Ordering Leica MP

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by mafoofan, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Don't know--waiting to hear back.


    Well, to be fair, I'm not modifying anything. The factory is making the changes.
     


  2. lexybeast

    lexybeast Well-Known Member

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    Having browsed the thread and being a Leica shooter myself, here's my input:

    First, it's awesome that you're giving film a shot. After starting with b&w film, then going to digital for a few years and recently going back to film, I agree that there's a great texture and tonality you get with film that's at best extremely difficult to replicate in digital.

    Regarding buying an original MP (the meter-free version), don't make any modifications to it. Those are basically collector pieces now, as are many Leica cameras and lenses unfortunately, bought as an investment. If anything, look for a beat up M3 and have modifications made to that, as long as you're all right with shooting 50mm lenses. The ASPH 50mm lux is a compelling reason to be ok with only 50mm. (And longer lenses.) Many also argue that alongside the original MPs, the rangefinder mechanism in the M3 is the best Leica ever made, even to this day. Heck, even with a new MP, get an M3 on the side and have two bodies.

    Also, a great developing solution for a beginning b&w photographer is diafine. Tri-X developed in diafine is pretty amazing, and it's an extremely forgiving developer, as well as being temperature insensitive. Shooting on an M3 with Tri-X, I can sometimes leave the handheld meter at home, estimate exposures, and get excellent results. I wouldn't bother with labs just because it takes some of the fun out of it, especially beginning in b&w film. It's one thing if you're a professional, but if you're a beginning film hobbyist then try as much of the processing as you can take.

    Neopan in both 400 and 100 Acros work really nicely with diafine in my experience too.

    The Nikon 5000 is an excellent scanner. You can probably get results close to it with something like an Epson V700, but those flatbed scanners are beasts. Huge, and kind of slow too. I got frustrated with mine quickly and got the Nikon scanner, and never regretted it.

    Lastly, for the top plate engraving on the custom MP, go with the minimal engraving.
     


  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks for the input and encouragement, Lexy. I don't understand all this talk about needing to 'earn' the right to use a Leica. Seems to me it's an ideal camera to learn on.

    When you refer to a meterless MP, are you referring to the original 1956-58 MP? I would never dream of paying for one of those, nonetheless modifying it. I was talking about the MP Classic, a limited edition version of the current MP released in 2005. It is the only version of the current MP that has absolutely no electronics in it--and it may be the last 100% mechanical rangefinder Leica ever makes.

    I was very happy to find an unused, new-in-box Nikon 5000ED a few months ago. It's arguably even harder to get these days than a new 35mm or 50mm Summilux.
     


  4. lexybeast

    lexybeast Well-Known Member

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    Phew. The talk about finding a used MP and wanting no in-camera meter got the idea you were talking about the 50s era MP! My mistake.


    Excellent. You probably got one of the last reasonably priced 5000EDs. I'm dreading the day mine breaks down. :uhoh:
     


  5. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Yeah, I'd deserve to be lynched for that! Now, it looks like they might actually make me a new MP without a meter. Waiting to hear back from a few people at Leica. If that doesn't work, the choice will be between an unmetered MP Classic I send off for modifications at the factory, or a new A La Carte MP with a meter.


    Ha--who said anything about reasonably priced? For what I paid, I could have gone a long way in purchasing a new MP body or 35mm Summilux lens. But, it was fair given what other specimens are selling for--and exponentially less expensive than an Imacon.
     


  6. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    **UPDATE** I spoke to a product manager in Solms about my special order. They cannot remove the light meter, as they would have to completely re-design and re-tool. They have spare parts for the meterless MP Classic, but they are reserved for repair. The good news is that they can do everything else: additional parts in black instead of chrome and a slightly modified engraving on the top plate, that may or may not include my name.

    So, my options are to move forward with the special order from the factory, or buy an unused MP Classic from 2005 and have the factory put on a new top plate. The ultimate price paid for each would be the same. The upside to the special order is that it will be a truly new camera, with the typical Leica warranty. The downside is that it will have a meter built-in that is destined to breakdown. The camera will work without it, but still.

    The advantage to the modified MP Classic is that I'll get everything I want substantively. Negatives: no warranty, sort of a Franken-camera, somewhat less sentimental value as it was not made new for me.

    Thoughts?
     


  7. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Is there some reason to believe that the meter in the MP is especially unreliable? There are literally tons of ancient cameras out there with working meters.

    --Andre
     


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I don't believe the MP's electronics are particularly unreliable, but all electronics will stop working at a certain point--even if after many, many years--and they can only be replaced, not repaired. When will Leica run out of spare circuit boards? 20 years from now? 30? It is getting harder and harder to repair SLRs from the early 80's for that reason.

    Even if somewhat academic, as there will likely be parts from other cameras to salvage for a long, long time, the issue is conceptually bothersome to me.
     


  9. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I have a Nikon from the mid 70's and the meter works just fine. Never had an issue. Not sure why it would be a potential problem with a Leica down the road.
     


  10. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    The point is that it is bound to break and cannot be repaired--by nature of being electronic, not due to the specific manufacturer. If you never had a problem over 40 years of use, you're lucky.
     


  11. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is a no-brainer
     


  12. pfurey

    pfurey Senior member

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    Go for the meter, for fucks sake.
     


  13. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Please help.
     


  14. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    Foo,

    Let me see if I understand: you want no light meter so the camera will be more 'pure' and your self-justification for this that eventually the light meter might break (as if the rest of the camera parts aren't prone to eventually break down....)?
     


  15. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Sort of. The rest of the camera, being mechanical, can be repaired. The light meter will need total replacement if it fails.
     


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