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Jobin

Leica M6 or M4-P?

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I currently own the M6 and use it regularly. I have an offer to trade for an early model (brass top plate) M4-P with VC II lightmeter, both in great shape. The two qualities I like over the M6 is the brass top plate (love brassed cameras) and the lack of batteries. Anyone used both and have any opinions? Thanks!

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Greetings Jobin. Are you comfortable with using a separate meter? I was brought up on using a hand held meter and prefer it to built-in meters, which I find slower and, using LEDS like the M6's, distracting. I own both an M4P and an M6 and far prefer the M4P for that reason (though the M4P somehow also feels more comfortable in my hands). Consider using the meter hand held, rather than in the shoe. You can meter without anyone being aware you are about to take a photo; with an M6, you already know the story. Regards, David

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If you want the brassed top one you've already got your answer. It's an itch that'll have to be scratched.

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Thanks for the responses gentlemen. I have never used an external meter, either internal or AE so far. I have heard that the black chrome bodies do not brass as beautifully as the black paint.

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Thanks for the responses gentlemen. I have never used an external meter, either internal or AE so far. I have heard that the black chrome bodies do not brass as beautifully as the black paint.

I've never used a VC2, so can't comment, other than that I assume it's one that attaches to the accessory shoe. If given the option, I would take it off and use it hand-held. Before you make a choice, beg, borrow or steal a hand-held meter (they're cheap enough 2nd hand) and try it.

:eek: Edited by iphoenix
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Greetings Jobin. Are you comfortable with using a separate meter? I was brought up on using a hand held meter and prefer it to built-in meters, which I find slower and, using LEDS like the M6's, distracting. I own both an M4P and an M6 and far prefer the M4P for that reason (though the M4P somehow also feels more comfortable in my hands). Consider using the meter hand held, rather than in the shoe. You can meter without anyone being aware you are about to take a photo; with an M6, you already know the story. Regards, David

 

A separate meter is also useful for a M6, especially when metering the light instead of the object. For a M4P-feeling only take off the battery out of the M6

. So I would not trade but take a M4P as a back-up.

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Thanks for the responses gentlemen. I have never used an external meter, either internal or AE so far. I have heard that the black chrome bodies do not brass as beautifully as the black paint.

 

They don't brass at all, they just get a dull rubbed looking sort of patina to them. If you want brass for sure, then the M4 is the only answer (aside from more expensive options like the MP.)

 

But the M6 will be newer and does have an on-board meter if you ever feel you might want one. You can easily do what mnutzer says and just take out the batteries. Get a handheld meter like the very compact Sekonic L-308S which can do incident readings super fast (and also flash readings if ever needed), and is so much better overall than the VC II. Like mnutzer suggests, incident readings are often more useful over reflective readings in many situations.

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I use the VCII on my IIIf, and an MR4 on my M4. The VCII is very small and accurate, angle of view about like the MR4 (eq to 90mm lens). Because of it size and layout it works better in a hot-shoe than hand held.

The VCII doesn't couple to shutter speed dial, but when my MR4 dies, I'll use a VCII on the M4.

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Guest Ornello

I have always loved the M5. Although Leica had trouble selling them, they were brilliantly designed. The meter is unobtrusive.

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Personally I think you'd be daft to trade the M6 for an earlier camera.

 

If you were looking to buy a first M then I'd say go for the M2, but as you already have the M6 why trade for a much earlier camera?

 

I also don't understand your logic about the battery issue. Don't like batteries - don't use them! Your M6 will still work just the same, but no metering. The VC meter on that M4p needs batteries by the way..........not sure what you're gaining (or losing) by that choice.

 

If you REALLY want a black paint camera that will look brassy with wear, then bite the bullet and buy a new MP. That way the 'brassy wear' will be of your own making, a personal statement if you like, showing how you use the camera.

 

I don't suppose you buy secondhand shoes because they're already worn in for you, do you?

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JMHO, but I think it's hard to go wrong with a nice M4-P.

 

Some collectors look down on the M4-P but it seems to be a well liked M among the ranks of people who actually use their cameras to make photographs rather than those who sit at home polishing and mooning over them.

 

I prefer hand metering so the lack of an on-board meter is a non-issue. The only drawback that I've encountered is that in some (not all) high contrast light situations, rangefinder patch flare becomes a factor. This is more of an annoyance than a real problem, though.

 

No camera is perfect, but it seems that most Leica M cameras come close to perfection in their own way, each with its own specific quirks.

Edited by Messsucherkamera

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I also don't understand your logic about the battery issue. Don't like batteries - don't use them! Your M6 will still work just the same, but no metering. The VC meter on that M4p needs batteries by the way..........not sure what you're gaining (or losing) by that choice.

 

James and I have disagreed on another thread regarding the logic of batteries.

Obviously I see his point, and respect it, but I also know myself too well: a built-in meter (again, in my case - I don't want to generalise to other users) invites its constant use (unless you're happy with awkwardly flipping the battery in and out), and its constant use invites a kind of laziness: end result is that I would always use the meter, and never acquire a capacity to judge light myself. In my opinion, even if such judgements of light turn out to be flawed (over or under exposure) they are MY judgements, not a machine's. If the picture turns out good or bad, there's only me to praise or blame. That is part of the point of photography to me, and why I like a simple camera that puts me in control.

 

May I make the potentially incendiary comment that in-built meters in the M6 are nothing but a flawed Auto-exposure function, where the camera requires you to do the work of setting the speed?

It is a slippery slope from there to Auto-focus, auto-everything?

 

In the end, for me this is a contradiction in what I like about the MP, particularly a black MP: if everything, down to the way the camera brasses, is supposed to be about you (not to mention Mechanical Perfection) what in the world is a meter doing there?

 

So, my advice, as the owner of a much loved (and metered) M6TTL and M9, and (unmetered) M3 and M2 is: go for what makes sense to you, whether M6 or M4-P. Both, ideally.

Edited by M9reno

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Guest Ornello
James and I have disagreed on another thread regarding the logic of batteries. Obviously I see his point, and respect it, but I also know myself too well: a built-in meter (again, in my case - I don't want to generalise to other users) invites its constant use (unless you're happy with awkwardly flipping the battery in and out), and its constant use invites a kind of laziness: end result is that I would always use the meter, and never acquire a capacity to judge light myself. In my opinion, even if such judgements of light turn out to be flawed (over or under exposure) they are MY judgements, not a machine's. If the picture turns out good or bad, there's only me to praise or blame. That is part of the point of photography to me, and why I like a simple camera that puts me in control.

 

May I make the potentially incendiary comment that in-built meters are nothing but a flawed Auto-exposure function, where the camera requires you to do the work of setting the speed?

It is a slippery slope from there to Auto-focus, auto-everything?

 

In the end, for me this is a contradiction in what I like about the MP, particularly a black MP: if everything, down to the way the camera brasses, is supposed to be about you (not to mention Mechanical Perfection) what in the world is a meter doing there?

 

So, my advice, as the owner of a much loved (and metered) M6TTL and M9, and (unmetered) M3 and M2 is: go for what makes sense to you, whether M6 or M4-P. Both, ideally.

 

It is easy enough to memorize the exposure for one film speed (I used to use Tri-X almost exclusively back in the early 1970s, and I did memorize the exposures for most scenes) but if you are using a wide variety of films of different speeds...not so easy. I believe this point is often overlooked.

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Guest Ornello
I guess I am to become a film monogamist. But that's ok!

 

It's much easier to memorize and have an instinctive feel for exposure for one film speed. I remember doing it! But now I use more films of different speeds and I get confused sometimes.

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Sorry I don't have either a M4-P nor a M6, but I have a M4-2 with MR4 and a M7; so the comparison is similar... at least I think so.

 

I prefer using the M4-2 because the absent of the crazy numbers and symbols in the view founder! Same as some other have mentioned.

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For those who own an M6 but don't like the internal meter with its LED's, simply take out the batteries and use an external meter or just guess which many experienced photographers do quite successfully.

 

Paul

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I use both and like them both. The M6 meter is pretty reliable and works easily, without difficult things in the finder. Just a great help. The M4-P is a wonderful camera as well, but I don't think I'd trade my M6 for an M4-P. What is the thing with the battery? You don't have to change it every few days, you know.

Lex

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M4-P over the M6 if you don't want those distracting red-haze-causing LEDs in your VF. In low lght situations, the in-camera meter can be blinking and make it challenging to compose a shot. So, no question what I would do in your shoes: go with the simplicity of the M4-P. BTW, it is a very practical and smooth tool to use. Also, the brass top ones have the original more accurate 50mm framelines that are not in the M6/7/P.

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