Leica M7

35mm MF film rangefinder camera

Production details

Production details
Announced:February 2002
Production type:Mass production
Order No.:10501 - 0.58, black chrome
10503 - 0.72, black chrome
10504 - 0.72, silver chrome
10505 - 0.85, black chrome
System: Leica M (1954)

Specification

Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Shutter
Type:Focal-plane
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:32 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Manual
Rangefinder and Viewfinder
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.58x
0.72x
0.85x
Actual rangefinder base:69.25mm
Effective rangefinder base:40.17mm - with 0.58x
49.86mm - with 0.72x
58.86mm - with 0.85x
Bright-line frames:28mm & 90mm, 35mm, 50mm & 75mm - with 0.58x
28mm & 90mm, 35mm & 135mm, 50mm & 75mm - with 0.72x
35mm & 135mm, 50mm & 75mm, 90mm - with 0.85x
Parallax compensation:Yes
Physical characteristics
Weight:610g
Dimensions:138x79.5x38mm
Accessories
Body cap:14195
14397

Manufacturer description #1

07 - 02/2002 - LEICA M7

The LEICA M7 introduced by Leica Camera AG, Solms, is a new rangefinder system camera with aperture priority automatic exposure and many improved details. On show at the PMA international photo fair in Orlando on 24th February 2002, the camera features enhanced operation speed and convenience. The new functions have been smoothly integrated into the classic Leica M camera concept. Leica's unique rubber-cloth focal-plane shutter with vibration-free and whisper-quiet action is electronically controlled. The size, shape and the successful operation concept of the LEICA M6 have all been fully adopted. Nearly all system components of the predecessor models can still be used on the M7.

"M photography with the LEICA M7 is surprisingly new and at the same time familiar“, says Stefan Daniel, Head of Product Management at Leica Camera AG. The design of the camera reconciles two conflicting customer demands: “Some customers said: Keep the camera just as it is. Others said: Modern automatic exposure time control. I believe we have been able to do both.“

"LEICA M cameras are the products of many years of gradual development and are made intricately by hand. Automatic exposure time control is certainly not a technical innovation - but to incorporate it into a LEICA M without destroying the camera's soul was a great challenge“ adds Otto Domes, manager of the LEICA M7 development project. More than 350 newly designed or modified components are built into the camera. “In the fast changing world of products and cameras it's quite unusual to be spending so much effort on developing a concept that is nearly 50 years old. The high stability of the camera's value and the unique system compatibility over decades are the reward for our customers,“ says Domes.

The Leica M system is closely associated with the names of famous photographers of our times and has direct traditional links to the UR-LEICA of 1914, which paved the way for modern 35mm photography. Model by model, improvements were made, such as interchangeable lenses or the rangefinder, which are now an integral part of the M tradition. A far-reaching step was taken with the introduction of the Leica M bayonet in 1954, which enhanced convenience and speed. The LEICA M6 - which will remain in Leica's product range as a fully mechanical alternative - was launched in 1984 and today is the most important product of the Leica Camera Group. A major contribution to the success of the camera system was made by a whole series of innovative lenses, which form a complete high performance range for all photographic applications of the rangefinder system.

Leica M cameras concentrate on the essential photographic parameters. They embody ultimate mechanical and optical precision and put the skills of the photographer - not the features of the camera - in the foreground. They are mainly used for press photography, available light pictures and all other areas of discreet, artistic and aesthetic image composition.

Automatic exposure time control: In addition to the usual manual shutter speed setting, the LEICA M7 features a convenient stepless electronic automatic exposure time control with memory on the shutter release button. After selection of the aperture, it calculates the right exposure time. Even long exposures of up to 32 seconds are possible. Besides added convenience, the automatic exposure time control enables even more spontaneity: “Leica M photography has formed my own personal photographic style - which I can now express even more quickly with the new LEICA M7,“ confirms Danish photographer Claus Bjørn Larsen. As one of the LEICA M7's first field testers, the winner of the World Press Photo Award 2000 tried out the camera in Uganda and Serbia. For him it is “the ideal photographic tool in the world's trouble spots“.

Shutter: The cloth focal-plane shutter of all Leica M cameras was completely revised for the LEICA M7 and fitted with electronical shutter speed control. Two mechanically controlled shutter speeds of 1/60 and 1/125 second guarantee that the camera is ready for action even if the batteries fail. Despite the electronic control the delay in triggering the shutter is only 12 milliseconds, i.e. far shorter than with an ordinary SLR camera. This is a key advantage for capturing the “magic moment“, which is so characteristic of outstanding photography. Another important feature of Leica M cameras - the vibration-free and whisper-quiet shutter release - has also been fully retained.

Viewfinder display: The 33-segment viewfinder display, unique for a rangefinder camera, has been devised on a microscopically small area of 0.7 x 2.3 mm. Magnified 15 times in the viewfinder, it presents all the information, at a glance and in an optimal position, that is required for a successful exposure: In automatic mode the LED’s indicate the shutter speed, in manual mode the provenly successful light balance has been retained. For long exposures, the remaining exposure time is counted backwards in seconds. For “bulb” exposures (B) the seconds of the exposure time are counted forwards. When the camera is switched on, the film speed setting is indicated for two seconds. A flash symbol indicates the readiness and the success of the flash function. The brightness of the display adapts automatically to ambient light, guaranteeing optimum visibility in conditions ranging from bright sunlight to available light photography.

DX coding: In the LEICA M7, the film speed is no longer just set manually, but can also be set automatically via the DX coding option. For exposure corrections in automatic mode there is an override of +/- two stops which is set on the film speed dial on the back of the camera.

Flash: Apart from the TTL (Through the Lens) flash exposure metering familiar from the LEICA M6 TTL, the LEICA M7 offers far more potential for the use of flash. Due to a high-speed synchronisation (HSS) function, flash sync speeds as fast as 1/1000 second are possible. By triggering several flashes in extremely quick succession, homogeneous illumination is obtained, although the window of the moving shutter is not fully opened from a 1/60 of a second. HSS flash can also be used to brighten up subjects in daylight. Here, exposure and flash settings are made by hand. Also, flash synchronization can also be switched to the second shutter curtain. This gives a natural impression of movement in long exposures of moving objects using fill-in flash. Both flash functions are available with the specially equipped Metz flash unit 54 MZ3.

Rangefinder system: The high-precision rangefinder system of Leica M cameras is used in the LEICA M7 as well. The finder windows are covered with scratch-resistant multi-layer coating to enhance contrast and brightness. Unlike SLR systems, in which distance measurement through the lens is determined by focal length and lens speed, the measurement base in the rangefinder of the LEICA M7 always remains the same size irrespective of the lens in use. For this reason, its precision is distinctly superior to that of SLR cameras, particularly at short focal lengths. The split- and coincident-image rangefinder enables fast and point-accurate focusing in general.

Exposure metering: Just like the LEICA M6 TTL, the selective exposure metering of the LEICA M7 yields precise results even for back light photography, spotlight illumination or glancing side light, which lead to different colors, brightnesses and contrasts. The metering function is switched on by light pressure on the shutter release button. Via a collector lens, a photodiode measures the light reflected from a white patch on the shutter curtain. Thanks to its extraordinary sensitivity, this measurement method can even by used in candlelight. Together with the automatic exposure time control it leads to excellent exposures in practically any conditions.

Mechanisms: The two main features of the mechanisms of the camera are high precision and reliability. Only high quality materials are used. The Top cap and base plate of the LEICA M7 are made of solid brass. The camera body consists of lightweight but tough diecast aluminium.

For the first time, the separate on/off switch of the LEICA M7 on the shutter release button effectively prevents inadvertent activation of the exposure function. By 'parking' the camera with any chosen exposure time or selecting the automatic mode, the camera is more quickly ready for action after it has been switched on.

The first supplies of the LEICA M7 will be on sale at Leica stockists' from March 2002. It is available in four different versions: three black models with viewfinder magnifications 0.72x, 0.58x and 0.85x and a silver-chromed version with 0.72x viewfinder magnification.

Manufacturer description #2

Classics are works that clash with the present. They are never modified – instead they are re-interpreted on the basis of a changed world: With the LEICA M7, a classic celebrates a new premiere. Convenience and fast operation of the camera have been enhanced even further with automatic shutter speed control and detail improvements. Not just the functions themselves are revolutionary, but their seamless integration into the classic Leica M camera concept. The Leica cloth focal plane shutter – with its vibration-free and quiet action is a must for a genuine Leica M camera – is now controlled electronically. Form, size and the proven operating concept were retained without changes. Virtually all system components of the preceding models remain compatible. Photography with the new LEICA M7 is a surprisingly new and yet unchanged experience.

The legendary cloth focal plane shutter in all Leica M cameras was thoroughly redesigned – it now controls exposure times electronically, virtually inaudibly.

As an alternative to the familiar manual exposure balance – which, of course, continues to be available – the LEICA M7 features a comfortable, stepless automatic shutter speed control with metered value storage at the shutter release button.

An ON/OFF switch is positioned ergonomically right next to the release button. In the ON position, it turns the electronics of the LEICA M7 on. In the OFF position, it blocks the shutter release button.

A system that is very unusual in rangefinder camera displays : A total of 33 different readings is shown in the viewfinder of the LEICA M7 in an area of less than two square millimeters – enlarged 15 times for optimal information.

In conjunction with a specially equipped flash unit, the LEICA M7 can also be triggered by the second shutter curtain. The advantage: a natural pictorial rendition, for instance with long exposures and fill-in flash.

In addition to the regular 1/50 second synch speed, the M7 in conjunction with special Metz flash units can now flash at synch speeds up to 1/1000 second. In this mode, the settings of the exposure and the flash are made manually.

On the LEICA M7 there are two options of setting the film speed: manual and automatic (with DX coding). This eliminates faulty exposures that result from setting wrong ASA film speeds. An override feature of ± 2 f-stops is available for exposure corrections in the automatic exposure mode.

***

Absolute reliability in all situations, emergency operation without batteries, the use of the very best materials, great value retention, longevity, high-precision optical and mechanical components: typical characteristics of the new LEICA M7, the fast and convenient alternative to the LEICA M6.

The range-viewfinder system is an optical masterpiece, created for photographic work at the highest level. Unlike a reflex system, in which the focal length and the light intensity affect the measurement, the measuring base of the rangefinder in the Leica M always remains the same, regardless of the lens that is being used. That is why its accuracy with short focal length lenses is many times more accurate. In addition, a special method of distance measuring guarantees fast, accurate and razor-sharp focusing, even under extremely poor light conditions. In order to enhance contrast and brightness even further, an especially scratch-resistant multi-coating is now being applied to the viewfinder windows. All the other information that is relevant for a perfect result, as well as the surroundings of the subject is visible in the bright-line viewfinder – ideal prerequisites for spontaneous, inconspicuous photography. There are three viewfinder magnifications to choose from: The wide-angle and eyeglass wearer version of 0.58 x, the universal magnification of 0.72 x and the tele variant of 0.85 x.

The viewfinder displays 33 display items within an area of just 0.7 x 2.3 mm constitute a masterful achievement that is unique in a rangefinder camera. Especially because the readings are displayed at 15 x magnification, so that the photographer has an optimal overview of all the information he needs for a good exposure at a single glance. The automatically generated shutter speed is indicated by an LED display at the bottom of the large and bright viewfinder image. The proven light balance was preserved for using the LEICA M7 in the manual mode. For long exposure times, the viewfinder display shows the time that remains. In the “B” time exposure mode, the display counts the elapsed seconds upwards. The brightness of the display adjusts itself automatically to the prevailing subject brightness, assuring the best visibility even in bright sunlight, and in available light situations it prevents the display from blinding the observer.

The automatic shutter speed control. Faster, more convenient and reliable: In addition to the familiar manual exposure settings, the LEICA M7 features a stepless automatic shutter speed control – once the f-stop has been selected on the lens, the camera’s electronics automatically determine the ideal shutter speed for the correct exposure, even for long exposure times of up to 30 seconds. Another innovation: With the exposure value storage at the release button, the desired exposure can be retained for a particular part of the subject. And when desired, the exposure override feature now also permits over- or under-exposures of ± 2 exposure values of entire exposure sequences.

The shutter. The unique cloth focal plane shutter of the Leica M is legendary. While retaining all its advantages, it has now been completely redesigned in order to incorporate the electronic control of the exposure times, which is the foundation of the equally new automatic shutter speed control. Two mechanically controlled shutter speeds of 1/60 second and 1/125 second guarantee the functionality of the LEICA M7 even when the batteries are dead. Furthermore, the shutter release cycle that was already extremely quiet, fast and vibration-free in the preceding M6 model, has been retained. The exposure delay amounts to a mere 25 milliseconds in spite of the electronic control and thus it is nearly ten times faster than that of a conventional autofocus single-lens-reflex camera.

Exposure metering. Backlighting, sports illumination or laterally grazing light results in different colors, brightnesses and contrasts. A challenge that the M7 meets without difficulties. Its selective through-the-lens exposure metering is activated by a slight pressure on the shutter release button. A photo diode then measures the light that is reflected from a white spot on the shutter curtain and gathered by a collector lens. This selective exposure metering works absolutely precisely and thanks to its high sensitivity, it can even be used in candlelight. In conjunction with the stepless automatic shutter speed control, perfectly exposed images are possible under all conditions without any problems.

The mechanisms are unsurpassed in terms of precision and dependability. High-grade materials are used exclusively: The top plate of the M7 is milled from a solid block of brass by a modern process. The main body and the housing are made of lightweight but extremely rugged die-cast aluminum. The LEICA M7 works quickly, easily and above all, quietly – it has no noisy hinged mirrors and spring-loaded automatic diaphragms. Therefore the sound of the shutter release is significantly more quiet than the familiar clatter of single-lens-reflex cameras. The chrome-plated rapid-change bayonet and the few knobs and switches are equally robust and long-lived. They are positioned so conveniently and designed so ergonomically that they can even be operated while wearing gloves. With their palpable marking, Leica lenses can also be changed in the dark. They can be placed on a surface without their protective back covers because there are no protruding pins and levers that could be damaged.

The ON/OFF switch The separate ON/OFF switch is a new feature on the LEICA M7. For ergonomic reasons, it was positioned right next to the shutter release button and it serves to activate the camera’s electronics. The film speed of the film that has been loaded into the camera is automatically displayed in the viewfinder during the first two seconds after the camera is switched on. The OFF setting blocks the shutter release.

The flash synchronization time. In addition to the familiar flash exposure metering feature of the LEICA M6 TTL (Through-The-Lens), the LEICA M7 has another technical innovation that makes it easy to apply a properly balanced fill-in flash in many daylight situations – with a synchronizing time of up to 1/1000 second. The exposure and flash settings in this case are made manually. A specially equipped Metz flash unit was designed for this fast flash technique.

Flash at the second shutter curtain. When you want your pictures to convey a truly natural impression, like the impression created by a time exposure with fill-in flash, for instance, the LEICA M7 can also be set to trigger the flash with the second shutter curtain. This function is also available with the specially equipped Metz flash unit.

DX Coding. The LEICA M7 automatically sets the film speed, so that from now on accidental faulty exposures caused by incorrectly set ASA values are definitely a thing of the past. Of course you may also choose to set the film speed manually as before.

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Copyright © 2012-2022 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

14195

Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

14397

Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Teleconverters

Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.