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What if Leica made a new modern M film camera, what could be expected?


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I was reflecting over the M5 and M7, and what technologies we have for 2024 and coming years.

If money was no object for Leica to bring out a totally new M film camera,

What kind of features would you like to see? 

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Posted (edited)

I think I'd stick with the M6.  I've just been looking at my M6 TTL and thinking back to the M7 I used to have (and all the problems I had with it - parallels with the M11 in terms of a step of complexity too far??).  I suppose the only changes I would make would be to ensure that the RF was as bright and accurate as possible - otherwise the robust simplicity of the cloth shutter, the effectiveness of average metering, and the overall pleasure of the ergonomics leave me feeling there's very little I'd want to change.  The real world problems that I would need to overcome before using it on a regular basis would relate to the availability of film stock, the challenge of running an individual dark room (chemicals, space, ventilation etc) or the cost of processing / printing if I didn't do it myself.  

The reason I switched from the M6 to M8 was purely to do with the simplicity of digital processing where I had complete control of the process - going back to film feels like a challenge I don't think I want to deal with!

Edited by chris_tribble
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42 minutes ago, Borna said:

What kind of features would you like to see? 

My wishes would not relate to modern tech. However, both mechanical and electronic shutter speeds, the bigger m10/11 viewfinder, and no dx reader would make for a nice camera. Cloth shutter is fine, but I would be open to faster shutter speeds as long as the shutter remains a silent one. They could call it M7.2 or M7-P. 

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Well, interesting to ponder this not that I believe it will ever happen, Leica has perhaps too many odd shaped balls in the air to add another............BUT, if this were a "wish-list" I would welcome a return / regeneration of the M7 and they could call it whatever they want, M7 perhaps?..............I have five Leica film M camera bodies, MP, M6TTL, M6 ( 2023 ), M2 and a 2003 'ish M7..........The M7 is perhaps my favourite for it's size and it's range of choices regarding it's function, it had a complete CLA / overhaul at Leica in 2022 including a MP type VF switch to counteract the sometimes flare in the older VFs. I like the Auto ( AP ) setting, it's very useful for when you need to shoot quickly , I like the ideal size of the M7 body and I also like small things like the on/off-shutter lock switch that I do wish other film M's had. Mine is a .58 VF version which for me as a 35mm FL user is really ideal, I don't use a lens over 50mm on a M..................It's said that parts for the M7 are hard for even Leica to find now so the older M7's like mine do have more of a finite life, but if Leica were to make another film M for me it should be a re-make of the M7.

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43 minutes ago, Borna said:

I was reflecting over the M5 and M7, and what technologies we have for 2024 and coming years....If money was no object for Leica to bring out a totally new M film camera,...What kind of features would you like to see? 

Personally I feel that Leica got it almost correct all the way back in 1954 with only a few of the features found on the later M cameras adding much of an improvement. Two of these features appeared with the M2; these being v/f bright-lines for a 35mm and the whole of the v/f representing, in effect, the angle-of-view of a 28mm. I prefer the angled rewind lever of the M4 to the pull-up knurled knob on the earlier cameras. I also appreciate the convenience of TTL metering brought with the introduction of the M6.

That's it as far as the existing models are concerned. Where to go from here?

1) Much as I like the removeable baseplate I don't think anyone would argue against a hinged back being, in practice, a far better system. If a removeable baseplate is a superior idea then why does no other camera manufacturer employ this method nowadays? This would also allow for a more foolproof take-up-spool arrangement...

2) Errmmm..........

Nope. That's it.

Philip.

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5 minutes ago, pippy said:

Personally I feel that Leica got it almost correct all the way back in 1954 with only a few of the features found on the later M cameras adding much of an improvement. Two of these features appeared with the M2; these being v/f bright-lines for a 35mm and the whole of the v/f representing, in effect, the angle-of-view of a 28mm. I prefer the angled rewind lever of the M4 to the pull-up knurled knob on the earlier cameras. I also appreciate the convenience of TTL metering brought with the introduction of the M6.

That's it as far as the existing models are concerned. Where to go from here?

1) Much as I like the removeable baseplate I don't think anyone would argue against a hinged back being, in practice, a far better system. If a removeable baseplate is a superior idea then why does no other camera manufacturer employ this method nowadays? This would also allow for a more foolproof take-up-spool arrangement...

2) Errmmm..........

Nope. That's it.

Philip.

Very much agree re: the hinged back. Why Leica hung onto the base-plate removal/drop-in film loading method has always been a frustration....They've had this base-plate removal fetish for far too long, up to the M10! Even the early Nikon F's complete removal of the camera back and the base, ( being one piece ), was a much better, quicker, surer loading system..........Better too for cleaning out the camera of dust and film fragments when required.

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2 minutes ago, Smudgerer said:

...Even the early Nikon F's complete removal of the camera back and the base, ( being one piece ), was a much better, quicker, surer loading system...

The problem (I believe!) for Leica to adopt the removeable back method was that their main competitor back in the 1930's - Contax - utilised that system so to change from the removeable baseplate idea would be seen as copying their rivals and, by extension, admitting that Leitz had got this detail 'wrong'.

Incidentally - and as I'm sure you already know - the removeable back of the Nikon F was, in essence, the very same style as used on their earlier rangefinder cameras which, in turn, had been - essentially - slightly reworked copies of the Contax II of 1936.

Philip.

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7 minutes ago, pippy said:

The problem (I believe!) for Leica to adopt the removeable back method was that their main competitor back in the 1930's - Contax - utilised that system so to change from the removeable baseplate idea would be seen as copying their rivals and, by extension, admitting that Leitz had got this detail 'wrong'.

Incidentally - and as I'm sure you already know - the removeable back of the Nikon F was, in essence, the very same style as used on their earlier rangefinder cameras which, in turn, had been - essentially - slightly reworked copies of the Contax II of 1936.

Philip.

Leica seems to have a great reluctance to admit to any faults in design or implementation, ie: the more recent 35 Summilux Lens-hood-Filter usage debacle that would have been so simple to sidestep with a simple engineering solution before they released it, ( copying Voigtlander's elegant hood/filter implementation on the 35mm 1.4 Nokton II perhaps? )........But no, why would they?

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28 minutes ago, Smudgerer said:

Very much agree re: the hinged back. Why Leica hung onto the base-plate removal/drop-in film loading method has always been a frustration....They've had this base-plate removal fetish for far too long, up to the M10! Even the early Nikon F's complete removal of the camera back and the base, ( being one piece ), was a much better, quicker, surer loading system..........Better too for cleaning out the camera of dust and film fragments when required.

I regularly use M4s (and M4-Ps), and many years ago, I used Nikon F’s … all of these on nearly a daily basis. I see advantages to both systems (for Leica I’m talking about the “quick load” as opposed to to removable spool that I had with the M2/M3 bodies). I am usually walking when photographing. I am able to “pocket” the base plate and load 35mm cassettes essentially with one hand to guide the film and the other to support the camera. That said, cleaning the Nikon was a lot easier (but so were other features, such as interchanging prisms, focusing screens,  and using motor drives …). Of course, carrying two M4s is a lot easier on my aging frame than lugging around 2 Nikon Fs … .

 

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1 hour ago, Borna said:

I was reflecting over the M5 and M7, and what technologies we have for 2024 and coming years.

If money was no object for Leica to bring out a totally new M film camera,

What kind of features would you like to see? 

I would like such a camera to be as simple as possible. So no exposure meter, no winder motor, no need to remove the bottom plate to load film, aperture priority and shutter priority modes only.

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1 minute ago, Viv said:

I would like such a camera to be as simple as possible. So no exposure meter, no winder motor, no need to remove the bottom plate to load film, aperture priority and shutter priority modes only.

Of course, I would not buy such a camera. Film is just too much hassle.

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An M6.2, if you will, having a battery-less meter (maybe solar charged) and a viewfinder selector for wide/normal lens use, which enabled 24/28/35mm at one setting and 50/75/90mm on another setting.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Borna said:

I was reflecting over the M5 and M7, and what technologies we have for 2024 and coming years.

If money was no object for Leica to bring out a totally new M film camera,

What kind of features would you like to see? 

Whatever comes out this year will no doubt be dedicated to seventy years of M system... think about it: we've already had the M6 revamp recently so no 40 years of M6 for sure (unless there is a black paint in sight), but there was nothing yet dedicated to 70 years of M3 and if I know Leica's crowd pleasing approach it will be - in the spirit of recent releases - surely a classic revamp, not a mind boggling revolution of a film camera. Those who would like can discuss further in this thread I started back in January 2024.

Also, every time Leica went out of their classic tracks (think M5, think film CL) it got burnt. Better keep it safe.

Edited by Al Brown
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I've been shooting a Zeiss Ikon ZM for a few weeks, and I think it got the feature set needed: hinged back, meter pattern like the M6/7, bottom rewind like the M5, vertical running metal shutter with speeds to 2000 and flash sync 125, large & bright VF window, lock on the shutter button. But Leica could make improvements:

The ZM RF patch requires careful positioning of the eye position and internal adjustments for accurate focus are not as convenient as Leica - use the MP VF/RF.

The ZM exposure lock is a separate button on the back - my biggest gripe. Use the M7 (& R series) half-press of the shutter button as a lock.

ZM uses film speed selection within the shutter speed dial - I like the M6 back dial better,

With a hinged back a reliable DX reader (mechanical contacts) would be a good add. (I came to like it on the R7 & R8).

Might be hard to fit this in an M-size & shape body - but I'd buy one if they could. 

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7 minutes ago, TomB_tx said:

With a hinged back a reliable DX reader (mechanical contacts) would be a good add. (I came to like it on the R7 & R8).

Might be hard to fit this in an M-size & shape body

I'm not quite sure whether a hinged back would interfere with the super nice ergonomics of the M body, but this is certainly a possibility. I for one enjoy the nice, well rounded touch very much.

And, in earnest, I too think that the bottom plate loading is easier especially when standing. The loading of the M can indeed be accomplished easily with two hands while walking – if not, I think you're not doing it right.

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Just now, jukka said:

I'm not quite sure whether a hinged back would interfere with the super nice ergonomics of the M body, but this is certainly a possibility. I for one enjoy the nice, well rounded touch very much.

And, in earnest, I too think that the bottom plate loading is easier especially when standing. The loading of the M can indeed be accomplished easily with two hands while walking – if not, I think you're not doing it right.

A hinged back was even done on a IIIf copy from Japan:

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The DX reader is the main reason I suggested a hinged back - as trying to slide the cassette in from the bottom was the main problem on the M7 contacts.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, TomB_tx said:

A hinged back was even done on a IIIf copy from Japan:

Sure, but it would not be quite the same solid, round feel with a hinge and a locking mechanism of sorts there. The ergonomics are pretty good now as is.

17 minutes ago, TomB_tx said:

The DX reader is the main reason I suggested a hinged back - as trying to slide the cassette in from the bottom was the main problem on the M7 contacts.

I would rather not have a dx reader. It irritates me in my M7, even when working properly. Its basically just unnecessary tech.

Thus, personally, I don't see any valid reason to switch to a hinged back in a new fantasy film body.

Edited by jukka
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19 minutes ago, TomB_tx said:

A hinged back was even done on a IIIf copy from Japan:

The DX reader is the main reason I suggested a hinged back - as trying to slide the cassette in from the bottom was the main problem on the M7 contacts.

I'm not gonna lie, that looks ugly like hell but I though understand the perks of it. 

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Would like to see the following in a novel M film camera:

+ Multiple exposure feature to allow rewinding the film lever for one frame easily as formerly available for example in the Barnack III camera series. Currently no Leica M film camera allows to do this easily.

+ Camera which has 0.91x rangefinder magnification as in the M3 ( and maybe have the 0.72x model offered in parallel)

+ Simple Leica M6-based internal metering arrows (unlike the too flashy/blinking M7 view)

+ 1/4000 sec exposure time (not limited to just 1/1000 sec)

+ Av mode as offered in the M7

+ No DX reader please

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