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View Poll Results: What's your position on Leica LTM (not Leica specific), in light of an M?
I had/have both (M and LTM) and prefer the LTM 72 14.72%
I had/have both (M and LTM) and prefer the M 148 30.27%
I have both (M and LTM) and like them equally 145 29.65%
Only ever had an LTM and need look no further 68 13.91%
Only ever had an M and need look no further (was just here by accident or curiosity) 52 10.63%
I have no interest in either (M or LTM) - either prima facie or a priori 4 0.82%
Voters: 489. You may not vote on this poll

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What's your position on the LTM in light of an M?
Old 05-13-2014   #1
stillshunter
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What's your position on the LTM in light of an M?

I know there's a lot of love for the Barnack here - great to see. I just wondered whether most have an LTM as a bit of fun or a curiosity that they use occasionally beside their Leica M or if some have both and actually prefer their LTM to their M. I even wonder if anyone here has had both and ditched the M in favour of the Barnack.

I thought a poll might be interesting as a barometer, but am very keen to hear your experiences on were your LTM has landed in your life.
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Old 05-13-2014   #2
Robert Lai
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I had an M7, as well as IIIG, IIIF, and IIF.
Lost job, had to sell things for money. Since the M cameras and lenses fetch the most money, they had to go.
I still have the IIIG and IIIF. The IIF also joined the dearly departed, as I like having the slow speeds.

Recently started a new job, so there is income again.
I have added a Bessa R, which is convenient for the built in meter. The short RF base length makes me wonder about the usefulness of the camera. I still prefer my Leica Barnacks. Oh, I almost forgot my Canon 7s, which is still here.

Overall, I like the Barnacks for their smaller size and wonderful esthetics (jewel like finish).
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Old 05-13-2014   #3
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I'd be hard pressed to part with mine. I use my iiic a lot, actually. It's quirky, but truly a pleasure to use for leisurely shooting. Prefer it to an M? Most days, no, I'd rather have an M. But sometimes there is nothing better than those charming little Barnacks.
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Old 05-13-2014   #4
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Thanks Robert and Andy.

I love my IIIf for every reason you both describe. I actually prefer the feel of the IIIf in-hand than the M2 I once owned. However, a recent sale has me wondering whether to bank the proceeds or invest in an M (probably M4 or M6) to complement my IIIf and use (with adapter) the 28 and 50mm LTMs I already have.
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Old 05-13-2014   #5
Juan Valdenebro
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I haven't enjoyed my Leica IIIF as much as I thought I would before buying it... But it's beautiful, and it does the job too, so I kept it.
I enjoy a lot my Bessa T, a better IIIF, with higher magnification than M's, easy back door loading, external finders, meter with external reading, 1/2000th, and black.
About M's, I have used an M3, but although it's nice for 50's, I prefer the 35/28mm field of view, and I like back door loading for sure, so I find "M" Bessas more comfortable to work with... So in my case the honest answer is, I like Barnacks and M's as long as they're Voigtlander Bessas, because I consider them better tools, with different, specialized models instead of one model for everything... When you own several of them, you enjoy the design concept...
And yes, a lot of times I find myself shooting with my T instead of my R3A or R4M: the separated focusing window and external finder make me feel different, think differently, take time, or I use prefocus and just compose with a view that's way bettter than any in camera window of any brand, and I enjoy so much the moment of shooting... I guess that's the way old Barnacks worked...
Cheers,
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Old 05-13-2014   #6
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G'day Juan,

This is such an excellent reply. Thank you so much for taking the time to post!

I, too, have thought of the Bessa. Maybe an R2M or R2A to complement the IIIf. Or maybe even the straight R…as I'd not need any adapters…..though I fear the build quality could be a let down.

Cheers,
Mark
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Old 05-13-2014   #7
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You are right in believing that there is absolutely no comparison possible between a Leica Barnack and any Bessa camera. But I still enjoy shooting the R in spite of that.
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Old 05-13-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
But I still enjoy shooting the R in spite of that.
Pioneer, are you referring to the original LTM-version 'R 'or the Bessa R range more generally?
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Old 05-13-2014   #9
Juan Valdenebro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillshunter View Post
G'day Juan,

This is such an excellent reply. Thank you so much for taking the time to post!

I, too, have thought of the Bessa. Maybe an R2M or R2A to complement the IIIf. Or maybe even the straight R…as I'd not need any adapters…..though I fear the build quality could be a let down.

Cheers,
Mark
Hi Mark,
All Bessas are great, and well built... All brands can give problems...
Once I made a poll here on RFF about forum members that required repairs for autoexposure "M" cameras, including Bessa R3A, Zeiss Ikon and Leica M7... Guess which one was the less problematic? The Bessa!
And the service at cameraquest is great: I bought my R3A used from them, and it's been absolutely perfect for several years including beach and trips...
If I were you, I would consider very seriously the R3M: the 1:1 view in my R3A is a joy, but I never use autoexposure because nothing's really medium gray, so it isn't something we can really trust or use without worries...
A perfect, durable, enjoyable camera for 40mm and 50mm lenses, and longer ones, and even 35mm with the whole window... The R2M/A has lower magnification and no life size view... Not a problem at all, anyway: my R4M has even lower maginification, and I use it a lot and I enjoy it too... It's only that the 1:1 window is cool...
Another superb specification about the R3M vs. the R3A is that the mechanical camera shows you a light reading in half stops instead of whole stops, so you're sure about the precise aperture setting / speed you should use, and that's not too important if you shoot at box speed, but it really is when there's little light and you push film...
Happy shooting!
Cheers,
Juan
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Old 05-13-2014   #10
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I'm glad you put your cards on the table, Mark. I was wondering where you might be going with this poll.

I haven't owned a Leica M, just a Minolta CLE and Hexar RF. The Hexar in particular I like a lot ... but it's such a different beast to the IIIc that I can't really say LIKE one more than the other.

The Barnack has that mechanical-jewel feeling that neither the plastic CLE or the techno-wizard Hexar have. The shooting style is much more slow and deliberate, which is no bad thing. You don't want to change lenses with a screw-mount Leica - or Bessa R. M-mounts tempt you with quick swaps, which can be good or bad depending on the circumstances.

I'm preparing to do some photography at a friend's wedding: I'll use the Hexar because it handles so much faster. But a few weeks ago I went around and photographed a street art festival here in Toowoomba, and for that I took the IIIc and a MF RF.

I do think it's worth posing the question as you have: either/or. I am happy with an uber-modern M (compatible) and a Barnack because they are so different. A mechanical Leica M and an Barnack wouldn't differentiate enough for me to keep both. But I don't know which one I would keep. I can tell you that I kept the IIIc and gave away the Bessa R. I didn't mind the plastic body, but the Hexar was all the bessa was and more so I wasn't using the Bessa.

I could be talked into letting the CLE go but it has it's place in the ecosystem: my 40mm lens lives on it.
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Old 05-13-2014   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Hi Mark,
All Bessas are great, and well built... All brands can give problems...
Once I made a poll here on RFF about forum members that required repairs for autoexposure "M" cameras, including Bessa R3A, Zeiss Ikon and Leica M7... Guess which one was the less problematic? The Bessa!
And the service at cameraquest is great: I bought my R3A used from them, and it's been absolutely perfect for several years including beach and trips...
If I were you, I would consider very seriously the R3M: the 1:1 view in my R3A is a joy, but I never use autoexposure because nothing's really medium gray, so it isn't something we can really trust or use without worries...
A perfect, durable, enjoyable camera for 40mm and 50mm lenses, and longer ones, and even 35mm with the whole window... The R2M/A has lower magnification and no life size view... Not a problem at all, anyway: my R4M has even lower maginification, and I use it a lot and I enjoy it too... It's only that the 1:1 window is cool...
Happy shooting!
Cheers,
Juan
Thank you Juan.
There is actually an opportunity for me to buy a local R3A in great condition for a very nice price. Suit my 50' Cron nicely, but my only hesitation is its utility with my other love the CV 28/3.5. Obviously the R4 is a good match but I also hear the edge of the R2 window can be used for framing….I don't wear glasses when shooting.

Thanks again Juan. So refreshing to not hear I need to buy an MP with Noctilux to shoot anything of value.
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Old 05-13-2014   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
I'm glad you put your cards on the table, Mark. I was wondering where you might be going with this poll.

I haven't owned a Leica M, just a Minolta CLE and Hexar RF. The Hexar in particular I like a lot ... but it's such a different beast to the IIIc that I can't really say LIKE one more than the other.

The Barnack has that mechanical-jewel feeling that neither the plastic CLE or the techno-wizard Hexar have. The shooting style is much more slow and deliberate, which is no bad thing. You don't want to change lenses with a screw-mount Leica - or Bessa R. M-mounts tempt you with quick swaps, which can be good or bad depending on the circumstances.

I'm preparing to do some photography at a friend's wedding: I'll use the Hexar because it handles so much faster. But a few weeks ago I went around and photographed a street art festival here in Toowoomba, and for that I took the IIIc and a MF RF.

I do think it's worth posing the question as you have: either/or. I am happy with an uber-modern M (compatible) and a Barnack because they are so different. A mechanical Leica M and an Barnack wouldn't differentiate enough for me to keep both. But I don't know which one I would keep. I can tell you that I kept the IIIc and gave away the Bessa R. I didn't mind the plastic body, but the Hexar was all the bessa was and more so I wasn't using the Bessa.

I could be talked into letting the CLE go but it has it's place in the ecosystem: my 40mm lens lives on it.
Thanks Scrambler. My main concern with the Hexar RF - much like the CLE I had for a time - is serviceability. I hear horror stories of folks who bond with their camera only to find that not for love or money can they be fixed if tragedy befalls them.

Meanwhile any and every ZM I have seen sits well outside of my price-range.
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Old 05-13-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillshunter View Post
Pioneer, are you referring to the original LTM-version 'R 'or the Bessa R range more generally?
I have the R, the R2C (Contax) and the R3A so it is obvious I have no problem using the Voigtlander Bessa cameras. That being said however, the Leica Barnack cameras are in a league of their own regarding build.

But the newest Barnack, the IIIg, is fast approaching 60 now, and they were built for a completely different generation. Most people appreciate the modern amenities provided by the Bessa cameras. As Juan says, they are very reliable cameras so I doubt you will be disappointed with the R3A.
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Old 05-13-2014   #14
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If money is a concern then also the Jupiter and Industar lenses are no bad choice at all. Considering that I paid about US$100 for my IIIb and US$40 for either Industar-50 or J-8 (both 50mm) I would say it is the camera with the best performance/price ratio I have.

The only thing I do not like about the little Barnacks is the necessary external VF for any focal length other than 50mm. The lack of frame-lines and parallax compensation is nothing to worry about (for me at least ....)
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Old 05-13-2014   #15
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I love shooting with my IIIc and Canon IVSB2. They're beautiful robust works of mechanical art, and they can easily slip into a coat pocket. I find that one or the other is my preferred carry when I want a compact shooter, such as on a long walk or a backpack trip. I can't say that I enjoy shooting them more than my M2 or M4-2, but I enjoy them as much. Shooting a Barnack is a slower process for me than shooting with an M. I prefer an M for street photography, and a Barnack for landscape work.
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Old 05-13-2014   #16
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My IIIf was very small and portable compared to the M3, but all round, much preferred the M. Film loading and general use of shutter speed dial, finder, etc.
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Old 05-13-2014   #17
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I understand, Mark. I very nearly hit the go-no-further wall with my CLE but advice from this forum got it moving again. The Hexar gives a much better impression of solidity, and I understand they are still serviceable, but like any electronic device that has limits. And there are no shortage of them - and for the price of a ZM you could buy two. Or buy a replacement for not much more than the price of a quality CLA on a Leica.

I could give the standard RFF advice - you won't lose (much) money on buying and selling so you could buy, try, and sell what you don't use. But I'm useless at selling stuff so that advice doesn't work for me!
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Old 05-13-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillshunter View Post
Thank you Juan.
There is actually an opportunity for me to buy a local R3A in great condition for a very nice price. Suit my 50' Cron nicely, but my only hesitation is its utility with my other love the CV 28/3.5. Obviously the R4 is a good match but I also hear the edge of the R2 window can be used for framing….I don't wear glasses when shooting.

Thanks again Juan. So refreshing to not hear I need to buy an MP with Noctilux to shoot anything of value.
The R4 is nice for the 28 bacause in a frame selector position you see the 28 lines and nothing else... But I have stopped using my 28 on my R4M, because of the very light weight of my T's... I use the 28 3.5 as my main lens, and as I keep it prefocused and at f8, I don't need looking through a focusing window, and lately I use my tiny 28 everywhere with the CV 28 brightline finder: a truly magic view!
So maybe an R3 and the external 28 finder for your Skopar can give you the very best that's available...
Cheers,
Juan
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Old 05-13-2014   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
The R4 is nice for the 28 bacause in a frame selector position you see the 28 lines and nothing else... But I have stopped using my 28 on my R4M, because of the very light weight of my T's... I use the 28 3.5 as my main lens, and as I keep it prefocused and at f8, I don't need looking through a focusing window, and lately I use my tiny 28 everywhere with the CV 28 brightline finder: a truly magic view!
So maybe an R3 and the external 28 finder for your Skopar can give you the very best that's available...
Cheers,
Juan
Oh Juan this doesn't help me at all, as I already have the CV Brightline 28mm finder for my CV28/3.5 and IIIf. Oh goodness me…..this might hurt financially as I do love the 1:1 view through my SBOOI.
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Old 05-13-2014   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillshunter View Post
Oh Juan this doesn't help me at all, as I already have the CV Brightline 28mm finder for my CV28/3.5 and IIIf. Oh goodness me…..this might hurt financially as I do love the 1:1 view through my SBOOI.

Well, if you already got that 28 3.5 and that 28 external finder, all you really need is the R3... A or M, both will do it!
Or get an MP or a black M2 instead: you choose!
That's what I've told myself for years, and I got no MP nor black M2...
Good luck to your wallet!
Cheers,
Juan
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Old 05-13-2014   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post

Well, if you already got that 28 3.5 and that 28 external finder, all you really need is the R3... A or M, both will do it!
Or get an MP or a black M2 instead: you choose!
That's what I've told myself for years, and I got no MP nor black M2...
Good luck to your wallet!
Cheers,
Juan
Juan, Juan, Juan, I have just put an offer on the R3A with grip, strap, softies, etc.….now I will sit back nervously and wait. I am in the lap of the Gods now my friend,
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Old 05-13-2014   #22
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Mmmm... nope. The IIIf was fine and all, and I've always had a soft spot for the Canon VT; but neither is a patch on my M3.
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Old 05-13-2014   #23
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Juan, Juan, Juan, I have just put an offer on the R3A with grip, strap, softies, etc.….now I will sit back nervously and wait. I am in the lap of the Gods now my friend,
I'm glad for you...
By the way, I use the grip on the R3A and it's nice both for holding it and for the way the camera hangs with it... You'll enjoy it for sure!
Cheers,
Juan
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Old 05-13-2014   #24
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I'm with most of you here: I like the Barnacks for their size, weight and looks and because they are excellent shooters delivering those wonderful classic-styled images when fitted with the contemporary lenses (says the man with 13 Barnacks in the display cabinet
M's are easier to handle though, beautiful too, but with less of the classic appeal that the Barnacks have (says the man with 11 Ms and a CL in the cabinet ).
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Old 05-14-2014   #25
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My IIIa is lovely, and in many ways nicer than an M. But equally, my Ms have vastly better viewfinders and take a much wider range of better lenses. This makes it easier, at least for me, to take better pictures.

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Old 05-14-2014   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
I'm glad for you...
By the way, I use the grip on the R3A and it's nice both for holding it and for the way the camera hangs with it... You'll enjoy it for sure!
Cheers,
Juan
Hope so my friend. Won and paid for. Should arrive in a week or so.
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Old 05-14-2014   #27
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I had a IIa with Elmar 50/3,5 coated. Wonderful camera, but the double viewfinder wasn't so fast. Now MP, wonderful too, bigger, but easier.
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Old 05-14-2014   #28
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I have plenty of LTM cameras, both "Barnack" style & later, more modernized types from Canon, Nicca, etc. I greatly prefer any M model, & "modern" LTM bodies like the Canon P, for pure usability. However, for those on a budget, most LTM cameras are a relatively affordable platform for the huge universe of LTM lenses, & they're still fun & capable shooters. AFAIK, the only practical advantage of the Barnack-type bodies is their small size, but I find them interesting from an aesthetic/industrial design & historical perspective.
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Old 05-14-2014   #29
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I have both M3 and IIIf. I voted the truth, that I like them equally, but the M3 takes my 'best' lenses (DR summicron and superangulon) so it is the one I would keep if I could only retain one.
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Old 05-14-2014   #30
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I started with IIf and IIc, inherited my father's IIIf when he passed away. I sold the IIIf pretty quickly (it was too much of a 'sacred object' for me to keep and use, no one else wanted it). While I keep the IIs until they were lost, an M3 and M2 I'd acquired in the late '70s were much more useful and pleasant to use.

I'd like a 1930s generation Leica II (in black with an Elmar) just for the nostalgia, because I think it's pretty, but when it comes to Leica M-mount cameras I think the M4-2 and CL are what I'm most comfortable with using.

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Old 05-14-2014   #31
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The main advantage to the "schraubgewinde" Leicas is the 1.5x magnification RF. IIIa was my first RF - I got used to the enlarged view and now I find I can not use an RF with less than 1:1 magnification. I can use an M3, but the M2-type .72 family of finders and I do not get along.

I lusted after an M when I could not afford one. Now I can afford one, and I have tried a few. I have found (like Mr. Spock) "The wanting is sometimes better than the having. It is not logical, but it is true."

I use a painted, post-war IIIc with a SOOBI 5cm BL finder. Usually with a Nokton 50/1.5 - sometimes with a clean Summitar. The RF has been redone with a modern beamsplitter by Youxin Ye. And I love my Kodak Medalist with it's separate, magnified RF. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
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Old 05-14-2014   #32
Bill Clark
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I really like them both.

Barnack cameras and lenses are generally less expensive, at least that's what I have found. The LTM cameras I have bought seem to have been used a lot less than the M cameras.

Perhaps when the M3 came out the Barnack went into the sock drawer!
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Old 05-14-2014   #33
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Since a lot of my photography is now cam-on-tripod, I'll probably scratch my LTM itch by mounting an Elmar 3.5/50 on my M3. I tried out a IIf for a weekend, but had to return it. I still yearn for that little camera. It was so jewel-like!
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Old 05-14-2014   #34
Dez
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The Barnack Leicas are superb machines, built to the finest quality standards, and an exercise in precision to use. But there were reasons that Leitz came up with the M's and subsequently discontinued the screwmount cameras.

The M viewfinders are infinitely better. It's just not a matter of convenience: I will get shots with an M that I will miss with a Barnack because of the time spent in framing and focusing with the dinky little separate VF and RF. Based on years of experience with the M series, Leitz had the chance to update the Barnacks with a good combined VF/RF and a back door for easier film loading in the IIIG and didn't do it. And of course, I can still use all my screwmount lenses.

I will have to agree with many of the thoughts posted here about the wonderful little Bessas. I have both an M4 and a Bessa 3A, and I suspect I use the Bessa twice as much as the M4

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Old 05-14-2014   #35
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I love them one and all.

Most used camera is still the ZI. What the M3 should have evolved to.

Closing on the ZI, my most used Leica this year, based on total frames, is the M9.

Followed closely by the Leica Null.

After that, by the Leica M3.
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Old 05-14-2014   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
The Barnack Leicas are superb machines, built to the finest quality standards, and an exercise in precision to use. But there were reasons that Leitz came up with the M's and subsequently discontinued the screwmount cameras.

The M viewfinders are infinitely better. It's just not a matter of convenience: I will get shots with an M that I will miss with a Barnack because of the time spent in framing and focusing with the dinky little separate VF and RF. Based on years of experience with the M series, Leitz had the chance to update the Barnacks with a good combined VF/RF and a back door for easier film loading in the IIIG and didn't do it. And of course, I can still use all my screwmount lenses.

I will have to agree with many of the thoughts posted here about the wonderful little Bessas. I have both an M4 and a Bessa 3A, and I suspect I use the Bessa twice as much as the M4

Cheers,
Dez
I have only owned the Barnack type -- a IIIf. I also have a Bessa T which s a bit more modern as Juan has described and takes M lenses--of which I have just one. a CV Nokton 35/1.4.

The Bessa is a really a good camera, nicely designed and solid but also light weight. The IIIf is just . . . well, wonderful--especially with the collapsible Elmar lens. Just a beautiful example of industrial design--compact, well proportioned, solid and really SMALL . . .I love it.

I am tempted by the M's viewfinder, but so far haven't bitten. I've gotten my hands on a M6. It's heavier and a bit of a brick -- I thought ---what am I saying?--But maybe the smooth operation and great viewfinder makes up for that. None of the Ms have 1/2000 or built in light meter on the camera body, features i appreciate on the Bessa T.
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Old 05-14-2014   #37
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Quote:
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But there were reasons that Leitz came up with the M's and subsequently discontinued the screwmount cameras.
Subsequently?! Leitz continued to make screwmount cameras for SIX [edit] years after the M's were introduced! And by that time, the M itself was being supplanted (with pros, in any case) by the Nikon F.

For that reason, I don't believe it's self evident that the M was "vastly superior" for every customer. It was certainly a bit more convenient and it had a major "conspicuous consumption" factor...

A heretical notion around here, but the M doesn't really make better pictures than a IIIg... it's just a little ... easier. Well, until the more modern lenses came out in M mount only - but to paraphrase one of people's complaints about Apple - that was just Leitz "forcing you to upgrade."

Don't get worked up over what I just said. Just me being goofy.
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Old 05-14-2014   #38
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Yes, Leitz continued to make screwmount cameras and lenses for a long time after the M3 was well established. Why? Because they could sell them at a lower price.

Photographers are always looking for a lower-priced Leica. ;-)

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Old 05-14-2014   #39
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Well, you all will just have to respect that my non-rational reasons for preferring a Barnack over an M are just as valid as your non-rational reasons for preferring an M over some actual modern picture-making device. ;>)

People who love the 356 series Porsche will make the same arguments about the 911. The heart wants what the heart wants.
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Old 05-14-2014   #40
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Well, you all will just have to respect that my non-rational reasons for preferring a Barnack over an M are just as valid as your non-rational reasons for preferring an M over some actual modern picture-making device. ;>)

People who love the 356 series Porsche will make the same arguments about the 911. The heart wants what the heart wants.
Beautiful, but an even worse rust-bucket than the early 911. Why do so few 356 Porsches survive outside California?

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