Leica MP Rangefinders

Leica MP Rangefinders 

DESCRIPTION

Made by hand, created for the photographer’s craft. Tailored to the decisive photographic parameters. In compact form, with clean design, clearly laid out. Unobtrusive, quiet, reliable.

  • Leica M bayonet lens mount
  • Large, bright-line viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation
  • TTL metering from 12mm spot
  • 100% mechanical - independent of batteries
  • Shutter speeds from 1 ses to 1/1000 sec in whole steps and B
  • Flash sync 1/50th sec
  • All metal
  • Replacement parts guaranteed available for 30 years

  • USER REVIEWS

    Showing 1-10 of 17  
    [Mar 31, 2008]
    Jonas
    Professional

    Strength:

    Viewfinder
    ease of focus
    heft
    fit and finish
    feel in the hand
    the photos

    Weakness:

    None.

    I have owned 4 Leica M6's and a Leica CL as well as Leica SLR's. And I have to say that the Leica MP is without doubt the best Leica ever made and that includes the M3 upon which it takes it's design cues. It is solidly built with excellent fit and finish and is clearly meant to be, and succeeds at, being the final flower of the Leica M brand. Any complaints about this camera (Leica buyers are NOTORIOUSLY fussy and curmudgeonly, griping about the smallest details) will have to do with aesthetics. The heck with them. It's a beauty. I would not change a thing - and that goes for the covering, which feels fantastic!!

    Customer Service

    None, yet but Leica is pretty good. You can always reach someone - a real person.

    Similar Products Used:

    Leica M6
    Hexar
    Leica CL
    Rollei 35

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Jul 07, 2007]
    Minga
    Professional

    Strength:

    Manual operation / Great Center Weight Meter - Exposures are great starting points that I can adjust from & It actually made me realize that this is all you really need. / Construction - I never realized that a 35mm camera of this size could weigh so much! / Lens system is excellent. / Looks -Amazing style I love it. / Very Quiet - One of the strong points that drew me to Leica. / Leica offers education discounts. / Leica's commitment to film. / Images are outstanding with proffesional film. Blow ups are very clean. You just need to make sure you get good scans for digital blow ups.

    Weakness:

    Very Expensive & the prices keep going up. I only buy new because I never sell & I use the hell out of my cameras. Collectors are driving the prices up. Lenses are very expensive. This is not an camera system easily justified from a dollar perspective, especially for a 35mm system. Rangefinders are not great for close ups. Dependent on good scanning to get images into computer.

    This is my first tru Rangefinder. Best camera I have ever owned. I love film and what it offers, and the MP takes full advantage of that. I love the convience of digital and the convience of what technology offers these days, but the manual operation of the MP is a breath of fresh air that turns your brain back on and freshens up your skills. Using this camera actually brings me joy. It is very reaffirming in a photographers abilities. I have always photographed with SLR medium format cameras. I needed something smaller and more descreet. I hated the idea of going down to 35mm. I believe in the bigger neg, but hte MF cameras are too big to take with you everywhere & they draw a lot of attention to yourself. Leica was my answer & I have no regrets. I made the transition in an evening. The results met my expectations.

    Customer Service

    None needed at this point.

    Similar Products Used:

    Ricoh GR1, Fuji 645Zi

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [May 11, 2006]
    Richard Marks
    Expert

    Strength:

    Its called a "Mechanical Precision". I could not have thought of a better name!
    Fast intuitive and confidence inspiring.

    Weakness:

    All of the limitations of a rangefinder, i.e, limited focal length, no reflex view, no flash TTL, but in its niche applications it can not be faulted.

    Prior to purchasing my MP I had a long and fruitful relationship with the Leica R8. Using available light for portrait photography it was a natural progression for me to switch over to the rangefinder. I spent some time trying out used M6's and then my dealer got a near mint MP. It was no contest. The M6 wins on TTL flash and this may be an important factor. Also the MP's flash sync of 1/50 might seem a tad slow. This does not really bother me because as soon as you stick a flash onto a Leica M you are already compromised. What really struck me about the MP was the quality of the viewfinder and the absence of flare from the focusing patch. It was also noticeable that damping of the shutter is more effective on the MP than on the M6 and in theory this should improve picture quality at slow shutter speeds. It would be very difficult to actually demostrate this though as an M6 performs pretty well any way. I was also attracted to the updated electronics in the MP and in practice I have found the metering to be more consistent than on an M6.

    I have had the MP for well over a year now and the images from the MP have been absolutely faultless. Image quality with my 50 f2 'cron and 90 2.8 elmarit are very close to medium format at up to 16x12" enlargements. Close but not quite!! The real pleasure in using the MP is in its no fuss smooth quiet and efficient operation. It is very quick to use and inspires confidence.

    Others have siad all that has to be said about build quality. It is better than contemporary M6's and the current M7 but both of the latter are by no means badly designed. You simply have to juse an MP for a week or so and its limitations soon appear to be its greatest strengths.

    Customer Service

    Not tested

    Similar Products Used:

    Contac G1, Leica M6TTL, Leica R8, Hasselblad 503CW

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Apr 12, 2006]
    Michael J Hoffman
    Expert

    Strength:

    mechanical precision
    quiet operation
    lack of needless features
    straightforward layout of controls
    a minimalist's dream come true
    good value over a lifetime of ownership
    simplicity

    Weakness:

    prohibitively expensive up-front price tag
    film loading is slow and tedious at first

    The Leica MP will be the last camera I ever buy, so long as film remains available.

    The mechanics of the Leica MP are completely intuitive in use for anyone familiar with manual, mechanically controlled cameras. The viewing system is intuituive for those familiar with rangefinders, but is totally different from the viewing system of an SLR. If you like the nuances of rangefinder photography, there is no better camera.

    The strength of the Leica MP is not what it does, but everything it does not do.

    Metering. There is no automation save for the meter. The meter need not be functional to photograph with this camera; the mechanics of the camera will work without a battery inserted. However, the on-board meter is useful and quite accurate for a photographer who is accustomed to old-fashioned, center-weighted metering technique. Think of the reading from the MP's meter as a starting point to assess your exposure settings, then adjust as necessary according to your desired result. That's how I tested the camera's meter, and it performed flawlessly. If you do not understand, or simply don't like using, center-weighted metering then this is not the camera for you.

    Mechanics. Leica claims that MP stands for Mechanicam Perfection. Its no boast; its the truth. The feel of this camera in use is more precise than even that of the Leica M4 that I'd used prior to purchasing the MP. I opted for an a la carte version of the MP because I wanted some features not available on the stock MP. I opted for the M7 style rewind crank in place of the standard knob rewind. The standard knob rewind was the one feature which kept me from purchasing the MP when it was first introduced, and now I'm glad to have waited. I chose the standard 0.72x viewfinder magnification. I opted for the 35/50/90 individually activated framelines instead of the full set of framelines which are reflected into the viewfinder in pairs (in my opinion, this clutters the viewfinder). I use only a 50mm lens on this camera, so I don't not need all the extra framelines. The precision of the camera's construction is evidenced best in how quiet the camera is in use. The shutter whispers a muted click of incredibly short duration. For my photography that is not terribly important, but it is still quite impressive. Film loading is a bit tedious. It gets easier each time you do it. In fact, it is in no way difficult, just cumbersome and slow at first. The film loading will never be as fast as that of a modern auto-everything SLR. I do find it easier than loading an old manual SLR, though. Film advance is beautifully quiet and smooth as silk; there is NO ratchety mechanized action.

    Viewfinder/rangefinder. The rangefinder-viewfinder is crisp and snappy. I have not experienced any rangefinder white-out with this camera, but have with my M4. There is no doubt when using the MP rangefinder patch that your subject is in absolute, critical focus. The 50mm framelines are tighter on the MP than on the M4 and older Leica models. Leica calibrated their modern framelines to show the viewable area of a mounted tranny at the lens' closest focus distance. At first I was not keen on the tighter framelines, but soon found the difference to be more troubling conceptually than in actual real-world use. I now find I actually prefer to work with the tighter framelines of the MP than the "more accurate" framelines of the M4. Framelines can only be accurate at one focus distance anyway, on any rangefinder.

    In conclusion, the strength of any Leica rangefinder is as a platform for those amazingly good Leica lenses. The MP is no different. The Leica MP is an example of technological minimalism at its finest. The main "feature" of the MP is that it stays out of the creative photographers way, and is standardized enough to be able to be used quickly "on-the-fly". I really don't think much about the camera while I am using it. The MP is all about the picture. Is the Leica MP worth the small fortune I paid to have it? I believe I got a camera which is refined a little bit beyond all other cameras on the market, but will last alot longer than any other camera I could have chosen. I find the MP price to have been money well spent. "Worth it" is relative to alot of conditions, the least of which is not if you have the money to purchase it. I put off buying a new car for a couple of years so I could get the MP. I realize that I am very fortunate to have been able to make that choice. So, for me, yes, its worth every penny I spent.

    Customer Service

    Very good both from Leica and from Tamarkin, New York. Leica customer service can be odd and quirky, but always professional and ultimately staisfying.

    Similar Products Used:

    Leica M4

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    [Sep 24, 2005]
    agp
    Expert

    Strength:

    Quiet. Reliable. Smooth. I think Leicas are the only cameras where pressing the button FEELS good! (Perhaps I should get a life!)

    Weakness:

    None whatsoever. Not cheap, but it will last a lifetime, as has the 50-year-old IIIg I've just started using!

    This is, without a doubt, the best camera I have ever owned. It feels superb, and mine has been totally reliable. I knew what I was getting, and I don't think that the characteristics of the camera should be regarded as a weakness. For example, it is slow to rewind without a crank, but it is much faster than it was as the knob doesn't spin back if you let go. Being able to see if the shutter is cocked, as one of the other reviewers suggested, is a great idea, and the only thing I would add! Sorry that some of the initial ones seemed to have had problems. I suppose every company will produce a bad example occasionally, but it is then up to the company to put it right. ***I have now bought a second one. ***Edited by ken1953 per request of "agp".

    Customer Service

    Excellent in UK. Hadn't received my Leica passport. A phone call, and it was with me the next day.

    Similar Products Used:

    Leica M7 (didn't like it, and sold it). Leica M5, Leica IIIg. Leica M2 (didn't like the absence of a meter, otherwise superb). MP is an M2 with meter!

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Oct 01, 2004]
    cchokl
    Intermediate

    Strength:

    - well-damped, low shutter vibration (I have most of 1/4s photos shot sharply) - solid ruggedness - shortest shutter delay - bright viewfinder (no flare) - electricity independent, even with flash (except light meter) - M3 classic style and presentation - 60 years availability of maintenance and parts guarantee from manufacturer - very sensitive light meter - top of the world quality lens system (24f2.8 is a must-buy) - Lens design very professional. Inbuilt hood, short distance focussing ring, very detailed DOF markings, aperture can be adjusted continuously between click positions - the brass body in fact is quite scratch-resistant

    Weakness:

    - The shutter lag is too short, so the flash sycn time can only be 1/50s (the shutter opens even earlier than the flash shoots) - Heavy, due to the brass body - No lens beyond 135mm - Expensive

    I've just been back from a trip to Paris and there I spent an entire week on photography with my MP. Together with my lens system (35f2, 50,f2, 24f2.8, 90f2.8), it is a very professional yet very intuitive camera. During the trip, I have always had to take pictures with core subject of people but together with distant subject or architecture. Sub-conciously, the DOF markings on the 'old-style' manual lens helped me a lot to determine the largest aperture I can go. And this is especially extremely important in the condition of low light. Together with the bright viewfinder and the absence of the SLR flipping mirror, I can always take photos under dim light with considerable DOF (i.e. by slow shutter speed and middle aperture). AND I DON'T THINK YOU CAN DO IT WITH AN 'AUTO-EVERYTHING' SLR. Of course yes, you can argue that Auto-SLR can be switched to manual, however, as far as I know, seldom autofocus lens provide detailed DOF markings. It will also be very difficult to judge it by DOF preview, since it is very dim especially when you have to use middle or small aperture in dim light. If you just use the auto-focus function, I guess you will only be able to get sharp 'subject-of-photo' but the distant background will be blurred (since the system will usually choose a large aperture and faster speed in dim light). In such situation, I would say even the most 'professional' auto SLR will become a dum camera. Even if you compare MP with M6, when you fire the shutter, you can feel M6 body has longer residual vibration which means that MP is better damped. Everyone has different view on value, while MP in fact is an M3 with enhanced capability for wide-angles, electronic light-meter, traditional ruggedness, it is absolutely a 5-star camera. In fact, it is not expensive than a brand new M3 in the second hand market.

    Customer Service

    Never required

    Similar Products Used:

    Canon 1v Leica SL Leica R6 Leica R4

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Aug 09, 2004]
    Edgy01
    Expert

    Strength:

    Simplicity of operation. This takes us back to the days when the photographer was the one who maintained the ultimate control over focus and exposure,--not someone's program. Leica lenses are truly unique in the world of miniature photography. There are no compromises at the quality. Sharpness AND contrast can coexist! Finally, a precision camera that you CAN take with you! It is so small that you won't have to think about leaving it behind. The return to the proper direction for the shutter speed dial had sped things up for me. When they added an extra gear and reversed the shutter speed direction I never could get the hang of it! (That M6TTL is GONE). With the Leicavit M on the bottom this is one balanced package inside their beautiful leather case.

    Weakness:

    The rangefinder (mine is the .72) is fairly quick but not quite as fast as my SLRs. Loading is less of a problem than it used to be. I sometimes wish there was an easy way to see if the shutter is cocked or not on the top of the camera.

    Smooth. Buttery smooth is the advance action on the Leica MP. Equally smooth is the MP when the optional Leicavit M added to the MP. Even the release is smooth. Leica's efforts to smooth up the gear train on this camera are to be applauded. Quiet and smooth. There is no camera quieter at 1/125 (except maybe the M7).

    Customer Service

    While not an issue yet for this kit, the past performance of Leica USA has been extremely good.

    Similar Products Used:

    Canon IIB, Leica M6TTL, Hassy Biogon Superwide. Every pro Nikon since the F.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    [Jul 03, 2004]
    Edgy01
    Expert

    Strength:

    Solid, first rate construction. The design, albeit a bit dated, is quite 'retro' being that it looks almost exactly like an M3 from the mid 1950s. However, the internal changes are all done to make this camera outlast any owner, no matter how young. The viewfinder is even better than their other lastest models, brighter and easier to use.

    Weakness:

    Price. Sadly, Leicas are priced so high that most people will never spend the money to get one and actually enjoy it. Many buy them merely to keep in a dehumidified safe and take out once ever 3 months to work the shutter. This is like the Porsche Turbo owner whose wastegate seizes up after 3 months for lack of usage. Of course, most will dislike the rewind system. While antiquated in design, it appears to work just fine. I don't think that many Leica users today are really in a big rush to rewind their film. I save that sort of shooting to my F5.

    You can't help but feel the workmanship that has gone into the MP. Fit and finish are 100%. It's a worthy platform for Leica's © outstanding optics. I have never used a smoother feeling camera. The advance lever cannot be improved. It is totally unlike anything else made in today's throwaway economy.

    Customer Service

    With this camera I have not had an occasion to check it out, but in the past I have had nothing but good experiences with Leica USA on other things Leica.

    Similar Products Used:

    Close to the MP is the M6 TTL which I used for a couple of years. I also have a Canon IIB from the early fifties,--screw mount Leica copy. The MP is noticeably smoother than the M6TTL.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    [Jun 05, 2004]
    likalar
    Professional

    Strength:

    Solid construction, silky smooth mechanics, excellent black finish.

    Weakness:

    Meter glitches and sloppy repair work (I believe the frame selector was fouled up during disassembly, but can't be sure of this.

    This is potentially a GREAT camera, once the problems are sorted out. I've had 4 brand new M cameras, and several used ones, over the years, but none have been as frustrating as this new MP. After one week, the meter started giving very strange readings, off by 3 stops. Removing and replacing the fresh battery seemed to reset the meter back to factory specs. After a few repeat occurances, the dealer sent camera to Leica New Jersey. It came back with the meter working, but the frame selector lever was non-functional, and any lens installed, no matter what focal length, called up the 50mm frame lines. Back to New Jersey for 3 weeks. Now the camera has been back for 2 weeks, and the meter is acting up exactly as before. So Monday I'll start working on the dealer and Leica to resolve the problem. I think I have a lemon. On a plus note: When the camera is working, it feels great, the fit and finish are top notch, and the shutter and winding lever are smooth and perfect. I'll always be an M shooter, and will have this sorted out soon enough, but I guess I expected a bit too much perfection.

    Customer Service

    Great at the local dealer level, so far, though I bought the camera elsewhere. The Leica NJ service facility could do better.

    Similar Products Used:

    Leica M2, M4, M6 (2). I use these for my personal work, and medium format film and digital SLRs for the job.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    [Jan 15, 2004]
    John Sara
    Professional

    Strength:

    Solid feel, all metal (I hope), brass top and bottom covers, quiet shutter

    Weakness:

    Cannot see all 4 frame lines from any one position, with the right hand frame visible only by moving my eye to the far left. ISO knob does not seem metal and design seems cheap. Iam thinking of returning camera & lens for refund (read on)

    Brand new Leica MP. Feels wonderful, But aleady have concerns about quality, which I expected to be flawless for the $2400 I paid. Also, marketing of the MP is too hazy and general, leaving more up to me to figure out what level of quality I'm really dealing with

    Customer Service

    I was initially NOT teated cordially at Leica USA. I had to exchange and inspect a total of Four (4) of the new 90mm-f4 Macro-Elmarit lenses until I found one that was 100%.The first did not focus to infinity, the next two had a rubbing in the focusing barrel, finally I found one that seems unflawed.The MP camera is awaiting exchange, because of the viewfinder problem mentioned above, which the head repairman agreed with. (he was very cordial) I was first told this would take a week, now I'm told I'll have to wait 3-4 weeks, and find that disappointing after making a total of 3 trips to Leica USA, and 3 trips to the store.

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    M-2, series "O"

    OVERALL
    RATING
    2
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    Showing 1-10 of 17  

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