Second Film Body — Which M?
Old 06-17-2016   #1
giganova
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Second Film Body — Which M?

I have an M4 (Wetzlar) and three nice lenses (21+35+50mm), but I need a second film body so I don’t have to change lenses all the time, especially in time-critical situations. Plus, I need a second body when I have to get one of the cameras serviced so I can keep working on my photo projects. Don’t need no stinking meter and I love pure mechanical cameras. I just received a $5k fellowship for my photography, which I want to use to finance a photography "expedition" (travel) and tons of film, leaving me with $3-3.5k for a second M body. So I'm deciding between:
  • Another M4 — Plus: same ergonomics as the M4 that I have already, abundant, cheap. Minus: if I “sink” so much money in Leica gear, should I get something different, maybe something more “exotic”?
  • M4-2/M4-P — Plus: improved versions of the M4, newer, abundant, cheap. Minus: I only want Wetzlar (body, lenses, filters), its just a personal preference, no Canada bashing here ;-)
  • M3 — Plus: mechanical, no meter (just what the doctor prescribed!). Minus: I don’t want to fiddle around with am awkward film take-up spool.
  • M2 — Plus: mechanical, no meter, faster film loading. Minus: film counter seems very antiquated.
  • MP or M-A — Plus: my dream cameras, especially the M-A (a modern M4). Minus: very expensive, even used. Relatively hard to find used at a reasonable price.
Are there any other factors (or M bodies) that I should take into considerations?
If you had $3-3.5k to play with, what would you do? Invest all the money in an M body or get a cheaper M4 flavor and get another lens?

Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old 06-17-2016   #2
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Get an M3 and use it as your exclusive 50mm lens camera. The VF is the best.

I akshully prefer the more precise, albeit slower/fiddly film loading of it compared to my M5, M7 etc which have the modern loading. I have never ever had an issue loading it, where the film came off the spool, but that has happened several times with my other cameras (which I noticed before I took shots). I prefer to know it's loaded correctly than to trust an easy load system.

If not that, get an M5 - best mechanical film M ever - and just don't put batteries in it if you don't want to use the fanstastic spot meter...
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Old 06-17-2016   #3
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p.s. the M4-2 and M4-P are not improved versions of the M4. They are cheaper versions..
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Old 06-17-2016   #4
Ko.Fe.
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I see some bashing here...

But OP story is almost next to GW story. Getting grants, I see!
Go GW way. Two M4.
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Old 06-17-2016   #5
Daryl J.
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2 M4's provided you can keep them separate as to which body has which film.

Close second: M2


Fits your parameters.
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Old 06-17-2016   #6
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"GW"? What did I miss?
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Old 06-17-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl J. View Post
2 M4's provided you can keep them separate as to which body has which film.
I would have two different lenses on them (21+50), but the same film.
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Old 06-17-2016   #8
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Get an R4M. It has the finder to cover your range of lenses.
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Old 06-17-2016   #9
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The M4 is very durable and has the framelines you are accustomed to using. The later models have two framelines up at a time unless you go for the .58 or .85 viewfinders on M6TTl and later. The M3 is great and you can get a quickload kit for it or you can have it converted to an M4-type spool when you have it serviced - one of my M3s has that conversion and I prefer it to the old-style takeup spool or the quickload system. Since you don't have a meter now, you won't miss that. Avoid the M6TTl and later bodies only because the shutter speed dial turns the opposite direction from the 2, 3, and 4 bodies.
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Old 06-17-2016   #10
jsrockit
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MP or M-A for sure... splurge. Personally, I'd go M6.
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Old 06-17-2016   #11
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M4 - black paint. I ended up buying one awhile back, and they are just so beautiful. It's become my main camera, even though I've got others to choose from including an MP and an M6, the MP being on your list of possibilities. With that being said, the M-A looks fantastic, and for a brand new fully mechanical M, it's really got a draw for me. Any which way you go, I'm sure you won't be disappointed, but you could probably get a BP M4 for around 3k or less, and use the remaining money from your 5k budget on film/lens/etc.

Another thing is you'll already know the camera well seeing as it's another M4, but not only will it be pretty, it'll be obvious which camera you have loaded with what, and which lens since you'll have a black and a chrome M4...

Just my 2 cents, but since you don't really need/want meters anyway, and maybe wanted something a little more exotic, I'd definitely suggest this route.
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Old 06-17-2016   #12
Ko.Fe.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
"GW"? What did I miss?
Well, if GW and two M4 is the miss, you don't need to go this route.
Get something "exotic".
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Old 06-17-2016   #13
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I would go for 2 M4s but, a M3 would be fine too for it's 50mm frame lines. I would choose two very similar cameras so using them is requires no thinking about their operation. - jim
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Old 06-17-2016   #14
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An M3 or M2 would be perfect. The M3 is lovely with a 50mm!

Personally I don't find the take up spool too bad. A little fiddly to start with but you soon get used to it.
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Old 06-17-2016   #15
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I would divide my resources differently, putting most of that $5k toward the "expedition" + film. Having in the past owned M2, M4, M5, M6 and MP and currently being an owner of an M4 and MP, my favorite is my M4. I'm not sure why, I think it's the smoothest and I prefer the angled rewind crank. I learned to shoot Ms with a handheld meter, so I can also live without the built-in meter.
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Old 06-17-2016   #16
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
... I just received a $5k fellowship for my photography, which I want to use to finance a photography "expedition" (travel) and tons of film, leaving me with $3-3.5k for a second M body...

If you had $3-3.5k to play with, what would you do? Invest all the money in an M body or get a cheaper M4 flavor and get another lens?

Thanks for your suggestions!

Show off!!

I woud buy:
1) ONe M3
2) One M2
3) One M6/ttl
4) Money left for a cruise to the Caribbean
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Old 06-17-2016   #17
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I'd go M3 and pick up two extra spools or have it upgraded to a more modern spool. If you pre-attach a roll of film to the spool it's quicker to reload that fumbling and bumbling that always seemed to happen at the wrong time.

While good M4s are around, I'd go M3 and sent it off to DAG (or Sherry) for CLA/TLC and it will last you forever.

I don't know enough about your photography to speak to more glass. My kit was 21/35/90. I didn't use the 90 anywhere near as much as I expected. I bet if I had a 50 it would have gotten more use. I think you have a great config and a second body would complete your system.

B2 (;->
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Old 06-17-2016   #18
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Smile

I had EXACTLY this problem, except I had a M3.

Summer vacation is coming up, I want to travel, and think I need a spare body. Also, it's always nice to be able to have two film speeds to switch between, but since I sold my Bessa, the M3 has been my sole partner (except for 4 large format cameras, a OM 1, the Sony a7 and NEX3, and some various small film cameras).

So I started looking around, couldn't decide, looked at M6 .85, tried to swap some gear, was offered a regular M6 - I don't shoot 35mm or 75mm so the viewfinder would really suck in my case with all those frame lines. But then the deal went sour.
Looked further, maybe a M2? Maybe M4? Get another Voigtländer? Hell NO!

Finally I settled on getting a second M3 and a second meter as a backup, it arrived this Tuesday.

For me it's the optimal camera: I've had at least one for five years now, it has the best finder, got 50 and 90 frame lines uncluttered - which is what I use (and a 21mm), takes IXMOO, and the AMAZING film loading gets me two additional frames on a 36 roll and always takes the film on - whilst the insecure loading system on the Bessas lost me two rolls by not taking the film up properly.
Having two of the same gives the benefit of familiarity. Won't have to think any different about framing or controls when using one or the other.


In your case, I'd get another M4, same model that you already got. If I was using 35mm lenses, I'd have 2x M4 or 2x M2, no need to complicate things further.


Since the vulcanite is cracking on the second body, I'm putting on a brown leather grip, a subtle way to differentiate (visually and tactile), so I don't pick the one with ISO 25 film for night shots.

Next week I'm meeting a repairman, and when he returns my camera, I will stop worrying and enjoy my hard earned vacation, together with my M3 duo!
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Old 06-17-2016   #19
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i would get a bessa r4m for the 21mm or another m4.

i wouldn't even think about getting an m-a. they're not paying you to fondle cameras!
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Old 06-17-2016   #20
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Hey I quite like my M-A. I don't fondle it, I feed it film.

The M-A and MP are a joy to shoot together honestly with the same handling ergonomics, loading, viewfinder, winding and rewinding, they're just symbiotic.

If you shop around you can honestly find either camera for a "fair" (notice I didn't say cheap) price. (IE: well under $3k).
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Old 06-17-2016   #21
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Thanks for your replies, great stuff, which got me thinking:

I'm a shooter, not a collector, so I'm not paying extra for a black paint body or a new MP/M-A (even though I could afford it and they would be nice to fondle ). From a pure shooting point of view, it makes most sense to just get another M4 for the sake of familiarity (same film loading, same controls, same viewfinder) and spend some of the remaining money on my photography trips. An M4 might not be the most "sexy" M body, but its a reliable camera that will "get the job done".

If -- but only if -- I can get an M-A for under $3k, then I'll do that just for the argument that I'll probably never have so much change to get such a cool camera, and for the sake of reliability (no service for many years to come). Otherwise, an M4 it is.

Oh, and I just booked a flight to Ushuaia/Terra del Fuego in December, when it's not freaking cold there, just very very cold.
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Old 06-17-2016   #22
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I'd get another M4.
I currently have an M6 which I run 'meterless', and as a second body, I'd get an M4. While I'd love an M-A, I could get 3-4 M4's for that price! Or some real cold weather gear !

M2/M3's are great and all, but the ergonomics are different - different advance lever, different rewind, different loading. Keep it simple and go for another cam with the same handling - so an M4/M4-P/M4-2/M6 are the options. Of all those, the M4 is the best value I believe.

From what you post here, your photos are excellent - an M-A ain't going to make them any better - but film and travel? Oh yeah!
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Old 06-17-2016   #23
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A second M4 seems most logical choice to me. Depending on the situation (having much time for composition of the frame or more kind of snapshot style) using two different M body in parallel can be very confusing, especially different frame-lines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
p.s. the M4-2 and M4-P are not improved versions of the M4. They are cheaper versions..
Not correct. The M4-2 and M4-P are improved and cheaper versions of the M4.
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Old 06-17-2016   #24
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Get another M4. There is nothing more annoying when shooting two bodies to have slightly different feel on them. When I shoot two or three bodies at the same time I keep them the same (M2s in my case). I tried once the M4 in the loop to find out how different it feels on the fly.
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Old 06-17-2016   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoc View Post
A second M4 seems most logical choice to me. Depending on the situation (having much time for composition of the frame or more kind of snapshot style) using two different M body in parallel can be very confusing, especially different frame-lines.




Not correct. The M4-2 and M4-P are improved and cheaper versions of the M4.
Not correct. The opposite.

"The M4-2 was a simplified, cheapened M4, without the famous Leica script top plate engraving and the traditional vulcanite body covering. The M4-2 was the first of the Plain Jane Leicas."

More here:
https://www.cameraquest.com/mguide.h...2%20and%20M4-P
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Old 06-17-2016   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
MP or M-A for sure... splurge. Personally, I'd go M6.
Yep. M6 all the way. Leave the batteries in, its pretty much an MP, but you get a free red dot. Take the batteries out, voila - an M-A.
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Old 06-18-2016   #27
David Hughes
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Hi,

Well, I think a back up should be the same as the main camera unless you want it for something else, like a 300mm lens or a macro, in that case buy some SLR...

As for distinguishing the film in it, use the film carton tab with a bit of string through it and tie it to the strap lug. It will stick out like a sore thumb but that's what you want when grabbing for the right camera body, because of the film in it. Or use the same film in both and don't bother with the tab.

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Old 06-18-2016   #28
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I think your choice of another M4 is your best option.

I don't know why you want an M-A since it's really just a current production M2 at 4 times the price (today). If you think the M-A will be better built, you should reconsider.

I have an M2 and MP. The M2 is clearly better built. Smoother, denser, tighter.

I fondled a black paint M4 once. It was nicer than any M I have ever handled ...

Hmmmmm ...

Yeah, another M4 just like you have is a great choice
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Old 06-18-2016   #29
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I can not help for one or another M as second body.

...
But if you reverse the thing as new M body as "prime body" and your M4 as "second body".

- Since more than 30 years of using Leica M and R, I can say that an M4 is NOT un-brakable even CLA regularly.
- So my second point is when the M-A appeared in the market, I rely on 2 x M-A to replace all my M-kits (MP, M4, etc.) for years to come.
- For me, it's a dream come true this new M in 2014
- I appreciate the brightest viewfinder and ease of focussing (even better than in MP, and M4 viewfinder became less easy for my old eyes), that point is the best surprise for me.
- M-A can not replace M4 in the more comfortable advance lever and rewind
- M-A finder has 2 frames at one time is the point to be used to, but 75's is minimalistic

Choosing an M-A has nothing to do with "features" or "logical things", but if you can handle one, you may appreciate the "M-A feeling" that is personal for each of us.

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Old 06-18-2016   #30
Bill Clark
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I vote M4 or

Please think about a Barnack. You could get both a body and a nice lens for about the price of another used M4.

Recently, my wife and I, spent 5 days with our daughter and her family. Exposed 5 rolls of Tri-X 36 exposures each and used a IIIf and a 50 Summitar lens. Neat little camera and I don't have a problem loading film.
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Old 06-18-2016   #31
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I would get a CL for additional versatility.
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Old 06-18-2016   #32
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I would say, go wild, and get a digital M! Get the M8 or M9.
OK, if you insist on a film camera, I recommend the fabulous M3. Every Leica shooter must have one. Right?
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Old 06-18-2016   #33
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Agree Raid, the M3 is a wonderful camera.
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Old 06-18-2016   #34
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Do you need a meter camera? The M5 has the best meter in any camera I have ever used, which is saying a lot And Yes I know it's not on your list. Just an idea

M4/M5
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Old 06-18-2016   #35
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Creative people tend to get bored easily. That's a documented fact. This is one of the reasons why so many of use are such gear hounds. We're constantly searching for a new experience. So when it comes to new gear, my advice is to get something a little different; to wit, the M3 or M5.
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Old 06-18-2016   #36
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I would keep it simple, so another M4 would be logical, would also not restrict the use of the 35mm as an M3 would, plus you get the bonus of "automatic pilot" when you have the same type of camera in your hand every time. Go for simplicity, reliability, durability and concentrate on photography. PS, if you have an itch to get something more modern, go directly to M7, it is invaluable for fast shooting in changing light.
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Old 06-18-2016   #37
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^Likewise - get the M4, for all the reasons detailed by mfogiel. Or go bonkers and get the M7 to make your life easier. At the end of the day, Ms are more similar than different. It's fun choosing one but not a lot rests on which one you eventually get.

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Old 06-18-2016   #38
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FYI while new M7 s are $4400, used ones can be had for $1500.

It's what I did.

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Old 06-23-2016   #39
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Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
Do you need a meter camera? The M5 has the best meter in any camera I have ever used, which is saying a lot And Yes I know it's not on your list. Just an idea

M4/M5
Finally someone suggested M5!
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Old 06-23-2016   #40
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I decided to get an M4, but I keep my eyes open if I see an M6/M7/MP/M-A for a good price.

Please PM me if you have one and want to make me an offer that I cannot refuse!
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