Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/01/13

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To: (David Batista),
Subject: Re: ques. about buying a used M6
From: (Charles E. Albertson)
Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 17:21:08 -0800

At 01:13 PM 1/12/96 -0500, David Batista wrote:
>        Hello all.  I am a Leica novice and I have decided to begin hunting
>for an M6 and one of the 35mm or 28 mm wide angle lenses to go with it.  I
>have poured over the ads in Shutterbug for 7 months, followed this list's
>postings, and studied several of the Leica books (M Compendium, etc.) and I
>have developed (no pun intended  ;-)  ) several questions.  
>        Thanks in advance for your time and attention !
>        1.  Are there any parts / aspects of the M6 that are prone to wear
>or failure that I should be especially careful to look for when buying a
>used example?  Were there any years or serial number runs that were more
>prone to break down than others?
>        2. Since I want to "use" the camera rather than just "collect" it,
>should I go for what I sometimes see listed as a "user".  Or is "user"
>usually a euphemism for  "broken down piece of junk" ?  Or, should I spend
>the extra money for one of the much more common grades of  "exec" or
>"exec+" ?
>        3.  Do camera dealers (especially Leica dealers) usually have more
>Leicas than they advertise in Shutterbug ?  That is, do they just put their
>best stuff in the ads?   Is it worth calling around to dealers if I don't
>see what I want in the ads?

     I don't know if it's more or less, but it's likely that a dealer's
inventory will be different than when the ad was originally submitted to
Shutterbug, or any other publication, given the weeks-long lead time most
magazines have. So it's worth calling around.
>       4.  I see a wide range of prices (e.g. $900 to $2,100) for M6's that
>are all listed / graded as "exec".  Is this because of cosmetic flaws or
>does term "exec" have widely different interpretations among dealers?
>        5.  Do you believe the jump in price for a f2.8 over a f3.5, or an
>f2 over an f2.8 is worth it.  That is, have you found the faster lenses to
>be more useful and so justified in price?  Should I try for the fastest
>lens I can afford ( like with computers where you should always try to buy
>the biggest hard drive or most RAM you can afford)?

     I think it depends on which lens you're talking about. The 28mm f/2.8
is one of the best lenses I've ever used, even at full aperture, and I hear
the newer version is a tad sharper, and more compact to boot. That may be
more of a factor than just an extra half-stop of speed. The same would
probably apply to a 35mm f/2 Summicron v. a f/2.8, though I never did a
comparison of the two when I bought a Summicron.
     If it's a question of a 35 v. a 28, go for the 35 first. Cheaper, and
(for my sort of photography, anyway) can be used in many more situations
than a 28. Also, since I wear glasses, the 28 requires the use of an
accessory viewfinder to do a decent job of framing. That's a
not-inconsiderable expense, and a bit of a hassle when you're shooting.

Chuck Albertson
Seattle, Wash.