Review: Leica M6

Leica M6

In a previous post (the one regarding the Canon Eos 1n) I asked if it still makes sense nowadays to use a 35mm camera.

The Leica M6 (and for what matter almost every Leica Ms) demonstrate that actually yes, it still makes sense.

The M6 is at the same time a fairly specialized camera and a multifunction tool.

And no, I’m not suggesting to use it as an hammer, even if the toughness of the construction may make you think of trying.

The presence of the rangefinder pose a limit for using the Leica for close-up or tele pictures, but at the same time this makes it extremely well suited for reportage work.

And it’s a great tool, given the marvelous quality of the Leica lenses, for landscape photography if you are an hiker that likes to travel light.

Sure, is not autofocus.

But with a little practice focus a rangefinder is quite easy and way too faster than focusing an SRL.

And you could use the hyperfocal technique.

I must confess: I ended up selling my first M, an M4p, and regretting ever since the decision until I stumbled upon an M6.

And at some point probably I will spring the money for an M8, that performance-price wise I think is one of the best digital camera out there (but I haven’t tried one by myself yet…).

The Ms share a unique attribute, in common with few other cameras like the Hasselblad 500 series, that is the almost zen experience in using them, without noise, beeping and whirs to watch out.

Just framing and shooting.

And frankly, even if I were to hate this camera (and at the contrary, I love it), the lenses that it mounts are so wonderful that they are worth the eventual troubles.

Like every thing marked as Leica is pricey (from 600 to 1200€ street, depending on sub-models and conditions), but it is worth every penny if you are a rangefinder-guy and / or if you will give it enough time to get used to.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: Fuji GS 645

Today I wish to talk about one of the best, if not THE best, cameras I ever used.

I’m speaking about the Fuji GS 645, a 4,5×6 medium format rangefinder camera that will fit in your pocket.

And without having to sacrify anything. This camera has one of the sharpest lenses ever and a classic center weighted exposure meter with LEDs into the finder.

And I swear, I’m not throwing away superlatives just for fun, it is really that amazing!

fuji gs645

With one toy like this one in your pocket and some films in the other you may go shooting for a day, from reportage to landscape photography.

One of my favourite setups for landscape is this camera screwed on top of the tripod – closed to protect the lens and the really delicate bellows -,  and the tripod itself on my shoulder, carried like a shotgun.

This way I’m always ready to shoot; without the lazyness of picking the camera or the lens into the bag I just put down the tripod, frame and shoot, move on.

If you find one of this cameras take a look at the bellows: the original Fuji ones are really prone to develop little holes that you may see blasting a flashlight or a lamp inside the bellows, obviously with the back open, in a dark room.

I have changed mine with an home made variant, much stronger even if a little too thick; and, by the way, the plexiglass in front of the finder is not the original aspect of the camera, but the black plastic mask that cover this zone broke and I have had replaced it this way.

If you don’t need the extreme compactness of this model you may avoid the bellows problems and you may choose one of the other models of the same line, if you want up to 6×9; whatever you choose they are all excellent.

Rating: ★★★★★ optics

Rating: ★★★½☆ mechanics