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Doug A

M2 or M4 (or M6)?

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Our father's IIIf is going to my sister, who wants it because of the family connection. (I still have his ca. 1924 No. 2A Folding Cartridge Hawk-Eye.) After daydreaming about M series Leicas for decades it's finally time to buy one for myself.

 

Limited resources, a desire for 35mm viewfinder frame lines, and a preference for a hand-held meter have me looking at the M2 and M4. An M4 will be newer than an M2, of course, and the rewind knob is a nice feature. Are there other reasons to prefer the M4 (or the M2)? The M6 is newer still, and it works with a dead battery. Besides the age and the built-in meter, which I would probably use at times, are there other reasons to prefer the M6 to the M2 or M4 (or vice versa)?

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My first Leica was an M2. Still going strong and it's 50th Birthday is approaching in November.

 

Nice, uncluttered viewfinder, with only the frame-lines that you _really_ need and bullet proof build.

 

Buy an M2 that has service history and put the money you save by not buying an M6 towards a better lens.

 

That's my advice

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My first M was an M2. My second was an M6. After buying the M6 I hardly used the M2. I found that the 28mm framelines, faster loading, faster rewind and built in meter more than compensated for the cleaner viewfinder.

 

The M2 is a fantastic camera, but personally I prefer the M6.

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Had an M4

 

Had an M6

 

Had another M6

 

Have an M7

 

But the best M camera for me is my M2; perfect, uncluttered framelines and a silky-smooth feel that is second to none.

 

 

...resistance is futile...

 

Regards,

 

Bill

Edited by bill

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Bought an M6 - sold it after about a year

Bought an M4P - sold it after about 9 months

Bought an M2 - have had it 6 years and would never sell it.

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The M4 was pretty near perfect.

 

Mine is silky smooth, black paint with lots of brass. I traded it once for an M6, couldn't sleep that night, and bought it back the next day.

 

The M6 ( an early model), does not feel as smooth as the M4, and the focus spot of the rangefinder is prone to flare. It's a good camera, but the M4 just feels better to me. Sadly, both remain on the shelf while I use my M8 and Digilux2.

 

The M2 lacks modern PC contacts, rapid load, auto frame counter reset, and a 135mm frame line, but it's a solid camera. If you find one in good shape, it should be less expensive than an M4 in similar condition and give you the same service.

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Began with an M2 in 1965. I still have it. When I went pro, I adopted the M4. Still have six of them in good working condition. Also have M4-P, and two M7 bodies. I'd go with the M4 all over again.

 

Simplify and be happy.

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Had M3

 

Had M2

 

Had M4

 

bought M6

 

then bought another

 

great meter, faster rewind good viewfinder

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Strictly money, buy the M6 with upgraded meter.

 

If you want the nicest handling, best frame lines, smoothest operating, better rangefinder, definately the M2.

 

I have an M2, M2R, and one black and one silver M6. Nice to be sure, but early M cameras are special. No cost cutting measures like the zinc top plates, crummy shutter light shields, missing condenser lens in the RF so you get white outs sometimes and can`t focus.

 

With the M2, they are getting old and rubber deteriorates. May need new rubberised cloth shutters and CLA does not last as long, and the balsam cement in the RF goes, all expensive repairs. They are like old cars, parts go because of age. Be prepared to buy maintenence and wait for it to be done, sometimes months

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I have had M2's and loved them, but bought a M6 Wetzlar, had the viewfinder upgraded, and compared it to the M2's. The M6 upgraded viewfinder was every bit as good as the M2's.

 

So, the workmanship on the M6 Wetzlar is very close to the M2's, it has easier loading and rewinding, and is a more compact unit to carry around as a result of the built in light meter.

 

I the end I sold the M2's that I really loved. But with a M8, I only need one film M body, and the M6 won out.

 

M4's are more expensive that most M6's and don't have light meter's.

 

My 2 cents, YMMV.

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I used for years both M4 and M2 (never had M6) : handling and "feeling" was very similar with a marginal preference for M2 cocking lever (and M4's rewind knob)... so my only definitive advice is about the usage of a 135mm lens : if you plan it, is a sufficient reason to look for a M4. M2 is perfect for the light duo 35+90.

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i think you'll find so many different opinions that if you go by these opinions, you'll be happy with whatever you get.

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There is no wrong answer, it's simply personal preference/budget/requirements/availability.

 

I had an M3 years ago and just didn't get on with it for some reason - it can only have been the viewfinder, never like rounded corners! (I also have a lllf which I love).

 

Bought an M2 on a whim a few years ago and love that too, and I mostly use the 35mm lens on it so it's the perfect viewfinder for me.

 

I handled an M6 - hated the floppy plastic film advance lever. I'd HAVE to get a solid metal M2 style lever fitted if I bought an M6.

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First M was a (1959) M2 bought in 1979. Got M3, MP, M7 and like them all, but I must say I always go back to the M2 when I need not to think about the camera; it just fits. I hate the frame counter though. I had it CLA'ed a few years ago by Leica and I haven't looked back since. I had a lot of problems with the M6 and I am kind of glad that Leica lost it. Didn't get to like it anyway.

I practiced a bit with an M4, not long enough to form an impression.

My opinion is still to go for an M2 (yes, age could be an issue) unless you could manage a modern MP.

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M6 is a brilliant camera, fact that they first came out in 1984 and are still going strong today is testament to the model's staying power. But even older M3s and M2s from the 50s are also going strong. Whichever M you choose, it's a good idea to make sure you get it from a good source, buy an overhauled model in the best possible condition, or factor in a CLA. Don't just buy the cheapest possible -- you will be pleased you did.

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Not the M2, M4, M6 or even M7.

 

Since this is the M that you have owed yourself for so long, my advice is to go for the best and treat yourself to an MP. Brightest viewfinder with the least flare, the smoothest cocking action and the quietest(?) shutter. The MP is like a jewel when held.

 

Pete.

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This is truly a matter of personal preference, as you can tell by the number of different opinions. At one time or another I've had one or more of these Leica M models: M3, M2, M4, M5, CL, M4-2, M4-P, M6, M6TTL, M7 and MP. Now that I've switched entirely to digital (M8) the only film M I've hung onto is the M4. So that's my own very biased selection. My reasons are, the M4 has the quick loading apparatus and a proper rewind crank, framelines from 35-135 (full view usable for 28mm), the more comfortable (for me) advance lever, flare-free rangefinder, a selftimer, and the "old world" fit and finish. The only things an M4 lacks are a built-in meter (I've got a remanufactured MR4 on top) and provision for a motor winder (never used one).

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Hi

 

An M4-2 should be the cheapest an early one has the 'same finder as a M4, but ugly and steel gears wont be as smooth as brass.

An M2 is nicest, the M4, M4-2 cranked rewind is faster but needs more care, you can get a quick load kit for M2 if you don't like the normal spool.

The shutter can fail any time after 5 to 25 years, so an M2 may be on 2nd or third.

 

Noel

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I never understood the angst regarding dead batteries. Replace the battery on a regular basis, say every 6 months, and you'll never experience a dead battery. If you are shooting 20 rolls a day, maybe replace it every month. Six batteries are about the size of one roll of film.

 

I'm partial to the M7 over my M2 and M6. I love the semi-spot metering pattern on the M6 & M7. It is far superior to the ill-defined elliptical blob on the M8 & M9.

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First Leica was an M4 bought in 1967 or 8. Got it after shooting with a friend's M2 and M3 for a few weeks. Bought an M6 about 9-10 years ago..used it 2 years, but having 2 Leica RFs was redundant.My choice...sold the M6 (it was really sweet) and kept my old friend the M4 I started with. No regrets. IMHO you can't go wrong whichever you choose.

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