Leica MotorM

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Guest

The current Leica Motor-M should not be confused with previous winders for M cameras: it is a great improvement. The new motor is a more compact unit that operates quietly and smoothly, although it still causes the camera's shutter release button to bob up and down, which can take some getting used to. This happens because the link between camera and motor is purely mechanical and the camera's shutter release button is used both to take the shot and to activate the motor.

The bobbing shutter button may be a bit disconcerting, at first, to people used to the more common electrical linkage in other camera/motor combinations (including Leica's R series). However, it has one advantage over, say, the R8 winder: it's easier to avoid accidental double shooting, because it takes a conscious effort to maintain enough pressure to overcome the recoil of the shutter button to allow the camera to continue with the next shot.

Too much pressure on the shutter button, though, will cause the motor to jam until the button is released. This means that the user can purposely delay the winding on of the film by holding the shutter button down. Leica discourages this practice, although the user's manual states that no harm will result from it.

A three-position switch on the rear of the motor has positions 0 - "off", I - 1.5 frames/second and II - 3 frames/second - not exactly blistering performance! However, it is very quiet at the slow setting and not too noisy at the fast setting. Leica recommends using the slow setting for single frame shooting and the fast setting for sequence shooting. If the battery power is low and the motor becomes sluggish, Leica recommends using the fast speed until the batteries can be replaced.

In sequence shooting at low shutter speeds, there is a risk of the film moving during exposure. For this reason, it is advisable to use shutter speeds faster than 1/60 second for sequences.

The camera is fully useable with the motor in the "off" position, e.g. for silent operation. Winding manually causes a faint "clickety-click" sound, which I haven't found unduly obtrusive. What can be more obtrusive is the sound made when releasing the shutter after the film has been advanced by the motor (i.e. the first shot taken after switching off the motor). There is a spring-loaded mechanism in the motor that disengages it and prevents it from trying to advance the film until the shutter is next fired (one of the consequences of a mechanical linkage). The release of this tension causes a sharp click that is quite a lot louder than the camera's shutter. Once released, however, it doesn't happen again until the motor is energized, so it's only the first shot that's noisy after switching off the motor.

The motor is attached to the camera body in place of the normal base plate. Since film is loaded from the base of the camera, this effectively means that the motor cannot be attached or detached when there is film in the camera. However, since the film can be advanced manually with the motor switched off, this is not a major inconvenience.

Two lithium 123 type batteries are contained in the cylindrical grip on the right of the motor body. If these batteries should become exhausted when there are no replacements handy, the user can simply resort to manual film advance without having to detach the motor.

A centrally located tripod socket is provided on the base of the unit, which actually makes tripod mounting easier than with the offset tripod socket in the normal camera base plate.

The Motor-M weighs 225gm without batteries. It is thicker than the base plate it replaces and increases the camera's height by a couple of centimeters. Although it increases the size and weight of the camera, it does provide a more secure grip and improves the camera's balance with the heavier lenses. One other thing: the only color available is black!
 
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I've been tempted by this accessory, but haven't yet succumbed.

One of the main virtues of the Leica M series is its compactness. Anything that increases the size must justify its existence.

I suppose it depends on your personal photographic interests, but as mine would rarely demand rapid shooting of multiple frames, I'm not convinced! The same goes for Tom Abrahammson's excellent rapidwinder which I tried for a while, but sold because the extra bulk didn't justify itself.
 
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I found a new motor unit for the M6 on
Ebay for a great price...I thought that I would buy it for a try, knowing that I would have little problem selling it. Now, I LOVE IT!! The very nature of the M view finder makes this so practical as a new "framing" of the subject is seen immediatly without the shifting posed by the usual thumb advance and the second (or third) shot is just there....the grip is great too. From a practical point of view, even if you lose battery power, the M6 is totally useable. Getting use to loading is not so bad....just different....thanks, from Lousiana
 
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Why, Sonny? Who would want to purchase Louisiana? And wherever would they keep it? ;-)
 
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Don't knock Louisianas. I bought a dozen in a bankruptcy sale, and they were delicious with mustard.

I have no experience of this motor. However I was disappointed when I read that is compatible with cameras dating back to the M4-2 - because it means it has to work very similarly to the dreadful old Winder M. And that was, frankly C-R-A-P. Why Leica are so reluctant to put a few microswitches inside their M cameras I don't know. Years ago I wrote and complained about the noise and irritating movements that could be felt from inside the Winder M and I got a real stroppy letter back saying it was the best that could be done and they had no intention of coming up with a new design. It looks to me like they have repackaged the old winder with new-tech quieter motor and power source, and given it a proper sequence facility, but not made any REAL improvement.
I know Stephen Gandy is praying that one day they will make a camera that could be compatible with, say, Nikon's MD4 and provide six frames a second. A wonderful dream - but a dream notheless.
 
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I agree with Andy that it would be far better to provide the Motor-M with an electrical linkage instead of the current mechanical likage. One improvement would be that, with the M7 in AE mode, you could take a sequence of shots using the same locked meter reading. As it is, the motor forces the shutter button to bob up to its highest position and you lose the exposure lock.
 
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Ray Moth sez: > I agree with Andy that it would be far better to provide the Motor-M > with an electrical linkage instead of the current mechanical likage. > One improvement would be that, with the M7 in AE mode, you could take > a sequence of shots using the same locked meter reading. As it is, the > motor forces the shutter button to bob up to its highest position and > you lose the exposure lock. >

Ray, I own the Motor M and use it on my M6. I find it a dramatic improvement to the old winder, in balance and hold-ability (is there such a word?) As a left eyed shooter, it has improved my ability to get the shots I want. The bounce of the shutter button doesn't bother me, kinda confirms that it is time for another shot. I can see that it might be a problem on the M7 in auto, but on the other hand, (taken from experience with my R3) if I am shooting sequence shots, I would manually set the exposure anyhow, since I am really doing that when I lock the exposure. In a sequence the light will not change dramatically in the amount of time it takes the motor to wind to the next frame.

Regards, Sonny
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I used both the hand grip and the motor driver. It increased the size and weight of the camera. It also make a loud nose esp. with 2frame/s setting. These opposites the reason of using a M camera.

It gives a better handling but is similar to the hand grip for me. I sold the moter driver with no regreat.
 
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Guest

Having slagged off the Winder M4-2 something rotten (above), today I discovered a webpage (which may already be known to some of you:
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) that told me how to make said winder quiet and smooth. So I pulled my winder out of the drawer in which it had lingered, cameraless until very lately, since about 1987, dismantled it, and set about making the appropriate adjustments. I also put a stronger spring (cut from a retractable ballpoint pen) under the winder dog because it was plain that the winder dog was slipping against the camera coupling. Anyway, that done (and me being pleased with my new-found quiet, smooth winder) I looked at it again.
Properly adjusted it works very well and is now a complete revelation. Mine was bought new, completely out of whack and at the time they didn't want to know about it - hence my annoyed letter to Leitz. Why they couldn't adjust them right at the works I don't know.
It now gives a very efficient 3fps with the brand new batteries I put in today (actually slightly quicker than my Nikon MD18 on some, admittedly well-used, Duracells) if the shutter release is "ridden" properly.
It has a major advantage over the new Motor M - it takes available-anywhere AA batteries.

So what are the two problems that remain with this winder?

1) That it almost doubles the height of the camera and makes it rather more massive than one would normally like. Having said that, what about the motors for the M2's and 4's??????Blimey!
2) That with the motor attached you can no longer put the camera down standing upright.
The main issue for me is No 2.

So what if you could take the battery holder off the bottom and put it, say on the front????? In the manner of the Remopak batteries that were applied to the Nikon S's and Fs. Has anybody done this already?? The idea would be to mount the pack, maybe in a custom housing, so that it widens the base forwards and gives a stable platform for putting the camera down. I've been looking at this, and it should be easy to accomplish. The main issue will be slimness: it would need to leave sufficient room (for me at least) to comfortably get to the focussing lever on my 35 'lux. Mind being applied; we'll have to see what happens. Watch this space.
 
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Guest

Andy, The first version of M4-2 Winders had a battery which ran the lenngth of the base. It came with a cord to allow you to carry the battery pack in your coat pocket. Using this cord should make your idea, easily work.
Happy Snaps,
 
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Guest

Yup. I've got one of those battery packs and a cord that I made up myself (better than the Leitz offering) years ago. But I never got on with the batteries in the pocket thing. Too 1950's Nikon for my liking. I'm looking at fabricating an ABS extension to the front of the winder which will be hard-wired into the switch assembly. I have a number of old 4xAA holders in the right format and access to plastic of the right variety. By attaching the batteries to the front of the thing it'll provide a stable base, and will still leave the old battery connections free on the camera base should I ever feel the need to take it out in -20 degs.
I'd have looked at doing this years and years ago if the thing had worked to my liking in the first place!
 
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Guest

> I've been looking at this, and it should be easy to accomplish. The main issue will be slimness: it would need to leave sufficient room (for me at least) to comfortably get to the focussing lever on my 35'lux. =================================================================

I pursued a similar solution, but for a different reason. I bought an extra battery holder and modified it with a connector to accept a power cord. The power cord allows me to use a remote battery pack for cold weather shooting. The four AA cells do not seem like much weight, but it is a noticable difference. Since I did not have to butcher the original battery holder I still have the option of using it either way.

Depending on your skills at fabrication, you might consider making a new battery case that will hold either four AA cells or two Lithiums off to one side of the lens rather than across the entiure front of the camera. That would sove you lens accesibility problem.
 
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Could someone tell me how long this motor takes to rewind a 35 roll of film? Haven't seen this information. thanks.
 
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Guest

are you serious?!?! What's up with that? that seems so asinine. is it really that hard for them to make it rewind the *&^% film? rewinding in heavy action is half the point! erghh....
 
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On the good side Garth, if you happen to live in really cold and dry areas, without the motor drive you won't be as likely to risk those little lightening strikes on the film from rewinding too fast. I went to college in South Dakota where just this week was around 0 without the windchill. That's where I learned about lightening striking the film from within the camera.


Cathy in Atlanta
 
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