on an slr and the bulk and weight as you mentioned. For 10 years I hauled a couple of canons with big glass and a Hasselblad for weddings.

    Photography for me is not only about the fine quality of end image but perhaps even more importantly is the meditation and community with the tools. I enjoy not really feeling the shutter. I enjoy the quiet thinking time and with the Rollei, knowing there are only 12 to 24 frames so pre-visualizing the image instead of just firing off a gazillion frames and choosing later is a joy for me. I understand and respect that many photographers don't feel that way. No worries, we all have our own styles and comfort zones.

    The only part of the process I don't do myself is making the film and processing it. I do the rest from cutting it, scanning into my wonderful Nikon 9000 film scanner and working the image in Photoshop CS2 and printing to the Epson R2400 printer. The quality of my images are the best in my life right now (none have been uploaded) and this increase has mostly happened in the past 12 months.

    For me this is a happy medium. All of my equipment is paid for. I am not spending time dreaming over equipment but instead am actaully making images with what I already have and know.

    If I had camera trades to do over again, I probably would never have sold the Rollei TLR I had in college, for $ toward the Hasselblad that I also eventually sold.

    BTW-I still have an Olympus point n shoot all weather camera and am recently working some of the 800 film from that camera. A chore indeed. However, there's no way I would have stood waist deep in salt water in the ocean with the Leica or the Rollei or my 1973 Nikkormat. The right tool for the right situation.

  21. go for the doubt.
  22. Life's too short, if you enjoy photography and owning different systems, then I'd recommend
    owning a Leica M for at least a year. To me they provide a lot of pleasure through use and in
    the results from older Leica glass. Get an M6 with an older 50 mm Summicron (1970s). If
    you hate it, just sell it again for little if any loss ...

    As for Nikon's, after using an F5 for quite a while and although it remains to be my true
    winter camera, my F100 (without) vertical grip) has seen more use this year than ever.
  23. M6 Classic, 50mm (latest), 35mm Cron Aspherical. I would avoid the TTL because of the battery dependence.

    If you find its for you, then get the MP and use the M6 as backup. You might even add the 28mm summicron at that point.

    Best - Paul
  24. I could afford an MP with one lens for the moment!
    If you're serious enough about photography that you want your camera around all the time, and you can only afford one Leica and a lens, then you should look elsewhere. I owned several M6's because at least one was always in the shop for some issue, varying from rangefinder misalignment to complete shutter failure. Owning several was the only way to make sure I had at least one functioning, and I never abused them as they were my weekend outing cameras. The cameras I did abuse, on the other hand, were Nikon FM2N's which saw daily use on assignment. Though beaten and battered, the Nikons never needed service and worked perfectly up to the day I sold them to go digital.
    If someone were to hold a gun to my head, muttering "Go back to film or die," I'd probably get another FM2N with a 35/2. Leicas are nice but temperamental - you have to budget for both lost money and lost time spent in repairs.
  25. Before I get inevitably lynched by the Leica Taliban, I should add that my favorite mechanical camera remains the Leica R6.2. If said gunman would spot me a few C-bills I would instead get an R6.2 with the latest 35/2-R and send the kit off to DAG for a rebuild before using it.
  26. To get both the SLR and RF experiences you could get a Konica Auto S2 or Auto S1.6 fully overhauled from Greg Weber (, 402-721-3873) and a Nikkormat FT2 from an ebay seller. The Nikkormat can be sent to Essex Camera Service in Carlstadt, NJ for an overhaul. This will cost about $125. For the lenses you want you could consider a 20/2.8 AIS, a 35/2 AI or AIS, a 50/2 HC, K or AI and a 55/3.5 PC, K or AI. The Nikkormat FT2 takes easily available MS76 batteries and works equally wel with AI and pre-AI lenses. This equipment is capable of excellent results and will cost you very little compared to the Leica equipment. If you use a 50/2 HC, K or AI Nikkor and don't get good results, it isn't the lens.
  27. Just dropping in to toot the horn for a Nikon F2. True, the FM is more like the OM that Edmund liked. I used FM/FE bodies for many years (some of them 'pro'). I eventually dumped them when I succumbed to AF in the '90s.

    After a little while with AF, part of me wanted to feel some 'metal' again, and I slowly built a collection of F, F2, and F3 bodies. The F3 is the most versatile 'system camera' of those, but there's just something about the way an F2 feels. And the viewfinder just feels so much more 'relaxed' than the FM/FE series.

    I monitored the Leica forum for a while, as what I liked about shooting with the F2AS and fast glass seemed like it might be better suited to an M of some type. I eventually walked away without experiencing Leica, as I felt like the kit I had was 'most of the way there' without breaking the bank.
  28. The answer to your question probably does not rest in differences in technical quality between these two makes. Both Leica and Nikon currently manufacture excellent cameras and lenses, and have made a number of excellent cameras and lenses over the years. Leica still manufactures manual-control film cameras and lenses. Nikon has recently shifted most if not all of its production over to digital cameras and autofocus lenses. Most models, and most lenses, produced by both firms can be used highly effectively, depending upon the vision and skill of the photographer. The current top of the line Leica aspheric lenses offers somewhat higher optical quality than most Nikon zoom lenses, but skill and care is required to obtain the best results of which they are capable. For most hand-held amateur photography, the differences in quality achieved in actual use are probably not as great as differences shown by technical test results produced under controlled laboratory conditions. The answer to your question is, instead, probably found in what type of photographs you prefer to take, with what focal length lenses, under what types of conditions. If you like to take candid photographs relatively unobtrusively, using lenses between about 28mm and 90mm in focal length, under available light conditions that may include dim lighting requiring lenses with large maximum apertures; if you enjoy photography while traveling and prefer to have a compact outfit; and if you enjoy high quality precision equipment, then you might prefer a Leica. If you frequently use lenses wider than 28mm or longer than 90mm; if you prefer the convenience of zoom lenses, autoexposure and autofocus; if you do not do much shooting under dim light conditions and do not need lenses with large maximum apertures; and if cost is a consideration, then you might prefer a Nikon. If you prefer manual control, and a relatively compact camera, but want the flexibility of an SLR, then a used Nikon FM in excellent condition and some used Nikkor AIS manual lenses might meet your needs. The choice is largely a question of personal taste, so if you live within reasonable traveling distance of a major city where there are photography stores that stock both makes, you might want to visit such a store and take a direct, hands-on look at models from both firms before making up your mind.
  29. Do I buy a Leica Rangefinder (I could afford an MP with one lens for the moment!) or a Nikon system with three modern AIS lenses maybe a 20mm 35mm and 55mm micro?
    I am not being sarcastic here, but you may have already given the answer to your question... in your question. If you really have the intention or need to shoot very wide as well as close-up subjects given your own references to the 20mm and 55mm micro lenses, then the choice is really Nikon. It is possible to shoot with ultra-wides (FL 20mm or less) lenses on the Leica M of course, but you will need to add an external finder for more accurate framing which in my humble opinion defeats the purpose of owning a small discreet rangefinder. As for macro-photography, there are simply more lens/accessory options in the Nikon system than the Leica M.
  30. I have both Nikon slr's and Leica M.

    If you go Nikon, F100 is much smaller than the Canon you had and has a better VF then the FM3a, if you want stricktly MF maybe like me you might want an F3HP. the HP finder is the difference you need to focus AIS lenses with ease. I have 50mm f1.2 ais and 28mm f2.0 ais both are easy to focus manually because of the 100% full frame finder and the eye relief of the HP finder. The auto focus cameras that came after the F3HP that have HP finders are the 801s, N90s, F5, F100 and F6. If I didn't have an F100 I would get the F6 in a heart beat. It matrix meters with ais glass and in manual mode is excellent and as well constructed as a Leica. Like the F5 the shutter speed adjust themselves and last I believe 300,000 actuations. Its just a little larger than the F100 which is the best fit for my hand of any camera I ever held.
  31. This has been about as good a Nikon discussion as I have seen even on the Nikon forum. I hope it helped you. I agree you want to do everything from very wide to micro then Nikon slr is good to go with. There are sure a lot of RF'er here that like both slr/rf so that speaks for itself that one does not preclude the other. If you want to carry a small prime lens outfit say 3 primes and 2 bodies then an M system is real compact. If you want to do all in one than an SLR and a 24-85mm zoom is good too.
  32. I suspect the 'improvement' over the Olympus lenses was due to the autofocus and rangefinders put a premium on good eyesight. Since you have the wherewithall to do it, as others I suggest getting both. A smallish Nikon autofocus body such as an F100 and a Leica M6. Try them each for a few months and sell the one you don't care for. At most it'll cost a couple of hundred bucks but you'll be satisfied you have made the right choice. Best of Luck.
  33. Do I buy a Leica Rangefinder (I could afford an MP with one lens for the moment!) or a Nikon system with three modern AIS lenses maybe a 20mm 35mm and 55mm micro?
    Your choices are a rangefinder or a SLR which is I think the bigger issue than the brand name. Did you ever before use a rangefinder? It is much different from a SLR. Can you do a trial use of a Leica before you purchase?
  34. The Leica system has collection value, but most others in modern 35mm do not. Since you are not heavily invested in film at this moment, I would recommend that you look at full-featured P&S digital cameras. They are relatively inexpensive but yield excellent results. With the thousands of dollars saved you can treat yourself to a couple trips etc!
  35. jtk


    Sony Alpha700 with Zeiss optics.
  36. Get a FM3a or a FM2n with a 45mm f2.8 lens. This set up is smaller than a Leica M with a 50mm lens, and you can use the lens on a D2xx or D3xx series camera with full metering.
  37. Edmund,

    Why don't you consider the best SLR ever made, namely the Leicaflex SL and the 60 Macro.

    An Awesome combination.

  38. If you are a film enthusiast and want to go Leica rangefinder - either a Leica M2 or M4 would be my choice. I own them both - and they are NOT for sale. The original M4 represents (IMHO) the apex of Leica rangefinder evolution. Everything that has come after is feature-this or that. . . but no REAL improvemennt on the basic M-series concept.

    If you want to stay with film in a Nikon - I've used a pair of FE2 bodies with a stable of lenses for more than twenty years. They've been wonderful - and I've experienced only ONE non-battery related failure in that time. Last year - I picked up a Nikon F3HP body. It is the only other Nikon I like more than my pair of FE2 bodies.
    The SLR system will afford you greater versatility than the rangefinder system.
    If you see yourself:
    (1) Staying in lens focal lengths between 12mm and 135mm
    (2) Not wishing to do a lot of spontaneous macro or closeup work
    (3) Enjoying inobtrusive and low light photography
    Go with the rangefinder.

    I cannot imagine being cameraless . . .

  39. I have been shooting for over 20 years.

    The first ten years I used Nikon SLRs - FM, FM2 and F3.

    All were great cameras.

    Then I purchased a M6 with 35mm Summicron and a 90mm Elmarit lenses. I have used the Leica Rangefinder for the past 12 years.

    Much as I love the Leica package - and I do - it took me close to three years to feel comfortable with the camera and confident about the composition.

    With the Nikon, 99% of what I see in the viewfinder makes it to the negative. Whereas the Leica, depending on focal distance, can give you more -- or less -- of the image than you saw in your viewfinder, and often (especially on close focus) a composition that is to the right of what you thought you were shooting. Such is the nature of the Rangefinder. Framing is not perfect. Sometimes you lose parts of the composition, and it becomes careful guesswork.

    For about three years I used the Nikons and the Leica side-by-side, until I felt completely comfortable with the Leica. It now feels like 2nd nature to me, and I would not change it for the world. (My wife uses the Nikons nowadays.)

    If you go with the Laica, I am sure you will love it too - in time. Just be prepared for a learning curve, and test and experiment so you know best how to compose images.
  40. Is there some good reason that a LEICA R hasn't been mentioned? All the benefits of an SLR plus lenses every bit as good as the M Leica.
  41. M6+35mm.
    Less is more.
    Try will enjoy it!
  42. I don't make my living by photography. I have used many Nikon SLRs over the years (and other systems, including Olympus), and would thoroughly recommend FM2s as versatile and tough. Mine have never let me down. But at the end of the day, they still feel like good, strong, dependable tools for the job, any job I ask of them.
    But my Leicas? I love them. If I had to keep only one combo, it would without doubt, be my M4 and 35 'cron.

    You might want built in metering, you might want auto exposure. You might want to see exactly what you will get on the frame, and you might want to be able to afford a range of lenses for different purposes. But once you have got used to a Leica M, you won't want to part with it.

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