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Thread: Leica M3 for concerts

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    Leica M3 for concerts

    I could really use some feedback on this one. I am a full-time sports and news photographer - using digital 99% of the time. I would like to start shooting concerts again, but would like to use film and a Leica. I've owned two M6's before and loved them, so for me this is a personal shooting experience. Trying to get back to basics. So what I am debating is between a M3 and M6. I know the differences between the two, but what I would love to hear is some first hand experience from people using the two. Joe

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    I used the two, albeit not at the same time, in fact with a difference of more than a decade (M6 first and then an M3). If you don't mind being limited to 50mm lenses or longer and not having a built-in meter, then the M3 is a great choice thanks to its unsurpassed and uncluttered viewfinder, with .91x magnification, large focusing patch, great contrast. Every single image I took with the M3 and a 50 Lux asph was super accurately focused. I can't say that about the M6 or my current M9P. On the other hand, you may find the M3 more difficult to load with film, especially in the dark environment of a typical concert (loading spool). The M3 also has somewhat smoother winding and I found it more enjoyable to use than the M6. Having said that, the M6 being a modern camera, is the more practical and universal of the two (easier loading, built-in meter).

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Those are my debates too. I was in a shop the other day and played with an M6 and 35mm and just found it smaller than I remember. And the idea of a nice large VF works for me. I can manually meter as i'll still be shooting digital for some of the time. As far as the film loading, i'd be curious to hear about the film loading mods that can be done to an M3 - or I can just bulk load film and give myself a few extra frames... I forget how much you can put in your own canister. Do you have any examples of your work with the M3?

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    I'll have a look but they tended to be all printed, not scanned. What I remember well was how astonished I felt about the sharpness and detail on Kodak portra 160, achieved with the Lux 50 asph; a lens that I had previously only shot on the M9.

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    I have an M6 classic with a 0.85x viewfinder, it does suffer viewfinder flare and especially noticable in dark environments with bright point lights. Lovely camera in everyway, but the flare gets you ever so occasionally. Would be good if you could try one first to see if it's frustrating or not.

    But in any case, if you buy prudently you'll not lose any significant amount on the purchase.

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Not sure whether my experience is relevant, but I'll weigh in. I shoot small clubs and venues with M equipment (now digi). My lenses tend toward the longer end, for the tighter framing I prefer. The longer baselength of the M3 (0.91 v 0.72) would be helpful when using a 75-90-135, at least for my eyesight.

    The flare problem of the M6 can be address with an MP finder upgrade, if it becomes a problem for you.

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    As to loading - if it's a problem for you, you can either search for spare take up spools and preload the film leaders, or you can search for and buy the quick load adapter that Leica made for M2's and M3's. I have one of those and it works fine, but then loading with the regular take up spool of the M2 wasn't much of a problem - just slightly slower.

    As MCTuomy says - the M3 might suit your needs best b/c of the use of longer lenses.

    One aspect of the M6's viewfinder that might be problematic under concert conditions is its occasional flaring causing focusing a problem. Again you can work around it often just by moving your eye slightly

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    The flare is an issue on the M6 and I have looked into the upgrade. I don't think anyone in the UK does them, so it would be a case of risking sending it to the US and getting it done and hoping I avoid customs charges. I think for most of the venues I would be using it in, a 50mm would be my minimum and 90mm for tighter stuff. I was shooting this shot - UK - Music - Laura Marling performs in Cambridge | Flickr - Photo Sharing! on digital and at 35mm, but thought if I was trying that on a M6 would I get the flare? Probably yes.

    I agree with trying to find one to shoot with, there is a camera store in Cambridge I have a good relationship with, and they are getting a M3 in from being CLA'd. I'm hoping once I have the 50mm sorted I can try it out.

    I was looking at all my contact sheets from my M6 shoots and was astonished with the quality and sharpness. But I think that when you shoot all day on big D3s' your eyes adjust and going to a rangefinder will be difficult. But I like a challenge. But thank you for all the helpful words... I will let you know how I get on.

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    I own both, but don't shoot film much any more.
    For my taste it is a big advantage to have a lightmeter in camera, and also to have the 35mm frames in the viewfinder.
    The M3 looks and feels slightly more "classic and beautiful" but for real world use I would prefer the M6. I would even choose a M7 over an M6 because I sometimes would like to use AUTO (like I do with the M Type 240 all the time)

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Glad to know there are some M7 fans here ;-)
    M3 & M6, I'll pick M6. My own choice, I'll use M7 :-)
    Leica | Angenieux | Alpa | Hasselblad | Phase One
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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Those are both good points. I understand what you are saying about the meter. But for most of the concert work i'll be doing, I won't need to change settings (much). I can meter once and go from there and tweak if needed. But it's that VF that keeps drawing to the M3. I just need to try one out locally. I will post results when I get it all sorted.

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Quote Originally Posted by joetothphoto View Post
    The flare is an issue on the M6 and I have looked into the upgrade. I don't think anyone in the UK does them, so it would be a case of risking sending it to the US and getting it done and hoping I avoid customs charges. I think for most of the venues I would be using it in, a 50mm would be my minimum and 90mm for tighter stuff. I was shooting this shot - UK - Music - Laura Marling performs in Cambridge | Flickr - Photo Sharing! on digital and at 35mm, but thought if I was trying that on a M6 would I get the flare? Probably yes.
    Hi There
    Nice shot of Laura Marling - we were gutted to miss that gig.
    I'm having my M6ttl rangefinder upgraded to avoid the flare by Leica - it's quite expensive, but seems to be worth having done properly. That way you can certainly avoid customs charges (you can PM me if you want contacts in Solms).

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Why would you use a M3 to shoot a dark concert is beyond me, other than for the sheer challenge itself. It's VERY hard to focus in the dark at a large aperture, doesn't have 35mm frameline, and the constantly changing lighting condition will screw around with your exposure. M6 is equally unsuitable because of the defective viewfinder flare. If you want the meter which would only serve as a guideline in this case, get the M6 TTL it has the improved finder. I would actually get the M2 over the M3 as it has the 35mm frameline which will be very helpful.

    or, stick with a OMD?

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Thanks Jono Slack, i'll get in contact with you via PM.

    mmbma - you nailed the main point of it on the head... a challenge, and it's not that much of a challenge really. Take for instance the Laura Marling shoot. That lighting didn't change for the 4 songs I was there for. So even if she moved a step back or forward the difference in light hitting her wouldn't be that great - well within film tolerance. I'm not going to be using for groups that move around a lot, i'm no fool. But yes I want a challenge, I also want to be able to present my work in a different way to an artist.

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    Re: Leica M3 for concerts

    Joe,

    To be honest, either would be fine. I shoot a fair number of gigs. My two DMRs tend to be my workhorse, although I usually carry an M body too with a 50 cron. I have both a M6TTL and a M2. In B&W, I tend to rate HP5 or Neopan 400 at 800 or 1600 (dependent on light) and shoot at 1/60th at F4. With that, there is usually plenty of leeway to get printable shots.

    Both the M6TTL and M2 are hard to reload quickly in a gig. If you only have 3 songs, that can be a challenge. That's why most of the old film guys shot with 3 Ms. Flare hasn't been a real issue for me shooting gigs on my M2, M6TTL or M9. Just buy a film M that you feel comfortable with and enjoy.

    Charlie
    Charlie Chan

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