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Of all the film M cameras you own...


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1 hour ago, jukka said:

Another funny argument you often hear made against the M7 is the dependency on batteries. Here, the – often non-professional – film shooting folk see no problem lugging around bags full of film canisters. They do, however, take issue with the inclusion of also minuscule spare batteries to their camera bags, in the odd case once a year the M7 needs battery replacement.

I think the argument made against the M7 is its dependence on electronics and the fact that their failure may render the camera fairly useless . Of course the electronics are ultimately dependent on batteries, but I don't believe the batteries themselves are the issue.

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15 minutes ago, logan2z said:

 I don't believe the batteries themselves are the issue.

Yeah, you do see this mentioned quite often. In particular, when discussing the merits of mechanically controlled shutters; should one run out of batteries "out in the field", one can still use the camera with sunny-16. 

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Have only ever owned one Leica film camera, a M6 ttl .58 bought new but this is my favourite camera, across all makes including digital that I have owned. Mine is a M-A variant in that it took a dunking on a river crossing gone wrong whilst hiking in New Zealand 10 years ago and the metering system was destroyed. A technician was able to get the shutter working (the whole camera had seized up) so now I use it with either a shoe mounted or hand held exposure meter. The only camera that comes close to the M6 is my Nikon S3 2000 which I love using also. But the M6 is far easier to focus so that keeps it as no 1.

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3 hours ago, jukka said:

I'm only a little older than you, but it seems our understanding of time is different. My M7 was recently overhauled by Wetzlar, so I give it twenty to thirty years of operating time without issues. For me, the priority during this twenty to thirty years is to be able to fully enjoy the process of taking photos. This includes the camera staying as best out of my way, which the M7 does brilliantly compared to any other film M body.

Now, in my view, that's a rather long time. I wouldn't make compromises based on random assumptions on what is going to happen after that twenty to thirty years. A bus might run over me next Monday, or in ten years the world might come to an end – who knows. 

What I am saying here is that this argument of 66 years is based on non-rational nostalgic thinking. But then again, so is the present-day marketing strategy of Leica regarding its current lineup of film bodies. 

Another funny argument you often hear made against the M7 is the dependency on batteries. Here, the – often non-professional – film shooting folk see no problem lugging around bags full of film canisters. They do, however, take issue with the inclusion of also minuscule spare batteries to their camera bags, in the odd case once a year the M7 needs battery replacement.

So, all in all, whether for the next week or for the foreseeable future, my one film M choice remains the M7 – in the industrial matte black chrome finish, I might add, which I find more aesthetically pleasing than the nostalgic black paint :)

I tend to agree with most of what you say. My M7 is still going strong after 20 years but I am using a Leica I at the moment which was made in 1925. Not too bad I think (but I still haven't found out how to change the batteries on the Leica I 😄). 

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Of all the cameras bought and sold over the years, the one I regret is my M6 0.85 TTL with Summicron-M 50 (III).  I had "upgraded" to an M9 with Summilux-M 50 ASPH (superb combination, capable of excellent results) and the M6 was languishing on the shelf, not helped by the fact that the last minilab in my town had closed down and getting film processed had become tiresome.  It was when I looked back over ten years of images that I realised just how many of the ones I liked had come from the M6.  Only five years after selling the camera I discovered that it would cost three times as much to replace but that's not really the point (settled on a 1960 M3 in a condition best described as "like new"):  the M6 is just a lovely camera to use, with a simple metering system and bright viewfinder (0.85 comes close to the M3).

To answer the original question in the thread:  if I had to choose a single film camera to rely upon, it would have to be the 60-year-old M3 with its Leicameter on top and 22-year-old Summilux out front unless I was feeling particularly neurotic about getting accurate exposures (matters most when using E6 film or Ektar 100), in which case the R5 with Summilux 50 comes a close second.  If absolute reliability and fast shutter speeds is the question, then a non-Photomic Nikon F2 is can be the answer, although to stay within the rules of this forum, I make sure I use it with a Leitaxed Summicron-R 50.

Edited by John Robinson
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Nice to see appreciation for the M7. I've had a 2002 vintage M7 bought in 2008. I sent it in to Leica for the MP finder upgrade and the optical dx reader three years later. Leica did a complete CLA as they do and charged accordingly. The optical dx reader was no charge. Three years ago, I sent it back to replace the viewfinder glass, as I noticed some micro bubbling in the coating. Again a CLA from Solms. So I've spent a bit of money on this camera, a little less than $1100 on repairs. But it is absolutely beautiful in use. The shutter might as well be silent and has a great tactile feel. Film advance is butter and the meter is very accurate with slide film. Of all of my film cameras, this is the one I would choose if I had to pick just one, paired with my 50 Summicron IV. The older I get, the more I appreciate auto exposure. I always shoot the M7 in AUTO. But the M6 with the MP finder is also very nice. So is the recently CLA'd M3. And the IIf and IIIf. Nice to have options for back up. I use them all, but the M7 is number 1 for film.

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  • 1 month later...

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I know I most certainly will now be banned and spit on or worse, but if I only could have one camera out of ones I currently own Nikon F3HP,  F6, EM (yes I own an EM dunno but just love it) and my MP, I would pick the F3HP -  sorry to all Leica fan boys and gals. If I could choose only a Leica it would be my MP, ... hehe

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I have had so many different cameras over the years, mostly Nikons but a few Linhofs, a couple of Hasselblads, three or four XAs', a handfull of Retinas and of course, Leicas. Early on I had a CL when they were still fairly new but never liked it, a couple of IIIfs and as the years went by, a M6. Used the M6 for several years then traded it to move into medium format. That lasted for a while, sold it all and used a XA for a year. Wandered into a shop one day and came out with a M6 TTL. About the same time I came into possession of a IIIc, which I fitted with a Voigtlander 21 Color-Skopar, used it as a point and shoot. The M6 developed zinc oxidation so I traded it for a M6 TTL Mellennium that had been langushing on KEHs' web site for several months. It was a great camera, had a full factory upgrade and that black paint... When I retired in 2013, I traded the IIIc in for a M2. My millon dollar M2. It went to a couple of different repair shops in an attempt to fix a wonky Bulb shutter speed. Finally, it went to DAG, came back and was buttery smooth. A week later it and all the other Leica gear went to a very happy KEH buyer at a local event to fund some home improvements. Shortly after buying the M2, I found the first of several Kodadk Retinas, a IIIc. It was followed by a IIc. Used them for a while then sold them off, tried a IIa but gave it to a budding student. Then in 2019 I bought he camera I always wanted, an M4. It was severiced at a local shop but went to DAG for a M3 style lens release collar. Sold off all the Nikons found a really nice Retina IIa and that brings us to now. The M4, the IIa and a Sony A7II that has spent most of it's life scanning film. I couldn't be happier.

Edited by madNbad
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I think I would have to go with a single stroke M3 and external viewfinder for the wide angles.   We sort of grew up together so use is almost second nature..  I might note that I briefly considered responding with a Leica IIIg as my choice ....full frame compactness is a virtue especially with small or collapsible lenses.  regards, Ron

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I have taken delivery of an M6-J and totally smitten by it.  My other film M is an M6 TTL. 

The shorter form-factor of the M6-J feels quite different, more compact and somehow better balanced (unsure if the M3 style top-plate assists this or whether all M6 classics would feel this way compared to M6 TTL - but it’s certainly the case for my J, which I believe has M6 internals). 

I love the M3 style advance lever on it and for some reason the shutter button seems to feel more pleasing, ‘snappier’ would be a good description ... not sure if it’s psychological based on the fact that the whole feel of the camera feels more compact and tuned, to me. 

There is some debate whether the M6-J made some use of some M3 parts (would have no idea which), but if that’s not true I’d be really keen to try an M6 classic and see if I feel a similar experience in comparison to my TTL. 

I really like the TTL by the way but have been blown away with J.  Don’t plan on buying anything else for quite some time so can confidently say it’s my fave !

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Guest BlackBarn
33 minutes ago, grahamc said:

I have taken delivery of an M6-J and totally smitten by it.

So glad you wrote that as it’s the model I’m on the hunt for…..been looking at the millenium and LSHA M6 TTL to pair with my millenium 50mm  but been  inexplicably drawn towards the M6j. I’m  just  tipping my toe into the Leica film camera world and it was a case of choosing just one Leica film camera to own.

Having read  all the contributions and opinions posted here I began to see myself going down a rather large rabbit hole. 

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1 hour ago, BlackBarn said:

So glad you wrote that as it’s the model I’m on the hunt for…..been looking at the millenium and LSHA M6 TTL to pair with my millenium 50mm  but been  inexplicably drawn towards the M6j. I’m  just  tipping my toe into the Leica film camera world and it was a case of choosing just one Leica film camera to own.

Having read  all the contributions and opinions posted here I began to see myself going down a rather large rabbit hole. 

Hey @BlackBarn... Cool, no problem !  Feel free to Inbox me I'll be glad to chat about the M6J I'd be happy to help.   I was looking at all the Millennium Black paint TTL variations, but super happy to have bought the J.    I posted a longer (and very gushing lol) post on what I see as the differences in another thread ("M6J") also.  I'm unsure if it's the form factor, or the vulcanite, or the fact that it's slightly lighter - but it just feels very different.   Happy to send side-by-sides or help in any way 

As I'm sure you know, for 50mm on the M6-J, for 50mm it shows only 50mm framelines (rather than 50 + 75).  0.85 of course, so the 50mm frame seems massive if you are used to coming from 0.72, and completely uncluttered.  That, coupled with the all round zippy feel to the camera it's been an absolute joy so far. 

 

Edited by grahamc
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I sent three Leica's to Tamarkin yesterday and kept a black chrome 50th anniversary M4 in mint condition which I purchased last year.  For digital, I have a Fuji X100f while for medium format a Rollie and for close work a Nikon F with 55f3.5 Micro Nikkor.  Am pretty well covered and don't see myself selling any of the above.  

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11 hours ago, ktmrider2 said:

I sent three Leica's to Tamarkin yesterday and kept a black chrome 50th anniversary M4 in mint condition which I purchased last year.  For digital, I have a Fuji X100f while for medium format a Rollie and for close work a Nikon F with 55f3.5 Micro Nikkor.  Am pretty well covered and don't see myself selling any of the above.  

You released the M2?! 😦

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Yes, sent button wind M2 too Tamarkin.  It was CLA'ed about three years ago and had a couple dozen rolls through it since then.  I have lots of other film cameras besides Leica and all the cameras were not being used enough so I decided to share the wealth.  Even sent the MP240 as I found myself carrying the X100f when I traveled.

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I have a IIIc, the M3, M6, and M7. If I could only keep one, it would be the M6. I use it most often, I like the available frame lines and the internal light meter. The M7 is newer, but it has too many blinking things in the viewfinder I like less. Plus the M7 IR-based film cartridge ISO code reader which makes it impossible to use IR film with the M7 which I sometimes like to use. The M6 is still the best compromise - the perfect M film camera if it didn't have the sometimes annoying patch flare - its only debit.  

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