CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Leica starter system MP or M7


New Member

Jacobs in New Oxford Street, London have a NEW 0.72 M6TTL in chrome.
I saw it last Tuesday, but alas my budget will only go to a s/h one!



Well-Known Member
Something about choosing between f1.0/f1.4/f2.0 is (for me) not "low light" photography but
the short DOF for extending into the more "creative" photography.
Faster films these days are very good, and not a great issue.

Mark, the main difference between M7/MP metering is that the shutter speed dial rotates in the opposite direction.
This is a bother, and Garth's suggestion about using the same body rings true with me.
(but I just wanted to experience the MP, anyway :) ).

The M7's (manual) exposure dial is very logical, and maybe another + for the M7.
I find the M7 camera easier to use in the manual mode, especially if the situation is challenging.


> [colin elliott said: Total AE without "thinking" > is never accurate unless one is photographing a grey card.<<

Gee I don't know about that Colin, as last year in 3 months I shot close to 400 rolls of film, tri-x rated at 800 and souped in XTOL 1:1 and I have to say 99.9% of the frames were shot on M7 AE lock. Oh yes and that was using 3 M7's on AE lock at the same time with different lenses.

Like, I mean this was for a book on Women in Medicine and the book is hitting the stores almost as we speak. It was the non-thinking use of the M7 AE lock that allowed me to shoot with total concentration on the subjects in the fashion I do as fast as I can relating only to the light, eyes and action of the situation.

So I have to kind of think you might be a tad off on your comment about using an M7 on AE lock and only photographing Grey cards for accuracy. You see the subjects were in hospitals all over North America by strictly available light and not one frame was lost due to the AE locked M7 exposures. Without thought. ;-)

And as far as the Noctilux? It was one of the main lenses used shooting for the book. And the same lens I've used since I purchased it around 1970 or so as my main lens of choice in my work. It's been used on assignments around the world and several other books and if I had a choice it would be the Noctilux first and everything else after.

I suppose it depends whether one works as a professional or an amateur photographer in their lens preference. I agree it's expensive and if one isn't going to use the beauty of shooting at f 1.0 very often then it's meaningless to buy the lens. However, buy it and use it at f 1.0 and one will find it's an incredibly beautiful tool. ted Grant]


Well-Known Member
Ted, As I said, the Noctilux maybe the only way to go(if you're shooting wide open)
Far be it for me to challenge your experiences with the M7 in AE mode. My main point and it may have been unclear, was that AE without the thought process is not going to be successful. As a professional photographer, I am sure you meter with your brain, probably subconsciously at this stage, when taking your AE readings. I have been a Leica user since 1966 and during the use of various Automatic versions (R3,R4s) I used the AE frequently. My main point is that in most situations, AE does not successfully equate to point and shoot even though many people(amateurs) seem to use it that way.
The art of successful exposure requires the use of a meter plus the grey matter between your two ears!.
Ted, I am familiar with your work and congratulate you on your new book. I will probably purchase a copy.


Just to chip in with my two-penneth again ...

My initial aim is to buy a camera that will last a lifetime, and I'd like to buy something really special. I want to have a camera (and lens) that will stand the test of time if I never add another lens or accessory to it again.

So, If I chose the M7 or MP (I'm 50-50) will I be satisfied with the Summicron 50/f2, or would the Summilux 50/1.4 be better?

But then what of the flexibility if the Tri-Elmar (limited by f4)?

If I chose a 35mm, I think I would want a longer lens at least half the time.

And if I jumped in with the Noctilux, I'd get that 'once in a lifetime' f1.0, but would I rue it's relative lesser ability when stopped down? Is the performance of the Noctilux at f2 and upwards really that much worse than the Summilux/cron? And how does it compare with say, a Nikon or Canon SLR fixed lens at these apertures

Perhaps a better option is the 35mm and 90mm bought second hand?

Or maybe I should just buy my dream system now and add later, with either second hand or (and let's hear the cries) some voightlander lenses?

I'm looking forward to the answers ...


David, I can appreciate you might want some suggestions but these questions are really ones you will have to answer, or might already have answered. What lenses have you acquired so far in your life with your present camera? Are you satisfied with these or feel the need for some other focal lengths/apertures/facilities? A preference for using a fast 35mm lens (for ex&le) is not going to change with a different brand of camera. Any Leica should satisfy the quality desire you crave, only you will be able to tell the dealer whether you want a manual, semi automatic or wholly automatic camera. Look within yourself. But keep your options and paths open, life is not a mystery to be solved (an answer to a question) but a journey to be walked (questions to be asked). A correct answer now to your photographic desires may well not be what you want, or need, in some years to come. Try different lenses and cameras as and when you can. Meet dealers and people with these and try them out. Mostly they will let you. See which you prefer. I prefer a manual camera (m6 - I have no need of the ttl) and a fast 35mm lens, I choose the early 1.4 as the later one is too heavy/large for my wishes but I am not you, you will find your own needs. I also have many other lenses, inc. an f1.2 and a Tri-Elmar, and very wide (12mm upwards) to very long (1200mm and downwards) and very close (Macro Elmarit and micro Summar). I have digital, compact, r/f Leica clones, copies and SLRs along with cine, video and medium format. But of all of these, if left with only one lcamera and one lens it would be the small 35mm f1.4 with an M6. Best wishes, Jem Kime


Active Member
This post is familiar to everyone because we all go through this. OK...I can't help putting in my penny's worth. I would consider the M7 if it wasn't battery dependent and larger and heavier in body I don't see M7 as an option. I like a mechanical camera that doesn't stop working because of the cold weather or a dead battery. The MP has a better viewfinder that is less prone to flare but is not worth 1,500 US dollars more than a used M6 Classic. I think I can live with a little flare now and then (this is a low percentage problem). In my opinion a used M6 is the best way to go. I don't see a need for TTL with a larger heavier body...the most consistent way to use flash is on manual with a simple distance/fstop chart. Try to shoot a wedding (Black groom and white bride) with TTL and you'll be happy to go manual. >>>So the ideal, for me is the M6 Classic USED.
Between the 50 vs. 35, even Ansel Adams pointed out the advantages of a 35 over a 50. You can do alot more with a 35, hand hold at lower speeds than the 50, cover wider subjects, and play with the mild distortion to yield more artistic results. To top it off, since the 35 is my main lens...used 35mm Summilux ASPH f1.4 is the way to go. If it's my main lens...I want the best...and it is unbeatable. The 90mm Elmarit f2.8 is fantastic...there I don't need ASPH or f2. Less weight and size...the perfect start...A USED M6, A USED 35mm Summilux ASPH, A used Elmarit 90mm...ALL UNDER $4,000 US dollars!
Buy the same lenses with an MP or M7 NEW for $6,700 plus tax.
Last is better to buy used...if you decide to sell or trade lose less.


Dear David,

in my experience the Nocti gets similar (or better) to Summilux at 5,6/8, and it has "the" glow. And open You can "paint" with the depth and isolate what You want...

Compared with the zoom Tri Elmar it is not "bigger" but You have to carry that weight with that big piece of glass. B.t.w. the Tri even has the 1m-lose-up limit, as 1,0 or the old 1,4/50.

And if You want to go out with a "light" & small combo but high performance: take Summicron C 2/40 or (old 3,5/50) or last not-ASPH 2/35.



I can buy an M6TTL '999', unused, in chrome for £1595. This would free more cash for an extra lens, especially if I go second-hand ...

Here are my thoughts at the moment:

1. New M7 with Tri-Elmar or 50/1.4

2. New MP with 50/1.4 or 35/1.4

3. Mint+ M6TTL with 35/2 and 90/2.8

But I do want the MP ... !?!


Well-Known Member
Hi Again:

Why do I begin to get an uncomfortable feeling that you are milking this subject about as far as you can? One must suspect that you now have received about all the advice one mortal can receive about the cameras and lenses in question. How about saying you have made up your mind, and finally go out and buy the darn things. Then take some snaps, and let us know how you are doing? I don't want to appear too unkind, but enough is enough David. We can go on, literally, forever with you posing more questions on top of more answers.

Next thing one knows you will have decided instead on the R series, and the cycle will repeat...

Elliot--> [Delete this line and type your message here]


Hi Ellie,

I take your point, but I want to ensure I get all the advise possible (and yes, maybe I've got it now) before throwing £3000+ at a new camera and lens.

I'm still wrestling with my 'buy an X-Pan II and all 3 lenses and get that great travel panoramic feature' demons (a fact I didn't share) but the reality is that I WANT a Leica.

It's been something of a dream since my intro to photography 10 yrs ago and I'm now in a position to buy new ...

I've just about settled on the .72 MP with a 35mm/f1.4 Summilux. At least that's the starting position when I eventually make it to my nearest dealers (about 2 hrs away!).

Thanks for all the advice so far. I'll keep you all informed!


Garth - I have a 35mm, 50mm and 90mm with my M7 and really use all three lenses.

I've been thinking about a 0.58 a) to be able to use a 28mm more comfortably and b) have a 2nd body.

I see your point about having the same body in terms of adjustment from one to another.

Only thing is that the MP is so tempting, one of those things. I admit, may seem "illogical" to go for the MP but then again Leica owners are never really "logical" when it comes to such things!


But honestly, if I did get the MP I might have to rserve the M7 for moments when light is changing rapidly and/or for slide film when it helps to be able to get a bit more precision in exposure (On other hand one could argue that you can always play around with shutter speed dial / aperture ring of course to get that).

With negative film and notably when shooting B&W which I do lots of this is less of a problem.



Well-Known Member

I can wholly understand your desire to own your own new Leica - been there done that and there's nothing quite as satisfying as coming home and opening that lovely quality box and pulling out your own new Leica. One final thought - have you considered taking a cheap flight to New York, having a fun week-end there, buying your Leica M7/MP + 35mm Summilux (absolutely the right decision on lens) and still coming home with money in your pocket. US prices are substantially less than UK. I recently bought a new Zeiss 90mm G Sonnar in the US, which was less numerical dollars than pounds and with GBP/USD about 1.75, tourist rate, that was equivalent to about 50% of the price. Wilson


David - I have just got my X-pan with both 45 and 90 lenses. If you want to get a Leica, go fot it first and get the xpan later. The xpan is a different camera altogether in handling. I still prefer my Leica M7 & M6 over the x-pan for handling.


Well-Known Member
The choice is always one point to start in the world of our job or passion.
I use Leica M6, because I liked to use one completely mecanical camera. You decide about what you want, without surprise of the electronic and some decision. I travel with two M6, and the 21/2.8, the 35/2.0, and the 75/1.4
To decide to have all of this I had to spend a lot of time. I'm sure that we can decide without to think about price or weight or other detail, but when we need one kind of lens it happends not only one time but everytime. We need to satisfy our eyes or mind, because it is our view of reality that make the decision, nothing else. But for this we need to take time and to see which kind of view we always need in our adventure in potography.
About XPan, the difference is that it is one completely automatic camera, without autofucus. The problem is that if you don't have battery you can turn at home, and the battery fall down in only few seconds, you don't have time to take one more picture.
But what you have with the panoramic camera, is very exceptional.
The viewfinder is better than the LeicaM, and when you use the tele the view is adjusted, bigger.
I find the handling of the XPan good enough. With the M6, I need to use the handgrip, and with this it is better than the Xpan.
Make the good choice.


Colin Elliot, Regarding unthinking exposures. This is far from the case. I assume that the camera has been tested with the films in use to ascertain the accuracy of the particular camera meter and the iso dial set accordingly. The exposure reading is carefully ascertained via the viewfinder. This is relatively simple with the M6, M6ttl and M7. It is just less hassle with the latter, in particular in conjunction with the visoflex 3.
Otherwise with 200 and 400mm lenses I imagine a spotmeter would be advantageous.
Bracketing exposures when using slide film just to be extra sure.
David, why not hire an outfit for a weekend and see how you get on?
Don't be scared of buying pre-owned. You will save money. The camera is unlikely to have been abused.
It's decision time. Take the plunge. You will be delighted whatever you choose.
Another pennyworth