Leica M7

Originally published: April 3, 2011

In my opinion this is the best rangefinder film camera still in production. It is everything you would expect from a Leica. It was the first real Leica film camera I have ever used. It is everything I thought it would be. My first Leica was the Leica M8 so I got used to a fair amount of automated features. I like some auto features because they let me focus on composition and my photography and not technical stuff. That said, I don’t shoot in auto all the time. I just use it as a benchmark to judge my settings. Usually I agree with them but sometimes I don’t and I change things. Shooting the M7 and a Leica M8 is a dream. This camera lives up to its name and legacy in every way.

In my opinion this is the best rangefinder film camera still in production. It is everything you would expect from a Leica. It was the first real Leica film camera I have ever used. It is everything I thought it would be. My first Leica was the Leica M8 so I got used to a fair amount of automated features. I like some auto features because they let me focus on composition and my photography and not technical stuff. That said, I don’t shoot in auto all the time. I just use it as a benchmark to judge my settings. Usually I agree with them but sometimes I don’t and I change things. Shooting the M7 and a M8 is a dream. This camera lives up to its name and legacy in every way.

Leica’s are world renowned for two things. Their built quality and their optics. Optics are a function of lens so we won’t talk about that here, see my Leica Lens reviews for more on this. Leica’s built quality is second to nothing. Their MADE IN GERMANY cameras are the best constructed in the world. I say this because their point and shoot camera’s (excluding the X1 which is made in Germany) are rebranded and improved Panasonic digital cameras. Leica prides them selves on their all metal construction. This is one of their defining features and something that I truly enjoy.

Leica’s rangefinder cameras are inherently smaller and more discreet then DSLR’s. It feels weird holding my Nikon D3s or Nikon D700 after using a Leica for a while. It is something truly pleasurable. I am able to carry around an M7 with lens and an Leica M8 with lens and feel like I’m carrying less then when I am carrying my Nikon D3s and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. It also allows you to take pictures in situations that you might be noticed if you are using a DSLR. An example of this would be  Kuwait where the use of DSLR cameras for non-press use was banned. The reason for this was their were big and intimidating. I paraphrased that one but you get the idea. If you were shooting with a Leica no one would notice you. Which is great.

Leica’s optics are another draw to this camera, they are the best in the world bar none. People will argue that point but there is something unique about them. Something special that you need to experience for yourself. Their entry point makes them unreachable for some however, if you look around you will be able to get very good deals on older equipment.  By no means does this mean that this equipment is bad or tainted. Leica’s current M series cameras can use every lens made since 1950. And there are cameras around from that time as well that are still perfectly functional.

Shooting Leica is a pleasure and something every photographer should aspire to do at some point. Leica’s are not suited for sports photography but you can use them for just about everything else….and if you get one you will. they are a joy to shoot because of their size, built quality, optics and german functionality. Their reduce the camera to the basics there are very few buttons on this camera or any Leica, they are spartan and ready to shoot where ever whenever for as long as you need them to.

 

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