I think I want to trade for an M4, opinion?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by bill_zelinski, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. Hi all, ok I've had it with my F-5, I just dont need/want all the bells and whistles any longer. I now have someone interested in a swap, my F-5, a 20 & 50 AF Nikon prime lens all in mint cond for a M4 (black enamel and brassed) and an non asph Summicron f2 35 chrome barrel lens, they've been used but in good/fair condition. Am I nuts? I don't think, so as I really enjoy my medium and large format cameras and the 35mm that I still do is mostly, low light/evening street stuff and some candid people shots. I know very litte about Leicas but I'm fed up with AF and buying batterys and this heavy camera , any words of encouragement or warning?
     
  2. Yeah, the same words of warning that every prospective RF user gets.

    <p>

    Spend some time using a rangefinder camera before you gt rid of your
    SLR.

    <p>

    Rangefinders aren't for everybody. There have been many MANY people
    who have gone through with the trade you are thinking of and then
    ended up selling the gear on ebay two months later.

    <p>

    Of course, I happen to think that my F5 is the greatest camera ever
    invented (well not really, but I do like it a lot). And I've had an
    on-again off-again relationship with RF's. At the moment it's on
    again, since I'm loving my Leica CL and dreaming of a digital M6.
     
  3. Borrow or rent a rangefinder camera (preferably an M4 in this case)
    and shoot the same amount of film in it that you normally run through
    your F5 in one week. Then decide.
     
  4. Please see my review of the M6 on Photo.net. I shoot professionally and mostly do corporate advertising work. I shoot with medium format for exec
    portraits, etc. but a lot of my stuff is event documentation or advertising that is meant to look like it was just captured "fly on the wall". I migrated from
    Nikon F5's (three of them) to M6's and M4's. There are some photos that can't be captured any other way. That said, if you shoot professionally and
    require the flexibility you enjoyed with the F5 you will still need an SLR for macro, extreme tele and shift lenses. I love the M's but I still need to make a
    living and clients throw some strange requests out.........

    <p>

    I'd do it again in a heartbeat. The lenses are incredible.

    <p>

    Kirk
     
  5. Er, does an old Canon rangefinder count? The reason I got the F-5 was
    to do sports/action fast paced stuff, and I found out I just don't
    cope well in that area. My concern is that the M4 is getting on in
    years and I might be faced with some expensive repairs and the lens
    is old too. That does'nt stop me from using my 75 year olf B&J 8x10
    or my old TLRs but I guess I'm just a bit nervous as once the trades
    made theres no going back. I really do look forward to having just
    one lens and I admit the Leica mythology is very appealing.
     
  6. I've got reasonably complete systems in Leica R, Leica M and
    Hasselblad, but I would not think of parting with my F5 or F100. In
    fact if I suddenly needed to sell some cameras to raise cash, I'd
    sell them in that same order.
     
  7. Recently I added a CL to my Nikon FM, F3, & Hasselblad 500CM
    collection. The guys above speak the truth. A rangefinder is a
    different beast. I have no regrets about spending the money; the
    camera is wonderful, the 40mm lens is amazing, but it is definitely a
    learning experience.
     
  8. Are you a risk taker? That's the risky way to become a Leica user.
    When I purchased my M3 from a friend, I did not sell my Nikon N90s.
    I still use an SLR for about half of the non professional work I do.
    The M3 still can do things the Nikon can't do, and vice versa. I
    recently needed to take some shots for my son's school of their
    Summer play. Poor lighting, and no tripods or flash (distracts the
    children and they forget their lines). No problem, loaded up the
    Leica with Fuji 1600 speed film, and hand held some great shots at
    1/30 f2.0.The Nikon stayed home. Needed to shoot a bunch of people
    shots outside in bright light. The Leica stayed home and the Nikon,
    a short zoom and powerful flash came with me. The 1/250 flash sync
    made fill flash easy, and I got the shots I needed.
     
  9. Needs, tastes, desires go in cycles. Today you want a monster camera
    that does it all, tomorrow you want a tiny gem for a specific
    application. I use my M3 in conjunction with several other cameras,
    to give me a very specific look. But I wouldn't let my auto-
    everything Elan 7 go.
     
  10. If you wanted to lighten up your Nikon kit (and didn't need the
    toughness and high fps speed of the F5). You could sell the F5 and
    buy a N80. Then with the difference, buy some sort of rangefinder. If
    I weren't becoming a soldier in the digital army, I'd probably buy a
    N80 as a backup for my F5. As it is, my F5 sits on the shelf and the
    only film camera that gets any use these days is my CL (and my GR1).

    <p>

    I'm guessing that you would end up with around $1000 or so after
    buying the N80. That would give you enough to buy a CL with a 40/90,
    a CLE with a 40, or a user m2 or maybe m3 with a screwmount Leica
    lens or a new Voigtlander lens. Then again, there's always the
    Voigtlander Bessa R.
     
  11. There was another Nikon user that was thinking about trading into the
    Leica M line up a couple of months ago. You can read all of the
    advice that he received at the link below from the archives.

    <p>

    http://greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=005Tq6

    <p>

    I am a user of both Leica and Nikon cameras, and have not felt that I
    could give up one for the other completely. There are simply some
    things that you can't do with a rangefinder camera. I might only use
    my 300mm or macro lens a few time a year, but when I do, I am happy
    to have that option. On the other side, when ever I walk away from
    capturing a surreptitious candid with the subject unaware, I am glad
    that I am using my M6 and not my F3.

    <p>

    Borrow or rent a Leica and see if it works for you. Many shooters
    can't get along with the "M", and it would be bad if you have to go
    Nikon shopping again because of a whim.

    <p>

    Good luck.
     
  12. Same as everyone else - borrow or rent an M for a week before making
    your decision. In my opinion there are a number of things the Leica
    does better than anything else - but some things it does very poorly
    (macro, extreme tele, etc). The F5 will do pretty much everything
    fairly well, and if I could have only one camera I'd probably choose
    the Nikon unless I was a)an artist, b)making my living strictly doing
    street photography. Having said this a few years back I traded an
    Olympus system (2 bodies, drives, 8 lenses plus acces) for a Leica
    RF. Though I don't regret my decision (I fall into the first
    category above - artist), I soon cobbled the cash together to
    purchase an R body with a couple of lenses. The first time I needed
    to make slides of my artwork for my gallery I was stymied without an
    SLR.
     
  13. There are a number of 1970s era rangefinders you can get for the price of shooting and printing a couple rolls of film. Might be worth a try to get the feel of an RF viewfinder, etc.
    Cheers
     
  14. Bill, <br>
    I do not think you have to worry. Naturally, previous rangefinder
    experience will help you make a sound decision, but it is not as if
    you are burning all bridges behind you. You still have your
    medium/large format systems. The question, as I see it, is rather if
    the swap is fair or in your best interest. I am really not qualified
    to evaluate the value of used Leica, but I know the black enamel M4
    is probably a collectors item w. a corresponding higher value (than a
    chrome M4). Since you are not in it for collecting, I would think it
    should be possible to swap w. a more recent M6 and lens instead.
    There must be some of those people out there who regret their Leica
    migration and are eager to return to "auto everything"?
     
  15. I migrated to Leica from Nikon via Contax SLRs and the G2, so I had
    training wheels getting used to rangefinder viewing. I still had
    withdrawal symptoms from automation, autowind and even simple exposure
    metering! (I have meterless M4-2 and M4-P bodies).

    <p>

    I needed a Konica Hexar RF to get me through the first few months of
    Leicadom - but once I got my film loading and hand-held metering down
    pat I traded the Hexar for the M4-P.

    <p>

    I haven't missed SLRs yet - to paraphrase David Alan Harvey: "I see
    lots of telephoto pictures out there - I just don't take them any more.
    And my clients know that."

    <p>

    Practical points: Check the rangefinder, shutter curtains and shutter
    speeds on the M4, and run a roll through in bright sunlight to check
    for light leaks - those are the things most likely to need servicing.
    If the RF lines up, the shutter works consistently, there are no
    shutter pinholes or other leaks, and it sounds good overall, then it is
    probably good for at least a couple of years before needing a cleaning
    and adjustment. Check the lens for fungus or fogging if it is pre-1975
    or so (Does that sound right, comrades?)

    <p>

    Also try the lens out to make sure you won't be disappointed - Leica
    has generally not had any dog lenses in the M line, but some lenses
    from some eras are better than others - read ALL the other threads here
    that even slightly touch on M-cameras and lenses.

    <p>

    Once in the '70's I was offered a brassed black M4 and 35 for $500.
    Wasn't smart enough to take it, and probably wasn't smart enough then
    to get the best use out of it either.

    <p>

    But for your specified purpose it sounds just right. The relative value
    of the Nikons and Leica don't seem wildly out of line unless the M4 is
    sick.
     
  16. Thanks everyone, good advice. I have been going over the old threads
    and absorbing a lot of Leica info. ONce again it all comes back to
    the right tool for the right job, I will still have some nice Nikon
    stuff left over if I do trade, so there will always be some AF Nikon
    later on if I really need/miss it but tommmorw if this lecia is in
    good shape I will probabley swap as I can sense how strongly most of
    you feel about Leicas. I really would like to fell what shooting with
    one is like, a rental is fine but it does'nt have the emotional
    investment of it being "your" camera and it does'nt give you that
    "take me out and use me dammit" thing that most of my older cameras
    seem to have..
     
  17. Bill,

    <p>

    I own both a nikon and an M6, and other than the times I need to
    use tele lenses, the nikon stays home. my M6 goes everywhere
    with me. And its perfect for what you described. Evening street
    stuff and candid shots. Can't imagine an F5 doing that job.

    <p>

    Besides, black enamel paint M4 that brasses beautifully with
    35cron? Looks like a winner in my books.

    joel
     
  18. Bill-

    <p>

    What can I add to all the good advise listed above? If you don't need
    the system options that an SLR can provide then rangefinders will work
    for you. For what its worth, I traded my SLR stuff 2½ years ago and
    bought an M6 and 50. Untried, didn't rent first, just went and shot
    with it. Yes, its a different beast but it makes you a better
    photographer, it makes you think about photography, not whether you've
    got the right icon appearing on some LCD screen...
     
  19. Bill:

    <p>

    If this is part of a business decision, then, that is how you should
    make the decision. If not; not.

    <p>

    Now, I have used range finders [in a number of formats] for
    years. It is just because I like them. My wife and I have that luxury
    since this isn’t our living. When the wife was doing
    photojournalism, she used Nikons. When I was doing my work, I
    used Nikons or Linhof. Now-a-days, the only public display we
    participate in is when some gallery friends ask us to take part in
    a display [I have some very eclectic stuff that stands out from the
    normal].

    <p>

    Having said this, I do use Leica equipment. I have an M3 and an
    M6. I prefer the M3. I use it from 35 mm to 90 mm. Works well for
    me. It has a simple viewfinder. I also have Nikon equipment. I
    use it for things wider than 35 mm and longer than 90 mm. I use
    35 mm for enlargements to 11 x 14. Anything larger, I use
    medium or large format.

    <p>

    I am just pointing out that these are personal decisions. Nothing
    more.

    <p>

    Art
     
  20. Just pick what equipment you want to use and go with it. If you
    change your mind, if it doesn't work, you'll just need to buy
    something else.

    <p>

    I've changed my equipment many times over the years. Last big
    move was selling off my SLR gear and investing in Leica M kit. If
    I need an SLR again, I'll buy one. It's not some "once in a
    lifetime" thing.

    <p>

    Godfrey
     
  21. There is no short answer....if you choose a cheap rangefinder you
    still won't know how a Leica feels and behaves.It is special.
    Rent.If not possible ask around...someone might let you try one
    out...NOT ME.I came to Leica not by choice.I had purchased a 4x5 view
    camera that was really not for me.I traded for a 120 SLR which never
    worked.All it did was rip up films.The store exchanged it fo a new at
    the time Leica M3 and 50mm lens.I was not that happy having already a
    decent collection of Pentax bodies and lenses that filled a medium bag
    The joy of the Leica was freedom.I carried the camera everywhere and
    after ONE YEAR saw that majority of portfolio pictures came fro my
    Leica.Today 37 years later we stii work together.I have just addedf
    a M6 which is really nice in place of a Pentax67 that I barely ever
    used.The camera was good the weight and noise horrible.This applies to
    Hasselblad as well.My M3 is swmall and with collapsible 50mm Summicron
    can slip into a pocket.Pretend its a "point and shoot and I know
    nothing about photography" and sneak shots everywhere.So remember,
    1.Learning curve.2.Keep an SLR,they do different things.I added a
    Canon Rebel with 28~85 zoom.Easy fill flash!Small and light.
    3.If you are a Leica M person you will never regret the cost.
     

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