View Full Version : Is it worth it....
This weekend i found myself on my first of what is probably many trips to new york city, and i found using my main camera, a Fuji gsw690II, and it seemed to be somewhat hindering. Its big, heavy and clunky and f5.6 is pretty slow, dont get me wrong , the print quality from the 6x9 negs is awesome, but i went to B&H and held a leica M4-p and now i really want one, it seems like all the things i dont like about the fuji, the leica does really well, i.e. small, interchangeable lenses, fast glass, larger rf patch.... So i guess what im asking would be, in every leica owners opinion, is it worth it, i would mostly likely have to part with the fuji in order to fund the purchase, and getting a lens as wide as the fuji's would take some serious cash, did anyone else find themselves in a situation where they gave up another camera to own a leica, if so were you happy with the switch? Does loading it, just take time to get used to or is it always a pain? i guess all im trying to ask is, is it worth it to own a leica?
Is it worth it? I think so. The M4-P is a good first Leica to get, all those framelines to fulfill all that future GAS. ;) You'll get a lot of opinions here about which way to go. Once you've held one and worked the advance lever, you're most likely hooked.
The film changing is a non issue. I find I can load mine quicker than I can load my CLE. It takes very little "practice" to get the hang of it.
I've got an M2 and an M3.
And you know what's worth it for me, when shooting film?
A Hexar RF.
Pick up the Hexar RF and an Ultron 28/1.9 (the Hexar has framelines for 28mm). In terms of convenience it puts almost every Leica to shame, with auto-film-advance (the wind level so smooth, it doesn't exist), DX coding, aperture priority and shutter speeds that a horizontal travel cloth shuttered Leica can only vaguely imagine.
Downside is winder motor noise, potential for vertical alignment problems if camera is dropped or rattled a lot, and the need to keep a battery around (people who have no trouble remembering to bring film, seem to think bringing batteries is onerous).
Leicas have nice aesthetic qualities but for functionality and convenience, more modern rangefinders win out (in my opinion)
It's annoying to be locked into one choice, so I sympathize about the big Fuji. I've never used one, but they are seriously big. But then my Pentax 67 is pretty big too. If I had only that, I would feel a desire for a smaller choice too. What I'm getting at... swapping it in for a M4 results in your still being locked into one choice... if you can possibly swing keeping the Fuji AND getting something smaller, maybe not that M4, it would be liberating I think. Take the big one when appropriate, take the small one when you feel like it. How about a Voigtlander Bessa R2? :)
Wrong place to ask this question, almost all of us are biased. Yes, ofcourse it is a good choice!
There are alternatives though. I find at times it is very convenient to have the possibility of autoexposure and AE lock. Therefore the Hexar RF is my favourite.
Honestly if i were you i would keep the fuji and keep shooting with it and save a little and add a bessa r or a russian RF for now and then decide if the move is worth it..
If you ever want to ditch your Fuji, give it to me! Honestly, the Fuji is a fine RF. Don't part with it. But it's no use, coz you've already seen the dark side.
Gotta agree with Doug on this one, get a lower cost RF like a Bessa and keep the Fuji, you'll regret letting it go.
The Leica's are worth it. Your post makes it sound as if the Fuji is not worth the hassle "to you". In that case, go for the Leica. They are small, quiet, and have beautiful Viewfinders.
With that said, the Bessa R2 that I picked up in a trade also has a great viewfinder. I find it better than the Leica CL finder. It's baselength is smaller than the "M" Leica's, but would have no problem handling the 90/2.8. The shutter is louder than the Leica's, more like a quiet SLR.
If you have use for your Fuji, it is not a good idea to ditch it for a Leica. It is a MF camera, a different animal. Most people come the other way, using 35mm and then also add an MF camera.
Either wait until you can afford the Leica also, or use a stop gap camera while waiting to be able to afford the Leica.
I like the idea of getting a Hexar. I handled one of these not to long ago and was very impressed with the build quality, shutter speeds available and the viewfinder. Kind of wish that they were still being made and improved upon. All that having been said. I would not even think about trading in one of MPs for a Hexar. Go get an old beater and use it first before you commit to a Leica. Also, never sell that Fuji unless you absolutely are abandoning that type of shooting. IMHO.
Red Rock Bill
Never,never give up a Fuji 6x9. I use an M2 and think it's great. But the Fuji 6x9 allows me to do projects that could never (my opinion) be handled by 35mm. There is nothing in the world like scanning a 6x9 neg. Any yes I have hauled it around NYC. Sure it gets a bit heavy but the results more then make up. Besides you get the funniest looks when you haul it up to your eye. And there is always the loud thunk of the shutter. Regards,Bill
Buy my Fed 2 for $75 +shipping and keep the Fuji!
From what your post sounds like, your hooked Zack. Had the same with my R. Loved it, but then stupidly looked at a M4-2 at B&H. Bank account tells the rest of the story.
But in your case I would think about it some more. Giving up 6x9, hmmm. :rolleyes:
Doug's advice seems a good compromise. Take a not so expensive body. When the Dark Side gets you (it probably will :bang: ) you can still use the glass.
Yes. The M2 I just bought is a beauty. It's above and beyond both CLE and Bessa R2. And I paid less for the M2 than either. Oh, the irony.
I had a Fuji GW690III and sold it. I also thought it was a bit clunky and the noise it made when the shutter was released could wake the dead!
I also use a leica M6 and a Bessa-R in 35mm and they are lightning fast to use. I did however miss MF and I ended up buying a Mamiya 7 which I much prefer over the Fuji. OK it's 6x7 and not 6x9 but I like having an interchangeable lens option and an in-built meter. The rangefinder is also much nicer.
Shooting MF and 35mm are different. My suggestion, like others, is to buy a cheap used 35mm rangefinder with a VC lens first, I'd say a Bessa-R or R2, and see how you get on. If it's for you then you can decide whether you sell the Bessa and Fuji to fund a Leica (that decision is another kettle of fish) or keep your more than adequate Bessa and focus on a decent lens selection. Even if you do buy a Leica you don't have to pay through the nose for Leica wide angle glass; the VC glass performs admirably.
Given that your needs, lighter weight and relative stealth of smaller size, yes, a Leica is worth it. Leicas are aesthetically and mechanically better made. That is not to say that other RF cameras can't satisfy your primary goals, especially at better value and functionality (for those into electronic conveniences). The suggestions you have received, Hexar RF, Bessas, Ikon, will all serve your purposes. Owning a Leica is about part functionality, and for some, part aesthetics, part ergonomics, part historical comraderie with photographers they admire.
For many years, some his most productive, HCB used the Leica III series with a 50mm Elmar. So, the rest of us mortals can certainly work with any of the more advanced models of today. That said, the M2, M3, and M4s are some of the best made and best value Leicas out there. Look for a CLA'd (clean lubed and adjusted) camera, or budget at least $80-$250 for a CLA. good luck
I think the GW690's are exceptional cameras but to compare 35mm and 120 epsecially a 6 x 9 neg/chrome is a bit pointless as they both serve very different purposes. I have used and sold the Fuji BL 690, the Mamiya 6 and 7ii's, Horseman VHR 69, a Plaubel 67 - made big prints from all of them at max apertures and the mid ranges but have finally settled on the GWFuji 69011I and two Plaubel 670's. These camera's are perfect for fine tonality and big enlargements but they can't be compared to the 35mm M leica system. For speed and stealth and low light handling with fast film the Leica's are an excellent choice but they make very different pictures. Often i work with both but it's not easy carrying round two sizes of film, filters etc.
Persoanally i'd look for a user M2/M3 (have it CLA'd) with a 50 or 35mm lens , keep the Fuji and try both and see how you fell about the results. The Fuji 690 mark 2's are not that easy to find so hold their value, you could always trade it later for an early model 50 or 35mm 1.4 lux (pre ASPH) - if you found 35mm suited your way of working but to sell the Fuji first i think would leave you regretting it and maybe, being used to the sharpness and smooth tonality of the 6 x 9 neg/chrome, expecting a delivery from 400 35mm film that it's just not capable of.
6 x 9 and 35: Different Animals IMHO
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