M3 and minilux - which is best for what?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by david_killick, Aug 30, 2000.

  1. I have a Minilux and have just bought an old DS M3 with a 5cm
    Summicron and 13.5 Hektor, having always hankered after the old
    classic. My first serious camera was a Oly 35RC, so I am keen on
    rangefinders. Both are great but I am interested in what people find
    the pros and cons of each. Minilux has proved ideal for travel and has
    an excellent lens. Love the feel and weight of the M3 which seems to
    make it more stable at slow speeds. Metering is a hassle though,
    especially on slide film. So how do I get the best out of it? Is a
    separate meter the way to go? Which one? I have had limited success
    with the f16 rule. Does it work? Would be interested on comments on
    whether point and shoots suit a particular style of photography
    compared with ran
     
  2. David,
    Congrat's on your M3. Many in here started with this and other older
    models before making the plung into the M6... and many just keep
    using the older ones with great success.

    <p>

    I used several methods when I got my first M3. The Leica meter MR4
    was nice, fit on the camera and coupled to the shutterspeed dial. It
    has an angle of view that is the same as the 90mm lens, so using the
    lens frame preview lever allowed you to see what was metered. The
    meter worked fine, but I stopped using it due to, in my mind, the
    ruination of the beautiful clean lines of the camera. I know this is
    stupid, but I love the camera's design, and the meter detracted from
    it. I purchased a Sekonic L-308 meter, and find it a very good
    design. You get relected, incident and flash... all in a package
    less than the size of a pack of cigarettes. Nice digital read out
    that lets you toggle through all of the shutterspeed / aperture
    combo's after making the reading. It goes to 1/10th of a stop, and I
    have never made a bad exposure with it on the most narrow latitude
    slide film. I even use it to verify my M6's reading, because
    incident metering can be more accurate than reflective due to subject
    coloration.

    <p>

    As far as the sunny 16 rule, it works good as long as you know that
    it is for front lighting. If the subject is oblique or side lit...
    you must adjust a bit. Also affecting accuracy is the season,
    latitude and time of day. I went to many third world countries that
    I didn't want to risk my good equipment, and have hundreds of rolls
    shot using the sunny 16 rule with an old meterless Nikon "F". You
    need to also learn the reduced lighting variations...cloudy bright,
    overcast- soft shadows...etc... But once you know it, it is always
    there. Your mentioning poor results may also indicate the need for a
    servicing. My first M3's shutter was off when purchased, but was
    brought into line after a trip to Leica for a tune up.

    <p>

    Good Luck, Al
     
  3. David

    <p>

    For what it is worth I used to use the Leica MR (Cds) meter, which I
    always found worked very well and it is pretty quick as it couples to
    the shutter speed dial (in fact makes it easier to turn). The field
    of view is the same as the 90mm lens, so you just frame your metering
    area and press the button. The reading is then locked. You then
    transfer the aperture reading. Very easy and quick. The downside is
    of course that if you want to use an auxiliary viewfinder then you
    are stuck with having to remove the meter, which is a pain. However,I
    liked the system. However, I do get the impression that I might be in
    a minority here as many people do not like the MR meter because they
    say it can scratch the top-plate and because it is "unreliable". I
    have never found this myself. A bit of electrician's tape on the
    bottom prevents scratching and the meter was always spot on for me.
    In my opinion it is not really possible to accurately guess slide
    exposures in anything other than full sunlight as the film does not
    have enough latitude to make up for errors. In sunlight the sunny 16
    (+ 1/2 stop) rule works well. Of course a good spot meter like the
    Sekonic L-508 would work very nicely too, but seems overkill for such
    a nice compact camera as an M3 - and you have to transfer BOTH
    shutter speed and aperture. In my opinion what is crucial for
    accurate exposures is that you know WHAT you are metering. This looks
    to be a problem with the other rather nice new Voigtlander meter
    which would otherwise work nicely on an M3, although again both
    readings would need to be transferred. Otherwise with slide film,
    when in doubt bracket the exposures, as sometimes it really is
    impossible to know what density you will actually prefer until you
    project the final images.
     
  4. I also actually use my M3 quite a bit. I like the meter MR as well--it
    helps me bridge the gap with the modern cameras and allows me to shoot
    faster than with a hand held. I do a lot of stuff of children, so it
    is very helpful to be able to shoot quickly. Mine is very accurate.
    Otherwise, a compact meter like the new Voigtlander clip on meter
    would be nice, or some compact one you can hang on your neck and have
    good access to. Obviously if landscapes are your forte, the extra
    speed of using the shutter couipled Meter MR is not needed. It does
    make the camera more bulky, but I can live with it.
     
  5. An additional accessory that others haven't mentioned to go with the
    Voigtlander meter is the neat double shoe thingy they make--you slide
    into the camera's shoe a little tray that's got two shoes on top of
    it. You can slide the tiny Voigtlander meter into one, and a
    viewfinder into another. I'll probably be getting one for another
    purpose--viewfinder in one side, Vivitar 283 remote eye into the
    other. Neither shoe is hot, however, so if you use flash you'll need
    to use a cord. There's a photo of the double shoe fitting at
    http://cameraquest.com/voigtacc.htm
     
  6. Additional question about the Voightlander meter just mentioned:

    <p>

    Can this camera-mounted meter be pointed at a subject, while
    framing the subject through the camera's viewfinder and
    simultaneoulsly depressing the button to activate the meter, and then
    lock in the exposure reading? Or will the meter continue to
    constantly evaluate whatever it's pointed at during the 10 seconds it
    remains on?

    <p>

    Since the meter is not coupled to the shutter speed dial, and you have
    to lower the camera/meter to see and manipulate the meter's controls
    and transfer the setting to the camera, after framing and metering the
    chosen subject, I would think the meter useless if it cannot hold the
    reading. All descriptions of the Voightlander meter I've read ignore
    this issue. Has anyone out there used it yet?
     
  7. Sergio,
    I was looking at Steve Gandy's site and he likes the meter very
    much. I won't waste too much space here, but the meter is not a free
    floating type, but a manual "match diode" just like the Bessa L. The
    one thing that is strange is that while it matches the 90mm lens, you
    can't look through the camera and at the meter at the same time. On
    the meter, you set the shutterspeed, and then rotate the (non-click
    stopped) f-stop scale until the green diode lights... then transfer
    that combo to the camera. The problem that I see is that the diodes
    are on the top of the meter, so while viewing through the camera...
    how do you see the top of the meter? If you shift it to look, it
    won't be pointing at the intended subject. Check out the site for
    yourself at:

    <p>

    http://www.cameraquest.com/voivcmet.htm
     
  8. My original MR9cds-meter) is history.I found two old selenium meters for my M3/2.They dont have the sensitivity of modern meters BUT they give accurate exposures NOT being influenced by different colors.I noticed that my MR meter used to go crazy at yellow and when the sun was very low on the horizom.The meter was extremely optimistic of the available light.Leica tested these old meters.They are perfect.For low light I use (professionally) flash.For personal photos,I use a hand held meter.The f16 rule works great.I use it a lot.Sometimes prefer Leica without meter to make it smaller and less threatning for candids.
     

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