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MP vs M6


Active Member
I've now had the MP for just over a week & have put it thro' a few more rolls. Here's an update for users -

- I haven't been particularly babying the MP, but the black finish hasn't got a single scratch on it so far (mind you it's only been over a week). When using it, I hold it in my hand or it hangs on my chest, no case. I put an old Billingham camera strap on it, which has leather pads in front of the metal rings. So far, no paint has rubbed off the corners, probably thanks to the leather.

- The best compliment about the MP that I can think of, is that it handles & feels like a brand new M3 with a built-in meter & black paint. Except for the M6 TTL's, all of my previous M's have been used instead of new. After the M6 experience, I didn't think I'd be buying a new M body that I like. That's changed with the MP.

- the meter doesn't add much clutter to the viewfinder (yes, I finally put a battery in the MP!). It's great to use with the 50mm, and gives me more accurate readings with the 135mm compared to my incident meter. On the other hand, when using the 24mm, I find the incident meter gives a better, overall reading.

- for my choice of lenses, having the 0.72x on the MP & the 0.91x on the M3 is perfect. Using the 135mm on the MP isn't has bad as I thought - the finder & patch is so bright, it makes up for the smaller magnification. If the 35mm focal length was one of my primary lenses, I think I would've preferred the MP in a 0.58x. But since I don't use the 35mm lens, it's not an issue.

- While I still don't mind not having a meter on the M3, I'm now finding the dim rangefinder patch on it increasingly annoying. I've been spoiled by the MP!

Colin - I still have no luck training the g/f or pets!


A number of people seem to have found the MP to be better than the M6TTL, in terms the quality of fit & finish and the smoothness of function. I'm not saying they're wrong and I haven't yet seen an MP; however, based on the superb quality of my two M6TTL cameras, I find it hard to imagine any other camera being significantly better in any respect. So, please, will those who have noticed major differences between the respective qualities of M6TTL and MP explain what they found?


> So, please, will those who have noticed major differences > between the respective qualities of M6TTL and MP explain what they > found?

The viewfinder is the main improvement.



Active Member
Regarding quality of fit, finish & smoothness of function, I'd say that the MP has a small edge over the M6TTL, now that I've had some time with the MP.

When I was using M6TTL's, I bought all three magnifications (0.72x, 0.85x & the 0.58x). Two out of the three new bodies had to be returned due to quality control problems (one continually drained the meter battery, another had its counter seize up after I put only a couple rolls of film through it). The MP, on the other hand, was like my third M6TTL - perfect out the box, no QC issues. Now, comparing only four cameras & determining overall QC for an entire company is futile, but I thought it might be of interest to some.

The biggest functional difference (as well as the operational smoothness mentioned above) is the improved rangefinder. Like an M3, it rarely flares or blanks out. Excellent contrast, very bright.

Functional minuses compared to the M6TTL: Altho' I'm used to the slow rewind spindle(my other camera is an old M3), it's slower than the M4-M7 rewind crank.

The M3 style advance lever is also less comfortable than the M4-M7 type. This may prove to be a moot point, as I'll be getting the Leicavit soon, but for now, I prefer the M4-M7 lever.

While I truly enjoy this forum & it's fun to talk about the differences between the various M models (and those differences do exist, esp. when you use different M models side by side), I hope everyone realizes my comments are about very, very small differences. As a user, I'd be happy to use almost any M body, as long as it's completely functional. The only time I'm ever annoyed with a Leica M is when it fails before its time (such as the M6TTL's I owned).

I admit I like the feel of my MP & M3 over the M6TTL or an old M4-P that I've used. But really, any functional M camera works almost as well as any other. So if the question is, are there any MAJOR differences in qualities of the M6TTL and the MP, I'd have to say no, they're not major. If you own an M6TTL and are happy with it as a user, there's no point in going to the MP.


I have had my MP,Leicavit,F2/35mm BP. for 2 weeks now ..Wow what a smooth tool, I am waiting for a 2nd body in Chrome as my main user as the black paint scares me with the wear factor , seems silly to make it Paint and not Black Chrome , but I suppose they had their reasons , I also just registered my Lotus Elise with the personal Plate LEICA, so Leica Rules with me , I agree with the name MP ..P for Professional, well I,m off to shoot now and just wanna say the Quality just keeps gettinf better .. OH for a Digital M-Camera ..


Well-Known Member
Decisions, decisions, after reading your story, I was reminded of a gentleman I knew, who
bought two Pontiacs, then two Cadillac’s, then he bought AMC‘s, but they were all white. …Then my wife promptly stated he has a reason to buy two cameras.

Enjoy, Enjoy.

Would a digital M be somewhat of a contradiction?


The other day I had the opportunity to make a simple comparative test for rangefinder flare with the M6 TTL, M7 (early version) MP (new) and M3. Simply, a strong tungsten spotlight was set up and the cameras moved about until they could be made to flare.

First, an overview: Depending on your shooting habits RF flare ranges from not being an issue through to an outright nuisance. Flare generally occurs when strong light hits the windows of the camera at an oblique angle. The VF frames and RF patch brighten and the contrast of the RF patch decreases. In severe cases flare can “block out†the RF patch preventing focussing with the rangefinder. The propensity to flare is exacerbated if your eye is not centred on the eyepiece properly.

The M3 has a reputation for not flaring. In practice you can make an M3 flare but is not easy. The cameras most prone to flare are the M4P, M6, M6 TTL, and early production models of the M7. The M2, M4, M5 and M4.2 also tend to flare but nowhere to the same extent.

Results: The M7, (early) despite all the additional coatings of the windows and prisms, behaved in a similar fashion to the M6 TTL, ie. the finder frames and RF patch lit up like neon signs and it was very easy to make the flare cause the RF patch to “block outâ€. There was no discernable difference between the behaviour of the M7 and the M6 TTL.

In contrast, the MP and the M3 behaved similarly with the finder frame lines becoming brighter and yellowing (due to the tungsten light source) but the RF patch being unaffected and remaining “silvery†in colour. Despite trying very hard, I could not get the MP RF patch to show any signs of flare. The M3 RF patch could only be made to colour oh so very slightly.

Not a particularly scientific test I know, but an interesting little experiment all the same, that I thought may be of interest to some on Forum.

Regards Craig


Active Member
Craig -

Thanks for the informative report!

What was the first several digits of the serial number of the M7?




Don't know exact S/N off hand but it was definitely below 2850 XXX. I had an M7 with S/N above this "magic number" but it was fitted with pre MP type RF arrangement. Can get exact #s for both cameras if you need.

regards craig


Well-Known Member

I can hardly get my M6 to flare - at what angle/direction should the light come to have this effect? By the way as this is about the MP, I spended ten minutes with it in the shop yesterday and was not happy about the feel of the paint and the "leather" so i guess that I am looking for a second M6 instead - means a lot to me that the camera feels right when holding it!


Active Member
> >Don't know exact S/N off hand but it was definitely below 2850 XXX. I >had an M7 with S/N above this "magic number" but it was fitted with >pre MP type RF arrangement. Can get exact #s for both cameras if you >need. ----

Yes, I'm beginning to think that the 285xxx is a myth promulgated by Leica.




Yes, I just checked the S/N for the M7 used in my little test M7 2854 XXX! not below the magic number as I said before. Which brings to mind, the following quote from the good Dr Erwin Puts

"...and all M7 models currently in production have that [MP] unit too. When the transition occured CANNOT}} be related to the serial number...

regards craig



I doubt that you have never experienced some degree of RF flare with your M6. You just may not have been overtly aware of it. You may have noticed that the finder frames and RF patch have become a little brighter on occasions. Point it in the right direction under the right lighting conditions and flare will occur.

As stated before on this forum the RF flare issue and its associated problems can be wildly overstated. In practice flare only becomes a problem when the overall brightness of the RF patch increases to a point where its contrast drops or is blown out and is ten unusable. This only occurs under certain relatively extreme lighting conditions. In normal shooting even with strong oblique light the RF patch may begin to flare-out but you can still focus easily enough, therefore, no problem. In practice you can turn the camera a little to avoid RF flare and focus. A similar situation as when shooting into the sun with an SLR and getting flare patches or ghosting. You just turn the camera away till you get a clean image.

Personally, I like the effects produced by raking sidelight so the rangefinder camera is often positioned at an oblique angle to the sun low in the sky. In situations like this flare can be a nuisance and interrupt your working flow. RF flare has also been a problem for me when shooting live theatre and concerts. Lots of strong directional lighting in those situations.

Hope this helps, Craig


> Craig: a most useful posting! I think it is the "unscientific" genuine users' comments that really make a difference, and underscore the usefulness of Internet forums (OK, fora, for all those who did Latin).

Interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that the MP scores so highly. Some people have dismissed this camera as a "pastiche" of the M3, yet it seems there genuinely is a difference compared with other models.

My own experience was that the M6 finder did flare markedly in comparison with the M3. My wife found this also (and also with my earlier OM cameras' split rangefinders). Viewfinder flare does make a difference, is a significant issue, and is worthy of the attention of camera manufacturers.

Perhaps our intense sunlight makes a difference here in NZ -- and, for me, the fact I wear glasses. I did manage to make the M3 finder flare, once, at an indoor Weber Bros circus under lights.

M7 v MP and earlier Ms poses an interesting question. Does the speed of response of the M7 outweigh the simplicity, feel, and lack of finder flare of an M3?


I firmly believe that the speed of response particularly with M cameras comes down to technique. I’m an average photographer nothing that special here, but if I’m having a sharp day (once in 6 months or more) I can operate my M3 more quickly than an auto every thing monster camera, and get good results. The M6 - M7 encourage us to use the TTL metering system that comes with the camera. This facility is now considered, not just a convenience, rather an absolute necessity for any camera. But to use TTL can actually draws your attention away from the subject and slow you down. While inboard camera functions are a great advantage they can also distract from the act of image making.

To put image making into some perspective, with all the advantages of modern camera technology are any of our efforts equal to or better than those of workers like Alfred Eisenstäd or Cartier Bresson. After all, all they had was a simple Leica sans accoutrements. Well Bresson had some damn good printers, which helps.

Now that I’ve had a chance to play with one, IMHO the MP is anything but an M6 mutant cum M3 living fossil. Get over the retro cosmetics and the MP feels and handles quite differently to the M3 or M6 for that matter. This said the camera has that Leica slick smooth feel in operation that the pre M4.2 models are famous for. However, the MP is a very different Leica in its own right and not just a clone of days past. If you’re into down to basics 35mm photography the MP is close to the perfect modern tool, until Solms rerelease the M3, its the best we have. BTW the shutter is also super quiet.

Sorry for the rant, Craig


Well-Known Member
David's comment,

"M7 v MP and earlier Ms poses an interesting question. Does the speed
of response of the M7 outweigh the simplicity, feel, and lack of
finder flare of an M3?".

This statement does not apply to a later M7,
because you can gain every advantage.

Craig's comment regarding the M3 being "more quickly", I can challenge in that all you need to do with the M7, is focus and shoot (leave the exposure to AUTO setting when in a rush).



"I can operate my M3 more quickly than an auto every thing monster camera."

With all due respect but there is no way that you can operate your M3 faster or as fast as my F100. Really no debate there.=20

Question is if you can operate it fast enough for your purposes?=20

This very likely is true. I don't need all the speed that the F100 gives me nor the auto TTL metering. I find I'm just as good if not better using my incident meter but not as fast. Matrix or TTL metering works fine for 95% of the shots and is faster. Adjusting may take more time but is still faster then setting a shutter/aperture on a M3.

Not faster, but fast enough.



Good points on what is fast enough. And it does all depends on the type of shot you are trying to get.

However, my point related more to that sometimes it's good to think outside the TTL box. It’s not macho bravado, I’m too old for that. Quite simply, it’s all about pevisualisation, using your depth of field scales and having made intelligent choices over exposure from an initial pre reading with a hand held meter. With focus set and exposure taken care of, the M3 is set up to go. When an image making opportunity arises, just frame and trip the shutter. My 12 milliseconds shutter delay will beat your 100plus any day.

There’s no magic or great skill involved just being prepared, combined with good powers of observation, which most photographers have in good measure. It’s a very old and tested method of working. And it does work very effectively, assuming you have got your wits about you can get top results. That's the hard bit maintaining your overall concentration and being constantly aware of your environment. An SLR gives you tunnel vision that removes you somewhat from your surroundings. TTL causes you to concentrate on the camera rather than evolving image making potentials happening around you.

IMO, the M3 and MP are great cameras for this bare bones way of working. Although you can work this way with any small or MF camera.

Regards Craig


Active Member
The flare is a severe issue on some M7s. One of my friend's unit (about 285xxxx) flares severely. If you try to take a portrait indoors where there is any light behind the subject (window, hair light), the rangefinder becomes quite useless.

He's sent it back to NJ for repair, but we'll see if it gets corrected. I was curious because he thought the 285xxx units were flare free.

Karen Nakamura