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View Poll Results: What to do?
Swap them for an M6! 16 18.82%
Nah, keep them both. 35 41.18%
Sell the Bessa, keep the M4-P! 29 34.12%
Sell the M4-P, keep the Bessa! 5 5.88%
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Should I swap my M4-P and Bessa R3A for an M6?
Old 01-01-2020   #1
rhechcapel
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Should I swap my M4-P and Bessa R3A for an M6?

Happy New Year folks!

I have (and love) an M4-P. I also have (and like a lot) a Bessa R3A.

From the M4-P I love the smooth film advance, the feel in the hand, the loading system, and the fact it makes me guess the exposure for myself. Sometimes I miss having an in-camera meter (especially when shooting colour film) and on some stocks it seems to leave a scratch in the film as it is advanced.

From the Bessa I love the 1:1 viewfinder, the in-built meter, and all the electrickery (exposure lock!). However the dependence on batteries annoys me, the film advance feels horrible compared to the Leica, and the AE mode makes me lazy.

I rarely use the Bessa since I got the M4-P.

I'm wondering if an M6 might be a smart way to combine the best bits of both cameras while losing most of the downsides?

Has anyone else made a similar move (or decided not to)?

Does the M6 meter really work well? I've heard it's heavily center weighted - is that true?
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Old 01-01-2020   #2
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I rarely use Bessa R2M, I purchased it as backup for M4-2.
Do you need the backup camera?


M6 seems to be overpriced, IMO.
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Old 01-01-2020   #3
Chris101
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M6 doesn’t appeal to me, but I’m on my second M4P. I think it’s the ideal Leica and that’s because it doesn’t have a meter, or take a battery. I also have a Bessa, but it’s an L that I use with a 15mm. The Bessa does have a meter, and I like the way it works.
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Old 01-01-2020   #4
madNbad
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Sell the Bessa, keep the M4-P. If you don’t already have one, buy a decent meter.
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Old 01-01-2020   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris101 View Post
M6 doesn’t appeal to me, but I’m on my second M4P. I think it’s the ideal Leica and that’s because it doesn’t have a meter, or take a battery. I also have a Bessa, but it’s an L that I use with a 15mm. The Bessa does have a meter, and I like the way it works.
An M6 doesn't need a battery to function either, essentially becoming an updated & newer M4 in a pinch. Having the meter lets me concentrate on the scene and not have to guess or stop and meter. Especially critical shooting reversal film.
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Old 01-01-2020   #6
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My M4P has better, more accurate framelines than my M6 (and later) Leicas. The M6 meter, however, does give consistently good exposures. Unless the M6 meter means that much to you, you may be disappointed in an M6.
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Old 01-01-2020   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
My M4P has better, more accurate framelines than my M6 (and later) Leicas. The M6 meter, however, does give consistently good exposures. Unless the M6 meter means that much to you, you may be disappointed in an M6.
Interesting, I had not heard this. I'll try to do a comparison in a local shop. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 01-01-2020   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
Sell the Bessa, keep the M4-P. If you donít already have one, buy a decent meter.
I use my phone when I need confirmation of my guess. Does a dedicated meter really work that much better? I'd rather not have to carry yet another device. I could consider something camera mounted like the Voigtlander VC2, but it looks a bit fiddly and would add bulk to the M4-P.
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Old 01-01-2020   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhechcapel View Post
I use my phone when I need confirmation of my guess. Does a dedicated meter really work that much better? I'd rather not have to carry yet another device. I could consider something camera mounted like the Voigtlander VC2, but it looks a bit fiddly and would add bulk to the M4-P.
Sell the Bessa, keep the M4p. The vc2 meter is tiny and not fiddly. Get it and slip it on ur camera if u need it. Otherwise keep it in ur pocket.
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Old 01-01-2020   #10
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Keep the M4P. Prices for M6 are ridiculous and teetering into preposterous.
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Old 01-01-2020   #11
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What are the various ways that you go out taking photos? In what scenarios do you prefer a built-in meter, handheld meter, AE, manual exposure? Then determine percentages to how much time you spend shooting in each way, and figure out what features are the most important to you.

It sounds to me like you'd prefer a built-in manual exposure meter because it's a good balance of convenience without being too "lazy." If so, the M6 is the best option out there, assuming you'd prefer it over the Leica M5 or CL, or Bessa R2.
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Old 01-01-2020   #12
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If you want a meter then it is either a M5, CL, M6, M6TTL, M7 or MP. If you want a classic M, then M6 as even the M6TTL is a bit taller (2mm). If you can live without the classic body, several people here believe the M5 has it over all other Leicas as a shooter. I share that opinion if you can find a good one.

I don't care for the M6's double frame lines but that is now standard Leica (on my MP240 as well). The M5 viewfinder is busy but not as busy as M6 and spot meter is outstanding. If you can only have one and you want TTL metering and not M5, then M6 is the choice. Don't now believe or ever have, that the MP was worth the price increase over the M6.

And all my light meters are in storage somewhere so I like you have been using the light meter apps on my phone for shooting the M2 and they work surprisingly well.
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Old 01-01-2020   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhechcapel View Post
Interesting, I had not heard this. I'll try to do a comparison in a local shop. Thanks for the heads up.
Especially pay attention to the 50mm frameline, which is dreadfully undersized at all but the shortest distances. At minimum focusing distance of 0.7M, it's accurate. But at a distance of 12 or 15 feet or greater, the M6 50mm frameline covers about the same as a 60mm lens. So it covers 83% of the width of a 50mm lens, and 83% of the height. Therefore, it covers only .83 x .83, which is only 69% of the area!
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Old 01-02-2020   #14
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sell bessa and keep m4-p and get some additional lens - its much more important than body...
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Old 01-02-2020   #15
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No swap
M4-P is a Wonderful camera, You enjoy it , keep it !!
Sell the Bessa since You never use it anymore
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Old 01-02-2020   #16
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Thank you for all the advice folks.

I think I'll take the Bessa out a few times and shoot it like I would the M6.
I have more bodies and lenses than I need already so selling the Bessa and getting the VC II meter makes sense. I'll see how I feel after a few days back with it.
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Old 01-02-2020   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benlees View Post
Keep the M4P. Prices for M6 are ridiculous and teetering into preposterous.
I agree. Learn Sunny 16. You will be better for it.
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Old 01-02-2020   #18
rhechcapel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Especially pay attention to the 50mm frameline, which is dreadfully undersized at all but the shortest distances. At minimum focusing distance of 0.7M, it's accurate. But at a distance of 12 or 15 feet or greater, the M6 50mm frameline covers about the same as a 60mm lens. So it covers 83% of the width of a 50mm lens, and 83% of the height. Therefore, it covers only .83 x .83, which is only 69% of the area!
Wow. That's surprising!
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Old 01-02-2020   #19
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Keep what you have...
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Old 01-02-2020   #20
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The R3A is battery dependent... so what? How hard is it to keep a couple of spare SR44s to hand? It's not like the camera needs a new set every other day.

Tape a ten-pack to the baseplate and you'll never have to worry again.
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Piggyback - M4-P vs R3A as companion to M5?
Old 01-02-2020   #21
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Piggyback - M4-P vs R3A as companion to M5?

I have an M5 and I'm considering getting a R3A or a M4-P. (I already have used a M6 in the past)

Why? I was in a camera store last month where the friendly proprietor handed me a M4 (I'm not sure which version it was) and I felt lightheaded by how compact and light it was compared to my M5. It's just a 100 grams difference, but still....

The R3A I'm considering because I'm a 50mm guy and want to experience the 1:1 finder.

Which one should I go for? They're nearly the same price (R3A and the M4-2).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhechcapel View Post
Happy New Year folks!

I have (and love) an M4-P. I also have (and like a lot) a Bessa R3A.

From the M4-P I love the smooth film advance, the feel in the hand, the loading system, and the fact it makes me guess the exposure for myself. Sometimes I miss having an in-camera meter (especially when shooting colour film) and on some stocks it seems to leave a scratch in the film as it is advanced.

From the Bessa I love the 1:1 viewfinder, the in-built meter, and all the electrickery (exposure lock!). However the dependence on batteries annoys me, the film advance feels horrible compared to the Leica, and the AE mode makes me lazy.

I rarely use the Bessa since I got the M4-P.

I'm wondering if an M6 might be a smart way to combine the best bits of both cameras while losing most of the downsides?

Has anyone else made a similar move (or decided not to)?

Does the M6 meter really work well? I've heard it's heavily center weighted - is that true?
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Old 01-02-2020   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby.monkey View Post
The R3A is battery dependent... so what? How hard is it to keep a couple of spare SR44s to hand?
Yeah, I agree... I always feel like being scared of batteries is like doomsday preparation. Then again, I am not so attached to an inanimate object. It stops working catastrophically, then I find something else.
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Old 01-02-2020   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
An M6 doesn't need a battery to function either, essentially becoming an updated & newer M4 in a pinch. Having the meter lets me concentrate on the scene and not have to guess or stop and meter. Especially critical shooting reversal film.
Not quite. Maybe an M4-P. But the M4 has less cluttered and more precise framelines as well as a better RF patch.
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Old 01-02-2020   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhechcapel View Post
Thank you for all the advice folks.

I think I'll take the Bessa out a few times and shoot it like I would the M6.
I have more bodies and lenses than I need already so selling the Bessa and getting the VC II meter makes sense. I'll see how I feel after a few days back with it.
I'd go with a hand-held incident meter before a clip-on reflective meter, even though the cosina II meter is quite nicely designed. Handheld is a lot faster in use and leaves your accessory shoe free.
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Old 01-02-2020   #25
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free for SBOOI Best 1:1 50mm VF ever made.
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Old 01-02-2020   #26
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I was actually thinking about doing the opposite. Change to M4 from M6 TTL. I feel like M4 is more bare bones, quieter and slightly lighter?
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Old 01-02-2020   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
I was actually thinking about doing the opposite. Change to M4 from M6 TTL. I feel like M4 is more bare bones, quieter and slightly lighter?
Interesting. I clearly need to actually spend some time with an M6. Sounds like it will make me appreciate my M4 even more
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Old 01-05-2020   #28
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I have a M6 TTL. Most of the issues that people raise regarding these cameras have not been a problem for me. In fact, were it not for spending time on this forum I doubt that I would have been aware of most of the things that others have noted as issues although I have occasionally experienced flare with the rangefinder patch. In such instances I've shifted my eye slightly looking through the viewfinder to eliminate the problem. While a small thing, my favorite "feature" of the M6 TTL other than the light meter itself is likely the shutter speed dial ó both for the ergonomics involved resulting from the larger size as well as from the direction it turns working in direct conjunction with the functionality of the meter display. (This last point would obviously not matter were the camera lacking the built-in light meter).

All that said, unless you feel that use of the M4P is somehow preventing you from capturing images that you wish to make I would not think there is any reason to switch cameras. For what it's worth, even though the M6 has a built-in light meter and I'm glad for it, I plan to keep working to develop my own sense of exposure as so many others here practice simply because this strikes me as a skill I would like to master.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benlees View Post
Keep the M4P. Prices for M6 are ridiculous and teetering into preposterous.
Agreed. This seems like a terrible time to buy a M6 as prices for these cameras in particular have risen rapidly over the past few years. At the rate things are going it is not out of the realm of possibilities that my camera will be worth double the amount I paid for it back in 2000. That would indeed seem preposterous to me. With this in mind, if a built-in light meter is not a requirement then selling a M6 TTL to move to a M4 as LeicaFoReVer is contemplating makes a lot of sense.
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Old 01-05-2020   #29
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Thanks for the replies folks. I've bought a Voigtlander VC II meter to play with on the M4-P. I shot a roll following its recommendations religiously yesterday and I'm looking forward to seeing the results when I have time to get my chemicals out. To be honest, I think I'll probably still rely on sunny 16 for the most part, but it's nice to have a meter available for more tricky situations. I got a ridiculous deal on it because the battery door catch is broken and it needs a bit of tape to stay shut.

I think I'm going to put my Bessa on eBay, perhaps the 40/1.4 Voigtlander lens too since I am unlikely to get another M-mount with 40mm framelines.

I do really like the Bessa but I just don't feel the need to own two Ms, albeit with different viewfinders and features. I'd rather put the money toward something completely different like a Mamiya 6.
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Old 01-06-2020   #30
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The VCII meter is fiddly in that it has tiny numbers, if your vision is poor close up, and the button sticks out, so it turns on a lot. It is a very good meter, but I end up carrying my pocket meter with large numbers instead.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rhechcapel View Post
Thank you for all the advice folks.

I think I'll take the Bessa out a few times and shoot it like I would the M6.
I have more bodies and lenses than I need already so selling the Bessa and getting the VC II meter makes sense. I'll see how I feel after a few days back with it.
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Old 01-06-2020   #31
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I hate hand held meters...except for a view camera..
It's just 1 more thing to carry..forget..or lose..
And it slows you down..

The M6 is a good camera..and the meter works fine..
Find one for $1500-..and be happy..
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Old 01-06-2020   #32
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how annoying a meterless camera and a handheld meter is depends on the situations in which you're taking photos.

if you're casually taking photos sporadically while you're out doing other things, chances are the lighting will be different for each photo. that's when a meterless camera with a handheld meter is kind of annoying.

if you're purposefully taking photos of something in particular, and the lighting is mostly consistent, that's when it's not going to be a hassle. but if the lighting changes very often and you have to be quick about it, then a meterless camera might not be ideal.

do you take photos in situations where you'll have to constantly bring out the meter and get annoyed often enough to make a built-in meter or AE preferable? a meterless camera can be either discouraging or a total non-issue, depending on your specific needs.
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Old 01-06-2020   #33
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I shoot b/w film and even if the camera has a meter I still use an external incident meter. The built in reflective meter is useful for scenes when incident metering will not be accurate.
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Old 01-19-2020   #34
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Just learn to eyeball the exposure, it's going to be so much faster than any (non auto) metered camera. Ultimately it will make you a better photographer, something that an M6 won't be able to give you. For times of doubt you can keep a small meter like a VC meter in your pocket.

Also I should mention that the M6 and later models meter has a tendency to drift into inaccuracy as the white dot on the shutter curtain gets dirty/worn which results in it reflecting less light into the meter sensor (overexposure) also I hear the carbon track on the back of the camera for setting the ISO can also wear.

I'd use my M4 and be happy.
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Old 01-19-2020   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenEleven View Post
Just learn to eyeball the exposure, it's going to be so much faster than any (non auto) metered camera. Ultimately it will make you a better photographer, something that an M6 won't be able to give you. For times of doubt you can keep a small meter like a VC meter in your pocket.

Also I should mention that the M6 and later models meter has a tendency to drift into inaccuracy as the white dot on the shutter curtain gets dirty/worn which results in it reflecting less light into the meter sensor (overexposure) also I hear the carbon track on the back of the camera for setting the ISO can also wear.

I'd use my M4 and be happy.
Thanks Manuel. I am actually getting OK at guessing sunny 16 outdoors by looking at the shadows, and often the meter agrees with me. When indoors I just go wide open and shoot as slow as I dare, but there are many situations when the lighting is more complex. Perhaps I don't want to expose for the highlights, or perhaps there is mixed lighting. At these times I love having a meter to consult. Getting out and unlocking my phone can be a pain, and it doesn't seem to agree with my dedicated meters anyway. I don't keep notes, so when I find badly exposed images at development time I don't know what I did wrong. That's why I bought a VC Meter II which now lives on top of my M4. I'm trying to be disciplined in guessing the exposure before consulting the meter so as to train my eye, but it's great having access to that instant confirmation. My Dad has just sent me an old incidence meter he found in his garage too, and I'm looking forward to using that in conjunction with the VC.
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Old 01-19-2020   #36
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Yeah that's a good way to go. Good call on the VC II.

You usually don't need to open up fully indoors. I find that I'm usually around f/4 and 1/60 or thereabouts unless it's really frightfully dark. (400 speed film)

As time goes on you will "learn" the various lamps, daylight is easy as it never changes hence the exposure tables on old cameras - luckily lamps are standardized so each fluorescent, incandescent or LED puts out roughly the same amount of light at the same distance. Sounds complicated but you'll get a feel for it. It's not really mental math for me, but more akin to a hunch.

I made it my habit to immediately set the shutter / speed to what I think it is when I enter a new area/new light. This way whenever something happens I won't be caught with my proverbial pants down and am at the very least able to get off 1-2 "hail mary" shots. If I have time for a second (but no time to meter) I usually open up a stop as insurance.

It's not rocket-science and totally learn-able. Good luck!
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Old 01-19-2020   #37
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Quote:
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Yeah that's a good way to go. Good call on the VC II.

You usually don't need to open up fully indoors. I find that I'm usually around f/4 and 1/60 or thereabouts unless it's really frightfully dark. (400 speed film)

As time goes on you will "learn" the various lamps, daylight is easy as it never changes hence the exposure tables on old cameras - luckily lamps are standardized so each fluorescent, incandescent or LED puts out roughly the same amount of light at the same distance. Sounds complicated but you'll get a feel for it. It's not really mental math for me, but more akin to a hunch.

I made it my habit to immediately set the shutter / speed to what I think it is when I enter a new area/new light. This way whenever something happens I won't be caught with my proverbial pants down and am at the very least able to get off 1-2 "hail mary" shots. If I have time for a second (but no time to meter) I usually open up a stop as insurance.

It's not rocket-science and totally learn-able. Good luck!
Thanks, I'm enjoying the process!
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Old 01-20-2020   #38
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PLEASE DON'T. There is nothing that a M6 can do that a M4/P can't do better. Just buy yourself a Gossen Digisix 2 Digital Exposure Meter. And if you think they are too expensive then I'll sell you one very cheap. The truth is not out there, it in your hands!
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Old 01-20-2020   #39
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Get the M6. If you have to get rid of the M4P and Bessa in the process then so be it, but definitely get the M6.
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Old 01-20-2020   #40
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No, definitely don't get the M6. But do sell the Bessa. That way you'll never get confused. And do get the meter, with an external incident meter you never go wrong and learn to guess the right exposure very quickly.
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