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Canon Rangefinders - Peter Dechert and Peter Kitchingman Peter Dechert is best known for his Canon Rangefinder, Canon SLR, and Olympus Pen books, the latter two long out-of-print. He was a monthly columnist for many years for SHUTTERBUG magazine, and has contributed to many others. Most recently he has written about the pre-WW2 Zeiss 35mm cameras, but his interests in camera equipment and optics are many and varied. As a pro protographer and honorary life member of ASMP, Peter is also expert in using the gear! Peter Kitchingman - author of Canon Rangefinder Lens book Peter Kitchingman's 'Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71' book is the definitive source on these very interesting optics. His interests also go to the entire Canon Rangefinder system and beyond.

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Canon 7 viewfinder vs Leica M
Old 08-04-2018   #1
markk
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Canon 7 viewfinder vs Leica M

Hi All,

I have a Canon 7, and a P. Both in beautiful condition, recently CLA'd Viewfinders/rangefinders in as good as condition as possible. While the multiple framelines of the P can be cluttered, it does not bother me. The view finder of the 7 is crystal clear and the rangefinder patch is excellent. I have a collection of russian m39 lenses that mount and work perfectly for my uses.

All that being said, is the viewfinder on any of the Leica M's (2-3-4) that much better than the 7 to warrant purchasing an M solely on that reason? I do realize the rest of the differences and advantages of each camera, and useability of M39 lens via adapters etc.

The limited scope of brick and mortar stores limit the availability of used camera stock to properly locate and "fondle" a Leica M..

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old 08-04-2018   #2
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In my personal opinion I'm not sure if I would purchase a camera solely on the viewfinder. I'll say that I chose an M body over the other rangefinders out there based on the fact that I know that I will be able to have it serviced without too much issue. Seeing as you already have the Canon bodies and you say they are in good working order, why not just buy some M39 Leica glass? That way you can have the Leica quality but save a few bucks until you finally decide that the Canon bodies are or aren't cutting it for you.

BUTTTT if the viewfinder is what is most important to you then the Voigtlander Bessa series might be more up your alley. To top it off there is the Bessa R which will accept all of your current lenses.
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Old 08-04-2018   #3
xayraa33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markk View Post
Hi All,

I have a Canon 7, and a P. Both in beautiful condition, recently CLA'd Viewfinders/rangefinders in as good as condition as possible. While the multiple framelines of the P can be cluttered, it does not bother me. The view finder of the 7 is crystal clear and the rangefinder patch is excellent. I have a collection of russian m39 lenses that mount and work perfectly for my uses.

All that being said, is the viewfinder on any of the Leica M's (2-3-4) that much better than the 7 to warrant purchasing an M solely on that reason? I do realize the rest of the differences and advantages of each camera, and useability of M39 lens via adapters etc.

The limited scope of brick and mortar stores limit the availability of used camera stock to properly locate and "fondle" a Leica M..

Thanks for your thoughts!

I own M Leicas and a Canon 7 and a Canon P

The Canon 7 is a great camera with a great VF/RF, very comparable to an M Leica, the Canon P VF/RF is nice but not to be calibre of the 7.

Your mileage can vary, depending on the condition of the cameras and how good or miserable your eye sight is.

The Canon P VF can suffer from internal reflections in an aged camera and also, what was very usable with youthful eyesight can be un-usable with post middle-aged eyesight.
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Old 08-04-2018   #4
phrons
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Best VF on a rangefinder for me is the M2. Since it has the clean framelines.

M3 doesn't have enough eye relief IMO.

The Bessas are also nice, especially when new, but can't match the feel of a Leica.

I've used the P and gone through plenty of fixed lens rangefinders. I also have a Nikon S2. Maybe I'm getting old but eye relief is big for me, and I don't use glasses.
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Old 08-04-2018   #5
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This won't answer your question, but you may find this strip-down analysis of a Canon 7 and Leica M viewfinders interesting.

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=163182

Jim B.
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Old 08-04-2018   #6
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I had a perfect condition P that I bought out of curiosity. I kept it maybe a week before selling it on. In the vf, the defined rangefinder patch of Leica M's is so much better than the blob in the Canon that that alone was enough to make me not want to use the Canon. Apart from that everything else just felt so much better with the Leicas.

Butt! and it is a big one. My perfect mint P was only $200. A perfect mint M is going to be at least 5 times as much. So yes a Leica M is much better, the way a Porsche Carrera convertible is much better than a Mazda Miata.
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Old 08-04-2018   #7
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I've compared Canon 7 with Leica M4 (x0.72), and it was slightly easier to see the 35mm frameline on the 7, that is surprisingly good for a finder with a higher mag.

Brightness-wise, I couldn't tell the difference.

Bessa-R's finder is better than both of them.
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Old 08-04-2018   #8
bobby_novatron
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Owned both a Canon 7 and a Leica M3. Sold the Canon 7, kept the M3.


Reason: I was attracted to the variety of M-mount glass available, and I liked the design of the M3 better. The viewfinder on the M3 paired with a 50mm lens is exquisitely simple and intuitive. Having owned a Bessa R3A, I'd say it's a close contender as well.


That being said, I'm kicking myself for selling the Canon 7. It was one of the best rangefinders I've ever owned. Reliable, well-made, and an excellent viewfinder. Plus, it was fun to experiment with different LTM screw lenses. But ultimately it's up to you and your preferences.
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Old 08-04-2018   #9
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The biggest difference is the sharp edges of the Leica rangefinder spot. You can focus using the edge of the spot. Also, some Ms have notches for depth of field.
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Old 08-05-2018   #10
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Quote:
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The biggest difference is the sharp edges of the Leica rangefinder spot. You can focus using the edge of the spot. Also, some Ms have notches for depth of field.
Funny you should ask that this week. I have been doing a clean up of my room and checking out my rangefinders. Have Ms, Canon P and Canon 7. The focusing with the Ms is hugely better because of their dual system -- coincident and split line. The difference in nailing focus jumps out at you.

The head bartender suggests that this dual system increases accuracy or ease of focus (forget which) up to five times over the coincidence only method.

It is so much easier that I'd rather shoot 85 and 100mm lenses on my Ms than on my Canons, despite the fact that the Canons have frame lines for the 85 and 100 whereas the Ms have 90s. Easy enough to approximate.

This difference becomes all the more important in low light and/or with long and/or fast lenses wide open.

I'd recommend you try to get a look through one and see for yourself.

Good luck
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Old 08-05-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
This won't answer your question, but you may find this strip-down analysis of a Canon 7 and Leica M viewfinders interesting.

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=163182

Jim B.
Oh ya also this one where I took pretty crappy photos and drew a diagram of the RF is somewhat relevant:
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=162675



My 2c: Sure, the Leica Ms have a better finder (and so do the Bessa Rs), but if you're content with your kit, why "upgrade" - especially if you only have LTM lenses?
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Old 08-05-2018   #12
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Having owned M2, M3, M4, M5, M4-2, and M6 in the past, and now only owning a Canon 7 (and Canon VL), I feel the usability factor between the 7 and the Leica is not reflected in the price difference between them. Sure the Leica finder is better, but only in the RF patch, not the framelines.

Having serviced some of the above, and most recently the 7, I can say with some (personal) authority (opinion) that the shutter and winding mechanism of the 7 is as good, if not better, than the Leicas, and is also better than any Canon LTM camera prior. The proof is in the ease of dialing in and maintaining accurate top speeds (1/500 and 1/1000) over time, and in extremes of temperatures. And the general low maintenance required of the whole camera.

It took me some time to get past the looks, but the Canon 7 really is a top notch piece of gear...the difference between a Leica and Canon 7 can be summed up by the old Mister Rogers song: "Some are fancy on the inside, some are fancy on the outside".
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Old 08-05-2018   #13
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I don't know if the Canon 7 is like the P, but the thing I don't like about my P is the 100% view. I have to get my eye too close to the window, and worse, the view is so large that I can't get an overall compositional view like I do with my Leicas, where the view is smaller and therefore in front of me, like a photo, not surrounding me.

Otherwise, the other things I can live with: the ever-present frame lines, the fuzzy-edge RF patch. They're real, but those don't bother me much. Also, it seems like my P has a lot of internal reflections under some light; the Leicas, never.

That said, I like the solidity of the P, and I doubt the 7 is worse. The reason I wouldn't ever get a 7, however, is that I use mostly wide W/A lenses with accessory finders . . . . and the darned thing don't have no shoe!!!????
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Old 08-06-2018   #14
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Thank you for all of your responses! Since I only have LTM lenses right now, it makes no practical sense to upgrade to an M series body at this time. I think I will continue to explore with what I already have.
Mark
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Old 08-06-2018   #15
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Thank you for all of your responses! Since I only have LTM lenses right now, it makes no practical sense to upgrade to an M series body at this time. I think I will continue to explore with what I already have.
Mark
not so fast

M bodies can shoot all of your LTM lenses with a LTM to M adapter

the 7/7s finder is excellent,
but all of the Leica M finders are much better.

I have owned all of the film M's and 95% of the Canon RF's.

My favorite film M's are the M2, M4, M5, M6, MP (modern type)

with all of those sitting on the shelf, I pick up a Sherry modified M5 with a MP finder first

My favorite Canon RF is the L-1 followed by the 7sZ.

Stephen
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Old 08-06-2018   #16
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Although it sounds like you have a nice example, in somewhat rough condition Canon 7 isn't a million miles away from being cheap enough to go in the rangefinders under $50 thread - which to some extent (and relative to the condition of the particular example) takes some pressure off taking it everywhere and potential damage / being stolen. And, they're pretty much faultless besides not being so pretty or small.



I don't carry mine because it feels like digital reliability with less of a soul - but it's frustratingly good when I'm weighing up which camera to take..


Some time ago I fancied getting a M3 but stopped because it's a bit of money to spend then not shoot M lenses (which are excellent but I couldn't justify).


Really you need to try a M then sleep and think about it the next day.. but if you really want one then that can be a good reason.


Jonathan
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Old 08-12-2018   #17
DavidC
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I'll have to agree with others that Leica M finders beat Canon's by a long shot. Everytime I try to focus with a Canon I am always wondering if it is in focus or not whereas with the M2 I KNOW I am well focused. Until the Bessa came on board Japanese rangefinder technology did not catch up to Leica.
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Old 08-12-2018   #18
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So, yesterday I purchased an M2 just to see what the fuss is all about...LOL!
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Old 08-13-2018   #19
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In owning some Canon and Nikon RF stuff, I've come to the conclusion that what separated Leica was, in fact, the viewfinder. The old Leitz optics, however, were not any better, and many cases worse then their Canon and Nikon counterparts of the same time. Just my opinion of course.
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Old 08-13-2018   #20
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Mark, all the words in the world cannot adequately describe the difference or, more important, it's importance to you, so I agree with Jonathan. See if you can try one and see for yourself.

That said, if you're happy with what you've got...
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