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M4 or M6?

Discussion in 'Leica M Forum' started by yehongxiang, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. yehongxiang

    yehongxiang SC Regular

    47
    Nov 20, 2013
    Hey everyone, I managed to make some money off the buying/selling of trading cards. With this money and after selling off my Fuji X system I would have enough to get a Leica M film system, which is something that I always wanted.

    I've done some research, and narrowed it to between the M6TTL and M4. I like both models because I understand that film is easier to load and wind on these. I also prefer to shoot at 35mm for street photography, and the 35mm framelines on both would be great for me.

    At the moment, I'm more inclined towards the M6TTL because being a newbie I think I would need to start with a metered model as well. Am I wrong to think so and should go for the slightly cheaper but more classic M4, especially with the existence of handphone meters?

    With these considerations in mind as well:

    - I have to wear glasses when I shoot because I'm practically blind without them;
    - I seldom use flash because I mostly shoot in bright sunlight;
    - I intend to use a Voigtlander 35mm f/2,5 for now, while looking out for a Leica 35mm F2 Summicron ASPH; and
    - I mostly shoot street in B&W.

    Thank you!
     
  2. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Mark
    Other than 35mm what is your intended/ultimate lens line up? 21mm, 28mm, 50mm, 90mm, 135mm?
    M6 comes in .91, .72 and .58 VF while M4 is .72 only (these are all from memory) - this might sway your decision if you have specific lenses in mind.
    M6 has a inbuilt meter, M4 doesn't - is this a factor too? Having said that the Voigtlander VCII is a good add-on meter, but adding it adds bulk and more money to the cost of the ultimate package. Also need to take your eye away from the VF to take a reading.

    Personally, though I think the M4 is closer to the Leica M aesthetic, personally I concede the M6 is the better value for money.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. yehongxiang

    yehongxiang SC Regular

    47
    Nov 20, 2013
    I would very likely just have a 35mm, and add a 50mm few years down the road. If I stay disciplined, that is. I have no plans for other lenses beyond these two. I'm actually more inclined towards the M6 right now because it has a meter, and being a newbie I might feel safer with that function around. Reason why M4 is in the contention is exactly what you said - that M4 is closer to the 'classic Leica' aesthetic.
     
  4. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Mark
    The chasing of the Leica aesthetic can be a slippery slope, as if you're thinking of the M4 - you'll definitely like the MP (wouldn't we all love an MP!!) - then the M2 is closer again than the M4. But based on your needs, I agree the M6 is a sound choice. Not many who get an M6 end up regretting it.

    Now which M6?

    Chrome, Black, Panda, Titanium?
    Classic or TTL?
    .72, .85, .58 ?

    For 35 and 50mm standard .72 is the safest bet, though the .85 will give you better focus accuracy esp. for fast 50s.

    Oh to have your choices ;)

    I had the M2 and IIIf most recently, but now quite enjoy my Voigtlander R3A. I fell for that 1:1 finder so badly….and the CV40/1.4 SC plays very, very nice with B&W.
     
  5. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    In my opinion both cameras are excellent. Maybe you do not need the M6 TTL, the classic M6 has metering, too, and is a little bit cheaper. At the end of the day it highly depends on your need of metering. I would need an external meter for the M4 and therefore I would prefer an M6 for convenience.
     
  6. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    I own and use a M6TTL, so consider this a biased opinion.

    Do not discount the convenience of a built in meter. The one in the M6 is extremely unobtrusive, does not interfere in the least with the finder view, and if you decide not to use it, you can just take the battery out and it will disappear from sight.

    If you use glasses and intend to use a 35mm lens, you can cross out the .85x viewfinder from your list. It is difficult enough to see the 35mm frame lines with the .72x finder. .72x works great with the 50mm. I also have a 1.25 magnifier that I use with the 90mm that works quite well.

    The reasons to go for a M6TTL over a M6 classic are:

    1. You get the central dot in the meter readout which makes it easier to use. In the M6 classic, you only get the two arrows, and the correct exposure is achieved when they are both lit to the same level.
    2. The shutter speed dial moves in the logical direction with regard to the meter arrows. On the other hand, for those used to classic Leicas, the dial moves in the opposite direction.
    3. TTL flash metering? Never used it, never will.
    4. You get a newer camera. However, condition is much more important than age.

    If I were buying now, I would just pick the nicest camera I could find, regardless of whether it was a TTL or Classic. In my case, I lucked out and found a TTL from the very last production batch, in mint condition, for a reasonable price.

    Cheers,

    Antonio
     
    • Like Like x 4
  7. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014
    The M6TTL will be newer than the M6, and both newer than the M4. The meter is nice to have. I've only shot one roll with an M6, tested it for an forum member that was stationed overseas and bought it off of Ebay, the seller sent it to me for test and acceptance. Very nice, very smooth. It had been advertised as recent CLA, and it certainly was smooth. I've owned an M2, kept my M3.

    The M4- probably the height of classic Leica all-mechanical cameras. But- getting to be 45+ years old. Figure a Clean-Lube-Adjust will be required.

    With the M3 and M2, a "quick-load" kit was available. I prefer the classic removable spools. I have spares, and would just pre-thread them. Drop the film and spool in at the same time.
     
  8. yehongxiang

    yehongxiang SC Regular

    47
    Nov 20, 2013
    Thanks all. I've thought about it, and I think a meter is really more important to me right now. If I ever stop relying on it I could just sell my M6 and get an M4 or even an M3.

    I'm a bit more concerned about the VF magnification - I have to shoot while wearing glasses, and I worry that I wouldn't see the 35mm framelines through the 0.72x VF. However, the 0.58x VF M6 is not really available in Singapore. I've searched local photography forums and the only one that shows up costs about $500 more than a 0.72x M6. Is there a workaround so I can still use a 35mm lens with a 0.72x M6?
     
  9. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Well, I use a 35mm with my .72x M6 (and .68x M9P) and I wear glasses. It is not impossible to do. It's just that you do not see much outside of the frame, and sometimes you do have to move your eye around. I would advise you to try before you buy, if it's at all possible for you.

    I personally would not go for the .58x option, because I feel the 50mm frames would be too small, let alone the 90mm.

    Cheers,

    Antonio
     
  10. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    This thread just shows what a personal choice an M is, particularly for those of us that wear spectacles.

    I have had M2, M4, M6x2, M7 and MP4. The last two were .85 magnification and the MP4 was a la carte to my specification. I see the world mainly in 50mm fov first, 35mm second so the .85 was a natural choice for me.

    My advice and counsel, fwiw, would be to give the M4 a miss, along with any earlier M6. neither was as well-built as the M2 or M3 that preceded them and in addition the M6 notoriously suffers from "zinkfass" or zinc rot which manifests itself in bubbling of the metal finish.

    Equally, if the budget will stretch to an M6TTL you would actually be better off with an M7 - the same camera with the addition of AE. There is greater battery dependence, it's true, but there are still two manual shutter speeds at 1/60 and 1/125. It's also a better option due to the electronically controlled shutter - the most accurate and maintenance-free of any M.

    Spectacles - my personal experience is that the type and shape of spectacle frame you wear is as, if not more, important than frameline magnification. I have a pair of Ray Ban frames that are hopeless and a pair of Oakleys that are excellent - it comes down to how close YOUR frames allow YOU to get the viewfinder to YOUR eye.

    Metered vs. meterless... You don't NEED a meter, particularly for street use. Learn and use Sunny-16. It works, and is faster in practice than fiddling to match the arrows to balance exposure.

    My choice? Today I have pared down to two Leicas - a screwmount IID and an M2. Both are meterless and I use both for street with 35 and 50mm lenses, so you can see, after nearly 25 years of Leica use, where my heart lies... ;)

    In summary, M2 if meterless (and you don't need a meter) and M7 if metered.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. jloden

    jloden SC Veteran

    266
    Jun 30, 2012
    Jay
    I've not shot an M4 but the first Leica I used was an M3, and I subsequently bought an M6TTL. Personally I really wanted at least a basic meter, and the easier film loading is a big help too.

    To be fair to the M3, you get a pretty good feel for exposure values over time, and I was able to use Pocket Light Meter on my iPhone to check metering. But I still just find having a meter in the camera a lot more convenient, and I was able to find a mint condition, new in box M6TTL so that clinched it for me.

    One thing I'd probably recommend is the Leicagoodies Shade: http://www.leicagoodies.com/shade.html - I worked without it for a bit but did find the M6 finder flared out on me a few times. You can work around it by shading with your hand or moving usually, but the Shade seems to work as advertised and it's only $10.
     
  12. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    glasses and bad eyesight aren't much fun when shooting a Leica RF
     
  13. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014


    Not many have eyesight worse than me...THICK glasses.

    Canon 100/2, wide-open, 1/60th sec, ISO5000.

    15897441469_07bd38d9e3_o. Skate and Fun

    It was Dark, and the subject was moving... I had fun...
     
  14. Mixalis

    Mixalis SC Rookie

    15
    Oct 13, 2013
    London
    Mike Evans
    For what it's worth, I tend to agree with Bill Palmer's assessment. If you can afford it, a used M7 (despite the battery appetite) is a very easy camera to own and use. For some reason it is rather looked down upon for being "too complicated", with most people seeming to favour an M6 or earlier. As a result, a used M7 isn't that much more expensive than a late M6. Of my four film Ms (IIIf, M3, MP and M7) it is the M7 that I find easiest to use, Sunny-16 or no, probably because it acts in exactly the same way as an M digital. Incidentally, I wear glasses and have never had a problem with the rangefinder on any of my 0.72x Ms, although I can appreciate it is down to individual circumstances and you need to try for yourself. I have more problem with EVFs on digital cameras where the diopter adjustment needs to be spot on, even with glasses correcting my eyesight.

    As a total aside, I sold all my Fuji X gear two years ago to concentrate on a total-Leica set up. Yet in the past two months I've given in and bought an X-T1. I've had to buy back some of the lenses I sold. So it's not a bad idea to hang on to the Fujinon lenses if you possibly can; you might need them in the future :daz:
     
  15. jloden

    jloden SC Veteran

    266
    Jun 30, 2012
    Jay
    Greeeat, now you tell me! I just sold my Fuji X-T1 and collection of Fujinon lenses to fund my M6, among other purchases. It was a tough call.... I have this nagging feeling I'm going to end up in Fuji X land again one day and re-buying the Fujinon glass I just sold :biggrin:
     
  16. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Mark
    No dramas mate, I'm sure there's always someone going the opposite direction - you buy, they sell, you sell, I buy, I sell, they buy, etc. It's what keeps our little world spinning 'round. I'm fairly certain I'm going to put my Fuji XPro1 gear up for sale soon enough - love the 18-55 and the Touit 1.8/32, but love the X100s more....and I don't often carry anything more than one digital and one film camera - currently the new Hexar AF which makes a great duo with the X100s I reckon. Though I feel I can't part with my Bessa and VM lenses anytime soon...or my mju:ii...or my.... :blush: ...OK, OK, film's a little different.
     
  17. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    IMHO, you'll regret it if it is your only camera

    If you want to go through "slow pain" start using an old RF

    If you want to go thru "quickish pain", (in relative terms!) - use a Sigma DPM

    both will give you great results but as they say - "no pain, no gain"

    Good luck
     
  18. Jip

    Jip SC Regular

    26
    Mar 16, 2014
    Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    Jip van Kuijk
    I've used a M6TTL for a while and really enjoyed it and the build in light meter is easy for quick correction or aid to your hand held meter. With TRI-X you'll be okay without a meter, or the build in meter will be more than enough. With films that are a bit less flexible I prefer using a hand held meter.

    I recently got the Leica M-A which is a wonderful camera without a light meter of course. Using a hand held meter or my brain and eye!