Jump to content

First travel with a leica m6...

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)



I joined you a few months ago after buying my first leica and have not been using my m6 that much since. I have been shooting too much digital... but want to give my leica camera a real try! I had also problems scanning my own stuff and I tried to develop my films, with more or less positive results.... :/


So I am thinking about taking only my leica m6+zm 50/2 for my 1 week vacation in amsterdam in september. I am not very confident about it and guess it might be hard without a wider lens (at least a 35mm - but I am wearing glasses/0.85x viewfinder). What is your opinon on that...?


What film would you take ?

(I plan to take 4-5 tmax400, 5 portra 400 and 2 velvias 100). Is it possible to push the portra 400 to 800/1600/3200 and still get good results ?


Any other recommandation ?


A stupid question (since I do not know any leica shooter here...): when using a flash unit with the m6 ttl, will the shutter speed be set automatically at 1/50s ? I have seen a video of a guy shooting with the flash on his leica without changing the aperture.. I do not understand how it can be possible if the flash sets the shutter speed constant.


Thank you for your replies!





Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard,


I agree, a 35 or 28 would probably be better for what you want, but the 50 will give you some great shots too. It is my favorite lens on my Leica.


The film selection you have looks ok. Many do, but I do not push film. I use a tripod if there is not enough light. I have a small unit that takes up less space than the camera.


I would also take a small point-and-shoot digital just to make you feel better in case your film experience in not as successful as you hope.


I have a .85 M6 TTL, but use a standard auto flash (Metz 36C-2), not one that is dedicated to the Leica. That is, it has a few f-stop choices for the film speed I use. I pick one and set the flash to it.


Example, say f5.6. I then set my camera to 1/50 of a second (the lighting bolt symbol between 1/30 and 1/60) setting, my flash to f5.6, and the lens to f5.6. As long as you are not too far away from the subject the flash will adjust it's output to correctly expose the film.


The camera does not talk to the flash, so you must set both the lens and shutter speed. The flash does the work by recording the amount of light bouncing back. That said, I seldom use a flash, the beauty of a Leica.


If you choose a film speed higher than 1/50 (lighting bolt again) the camera will not fire the flash. It will also not fire the flash if the batteries are low. Take a spare set.


Enjoy your trip, I am about to take off for a New Mexico trip via motorcycle with my Leica, plus an LX3.



Link to post
Share on other sites

If I travel with only a 50 I sure miss a 35; but the 50 forces me to frame the subject more intimately, so it improves many pictures for me. Go for it: not a limitation but an opportunity.

I've started taking only 400 film, and find I usually have the exposure set right before I meter, as my eye is getting more consistent - just like it did in college days when we always shot TriX without a meter. Don't push the Portra - learn to steady the camera for slow speeds and you'll find 400 with f2 works well.

Flash? What's that?

Link to post
Share on other sites



To answer your question, yes, Portra is very pushable. Google the topic and you'll find a lot of information on it as well as some test pictures some people did when it first came out. If light condition is a concern, I assume you'll be taking the ISO 400 varient.


Flash with Leica has been a religious topic for some people for many years. There is some logic to this as one of the differentiators of rangefinder shooting over xSLR cameras has been their small sizes and light weight which makes handhold slow-speed shooting much easier (for instance, many people can hand-hold a shot on their Leica at 1/8s while the best they can do on their xSLR is 1/30s or maybe even only 1/60s). This is the reason some people on their forum may try to dissuade you from flash. Having said that, flash does work and works well once YOU learn how to use it correctly.


I agree with a previous poster who suggests taking a small digital camera as a backup. The M6 AND manual flash setting are both new to you and the chance for error is high. Give yourself some piece of mind and shoot important photos with BOTH cameras, just in case. And it gives you an interesting comparison opportunity once you get home and develop and scan your film.


Enjoy your trip!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Amsterdam is a city made of wide views and then intimate little streets and I can't help but think a slightly wider lens may work better than a 50mm. But take the 50 and use a P&S camera for the wide shots and colour. But if you haven't been using your Leica much a change of focal length may be the refreshment and impetus you need, not everybody finds a rangefinder camera and 50mm lens the perfect match.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

A stupid question (since I do not know any leica shooter here...): when using a flash unit with the m6 ttl, will the shutter speed be set automatically at 1/50s ?


No, the shutter will fire at the speed selected on the dial. If you have a speed selected faster than 1/50, the flash will not trigger.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Film-wise I would recommend also Ilford FP4+ for low-iso and daylight - a very forgiving film, and good in combination with a normal (022) yellow filter that does not throw the M6 meter off. I also always carry a greyfilter (4x) when I want to shoot wide open in bright daylight.


I also carry a 35mm P&S (Contax T3 or Leica X1), easier than a second lens on the M. If I would use a second lens on the M6 in the city, I would almost be tempted to go with a compact 21mm...(C Biogon 4.5/21, e.g). But beware, focal lengths wider than 28mm take some practice.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Portra 400 can be pulled and pushed several stops. I have shot one and the same roll at EI100 to EI1600 and had it developed at 400 and got useable images. It's, naturally, an emergency situation but shows the film's latitude.


You can easily shoot a roll at EI100 and have it pulled processed at that speed. Likewise you can push it to, say, 800, and process it at the pushed speed.


The one thing I don't like with Portra is that it is pretty grainy when scanned, at least on Nikon slide scanners (though it scans easily).


Portra 160 is also nice but not as pushable in my experience. Still mix a few rolls of that into the mix for daytime shooting if you don't want to pull 400.


I often use 400 film on sunny days without filters. That said, I don't go for picket fence bokeh shots so the extra two stops of DOF doesn't bother me at all. Plus even daytime there are lots of situations (areas in shade for instance) which benefit from a slightly faster film.


I've been a lot to Amsterdam and used to live not far from it. It's got many narrow streets but, honestly, questions about which lens to bring to X location are a bit odd, to me. Bring whatever you normally use. Personally I am a 50mm photographer and get by very well with that also in narrow alleys or wider panoramas. It's all about what one sees. The one occasion I would want a 35 is indoors.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While the past couple of weeks have been good (sunny and 23C), weather in Amsterdam is fickle, it rains often and the sky is overcast frequently. Relative humidity is high as well (70% sometimes) so the the air is rather hazy most of the time when it's above 20C, like now for instance (looking at some trees no further than 60 meters from where I am, the darkness in their shade shows lots of haze).


This makes it a necessity, in my experience, to double the exposure time on colour negative films like Fuji Superia 400 or 800, else they come out looking dull and washed out. I must say I never use a polarising filter though, just an UV for colour and always a yellow for black&white (Leica M6 TTL 0.85, M3 and Contax G2).

Black and white film looks better more readily (if you have a good photo), because the eyes don't have to deal with the sometimes off colours. That said, the Amsterdam canals are lovely with their colours and lights, houses on the banks are really pretty and very different from one another, and night-time lights are pretty as well, so there's definitely an incentive to shoot colour if the weather's good.

I don't have any experience with Porta films shot in this circumstances. I hope I won't get booed for this, but in my opinion Kodak Gold 200 shot at 200 gives very good results for the kind of happy holidays snaps you may take going about mid day. The same goes for the Fuji Pro 400H (which is really nice, in my opinion), but that's much harder to find and lots more expensive.


I wouldn't try anything under ISO 200 except for sunny mid-day snaps, or very, very careful shooting otherwise. Good bars tend to be dark and brown, and the generally overcast sky makes fast films very adequate.


Hema (a local supermarket) in the Amsterdam centre (on Kalverstraat, you can't miss it, it's the main shopping street in the centre, see winkel informatie - HEMA) offers a fast and good development service, at least for colour films. If you're not a traditionalist or yet appreciate the finer points of real b&w film, I suggest you buy and shoot at least a roll of Ilford XP2 (a film that is processed in the colour C-41 process) and develop it at the 1-hour service at Hema (get small prints with it) as this will give you the opportunity to quickly see what you're doing with your camera, and check colour as well.


The are plenty of shops in Amsterdam where you can buy film, so you shouldn't bring any film with you except a roll or two to get you through until you reach a shop, unless you're bringing something very specific that's hard to find here. If you want some specific recommendations concerning foto shops, let me know.


Have fun!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all your great replies. I guess I will have a nice timein amsterdam!

I got yesterday my first portra rolls developed.. and I was amazed how good they look! I got also some very good pics of some tmax rolls. I guess my composition and manual focusing skills have improved!! No need to start lightroom anymore as I always do with digital picts!!


By the way... I got on sunday a cheap hasselblad 500cm.. which I absolutely want to try ! so this might be my second camera for that trip

Link to post
Share on other sites
By the way... I got on sunday a cheap hasselblad 500cm.. which I absolutely want to try ! so this might be my second camera for that trip


I did the same about a year ago, got a 501C. I recently picked up a 55mm extension tube for $20 at a local camera store. Love the images of flowers I get with the combination. Enjoy the Hasselblad, I sure do love mine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Olivier,

Welcome to Holland

My favorite travel combo is the Leica M6TTL and the very small Elmarit-M 28 f/2.8 ASPH

Stunning compact set, lightweight and versatile. Always with B+W 021 filter !



For cityscapes I like the 28 best. Easy to handle in small streets and spaces.

For film I went for the Ilford FP4+ -> Welcome to ILFORD PHOTO


Some impressions can be found here: Ruben Kok Photography


Have a great trip.

Kind regards,


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Well so I am back... I had some fun with the leica and the hassy.. I am waiting for my rolls to be developed

I just got one today and made a little collage.. nothing special but I am quite pleased of portra 400 !!


Random Amsterdam Streets #1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Well so I am back... I had some fun with the leica and the hassy.. I am waiting for my rolls to be developed I just got one today and made a little collage.. nothing special but I am quite pleased of portra 400 !!


Random Amsterdam Streets #1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


And some more are uplaoded... not very satisfied with my compositions.. anyway. Tri-X and Portra got easily scanned, but I cannot scan my Velvia stuff.. no idea how to to do that. http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCc8X8u

The 120 films are still missing.

[url=http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCc8X8u][/url] Edited by Olimatt
forgot a link
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...