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Contemplating Canon 7 purchase
Old 09-06-2019   #1
traveler_101
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Contemplating Canon 7 purchase

I am thinking about getting another camera - that I don't need (lol). I already have a Leica IIIf that I love and use most of the time when shooting a film camera and a Bessa-R which I use occasionally. I have several LTM lenses. The most I ever paid for a lens was $300 for a CV Ultron 35 f/1.7 and about the same for my Elmar 5cm f/3.5.

I have thought about a Leica M2 but the price point and the cost of M lenses has put me off. I wanted a Summaron 35 f/2.8 - now $1200 or more. I realise you can use a converter for LTM lenses, but something bothers about paying a lot of money for a camera with a capability that I probably would not use.

When you look at the prices of the Canon rangefinders: it seems like a lot for the money. The 7 has been described as a really great piece of machinery, the equal in some ways to the early Leica Ms. I also love the 7 because it looks like its era, moderne, and has that great selenium meter hooked to the shutter speed - lol. (Well, it reminds me of the meter on the Canon FX SLR (1964) I once owned). I don't use meters that much; I shoot b&w and tend to meter when I start shooting or when there is a tricky scene. And of course, if I need metering for colour film I have the Bessa. But I think the meter on the 7 is definitely cool and would like to see if I could make it work.

I have thought about matching the Canon 7 with a Serener 50mm f/1.8 - perhaps buying the camera and lens together. I also have a Canon 100mm f/3.5 sitting around and there is the CV Ultron 35 to use with it. (I wonder if the Ultron blocks the viewfinder as it does on the Bessa-R).

Buying a camera now approaching 60 years old is a risky proposition, but then again the prices are quite low - so I am willing to take that risk. My main concern - besides feeling that this is an unnecessary purchase - is whether I will be able to focus with the 7's finder or not. My favourite finder is on the Leica IIIf actually; I find the 1.5x magnification helps me greatly and the contrasty patch is easier to use than the one on the Bessa-R. Somewhere I read that the Canon 7 finder is great, but not as easy to use as the Bessa - which would mean probably unusable for me. It also "chews" glasses, according to Dante Stella. I wear glasses.

Does anyone have experience with the 7, especially in comparison with the cameras I mention?
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Old 09-06-2019   #2
AndersG
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I can't compare the Canon 7 to either Leica or Bessa cameras as I have never used any of those, but a Canon 7 I have.

I use some pieces of tape to protect my glasses - might not look nice but works well for me.

The viewfinder is pretty nice and if I remember correctly about 0.85 in magnification. The rangefinder is much longer than on the Bessa R but, possibly, the edge of the rangefinder patch is worse on the Canon 7 than on Leica M (and Bessa). Of course, the state of the finder in a near 60 year old camera may vary a lot.
There are manually selectable frame lines for 35, 50, 85/100 and 135 mm lenses.
For me with glasses the 35 mm lines require me to move the eye to see all parts of them.

I suspect that trusting the 60 year old selenium light meter is not often a good idea - on my camera it doesn't work.
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Old 09-06-2019   #3
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I very much prefer the Canon P. Might be worth considering.
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Old 09-06-2019   #4
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7 is huge. Even P is bigger than M. I really see no reason for it for photography. For collection, why not. R also has 100mm frames.
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Old 09-06-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
7 is huge. Even P is bigger than M. I really see no reason for it for photography. For collection, why not. R also has 100mm frames.
Huge might be good, as a change of pace (all my cameras film and digital are quite small). Who knows how it would feel in my hands?

By the way Ko-Fe, I think your struggles with the Leica M made me think twice about buying one. You replaced your M4-2 with a Bessa R3M and your M3 with a IIIg? Was it the M4 that had an incurable light leak+

Knock on wood, but my little IIIf has given zero troubles since I got her.
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Old 09-06-2019   #6
Robert Lai
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I have the Canon 7s, with the CdS meter instead of the now most likely dead selenium meter. It also gives you a real accessory shoe, which the Canon 7 lacks.

Compared to the Bessa R (best viewfinder of the lot, due to its modern coatings), and the IIIG, the 7s finder is excellent. It's easy to focus with.
I had the Canon FX before also, and the meter on the 7s is basically the same as on the FX. There is a high / low sensitivity setting, and a rotary on/ off/battery check switch on the back.

The 7s is a big camera, but about the size of the FX for comparison (without pentaprism, of course).

Not having to switch back and forth between the rangefinder window and the frame window is a big plus with the Canon LTM cameras vs the Leica Barnacks.
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Old 09-06-2019   #7
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I tried to make the switch from M2 to Canon P and just found it frustrating. Didn't get on with the size, angular body, and how it hung from my neck strap (I frequently wore it cross-body, bandolier style). My lens wasn't heavy enough to balance the body, so it tilted inward awkwardly and always peeved me. Sold it after a few rolls of film.

If I were in your shoes, I'd slap an M-mount adapter on your 35mm Ultron and save for a user M2 to pair it with. Good luck!
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Old 09-06-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndersG View Post
I can't compare the Canon 7 to either Leica or Bessa cameras as I have never used any of those, but a Canon 7 I have.

I use some pieces of tape to protect my glasses - might not look nice but works well for me.

The viewfinder is pretty nice and if I remember correctly about 0.85 in magnification. The rangefinder is much longer than on the Bessa R but, possibly, the edge of the rangefinder patch is worse on the Canon 7 than on Leica M (and Bessa). Of course, the state of the finder in a near 60 year old camera may vary a lot.
There are manually selectable frame lines for 35, 50, 85/100 and 135 mm lenses.
For me with glasses the 35 mm lines require me to move the eye to see all parts of them.

I suspect that trusting the 60 year old selenium light meter is not often a good idea - on my camera it doesn't work.
Thanks for the information! It sounds as if you have no trouble focusing with your copy. I rarely worry much about frame lines on 35mm shots. 50 is a bit different. I read that the meters on the 7 often do work or can be taken apart and made to work. That might be fun to try. Light metering is available on smart phone app - I have been using one effectively. It is always available to check metering on other devices, unless you are shooting in a remote location.

Just a note about finders. My Leica IIIf is now approaching 70 years old, but it has had its beamsplitter replaced. The finder comes with a diopter and gives a 1.5 x magnification. It is very easy to focus, even for an old fogey like me. It is hard to imagine any other rangefinder camera equaling that.
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Old 09-06-2019   #9
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I have no experience with the Bessa, or Leica IIIf but can offer this about the Canon 7, The viewfinder is pretty good. Big, bright with projected frame lines. A nice added touch is that the focal length will show beneath the selected frame lines. Major difference between a Canon 7 and a Leica M, is that the focusing spot of the 7 is rounded and “mushy.” The focusing rectangle of a Leica M is sharp-edged. I find focusing with a Leica M easier than a 7.

And the 7 isn’t that huge. It actually fits nicely in my hands and is comfortable to use.

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Old 09-06-2019   #10
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I have both, the Canon 7 and the Leica IIIf

They are both great cameras, but each has its own great shooting experience, the Canon 7 may be larger but easier to use and from a more modern era than the IIIf. You are more in the Leica M school of cameras with the Canon 7 and it has one of the best RFs in the Canon line along with the later 7s and 7sz camera bodies.

These last few years the Canon 7 body has been selling at give away prices (many were made) and for how long this lasts no one knows. I would grab one if I did not have a Canon 7.. even just to try it out..you can always sell it for what you bought it for if you do not bond with it.
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Old 09-06-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lai View Post
I have the Canon 7s, with the CdS meter instead of the now most likely dead selenium meter. It also gives you a real accessory shoe, which the Canon 7 lacks.

Compared to the Bessa R (best viewfinder of the lot, due to its modern coatings), and the IIIG, the 7s finder is excellent. It's easy to focus with.
I had the Canon FX before also, and the meter on the 7s is basically the same as on the FX. There is a high / low sensitivity setting, and a rotary on/ off/battery check switch on the back.

The 7s is a big camera, but about the size of the FX for comparison (without pentaprism, of course).

Not having to switch back and forth between the rangefinder window and the frame window is a big plus with the Canon LTM cameras vs the Leica Barnacks.
First person I found who had the FX! I loved that camera. Sounds like you are saying that the 7s holds up in the viewfinder department with the best of them? How did you replace the mercury battery in the meter?
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Old 09-06-2019   #12
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I had a Canon 7 a few years ago. It was a nice camera w/ a good viewfinder. As others have noted, it's on the large size for a rangefinder, and my sample was nowhere near as smooth as the M2 I ultimately replaced it with. The basic Canon 7 does not have a built in accessory shoe, which I found limiting (I wanted to shoot a 28mm lens with it). I found the framelines easier to use on the Canon 7 than on the Canon P, due to the lower magnification of the 7's vf; I wear glasses and always found the 35mm framelines on the P impossible to see, and the Canon 7 was much better in that regard. The Canon 7's larger size means that it balances well w/ larger lenses, like the LTM CV Ultron 35. And it's certainly a robust camera -- "tank like" comes to mind. It's likely that the meter won't work on the basic 7, or won't be very accurate. When all is said and done, though, the 7 may be great value for money if you can find a good sample.
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Old 09-06-2019   #13
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Why? Look for something else to buy!

Another rangefinder is more of the same. Try something new. Something weird.
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Old 09-06-2019   #14
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I have and use a Canon 7, Bessa R, and Leica M2.
The Canon 7 viewfinder and rangefinder isn't quite as good as the Bessa, but I think nearly everything else about the Canon 7 is better than the Bessa. I very much prefer using the Canon.
I think the Canon 7 is one of more under appreciated cameras out there, and is a much better camera than its price tag suggests.
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Old 09-06-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgetty View Post
. . .If I were in your shoes, I'd slap an M-mount adapter on your 35mm Ultron and save for a user M2 to pair it with. Good luck!
The thought has crossed my mind more than once. The Ultron is a very good lens, though I wonder whether it would block the finder on the M2. Almost did it a couple of years ago, now the prices have increased significantly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xayraa33 View Post
. . . These last few years the Canon 7 body has been selling at give away prices (many were made) and for how long this lasts no one knows. I would grab one if I did not have a Canon 7.. even just to try it out..you can always sell it for what you bought it for if you do not bond with it.
My thought exactly. Value for the money and perhaps worth a try.

Opinion appears to be equally divided, however, on whether the "mushy" finder patch makes the 7 series significantly harder to focus than a Leica. There is a pretty close division of opinion also on whether to bother buying the Canon 7 or 7s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
Why? Look for something else to buy!
Another rangefinder is more of the same. Try something new. Something weird.
This has passed through my head too. But what? Back to an SLR? Not sure the advantage there. How about learning to make daguerreotypes?
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Old 09-06-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
This has passed through my head too. But what? Back to an SLR? Not sure the advantage there. How about learning to make daguerreotypes?

Just get a Leicaflex SL or SL2...
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Old 09-06-2019   #17
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If you are planning to shoot just 50mm, get a Canon P. Slightly smaller, smoother smoother design.

The Canon 7 is simply not as nice as a Leica M3. All around, but mainly the viewfinder. Then again, it is 1/6 or less the price of an M2 or 3? Once I get shooting with a 7 or P, I forget that it isn't an M3 and it works great.

One thing I read about and sort of ignored but in use is actually very very annoying- the strap lugs are too far to the front (both the 7 and the P). So the camera will naturally tilt back, driving the back edge of the top into your ribs, back, side, however you carry the camera. If you plan on having one around your body for long periods, be prepared.
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Old 09-06-2019   #18
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The Canon 7 has a better meter than any affordable Leica, so there is that! Lol.

Seriously though, the Canon 7 is one of the best cameras ever made. I had one back about 15 years ago and always regretted selling it. I loved it. I casually looked for one for years, but recently I figured I might as well get one again since I am not getting any younger. One popped up with a Japanese Summilux at a stupid price and I snagged it. Happy I did so. The 7 is larger than a Leica, but it is a very comfortable camera to hold for whatever reason. The switchable framelines are nice and they only show one at a time. The viewfinder patch is fuzzy around the edges, but that isn't a big deal. I focus with the center of the patch anyway on my Leicas, so it works the same. I'd have to look, but I think the patch is larger than on the Leica. The meter is nice to have and works well at waist level. The only thing the 7 doesn't have is a hot shoe, but I never use flash so whoopdeedoo. For the price they sell for, they are a spectacular bargain. If you want to get a Canon 50mm, buy one with a 50 included. It will save you a few bucks.

Good luck!
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Old 09-06-2019   #19
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I have the Canon 7, a Bessa R2, and a Leica II. I've at various times had the IIF, IIIF, M3 and M4-P as well...
they are all the BEST and all are my favorite....

Not very helpful, but seriously, the Canon 7 is cool! Big and heavy i suppose but I dig the holder "L" and a Black Rapid sling with that camera.

The Screwmount Leicas are seriously amazing, compact and solid (as you know) Somehow, the II is better than the IIf and the IIIf for me.

Never bonded with the M3 and the M4-P - probably like you said, the mega-expensive native lenses

The R2 is my latest and combines a lot that I like about rangefinders without feeling as flimsy as the R.

I'm partial to black cameras.....








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Old 09-06-2019   #20
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There is a nice P and two Canon lenses on Photrio for sale now. No affiliation with seller.

https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...lenses.169773/
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Old 09-06-2019   #21
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As you can see, people’s opinions vary widely. You should probably just go ahead and get one to find out for yourself on which side of the fence you stand. As for me, I had one for a while and then sold it and have not missed it or ever considered getting another. It was a nice camera and was easy to load and shoot, but I didn’t find anything enjoyable about it. It was too big, felt too hollow, and the shutter was too loud. Replaced it with an M2 that I plan to keep as long as there’s film to put in it, but that’s just my two cents.
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Old 09-06-2019   #22
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"My thought exactly. Value for the money and perhaps worth a try.

Opinion appears to be equally divided, however, on whether the "mushy" finder patch makes the 7 series significantly harder to focus than a Leica. There is a pretty close division of opinion also on whether to bother buying the Canon 7 or 7s."


The Canon 7 finder and RF patch is virtually the same on the 7s, both kind of near-sighted but a big improvement over other earlier Canon RF cameras.

Only on the last series of Canon 7s referred to as the Canon 7sz ( I don't think that was an official designation ) was the finder corrected.

The problem with the 7s or the rarer 7sz is that they sell for a much higher price than the 160 to 200 dollars US that you can easily snag a Canon 7 these days.
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Canon RF body for use
Old 09-06-2019   #23
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Canon RF body for use

Without intent, over the years I have become something of a Canon RF collector. I have and in the past used both a 7 and a 7s. They are heavy, much more so than previous Canon bodies. I would not recommend either as a "user", regardless of the pros and cons mentioned regarding the viewfinders, rangefinders, hot shoe issue, etc. My concern is the shutter. It is a metal foil shutter with a complex drive system. Over the years, the springs tend to weaken and go out of speed adjustment. There are no parts and very few repair persons will work on them. I had my 7 overhauled by Ken Ruth when I bought it about 25 years ago. Ken was a recognized expert of Canon RF, but he was unable to get the speeds over 1/125 into spec. And that was considered a good result. So, when I use my Canon RF system, I use my VI-T instead. In conclusion, if you want to actually use your LTM lenses on a Canon body, get a P if the reduced mag viewfinder is workable for you, or an earlier VI-T or VI-L. Their shutters are basically the same as a Leica and can be maintained anywhere.
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The Canon FX and the Canon 7s
Old 09-06-2019   #24
Robert Lai
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The Canon FX and the Canon 7s

The Canon FX was my very first camera. Actually, my father bought it for himself when he had an interest in photography, and he bought it from my uncle, who had studied engineering in Japan. The camera was from 1964, and it came with the FL 58mm f/1.2 lens. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that the FX shutter easily jams if you wind on prematurely during a long exposure. Also, that the grease from the helicals can migrate into the FL lens diaphragm and freeze up the diaphragm blades.

The meter of the FX is coupled to the shutter speed dial by a silken cord. If that cord finally snaps, then your meter is defunct. I learned that the Nikon F and it's F mount lenses were superior to the Canon SLRs of that time.


With respect to your question about the battery for the 7s meter, I use a silver oxide 645 battery (1.5V), and a pratedthai adapter. The latter is sold on ebay, and is manufactured in Thailand. Gold plated for excellent electrical contact, and far cheaper than the other battery voltage adapters out there. The pratedthai adapter lowers the voltage to 1.35V, and the silver cells have the same flat discharge curve as the mercury batteries originally.


For ease of use, I find the Leica M7 the easiest of my 35mm rangefinders to use, due to its auto exposure. Having said that, I would say for the LTM cameras, the Bessa R, then the Canon 7s, and the Leica IIIG rank in the order of descending ease of use. I had the Leica IIIF also (red dial), but the flash synchronizer setting was too much of a pain for me. I use electronic flash as well as flash bulbs, and although you can get perfect synchronization for any type of flash, I had to carry a data index card with me for the synchronizer settings.


P.S. I do still own a Canon SLR - a FTbn. But I own Nikon F, F2A, and F3HP, F3T also.
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Old 09-07-2019   #25
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Great kit - you have good taste! I especially like the Leica II - of course

Quote:
Originally Posted by cassel View Post
I have the Canon 7, a Bessa R2, and a Leica II. I've at various times had the IIF, IIIF, M3 and M4-P as well...
they are all the BEST and all are my favorite....

Not very helpful, but seriously, the Canon 7 is cool! Big and heavy i suppose but I dig the holder "L" and a Black Rapid sling with that camera.

The Screwmount Leicas are seriously amazing, compact and solid (as you know) Somehow, the II is better than the IIf and the IIIf for me.

Never bonded with the M3 and the M4-P - probably like you said, the mega-expensive native lenses

The R2 is my latest and combines a lot that I like about rangefinders without feeling as flimsy as the R.

I'm partial to black cameras.....








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Old 09-07-2019   #26
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I've owned and used Canon 7, P, Vt, and IVsb. And Leica II and M4. And Bessae R and R2a.

What I still have and use is the Bessa R.

I liked the 7 well enough and the viewfinder was fine for my vision and my eyeglasses--I'm pretty farsighted and lots of astigmatism so I can't just take my specs off to shoot.
What led me to sell the 7 was the lack of a cold shoe. I like the 21mm CV lens quite a lot and rely on the vf for framing. The included framelines on the 7 were good for their respective focal lengths.

I have settled on the Bessa R in large part because its vf is so good. That plus the meter.

Not sure what prices for the 7 are like locally to you, traveler_101, but on line they seem to fairly easy to find in decent condition--apart from the meter which is always going to be a bit of a gamble given the age of them--for pretty reasonable money. Around $100 US or so. More for better visual condition. Which is equivalent to a really nice meal for two where I'm from.

So, you could consider it this way: if you are willing or interested in spending about that much on a much more ephemeral evening's entertainment, it might be worthwhile to spend that much on a camera that you may like quite well and have the use of for several years at least.

Not that much of "risky proposition" I think. I don't know how your health is but if you like the 7 and have 10 years left to use it, you'll have the use of a nice camera for about $10 a year. Or, again using prices from my local area, the equivalent of two good beers per year.

Rob
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Old 09-07-2019   #27
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Huge might be good, as a change of pace (all my cameras film and digital are quite small). Who knows how it would feel in my hands?

By the way Ko-Fe, I think your struggles with the Leica M made me think twice about buying one. You replaced your M4-2 with a Bessa R3M and your M3 with a IIIg? Was it the M4 that had an incurable light leak+

Knock on wood, but my little IIIf has given zero troubles since I got her.
I never owned IIIg, it is waste of money, IMO. I never owned M4.
I never replaced M4-2 with R2M or anything else, yet. M4-2 is my everyday camera. Where light leak comes and goes at its own
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Old 09-11-2019   #28
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First bought a P and used it for several years and loved it. But also wondered about a 7, bought one with working meter, have never checked accuracy. Sunny 16 or hand held since my Argus C-3 days long ago. But just have not been able to love it like the P. Good luck with your search for the right one.

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Old 09-12-2019   #29
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If there were a perfect Canon, it would sell at Leica M prices. Whatever you pick, it will be a compromise. The 7 had a nice bright and clear viewfinder. Selectible frame lines which are paralax corrected. Great in daylight. The rangefinder patch on mine was a little faded so not as easy to focus in dim light. I had no problems with the shutter.. spot on at all speeds. Also consider easy back door loading. Way easier than a Leica. No accessory shoe.

The P is also a big cameras.. about the same size as the 7, but without the bulge for the light meter. The P rangefinder also suffers from age. So find one with a good image. P viewfinder is better for 50mm and 7 is better for 35mm. P has a shoe. P has no meter.

As an alternative, just get some nice accessory viewfinders for your lenses and use the Leica you already have.
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Old 09-12-2019   #30
retinax
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Focusing a 7 works great with or without glasses. The RF patch may not be as sharp-edged as on a Bessa, but also doesn't disappear if your eye isn't exactly centered as on the Bessa R. The incidence does however move about a bit, so focus is perfect only when the eye is centered.

The 35mm frame line is not visible in its entirety with glasses on, the 50mm one is just so for me.

The 35 Ultron does intrude a bit into the frame line IIRC, but not too much.
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it's the rangefinder patch
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
DavidC
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it's the rangefinder patch

The 7 is a durable camera with a problem in its viewfinder. The area around the fuzzy rangefinder patch is often plagued by a halo of light resulting from internal reflections (lack of condenser?). This problem is found in the 7s as well and sadly even the 7sZ. I have reached the conclusion that Leica Ms and Zeiss ZM still have the best patches in the 35 mm arena.
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