I have recently acquired myself a classic Leica M2 and a Leica M6 just a couple of moth back. Both are are absolutely amazing well built film camera with simplistic design which still looks good after so so so so many years.
The M2 was manufactured in 1960 while the M6 was born in the mid 1980’s. Kind of bizarre how a 50 over years old cameras are still working flawlessly throughout the years. The metallic chrome finish still shines even till today and the film advance and shutter operates very smoothly. The M2 is the most basic camera of the two siblings. The camera is equipped with just 3 frame lines ( 35 / 50 / 90mm ), 0.72x viewfinder magnification and shutter speed up to 1/1000th second. The is no light meter built in hence metering is all done via external light meter or intuitively. I shoot using ‘Sunny 16’ rules most of the time when outdoor while on critical lighting condition or hard to predict indoor shots, I’ll use the ‘LIGHT METER’ apps from my iphone which seems to work pretty well.
The M6 TLL on the other hand is a more improved camera, well it’s almost 20 over years more advance. I opted for the 0.85x view finder so it’s a tad easier to focus with this camera. It’s ideal for using with telephoto or wide aperture lenses which stops down to f1.4 or lower. This camera comes with paired frames lines ( 35 / 50 / 75 / 90 / 135mm ) hence the viewfinder seems a bit more cluttered as compared to the M2 but in return you gain some flexibility of using wider choices of lenses without the need of having additional hot shoe view finder which could be rather costly and hard to find specially in KL.
Using the rangefinder cameras such as these Leica M’s require sometime of getting used to specially if one are used to shooting with a SLR . First of all, it’s a fully manual camera. Focus and exposure setting are all manually operated. To focus with these rangefinders, one would just have to turn the focusing tab on the lens to match the superimpose subject in a small rectangular box right in the center of the viewfinder. It’s fairly easy when you are used to it. Being a rangefinder, the cloth shutter curtain is really silent ( as compared to SLR ) as it does not have a flapping mirror. Almost identical to our modern day mirrorless camera such as the Olympus Pen. Also the size of the camera body and lenses is a lot less bulkier hence carrying the camera all day long would no be much of a problem. This is the reason why most street photography love using rangefinder camera as compared to SLR / DSLR.
Below are some the of the exposures I’ve made using the M6 ( which I got first ) with a Summicron 50mm f2 and Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens running on various Ilford and Fuji films. The summicron is really sharp and captures a lot more details as compared to the Nokton but the F1.4 helps a lot specially shooting in low lights. I think more or less you could spot which is coming from which lens. I can’t afford the 50mm f1.4 Summilux from Leica as the price is absolutely insane and over priced. All rolls were developed and scanned in E SIX, Pudu. I truly love the black and white photo results I’m getting . It’s rather different from digital camera and I am still learning how to mimic this effect to be as similar as possible to film in Photoshop. I do plan to learn how to develop my own BW photos in the near future ( with help of some film guru’s ) when I have a bit more free time. Hope I could share my experience and journey with everyone on the following blog post. Till then take care !