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Leica m5 or m6 TTL, request for help, size comparison, and thoughts?


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Hello to all,

 

I would like to request your help/advice.

 

I currently own and use a Nikon F3, but feel the need for something new to help with street/travel photography. After doing a fair bit of research I have come up with buying either the M5 or the M6ttl.

 

I can't actually go to a store and handle these cameras and I will be buying online, I am drawn to the M5 but the worry is I am buying something bigger than my F3 when I am looking for something less intimidating when on the street? however the shutter dial and viewfinder look like great additions.

 

With the M5 it seems the Shutter speed in the viewfinder would also be useful and perhaps better than the LED's in the M6?

 

Could anybody who owns an M5 post some size comparison photos to give me some idea of what it looks like next to the F3?

 

How Do you find the M6 TTL, LED system?

 

I will be predominantly using a 35mm and 50mm lens to start with.

 

 

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated,

 

Thanks !

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I owned a Leica M6 as well as M6 TTL, along with a M5 but sold both M6's last year. So posting pictures of them side by side is not an option.

 

First, let me say that regarding size and weight there is not much difference. IMO it is more a question of how these bodies feel in your hands than of how they look to your subjects. The M5 seems to suit people with larger hands more than the other models. I have rather small hands for a man and still I like the grip on the M5 more than the one on the other film M's

The size is not a large difference, e.g. the M8 and certainly M 240 feel larger and heavier than any film M.

 

It is strange that you do not mention the M6. It has almost the same functionality as the M6 TTL. Main differences are:

- On M6 TTL the shutter speed dial turns in the opposite direction like all M bodies from then on. This could make a difference if you also use digital Ms. It never bothered me though, because I tend to use the digitals in A mode.

If you plan on using other film bodies it would be a disadvantage because they are all manual only except the newest models.

 

- M6 TTL is a bit newer than the M6 (up to 20 years) and a lot newer than the M5 (at least 20 years too 30 years). This does not matter much because they are all made to last a lifetime, but buying a 20+ year old camera means that you have to calculate in a CLA anyway. Others might argue that they use a camera without CLA for 30 years or more, but thats the point, they use it. If you buy a model that has been sitting on a shelf for more than a few years it will probably require a CLA. This is mostly true for the M5 and early M6s because they used otherlubricating fluids back then. OTOH with a CLA you have a guarantee that your camera will not ruin your precious mcaptured moments, so I prefer giving them a CLA before use, rather than ruin a few films first.

 

- M5 is missing the 75mm frame lines which is a good thing because the 50 mm frames are uncluttered. Of course it is a bad thing if you want to use a 75 mm lens.

The M5 VF is less prone to flair than the M6, M6 TTL is a bit improved compared to M6

 

- TTL for flash , M6 is missing that feature, but I never use flash, so it does not bother me.

 

- Metering info is indeed better in the M5 VF, but not a big deal, you can get used to the little triangles.

 

- M5 scores on smoothness of film forward lever action and film rewind. No wonder Leica almost went bankrupt on this model. In comparison, all models feel 'cheap' to me. Of course the M3 and M2 come close, but the M5 is far more advanced in the rewind department. Try rewinding a 36 frames film outside in mid winter on the M3 and M2 and you know what I mean. M6 and M6TTL are better, but do not feel as smooth as the M5 when rewinding.

 

These are all differences that come to mind now.

It is up to you to decide now.

 

HTH,

Dirk

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I have only used a M5, but handle 9 other digital cameras before. Apart for briefly the M1.

I think the biggest difference in handling would be the lack of a grip on a M body so you won't be able to hinge your camera off your fingers.

I own the two lugs m5 which I love, with the only complaint that that there is not option for using a hand strap with no lugs close to the shutter.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Both the M5 and the M6 TTL were designed to allow the user to change shutter speeds while the camera is being held at eye level.  I haven't owned an M5 but have had a couple of M6 TTLs' and an M6 Classic.  The meter in the M6 TTL has a central dot to indicate proper exposure.  The shutter speed dial, which turns in the opposite direction of previous M cameras, does turn in the direction the over/under exposure arrows indicate.  The shutter speed dial can be operated with the index finger which allows for quick and accurate metering without having to take the camera away from your eye. Another plus is the M6 TTL is designed for modern batteries.  The downside to the M6 cameras is rangefinder flare.  Occasionally, under the right lighting conditions, the rangefinder square will flare white making focusing at the least difficult and sometimes impossible.  This can be corrected with a finder upgrade from a skilled technician.  Looking through the forum you will also read about zinc oxidation which causes surface bubbling on the top plate of some M6 cameras.  If you want a user camera and aren't too concerned about a marred finish, often you can find a M6 TTL for a good price.  The M5 owners can fill you in on the advantages of that camera.  Welcome to the forum.

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- M5 scores on smoothness of film forward lever action and film rewind. No wonder Leica almost went bankrupt on this model. In comparison, all models feel 'cheap' to me. Of course the M3 and M2 come close, but the M5 is far more advanced in the rewind department. Try rewinding a 36 frames film outside in mid winter on the M3 and M2 and you know what I mean. M6 and M6TTL are better, but do not feel as smooth as the M5 when rewinding.

 

 

I think Dirk has done a great job here describing the ins and outs, however I have one small difference in view. I have an M5 and two M3's, I understand what Dirk means about the rewind from my first M3, however when I received my second one it was immediately obvious that a properly serviced M3 has a 'butter' smooth rewind action. My first M3 was then sent off to Japan and returned with the same wonderful smoothness. The M5 does have the one-way only rewind and the little fold-out lever, which are great.

 

I just wanted to say that in my view an M3 is a tactile delight like no other (when properly serviced), although an M5 is surely close. I think there is a film M for everyone! Digital has a way to go yet to approach the haptics of a film M.

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I have owned every Leica M except the MP and M7.  I got an M5 about a month ago and find it to be the best shooter of any Leica film body.  The shutter speed visible in the viewfinder, the spot meter, and the ergonomics just work.  I found it a bit bigger then the other M's (to be expected) but you soon ignore that.  The heavier weight was not a factor.  I sent it back after a week primarily because I have two M2's and a couple other film cameras.  

 

Well, two weeks later I changed my mind and called Sherry Krauter to add the third lug and recover the camera.  I am waiting for her to finish the job. It is her favorite M and you might want to have her do a CLA and the camera will be like new when she is done with it. At the very least, give her a call and she will bend your ear for an hour or so on the M5 vs other Leica film bodies.

 

I have owned an M6 and M6TTL.  If you don't use much flash, then consider the M6 as it is a bit smaller then the M6TTL which allows accessories to fit which will not fit the M6TTL.  And I had an early version of the M6TTL and it sucked batteries.  Leica later corrected this issue so I assume that all the early M6TTL's have had this problem corrected but that is only an assumption.  The M6TTL's suffered from the flare prone viewfinder which can be corrected.  The M5's did not have this problem.  The M5's were the last of the hand built Leica film cameras. 

 

I am seeing M5's for $800-900 which is about two thirds the price of a M6TTL.  Both Tamarkin and Setadel Studios have M5's listed.  Sherry says serial numbers above 134XXXX are the ones to get due to better reliability.  Two lug vs three lug and chrome vs black chrome are matters of personal taste.  Even though I have a black one coming, I think the chrome finish is a better looking choice.

 

Can't really go wrong with any film Leica.

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And, even an M5 will seem small after using a Nikon F3.  If you have never used a Leica before, be aware that everything is backwards from the Nikon.  The lens focuses in the wrong direction and also mounts in the wrong direction.  It can be confusing at first but  you get used to it.

 

And some people here will tell you about the battery issue with the M5 (mercury batteries).  Well, there are several solutions to that problem and if you need to know, just ask here.

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First rangefinder Leica?

 

I strongly suggest first to take them into Your hands and play with both to get a feeling.

M5 timewheel is imo much more comfortable to use than M6, mention: older M's had Leicameter on top for time setting, M6 hasn't.

 

Some protruding into camera wides (older 21 & 28mm versions e.g.) are not compatible with M5 'cause the lightmeter arm will not swing down.

 

TTL makes M6 some mm higher, I'd prefer classic M6 body (is some bucks cheaper too)....

 

But: don't buy Your first Leica without ever having one in the hands!

 

Thomas

 

 

... everything is backwards from the Nikon.  The lens focuses in the wrong direction and also mounts in the wrong direction. 

NO! Not Leica is wrong, Nikon is the wrong one!

Thomas

Edited by duckrider
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Hello to all,

 

I would like to request your help/advice.

 

I currently own and use a Nikon F3, but feel the need for something new to help with street/travel photography. After doing a fair bit of research I have come up with buying either the M5 or the M6ttl.

 

I can't actually go to a store and handle these cameras and I will be buying online, I am drawn to the M5 but the worry is I am buying something bigger than my F3 when I am looking for something less intimidating when on the street? however the shutter dial and viewfinder look like great additions.

 

With the M5 it seems the Shutter speed in the viewfinder would also be useful and perhaps better than the LED's in the M6?

 

Could anybody who owns an M5 post some size comparison photos to give me some idea of what it looks like next to the F3?

 

How Do you find the M6 TTL, LED system?

 

I will be predominantly using a 35mm and 50mm lens to start with.

 

 

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated,

 

Thanks !

 

 

 

The mistake is that you link size to intimidation. They are completely different cameras in how cover your face, lens size, and operation that the M5 will be less intimidating regardless of size. 

 

A round about way of comparing;

 

F3 vs FM2 http://www.cameraegg.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Nikon-F3-and-FM2.jpg

FM2 vs Df http://i0.sinaimg.cn/IT/cr/2013/1230/3939391193.jpg

Df vs M6ttl: http://camerasize.com/compare/#495,359

M7 (same size as M6ttl) vs M5 http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/005/005815-12795684.jpg

 

So I'd say the M5 is bigger than the F3. But I don't have both...

 

Oh, and I forgot to say, the M's (M5 too) are deceptively heavy. Especially for their size.

Edited by michaelwj
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I have both M5 and M6 (non-TTL) and enjoy using them both. I find more information in the finder is not always a good thing, as mentally processing the added information (whether needed or not) is distracting. So overall I prefer the simpler 2 LEDs of my original M6 to the M5.

I found the R4 finder overload in manual modes, with scales and LEDS along the right edge, windows for f-stop and shutter speed along the bottom, with some of the readouts hard to see in bright light and others in dim light. So I nearly always used it in auto modes, and got an R6, with readout like the M6, for manual shooting.

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I have both M5 and M6 (non-TTL) and enjoy using them both. I find more information in the finder is not always a good thing, as mentally processing the added information (whether needed or not) is distracting. So overall I prefer the simpler 2 LEDs of my original M6 to the M5.

I found the R4 finder overload in manual modes, with scales and LEDS along the right edge, windows for f-stop and shutter speed along the bottom, with some of the readouts hard to see in bright light and others in dim light. So I nearly always used it in auto modes, and got an R6, with readout like the M6, for manual shooting.

 

 

This is why I prefer the unmetered M's.

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This is why I prefer the unmetered M's.

Point taken. I shot my M4 for decades without a meter, and now usually check a scene or room once, and then shoot just tweaking by judgement if lighting changes. At least the M6 or M9 meter is unobtrusive, there for confirmation if you want.

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Point taken. I shot my M4 for decades without a meter, and now usually check a scene or room once, and then shoot just tweaking by judgement if lighting changes. At least the M6 or M9 meter is unobtrusive, there for confirmation if you want.

 

I find myself making meaningless adjustments instead of taking the shot with my M6, a half a stop here and there makes no difference - I took the batteries out.

I meter the scene once and shoot away, but in my house I know that its f/2.8 at 1/125s at EI250 during teh day, and f/2 1/60s at night, and outside it's sunny 16, so I rarely meter any more.

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To compare dimensions, here are some specs -

Nikon F3hp:  148.5 x 96.5 x 65.5 mm; weight = 760 g.

Leica M5:      155.0 x 84.0 x 36.0 mm; weight = 625 g.

 

If you want a small and light M camera, I would say take a hard look at the M4-P.  It measures as follows -

138.0 x 77.0 x 36.0 mm; weight = 545 g. 

 

The numbers do not tell the whole story of the M4-P; with a 28/2.8 Elmarit lens mounted, this camera & lens feel as light as a feather; at 725 g. (25.57 oz.) total weight, you can almost forget that you are carrying a camera.

 

M camera specs source:  http://www.johanniels.com/images/gear/LeicaM_specifications.pdf

Edited by Carlos Danger
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Welcome to the forum.

 

On the point of the LEDs, I really like the middle dot on my TTL. I find that it completes the metering system. The shutter speed dial turns the same direction as the arrows indicate and, importantly, the same direction as the aperture ring on the lens (except for older lenses, mainly LTM I believe). This means that the whole system fits together very nicely. 

 

I have never felt that I needed to see the shutter speed in the VF (something I'm used to from 20 years of EOS shooting). There are only five speeds above the 1/50, which is halfway between 1/30 and 1/60, meaning 1/50 is easily felt and functions as a warning before one goes to the longer speeds. Plus I tend to know/check what the dial is at when I put the camera to the eye so there's very little hunting around for the right speed. All this allows for very quick and accurate operation.

 

I've used a friend's M5 and find it boxy and large compared to my TTL and M4. But it is a pleasant camera, no doubt. I seem to recall the film wind was more akin to my M4 (and the M3 that I had before that), with a smooth, well-oiled fine-mechanical feeling. My TTL felt rougher in the beginning but is now almost as smooth as the M4.

 

Whether the whiteout or flare of the TTL's RF patch will bother you, I don't know. It bothered me enormously so I had the MP upgrade installed (and now the camera never flares).

 

Philip

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Some information:

 

M5: 'older', less versatile (can't take as many lenses due to metering system), more complex mechanically, fewer repairers willing to service/repair, meter batteries not so simple, etc. But still a very good camera indeed. Most owners love them but they don't appeal to me that much after having handled a few and owned one.

 

M6TTL: 'newer', smaller, lighter, 'classic design', easier to get serviced/repaired, simpler mechanics, etc. Another very good camera. Familiar ergonomics to other M series Leicas.

 

Bottom line is that both will deliver excellent images but IMO you need to handle both before deciding. No matter how much you read here or elsewhere, they are cameras with quite different ergonomics and you can only really decide between them by handling both. Coming from an F3, both will both feel very different indeed.

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