5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Leica M5 – by Petros Katradis

There is heated debate on this camera. I warn most of you that what I’m about to say will likely infuriate most film shooters, Leica fans, and even my beloved M5 community at large. The bastard son of Leica can be more if we let it.

Lots of the reasons I love this camera is because I started off shooting on a trusty Canon AE 1. Simple, no-nonsense – set the aperture to auto, click the shutter dial to and fro a few times and you’re off. Much of the reasons I inevitably purchased the M5 was because of Hamish’s original review here. A particularly important part to me was:

Once the decision about aperture is set, the camera can be raised to the eye and an appropriate shutter speed can be chosen based on the light meter readings displayed in the finder. Whilst this isn’t an automatic aperture priority, the process is much closer to aperture priority shooting than anything else.

Indeed much like Hamish’s post, I am that kind of shooter he was talking about. The sort of semi-automated way of flipping through a few shutter speeds just seemed to make sense to me. And thus, I took the plunge.


The camera really is divisive. Even walking around Leica fans will mention how strange it is. The size, sure; the way the meter works, definitely. But for me, it’s a brutal let down to know how much this design was so utterly abandoned by the company – and make me treasure it all the more.


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  • Avatar
    November 1, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks Petro, what is that in the second picture?

    I foolishly sold my M5 to travel along another forgotten path, as is the way with film people. I sometimes regret doing so, because of the very user friendly way that this camera works. The one thing that would stop me, is the weight and size, which were a couple of the reasons that I let mine go.

    The good news is, that there is another camera, that I have recently acquired which is, to my mind and my small hands, even better… Namely, the Leitz CL, which has the same metering and dialing-in system… the match needle system takes a lot of beating in my view, it even has a 40mm lens, which is more natural than a nifty fifty.

    What is more, I have a new Leica CL (digital), and the 40 sits on here like a natural, albeit with a slightly longer equivalent 60mm viewpoint.

    • Avatar
      Petros Katradis
      November 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Totally agree on that. I also have a Minolta CLE which I use for travel and when I need something smaller and more compact. Aperture priority is also quite handy!

  • Avatar
    November 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Great pics, Petros. I am a M5 shooter as well. Which lens(es) and film did you use here?

    • Avatar
      Petros Katradis
      November 1, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      I usually stick to my Voigtlander 50mm Nokton 1.5. I use my 35mm Color Skopar as well, but I cannot help preferring the 50mm. For film is TMax 400, always.

      • Avatar
        Daniel Fjäll
        November 2, 2018 at 12:05 pm

        They look rather contrasty for T-max 400. May I ask how these were developed? Looking good!

        • Avatar
          Petros Katradis
          November 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm

          Some were deved in TMax Dev and others in Rodinal 1+50. Of course there is a bit of post editing in them as well. The final one is an error – it was Rollei Retro 80S, accidentally exposed at 400, stand deved in Rodinal 1+100.

  • Avatar
    Dominique Pierre-Nina
    November 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    HI, Yes it is a great camera I had one and sold it last year. I used much of the same way you do I would sr the aperture and then adjust the shutter speed accordingly. I did find that because it’s Spot type of meter often my shots would be slight under expose so I would always give the extra stop.



  • Avatar
    November 2, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Obviously a similar taste in cameras Petros. I have an M5 and a CLE too. Does surprise me that it’s much maligned amongst a lot of Leica fans. There’s a lot to like on the M5 and although it’s larger than aM2 or M3 etc, it’s not actually huge! A good ‘ user’ i would say.

  • Avatar
    November 4, 2018 at 5:31 am

    ‘I warn most of you that what I’m about to say will likely infuriate most film shooters, Leica fans, and even my beloved M5 community at large.’

    I actually read it twice but I still can’t see why anything you wrote would infuriate anyone?

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