What to get..M6 or MP?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by joe_martin, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Hello all. I'm looking to take the plunge and get my first Leica. I've used a Bessa R since they first came out, and although I plan to hold onto it as a backup camera, I want something that's a bit more durable (I just can't see the plastic body parts on my Bessa lasting another 40 years). Thus my question: which model (MP or M6) do you think will hold up better to years of use/abuse? I'm looking at the black model of both.
    Joe Martin
  2. The M6 is good, but the MP was designed as no-compromise best-of-class.
  3. The MP is better built than the M6, and an M6 will be 10-20 years old already. MPs have a smoother feel to them, but whether they’d last any longer, I’m not sure you’d have to worry about either, both should last a long time if looked after and CLA’d regularly. You could buy two M6s for the price of an MP. The MP paint finish is not as durable as chrome, but this is cosmetic only.
  4. An MP is slightly better built than the M6, but the Leica modest cost cutting, after the abortive M5 production and that then included the M4-2, M4-P, and M6, was not of a nature to significantly reduce the durability of an already magnificently built camera. Many consider that these cameras are the equal of the lamented M2 and M3 cameras, notwitstanding some of the opinions you see (from those who cannot refrain from "gilding the lily").
    You can probably locate a mint or mint- M6 for about a third to one half the cost of an MP, and it is a purchase you will not regret. My M6 was a truly excellent camera (I regret selling it some 3 or 4 years ago). Now I only have an M4-P as a film M Leica and this nearly 30 year old camera is as good as it was when produced. It has not yet needed a service and my shutter speed tester shows it to be in top form. The M4-2, M4-P and M6 cameras were apparently designed with tougher parts so when worn you replace these mechanical parts, rather than re-adjust them as with the former Leicas, but then my camera has operated 30 years in moderate use and without any such need.
    Whatever you decide, make sure it gets regular shutter exercise (every month or so) if you are obliged to put it away for a period, and keep it out of dusty, smokey (kitchen grills), or salty and sandy seaside atmospheres (if you want to keep it for a very long period). This is good practice anyway for any precision device and is not really overly babying of the equipment.
  5. Strictly from an aesthetic standpoint, I prefer the Leica MP. It has that M3, M2 retro look. Very expensive though.
    That's one reason I recently opted for the purchase of an M2 and M4. I'm told that the M4 was the last hand assembled M body. Though internal metering would be nice, I have a very expensive Minolta hand held meter that I haven't used for years. I think it's going to be fun using it again.
  6. Joe, get an M6, you won't regret it. It has 98% of the build quality of the MP for half the price, with a considerably more ergonomic and refined film rewind knob. As for the used M6s being, well, used, this has never been an issue with any Leica M camera. As you may notice, people even recommend the 50 year old M2s and M3s as suitable candidates for purchase. And the M6s are hand assembled, just like the other cameras.
  7. Joe: I echo Arthur Plumpton's comments about the differences between the M6 and MP as regards construction, durability, etc. Yes, there are differences but they are minor.
    For me the 'sweet spot' as regards model, cost and age was the M6TTL, an example of which i bought about a year ago. Even the oldest example are just over 10 years old whereas the previous M6 model (sometimes called 'M6 Classic') can be up to 25 years old, yet the price premium for a TTL over a classic is minor. Both are considerably cheaper than a new MP. S/h MPs don't often turn up, at least not where I live. In my case part of the argument was that I wanted to put more of my budget towards lenses and less towards the camera itself. If you've been using a rangefinder camera for a while you probably already have a collection of lenses and your constraints may be different. Don't let advice here put you off buying a new MP if you can afford it!
    There's also the issue of VF magnification. M6 classics were mainly available with .72 viewfinders; right at the very end of their production the .85 vf was introduced as an alternative, but there aren't many such cameras around. The M6TTL however was available from the start with both .72 and .85 viewfinders, and both are widely available. In addition, late in its life, the .58 vf was introduced, although to be honest they aren't common and may attract a price premium. As I say above MP cameras aren't easily available s/h anyway, so there's little choice of vf magnification in what does come on the market. New, the standard MP is only available with a .72 viewfinder; to get either .85 or .58 viewfinders you have to buy through the a la carte programme, which is even more expensive.
  8. "The MP is better built than the M6"
    Exactly what evidence do the posters have that say this? Have you been to the factory? Has a Leica engineer said this? Please enlighten us...
  9. maybe the above posters are right, maybe not. but what i will say is that the mp is built with better materials than the m7/6 and is similar in quality to the m4 and nearly as good as the m3. any leica m series camera though is over engineered so your choice decision should not be based on build quality.
  10. The MP is certainly a popular camera. You'll see very few used MP for sale. I am sure it is well-built and if you can afford one by all means get it. I have four M6s that have have been good to me over the years and I cannot complain. Only the oldest had a shutter problem years ago which was fixed by Cameraquest. The MP has a superior finder, which you can have installed into your M6. Cost-wise, the M6 is a bargin.
  11. I'm on the fence about this...The MP that I'd used for just over a year - a Hammertone which I ended up selling, had a rough shutter release, circutry that cut out in merely cool (30-40f) temperatures - no matter what battery, evidence of further cost cutting over the M6/ttl (cheaper rear viewfinder attacment which introduced dust, pressure plate affixed by screws from the film-side, cheaper iso dial). Then again, perhaps this cost cutting was balanced by a better viewfinder (although the patch on mind wasn't as sharp when viewed other than absolutely straight on - probably due to the extra optics), and a very slightly smoother feel, likely a result of what Leica has touted as a refined approach to gear design and production - although this could amount, at least partially, to slightly relaxed gear tolerances, or a tooth design which would permit relaxed tolerances while remaining effective - which is actually probably a good idea in the long run.
    Then again, some of this is merely conjecture - although I have owned and sold over 30 M cameras in as many years (with a net loss of zero, so they've all been free!) - plus I design and build cameras, so maybe my intition has some shred of validity. But such forum conjecture can be extremely frustrating from the perspective of a manufacturer trying to market its goods...so my apologies where they are due.
    I also have found that as with any finely produced instrument, differences can and do exist between individual examples of a given model. Right now I happen to own a black paint TTL which is as smooth and well behaved as any M I've ever owned - which includes the above-mentioned MP. Yes, the meter does cut out in cold temps - but more like 15f. Having said this, I did own an M6 with a meter good to zero f. Not sure what to think about this - frustrating as I like to photograph in cold temps. Then again, I've got my trusty Weston Master IV, and in a pinch there's good old sunny 16!
  12. why does my entry say "edit?" is this a new feature?
  13. I don't know the answer to this... but does the M6 meter circuit have fewer integrated components than the MP? I know some older SLRs are easier to repair than newer because they use more small discrete components rather than fewer custom integrated ones.
  14. Neither of these threads will help.
    But the MP seems to get the most love votes.
  15. ...just to be contraversial....
    I get the impression the majority (not all) of MP owners are fondlers or light users, whereas I get the impression the majority (not all) of M6 owners are users, often heavy users....
  16. why does my entry say "edit?" is this a new feature?​
    Yes. For 10 minutes after a reply is posted, its author can make changes/corrections to it. After that, the word "edit" disappears and no further changes are possible (except by the moderators, in "extreme circumstances").
  17. Why buy a new MP when you can get several used M3s or M4s for the same price?
  18. If you have to ask how much, get an M6; if you don't look at price tags when you shop, get an MP.
  19. ...just to be contraversial....
    I get the impression the majority (not all) of MP owners are fondlers or light users, whereas I get the impression the majority (not all) of M6 owners are users, often heavy users....

    I carry my MP with me everywhere I go, and the three people I know personally who own MPs are all heavy users. I don't think they spend much time on the internet though.
  20. I love a good contraversy!
    But the m6 ttl is horrible: shutter speed dial goes the wrong way, camera is too tall, horrible red logo. Get the p.
    If you can't afford it and must have a meter, go for the classic m6 (and live with the logo. You can always cover it up!)
  21. I think it has more to do with funds. Leicas, if cared for last 50+ years, therefore durability is not the issue. If you have the funds buy the MP. On the other hand you could by 2 M6's; one for black and white and one for color. On the other hand if you are planning to abuse the camera stay with the Bessa.
  22. Thanks all for your comments. The deciding issue for me right now is the zinc top plate on the M6 versus the brass on the MP. Is there really any reason to be concerned with this? Is the brass significantly more durable than zinc? I know that the brass plates can be re-painted/enamled if I choose (though, I have no problem with some honest wear and tear), but can I do the same with the M6 body? I realize there is a big difference in price, but I'm not really worried about that- if the MP is going to outlast the M6 then it's well worth it to me.
  23. This will require a second opinion, or verification, but I did read somewhere that the particular brass alloy chosen is more likely to dent than the zinc casting, although apparently some have had problems with the latter as well (the plating on the zinc). But these are probably rare occurences and nitpicks, mentioned only because you brought up the question of the two materials.
    The age factor, like that for someone buying an M4 or M3 or M2, can be a problem (unless you buy a later model M6 TTL rather than the so-called older 'classic" model).
    Another option is to buy a used but mint condition MP, which will be younger than an M6 and not too far off from it in price. The present price of the MP, two or three hundred dollars higher than that of the M8 with Leica rebate, is a bit hard to take, especially as it hasn't required all the fairly recent considerable R and D expenses of the digital Leica.
  24. If it were my money I wouldn't buy either. I'd buy an M7. Now that looks like a great camera.
  25. My M6 is from 1995. A fair bit of use, never in a case or half case. Still mint. My M2 has acquired no marks from me in 30 years. I would not worry about the vulnerability of the Zinc top cover with the M6. Nice to have an MP, but not for that money. They will eventually come up second hand, maybe later this year. Love Geoff R's 20th Feb 5:52 comment.
  26. One more thing. I absolutely hate the "leatherette" covering of the MP. That alone would make me choose an M6. Notice the M8.2 returns to the vulcanite look. The MP drops the logo and the plastic tabs and the angled rewind and then mucks up the impression entirely with the cheap look cladding.
  27. Folks, I have owned and abused many Leicas and they are all good. The M6TTL has travelled with me for many many years through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and many other places besides and they have had thousands of rolls put through them and the only problems I have had are with the rangefinder calibration but that will be the same with the MP. Whichever way you go the camera will out live you and debates about leatherette and brass alloy are a little difficult to take seriously. The M6 TTL is the most functional of the cameras as it has a better rewind knob and if you cannot use the M6TTL viewfinder then give the whole thing up. If you like gloss paint and blisters on your fingers then buy the MP, if not buy the M6TTL - in any event spend most of your money on good lenses and film and think pictures not cameras. The MP will not take better pictures than an M6 and either will serve you well. I have 4 M6's and am unlikely to change them. Best wishes, Gary
  28. Joe, I don't get time to use my Leica as intensively as a professional like Gary does (my loss!), but I think he has really hit the nail on the head with his comments!
  29. Cosmetically, The M6 will hold up better if comparing it's black chrome to the black enamel of the MP. I think you can get the MP in black chrome which is going to be an a la carte item and quite expensive as new. The MP made some minor improvements in the finder optics, shutter and gear works making it marginally better than an M6 but how you spend you money is your business. Expect a used MP to sell for used several hundred more than a similar condition used M6. Neither was built to the highest standards of the M2, 3, 4 and 5 as certain parts were cheapened over the years to reduce cost but they are the closest thing out there to the legendary Leica Ms in their prime.
  30. My progression through Leica bodies has been M6TTL-->M7-->MP. They're all good but I think I like the MP best, and I use two together, a 0.85x mag & a 0.72x mag. I prefer the rewind knob on the MP to the M6TTL/M7, that straight spindle seems more solid somehow. The viewfinders are great on my MPs and they have been very reliable. They all have actually except for one of the M7s which got dodgy in hot/humid climes. The money isn't a deal breaker for you - get the MP. You'll never regret it.
  31. I'd have to agree with Gary here. Buy the M6 classic and spend the extra $$$$ on lenses! I have an M3 DS (1956) and an M7. I usually cary the M7 around because of the 35mm framelines and the light meter, but the M3 has a better feel to it and should outlast the M7, even with its 50+ year head start.
    Before buying the M7, I considered the MP, but it was not significantly different from my M3, apart from the framelines and light meter. I chose the M7 because it has AE (though I don't think one should rely on this) and because it was $1000 cheaper than the MP on the used market. Okay, mostly because of the price.
    In fact, if a light meter is not an issue, I'd get an M2.
  32. Thanks again guys, you've made my decision a lot easier. There doesn't seem to be enough of a difference in quality to justify (for me, anyway) the added cost of the MP, so I'm going to get the M6.
  33. The MP has meaningful improvements over the latter m6/ttl such as a curved mirror with a somewhat different shape and the mask. Together with the coated windows rangefinder patch whiteout is reduced. The mirror-mask system can be retrofitted in M7 models and I assume in M6/M6TTL too. The shutter was improved. The top plate retuns to brass with a all metal advance lever similar to the m2/3.
  34. Unless you have cash to burn, the M6 by a long shot, but get the TTL, not the classic.
  35. I was in the same boat you were, but this isn't my first. I wanted to upgrade my M4 to something newer. I was stuck between the M6 or MP. I thought about it for the better part of three months. Then I started to consider the M7 because I thought having the AE in some situations would be a nice option to have. I saw one at a price I couldn't refuse and grabbed it. I think it's the perfect price compromise between the M6 and MP.
  36. If you decide on an M6 over the MP, DO NOT get the M6 TTL but rather a classic version. The reason is that Leica, in their attempt to reduce production cost starting with the M6, had oversimplified the frame counter design such that every so often one will fail. The fix is to replace, not repair the mechanism and unfortunately they can also fail. A better fix is to replace it with the earlier M4 style unit which was better engineered and a perfect design as related by repair expert Don Goldberg. These M4 units will work in an M6 or MP but not an M6 TTL or M7 due to a change in those cameras dimensions from the M4 or M3.
  37. Since you say its your first Leica M get the M6. Learn how to use it. If you find RF photography is for you, then get the MP.
    As stated above, the M6 is half the price of a MP. The M6 is a great camera and will last fifty years if well looked after and maintained.
  38. It doesn't matter - get the camera you want. Neither camera will make any difference if you can't see an interesting photograph. I have an M6 that I purchased in 1991 - and I don't think an MP would make my photographs any better. Look at it as being a tool, choose the tool you would be most comfortable using.
  39. I like the M7 for the AE, it's just so much faster on the street and meters really well. Very trustworthy if you understand how the meter works.
  40. I had thought about getting the M7, but decided against it because of the electronic shutter.
  41. Another vote for the M6TTL. The MP looks cool, but the M6TTL is very practical and reasonably priced. If the viewfinder flare bugs you then get it upgraded one day, like I did. Alternatively get an original M6 and save even more. I prefer the shutter speed dial on the TTL and I also prefer the middle metering spot indicating correct exposure. Also if you must use flash then the TTL addition is nice.
  42. Last of the hand built, no compromise M's....get the M4 and an M3. One with a 35mm and one with a 50mm and a 90mm at the ready. Grab a little Gossen and you're all set.
  43. Amazing how the mths continue to propagate. Absolutely without friction.
  44. Regarding the M6 and M6 TTL, the TTL needs the battery to fire the flash. M6 does not. MP is a nice camera, but only if you have money to burn.
  45. I do have both. I like MP over the M6; but have no reason except personal preferance. MP is made to better the M6; however, the difference can not been recognized. M6 has advantage that its shutter dial turns in the dirsction of the arrow of the light meter, like the aperture ring. MP has taken this out to reduce heith by 2 mm abd eliminate extra mechanisms that might go wrong. Same for the rewind knob. With MP the brass will show after a while; M6 does not change color.
    In short, if you have the money, then MP; if not, M6. By the way, have you considered M4-2? It is M6 minus light meter. It is like pencil in sketching. That, is my most favorite.
  46. Greetings to all M users! I'm a first-timer on this forum...just had to get in on this subject! Some minor background: Full-time pro photog, own both an M system and an R System. Now for what I like and why: I have (4) M-6 TTL's, and (2) of them are the LHSA Black Paint bodies in both .72 and .85 viewfinder magnifications. I put the black paint rapid winders from the then MP (when it was first re-introduced a few years ago) onto these two bodies and never looked back! My other M-6 TTL's are both chrome, a .85 for tele work and a .58 with M-6 Motor (latest version). My arsenal of optics include the 21 aspherical, 28 F2.0, 35 F1.4 Titanium asph., 50 F 1.0, 90 F 2.0 Apo, and the 135 Apo. Also have 2 Sf-20's, a 1.4 eyepiece magnifier for the 50, 90 and the 135's.
    The black paint bodies get Black & white film and the chrome bodies get color. Yes, even I sometimes get the dreaded "eyepiece flare", but you adapt to it and it makes you a better shooter. I like the meter in the camera, and I like turning the knobs in the same direction as the arrows...when your "in the trenches", you simply don't have time to get it wrong!
    Someday I might pay for the viewfinder upgrade to get the newest "flare-free" version, but in the meantime, it's all my nice glass that takes the pictures, as we all know! The only thing that the body does is hold the lens straight in place and keep the film flat, and expose it for a minor fraction of a second!
    My brother had an MP when they first hit the scene...had to buy the winding lever for it, and still he couldn't keep up with me on a job! As far as the battery needed for the flash in my TTL's: I carry spares and change them only when needed, which even in professional use, isn't much! A pro never "goes into battle" with half-shot batteries anyway! My favorite flash for the M-6 TTL is a good-'ol Vivitar 283 or 285, with a piece of white 3x5 index card and a rubber band for bounce lighting, held in the left hand, with the motor set to single on the .58 body in my right, with the 28 mm set to F 8.
    Oh, when I said "in the trenches", I forgot to say I did weddings with Leicas.
    Get the M-6 TTL's, buy the viewfinder upgrade if you must, and put the rest of your $$$ into the glass!
  47. Save your money: M6
  48. If cost is no object buy an MP. It is newer and has a better non flare rangefinder. From a pure use standpoint both are a joy to use and there is really very little difference. I personally like the covering better on the M6 over the MP and the faster rewind of the M6.
  49. It is complete speculation that the M6 is more reliable than the MP. The MP is a nice camera, but it will in no way help you make a better photo or outlive the M6.
    So I'd get the M6 ;)
  50. hello martin
    i am a chinese, in my country a used LEICA MP will be expend about 3000 USD which is in good fettle. and a used LECA M6 NON-TTL will be 1500 USD as same fettle the MP
    but after my compareing with all the LEICA M-SERIES producters , i considered that the M6 NON-TTL is the best-looking especially a silver one
    my M6 non-ttl body SN is 199xxxx it was manufactured at about 1990-1996, it is more than 10 years old but it take me wonderful feeling to use
    i considered that you may don`t worry about the life-span of it
    so i suggest you choice a LEICA M6 NON-TTL
  51. It doesn't really matter what you get only if cost is an issue but that has been said allready. I recently acquired a mint M6 for 700 euro's, for me cost was an issue. But my message is, whatever you buy, stick to it. I've owned M3, M5, M4-p but sold them all and always regretted it. As they say in the article on luminous landscape about the M6, NEVER sell a Leica, you will just end up one time in the future buying another once you have used one. It has nothing to do with snobery, actually in my opinion the contrary. Once you get some experience you realize you want as little as possible between you and the subject and that's what leica provides. So, doesn't matter, stick to whatever it becomes.

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