Nikon FM3a Vs Leica R7

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Baylock New Member • Posts: 12
Nikon FM3a Vs Leica R7


I am looking for a good film SLR but I have some requirements:

-I need spot metering
-I need exposure lock (I use that a lot)
-I need to be able to read through the viewfinder in the dark (I mostly take pictures at night)
-I need at least a 1/2000 shutter speed (because I like high speed lenses for obvious reasons and therefore, when shooting in daylight, I happen to reach those values).

Among all of the cameras I've assessed according to my requirements, there are three series that I really like : the Nikon FM and FE series and the Leica R series.
I'm talking about FM2, FE2, FM3a / R4, R6.2, R7.
All of those are affordable, sturdy and quite comprehensive in terms of features.

Technically, I'm ok with working on full manual but I really need to be able to get an auto exposure lock (therefore, I need spot metering) and 1/2000 as a minimum.
It seems that this reduces the choices to Nikon FM3a and Leica R7

The R7 has some advantages : a brighter viewfinder (when shooting in the dark, it's a huge plus), the body is cheaper and the lenses are sharp.
But the R lenses speeds are ok at best, there are not many of them, and their prices are prohibitive.

FM3a would still be a winner, because it goes up to 1/4000 and that its lenses are more varied and less expensive. Especially when looking for high speed ones (50mm at F/1.4 or 35mm at f/1.8 for instance).
But there is ONE thing that I'm afraid of: the fact that the metering display won't be visible enough in the dark. That's ok for most people who shoot in daylight or artificial light but I often shoot in very very low light conditions (concerts, bars, landscapes at night, etc..) with a pushed film and no flash. Way lower light conditions than the average.
It seems that this is one of the drawbacks of the FM3a.

So, I'm asking those who own(ed) the FM3a, are my concerns valid and I should rather go for the R7 or is the FM3a's metering display still very readable at night, even though it's not ideal ?

Thank you.

Ricoh Caplio R6 Ricoh Caplio R7
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