Most suitable Leica M for wide photography, and its finders?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by pietro_chelli|1, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Hello!
    I am just about to step in the M world, as I want (need) to go back on road and do some street photography.
    I would be using focals between 21 and 28, for the moment i am not at all considering focal above these.
    I have two doubts though!
    First: is it of great help getting an M with a .058 RF magnification? will I also see lines for a the 21?
    I am asking this because I have noticed that the .072 is much easier to find used, which is what I am hoping to get ( a used model)
    Another doubt that I have is this: if i get an auxiliary viewfinder, is it coupled with the cameras rangefinder?
    I think i know the answer to this one: NOOOOOO!
    It's just for viewing and composing, right???
    Thanks for your well appreciated suggestions!
  2. No RF coupling with external finder...with the .58 finder, you could est. 24mm with the whole VF...
  3. 21mm isn't good for street photography imo, you will have to get right in people's faces. Do you intend to photogaph people? Or more city/building stuff? For people, a 35/28/50mm is better...
  4. Yes, I photograph people and I know it's kind of strange when you get in people's faces. But I've always done that so that is kind of my way of doing it. The 24 would be then my most used focal, to be more precise. And also, I would like it to be as instinctive as possible, so maybe it is nice to look in an auxiliary finder and just see the compositions coming and going. I have noticed also that among the wides the 24 is kind of the hardest to find ( I mean used and old, not the new asph meant to go with the digital - I do only Black and White).
  5. That is much easier than a 21mm. I don't like aux. finders so I rarely used wider than a 28mm on the leica. Good luck with a 24/25mm...
  6. Cosina makes Voightlander branded cameras, a Bessa L with 24mm Skopar and companion finder may be worth chasing down. I have the 15 Heliar with finder on a Bessa L. It has through the lens metering and has been a great camera for the use of superwide photography. This may be available on the used market.
  7. For 21 - 28mm? Perhaps a Voigtlander R4A or R4M, as they have selectable framelines for 21, 25, 28, 35, and 50mm, and offer a choice of fully-manual or manual+aperture-priority-AE operation (and a neat little trigger winder, if that's your thing). Alternatively an MDa (or other body of your choice) + Voigtlander 25mm f/4 Snapshot-Skopar - it's hard to find a faster-handling combination when the light is good.

    As for 21mm not being suitable for street photography... that depends entirely on your preferences. I've had fun (and success) with the older Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Ultra-Wide Heliar on my MDa. Same with the afore-mentioned Snapshot-Skopar.
  8. Mr Wheatland's suggestion of a Voigtlander Bessa L is also a good one - they're very reasonably priced and have the meter indicator on the upper rear of the body, which allows one to meter without having to raise the camera to one's eye. Only real drawback is the lack of built-in finder, which is no real problem if one is looking to use external finders. Another option is a Bessa T, which has a high-magnification rangefinder but no viewfinder.
  9. Voigtlander R4A or R4M is nice and light, easy to handle with one hand. I didn't get one though because
    the shutter is a tad loud, which I figured might be limiting in some instances. A .58 finder on a Leica is
    nice for shooting 28, and likely workable with a 24. I often use a 21 with or without a finder. Without you
    can just point the camera and get pretty good results. With the finder is fun too and probably better for seeing, but you may end up
    being right on top of people, practically stepping on them, without realizing you're that close.
  10. I use a Leica IIIf RD with a 21mm CV f/4 lens & finder. I also use the 15mm CV lens on it. With my Leicavit on, it is a great combo.
    When I use my 28mm f/1.9 CV lens it is on my M4-P.
  11. First, anything wider than a 28mm on any M will not have framelines.
    Second, if using an aux finder on an M with anything other than an M7, you will have to use the rangefinder to set exposure if M5 or later and then switch to the aux finder for final composition, which takes time for rapidly moving subjects. Uusally the 21mm has enough DOF that one can zone focus.
    I use a 21mm f2.8 ASPH on an 0.85 M7 for available light phtography. The M7 has the ability to hold the exposure setting with the shutter release partially depressed, so one can actually use the aux finder to meter the correct portion of the scene, hold that exposure, compose and shoot. For rapidly moving subjects, use of any other M is problematic because of the switching betwwen finders. So for 21mm and 24mm, its the M7, for 28mm, any 0.72 or 0.58 M will do.-Dick
  12. I don't like using the 21mm for street photography, it is my landscape architecture lens, but I guess everyone has their own style. I use the 21mm on an old M4, metering tends not to be an issue when you don't have a meter. The accessory finder works well for me, depth of field is small enough that precise focusing through the rangefinder isn't necessary.
  13. I have used the Leica Elmarit-M 21mm f 2.8 (pre-asph) with an accessory Kobalux 21 viewfinder on my wife's M6 quite successfully on the congested streets of my neighborhood in Honolulu's Chinatown. I keep both eyes open while shooting so I don't bump into people or objects. I pre focus and let depth of field handle the rest, which works out most of the time. I also don't set exposure for every shot which also works out well enough in most instances. I only adjust exposure when I notice lighting obviously changing. Film exposure latitude and luck usually prevail. You develop an instinct for this stuff after awhile.
  14. Agree with Robert Hooper, pre-set focus and exposure on M6 or M2 with 25 and external finder can be very efficient.
  15. Hey guys ! thanks for all the clarifications! can someone confirm leslie's thought about the fact that with a 0.58 I can consider the whole frame of the finder to the very edge as my 24mm borders? i think i will go with an m7 so at least i have the option of shooting on AE and use an external finder, eventually, thanks Dick : )
  16. Pietro, with my .58 finders I cannot use the outer edges of the finder as a precise guide to the 24mm frame edges. But with just a little practice I have developed a sense of where the edges are, reliably enough that I have shot successfully with the camera's finder, and had no surprises when my slides came back. I do use an auxiliary finder most of the time (I use the Zeiss 25mm finder or else the Leitz 24mm); but I'm not afraid to go without the finder with the 24mm. I think you will find it easy enough!

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