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leicaluke

starting with film, or digital?

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Im looking to get in to leica rangefinders, and was looking at either the m8 or m6... i have heard the m8 has malfunctions that require maintenance quite often (i dont mind megapixels, i have a DSLR for that..) at the moment i am pursuing photojournalism and documentary work.. bottom line i need a reliable, discreet camera.. would the m6 hold up to that reputation better? (not minding that its film) any thoughts from film or m8 users would be appreciated

thanks.

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Im looking to get in to leica rangefinders, and was looking at either the m8 or m6... i have heard the m8 has malfunctions that require maintenance quite often (i dont mind megapixels, i have a DSLR for that..) at the moment i am pursuing photojournalism and documentary work.. bottom line i need a reliable, discreet camera.. would the m6 hold up to that reputation better? (not minding that its film) any thoughts from film or m8 users would be appreciated thanks.

 

IMHO, If you want convenience and the ability to change ISO on the fly, get the M8 even if it is a cropped sensor. If you want reliability, "resale" value, get the M6. My experience came from many years of DSLR, M8.2, and now, M9, MP, M7, M4-P. I prefer an analog camera now. However, if I go out and shoot when the light is low, I would take the M9. To be clear, I do not process my film. I still have my film commercially processed, a CD for quick evaluation, and scan selected negatives with a Plustek 7600 ai. I am sure, others with vastly more experience than me, will give you better suggestions...

 

Tri:)

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I owned two M8s for a combined total of 65 months, and never needed maintenance. Except for the first camera, which came from Leica's first batch, which had a known problem before I even bought it (green blobs and streaking from bright light sources).

 

However, an M6 should be even more reliable. Some say that a CLA (clean, lubricate, adjust servicing) should be factored into the price of any Leica over 10 years old - but I've never had to do that, provided I checked the camera thoroughly before buying (shutter speeds, RF accuracy, frame spacing). Film Leicas tend to fail "slow" - drift in 1/1000th down to 1/750th, for example. M8-type shutters tend to work fine right up until they explode (if they do.)

 

For B&W work, film can generally be pushed to higher ISOs with better results than an M8 (ISO 3200 vs. ISO 1250). For color, the M8 does a bit better now that ISO 1600 color films have vanished (ISO 1250 vs. 800). A rubber-shuttered M6 is a bit quieter than the metal M8, so long as one doesn't need shutter speeds of 1/2000-1/8000.

 

I might have said that the M6 would require less initial cost, but the difference between used M8s and used M6s is not as big as some might think at the moment ($2200 vs $1600).

 

OTOH, the M8 crop factor means you have to buy a wider lens for any given FoV - e.g. a $3500 28 f/2 for the M8 vs. a $1700 (or even less) 35 f/2 for the M6. M8 requires finding coded lenses if wider than 35mm - M6 doesn't need coded lenses. M8 requires IR/UV filters for color work.

 

Other than that, you just have to consider the work flow differences. Do you have a scanner already? Do you have the time for trips to a lab, or your own chemical processing, or your own scanning? I assume that with a DSLR, you already have the computer backup the M8 needs (Lightroom or some such, disk space).

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I've had an M8 for four years or so and haven't had any problems with it.

 

I also have an M6 that's hardly seen a roll of film through it since I bought the M8. If I had to chose one body I'd go for the M8. That's just my opinion, also my opinion is that which you get should revolve around whether you want to use film or digital. Pick the type of camera you want and buy an M6 or M8 based on that.

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I think if you are pursuing photojournalism you have to ask if time will be a constraint, considering the time to process and scan film against the time that it takes any rivals to get their images out to the press. When everybody used film it was easy, you all raced for the darkroom at the same time, but nowadays unless it is a long term project with no immediate deadline anybody with an iPhone can beat you to the picture desk.

 

In either case I would still go for a late model M8 just so your workflow is integrated AND it allows you to use your DSLR in tandem with the M8 and your images won't look radically different. So for one story you can use both camera's seamlessly. Film may have a romantic quality about it, particularly for photojournalism, and you could argue an M6 may be more reliable than an M8 longer term, but if the story counts you don't want to end up telling one story but interpreted two ways by mixing film with digital.

 

Steve

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If you have a DSLR then try a film Leica first. Add another dimension to your work.

 

If you don't get on with it just sell the body and get the M8, an M6 won't lose any value in the meantime.

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Thanks for all of the input. what im hearing is m8 for faster workflow and m6 for long term reliability. looks like an m9 would be ideal

unfortunately i dont have the budget for one. looks like an m6 is in my near future.

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I started with a beater M3 to see if I liked the rangefinder system but almost immediately moved to an M8 because the answer was yes and waiting on film is a pain.

 

Also, if you leave the lens cap on the M8, the shutter acts funny and tips you off to reshoot. If you leave the lens cap on the M3, you just get half a roll of unexposed film ... not that it ever happened to me.

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Guest sterlinstarlin

I started with an M2, and then another M2, and then another M2, and then another M2, with an MP, and an M7. I'd probably shoot a Canon if I went digital... right at my head.

Edited by sterlinstarlin

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Iv had two M8's and currently only own the M6. Film is much more rewarding and fun. Get both and see which one suits you.

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M6 is totally reliable, but a lot depends on end use: Do you need digital files, or large prints or slides? Scanning is tricky to get best results and an extra expense. How soon do you need the pictures? Finding film and getting it processed is a lot harder (and pricier) now, and you may have to send it out of town and wait several days or weeks. If you live in a large town, you may be luckier. However, film still has a different look, IMO, and can still be a very satisfying medium.

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If you want digital, then go with the M9 and ignore all the advice from earlier adopters of the M8 trying to justify their purchase.

 

If you want a film camera, start a new thread. It is a different world.

 

.

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If you want digital, then go with the M9 and ignore all the advice from earlier adopters of the M8 trying to justify their purchase.

 

Definitely a good idea to jump right in and spend $7000+ on a camera you've never tried. I recommend a new Noctilux 0,95 as your first lens, but you really ought to complement this with at least the Summilux 21, 35 and whichever other Leica lenses are most expensive at the moment. Hey - you only live once eh.

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Sadly there do seem to be quite a few with the means who, despite knowing little to nothing about photography, think it appropriate to buy only the most expensive gear. I guess it is part of the hubris and arrogance that often comes with having a large disposable income.

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If you are going to pursue PJ, what are you going to do with it? If its wire services and what's left of newspapers, speed and ease of transmission are key. If you are going to do stock and be lucky enough to get magazine gigs with open time constraints, film is my choice.

 

Now days I shoot 75% film for clients and personal (mainly because I don't do much work for wires or papers anymore). I have the time to soup film and look at my images.

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Thanks again for your responses, i think i have concluded that ill start with film.. whats better than a "full frame" leica anyways

. @wattsy, tell me about it, i have seen many people that have m9's and i question why they just didnt buy a point and shoot.

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Thanks again for your responses, i think i have concluded that ill start with film.. whats better than a "full frame" leica anyways . @wattsy, tell me about it, i have seen many people that have m9's and i question why they just didnt buy a point and shoot.

Some random thoughts:

What you get depends so much on what you want to do with it. For example: Ken Rockwell, who is most definitely a pro of the first order and a Leica guy, says the Fuji X100 is the best casual/people camera out there. If you want to do film and want something dependable, a Leica is pretty much IT for general photography: people, places, travel, documentary, etc. Any M body in good mechanical condition will do fine, whether it is an M3, M2, M4, etc. My favorites have been the M6 (mainly because of the meter) closely followed by my 1958 M2.

If you want a camera that will satisfy your soul and serve you for the rest of your life...get a Leica Rangefinder.

If you decide you want to make digital images, all you have to do is buy a scanner. The difference in price between an M6 and an M9 will buy you a set of lenses, a good scanner, lots of film and the processing. If film ever disappears (unlikely) you still have the lenses to use on a Leica digital body.

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@wattsy, tell me about it, i have seen many people that have m9's and i question why they just didnt buy a point and shoot.

 

Perhaps they have aspirations, just as you do?

 

Steve

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