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Want to buy a M mount film camera. Advice?
Old 05-31-2016   #1
RF-OG
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Want to buy a M mount film camera. Advice?

Hi,

I want to buy myself a film camera and shoot some film, but I want something special that lasts. Hence a M mount so I can try some Leica glass. I prefer a Leica M6 for no apparent reason than it is a Leica, but I realise that it is quite expensive still. The important thing is really the glass, what is a good alternative, say budget is around 1000 USD with a nice 35 or 50 mm lens. I know very little about the different brands or models.

Thanks for your input
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Old 05-31-2016   #2
jsrockit
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Leica M3 with a collapsible 50mm Summicron or 50mm Elmar 2.8 will be around $1000 or so.
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Old 05-31-2016   #3
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You might care to have a look at "Leicaphilia", http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...icaphilia.html

It's a bit out of date, because I wrote it when both the ZI and the Voigtländers were still in production, but it's probably still quite useful. Personally I'd buy the best body I could afford, regardless of which M it is, and a Voigtländer lens. I wouldn't go near an M3 because I like 35mm lenses, but I can live without a meter so I might well go for an M2: the viewfinders don't flare out anything like as badly as M4-5-6.

I currently have M2, M4-P, MP, M8, M9 and I've had M1 (borrowed), M3 (sold for reason given above), and M6, M6ttl, M8.2 and M typ 240 (all borrowed for magazine reviews) so I'm reasonably familiar with the things.

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Old 05-31-2016   #4
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depending on your preference of metering I'd say a M2, M4-2 or a M6.
You could get a J8 50/2 to start with the M6 although I'd argue the ergonomics of that lens aren't ideal to say nicely. Maybe a Canon 50mm f/1.4 can be squeezed into the budget.
With the meterless route I'd say there is enough money left to get a lens from Voigtländer that rocks (Skopar 35/2.5, Nokton 50/1.5) or the Zeiss Planar 50 or a vintage leica 50.
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Old 05-31-2016   #5
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Color or BW film? 35 is very different from 50 by all means.

1K USD is small budged for Leica M and nice lens. It is around 700 USD for camera in user condition. It means working, worn outside, might need CLA, but still works. I have paid 725 USD for M4-P like this in RFF classifieds one week or so ago.
With 300 USD you are limited with lens choice:
Old LTM mount Leitz 50mm. You'll need to pay 10-70 USD for LTM-M adapter to have LTM lens on M camera. Good for classic BW.
FSU made Jupiter-8 LTM mount 50/2 lens is great after CLA and re-shimming for M camera. Nice and great, costs under $100. As good as old Leitz LTM lenses. For BW.
35mm in rangefinders world means more money. If you search and wait, Color Skopar 35 2.5 in M-mount are popping up under 300 USD. No LTM-M adapter needed. Great for color.
Where are some old, made in Japan 35 and 50mm lenses LTM-M as well under $300. To me they ain't nice, but better than nothing.
FSU Jupiter-12 is weird, not ergonomical 35mm lens which is the cheapest one among 35mm rangefinders lenses. Easy to obtain in clean condition under $100. OK for bw.

I would recommend to spend $1000 on working, non-trashed camera, get cheap FSU lens with good LTM-M adapter and keep on saving for nice and Leica lens (another $1000).

Free lightmeter application does the job right to determine correct exposure, BTW.
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Old 05-31-2016   #6
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for $1000 you can get..
M3 + 50mm
M2 + 35mm or 50mm
M4 + 35mm or 50mm

for 50mm your choices are the old summicrons, canon LTM 1.8 or 1.4, voigtlander 50mm LTM
for 35mm you could look at the old summarons or voigtlander color-skopar
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Old 05-31-2016   #7
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I was in the same position a couple of years ago and ended up with a very nice M2 (bought from a trusted store that offered a 6 month guarantee), and a Voigtlander 35/f2.5 Color Skopar (M mount version). All up it cost about $1000usd.

The little Voigtlander might not be a Leica, but it's a lovely bit of glass nonetheless.
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Old 05-31-2016   #8
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Good luck with whatever you end up buying, by the way?, there are lots of good (better) lenses out on the market that aren't Leica.
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Old 05-31-2016   #9
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Good advice from Roger. The Voigtlander 1.5 / 50 is worth a look (in both mounts). The M3, while having. superb finder, is only good from 50 upwards, really.
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Old 05-31-2016   #10
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If a metered M is what you're after, I'm not sure you'll be entirely happy with an M2 or M3 as others have suggested. With a bit of patience and persistence, you could pick up a good user M6 and a 35mm Voigtlander Color-Skopar f/2.5 for around (or slightly above) $1,000. I currently use that as my back up combination and it works exactly as well as my MP/Summicron combination, for which I paid a considerably higher price.
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Old 05-31-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photon42 View Post
The M3, while having. superb finder, is only good from 50 upwards, really.
The M3 is fine with 35mm via:

- using the entire viewfinder for framing
- add on viewfinder
- 35mm lens with goggles

The benefit is the best of all viewfinders, with no annoying RF flare and the highest magnification.
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Old 05-31-2016   #12
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An M6 with a lens is not impossible, but close to it, if you want a nice copy. If you really want an M6 I'd up the budget somewhat.

There are also several varieties of M6: 0.72, 0.85 classic; TTL (with various magnifications.) The higher mag and the TTL varieties are generally 20-40% more than your target without a lens.
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Old 05-31-2016   #13
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A Leica CL + 40mm Summicron-C. It's got a battery-powered meter but the camera is all mechanical so if the battery dies you can still use all the shutter speeds. That's one of the hallmarks of Leica film cameras.
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Old 05-31-2016   #14
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Wow, thanks for all the replies folks! Much appreciated!! It seems I am a little too tight with the money. It is not really about saving, it is more like if I knew I liked it, I could go higher for the right camera/lens combination. It really do not *have* to be Leica M - I guess a Voightlander Bessa or something could do it, but I always had that Leica lust.
I´ll keep on looking a bit at the suggested links and read up so I know better what I want. Since I am in Norway, buying abroad means another 25% added to the cost due to VAT, but I´ll search for some trusted shops - a bit more safe than ebay.
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Old 05-31-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winzenbourg View Post
If a metered M is what you're after, I'm not sure you'll be entirely happy with an M2 or M3 as others have suggested. With a bit of patience and persistence, you could pick up a good user M6 and a 35mm Voigtlander Color-Skopar f/2.5 for around (or slightly above) $1,000. I currently use that as my back up combination and it works exactly as well as my MP/Summicron combination, for which I paid a considerably higher price.

Yes I think metered is better for me. I am just a happy amateur with very limited experience in film photography. Voigtlander lens may be a smart idea.
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Old 05-31-2016   #16
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I think as far as Leica RFs go it mainly depends on these factors:

- Your most used focal length (which will in part dictate what viewfinder magnification you go for)

- Meter or meterless

- Size/weight (how much weight you want to lug with you, and ideally to correspond with your lens choice; i.e. heavier lenses with larger bodies)

- Finish (black paint, black chrome, chrome)

- Manual or aperture priority


You'll get a lot of suggestions based on everyone's personal tastes, but If you can answer those questions then I'm sure the forum can give you a very decisive recommendation.
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Old 05-31-2016   #17
RF-OG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Color or BW film? 35 is very different from 50 by all means.

1K USD is small budged for Leica M and nice lens. It is around 700 USD for camera in user condition. It means working, worn outside, might need CLA, but still works. I have paid 725 USD for M4-P like this in RFF classifieds one week or so ago.
With 300 USD you are limited with lens choice:
Old LTM mount Leitz 50mm. You'll need to pay 10-70 USD for LTM-M adapter to have LTM lens on M camera. Good for classic BW.
FSU made Jupiter-8 LTM mount 50/2 lens is great after CLA and re-shimming for M camera. Nice and great, costs under $100. As good as old Leitz LTM lenses. For BW.
35mm in rangefinders world means more money. If you search and wait, Color Skopar 35 2.5 in M-mount are popping up under 300 USD. No LTM-M adapter needed. Great for color.
Where are some old, made in Japan 35 and 50mm lenses LTM-M as well under $300. To me they ain't nice, but better than nothing.
FSU Jupiter-12 is weird, not ergonomical 35mm lens which is the cheapest one among 35mm rangefinders lenses. Easy to obtain in clean condition under $100. OK for bw.

I would recommend to spend $1000 on working, non-trashed camera, get cheap FSU lens with good LTM-M adapter and keep on saving for nice and Leica lens (another $1000).

Free lightmeter application does the job right to determine correct exposure, BTW.
BW first and foremost. Yeah it seems my budget for an M6 and lens is a bit small. I will take a look at some non-metered options, but the app thought is not too appealing.
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Old 05-31-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nongfuspring View Post
I think as far as Leica RFs go it mainly depends on these factors:

- Your most used focal length (which will in part dictate what viewfinder magnification you go for)

- Meter or meterless

- Size/weight (how much weight you want to lug with you, and ideally to correspond with your lens choice; i.e. heavier lenses with larger bodies)

- Finish (black paint, black chrome, chrome)

- Manual or aperture priority


You'll get a lot of suggestions based on everyone's personal tastes, but If you can answer those questions then I'm sure the forum can give you a very decisive recommendation.
I´ll give it a go

Focal lenght - prefer 35 but would also accept 50 if cheaper
Meter
Size is less important. I don´t think a RF with 50 or 35 will be to bulky
Chrome finish (if that is that silver look)
I shoot mostly aperture priority but I think I prefer a fully manual camera for this one.

I can add also a that I mainly will be shooting BW film and that the camera I really want is a Leica Monochrome (but need to win the lottery first )
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Old 05-31-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RF-OG View Post
BW first and foremost. Yeah it seems my budget for an M6 and lens is a bit small. I will take a look at some non-metered options, but the app thought is not too appealing.
I also have cheap, under $100, purchased NiB Sekonic-208L handheld light meter. Small, accurate enough for BW and old style design with needle interface.
But most of the time it is guessing or measuring once at beginning.
Meterless Leica M and BW film is liberating!
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Old 05-31-2016   #20
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Don't forget to look at the Zeiss Ikon. Better viewfinder, cheaper, easier loading, and aperture priority.
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Old 05-31-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RF-OG View Post
Hi,

I want to buy myself a film camera and shoot some film, but I want something special that lasts. Hence a M mount so I can try some Leica glass. I prefer a Leica M6 for no apparent reason than it is a Leica, but I realise that it is quite expensive still. The important thing is really the glass, what is a good alternative, say budget is around 1000 USD with a nice 35 or 50 mm lens. I know very little about the different brands or models.

Thanks for your input
Hi RF-OG!

$1000 doesn't go far in the world of Leica. A good condition M6 body usually costs $1000 or more here in Denmark. 2nd hand M-mount lenses are expensive, too, but older versions (referred to as generations 1 & 2) are more affordable.

Price-wise, if you want a M body with a M lens, you might do it with a M2/M3/M4 and a chrome version of a 35 or 50mm lens of the same age. And then get a $100 handheld meter.

If you want the built-in meter and AE function, take a look at the Konica Hexar RF. It's basically like a Leica M7, and takes M-mount lenses. Prices vary, but I'm pretty sure they are cheaper than the Leica M6, and certainly cheaper than the M7. Konica's own M-mount lenses are supposedly very good.

Like you know, the lenses are what count when it comes to Leica. So if the budget matters, getting a 2nd hand Voigtländer RF body and the best lens the rest of the money can buy would make sense to me.

I hope this helps. Let's know what you decide on.
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Old 05-31-2016   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RF-OG View Post
Yes I think metered is better for me. I am just a happy amateur with very limited experience in film photography.
Don't dismiss the meter-less bodies too quickly. I'm also a happy amateur and it's surprising how quickly you get the knack of a fully manual body, and how much you learn about exposure along the way. With the exceptional exposure latitude of colour neg and black and white, it doesn't take much practice before you can fairly consistently guess correct exposure for most standard lighting situations...
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Old 05-31-2016   #23
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It really do not *have* to be Leica M - I guess a Voightlander Bessa or something could do it, but I always had that Leica lust.
Then do not get a Bessa, or Ikon etc. Get a Leica, otherwise you will still be lusting for one but spent money on something else.
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Old 05-31-2016   #24
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If you're an amateur, do not purchase a meterless body. You will have a learning curve with exposures. You will spend too much time figuring out exposure, missing shots in the process. Film is not as inexpensive as it once was to buy or to develop commercially. Many people today who use meterless bodies learned with them years ago before metered bodies were readily available or affordable.
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Old 05-31-2016   #25
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I wish there was a way to 'rent' Leica M bodies. Speaking from experience having now used a couple different bodies, the Bessa's are just as nice to shoot with, if you don't mind the framelines and slightly louder metal shutter sound. But yeah, like previous people might've mentioned, Leica-lust is something you have to work yourself out of.
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Want to buy a M mount film camera. Advice?
Old 05-31-2016   #26
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Want to buy a M mount film camera. Advice?

Don't waste your money on a cheaper "test" purchase. It never works out cheaper in the long run. Not for me at least
If you lust after a Leica body, which is entirely legitimate, then just get one! Life is too short.
The pinnacle of the Leica M mount cameras in terms of feel and value is M2 or M4 if unmetered, and M6 if metered.
I have an M2 and an MP. The M2 feels better built.
Save for a 35 Summarit 2.5 and start taking photos.
If the Leica experience doesn't work for you, sell at little or no loss


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Old 05-31-2016   #27
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I was so happy when the MP 0.58x came out because I was always more comfortable with a 28mm. When I got bitten by the Leica bug I started using the 35mm really out of convenience due to me not able to see 28mm framelines on the .72x finder. I prefer to travel with two bodies with 28mm and 50mm. Just an FYI.
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Old 05-31-2016   #28
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I was so happy when the MP 0.58x came out because I was always more comfortable with a 28mm. When I got bitten by the Leica bug I started using the 35mm really out of convenience due to me not able to see 28mm framelines on the .72x finder. I prefer to travel with two bodies with 28mm and 50mm. Just an FYI.
I'm not picking on you Rayt but this is just the kind of advice the OP doesn't need. The OP can barely afford one body and one lens and you're chiming in about carrying two lenses and two bodies, including a 28mm lens that is in some cases more expensive than his entire budget.

There are quite a few folks on this forum with a lot of disposable income. The OP is apparently not one of them.
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Old 05-31-2016   #29
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I'm not picking on you Rayt but this is just the kind of advice the OP doesn't need. The OP can barely afford one body and one lens and you're chiming in about carrying two lenses and two bodies, including a 28mm lens that is in some cases more expensive than his entire budget.

There are quite a few folks on this forum with a lot of disposable income. The OP is apparently not one of them.
Right you are. A more appropriate recommendation within budget would be an SLR. If the OP really wants a Leica then I recommend an SL or R4 with early 28mm Elmarit and 50mm all can be had within budget.
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Old 05-31-2016   #30
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It's a pitty that getting fsu gear is quite a lottery... a nice Zorki 3 and a bunch of Jupiters can save ones day.
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Old 05-31-2016   #31
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Can't believe nobody has mentioned the M5. There is one on the Classifieds right now IIRC. In my opinion, the best Leica M for actually making photos.
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Old 05-31-2016   #32
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Can't believe nobody has mentioned the M5. There is one on the Classifieds right now IIRC. In my opinion, the best Leica M for actually making photos.
And, unless you're one of the few people who actually like the brick-like things, the worst for handling. For that matter, why on earth is it better than any other Leica for making pictures?

"Leica lust" (which as many say is hard to overcome) normally means a proper Leica such as a non-M5 M or a screw-mount. Personally I'd rather have a Voigtländer than an M5 but I am perfectly happy with Voigtländer lenses on my Leicas or Voigtländers.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-01-2016   #33
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If you're an amateur, do not purchase a meterless body. You will have a learning curve with exposures. . . .
Oh, come on. Are we so much less competent than our parents and grandparents that we cannot learn to use unmetered bodies? For that matter, what's wrong with separate, hand-held meters?

And what's wrong with a "learning curve"? The key word is "learning". Why not learn what you're doing instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all crutch in the shape of a built-in meter? A basic exposure guide such as http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...expoguide.html ; few weeks; a few rolls of film; that's all you need and you're set for life.

Finally, who do you THINK buys unmetered cameras today? Do you think they're all professionals?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-01-2016   #34
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One thousand USD is not a lot in Leicaland, but you just need to adjust your belief system, because owning a Leica actually does not cost anything if you buy it at the right price, and then sell it back for the same money if not thrilled with it. In case you are going to be happy, you will be glad that you have chosen the right camera to begin with.
For static subjects I would recommend an M3 or M4, depending if you like 50mm or 35mm FOV, and for moving subjects an M7, which comes in 3 VF magnifications, so you can fit it to your favourite FOV.

M7 0.85x, Elmar M 50/2.8 II, Tri X
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Old 06-01-2016   #35
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A lot of advice in here, thank you. The point of views are all valuable to me. I am not sure what to do, the M6 costs a bit more than I imagined (note to myself: check prices first). I´ll snoop around for a while and see if I can strike a deal on a M6 with a nice lens. I am in no hurry as this is not going to be my primary system anyway, I may set aside some more money a bit later in the fall.
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Old 06-01-2016   #36
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I appreciate the budget factor, but every used M I have purchased required expensive repair work. It cost as much as the camera. Be careful. Leica is a money pit not for the cash challenged.
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Old 06-01-2016   #37
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Consider a Bessa body along with CV lenses.
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Old 06-01-2016   #38
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I appreciate the budget factor, but every used M I have purchased required expensive repair work. It cost as much as the camera. Be careful. Leica is a money pit not for the cash challenged.
Dear Ronald,

Odd. I've had exactly the opposite experience. NO used M I have ever bought has EVER required any repair work until I'd used it a lot, and then, it's only been two (out of maybe a dozen I've owned -- I still have M2, M4P, MP). A 30- or 40-year-old M2 jammed without warning and the M4-P was dropped by a cretinous official at LAX. When they were repaired, it wasn't expensive, either: certainly, nothing like the price of the camera.

Of course it's foolish to buy a camera you can't afford, but equally, "money pit" is hyperbolic overstatement.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-01-2016   #39
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I could understand why some are pushing non-Leica RFs here on Leica sub-forum, but SLR...
I don't need this Nikon SLRs and lenses for free! Leica and only Leica!!!
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Old 06-01-2016   #40
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I appreciate the budget factor, but every used M I have purchased required expensive repair work. It cost as much as the camera. Be careful. Leica is a money pit not for the cash challenged.
Not my experience at all. Did you purchase functioning cameras?
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