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Want to give Leica a try


Bobby
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I'm fascinated by Leica heritage and Leica lenses. I figured I would like to give film a try before going digital. 

 

Not knowing much about film cameras, I'd like to have some advice about which film Leica camera to buy, where to buy film and the best developer/scanner (possibly by mail, in the UK). 

 

 

Thank you, 

 

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Choice of body depends on A. your budget, and B. which type of lens/es you prefer to use. 

 

Choice of lens depends on A. your budget, and B. which type of lens you prefer to use.  

 

Buy film at Snappy Snaps or Boots in your local town, get them processed and scanned in the same place.

 

Your're welcome! 

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I'm fascinated by Leica heritage and Leica lenses. I figured I would like to give film a try before going digital.

 

Not knowing much about film cameras, I'd like to have some advice about which film Leica camera to buy, where to buy film and the best developer/scanner (possibly by mail, in the UK).

 

 

Thank you,

Welcome. I'd say get the M6 and a 35mm lens. It's highly versatile. Oh and a box of films, one type ideally to understand how it works. I'd suggest ten rolls of Agfa Vista 200, the Poundland film if you are UK based.

 

I use a lab in Yorkshire to develop only, at around £1.25 per film.

 

I have a Pakon scanner which I love. It's fast and efficient.

 

If you don't get on with the camera after ten rolls, you can cash in without loss.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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How is the quality of scanned film, as compared to digital RAW images?

 

That's a pointless comparison. A digital RAW image is pretty useless until it's been processed and presented as a jpeg or tiff. 

 

Film is a different medium. Use it because you like its qualities and unique look. The quality of your images depends on many variables. 

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How is the quality of scanned film, as compared to digital RAW images?

My setup would be M6 TTL if you are going digital later as the updated speed dial works in the same direction and makes sense with viewfinder indicators. You also get all the finder frames in the .72 model. Depending on budget the Voigtländer 35mm lenses are worth consideration. The Leica 35mm f2 commands a hefty price. My favourite is the f1.2 Nokton and 50mm CZ f1.5 Sonnar, but that's just my taste.

 

As for scanning get a Plustek 8200i and buy the Vuescan software- Silverfast is too complicated. Film is a different image to digital; a scanned image in high quality will print to a metre. I would recommend Kodak Portra 160, or 400 as they have excellent scanning properties. I develop my own in Tetenal C41. D&P in shops in the U.K. Is poor quality and will never make you happy. Scan to DNG and post process in Photoshop - you will love the results.

 

Hope this provides you food for thought. Enjoy you adventure into film it is worth it.

 

 

 

 

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The film concept often starts off as relatively low cost "investment", but then it expands as the costs of development, scanning and printing enter the picture. Not like the old days when you just dropped the film off at your local mini-mart or drug store counter, and inexpensively they developed, printed and scanned for you in an hour or so. Still available today but much more expensive, longer wait time, and unless you use a professional service - often spotty results. The alternative is learning to do it yourself, and purchasing the necessary equipment. While I love film, having grown up with it, I'd say if you plan to go digital...just go ahead, skipping the film "investment". I'm guessing you're probably new to photography, and the learning curve is much shorter and less expensive, IMHO, with digital than film, and the feedback is almost instant.

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Get a Leica  "sofort" :-)

 

Might be country-specific, but I would advise to be a bit cautious at the moment buying used used Leica M3, M4, M6, and M7 versions in the US. Following the used camera market for Leica M gear quite well, I observed an increased demand especially for Leica M3 and M6 versions which lead to quite hefty price increases even for cameras in mediocre condition. In January 2016 you could get a M6 (non TTL version) in very good condition for about $1100. Now they go for above $1600 easily - I have even seen especially M6 models going for a formerly M7 price tag. This said, M7 cameras are mostly above $2K now in good condition.

 

The only way I can explain this price hike is an increased demand in film shooting which I also observe in my photography circles. IT is still a small niche, but it is definitely growing. This trend also shows in the number of film and M camera specific groups in social networks. Nearly every day somebody asks or posts there where/how to get a M6 camera to plunge into film shooting.

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Welcome to film.

 

It seems you're new to photography overall (correct me if I'm wrong) in which case I would advise against starting with Leica. It's much too expensive and the allure of the brand soon fades. Your pictures won't be better. For manual photography get a serviced Canon F1n/New or A1 or Nikon F3 and a few lenses from a dealer. This will cost the same as or less than one of the lenses I list below.

 

But if you really want to give into your fascination (by all means, but beware the rabbit hole), you'll probably want a camera with a light meter so budget around 1000 Eur for an M6.

 

I wouldn't have started with a 35mm lens myself but everyone's different. If you're set on an f2 (and that's OK because lens speed matters much more for film than for digital), look for a non-recent Summicron, such as this one.

 

I would however have started with one of the 50 Summicrons, say this kind, which tend to be less costly than equivalent-age 35/2s (the price of the 35 I linked to is rather low).

 

Buy from a store that offers warranty and return privilege. There are lots in the UK like Ffordes, Red Dot, Aperture UK and in the rest of Europe, like Leicashop, Meister Camera, Newoldcamera etc. For film, Maco Direct and Fotoimpex in Germany have prices that are difficult to beat, but I think you have some good ones in the UK too.

 

About scanner, get one of those Plustek 7xxx models for a few hundred Euros (I think). They seem to produce good results. For 35mm film I'd avoid the Epson flatbeds because they don't resolve well enough. But be prepared to learn how to scan and moderate your expectations. It takes time.

 

Philip

 

I'm fascinated by Leica heritage and Leica lenses. I figured I would like to give film a try before going digital. 

 

Not knowing much about film cameras, I'd like to have some advice about which film Leica camera to buy, where to buy film and the best developer/scanner (possibly by mail, in the UK). 

 

 

Thank you, 

 

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I would say if you are thinking of going digital then just go digital

You can start with a used M8 for about the same price as film body

You can just mp into a m9 for 3k

With digital you can take as many. Shots as you want without acumalating the cost of film an development which can add quite a bit

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I would say if you are thinking of going digital then just go digital

You can start with a used M8 for about the same price as film body

You can just mp into a m9 for 3k

With digital you can take as many. Shots as you want without acumalating the cost of film an development which can add quite a bit

 

I second this.

Just pick up a used M8/9 and a lens. The difference between this and a film M will be negligible once you've taken into account the scanner, and ongoing film and development costs. You don't get a film M to save money, you get one because you want to shoot film. I spend about $500-$800 a year just on film and developing (2-3 rolls/week on average which is about 50-90 photos/week). 

If money is a concern, I'd get a second hand M9 and a Voigtlander 2.5/35 color skopar and be done. If you really want a Leica lens, get a 2.8/35 summaron. You lose a stop over an f/2 lens, but you can get that stop back in ISO that you don't have with film.

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How is the quality of scanned film, as compared to digital RAW images?

If you're not familiar with working with film at all, starting with a Leica may not be the way to start. It's a little like learning how to swim by jumping into the deep end... you would be better to have an experienced swimmer in the pool, but it's better to start out somewhere you can touch the bottom for a little while.

 

I recommend starting with a less expensive film camera and get your film developed and printed at a local shop to see if you like the output. There are lots of excellent film cameras available at thrift shops and on local "for sale" web sites like craigslist here in the US, and some of them cost less than developing and printing a single roll of film. Look for a camera that has both automatic and manual controls, and a built-in light meter. Owners manuals for most popular cameras are available online, so you can read how to use all the features of the camera you buy.

 

If you're going to shoot film only to scan the negatives then you may want to buy a digital camera and cut out the expense of film altogether. The benefits of film come with using its analog process end-to-end. The greatest benefit is that you can reprint at larger sizes when you find you have a negative worthy of it. You can also develop film at home and print your own enlargements at home if you want total creative control over the whole analog process. There are lots of old books in used book stores to show you how. The digital workflow is what people are comfortable with now, but the analog workflow is very useful too.

 

Let us know what you decide to do.

 

Scott

Edited by skucera
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I second this.

Just pick up a used M8/9 and a lens. The difference between this and a film M will be negligible once you've taken into account the scanner, and ongoing film and development costs. You don't get a film M to save money, you get one because you want to shoot film. I spend about $500-$800 a year just on film and developing (2-3 rolls/week on average which is about 50-90 photos/week). 

If money is a concern, I'd get a second hand M9 and a Voigtlander 2.5/35 color skopar and be done. If you really want a Leica lens, get a 2.8/35 summaron. You lose a stop over an f/2 lens, but you can get that stop back in ISO that you don't have with film.

 

Don't want to get into a film vs. digital discussion (which would be useless since they are both valid just with different outcome), but I have to disagree what is stated above in regard to cost and cost accumulation. I shoot both digital and film, but I can clearly say that shooting film is by far not as expensive as digital goes. The only obstacle with film is more time to spend to develop and digitize. I will give an example: As mentioned here, a M9 is going for about $3K. You can get a M6 for about $1.5K or less, so about half the cost. I never spend such high cost on film as mentioned - especially if you buy a 100' roll of film and roll film yourself. A 100' roll of film costs about $50-70. Such roll of film lasts in my case for 4 months easily (I am not shooting film professionally). Chemicals are not expensive either, they last for quite a while if stored well. Scanning can be done easily, too - simply by photographing the negatives with an inexpensive LED light table setup and tripod. So you can make a calculation how much film you can shoot to make up for the $1.5K difference between a M6 and M9. This of course is only the cost factor, if you enjoy the film processing/development and some darkroom work, this is an even more valuable factor which is not taken into account here. 

 

Shooting with several digital cameras (I admit Leica M digital is currently not one of them), I would not vest $3K in a M9 camera which has a nice CCD sensor on one side, but is technically quite outdated for this amount of money. I am a firm believer that the sensor of a digital camera is the heart of it, so I only vest into a new digital camera if a new sensor technology convinces me to go for it. Rest of camera features is secondary for me. I would love to use a digital Leica M in parallel to my film M cameras but unfortunately I am not convinced by the sensor technology compared to competition in the market there (That's why I shoot with digital cameras of different brands). Regarding film, Leica M is unbeatable in the 35 mm range IMO. 

 

I agree in regard to Voigtlander lenses which I am also using in parallel to my M lenses. 

Edited by Martin B
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If you're not familiar with working with film at all, starting with a Leica may not be the way to start. It's a little like learning how to swim by jumping into the deep end... you would be better to have an experienced swimmer in the pool, but it's better to start out somewhere you can touch the bottom for a little while.

Errrmm...Why?  Leica film cameras are a joy to use, beginner or experienced photographer. Just get any M6, align the arrows for exposure, match up the rangefinder and shoot, drop off the film for develop and scan. What could be simpler? If you don't like the experience (unlikely) you can always sell the gear for about the same price as you paid.

If you do like it, get into developing, scanning, what not?

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