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M4 29 54.72%
M4-P 24 45.28%
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M4 or M4-P
Old 6 Days Ago   #1
simonbakhshnia
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M4 or M4-P

Hello all, I am new to the rangefinder community and shooting with Leica's. I am considering buying either the M4 or M4-P but I am not 100% sold on either one yet. That's where you all come in, I would like someone to try to convince me to buy either the M4 or M4-P. I have done some research myself and I don't have an issue with the M4-P being made in Canada because it was still engineered by German engineers. But I just need that final shove in one direction. So thanks to whoever helps me out!

Simon
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Old 6 Days Ago   #2
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Get the cheaper one!
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Old 6 Days Ago   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkFunkDunk View Post
Get the cheaper one!
Honestly though you right
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Old 6 Days Ago   #4
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The M4-P has a different viewfinder than the M4. The M4 has framelines for 35mm, 50mm, 90mm, and (I think) 135mm lenses.

The M-4P also has framelines for 28mm lenses, and I think it has 75mm framelines, too.

The later M6 is basically the same as an M4-P, with built in meter added. So, if you like the M6 but don't want a meter, get the M4-P.

The main thing to consider between the M4 and the M4-P is the finder framelines. If you use 28mm lenses, you'll probably want the M4-P. If you get an M4 and use 28mm lens, you'll need to buy and use a 28mm accessory finder.

There are build quality differences, too. The M4 has brass top and bottom; the M4-P uses zinc like the M6, and some of the internal stuff is made more cheaply on the M4-P. I never used an M4-P but I had three M6 bodies at one time, and I also had a couple of M4 bodies. The M4 is heavier and smoother in operation, but the M6 is still built better than most cameras out there.

Another thing with the viewfinders is that the rangefinder spot in the M4-P is more prone to flare than the one in the M4.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #5
simonbakhshnia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
The M4-P has a different viewfinder than the M4. The M4 has framelines for 35mm, 50mm, 90mm, and (I think) 135mm lenses.

The M-4P also has framelines for 28mm lenses, and I think it has 75mm framelines, too.

The later M6 is basically the same as an M4-P, with built in meter added. So, if you like the M6 but don't want a meter, get the M4-P.

The main thing to consider between the M4 and the M4-P is the finder framelines. If you use 28mm lenses, you'll probably want the M4-P. If you get an M4 and use 28mm lens, you'll need to buy and use a 28mm accessory finder.

There are build quality differences, too. The M4 has brass top and bottom; the M4-P uses zinc like the M6, and some of the internal stuff is made more cheaply on the M4-P. I never used an M4-P but I had three M6 bodies at one time, and I also had a couple of M4 bodies. The M4 is heavier and smoother in operation, but the M6 is still built better than most cameras out there.

Another thing with the viewfinders is that the rangefinder spot in the M4-P is more prone to flare than the one in the M4.
Thanks for this information! I read that some of the M4-P's are made from brass as well, the ones where the viewfinder is recessed. Not 100% sure if this is true.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonbakhshnia View Post
Thanks for this information! I read that some of the M4-P's are made from brass as well, the ones where the viewfinder is recessed. Not 100% sure if this is true.
Thatís correct. What the top plate is made of has remarkably little influence on the photos.

These are 40 year old cameras, if you can get one with a recent verifiable receipt for a clean, lubricate and adjust (CLA) it is worth it. Otherwise you have a reasonable chance of buying a camera that will need one with associated cost. The better the condition, the more likely it is, in some ways, to need a CLA. Good condition indicates sitting, and little use.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #7
Erik van Straten
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The M4 is in fact an M2, but with a 135mm frameline added and different wind/rewind levers/knobs. The M4 has a "quick" film loading system. There is no difference in quality. An M4 is just as smooth and precise as an M2. The M4-P however is built to lower standards, hence it is cheaper.


An M4 can be had in black paint.


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Old 6 Days Ago   #8
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I love my 28mm lens on my M4-P. On M4, you would have to use an external finder. An M4 has a self time that I hate too.
Unless you will be using your camera as a nut cracker the top zinc plate of the M4-P has no difference to the brass plate of the M4. If you like the engraved markings atop, go for the M4.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
If you get an M4 and use 28mm lens, you'll need to buy and use a 28mm accessory finder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by papaki View Post
I love my 28mm lens on my M4-P. On M4, you would have to use an external finder.
If the M4 is anything like the M2, it works just fine for 28mm without an external finder - just frame using the full viewfinder.

I actually bought a 28mm external finder for my M2 thinking I would 'need' it. Never gets used...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #10
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I use them along for decades (plus other gear of course).
Mainly, I use with my choice of lens to put on.


My advice is this : choose one with the focal length to be used most in mind.


If you don't use self-timer the one on M4 can be in your way of holding the camera, which for me the M4-P is better for this.


If one day you want a Leicavit M or winder/motor, the only choice is M4-P, as M4-M or M4-Mot are rare and very expensive.


If you use flash, the hot shoe is only on M4-P .


If you use 28mm, the framelines is only in M4-P .


In use, the M4 is very gentle winding on, M4-P is less smooth.
The VF is better in contrast in M4-P but patch prone to flare more than M4.


Anyway, each (like each M I use ...) can let you take wonderful images with pleasure.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #11
Erik van Straten
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[quote=papaki;2899822 If you like the engraved markings atop, go for the M4.[/quote]

Only the serial number is engraved on the M4, the other lettering is stamped in, just like on the M3 and the M2. The top plate is made out of brass.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #12
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Framelines: If you shoot 28 and don't use glasses, go with the M4-P to avoid external VF. If you use glasses, don't bother, you won't be able to see the framelines anyway.

There are two versions of the M4-P: the later one, with a zinc top (flushed front VF window) has smaller, less precise framelines which live on to this day (M6/7/P/A)

Accessories: if you want to use a flash M4-P is much easier (hot shoe vs X to Hot shoe adapter)
motor drive/Leicavit, M4-P only

Color: the plain vanilla M4 is chrome, the M4-P is black. You can buy the other version of either for a premium

The M4 is a beautiful machine, but can be 15 years older, and they have a tendency to have a catastrophic curtain break. Once they are repaired/CLA'd they are just wonderful.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #13
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If to choose one now, I'd take M4 Black Chrome like the one I have for decades.
Even newer ones, here MP and M-A can not be as nice to use as the old brother.
MP was traded for Monochrom ( Oh ! ), for more fun.


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Old 6 Days Ago   #14
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M4-P has some Disney World Store feel in it. And framelines are cluttered. The only reasons to me to get this one again would be:
28 mm frames, using flash normally. Or if camera has CLA withing one year.

M4 and before are different cameras. Every time I hold one of those, I'm saying "make Germany great again".
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Old 6 Days Ago   #15
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Both are extraordinary cameras. Get one, shoot it, enjoy. Splitting hairs over things you have no experience with right now and asking the opinions of others on these things is just mental mastur******. Get one of them and have fun. In spite of what some M4-p naysayers preach, it is one of the nicest cameras you can buy. Don't overlook the M4-2 either. People will tell you that it will disintegrate after a single roll. Or the winder is so rough that it will hurt or cause disability. (I'm exaggerating here). Or whatever ill folks may say about the M4-2, most of them are still going strong and are also extraordinary cameras.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #16
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Either camera is fine with me.

I do own both and I find the pictures I make are the same with either camera.

I can put my 28mm lens on my M4 and use it. Frame lines, no frame lines it doesn’t bother me.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #17
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The so called roughness I noticed on my M6TTL bought new 2000.
One tiny repair a few years ago,.hefty bill..
I use M3 from new, since 1967., very heavy use..
The M6 is now almost as smooth as M3 and M2..
Get the one where price is right, sounds and feels nice.
Friend has M4-P many years and it feels same as my M6.
The later viewfinders kinda upsetting, in poor framing accuracy .
No camera is built like a Leica., but Services are reqd..
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Old 6 Days Ago   #18
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Don't overlook the M4-2 either.

The M4-2 was the first camera built in Canada after the production in Germany stopped. The first batch of these cameras is to be avoided because at that time the machines were not properly adjusted. This fact has caused a lot of problems.


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Old 6 Days Ago   #19
sanmich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
"make Germany great again".


You may want to rephrase that?
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Old 5 Days Ago   #20
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Get whichever one you can get in black. You will get moodier photos.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #21
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The black chrome M4p makes you completely invisible if you put tape all over the camera, same with the M4-2. The black paint M4 will draw every camera nerd within a 10 mile radius, so it does the opposite. Chrome M4 will not have that effect but is not effective as a cloaking device.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #22
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If you understand the rule of thirds just use the 90mm frames as the center rectangle on a M4 for 28mm.

What makes the M4 my preference is that the M4 has bigger frames than say my M6 or a M4-P. Also the 50mm frames don't have 75mm frames for a cleaner VF'er.

Know that I had Sherry strip out the 75mm Frames from my M6 and a MP because I love the 50mm frames alone like a M4.

Also know my most used lens is a 28.

Also consider a M6 if you like the M4-P.

Cal
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Old 5 Days Ago   #23
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There are differences other than those mentioned so far.
M4-P:
* Hot shoe;
* No self timer;
* Has a link for a motor/winder;
* RF condenser has been removed (the RF patch is more inclined to white-out);
* 6 framelines.
M4:
* Cold shoe;
* Self-timer;
* No winder link-up;
* 4 framelines.

Study the differences, which don't include the overall intangible "feel" (and engraving), decide what features are important to you - then make your purchase!

Whichever you chose, regardless of what the seller says, plan on a CLA (~$350).
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Old 5 Days Ago   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
The M4 is in fact an M2, but with a 135mm frameline added and different wind/rewind levers/knobs. The M4 has a "quick" film loading system. There is no difference in quality. An M4 is just as smooth and precise as an M2. The M4-P however is built to lower standards, hence it is cheaper. ...
Every M film camera (including the latest film MP) was/is built to a lower standard compared to those up, and through, the M5. This is indisputable - but the fact is, if properly serviced, any of these cameras will outlast your grandchildren - film accessibility notwithstanding.

Therefore, "build quality" isn't really an issue.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #25
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBlackwell View Post
"build quality" isn't really an issue.

For me it is, because the build quality is directly related to the "feel" of the camera. I know that the results of both cameras will be equally good, but the pleasure of using the camera, the "feel", is very important to me.


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Old 5 Days Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBlackwell View Post
Every M film camera (including the latest film MP) was/is built to a lower standard compared to those up, and through, the M5. This is indisputable - but the fact is, if properly serviced, any of these cameras will outlast your grandchildren - film accessibility notwithstanding.

Therefore, "build quality" isn't really an issue.
In the technical sense, it isn't. On the enjoyment and usage it may be. It depends on the user. If the enjoyment or user experience is not at issue, probably M4-P would be better.

Also, investment wise, probably a M4 would keep its value better?


Best regards

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Old 5 Days Ago   #27
simonbakhshnia
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I am not sure how to group all Quotes into one message so I will just ask my further questions from what has been said.

1. How important is it to find a Leica with a newly done CLA.
2. Best place to get a Leica CLA'd.
3. Is eBay a good place to purchase a Leica? If not where?
4. For those who have owned an M4 and M4-P is the build quality even that noticeable?

And also thanks to everyone who responded, very helpful and has expanded my knowledge a bit more!
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Old 5 Days Ago   #28
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1.- Really important. You are talking about $200-500 CLA charges here.
2.- Depends on what is to be done on the CLA. For a regular CLA, I would go for Youxin Ye (yyyeCamera). For a complete overhaul, would go for Don at DAG Camera. Just my experience though, and I bet everyone will tell u a different story.
3.-Not sure I would recommend ebay for a CLA, fully functional Leica. Everyone has a different concept about CLA so YMMV. If you get a bargain and adding +$200-500 for CLA sound good to you, then go ahead. If you would like to save problems, then locally or probably classified on this forum. Lots of decent people and, most importantly, actual photographers selling here.
4.-I've 2 M4 and had one M4-P. I would say slighltly noticeable on film advance and probably weight. Call me an idiot but M4-P feels a little bit more "cheap" but not actually a problem. Otherwise, hardly noticeable unless you like 28mm. By the way, I sold M4-P because I sometimes use the self timer and I prefer that feature and I seldom use a 28mm (use M6 for that).

I think both of them are great cameras. Just prefered M4 due to the self timer.

Regards

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Old 5 Days Ago   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
1.- Really important. You are talking about $200-500 CLA charges here.
2.- Depends on what is to be done on the CLA. For a regular CLA, I would go for Youxin Ye (yyyeCamera). For a complete overhaul, would go for Don at DAG Camera. Just my experience though, and I bet everyone will tell u a different story.
3.-Not sure I would recommend ebay for a CLA, fully functional Leica. Everyone has a different concept about CLA so YMMV. If you get a bargain and adding +$200-500 for CLA sound good to you, then go ahead. If you would like to save problems, then locally or probably classified on this forum. Lots of decent people and, most importantly, actual photographers selling here.
4.-I've 2 M4 and had one M4-P. I would say slighltly noticeable on film advance and probably weight. Call me an idiot but M4-P feels a little bit more "cheap" but not actually a problem. Otherwise, hardly noticeable unless you like 28mm. By the way, I sold M4-P because I sometimes use the self timer and I prefer that feature and I seldom use a 28mm (use M6 for that).

I think both of them are great cameras. Just prefered M4 due to the self timer.

Regards

Marcelo
Thanks for the reply! Very helpful. I will probably end up shooting for an M4 unless I find a really nice M4-P.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonbakhshnia View Post
Thanks for the reply! Very helpful. I will probably end up shooting for an M4 unless I find a really nice M4-P.


Again, if you find a freshly CLA M4-P, go for it. I guess most important criteria is condition.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #31
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I kept my M4 only for sentimental reasons but I've owned and used M2, M4, M4P and a couple of the digital versions. Youxin did a complete overhaul and custom fit job on my M4P and it was one of the nicest cameras I had ever used, ever. It was a 70th Anniversary camera and after Youxin worked on it, it was every bit as good as an M4 and then some. That camera was sold to a member here who later sold it to another RFF member and as far as I know it is being well used in Singapore. I would never hesitate to grab any M4 version, this includes the M4-2. The youngest M4-2 is 40+ years old now so all the links have probably been worked out if any had existed at all.
I bought my M4 sight unseen from KEH and it was shipped halfway around the world to Iraq where I used it to cover the 2004 fall invasion of Fallujah. Buy from a reputable seller, be ready to get a CLA and then shoot that camera enough to wear grooves in the pressure plate. Don't worry about what body you get, M4, M4-2, or M4-P. Just shoot and have fun.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
1.- Really important. You are talking about $200-500 CLA charges here.
2.- Depends on what is to be done on the CLA. For a regular CLA, I would go for Youxin Ye (yyyeCamera). For a complete overhaul, would go for Don at DAG Camera. Just my experience though, and I bet everyone will tell u a different story.
3.-Not sure I would recommend ebay for a CLA, fully functional Leica. Everyone has a different concept about CLA so YMMV. If you get a bargain and adding +$200-500 for CLA sound good to you, then go ahead. If you would like to save problems, then locally or probably classified on this forum. Lots of decent people and, most importantly, actual photographers selling here.
4.-I've 2 M4 and had one M4-P. I would say slighltly noticeable on film advance and probably weight. Call me an idiot but M4-P feels a little bit more "cheap" but not actually a problem. Otherwise, hardly noticeable unless you like 28mm. By the way, I sold M4-P because I sometimes use the self timer and I prefer that feature and I seldom use a 28mm (use M6 for that).

I think both of them are great cameras. Just prefered M4 due to the self timer.

Regards

Marcelo
On the whole, I would agree with Marcelo.

Except - all things being equal - I would take an M4 for the overall feel compared to an M4-P. It's like choosing a comparably equipped Lexus (M4) over a Toyota (M4-P or M-A for that matter). They'll both get you there - and last you - but the Lexus just "feels better."

IMHO, eBay is fine for a buying source, but again, I would plan on a full CLA regardless of what the buyer says about it. When buying a Leica M on eBay, I can't remember a single time when the buyer said "all speeds accurate" when the camera didn't end up needing a CLA.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #33
Ko.Fe.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanmich View Post


You may want to rephrase that?

Sorry, my way of thinking and describing might be different than yours....

German current manufacturing and past ELC is not at it was during M4 production.

This should not trigger any thinking, to be digested direct.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #34
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Quote:
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On the whole, I would agree with Marcelo.

Except - all things being equal - I would take an M4 for the overall feel compared to an M4-P. It's like choosing a comparably equipped Lexus (M4) over a Toyota (M4-P or M-A for that matter). They'll both get you there - and last you - but the Lexus just "feels better."

IMHO, eBay is fine for a buying source, but again, I would plan on a full CLA regardless of what the buyer says about it. When buying a Leica M on eBay, I can't remember a single time when the buyer said "all speeds accurate" when the camera didn't end up needing a CLA.

Yeah, agree on that too. M4 feels more solid.

By the way, both my cars are Toyota (Corolla and Rav4) and couldn't be happier (mostly because my wife is happy )
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Old 5 Days Ago   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonbakhshnia View Post
I am not sure how to group all Quotes into one message so I will just ask my further questions from what has been said.

1. How important is it to find a Leica with a newly done CLA.
2. Best place to get a Leica CLA'd.
3. Is eBay a good place to purchase a Leica? If not where?
4. For those who have owned an M4 and M4-P is the build quality even that noticeable?

And also thanks to everyone who responded, very helpful and has expanded my knowledge a bit more!
CLA is only needed if it needs it... you can tell if the rf needs it if the images do not superimpose completely on the vertical and horizontal axes when focused at infinity.
Any decent shop can quickly test the shutter on their shutter timers to tell you if the shutter needs adjusting. In Los Angeles Steveís Camera or Deanís Camera repair can do that. Most prob for free.

Dont put money into it if it doesnt need it. And ebay is a fantastic place to buy as you get full buyer protection. Something is wrong? Refund! Iíve bought a bunch of Leica gear from them.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #36
simonbakhshnia
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How often are CLA's required? Do you feel when it is needed? And how long does it take to get done?
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Old 5 Days Ago   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonbakhshnia View Post
How often are CLA's required? Do you feel when it is needed? And how long does it take to get done?
If you notice any roughness in the winder. If your film shows uneven exposure across the frame. If it sounds like it is clearing it's throat. If the shutter speeds don't change to the point that you can hear the difference for 1/60 and slower. If the finder doesn't focus, is cloudy or sluggish. All are symptoms of needing a CLA.
How long depends upon who your repair person is, how good they are and how in demand they are.
Phil Forrest
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Old 5 Days Ago   #38
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Not that often. I have had three done over the years - two M6TTL cameras by DAG and a IIIa by Youxin Ye. The Ttl cameras were done years ago and came back better than when they were when I bought them new and they are still the smoothest Ms I have. The IIIa was bought on a whim in very good condition and probably had not been touched in years. It, too, is incredibly smooth and great to use. Unless you drop it or get it wet, a Leica will last and work properly for decades. If it works well when you get it, you won't need a CLA for years.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
... Any decent shop can quickly test the shutter on their shutter timers to tell you if the shutter needs adjusting. In Los Angeles Steve’s Camera or Dean’s Camera repair can do that. ...
Or you can simply use your ears. You can tell immediately by listening to the shutter from 30th and below.

FWIW, if a Leica M camera is used often a proper CLA can last 20 years or more.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #40
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Thanks for the info, much appreciated! I have made my mind up, will be getting an M4!
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