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Thread: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

  1. #1
    Oxide Blu
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    Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    I'm thinking I need to take the Leica plunge (it's a Sarah Winchester thing), have no idea which model of Leica rangefinder I should be looking at. Over the years I have heard diff models of the M line were better for various reason, never really paid much attention to it.

    Any suggestions or personal preferences for a specific model of Leica M?

  2. #2
    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    In the current line, the MP is my favorite.
    -bob

  3. #3
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    Thanks. That's the manual version, right?!? Do you like it because it is manual, or are there other features about it not available on other models???

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    For me I think it is the simplicity of manual, fine finish and updated mechanics compared with earlier cameras, and the convenience of a built-in meter.
    It feels right, and I think that it is a long term keeper. If you are into automation in a big way, then the M7 is pretty nice, but I just can't get used to the way that the shutter sped dial goes around, opposite to that of the MP. If you don't have habits, then that should not be a big deal for you.
    -bob

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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxide Blu View Post
    I'm thinking I need to take the Leica plunge (it's a Sarah Winchester thing), have no idea which model of Leica rangefinder I should be looking at. Over the years I have heard diff models of the M line were better for various reason, never really paid much attention to it.

    Any suggestions or personal preferences for a specific model of Leica M?
    Hi There
    I've just been right through this one as well. Bob has it that the MP is the 'classic' rangefinder. In the end though I decided to go for an M7 - the aperture priority seems to me worth having (sometimes you just don't have time . . .), and functionality without batteries might be nice with the MP, but I can't see any film camera ever being a primary camera, so it isn't that critical.

    As for the dial going around the wrong way . . . the M7 is the same as the M8 - which is nice if you have an m8!

    Also, an equivalent condition secondhand M7 is a fair bit cheaper than an MP

    you pays your money!

    Just this guy you know

  6. #6
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    Also, an equivalent condition secondhand M7 is a fair bit cheaper than an MP

    Perhaps because of the difference in materials and build quality, the MP holds more of its value?!?

    Thanks to both of you for your input. It is not an easy decision between the two -- maybe it's a sign I need one of each.

    A quick look indicates a new MP is about $500 less than a new M7, not that I would be buying a new one.

    And what is this warranty B.S. Leica is pulling?!? -- warranty only if bought through "authorized" Leica dealers?!? NOT in these United States -- that chit don't fly here.

    I'm kind of leaning toward the MP, thinking this will be my last small format film camera, thinking a little Leica kit will take me to the end. But I am indeed a huge fan of AP, when it is available. But I am very much an old-school manual photographer, not that I don't embrace my full-auto point and shoots cameras ...


    Is the 0.72 viewfinder the way to go? It seems to be the most popular.

  7. #7
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    What lenses do you plan to use? Makes a difference...

  8. #8
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    24mm or 28mm (haven't decided which one, leaning toward 28mm)
    50mm
    90mm

    The 50mm will see the most use, second would the 24mm or 28mm. The 90mm will see the least use.

  9. #9
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    For a 50mm user, assuming you don't care about modern fripperies such as built-in meter or rewind crank, I still think it'd be hard to beat an M3 (ideally single-stroke, serial # over 1.1m, etc.) It's good for use with a 50 or 90 because it has nearly 1:1 finder magnification. You'd need an aux finder for 24 or 28, which might drive you crazy. Expect to pay what seems like a lot for a 50-year-old camera.

  10. #10
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    Thanks, but where does the 0.72 viewfinder fit in with my lens choices?

    Where does the 0.85 viewfinder fit in?

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxide Blu View Post
    Thanks, but where does the 0.72 viewfinder fit in with my lens choices?

    Where does the 0.85 viewfinder fit in?
    Yes, an 0.72 finder is probably the one for you. It provides frame lines from 28mm through 135mm. I used to use a 24mm on a 0.72 M without an aux. finder by using the very outer edge of the entire viewfinder and mentally adding a smidge. I hated using the aux finder, so 24mm was as wide as I went with M lenses ... but the 21 is a great lens, and using it with a finder may be worth it for you.

    0.85 mag finder provides frame lines for 35mm on up. You would need an aux. finder that slides into the hot shoe for framing a 28mm, 24, 21, or now the new 18mm. Again, I used to use the fudging method to use a 28mm on my 0.85 ... it's just something I got used to doing to avoid the aux. finder.

    There is also an 0.58 mag finder that eyeglass wearers favor which shows framing for 24mm lenses ... but it's a bear to focus IMO. However, you can add an additional eye-piece magnifier when using some of the faster longer lenses like the 50, 75, and 90mm lenses.

    I prefered using 2 Ms: an 0.72 for 35mm on down and an 0.85 for 35mm on up.

    BTW, for the ultimate contemporary M track down the MP3 ... the looks of the M3 but with a meter, etc. That was my favorite Leica M film camera of them all.

  12. #12
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    fotografz - thanks for that valuable info. Will Google the MP3 to see what its all about.

  13. #13
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    When you're looking at Leicas (via Google, etc) don't confuse the MP3 with the M3. The MP3 is a recent limited edition camera that looks like the M3 which is the original version. MP3's are quite nice, but more expensive than an MP, which I believe is the same camera.

    Also, there was some reference to the MP being more expensive than the M7. I believe they have the same construction, and cost the same new. Used versions of the MP may be more money, but for reasons other than build quality.

    Popflash has a few of each, here: http://www.popflash.com/index.php?p=...str=M7&x=0&y=0

    The black paint versions are very nice.

  14. #14
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    Thanks, Stephen. I looked into the MP 3, price is -- WOW!!!

    I guess it was a limited edition camera intended for collectors. Still available in silver, $8k to $9k with a 50mm lens.

    I think I won't be getting an MP 3.

  15. #15
    Artorius
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    Why an M?

    I find I am using my older IIIc's more than my M3/6's. I love the old cameras and their uncoated lenses. I guess I like the simplicity of them. Measure/estimate exposure, set f/stop and shutter speed, focus, and take the picture.

  16. #16
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Best of the Leica Rangefinders?

    I love the old lenses, before coatings. I have some photos from the 1920's, portraits, that are sharply focused, but also soft -- sharp, no soft, no sharp, no soft ... Not possible to get the beauty of those lenses today.

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