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Zeiss Ikon ZM vs Leica M6
Old 02-18-2020   #1
CharlesDAMorgan
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Zeiss Ikon ZM vs Leica M6

I have the opportunity of acquiring a mint one owner chrome M6 with everything (packaging, box, invoices etc) vs an equally mint one owner black Zeiss Ikon ZM with Biogon 35mm f2. I'd really rather not acquire that lens as I already have the Biogon 35 f2.8, but with a conservative estimate for selling the f2, the cost of the Zeiss is about half the M6.

My worries about the Zeiss is that the owner says he's had it since 2003 and only shot a dozen or so rolls, and my feeling is that I'd rather have a camera that has had more exercise. I also worry about future repairs, but then, so do I with the Leica. I've not ever seen or handled an Ikon ZM either.

I've had an M6 and think that it's a fine camera, and with current demand, liable to be a decent store of value.

Thoughts from those who've had an Ikon ZM or both much appreciated. For those who wish to remove temptation from me, the ebay ad for the Ikon ZM
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Old 02-18-2020   #2
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Well the ZI is apparently no longer available, Charles. I wonder if one of our members obliged you or if it went elsewhere?
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Old 02-18-2020   #3
CharlesDAMorgan
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Now that's hilarious! Thank you very much indeed if someone here. He seemed keen to sell, and I thought the price (in the context of the madness we see in some camera values) decent enough.
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Old 02-18-2020   #4
Ko.Fe.
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I would get ZI and lens for speculation and then get CLA’d M or get not expensive M and send it for CLA.
But I have no idea who will service ZI once it needs it, seems to be single use, experience camera. This is why for me it is good only for speculation. 35f2 ZM is good lens for resale as well
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Old 02-18-2020   #5
CharlesDAMorgan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I would get ZI and lens for speculation and then get CLA’d M or get not expensive M and send it for CLA.
But I have no idea who will service ZI once it needs it, seems to be single use, experience camera. This is why for me it is good only for speculation. 35f2 ZM is good lens for resale as well
Very good advice, someone got there first though!
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Old 02-18-2020   #6
superultramega
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For general information purposes; Zeiss serviced my Ikon in late 2019.
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Old 02-18-2020   #7
james.liam
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Is the M6 the TTL version or the so-called “Classic”?

Leica won’t replace the TTL’s meter if it fails as parts are no longer available.
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Old 02-18-2020   #8
CharlesDAMorgan
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Classic - much as I love the TTL shutter controls, it offers me little more for the lots of cash!
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Old 02-18-2020   #9
presspass
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If you have not looked at, and through the viewfinder of, a ZI, you should do so before purchasing if you intend to use the camera. The viewfinder is outstanding, but the meter readout is on the left side of the finder and can be very difficult to see in bright light. It is also difficult to see if you wear glasses.
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Old 02-18-2020   #10
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Hate it when people give a totally off topic, unsolicited suggestion, but I'm going to do just that. Between those two -- an M6 and ZM -- I'd pick neither. Go for a classic M2. A lot less expensive and better made camera. Don't be fooled into believing you need a meter. Use a hand held meter. Easy peasy, and soon your brain does the calculations in your head and you'll rarely need to check the hand held meter. Over the last 25 years I've shot about every Leica film M (M6 --> M6ttl, --> MP --> MP & M7 ---> M4 --> M5 ---> M3 --> M2), and they're are all capable of taking great pics (as is the ZM), but the meterless cameras really force you think about exposure, and learn light; in sum, become a better photographer. Leica's are all expensive now days, but the M2's seem to be the best value of the lot. Anyway, just my opinion. Do what you want and good luck with it.
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Old 02-18-2020   #11
james.liam
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The recommendation of holding both of them in hand is a wise one. The ZI seems less substantial than the M6. Somehow flimsier though it isn’t. Brighter viewfinder without a doubt. The earlier M6 rangefinder patch may flare easily unless it carries the upgraded optics. The M6 does feel more substantial in-hand. That was my preference. But you cannot go wrong with the ZI. It’s a great camera in its own right.
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Old 02-18-2020   #12
PaulCooper
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I had both of those cameras. Whereas ZI viewfinder is better, and the camera'metering is better as well, the body itself feels tinny. It feels like a tank in one's hands, but also breaks down easly, and the cost of repairs...
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Old 02-18-2020   #13
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I've owned many Ms and a couple of ZIs. The ZI weighs less, no doubt. That's a good thing. Heft alone does not necessarily equate with robustness, nor does lightness necessarily equate with the lack of it. Have never seen or heard any indication the ZI is any less reliable than an M or any other contemporary camera model.

The viewfinder is great, slightly greater RF accuracy than M6, diopters are standard/cheap, faster shutter speed and sync, the film loading is much easier, and it's AE, unlike the M6.
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Old 02-18-2020   #14
steveyork
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When I sampled the ZI way back 15 or so years ago, there was some issue with the rangefinder patch. As I recall, you had to keep your eye directly centered or ... I forget exactly. I think it was the patch would fade out. Great eye reef though. What drives a bit crazy about M6's is the inaccuracy of the frame lines. When Leica jammed the 28mm lines on the camera, they shrunk all the rest of the boxes. The 50mm lines are really probably about 60mm, and the 35mm lines are more like 40mm. Both cameras has strengths and weaknesses. Probably come down to whether you want a mechanical camera, or an electronic shutter.
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Old 02-18-2020   #15
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Yep, agree with the misgivings re the ZI RF patch. Drove me nuts and I ended up selling the camera. VF, however, was undoubtedly very bright and pleasant. I also enjoyed the small detail of having a film window in the back.

I never had an M6, but seems from the comments above that RF patch flare is an issue on that camera as well. I don't need in-camera metering, so I was able to pick from Leica's earlier, less flare-prone offerings.

Since the ZI is now sold, is the M6 your default choice or are you considering other options (Hexar, M7)?
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Old 02-18-2020   #16
CharlesDAMorgan
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Thanks for all the comments, it is much appreciated. The ZM did indeed go to a forum member for a good price and my hesitation was a good thing.

I've had an M2 and an M3 and love the latter so much. I do use longer lenses a lot, so the M3 works for me better. I also have an M5, which I adore, if a little big. I suspect as much as anything I wanted the M6 because the example is beautiful, and sometimes it's just about lust rather than logic. It's a lot of money for a meter which I'll happily do handheld.

I'll no doubt continue to umm and aah...
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Old 02-18-2020   #17
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In addition to the above comments about build quality, viewfinder quality and weight differences, here's my experience.

I bought my Zeiss Ikon in early 2008, and put maybe a dozen rolls through it, like that other owner. I loved the light weight, slim body, huge viewfinder and longer rangefinder baselength. I saw examples of the strap lugs wearing through very quickly so I put the straps on nylon cord.

A few years ago, I decided to start using it again, and found that it wouldn't turn on. It had completely bricked for no reason at all, just sitting on the shelf. New batteries, cleaned the terminals, nothing. The shutter speeds didn't light up, the shutter didn't fire. Complete brick. I'm taking it to Camera Clinic in Melbourne to see if they can fix it, along with the 28mm Biogon which I bought at the same time. That lens has become very dry and scuffy, despite getting a lot of use on my M9.

This is a very limited sample, but as three of my five Zeiss lenses have focus ring issues, and my Ikon just up and died for no reason, I'm wary of the build quality of that generation of bodies and lenses.
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Old 02-18-2020   #18
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I've had a few ZM bodies over the years, including the Wide.

Wind-on with all of them seemed rough. Not like anything would break, just not well machined. I've not had any other camera wind on like that, not even a K1000. Maybe one of those no-name late SLR bodies. Rough and noisy.

+1 on the readout in the VF being hard to see in bright light. Other than that, the VF was wonderful, and the layout of controls very well done.
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Old 02-18-2020   #19
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I had the ZI when it was new for some months and was quite impressed, in particular with the viewfinder.
But not that much that I kept it (compared to the Bessa R2A/R3A). I think it uses the same electronic shutter which is not famous for reliability.
Then I used a M6 for some years (about 15 years old). I was disappointed with the finder. In fact I prefer the Bessa finders to this day. The M240 finder isn't really better, though.
Both the ZI and M6 are heavy, solid cameras. I like the Bessa size/weight better too...
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Old 02-19-2020   #20
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I thought the zeiss had a wonderful viewfinder, but the film advance felt like it had rocks in it and the shutter sound wasn't as quiet or pleasant as the m6. I never owned one however, just played with one at a trade show.
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