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Second M body (open to suggestions)


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I'm currently considering purchasing a second M body to complement my existing chrome MP, which I acquired a brand new last year and has thankfully remained free from any film-scratching issues. I'm contemplating acquiring another body, either in black chrome or paint finish. A light meter isn't a requirement for me, I prefer not to have one, the shutter release system with the meter bothers me a bit. (long pressure)

While I deeply respect Leica and its craftsmanship, I do have some concerns regarding the current build quality of their M film cameras compared to earlier versions. With this in mind, I'm deliberating whether it might be a more prudent decision to invest in a CLAd and painted M2 rather than opting for a new MA model. Any insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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As far as I know the M3 is supposed to be maybe the most solid built M body. Which focal lengths do you use?

But I can't tell you. I have no experience with the MA, just with a M6 I have owned now for very long time and a MP I bought later which I think feels better in hands than the old M6. I also own M3 and it feels quite nice, but I prefer to have in camera metering. Depending on your focal length selection I would choose a body with appropriate magnification of the viewfinder. 

Older cameras can be very nice, but personally I would prefer a new Modell where I would have guarantee and parts and material is new, if it should work as a reliable workhorse.

I need to mention the only film M I have long time and serious experience is my old M6. It never had a problem, but at some point the back plate seals became old and I had to renew them. Other than that it just has worked well for many years.

 

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I second the last comment. I would personally go with an M4 Cla'd. Those are solid. An M2 is also great if you don't mind dealing with a spool for film loading. From a value standpoint I would personally shy away from re-painted bodies as those don't hold their value as good as the original ones. If you shoot primarily 50mm and not 35mm go with an M3

Edited by twogun
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Always depends on the condotion and not so to the Model. Any of my Ms work flawlessly, all of them had been checked. 

M4-2 is as good as M3 or M6 (old). Never had problems with disadjuated Rangefinders or Pictures out of focus even before CLA with any lenses.

But they are all older than 30 years... 

I would probably look after a early MP (2004, 2005) to get good built quality and relatively young age if this is important.

 

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3 hours ago, cesc said:

...

While I deeply respect Leica and its craftsmanship, I do have some concerns regarding the current build quality of their M film cameras compared to earlier versions. With this in mind, I'm deliberating whether it might be a more prudent decision to invest in a CLAd and painted M2 rather than opting for a new MA model. Any insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I vote for the M2. Having single frame lines for 35/50/90 really gives a different experience.
Although I would not repaint it. I love camera's that have soul, and repainting would alter history...

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I have an M6 (1985), which I love.  Of course, it is a matter of personal preference.  Like Dpitt mentioned, the M2 has frame lines for the 30/50/90 mm lenses.  The M3 was in the market before the M2, and based on what I have heard (yes hearsay), it contains better quality components than the M2.  

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Thanks so much for your comments. Basically, choosing an older model is not at all a bad decision, because it's true that it's quality is "better" than newer production right? 

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27 minutes ago, cesc said:

Thanks so much for your comments. Basically, choosing an older model is not at all a bad decision, because it's true that it's quality is "better" than newer production right? 

No, a new M-A or MP is more reliable than the older cameras whatever people broadcast on the internet. But you get people indulging in myths about build quality concerning things they can never quantify, like imagining no M3's were ever sent back to Leica to have the rangefinder fixed, etc. And to be honest it is newer users who propagate such myths because they have no recollection from 'back in the day'. 

Edited by 250swb
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3 hours ago, cesc said:

Thanks so much for your comments. Basically, choosing an older model is not at all a bad decision, because it's true that it's quality is "better" than newer production right? 

Remember that these camera's are all between 40 and 70 years old. When you buy any of them from a private seller, make sure that it has had a recent (a few years ago) CLA, or even better, buy it used as is and then give it the probably much needed CLA. That way you are sure it will serve you like new for many years.

 What I have learnt when buying used equipment is that buying a ragged worn out user from someone who has been shooting several films a year until very recent is often much better than buying a mint, hardly used one in box. Yes, it will look nice, but it will probably have developed all kinds of issues over decades sitting on a shelf. That is no  issue most of the time, but sometimes a CLA will reveal extra repairs to be done. One of the reasons that all these oldies need maintenance is that greases used up to the 80s have more tendency to clog up inside the mechanisms. After a modern CLA you can be sure that this will not happen as easily than it did in the past.

All else is just a question of good luck and using it with proper care. I have seen amazingly good working camera's used in war conditions for example, and on the other hand one drop or hard bump in the wrong way can 'break' it. Or it just happens like it can with other mechanical equipment.

One of the worst cases I had was a collectors item M3 where the advance lever felt very stiff. I turned it in for a CLA, even before shooting one film with it. I had to pay extra for a replacement shaft and some gears. It turns out that a small piece of felt had managed to get stuck inside the gears. If I had used it as is, I would have done even more damage....

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Many excellent suggestions here. In my personal experience, having MP, M2 and M4, and since you have experience of the MP, my thoughts are as follows:

To retain the same frameline combinations, M4-P or later.

To retain the much faster film loading tulip, M4 or later.

To experience the best 35/50/90 framelines and early Leica build, M2.

To avoid some of the issues with early Leica build, such as delaminating frameline mask, delaminating prism, M4-P or later.

To keep a light meter (for convenience) early (>2004) MP, in black paint of course …. 
 

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36 minutes ago, Radost said:

If you like 28mm buy minolta CLE. If you like 50mm buy M3.

All leica cameras do the same thing. The viewfinder is the difference 

I like the CL/CLE but only because it is so compact and compatible with M lenses.
The RF and viewfinder experience is not at all at the same level as any M camera.

Also, the CL is more reliable because it is mechanical on all speeds. The CLE depends on electronics to function, not only for the light meter like the CL.

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10 hours ago, cesc said:

I'm currently considering purchasing a second M body to complement my existing chrome MP, which I acquired a brand new last year and has thankfully remained free from any film-scratching issues. I'm contemplating acquiring another body, either in black chrome or paint finish. A light meter isn't a requirement for me, I prefer not to have one, the shutter release system with the meter bothers me a bit. (long pressure)

While I deeply respect Leica and its craftsmanship, I do have some concerns regarding the current build quality of their M film cameras compared to earlier versions. With this in mind, I'm deliberating whether it might be a more prudent decision to invest in a CLAd and painted M2 rather than opting for a new MA model. Any insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

If it was me I would restrict myself to a black M4 through to M6, avoiding the first batches of the M4-2 and avoiding the M5 and the CL/CLE for the following reasons. All these Leica cameras can be brought up to perfect working condition in a CLA.

Black, because you want it different to silver so you can run different film stocks AND you want at least one stealth camera.

No M3, M2, MP or M-A so that you can have fast rewind and fast load

No M5 because you want the cameras to sit the same under your hands and you don't want to think about it when you swap cameras.

No CL/CLE because they are not robust

No early M4-2 because *some* of the cameras in the first batches have proved to be unreliable.

NOTE: This doesn't mean you shouldn't paint an M2 or M3 and have them as a second camera, they're brilliant, but they won't mesh as well with your MP and adding a paint job could make them more expensive than an M4-P.

Edited by williamj
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27 minutes ago, williamj said:

No M3, M2, MP or M-A so that you can have fast rewind and fast load

I have to disagree with this part. I can rewind my M2 or M-A much faster than my M6TTL. The crank slips out of my fingers every time. I honestly cannot understand why so many people prefer it. 

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1 hour ago, dpitt said:

I like the CL/CLE but only because it is so compact and compatible with M lenses.
The RF and viewfinder experience is not at all at the same level as any M camera.

Also, the CL is more reliable because it is mechanical on all speeds. The CLE depends on electronics to function, not only for the light meter like the CL.

CLE 28mm Viewfinder experience is far superior to leica’s .58.

Electronic aperture is a lot more reliable compared to gears. 

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50 minutes ago, blackdot said:

I have to disagree with this part. I can rewind my M2 or M-A much faster than my M6TTL. The crank slips out of my fingers every time. I honestly cannot understand why so many people prefer it. 

Same. I love the noise it makes when the film slips out of the roller when rewinding. Tells me I am done.

Edited by Radost
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1 hour ago, williamj said:

If it was me I would restrict myself to a black M4 through to M6, avoiding the first batches of the M4-2 and avoiding the M5 and the CL/CLE for the following reasons. All these Leica cameras can be brought up to perfect working condition in a CLA.

Black, because you want it different to silver so you can run different film stocks AND you want at least one stealth camera.

No M3, M2, MP or M-A so that you can have fast rewind and fast load

No M5 because you want the cameras to sit the same under your hands and you don't want to think about it when you swap cameras.

No CL/CLE because they are not robust

No early M4-2 because *some* of the cameras in the first batches have proved to be unreliable.

NOTE: This doesn't mean you shouldn't paint an M2 or M3 and have them as a second camera, they're brilliant, but they won't mesh as well with your MP and adding a paint job could make them more expensive than an M4-P.

CLE CL are not robust?

Ok People have some perceptions about electronic shutter cameras but why is the CL not robust?

I beat up mine so much.

Not to mention if you want to shoot 40mm both are the best choice.

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