With your permission I would like to write my first impression about the M7. I am a Nikon fanatic user with one F100 and a F4. Im using them for about 5 years in outdoor photography in the cold clouded rainforest of the southern most of Chile and Patagonia.
I was shooting endangered species of frogs and marsupial in Patagonia and my new Nikon F100 suddenly fail. I send it to Argentina and I had to pay almost U$1000 for the repair.
Then I bought the F4 as a second body and I never a had a problem with that camera, you can fix a flat tire with the F4 but be carefully with you car
…..I also have an digital Olympus C 8080, 8 MP (Yes, I am a camera collector too) a power full toy but just a toy. I know that in 5 years more there will be no computer to read my CD`s or even the DVD where I storage my digital pictures.
Two years ago a saw on the National Geographic channel a movie about combat photography. The photographers were using Voigtlander cameras in Afghanistan. So I start to read about rangefinder cameras. Three weeks ago I bought a Leica M 7 with an used Leitz 35 / 1.4 Summilux made in Canada with a nice shade.
I never had a Leica in my hands before. When I saw it I fall immediately in love. Love at the first sight. I wait for while to touch it. It looks more than a new jewellery than an old camera model. Then I touch it. Cold and heavy, very heavy, maybe more than my F100 with out lens. I really love that weight in my hand, but anyway it was not easy to handle.
On the left side the camera has above two pretty sharp finish next to the rewind crank.
The battery compartment cover and also the ISO speed dial is made of plastic, strange for a “full metal camera” . I dint expect that. Any body out there need ISO 6400? I never use more than ISO 100 even the darkest seasons of winter inside the forest. Maybe for me the most unexpected thing for the camera was that it was much more noisier than I expected and read in all this years. Strange. Actually I think it doesn’t make any noise at all. When I was young I use for many years my grand father Ricoh Super K10 that really “jump” between my hands when I press the shutter release and this was a BIG difference with my old camera. I read that the new Nikon F 6 is quiet us a Leica. Who knows… I was very sad and upset to see in the base plate also a plastic fork that’s support the film cartridge. I remember in a Nikon forum (nikonian.org) a long discussion about if the F100 was or not a professional camera depending on the construction of the plastic fork, Nikon F 5 was a metal fork. So why to pay almost U$ 3000 for such a construction “to last for a lifetime”? Is this part of the “Leica feeling”?
Any way the feeling of the wind - lever film transport is as smooth as expected. I really love. To try it and to love it is the same thing.
Yesterday when I try to charge the camera with the film I discover that the chamber is incredible little. I read that but I never expected that it was sooooooooooo little even for my hands and believe they are little. And it was very, I mean VERY difficult to insert the film in the charm. Maybe next Leica for U$ 1000 dollars more it would be completely impossible. But what about the decisive “decisive moment” with this slow charging system? I hope I get used to it. The frames are difficult to understand but I knew that for the very beginning, I need to learn a lot about that and this is one of the main reason I bought it. Hope to learn with you in the forum. As you know the camera works without battery (Battery are easy to find almost every where and I read they last for very long) in 60 and 125. That’s the main reason I bought a Leica. I had always trouble with batteries with my other cameras. I couldn’t action the Flash with the camera with out batteries but I think Im doing something wrong. To release the lens or to change it is one of the smoothes thing I ever feel in any camera.
Except this three o four items I think my new M 7 is the sweetest thing it could happened to me in all this years. The camera is beautiful, really heavy duty construction and bomb proof . In few words I would say that the myth is true.
I will try to use it for such World Press Photo kind of photography. I will try to change my point of view and try to concentrate in documental photography with the M 7. I hope this bored words is useful for you. Thanks for your patience.
Just a question: If should meter the light of a black hole, which camera would you choose.
(thanks Matu for all you advices, lets drink another bottle of Chilean wine together)