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Leica M6 vs. Canonet G-III... and the winner is...
Old 03-07-2006   #1
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Leica M6 vs. Canonet G-III... and the winner is...

So, I don't mean to start a fist fight here with my heresy, but I just thought I'd post an observation. (But I'm sure we'll get a lively conversation out of it)

Up unitl this weekend, I'd never touched a Leica in my life. But I got to play with an M6 for a few minutes this weekend at the local camera shop. Brand spanking new. While of course I cannot argue its superb build quality, and super solid feel, I must say I was a bit disspointed by the rangefinder.

My biggest draw to rangefinder photography is the rangefinder. This unique feature is what makes or breaks a rangefinder to me. And honestly, I found the rangefinder on the M6 to be so-so. It was not all the bright, or very contrasty. For comparison, the rangefinder patch on my Canonet G-III is brighter and has much better contrast. In short, I find it works a lot better.

So, in other words... What's the big deal? I know the optics are great, but there are so many bodies to put them on. Is it just a status thing? I find perfectly contented with my $30 G-III (which was wonderfully CLA'd by G'man).

So, there's my 2 cents. Let the opinions fly...!
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Old 03-07-2006   #2
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Have no idea what you were looking at or your memory is largely false. Please go back and look at again. And ask if really the Leica is brand spanking new.
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Old 03-07-2006   #3
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No big deal really if you are happy with your G-III you just saved yourself a pile of cash. I am sure status plays a small part in it somewhere. From what I have seen I find nothing wrong with the alternative camera bodies that take M mount lenses or for that matter other makers lenses. It is nice to have choices.

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Old 03-07-2006   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtl
Have no idea what you were looking at or your memory is largely false. Please go back and look at again. And ask if really the Leica is brand spanking new.
Well... I don't claim to know a ton... All I can tell you is what my perception was. And I didn't have the Canonet there to do a side by sdie comparison, but having used the G-III for a while now, and just using it that same day, I really felt the rangefinder patch on the G-III performed better, albeit a bit yellower. Oh, and if the M6 wasn't brand new, it was just like it.

I doubt I will go back, as I doubt I will ever buy a Leica. Just wanted to start some friendly conversation.
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Old 03-07-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikon Bob
No big deal really if you are happy with your G-III you just saved yourself a pile of cash. I am sure status plays a small part in it somewhere. From what I have seen I find nothing wrong with the alternative camera bodies that take M mount lenses or for that matter other makers lenses. It is nice to have choices.

Nikon Bob
Well, I certainly wouldn't have had the cash to buy one anyhow. Just mostly an observation... I guess I expected more from the M6 than I felt like it showed me.
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Old 03-07-2006   #6
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As a former owner of a Canonet GIII and a current owner of a number of Leicas I would say that they're "equal" - they both have their benefits and drawbacks.

The Canonet has an EXTREMELY sharp lens but that's it.. it's got one lens.
The Leica has some EXTREMELY sharp lenses but not all bodies have meters embedded; the M5 does, the CL does, the M6 does, the MP does, the M7 does (and has autoexposure) but no others do.

The Canonet metering, while good, uses an older battery type that while you can still attain similar batteries; the older mercury cells are not always produced (in the U.S. at least) and this could lead to differences in metering values - I've never seen them but hey.. it's possible.

Anyway.. different strokes for different folks.. if you like the Canonet far more than the Leica.. then way to go go out and shoot with it I'm indifferent and like most/all cameras.. the Leicas just seem to have something that I can't find in other cameras....I don't think it's "status".. but the ergonomics and aesthetics are something that I enjoy about that camera

Cheers
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Old 03-07-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeaky_clean
Well, I certainly wouldn't have had the cash to buy one anyhow. Just mostly an observation... I guess I expected more from the M6 than I felt like it showed me.
Not having the cash to buy one is not the issue. With all consumer goods that are as highly praised as the Leica and in some peoples views highly over priced the expectations for the performance of said consumer product runs unrealistically high also. How it performs in your hands maybe a let down under those conditions. The M6 is only a camera and if it does not meet your expectations that is fine too. There are many reasons to own any particular camera that apply only to you and matter only to you and nobody else. There are more than enough people willing to flame you over your original post, I am sure, but was that your original intent?

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Old 03-07-2006   #8
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My only intent in my original post was to observe that the rangefinder on the M6 was not as good as I expected, and that I feel the Canonet does just as good if not better. To me, the rangefinder is of great importance. And in that respect I felt that the Leica didn't live up to what my expectations were, whether those were fair or based on hype.
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Old 03-07-2006   #9
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I have to say I agree with Squeaky. I use a Zorki 1 and a QL-17, and until recently I'd never touched any Leicas. Recently my local shop had a III and an M3 in the window, and I had a play with both.

The III was better than my Zorki, no contest. Smoother, brighter patch, obviously the optics will be better. But I honestly couldn't say that the whole package was 300 better. Better, yes, but not 300 better. Given the chance to buy either, I'd go for the Zorki and 300 worth of film. If money was no object, then yeah, I'd take the III, but...

And I really didn't like the M3. Obviously the interchangeable-lens thing is a huge plus. But again, the finder didn't strike me as incredibly better than the Canonet's, and it just didn't fit into my hand in the same way.

I'm not knocking Leica. Hell, no. If I had infinite cash reserves then of course I'd have a few. I think we're more saying 'wow, isn't the Canonet a really, really good second-best!' and perhaps breathing a sigh of relief that our GAS doesn't extend to such stratospheric prices

Edit - 'stratospheric' was the wrong word, and perhaps a little inflammatory. Sorry. What I should have said was the we're relieved that we can assuage our GAS with less expensive kit.

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Old 03-07-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeaky_clean
My only intent in my original post was to observe that the rangefinder on the M6 was not as good as I expected, and that I feel the Canonet does just as good if not better. To me, the rangefinder is of great importance. And in that respect I felt that the Leica didn't live up to what my expectations were, whether those were fair or based on hype.
That is fair enough. I am always suspicious and have seen similar posts degenerate when defenders of the faith and Leica bashers confront each other over similar comments. I have to say that I like the VF better on my Nikon S2 than my M4.

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Old 03-07-2006   #11
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I've owned and used a GIII QL17, and have experience with a few other fixed-lens RFs. Have and enjoy a couple of Leica bodies. Just sold a Bessa R2A that I used happily (but too infrequently) for a year. Compared to many on this forum I'm a real newb to the RF style, so take my comment accordingly:

Shoot what you like and can afford.

It's that simple.

There are so many delightful nuances to using this kind of gear that I think most comparisons don't come close to the heart of the matter. As an example, the fact that I'm amazed at the brightness of Bessa VFs is really of little interest to anyone but me. As it should be.

I'm happy to hear that the OP is quite pleased with the Canonet. Thanks for sharing and good luck shooting with it. Post some pictures, if you can.
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Old 03-07-2006   #12
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For me, the choice to buy a Leica (should the funds ever become available) is driven primarily by quality of build. Leicas and longevity. If another camera came around and was of higher quality, I would prefer it . . . that brings certain Canon and Nikon offerings into play.
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Old 03-07-2006   #13
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I'm sure many of you have stumbled onto this comparison ...

http://www.netaxs.com/~cassidy/image...ql17/ql17.html
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Old 03-07-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTuomey
I've owned and used a GIII QL17, and have experience with a few other fixed-lens RFs. Have and enjoy a couple of Leica bodies. Just sold a Bessa R2A that I used happily (but too infrequently) for a year. Compared to many on this forum I'm a real newb to the RF style, so take my comment accordingly:

Shoot what you like and can afford.

It's that simple.

There are so many delightful nuances to using this kind of gear that I think most comparisons don't come close to the heart of the matter. As an example, the fact that I'm amazed at the brightness of Bessa VFs is really of little interest to anyone but me. As it should be.

I'm happy to hear that the OP is quite pleased with the Canonet. Thanks for sharing and good luck shooting with it. Post some pictures, if you can.
The man speaks the truth!

I think my old signature on this forum used to say "Find something you like and use it often..." I believe it to be very fitting for this post.
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Old 03-07-2006   #15
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Modern rangefinders (Bessa, Leica Ms) are more usable but might appear less contrasty. Thats just becaues the rangefinder spot and the framelines are 'white' instead of blue/orange like older rangefinders (Zorki, 70s rangefinders). I personally like the 'white' rangefinders and I find them easier to use, but to each his own.
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Old 03-07-2006   #16
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@ squeaky...

"So, in other words... What's the big deal? I know the optics are great, but there are so many bodies to put them on. Is it just a status thing? I find perfectly contented with my $30 G-III"

life's about choices. Enjoy yours, enjoy your neighbours. Telling someone their baby is ugly doesn't make your baby better. A, GIII QL17 owner.
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Old 03-07-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jan normandale
Telling someone their baby is ugly doesn't make your baby better.
Thanks for that Jan.. I'm now less self conscious about my *ahem* male inadequacy (if you know what I mean)..

Dave
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Old 03-07-2006   #18
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Quote:
And I really didn't like the M3. Obviously the interchangeable-lens thing is a huge plus. But again, the finder didn't strike me as incredibly better than the Canonet's, and it just didn't fit into my hand in the same way.
I've often read this about the M3 (and M2 and maybe even the M4s, but I'm not sure) - the finders are often much darker and harder to use than one would expect from their reputation.

I've got a Canonet I bought on RFF that's been cleaned and improved, but I can't say that the rangefinder is anywhere near as good as that of a modern Leica or Bessa. Smaller, darker, harder to use. But the Canonet ain't bad at all.
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Old 03-07-2006   #19
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I have two M3's; had them both CLA'd. The "before and after " of the viewfinder and rangefinder was amazing. The RF spot came back looking like a heads-up display. These are 50 year old cameras, and the finders haze-up. Same with the Canonet, and almost all of the other RF's that I have. I have "popped the top" off of 10 Canonets, and they clean up beautifully. Same with Retina's, Yashica's, etc. 10, 20, or 50 years is a long time to go without cleaning the windows.

I like the Canonet, and will be restoring another when I find the right parts camera. I've put film through 10 or so of them. The last one had a noticeably sharper lens than the others. Wide-open it was as good as the Konica S2. Sold it here, at RFF. It was too nice to get a roll of film a year.
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Old 03-07-2006   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeaky_clean
My only intent in my original post was to observe that the rangefinder on the M6 was not as good as I expected, and that I feel the Canonet does just as good if not better. To me, the rangefinder is of great importance. And in that respect I felt that the Leica didn't live up to what my expectations were, whether those were fair or based on hype.
I suspect the VF in your Canonet is above average after getting the Gman treatment, and that of the M6 you toyed with was below average. I too had a nice Canonet, but using it along side my Bessa R the factor which caused me to sell all of my fixed lens RF cameras was the big bright viewfinder of the R. Now, my M6 has just as clear and contrasty a viewfinder as my R did, so I have to again assume, your observation is specific to the two cameras that you have handled.
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Old 03-08-2006   #21
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Hi,

I have two nice canonets and two nice M6's.
Although the canonets are fun to use I see them as toys.
I also fondled with almost any other RF camera except the ZI.
It is just plain simple that the Leica has all the view frames, the build quality and the realibility. I can use 28 to 135mm. Only the Konica RF has the same frames but lower magnification and therefore less accurate and less bright also. Build quality seems to be oke but it has to prove itself in time.
I oppose to the rumour that a Leica is expensive. I used a M3 for 10 years without any trouble and sold it for more money than I payed for it. So, where's the expense? Just don't buy it new.
As mentioned before, the VF of the older Leica's might be fogged. Also desilvering can be a problem. It is therefore very difficult to compare VF's from older camera's unless they have been cleaned recently.
It is also very difficult to judge a camera when only examined a few minutes in a store.

Just shoot what you like most. For me it is Leica of Linhof. For you it is probaly something else.

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Old 03-08-2006   #22
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I shoot with the Leica's, and never worried about the "pristine" looking part. After the CLA, the mechanics and optics of the M3's and M2 are "pristine". The Nikon's, I sent a mechanically perfect SP to Shintaro to take out the dents and put a "Pristine" paint job on it. I never worried about that with the Leica's. They are just great handling cameras, and a pleasure to use. So is the "Pristine" Black SP.
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Old 03-08-2006   #23
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A brand spanking new M6? Anybody remember when it was discontinued and replaced with the M6TTL/M7/MP?
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Old 03-08-2006   #24
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Since some folks have both the GIII and some sort of Leica could someone do some film testing for us all to see? When I test several cameras at one time I use one roll of film to test 3 cameras. Eight shots per camera roughly and I start wide open to stopped down. I just rewind the film back into the cannister and reload it into the next camera and so on.
That way I eliminate any processing differences between films. This is done on a tripod with the self timer to eliminate shake. The shots are also done within minutes of each other to take out weather variables. Some nice slide film would also show which produces better color. Since I have neither camera, I cant do the testing, but is anyone interested in trying it and posting the results?
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Old 03-08-2006   #25
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Hi,

I can do the testing you ask for, but what's the use?
I have two canonet's and one is clearly better than the other.
And what Leica lens to use? I have a 35 summilux which is not nearly as good as the latest 35 summilux asph. I have a screw mount 3.5 Summaron which is as good as the canonet but much slower. Its all apples and pears.
Very roughly I'd say that the canonet is as good as the Leica lenses of the same age but not even close to the modern Leica lenses.

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Old 03-08-2006   #26
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Why should any camera produce better results or colours than any other? It is just the box holding the lens. The lens produces the picture....
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Old 03-08-2006   #27
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Oh no...no more testing please. Save your film and get out... Who really cares about tripod testing shots anyway? Have we done enough testing shots of almost every camera and every lens that ever existed on earth? Still the arguments continue...
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Old 03-08-2006   #28
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Well I have never seen any controled testing between Leica and other cameras the few comments and pics I have seen have been haphazard at best...If its been done before and someone has a URL, I would like to see it...Whatever is the equivalent focal length in Leica would be the one to test against a Canonet. As far as colors, yes the lens makes the colors and that is what we would really be testing. Some lenses have a cooler cast to them some warmer..
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Old 03-08-2006   #29
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I dont think this thread has anything to do with image quality, it was just about feel and preference.
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Old 03-08-2006   #30
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If I'm to compare two vehicles for how they perform when I drive them around the mall, I don't know I'd get the full picture (no pun intended) if I'm not looking under the hood and seeing if there's anything wrong (i.e. previous owner hardly ever changed the oil, air filters, coolant, gaskets, etc.)

But whatever satisfies me is what counts, I guess. A valid comparison? Not sure...
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Old 03-08-2006   #31
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I think "lens tests" are meant here. There are thousands of those floating around the Internet. It is just a matter of Google......
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Old 03-08-2006   #32
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Leica M6 vs. Canonet G-III... and the winner is...

Wrong. There are no winners or losers, only preferences.
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Old 03-08-2006   #33
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I worked in a camera store when the Canonet G111 was new, and it sold then for about $95. It has a good lens, good rangefinder, but it's to big and heavy for a camera with one non-interchangeable lens. It won't fit in your pocket like an Olympus XA. I always thought you were better off spending more money and getting the Canon AE-1, a small, light SLR.

All Leicas are works of art as well as fine photographic instruments. Put one next to the Canonet and the Canonet looks cheaply built. My Olympus OM1 looks cheaply built nest to the Leica. I don't own a Leica; I can't afford a mint one.
Leicas are also well designed. I have a mint Voigtlander Prominent with several lenses. It's just as well made as a Leica M3 and cost as much when it first came out. The Prominent was just not as well designed as the Leica and over time, has not retained it's value.
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