Which Leica M camera to buy?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by bryan_loo, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Don't close this just yet!
    The question I'm going to ask has perhaps been asked a lot of times, but believe me I've read all the replies and feel that my thirst is not quite quenched yet, hence this question.
    I intend to sell off all of my other cameras and lenses. My Nikons, and Pentax gear. Although they have given me spectacular images and memories, they have also made me want for more. I don't want any more, and don't want to hanker after any more cameras or lenses. I shoot mostly manual and in black and white film, so the digital era is quite honestly a low point for me, since very little seem to appreciate film these days but a high point also because everything film is mostly cheaper.
    I'm young so excuse my ignorance if I happen to say the wrong thing, but I don't quite want to get to the age most people I know get to when they realise that after spending hundreds of thousands on expensive Nikons, Canons and everything else. All they ever really needed was just one camera and one lens. I've realised that now, so to cut things short.
    I am absolutely confused on which Leica M camera to buy. Money is no object, but that's not to say I would willingly buy a 50mm Noctilux or an M9(if only because it's a digital camera). I can't seem to decide between an M3, M6, M7, MP or the Zeiss Ikon. Even a singular choice of focal length has me stumped. 35mm or 50mm(on my SLRs, the 35mm f/2 lens regardless of make is always my normal, but I've recently been trying out the 50mm, and since I only want one lens, I can't decide which to get.).
    I want to be able to take pictures of everything(people, landscapes, parades, celebrations, weddings, funerals, anything the eye can see!) and anywhere(at home, at work, in broad daylight, in the middle of the night, at a bar, in a cave, on a train, wherever one can go!). I understand that no one camera can fully satisfy every single one of these situations or conditions but I want a camera that can come close. I have reason to believe the Leica M series will do that.
    I know all of this sounds whimsical, at least to me. I'm not trying to add to fanaticism or mystique common to the Leica brand, but rather just some opinions. I've shunned digital, regardless of how great it can become, there is something brilliantly grand about developing and printing your own pictures. And I like it and have the time for it so why not?
    And of course, what I'd like on the camera. A self-timer(though if I am not mistaken only the M3 has) would be nice, I frequently travel alone and prefer my own company and the freedom to do things on the fly without having to consult anyone so shooting pictures of myself against something ever so often would be a nice touch.
    Metering would be helpful too, although if there isn't any, I'd finally be able to find a use for my VCII meter.
    Oh and maybe ASA speeds beyond 1600 so that I could actually try shooting Kodak P3200 at 3200.
    So amongst the M3, M6, M7, MP or Zeiss Ikon. Which would you recommend, and keep in mind that it's my first Leica(or non-Leica but with the M mount).
    Thanks!
    p.s. I know the lens-hankering never really stops regardless of the system you buy. But with mostly fixed focal length lenses to be had, I think I'd be able to curb my addiction fairly well by sticking to one lens and maybe a wide-angle at a later time.
     
  2. I would eliminate the M3. Though many Leica experts say it was the best Leica ever made, they are now very old. They are a little harder to load than an M6. The big drawback is no meter. I had a 3 and a 6 for years & finally sold the 3 because I absolutely never needed it. My M6 required a cleaning & adjustment after 10 hard years, but has never broken down. Great camera. I have not used the 7 or the P.
     
  3. If you shoot almost only B&W, I'd go for a meterless body.
    Your favorite focal lens is important for the viewfinder choice. Mine is 50 : with a 50, a kit composed of a nice CLA'd M3
    (.91 viewfinder) and a summicron 50 (or lux if you want the extra-stop) is the thing I use most when shooting B&W
    (>90%). With Tri-X rated from 200 to 3200, depending on conditions.

    With a 35, you'd better go for another body. Maybe a .58, especially if you wear glasses.
    but when in the mountains, my kit is usually composed of a M6TTL with a 2/28. And an Elmar 50 in the bag. With Velvia.
    But this is just my experience and my way of using my cameras...

    Try one close to what you think close to your needs. Stick to it for some time, shoot, learn and adjust later if needed. Have
    fun.

    Didier
     
  4. SCL

    SCL

    You left out my favorite, the M4. But since I've shot with the M2, M3, M4 and M6...I'd recommend the M6 out of your list. I'm not sure why you are considering a change if your present gear is giving satisfying results...but that is your decision for your own reasons. My advice is don't sell your other gear until you are satisfied the RF M series is truly what you want! The M6 is newer, has a good built in meter. If you want to use TTL flash get the M6TTL, if not, the M6 classic. I personally prefer a 35mm lens as my normal lens and a 90 to supplement it. Less often I use a 50 and currently have two of them (Summicrons) after years of trying almost every 50 Leica offers in the M mount (I sold the Noctilux...wasn't my cup of tea, Summilux was really nice, but I didn't use it enough to keep it). I also periodically use a Leica 135 and 400 Telyts for special needs and a VC 15. I originally got a Visoflex, because I thought I wouldn't want a SLR any longer, but it rarely gets used, as SLRs & DSLRs are more convenient. The good news is that I can use the lens heads of my 90 & 135 M lenses via an adapter on my SLR & DSLR cameras, as well as the 400. So the Leica M stuff is certainly a versatile package, but don't dismiss the digital stuff. The day may come when it is impractical to use a lot of film unless you process it yourself. Whichever camera you choose, don't get hung up on buying a different model later on to improve your photographic skills...use what you choose and learn to make best use of its features. Given you're going for cameras with some usage in them, make sure you have a CLA in your budget...my M4 needed it twice in the last 40 years (once because a windstorm blew it off the picnic table I had set it on while looking for a lens). Good luck with your choice!
     
  5. SCL

    SCL

    You left out my favorite, the M4. But since I've shot with the M2, M3, M4 and M6...I'd recommend the M6 out of your list. I'm not sure why you are considering a change if your present gear is giving satisfying results...but that is your decision for your own reasons. My advice is don't sell your other gear until you are satisfied the RF M series is truly what you want! The M6 is newer, has a good built in meter. If you want to use TTL flash get the M6TTL, if not, the M6 classic. I personally prefer a 35mm lens as my normal lens and a 90 to supplement it. Less often I use a 50 and currently have two of them (Summicrons) after years of trying almost every 50 Leica offers in the M mount (I sold the Noctilux...wasn't my cup of tea, Summilux was really nice, but I didn't use it enough to keep it). I also periodically use a Leica 135 and 400 Telyts for special needs and a VC 15. I originally got a Visoflex, because I thought I wouldn't want a SLR any longer, but it rarely gets used, as SLRs & DSLRs are more convenient. The good news is that I can use the lens heads of my 90 & 135 M lenses via an adapter on my SLR & DSLR cameras, as well as the 400. So the Leica M stuff is certainly a versatile package, but don't dismiss the digital stuff. The day may come when it is impractical to use a lot of film unless you process it yourself. Whichever camera you choose, don't get hung up on buying a different model later on to improve your photographic skills...use what you choose and learn to make best use of its features. Given you're going for cameras with some usage in them, make sure you have a CLA in your budget...my M4 needed it twice in the last 40 years (once because a windstorm blew it off the picnic table I had set it on while looking for a lens). Good luck with your choice!
     
  6. My favorite is Leica M3 single stroke with black 35mm F2 Canon all in user condition with a recent CLA. The absolute outside edge of the finder is roughly 37mm view so an optional 35mm finder may be unnecessary. In the cold shoe a small accurate exposure meter completes the ideal kit. Don't forget a lens shade! I also use this lens with a Canon P so the LTM to M converter ring needed on the latter camera cannot be used. I mention user condition to keep the cost of acquisition down allowing for the expense of a CLA which the camera might need to insure another 50 years of use! The mint ones are for the well heeled collectors.....
     
  7. The MP is a cool factor camera like no other, but has no self timer, only some of the M3s have one. I detest (this is suppose to be a conversation, no?) the answer to use Google but that would be your best bet to compare features, and narrow down your list from there.
    So do a lack of knowledge, my input input is meager.
    What VF magnification would you prefer? .58 or .72 would be the way to go for wides or the .72 for all around shooting. .85 is also an option.
    ISO selection is dependent on the film, not the camera. Attached is a shot on K P3200, at 3200 1,4.
    The advantage of an M3 is it has the worlds' best viewfinder (VF) magnification at .91 (?). The disadvantage is it has the worlds best VF magnification at .91, so that mandates an external VF for 35mm lenses and wider. The Leica 35mm lens made for it is goggled, an issue for some, it wouldn't be for me. If could I'd have an M3 married to a 75mm/1,4.
    The M6 classic (called classic, not officially "Classic" as it's just an informal way of saying non TTL flash) is an awesome little camera, cheap today by L standards.
    I always liked the 3 lug M5, I like the idea of carrying a camera hanging down instead of flopped over. I don't know if that is the case in the real world or not, but the M5 prices have gone crazy in the past 3 years so I'll never own one.
    The ZI gets rave reviews for its' finder, Zeiss has also been making Biogons since invented by Dr. Ludwig Bertele at Carl Zeiss in 1953. A fantastic design and still modern (a Biogon/Hologon hybrid is used for the Mars Rover NavCams, to give you an idea of what the design can achieve distortion wise).
    CameraQuest has a nice conversational overview of the different models here: http://www.cameraquest.com/mguide.htm
    While money can't buy you love (trust me, it can be rented), it can buy you a Leica. First lens? The (recently) discontinued 35mm/1,4 Summilux ASPH and some Tri-X, Plus-X, Pan-F and P3200.
    00WvwS-263185584.jpg
     
  8. I'd be fine without a meter, but you might not. I prefer to carry a hand-held meter. An M3 is fine, IMO, if one gets one that has had the RF update and a recent CLA by a reputable repair person. Same for any other used Leica M. For a one-body outfit, I'd go with an M6. The question for me would be between a Summicron and a Summilux, and I would compromise and go with the former. No matter what, I would take a 2nd compact, lightweight quality P&S camera while traveling. Something like an Olympus Stylus Epic, Olympus XA, etc., if using film, or a Canon S90 or Fuji 200EXR if digital, just in case.
     
  9. Here's a pic of an MP with the goggled 135/2,8 Elmarit M. The gogs bring up 90 mm frame lines making it easier, supposedly, to focus. It's mounted on a .72 VF MP.
    It has it's detractor (both the camera rewind and the gog'd lens) but they both work as designed.
    00Wvwe-263191584.jpg
     
  10. Bryan, as you probably know, the M7 gives you exposure automation, if that is needed. The M6 with its meter and with a 50mm Summicron f2.0 (or even the collapsible newer version 50mm f2.8, discontinued a few years ago) is hard to beat, especially with the 0.85 magnification finder. However, you may eventually want to go for a 35mm or wider lens, and if so, the 0.72 model would be better. I've use both the M3 and M6 and wouldn't hesitate about the M6, the on-board meter is just so convenient. Having said that, once I sold these and went to MF (Mamiya 6, a great 6x6cm RF B&W camera, although with slower lenses), I wanted back into Leica M and purchased the meterless M4-P (used with VCII meter attached; not as convenient as the M6 or M7, but still a great and well-made camera, with 0.72X VF).
    You will likely be happy with any of the models you are thinking about, but the small differences are noteworthy. I used a Konica RF camera for 3 or 4 years and regret seling it. It is a smooth, svelt and great performing camera (some say it is not pefectly matched to Leica M lenses, but my tests using high res. slide film showed little if any mismatching) and a shame it was discontinued. And quieter, I believe, than the Cosina made Zeiss-Ikon.
     
  11. Thanks for the responses. You're right on that Didier, I only shoot B&W. Perhaps in another year or so I'll finally be sick of shooting grey that I'll make the jump to shooting colour slides. But I somehow don't see that happening much.
    But why no meter if I shoot B/W? I would think it would make it easier since shooting B/W very often requires multiple filter changes depending on light and subject.
    Also, I very rarely use a telephoto lens. So the chances of me buying a telephoto lens is rather slim even though they are definitely of use. I just prefer the normal to wide-angle point of view and let my legs scale to fit something in, naturally I can't fit athletes in that well, but I don't like sports much anyway.
    So it seems it's 2 votes right now for an M6. What about the M7 or the MP? I'd like more opinions!
    Edit; Good gravy! In the time it took me to reply, there's a whole slew of more responses, give me a sec to read through all of them now!
     
  12. The AE ability on the M7 is incredibly useful. If I were to buy a new (used) camera that is what I'd purchase.
    A 135mm lens could barely called telephoto by todays' standards. Regarding focal lengths and composing by backing up or walking forward, at times that is just not an option. This attachment was shot at 10 feet on Kodachrome with the 135/2,8, wide open.
    00Wvwu-263195884.jpg
     
  13. Well Stephen, I'm considering a change because of a number of factors. They're really all just personal and would make little sense to an outsider(which also makes me feel that they're rather nonsensical). But long story short, I just want one camera with one lens plus a wde-angle later on and on certain occasions. Because of this, I would like to get rid of everything else(except maybe my old Spotmatic which I utterly adore and will relegate to a display cabinet). And because I will no longer have more than one camera, well, let's just leave it at how I'll be a much happier person.
    And Michael I don't quite understand how ISO speed is related to film and not the camera. If I wanted to shoot a roll of P3200 on my Spotmatic that only goes as far as 1600, how do I rate it at 3200? Also, I've been through that website, but after reading it, I am far more distracted than I was before. Everything seems to be fantastic.
    Arthur, I must confess that I'm not very informed about what exposure automation is. But also with your mention of MF. I have thought and considered it for a while now, and to be honest am still debating whether to settle for one of the new Rolleiflex TLR cameras. I would probably get the one with f/2.8 lens. But I was also considering the Mamiya 6 and 7. I would like to shoot MF far more than 35mm, but the slower lens speeds are a problem and a direct contradiction to me wanting to take pictures everywhere. And most of them involve places where a tripod would be more of a hindrance and less of an aid. So that's why I settled on a Leica instead.
    And Luis, I totally agree. Regardless of what I'm shooting, I always bring a small digital P&S(I know I exhibit great disdain for digital, but in the case of digital P&Ss, I haven't found a film equivalent that is as small as my little Nikon).
    And so again, everyone's mostly for the M6. With a few notable exceptions for the M3 and M4. Oddly though, most websites I seem to get directed to with google searches highly proclaim the M7 or MP as the camera of choice to get into if you're a first-time buyer. Again, it's all highly subjective I know, but perhaps you can now understand my confusion and indecisiveness.
     
  14. I know a lot of Leica users will consider the comment heresy, but the MP for me is serious overkill compared to the M6. Unless you shoot 20,000 images per year (and even then...), or are very very concerned about occasional flare in the viewfinder, what does it really buy that the M6 does not already have? Even if there are marginal differences for the huge price differential, will they really show up in the images, or in the capability to make them?
    Bryan, just saw your thread. AE is automatic exposure, in which you set one variable (f stop or shutter speed) and the camera reads the reflected light through the lens and sets the exposure automatically, when you press the shutter button. The M6 reads the light through the lens and you set the f stop or shutter speed yourself by centering the meter indicators in the VF window.
     
  15. Lastly, like you already know, you can't always compose with your feet. Shot with a digi PoS, cliffs to my back, cliffs to the front, moving back impossible, moving forward, suicide.
    00WvxZ-263203584.jpg
     
  16. Michael, yes I have to agree again. By today's standards a 135mm is a short tele. And backing up or moving forward is just not going to work sometimes. I've run into such situations either indoors(a small room) or outdoors(on a bridge for example). But with the application of a telephoto lens, that is something I rarely encounter. I've found, at least in my experience that when it's impossible for me to get a good shot with a lens regardless of where my legs can take me, I'm forced to try a different vantage point. An example of this is when I tried to compose a shot of the grand canal in Venice with a 50mm lens and realising then that a 35mm would be better suited and there was no way I could levitate two metres above and behind the bridge I was standing on. I found a way to get under the bridge via some steps and lean out near the water to get a good shot.
    Granted it was not only dangerous but rather foolish, but I came away happy. And it was only a $40 camera I put in harm's way, though I doubt I'd do the same with a Leica. But you get the point I guess.
     
  17. Except for the digital M bodies and M5, the built-in self-timer and built-in meter are mutually exclusive. Leica made room for the meter batteries on M6 and up film bodies by removing the self-timer. So start by making up your mind about those features. That will narrow down the selection.
    Next think about the framelines and finder magnification you'll need for your lens. 28? 35? 50? That will narrow it down more. In other words, make up your mind about the lens focal length, then the body selection will follow. If you're like most people sooner or later you'll end up with two or more lenses, and maybe even bodies, but start with your immediate needs.
    By now you'll have a selection of bodies that are differentiated by things like appearance, build quality, age, availability of parts, possibly film-loading method, and of course price. Then people are better able to offer specific recommendations about particular bodies.
     
  18. But Arthur, faced with the M6 and the M7. Is automatic exposure worth the steeper buy-in? I can definitely see where it would be useful. But with nearly everyone recommending the M6, there seems to be a disparity between usefulness and adoration. Don't mind my blasphemy, I'm just trying to iron things out.
    Also, is the M7 one of the cameras with the so-called "wrong way" shutter dial? It's not a huge concern for me since it will be my first camera, so whichever way it spins would be the "right way" but I'm just wondering.
     
  19. A better example of getting closer is suicide (and an example why I hate C-41). Getting closer for a landscape may mean falling 180 feet to a rocky death.
    And why I hate C-41, shot with "pro film" with arguably the "best" lens, and the colors suck. It was an awesome scene, Chaco Canyon at sunrise. I refuse to diddle in PP, I want to learn photography and not Photo Shop film corrections. Luckily I shot the same scene, same metering and same AM time with Kodachrome. While I don't have a scan to post, it is frigging gorgeous. And after scanning, I only have to FTP a TIFF to a printer, no PP required.
    All Leica M cameras have settings for ISO 3200, or up to 6400? To shoot P3200 with a camera/light meter that tops out at 1600 you would basically only have to close the lens a stop, or slower the shutter down a step, voila, exposed for 3200.
    But the go anywhere do anything kit you seem to be describing is an M7, MP or M6, a 35mm lens and a tripod, but for a cave you may want to go wider. :)
    Have fun, enjoy the adventure and return to post where you go and your photos.
    00Wvxz-263209584.jpg
     
  20. The answer is simple. You should get the most advanced and flexible body= M7 0.72x and a good matching universal high quality lens = 35/1.4 Summilux. I normally use a 0.85x M7 for 50mm lenses, 0,58x M7 for 28mm lenses and th Zeiss Ikon for 35mm lenses (BTW Zeiss Ikon is the most advanced rangefinder), but if you do not wear glasses, the 0,72x M7 will keep you covered from 28mm to 50mm easily.
    As to the lens, from what you wrote, I think you want a 35mm. look st the photos of this guy, he only uses an M7 with a 3mm Summicron ASPH:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmanuel_smague/
    Get the Leica, as if you buy another camera you will still want trying a Leica anyway, and while Leica is not best at everything, it is good enough at most things to make you like it for life.
     
  21. Ken,
    First off, you read rather impatient. Did I not mention that I am a first-time buyer into the Leica M system? I was not aware that the self-timer was exclusive to bodies without a meter. And having used SLRs my whole life, I was equally unaware that viewfinder magnification had anything to do with what lenses I wanted to use.
    But with that being said, very well. I would prefer a body with TTL metering, since I use a wide variety of B/W colour filters and would prefer not having to mentally factor in the f/stop reduction. I could do with a shutter release cable I guess.
    With regards to the focal length, I am still undecided and will be for a while til' I fully flesh out the possibilities with regards to the 50mm focal length. But with that being said, I would probably buy a 28mm lens at some point.
    Edit: Forgot to include, yes I wear glasses. Am short-sighted.
     
  22. Thanks Michael for the tip, I never actually thought of that!
    And thanks Marek, that's the type of answer I needed! Narrows it down a whole bunch! But just one small follow-up question, the 35/1.4 does block the viewfinder does it not? How would I get around that?
     
  23. having owned pretty-much everything, film-wise - my only three suggestions would be:
    leica m4 / 35 summicron / 35 summilux asph. [about £1,000-£2,500]
    leica m6 [classic] / 35 summicron / summilux asph. [about £900-£2,500]
    olympus trip 35 [about £3-£20]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/j12t/
    good luck, buddy; you seem to be heading in a good direction : ]
     
  24. I'm young so excuse my ignorance if I happen to say the wrong thing, but I don't quite want to get to the age most people I know get to when they realise that after spending hundreds of thousands on expensive Nikons, Canons and everything else. All they ever really needed was just one camera and one lens. I've realised that now,​
    Bryan,
    Your dichotomy of one camera and one lens for everything and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive nikon/canon is false. It just show how naive you are. There is a road in between. Actually, most of us are on that road unless you are a gearhead fondler or really hardheaded hardcore minimalist...
    I would start with a M6 and a 35mm. See if RF suit you then get another lens or two.






     
  25. 'So amongst the M3, M6, M7, MP or Zeiss Ikon. Which would you recommend, and keep in mind that it's my first Leica(or non-Leica but with the M mount).'
    It really depends on what is important to you:
    M3 - Best Leica viewfinder for 50mm, but no framelines for 35mm. Consider an M2 or M4 if you're likely to go for the 35. Obviously no meter, and more likely to need servicing than the others you mention.
    M6 'classic' - No-nonsense body with meter, arguably the best value, and my choice.
    M6-TTL and M7 - Slightly larger than the M6, adding TTL flash metering and larger shutter speed dials that turn in the opposite direction to all other film Leicas (but are easier to adjust with one finger). M7 uniqely has AE mode, but is almost completely battery dependent.
    MP - Basically an M6 with retro touches for the user/collector (M3-style film wind and rewind) which can be considered either 'better' or 'worse' according to taste. Went back to using brass for top and bottom plates, and black (paint) model designed to wear more gracefully (though unfortunately more easily) than black M6 (which used black chrome plated zinc). One significant practical improvement is the new viewfinder optic which is supposed to reduce the risk of rangefinder patch whiteout (can be retrofitted to earlier cameras). No TTL flash.
    Zeiss Ikon - Has its fans here, who tend to rave about the viewfinder/rangefinder. Still a current camera, though more expensive than, say, a mint M6. I guess we won't know if it has the longevity of a Leica for another 50 years or so :)
    'I intend to sell off all of my other cameras and lenses. My Nikons, and Pentax gear.'
    I wouldn't sell them off until you've been using the M for a few months (if then). The RF experience (have you tried one yet?) is really quite different to using an SLR. The purist single lens/single body approach is romantic, but not always practical - contrary to myth, even Cartier-Bresson used more than one lens! 35 vs 50 is largely a matter of taste. Note that the 50mm frameline in cameras like the M6 and later is a little undersized for shots at infinity, which makes it feel like you're shooting with a slightly longer focal length (and means you get more in the frame than you might expect).
    'And Michael I don't quite understand how ISO speed is related to film and not the camera. If I wanted to shoot a roll of P3200 on my Spotmatic that only goes as far as 1600, how do I rate it at 3200?'
    If you're shooting manually, you just set the meter to 1600 and remember to make the necessary one stop adjustment in shutter speed or aperture to halve the exposure.
    'A self-timer(though if I am not mistaken only the M3 has) would be nice, I frequently travel alone and prefer my own company and the freedom to do things on the fly without having to consult anyone so shooting pictures of myself against something ever so often would be a nice touch.'
    You can buy an accessory timer for any camera.
     
  26. Camera selection is so personal and can often depend not on reading about feature sets or specifications but on actually holding and using the camera over a period of time. Thus, it may be that all the advice you receive here, although well intentioned and even sound for it's own reasons will not result in satisfaction with your eventual M model selection. If indeed, within reason, money is no object, you may wind up finally purchasing more than one M body to find the one model that best suits your taste. With the excellent resale value of Leica equipment and lenses fitting across all M models it may take only a year or so to find that perfect combo. What ever you decide, do share your ongoing experience with this forum.
     
  27. ah, or my - only-recently-discovered! - fourth choice: the olympus 35 sp [about £100+/-] - with fixed, summicron-like, 42mm f/1.7 lens: http://www.flickr.com/photos/j12t/sets/72157624558055096/
     
  28. True, a mint- used M7 will probably set you back $2000 if you are lucky, and a same condition classic M6 may go for something between $1000 and (but probably closer to) $1400, but if you do street photography under continually changing light conditions the M7 may offer an advantage. The direction of the shutter wheel on the M7 and TTL M6 are a bit counter-intuitive but this may be less important using the M7 (as you may not as often use the manual exposure approach with it). Of course, Cartier-Bresson used manual exposure cameras (III series or early M) and mainly the 50mm lens, but those guys knew enough about light to guesstimate the exposure and used fairly wide latitude B&W film (Super XX or Tri-X) as well. If you don't need to get in close, the 50mm is a good lens and it allows some slightly more distant shooting or portraiture use (not easy with the 35mm, in view of facial "distortion") by light cropping of the image. It all depends upon what you want to shoot. If you are going to get more than one lens, it might make more sense to get a used mint 50mm Summicron and a new 28mm F2 Voigtlander lens (the Leica f2 is very expensive), for quite a bit less than the cost of a mint used 35mm ASPH f2.
     
  29. You acquire a Leica system for the lenses--THE LENSES. So, in theory, any one of the bodies you are considering would do. That said, however, nothing can beat the purity of an M6 Classic or an MP. People who use them know what I'm saying!
    Good luck in your choice.
     
  30. I have no experience with an MP (though I've got to have a rapid rewind crank<g>), a little with the M7, and a fair amount with an M6 and before. I'm not sure why you would eliminate an M4-P (that's one of my favorites and I own 2 of them), and I also like my M4-2.
    My ideal setup would be either an M4-P, M6 TTL, or M7. They're all great. The M3's, as mentioned before, are just a little old for hard use. For lenses, if I could own one, it would be the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. If you wanted to save some money, the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 wouldn't be a bad choice either.
    All said, if I had to live with one camera only, it would probably be a Hasselblad 500 cm and 60mm lens. You'll be going to a larger format anyway, someday.
     
  31. "But with that being said, very well. I would prefer a body with TTL metering, since I use a wide variety of B/W colour filters and would prefer not having to mentally factor in the f/stop reduction. I could do with a shutter release cable I guess."
    Hey Brian, don't confuse TTL flash metering with TTL exposure metering. The M6TTL and I'm sure the M7 do TTL flash metering, an M6 as well as the MP don't do TTL (Through The Lens) Flash, but do TTL metering. So your color filters are compensated for in the exposure. What TTL flash basically does, is turn off the flash head when the film is (hopefully) properly exposed. I don't have a flash gun (just a .45 Long Colt, wait, it does make a flash along with a bang) so the lack of a TTL flash capability doesn't really matter. I used a manual Mamiya 645 to shoot a lot of landscapes. No TTL metering but using a handheld meter was a cinch after I could get my head around simple math. A 3 stop red filter...hmm...add three stops to the measured exposure. But I cheated and used a Polaroid back to check. This would be an added step but after getting used to doing arithmetic, like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time, do it twice and it's automatic.
    In the end, I can go into a bar and say "Hey look everybody! I can rub my belly and pat my head at the same time now buy me a drink!". Kind of like a Redneck saying Hey Everybody watch this! But missing the self emoliation part. BTW, I don't have very sophisticated friends.
    So, if you want a "purist" Leica experience, a black paint MP with any exceptional lens will deliver. Some would say it's mostly a hand made M6 classic, and there is nothing wrong with that. If I were in your situation, I'd get look closely at an M7, AE is very handy in .72 VF mag. The first lenses would be a 35 Lux ASPH that could handle closer landscapes and environmental portraits and a ZM 18/4 for cave shooting on a tripod. :)
    The MP will probably be the last film Leica to ever be introduced.
     
  32. ISO selection is dependent on the film, not the camera. . .​
    Only if there isn't a built in meter (M3,M2, M4 and variants). Otherwise camera ISO setting is neccessary for the meter to give usable exposures unless you want to calculate each shot in your head.
    If you can afford it, I think the M7 is the best for taking film photos, certainly the quickest.
     
  33. I have an MP and an M7, and prefer the MP. I love the fact that it doesn't need batteries (M7 and MP batteries, although not impossible, are hard to find outside of a specialty store), and for travel, I suspect that could come into play at some stage. A self timer can be purchased for the M camera, they are small and unobtrusive to pack. Having said that, the M6 would do everything the MP does, however the reason I have an MP in my wedding kit, is that the rewind levers can break (I have a friend who has broken two!), and the old school rewind knob of the MP gives me the piece of mind. I would hate to be stuck in the middle of Tibet with a half spent roll of film, and no rewind crank. It may be a long bow to draw, but it is a real, if only a small issue which may be very inconvenient to resolve. If you were not planning on travelling, I would hesitate to mention this.
    As for a single lens, a 50mm or 35mm lens is the obvious choice. It would depend on how you 'see' the world. With the M lenses, being as small as they are, I prefer a two lens setup. I shoot the 35mm Summilux and the 75mm Summilux, and I never feel as though I miss an opportunity. If you see longer, you may feel differently.
     
  34. Lots of good advice here, Bryan, but as John Robinson said (and I alluded to in my other post here) choosing a Leica is a very personal thing.
    The self-timer is a non-issue if you carry any of the back-up P&S's mentioned. Eliminating that concern frees you up.
    You know which lens you want to travel with, and that's a good choice. Are you using a 35mm length with your current gear? Yes, any single lens one takes is a compromise. I would be tempted to take a different focal length in the P&S (maybe a 28mm?). I would also carry a weatherproof P&S, for adverse conditions (The Olympus Stylus Epic fits the bill well, and has a great 35/2.8 lens btw).
    How you are used to working matters, too. Are you currently using manual metering, Aperture-preferred mode, or what? Switching back to manual after using AE can be a bit of a shock.
    A lot of the recommendations on PN are of the "biggest hammer" variety (most expensive, heaviest everything), but you don't seem like that type of photographer. Going solitary and light, has different priorities -- and advantages.
    Anyone can learn to work like the "old guys" did, w/o a meter (using print film). My students did. Download an exposure guide, print it out, customize it for the film you're using and your development, and it can be done.I guarantee anyone who learns it better photographs. No, not better exposed photographs, just better pictures, because having to guess the light makes you infinitely more aware of it.
    With my Leicas, I've liked to preset exposure, and to this end I carry a meter. This is not for everybody, and it might not be for you. Using a spot meter requires an understanding of metering, tones etc., and a spot meter is usually slow to work with. Read Adams on this sometime.
    As to tripods, & traveling light, you may want to look at the Leitz Table tripod, still available from Adorama, and use it with a small Leitz ballhead. Classic stuff. Bulletproof, and quite portable. Lighter designs can be had used from Minolta (the TR-1) and even Polaroid, the part number escapes me at the moment. Throw away the head, put a small leitz on it.
    For a minimal filter kit for B&W, I'd carry a light green (XO) and an orange.
    I would pick up a small flash, something much smaller than a 283, with multiple manual and autio settings, anything that you can still get coiled 3' pc cords for, and learn to use it. By that I mean, learn it inside out, everything from daylight fill-flash (which your P&S will probably do far easier), to natural-looking bounce fill balanced with interior light, say at 1/15 @ f/2.8.
    You may want to study the work of the many photographers who've made world-class photographs using the minimal kind of gear you're planning to use. Besides the ubiquitous HCB and his 50mm, there's Garry Winogrand (28mm), David Allan Harvey who did several major essays, albeit in color, for National Geo using mostly a 35 'Lux and masterful use of a small flash unit, and sometimes taking a 28 and 50 which he did not use at all in his Cuba, NASCAR and Vietnam essays, something no PNetter would ever think of doing. :)
     
  35. "If you don't know what you need, then you don't need it."
     
  36. Hi Bryan,
    I understand your reasons very well. In fact, I have gone the same route. Well, almost (I am too lazy to sell any of my digital and MF gear). Now I primarily use a Leica M6 with 50mm Summicron and a 28mm Rokkor and a Contax G2 with the 90mm Zeiss Sonnar.
    Get any M you like, they are all good. Breaking free from the digital? Priceless!
     
  37. I would buy a new camera if you could afford it. That would be the M7 with some automation or the MP a fully manual camera. When you used your SLR camera's did you prefer using manual modes or aperture priority. You could choose based on what you have preferred so far. Film is on shaky ground these days. I do believe that B/W will stand the test of time but who knows anymore. If you decide you want a digital camera then of course the M9 is what to purchase. Seems like it will be improved with the next round as always is the case with digital cameras.
     
  38. (M7 and MP batteries, although not impossible, are hard to find outside of a specialty store), and for travel, I suspect that could come into play at some stage.​
    Not true. You can mail order them from several sources. I think the battery issue is really somewhat a red herring. I have and use an M6 an√d M7 and traveled with one or other or both. Battery is a non-issue. The batteries last a long time and you just get a couple of extras if you will be traveling. the only issue is if in an extremely cold climate that could stop the batteries from working, and that's rare, but if that's the case than do get a camera that doesn't need a battery to fire. I wouldn't choose based on needing or not needing a battery. People shoot all over the world with camera's that require batteries to work, such as, oh, digital cameras.
     
  39. Well I call walking into a supermarket and buying a battery convenient, and I would consider a mail order system somewhat of a specialty store. Of course the battery thing can be worked around, and the small batteries of the M camera are a lot easier to manage than a battery from a Nikon D3 or D300. It's just that the MP has that extra flexibility, and if you don't want the auto exposure of the M7, then it is worth considering. I have used several lots of batteries in my M's, and it can be attributed to user error. I often cock the shutter ready to shoot, then put the camera in the bag without taking the shot. This can cause battery drain, particularly if you use a soft release. Again, it can be avoided, but it can easily happen if you lose concentration. There are certainly other factors to consider however.
     
  40. Michael Axel nailed it. I currently own 2 M7's and an M2 and love them all. But if the lord of photography dictated that I could own only one camera, it would be a Hasselblad 500CM, 60mm Distagon and a metering head and multiple backs with Velvia, & T-max. I would be sacrificing all the candid and street work in making that choice, but the spectacular MF results for landscape, architecture, and fine art make the choice worth it. I'm just glad I don't have to make that choice. My 35mm choice would be an M7 and 35mm Summicron.
     
  41. I will take a 35 mm summicron, and any other Leica M with meters. It matters very little once one gets use to the camera at hand.
     
  42. Last year I was in the same boat: fed up with post processing my RAW images coming from my DSLR and a zillion lenses. I decided to go RF route with a single lens.
    It was a good deal at the time of purchase, so I went for an M6. Considering pros and cons of M2, M3, M4, and M6 I don't think I would be any happier if I bought another Leica M. My struggle was with the lenses, though. I had to go through several to find the best for my needs.
    Since I wanted a single lens initially, I went for a 50 from Leica. My M6 came with an Elmar 50, which produced great photos. I wasn't comfortable with its ergonomics, so I went for a rigid Summicron 50, then another one. Both made fantastic photos on B&W film, but suffered from veiling flare, and had infinity locks which I hated. So I sold them all and got myself a current Summicron 50 (tabbed), which is just perfect.
    Later I had a chance to buy a Summicron 35 (pre-asph - v4) and an Elmarit-M 90 at bargain prices. To my surprise, now the 35 is on my M6 all the time. Elmarit-M 90 is great for portraits. I rarely use 50. Apparently, for my single-lens RF combo 35 is the best match. Probably not because I like that FOV more, but because Summicron 35 is renders wonderful images, very compact and versatile (see photo below). If I tried another 35, my best match might have been 50.
    Therefore I suggest you to try testing different lenses with your first M camera.
    My biggest complaint about M6 is the RF flare. I take lots of indoor photos and occasionally I find it impossible to focus with the flare on RF patch. In those situations I cover the middle window with one finger and the flare is gone. I heard of a solution (involving laptop screen privacy filters), but I didn't have my hands on one yet. I will post my results here when I can try one. If it works, then my M6 will be just perfect for me.
    Regarding self timer issue. Occasionally I need one, too. I've been checking out external self timer mechanisms on ebay. These little clockwork thingies are from the 70s. They might be a ticket to solution.
    Good luck!
    K.
    00WwCt-263379584.jpg
     
  43. I think you need a 35mm lens. I would go for Summicron V3 but hey...
    Body wise you need an M6-TTL or M6 to give you the choice of a meter when you want one (and you will). You could go with an M7 if you think you would like AE.
    I would suggest not selling keeping you fav SLR until you have owned a range finder for a year or so. There is lots you can only do with an SLR (frame filling portraits, Macro, Sports, Wildlife) - Of course you can all these to some extent on a RF but it is more limiting as you will find out.
     
  44. <My biggest complaint about M6 is the RF flare. I take lots of indoor photos and occasionally I find it impossible to focus with the flare on RF patch. In those situations I cover the middle window with one finger and the flare is gone.>
    I use a shade from Leica Goodies....
    http://www.leicagoodies.com/
     
  45. Wow, after a night's rest and a day's work and the amount of responses sure is a kicker. First off, I must thank everyone for such great replies and advice!
    Regarding my indecision on the focal lengths. It's mainly to do with how stuff looks when the camera is turned vertically. I love the 35mm POV and use it all the time, but there are times when I feel the 50mm would have made a "straighter-lined" picture, instead of the typical slant you get with the 35, but that being said, I'm not aware of any lenses or whether it's even possible that a 35 could give straight lines all the time.
    The background behind why the 35 is my choice of "normal" focal length is perhaps quite mundane. But maybe it'll help elaborate. I used to go on shoots with multiple lenses in my bag. Usually a wide 24, normal 35/50, and a tele 85/105. I realised I very rarely used the telephoto, and while I cannot discount their usefulness when the need arose, I still can't say they were exactly useful to me. So I took that out of the equation. Then with the 24, though I love wide-angles and most of my best shots are from wide-angles, I wanted to reduce what I was carrying even further, so out of the 24/35/50 left. I chose the 35, since it was right smack in the middle and could function as both a wide lens and at the very least, an environmental portrait lens. And from then on, I just loved the pictures I got from it.
    The reason I'm indecisive about it though is really because I am inexperienced and constantly read and hear everywhere that the 50 is a normal lens, and also perhaps because it's possible to get a 50 f/1 lens where I believe the 35 is only capable of f/1.2(which is still pretty much I know!). So I started to wonder if I was missing anything and if I could grow to love a 50 if I took it out more often.
    Also, I'm one to shoot everything manually. As I mentioned with my older cameras(Spotmatic and Nikon F2), there is no option for aperture priority or shutter priority or even full auto. And despite owning a DSLR and several other automated bodies. I tend to shoot on my fully manual cameras most of the time, if anything because I love the look of them.
    I think I'll settle for an M7. Brand new of course, it's not that I'm too uppity and refuse to take used products, but if it's my first Leica. I want a nice start to it. And probably a 35mm f/1.4 to go along with it. Haven't quite decided exactly which version yet because while I was talking to a friend who uses the latest one. She did mention that the lens does block the VF a fair bit.
    Also, I wish to correct the misconception. I won't sell off everything and then buy the Leica. Rather I'd buy the Leica first and then sell off everything. I'm in no rush to raise funds to buy a Leica, and even if I sell off all of my other gear, there's no way I could even raise a fifth to fund my new Leica and lens. The reason I want to do that is really to just cut down, if all I have is but a single camera and lens. There will be no conundrum every time I leave my house on what camera to bring or which lenses to take along. Like I said, all very personal and hard to word out for everyone's understanding.
    I honestly thank everyone for being so helpful and patient, it seems I'm going in the right direction at any rate. The only thing left is to push out the nagging thoughts of buying a Rolleiflex 2.8FX instead, and leave that for when I'm 40.
    Edit: I just remembered, I thought of this sometime ago, that I wouldn't mind settling for a 40mm or 43mm lens, instead of the 35 or 50, but never quite got around to finding one and trying it out for myself. That was really because I feel, and know it's widely accepted that the 43mm is what really is "normal".
     
  46. I bought an M3 1millionxxx serial 3 years ago. Absolutely pristine. Malcolm Taylor made a complete CLA to it, and it's like new. I use it with a 50 summicron (60's serial). I only shoot b&w, and I have to say that I'm absolutely pleased with it.
    Its size and ergonomics are perfect for me and the kind of pictures I take (street). Also, its viewfinder is AWSOME, I think that THE factor for me. It's almost 1:1, it let me see what`s around when I'm framing.
    So, for me, it's perfect for street work.
    I have to say that sometimes I also use a 5D Mark II, and a GF1, I don't share that "exclusive camera" reasoning. In the end, cameras are only tools, you have to choose those that suit your "vision" of things. That doesn't mean you have to use only one camera. BTW, I also use in the street, sometimes a Hasselblad 500cm. It depends on my mood and what I'm trying to get walking the streets that day...
     
  47. Body without meter: M3 for 50mm and longer; M2/M4x if 35mm to be used.
    Metered body: M6/M7/MP with 0.85 finder unless 28mm to be used.
    The M5 is also an excellent design.
     
  48. Get a Leica CL with the meter operating and a 40mm Summicron ($700) or Voigtlander and take it with you everywhere - it's small enough. With the money you have saved, get a Fuji 6x9 90 or 65 for more careful thoughtful work and blow the doors off any, yes any, Leica lens and body combination. You'll be shocked by the B&W quality from a 6x9 camera.
     
  49. Nah Paul, you can shoot street with a Hassy, You'd be surprised.
     
  50. Bryan, whatever you end up doing, particularly if you buy new, as you say you're thinking of doing, get the hardware months before departure time, and run dozens of rolls through it. Even new Leicas can have defects.
     
  51. Bryan, the good thing is that you can't really go wrong whichever M you choose, so long as you are happy with the rangefinder way of photography. It sounds like you don't want to bother too much using a handheld meter, so the M6, M7, or MP would be your best choices. If you do need a meter, the little Sekonic 308 is compact, accurate, and easy to use. As for lenses, a 35 'cron is a great general purpose lens (especially for travel) but the 50 'cron is also surprisingly versatile and is useful for both portraits and landscapes and a lot in between. Its tighter framing encourages careful composition. Good luck and have fun with your "new" Leica!
     
  52. Ahhh...which M to buy. I have struggled with that question since probably 1993.
    Leica seemed to always be just out of reach for me. I have wanted to go RF since I was in college in the early 90's but the SLR grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me in. In the mid to late nineties, shooting for newspapers, I got to ride the cusp of the film to digital transition. I went from making prints, to scanning film, to creating in camera JPG's, to now, where I have the dreaded RAW workflow. I presently shoot weddings with the D3, which as far as a digital camera goes, is pretty frickin' great, especially compared to the D1 or the original D2H. I like being able to expose a photo at 3200, without the end result looking like someone got sick on it.
    I always kept my eye on that little rangefinder. I went to a convention in Las Vegas and saw the M8 when it was introduced almost 3 years ago, and actually carried a torch for that camera for a while. I'm kind of glad I didn't take that step.
    I did decide that a step needed to be taken though.
    About a year and a half ago, I went to an estate sale, where there was a roomful of cameras. That's where I found the body that you probably should get. A 1958 M2, coupled to a Canadian 35mm f2 Summicron that was manufactured in 1975. This M2 has the self timer and the 35 framing. At that same sale, I picked up a pristine screw mount 1950 Summitar f2 50mm and an M adapter. I was IN. Going back to my newspaper roots, I have never been a believer in the “one lens, one body” school of thought. So, over the course of last year, I have slowly gotten the full kit. Using estate sales, auctions, ebay, and craigslist, I managed to get a 1960 90mm f2 Summicron (my only decent ebay find), UV filtration (not easy AT ALL for the Summitar), and Leitz lens specific lens hoods. About 4 months ago I also managed to pick up a second body, an M3 from 1955, and because of the 50/90/135 viewfinder, I use that camera exclusively for the 50 and 90. All of this stuff was purchased SMART by being in the right place at the right time, for the right amount of money. Leica on Ebay ALWAYS ends up costing you more than you should pay. I have also acquired some stuff that was in poor condition, almost all of it from Ebay. 3 or 4 mid to late 50's era Summicron 50's, 2 older screwmount Elmar 50's, and several screwmount bodies (I'd tend to stay away from screwmount bodies altogether). I just ended up throwing them back into the bay. It's usually much better if you can put your hands on a lens or body before you give someone money. However lens caps and hoods, filtration are almost always perfect for ebay.
    So, I have a 35, 50, and 90mm f2 setup, with 2 bodies. All of this equipment takes up less than a quarter of the space that my 2 Nikon D's, 17-35, 28-70, 70-200 lenses, batteries and accessories and 3 flashes occupy. I can fit all this gear, with film, and a handheld meter into a LowePro Sideline shooter waistbag.
    I've found 2 specific viewfinders that work for my specific lenses, and I am beyond pleased with these 2 bodies. However, I cannot stress enough, how happy I am with the LENSES. If you decide to go with used, do not cut corners on quality. Lenses are really the most important factor in all of photography. The lenses character is what you impart into your negatives or digital files.
    It is also important to find someone who can fix and clean your cameras. I have used the services of Youxin Ye in Massachusetts, he's very reasonably priced and his turnaround is pretty dang fast.
    I would suggest that you start slow with a one lens one body setup, BUT please keep an open mind about expanding in the future.
    The meter less camera bodies take about 15 seconds to get used to. I use a Sekonic handheld that I have had from WAY back in the day, and just pay attention to what my light's doing. I use these cameras for anything that I shoot that I shoot for myself. I use Plus-X and T-Max 100, and I really like the new Ektar.
    I have, on more than one occasion, found myself tipping that camera forward and intently looking down at at that ISO reminder wheel after shooting something particularly nice, and I always feel like a complete idiot.
    If money were no object, I'd go a-la-carte. MP with the .85 finder, black chrome, no lettering on the top, bumpy vulcanite, and the angled rewind knob. I'd also pick up the 28 Summicron, in the interest of being well rounded.
    Speaking of money being no object, since I already have the lenses, I might just wait for the M9.2. Then, of course, all of my shutter speeds will be backwards. Ahhhh...Progress.
    00WxO1-264165584.jpg
     
  53. If you wear glasses an M6 TTL 0.58 might be your kind of M. Lenses. A 50 and 35 for sure for now.
     
  54. Jay, Thank you! As one who would also like to eventually purchase quality rangefinder gear, I greatly appreciate your very interesting, helpful post!
     
  55. Thanks a lot for the reply Jay!
    I've already narrowed down my choices to either the M7 or the MP. Still conflicted with the 'latest and presumably greatest' argument the M7 has going for it vs. the 'latest and most classic' argument the MP has. I'm all for the black paint or chrome version really. Considering how I'd probably never sell this camera so I'm not concerned with wear and tear.
    I do also use a light meter, a little Sekonic 308 I think. I had to use it for my old Nikon F2 which had a broken meter. But though I enjoy deliberately composing a picture and taking my time rather than pointing and snapping. Having to physically walk up to a subject to accurately use an incident meter reading is a little bit of a hassle.
    The only real question I have left though, is the viewfinder choice. Being new to the rangefinder scene, I'm not quite certain what viewfinder option to choose(I'm considering the a la carte program since if I buy the M7, it won't come in black paint out of the store). I wear glasses, and am short-sighted. And although I would most certainly expand my lens collection in the future, the first lens I would buy would be a 35mm, followed closely with a 24mm. Would .58x sound about right?
     
  56. For me, the argument between M7 and MP is the dependence, or not, on batteries. (I have no interest in auto exposure.) If I had the cash, I'd go for the MP without hesitation. As it was, I went for an M2 partly because it's very similar to the MP. I use a Weston Master V when I'm not sure of the light. No battery dependence at all.
     
  57. For me, the argument between M7 and MP is the dependence, or not, on batteries. (I have no interest in auto exposure.) If I had the cash, I'd go for the MP without hesitation.​
    Nomad, my sentiments precisely
     
  58. Nomad and Ty,
    While you both have a point. I feel I am being suckered into the whole "I don't use it now, but I just MIGHT, some day down the road" frame of mind. A symptom of my chronic indecisiveness most would say.
    While I find the MP more aesthetically pleasing and the joy of owning one in my mind's eye is present. I can't help but wonder about the situations where automatic exposure would be useful, or when long timed exposures up to 15 minutes would be grand(if an M7 toting friend didn't get his facts mixed up), or even when I finally perfect fill-flash and how the 1/1000th sync-speed would work miracles. If I'm going to buy a Leica, I'm going to keep it for life, barring a scummy thief or natural disaster.
     
  59. I don't find the auto exposure to be much of an advantage, and in fact it can be a hinderance. I do agree with you Bryan, I find that my MP is more pleasing to the eye and the touch, and I prefer its simplicity. For long exposures, sure the M7 has the advantage, but for situations like that, I use my MF gear.
     
  60. I wear glasses, and am short-sighted. And although I would most certainly expand my lens collection in the future, the first lens I would buy would be a 35mm, followed closely with a 24mm. Would .58x sound about right?
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    This is interesting to me also, but sorry I can't answer, but I'm curious if an external finder would basically negate the need for a .58 finder. Sounds logical but in use how would it work out?
    or even when I finally perfect fill-flash and how the 1/1000th sync-speed would work miracles
    _________________________________________________________________________________________


    Both M7/MP flash sync is 1/50th of a second. Anemic.
    It boils down to AE or not and VF mag choice. Your next step really is to visit a dealer and try them out for yourself. For me it's an MP but I do wish for AE. I like the MP rewind, many don't.
     
  61. But Michael,
    I believe with the Metz flash unit or something like that, the M7 is capable of firing at a maximum of 1/1000th of a second.
     
  62. I seriously doubt it - it's a focal plane shutter, which means that, past the flash sync speed, it exposes the film by means of a moving slit rather than one curtain opening fully before the other one starts to close.
     
  63. Long exposures can be done with a wristwatch and a cable release with a locking button. Or, to put it another way, if the M7 can calculate that a 15 minute exposure is required, and can open the shutter for that long, will it also account for the film's reciprocity failure? If it can't, then you'd either have to fiddle the ISO setting to make it expose longer, or go manual with the cable release and wristwatch anyway.
    I prefer the MP/M3/M2 rewind as well. Don't think I've heard any stories of them being damaged, but there have been a fair few tales of rewind cranks needing fixed. The fast rewind thing doesn't really make that much difference - takes a minute or two to rewind with the knob, so the most you'll ever save is a minute or two. Hardly earth-shattering, and certainly not worth the potential hassle of battery dependence. Plus, if aesthetics are a factor, the knob rewind and all-metal film advance lever have a retro charm that the crank and plastic tip lack.
     
  64. Nomad,
    Forgive me if I may sound insistent in my ignorance if that may be the case, but even Leica states it on their website. So unless it's a gimmick or something along those lines, it's a huge thing for me. My film SLRs can only fire at 1/250, my spur-of-the-moment D70 purchase which after two days turned into the greatest-regret-of-the-year, can only fire at 1/500(though that's plenty, with flash-sync, more is always better no?). If the M7 can truly fire off the flash gun at 1/1000. It's kind of a deal breaker for me, although I understand that the basis of the Leica M system according to Leica aficionados, is available light photography.
    But on your second post,
    I utterly agree again. Not quite on the cable release plus timer combo, I haven't delved into that type of photography just yet. But I have no qualms using the rewind knob, granted I haven't tried it, but it looks more svelte compared to angled crank. My mind's really all set on the MP, I just need to tell myself that other than the disputed flash-sync, I can do everything else with an MP and stop fussing over the M7.
     
  65. A look at the technical data from the same Leica web page mentions the use of an "SCA-3502" adapter, but says in a couple of places that the flash sync speed is 1/50th. It also says that the shutter is the rubberised cloth blind type (insert usual caveat about laws of physics here). In the flash sync bit, it says...
    -------------------
    Flash synchronisation speed. [flash symbol] = 1/50s; slower shutter speeds can be used (with manual setting only)
    Automatic setting in AUTO mode; faster shutter speeds (1/250s, 1/500s, 1/1000s) available with manual setting if the connected flash unit has the “High Speed Synchronisation” function and an SCA-3502 adapter is used.
    -------------------
    It's a bit ambiguous. If this really means that the shutter is running at 1/1000th and managing to allow the flash to expose the whole frame, then maybe it's firing the flash for the duration of the shutter's travel. Alternatively, it might mean something like the flash burst being controlled to 1/1000th as a sort of pseudo shutter (maybe set via the shutter speed dial?), but with the physical shutter still running at 1/50th.
    In the same doc, it gives slowest shutter speeds as 32sec for auto, and 4sec for manual, so a 15 minute exposure is going to be with B and a cable release anyway (or some means of physically keeping the shutter locked open).
     
  66. The instructions doc has the answer - it's a series of flash bursts during the exposure...
    ----------------------
    However, some modern flash units have "High
    Speed Synchronisation – HSS”, which emits flashes
    of lower power at very short intervals for a short
    period of time. As these flashes are emitted
    throughout the entire duration of the operation of
    the two shutter curtains, and have the effect of a
    continuous light source during this time, with this
    technique the actual shutter speed is no longer so
    critical.
    To use the "High Speed Synchronisation flash”
    technique, one of the three possible shutter
    speeds 1/250s, 1/500s or 1/1000s must be set
    manually on the LEICA M7. The light emission
    from the flash unit is also manual, therefore the
    setting must be made using the flash unit’s aperture
    calculation function. The displays correspond
    to those for normal manual flash mode, as described
    above.
    ----------------------
    Looks like 1/60th and 1/125th don't have it.
     
  67. Somehow, that leads me to think that although it's physically capable of firing at high speeds, it might actually be rather disorienting for the subject regardless of whether the flash is bounced or direct. I've never really heard of this kind of flash, but the description leads me to believe it's some type of strobe? Hope I'm not that far off.
    Oh and with the 15 minute exposure thing, it's something to do with the LED being able to dial up to a maximum of 999 seconds for an exposure. I'm not really certain of this, of course it's because I don't own the M7 and am really just hearing all of this from a colleague excited over the prospect of having a Leica "buddy".
     
  68. Seriously, what's all this talk about flash on an M?
     
  69. A multi-burst strobe is exactly what it is. Given the time for the slot to traverse the frame, I can't imagine this would be good for freezing fast motion (holy multiple exposure, Batman!). Yes, I read that the viewfinder has a natty seconds counter for when you open the shutter on B. All you have to do is not nudge the camera when you look through the finder at regular intervals to see how long the shutter has been open.
    That's two gimmicks in one paragraph. Since I don't use flash, and do wear a wristwatch, I'd be off to the MP shop without further ado (but I said as much before the gimmicks came to light, so I'm biassed).
     
  70. I don't quite want to get to the age most people I know get to when they realise that after spending hundreds of thousands on expensive Nikons, Canons and everything else. All they ever really needed was just one camera and one lens.​
    Bryan, thirty years from now you will realize that you shouldn't have spent hundreds of thousands on expensive Leica camera and lenses, and what you really need is just an Argus C3 and a roll of Kodak film
     
  71. Nomad,
    You've successfully sold the idea of the MP to me. I'll get it as soon as September arrives, grumblegrumble miserable university can't be arsed to pay me on time.
    And John,
    Well that is yet to happen, although the likelihood of it happening is real. However, if my employers continue to not pay me on time, it probably will never happen! And hundreds of thousands with Leica, that would make me a collector no? Even the famed f/0.95 is no more than 12 grand(last I checked). Ahh but I digress. I believe that after getting my MP, I will be happy for life, and if not, then well, a collector I shall be!
     
  72. Well, I wouldn't say I sold you the idea, so much as indicated the reasons I would have for choosing the MP. Or, to be more exact, for not choosing an M7. If those reasons work for you as well, then good luck with MP when you get it. (Still my dream RF camera, but if I had the cash for that, I'd be spending it on glass.)
     
  73. I have never felt that happiness is dependent on getting a certain piece of equipment. Neither do I think that being a collector can make one "happy". To me these things are at best a surrogate for something else, something more fundamental. But I digress!
    As a photographer, I think I will be quite happy if my image tells a wonderful story, and more so if it can move the human spirit. And that, I think is really not quite dependent on what equipment I happen to use for that particular image.
     
  74. To make a 'moving' image, you still need a camera in your hand. You also need to operate it, and thus have some appreciation of its principles of operation. It also helps to have some appreciation of the effects of consumable parts being consumed, like how operable the camera is if/when the battery runs out. After all, if you don't know how to use it, or it becomes unusable, you're not going to making many images of any sort. Since this thread is about choosing a camera, I don't see what point you're trying to make.
     
  75. While I would agree with P N Chong that happiness is not dependent on getting a certain piece of equipment, there is certainly a lot of pleasure to be had. It's a fun idea, putting together your ideal camera/lens combo. There was a piece on BBC tv recently by author Rob Penn in which he builds his dream bicycle: Cinelli handle bars, Compagnolo groupset, Brooks saddle etc., creating something that he'll keep forever.
    My choice would be an M2 in good condition with an 8 element 35 summicron. And then I'd buy a double stroke M3 to keep it company. For the M3 I'd probably have a 50 summicron (the one that is optically identical to the DR version, but I wouldn't want the heavy DR mount) or alternately a 2.8 elmar.
    The reasons are as follows: the M2 is arguably the best looking Leica. It has very clean lines and indeed, clear, uncluttered framelines. The M3 is equally pleasing, but in a different way. I prefer the double stroke M3 because it has a smoother action. With a little care and attention these cameras should last a lifetime.
    Personally I use a hand held spotmeter and so don't need an M6. I would prefer not to be dependent on batteries and would therefore rule out the M7. I might consider an MP: it's nice to get something new, but I believe the M3 is better made and has a nicer finder. As for the lenses, you have a life time to add to these. I've used the 4th version 35 summicron and the aspherical 35 summicron as well as the 8 element one and I prefer the latter. It's also the best looking. What I like about the elmar is it's lack of distortion. That's the 50 to get if speed is not important. Of course speed often is important so you might have to consider a summilux.
     
  76. I understand that this thread is about chosing a piece of equipment. I had earlier suggested a very simple combination. A 35 mm summicron, and any M. The reason for "any M" is that once anyone got use to the workings of a particulalr equipment, he will find that the camera body does not matter that much really. One with an inbuilt meter helps , but is not critical.
    We are talking about photography in this forum, and it is obvious that we need a piece of equipment to take images. And a piece of equipment is just one part of the equation. I have assumed that members of this forum understands that. Perhaps I am wrong. Unfortunately, equipment talk seems to take a disproportionate slice of our energy and forum space.
    My point is really very simple. Just get any M, and a 35 summicron. Then go and take pictures. Maybe my experience might not be that of others. But owning several M bodies, and several lenses did not make me happy. But having some nice images, taken with a variety of equipment which includes nikon, or canon film cameras, or 4x5, or x-pan or olympus digital or nikon digital, is the reason for my happiness.
    Not the equipment.
     
  77. But P N Chong,
    You answered the issue yourself. Your experience is not the same as others. And my experience is quite different. Yes, I might not actually be happy after I acquire my one Leica and one I don't know yet, summilux, summicron, heck even maybe the nokton 35/1.2 that I've been looking at of late.
    I will give in, that part of it is the "new purchase, new love" thing that frequently goes on in everyone's heads. From women with shoes to men with cars. I technically don't need a new camera or even a Leica.
    But without delving too much into my experiences and perhaps personality. I'll just make it short, I grew up amongst photographers. My father, mother, uncle even grand dad were photographers, and they were professionals. From weddings to advertisements, fine art to modeling. And they never stopped wanting more. First they started with their 35mm equipment, then they upgraded to their medium format, and then even to their large format. And even when they had it all, they still hankered over their next purchase, a better this and that. Granted, I'll almost never be a professional, simply because I don't have my father's talent nor his drive and time. But I've literally seen hundreds of thousands being spent on equipment with no satisfaction in sight.
    I myself dislike having a myriad amount of things that do the same thing. I however prefer to have one good thing, regardless of price, that does that one thing the best. My Spotmatic or even my iPhone might be the best camera for me with that "the best camera is the one that's with you" argument. But let's just say I know the Leica is the best camera for the 35mm film format, and there will always be a nagging doubt that I'm not using the best. I don't need to hear the point that my work might not warrant the best, it is human nature is it not, to want the best? By removing everything else that isn't the best in my opinion allows me to concentrate on the end product, bettering my images and composition. Rather than wondering if it's perhaps my ability or the equipment's ability.
    Long story short, I do not possess the wisdom yet to understand that I can create fine images with anything at my disposal. So because of my experiences, I deem the next step to improving my photography is to get the best so I can no longer fault my equipment, and instead fault myself and improve from it. Perhaps it is a very immature way to think, but it's how I think.
     
  78. To want to be left with nothing but oneself to blame or to question is eminently reasonable.
     
  79. Bryan,
    I understand perfectly what you were saying. Really there is nothing new. Perhaps everyone just need to go through the experiences himself to decide what really matters to him.
    Go ahead and enjoy yourself. I sincerely hope your happiness will last.
     
  80. I would buy an M3 if you want to do any close focusing or use a Noctilux. As the viewfinder is .92x you can focus more accurately.
    I've had my M3 for a few years now and never any problems. The film is pretty easy to load and you get used to the weight of the camera after a while. It is the most classic Leica and I think in many ways the most beautiful. The new MP is great as well if you would prefer a new camera as it is also mechanical. I think it is the purest Leica since the M3 in fact.
    Light metering? Well to be honest even if I had a built in one, I dont trust the reading on a reflective meter. You see it averages an 18% gray reading so if you are wearing a white shirt it will try to make it gray, and if you are wearing a black one it will also try to make it gray. If you want the most accurate reading you want an incident meter anyways. I always carry one around with my Leica and Hasselblad.
    As far as lenses,, it depends what you are looking for. I do a lot of night photography with no flash and I love shallow depth of field so I prefer lenses with a wide aperture F2 and above. I really enjoyed the one time I used the 21/1.4 Summilux and wish I could afford it. I would start with a summicron though and after getting used to the standard move on to a wider range of lenses.
     
  81. Buy an M3 for the viewfinder and an MP for the meter put a 35 cron (1V) on the MP and a 50 pre asph lux on the M3 - if you are shooting B&W it will take you all of 5 rolls to work out your aperture shutter speed combinations - the latitude you get shooting TRX or similar will compensate you for any 1/2 - 1 stop error made. Practice with your digi cam.

    but figure how much time and hassle it is to soup and scan each roll. I have about 50 rolls now sitting in a box - waiting for me to develop - one day...one day..and a couple of bricks in the freezer waiting for me to get into film again..one day one day..

    Digi works and a used M8 matched to 28 cron is pretty hard to beat and not much more than a decent MP/35 combo these days.

    good luck | have fun - and do it your way.
     
  82. Bryan,
    You get a vote from me for the M6 (I like this so much that I own several.).The MP is only marginally superior with respect to a more accurate meter and a brighter viewfinder. But I detest its rewind crank (unless you get it a la carte and opt for the earlier M6 version which will cost a lot, lot more). I also like very much my M7, even if I find it has quirks of its own. As for lenses, I have these recommendations: Leica Summicron ASPH 28mm f2, Leica SUmmilux ASPH 35mm f1.4 (the newly released version is recommended primarily for close focusing distances), Zeiss 25mm Biogon, Zeiss 35mm f2 Biogon (It's not as sharp as the 35mm Summicron ASPH but it comes darn close wide open, and I like its look far more than the Summicorn's), and 50mm f2 Planar. I would also seriously consider the Zeiss Ikon as a first rangefinder camera since I have met professional photographers, including a few from Eastern Europe, who swear by it.
     
  83. Bryan,

    I've been through a similar thought process as yourself, i.e. what's the best, simple platform for photography that will last me for some considerable time. I started with the M6TTL, transitioned to the M7, (on the digital side M8, M8.2 and now M9), and finally found my lifetime film camera with the MP.
    Coming from a DSLR background you might find the M7 easier to accommodate due to the AE capability but that automation comes at the relatively minor expense of having a Leica M that is almost entirely battery dependent. If the battery dies you do still have limited manual capabilities although to be honest it's not a great concern unless you see yourself trekking many many miles from civilization or need absolute dependability off the grid. The discussions about the exposure dial being 'the wrong way round' are really only applicable if you've come from a legacy background of using 'Classic' M6 or earlier. All current M's (MP excepted) have the same dial orientation and for a new comer it's actually intuitive because you turn the dial in the direction indicated by the under/over exposure arrow, just as you do with the aperture dial.
    If you are buying a new M7 then you'll find it to be a wonderful camera platform. Earlier M7's had a mechanical DX sensor that made film removal a PAIN - current models don't have the contacts touching the film cartridge and are much easier to unload.
    I finally transitioned to the MP because I figured that I would be keeping one film camera for the long term and the pinnacle of Leica film camera production is the MP. It is beautifully made, has a mechanical feel that will encourage you to love shooting with the camera plus will last you a lifetime. For me it includes the minimal level of automation that I want, i.e. the metering, and is a purely mechanical camera built for longevity. You can certainly argue that any of the earlier M's have the same build quality but to be honest you're looking at 30 year old cameras for this mechanical excellence and then you'll have no metering in camera which for most of us IS a big deal.
    If you do decide to get the MP you might want to consider getting one with the original rewind control. I've personally damaged the angled rewind dial on both my M6TTL and M7 due to field accidents and the rewinder will bind against the body and need to be replaced (not difficult). It's pretty soft but doesn't take knocks very well in my experience and Leica's comments seem to reflect that vulnerability, and not just quaint throw backs to older cameras.
    If you're selecting just one lens then I'd definitely recommend the 35 Summicron ASPH. It's a great all purpose lens and pretty much has no serious flaws. It is a high contrast 'modern' lens but on film that translates to great micro-contrast and almost 3d rendering of content. If you want something longer then the 50 Summicron is also a perfect partner and is a great value (in Leica terms at least). I personally prefer 35mm for my general lens and to that end actually use a 35 Summilux as my main lens. However, this lens does focus shift slightly as you stop it down but I know that and how to accommodate for it. The new 35 Summilux supposedly is less susceptible to this but if you're new to rangefinders the 'lux's tendency to focus shift could result in missed or soft shots which isn't a great motivator to someone new to the system.
    I do shoot mainly with my 35mm but I confess that I do have a small outfit of the 16-18-21/4, 21/1.4, 35/1.4, 50/2 and 90/2.8. I can get away with the 35/1.4 & 90/2.8 for probably 95% or more of anything I encounter. Most Leica M shooters have a small setup of 2 or 3 lenses and you'll find endless threads here discussing the 'ideal' lens set up. For the folks that stick with one lens (and there are many) it tends to be either the 35mm or 50mm.
    Best of luck with your decisions. I fully understand the sentiment behind getting the best tool up front as it saves money long term. I know that I should have bought my MP first although I did enjoy shooting with my M6's / M7 which were cheaper and easier to find when I started. Get the best glass you can because that investment lasts a lifetime, even if you decide to go digital RF at some point.
     
  84. I second what Peter said. Mechanical perfection at its best and great choices as I mentioned before. However if I was really rich (IE had 10s of thousands to throw at camera equipment) I would buy the newest improved Noctilux for the M3 and an M9 as my digital if only for the full frame shooting.
     
  85. Daniel, although I originally thought of getting the M3, after really scouring the internet. It seems that a good condition M3 that doesn't still need an extensive not to mention expensive overhaul costs perhaps three-fifths of what a brand new MP would cost. At least the market over here in Singapore is this way. And I have an incident meter but I would much much prefer(I cannot overstate this enough), a built-in light meter. There are times I guess when not physically being able to walk up to a given object would mean no photographs, and although you could guesstimate, I can't profess to being any good with that.
    But there is one question I have that has still gone unanswered and I'm really curious about this. Given that I'm short-sighted and always have my glasses on, how does viewfinder magnification work for me? If my main lens and first lens is going to be a 35mm, what viewfinder magnification would serve me the best?
    Peter, as much as I appreciate your recommendations. With regards to digital, I admit, occasionally I hanker for it. Not needing to develop my own prints when I'm swamped with work and with a hundred other people hounding me for my much delayed photographs is a welcome relief. But for the most part, I enjoy my darkroom work. I won't say digital is dead to me, but right now I guess the novelty of shooting film in a sea of digital is still very much a joy for me. And the major reason is really because I only get 36 exposures per roll, and I don't carry a whole lot with me anyhow. I got tired of making 1001 exposures out of meaningless events that I cannot be arsed to look at now, and really just want to simplify and have my 36 exposures mean something, chart something in my experiences.
    John, I considered the Zeiss Ikon at the very start. But now I'm come to the point where, I know if I buy a Zeiss, I'll be left wondering 'what if?' with the Leica. So I'm saving myself the pain and torment and just getting a Leica MP. For the lens, most definitely a 35mm Summilux ASPH, provided my dealer has them in stock(last I checked, they were all out!).
    And Graham,
    Thanks very much for such a long and detailed write-up of your experience. I thoroughly appreciate it and am glad that my reasons for getting a Leica aren't exactly whimsical. The thing about shooting with DSLRs though, truth be told, although I do have one. I deplore it's existence immensely. I've never shot with digital save for my point and shoot or my iPhone for that matter. Having to fiddle with white balance and a myriad amount of settings buried in a host of irrelevant menus never really took off with me, not to mention the amount of learning that needs to be done to get into Photoshop or Lightroom(is it Lightroom or Lightbox?). I don't think editing is bad per se, I just prefer not to have to edit anything at all, I know the old masters probably did their own burning and dodging and touching up in their darkrooms(heck, that's what my parents did). And that's all fine, but that's really only necessary when you're a professional or just have a lot of time. I prefer to be out shooting and correcting my technique versus experimenting with Photoshop and taking 6 exposures just to blend it in some HDR or stitching program. Again, no offense directed at the people who do, it's just not what I want to do.
    And even when I do shoot with a DSLR or a more modern automated SLR like the F100 or F801s. I prefer to shoot in manual, it takes more time, but I enjoy the process more than if I didn't. Hence the reason why I shoot with an old Spotmatic with it's primitive centre-weighted meter, stopped-down metering, and fully manual settings.
    And with what I've researched and seen. I'm probably going with something very close to what you recommended. Black paint MP with old rewind crank and a single 35mm Summilux. In the future I might extend my line-up to either one wider-angle or a modest telephoto like a 90mm for example. All that's left to decide is whether to take the standard 0.72 viewfinder or if I need one of the other two types. If I go with any other, I'd probably pick no engraving, vulcanite and a clean set of framelines for my a la carte options.
    Mighty big thanks again to everyone for replying!
     
  86. Bryan Loo: "If my main lens and first lens is going to be a 35mm, what viewfinder magnification would serve me the best?
    0.85 and, to see the 35mm frame lines well without glasses, an adjusting lens: a "diopter".
     
  87. You know what'll solve everything is the best: the Leica MP. You need a self-timer? Get one of those wind-up self-timers that thread onto the shutter button. The MP has a ttl meter if you need it, and a mechanical shutter that doesn't need batteries, so you can be out in the boonies for months and months until you run out of film; if you run out of film. You can still get the MP new or in like-new condition.
     
  88. The M7 is undervalued but an amazing camera. It took a while to get mentally used to the extra automation (AE). Leicas are supposed to be all manual, right? Mine is the .58 magnification and is totally off the charts -- point and shoot (AE) or work the shutter manually. The M7 top/btm are brass (cool). Mine has the film cartridge easy load thingy. Some have the MP finder. Unless you just have to fiddle with the shutter knob, consider the M7.
     
  89. I used film Leica-Ms from 1991 to 2007, and one day I will buy another. I have owned an M2, M4-P, M4-2, and two M6s, and 28mm, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/2, 50mm f/2.8, 75mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2 lenses. They travelled with me around Europe, to the USA, and to Australia, and never malfunctioned once, whether in freezing North European winter, or the spray of North American waterfalls, or the hot and dusty Australian outback. I am no great photographer, but most of the few really good images that I have made, I have made with a Leica M, on some kind of 35mm film.
    For optimum versatility, ease of use, value for money, quality of results in a Leica M package you need:
    Leica M6 classic with 35mm f/2 Summicron (4th version)
    • You don't need TTL - Leica M's are for available light.
    • You don't need an M4 with Black paint - you'll be paying more un-necessarily for collector appeal, nor sould an M2 or M3 be ideal. They both have limitations compared to the M6. The latest MP (last of the manual Leica Ms) is as practical as the M6, and probably better made ... but for a practical photographer it is hardly worth the very much higher price. The difference between an M6 and MP will bu you a second nice lens.
    • You don't need an f/1.4 ASPH lens - the f/2 is plenty fast enough, and is much smaller and less costly. [It hardly protrudes more than does the 50mm f/2.8 collapsible in its collapsed position].
    • However, a custom lens hood, is worth having.
    The M6 has some useful little goodies, some or all of which are missing on older cameras:
    • Rubber ring around viewfinder (does not scratch your spectacles)
    • Full set of bright lines (28/35/50/75/90/135)
    • Useful (if primitive! built in exposure meter)
    • Completely manual shutter (so you can still use it without batteries)
    • Canted re-wind crank (much easier to use than the knurled knob type of older M's and the latest MP
    For a single focal length, 35mm is probably the most versatile and certainly the easiest to use.
    • 50mm does not get enough in the frame.
    • Anything longer than 50mm is not great to use because of the small area of the the viewfinder that represents its coverage. SLRs are better if you do a lot of telephoto shots.
    • 28mm is noticeably wide angle, and you can't see the whole frame if you wear glasses.
    • 35mm is the optimum - it uses most of the available VF area, but is still fully visible, even with glasses.
    • The 4th version of the 35mm Summicron is legendary for its Bokeh. [Out of focus parts of the frame are aesthetically pleasing]
     
  90. Tom, I truly appreciate you taking the time to type all this out. But(there's always a but), although I agree that the difference between an M6 and an MP could probably be a lens. I know I won't be satisfied if I don't get something brand-new(although that would probably also make me baby the thing til' I get my first painful scuff on it). And regarding the lens itself, bokeh isn't really what I'm after, at least not with a 35mm focal length, it might be really good but if it's at f/2. I'd rather an f/1.4.
    I know rangefinders don't have mirror slap so handholding speeds can be as low as a fourth of a second if you have steady hands, but because I don't, at least not tripod steady like some people I know. I prefer getting the fastest Leica lens money can buy, if it blocks my viewfinder a tad. It's probably something I got to learn to live with. I shoot 35mm f/2 lenses all the time on my SLRs. And even with ISO 400 film, it's not fast enough, many a time when I'm reduced to handholding something at an eighth of a second, I just wished I had a 35mm f/1.4.
     
  91. Brian,
    I think you've settled on the ideal, money no object, starter combination. Leica MP & new 35/1.4 Summilux ASPH. You really cannot do any better than that IMHO for a single camera, single lens outfit if 35mm is your preferred base focal length.
     
  92. Well Graham, thank you again. 35mm is my preferred focal length simply because 43mm(or 40mm) is not a usual focal length and I just simply refuse to go and buy a 40mm lens for my SLR that I may never use again. As much as I try to fall in love with what a 50mm can see. I simply detest it, how it crops everything up and is simply too restricted(taking a step back in most of the photo situations I encounter is just simply not possible). I would love to be able to use a 35mm f/1 or something like that, but since there's no such thing in the Leica world. The 35/1.4 will just have to do(not like it's a substitute at all).
     
  93. agreed, 1.4/35mm 'lux and the mp is an almost perfect combo, however the perfect combo requires a 1.4/75mm 'lux aswell! enjoy your impending purchase.
    btw: voigtlander make a 1.2/35mm. it is huge for an m mount lens, and i found it to be no faster than 1.4. a sold mine for the asph 'lux.
     
  94. Hi Bryan,
    Indeed it does look as though you've made up your mind, and if you: a. Want to buy new, and b. It does not matter what it costs, then you can hardly do better than a new MP and a 35mm f/1.4 lens. It will cost you four times as much as a used M6 and similarly pre-loved 35mm f/2, but if you have the money, and nothing better to do with it ...
    About all you will have to agonize over are whether you want the traditional rewind (tougher) or the canted one (easier to use). Unfortunately I believe that it is no longer possible to get the MP "a la carte" which allowed you to also specify finish, body covering, viewfinder magnification and engraving.
    As for the lens ... personally I'd still take the Summicron (f/2) over the Summilux (f/1.4) as it gives nicer pictorial results, and it is a lot smaller, but the f1/4 ASPH is not a bad lens! [Leica does not make a bad lens].
    As for the 75mm f/1.4, if you want one of those [to create the really perfect outfit!] then you will have to settle for second hand. It has been replaced in the Leica line-up with the 75mm f/2]. It (the 75mm f/1.4) is a wonderful lens (I have owned two of them, both bought second hand on eBay) but it is surprisingly heavy (compared to the wide-angles and normal lenses) and is difficult to use, for three reasons: tiny viewfinder image, very shallow depth of field at wide apertures, and blocking off a big chunk of the viewfinder image. As a result mine never really got enough use to justify lugging one around with me. [On the other hand, when I eventually sold them, they sold easily, for far more than I paid for them - a far better return than money in shares or bonds!]. But practically ... I'd shoot for a while with the 35mm before considering anything else. You may find that it is all you need.
     
  95. Honestly Tom,
    Yes, I want to buy new. As the M7 and the MP are the two only film Leicas still left in production, I don't have much of a choice. Although money is no object, saving money is always a good thing, but based on my criteria regarding the purchase of a Leica. I have no choice, if I want something new, that's what I have to do. I'm not saying the M6 is a bad camera or everyone in the world doesn't know how to take care of their cameras such that every old Leica is scratched and bruised, I'm sure I could find an M6 in all the specifications I wanted without so much as a scuff on the paint job. But I want it new. Brand new.
    I'm fine with the tougher to use as well as tougher in durability rewind crank. That's the least of my worries. It's more on the viewfinder magnification(tried a .72x magnification on another person's M9 with a 50mm lens and I couldn't see all of the framelines without moving my eye about).
    With regards to the f/2 vs f/1.4 lens issue. Yes, I've debated it over and over again. The Summicron may be smaller, more lightweight, doesn't block the viewfinder and be hell of a fast lens in it's own right. I'd still rather have the heavier, viewfinder blocking, and one stop faster Summilux since I can afford it. Pushing film one stop is not ideal due to excessive grain, but being able to stop down an extra stop without loss of quality is by far a better trade-off in my opinion.
    Oh also, I never really said I wanted the 75mm lens, that was what someone else said would make the perfect combo. I personally prefer the 85-105mm focal length(at least when I use my SLRs). But regardless, I do not intend to buy another lens for a good few years after I purchase my MP and Summilux. Even if I do, I'd probably sooner cave to an even wider-angle than a telephoto.
     
  96. Just a small update, it seems the new 35 'lux is in short supply. Which is a major bummer for me even though I won't purchase all of this til' October. The local retailer I often frequent offered to put me on a waiting list, but even they cannot confirm when my turn will come.
    And I'm not sure if I want to wait months for a single lens. Might just have to settle for a summicron or even a non-Leica lens. A pity truly.
     

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