View Full Version : Critique My Tentative Choice Of M-Model?
Heaven help me, I am thinking of getting an M Leica. I haven't even finished putting together my Canon RF system and I'm actively searching for a Nikon F. Yes, I am ill. Oh well, my LAP (Leica Acquisition Project) will probably have a long gestation period, so no harm in starting my research now.
Can I get some thoughts on my initial thinking?
After reading about the different models, I am leaning toward a M4-P. Here is my reasoning:
- I want the rewind crank, the wide-angle framelines, and the motor/winder option.
- I'm fine with meterless cameras.
- I like black cameras.
- I don't like the look of the M5.
- I'm looking for a user, not a collector camera.
- Of the M models that fit the above criteria, the M4-P appears to be the least expensive. I see them going for $500 or so.
Funny thing is, I seldom read posts (here or elsewhere) from people with a M4-P. The typical choice for a meterless M seems to be the M3. The M4-P seems a bit of an ignored model.
Any comments on my model choice? Is there a reason the M4-P is less popular?
I was going through the same process, and I too ended up with an M4-P on my wish list. But when I was ready to put my money where my mouth is I got an M2. I decided that an M2 or M3 would do just as well as an M4-P but would cost me less. They're all so similar that I found no justification to get a much more expensive M4-P without even knowing for sure I would like a Leica. :)
I'm starting to like my M2 but I'm still not over the fact there's no internal meter; that really bothers me.
how to choose... (http://www.imx.nl/photosite/leica/mseries/choosem.html)
some good info here.
i had a m4-p years ago. it was a good camera. it is not held in the same esteem as the 3 or even the 2. the m5 is the leper of the m family.
i'd go for an m2 if i were ever taken over by the dark side again.
Thanks for the site. It still leaves me unclear why the M4-P is considered one of the less desirable M cameras. Is it because it was made in Canada rather than Germany, not as "hand-made" as the M3/2/1, had some slightly cheapened parts, or something like that? I wouldn't care about those reasons, as I'd shoot the thing rather than collect it. But if there's a functional disadvantage to the M4-P (besides no meter) then I'd be interested.
I think the M4-P gets the short stick because it does not have the build quality of the M2/3/MP, but it lacks the meter of the M5/6/7. A meter really is a huge advantage, even if you are really macho and shoot only tri-x. I would really recommend an M6 classic user if it will be your only M camera and you think that you may possibly be interested in shooting slide film at some point. Having a meter in the camera means not having to bring yet another thing with you. Even the hotshoe meters add bulk. With an M6 you can just put a lens on it and go. You can always take the battery out, but you can never put a meter in...if you are going to go that route, you might as well pay the extra 100 bucks for an M3. You get better build quality, more accurate focusing, and a self-timer. But in any case, an M4-P is almost exactly an M6 without the meter, and that is a useful feature, even if you don't use it all the time, so I would recommend the M6.
I'm not going to suggest to you which M to get, that's something you need to work out based on features etc etc. But a couple of comments....
Yes the M4-P is seen as "Less desirable" by Leica collectors. So's the M5. That doesn't mean they are any worse cameras, just that they are perhaps a little cheaper because of their less desirable status. Somewhere (I think Erwin Put's site?) there is a comment that none of the M's are inherently less well built or less reliable, whatever Leica snobs may say. There are some features which can influence your choice, you're already looking at these - framelines, rangefinder magnification, etc etc.
But the most important thing - work out what model you REALLY want, and buy it - don't compromise on a cheaper and less desirable to you model. It'll work out cheaper in the long run if you buy the best example of what you really want first time. Trust me.
All of the M cameras could well outlive you. You hear that the M4-P's build quality is less than the M2/M3 but in absolute terms the M4-P is just really well built.
Stuart's point about having a meter in the camera is a good one. I have an M6TTL and the meter in it is incredibly accurate. I normally do carry a meter but I have such confidence in the camera's meter that I really only use my regular meter for incident light readings these days.
One thing about getting an earlier M is that the camera is going to need a CLA sooner or later, almost certainly sooner. They run about $250 or more. I have read that the early M6 circuit boards are beginning to feel their age too.
If you like the M4-P and you can get one in good condition I would say go for it. The Leica holds its value so you're not going to see much depreciation. Get one and enjoy it! :)
I may be able to help you with a black Nikon F. Interested?
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