Once again, I contradict myself. I don’t want to have too many cameras. But I am glad to have Nikon FM 2 and Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex. Now, I have a Leica M6.
Yes, a freaking Leica which I have never dared to think about. To me, Leica is unreachable. And I don’t believe my photography will improve with a Leica.
However, I didn’t buy the Leica M6 myself. I got it as a gift from my loved one. Blessed.
Why Leica M6?
There are so many types of Leica, why did we choose Leica M6? Because it is strongly recommended by Japan Camera Hunter. He also wrote about how to choose the Leica M series. In conclusion, Leica M6 seems to be the best with a reasonable price (compared within Leica). It only requires a battery for light meter. Otherwise, everything is still functional without battery.
I bought mine from Riceball. The guy, Leon, is very knowledgeable and super friendly. As an introvert, I often feel uncomfortable with shopkeepers, etc. But I am totally very at ease with him. I trust him.
That day I was deciding between 28mm, 35mm and 50mm. Because of dilemma, I was in the shop for almost 2 hours. But he patiently explained everything to me.
What I learnt after researching about Leica is that the lens can potentially cost more than the body! Well, you can get a 50mm lens at the cheapest rate of SGD 400-500, but the condition is expected to be bad. So, be prepared to spend at least SGD 1000 for a lens. Crazy! That’s why I never even dare to think about Leica…
Leica M6 is a rangefinder, so what I see is not what the lens sees. When I look through the viewfinder, I can see a bit of my lens. It takes sometimes of getting used to.
For lens, I chose a 28mm f2.8 Elmarit lens. Reason: I already have 50mm for my Nikon FM2, 35mm is super expensive and they don’t have a good condition at the moment. If I ever wanted a 35mm, I would opt for a slightly cheaper and good alternative: Voigtländer 35mm lens or Zeiss 35mm f2.8 C Biogon T*ZM.
Buying second-hand Leica
I surveyed around all the film shops in Singapore. A good condition Leica M6 body costs at least SGD1900. Of course, there are other version such as Leica M4P which is about SGD 1200. The thing about buying second-hand camera is that you don’t suffer as much loses. The first hand users had already suffered the loses for you.
Because let’s say you buy a brand new camera costing SGD 2000, the moment you step out of the shop with it, the price is automatically reduced by at least 30%.
For film Leica, let’s say I bought a second-hand at SGD 2000. When I want to sell it, I lose maybe SGD200. But the first buyer might have lost half the price. I can just take the SGD 200 as a rental. It’s the same thing for the lens.
Leica is definitely a good camera, given its long history. I love the experience. The images turned out all very sharp and clear.
However, I won’t recommend anyone who has tight budget to buy a Leica. Save up for it if you really want to. Don’t live pay cheque by pay cheque. When you first got a new Leica, you might feel like you own the world. Sadly, the effect wears off within a month. Then you will start to think of new lenses…
Furthermore, if your main point of taking photos is to impress your friends, please don’t ever buy Leica. Because they won’t be able to tell the difference. They will believe you if you tell them your iPhone shots were shot by a Leica and they will wow and move on with their life.
Finally, I must say I am extremely lucky to have a Leica as a gift. Otherwise, I really won’t think about Leica, at all.