Now here’s a camera that features the best of three decades. The Leica M7 is a fusion of 1950’s mechanics, 1970’s electronics, and 21st-century optics.
First introduced in 2002, the M7 was in production for 16 years, until Leica discontinued production in 2018.
And the exciting bit!
Despite being a classic rangefinder in the DSLR age, the M7 is still a camera that many photographers still regarded so highly.
Features of the Camera
One of the best features of the Leica M7, and perhaps the main reason why many people still regard it so highly, is its simplicity in design and use.
The M7 was built on the principle of “less is more.” Unlike many modern cameras that come with a myriad of controls and menus, the M7 came with only a few knobs for only the essential controls.
With this camera, you can focus entirely on the photograph, rather than fiddling with settings.
Another impeccable feature of the M7 was its classic metering system. In an age when the color matrix was slowly taking over, the Leica M7 came with a center-weighted metering system that performed impeccably well even in low light.
With the M7, you’ll enjoy taking night photographs—something that’s hard to do with SLRs
However, you still need to know what you’re doing. Otherwise, every photo you take with the M7 will disappoint you.
Like it’s predecessors, the M7 came with a big bright viewfinder that could achieve a magnification of 0.72X. The M7’s finder came with three pairs of framelines optimized for six different lenses. These were the:
- 28mm and 90mm lenses,
- 35mm and 135mm lenses
- 50mm and 75mm lenses
However, compared to previous Leica M versions, the M7 framelines tend to be incomplete and inaccurate.
Speaking of lenses, what type of lenses does the M7 use?
The M7 comes with the small, lightweight, but superb Leica lenses. Since the M7 features the Leica M bayonet, it’s compatible with any M lens.
What about the shutter?
The M7 came with an electronic shutter—the first in the Leica M series. The use of an electronic shutter resulted in a more accurate shutter speed. However, the downside with this was the fact that you couldn’t operate the shutter without batteries.
But there’s an exception. In manual mode, you can use the 1/60 and 1/125 shutter speeds without batteries.
Like it’s predecessors, the M7 had a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. A true classic of the modern age.
Design and Physical Build
Like other Leica cameras, the M7 was an exceptional build. Other than a few parts, the camera was fully metal.
The only plastic parts were the battery cover, the end of the film advance, the film speed dial, and exposure compensation dial.
Every button is ergonomically positioned. Unlike the M6, which required you to use two fingers to change shutter speed, the M7 shutter speed is large enough. You can change shutter speed with your index finger while holding the camera to your eye.
The M7 is also relatively lightweight compared to modern-day DSLRs. At only 610g, the M7 is a small camera that fits perfectly in the palm.
Shortcomings of the Camera
One shortcoming that comes with rangefinder cameras is the reduced accuracy of the viewfinder. Unlike SLRs, which have very precise viewfinders, rangefinders aren’t that precise.
So, if you’re a perfectionist who demands precision, the M7 is not the camera for you.
The other shortcoming of the M7 was the unreliable mechanical DX film-speed sensor.
There you have it.
All you need to know about the Leica M7. A rangefinder that has survived in the age of DSLRs.
If you’re looking for a Leica camera that’s still new and that your friends will envy, you’ll love the M7.