Leica

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by J.Kendall, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. J.Kendall

    J.Kendall TPF Noob!

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    So I've been looking at getting a Leica recently, but I'm not real sure which one to get? Anyone care to enlighten me on which ones are better or worse? Any feedback would be awesome.
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You might want to drop by this web site and this page and get an overview of the entire rangefinder "scene" Classic Camera Profiles

    We have a resident Leica expert here, from New Jersey.

    Do you want a film Leica, or a digital M-series? Your choice in film models could be reasonably wide. If I were to buy a Leica today, I'd buy the digital M9 model, but that's just me. Other people really groove on the film Leica experience.
     
  3. J.Kendall

    J.Kendall TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking for a film camera. My problem is that there are just so many different models that they have for film, that I don't really know which one to choose.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As always, look for lenses and then cameras to fit them. ;)
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are twice as many preferences for cameras than camera bodies, No one can tell you what camera to get or what one is better than the other. All I can tell you is if you are getting a Leica, make sure it's real.


    I am rather fond of my Leica IIIf BS, I love the way it feels in my hands. I need to look into a new lens for it though as mine is foging :(
     
  6. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A lot would depend on how much you'd like to spend.
     
  7. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would first research the prices realized on eBay, just to have a ball park figure of what to expect. A good user Screw Mount Leica can take you from $300 to $900 depending on the model and condition. You want one that has been CLA'd (cleaned, lubed and adjusted) as opposed to one that needs it. A good CLA will cost you more.

    The Screw Mount Leicas will cost you less than the M series (also known as Bayonet Mount). The cheapest SM Leica you can find is a model IIIc, which was made around the WWII with less quality than its predecessors. I have a IIIa from 1934 that I still use and it's my favorite 35mm film camera. The spacing between frames on film is absolutely the same no matter what. Shutter is consistent and very responsive. The IIIf series are more expensive, as is the IIIg. Lens wise, look for at least a 50mm Summitar (collapsible is ok), the Summar is a lesser quality and softer lens. That would cost you extra $250 or so. Best bet would be looking at a package deal, camera+lens. Check the lenses very well for they are very soft and can have cleaning marks. Light cleaning marks are acceptable, as is light haze or dust particles. Get also a lens shade, a must in the fight against flare. Coated lenses are better but not absolutely necessary if you use your lens shade judiciously. If you're in the market for a more serious 35mm Leica, then you might consider the M (Bayonet rangefinder) or the R (Reflex or SLR) series. I also shoot with an M3 DS (double stroke) Leica and it is nothing but pure Nirvana working with it.

    Before you commit, research, research, research...

    PM if you have questions.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think for most people looking to get into their first Leica film camera, the earlier M's are probably best suited. The most important decision is what focal length lenses you will be using as that will determine which framelines are necessary which ultimately leads to which model.

    The guide on Stephen Gandy's website is probably a good start:

    Leica M Guide
    I like my M3 but if you plan on shooting with 35mm you are better off with the M2.


    If you go screwmount, I think the Canon Rangefinders will be a better choice... although I always want a Leica screwmount to add to my collection.
     
  9. J.Kendall

    J.Kendall TPF Noob!

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  10. henkelphoto

    henkelphoto TPF Noob!

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    The bayonet mount "M" series are probably your best bet for your first Leica. The earlier models make you use the rangefinder window first to focus then you need to switch to the viewfinder window to frame your subject. That's kind of a problem if you've never used one before. Also, the III series is a screw mount. If you get any lenses other than a 50 mm you will have to get an viewfinder that fits in the hot shoe.

    The m series allows you to focus and view in the same viewfinder window. Also, the m2 has framing brackets for 35, 50, 90mm lenses, while the m3 has framing brackets for 50, 90 and 135mm lenses. The m3 body will have either a double stroke or single stroke film advance, depending on the date of manufacture. No sure if the m2 is a double stroke or not.

    If you have the money, the m4 is a great camera. It has framing brackets for 35, 50, 90 and 135mm and also has an in-camera meter.

    Actually, Leica bodies are not all that expensive, but the lenses are. Reason is that you can use the bayonet lenses on any Leica m series made, including the m9. Screw-mount lenses can be very reasonable and Leica made a mount adaptor that will allow the use of the older lenses on newer bodies.

    I just happened to pick up a very nice IIIf on ebay. Price was 499 with a Summitar collapsible 50mm. The camera is in perfect shape. There were many, many Leicas bought by professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc) simply because of the name and they were hardly used. That means there are some incredibly beautiful Leicas available.
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's a thought, why not get a Russian copy and see how you like it? Yes the Leica is going to be a much better camera but as to the actual experience of turning knobs and general experience a copy should get you a ballpark idea of whether or not a screw mount or bayonet mount is the way to go. and you don't have to give up an arm to find out.

    There was a guy on ebay from the old eastern block (I forget exactly where) that was selling Russian range finders that were supposedly either in good shape or he had gone through for a good price, try looking him up.
     
  12. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's a counterfeit made in Russia/Ukraine as are most showing "German"
    WWII markings.

    The seller calls it a "Leica copy" which is literally true but is not what is
    usually meant by that term within Leica collecting circles. A true Leica
    copy is a camera that is designed to be very similar to a Leica but it has
    the real manufacturer's name on it. A copy with the Leica name is just a
    fake or counterfeit. Most of these were made in Russia/Ukraine.
     

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