Leica M6, or M7?

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.

Leica Built their reputation with mechanical and optical excellence, but their use of advanced electronics has also been spectacular. Just look at their digitals and R series. I f price is truly no option, the choice for me would be two bodies. The new M7 and a used M2. Why not a used M3 you ask? Viewfinder. I like having the frame view of the M2 vs the M3. Also, the price point of an M2 is usually better than any condition M3. Of course, an M4-2 becomes an option at this point, having even more frame lines available for you and an inexpensive (considering) motor winder available.

If price becomes a concern of any kind, yet Leica rangefinder is still the choice, than an M6 body (or M6.2) becomes my choice, using the saved money to apply towards the faster of the lenses available in each desired focal length.

Another slightly side point:

By now, you should have a feel for proper exposure. Especially when using B&W or colour negative. So, being in the ballpark will give you a good exposure (usually) with these film’s exposure latitudes.

Chromes, a little bit different. When using a non automatic in a hurry, just learn to always bracket. With a little practice on your own equipment, you should be able to fire 3 one step bracketed shots in the time most people take to shoot one ametuer shot. Practice with your specific equipment. Leica M Series is very easy to handle this way.

Film is cheap. Use it up.

With the M7, you have the added advantage of free oral sex from Dutch camera-shop workers.

Ar? :confused:

A reference to a scene in the movie *Eurotrip.

Ah. I’ve never seen it.

Well, when I said I wouldn’t worry about the price I didn’t mean money would be no object. Unless I win the lottery, I’ll still want the most value for the money as I can get on a luxury item.

So the M6 sounds like the one, eh?