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View Poll Results: New ZM or Mint M7? Why?
ZM 453 45.71%
M7 538 54.29%
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Old 03-18-2009   #41
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Totally subjective, I voted for the ZI. Since I've never owned a Leica, I've always missed the ZI every time I've tried an M6 or M7. I think a lot of what goes into preference is habit. With film cameras, the more habituated you are, the more the camera disappears.

At this point, even if I were offered an even trade, M7 for my ZI, I wouldn't do it (unless it were to sell the M7 so I could pocket the difference and get another ZI). Not that the ZI is better, but I'm used to it and really like it.

I doubt either camera on its own would really make a difference to one's skills as a photographer, but since each photographer comes with a uniquely shaped body, it makes sense that people's preferences will differ.

I wonder what Akiva found lacking in the ZI?

One thing that may be very important but has nothing to do with the actual camera is the brand name. Since I often have direct contact with the subjects I shoot, the brand name of the camera inevitably becomes part of the interaction, just as the way a camera looks (retro, contemporary, digital, film, etc...) also can be a crucial part of the equation.
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Old 03-18-2009   #42
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I have both and do like the feel of the M7 over the ZI, but the viewfinder in ZI wins hands down.
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Old 03-19-2009   #43
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Not often mentioned, but if you use "A", then the ZI has the EV compensation setting placed intelligently on the shutter speed dial, while the M7 has them on the ISO dial on the back of the camera. The latter does not look too handy if you ask me!
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Old 03-19-2009   #44
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I've the ZM and like it a lot.
I cannot value the M7, had one in my hands only once at the dealer's.
The shuttersound of the M7 is extraorinary, but the filmloading seems to be complicated...

However, if somebody is inerested in the ZM, I'v one new/unused body for sale! cheap! ;-)
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Old 03-31-2009   #45
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ZI. I own and use an M7, MP and ZI a lot. The ZI is like having a .58 M7 only in terms of being able to use a 28 while wearing glasses. OTOH, it's just a much "bigger" and better rangefinder too. Sold all my .58 Leicas after buying a ZI. If you wear glasses, the ZI everytime instead of an M7 .58.

Downside of ZI:

1. no 75 framelines - an issue for me because I really like the focal lengh. Reason I keep the M7!
2. A little louder.
3. No 135 framelines (yes, I shoot one sometimes....) - upside of no 135 and 75 is that you have completely uncluttered framelines....

Likes:
1. The rangefinder is awesome.
2. The exp comp dial is intuitive and usable (it isn't on the M7).
3. Way cheaper.
4. The rangefinder
5 The viewfinder generally
6. The 85mm framelines and more accurate than the 90 framelines on the M7 when using a 90mm lens - go figure - I did the test twice because I didn't believe my results.
7. See 5 and 6 above.
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Old 04-01-2009   #46
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M7

Tough as nails and will still work 20 years from now.
The RF patch moves with the framelines
Quieter shutter
The way it feels in your hands
Resale value
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Old 04-01-2009   #47
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I have an M7. Used it wasn't *that* much more than a ZI, and I waited to find one with the upgraded DX reader.

The ZI seems like a really nice camera, and if I found one for a good price I might pick it up. Everyone says the viewfinder is brighter, but the meter display and RF patch are better on the M7. Maybe the RF patch thing is just about flaring though. Anyway, I like the mechanical speeds on the M7; I just used that function for the first time the other day. The exposure compensation on the M7 is a bit daft, but the exposure lock on the shutter button works they way it should. It's not really exposure lock but a shutter speed lock, which means you can either do exposure lock, or lock the shutter speed and change the aperture if you need to spur of the moment exposure compensation.

The M7 is a great camera. I'm sure the ZI is too. I guess I ended up with an M7 because it's pretty close to my M6, but with AE. Which is what I wanted... I also prefer the black chrome to black paint - very non flashy.
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Old 04-01-2009   #48
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I love my M3 but if given the choice between a Zeiss Ikon M and a M7 I would go with the ZI in terms of price, really nice viewfinder and a much more rational loading system.
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Old 04-01-2009   #49
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You know, I've actually gotten used to the M style of loading film. If it weren't for the bottom plate completely detaching, it's almost easier than loading my Canon SLR. I find it difficult sometimes to balance that with a lens, having the back swung open with all the internals exposed, etc. Thought the Canon certainly does have it beat in terms of just pulling the film to the right spot and closing the back. The auto winding is nice.
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Old 04-01-2009   #50
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Many Leica users and collectors want the Leica just because it has something extra, that hardly any other make has and certainly not the ZM's, that is it has become - since long - a (perhaps THE) CULT camera. So if you want to include that, in the end you take the M7. Shooting with Leica's is a way of life as they say.
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Old 04-01-2009   #51
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Having owned an M7 and never a ZM, I'd get a ZM. I preferred my beat M6 to the shiny M7 so I sold it. AE was superfluous.
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Old 04-01-2009   #52
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I have used cameras for at least 45 yrs. I have had many including 5 different model Leica M's. I have had one Zeiss ZM. I prefer the Zeiss. Best viewfinder going and I have looked thru many.
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Old 04-01-2009   #53
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The loading system was really quite rational compared to the earlier no-back-flap of the pre-M models, but when the Leica first hit the market the alternative was a pocket full of single sided 4.5x6cm plate holders for your Ermanox with its 100mm f/2 lens..
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ZM for me
Old 04-01-2009   #54
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ZM for me

I just bought a ZM. Like, 15 minutes ago I wanted a rangefinder, not necessarily a Leica. I borrowed a ZM for a few weeks sometime ago and loved it. I loved the viewfinder. I thought the camera handled really well. The 35mm f2 Biogon lens was really good.

I simply could not justify the cost of the Leica, particularly since I'm also buying a lens or two. I held a Leica about two years ago and that is the extent of my physical experience with it. I don't think I would like bottom loading film.

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Old 04-01-2009   #55
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I am enjoying this thread. I have 2 ZI's. I will probably sell one and get an M7 to see what all the fuss is about.
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Old 04-01-2009   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lime View Post
M7
The RF patch moves with the framelines
"The patch moves with the framelines" ! I handled a ZI once and found it awkward seeing the RF patch close to the corners of the frame lines at infinity and also at close-focus distance. Thought it was a defect camera, though...
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Old 04-01-2009   #57
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I've used M7 for a month.It's more flexible than MP and M6 for everyday use,and its shutter is more silent.But the skin is easy to fall off,which is really boring.I didn't meet such a problem on my MP or M6.

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Old 04-02-2009   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewteee View Post
I don't think I would like bottom loading film.
It's really not that big of a deal. It just takes a little practice. At this point I can load an M about as fast as my Nikon F3 and certainly faster than the original F.
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Old 04-02-2009   #59
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I guess the question reply how much money u have in your pocket or how much u are willing to pay for a camera.

Generally you won't go wrong with either camera. yes they are two different level priced items and they are two different level of camera indeed.
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Old 04-02-2009   #60
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I got a M6 and a ZI, and I must say the ZI's viewfinder is amazing, suddenly the viewfinder on the M6 seem small...

I still haven't quite adjusted to the shutter info being displayed on the left, and I think when I do I would still prefer the information being displayed on the bottom. Also my ZM is already misaligned at infinity, though it has not affected focusing accuracy. The Leica does feel like the more solid product in many ways and I actually much prefer the Leica loading mechanism. The ZI's shutter does make a little more noise and is less satisfying than the Leica click, but it's fine.

I have only handled a M7 for a couple of weeks a long time ago, but I am under the impression that it's easier to add exposure compensation on the ZI than M7, though on the flip side the ZI's shutter dial is awfully fiddly.

All things considered though, the issues I have with the ZI's are minor. I got a tidy example of the ZI for just $800, and at the end of the day I would have to say the bigger VF and the vastly cheaper price makes it the winner for me.

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Old 04-02-2009   #61
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ZI (and not just because I own one).
A friend of mine used to have an M6 (which, as I've told, resemble the size and shape of the M7).
After he took my ZI for a quick ride, he sold his M6, bought a ZI of his own and never looked back.
I think that the only thing better in the M7 is the patch which does not disappear as in the ZI. but I got used to it and look at it as a fair trade-off for the huge-bright viewfinder.
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Old 04-04-2009   #62
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I've owned M7s in the past, loved them and only sold them when I needed to raise some cash, and I use an M6 Classic as my everyday RF. I was looking for a reasonably priced used M7 and kept coming up on the short end. So I took the plunge on a new ZI for $1300 after reading all the posts here!

Here's my 2c... The ZI doesn't feel flimsy, it just feels like a "modern" camera. Nothing built today will have the weight of a Leica for various reasons. The Leicas follow a design path laid out in the 1950s (M3). Pick up any item built in 1955 and you'll get what I'm saying. (Auto, TV, toaster, whatever). The viewfinder and VF patch seem positively huge and super bright. Yes, you can make the patch dimmer by moving your eye around, but in no time you'll "get it" with regard to looking thru it and it won't be a problem. The film load and exposure comp are great advantages over the Leica. The shutter sound differences are very minor and a non issue in reality. The only minor "issues" I can point to are 1- the first time I attached a flash (Leica SF-20) and removed it, the thin chrome metal piece that is the bottom of the camera's flash shoe was suddenly flopping around but still inside the shoe. I pressed it down and it very solidly clicked into place and hasn't come loose yet. 2.- The rewind crank assembly feels very light and flimsy, when I pull it out to remove the film cannister it feels like my big hands could pull it right off. Makes me wonder if that will last 20 years. Everything else feels and looks solidly made and has a quality look and feel to it.
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Old 04-07-2009   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George S. View Post
The Leicas follow a design path laid out in the 1950s (M3). Pick up any item built in 1955 and you'll get what I'm saying. (Auto, TV, toaster, whatever).

...

The rewind crank assembly feels very light and flimsy, when I pull it out to remove the film cannister it feels like my big hands could pull it right off. Makes me wonder if that will last 20 years. Everything else feels and looks solidly made and has a quality look and feel to it.
I think the feel comes mostly down to weight and flexibility. My 1950s Rolleicord (made by Germans, even!) is lightweight and, while very well built just like my ZI, is not as "solid" feeling as a Leica M. Meanwhile, today's pro DSLRs (1D mark3, etc.) feel extremely solid. The 1D and the Leica are heavier than their counterparts and mainly one piece of metal, which makes them feel more sturdy.

As for the ZIs rewind crank, I think the reason it feels so light is that it's so simple and small. It just pops right into the bottom of the film canister.
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Old 04-08-2009   #64
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i'd like an m7
but even used kind of out of my range.
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Old 04-08-2009   #65
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What's not to love about a Leica?

And yet I got a ZI - the main reason for me was that I wear eyeglasses and I found it really quite tricky to see through the Leica viewfinder; the ZI by comparison was a breeze.

I do find the shutter speed display to be difficult to read sometimes, but as I mostly use A mode and negative film, as long as I can get the shutter somewhere between 1/60 and 1/2000 I'm not too bothered. It lets me concentrate more on the picture I want.

I may well still end up with a Leica one day, but if I do I will take to wearing contact lenses at the same time.

There is one other thing - just about no-one recognises the ZI. People either think it's an old camera or think it looks really cool. I have never even momentarily though that someone might mug me for it. A Leica is a Leica, everyone knows the brand. This is of course both a good and bad thing. No need to spell it out.
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Old 04-09-2009   #66
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Quote:
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There is one other thing - just about no-one recognises the ZI. People either think it's an old camera or think it looks really cool. I have never even momentarily though that someone might mug me for it. A Leica is a Leica, everyone knows the brand. This is of course both a good and bad thing. No need to spell it out.
I think more people are aware of the Zeiss Brand (on cameras/ eye glasses / binoculars, etc) then the Leica brand. And as proven at my daughter's wedding not even professional photographers know what a Leica is( the photographer commented on my neat old camera, which is a fairly new M7). lastly, and most importantly thiefs don't care if it's a Kodak Brownie or Leica or Hasselblad. Very, very few thiefs are brand shoppers.
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Old 04-09-2009   #67
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I was toying with the idea of both cameras last year. The reason I got the Leica is that it has 90mm frame lines to go with my 90mm Elmarit-M.
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ZM or M7?
Old 04-14-2009   #68
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ZM or M7?

I never owned a Zeiss Ikon, but I rented one for a few days.

Positives:

Lighter (just a bit)

Wider Baseline (supposed to be more accurate focusing)

Larger, 'high-eyepoint' viewfinder

Larger non-Leica service network

Negatives:

Not as robust or as durable as the M7

Images didn't snap into focus as well for me as with the M7

Potential for replacement parts issues

Resale value (The M7 is Leica's flagship automatic "M-Series". they won't release another automatic film-based body. Ever.

If I were me, and I were to buy my first Leica, and you prefer the automation of the M7 or Zeiss, (and you had the additional $500.00-$1000.00) I would go with the M7. If this were a second body for backup, I wouldn't hesitate to get the Zeiss.

It's all a matter of personal taste though.

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Old 04-14-2009   #69
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Quote:
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I was toying with the idea of both cameras last year. The reason I got the Leica is that it has 90mm frame lines to go with my 90mm Elmarit-M.
My ZI works perfectly with my 90mm on the 85mm frameline.
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Old 04-14-2009   #70
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Zeiss Ikon to shoot: cheaper and under some points more flexible
M7 for a collectionist.
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Old 04-15-2009   #71
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Neither, I'd go with a MP. But if the MP had no being, I would go with the M7.
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Old 04-19-2009   #72
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Never seen or held the ZI; Own a Like-New M7,and love it ! The biggest factor for me was the M7's ability to shoot a couple of manual speeds even if battery dead. Can't do that (apparently) with the ZI.
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Old 04-19-2009   #73
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Off topic, I also have a Nikon FM3a. Best of both worlds, aperture preferred but all speeds work if battery dies. But that mirror slap!! Anyway I got the CV 40mm/f2 pancake, a real joy.
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Old 04-19-2009   #74
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Old 04-19-2009   #75
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Wow, I must be getting old. I remember when dignity and respect for others was the order of the day, but then again business agreements where closed with a hand shake.
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Old 04-19-2009   #76
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The first time I picked up a Zeiss Ikon in a camera store the shutter jammed and never fired again - it was dead. Aside from that, I was thoroughly unimpressed with the finder as the RF patch blanks out unless your eye is perfectly centered in the VF. It feels sort of like wearing bifocals with only a small spot to read through.

OTOH, I owned an M7 for a few years (until I traded it for an M8). It has AE, the durability of a Leica, and two manual speeds thrown in for good measure. It was my primary shooter; the shutter never jammed and the RF patch never whited out.
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m7 or zi
Old 04-19-2009   #77
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m7 or zi

Are you tough on cameras if so get the leica. Do you want a 75 lux get the leica zeiss does not have framelines for it. Are you tight on money get the zeiss. Figure out what are the lenses you use and if you are tought on cameras then make a decision me I have a m6 ttl and an m8 btu that is me.
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Old 04-19-2009   #78
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Old 04-19-2009   #79
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I own Leicas and Zeiss and Voigtlander.

The 3x more expensive when new M7 is better made and more dependable than the M7 -- for the money it should be!

But the ZI has a better rangefinder / viewfinder than the M7, and can focus lenses more accurately as it has a longer effective rangefinder base length, and is more convenient to use with back door loading.

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Old 04-20-2009   #80
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I voted for the ZI, because I already own a Leica. The ZI is a really attractive camera, both from handling and design, and I think it compliments well any Leica. I've got no problems with different dials, buttons etc. The human layout proves to be extremely flexible, if needed . Yes, I've read stories about RF alignment problems etc. So I did for the M7.

Maybe for a first body I'd opt for a used M7. The Leicas have something defined and dense, which I find hard to describe, but goes somewhat under the skin . Like with other things, for the last bit of quality improvement, we have to pay much, much extra. To some, it's worth it, to others not.

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