How to buy a Leica?
I am growing a little tired of my Fed3 because of the dim and small viewfinder. So I have found a couple of M2's and M4's that are on sale in Stockholm right now. They sell for around 4000 - 5000 SEK (615 - 770 USD). I'd need a lens too of course.
The features seem to be comparable. Mechanical shutters and large viewfinders. I already held the M2 in my hand and it felt good. And now comes my question: what should I look for when checking them out? Shutter fired beautifully on the M2 specimen that I held, no lens attached though.
Expose a test film for shutter checking, I guess. Clean view- and rangefinder glass? How can one know that it has been properly kept?
For a start I will most probably attach a russian Industar 61 (which is screwmounted, so I need an adapter). I'll buy a Leica lens a bit later.
Thanks in ahead for your excellent advice. I really mean it.
I'd go to an official Leica dealer, that way you get a camera that's been checked and usually tested/serviced. My experience when buying my M3 a few years ago is that's actually the best way to get value for money and a camera that will be working perfectly and last many more years.
What else do you need to know. Buy it.
Originally Posted by Erik Petersson
Thank you Andreas, that site looks really useful. I'll print it tomorrow.
I don't know if there are any Leica dealers in Stockholm for used gear. Well, I found a quotation for a M4 in C condition for just above 900 USD, that was in a store.
That's not too high a price for an M4, especially if there is a store warranty -- don't know what "C" condition is, though.
C is a camera which has been used, but still has guarantee. D is without guarantee. B is used, but "as new".
But I am tempted to buy the cheaper M2 or M4.
Originally Posted by Erik Petersson
Jag använder en M2a sedan ett par år tillbaka och gillar den skarpt. Köp en som ser fin ut och skicka den sedan på service. Ett fint objektiv att börja med är en Summitar 50mm f2. Underbar optik. Eller en Summicron förstås.
Sorry for the Swedish, everybody else. I get very excited when I see fellow Swedish people. :)
Can't blame you Thomas, I even get exited when I see a Swede here and as you know I am a Dane. :)
I think those prices are good if these cameras are in good condition and don't need a service.
One thing to consider is what kind of lenses you prefer to use, I think the M4 is a little better if you will be using both wide angles and short tele lenses.
The M4 has an advantage or two.
Easier film loading and self resetting film counter. It also has a frame for 135mm lens, no big deal at (to me)
It also has a more modern rewind knob with crank handle.
The M2 has to have the take up spool removed to load film unless it has a rapid load adapter in it.
Framelines are 35/50/90mm......... M4 adds 135.
M2 has several variations. Lever or button rewind, and with or without viewfinder preview lever. The early cameras had the button, no preview, no self timer and a Leica sync plug. Adapters for the plug are inexpensive.
It would be easier for you to see the differences if the cameras were side by side.
In either camera, Look at the screw at the top of the lens mount. It should have a black seal usually with a script Leica "S". Look at the curtains with the back open, look for pin holes or wrinkles. pinholes are $$$$.
Check the shutter speeds, if the slow speeds hesitate or hang up that's $$$, rangefinder alignment, both vertical and horizontal. Vertical is easy, move the rangefinder lever in the camera body and while looking through the finder the moving rectangle and stationary one should not have a slight"shadow". Horizontal needs to have a known good lens installed to check infinity.