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Leica M2 Viewfinder Aperture Removal?


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This came up in another thread, but I think it is worth having its own topic. What exactly is the function of the black rectangular mask/aperture mask on the M cameras, specifically the M2? I have a hard time seeing the 35mm frame with glasses on, and have read that some people have replaced or removed this piece to increase visibility with no ill effects. If it can be removed without consequence, why is there in the first place? Is it actually safe to remove? What does it do? Thanks

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Must not be too popular - I've used Leica Ms for over 55 years and never heard of it. I guess today's new users are more apt to customize their Leica rather than learn to use them as they are.

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17 minutes ago, TomB_tx said:

Must not be too popular - I've used Leica Ms for over 55 years and never heard of it. I guess today's new users are more apt to customize their Leica rather than learn to use them as they are.

New user? No. And if you don’t have anything useful to contribute, you could just not post anything. 

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8 minutes ago, Anbaric said:

DAG sells or used to sell a bigger one (currently out of stock) - you could ask him:

https://www.dagcamera.com/store/p111/Aperture_for_M2_Rangefinder%2C_20%_larger-_just_like_M4.-.html

I think that’s been sold out for a while, but it might not be a bad idea to follow up and see if they are ever coming back. 

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15 minutes ago, blackdot said:

I think that’s been sold out for a while, but it might not be a bad idea to follow up and see if they are ever coming back. 

Yes, I would ask it as a service question: what are your options if you want this done? Maybe the existing frame could be machined to enlarge the aperture. If you're in the US, he's probably the best person to do this sort of thing anyway.

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8 minutes ago, Anbaric said:

Yes, I would ask it as a service question: what are your options if you want this done? Maybe the existing frame could be machined to enlarge the aperture. If you're in the US, he's probably the best person to do this sort of thing anyway.

I’m not in the US, but I’ll try asking anyway. I would still be happy to order the part if he ever gets it. Thanks. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

To answer your original question, the aperture is there to block light coming in through the eyepiece and making the focusing patch difficult to use. About halfway through the M4 production run, Leica increased the opening by about 20% making it a bit easier for the user to see the corners of the viewfinder. It was a easy swap when the camera was in for service but has been pointed out, the part is no longer available. 

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7 hours ago, madNbad said:

To answer your original question, the aperture is there to block light coming in through the eyepiece and making the focusing patch difficult to use. About halfway through the M4 production run, Leica increased the opening by about 20% making it a bit easier for the user to see the corners of the viewfinder. It was a easy swap when the camera was in for service but has been pointed out, the part is no longer available. 

Thanks. I’m going to try removing it to see if I notice a difference. 

I looked at a few other M2s at a camera fair last week, and surprised at the differences in eye relief. Some had a wider vf aperture than others, and a couple had the M4 aperture swapped in. I just gave in and bought an M-A for a decent price. 

Edited by blackdot
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  • 3 weeks later...

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