Total numbers of produced film M cameras
Old 02-05-2019   #1
HHPhoto
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Total numbers of produced film M cameras

Dear Leica film M experts,

I have a question, and hope that you can help me:
For quite some time I have wondered how many film M cameras since the introduction of the M3 in 1954 have been produced in total.
So I started a research, but unfortunately with limited success.
In a book about the history of Leica I found the following numbers:
- M3: 225,000 cameras produced
- M4: 58,900 cameras produced
- M5: 33,900 cameras produced
- M6: 175,000 cameras produced

But I did not found any numbers of the M2, M4-P and M7.
And no numbers about how much MPs have been build so far.
At Photokina Leica said that the current yearly production of the MP and M-A is above the 1,000 unit mark and increasing.

Do you have any information about the lacking numbers?
Thank you very much in advance!

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #2
David Hughes
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Hi,

Hove Foto's "Leica Pocket Book" gives:-

M2 82 471 for chrome; 1 800 for black and 1 580 for EL Canada

but nothing else in my old edition.

(For black it uses the abbreviation "bl/sch" so I'm not 100% certain until I find out what is the "sch" version.)

Regards, David
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Old 02-05-2019   #3
rodt16s
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There's also the CL, CLE, M1, MD, MDa and MD2
Can look at the Leica Wiki for some numbers or even on the Head Bartenders site
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Old 02-05-2019   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

Hove Foto's "Leica Pocket Book" gives:-

M2 82 471 for chrome; 1 800 for black and 1 580 for EL Canada

but nothing else in my old edition.

(For black it uses the abbreviation "bl/sch" so I'm not 100% certain until I find out what is the "sch" version.)

Regards, David
Thank you, David!

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #5
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Originally Posted by rodt16s View Post
There's also the CL, CLE, M1, MD, MDa and MD2
Can look at the Leica Wiki for some numbers or even on the Head Bartenders site
Excellent, thank you!

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #6
Muggins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,
(For black it uses the abbreviation "bl/sch" so I'm not 100% certain until I find out what is the "sch" version.)
Schwartz?

Adrian
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Old 02-05-2019   #7
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Originally Posted by Muggins View Post
Schwartz?

Adrian
Thanks; I can sleep at night now ;-)

Regards, David
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Old 02-05-2019   #8
steveyork
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M4P -- 23,180 (22,444)
M4-2 -- 15,800 (17,100)
CL -- 65,000 (65,000)
M1 -- 9,741 (9,700)
M2 -- 83,077 (83,300)

As you can see, different sources give different production totals.
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Old 02-05-2019   #9
Ko.Fe.
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M4-2: 16.100 units in black chrome.
Not a mass produce camera .
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Old 02-05-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyork View Post
M4P -- 23,180 (22,444)
M4-2 -- 15,800 (17,100)
CL -- 65,000 (65,000)
M1 -- 9,741 (9,700)
M2 -- 83,077 (83,300)

As you can see, different sources give different production totals.
Thank you!
Yes, the numbers differ depending on the source. Interesting.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #11
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
M4-2: 16.100 units in black chrome.
Not a mass produce camera .
Thanks!

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Dear Leica film M experts,

I have a question, and hope that you can help me:
For quite some time I have wondered how many film M cameras since the introduction of the M3 in 1954 have been produced in total.
So I started a research, but unfortunately with limited success.
In a book about the history of Leica I found the following numbers:
- M3: 225,000 cameras produced
- M4: 58,900 cameras produced
- M5: 33,900 cameras produced
- M6: 175,000 cameras produced
Looks like the number I found first for the M6 is too high.
On our bartenders web page cameraquest for the M6 up to 1999 132,454 units are listed.
Then the M6 TTL up to 2002 should be added (no numbers found so far). But I doubt that so much M6 TTL models in such a short time were produced that 175,000 total units for the M6 can be achieved.

I have added the found numbers for all film M models produced.
All models excluding
- CL
- M6 TTL
- M7
- MP
- M-A.
The total number without these models is 606,743 (based on the cameraquest data).
Quite a lot. At least more than I expected .

Now it is interesting to speculate how much of all this so far produced cameras ist still there and working. And how much have been totally lost, destroyed (in wars, accidents, fires, floods etc.), or abused to death.
I assume about 50,000 at minimum, and 150,000 at maximum.
What do you think?

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #13
drew.saunders
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Dear Leica film M experts,

...

But I did not found any numbers of the M2, M4-P and M7.
Cheers, Jan
The l-camera forum Wiki has some numbers:
https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica...in_Page#Film_M

The M2 they have ca. 82,000, but for the M3 they have more exact numbers. I'm not sure where they get these figures, but they have estimates of all the current and recent models too, except the M-A 127.
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Old 02-05-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drew.saunders View Post
The l-camera forum Wiki has some numbers:
https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica...in_Page#Film_M

The M2 they have ca. 82,000, but for the M3 they have more exact numbers. I'm not sure where they get these figures, but they have estimates of all the current and recent models too, except the M-A 127.
Thank you!

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-05-2019   #15
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Thank you!
Yes, the numbers differ depending on the source. Interesting.

Cheers, Jan
Yes, well, um, this is the internet and we are talking about range-finder cameras. That's two factors to make, shall we say, figures a little flexible. ;-)

Regards, David
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Old 02-05-2019   #16
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The challenge is that a range of serial numbers would have been set aside but, there is no guarantee that for each number in the range there was one camera released. Numbers could be skipped or production halted before reaching the highest reserved serial.

The only definitive source is Leica. Have you asked them?
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Old 02-06-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
I have added the found numbers for all film M models produced.
All models excluding
- CL
- M6 TTL
- M7
- MP
- M-A.
The total number without these models is 606,743 (based on the cameraquest data).
Quite a lot. At least more than I expected .
Jan, if you now also add the numbers for the M6 TTL, M7 and MP published on the Leica Wiki, you will get above 660,000 cameras in total.
Leica has made a clear commitment to their film M cameras. They said they will continue to produce them, and that the demand is even increasing.
Service for these cameras is also no problem.
The supply of new lenses from Leica, Cosina Voigtländer and Zeiss is bigger than ever!
Therefore I consider the Leica film M system as a very sustainable and future proof option for film photographers who like rangefinder photography.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Now it is interesting to speculate how much of all this so far produced cameras ist still there and working. And how much have been totally lost, destroyed (in wars, accidents, fires, floods etc.), or abused to death.
I assume about 50,000 at minimum, and 150,000 at maximum.
What do you think?

Cheers, Jan
I think it is in the 50,000 - 100,000 range.
Leica cameras have always been expensive and high value, and most of their owners have therefore taken care for them.
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Old 02-09-2019   #18
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The only definitive source is Leica. Have you asked them?
Well, I have compared the different published numbers, and the differences are not so big.
And I have taken the numbers from sources who have (had) direct contact to Leica.
I wanted an overview of the total number. Whether the number may be 2-4% more or less is not so important.
Especially as Leica is producing the MP and M-A, and the yearly production is increasing because of rising demand as stated by them at last Photokina.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-09-2019   #19
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Leica has made a clear commitment to their film M cameras. They said they will continue to produce them, and that the demand is even increasing.
Service for these cameras is also no problem.
The supply of new lenses from Leica, Cosina Voigtländer and Zeiss is bigger than ever!
Therefore I consider the Leica film M system as a very sustainable and future proof option for film photographers who like rangefinder photography.
I agree.
And I think you get excellent value by buying a brand new Leica MP or M-A. These cameras can be used for decades. If you take care and don't abuse them, they will probably be used even by your children when you have passed away.
They look expensive first, but in the long run they are very cheap with an excellent price-performance ratio.

Cheers, Jan
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