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Zeiss Ikon ZM vs Leica M4-2
Old 11-21-2016   #1
Bille
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Zeiss Ikon ZM vs Leica M4-2

Help me decide.
I´m ok with a handheld meter.
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Old 11-21-2016   #2
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Leica M4-2. Nothing against the Zeiss but the Leica is probably cheaper and it's a Leica.
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Old 11-21-2016   #3
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I own a ZM and M7 (revised finder), here is my 2 cents summary.
The viewfinder of the ZM is as good as the M7 if not better (I think I prefer the ZM, also because of its greater base lenght of 55.5mm vs. 49.86mm for the [email protected]). The ZM finder doesn't flare, contrary to Leica finder, even the revised MP finder which I have on my M7 isn't as good. The ZM has a moving patch, the Leica has a moving frame (when focusing). The framelines of the ZM miss the 75mm and 135mm, but have 28mm and 85mm frames, which the M4-2 do not have. The top speed of the ZM is 1/2000, the Leica 1/1000 only. The ZM shutter is more accurate (electronic), but won't work without batteries (cheap LR/SR 44). The build quality is slightly better with the Leica's : the mount is tighter, the horizontal alignment between viewfinder frame and patch won't move (something common with the ZM is that the patch can be slightly twisted). As concerns the servicing, the Leica is a safer bet, anyone services them, not the case with the Zeiss. The ZM is lighter than the Leica (M7), it feels easier to handle (especially with a Noctilux on it), but does not feel as solid, despite it probably is as much.
Exposure-wise, the ZM is very accurate, large center-weighted measuring area.
For glass wearers, the ZM is more friendly : you can replace the standard eyepiece with any other cheap and quality Nikon or Voigtlaender eyepiece.
All in all, I'd stay with the ZM, even so I mostly use it in manual as it's my habit, I think that it's holding its value pretty well and anyone else in the family can use it - not the case with a non-metered camera -.
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Old 11-21-2016   #4
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Are you into technicalities? Like above (but comparing with M7, which is not M4-2)? And don't afraid to buy something with next to non existing service? It is called ZM then.

Or do you want legendary companion in your photo adventures who is ready no matter what and has king of RF not only name, but acting?
Having something made not just as almost everything else made is also pleasure non related to technicalities... M4-2 is true Canadian, reliable, no fuss, ready to go across all country on feet, kayaks and sledge dog. Snow or boiling sun.
It is like building the log house with single ax (my uncle was capable), M4-2 is as simple as carpenter ax and this is what makes it perfect companion, not a box with electronics to hold and squeeze boring picture.
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Old 11-21-2016   #5
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ZM all the way. Its not a fair comparison to the m4-2. Better finder, built in meter (and one that is actually quite good), auto exposure, better baselength.

The only leg the leica has on the Zeiss is build quality. But don't get confused, it's still very good.
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Old 11-21-2016   #6
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Basically what aldobonnard commented.

Despite the quick or slow metering choice, ZI's Aperture priority mode can be something very useful under certain circumstances. I mainly shoot manual RF but I must admit I miss A mode from my Yashica Electro 35s every now and then.

BTW: it's not tech-head thingy (any more), Yashica had made Aperture priority a friendly photographical feature for RF cameras since 1960s.
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Old 11-21-2016   #7
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More noise from the Zeiss Ikon's metal shutter, which is battery-dependent.
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Old 11-21-2016   #8
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I hate battery dependent cameras. That alone would push me to the M4-2. Also, if the Ikon ever goes down then have fun getting it repaired. The M4-2 is a 1 week, $180 trip to Youxin for a quick service and it's ready to go.
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Old 11-21-2016   #9
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A good, clean M4-2 is my preference.

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Old 11-21-2016   #10
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The ZI is a better camera is every user oriented way. Easier to load, better RF, better finder, lighter, meter, AE, 1/2000th of a second shutter.

However... You can't calibrate the RF yourself, and few shops outside of Zeiss or Cosina will do it. The RF will go out sooner or later, and probably sooner. Parts will become scarce if they're not already, and as another commenter mentioned, there are plenty of places to get a cheap CLA for most Leica's.

So with that in mind, get the M4-2, then have it CLA'd. After going through 2 ZI's that I bought and found had problems, I got an M4 recently CLA'd. Knowing I can easily have it repaired gives me more peace of mind than knowing the ZI was a better technical camera.
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Old 11-21-2016   #11
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I chose an M4-2 as my first foray into Leica-dom about six weeks ago.

I don't really have any tangible advice to offer you in comparison to the Zeiss (never used one), but using the M4-2 has brought me a lot of joy in its simplicity, and I'm still a little bit in awe of the precision of its construction. It's my first unmetered, fully-mechanical body, and I can honestly say that it's made me a better photographer - even after only a month and a half.

So if that sounds like the sort of experience you're after - you know my recommendation.
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Old 11-21-2016   #12
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I have had them both. Both are awesome. If you can live w/o a built in meter than I would go for the M4-2 hands down.
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Old 11-21-2016   #13
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I like the M4-2 because of the uncluttered finder. The M4-P, for me, messes things up with the extra frame lines.
The ZM is very nice, but now seems next to non fixable, and if you drop it, good luck.
The shutter sound is very different too - the Leica is a muted click, while the Zm is a louder, clack.

There is something so freeing about using a fully mechanical non metered camera. It really makes you think about your scene, and I find that makes for a better shot.
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Old 11-21-2016   #14
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I would lean towards the M4-2, but have you considered the M2 or M3
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Old 11-21-2016   #15
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Leica M4-2. Like everyone else said before, fixing it could be a pain.
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Old 11-21-2016   #16
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What's all this noise about the Zeiss ZM not being able to be serviced? Since when?

I broke my Zeiss ZM super wide back in 2013, and only experienced great and friendly service with Zeiss Germany.
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Old 11-21-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidKKHansen View Post
What's all this noise about the Zeiss ZM not being able to be serviced? Since when?

I broke my Zeiss ZM super wide back in 2013, and only experienced great and friendly service with Zeiss Germany.

Thats the problem David. Its a great camera and people from Zeiss/Cosina are great. Bad thing is they are the only ones that fix them. Most people that fixes Leica/other brands dont really mess with ZM. At least thats the experience of the only person I know owns/uses a ZM.


That being said, I think the rangefinder cameras made by Cosina (ZM and the Bessa's) are tough build. I've own a Bessa R2 for some time and I use it at least once a month (probably more) and never had any issue with it.

Only question to ask yourself is: Can you live with a camera with a dubious future? (if Zeiss/Cosina stop fixing them, thats the end of story) If that doesnt bother you, I see no problem with them. Probably a bit louder than Leica's but, IMHO, a joy to use.

Regards

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Old 11-21-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidKKHansen View Post
What's all this noise about the Zeiss ZM not being able to be serviced? Since when?

I broke my Zeiss ZM super wide back in 2013, and only experienced great and friendly service with Zeiss Germany.
I didn't say you can't service them, just that it's more of a PITA to do even simple and necessary things like rf calibration. I don't want to have to send my camera overseas when there is an abundance of closer techs.
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Old 11-21-2016   #19
DavidKKHansen
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Ah, I thought they had completely stopped servicing them.

As with many other Japanese camera companies (Cosina), once a product is discontinued, they are given about 10 year's time in which the maker will be able to repair them. After that then it's for as long as parts are in supply.

Wasn't the Ikon discontinued last year or the year before? Buying one now will give you many many year's of good camera usage, as it's a very capable camera.
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Old 11-21-2016   #20
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It won't be many years before Zeiss Ikon users face the same reality that Konica Hexar users face today with few to no electronic parts availability to keep a body going. That Zeiss makes no other cameras, it's hard to imagine them actively supporting this body for the next 8-9 years, unless the currently parts supply (whatever that may be) lasts.

There's probably a better chance of film not being available before you not being able to get any M body repaired.
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Old 11-21-2016   #21
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Thanks for all the food for thought.
I am leaning towards the M4-2 now as it`s battery-free and probably easier to service. Got to say it looks a little cooler than the Ikon as well.
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Old 11-21-2016   #22
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I used to use an Ikon, went through all kinds of M, Hexar, CLE and Bessas after it, and bought one back last year. It's an extraordinary tool which just shoot away, which suits my style.

If you wanna shoot and prize speed and ease of use, get it. If you worry about the extra weight a pair of spare LR44 bring or how your tool will be like after a decade of hard use, think otherwise.

In fact it's not all that hard to service since the ZI is quite a simple camera. RF calibration is doable (there's a tutorial somewhere once you google it) and electronics is OK, it's as reliable as a Nikon F3. Not as advanced (which means trouble) like a Hexar RF, it has just the "right" amount of technology. Cosina as a company is doing pretty good and will provide backup for more complicated issues in the forseeable future.

I still keep my M for fun.
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Old 11-21-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archlich View Post
I used to use an Ikon, went through all kinds of M, Hexar, CLE and Bessas after it, and bought one back last year. It's an extraordinary tool which just shoot away, which suits my style.

If you wanna shoot and prize speed and ease of use, get it. If you worry about the extra weight a pair of spare LR44 bring or how your tool will be like after a decade of hard use, think otherwise.

In fact it's not all that hard to service since the ZI is quite a simple camera. Not as advanced (which means trouble) like a Hexar RF, it has just the "right" amount of technology. RF calibration is doable (there's a tutorial somewhere once you google it) and electronics is OK, it's as reliable as a Nikon F3. Cosina as a company is doing pretty good and will provide backup for more complicated issues in the forseeable future.

I still keep my M for fun.
Agree. Like I said before, my Bessa R2 is dong quite well and is pretty damxn reliable. I even bought it second hand. Its not like they fail at the drop of a hat or anything.

By the way, anyone got a link to a Bessa R2 CLA? Would be nice to have some info about them.

Regards.

Marcelo
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Old 11-21-2016   #24
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I would go for the M4-2. Leica still makes parts for it.

The comparison of the ZM with the Nikon F3 is unfortunate, but true. My F3 could use a new meter display LCD, but that comes on a circuit board that Nikon no longer makes or carries as spare parts. The all mechanical F2 and F make better long term bets.

Same issue with the M4-2 vs the ZM. When the parts go, there won't be any further service on the ZM.
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Old 11-21-2016   #25
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This may be a useful thread:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=94568
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Old 11-21-2016   #26
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Quote:
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Got to say it looks a little cooler than the Ikon as well.
I'm not sure what else there is to consider..!
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Old 11-21-2016   #27
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Not an M4-2 owner, but had the M4 and the ZM at the same time for 6 months. The ZM was supposed to replace both my Contax G system and my M4, but after giving it what I'd call more than a fair trial, I kept the M4 and the Contax G.

The viewfinder of the ZM is not all that it's cracked up to be. It's big and it's clear, which is great, but it's not as user friendly and steady as the M viewfinder...but if you shoot 28s, then the ZM is a no brainer.
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Old 11-21-2016   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKRCAT View Post
ZM all the way. Its not a fair comparison to the m4-2. Better finder, built in meter (and one that is actually quite good), auto exposure, better baselength.

The only leg the leica has on the Zeiss is build quality. But don't get confused, it's still very good.
like BLKRCAT is saying. the ZM is a fine machine and the view... oh what a view.
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Old 11-21-2016   #29
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If you can do without AE, The M6 is the best of both worlds IMO. Perhaps a bit higher cost, depending. I was lucky and got a 0.85x model for only $800. Hooray for estate sales.
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