I’m not planning to get an expensive camera anytime soon. But someday I’d like to get a nice rangefinder camera. The Argus is fun, but it’s a hassle since I have to carry my light meter (Sekonic L398 – the Minolta is for the movie cameras) with it. One of these days I’ll have the disposable income to buy a jewel. I’m sure Voightlanders, Nikons, et al. are fine; but if I’m getting a toy I may as well go for a Leica.
The Leica M6 is a mechanical camera. I understand that the metering system is a couple of variable-intensity LEDs. There’s also the M7, which has aperture-priority automatic exposure and an electronically-controlled shutter. Leicas look like cameras people use for holiday snaps. Pretty unobtrusive, compared to my SLRs. But they have a reputation for excellent images.
On one hand, I can be lazy. I sold my Olympus OM-4 because I found I was using the auto mode all the time. I bought an OM-1 instead so that I would be forced to set the exposure manually. On the other hand, setting the exposure manually can take up precious seconds. I remember one time back in the late-'80s/early-'90s when my g/f and I were in the cockpit of a C-130. I wanted to get a photo of her. It was cramped and I had to frame the shot (I was using a zoom lens), focus, and set the exposure. It only took a few seconds, but it felt like I was taking a long time.
So this Leica… I like the idea of a completely mechanical camera, but I know that auto exposure can be handy. A used M6 is significantly cheaper than an M7, but by the time I seriously consider buying one I won’t be worrying about the price. (I won’t consider it until I can afford it.) I like that all shutter speeds are available mechanically on the M6, and I don’t really like that only two mechanical speeds are available on the M7. But as long as the camera is maintained and I have spare batteries, there are no worries.
Do any of you have experience with Leica cameras? If you could choose only one, which would you choose?
No hurry. It’s going to be a long time before I’m ready.