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Thinking of an M7 -- two questions


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I use an MP mainly for travel and family photography. I shoot Black and White and print in the darkroom (local college) most of the time. I also use color film and scan for inclusion in a photobook. I have a photobook for each family vacation, and the wife is happy. So happy I am "authorized" to get another camera

 

I took an M8 for the 3 day Leica test drive. While I love the convenience, it is just not the same photographic experience for me. The camera didn't feel the same -- thicker, cramped frame lines, and my thum missed the rewind knob. Plus no option for wet prints with black and white. Since I am not a professional, the convenience is secondary consideration to me. I have to enjoy the process, otherwise I will find another more fun thing to do. More importantly, I have no clue how to print properly using an inkjet printer. My printer is an Epson Picture Mate that only does 4x6.

 

With the release of the S2, I am thinking Leica may soon pull the plug on regular production M film cameras. I love the MP so much I was toying with the idea of getting another MP sometime this year or early next.

 

I shot my son's marching band competition last weekend using the MP. The band was marching fast enough in different lighting conditions (it was midday and there were shades along the way). Focusing was not a big problem as I learned a few tricks from this forum. However, it was difficult for me to keep up manually adjusting exposure as the light condition changed. And the last straw, I was having difficulty rewinding the film fast enough. I was whishing my MP had a rewind attachment and autoexposure for these few times I have to shoot a relatively fast moving event. And the revelation -- I was describing an M7! So perhaps, an M7 would be a better pair for my MP.

 

Now for the questions:

1) Do new M7's come with the optical DX?

2) How reliable are the new ones?

 

Thanks much for any information you can send my way.

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I believe later M7s do come with a newly devised optical DX reader. In the first few months that I had mine this is what required it to go back to Solms (via Milton Keynes) twice for -- first to replace a malfunctioning DX reader, the nto completely replace a malfunctioning circuit board that the first repair missed. Leica were great, however -- upgrading the viewfinder to the MP versio free of charge, cmpletely recalibrating shutter speeds and recovering the body -- there was a LONG list of work carried out. In the few years since then the camera has performed flawlesslly.

 

I have to say that while the auto aperture priority function is a convenience I very rarerly use it -- although it is useful in the kind of situation you describe, when the light changes significantly and suddenly: flip it to auto and re-meter/re-aperture until you see a speed that suits you. I sometimes do this and then transfer that speed (or the closest) to the speed dial in manual. I find that saves the meter-frame-half-depress shutter and hold process that you need to use in order to lock auto exposure.

 

regards, alun severn

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Well the M7 has an electronic shutter, AE and is pretty reliable now.

The AE can be easy and very fast so I prefer this mode very often. It simply saves time and you can concentrate on the object much more. Very convenient I must say.

 

In case of emergency the M7 has two manual (mechanical) times: 1/60S and 1/125S but I never used them because I have always some spare batteries in the bag. The M7 is reliable even under cold (-25 degrees C.) circumstances in the Czech Republic in winter the camera worked fine.

Here an example of Fomapan T200 (iso 160) in R09, M7 + Elmarit 2,8/28mm +Y filter (Heliopan), a view over the city Prague.

 

Regards,

 

Robert

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and every time it just gets better...excellent

 

Well, maybe I have to scan it once again on my new scanner. This is done in 2005 on the Epson 3170 flat bed, so a new V serie's should be better on 3200 or 4000 dpi for 35mm. But as you know, you have those pics somewhere on Flickr or so and it's an easy upload.

 

Best regards,

 

Robert

 

PS. To be honest Fomapan Creative 200 (T200) is my favorit Fomapan film.

I think it's the structure of the silver crystals which gives such a nice "classic" look.

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Halo Patb

 

I

Now for the questions:

1) Do new M7's come with the optical DX?

2) How reliable are the new ones?

1. I don't now. / ask Leica dealer or call Leica Solms.

2. My new optical DX reader = 100%. Very happy with it !!!

 

The new optical DX reader looks like this pictures.

 

Eelco

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I've gone the other way, replaced my two M7s with two MPs. I found that the AE on the M7s, while convenient, led to fewer accurate exposures than my previous M6TTL over the long-term. So I changed back to a manual only kit. This is just my experience and I know I'm lazy. YMMV. The M7 is a wonderful camera and if you really like AE and/or shoot slides it is the perfect solution.

 

One thing that may or may not bother you is that the shutter speed dials on the MP and M7 rotate in opposite directions. I have always liked using two of the same kind of camera, two Nikon F3s, two M7s, two MPs. What is great about the Leica cameras is that you can vary the VF magnification, so with both my M7s and MPs I've used 0.72x and 0.85x mag bodies together and found that just really useful for the kind of pictures I take. Just another factor to think about for a second body.

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I have both the M7 and MP -- some thoughts:

 

- I still have the old viewfinder M7, which is flare prone. You need to make sure you get the latest model, which, I understand, has the low flare finder introduced with the MP.

 

- I like the soft release which I added to the MP, but it doesn't work on the M7. Somehow, It drags on the M7 release mechanism. However, the M7 release is very smooth, so this is not much of an issue.

 

- Rewinding with the MP knob does not seem all that difficult or slow to me. There are several techniques. I usually keep the knob in the up position with my left forefinger nail, and rewind with long strokes alternating with my right thumb and forefinger. I don't see much advantage to the flimsy flip-out lever on the M7, which often slips out of my grip.

 

- I don't like the fact that the DX coding system makes it more difficult to eject the film. Perhaps the latest M7 works better in this regard.

 

- I've had more bad exposures with the M7 in auto mode than with the MP. This is my own fault, admittedly. I need to remember that auto metering is a tool, not a crutch. A portrait, for example, could have the exposure thrown off by a white (or black) garment that ruins the exposure of the subject's face. When you encounter such a situation, you need to use the M7 technique of pointing at something you want to be middle gray (18% gray, zone V, or whatever system you use), and locking the exposure by pressing the release a short ways, before framing and shooting. Not difficult, but something to keep in mind. If you assume that auto mode relieves you of having to think about exposure, you will be in for some bad ones.

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Thanks much for the inputs.

 

If I have to use the M7 in manual mode, I think the different direction shutter wheel will be very confusing to me as I am quite used to the MP's. I guess another MP makes much more sense.

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I use the M3, M6, M6TTL & M7 the different direction shutter wheels is no problem for my.

The small wheel M3 + M6 rotating in wrong direction;) And the M6TTL + M7 rotating in the good direction:rolleyes:

Afther Leica Solms replaced the old DX for the new optical DX reader, it works great !!!

 

With the optical DX reader, film eject like any M6, M6TTL or MP.

Exposure locking works fast and reliable.

 

Eelco

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I guess another MP makes much more sense.
I think it does too. I didn't want to push that because I liked my M7s when I had them, it just turns out that I like the MPs better and I like getting proper exposures all the time too. Also I don't really miss the M7s at all. The one camera that I sold that I really miss is the Voigtlander R4. If you use super-wides like a 21 or a 24 you should look at that camera. I regret selling mine.
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the M7 will only give you a wrong exposure on AE when you read the wrong area...used on AE with AE lock it is more accurate than other M's due to the electronic shutter IMO.

 

Additionally you can use it on manual just like other M's.

 

The M7 can do all that an MP can but an MP cannot do all that an M7 can.

 

I must say tho that I have never used the MP.

Regards

 

Andy

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I really like my M7. I say get one. It works fine in conjunction with my M6 classic. If you don't want to use AE on the M7, you don't have to, but its there when you need it. The film comes out with no problem with the optical DX reader, and the little blinking dot when using a different EI than the DX coding is a non-issue.

 

The shutter is very quiet as well.

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I use an M6 classic and an MP, both of which have shutter speed dials that turn the same way. In choosing the M6 classic over the TTL version, I was anticipating getting an MP and wanted both cameras be be configured the same way.

 

The only feature of the M7 I find really attractive is the long exposure capability in automatic mode, which I believe is 32 seconds. However, I read somewhere that if you fire off the first shots on the leader in auto mode with the lens cap on, the camera will intepret this as a 32 second exposure, which could potentially mean over a minute of waiting before you can fire the first shot on the roll or possibly not noticing and advancing the shutter in the midst of the 32 second exposure. I do not know if this problem has been addressed since I read about it.

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used on AE with AE lock it is more accurate than other M's due to the electronic shutter IMO.

 

Additionally you can use it on manual just like other M's.

 

I think the only speed where you might see a difference is 1/1000. The mechanical shutters seem to be up to a 1/3 of a stop slow at that speed, at all the others the difference is minimal (in practical terms).

Having said that 1/1000 is not very fast as a maximum speed, so the additional accuracy of the M7 may be significant, depending on how and what you shoot.

 

Personally I use my M7 in maunal mode all the time, like all my cameras. I also have the old type DX system which can be a bit irritating. I have got used to getting the film out, but I always set film speed maunally due to unreliability of the DX reading

Otherwise I think the M7 is great, and the larger shutter speed dial much more ergonomic than the MP dial...

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However, I read somewhere that if you fire off the first shots on the leader in auto mode with the lens cap on, the camera will intepret this as a 32 second exposure, which could potentially mean over a minute of waiting before you can fire the first shot on the roll or possibly not noticing and advancing the shutter in the midst of the 32 second exposure. I do not know if this problem has been addressed since I read about it.

 

This is a non issue to me. Yes, that can happen, but the same thing could happen with any AE camera with the lens cap on. Take out your fancy digital camera, turn it on and trip the shutter while the caps on by accident and you'll get a long exposure. With the M7, if it does happen, just flip it off and the shutter closes. Its not like you have to wait the full 32 seconds. And even if you did, who would be silly enough to do it a second time in a row resulting in a full minute of wasted time?

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I enjoyed the convenience of Aperture Priority on the M7 while I owned one. I think an MP/M7 combo is a good one. Rewinding the M7 was a lot easier than the MP (which I also owned once upon a time, with the rewind crank attachment). Now I've got an M8 and M2. Moving into film mode once again I have to remind myself to advance the film, and remove the lens cap!

 

Cheers,

Wilfredo

Benitez-Rivera Photography

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