Ultimate Mechanical Rangefinder
The M6 was the ultimate mechanical rangefinder camera from leica. It combines the quiet performance of the cloth shutter, the compact size of a range finder and the ultimate in mechanical reliability of a Leica. Mechanical cameras are excellent for those long assignments or backpacking trips, where a store for batteries might not be an option. Film is going to be around for a while, so until full frame digital comes down in price and digital file security improves, the M6 is a great choice for those must-have photographs. In addition, you gain the advantage of the exceptional performance of the Leica lenses. The quality far surpases the results from the "all-in-one" zooms packed with most digital SLR kits. Plus, batteries for the meter are readily available, compared with the hard to find options for the MR accessory meter of the M4 or the M5 camera. The MP remains an all mechanical camera, designed like the M3. The M7 adds an electronic shutter control, very precise, but requiring functional batteries to use.
As of fall of 2008, prices of M6 cameras are coming down into more affordable ranges as more users move to digital formats.
Leica MP 0.72 35mm rangefinder camera
Probably the best film camera on the market today. All-mechanical operation simplifies use & extends the working life to decades, not years. With no electronics to age-out or break-down, Leica's design & production result in cameras that last decades. This is the "mechanical perfection" (=MP) I was looking for. Leicas either hold their value (at least) or actually appreciate in value as the years go by. Both Leitz & off-brand lenses are available. Quieter & more unobtrusive than SLRs or DSLRs the rangefinder system is clear, bright & fast. Lack of a mirror results in near-silent picture-taking. All in all, well worth the up-front price paid. Leica is the sole surviving gold-standard 35mm film camera, as other have "gone digital."
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