Leica M5 Light Meter Operation

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by richard jepsen, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. I am thinking of buying a M5 and selling my MP. I especially like three features on the M5 (size, overhanging shutter dial, and in-camera meter readout). However, I understand when the M5 shutter is advanced (cocked) the light meter is permanently active. The only method to turn the meter off is to make an exposure.
    My shooting habit is to advance the film to be ready for the next shot. Will the M5 battery drain with the lens cap on and shutter cocked?
    What technique do M5 users use concerning the on/off use of the meter?
  2. The meter is AFAIK attached to a simple resistance circuit. If you put the lens cap back on and/or put the camera in a bag, the resistance will be high and battery discharge quite slow. Remember also that that camera's meter has no further connection to its functionality. If the battery dies all of the camera still functions. The lack of an on/off switch has posed no real funtional problems in working with the M5 in my experience.
  3. I thought that parking the advance lever turned off the meter. I'll check the manual and get back to you. I will say that if you are not wedded to the physical form factor of the classic M (from which the M5 departed and which Leica killed with the M6TTL and subsequent new models), the M5 is still a superior picturemaking tool.
  4. Still looking to confirm or deny my recollection, but I do see this in the instruction manual:

    "Even if the exposure meter is switched on for prolonged periods, so little urrent is consumed that this has no effect on the seful life of the battery."

    A couple of notes. You can only meter horizontally (the deflection needle won't read accurately if you up-end the camera). If you touch the shutter release button at all while metering you will get an inaccurate reading, because the meter arm will start to retract.
  5. Remember the M5 was launched in the early seventies. The meter is probably off, batteries are hard to find and the rangefinder can't be compared with the MP's brightness. The MP is the ultimate picture taking tool, provided you get the scratch making rewind lever. Just don't sell the MP, as you will regret it for sure. I would trade my M5 for one...
  6. and the eyepiece is smaller too! No 28 frames, and for a spectacles user even the 35 frames are hard to see.
  7. Anyone know why the MP has the old style rewind? I've considered buying one for some time, but like the rewind from the M4-7 variety.
  8. The M5 meter can be re calibrated,batteries are not hard to find,and the M5 can be reset to use modern batteries,and the viewfinder isn't that dim,compared to an MP. But the MP is a better camera than the M5,so why sell a perfectly good one and replace it with an M5? You can get an MP with the new style rewind from Leica a la carte. But why? the one the MP comes with is harder to damage,and is the classic Leica look,which is why it was chosen. By the way,an M5 viewfinder can be upgraded to a more modern one by Leica. And there is not that much of a size difference between them to matter to handling the camera.
  9. You could probably have an M6 TTL shutter speed dial put on your MP, it overhangs the front. But you will probably need custom engraving on the top to get the numbers in the correct order -- probably SK Grimes could pull this off. A lot cheaper than taking the depreciation hit on the MP.
    However, check Leica's A-la-Carte program -- maybe the MP is available with the desired oversize shutter speed dial.
  10. The M5 is a superb camera, one of the best metering M's, according to Sherry Krauter, who CLA'd my M5 a few years ago. It's a joy to use, even for eyeglass wearers, like myself. The finder is bright and clear. My preference is to select the aperture as I shoot mostly using hyperfocal settings, thus the overhanging shutter-speed dial is a real advantage, plus seeing the shutter speed in the finder. True, you'll need a shoe-mounted bright-line finder for anything wider than 35mm. As for the meter being on or off, you just have to develop the habit of not winding after each shot, unless you're going to snap away in a few moments. When using my other M's, I instinctively wind after each exposure; with the M5, just be conscious of not doing so. The M5 is definitely an unsung hero of the M line-up.
  11. I would not argue the MP is the ultimate M. Better in many ways than other M bodies. I appreciate the crisp MP finder contrast and the meter readout. The exposure confirmation circle in the MP is an improvement over the M6 triangle display. But I also like a linear meter display found in the M5. It gives more information.
    I don't care for the undersized frames in the M6/MP. Today I checked the MP against my SLR and a borrowed M2 and I estimate the 28/25/50/75/90 finder is undersized by 15% on the 50mm frame. At 15 feet one needs to take a big step forward to capture on film your original composition. The M2/4/5 frames are more accurate.
    The M2s I have seen do not have a contrasty finder like the MP. I assume the M4/5 is close in brightness/contrast to the MP. I think I am leaning to replacing the MP with a M5. I'm a shooter and the 35/50/90 focal length seems to work best for enlargements around 5x7.
    All this said, the 35 frame on the MP is perfect for a 40mm. The 40/90 (code 11800) makes a flexible, cost effective, lightweight kit.

Share This Page