View Full Version : Leica M: Exchange of Experience
I considering switching to a leica M from a bessa r ? I'm mainly shooting street and documentary and couldn't decide yet that the switch is absolutely necessary or not, Which is why I'm writing here.
I'm considering a meterless M, since I'm using the bessa as such, and I will keep the bessa as the second body ?
So, what are your advices, and is there anyone who followed the same path ?
It's just another RF camera.. You'll probably get the same result you're getting from your bessa.
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can someone briefly tell the differences ?
More solid in feel, quieter and smoother in operation. In my opinion, just nicer all round. I went from a Bessa R to an M2 via an M6TTL in five years. I wouldn't change my M2's for anything now.
Yes, not quite. I would not trade my M2 for even the newest Bessa. I have also owned an R2 and an R3M, and actually still own a Bessa L to which my 25mm lens is more or less always attached. I have an open mind and am clearly not a Leica snob. This may be another of those subjective things... but the M2 has proven it can withstand decades of use, and it just feels better in my hands, I have confidence in the machine; when I carry it, I don't worry about breaking it. With the Bessas, I always feel/felt like I needed to be extra careful not to break something.
With the Bessas, I always feel/felt like I needed to be extra careful not to break something.
I haven't felt like such a thing so far. But again, it is subjective...
New Ms (M5, M6 classic, M6TTL, M7...) have built in meters which is handy. The shutter in the Leica is a cloth focal plain shutter which is quieter than the Copal metal dual shutter found in the Bessas. Quiet can be important in some places, but for most street stuff I'm not too sure.
For me, the Leica blends into my hand better than my Bessas. The Leica is heavier, lots more metal than you find in the Bessa. The effective base length of the range finder is much longer on the Leica than almost any Bessa (the exception is the T). Longer EBL allows you to shoot fast moderate telephotos closer up wide open and focus accurately.
From what I have read, Leicas take more abuse (hits and drops) with less damage than Bessas do. While the Bessa does not need to be babied, they are not as robust.
Bessas have a hot shoe that works for a flash, only newer Leicas do.
For my street photography I use a Bessa L with a 25/4 that never comes off. While I have two Leica Ms, I worry less about something bad happening to my L than my M6.
Yes utku, it is somewhat subjective. I think that if I did not have the M2 to directly compare, literally side by side, then I might not have been able to truly appreciate the differences. Perhaps the Bessa is just as durable as the M2, I don't really know; I do know that after carry and using the M2 for a while, the Bessas just felt more vulnerable, things like the rewind knob, and the rubber eyepiece cover that kept falling off.
Keep your Bessa for the 35 and get an M3 for fast 40-90s.
Like for Roger, the Leicas do feel better in my hand. But even though the
Bessa has a bright viewfinder, an M3 is a much better machine for a 50/1.4
or 85/2. Much easier to focus, when you get a good one, due to
longer EBL and contrastier patch.
If you have an itch to own a Leica, and some money to spare, you should buy one. It won't change the world, or radically improve your photography, but they're very nice cameras to use, and if you decide you don't like it you should be able to sell it for what you paid, if you go secondhand, so it's a low-risk investment.
You asked if the switch is absolutely necessary. It is not. The Leicas have a longer rangefinder baselength, so they focus more accurately. They are quieter, their framelines are selected automatically and there are a few different features depending on which one you get. They are heavier, better built and feel better. All that said, assuming you can focus easily with the bessa and it is not too loud for you, there is very little practical advantage of a Leica. That does not stop many people, myself included, from loving them and preferring to work with then.
Your best bet is to try to find one and check it out in person. If you don't find it preferable, don't get one.
Pick up a Leica M and fire it several times. If you can feel a difference from your Bessa then you will understand the difference for yourself and will eventually get a Leica. If you can't feel a difference, consider yourself lucky.
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