Quote Originally Posted by lilmsmaggie View Post
I recently came across a M4-P 70th Anniversary 1913-1918, body only. No box, no instruction manual. I have to admit, a very nice camera. But the price!! Clearly, the price tag had collectors in mind. The same week, I came across an eBay listing for a plain-jane M4. Nice camera, except the leather on the back near the film indicator had worn through. Price: $1800 for a 40-year old camera!

IMHO, collectors are making a mess of the used camera market. Especially when it comes to Leica's. I guess I just don't understand. Wouldn't a Zeiss Ikon ZI fit the bill just as much as a M3 or M4? Does it have to be a Leica, and do you have to give up an arm and a leg, mortgage the farm and relinquish your 1st born to pay for it?
First, i am not a collector and both cameras and asking prices are in the collector area which is different than users.
Leica M's gained thier fame from three main attributes, lens quality, quiet operation and build quality. If a professional in some environments, there was and still is no better small format camera. The fact that the form factor has survived this long from M3 to M9 is a testamant to that. Along the way the Leica M became an 'ikon' that many amatures aspire to for many reasons, not all evident to many but valid just the same to the users.
I have them from M3 to M6 and two M7's. The M3 and M6 do not see much use but the M7's are heavily used with the latest Leica ASPH lenses for superb quality of image, form factor and minimal sound even with motor M's that are usually on my M7's.
I would suggest you go to a dealer and shoot some film with an M7 and whatever lens you like and evaluate or an M9! Then make an objective decision and leave the collector market to the collectors.-Dick