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ThomasSmithDP

Help on buying Leica M4-P / M6

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Hey Guys,

I wanted to buy a used leica since months now. But I am still unsure if I should go with the M6 or the M4? The only big difference is that the M6 has a lightmeter and the M4 not. But since I work in the film industry. I wanted to buy a separate light meter anyway at some point. So is it better to go with the cheaper M4 and get also a good lens instead of spending a lot on the M6?

Looking forward to your replies ;)

Best

Thomas

 

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The M4 (not M4-2 or M4-P) has the following:

brass advance gears (not steel)

brass top plate (not zinc)

35, 50, 90, 135 framelines (no 28 or 75)

glass sandwich frameline mask that can delaminate (not common) (later cameras used perforated steel frameline mask)

full size framelines like all M2 and M3 ( later framelines are smaller and show less than image area, particularly at closer distances)

I have an M4. 

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7 minutes ago, Mute-on said:

The M4 (not M4-2 or M4-P) has the following:

brass advance gears (not steel)

brass top plate (not zinc)

35, 50, 90, 135 framelines (no 28 or 75)

glass sandwich frameline mask that can delaminate (not common) (later cameras used perforated steel frameline mask)

full size framelines like all M2 and M3 ( later framelines are smaller and show less than image area, particularly at closer distances)

I have an M4. 

Thanks for the facts. And whats the difference between the M4 and the M3?

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3 minutes ago, ThomasSmithDP said:

Thanks for the facts. And whats the difference between the M4 and the M3?

Hello Thomas,

You can have some facts and more in Wiki, M3 (link)

M4 (link)

The M3 has "bigger" viewfinder x0.9 while M2/M4 VF has x0.72 .

M3 was created with 50mm user in mind then Leica offered M2 for 35mm user which continue with M4 and so on.

There are much differences like film wind or rewind, quick loading on M4, etc.

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M3 does not have framelines for 35mm lens, does not have the modern film load tulip of the M4 (so is slower to load), and does not have the angled rewind crank of the M4 (so is slower to rewind).

M3 has the highest rangefinder magnification of any Leica M at 0.91 times, so it is good for 50mm, 90mm and 135mm lenses. M2, M4, M6, M7 and MP all have standard magnification of 0.72 times and are more versatile for 50mm and wider lenses. 

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M4-P is not bad choice but people (including myself) would choose M4 for "something else" (brass used on most part in place of steel, Germany, Silver chrome or Black Chrome/ B.Paint)

not that I would not use some M4-P Plus features (Leicavit M or Motor M usable , not usable on plain M4 or M4-P framelines for 28mm if need be ).

 

As side note, the M3 can use "35mm for M3", for fun this lens type can be purchased cheaper and usable on every Leica M 😇

here one "35mm Summaron f/2.8 for M3" used with M4-P 😔 , just to show how it looks

 

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In any other reality except Leicaworld people would chose hardened steel gears inside their gearbox and not soft brass, but Leicaworld is run on myths and folklore about the last CLA and how the insides of their camera now 'operate smooth as butter'.

Personally I would go with an M6 as your first Leica, the meter is a big help in getting consistent results from the outset. It can be false economy to burn through film 'getting the hang of it' with a camera and a hand held meter given metering is another learning curve in itself.

The alternative is the M4-P, it is the most versatile, hard wearing, and among the cheapest bang-for-buck options. M3's, M2's, M4's etc are for refining your tastes later, when you know what your tastes are, but fundamentally there is no reason to change from an M4-P (or an M6), it does everything a modern Leica film camera does except for the meter.

Either way forget any dodgy advice of 'use the Sunny 16 rule' to guess the light with a meterless camera, if you are in the film industry I imagine facts are more important than guesswork. So you need a hand held meter at the same time as an M4-P and not a later addition to the kit. If you will eventually use the meter for work it will also need to be a good meter and this could cancel out the price difference between an M6 and an M4-P. So it's a fine balancing act given you also need a lens. If you don't need a meter yet, I still say the M6 and save for a hand held meter later, if you need the meter now, then the M4-P.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, 250swb said:

In any other reality except Leicaworld people would chose hardened steel gears inside their gearbox and not soft brass, but Leicaworld is run on myths and folklore about the last CLA and how the insides of their camera now 'operate smooth as butter'.

Personally I would go with an M6 as your first Leica, the meter is a big help in getting consistent results from the outset. It can be false economy to burn through film 'getting the hang of it' with a camera and a hand held meter given metering is another learning curve in itself.

The alternative is the M4-P, it is the most versatile, hard wearing, and among the cheapest bang-for-buck options. M3's, M2's, M4's etc are for refining your tastes later, when you know what your tastes are, but fundamentally there is no reason to change from an M4-P (or an M6), it does everything a modern Leica film camera does except for the meter.

Either way forget any dodgy advice of 'use the Sunny 16 rule' to guess the light with a meterless camera, if you are in the film industry I imagine facts are more important than guesswork. So you need a hand held meter at the same time as an M4-P and not a later addition to the kit. If you will eventually use the meter for work it will also need to be a good meter and this could cancel out the price difference between an M6 and an M4-P. So it's a fine balancing act given you also need a lens. If you don't need a meter yet, I still say the M6 and save for a hand held meter later, if you need the meter now, then the M4-P.

 

 

 

 

 

How refreshing to see a common sense reply for a change. Too many potential Leica M owners are put off by misguided myths and folklore put out on this forum.

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Usually with these kind of threads people pitch in to say "I use an M..... and that's the best one to get" plus those who suggest a CL (film type) or Voigtlander instead.

My advice is firstly to buy from a dealer with warranty so that if there's a problem you're not faced with a costly repair bill for your 'new' camera. Differences between the various models may seem slight but can make quite a big difference in reality. So, get yourself to a dealer or 3 and look at some for sale. See what you prefer and the best deal/condition camera you can find, rather than 'blindly' choosing an M4 or M6 purely on spec.

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On 9/23/2019 at 9:32 PM, ThomasSmithDP said:

Hey Guys,

I wanted to buy a used leica since months now. But I am still unsure if I should go with the M6 or the M4? The only big difference is that the M6 has a lightmeter and the M4 not. But since I work in the film industry. I wanted to buy a separate light meter anyway at some point. So is it better to go with the cheaper M4 and get also a good lens instead of spending a lot on the M6?

Looking forward to your replies ;)

Best

Thomas

 

Hello Thomas.

Welcome to LUF. Always great responses here.

 

I use both an M4 and M6.

M4 no lightmeter 35, 50, 90, 135 framelines (no 28 or 75) *thanks Mute-on. Made in Germany some later models made in Canada.

M4-P no lightmeter 35/135, 50/75, 28/90 framelines. Made in Canada some later models made in Germany.

M6 lightmeter 35/135, 50/75, 28/90 framelines. Made in Germany.

 

I bought my M4 BP and the 50 Summilux.

A year later was looking to add another body an M4-P but I went with an M6 and the 35 Summicron ASPH.

I have always used a hand held lightmeter *prefer incident to reflective readings.

 

As for which to go with. Depends on budget and which lens you prefer to shoot with.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, EddieJ said:

Hello Thomas.

Welcome to LUF. Always great responses here.

 

I use both an M4 and M6.

M4 no lightmeter 35, 50, 90, 135 framelines (no 28 or 75) *thanks Mute-on. Made in Germany some later models made in Canada.

M4-P no lightmeter 35/135, 50/75, 28/90 framelines. Made in Canada some later models made in Germany.

M6 lightmeter 35/135, 50/75, 28/90 framelines. Made in Germany.

 

I bought my M4 BP and the 50 Summilux.

A year later was looking to add another body an M4-P but I went with an M6 and the 35 Summicron ASPH.

I have always used a hand held lightmeter *prefer incident to reflective readings.

 

As for which to go with. Depends on budget and which lens you prefer to shoot with.

 

 

Thank you EddieJ!

When it comes to choosing either an M4 or the M4-P which one would be better in terms of build quality? I will probably buy an 35mm lens. So Framelines are no problem.

I would think that the Models made in Germany use higher quality materials.

 

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1 minute ago, ThomasSmithDP said:

Thank you EddieJ!

When it comes to choosing either an M4 or the M4-P which one would be better in terms of build quality? I will probably buy an 35mm lens. So Framelines are no problem.

I would think that the Models made in Germany use higher quality materials.

 

Many will respond to this.

For me. There is no noticable difference between German made and Canada made. Albeit manufacturing and tooling challenges in the beginning.

Long story, after a long and storied history of the M3, M2, M4 bodies and lenses, Leitz introduced a new body - the M5 polarizing many of the Leica M rangefinder enthusiasts, afficianados. Leitz almost went belly-up when Walter Kluck president of Ernst Leitz Canada (ELCAN) convinced Leitz to allow him to export the manufacturing process to Ontario Canada to begin manufacturing of the M4-2 in 1976 which in turn evolved to the M4-P in 1980.

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/Walter_Kluck

The M6 began its life in 1984, when Leitz bought back manufacturing to Germany.

 

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vor 52 Minuten schrieb EddieJ:

There is no noticable difference between German made and Canada made.

 For more than 30 years I use bodies and lenses, made in Germany and Canada, and to be honest, I never found out any difference in quality and usability. So, simply, you don't need to care about the origin, that is my personal experience.

Edited by AndreasG

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I use over time Leica M almost all models (not M7 or M6 TTL), and in use every Leica M can give same results in final photos, with same lens of course.

So the most important part is the lens and the body is just to hold the lens and expose correctly (well focus accurately can be a plus).

Germany or Canada, each can be debated infinitely but nothing wrong choosing "Canada Made" or "Wetzlar Made" in normal user view.

 

As side note, I had used some M4 and each M4 is not the same as the other, also true with those M4-2 or M4-P "Canada made".

 

History repeated itself with my two last M-A  (from Wetzlar, 2014 meaning to "replace" my other "rather old film M" ), one M-A is smoother than the other.

One M-A has a "very small bit" longer shutter trip and one needs some more force (sensible) to trigger and to wind-on 😵.

So each Leica M can perform well if correctly maintained over it's life.

This posts (repair/maintain M is very expensive * if used extensively, comparing to the M price ) lead me to buy the newly released M-A .

 

I use on M-A Voigtlander VC Meter II small and very pockettable modern meter...

 

VCMeter II that I use also when I fancy to use one of my Barnack Leica

 

* I have some Leica M needing repair/maintain, but I don't even bother as it's will not sell better, so I still have some paper weight ( ...Canada and Wetzlar/Solms)

Edited by a.noctilux

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I had M3 DS ELC, M4-P and kept only M4-2.

All three were very different. M3 was build like nothing else. Where is difference between before M5 and after.

M4-P has toy feel, evaporating on VF gasket and crude shutter speed dial.

M4-2 is just smooth and John Deere. It has some insulation tape to stop light leaks from M mount ring. Just as made in Ontario GM cars which have insulation tape in the cabin and leaking after rain.

As for M6, it feels like plated silver, not table silver :).

Edited by Ko.Fe.

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3 hours ago, ianman said:

So do some M4-Ps apparently... http://nemeng.com/leica/002bc.shtml

That website is excellent Leica FAQ

Leica M4 - It's just a camera right?

M4-P Variations

As is/are the following *for reference.

Early vs. Late M6

Leica M Used Buying Guide

M4 1967-1975

M4-P 1981-1987

M6 "Classic" 1984-1998

Specific M3/M6

A visual library on Leica M6 Series bodies

 

IMHO - Research and ask for clarification, further feedback.

 

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