Categories
2000's Leica

Leica M7

Leica M7

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Categories
2000's Nikon

Nikon F6

Nikon F6

The year is 2004. Digital SLRs have taken over the professional photography scene. Camera manufacturers are no longer concentrating on 35mm SLRs. Then comes the Nikon F6. The last attempt by a camera manufacturer to make a case for 35mm SLRs.

And this time, Nikon had a different target market.

Since many professional photographers had already switched to digital SLRs, Nikon built this camera for wealthy armature photographers who wanted nothing but the best.

And the Nikon F6 was nothing but the best. Every part and feature was designed to perfection.

Read on to find out why the F6 is considered the best SLR to use.

Features of the Camera

One of the most notable features of the Nikon F6 is its foolproof color matrix metering system.  With this system, a photographer was able to achieve vivid and perfect exposure despite the lighting situation.

And unlike the F5, the F6 color matrix system also works impeccably with the manual lenses.

The F6 also came with spot and center-weighted metering systems, alongside the color matrix.

The second feature that makes the F6 such an excellent camera is its large and bright viewfinder that can achieve 100% coverage.

However, unlike previous Nikon professional SLRs, the viewfinder isn’t interchangeable. This is mainly because the camera wasn’t intended for the professional photographers’ market.

You can still change the focusing screen. With the Nikon F6, you get a choice of four focusing screens.

The Nikon F6 also featured a full EXIF data logging system—a first for 35mm SLR cameras.

This system records and stores all your exposure data to a CF card. If you’re like me (I manually log every exposure on paper), this camera will save you time and energy while making technical shooting easier. 

There’s more!

Like the F5, the F6 is compatible with all Nikon lenses made from 1977. This includes more modern VR and G lenses. If you own lenses made between 1959-1976, you can either convert them to AI or pay Nikon $114 to retrofit your camera and make it compatible with all Nikon lenses.

What about the shutter?

Like the F5, the F6 came with a self-checking and self-correcting shutter able to achieve speeds of 30 sec to 1/8000sec.

And that’s not all:

The F6 is also a relatively fast shooter with speeds of up to 5.5 frames per second. With a motor drive, this speed goes up to eight frames per second.

The F6 also features four shooting modes: the shutter priority, automatic, manual, and program mode.

It also came with the quickest and most silent AF system.

Design and Physical Description

At first glance, you’d think the F6 is a DSLR. Its body resembles that of the D2 but without a vertical grip.

On the hand, the F6 feels like a brick covered in rubber. An ergonomically shaped block to be precise. It fits perfectly on the palm and feels comfortable to hold.

The lack of a dedicated vertical grip gives this camera a more portable look and feel.

The controls are also ergonomically placed with every button, dial, and control being located under the fingers.

The mode selector, AF and AE lock, exposure compensation dial, shutter speed, and aperture controls are all located around the horizontal hand grip. When shooting with this camera, there’s no need to stop shooting to change functions.

And that’s not all:

Thanks to the weatherproof magnesium alloy body, you can use the F6 in any weather.

Shortcomings of this Camera

One of the most notable shortcomings with this camera is its price. The F6 was built for a more affluent audience. A new one retails at approximately $2699 with a used one going for $900, making it out of reach for many hobbyist photographers.

The F6 is also not the lightest camera. It’s a bit heavy and weighs 1,006.3 g.

Final Thoughts

The Nikon F6 is a genuinely incredible camera. 

All its features are designed to perfection, and unlike other 35mm SLRs, it’s still in production—if you hate buying used cameras, this is the SLR for you.

If your bank account allows, the F6 is a worthy addition to your vintage classic camera collection.