World’s most beautiful Leica M6 Part II {does it takes pictures?}

best leica m6 available

M6 Dragon Y2000 Black Paint

Read Part 1 here

We have to ask ourselves whenever we try to justify our purchases. Especially one that comes from the red-dot company (cough*). The left brain begets us to explain, to sanitise our conscience through logic. The big question is “Why did you buy this camera, will you even use it?”. There is a thin line between a gear head, a collector and an actual enthusiast user that appreciates using the tool.

 

leica zeiss ultimate m6 camera

Leica M6 dragon with 35mm f2 Biogon

When i bought the Dragon M6 limited edition, i was clearly stunned by its built and quality. I even blogged about this earlier . It has been weeks since i had the camera. All the early shouting and self afflicted propaganda to keep buyer’s remorse have subsided. I couldn’t allow myself to keep the camera in the box to just appreciate its aesthetic values, my views of collectors are pretty low in respect and using that same measurement on myself would make me a complete hypocrite.

A beautiful tool such as the Dragon M6 have to prove its worth and a camera is useless if it isn’t used to create images. So i took it out for a whole day shoot when my model friend and internet idol Stephy Yi Wen told me that she would be going to Korea for studies. I got myself some rolls of Fuji Superia 200 and Fuji Venus 800. I knew that i would be using the 35mm Zeiss Biogon wide open but in a room with only dimly available natural light coming in, the ISO 800 film would be handy.

 

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The Dragon 2000

If you happened to be travelling to South East Asia and passing by Malaysia, do get your films replenish and develop in Bang Bang Geng in Publika. With the pathetic level of Malaysian currency today, you could get a Superia 200 for USD 4 and scanning with development for USD 4.5.

Now back to shooting session. I noticed that there are indeed some improvement that M7 does have over even this Dragon M6. One of them being the iso dials you see behind the body, the M7’s iso dial is clearly easier to use and felt more robust. The other is the shutter dials. The Dragon’s shutter dial are more polished and looks great but turning the knob at each stop felt better on the M7. The M7 is after all a much newer camera.

 

most expensive leica m6 2017

Immaculate finishing

The rewind knob is used slightly differently than how i imagined it would be. The Dragon’s knob needs to be lifted up while the 2 dots remains submerged to do the rewinding. I found myself winding for 5 minutes and getting nowhere initially before i realized that the knob needs to be lifted.

There are several aspect of the camera that made it a very inspiration tool for use. First, the body is slightly lighter than the M7, i would say almost nobody would buy an M7 or M6 without using it on a holster or case. The Dragon just felt perfect while the M7 felt a bit on the heavier side. This is of course a purely personal evaluation. The other advantage is that the Dragon only uses 1 battery as opposed to 2 on the M7, the mechanism of replacing the battery on the M6 is definitely built better than the M7s.  The 0.85 finder, delicious.

Enough about the camera, how did it do, i will leave some images here for you own evaluation.

recommended leica m6 for today

beautiful stephy. M6 dragon. venus 800

 

desire leica m6 dragon edition

Enlightenment. M6 Dragon, venus 800.

 

most desirable leica

Alluring. M6 Dragon, venus 800.

 

best film camera leica dragon m6

Stephy @ Sekeping Jugra. M6 Dragon. Superia 200

 

limited edition 2000 dragon leica

“There”. M6 Dragon. Superia 200.

Could i have gotten better or similar results from the Leica M7? Of course i could, don’t be silly :-). The Dragon M6 might be the most beautiful Leica M6 that warrants it as a collector item but it should by all means be used. The 0.85 works really well with the 35mm frame lines. What was you weekend shoot, did you try film? Do share some of your thoughts here.

The film cost is high argument vs reality

image courtesy of www.huffman.tk

image courtesy of http://www.huffman.tk


Leica M3 was in production from 1954-1966. Thats a whopping 12 years of production. While this looks like a digressing point from the caption, its not, its in fact the heart of the point i am trying to make.

My thoughts here are solely as a hobbyist and those passionate about photography without client’s pressure. Perhaps you are a professional and have tight budget clients and rapid wedding bookings, that my friend, is where Digital photography shines.

If you are new to photography, i would also suggest that you stick with Digital photography first, until you are familiar with aperture, shutter speed and iso control, then film would be a great area to venture to.
Anyway, just read on for leisure sake, lets see some how some mad logic that passes thru my mind sounds like.

The cost of developing film cost me RM 12 (usd 4) for 36 images in a local shop. In some dedicated shops it might goes up to RM 18 (USD 6). Better service, better pay, acceptable notion in business.

Assuming : 1 Roll every week

Thats 52 rolls a year. And assuming the cost of “Scanning” those cost RM26 (USD 9) , in total we have spent : (26+12) * 52 = RM 1976 (USD 658) a year for development.

Lets assume i use Fuji Superia 200, RM 12 per roll (USD 4), 52 weeks, a year would be : RM 624 (USD 208).

Yearly cost : RM 1976 + 624 = RM 2600 (USD 866).
You would have shot : 1,872 images.

If you buy your own scanner, say, Canoscan 9000f : RM 1000 (usd 300), you could eliminate scanning, that brings down the yearly cost to :
RM 1248 (USD 416). . Imho the scanner’s 9600 dpi is good enough for almost anything except wall size and billboard prints and exceeds almost any regular labs in town.

If you plan to buy ANY flatbed scanner that is not dedicated, scrap it. Read here why

Today’s FullFrame Digital camera cost around RM 6000 (USD 2000) for the cheapest lot. Lets be honest with ourselves, how many digital cameras did we buy in the last 4 years? If you are not into photography, maybe nothing much, but if you are an avid shooter and constantly improving yourself and your gears, i would say 2 is a conservative figure.

In 4 years, Assuming that i use the Leica M6 film camera,
1. My cost would be USD 416 * 4 = USD 1664 and my 2 LR44 batteries will last around 8 years, so no changes there.
2. The Digital upgrade will cost you easily USD 4000 if you upgraded twice. This is not inclusive of your upgrade required in your computer to handle ur ever growing raw files and resolution, extra batteries, memory cards format and softwares.

At this point you might be wondering, what if i trade in my gears! surely my cost would be lower. Have you considered what your digital camera is worth after 2 years time? As manufacturers religiously churns out new version before any major exhibition, whats new today gets old very fast and it shows in the price drop. Options abounds even if your camera model happens to be the “hot items”.

IMG_1181.PNG

Now, check out the prices on M3, M6,M7 or say Nikon Titan F2 film camera. Don’t be surprised that the price remains holds very well and some like the Nikon Titan F2…actually is better than buying the best stocks.
IMG_1180-0.PNG

Leica M3 was produced from 1954-1966. 12 years.

Film does not offer higher quality or cleaner images. Digital is the new king. But, if you enjoy shooting and thinking more about your shots, taking your skills to the next level and get the hell out of editing photos 90% of the time, there is nothing like shooting film for a break.

Take the blue pill and forget whatever i wrote here, resume reading your gear reviews, zoom out of that pixel peeping mode and go back to the digital circle. Take the red pill, and your race ends here, just grab a few rolls of Kodak Porta 160.

** Maybe one day we might have a digital camera with no LCD back and a preconfigured limit setter of say 36,72,108 maximum shots and a 50mm 0.95 lens. Sounds silly and stupid but that is one camera i will surely buy.

Fixing the vertical alignment on M6

The M6, arguable world best 35mm film camera

The M6, arguably world best 35mm film camera

The M6 have a slight vertical alignment issue. What happens when you have a camera that you going to use seriously for some shoot and it has a minor issue? I tell you how it feels, it feels like an itch that can’t be scratched!
So after looking up some popular local photography figures in town, i was served the advice of sending it to Germany or Singapore. Ouch.

I watched almost all the videos i could find on M6, Vertical alignment. For example :
1.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtqDd-4qPI
Mr.John Wayne here have noted how he fixed the same problem using a tool that he fashioned himself.
2.Fixing M4,6,7 Vertical Alignment

You know what? These videos are almost useless, for me at least. They failed to understand that a layman with just some technical background won’t be able to understand the most simple and the most important question of all. Why does such a tool would work? Some enterprising chinese guy obviously saw this opportunity and is selling a similar tool for USD 64, its probably worth just USD 10 at most, but since its a specialized tool, i can understand why some folks would pay for it.

There are two (2) post that eventually helped me.
1. Diy Tool
The keyword here that really helped is the word “fulcrum”. I will explain later why this is the defining word in understanding how to tweak the rangefinder.

2. Mingthein This guy is a genius (literally without sarcasm) and he replied my mail and by saying that he didn’t even use that tool. This hint and (1) gave me all the answers i needed.

Ok, read this carefully. First you open the logo by pushing the letters “L”, the horizontal tail of “L” and then push “a” from clockwise. It doesn’t really matter which direction u push but push just slightly with ur fingernails or something plastic that won’t scratch your M6 body. Basically your are “persuading” the logo to come out, its just a tough sticker, but dont “pry” it or u will destroy that sticker. After pushing and relaxing for sometime in various directions, it will just come off.

Refer to the (2nd) video in the top, you will see how it looks like, a craggy hole and how the special tool looks like. It doesn’t bother to explain why the tool works, just looks like magic.

I am not going to tell you how to create a tool or what to use and its not for the faint hearted. I am going to explain why the tool works and why you don’t need the tool. Do this at your own risk, or send to Germany. These are written for educational and knowledge sharing.

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Inside that red dot, you will see this horizontal “U” with a dot.
Basically u just needed to push either “up” (A) or “down” (B) using whatever tools. The official tool contains an insertion that will enter that hole and turning it does nothing except provide a “FULCRUM” to allow the metal to push (A) or (B). Thats it! I can’t believe how this was missed out in the videos and pretty much most of the posts i read. Looking at that tool you would think that the hole contains a screw or something, it doesn’t.

At the end, i did’t use any special tools or crafted anything special. I took ordinary stuffs that took me 5 minutes to create and pushed the right position.

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