So what exactly constitutes the non-collector models.
Originally Posted by Mark Crabtree
I have dismissed them out of hand for years because they are a little confusing, and the prices were all over the map. As I mentioned earlier, for a photographer of my skill, my FSU ltm body and lenses are awesome. In fact, my skill is so great that some of my best work was with a brownie. Although some may argue about classifying it as work.
My classification of a great camera is one that looks like someone has dropped it a few dozen times, but it works properly. I'm struggling to get pretty pictures, not a pretty camera. I think the KEH Bargain grade it just fine.
Recommend something, please.
As someone mentioned earlier, prices skyrocket as condition goes up. The common models in good (but not spectacular) condition seems like firm ground.
Originally Posted by michaelbsc
The M4-2 is a very nice camera and favorite of mine. Except for some early teething problems the build quality is not quite as high as the earlier cameras, but still great compared to about anything else. It is lighter than earlier cameras and has a hot shoe (I don't need that now, but did use it at one time).
I think the M4 is the best of all. An M2 or M3 is great, though a bit less ergonomic and is also older of course. Lots of people want a meter and that mostly means an M6, but I prefer the older, simpler viewfinders.
Personally I'd prefer one that had been serviced by a good Leica specialist. It is generally cheaper to buy one serviced than have to do it later, but bargains do show up regularly on "as-is" bodies.
I don't mean to imply that everybody should buy one, or even want one, but several generations of photographers have been served well by them.
The ones that aren't rare have little interest to collectors. Obviously, if 100,000 of a particular model were made, demand is diluted compared to that for one where only 200 were made. Info is available on the net, listing things like models, serial number groupings, and number of cameras manufactured. Most M3s, M2s, M4s (various incarnations) and M6s are non-collector cameras. M3 and M2 tend to cost less than M4 and M6. I paid £500 for my M2, in excellent condition (and not needing a CLA any time soon, according to my local repair guy). I had started by wanting a new MP, but decided that trying to scrape up the extra £2500 for a built in meter and a coat of black paint wasn't worth it - a 50 year old M2 is very close to a new MP. I chose an M2 rather than an M3 for the wider viewfinder - it has framelines for 35mm, while the M3 only goes to 50mm. I also preferred the all-metal levers and knob rewind to the plastic-tipped and crank of the M4 and M6.
In other words, there are variations between the various models, and you have to decide what you're looking for in a camera, and then match that to a particular model (or option within a model - some models offer different viewfinder maginifications, for example). In my case, I like a 35mm lens, so an M3 was never an option for me.
Say hello to my lil (new) friend ...
The shutter on the M5 is continuously variable, not stuck at fixed 1/125, 1/250, etc, so with the matching crosshairs meter in the finder, you can adjust the exposure perfectly. It's a 'spot' meter, which reads only the light falling on the meter cell at the center of the frame. Watch out when using collapsible lenses on the M5. Some of them hit the meter cell arm when collapsed. There are compatibility lists around, and Leica published information on which widths of Dymo plastic labeling tape (placed around the sliding part of the lens barrel) would prevent which collapsible lenses from hitting the meter. Have fun.
You can have the meter recalibrated to modern replacements for the original PX625 battery if it hasn't already been done.
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The shutter on the non-M5s are also not stuck at 1/125 and so on although you have to be careful at I think 1/15 where the shutter switches timing mechanisms.
The previous owner stated that the included owner's manual explains how to safely use collapsible lenses. The camera has been CLA'd recently by the previous owner. He also had the meter re-calibrated to use modern Sliver Oxide batteries.
Originally Posted by Lee L
Thanks for mentioning.
Sounds like you're well set then. Have fun. Sherry Krauter at Golden Touch in NYC is one good source of service if you need it at any point (while she's still in business). She used to travel the world for Leitz training their service techs, with special expertise on the CL and M5.
Originally Posted by lilmsmaggie
According to the M2's manual:
"Intermediate shutter speeds can also be set within the range of 1 to 1/8 second, between 1/15 and 1/30 second and between 1/60 and 1/1000 sec."
I love the shutter of Leicas, especially that gentle click at 1/125. However, I wish they could make the same battery-independant shutter to be as quiet in the 1 sec-1/30 sec range as the M7 is. There are times when an audiance at a small performance (chamber music) can get annoyed by the sound of the slow-speed mechanism. (It would be interesting to see their reaction to the firing of those really loud SLRs, then.)
Congratulations lilmsmaggie! The M5 is a fabulous camera and you also have a jewel of a lens.
Personally, one of the reasons why I chose Leica M is that it made economic sense to me. I have not lost money on any Leica film camera or lens that I have bought. Even when buying new! I can't say that for any other system I've used. Frankly, I can't understand people willing to spend $600-1000 on entry-level, plastic, disposable dSLR's when a proven M3, M2, M5 or M4-P can be bought for the same money. Repairs, if needed, are not as costly as people think! The most I've ever spent on a repair was around $180. At least these cameras can be repaired and there are many good techs to choose from.
There are collectible Leica items that command very high prices but this phenomenon is not exclusive to Leica. Nikon collectors are willing to spend big bucks too. There are Nikon lens caps and hoods that are worth more money than the lenses that they were meant for! Also, many Leica screwmount copies (Nicca, early Canon, Leotax, etc.) are now commanding more money than the real deal.
I find it sad to see so much resentment in this thread given that the Leica M and screwmount systems are such a wonderful (and desirable) platforms for film. There are many young photographers that are discovering Leicas and are buying film.
"Oui, non, oui, non, OUI!" - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Fernando Gomes Semedo (aka Nando) - flickr